DUCK HUNTING

After a 5-1 attack by the Sharks last night, things don’t get any easier for the Oilers tonight when they will try to hand the Ducks their first home regulation loss of the season. The Ducks are 15-0-2 at home, and have outscored their opponents 65-31. The Ducks have allowed three goals twice and four goals once in 17 games, so don’t expect much offence from the Oilers tonight.

The harsh reality is that the Oilers are severely overmatched heading into tonight’s match. While they try not to think about that, I’m sure it is impossible not to have those thoughts creep into their head. If the Ducks score early, things could get ugly.

LINEU…updated

Hall-RNH-Perron
Yakupov-Gagner-??
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Joensuu-???-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Hunt-N.Schultz

Bryzgalov

Eberle has a knee injury and won’t play.  It sounds like Jones and Arcobello will return, so we won’t know the exact lines until later. If it is me I put Hemsky with Yakupov and Gagner. Yakupov has more success playing with Hemsky than he does any other forward.

The Oilers have recalled D-man Brad Hunt from OKC, and he’ll be a game time decision. Maybe an Oiler D-man is banged up, or maybe they want to put someone in the pressbox. Martin Marincin has played well enough to stay in the lineup, and it would be odd to take him out and insert 5’9" Hunt against the Ducks.

Quick scouting report on Hunt… "Smart player. Moves the puck well and fires it hard. Not overly fast, but makes up for it with hockey sense."

Why was Hunt recalled and not Klefbom some wonder? Fair question, but it happened because Hunt is playing better right now, and partially because it is best to keep Klefbom away from a losing environment. Klefbom is also still dealing with an injury, but even prior to that he was only playing okay according to coaching reports.

Either way, the Oilers need a strong effort from all 18 skaters if they have a hope of being competitive tonight.

QUICK HITS

  • Oilers are so far away from the elite teams in the league it is scary. It illustrates just how far they have to go. I don’t see a quick fix over the summer.
     
  • I might be in minority, but I think J.Schultz has improved his defensive game a lot the past two weeks. He’s making smarter decisions with and without the puck. He’s only played 83 NHL games, so he likely needs at least another 100 before he’s really solid, but he’s been one of the few positives recently.

TONIGHT…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Many will ask who is that? It is Nina Agnal, and with -30 weather coming to Edmonton and a likely 4-1 loss to the Ducks tonight, I felt Oilers fans needed a small "pick me up."

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oiler fans will watch, and some will be infuriated when the Oilers make a bad play. I love the passion and the fact fans still have hope that things will change. God love you.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The entire comment section will be full of positive posts. They will only focus on the good plays in hopes that that will change the fortunes of the Oilers. Pointing out every bad play hasn’t helped the Oilers, so posters elect to channel their inner "George Costanza" and write the opposite of their first thoughts.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Serious Gord

    They are exactly what the record says. Awful. Embarrassing, Disgrace to Edmonton. Disgrace to Canada. Disgrace to hockey. Disgrace to people who “work” for a living. Their is not one player in that sad group who deserves the money they so shamelessly accept. Not one. …By the way Eakins….when you said “we will be competitive”, before the start of the season, did you know you were a liar back then? …Come on, tell me….i’m out… that’s two of us out…the jersey tosser and me….all we need is 4 more outs, and we’ll have a better team then the Soilers.

  • I tried it at home

    There’s nothing wrong with Dallas Eakins. He’s had success bringing along young players and getting them to play at a high level. But it took time to build that with the Marlies and it will take time here.

    I don’t understand why some people want to start at the beginning again with a new coach and new system. I guess you could argue that the Oilers are still learning the basics so systems do not matter at this point.

    I hear Jon Cooper’s name mentioned as a coulda-shoulda-woulda. But Jon started with the Admirals so a lot of players currently on the TB roster learned to play the pro game under Jon’s system. I think Jon’s success is attributable to that.

