OIL’ER KINGS WIN

After a huge road win in a tough building the Oilers have to be feeling pretty good about themselves heading home. It wasn’t the greatest game but a win in the NHL is a win and its even better after you’re called a junior team.

There are still holes and areas that need to be improved but they come home with two big wins to close out this road trip when it looked like they may get skunked.

They are in no position to get comfy and still have a long way to go if they want to win consistently in this league. Turnovers and soft puck play is still far too prevalent in their game but let’s finally talk about some positives for once shall we?

EAKINS

I loved that he gave it to Lars Eller after the game. I don’t think Eller meant any real harm with the “play a little bit like a junior team,” remark and I’d be shocked if deep down Eakins didn’t kind of agree with him (I did).

Regardless, he got his team to respond. He was clearly hot about it and even if it wasn’t that big of a deal to his players, he made it one. Smart.

DUBNYK

Another great start for this guy. If it wasn’t for him this game may have been a different story. Every team needs great goaltending. He has been great as of late and is now making that big save or two or five that every team needs throughout a game.

SMID

Scores a huge goal and is one guy I see every game sticking up for his teammates and protecting his goalie. He doesn’t fight a lot but he makes it known you are going to have to answer to someone if you want to hang around in front of the net.

NUGE

What a filthy dish.

JONES

A tough start to the night with a turnover but he doesn’t let it affect his game. He was fore-checking and hounding defenseman all night. He jumped in when the kid Pitlick was in a little hot water and then was rewarded with a real gritty goal. He drove to the net hard, stopped in front, was strong on his stick and slammed home the game winner. Awesome

DR. SUTHERBY

I’m no doctor but you guys don’t mind if I play one on the Nation right?

Word has come out that Taylor Hall has a second degree MCL sprain. These are not fun. I’ve had a first degree and a second degree MCL sprain over the years.

The first degree was manageable and something you can play through albeit painfully with a brace on. It’s not fun for a few weeks but eventually it settles down.

The second degree was much more significant. Crutches and a thigh to shin brace had to be worn for the first week. Just bending the knee was difficult task for quite some time. I missed 3 weeks and came back playing with a knee brace. It was a battle for the remaining 2 months of the season. Every time I fell and the knee had to bend or whenever I dragged that skate a little and it tugged on the inside of that leg it was excruciating.

BAD NEWS FIRST

Everyone heals differently but I would expect Hall to have to wear a brace for an extended period of time and wouldn’t be surprised when he returns if he’s still laboring a bit. This is a nasty little injury that I doubt he’s 100% comfortable with at the four week timeframe even if he’s able to play.

NOW THE GOOD

This goes without saying but this is a great diagnosis and much better than a season ending ACL injury people feared. MCL’s heal up over time without surgery and he will eventually get back to 100%.

REMEMBER

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. For medical advice or hockey talk, submit your weekly mailbag questions to brian@oilersnation.com or on twitter @briansutherby

 
  • vetinari

    I think that Eller got to say what Eakins couldn’t– telling your own team that they play like juniors would demoralize them while having someone from another team say it galvanizes them together and encourages them to SIUTB’s. Couldn’t have planned it better for Eakins, could they?

    Last night, the team looked more cohesive as units, albeit with some turnovers and defensive breakdowns, but I really noticed an extra spark across all of the lines once they went up 3-2. Special teams still needs work but given their patchwork lineup, they certainly exceeded expectations last night.

    Also, Dubnyk is getting better and while I’m not 100% sold on him as a long term solution, I have to give him credit for better rebound control last night and getting his frame into position to cut down angles. Way to go, DD!

  • Craig1981

    I watched a video of your scrap with Breen the other day! And you can play to! Seriously, you shouldn’t have retired! You would be a upgrade for the Oil on Joensuu, Hamilton, Acton! Nothing wrong with these guys either! You would have made Gyba accountable for that questionable hit. Maybe you should hire the Wonger as your agent- specialist in Functional Toughness, self-proclaimed-but true- investing genious (stocks,bonds, annuities, alternative investments) – and let’s get you back in the NHL! SERIOUSLY!!!

  • Brian Sutherby

    I agree with your analysis on the players Smid was terrific……..so was Petry, looked all world out there.

    Your comments regarding Eakins are way off the mark. If I were Eakins, I would have accepted the comments ( internally used them to my advantage) but NOT said anything to the media.

    Eller simply said what everyone know, we have a junior coach and the lack of any systems are patently obvious to everyone. Why validate Eller by acknowledging his statements?

    Bush league move.

      • pkam

        English is a second language for Eller, I for one do not think he meant what he said.

