GDB 29.0: SHOW UP AT HOME

Home ice advantage has been a mirage for the Edmonton Oilers so far this season.

The Oilers are 3-8-0 at home this year. They’ve been outscored 38-23. They’ve allowed 3+ goals in 9 of the 11 home games and they’ve scored once or been shutout seven times. There is no other way to say it, they’ve been awful on home ice, and it’s about time they start giving their fans something to cheer about.

In 2010, on their way to drafting Taylor Hall at least they were competitive at home, 18-19-4, and 9-28-4 on the road.
In 2011, they were pretty much the same team at home on and on the road; 13-22-6 at home and 12-23-6 on the road.
In 2012, they were 18-17-6 at home, and 14-23-4 on the road.

Last year, the Oilers won more games on the road than they did at home, 9-11-4 at home and 10-11-3 on the road.

There is no reason the Oilers should be this horrendous at Rexall Place, and it has to change. The games are still announced as sell outs, but I know some fans are wasting their tickets and not showing up. The Oilers must be aware of this.

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When that many fans elect to just "waste" their tickets, Oilers management better take notice. This happened in the early 90s, and once the team wasn’t competitive, 1993-1996, the fans stopped buying tickets. The Oilers shouldn’t be naive enough to believe that couldn’t happen again.

Fans have been incredibly loyal and patient, but if the Oilers don’t start winning some home games soon, I sense we could see even more empty seats as the season progresses.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Arcobello-Yakupov
Jones-Gagner-Hemsky
Smyth-Acton-Joensuu

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

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Dubnyk

Ryan Jones has played with desperation since coming out of the pressbox, and Eakins rewarded him by bumping him up the lineup. Eakins moved Yakupov back to the right wing, and put Perron on the right side with him and Arcobello in hopes of creating two scoring lines.

I’m curious to see if Eakins starts to try and get better matchups at home. Will he try to give "softer" minutes to Arcobello’s line so they can produce offence, or will he do that with the Gagner trio?

Joensuu has to play with the same passion and determination that Jones did to earn a promotion. I think Joensuu has more to offer, and he needs to start showing it.

TUESDAY TIDBITS…

  • It will be back next week, but this week we incorporated into the GDB.
     
  • Ray Ferraro had an interesting take on my show regarding Taylor Hall, when I asked him what change Hall should make in his game that would help him become a more dominant player.

    I think there is one thing he could do that would elevate his game and he could do it quickly. If he would learn, or accept, that he is not the best option on the ice all the time, I think that could help him a great deal.

    I will give you an example. When he gets the puck, and when he gets moving, if he would give it up a little quicker and separate, because no one is going to catch him, and then get it back; that small change to his game would change his game immensely. He loves to lug the puck. At times he looks like a punt returner. He gets it in his zone and is going to go as far as he can with it, and he can because he’s that talented.

    I think if he takes a couple of strides and moves it to a centreman — and obviously in Edmonton he is playing with talented players so the puck will come back to him –now he is moving again. If he moves it to the middle the defenceman has to take a step to the middle, because he has to defend the centreman, and that will give Taylor another five feet when he gets the puck back. Now the D-man has to cross over and come back, and I like Hall’s chances better if he has that much more room to skate, than if he was just lugging the puck all the time.

    I think it is a small change, and if he can get his head around it and try it, he would find that he is going to get more room on the ice than he already creates with his speed.

     

  • Ferraro knows a thing or two about creating offensive chances. Ferraro is currently the 99th highest scoring player in NHL history. Ferraro admitted it isn’t easy for players to make sudden changes to their game, and while he said it was small, it would take some time to adapt properly. Hall has carried the puck his entire career, and he’s had success with it, so any change is tough, but it makes a lot of sense. Hall’s speed already scares D-men, and if he gain a quarter or a half of a step advantage he could be even more dangerous.
     
  • Sidney Crosby will play his 499th game tonight, and he’ll play his 500th game vs. the Sharks on Thursday. Crosby already has 701 points in 498 games and whatever points his picks up in the next 72 hours will put leave him with the 6th most points in NHL history through 500 games.

