SKID HALTED

It’s only one win, against a team that isn’t very good but it was nice to see some fire and the Oilers offense come to life in the third period. This team needs any positive energy they can get these days and who better to start with than the Flames?

It’s going to take way more than one good period to fix this squad and for 40 minutes it looked like every other game this season but they pulled it out.

BAD

The first period was not the type of period you would expect to see from a team that should be desperate for wins. For a good part of the first 40 minutes the Flames had control of the game. Both Flames goals were once again a direct result of turn overs.

For whatever reason the importance of making strong plays with the puck and keeping it out of the middle of the ice in your own end doesn’t quite resonate with this group. The defensemen were especially soft with the puck and if it wasn’t for Dubnyk, many more giveaways could have easily ended up in their net.

GOOD

I really liked Gazdic’s fight tonight. The anti-fighting crowd will say “oh it was just another staged fight and served no purpose.”

I thought this was a great message to his team. Gazdic is tough but he’s not Brian McGrattan tough and I think most of the Oilers players would agree. Instead of hoping for a quiet game, he initiates a tilt with one of the toughest guys in the league and hangs in there for a very spirited scrap.

Did he win?

Probably not, but he didn’t lose. By his actions, he says to his bench that he’s willing to step up and challenge someone much bigger in his role. If he can do it, everyone else should be able to ask a little more of themselves.

When I saw guys do things like that, whether it was a guy fighting someone he probably shouldn’t or a skill guy out of his element blocking a shot or taking a run at someone, it made me want to do more. It makes guys look at themselves in the mirror and say if he’s willing to give more, why can’t I?

FERENCE

On most nights the only physical element (hitting and fighting) in the Oilers lineup has been Gazdic. I was waiting and hoping for someone other than Gazdic to step up and say enough is enough.

The players talk after every game of frustration and anger, yet we’ve never really seen anyone show it on the ice or channel it in an aggressive way. I really wanted to see someone you wouldn’t expect get pissed off. Run someone, slash someone or just yell at someone.  It’s not in the make-up of many of these players but finally someone did.

Ference gets hit twice in one shift and instead of rolling over, he got up and cleaned Stempniak’s clock. There has not been near enough push back in any form of physicality with this group, but it was great to see last night. Good on the Captain.

DUBNYK

As mentioned above, he bailed his boys out on several occasions. It was a very solid game from him. You need your goalies to make a big save or two in any game, he did that tonight.

THIRD PERIOD

This was arguably their best period of the season. You could see the jump the Eberle goal gave them. It seemed like a weight was lifted off their backs. After his goal they completely took over. The offensive production came from all the players you would expect.

The way they generated their opportunities was the key for me. They created a ton off the cycle, they were more physical and they sustained pressure in the offensive zone for most of the third. That has rarely happened all season.

WINNING

Losing sucks no matter who you are and going through skids like this is just awful as a player and miserably hard on fans. It seems like no matter what you do on the ice; it’s just not good enough to get a winning result.

They still have a long way to go and I don’t think one period means anything but at least something positive went their way for the first time in a long time.

Look at the emotion after the third period goals, all of these guys want to win. It’s just a matter of figuring out how with this group.

Finding consistency is next.

  • Spydyr

    @serious gord and the flames ran out of gas in the third? Ok buddy so they can’t keep up to a team that is in the third period of a back to back game which is also their 3 rd game in 4 days? Ur joking right now

  • Hockey Problems 101

    @Negative Nancy…

    I mean…@ Serious Gord

    Clean hits result in fights every day. If Ferrence wouldn’t have come back at Stempniak you would have stated how soft he is, that he can’t lead the Oilers, no pushback, zero grit, lacking in toughness. You can find the negative in everything, can’t you bud ?

  • pkam

    I live in Calgary and went to the game last night. Have to say it was awesome to see the disappointment of the Calgary fans as Edmonton roared back in the 3rd.

    Nice to at least catch one of their five wins!

