GDB 14.0 EXPECTATIONS

 

As promised the 2012 Lockout has condensed the 2013 season and put ‘er on FF. Normally as Oilers fans we are entitled to at least several weeks of unreasonable optimism, followed by about a month or so where we are confused and perplexed about the team. Are they underachieving? Is the performance we are seeing legitimate given the talent the team has? Then we turn on each other for a month or two and then finally invent snazzy acronyms for being in last place.

But with the lockout shortened season this annual dance has been compressed and months have become weeks. Weeks have turned into days. Days become seconds. It’s all happening so fast.

THE POWER OF EXPECTATION

We all have one buddy who is the eternal optimist. No matter how bad things may get the guy just has that rosy expectation that things are going to turn out ok. And often as not that is exactly what happens. We have a buddy who is like this particularly when it comes to gambling.

He will walk into a casino and expect to leave up on the night. It’s just in his DNA that on the odd night when his old lady lets him go out sans leash he is going to walk away up a fat stack and then will spend the next few weeks telling us how he has spent the money secretly without the Missus finding out.

Others may sit at the blackjack table with him getting bad hands. "I never win" they will mutter under their breath. "This dealer is crooked. I can’t believe casinos are legal." As the night goes on they will come up with a million different reasons for why it is impossible to win at the tables.

And all the while our buddy will keep his mouth shut, brimming with secret positivity. If he loses a few hands – fine. If the dealer makes 21 off of a 6 and screws the entire table that’s ok too. Even if he has to make a few trips to the ATM in the process he is still completely confident he is walking away at some point up on the night.

And he always does.

EXPECT TO WIN

As it goes with a guy who can’t help but make a few hundy at the casino so goes it with professional athletes. Confidence is a big part of the game and an overriding belief that you are going to win goes a long way to being a winning team.

A team that is now this stocked with talented Super Kids has a major dose of individual confidence. Guys like Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t dominate through minor and junior hockey ranks by being fatalists. They operate on the base assumption that they are going to win – just like our buddy at the casino.

Organizationally the Oilers have about as much confidence as Lindsay Lohan on Oscar nominations day* We can’t imagine what thoughts rattle around in Steve Tambellini’s head while he assesses the situation for the 6907th game in a row but we can’t think its "now with a couple more pieces added to the puzzle it’s playoff time for Steve!"

Hardly. He has shown us beyond a shadow of a doubt that he lacks the confidence to make any major moves and put himself at the risk of being crucified by fans and media alike for doing the wrong thing. He continues to sit and be fit.

THE TRANSITION TO WINNING

 

Part of the transition of this club away from the Shitanusly Bad Hockey Era (2007-2012) is removing all of the negative nancies in the room and moving towards the swagger that seeps from the pores of 4, 14, 19, 64 and 93. Think that the Nuge considers himself to be crappy now that he has been cold for a couple weeks? Please. Think King Jordan of Eberle lies awake at night surrounded by naked sleeping supermodels wondering if he will ever score again? As if.

This team is loaded to the rafters with world class talent. The pieces that need to be added – a couple role players here – a couple upgrades on the back end there – are waaaaaay easier to find than the Fab 5 that will be lacing them up for the Oil for the next 15 years.

Expectations cannot be lowered. Period.

Ask teams like Columbus and the Isles what happens when expectations are lowered and the belief in winning is snuffed out. You sit at the bottom of the league and never ever leave. Think Scott Howson came to work every day looking for ways to make big moves to get the team out of the basement? Nope.

Winners win. Losers lose. Excuses in the long run are just that. If you are paid by Kay-Z to play or work for this club and you  don’t think you can make the playoffs with every fibre of your being you gotta go. Yesterday.

GAME DAY VS AVS

The Oilers (5-5-3) play the Colorado Avalanche (5-6-1) tonight. A team with high expectations for its season – say the lofty goal of being the 8th best team in the Western Conference – looks to a game like this with an opponent below them in the standings as a night to score some goals and walk away with a win. The Avs are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games and there is nothing going on in Colorado that would suggest that the Mighty Oil can’t break out against them tonight.

