GDB 24.0: THREEPEAT

I know that a threepeat is usually associated with winning three consecutive championships, but right now a three-game winning streak for the Oilers is as rare as a threepeat, so you need to start somewhere.

The Oilers dominated the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, and while a 7-0 drubbing is unlikely, if the Oilers play with the same speed, tenacity and determination they should defeat the Florida Panthers. However, as the Vancouver Canucks learned, you can’t take anyone lightly, and I’d hope that the 29th place Oilers aren’t looking at the 28th place Panthers as an easy opponent.

Tuesday was only one game, but the only way you can start a streak is by winning and tonight the Oilers have to build on that strong performance. They Oilers scored first for the first time in ten games. Their PP continues to produce, and they didn’t give up any quality chances.

They aren’t going to score seven goals every game, and they aren’t going to rack up shutouts weekly, but they can find some ensure they have consistency in their game. It is what they lack the most. If the majority of players can learn to play with consistency, then, and only then, can we start to discuss actual progress.

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Everyone from the fans, players, coaches, management and media knows the Oilers don’t have the right mix of players to be an elite contender, and Craig MacTavish can’t fix that overnight, but the players can learn to play with consistency.

The players have to realize that acquiring a top-pairing D-man or some size in their top-nine won’t magically solve their problems. It won’t instill uniformity in their game; they need to instill it now so when MacTavish adds pieces to the puzzle this team is ready to legitimately be competitive.

Obviously they want to win, but I don’t believe they will start winning regularly until they learn to play with conviction, consistency and determination on a nightly basis.

They did that on Tuesday and now they need to do it tonight against a team they are capable of beating.

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LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Jonesuu-Acton-Gazdic

Belov-J.Schultz
Ference-Petry
N. Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

After consecutive victories there is no reason to change the lineup. Eakins will stick with five forward on his first PP unit, but suggested that might only last a few more games. There is a risk if they give up an odd man rush, but Eakins said that shouldn’t happen, and the upside it immense with the creativity of the five forwards. In their last eight games the Oilers are 9 for 25 on the PP. Whatever combination they’ve used has worked.

QUICK HITS…

  • Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky are the only players still on the Oilers who played in the Heritage Classic ten years ago. Smyth said the biggest challenge was the temperature change. The benches were extremely warm with the heaters, but then you’d go on the ice and it was -22. He loved the experience and is hopeful the young kids will get to experience an outdoor game.
     
  • I’m hearing the Oilers and the NHL are looking at another outdoor game in Edmonton within the next two or three years.
     
  • Steve Staios tied a career high with three points in the 2003 Heritage Classic. Staios had a goal and two assists and was named 2nd star. He’s had five three point games in his career and he had three that season.
     
  • The Oilers placed Steve MacIntyre on waivers today. Not much of a surprise considering he hasn’t played one game this season and Luke Gazdic has played well in Macintyre’s role. I asked Eakins about Gazdic and why he feels it is necessary to have a tough guy in the lineup.

    "I think it is important right now for our group. I know there is a lot of people out there who think that (fighting) has nothing to do with the game, but they’ve never stood on the bench and seen how it ignites your bench. I think it is important for all of our players to stand up for each other. It shows you care, especially when you come to one of your guy’s defence. I think that goes a long, long way to your group’s closeness. The way they will fight for each other, and I don’t mean fist fight, I mean they are all pulling on the same rope.

    One of my favourite teams to watch the past few years is the Bruins. You touch one of their guys and five or six guys are waiting for you. That shows a team that is extremely close. There are no scrums where you have two or three guys skating around looking in the stands, everyone is in there supporting each other. You don’t have to be big and tough to do that, you just need to stick up each other."
     

  • I then asked Eakins if he thinks his team has enough of a pack mentality, or is he trying to instill that?

    "It is something we are pushing to have happen, but we have gotten way better at since day one. There would be a scrum before and we would have three or four guys sitting back thinking the refs will get in there, but now we are starting to see guys jump in.

    A few games ago against Dallas, their agitator, Roussel, was fooling around with Potter and here comes Taylor Hall and he gives him a swat, chases him away and I was like, ‘Yes, I love that from our team.’