  • **

    I loved the fire from Ference and Gazdic. That is what a fourth line should be doing, and having your captain stand up for himself is never a bad thing. Not all players are on the same page though. I didn’t like it on a play when Nuge let himself be pulled like a rag doll. He just had his arms down and let it happen. Good thing that N Schultz, Potter and even Eberle came to his rescue, but he needs to start asserting himself. I understand not being a physical type of layer, but you have to stand up for yourself, Like Hall kneeing Clutterbuck after being ran down the whole game or Yak the other day behind the other team’s net.

    Suck it flames.

  • Thumby

    I have a comment on the Ference hit – I played and ref’d hock at high levels and technically I believe its interference to hit someone before they touch the puck. I know F was close to the puck but if I remember correctly, S hit F early and F was pissed about it.

    IMO, he was right in his decision to exact a little retribution given the non call.

    The fact S got pwned is irrelevant.

    That is all.

  • DSF

    Just a few notes:

    1) The Oilers won a game despite being outworked, outshot (35-23) and out chanced (60.7% – 39.3%) by a team with one of the weakest rosters and lowest payrolls in the league (27th).

    2) The only reason they won is a couple of bad goals that got by an AHL level rookie goaltender who has all of SIX NHL games on his resume.

    3) The Oilers record against teams that are currently in a playoff position is 1W 10L.

    16 of their next 20 games are against teams currently in a playoff spot.

    4) The Oilers playoff chances are currently 00.05%

    5) The playoff cutoff in the WC this season currently projects to be 111 points.

    At their current rate of production, the Oilers will finish with 44 points…an astounding 67 points out of the final playoff spot in the WC.

    6) That’s not good.

  • DSF

    I would imagine Andrew Ference has a date with Brian McGratton next time these teams play.

    Had the score not been close last night, Ference would likely be a little battered and bruised today after an unprovoked attack on a woozy player who didn’t want to fight.

    Mark December 7th on your calendar.

  • DSF

    I would love for RNH, Ganger and Eberle to bring up theirs sticks to protect themselves from a hit and do some in game dental surgery. It worked for Dino Cicarreli and Luc Robataille. Anything they can do to make more room for themselves is a good thing.

  • Mikey

    What’s with all the dubnyk love? He’s the reason this team started off the rails and put this team into a tail spin! Who cares if be can put up average numbers after the season is over…. Again… He’s not a quality number 1 like this team needs! Can’t wait for Breezy

  • Serious Gord

    I did not see the game last night, so cannot offer any specific comment on Ference vs Stempniak. However, I am surprised about the concern about whether what Ference did was “fair”. WTF does “fairness” have to do with professional sports? Did Semenko ever worry about whether his next fight was going to be “fair” He just beat the crap out anyone he wanted to and Gretzky had a lot of room to move.

  • Serious Gord

    Hopefully this win win gets them some confidence. I hate to look at the schedule but we do have some winnable games coming up. A winning streak would be very welcome after the incredibly frustrating start to the season.

  • Serious Gord

    The Ference sequence: was it Backlund who broke his stick over Ference’s head on the 1st hit? You clearly see Ference pissed and thinking about chasing the Phlegm down, but the play continues, no penalty, of course, and the next thing you know , Stempniak decides this is a good time to assert himself. Bad freaking choice. The uncalled high stick and the need to remind Lee who he is dictated the entire course of events.

  • CaptainLander

    If Emery did not get suspended for his assault, I doubt Ference would. FOr those that don’t like it, it’s hockey, it’s rough. Grow a pair or stop watching it.

    • Serious Gord

      Emery didn’t get suspended because there was no rule against what he did.

      However, apparently the league is looking at creating some sort of rule or different directive to the referees and linesman.

      thus in that regard it was such an egregious act that the league is actually going to changes rules/protocols to prevent it from ever happening again.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Suspendable, deplorable or not, I’m happy to see that a few of the Oilers actually have a pulse.

    I must say though that I’m a little disappointed that they pulled this one out. Winning only pacifies us and prevents the team from hitting rock bottom. Only that would beckon change. Hopefully the healthy kind. You know. Like cutting out a tumor. Ours is called Lowe-phoma.

  • smiliegirl15

    Playing 15 minutes worth of hockey, even though it turned out to be the right 15 minutes, shouldn’t be acceptable!
    I really liked those 15 minutes of their game and I loved Ference’s fight. Stempniak deserved it.
    It was nice to win for a change.