Dubnyk is starting in the next for the Oil and the lines are as follows courtesy of the Oilers twitter feed:

Hall-Nuge-Eberle

Hartikainen-Gagner-Hemsky

Smyth-Belanger-Yakupov

Eager-Vandevelde-Petrell

Whitney-Petry

Schultz-Schultz

Smid-Fistric

IN CLOSING

Leave your game day predictions in the comments below. We predict only one thing: the Oilers win. Seriously.

*ZING!

**ZING!

  • m3sh

    I thought this was a very good game by 64, made some solid plays. Needs to pass that puck on the PP, but he played very well.

    Can’t say enough about the boys pulling that out of the fire though, 89 with his usual give one away get one back (14 PP goal was all him there, 83 scoring goals is always a good sign, 94 showed up, 4 was of course 4 and finally 93 pots one.

    Whitney clearly has to go, love the guy but he simply is not keeping position….sad to see.

    • McDavid's Comet

      Couldn’t disagree more on two related points….64 made an incredible one time pass on the PP. This pass was the reason 89 had so much time and space on the goal that was supposedly “all him”

      I suggest you get yourself a PVR there bud

  • treblecharger

    capgeek/nhl numbers do not add salary numbers of players on IR, at last look the total did not contain the salaries of Horcoff, Belanger, Khabi, Jonesy, etc. Hence the apparent 14.7 M.

  • bwar

    Yakupov looked invisible on the Smyth line. Not sure if it was a Hartikainen injury or if Krueger wanted to get some more pop into the top six but once Yak got his spot back on the Gagner line, man he looked like he had something to prove. And then on top of that Eager looked great on the Smyth line and I think he drew two penalties via hard work.

    The new PP units looked good. Strange not seeing Eberle getting in position for one-timers but he seemed pretty comfortable down low. Also great play by both Yak and Gagner on the Eberle goal.

    Very exciting game to watch. Strange to see a team dominate and then have to overcome two three goal deficits.

  • O.C.

    I wonder how many would have had the balls to show up and tell DSF he was right, if he was right?

    “When you win say LITTLE… when you lose say nothing.”

    or

    “Act like you’ve been there before.”

    (it’s getting old – all the DSF bashing… from a die hard Oiler fan)

    • O.C.

      After 30, 30, and 29, it feels like we haven’t been there before. And if we say little when we win, when do we get to say anything? Come on, Oilcruzer, a little slack.

      • O.C.

        Don’t you find it lame when people talk trash when they win? How hard is that?

        A real man shows up and admits when they are wrong… and we didn’t see many show up before yesterday.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Its been wrong thinking the Oil are competitive enough to win for the past 6 years, and I totally admit it. Being an Oiler fan(atic) is a burden I can’t throw off – so it’s just been pure suffering. So when they win in a fairly unique and dramatic way (a la OT against LA, or a record shots on goal, come from way behind like last night), I will use this rare opportunity to talk trash knowing full well that it might be the last time this season, and that a steady diet of force fed DSF flavored humble pie is in the offing. Its the lot of the Oiler Nation.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Doug……..You’ve got to get ZEN like …..WINNING is a state of mind…..You’re a die hard Oilers fan…..so by definition you’re a WINNER!!! Now…. go change your login name….maybe small steps….DougtheSnail… (Zen doesn’t happen over night)

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Suffering is my natural state of mind at this point.If winning started I would probably spontaneously combust. In fact, down 4-1, I was already calculating the odds on Seth Jones. The comeback has totally destabilized me.

  • paul wodehouse

    …but OC… i still get a kick outta some of the nations’ citizens regularly spill a marble or two from their collective sacks here… from how charlie gives HUGS to oilclog or oilsomeone fights tooth and nail for every wrong turn the guy makes…i know i wanna go to Victoria (where he apparently lives) and make that trip to downtown Seattle from there in a half an hour as he suggested awhile back during the Katz pulling his team BS…his schtick only gets old if you let it get old …the guy hangs in in spite of all the bashing … he’s not stupid OC we know that and sometimes he’s knowledgebly funny albeit he gets caught more often than not when his spew gets on too many of his detractors…but here’s the thing we will revel in EVERY one of his gaffs and that’s a good thing …imo he gets waaay too much attention here he gets waaay too far under the skin of waaay too many … part of me wishes he stays forever but he won’t…i wonder sometime… would he and Ender have clashed in a meteoric battle to the death here by now?

