GDB -6: JETTING TO WINNIPEG

The Oilers will have their pregame skate in Edmonton this morning, and then fly to Winnipeg this afternoon to take on the Jets. That would never happen in the regular season, but that’s life in the preseason.

For many of the veterans it is another opportunity to sharpen their skills, while those on the bubble hope to impress Dallas Eakins, and for some it is likely their final preseason game.

After Saturday’s split-squad games vs. the Flames the Oilers have had a few days to try and learn Eakins new systems. It will take a few games before every player is completely comfortable with the new system, so expect a few defensive breakdowns.

 When you look down tonight’s roster it seems easy to pick who falls into the category of veteran sharpening his skill, bubble boys and guys destined for reassignment.

LINEUP

Jones-Gagner-Omark
Joensuu-Lander-Pitlick
R. Hamilton-Arcobello-Yakupov
Moroz-Martindale-Abney

Smid-Petry
Grebeshkov-Klefbom
Larsen-Davidson

LaBarbera
Bachman

Gagner, Jones, Yakupov, Smid, Petry, Grebeshkov and LaBarbera are safe bets to be on the team.

Lander, Joensuu, Omark, Hamilton, Arcobello and Larsen are in battle for a roster spot up front or on the backend.

Martindale, Abney, Bachman, Pitlick and Davidson will be heading to OKC eventually.

It looks like Klefbom will start the season in OKC, which will allow him to get comfortable to the North American game, and I won’t be surprised if his recalled at some point this season.

Moroz will be heading back to junior, likely on Wednesday, and get set for the Oil Kings season opener this coming Friday.

Joensuu, Hamilton and Arcobello had strong first games, but playing well early in preseason isn’t as important as playing well late when the rosters are filled with more NHL caliber players. They will need to build on their strong start to stay ahead of the pack.

Omark, Lander and Larsen were okay in their debuts, but a strong performance tonight could put them right back on track. Tonight is Pitlick’s first opportunity to impress the coaches, and he feels he is ready to take a serious run at a roster spot. Davidson has impressed early in camp, but he’ll need some more seasoning in the AHL before he’s ready for a regular

Tonight’s game will be streamed live on the Oilers website at 6 p.m. MST.

JETS LINEUP…

Tonight’s lineup will come from this group of forwards and D-men. It sounds like the top three lines and top four D-men will dress, and then the 4th line and final D pairing will be decided at the morning skate. When I get confirmation I will edit the lineup to the usual 18 skaters.

***Edit*** Here is the Jets lineup.***

Kane-Jokinen-Setoguchi
Wright-Scheifele-Frolik
Telegin-Slater-Peluso
Tangradi-O’Dell-Klingberg

Byfuglien-Clitsome
Stuart-Postma
Trouba-Melchiori

Pavelec
Montoya

DALLAS THE DOER

Yesterday on my radio show, Ryan Jones talked about gaining confidence, trying to get back to his style of play and the impact Eakins has had on the organization. 

Jason Gregor: It’s pre-season and I’m not sure if there are any studies that say that if you score in the pre-season, it carries over but it’s always good to score for a guy like you. Does it build confidence when you get a goal early in the pre-season? 

Ryan Jones: It has to. Even if you score in shinny hockey or in practise you get a little bit more confidence. So it has to. You know what, that goal just reiterates what I have to do to be a successful player.  

I’ve said all along that I’m trying to get back to the way that I was playing a couple of years ago which made me successful and that’s exactly what I did in the exhibition game; just be a pain in the ass. Sorry, can I say that? Be a pain in the butt [laughs], get to the front of the net because there are so many guys throughout this line-up who are so good with the puck and there is no sense in me, once I can get in there. Bang a body, get the puck on their stick, it’s useless for me to crowd those guys.  

So to get in front of the net, to crowd that net area, to allow them to have a little bit of space, to allow them to bring it to the net is the most ideal thing that I can do. Especially when I’m playing with [David] Perron. Once I got in, I made a hit and the puck goes to him there’s no sense in following that guy around. He’s skilled enough to make plays and get it into the net so I just made it a point to put my butt in the goalie’s face and try to make as much havoc as I could. We had a tonne of grade ‘A’ scoring chances out of me doing it.  

