GDB 33.0: BATTLING THE BRUINS

The Boston Bruins are not only good on the ice; their marketing team is pretty solid off the ice as well. The Bruins have produced some humourous commercials the past five seasons, and this is one or my favourites. The Oilers aren’t a divisional rival, but many Bruins fans have told me they have a healthy disdain for the Oilers due to two Stanley Cup Finals losses in 1988 and 1990.

The Bruins and Oilers are at opposite ends of the NHL standings, and have been since 2007/2008, and the Oilers will need to play their one of their best games of the season tonight, just to keep it close.

The Oilers might catch a break with Tukka Rask battling the flu, but the Bruins are stacked and they haven’t lost in Edmonton since October 17th, 2000. That night Dan Lacouture and Brian Swanson scored their first NHL goals in a 6-1 thrashing of the Bruins. Since then, the Bruins have won four straight games in Edmonton including a 3-2 victory in their last visit to Edmonton on February 27th, 2011.

It is hard not to respect the Bruins.

They have skill, size, experience, solid two-way players, great goaltending and they are the toughest team in the NHL led by their captain Zdeno Chara. They don’t have any weaknesses, and once again they are sitting first in the Eastern conference with a 21-8-2 record.

The Oilers are playing their best hockey of the seasons, 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, and while they didn’t beat up on the top teams in the league, they did grab 15 of a possible 22 points. That is a solid stretch of hockey, but tonight will be a much more difficult task for the Oilers.

The Oilers will need to use their speed, and be disciplined with the puck. They can’t continue to turn the puck over, especially on the powerplay, or the Bruins will skate them out of the rink.

LINEUP

Perron-RNH-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Yakupov
Joensuu-Arcobello-Hemsky
Gazdic-Lander-Jones

Boyd Gordon still isn’t healthy enough to play. Ryan Smyth is also banged up, and he’ll be a game time decision. Eakins will switch up the PP units. They’ve been really hot or really cold, similar to the overall play of the team. Since November 5th, the PP is 17 for 71 (23.9%) so it’s not like it has been terrible. The production has been great, but the bad giveaways are the issue. 

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

Jeff Petry has been cleared to play. He’s an upgrade on Potter, and the Oilers need their best lineup against the Bruins.

Dubnyk

QUICK HITS….

  • It was a subtle message, but Dallas Eakins didn’t play Taylor Hall in the final five minutes on Tuesday after Jeff Skinner tied the game. You might say it was only five minutes, but it was the most important time of the game, and I’m sure Hall got the message. I’m curious to see how he responds, especially in the defensive end.
     
  • Eakins did put Hall out for the PP in OT, which was a smart, but not being on the ice for the final five minutes of regulation should get Hall’s attention.
     
  • It was interesting to note that Hall got a short stint on the bench, but Sam Gagner, despite some equally bad defensive decisions never missed a shift. Eakins must be giving him some leeway due to the injury, or he wants to keep throwing him over the boards with the hope it builds his confidence.
  • Firing Feaster today makes sense. There is no point waiting until the end of the season to can him, if the Flames knew he wasn’t their guy moving forward. You can also expect the Flames’ new GM to fire Hartley before the start of next season. The Flames should look at Oilers to see that firing coaches frequently doesn’t change much, if you don’t give the new coach better players.
     
  • Good luck to all of you in Fantasy Football playoffs…whether you are going for a championship, or trying to avoid losing the Toilet Bowl. Good luck. I have Manning, Decker and Moreno on my team…Please don’t pick tonight to have an off night.

TONIGHT….

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Because everyone expects them to lose, the Oilers stun the Bruins with a 4-3 victory. P.S… I put the team logos in front of my son, and whichever one he touches, I go with that team to win. He is 8 days old, and his record is already 2-0.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers lineup has a combined four career goals vs. the Bruins; Hemsky, Perron, RNH and Ference each have one goal. Two Oilers will score their first career goal against Boston tonight.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Now that he isn’t a member of the Calgary Flames, the Oilers will give St. Albert native, Jarome Iginla a healthy cheer when he announced over the PA. Iginla will be honoured, and he’ll return the favour by scoring a second period goal. After the game, Oilers fans collectively decide never to cheer for an opposing player, who never played for the Oilers, ever again.

DAY TEN…MONTH OF GIVING

Yesterday we raised another $2,800 for Santas Anonymous.

Today we have an excellent and very generous package that was donated to us by The Home Matchmaker Michelle Derk from Remax Elite.

  • Up for grabs is the seller’s commission for your house. (In a regular sale half the commission goes to the seller realtor and half to the buyer. So this is $3.5% on the first $100,000 and $1.5% on the balance).

On a $500,000 house that is a value of $9,500.00 just to give you a reference point.

You can bid on this package by calling 780.444.1260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Jason Gregor

    Pretty sure Feaster saw the end when Burke came in..

    Pretty sure Burke will be the new GM or someone that has worked with Burke before (Dave Nonis anyone?)

