Devan Dubnyk has taken a lot of bowel movement from fans of the Edmonton Oilers this season, and with good reason, so it’s only fair to point out he was very good in a much-needed 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators today.

His early-season struggles duly documented, lamented and, in many cases blown out of proportion, Dubnyk turned aside 35 of the 36 shots he faced against the Senators, allowing only a bunt single by Ottawa tough guy Chris Neil in a scramble at the side of the net to find the twine as the Oilers won their first road game this season.

"It was a big game for us and we knew that coming in," said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had two goals and an assist. "Doobie stood on his head for us, so it’s always nice. We got a win for him, so it was a big game. We needed those points and we got them."

It goes without saying, or should, that Dubnyk’s performance against the Senators doesn’t guarantee he has regained his mojo – just as his difficult start didn’t mean he should go looking for a job selling insurance — but it’s a start. One the Oilers desperately needed.

If Dubnyk can come up with an encore against the Montreal Canadiens to end the road trip Tuesday, the Oilers can salvage a swing that had disaster written all over it going into Ottawa.


David Perron didn’t manage a point against Ottawa, but he was in the middle of the action the entire game and was a royal pain in the backside for the Senators between whistles and after them. When’s the last time fans could say that about any of the Oilers players?

Perron ran over goaltender Robin Lehner early in the game, drawing a crowd intent on taking a poke at him. He did likewise later on, providing Lehner a refreshing shower of snow in the crease. He also tried to coax Norris Trophy defenseman Erik Karlsson into a penalty with the tried-and-true stinky glove treatment.

Having a gritty, in-your-face player on the third or fourth line is one thing. Having an agitator skilled enough to play top-six minutes while getting under the skin of opponents is quite another, and it’s something the Oilers have been lacking for a long, long time.


. . . Brutal luck for the Oilers to lose Taylor Hall with a left knee injury on a hit by Eric Gryba, but from the replays I saw, I couldn’t find any evidence of an attempt by Gryba to stick out his knee on the Edmonton forward.

There’s no doubt the contact with Hall was knee-on-knee, but I neither saw Gryba widen his stance to get a piece of Hall or drag his leg in any manner as to clip him. Many Oilers fans, as is to be expected, disagreed with me on Twitter today, saying Gryba had "led" with his knee. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I think that suggestion is a reach.

"I know it’s his knee, but I don’t know the severity of it," coach Dallas Eakins said during a post-game interview. It seems unlikely, as of now, Hall will play against the Canadiens.

. . . Mercy, the power play is struggling. The Oilers went 0-for-5, including two full minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage that generated just one shot. I’d hope Eakins will get back to the drawing board on this because what he’s been drawing up isn’t remotely close to working.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Spydyr

    I was actually at the game. It was nice to see so many Oilers jerseys in the crowd.

    As for the 2 minutes of 5 on 3, it was the worst display of special units I had ever seen.

    It was an overall decent 60-minutes effort, although I didn’t think Hall was having a very good game before his injury. RNH had a monster game.

  • 2004Z06

    The Oilers will play better without Hall in the lineup. There is something up with this kid. Has to be a reason why not a single Oiler player comes to his aid….EVER!

      • BillHK

        It’s comments like these that frustrate me most as and Oilers fan and speak to the downside of a fansite like this. Lately players like Hall and Yakupov have been lightning rods for controversy and criticism from a frustrated fanbase, but unfortuately it’s gone beyond on ice performance to aspersions about their character and armchair prognostigating about what they must be like “in the room”.

        Yesterday on Lowetide’s site there were concerns about Yakupov and Eberle because of a purported shum by Eberle during his goal celebration (seemingly at odds with the picture in the Journal of Eberle with his arm around Yak). Similar comments have been made here and seem to me to go beyond frustration with losing given they began to appear during the talk of Hall as Captain.