Gregor: Do the goalies look smaller with the smaller pads? Have you noticed it at all? 

Jones: It’s funny because when we were skating in Minnesota and Josh Harding wore them, I thought that he looked tiny. When he put his pads together and stood in the net, it just looked like there was so much open net. Other than that one time, I haven’t really noticed.  

You know what? They all look gigantic in there. It seems like every time I come down to shoot there are very little openings but like I said, that’s not my game. Usually they’re on their back or their sides or their knees when I’m chipping pucks in so they pretty much all look the same for me. 

Gregor: Dallas Eakins has come in and made some subtle things; the locker room is different, the pictures are down, he has a big focus on nutrition, he’s a real task master on wanting the guys to be in shape. Did this team need a real culture change and have you noticed it from your head coach? 

Jones: I have noticed it. You want to know what, there are doers and talkers and we’ve unfortunately had a lot of people who were great talkers. And I mean even to you guys, they answered all of the questions the right way but it seemed like it was never different in the room compared to when I came here all of the way through last year.

Yeah we got a little bit better, we got younger, we got more skilled, but even in the locker room with the guys there were a lot of guys who seemed to talk the right game but nothing ever seemed to get done.

I haven’t heard Dallas say very many words outside of what you guys ask him, but he just does everything. He shows us in this locker room what he wants to be done by example. He wants something done, he goes out there, he shows us, we do it. And he demands that out of us. That’s what this locker room needs. He’s going to demand everything out of everybody and Dallas, as far as I can tell, is exactly that guy. From what I’ve heard, and briefly seen, he’s a player’s coach, he’s demanding and his accountability is second to none. 

Gregor: He talked earlier about how he likes longer practices and he likes to push guys. What did you think about the practice? 

Jones: [Laughs] They are fairly long, but you know what, they’re detailed and you’re not just out there wasting time. You’re never out there just doing a shooting drill to do a shooting drill. Everything that we did out there on the ice today was a team game, some sort of aspect of what we’re going to need to do to win and be a successful team. At the end we got to do a shoot a puck but everything else was a backcheck or a forecheck or faceoffs. There’s no wasted time when you’re out there and that’s good because it keeps you on your toes and it keeps your mind in every single practice, that’s what we need. We can’t have any guys sleeping at any point in time. 

PARTING SHOTS….

Jones’ comments on Eakins being a doer, and not just a talker spoke volumes. I think we’d all agree that for the past few seasons we’ve heard a lot of talk, but we never saw the action match the words.

Eakins has shown he isn’t afraid to make changes. Will changing the paint and decor of a room make the Oilers play better on the ice, unlikely, but it illustrates that Eakins won’t be sticking with the status quo. Yesterday’s practice was uptempo the entire time, and it will be interesting to watch how they practice throughout the year.

I’ve written on many occasions the past few years how different the Oilers practices were compared to other teams. Chicago and Detroit had quicker paced practices, especially their puck drills.

He wants to change the culture in his dressing room, and he will make his players more accountable on the ice. He’s outlined a new workout routine that he expects the players to follow. He’s given them an outline for what he expects on practice days, as well as game days.

Some players won’t be impacted by the changes, because many of them had pre-skate work out routines as well as post-game routines, but it will be different for some. It is no longer optional.

  • ESPN ranked the top-50 D-men in the NHL and J.Schultz was the only Oiler to crack the list at #40. I was surprised to see Ekman-Larsson and McDonagh ahead of Pietrangelo, albeit only a few spots, but overall I’d agree with most of the rankings. Your thoughts? Schultz is ranked a bit high, if you go off last seasons numbers, but I suspect they added his potential when ranking him. His overall game will be much better this year compared to last season.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • I live in Langley BC and I tried to stream the Edmonton/Calgary game the other day and I got “outside the viewing area” from the Edmonton Oilers website. However, I could stream the game from the Calgary website. I do have NHL Game Center and they do not show any preseason games.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Kronwall, Subban, and Phaneuf are all way over-rated in the ESPN list (especially Kronwall).

