GDB 6.0: Desperation, this early?

Yes, it’s far too early in the season to be saying that any of these individual contests are must-win games. It isn’t too early to say the Oilers need to find a way to get some wins. Either fortunately or unfortunately, the situation is much the same in Washington, a team that with a 1-4-0 record is actually a point back of Edmonton.

The Lineup

Once again, Nail Yakupov finds himself on the outs, as per the Oilers’ official Twitter account.

I haven’t seen official word on the defence but assume it remains the same as well, giving the Oilers the following lines for tonight’s game:

  • 1st Line: Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ales Hemsky
  • 2nd Line: Ryan Smyth – Mark Arcobello – Jordan Eberle
  • 3rd Line: David Perron – Boyd Gordon – Jesse Joensuu
  • 4th Line: Luke Gazdic – Will Acton – Mike Brown
  • 1st Pairing: Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • 2nd Pairing: Andrew Ference – Nick Schultz
  • 3rd Pairing: Anton Belov – Justin Schultz
  • Goal: Jason LaBarbera

After the game the third line had against Toronto, I had thought Jesse Joensuu might find his way out of the lineup (or better still, on to the fourth line with Mike Brown the scratch) but evidently the head coach feels either that Yakupov on the bench gives the Oilers the best chance to win or that the young player will benefit from another night off. Neither of those seem like particularly sound beliefs to me, but maybe there’s something else going on here.

Opportunity

There’s a great chance here for Jason LaBarbera to take the starting job and run with it. Career-wise, he’s had very good numbers in the backup role for a few seasons now, but was never going to get another opportunity at the starting job unless fortune intervened; with Devan Dubnyk’s struggles it has. Mathieu Garon’s career was in a very similar spot when he came to Edmonton; he ended up providing pretty good goaltending during the Oilers’ late run in 2007-08.

Another opportunity here is the one being afforded to Mark Arcobello. It’s difficult to see where he fits on the Oilers’ roster moving forward: the fourth line has been handed to big men, Arcobello’s skillset is replicated in the top-nine and Sam Gagner will take back his spot at some point. Arcobello has until Gagner gets back to make it impossible for the Oilers to send him down – or at the very least, to make it impossible that he clears waivers. So far, so good.

Finally, if MacTavish does make a big splash, I expect it to be on defence rather than in goal. With the possible exception of Jeff Petry, this has been a suspect group from day one and while all six guys are NHL players every night some of them seem to be in roles they aren’t able to handle.

Predictions!

Game day prediction: The Oilers lose a tight one in overtime, falling 2-1 to Washington.

Obvious game day prediction: The fourth line plays less than six minutes and gets out-shot and out-chanced badly thanks to one shift where they’re caught against Alexander Ovechkin.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Just like the game in Toronto, this is a back-and-forth affair, but it turns into a goaltending duel. Both teams have struggled between the pipes but the combined save percentage of both goalies on the night ends up in the 0.960 range.

  • match16

    Happy thanksgiving everyone . Prediction One team is going to serve up a turkey of a game . Hope they put a “shadow” on Ovechkin . Has the makings of a high scoring river hockey game . Willis might be right and each team will play a boring 2-1 game into overtime . Like Western clubs over the overrated Eastern clubs and Eastern media . We could steal the next two games , as they will be underestimating us . Fast starts required in both games .

  • I remember the last time the Oilers played the Capitals, I was actually at the game and Khabibulin stood on his bloody head!!

    OV8 hit the post and the cross bar and they should have spanked the Oilers.

    Fast forward the Capitals have the same team with upgrade’s and the Oilers have a worse goaltending.

    Corsi means nothing if you’re not out chancing the opposition 5×5, I find it hard that the Oilers will somehow out chance the Capitals who will be equally desperate hockey club with arguable better line up, not impossible but unlikely.

    Small sample size, but the way the Oilers have played this season, I won’t expect a different result, large sample size, the Oilers defense is still brutal, the 4th line is all AHL players and the same players are still making the same mistakes on forward.

    I expect a loss.

    4-2 Capitals

  • DSF

    This may sound DSF-ish but could this not be Oilers propaganda101?Paint the kid as the bad apple so it softens the fans up when your about to trade him.I dont know about you guys but I smell something fishy,is it a coincedence this going on same time as Dubnyk fails to stop the puck.

    • Mikey

      This isn’t a matter of propaganda or scapegoating. no one ever blamed yak for the losses. Yak was scratched in hope he would wake up and realize what he needs to improve and that he needs to back check and be a team player.

      Did you read his quotes yesterday after Eakins talked to him. He doesn’t want to change his game. he likes to play with the puck, he doesn’t like to skate without it, or forecheck, or check players. its not his game and he isn’t gonna change.

      Now that attitude no doubt is having him sit another gme because he obviously took being sat the wrong way. he needs to stop thanking he is the team and learn to be a teamplayer and commit to the system. if he doesn’t do that, we have no fear in trading him.