  • papler

    Ducks win 6-1. The only Oilers goal is scored by Bryzgalov on a clearing attempt, while Hiller has left the ice. He assumed the game was over as he hasn’t seen on Oiler in his zone for 5 minutes. Postgame Eakins blames Yakupov for not playing on the same line with Hall-RNH-Perron

  • What i dont understand is why no one, MACT – KBLOWE-KATZ
    None of them address the die hard paying and non paying tier 1 and 2
    fans. WTF is going on , what are your intentions ? Do something for crying out loud, talk to the fans. I have bleed Orange and Blue since the days of
    the Alberta Oilers in the WHA and this lack of respect towards US THE FANS ! and the only reason this league exists. But not a word, MacT , Have you gone into that dressing room and tore a strip off this dwarf of a team,
    i somehow doubt it. You sit and hide and do nothing but cash your cheque.

    Never , ever in my wildest dreams did i think the Oilers would ever be
    in this state, Yeah, we are a small market team, but the rink is packed
    night in and night out because we are fools who love our hockey, our city and our team. And you have done this to us ??

    Man up Katz you recluse SOB Weirdo, rich or not, you dont deserve this team. Lowe ? Get out of town please and never ever come back.
    MacT , Grow a spine – show the core players [ all 3 of them] you will do something. BE Bold, show us you are trying, if you make a move that backfires, we can deal with that, but show some balls.

    Our Edmonton Oilers – the Joke of the NHL. I cannot believe it.

  • camdog

    Either Klefbomb is hurt, he’s been benched or he went home for Christmas. He didn’t play in the Barons last game.

    I’m guessing he hasn’t been called up because well he isn’t ready.

    • Oilers4Ever

      There was a post a couple of days ago stating that Klefbom had been a healthy scratch in OKC. You would have hoped that a “professional” media person would have been up to speed that Klefbom is not playing in OKC before he wonders why Hunt and not Klefblom.

      Hopefully it is a minor injury and not being sat due to poor play.

  • All hope is lost. Eakins will remain head coach next year. Lowe will still be here, Dubnyk will get “another look”, MacT will sign another couple bottom 6 forwards and a new D. But all in all things will be the exact same next year as they have been for years.

    • Serious Gord

      If the team continues to fail at the current clip rexall/Rogers place will not be able to flood the ice with all of the jerseys covering the ice.

      Something has to be done.

        • Oilers4Ever

          I’m of the belief that you can’t trade Eberle for anything other than a Defenceman. If the plan is to wait for Nurse and Klefbom this team is I’m worst shape than I thought

          • Oilers4Ever

            No UFA D man in his right mind would sign here next year. The chance of acquiring a legitimate 1 or 2 D man is slim with the increasing cap. There are no true legitimate shutdown D man in the system other than say Nurse and potentially Klefbom. So ya that is probably the plan. And in a heartbeat I would trade Eberle for Brown and maybe Toffoli.

          • Serious Gord

            I agree with ur comment. Klefbom and nurse r our future. U may not want to hear this but I honestly think Ekblad is that player. He’s a stud. He’s been playing 20/25 minutes at the worlds. That’s unheard of with Canada but r the fans willing to wait.

          • Randaman

            Man are you patient or have you lost your perspective on the spirit of sports which is all about winning! The Oilers fans have been waiting 8 years. Enough of waiting and destroying young players dreams. Get on with the business of firing Kevin Lowe then this franchise can move on with perhaps a leader that has a vision and will deliver on accountability!

          • I’m with u that Kevin Lowe should be fired however that won’t change things. We won’t get that number one defenseman unless we draft that player. Teams won’t make those trades. Finding a number one defenseman that’s young with term that will gel with the core players. Then he ll resign here. Impossible trade.

          • Oilers4Ever

            I agree, no Dman would sign here unless his options were limited and we overpay. That’s why you gotta trade for 1. You can’t expect Nurse or Klefbom to come in here and have a big enough impact to change the teams fortunes around in the next 4 years. Especially without anyone capable to eat up the hard minutes. Go make a hockey trade

  • Can we fire Eakins yet?

    The last thing this team needs is another coaching change, but the lines and player usage this guy goes with completely baffles me.

    Perron and Yak both being played on their off wings.

    The 2 forwards that are the worst defensively are being played together and not seeing heavily sheltered minutes.

    Belov and J Schultz are often played together.

    My kid could draw up better lines, and provide better line matching.

    • Edit:

      Can we fire Eakins yet?