    Lots of guys lower on the list I’d rather have on my team than any of those three (Subban mostly because of his mouth and attitude, admittedly. If he could grow up and shut up, I’d like him a lot better.)

    Not saying these guys wouldn’t make the list, but I’d put them all a lot lower than ESPN.

    • pkam

      WTF does Subban’s perceived (yes, perceived, you have NO idea what he’s like personally) attitude have to do with you, or with his ability to be the best defender in the NHL last year?

      I will agree that Kronwall and Phaneuf are overrated, but Subban is a legitimate Weber-calibre defender, and anyone who still thinks otherwise is simply incorrect.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Re-read carefully and you will understand that I did not say Subban could not play defense.

        By the way, you have no idea what he is like personally, either. But you obviously didn’t pay attention to the many reports of Subban’s on-ice antics. You don’t have to agree with them (it’s called an opinion, and people are allowed to have ones that differ from yours without responding with “WTF”).

        You love Subban. Great.

        I prefer Doughty and others.

        Get over it, it’s just a hockey blog…

        • pkam

          I waz on aware that Dion Phaneuf ever won a Norris.

          Look at the Norris trophy winners of the past and show me one “flash in the pan in the last 40 years. This isn’t the Vezina. Or Rocket Richard. The Norris is BONAFIDE.

        • Rocket

          They are about the same in my books (Doughty and Subban) They both had a really good year, and are solid D. With Subban at this moment in time a better player. Cause you know, he just won the “Best defender” award.

          As for Letang… I take Subban over him erry day. I like my D men to be able to do more than just get points (which subban is better at)

          Letang G44 A165 .54PPG

          PK G32 A82 .56 PPG

          PK hits hard, and is hated by everyone, except people in Montreal. Wish the oilers had someone like that….

  • Chilly Canadian

    I like Ryan Jones. He seems like a genuine guy, and hearing the interview yesterday was no exception. Hopefully the recovery from the eye injury last year is complete and he’ll be back to the 15-20 goal guy he was the year before! I always liked how he could move from the fourth line grinder position all the way up to the first line on injury basis and still contribute.

  • DSF

    I promised myself I’d wait till one month in to begin putting expectations on this team and the players. But it’s soooo hard. Of all the things to come out of this training camp, I’m really hoping one of Joensuu, Jones, or Eager can be the successful big body wing that can play in our top nine with the skill guys.

    Who knows if it will last, but Eakins certainly looks like he’s trying to balance the team instead of just having one power line. It will be interesting to see how that strategy pays off in the regular season.

    In addition to our pre season, it has been fun watching some other teams around the league, and the effects of some of the off season moves.

    Iginla could have found his old self on a line with Kreichi and Lucic. If so, that would be one of the most difficult lines to play against in the NHL.

    Clarkson looked pretty good on the leafs. I still think they overpaid, but he really does add that element every team is looking for.

    Way too early prediction: Senators win the eastern conference in the regular season.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Am I reading this right? Did Jones just stick the knife in Krueger’s back and twist?

    It is time for an Oiler/AHL roster to upset a mostly NHL squad. Like always, we prevail in Winnipeg 3-2. Anyone know what happened to that giant picture of the Queen in the old arena?

    • striatic

      Of course he didn’t drop the gloves MORON!!! McGrattan was in their line-up and he would have been Joensuu’s next fight! Watch the Calgary-Ottawa highlights. Jones runs around so SDAO (Ottawa) nails him. Stajan jumps Sdao. Sdao kicks the s%^t out of Stajan. Next time Sdao is on the ice, Hartley sends McGrattan after him. Sdao gets cut and dropped. Thats why nobody screws around with the Flames! Oilers don’t have that luxury. We don’t believe in enforcers like most of the other teams in the NHL do. Could you have imagined what McGrattan would have done to Sarich if he were an Oiler, and the coach let him do his job after Sarich steamrolled Hall two years ago! By the way, Matt Kassian was not in the Ottawa line-up last night, but he will be when these two teams meet again, and he will line up with McGrattan, and you can guess the rest! THE LEAGUE KNOWS NOT TO SCREW AROND WITH THE FLAMES EVEN IF THY START TROUBLE!!!!!

      • I’ll take a shot.