      I was very against trading him originally but with this attitude he has nothing to offer this team. Im staring to expect him to leave for Russia.

  • sec206

    I do like how Eakins is deploying his forwards but wouldn’t it make sense to put yak on the 4th line at the very least just to have him for the PP I suspect Eakins is doing what is best for yak at this point because surely him over brown makes the most sense.

    • DoubleJ

      Benching Yaks will solve nothing. The problems on the ice ( no structure in all three zones) is something that all players are struggling with.

      Ask yourself honestly do any of the youth so far look like they are better than they were last year? I would have to say that NO one has looked stellar……..I have to think that the new system has something to do with this.

        • DoubleJ

          I would welcome back Renny’s system over this system, and apologize to Renny………I’m always critical of the coach as they usually orchestrate the proceedings. Criticism comes with the job.

          I would remind you that Renny had a lot less to work with than Dallas and achieved better results.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Why don’t you take your grade 7 education elsewhere and attack people on other forums. Are you banned from HFboards, so you came over here looking to spread your vast fantasy pool’ish knowledge?

        Is that all you’re here to do. (not really a question because we already know that answer) If you’re going to come over here and butt heads, atleast know how to read and write english. Don’t you ever get tired of your all too familiar song and dance?

        • YFC Prez

          Hello Mr Quick. Happy thanksgiving!

          Take a quick look at your sentence structure and punctuation on your second sentence in your latest comment.

          This is why I never call out grammar issues on a blog comment. We all make our fair share of language faux-pas.

          I’m sure there are several mistakes being made as I type this. Let’s just all relax !

          Enjoy the game and the turkey everyone ! Have a extra shot of rum in your eggnog for me !

          • Quicksilver ballet

            True that Pres

            I’ve been trying to reinforce just that on that Harry tool. He comes out throwing stones, all while living in a glass house himself. Always see him belittling/attacking other posters here. I don’t mind squishing him under my shoe. He’s seen it plenty of times before i’m sure.

          • djc

            Awwwwww is Quicky getting mad? It looks like Harry hit a nerve! You didn’t like being interrupted and being called out while spewing your typical anti-oilers garbage? Remember when you made fun of Pelss dying? Glass houses, indeed.

            Feel free to continue with your tantrum and posting here 100 times a day pretending you know what you are talking about, old man. It doesn’t really matter as most of us skip over your comments anyway.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            Whenever I make a point numbnuts ballet aka Bill Shakespeare attacks grammar and never the point itself. Seems hes not to confident in his vast hockey knowledge. Posts after post contains nothing but chickensh”t predictions and little else.

            If edm puts for the same effort as in the Toronto game and we get a key save or two I can see edm squeeking out a close win.

            BG needs to be on Ovi like stank on numbnuts ballet

    • Time Travelling Sean

      WTF bro, if your gonna Oiler hate give reasons, tell me why Ovie is going to singlehandely destroy our Corsi, how will he do it? Has he destroyed us in the past? Does he play well against Western Teams playing in the Eastern Conf.? GIMME STATS BRO.

      • DSF

        Ovechkin, as always, leads the NHL in shots.

        He has 38 shots in 5 games

        David Perron leads the Oilers with 17 shots.

        The Capitals are averaging 34 S/G while the Oilers are averaging 29.4.

        Two of the Capitals 5 games have been against Chicago and Colorado.

        Chicago was able to limit the Caps to 32 SOG

        In the Colorado game, the Caps outshot the Avalanche 41-28 but managed to lose 5-1 because of other worldly goaltending.

        The Caps SOG through 5 games:

        @ Chicago – 32

        vs. Calgary – 39

        @ Dallas – 26

        vs. Carolina – 32

        vs. Colorado – 41

        In other words, the Caps are averaging 37 SOG at home and I would think it’s reasonable to wager they’ll get close to 40 SOG tonight versus the Oilers.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          In other words, the Caps are averaging 37 SOG at home and I would think it’s reasonable to wager they’ll get close to 40 SOG tonight versus the Oilers.

          missed on this one big time.

          you should have known the oilers would outshoot the mighty caps, only to be let down by goaltending and huge defensive blunders once again.

          it is step 4 of the Edmonton Oiler “always suck” handbook. Written by Kevin Lowe, illustrations by Jack Michaels

          • DSF

            Here ya go:

            More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month

            Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year

            100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

            70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US

            YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages

            According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network

            Millions of subscriptions happen each day, and the number of people subscribing has more than doubled since last year

          • D

            “Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year”

            And less than one in hundred spent doing something productive. And none of it is porn. The horror.

  • srbuhr

    Have to agree with you on Joensuu. The third line struggled with Perron not having a good game and Joensuu out a step and tentative. Would have expected Yak to draw back in. Hard not to think there is more to him sitting then performance on the ice.