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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

Thanks in advance.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 


  • camdog

    “We want black-and-blue hockey here,” Burke said. “That’s what we do in Alberta.”

    Burkie didn’t say that’s what we do in Calgary, no that’s what we do in Alberta. Burkie’s going to make it his mandate to beat the snot out of the Oilers.

      • camdog

        A) Burkie still ticked a Lowe for the Penner episode.
        B) Burkie thinks intentionally losing to gain high draft picks is wrong
        C)The Oilers pushed the Flames around earlier in the season and this will not be tolerated by a Burkie run team

        I think it’s safe to state that the Battle of Alberta has taken on a whole new meaning following todays shuffle in Cow-town.

  • Jason Gregor

    Listen, I think Burke’s takeover in Calgary is a bit of a scary move. We can all make fun of Burke and his bombastic, truculent style, but the guy’s won in this league and I think he knows how to build a team.

    He made Vancouver a contender (his legacy is still there) and he won a Cup in Anaheim. The Leafs, although up-and-down a bit this year, turned a corner last year and it was largely with players he drafted or acquired. He drafted (and later traded for) Chris Pronger and pulled a bunch of complex strings to get the Sedin twins together. His career as a GM makes many others pale in comparison nowadays (which is probably a bit sad, but that’s not his fault). He’s not Cliff Fletcher or Glen Sather, obviously, but he’s been pretty damn good at the job for a long time.

    We all knew this was coming, of course – although who knew it would take this long? Feaster couldn’t bring himself to even utter the word “rebuild” until sometime last year and that’s obviously set the franchise back at least two years. The O’Reilly almost-signing was an almost-disaster of epic proportion. In the first round of the draft, he took a high school kid from a hockey country where high school hockey has ZERO upside (Canada). He dithered on Iginla for too long and got little in return. He got nothing for Kiprusoff, who probably could have helped two or three playoff teams last year. And all of the above in the last 12 months!

    No doubt, it will certainly be entertaining as Burkie squabbles with the Calgary media. But, from up here, you’ll hear no crowing from me.

    Burke’s Calgary takeover further turns up the heat on Oilers management … a group that hasn’t accomplished anything close to what Burke’s done in this league. As far as I’m concerned, MacT and the Oilers are now REALLY on the clock. I’m just hoping Burke doesn’t pick it up and hit them over the head with it.

    • Ducey

      Burke has 1 Cup. The ONLY thing Burke did to assist that was trade for Pronger. That team was built by others.

      He likes to talk truculance and then trade for guys like the Sedins and Kessel.

      His term in Calgary will be characterized by moves designed to improve the team in the short term, likely at the cost of its success in the long term. That means they will be a playoff team in a few years, but won’t have the talent to win a Cup.

      Look for a repeat of the ’80’s – the Flames will be a good team full of meat heads, but won’t be able to keep up with the Oilers.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Eakins should just show Arcabello high-lights to the team on the flight to Vancouver, “this is what compete means”.

  • OilMan31

    We are paying Gagner 4.8 million to turn over pucks and be a terrible 2nd line centerman. Yet we pay Perron 3.8 million to be our leading scorer!!! Dump Gagner to anyone who will take him (and absorb some of the salary if needed). There is no way the Oilers will be a winning club with Gags playing the role he his playing now.

  • 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.

    • Andy7190

      I missed that goal. I have no idea if they are discussing the need for a professional stylist in either Alberta city.

      But they should.

      Oops. Another goal. Dubnyk down again.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      I remember thinking last year I wished we had a Brad Marchand type of player…..I like Perron more than I do Marchand.

      I knew Perron was gifted offensively …never realized until the trade how gritty and highly competitive he is.

  • O.C.

    Let’s play a game. You are a GM. I’m MacT. I have my starting goalie and number two centre to offer in a trade. Would you even talk to me?

    Probably not.

    Does any other GM in the league have that problem?

    It’s a mess.

    • reaperfunkss

      The biggest and most disatrous trade this GM has made is to gamble on an untried NHL coach who talks about “motivation” and “swarming the puck in the defensive zone” and then makes incomprehensible decisions like sending Larson out on the game’s most critical power play after he has ALREADY handed the Bruins a shorthanded softie. And what does he create? His first handling of the puck is a muffed pass that hands essential possession of the puck to the Bruins just as the PP looks like it’s getting a bit of traction.

      This team has little defensive structure, can’t begin to clear their own zone if under any pressure whatsoever, and has a power play that is in RUIN after last year’s success. “We can’t trade the coach!” What nonsense… he should never have been hired when proven men were available. And having been allowed to institute a season-crashing system that proved unworkable after the first 20 games, should have been promptly replaced. Dallas is a disacter pure and simple.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Gagner was garbage again. Arco is getting better every game. He’s hitting more, skating faster, stronger in the dot.

    In the decision of who to keep, is ‘being a man’ in the criteria? If so, Arco wins hands down.

  • vetinari

    Apparently, Perron has decided to do all the scoring by himself tonight… 3-2 Boston.

    Let’s see: Perron has showed up; Gazdic has showed up; and LaBarbera hasn’t hurt us.

  • Thumby

    Ok we lost – but I have to say those last 2 periods were damn good for the Oil.

    If they bring that to the rink every night, I’d be more than pleased and we’d win our fair share of games.

    But they have to get Bryz in net so we don’t always start the game -1 on a shi$$y Dub softie…I don’t care about his save %, his bad goal per game is just killing our mojo.

  • camdog

    Better effort than I expected from the Oilers, so I will give them credit. A few comments, I love it how Yakupov is given no rope, but Eberle gives up on a play that leads to a goal and is right out there. Double standards are the sign of great coaching. Who is in charge of the power play!? That first unit umbrella has no one-timer options from the point, and why is RNH (the best setup man on the team) on the second unit!? Lastly, Arcobello was a monster tonight, I don’t care about sample size or draft pedigree, move Gagner for a usable part. I’m not saying Arco is the answer long term but neither is Gagner and right now Arco makes this team better than Gagner does.

  • **

    Hall: 19:51 Total ice time, 1 hit, 3 shots, 0 points,plus/minus:-4

    Gagner: 18:33 total ice time, 0 hits, 3 shots, 0 points,plus/minus:-4, 50% draws

    Arcobello: 14:10 Total ice time, 5 hits (most on the whole team), 1 shot, 0 points,plus/minus: 0, 65% draws

    No corsi and no fewick because those stats are terrible IMO.

    The Oilers are never going to win when Gagner makes the stupid mistakes he does and still plays that much, same goes for Hall on this particular game.

  • Noel May

    Arcobello over Gagner every day of the week.
    Gagner is not a good player and I wish we kept Cogliano instead of him to be honest. Arcobello has proven enough in my mind to have Gagner on the trading block especially this season since he has a NTC in the 2nd year of his contract. It is time to part ways with the most underwhelming “second line” center in the league.