        McGrattan will play about 2:30, basically doing no more than cruising around like a great white shark. Eventually he’ll get his staged fight from some sucker looking to make an NHL roster where he’ll be given a double minor and a game misconduct.

        While short-handed the fLames will get scored on three times, effectively ending any chance to win the game ten minutes into the first period.

        Sound about right?

      • OilClog

        I have to leave him alone (as per orders), but potatoes are delicious.

        I can see Eakins putting a no fight order in place, but IMO Joenssu still could of responded to the hit. Send a quick message out.. “I’ll bash your face, then power move to the net and score”

    • Truth

      Strictly going off some of Joenssu’s comments and video of him fighting in NY when a teammate got hammered, I think he would drop the mitts if necessary. I would guess the Oilers coaching staff had the no-fight order on last weekend. There were numerous times the Flames fighters challenged Oilers and no response. I would assume Eakins wants the players to make the team on the merit of their ability to play hockey. Fighting to make the squad, like WHL open tryouts years ago, doesn’t seem to be Eakin’s thing.

      Jackman was picking on Nurse all game in Edmonton. Would love to see Nurse tune him in 4-5 years from now if Jackman still has a career, hopefully in Calgary.

  • OilClog

    Zero sense to black out a professional hockey game, that one game could generate 10new fans and thousands of dollars in merchandised sold down the line.. But nope.. Blackout. Good marketing that is

    • Jason Gregor

      He needs to clear waivers to go to OKC, but he would go to AHL…Main reason he signed was so he could be a UFA next summer. If he doesn’t play out his contract Oilers still own his rights. He’ll go to AHL, or another NHL on waivers if he doesn’t make the Oilers.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Quick note for out of town fans.

    The NHL has implemented a regional blackout on these preseason games. You can only watch the Oilers-Jets game on the Oilers site if you live in AB, SK or NWT.

    https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers/statuses/379752612393791488

    Edmonton OilersVerified account
    ‏@EdmontonOilers
    Following up on a few questions, we are unable to webcast games outside of our region (AB, SK, NWT) as per the @NHL Broadcast Agreement.

    The Jets will also stream the game, but it will also be regionally blacked out per the same NHL BS.

    https://twitter.com/NHLJets/statuses/379425323768508416

    Winnipeg JetsVerified account
    ‏@NHLJets
    For those asking about the live feed, the league has implemented a regional restriction on the stream, sorry out-of-town fans!

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I’m sure they think they have a good reason(s), but I can’t think what it would be.

        This just works to drive fans away, frustrate their experience, stifle their enthusiasm… and it is just plain “old media” thinking. It’s like we are being transported back to the days of suing Napster.

        Oh and… all this does is shave advertising potential away from the NHL and drive up the market for piracy.

        • oilerjed

          Does anyone know if the games are available on nhl gamecenter? Turns out I forgot to unsubscribe again and am locked in for the year. Might as well use it. The Calgary games were listed but didnt work.

        • West

          Sitting up in northern Alberta. Tried to watch Flames at Oilers on Oilers TV on Saturday and kept getting a message saying I was outside their area. A little frustrating as I am sure I know my location better than their computer does.

        • Truth

          The NHL must get a decent cut from NHL Center Ice. Having satellite for many years I used to watch all Canadian teams’ games on the various regions of Sportsnet. NHL Center Ice becomes available and all of a sudden there is regional blackouts. Unsurprisingly, you can watch games on Center Ice that are blacked out in your region. Unbelievably frustrating.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            You are probably right. Center Ice/Game Center probably have a lot to do with it…

            But I still — even in those cases — don’t follow the argument for regional blackouts. I mean obviously it is some kind of collusion between the broadcasters, cable providers and the NHL to get you to pay for everything… but it is really outdated thinking in the on-demand world.

            And… that still doesn’t explain why you would block exhibition games.

          • Tikkanese

            If it fixes the feed problems(no sound, buffering, not even loading period for some people, etc) then I’m ok with that. But if it is Rob Kerr doing the play by play, I’m more than fine with no sound!

          • Where's Your Towel

            We cut our cable (sattelite) just before last season finally got started.

