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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • Reg Dunlop

    Nice goal by Yandle but who doesn’t like the high end potential of the oil? Who wants a generic player like Moss when you can have 12 million invested long term in Hall and Ebs?

  • 24% body fat

    Are you guys sure that Ekblad, Nurse and Kelfbom would not be a big upgrade to our D next year?

    Three rookies ya, but all the others look like rookie AHL players right now.

  • 24% body fat

    How do you not score on a 5-3? Show some ****ing emotion Eakins. How embarrassing with 10 min left arena is half empty. Other than Perron, Arco and Nuge fire everyone. !!!! Screw you Coilers!!!!

  • 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…

  • Word to the Bird

    you know the “keys to the game” they put up at about the 5 minute mark? I think for this Oiler team it should be to not be down a goal or more before they post the “keys to the game” for the rest of the season…sure would like to not want to turn the game off before the 10 minute mark on most nights.

    • Serious Gord

      Keys to the game – one time I wish they would say

      “Oilers should not give up an early goal with Dubie not controlling his rebounds enroute to his league leading .818 save %, followed by pretty passing on the FIRST PERIOD PP with guys in the slot (Hall, Eberle guilty 5x), followed by inept performance from its 4th line going a combined minus effing 7 – really -7!!!

      DECEMBER 3rd = ROCK BOTTOM.

  • Spydyr

    Only the Oilers could drive 6 first rounders into the dirt. Thats not counting all of them. I think there are ten first round draft picks on the Oilers right now?
    Career destroyers.

  • The Last Big Bear

    When I saw that there were 800+ comments, my little Flames-loving heart skipped a beat assuming that you guys were having an absolute meltdown because something catastrophically bad happened. Like maybe Hall and Yakupov getting into a fistfight during a tv interview or something.

    Somebody just finally having a brain aneurysm after one too many home losses isn’t quite as entertaining.

    • Joe Mamma

      Why the hell is a flames fan even on the ON site? Really, you just sit around reading Oilers articles and commentary?

      I would rather eat a pound of broken glass and wash it down with three liters of iodine than be caught dead on a flamers blog.

      Have some self-respect man.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Because I like to talk about hockey? I visit all the Nations’ sites. I’m one of about 3 guys who comments on the Jets’ page.

        And ON has the most content, and the most active discussion threads.

        But feel free to hate on me. I’m a Flames fan on an Oilers’ website, and although I usually try to make a valid contribution, i also always try to get a dig in against your favourite hockey team. So I expect nothing less.

  • Arius Mumin

    Friends and I split a pair of season tickets and we’re among those who’ve wasted some this year, including tonight. Well, we don’t actually waste them, we donate them, but you get my drift.

    There are loads of empty seats each game… the atmosphere at Rx is definitely different this year. Anyone else have the same experience?

    • Arius Mumin

      I can’t sell my tickets for half their face value – it’s even tough to give them away on many nights! Definitely my last year as a seson ticket holder after 24 years!

  • Dallylamma

    There are tickets for sale here at work for almost every game, usually at reduced price. I seems like people are willing to take a loss to hang on to their season seats in the hope that things might get better down the line.

      • Alsker

        Perron-Arco-Yak, so his coach is doing his part, now it’s up to Yak. Doubt disney could conjure the magic needed for Gags to up his game, ~damn glad he’s here for the next phase of the infibuild~

        • Spydyr

          The reason Yak looks lost is not his linemates.It is how his coach teaches Yak his system and teaches what is expected of him within it.

          Coaching is more then picking lines the biggest part is teaching.

          • D-Unit

            I agree coaching is a lot about teaching. Though I am not sure how you know how the coach is trying to teach Yak. Further to that though, from an outsiders perspective it looks like Oilers coaches have been trying to teach players who don’t want to, or refuse to learn.

          • Alsker

            Granted, BUT if his linemates actually do what the coach says they are going to do(practice on offdays)then he may not be so lost…everyone Arco and Perron have played with have both looked good and seemed to be on the same page…I’m just hoping it will make a difference..we need YAK to be dangerous and engaging!!!!

          • Alsker

            Hmmm..Yak pressures, Arco intercepts errand pass, sets up Perron..GOAL…just like in practice..confidence in both yourself and your linemates is so huge for young guys. Hope the leave Yak with Arco for a bit, good for both of them.

            I wanted to quote Spydrs comment not my response…ok Epic Fail on me!!!!!

          • D-Unit

            I agree coaching is a lot about teaching. Though I am not sure how you know how the coach is trying to teach Yak. Further to that though, from an outsiders perspective it looks like Oilers coaches have been trying to teach players who don’t want to, or refuse to learn.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Hopefully Rogers Place is more friendly to us than Rexall has been of late. No matter how many fans waste their tickets for tonight, there will still be more fans at this game than any Coyotes’ home game. For that reason alone, we need to win tonight.

    • Alsker

      OK, so why does “Rogers Place” sound so Vancityish, or Ottawaish…..we need a real name: Deathrink, Blooddome, I don’t know maybe “Icecavern of Doom”? Rogers Place sounds like it’s Mr.Rogers approved, sweaters and hugs for everyone.

      • Johnnydapunk

        What the official name is and what people call it will hopefully be different, it’s happened before, not sure with hockey, but I know the stadium where the Football team Newcastle United play was known as St James’ park since the beginning of time, and a new owner tried to change the name a few times, failed miserably and the original name was brought back.

        Rogers is doing the exact same thing that O2 Telefonica has done in Europe, it gets to the point where it is impossible to escape the advertising.

        It’s just a matter of time before they buy a team and change the name, make it all formula one style.

        Hope that people do actively refer it to another name and hopefully that name isn’t something like “The place where all Stanley cup dreams go to die” (even if it is true ) 😛

  • Admiral Ackbar

    All of you petry lovers need to give it up, he’s weak and is only bringing us down. He should have left with Gilbert, they are practically the same.

  • 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

  • 24% body fat

    Well the argument for arcobello as a better defensive option and a second line center replacement is being put to sleep tonight.

    I like the guy but you cant make a stupid presumption after 20 game sample/

    • Alsker

      Really, compared to …. oh, Gags, the guy who turned aimlessly away from the trailer on that goal? Did we take sleeping pills during the intermission, or is this the first period slow start thing?

  • Zamboni Driver

    So exactly how many games does Ganger has to play after getting back to make people realize he’s not as good as people think and Arco is a much better and cheaper option. God we are awful on defence!!!! And Eakins sucks!!!

  • Reg Dunlop

    I know that Phoenix, like almost every other NHL team, toys with the non-contact oil but who wouldn’t rather have the young potential of Yak and Ebs? Who wouldn’t rather have the flash and sizzle of Schultz and Hall? Anyone? No one?

  • 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 ******

  • Pheonix KNOWS that there is no one on the Oil that will finish a check on them, that the Oil won’t fight through or return their hacking and slashing. Ho hum. Then the Oilers start to yap, having to speak up to be heard over their home crowd’s boos. Any hopes of turning the corner after the last road trip are gone. What an embarrassment.