    That resonates on the bench. That’s why I find it interesting hearing people’s views on violence in hockey that say it does nothing to the game, but maybe we should invite them down to the bench and see what it does to the guys who are getting ready to go out on the ice."
     

  • I’ve been critical of the Oilers overall lack of toughness for years, and not just fighting. I have noticed they are slowly getting better at standing up for one another, and that is a necessary step to showing a willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
     
  • For the past five years, I’ve participated in the Junior Chamber International of Edmonton Holiday Hamper program. You sign up and they place you with an underprivIleged family. They supply a grocery shopping list and you go buy the food and one small present for each member of the family. You then deliver the hamper to their house.

    It has made Christmas much more enjoyable for me, because it truly is about giving. The JCI is hoping to help 750 families this year and they need about 250 more people to sign up. This is a great bonding experience for your family and a great way to show your children how to help others in need. If you are interested in helping out go to www.holidayhamper.ca and click on hamper. They are hoping to fill the spots by December 1st.
     

THE FUTURE….

GAME DAY PREDICTION: THREEPEAT, THREEPEAT, THREEPEAT… Oiler fans aren’t used to witnessing a three-game winning streak, but it will happen tonight. Oilers win 4-2.

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After a big win the 50/50 will be back above $65,000. Winning makes fans feel better and willing to poney up some more cash in hopes of winning.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Anton Belov, Nick Schultz and Sam Gagner are the only Oilers who have played 10 games and haven’t scored. Gagner ends his drought tonight, and Belov shocks all of us as he decides to actually shoot the puck. He fires a career-high four shots on goal and scores his first NHL goal.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • pkam

    If 28th place Panthers are not an easy opponent, then who are? The problem here, is we are also an easy opponent at 29th place. The question is who is easier.

  • Ive been fortunate enough to have attended a few of the outdoor games.

    Sadly… and this actually pains me to admit… commonwealth and that track around it remove any semblance of intimacy with the game.

    It was an awesome experience in spite of that observation however. As i recall the next day… hung over though I was.. it was about 20 degrees warmer and would have been nearly perfect for the event.

    Typical.

  • The only thing you can count on with the Oilers is their unpredictability. The Oilers should take their 7 – 0 win and play a similar engaged and up tempo game. The Oilers should be able to beat this team as they’ve demonstrated to do so recently. The Oilers should come away with a win tonight. But what the Oilers should be able to do and what they actually do are hardly ever the same. What really stuck out at the game on Tuesday was the team’s ability to draw penalties against another team that was not engaged, and the team’s ability to get back and break up offence with some smart defensive plays.

  • camdog

    I then asked Eakins if he thinks his team has enough of a pack mentality, or is he trying to instill that?

    “It is something we are pushing to have happen, but we have gotten way better at since day one. There would be a scrum before and we would have three or four guys sitting back thinking the refs will get in there, but now we are starting to see guys jump in.

    X2 I don`t go to many games, but I went to the Wings game and that game infuriated me, because they didn`t have that pack mentality. Smith was picking on Yakopov near the end of the game and the other 4 Oilers did their best to try and avoid getting in there. That is the reason I turned on Krueger as a coach, because at times it looked like this was what he was teaching them.

    • oilerjed

      Does this require the use of chickens in anyway or is a whole white lamb required? Im not judging, just wondering if I need to stop by the butcher on the way home.

  • YFC Prez

    Gregor,

    Maybe you care to comment on this trade idea.

    Drew Shore for Marincin.

    Shore is a 6’2 Centre that has 40 points in 64 AHL games and 13 NHL points in 41 games. Not bad.
    Hockey’s future’s analysis of the guy:

    Shore is a two-way forward with above-average hockey sense and burgeoning offensive skills. He is a solid skater with good mobility and a quick change of direction, especially at his size. He is a gritty, competitive player who can be a determined forechecker as well as a tenacious defender and he is solid in the faceoff circle. Although he will not dazzle anyone with an array of exceptional skills, he has a well-rounded game and has shown a deft touch at the front of the net and a good, accurate shot away from it.