  • book¡e

    DSF has chosen trolling as his MO. The childish responses to him (the ones that target him as opposed to his arguments) are worse than his impact here. If you don’t like DSF just ignore him.

  • DSF

    A little too much single malt during the game last night to drop by.

    The game was pretty much going according to Hoyle with Colorado dominating early until the Oilers apparently decided they’d had enough.

    An amazing 30 minute performance makes you wonder why they haven’t been able to summon that kind of effort in the past.

    • The Soup Fascist

      C’mon DSF!

      I had “the Colorado Avalanche are a minor league team and the Canucks would have beat them by 7 goals” in the pool.

      Appreciate you showing up this a.m. but the acknowledgement that the Oil showed some push back was unexpected and frankly disturbing.

      Well I hope at least you drink your single malt the civilized way – with lots of ice and diet coke.*

      * If that doesn’t set DSF off, nothing will.

      • DSF

        Diet Coke?

        You think I’m a heathen?

        One ice cube.

        While it may not have mattered last night you have to remember that Colorado was missing their 3 best players.

        We’ll see how many shots they can get against the Kings on Tuesday.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Same Colorado team that beat the Minnesota Wild….in Minnesota….3 nights ago…..But I Take your point that you can’t really get a true bearing on the Oils progress by comparing them to lesser teams like the Avalanche, the Wild and the Blue Jackets. It really isn’t a sound marker for measuring their progress.

          As you point out, there is ONE game next week we can use as a measuring stick…..LA on Tuesday.

          • DSF

            The Kings, despite once again not being able to score much, are second in the league in SA/G, allowing only 23.9 despite missing both Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene.

            Why any lineup that features Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter, Gagne, Williams and Doughty can’t score much is a complete mystery to me.

            Hell, Doughty has zero goals and only 4 assists.

          • Reg Dunlop

            Again…I’m not being sarcastic when I ask…

            Quicksilver…..Do you think a team like the Kings with all that talent is lacking, Heart? are Gutless? etc…..(the question is in reference to previous comments that you made about the Oil lacking Heart, being gutless etc.) I really couldn’t understand that statement at the time….

            I too think they lack grit/size/edge/toughness and obviously experience….but I don’t have a big issue with heart and leadership ( or at least leadership potential)….

          • Quicksilver ballet

            First of all, i don’t believe the NHL is what it use to be. It has become easier to win that marathon that is the Stanly Cup. The Kings weren’t a great hockey team last regular season. They survived that two month marathon and were the better/healthier team of the two left. Can’t even remember who they beat to be honest. Leaders did emerge when it matter most for LA Kings in june, but someone had to win the cup, it’s mandatory that someone win it every year. The Hurricanes, the Lightning and the Kings……this has to be a difficult era for this league i’d have to think. Alot of one year wonders is carrying this league now. Watch our Oilers be in the final next season, the talent is spread so thin around the league, it’s not that much of a stretch. Edmonton did came out of nowhere in 06.

            You don’t agree the Oilers were lacking leadership,heart and guts till it appeared with 25 minutes to go last night?

          • Quicksilver ballet

            @ Yak be nimble

            “You don’t agree the Oilers were lacking leadership,heart and guts till it appeared with 25 minutes to go last night?”

            Honestly, even prior to last night I felt/could see that the team had heart and was developing some leaders…..Of course you could always use more heart and more leadership….but I didn’t see it as a core issue….in that they have it and just need to further develope it.

            As for Guts….like you have pointed out…we have had too many guys lieing on the ice too many times…getting pushed around….not taking it to the net, not willing to play a physical cycle game in the corners etc….but again….even prior to last nights game….I thought that Gagner came in to the year at least a little more physical, Magnus is looking way stronger than he did a year ago, the Harti’s and VandeVelde’s of the world have stepped it up a notch….so I could see progression….but on Guts …I would agree with you…..I saw it as a major defficiency..and last nights game helped a little to put my mind at rest that the defficiency (while it still exists) may not be quite as big as I thought it was.

  • Word to the Bird

    As much as it was a fun game to watch, Just don’t consider it a classic. Colorado was missing their first line center and captain and best defensemen and had other injuries, Remove Nuge, Hall, Schultz, a few other bodies and it puts it in perspective.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Could be a huge boost of confidence for this team, if one can overlook the first 30 mins.

