GDB 21.0: STARTING OVER

The Oilers enter the second quarter of their season tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks. The first quarter had disastrous results, and cost them a playoff spot. The management, coaches and players can’t look at it that way, playoffs being a pipe dream, but a 4-14-2 start has them 15 points out of the playoffs.

The remainder of this season will be about understanding the system, learning to compete, not just working hard, every shift and hopefully the bitter taste and stench of losing will motivate the players to never be in this situation again.

The Oilers must use the next 62 games to build the foundation of continuity and winning. If they want to become winners, they must be committed to the system, their teammates and themselves.

The Oilers are showing signs of improvement in some areas of their game.

Despite going 0-for-5 last game the Oilers PP is 25% in their last eight games. Their PK has killed off 25 of the last 26 powerplays, 96.3%, over their past eight games.

Many will say the Oilers haven’t improved enough because they aren’t winning, and that is valid. However, the Oilers can’t  solve all their problems over night. These next 20 games will be a test of their character and inner strength. Do they have willpower and focus to concentrate on the next game and not pout or worry about the previous 20? Have they learned that they need to play smarter, faster, stronger and with move conviction in order to win?

We won’t know until December 29th. That is when they will have played half the season. Can this team stick together, play hard and become competitive? The next quarter of the season will show us a glimpse of whether or not they can execute the system, or if they have the guts to go to the net consistently,  or if they have the intestinal fortitude to try and stop opposing teams from going to the net and the internal desire to finally learn how to win.

The 2nd quarter of the season could show us a lot about which players should be here long-term.

DIFFERENT APPROACH…

If I was Andrew Ference, I would sit the team down and show them some of the great inspirational/motivational speeches from movies. Hockey is a game. You can inject some humour into the game. Try and get the players to relax, inhale and recognize that it isn’t life or death.

For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often. Yes, the first 20 games were f^@#*&()*) embarrassing. But whining and focusing on it every day isn’t going to change that. Learn from it. Challenge them to be better, and maybe have some fun doing it.

Here are some examples. Guys love this stuff. I know watching these clips made me laugh and they got me fired up.

I’d start with something light… 

"That’s what were here for guys, to win." I freaking love that line. Makes me laugh every time…

Most sports movies have a dramatic scene that usually leads to the team bonding or that shows an individual realizing they need to work harder. We eat this stuff up. We love it, and that’s why we watch those movies over and over again.

Ference could show them this one. (fast forward to 1:40 to the quicksand speech.) 

"You’re playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can’t move… you can’t breathe… because you’re in over your head. Like quicksand." Shane Falco

That could resonate with many Oilers right now. They have had numerous things go wrong…but they can’t let it paralyze them.

Then I’d show them this one. It is fitting since the Sharks are in town. (actual words start at 2:00)

For some laughs I’d follow it up with this one. This kid is great.

Then, I would play the greatest sports speech of all-time. I don’t care what sport you play, whether you are playing beer league, the NHL, NFL or road hockey this scene/speech will get your blood flowing. 

Eakins could play this one.

"I can’t make you do it….Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals…Now what are you going to do?"

Tony FREAKING D’Amato (Pacino) would have made a great coach.

I would leave them with this one.  

I understand the need to talk systems and strategy, but sometimes you simply need to tap into the emotions of the players, and in this case, with the loyal citizens of Oilersnation.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Hemsky-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Gazdic

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

Sitting Arcobello is perplexing. I don’t get it. He has been solid offensively, defensively and on the PK. 

The Sharks are playing their third game in four nights. They defeated the Flames Tuesday and the Canucks last night, both times in OT. Fatigue

The Sharks have three players averaging a point-a-game. Thornton and Pavelski have 20 points in 19 games, while Logan Couture has 19 in 19. Patrick Marleau has 18 points and Tomas Hertl has 17. The Oilers will face Alex Stalock. He has won both of his starts, and he has a dazzling 0.946 SV% and 1.57 GAA.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: On paper this is an easy choice, the Sharks should dominate, however, it is Positive Friday and if Ference showed even one of the aforementioned videos prior to the game the Oilers will win. Chalk one up for D’Amato, Oilers win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven’t scored at home in 182 minutes. They score in the first period, and combined with the first 8 p.m. Friday game that I can remember, the first intermission beer sales are the highest of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov stops 33 shots in his AHL debut in a 4-1 victory. During the 2nd intermission the Oilers show highlights of the OKC victory and a few of Bryzgalov’s saves. After the highlights, they play the clip of Bryzgalov saying he is only afraid of bears in the woods.   