    I was mad we didn’t get Holland from Anaheim. We currently don’t have a big 2nd line centre in the making. Drew Shore is expendable with Trochek, Bjugstad, and Barkov above him in the depth chart.

    Thoughts? This wouldn’t affect the NHL team and we aren’t giving up NHL talent for prospects again.

    • DSF

      Don’t forget the Panthers also have Shawn Matthias, Marcel Goc, Jesse Winchester and Scott Gomez (injured) at C.

      Drew Shore would be a great pick up for the Oilers and, as you say, the price might be reasonable.

      • camdog

        Another option is Mark McNeill, Chicago prospect, 2011 1st rounder. He is the guy I was hoping the Oilers took at 19, but was snagged. Chicago has lots of Centre prospect depth with upside.

        I think he would be a heftier price in comparison to Shore. With him though, he could be a good 3C option for them, so they may not see a need to move him.

        • DSF

          Chicago is still looking for a #2C so I doubt they would move McNeill if they think he has that potential.

          The thing with Florida is they are just loaded with young C’s (remember Huberdeau was also a C in junior) so, for the right deal, I think they might move one.

          • Agreed. I think Shore is a good long term choice to replace Gagner and Matthias could be a good addition to centre or wing as he plays both.

            Last year Matthias scored 14 in a shortened season so it may be worth trying him in the top 6 at C and if it doesn’t work you have a responsible C in the bottom six. He’s an upgrade on Acton

          • S cottV

            Really like the Mark McNeil idea, if a way to make it work with Chicago. Has nice much needed size for the middle and a local kid who would probably love to play here. Also has considerable skill and potential to perhaps be a future 2nd line centreman with continued development.

    • Jason Gregor

      Interesting proposal. Shore does have size, but I just asked a few scouts and they had different reports…

      Scout #1: He thinks game well, but doesn’t use his size as much as you would like. He needs to be more competitive…

      Scout #2: Smart player…reads the play well, good play maker, with good enough speed. A new organizaton could work well for him because Panthers have many young, big centres that they like more.

      It would be depth move, and the Oilers don’t have any big centres in organizations. I think the Oiles would rather move Musil or Gernat before Marincin. They are high on Marincin.

  • Johnnydapunk

    @Gregor

    Belov actually shoots a fair bit, he has the 3rd most shots for a Defencemen for the Oil this year ahead of Ference and Nick Schultz.

    I think when he shoots he is less going for a goal and more getting the shot in for a deflection if that makes sense.

    It is funny as Belov seems to be Mr Invisible as he is rarely mentioned yet has been one of the best Defencemen for the Oil and one of the most surprising of summer signings.

    • Jason Gregor

      Saying he shoots more than two defensive D-men doesn’t mean he shoots a lot. He has 22 shots in 21 games. He is 120th amongst D-men in the NHL in shots.

      He plays 2 min a game on the PP while those two don’t play PP and he has a measly ONE more shot than Ference.

      He has a bomb of a shot, but doesn’t use it enough. You should want him to shoot more, rather than be invisible in his two minutes of PP time…

      Saying he shoots the puck a lot is completely inaccurate. He doesn’t shoot the puck a fair bit.

  • DSF

    Florida has been playing much better under the new coaching staff going 3W-3L since the change.

    In that 6 game stretch, they are 2.8 GF/G and 2.5 GA/G.

    Tim Thomas has been the difference in several of those games and could do the same tonight.

    The Oilers should win a close one but I don’t think it’s going to be easy.

  • Old School G

    Whenever there is a trade rumour it usually involves someone who is NOT of the mold of what we are looking for…….by that I mean size and toughness included.

    We went and brought in Ference, the smallest defenceman we could find…….he is neither adept at moving the puck or being overy physical, now there is a rumour that we are looking at Del-Zotto?

    He is another Justin Schultz except smaller and less talented……..I for one hope if MacT is looking for a defenceman that is no shrinking voilet, we have enough of those! If there is a trade to be made, I would much rather a big less skilled defenceman, than someone how has tons of skill but is afraid to make a hit.

  • **

    Obvious prediction: Dubnyk plays solid again.

