THIS AND THAT: DUBNYK AND A PEST ALERT

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.

THAT %$&# PERRON

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.

THE WAY I SEE IT . . .

. . . 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

      Would of been nice if someone on the ice stepped up when one of your best players takes a knee on knee hit.Instead of making sure their skates were tied.

      • You’re missing the point. Our man in Amsterdam, as he’s reiterated I don’t know how many times, doesn’t believe having toughness in the line-up serves as any kind of deterrent to teams thinking of taking cheap shots.

        Any time a player like Hall takes a big hit or gets hurt by a hit, as happened today, it’s just more proof that having toughness in the line-up, on the roster or in the organization does nothing.

        Problem is, as long as there’s contact in hockey, there will be injuries. There was nothing over-the-top about the Gryba hit — no charge, no stick, no headshot. The problem was the point of contact — people can debate intent and will any time it’s knee-on-knee. I don’t know what Gryba was thinking, nobody does. What we do know is Hall is injured and that’s bad news no matter how or why.

        • Spydyr

          Hockey is a fast paced violent game injuries are going to happen no argument there.

          That does not change the fact teammates should stand up for teammates . Hall took a clear knee on knee hit accidental or not as you mentioned only Gryba knows. The issue I have is not one of his teammates went over and gave Gryba so much as a face wash. Late in the period Yak took a run at Spezza and the scrum started.That’s is what good teams do .Stand up for each other.

          As for toughness does nothing .We can agree to disagree IMO teams are more then aware when a Semenko , Dave Brown or Bob Probert are on the other teams bench. Although it does not prevent all injuries it does keep some of the players more in line.Boogaard and Regehr used to run rough-shot over the Oilers because they could.

          The Oilers have been the softest team in the NHL for years now and this old school fan hates that.

          • We agree.

            I wasn’t stating my position on having toughness in the line-up, I was reflecting the opinion of our man Humantorch and a segment of fans who believe employing tough guys is no deterrent whatsoever.

            I beg to differ with them.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        What happened? It was behind the play, no one noticed anything, and there was a penalty taken by Hall. Hard to beat some guys brains in for kneeing Hall when you don’t know what happened.

        • Crackenbury

          If you have to ask, you weren’t watching the game:

          – wasn’t “behind the play”, Hall had the puck.
          – no one noticed?:

          — The Ref’s noticed enough to be watching and call a feeble penalty on the retaliation by Hall (as minimal as it was)
          — CBC had multi-angle replays, so they noticed too

          There were 2 Oilers defencemen on the ice at the time, what were they watching??

          Who expects that marshmallow group of blueliners to stand up for anyone?

  • Crackenbury

    I am so glad for Dubnyk, he is a good goalie and his game is coming around. Maybe now all the talk can change to what a stupid coach the Oilers have and not how bad the goaltending is.
    This little Hitler has no idea how to handle NHL guys, how do you sit Schultz for the give away machine Grebeshkov. That is a brutal decision as well as playing your best defensive defenseman Smid 14 minutes. Are you kidding me, this makes no sense. I am sure Schultz wants out of this circus now and Smid probably not far behind. The fact that Schultz sat is a slap in a veteran players face and Eakins has lost the respect of a lot of the players for that move. BRUTAL circus. This is without a doubt the worst organization in the game of hockey

    • **

      Wow…take a pill buddy…I seem to remember last ytear that hunderds of you dogs were baying at kreuger for NOT sitting vets in the pressbox for their bad play and stupid mistakes and now when it happens its a travesty??? are you Schultz’s mom or what?

      • 2004Z06

        Nothing wrong with sitting vets when it is called for, to do it just to put in McT’s stupid signing is another thing. Why would Schultz be a scratch??? Probably Ference deserved to sit more than anyone else. Not Schultz’s mom but quite clearly you are Eakin’s dad. Tell your idiot son he is not coaching in the AHL anymore.

      • Mikey

        The problem is that Eakins sat the wrong Schultz.

        Just like he sat Yakupov, he should let the defence’s MINUS leader watch a game or two from upstairs to get a grasp of what playing D in the NHL is all about.

        J.Schultz was on the ice for the two E/S goals vs PIT, the shorthanded goal and E/S goal in the NYI game, and on the ice for the E/S goal this game.

        Does he have a “no-consequence” clause in his contract? Does he play for Kavis Reed?

        NO! So park his defensive liability a$$ upstairs and watch a few!!

        I’m not a total hater, but why doesn’t he have to pay like the others do?

        • Admiral Ackbar

          I completely agree. A culture of accountability is important. All of these players need to know that there are consequences for errors and a lack of production. Cane them if you have to!

          • Spydyr

            The problem is there is no accountability anywhere in management. As long as you know what it takes to win because you have six rings you have a job for life.

  • Agree with everything RB says in the article. If a victory can be demoralizing this one was it. Two positives. First, Dubnyk.

    Lots of negatives — Oil look uninspired, so many stupid lazy plays, losing Hall to a knee injury, Perron and lots of others throwing pucks away right, left and center; powerplay absolutely TERRIBLE and not just the 5-3. What has Acton (the elder) done to it?; penalty was also very weak — Dubnyk save their bacon.

    Second positive? The OIlers actually saved their best game for when they really needed it — after Neil’s goal. I was really impressed with how they bore down and protected the lead when the game was on the line. I can only hope that this is a sign of the much lamented and yearned for ‘character’.

    Still — the negatives outweigh the positives. For now at least.

  • 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.

  • Rob...

    “…looking for a job selling insurance”.

    As a meatball insurance salesman I represent that remark (beats fixing rock chips in windshields – pays better too..)

    As for Dubnyks play- it was competent but he never really had to make anything spectacular. The Ottawa goalie on the other hand was spectacular on a few occasions.

    The team itself made out like a thief in the night in getting a win. The sens outplayed them in every aspect except where it really counts – the scoresheet. Were they to play ten times the sens would win eight. God they finished checks – when was the last time we saw the oil do that?

    Montreal should be interesting…

  • 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.