    Wayne Gretzky is first with 1,186.
    Mario Lemieux tallied 971.
    Peter Stastny had 759.
    Mike Bossy scored 757.
    Jari Kurri is 5th with 730.

    Crosby will join a very elite crew, being only the 6th player in NHL history to score 700+ points in his first 500 games.
     

  • In case you are wondering, Alex Ovechkin had 643 points in his first 500 games, including 309 goals.
     
  • The Penguins ability to throw out two dominant centres makes life much easier for head coach Dan Bylsma. While Crosby had a "slow" month, picking up 15 points in 15 games, Evgeni Malkin was on fire with 25 points in 15 games. After a slow start Malkin is now 2nd in league scoring, 35 points, and he’s only one back of Crosby.
     
  • I was perplexed in the summer when some people didn’t have Corey Perry on the Olympic team. He was great in 2010, and I don’t think his foot speed is an issue. He and Ryan Getzlaf are off to a great start, with 29 and 31 points respectively. For me, both of them are locks to make the squad.
     
  • I wonder if the St. Louis Blues are concerned about how they match up vs. the Sharks and Kings. The Sharks have beat them 6-2 and 6-3 this year, while the Kings dominated the Blues for 55 minutes last night, before two late goals made the 3-2 final look more respectable.
     
  • The Blues need a pure finisher, and Marian Gaborik is a UFA at the end of the season. The Blue Jackets likely won’t re-sign him, and he would fit perfect in St. Louis. Gaborik won’t lead your team to the Cup, but he could be an excellent complementary player in their top-six. With David Backes and Alex Steen down the middle, the Blues don’t need a defensively responsible scorer. They need a finisher. The Blues have about $2 million in cap space at the deadline, and if they are willing to spend it, they could fit Gaborik under the cap, by moving out a small salary.
     
  • The Coyotes have scored the 5th most goals in the western conference, but only Calgary and the Oilers have given up more goals. Mike Smith has a .307 GAA and a respectable .910 SV%. He hasn’t played as well as they would like, but the Coyotes are giving up way too many shots. The Coyotes, 34.5, are giving up four more shots against than the Oilers, 30.5.
     
  • Dave Tippett’s Coyotes aren’t playing as defensively as they have in the past.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Coyotes have lost four of their last five, and they’ve given up 4 goals in each loss. The Oilers finally give their fans something to cheer about as defeat a playoff team for only the 2nd time this season. Oilers win 4-1.

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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hemsky picks up a point. He has 34 points in 33 career games vs. the Coyotes.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Justin Schultz becomes the first Oiler D-man to score two goals in a game since Corey Potter did it late last season. After reading the previous sentence, many of you are stunned that Potter was the last Oiler D-man to score two goals in a game. I was too. Entering tonight the six blueliners have played a combined 2,118 NHL games, and Andrew Ference is the only one to have a multi-goal game. He scored twice on January 5th, 2004. J.Schultz’ two goals will indeed be a rare occurrence.

DAY FOUR…MONTH OF GIVING…

Yesterday we raised another $2,500 for Santas Anonymous. Thanks to Ken for the bid and especially to Robert for re-donating the Messier jersey.
 

It includes:

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945. All the proceeds will go to the Christmas Bureau. Thanks in advance to all of those who make a bid.

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RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • Puck JammeR!

    My girlfriend, who is not a hockey fan in the least, was watching the game with me last night and she was like “they always have guys blocking us from getting to the net, why don’t our guys block our net?”

    Well, Mr. Eakins? She’s waiting for an answer.

    • Joe Mamma

      Isn’t that the irony of this situation. Krueger knew how to motivate and teach, but was in over his head on NHL strategy. He apparently asked for an experienced NHL assistant/associate coach or two to assist with the strategy part to help the team win.

      Mr. “Smartest man in the room” Mactavish fired him and brought in Eakins instead. Now we have a guy who doesn’t appear to know NHL strategy AND can’t motivate/teach his players.

      Well done, MacT. Well done.

