GDB 20.0: The Devils

“Don’t mess with the Devil buddy. We’re number one. We beat anyone. We’re the Devilsss..The Devilsss…”

Face painted fans are a rarity nowadays, but whenever I see one I’m in awe of their deep passion for their team. I’ve never painted my face for a game, and a part of me wonders if I missed out.

I doubt we will see any painted faces at tonight’s tilt, but Oilers fans are hoping they leave with a smile instead of a sad face.

The good news is the Oilers are playing an eastern conference team. They’ve dominated the east this year.

The Oilers  are 6-2-1 vs. the east. With New Jersey in town tonight and Chicago visiting tomorrow, it seems obvious to predict an Oiler victory tonight and a loss tomorrow.

The Devils are struggling. Their best offensive player is 42 years old. Jaromir Jagr is a freak and a future Hall of Famer. He is one of the best players the league will ever see, but at 42 he shouldn’t be your leading scorer.

The Devils are not the defensive juggernaut of past decades. They are 20th in goals against (2.90/game) this year, despite having their starting goaltender play each game. Corey Schneider has started all 19 games, including going back-to-back four times. He is 2-2 on the second game of BTB.

Their offence is 24th in the NHL (2.42 goals/game) and they sit 22nd overall in the league. Their stats match their standings and this is a winnable game for the Oilers.

LINEUP

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.26.41 PM

Hall and Pouliot switch spots. Playing with Hall will either force Draisaitl to move his feet more, or it will become clear his skating is not NHL-ready just yet. I’m not sure how the icetime will work considering Hall needs to play 19-21 minutes. In his previous seven games, Draisaitl has played more than 11:03 once. He played 12:24 last game.

I get a sense this is a final showcase for Draisaitl and if he doesn’t show well with Hall, they likely will loan him to Germany for the WJC and then let him play junior in 2015.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 2.46.06 PM

Marincin returns to the lineup. Eakins said he has played well with the puck, but they want more intensity and determination from him when he doesn’t have it. Nikitin is banged up, but not injured according to Eakins. “We default to veterans that they will play well. Nikky feels he can play better and we need him to,” said the head coach.

At some point the player needs to reward the coach for his loyalty.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.27.33 PM

Fasth gets his first home start as an Oiler. If he plays well, I’d consider bucking the trend and go with him tomorrow night as well.

QUICK HITS

  • Todd Nelson gave some really honest evaluations of his players in OKC during this interview. I have a hunch we will see a few of them in the coming months.
  • I will never understand NHL GM’s thinking. Jason Spezza will be 32 next year when his new contract kicks in. He will make $7.5 million. He is not their best centre, Seguin is, and he is not a great two-way player. He won’t produce nearly enough points to justify that contract, and he doesn’t possess enough intangibles (two-way play, desire, defensive awareness) like a Toews or other top centres to make up the difference. Pay him $6 million and put the other $1.5 towards a D-men who can help you win. Spezza is a good player, but the Stars will not get great value on that contract.
  • Do fans care about the stick salute after games? Most I’ve talked to don’t, however, the Leafs timing to abandon it reeks of petty leaders. If it was so awkward for them, why not abandon it at the start of the season? Would have been a non-story, but to do it after two brutal losses shows the leaders in the room decided it was their way to give the one-finger salute to fans. The problem with that is that 99% of their fans aren’t tossing jerseys on the ice or chirping their wives on twitter. You should never let the vocal minority force your decisions. I’d be curious how that discussion went down in the dressing room.