    Wild prediction:

    Oil take this one 9-0. Belov scores, somehow Gagner will be held off the net but chips in on a couple of assists.

  • Old School G

    Arco will be fine, The adversity will make him stronger.

    It’s funny how in two months people go from calling Mac T an idiot for not sigining an experienced centre…two sh$tting bricks because a rookie is scratched for a few games.

    • **

      I still think Mac Tavish needs to get a better, bigger 2C and a better 4C, and it rattles my mind that one of the best players on the team is sitting on the bench (rookie or not, what should matter is how you play and Arco has been one of the best and more consistent if not the best).

  • vetinari

    Arco sits again… I hope that they aren’t going to do anything crazy and trade him…

    As for Dubnyk, he’s earned the right to keep starting for the time being. I just wish that he would have started the season this way rather than after all expectations for playoffs are gone.

  • Rambelaya

    Hey Gregor, do you know if JCI does the hamper thing in Calgary? I checked their Calgary site and didn’t see anything, so maybe it’s just an Edmonton thing?

  • Bucknuck

    When you’re in 29th place, you can’t look at anybody as an easy opponent. I really hope that we build off of Tuesday’s big game and play a really energetic game tonight.

  • Bucknuck

    The last few years, after the Oil have a big dominating win, they come out flat the next game. So I am nervous. I hope they get the threepeat and break the trend.

    We’ll See. I believe they will win, and Yak will get a pair.4-2 sounds right.

    Go Oilers.

  • Bucknuck

    I might add that the Panthers can read and watch TV, so they will know the Oilers have run off two wins and have outscored their opponents 11-0 over the last 4 periods. They will be ready.

    None of which is an excuse for losing tonight. The Oilers should beat Florida, but should not expect it to be easy. Having Tim Thomas in goal is the wild card here, but the Oilers have miles more talent at forward and that, and some new found confidence, should make the difference. Whether it will or not remains to be seen. Pouzar and son Sam will be there and so should Doug the Slug and son, Johnny, sitting beside us.

  • Bucknuck

    A few games ago against Dallas, their agitator, Roussel, was fooling around with Potter and here comes Taylor Hall and he gives him a swat, chases him away and I was like, ‘Yes, I love that from our team.’

  • Jason Gregor

    Call me crazy, but I just turned down tickets for tonights game so I could work on the 60′ x 25′ rink I’m putting in the yard for the kids. Seems a bit more important and worthwhile of my time than going to the game.

    Now watch Yak or someone get 9 points tonight.

  • smiliegirl15

    “I’m hearing the Oilers and the NHL are looking at another outdoor game in Edmonton within the next two or three years.”

    Battle of Alberta outdoor game; REBUILD STYLE

    🙂

  • Old School G

    Oilers rock them tonight 36-0. Which by the way is the temperature difference between Miami and Edmonton at the moment…

    Edmontonian sipping cocktails on the beach in Key West!

    Woot

  • Old School G

    Why didn’t MacIntyre even get one game? C’mon MacT have a heart. He is one of the best, most genuine people you could ever meet and can knock people out with either hand! Recall him if it’s not too late! Florida, Pittsburgh, Calgary or Toronto, I’m betting on Pittsburgh or Toronto, will claim him for sure! ARGH!!!! HELP GREGOR!!!! Can you start a SAVE THE BIG MAC CAMPAIGN???? Do a favour for your Good Buddy (great chinese food restaurant name)the one and only WONGER – often immitated but never duplicated)! HELP GREGOR!!!!

    • DSF

      Go hang out on the Canucks or Flames site you Intelligence
      deprived soul. Seriously, what do you see in the mirror ?

      In your logic WONGER, I HAVE HOUSE PLANT SMARTER THAN YOU !
      Duh.

      You should just put your jammies on and go to bed, it’s way too late
      for you. Don’t forget your coloring book.

  • smiliegirl15

    Thanks for the link to JCI. I am now a Holiday Hamper Elf!

    Hopefully the confidence they’ve gotten in the last couple games will carry the Oilers into this game too. We know they have the ability and talent to do better.