  • Arius Mumin

    I have been unable to attend a couple of the games this season and I had as much difficulty giving away my tix for FREE as I’ve ever had. It’s sad the apathy that is starting to grow. Hawks game last week cleared out early and the folks around me were joking about why they even spent the time to drive to the game as they put their coats on and left early. It’s not even the losing that’s the worst. The visible lack of intensity/effort for large stretches pisses me off more than the losing. I expect that it’s the same for many other fans.

    I was on my way out of town the other night and was listening to the Dallas game on 630 CHED. Even Kool Aid Drinker #1, Bob Stauffer, sounded disgusted by the effort level.

    As dad as it is, I think the team might be losing their next generation of fans, too. Both of my sons’ teams that I coach are filled with more non-Oilers fans than homers. Frankly, that sucks.

  • Arius Mumin

    I doubt that Dubnyk would be a good goalie in the AHL.

    If Egins thought Arco had a bad game: I would love for someone to ask him what he thought of Gagner’s.

    What exactly did Egins work on in practice with his PP units? Those combinations and efforts are a joke.

    The thing that I’m most excited about for the rest of the season is the positive spin the local MSM will try to take while this sh!t show keeps unfolding before out eyes. As soon as the Olympics are done, they will start selling us on how excited we as fans should be at seeing Hall and Eberle at the2018 Olympics. Meanwhile CrushBoys will continue to cycle the puck to no avail on the 1st PP unit.

    If Mac is going to keep pretending that Egins is an NHL coach, he should at least do the poor Yak kid a favour and trade him. In tonights game, while the Oilers were down by 2 goals in the 3rd period, Egins had Yak playing with Acton and Juonuouuo(whateverthe#@$%), while once again through thick and thicker the Crush Boys remained.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    3-1

    Horrendous defensive zone coverage. Terrible defensemen. Terrible decisions at the offensive blue line. Pathetic man coverage. Soft play.

    I’m going to watch House MD re-runs.

  • Oilerz4life

    Dubnyk is not even giving his team a chance to win when they are putting in the effort. A few of the goals tonight were so weak. How is the team supposed to win when they are getting no support from the goaltender? Its hard to watch.

  • Serious Gord

    Just looking at the games remaining for the month and the first week of jan:

    The halfway point is almost exactly at the end of that period (44)

    If the oil continue to lose practically every game to opponents who are ” in” the playoffs they will lose 11 and win 4. Including the loss tonight the record. Will be:

    13 – 27 – 4 give or take a win or two that’s a gawdawful record.

    The low point of the oil was mine games ago. Then they were 4 – 15 – 2 at the quarter pole of the season.

    December looks to be a dark month in more ways than one…

    Meanwhile mr Katz has even more money to count and fold…

    • camdog

      Lol I used to be a regular on the sportnet boards until they shut it down because it was so awful. Rogers = mediocrity. The Oilers and Rogers are a perfect fit!

  • Puck JammeR!

    Trade one of Hall or Eberle this season. They know they’re untouchable as the first line wingers into eternity and it seems like every defenceman in the league has got a bead on their ticky-tacky, toe drag, over-handle the puck, no-hit style. The game they play isn’t going to work in the NHL and they’re never going to change it.

    • Puck JammeR!

      Hall & Eberle may not be perfect, but Hall has 123 points in his last 128 games. And Eberle has 136 points in his last 155 games. The stats say that these guys give NHL defensemen at least a little bit to worry about.

      They both need to be more consistent, but trading your two most offensively gifted players on an offensively-challenged team would be a big mistake.

      • Puck JammeR!

        How many of those last 155 games did their team win?

        We need to stop looking at any player as untouchable. This team is deeply and fundamentally broken.

        • Hockey Problems 101

          I agree that there isn’t anybody who is untouchable, but I don’t think the top two offensive players on the team are the major problem and trading them for more grit but less scoring will not help this team.

          This team has one of the worst defensive cores in the league with extremely inconsistent goaltending. Dubnyk looks like he could be a very good goalie on some nights and then totally looks like he would struggle on a beer-league team the next night.