        I’ll take the fact that Hall has worn an A for the last two years as a sign of how he is viewed “in the room” not only by management, but also his peers, just as I’ll take note of the role he played for Windsor. I’m not sure if speculation to the contrary comes from jealousy of a young guy in a hockey crazed city making a lot of money, or one too many friend of a friend stories of people who “saw him in a bar one night”, but it’s a sad reflection of the propensity of many card carrying members of Oilersnation to turn on their own and cloak it in frustration caused by many years of losing.

        I can’t wait for this week’s coverage and commentary about how Hall is injury prone due to what is arguably a run of bad luck, rather than chronic injuries a la Forsberg or Bure.

      • The Funky Chicken Has Left The Building

        Get serious…this is professional sport. If liking or disliking a teammate determines what you do or don’t do on the ice you’re probably not going to be around long.

  • 2004Z06

    We still need a goalie. How many games did Dubnyk steal for us down the stretch last year in a 48 game season? Perron played great yesterday even though he botched that 2 on 1 near the end. We need a Chris Neal. Get it done MacT. Get rid of one of our soft forward. MacT blew it on Clutterbuck.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    The hit by Gryba had no malice intended in my opinion, either.

    Hall just got caught up in the aftermath from an attempted check. Not sure if there would be any injury there, 99 times out of 100…

    It didn’t seem to take much to damage that knee though which is the most concerning thing to me from all of this.

    I hope it is just a few days and then he is back, good as new! But as L.T. says, “we wait…”!

  • Zarny

    I don’t think you can say Dubnyk’s struggles were blown out of proportion. He was atrocious early in the season.

    Perhaps it was equipment changes. Maybe he was gripping the stick too tight knowing this is it. This year is his shot to prove himself and taking a run at Schneider lets him know there are doubters in the organization. Or maybe starting the year with the top two C hurt meant the Oilers were just a really bad team in front of him.

    Patience is the key. The decision should be made on an appropriate body of work. This roster is not a Stanley Cup contender. Best case was always 7th or 8th and 9-11th just as likely with schedule and injuries. There are a few key moves MacT has to pull off for the Oilers to be real contenders but he has 2 seasons to make them happen.

    • Zarny

      When Dubnyk was stinking through his first four starts, people were calling for this trade and that trade etc etc — Dubnyk’s struggles were very real, but in many cases reaction to them were certainly blown out of proportion.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    Fly ricky :

    Dubnyk had the best even strength Save% in the Game for the last 3 years.
    Your opinion fits the definition: a point of view not based on knowledge or Fact.

    Red on the 70’s show would cal you a D………..

    The guy faced 2nd most shots per game in that 3 year period.

    I think if he faced 23 Shots/gm playing with NJD instead of 32.3 shots per game with edmonton.
    he wpuld have stole more games with his .920 save %.

    The number of times i have heard:
    wins (goals for) affected by forwards.
    Goals against (shots faced) afffected by defence.
    Stolen games ? (best even Save %)

    what a lot of trite BS.

    i was scared MacT would have pulled a DF movr and seen dubnyk win acup with teams that prevent shots.

  • S cottV

    Nothing like a win to calm things down a bit. Nice to see Dubnyk play like most believe he can. Of course – he had reasonble system support in front of him for a change. Not too many glaring scoring chances, despite the Oilers being outshot. I agree with prior posters, that it appears Eakins maybe pushed for too much change to existing systems. I remember reading an article where Eakins said something to the effect, that if the Oilers are to win, they will have to do it his way. Well – “if his way” was way different than the “existing way” – there is only so much change any organization can absorb – without short to mid term performance reprecussions. Change usually needs to be prioritized and eased in over some reasonable time. With MacT’s passionate assertion that it is time to win now, it seems that Eakins may have gone too far – exposing MacT in the process. As for goaltending – hitting a home run with a proven top end goaltender is probably unattainable and or too costly. It may be sufficient to pick up someone like a James Reimer – to work in strong tandem with Dubnyk, whereby they push each other to earn starting assignments.