  • S cottV

    Interesting that Eakins came out and publicly back tracked on his stance at the start “if the Oilers are gonna win, it will have to be done his way”

    Now its “a coach would be real dumb, if he continued to impose his will on a player group not suited for playing his way” So – he goes on to say that a number of things have been changed but didnt say what, at least in the interview I saw on TSN, which may have been cut short.

    The swarm is probably the biggest thing he is refering to – thank god, but dont see as much scorer types on PK and 5 forwards on the PP – among other things. That kind of risk is only maybe necessary when you really need a goal – bad.

    Anyway – must be some pressure coming down on Eakins to eat some humble pie in public. Not a fan of MacT’s selection of a rookie coach to lead this team. However – whats done is done and maybe with Eakins ego in check, the team will be led more effectively.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    @ Jason Gregor

    A little off topic, but I’m curious: do you think the new GM in Calgary will fire Hartley so that he can have “his guy” coach the team?

    I haven’t watched many Flames games this year, but it seems like Hartley has the team working hard and playing fundamental hockey despite being significantly under-skilled to compete with the Western Conference heavyweights. Do you see this as a “Ralph Krueger” type situation where Hartley won’t necessarily deserve to be fired, but will be replaced so the GM can hire the coach he wants?

    • Jason Gregor

      I’m guessing the new GM will bring in a new coach before next year. Easy to can Hartley after finishing 25th his first year and likely even worse this year…

      Most GMs like to hire their guy, and I doubt this will be different. The two bad years just make it easier to say Hartley isn’t the guy. Hard to say how good or bad a coach is when you coach a team like the Flames, that doesn’t have much talent.

      • Serious Gord

        I doubt that Burke will fire Hartley. The flames are playing very well given the talent level – esp when giordano is in the line up. For what it’s worth Burke gave a very strong endorsement of Hartley today.

        And if, as you say its hard to judge a coaches performance when they have little talent to work with then ipso facto you can judge a coaches performance more easily when he does have talent to work with. Using your logic we should be very well armed in making a judgement on Eakins around jan 15.

        • **

          Burke did say during the media availability that he didn’t like the way the team was playing. He was talking about the style, but he did praise the work ethic.

      • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

        So what does it mean when the Oilers go through 4+ coaches in five years when they “coach a team like the Oilers”?

        Either the coaches haven’t been been good enough or the players arent good enough and management isn’t competent enough to recognize it.

        Either way, it sure sucks for the fans…

          • S cottV

            Thats halarious……..player are not good enough! Exactly who went and got these players?

            Coaching aside, management has to be held accountable……..and coaching has to take responsibility for the development of the players. Exactly who thought that acquiring Ference was going to do anything for us? As soon as I heard his name all I could think of is, why did Mac T find us the smallest non-puck moving defenceman in the market.

            We all ( especially the media guys) need to hold coaching and management responsible for player selection, as gone are the days where management does not consult coaches prior to acquiring players.

            This is quite evident watching Oil Change.

      • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

        As suspected. Thanks for clarifying.

        I read that Burke has permission to talk to Joe Nieuwendyk about taking over as GM. It’s going to be very interesting to watch this play out; although I can’t say I’m excited to watch the Oilers match up with another soon-to-be heavy/pugnacious/truculent Pacific division team…

  • vetinari

    Sshhhh… Don’t tell Lowe that Calgary canned Feaster… He may try to add ‘Mr. One Ring’ to our management team…

    Boys v. Men

    David v. Goliath

    Oilers 1 Bruins 5 (on cruise control tonight)

    To make the game more interesting, it’ll be ‘one shot of whiskey when the Oilers score’ and ‘one beer each time the Bruins score’, and then we’ll see which gets emptied first….

  • vetinari

    Burkey says he wants to see more truculence on the flames. from pro hockey talk,

    “If a team wants to win the Stanley Cup, Burke believes it needs to be big. And yes, he even used the word “truculent,” much to delight of everyone watching his press conference today in Calgary following the firing of Flames general manager Jay Feaster and assistant GM John Weisbrod.”

    Are you listening kevin and MacT? Tonights game should prove that point in spades.
    GDP – Bruins 5, Perron 1.

  • A-Mc

    I’ve got a good vibe brewing for the Mighty Oil tonight. My emotions say they are going to WIN, but history dictates that i must experience ultimate disappointment at every step, so that means the Oil will Lose; Badly.

    Oilers Lose 7-1, but the Dirty Frenchman will STRIKE AGAIN to score the lone goal! (Perron)

  • Eddie Shore

    Oilers have beat teams like Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Nashville, and Florida. Don’t be fooled, we aren’t in the same league as Boston right now.

    It’s going to take a miracle to keep this game close, as we are going to be outshot by a wide margin. Only positive is Boston really lacks team speed.

    • Romanus

      Agreed. With the hiring of Burke was just a matter of time. Although would say the mess the flames got in were really the result many bad decisions by Sutter.

  • A-Mc

    This will be a very interesting game ……….two teams built totally different which will highlight how size matters.

    Hate to predict this but the Bruins will totally dominate using physical play and no one on the Oilers will be able to match Lucic or any of their heavy forwards.

    Bruins win 6-2.