SHARE AND DROWN YOUR SORROWS…

Do you need to share your feelings and frustrations about the Oilers? We have the best possible solution. Next Friday is the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase party. Don’t miss out. Tickets are already 80% sold out. You can buy them here. See you then.

Speaking of Struds, media whore, make sure you vote for him in Battle of the Blades. If Struds win, the Inner City Children’s Program will receive $50,000. That is huge. Take a moment and vote. If you take a few extra moments, answer the Quick Challenge questions, sign in and you will get 7 bonus votes. Do it. Help the kids. Vote here. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Stack Pad Save

    Eakins “Good period boys. We broke the 3 game shutout, mission 1 accomplished…who got the goal, I wasn’t watching, there was this guy in the stands and I thought he was mouthing me a suggestion on who to play next shift so I was listening.”

    Smyth responds “I think that new guy scored Larinov or Belov, I dunno he was Russian Coach, definately a Russian.”

    Yakupov leans over to Belov “what they say?”

    Belov responds “I can’t heer, I have been watchen my favourite Polka tunes on Ipod for last 5 minutes, nice Goal, how you get them guys to pass to you?”

  • YFC Prez

    Our home team announcers have run out of ways to talk about the struggling oilers they now just rave about the opposition players. Just spent 3 mins blowing sunshine up coutures *exploitive deleted*

  • Johnnydapunk

    Oh well, when the tiering round is over we might get tiered down so we can play some teams at our skill level….oh wait this isn’t my sons bantam team I’m watching…

  • Reg Dunlop

    It could be that SJ is tired or that they called off the dogs early OR it could be that the Oilers finally started to understand how they have to play to get a few wins. Another moral victory, or have my expectations sunk so low that tonight’s game seemed pretty good effort-wise.

    • camdog

      and your a pacified kool aid drinker watching this bread and circus and ol bobby staufer the knob gobbler and the rest of the game are getting your hard earned money so keep drinking kool aid lol

  • Stack Pad Save

    Disappointed to see the Oil lose again after a tough start but they didn’t fold their tents and pushed back at the sharks. A decent effort and Dubey didn’t have much chance on the goals tonight either.

    Hopefully a win will come tomorrow night!

    • Serious Gord

      The game was over before the oil looked like they were trying. From my perspective the sharks had the game in the bag and let up. And Lo and behold as the game neared the end the sharks put the pillow over the oils face…

      The result was never in doubt.

      • DSF

        Important to remember the Sharks were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and were on the 2nd game of a back to back.

        They won the game in the first 30 minutes and then put it on cruise control.

        And, if Couture had had any puck luck at all, the score would likely have been 6-1.

          • DSF

            Yes they do.

            But they won easily, why would they need an excuse?

            Jason Strudwick ‏@Struds1260

            The sharks are playing 3 in 4 nights and are flying. WOW. Every line skates hard and forechecks. Pretty impressive.

          • camdog

            The Sharks were in prevent defense for the last 30 minutes of the game. If you watched the Eskies this season you would understand what I am getting at. There offence put up really good numbers, problem is they started racking up the yards after the game was already over.

        • Admiral Ackbar

          I don’t disagree with the fact that the game was over in the first 30, and I agree that the Sharks had a bunch of near misses. The thing is, so did the Oilers.

          Could the game have been 8-6 for the Sharks? Sure. Let’s not attribute “bad puck luck” to one and not the other.

          Smyth’s wraparound is case in point (though I’m sure you think all the Oiler’s near misses are the results of being crap players).

          • WinterNightSky

            Smyth’s wraparound is part of being a bad player. Don’t just look at that wraparound, but all of the other ones that he tries. He’s never going to hit the net with any of them. All yesterday’s did was make that obvious.

  • Poolanov

    Mactavish said he is seeing improvements-well as of tonight we are last- last in goals against- we can’t score an even strength goal-what Effie improvements are u talikng about you Effie useless idiot- sending down Arco puts me over the top- I hate this Effie team

    • camdog

      The problem when focusing on advanced stats is that if you don’t understand them, you can easily misinterpret the results.