        If as a team we need comments for opposition players to get motivated……as suggested by Eakins, we are in trouble!!

        We should play our game without requiring external motivation……now put that bong down genius!

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        Read what I said……..I’m fine with him using it internally, but not through the media, like he did.

        I’m not pretending to know anything but even a simpleton like you can see the evidence…….unless you are blind too!

  • paul wodehouse

    …put Hall on the self til the first week in December when there is a 5 game home stand to play in on home ice…coming back too early(4weeks) never did anyone (especially our #4) any good … wheels is his game, he should be on two good ones when he returns period

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Our rookie coach sure looked like he still has a few things to learn. Rather than just acknowledging the statement and taking the high road, he chose to focus on it and squish Eller under his shoes.

    Hope he wasn’t taking this opportunities because he knows the wins may be few and far between. There is a problem when Eakins needs the other team to motivate his own hockey club. Lessons are being learned by off ice personnel as well as with the players.

    • Brian Sutherby

      I agree he went a little over the top with it, I wont argue that but he was clearly irked by it and they got a win.

      Coaches use all kinds of stuff to bring the best out of guys. Shouldn’t matter how or what if they win. This will be old news by tomorrow

    • Dan the Man

      I had no problem with what Eakins said, I actually found it quite hilarious and I’m sure his players enjoyed it too. This was simply Eakins standing up for his team.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        True that. There’s his free one. I’d be surprised to see him go off on another opposition player this year. There was a considerable amount of truth to what Lars mentioned though, i’m sure we can all agree on that. There were many hoping to see that post game interview had the Canadiens played the whole 60 mins. Most of them, Oiler fans i’m sure.

    • I’m pretty sure Eakins would agree with the statement. Problem is, he’s been telling his guys about the issues for a while now and maybe having someone outside the team validate those concerns suddenly hit home. He seized the opportunity and used it to get the guys to realize that it isn’t just a new coach beaking off.

      This team needs to take it to a higher level and maybe that game last night has shown them it’s possible. I applaud Eakins for using that motivational tool.

      The “squishing Eller under his toes” was fabricated for both the media and his players. He comes out fired up, looking like he’s backing his boys 100%. Brilliant move by our young coach.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Brilliant would’ve been if he said his piece to the media before the game, not after the players earned/gave him this opportunity. It wasn’t Eakins who deserves the fruitbasket and bottle of wine.

        What was it Tom Renney use to say, i’ll stand behind you guys every step of the way….and when things aren’t going as well, i’ll stand in front of you. Something to that effect. Eakins appears to have it backwards. Spouting off after his players paved the way. Either way, hopefully we’ve seen the last of pulpit Eakins.

  • UnderOil

    Brian, I’m surprised you didn’t mention Hemsky – he was a monster last night and is starting to really demonstrate some leadership through work ethic.

    Any thoughts on how long he’ll be an Oiler at this rate of performance?

    • Brian Sutherby

      I should have. He was on my list as were a few others I didn’t mention. I’ve really like his game for most of the season. Besides his goal, I loved that big blocked shot, that’s a guy paying the price and going above and beyond what’s expected of him.

      Hard to say how long he sticks around, only Mac T can really answer that. Obviously with the abundance of non physical skill I believe some guys have to go and his contract sitch makes him the obvious choice.

      With some of the injuries right now they definitely need him. Time will tell

  • paul wodehouse

    Such a dirty pass from Nuge to Petry, wow thats an all-world play.

    Also loved how after that brutal Gary by Jones he pots one and celly’s so hard he busts Perron in the chops with his stick lol.

    Yakupov looked like he was playing for the other team last night. Painful

    Eager did nothing good either.

    How about when Eberle made the toey off the Yakupov dish and flipped it over the defencemans stick and tried batting it out of the air. skills on this kid amaze me

    Lastly, how good is PK Subban? Honestly, that guy is unbelievable

    • Rob...

      “Also loved how after that brutal Gary by Jones he pots one and celly’s so hard he busts Perron in the chops with his stick lol. ”