          • vetinari

            And yet somehow MacTavish trades one of his better defencemen to Calgary for a small centre iceman playing in the minors and a prospect goaltender. What an idiot

        • Joe Mamma

          Excellent post Clarko, this team is so fundamentally broken it is irrepairable. Here is the biggest problem with the Oilers, the main guys and I do not include Hall in this comment only care about their points. Perron, Eberle, Gagner look at it as I got my points so I must have done good. Instead the thought process has to be if we win the game then if I contributed awesome if not we still won.
          It is a “ME” first attitude on the Oiler team and that is a true fact.

      • Puck JammeR!

        Gotta give something to get something. Even 4 more Perron’s will not work, too much of the same. We need size, and grit and need to use our assets to obtain this, even if it means overpaying. Not doing anything is total disrespect to the fans.

      • Joe Mamma

        Unfortunately the Oil are also challenged in many other areas. There is a perception that the Oil have a number of players who have scoring ability. This perception and a high draft pick next year are the only items of value the Oil have which they might be able to leverage to address some of their weaknesses. IMO it is not if, but when will they turn their perceived strengths into assets that will address their weaknesses.

  • I gave tonight’s tix away, still won’t be renewing for next year.

    I’m still saying the last 10 to 12 games are not a good sample of the reality that is the Oilers.

    Same team, same issues and mostly playing non-playoff teams during this stretch. The team looked good, not great and bloody awful mixed in for good times.

    The real Oilers will show up after the Avalanche game. After that, it’s going to be few and far between.

    OGDP – Oilers vs playoff team…….not a good night for fans.

  • Spydyr

    I think that is a very astute observation on Hall……..the old give and go?? Who would have ever though of that?

    If Hall and Eberle and the rest of the youth need a lesson on puck management make them watch a game from the 80’s of the Oilers .

    Oh the things they could learn ……..proper drop passes, give and go’s, the office behind the net, a true one timer. If Eakins has any brains, he would do this.

  • Alsker

    Jason….I’ve written many a time on this forum that oiler crowds will start dwindling if the status quo keeps up. I know because I had tickets in 1995.. I remember…what really surprises me the most is almost the insistence of Katz to leave upper management the way it is! That’s what really is schocking about this whole episode! Most business people would not tolerate this model!!!!….the crowds I dare say will continue to dwindle …

  • Word to the Bird

    lol, didn’t watch or go to the game tonight,
    just checked the box score. and when i looked at it it make me laugh. beating the oilers is as easy as 1-2-3.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Petry is not very good and so is Gilbert not very good. Both defencemen are similar and not very good. I think there very similar players. They both are not good

  • Burnward

    Why does this arena continue to sell out? As a fan, why would you want to pay any money to see this piece of **** team play. Can anyone answer this for me? Don’t you get it by now? You’re just going to get ****** over and over and you don’t learn.

    Anyway, I’m very happy at the current score. Blow these bastards out, Phoenix. Dubnyk, get the **** out of edmonton. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, mother ******

  • Reg Dunlop

    I like how the local media Kool-Aid dispensers have said the team is pointed north, i would say we are still in Antartica. “Good job Ference” we won one battle tonight.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Incidentally. Watch them scramble like crazy on the PP. Why?

    Stats.

    You were wondering where rock bottom is?

    It’s now.

    Pathetic. Heartless. Gutless collection of me-first p*ssies.

  • S cottV

    Wow – that was horrifying. Dubnyk was bad on a couple but omg that’s the worst d zone coverage in the history of the world. What the —- is Petry doing? Sorry – but Eakins does not look like a leader. His body language is awful – even in the early going. Be a cheer leader, sound a battle cry or kick a water bottle, but don’t just stand there pouting and looking beat. Geezes – MacT may have to do the unthinkable – punt Eakins and get his exposed @ss on that bench.

    .

    • Burnward

      Eakins said post game that Arcobello had a really rough game. I know it was not a perfect game but to me he appeared more productive than many. Last game they lost Eakins said it was because of physical fitness. This team is becoming as mechanical as he is. I have never seen the team so emotionless. The team really mimics its coach in my humble opinion. I just dont see this coach leading this team to the next level.