      Earlier in the season the advanced stats were better than last seasons. However the variable that changed is that we were playing weaker competition in respect to the eastern teams.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I can’t understand how this could possibly be ok. Season ticket holders watched the Oil basically give up in the last 5 minutes.

    Coaching hasn’t created any cohesiveness.

    The players won’t fight for space in the last 5 minutes.

    Our soft players are playing softer by the game.

    This second tier fan watching on a stream from Vancouver isn’t the problem. The first tier fans at the game booing the last 2 minutes are a shout loud and clear to management.

    If you can’t coach the team into giving it their all, change the coach. If your management can’t find the right coach for the team, change management. If the president keeps choosing buddies instead of credible, proven individuals, change the president. If the players have a cancerous attitude about how much effort they want to put in, it’s honestly the organization’s fault. One or two cancers I can understand, but the whole team has a terrible attitude. That’s not the players fault.

      • Admiral Ackbar

        That’s right. The ENTIRE team is soft. There’s no jam in their game. Smyth used to have it but he’s got osteoporosis or something now. Perron could be that guy but the whole team has simply lost faith. It’s not a lack of confidence, they just don’t believe in this team anymore.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I’ll be in Seattle for the Seahawks game this Sunday meaning that I won’t be able to watch our mess of a team Saturday. I’m honestly relieved.

    This team does not deserve such a loyal and loving fanbase.

  • DSF

    In the past few years, I could console myself by saying”Well, at least we’ll get a high draft pick and kickstart the comeback.” Now what do you say? It’s just pain and suffering. With these guys running the show, we all know a number one pick is just fool’s gold. Please, someone, put this management group out of their (and our) misery.

  • DSF

    Anyone who thinks Eakins isnt a vindictive prick look no further than the difference in ice between Smyth and Yak and that was long before the bogus 4 minute penalty.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Aaaaaand there it is.

    Someone who really appreciates a good Ales-coast show.

    The important thing. Being one of the leaders, he’ll be there answering every, single tough question…

    Oh…wait. I’m being told Ales has a ‘thing’ he has already left for.

  • DSF

    History in the making ? We could actually get worse by replacing an underachieving Gm and coach and actually get much worse .Watching them continually lose is getting to be more satisfying and fun to watch than if this misfit squad actually wins a game . The persuit of futility is rewarding is it not ? Lose Oilers Lose and get skunked by the Flames – make us all proud . Mauybe some reverse psychology might wake them up from upstairs to ice .

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Don’t fool yourselves fellow posters. The Sharks did NOT play a good road game. That SJ dressingroom is going to be blasted after the game. They simply played down to the Oilers level for the second half of that game.

    That was a pathetic loss. Simply put.

    The fans that paid good money to go to that game should boo louder and chant their displeasure. That game was a disgrace. The only thing I wished for was a more embarrassing score. Maybe complete utter embarrassment will beckon change.

  • Bloodsweatandoil

    Although all of the Debbie downers will crap all over the oil tonight, they played harder and the game was more exciting than almost any last year. But keep craping on “your” team guys cause that is going to help em out.

  • Bloodsweatandoil

    Mac T ” Don’t worry Kevin, I really see some improvements in the way the boys are playing”.

    KLowe ” Who said anything about worrying, I can see a cup contender in this team, and I should know. I’ve won 6 you know”.

    Mac T ” It is sure great to see how calm and collected Dallas is on that bench. Nothing seems to bother him”.

    KLowe ” that is one thing I can honestly say about all of us in this organization, nothing bothers any of us. Darryl keeps signing our inflated cheques no matter what happens out there and because we ran this city 30 years ago, we have all the rope we would ever need”.

    Mac T ” It is funny Kevin, it is almost like people forget we are the reason this city is currently called the city of champions. The fans should be grateful”.

    K Lowe ” exactly, those no good their 2 losers. Only 2 more years and this rebuild will be complete.”

  • DSF

    Gene Principe ‏@GenePrincipe

    I’ve seen Taylor Hall after almost every loss. I have never seen him like I just did.The kid cares a ton but the defeats are wearing on him.