      The last thing this team needs is another coaching change, BUT the lines and player usage this guy goes with completely baffles me.

      Perron and Yak both being played on their off wings.

      The 2 forwards that are the worst defensively are being played together and not seeing heavily sheltered minutes.

      Belov and J Schultz are often played together.

      My kid could draw up better lines, and provide better line matching.

  • outdoorzguy

    Happy New Year. Welcome to January where the weather is cold and the hearts of Oilers fans grow even colder.

    Listening to Lowetide and Mcurdy today was like being at a wake before the body has arrived.

    I am not naïve. I am not a at all costs kind of guy. Nor am I an eternal optimist. I am realist. And what we’ve so far from Dallas Eakins instills me with no confidence in his ability to coach this team to the next level. Regardless of the players MacT puts on the ice.

    Rookie head coach. Rookie mistakes. I have no confidence in him. At all. Last night was bizzare. Saying nothing during the timeout. His body language and facial expressions are all wrong. He exudes anger. Its like he is pissed off all the time. Its not contusive to teaching young players. At all.

    Instead of taking the time to teach. Eakins just stares off into space. Silence can certainly send a message in the dressing room. But on the bench during a timeout, during a game? Please anyone correct me if I am wrong. Is that not inappropriate.

    The message I think it sends is I can’t be bothered to say anything because you all just won’t listen to me anyways.

    MacT should step up to the podium after this season is over and announce another new coach for next season. Someone with NHL experience as a head coach.

    The proof is in the win/loss column. This train wreck will continue for another 40 games. I have never/ever wished for a season to end as much as I do this year. I see very little in the way of positives. MacT provided the players. What we did not expect was that the coach was wearing the Emperors new clothes. Did not see that coming. At all

    • reaperfunkss

      I don’t disagree that Eakins saying nothing isn’t disturbing however if you watch any other NHL game you rarely see the head coach talking to the players during a timeout. Normally it is the assistant/special teams coaches talking to the players.

  • Serious Gord

    Very hard to see how the oil get even one point let alone two tonight. The ducks would have to completely lie down, Bryz would have to play out of his mind and at least some oilers would have to come out of their coma and play with heart. That and a crap load of luck.

    6-2 ducks.

    Something’s got to give before the Olympic break. Doesn’t it?

  • Serious Gord

    Where is Toby Peterson when we need him? Wasn’t he the guy MacT said was Sakic-like? That enough should have should have warned us all about his judgment and kept him far away from a GM office.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Cant wait to get back to the confines of Rexall Place so we can hear Wooly Bully again. Cant someone buy Katz an ITunes card and he can give it to whatever stiff is manning the DJ booth? My suggestion is put Buchberger, Lowe and Smith in the DJ booth. At least we might hear some hits from the 80’s.

  • S cottV

    RNH will likely be manhandled by Getzlaf about the same as Thorton did last night, so the first line will lose that battle.

    With Gagner and Yak playing on the second – they are sure to give up at least one in the back of our net.

    So – probably a repeat of last night, with better goaltending.

    4 to 1 Ducks.

  • I tried it at home

    We want 10!! We want 10!! Because it would be really super special to have a the longest streak in anything, and hey, missing the playoffs is still a record, gosh golly. Now, if you’ll excuse me, its 5 o’clock somewhere…

  • Rick Stroppel

    I AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE RADIO BROADCAST

    My cable isn’t working so I am going to have to listen to the game on the radio. I am really looking foward to these gems from Bob Stauffer:

    1. He will remind us, for the 437th time, that he predicted, before the season began, that Dustin Penner would have a great year.

    2. Bob will say the NHL has scheduled the Oilers for two road games on back-to-back nights against really good teams. They don’t do this to other teams! They are just trying to screw us!

    3. The Ducks are starting Jonas Hiller, who is white hot! They are trying to screw us too!

    4. Bob will say, “Have you ever noticed how nobody starts their # 2 goalie against the Oilers, always #1. They are all out to get us!”

    PS: Don’t ask Bob Stauffer about his prediction that Ralph Kreuger would win coach of the year while coaching the Oilers. That would be rude!