    Things that stood out to me last evening were, Taylor Hall worked his way to playing like the first overall draft pick he was. Busted his hump, besting his effort of a hat trick a couple yrs ago against the Sens. Ben Eager had a very strong game as well i thought.

    Dubey still looks a little tired. Ride Khabibulin for as long as possible, don’t matter who’s in goal, the W is the only thing that matters. Hopefully the Oilers can put together a strong next 15 games or so, land them squarely in the playoff picture again. 6-8th place in the west is within reasonable expectations based on their talent alone. 5 out of 6 possible remaining points from this homestand should put the Oilers where we hoped they’d be at the near halfway mark of the season. With the heart/leadership shown last night they’ll be a stronger team in the second half.

    • DSF

      This could be a turning point in the team’s history and could also signal the end of the rebuild IF Tambellini starts putting the complimentary pieces in place.

      The Oilers have been fortunate this season in that they’ve had no serious injuries to key players like many other WC teams have.

      If they occur, the Oilers don’t have the depth to cope IMO.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Agreed, not many teams are managed with that in mind. Most are allowing themselves to be spent just fielding a competitive team. Like you’ve always mentioned DSF. It starts with decent management. Star players have to leave enough dough on the table for the supporting cast types.

        I’m just hoping the Oilers can work towards fielding a stronger cast that resembles a decent top 11 on their club this season. A strong top 7 forwards, capable top 3 blueliners and a goaltender is a good start. Support and depth players are easier to aquire than it is putting together a group of the backbone/top 11 core players.

        • Reg Dunlop

          I’m not being sarcastic when I ask…..You say that “It starts with decent management”…”A strong top 7 forwards, capable top 3 blueliners and a goaltender is a start”….

          Is that then saying that the Oilers have decent management and are on the right track?

          • Quicksilver ballet

            If the fab 5 excell as a group, most or all meet the often unrealistic fan expectation, then yes. If they can make the players around them better, the last 6 yrs of suckage may have been worth it. Coaching and management are still measured by the success of the players jumping over the boards.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    @OC
    A real man shows up and admits when they are wrong… and we didn’t see many show up before yesterday

    I picked the Oilers to win 12-0 and I was wrong.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Might not be a popular move, but we all seen the effect of the quick footed Ben Eager last night. Offer JF Jacques and invitation to camp this fall. With a whole new group of players here since he left. maybe he meshes with the new group of kids. Another Ben Eager type at less than half the price of Ben Eager. These are the type of “finds” the Oilers will need to take advantage of. This was one of Glen Sathers strongest areas, Current management will need to bring in plyers who outperform the value of their contract as well.

    JF’s back is probably better, his footspeed and hands have never been a problem as well. He’s worth another looksee in the fall, timing is everything.

    • Reg Dunlop

      JF Jaques was a very interesting player, played a solid in the AHL but his game could not translate to the NHL.

      There have to be better options out there, and Ben Eager is one of them. He is the fastest 240 lb guy that I have seen in a very long time. Let’s keep what we got with ( Eager) and develop him.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Eager looked good…..for the reasons you mentioned (6’2″ 236lbs with footspeed)….

      Would add to that:

      1) He’s young enough (29) to play a meaningful role for several more seasons.
      2) His concussion issues (while on the one hand a bad thing) may force him to change the way he plays..playing a slightly more disciplined game, relying more on his size, speed and experience….with the possibility that he is just as effective/aggressive, with fewer penalties ( you can kind of see that in him already.) This kind of change in style might turn out to be more condusive to the way the game is played/officiated in todays NHL.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I like the technical quality of HNIC but I have to turn the sound off in between periods. In particular , P.J. Stock is brutal. Not articulate enough to be in the media.

  • Tallying a franchise record in shots is no small feat no matter what line up Colorado dressed. Especially when Gretzky and co. were never able to do so against any combination of rosters.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @ Yak be nimble

    Thanks for bringing up J.F. Jacques. If Harti, and Magnus and VandeVelde can be affected in a positive way by time and chemistry then perhaps J.F. Jacques as well…..( and a ways down the road even a guy like Tyler Pitlick)

    Point being that the whole idea makes me give a little more consideration to the prospects we have in the system and the power of time and chemistry.