    Phaneuf: Guys after we win, we won’t salute the fans. They haven’t been nice to us lately.
    Kessel: Can we salute the media with our sticks instead..right up their ass?
    Phaneuf: Maybe one day Phil…but today our focus are the fans who are mean to us.
    Robidas: You sure that is a wise decision? Some of them pay $750 a night to watch us. In Dallas some games we had 7500 empty seats.
    Phaneuf: Zip it, Stephane…they have been tossing scarves on the ice lately. That is even more insulting than tossing a jersey. They feel we are only worth $19 commemorative scarves. In Edmonton they toss full jerseys…their team sucks, but their fans aren’t cheap.”
    Lupul: I agree scarves are great accessories. I just picked up a sweet cashmere one.”
    Phaneuf: CAN WE PLEASE focus. No salute tonight, okay boys?
    Clarkson: (under breath) I can’t believe I signed here. We are worrying about the f-ing salute. How about we worrying about winning the game first?
    Phaneuf: Sorry, I didn’t hear you Clarkie…
    Clarkson: I’m just saying I plan on scoring early tonight and get the fans behind us. I think getting them loud will help us.
    Phaneuf: Good to hear you want to score, but score for us not the fans. Okay boys, it is agreed: no salute tonight. Now let’s go win.
    Franson (walks into room late): What did I miss boys?

    **This was not a real conversation, although Franson walking in late seemed real based on him being the only guy to take a few strides towards centre after last night’s game.**

TONIGHT…

Devil

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers can only defeat the east right now. They play Chicago tomorrow…so 4-2 win tonight and 6-4 loss tomorrow.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall scores. He is on a six-game point streak, 3rd longest active streak in the NHL and he extends it to seven games.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After playing 28 seconds with only four skaters, when they should have had five, the Oilers try to even that up tonight and they play 10 seconds with six skaters on the ice before the officials notice and give them a too many men on the ice penalty.

Recently by Jason Gregor:     

SmallBanner2

  • Reg Dunlop

    I’m going to venture a prediction now… If the Rangers are fired up to avenge that loss to the oil, our beloved copper-n-blue will not win another game in 2014. how does 6-30-2 sound?

  • Zamboni Driver

    This is actually making me do one of those “LOL’s” you hear so much about.

    Down TWO goals under two minutes.

    and they’re ‘working it around’ to get a great shot.

    Dumbest

    Team

    in

    the

    League.

  • Moops

    Come on guys, we’re experts at this. We now start talking up how good Connor McDraftkid is and how next year is our year. If anyone gives you crap, just reply “5 cups.”

  • Reg Dunlop

    This team cannot win with this management team, this coaching staff, and this current group of players (some of them).

    Katz needs to grow a pair and do something, because this team has become the laughing stock of the league. Adding another high draft pick at the end of the year won’t change that.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Also, Justin Schultz is absolutely terrible.

    Horrible pinch on the Henrique goal.

    He pushes Zubrus straight into Fasth.

    Please, get ride of him. I don’t even care if he’s traded for a bag of pucks. He’s a cancer on the blueline. Too much slack for a slacker.

  • bazmagoo

    Wow that was quite possibly the most uninspiring hockey I’ve ever seen played in my entire life. Can Eakins really still survive this? When Chicago wins tomorrow, how can MacT not pull the trigger and fire him?

  • Discouraged!!! Can’t watch anymore oil hockey, adjustments need to be made, need two centres , need to cut loose players, need a new goalie coach, need to start benching players at the very least(Shultz)to get the message through, he will never be a Norris candidate! What was he thinking(Mac)! I like Ference, good man but his better days are over and the younger D kids are not learning, WHY! Why does other teams have there kids developing well and ours can’t break the lineup or keep getting sent down, tired of watching the oil lose, the time to win is now, start making adjustments, tired of high first round picks, tired of waiting for draft day year after year, I hate ranting but I had to!

  • Zamboni Driver

    This is an unbelievable atmosphere surounding the Oilers now,it is absolutely suffocating.

    I just hate seeing the Oilers lose to teams I think are not very good ,this last few decades have been a goddam pity.

    2-0 to lousey team?

    No fighting, Yak gets clipped and no response,just a goddam Mail-in.

    The PP is beyond discussion.

    The only goddam time they showed any URGENCY was after they pulled Fasth,just pathetic.

    They are just not prepared.

    I have no answer , we have seen a lot of things happen in Edmonton over the last ten or fifteen years but I have never seen the entire team fold like this,this has to be some type of statement,this just isnt normal on any level,it is inexplicable.

