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 


  • Arius Mumin

    As someone who was really excited to get a minnie pack, watching the Oilers at home has been a waste of money.

    I watched Dubnyk lose what was an otherwise good home opener. I watched back to back shut outs against Toronto and then Dallas. Then Finally, at long last, the last home game I went to was the 7-0 blow out against Columbus.

    Needless to say I am no longer going out of my way to get tickets.

  • Zamboni Driver

    So Arcobello – AHL player in the NHL because the brain trust can’t scout. Gets an assist. Is minus 1.

    HE is the problem.

    Gagner. 33% faceoff. -2 (as were stellar linemates Tinman and Smyth)
    $3.2 million.
    5’9.

    Not the problem.

    Gotcha coach.

  • Hockey Problems 101

    I saw lots of empty seats. If ticket holders refuse to go at least find some kids that cant afford the NHL experience. Lots of kids enjoy the circus. Seriously find some kids worthy.

    • Hockey Problems 101

      No !!!!

      I’m “wasting” $20,000 a year on season tickets, this is the only voice I have left.

      Let them play in front of empty seats. That is what this organization deserves. Maybe if we stay away long enough, the Oilers will call to ask if we plan on coming back to the games.

      I’ll tell them to “just be patient” !!!

      That would be justice.

      • The Last Big Bear

        I know three season ticket holders that offer their tickets to us and other friends at cost for games. They have recently started to offer them below cost and are having a tough time to find any takers. Noone wants to spend the time and extra $$$ on going to the games to watch an inferior product. That speaks volumes to me, as I could only get one or two dates from them the past few seasons – maybe the non-season ticket holding fans’ patience has finally run out this year?

        The poor on ice performance is hurting the team with young fans as well. My son, an avid Oilers fan up until now, is now watching better teams (e.g. Chicago last night) play instead so he can learn something from the games. No matter how much he likes Hall, he is hitting the age where kids start to cheer for winners. When I was in elementary I can remember a large number of junior high and high school kids that were Canadiens or Islanders fans, even after the Oilers started winning Cups. On my son’s Novice team there are already a number of kids that cheer for teams other than the Oilers . Unless something changes fast, the team is going to lose a number of young potential season ticket holders going forward.

  • 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!

  • Zamboni Driver

    By the way, the worst player on this team right now is Sam Gagner. How he isn’t benched is absolutely beyond me.

    “But he’s still a kid” – You’d think after 7 years in the NHL he’d have half a clue what to do in his own zone. He has none.

  • Burnward

    Come on ON, can you not manage this idiot
    Mike Krusyshetsky… this is insane.. this is not a glich,, this guy is manipulating your site and you let him get away with it.

    PS.. unless unless you want to impress your advertisers with the number of hits.

    • Joe Mamma

      I am sure the mods and contributors to this site are passed out drunk, trying to drown the fact that they have to cover this team for the foreseeable future in copious amounts of booze.

      • 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.

  • 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!!!

  • Chris.

    I’m annoyed at the lack of finish. Our ~skill~ players (you know the guys who don’t hit, block shots, or stand up for each other, or bring any other useful intangible element to their game) had nearly as many quality looks as the Coyote forwards but failed to convert.

    There are 2 to 3 hundred players in the league with better shooting percentages than our “young guns”… Our entire first line has only 2 more goals than Alexander Steen!

  • Arius Mumin

    Egins is a joke!

    I wonder who really runs this team: Hall or Eberle?
    Everyline and everyplayer has been shuffled around on the regular, yet, their line stays together-no matter the lack of success on EV and PP.

    Oilers didn’t want to bring in an expierenced coach this year, because by now he would have put Hall and Eberle in their place and we would have a bigger problem than not winning.

      • Arius Mumin

        I will have to assume to you are both a liar and delusional.

        There is comments worse that on daily basis.

        Misguided? How you figure? Do you watch the Oilers play?

