AT THE BREAK

 

We didn’t see any jerseys on the ice at Rexall last night, so that’s a bonus heading into the Christmas holidays.  For just the sixth time this season the Oilers treated their fans to a win on home ice and made the holidays just a smidgen better.

We all know after the attention given to the jersey tossed yesterday and the state of this franchise, there would have been more last night had the outcome been different.

HOT TOPIC

I didn’t like Eakins reaction. Even if he felt that strongly about it, I didn’t see how that was going to make anything better. I understood his frustration because jerseys are sacred but yelling at a fan base that hasn’t seen a winning season in forever and coming off a sixth straight defeat may not have been the appropriate time.

I actually felt like he was yelling at his players in a sense about having pride and not being quitters. Either way, it came off poorly and I think it was quickly regretted.

CONSISTENT MESSAGE

I for one am a Dallas Eakins supporter. Not because he has had great results so far but because I don’t think another change on the bench is a good move. I said it 20 games into the season and I stand by it as we close in on 40 games.

This team needs to hear the same message for more than 8 months. It’s clear many of these players have struggled with having several bench bosses over the years and haven’t learned much about two-way play.

Somehow, someway this guy has to get this group to be more responsible. I played against an Eakins coached team in the minors last year. A run and gun, turnover prone, soft team is not the system I saw.

The rest of this season needs to be about teaching. It needs to be about implementing winning habits like stopping and starting and back pressuring as hard as you can. Limiting turnovers and an emphasis on playing every shift like you may not get another one.  That’s how the team that came in here and spanked them 6-0 a few nights ago plays.

This Oilers team has skill but they don’t have enough good habits yet.

YAKUPOV

Look at this guy’s game last night. I for one am not a fan of what I have seen to date (I was not watching last year) but it’s amazing what happens when your ice time gets taken from you. He played 1:32 in the 1st period. He didn’t pout; he worked harder and earned more time as the game went on.

All of the sudden he was moving his feet, he was hitting guys, he was dumping pucks, he was driving the net and elbowing goalies. He looked pissed off and you know what?

Good

Many people will say what good is that, what a waste of our skill.

SIMPLIFY

Sometimes you have to strip your game down to the simplest form before it can get better. Work on the little things like positional play, make simple puck decisions and play with a chip on your shoulder.

I absolutely loved that he whacked Ladd back and stood up for himself.  If I’m the coach I’m ecstatic with his effort last night. Show the video of his early shifts and emphasize those things. When you work like that, the goals and assists will come with that type of talent.

More guys may have to go to this hockey school as the season moves on.

HALL

Taylor Hall was everywhere. He’s the engine that needs to drive this team. I truly believe if he buys into more of a two-way style it will push everyone in that locker room to do the same. As he has many times this year, he put the team on his back last night.

BRYZ

Tough first goal left many people wondering what was happening but he shut the door the rest of the way. Much needed response from him.

TEAM TOUGHNESS

I’d like to see them initiate it more at times but it was good to see everyone get in there and stick up for Yakupov when things got a little testy. There was no hesitation.

As a teammate when you see that happen, it should give you a little extra confidence that guys have your back for the next time and maybe you can push back once in a while.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Last night was the exact type of game I expected. The Oil had a response that will suck some fans back onto the band wagon, while other fans are left wondering why this effort doesn’t happen every night.

Round and round we will continue to go. By now everyone should be used to this roller coaster and not be surprised by the ups and downs. It’s what young teams do.

You may as well buckle up for the second half; I don’t expect this ride to change anytime soon but maybe your egg nog will taste just a little bit better for a few days.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas everyone.

  • Ziom

    Let the winning ways be what it is, and not looking back! Adopt the philosophy of the coach is not easy, cause it takes hard work and dedication! Which young people dearly lack, to play with discipline requires patience which this younger generations doesn’t necessary possess, or care to acquire! It’s so true, someone needs to get through to them, who could he/she be? That’s the million dollar question!!

  • Spydyr

    If Yak played every night like he did last night, he would no longer be reduntant on the team. He could go from being one of the first kids to be traded for upgrades, to being one of the last assets we are willing to move.

    The problem so far, is that he has to show he can play with that edge every night.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I for one, did not like what I saw from Yakupov yesterday.. He is a dirty little bastard. Elbowing goaltenders in the head is downright dangerous and thuggish.

