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.

  • Jay Gray

    Dubnyk was awesome, hopefully some fans will step away from the ledge and
    stop talking crazy talk.

    Perron is doing the things this team needs to win. I love him already.

    Hopefully Hall is only out a game or two. From the outside looking in, it didn’t look all that bad.

      • Jay Gray

        Teams have won cups with goaltending worse than we currently have. Sure, it’s great to have Roy in net. But we have Dubnyk and when he’s good, he’s good. No sense freaking out and overpaying for someone who may, or may not be better than what we currently have.

        • Spydyr

          The overpay is probably why Mac-T has not brought in another goalie.With the moves he tried to make this summer it sure looks like Mac-T wants an upgrade in goal.With Dubnyk being a UFA this summer I would be shocked to see him back next year.

          The trade deadline might be the time to move him to a contender looking for a back up for the playoffs.Of course that would only happen if the Oilers were outside playoff contention.

  • bazmagoo

    Game should have been sewn up on that 5 on 3, unfortunately the Oilers never make it easy on us, ha. Nice to see them get a win and Dubnyk have a solid performance. You are 100% right Robin, our PP needs a serious overhaul ASAP.

    • 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.

      • 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?

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • Well Oil fans that was a well timed win and good for doobie!With Hall going down it sure is nice we have Yak to take his spot and Im sure glad we didn’t trade him away this week.LOL.I heard Pitlicker may get the call up and that’s great the kid hits like a train.Would the Oil bring Kreuger back for the special teams?Idoubt it as well, but they were a hell of a lot better last year than this year.

    • YFC Prez

      I would absolutely love having Krueger back and replace the current assistants. Doubt he plays second fiddle to Eakins and takes an assistant role behind the bench though.

      No question his special teams are dynamite though.

      • acg5151

        Could the fly him in with enough time to take over special teams before Tuesdays game?

        I don’t think anyone on the coaching staff ever spent a minute on an NHL power play, but neither did Kruger.

        However, he did mange to run one of the best PP’s in the NHL for two years.

  • Oilbridge

    Was at the game today and here were my 10 post game thoughts:

    1. Team is way to disorganized
    2. Put the d### puck on net, one more pass isn’t necessarily going to net you a better shot.
    3. Dubnyk saved the ones he needed to but the Sens didn’t have a great chances.
    4. Ryan Smyth’s penalty in the 3rd was sheer stupidity. You could see him jumping into the play for no apparent reason.
    5. Loved Perron’s in your face play.
    6. Smid doesn’t use his head enough and it leads to penalties.
    7. The Oilers hardly drove the play and I spent the last two periods hoping they wouldn’t blow their lead because it never felt like they were going to pull it out.
    8. Eberle make things happen. Whenever he’s on the ice things seem to go well.
    9. Oilers Nation rocks…there were a ton of Oiler jerseys this afternoon and at one point there was even a “Go Oilers Go” chant…we have some fine loyal fans.
    10. It was my son’s first live Oiler game…thank goodness it was a win.

    • Awesome on your kid’s first game, great experience!

      And your right, it’s clear that Eberle is the straw that stirs the drink. I’m expecting a big year out of him and he is great defensively IMO. Hope he makes the Olympic team as I would have him on my roster for sho.

  • PlayDirty

    Dubnyk won us this game, and it definitely was one of the fans who supports the deporting of Dubnyk.

    I’ll give credit to where credit was deserved, well played Dubnyk, keep it up and prove us wrong…. Who knows we might make the playoffs if you do.

    Nuge played well too.

  • YFC Prez

    A lot to agree with here. Obviously, Dunbyk won this one today, and, it should be noted, played very well against the Islanders, giving the Oil a chance to win that one too. He has still has lots to prove but shame on those who threw him under the bus way too fast.

    Yes, Perron was a pepper pot out there tonight and is a real positive addition. Yak also had his best game of the season with Nuge and Eberle and hopefully Eakins can keep them together for a while.

    As for the PP, it has been awful lately and that 5-on-3 was brutal. Time to re-group. Is Kelly Buchberger really in charge of the PP? Time to watch some film of what they did the last two years when they were world beaters.

    I agree Hall’s knee injury was just one of those things, not a dirty play. I wonder if Gagner is ready to slot in for him against Montreal?

    • Eakins mentioned Hall seeing the team doctors, which would seem to mean a trip back to Edmonton.

      Not sure if Hall is headed back this way on his own before the team jets back, but I imagine one of the media members travelling with the team will provide an update.

      • Oilbridge

        Hey Robin, either Quinn or Jamie Thomas mentioned that a team doctor was traveling with team on this trip. Hope that worst case scenario that Hall has a sprained knee, 3 weeks. The Pk was a lot better today in terms of their rotation. Look like the inside middle guy held his ground and the outside Fwd would swing around. Not sure if this was a change or if they have been doing all year. Great game by dubnyk! Unlucky on Neil’s goal. Would’ve been extra sweet getting the shutout and shoving it to healy’s fave tonight on the tube!

      • acg5151

        Principe tweeted that Hall, “walked out of Edmonton dressing room … no major limp and didn’t seem to be overly favouring his left knee”.

        That is a very good sign.