  • D-Unit

    Can anyone explain how “Norris Potential” can lead the team in ice time again, after playing as terrible as he did, always does, always will? -2 on two horrible plays, gifted PP time, unable to play even a second of penalty kill (cause he is a terrible D man) but leads team in TOI.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Maybe a member of the media will ask Dallas in the post-game….and he’ll have a long winded answer while saying absolutely nothing of substance. Or maybe just “haven’t thought about it ”

    • Derian Hatcher

      “Heh these games are a learning experience . .heck i love that pinch on that play it shows me his into the game, I want that” . . .Eakins

      Reporter “but Coach you were scored on that play?”

      ” yeah OK we will look at the game film tomorrow and evaluate then . . .next question” Eakins.

  • MorningOwl

    i can’t believe schultz screwing up almost every time he touches the puck. i hate to be coming down on the guy but he has the most giveaways, he doesn’t hit any body, his shot has missed the net every time he shoots, he is to slow with his stick, he is worth a sack of potatoes and should be shot out of a cannon out of here but the oilers i don’t know why give him the most minutes, no wonder we keep losing, something has to change, the team is actually playing worse now than the beginning of the season. i think i’ll go to the dark side (Flames) no just kidding. Why can’t we get a decent goalie, i think scrivens and fasth are good back ups but not as yet good enough for an nhl team except maybe the oil as macT probably thought the oilers are not going anywhere anyway and they are cheap. i don’t know why i have such a negative attitude, its the losing i can’t take it, come on MacT as an oiler fan the city can not move into a beautiful brand new building with a losing record year after year. Enough of the young lets have some veterans here. Why so many giveaways, is there any coaching going on, sometimes its like watching minor league. WAKE UP OILERS!!!

  • Derian Hatcher

    At this point I think we can just get the braintrusts at ON to copy all of our comments and paste them into every future GDB. Will at least save us all some typing.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Kieth Aullie I thought played defense the way it should be played taking the body. Schultz dares to breathe heavy as any player passes him by. Aullie makes one mistake and he is sent down. The more giveaways Schultz causes the more ice time he gets. What kind of coaching system is this? Oilers have become the laughing stock of the NHL.
    Katz do some thing. MacT do some thing, sell every body start again how much worse can we be.

  • Zamboni Driver

    I won’t watch another game, so tired of this same play over and over, the thing I can’t stomach is every real fan out there sees the problems but management does not, you don’t need to play in the nhl to figure this out, maybe management need to be replaced, and I hate giving up but if something is broken, it needs to be fixed, and this team is broken, Hall has to be unhappy, hard to stay positive year after year of this. Fire, Trade, Waiver

  • If the tv ratings go down and people stop buying tickets, Katz will do something, I personally believe that the management have to be replaced from Lowe down to the goalie coach….just ask yourself why is Calgary doing so well, ohhhhhh and I hate Calgary nearly as much as Vancouver, and I hate seeing Calgary so high in the standings with a team that is just beginning to rebuild.

  • MorningOwl

    I am 44 years old and have been a fan since day 1. I was a season ticket holder in the “Dark Years” when there were 9000 fans in the seats each game. I did my part to help support the team to try to keep them in Edmonton. Then life got in the way, marriage / kids, and I couldn’t afford season tix anymore. I still tried to do my part. Bought jerseys, went to games when we could, raised the kids as Oiler fans.
    Some say a “true fan” never gives up on their team. Well… I am finding it more and more difficult every day to not GIVE UP!!
    I have quit investing anything monetary or emotional into this organization.
    I no longer watch games with any excitement or anticipation of anything good to happen, but to mearly watch, as I have done so since I was I kid.
    Maybe one day this will turn around and we can all, again, be proud to say we’re Oiler fans.
    I don’t see this happening anytime soon.

    Come on Oilers, you can’t expect us to continue to support your soon to be nine straight years of losing do you?
    Oh, but then again, you sell out every game don’t you?

    Sigh!

  • MorningOwl

    Hey gregor, you have to check this trio from sweden(sp?),,they are called dirty loops,,,amazing trio..I have never heard this kind of musicianship since the beatles or the police, bassguy(the guy on lead vocals sounds like Stevie at times)