    Stay classy there Deadmonton.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I was resisting but I’ll bite 🙂

      Just because the Oil beat and beat up your Thrashers doesn’t mean you need to get all worked up here. Gazdic made Stuart look like a child and for a while there I thought I was watching the fencing with the stick swinging of Ladd, Little and Bogosian. Apparently body contact is a problem but spearing, cross checking, and slashing is just fine…

      Anyways no point in going on about which crap team is better as they are both shockers this year.

      Happy Holidays !

    • Greenlingj

      Dude… people take cheap shots at my goalie in div 6 beer league ( AKA where knowing how to stop on skates is still optional )

      Its to get a reaction from the team to draw a penalty.

      Do us all a favor and either STFU or go buy me a six pack because I am thirsty.

    • Not sure how much you follow hockey, but sadly you either are the one starting that stuff or the one reacting too it. I’d rather see our team initiating and getting in opponents heads, thinking about that. Should it be in the NHL? Arguably, no, but it is and has been forever, even at lower levels. What game have you been watching, Jesus of Nazareth?

      • I love the fact that Eakins left Yakupov out to answer after his goal. It is a terrible decision if Yak gets his ass handed to him and is out injured for 6 weeks.

        The embarrassing part of the end of that game was Ladd slashing at Yakupov and then backing away like he had just accidently poked at MacIntyre. I have been a big fan of Ladd’s for years and that play was puzzling.

        • Cubro

          +1 re: Ladd backing away. He is how much bigger than Yak? I was shocked he did that – if you are a leader and instigate then you should follow through.

          The other bushleague move was Fatbastard throwing the water bottle in the penalty box.
          FWIW, the comments re: trading for him – he would have the fan base turn on him here in a second. He plays like Penner did – when he is on he is great but when he is off everyone will jump on him for being lazy even though he is still playing average hockey.

      • Word to the Bird

        “stuff like that happens” Perfect defence of flying elbows there buddy.

        That’s sarcasm. What Yakupov does is the kind of cheap hits to the head that they’re trying to get out of the game. I bet you’re the type that would say a knee to the head is also “part of the game”.

        • Word to the Bird

          Look, the NHL can try all they want but it’s never going to be eliminated from the game. Believe it or not, players don’t try to injure others. It’s a heat of the moment thing that just happens in split seconds. When I played hockey, I’d stick my leg out sometimes, not to knee another player, but to stop the puck. Unfortunately it doesn’t always turn out well. In the meantime take a chill pill…

  • I care when the Oilers, but it doesn’t bother me so much if they play like yesterday and lose. All I want is to see them show they give a Damn. Not just about scoring, but everything. Normally if a player is pushed around they rely on the refs to do something (save for Gazdic and maybe Ference and a very small few). I loved seeing an entire line stick up for Yak. That was new, and something I wanted to see all year. This team needs emotion like that. And Rexall will always appreciate that.

  • Spydyr

    Thoughts on last night’s game that makes one wonder.

    The owner cannot motivate the team by paying them millions and hiding out in Vancouver.

    The president despite having six rings cannot motivate the team.

    The GM and “bold moves” cannot motivate the team.

    The coach and chopping wood, haul water cannot motivate the team.

    The players despite being paid very handsomely cannot motivate themselves.

    One peeded off fan who had enough of all of the above people lets his frustration out and throws a jersey on the ice. The team shows up. Mind boggling ,it really is.

    • FussyPucker

      His heart is what hit the ice. I’ve been pretty mad too about the last 1/2 dozen games also but if this small gesture wakes a giant killer up, toss another jersey! That win over Winnipeg was awsome! The fan did quit. Play well and we’ll replace him. I’ve had my jersey for 30 yrs, it’s kinda tight a little dis-colored and a few loose threads. Paid $65.00 back in 1984 before we won the cup. Priceless

      • FussyPucker

        the jersey thrown was #83 non? not quite as priceless as Charlie Huddy’s or their cups. maybe your jersey means something but when I see an #83 jersey on the ice I think overpaid, underperforming and not enough playoffs. well done fan of the “new” oilers cuz the old guard didn’t need to motivate them…we were scared they’d take our team away not give us this one.

      • Word to the Bird

        I agree, I wouldn’t have tossed my jersey on the ice either but I think he made a statement and there are a lot of people who agree with his action at that moment.
        If you read Terry Jones artical from Monday,you will see that the fan didn’t quit. I also had a jersey from that era, wife #2 got it in the settlement ….

  • Ziom

    I also like what I saw in Yakapov yesterday. However the two, two-man advantages in the final frame was kind of disappointing. Further,should we trade, Yakapov and Schultz for Dustin Byfuglien?