            GameCenter is subject to local blackouts. You cannot watch any game that is being offered by a “local” company that wants your money. This is incredibly frustrating, especially considering that cable and satellite providers intentionally package their product to increase the cost to individuals who only want one thing.

            For example, Telus has two packs of “Sports” channels. Knowing that there are a large number of their customers who only watch hockey, they put TSN and Sportsnet in separate packs to ensure hockey fans will have to buy both. Inexcusable money grubbing in my opinion.

            I assumed I would just order GameCenter when the season started last year only to find out that living in Calgary, I would not be able to watch any Oilers games broadcast on CBC, SN, or TSN.

            I realize that the whole reason for this is that the NHL has contracts with the cable providers and they have to live up to these obligations. That being said, these ridiculous restrictions have given me all the incentive I need to pursue.. ahem.. other options for streaming games. They have *not* made me reconsider cable/sattelite. If anything, they have strengthened my resolve.

          • DSF

            Easy to work around.

            Get a streaming box like Apple TV.

            Then, use a VPN service like Un Block Us to generate a new IP address for you.

            http://www.unblock-us.com

            Enter that new address in your Apple TV, set up Game Center on your Apple TV and, voila, you appear to be watching from the U.S.

            No blackouts.

            (This also allows you to watch U.S. Netflix and Hulu Plus)

          • geoilersgist

            This is actually a very useful service, however people looking for *free* hockey still have to pay for gamecentre and $5/month for unblock-us.

            Seriously though the $5/month is worth it without gamecentre. American netflix is great…

          • OilClog

            Yeah, but adtimefree and unblock-us can be set at the router level, so any devices connected to the internet are covered. For example, I have a roku box which I use for netflix. mediahint wouldn’t work for this, but adfreetime does

  • Czar

    As a side note. If Jones and Joensuu make the team and play they way we hope, the oilers could look very good. Both guys could play a shift or two on a higher line and add something to those lines that are lacking. Could have three solid scoring lines that way.

    A successfull team needs players who can, in a pinch, play up and down the line up.

    I hope Joensuu gets into 7 fights this year, not fighting just to fight but fighting becuase he is sticking up for someone or is defending himself becuase he has annoyed the other team.

  • pkam

    If you want to send a message, wouldn’t you think game 1 is the best timing?

    If KO is not effective enough and missed by the whole league, what else can be more effective?

  • pkam

    Didn’t McIntyre KO Ivanans of Calgary Flames in 2010-11? Was THE MESSAGE strong enough?

    Wonder why Hall had to fight Dorsett and ended his season earlier the same year? I guess Hall must think nobody dared to touch him after McIntyre sent the message with that KO.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If the coach lets MacIntyre grab the offender and beat the tar out of him, regardless of the penalties, he will probably only have to do this once and THE MESSAGE WILL BE SENT!!!!! Don’t MESS WITH THE OIL SKILL!!!!!

  • Do what Weight did?

    Calgary beating Edm in the standings had nothing to do with their goalie, right? So can you explain to me why, even in all those games with Smacintyre, Hemsky was still getting run by every goon in the league, AND we still finished at the bottom?

    Besides, if Joensu fights Wideman, who says he has to fight McGratten? He can skate away like the entire league did when Macintyre went looking for a fight after the fact.

    As for the whole online video streaming: garbage. It didn’t work for me out in Saskatoon. The whole system seems to be set up to make it difficult/expensive to get what you want legally (Game of Thrones style). If gigantic media corporations are gonna give me the runaround, and try to make obscene profits by screwing me, then I’m not going to play their games, especially when other options exist. I’ll happily pay a reasonable amount for what I will actually use, but I’m not into paying way more money for crap I neither want nor will use.

    Btw, I’ve purchased both seasons of G of T once available. And spent hundreds (probably thousands) on Oilers jerseys/tickets over the last 20 years. If anyone thinks I’m ‘stealing’ from the NhL, the Oilers or HBO, they have a very narrow vision of reality that I can’t respect.

  • pkam

    Last season we finished 24th, did Calgary finish higher? Or are you talking CFL?

    We had Steve McIntyre for 3 years and how many fights did he have? And we must be injury free in those years, right?