        There is not one Oiler, so far this season, that I recall seening turn the puck over more than Hall, or made more senseless passes/shots that brought plays to a halt. I don’t know where to find the stats for it but I bet they would say the same.

        The PP unit of Hall, Eberle and RNH has not been affective all season long. The 3 of them do not appear to be a threat to 2nd PK units of weak opposition. Why then does “someone” continue to keep them together on nightly bases expecting for something to change, while changing the rest of the lines around and even bringing up players that shouldn’t be playing. I have not been keeping track but I doubt that for most of the time that they even face the other teams top players at even strenght.

        But please do tell me what is misguided about my comment-so I can better understand your tier of thinking.

        Every team has a leader? No? i was just curious if when it came to the Oilers it was Hall or Eberle. Fair question.

        There is a lot of proof to support my comment that every line and player have been shuffled around, no?
        There is also a lot of proof to show that Hall and Eberle have not been producing on the PP and even strenght as of late, no?

        From what I have seen-Hall and Eberle get the most shifts, and some are really long ones, than any other Oiler. For most of those shifts both players are not very threathing or affective, yet they are continued to be put out there and rewarded with shifts and playing time, while their teammates(some who are working better and harder than the two mentioned) are being shuffled around like they were at a bar dance.

        I have a hard time seeing and believing that all this shuffling is necesarry outside of the top 3-as if it them 3 doing all the work and the rest of their teammates not keeping up.

        My comment about another coach is just my opinion, don’t let it get to you.

  • 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.

  • S cottV

    It really is curious as to Eakins calling out Arcobello after that mess of a game last night. Petry yeah but Arco?
    The biggest problem was 6 GA’s and two 2 GF’s and Arco was directly responsible for one of the GF’s.
    1st GA – terrible PK positioning from Hall and Eberle to allow an easy pass thru the middle up top and no collapse to the net by them. Awful.
    2nd GA – I would fault Petry more than Arco on that back door play. We had Joensuu, Ferrance and Petry back vs 3 Coyotes, so not sure what Petry’s problem is. Count to 3 and take the 3rd guy…
    3rd GA – flukey one, but Joensuu very slow to get to the shooter up top and not in the shooting lane, like he doesnt want to get hit.
    4th GA – Why we have wingers behind our net is beyond me, but Jones was there, so Gagner needs to swap assignments and have awareness behind him. Nope.
    5th GA – Petry all the way out to lunch on this one. Good offensive move but not that good. Arco on the ice but whats he gonna do?
    6th GA – doesn’t really matter at this point but not a great rebound from Dubie. It starts with Joensuu in the corner for some unknown reason? Puck goes to Joensuu’s man at the point and he has nothing but time and space on his hands.
    Arco should be singled out under these circumstances? No – that is just wrong. So many breakdowns with suspect d systems and Eakins has to take responsibility. A coach is only as good – as his ability to influence the players to do what he wants them to do. What about calling out the RNH, Hall, Eberle, Yak, the PP, – we only scored 2 goals… but calling out Arco? Wow….

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Those Pucking Coyotes school our developemental Oilers squad 5-2 this evening.

    Continue to do nothing Mac T, accept failure/preach patience and stay the tankage course.

  • 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?

  • Spydyr

    Congrats to Kevin Lowe & Darryl Katz!!!!
    Oilers are the first team to reach 100 GA!!!
    Great vision for management!!!
    I can hear the kids demanding a trade anytime now!!!
    Can you say bye bye Deadmonton Oilers, welcome Seattle Oilers?
    Good riddance.

  • Slapshot

    This season will end up no different then the past 7 seasons,the rebuild has been a complete failure,at the end of the season Katz should hire an experienced president of hockey operations from a winning organization,someone who has a proven track record in management,and rebuild this team from the top all the way down,look at what Montreal and Colorado have done in just 2 years,The incompetents who have been in charge of this rebuild have had 8 years and we are no closer today then when we started,In any other team or business there would have been major changes in management and the organization by now, how much longer is the fan base expected to watch this sorry excuse for a hockey team?

  • 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.