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.

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

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.

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.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • A-Mc

    To be fair: Eakins didn’t bring up Arco’s play, a media guy did and that is why Arco was being discussed. Petry was also brought up but the video cuts out before you hear the answer.

    Arco wasn’t being singled out by Eakins.

    That being said: Obviously Arco was the least of the Oilers worries and IMO he didn’t deserve the comment about being “way off”

    • Joe Mamma

      I agree, although I thought that Eakins was surprisingly harsh on Arco, it was in response to a specific question about Arco.

      I am seeing a big difference of opinion between many in the fan base, as expressed in sites such as this, and the lap dog sports media in this town wrt respect to the value of Arco. Have any of the lap dogs asked Eakins how he thinks Gagner is playing? Gagner seems untouchable whilst Arco is singled out by a media wag as a problem on a night when perhaps 15 of the 20 players were not good enough.

      • pkam

        Perhaps that media guy didn’t want to drill on the negative so he asked about a less terrible player?

        Wonder how Grebeshkov did last night? I didn’t watch the game but I guess he must be doing pretty good since I didn’t see his name anywhere in this blog. I know if he makes even one mistake, at least half the comments will be trashing him.

  • 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!

  • Joe Mamma

    Eerily quiet on the site today. Guess even the writers and bloggers are out of ideas on how to polish this turd of a season.

    I guess I’d feel the same if I had to dissect corpses from train wrecks every day.

  • Chainsawz

    Trade Arcobello.

    This organization doesn’t deserve a competitor like him if this is the way he is going to be treated here.

    Only spoiled rich floaters allowed.

    Dark days indeed.

  • Oilerz4life

    2016. Its clear that ole Rexall is cursed. Face the facts. Between the horrendous uncompetitive home games to the bizarre onslaught of weird and overwhelming injuries. This can only be cleansed by playing in a new arena. Maybe Oilers used up all their good luck in the 83-90?! Who’s to say? But the evidence has piled up enough not to ignore. So 2016 it is. Until then…. rinse and repeat.

  • Oilerz4life

    Why has Steve MacInyre only been dressed for 2 out of 4 games with OKC????? Check out Ben Eagers KO of an opposing enforcer on hockey fights two weeks ago- Benjamin can still go when the spirit moves him!!!!!

  • **

    8 years after rebuild first started several key pieces still remain in control of our on ice product – Lowe, MacT. and Howson for the most part . Time has passed them by and we are left with their fallout which has been abysmal . Change will do us good as we distance ourselves from the eighties past , and form a team for this century .

  • S cottV

    I am starting to think that there is a serious disconnect going on behind closed doors, between the player group and Head Coach. May explain some of the lack of production from key players and some of the on-going systems breakdowns that are off the charts. While it can take some time, it cant be too long before the Coach is able to influence the player group to make tangible changes, to get with his program – for the most part. It is hard to believe that this process is going well – given what we see on the ice. Players being led down a certain path, need to see some increasingly positive results in the endeavor, or they are going to pull back on the throttle through lack of confidence or belief. The league is pretty tough if you dont have your guys in strong support – strong acceptence mode, for your leadership. Dont think Eakins has them anywhere near this zone and it may just be – too far gone. Young players and in particular young superstar players (at least in their own minds) tend to want quick fixes and are not in the habit of going out of their way to blame themselves – for too long. So – whether for some of the right reasons or for some of the wrong reasons – it wont be long before the Coach vision becomes the embraced player group (behind the scenes)target or excuse.

  • Oilerz4life

    ^We also care about the team. But the Rogers deal is big news and effects the Oilers. But we are not arguing, we are discussing lol. My friend here, believes that Rogers is limited to Canada. I was was under the impression that Rogers now owned 100% broadcast rights to the NHL, which brings in big profits from across the border (broadcasting US teams in the US or wherever). They also have ownership in FOX and a multitude of other media and broadcasting outlets. Whatever though you’re right, it doesn’t really matter, unless ofcourse you’re investing.

  • 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.