  • 2004Z06

    It’s funny. When DD plays well, be it a win or a loss, everyone complains how badly the team is playing in front of him. When he doesn’t, they harp entirely on him and ignore the fact that the team is still playing badly in front of him.

    Maybe we should just all come to the real conclusion in that the team just plays badly in front of the goalies most of the time. And for the love of god, forget the scores. If our kids score 4 or 5 goals only to make mindblowing stupid mistakes and breakdowns that also cause 4 or 5 goals, it’s all for naught. This is why they need to learn how to play better, so we can score those goals AND not absolutely require the most elite goaltender in the league to bail us out with each and every game to make up for the fact that they can’t (or won’t) play responsibly.

  • Crackenbury

    Have the Oilers greatly improved their breaking out of the zone this year? I don’t remember them in past years playing the puck off the side boards with the short little dump pass to a streaking player with the amount of frequency they are doing right now. I also see them them going backwards on the play to gain control far more than they ever have in the past. Some good things that Eakins must be stressing. However, I wish they had maintained the hitting strategy they started the year with. They looked like they might be difficult to play against. Now they look much like the soft team they have been for years.

  • Oilbridge

    The Hall incident was just a good old hockey play……..Gryba did what every hockey player is taught to do……follow through on your hits.

    Loved Perron and his game could not agree more with Robin on his effective play…..both skill and toughness.

    Although we played a better game, I still hold that I can see no real system at play both on the PP or PK……..unless you call organized chaos a system.

  • 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?

      • 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.

      • 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.

  • Oilbridge

    Great to see Dubnyk firm up these last couple games with his back against the wall. This experience should make him better.

    I don’t think there was any intent on the hit. His knee came into Halls as he comes in and tries to make a check. Very frustrating but this isn’t a dirty hit. Hall on Clutterbuck on the other hand…

    I think we are seeing a permanent shift away from the enforcer role. We all know that toughness is great and helps win and the Oilers don’t have enough, but having fighters at the end of the bench is now useless. Toughness is a great bonus, but you have to be able to play first and foremost.

  • acg5151

    I feel like the Oilers are close – they basically have a good second pair in Smid Petry, a future #1 or, more likely! a #2 dman in Justin Schultz. Ference could be half of a good third pair. They just need a legitimate #1 LD-man like Ryan Suter. We’ll see if Darnell Nurse becomes that.

    As far as the forward group goes, I like the top 3 lines. If the Oil had a 4th line that could play 9 minutes a night, that would take a lot of pressure off the top lines.

    Ultimately I think this is a better team than their record indicates – they just need a Jason Labarbera to win some games when Devan Dubnyk needs a night off. Dubnyk is a lot better than his numbers indicate and we’ve seen that over the last two games.

  • 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…

  • Rob...

    It was ugly, but you take the much needed win.
    Dubby saved the day on this one! With a couple days off, hope they work on their power play.

    Was Hemsky injured? or he just take another day off?

  • Crackenbury

    Eating crow which I don’t mind when we win . Good for the Oil and the bounceback today. I am still not convinced but I liked that we started playing more grinders on the PK and kept some of our skill players fresher. Not perfect but better coaching and our own zone play was better. Carry it into Montreal and I hope it will continue. Tough schedule ahead so not much room for any nights off

  • My thoughts on Perron…. he basically is a Max Lapierre that can score goals. Seems like he would fit in with the Vancouver mould too. This isn’t a slight against him… we have always hated those types and wished for one or two of our own here. Aside from the pestiness and feistyness, he can score goals too. Best trade of MacT’s short GM’ing career, and probably the best move by the Oilers in quite some time. Maybe since acquiring Pronger?

    Dubnyk had a couple scary moments early on (one where he had his back turned to the entire zone, two feet outside the net), but outside of that, he was superb. Great game, and he really deserved the shutout. Bloody bouncing puck.. fluke goal.

    Disappointing to see the Oilers put up back-to-back poor games too. Got the win in this one (thanks mostly to Dubnyk), but denied Duby his first win in the last game. The Corsi worm has turned. Not doing so well in that area any more. Even Eakins is starting to question whether he has to change the system before things spiral out of hand.

  • Rdubb

    Why on earth did Eakins ever MESS with the PP & the PK, both of which have been in the top 10 (or damn near) the past few seasons.
    There were many other things that he could have re-worked, messed with, but doing so with the PP & PK should have been a no-brainer to leave alone. I do know & understand that poorer than average goaltending caused a few goals on the PK that shouldn’t have gone in, but from the games I have been able to catch on the tube, their d-zone coverage has been nothing less than abysmal, & I think I am being polite…
    On the PP, missing Gagner hurts, but, they now have Peron, Belov, and a year older Yak to play on the 2nd unit, so why isn’t Eberle playing with Hall, RNH & Schultz? Than the 5th guy on the 1st unit can be Boyd, as he is great in the circle (getting the Oilers the puck instead of chasing it), plus, he’ll play in front, take a bit of a beating, distract the goalie and defenders, and maybe deflect a puck or two, @ the very least, create MORE ROOM for the skilled guys…But Eakins, for some unknown reason, seems to want to kill the PP and PK, maybe he wishes the Oilers to be in the mid 20’s for both, I don’t know, but his handling of both is NOT GOOD…
    Although, 5 on 5 play is somewhat better, but it couldn’t get much worse than last season…