      It wasn’t Jones’ stick that hit Perron… though you’re right that Jones was too busy celebrating to know where his own stick or arms were going. Good on him for getting that cough-up back.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What did you think of Pitlick, Brian? I thought he played exactly the kind of game they wanted from him. I suspect that when Jonshuu and/or Gagner come back he is shifted down to the 4th line, where he probably belongs for now with his limited offensive upside. He is not a fighter, but a real banger who makes a good replacement for Brown, as he can actually play.
    With only 12 healthy forwards no one needs to go to OKC until Smyth is also back and Eager is most likely at this point. Despite his one moment of madness Jones played well. Of course another forward will likely be hurt by the time all three of those guys are back so maybe no one goes down, except a D man, as I doubt they will carry 8 for long.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Eller called his team a bunch of Juniors. Someone had to respond and Eakins did. The fact he used it for motivation was great. You can’t talk about not wanting to be pushed around and then let someone publicly trash talk the team.
    The people who thought it was a bush move are off base. Someone had to stick up for the players and the organization. Eakins saved Ference from having to do it.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Thought Eller’s comment sounded like a nation reader. We’ve all been saying the Oilers play is confusing. He just articulated it nicely, problem was he shouldn’t have. I don’t see a point about Oilers fans spewing off trash talk when are bottom dweller towards him, saying our Jr. Team beat your team. I do wish Lars played for us, he’s a beauty. Eakins also shoulda said nothing. Rookie coach, he will learn.

    Pitlick has nice intangibles, skates and forechecks and hits everything he can. Simple effective hockey. Hope the offence comes down the road.

  • Brian Sutherby

    Difficult to see how ellers comments were the motivator. He made those comments BEFORE the game. And the oil played – by all accounts – awfully – like a bunch of first year juniors in the first period. So, unless Eakins beat them over the head with the comments in the first intermission they had jack to do with what happened in the remaining two periods.

    And three things happened after that intermission:

    1. The oil played a better, more disciplined game.

    2. The Canadiens completely lost their mojo – no hitting, ragged D, turnovers, etc. I bet that Canadiens fans (the ones in the arena were Uncharacteristically quiet) were quite irate after last nights game – I meant to listen in on one of their call-in shows but family commitments prevented it.

    3. Price seemed to completely lose focus. Four goals in 18 shots )!!) this is very much a part if his MO BTW – every now and then he goes all mr Hyde in net.

    Sure a win is a win, but good humour about it should be tempered by the fact that the opponent practically surrendered. Haven’t seen a team collapse like that in a while with the possible exception of EDM vs NJ earlier this year.

  • Do what Weight did?

    Lots of talk re. Jones’s turnover. Bad turnover? Yes, but did you see the play Gallagher made? Pretty nice coming off the bench and getting to the spot to intercept the pass. How about the nearly identical pass by Duncan Keith last night. Big differences: 1. Star defenseman vs. fringe NHLer, and 2. The opponent didn’t have to do anything to get that puck – he was just waiting for it at the blue line.

    Do I like Jones’s pass? Nope, but if Gallagher doesn’t make a great play, it’s all good

  • Benny Botts

    I loved what Eakins said, he was fired up and stood up for his team. I think Brian can attest, but a team can really rally around that. For me personally, I loved watching my coach stand up for us. It can go a long way for a team like the Oil.

    Keep it up Dallas!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Speaking of pills. I see the CCI has a new recruit. Seen the Blue Clipper (Leroy Blugh) hanging around there my last couple visits. Best wishes to the Blugh family during these difficult times.

  • Old School G

    We’re 3-6-1, and are currently coveting the longest playoff drought in the NHL. The only way to get some respect from the rest of the league is to consistently work hard every night and make it back to the postseason. Until then how upset can we get about Lars Eller’s comment?

  • DSF

    I see we have another baby faced pretender.

    What Eakins post game comments really mean is:

    “I can’t motivate this team to win but Lars Eller can”.

    All hat…no cattle.

  • Alsker

    After listening to SN panel compare the Oil to the Shr.Pk. Crusaders, how the hell can kLowe and co. be proud of what they’ve done to our beloved hockey team. Even I was embarrassed for our players. Hopefully this attention will draw Katz out of the batcave and into action.

  • Brian Sutherby

    I love it that Arco is tied for the league lead in assists, with none other than Sid the Kid, H. Sedin and Jumbo Joe Thornton. Which of those names is not like the others?

    And, he is tied for the rookie scoring lead -wouldn’t that be awesome – after Hall, Eberle, RNH, and Yak, it would be a 25 year old named Mark Arcobello that wins Edmonton’s first Calder trophy

  • I’ve had a 2nd degree MCL sprain and I will tell you its not fun. Now I didn’t have hyperbaric chambers and the best doctors in the city helping me rehab but I was on crutches and had that brace on for almost a month. Kudos to Hall if he can come back to playing health in 4-5 weeks.

  • Alsker

    I saw Hall and Eberle at Cactus Club downtown today… Hall didn’t have crutches or even a limp…

    Likely has discomfort skating… So I’ll bet he’s back within 3 weeks.

  • O.C.

    Note to Nation Network.

    The trend of names creating deception through closely resembling others on here needs be stopped.

    E.G. Wax Man Riley; DFS

    Thank you for listening.