    PPS: They tried to explain this “unbeaten streak” nonsense last night, but they are still wrong. They could have said “unbeaten IN REGULATION in four games” or “points in four games”. Oilers broadcasters are the only ones in the league who treat an OT or SO loss as a victory. A LOSS IS NOT A WIN.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      I hear ya.

      I wish they would get rid of the loser point, and just go to a straight wins and losses system. It’s so much simpler. Hearing people in the media say that, for example, a 10-10-8 team has a “five hundred record” is beyond annoying. The Oilers are 13-30 and have lost 8 of their last ten. That’s the cold, brutal, reality.

    • Zamboni Driver

      Excellent post.

      Though honestly Dude, cable not working is a sign from the lord above.

      Do not add insult to injury by LISTENING to the debacle that is in the offing.

      Though I’d take Jack Michaels over Kevin Quinn every day and twice on Sundays. Debrusk and Stauffer are both…

      *remembering to Costanza this*

      are both insightful, well spoken and eminently qualified for their jobs.

  • Serious Gord

    Positive Post: oilers get blown out 6-1, a rain of oiler jersey’s fall on the Anaheim ice. Katz sees this and fires KLowe and hires new assistant coaches to appease the fan base. Oilers immediately go on a 6 game win streak.

  • Puck JammeR!

    Opposite thoughts? Sounds fun.
    Oilers win 2-1. Yakupov coughs up the puck on the loan Ducks goal. Eakins is asked about it, and goes ballistic defending his young forward.

  • Oilers4Ever

    I want to take this opportunity to agree with LT when he wrote:

    “Finally, I do think we’re at a point where it’s reasonable to talk about the entire coaching staff being replaced. No fun in that, epic fail as a matter of fact. I believe Dallas Eakins is a good coach lacking experience, but the results continue to disappoint. Not just wins and losses, but Corsi and breakouts and communication and “I assumed that we knew what traditional d-zone coverage was” and calling out the kid when 10 other things ghastly happened on the same play.

    My Dad always had this phrase he’d use at times like this: if you’re not for me, you’re against me. I wonder how many Oilers are for Dallas Eakins this morning. When I watch this team, I don’t believe the answer is 23.”

    • Arius Mumin

      That is what is bothering me too.The numbers should be improving. But they aren’t overall. Delete individual performances like Boyd Gordon’s FO% and a few other stats and what were seeing is a disaster of Oiler proportions. Its not just a fail. Its an Epic fail.
      How do we go from a top 10 PP to a middling PP in the course of a season? The players are the same.

      Calling out Yak over and over is so 1980’s coaching. Please. Dallas’s “philosophy” is about accountability. Sure. How about applying a little of that to himself. If I communicated with my co-workers the way Dallas does I would be canned so quick it would make my head spin like Beetlejuices.

      Perhaps Dallas,MacT,Klowe and DK need a sit down during the Olympic break and get a few things straight. Because believe you me there are probably 23 men in that dressing room now who after last night feel hung out to dry.

      What is the old saying. A plan only lasts until the bullets start flying. They were flying right from the start of the game and the coach let his players just take it on the chin. Sitting RNH/Hall/ for 12+ minutes because he saw that they were struggling 5×5 against SJ’s top line was for me stupid. Your benching them because of your mistake. What? Eakin’s should have recognized the mismatch and adjusted his lines accordingly along with his d pairings. Instead we angry Dallas and the Oilers get buried deeper. Where is the teachable moment?
      You don’t leave your best horses in the barn.

      Dallas Eakins is out of his league and regardless of who MACT brings in this train wreck will continue.

  • Zamboni Driver

    It’s a brilliant move for the Oilers to get smaller against the biggest team in the NHL. I see no reason someone listed at 5’9″ from the farm can’t excel, nay THRIVE AND SUCCEED against those bums Perry and Getzlaf.

    Hugs and kisses,

    George

    • Zamboni Driver

      Just when you thought the Oilers coaches and management couldn’t get any dumber they pull off another magic moment. A 5’9″ defenceman, just brilliant, next to the 5’9″ centreman they got (Horak) for Smid this team is really bulking up. Stupid is as stupid does and between KLowe, MacT and Eakins it is hard to tell which one is stupid.