GDB 26.0: Time for action…

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In the past week, Taylor Hall, David Perron and Andrew Ference have all publicly stated Dallas Eakins isn’t the problem. Hall took it a step further and went to general manager Craig MacTavish to defend his coach.

After Monday’s 5-2 uninspired loss to Arizona, Ference said what we’ve been saying for weeks. The Oilers play “is a joke.”

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Is this just more talk from a team mired in a 10-game losing streak, or we will the players display the emotion, passion, determination and smarts necessary to win an NHL game tonight vs. the Jets?

By saying the coach isn’t the issue, the players have put the responsibility squarely on their shoulders. It’s about time. Blaming the coach has become the motto in Edmonton.

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Allow a goal from centre. Blame the coach.

Turn the puck over at the blueline. Blame the coach.

Don’t go to the net. Blame the coach.

Don’t hit the net. Blame the coach.

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Don’t cover your man in front of the goal. Blame the coach.

It is accurate to suggest Eakins needs to be better. He hasn’t shown enough coaching creativity during this losing streak, or injected enough fear or accountability into his players, because they continue to make bad plays. 

My one fear when I hear players defending their coach, is that they are doing so because they are too comfortable with him. Their on-ice play suggests they are comfortable losing. They haven’t shown a willingness to do the little things necessary to win games.

If the players want Eakins to remain their coach they must play better. It is that simple.

Actions speak louder than words, and if they don’t want him canned by the end of the month they have to start winning. Not playing well and losing, but actually WINNING games.

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They have to start taking responsibility for their atrocious start. They are not playing better than their record. They aren’t. Stop trotting out meaningless statistics to try and suggest otherwise.

They give up too many goals. They don’t score enough goals.

They don’t defend well. They rarely produce second and third scoring chances.

They don’t work hard enough on the powerplay, which has them 26th in PP efficiency and 1st in shorthanded goals allowed.

If they actually believe Eakins is a good coach, then go out and show. Play better. Play smarter. Play with determination.

If they don’t, then their words mean nothing.

If Eakins is as good as they say, then he will start holding players accountable. If he doesn’t then his words will be equally as hollow as his players.

LINE UP

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Some line juggling, which is to be expected when you lose 10 games in a row. Give Pitlick more than one or two periods to get comfortable. I’d have mixed in Gazdic or Pinizzotto on the “2nd and 3rd” line.

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I’d play Fayne more than Schultz.

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Oilers will need Scrivens to play like he did vs. St.Louis.

Who will they be matching up against? Check out the Jets lineup at Dailyfaceoff.com.

QUICK HITS…

KaneMoney

  • “Everything I achieved throughout my career, and all the rewards that followed, came as the results of team effort. If they say anything about me when I’m gone, let them say that I was a team man.” Jean Beliveau wrote in his autobiography. I strongly recommend reading it. I never met Beliveau, but reading and watching all of the tributes in his honour, it was obvious he was a great man first, hockey player second. RIP.
  • Vinny Lecavalier has hinted he will retire after this season. He could retire and there would be no salary cap penalty to the team. He is owed $3 million/year in the two remaining years of his deal, but he is a $4.5 million cap hit. The Flyers sit in 28th place and he was a healthy scratch last night in San Jose.

    He does have a NMC, so that could limit trade possibilities, but I wonder if a Brayden Schenn deal to the Oilers could happen if Edmonton agrees to take Lecavalier?

  • I thought Luke Gazdic played well when he averaged 10 min/game vs. Nashville and St.Louis, but wasn’t much of a factor when he averaged 5 min/game vs. Arizona and Dallas. The stats guys should love him because his shots for/60 is 12. The Oilers need some guys in their top nine who aren’t satisfied playing on the perimeter. Eakins needs to recognize this and sprinkle in Pinizzotto and Gazdic up there for a few shifts. What they are doing now isn’t’ working. Try something different, rather than hoping that eventually the outside shots will start going in.
  • I hope Eakins had dinner with his good friend Paul Maurice and asked him what he did to finally get the Jets to play better team defence. Based on ice time, it looks like Maurice simply said, “If you don’t play good defence, you won’t play.” And he stuck to that. If Eakins doesn’t recognize he needs to do this, and should have done it from the start of last season, then he simply can’t remain the coach in Edmonton. This team needs tough love from a head coach.
  • I still smile at those who ripped me for saying Draisaitl should have been sent to junior, because he wasn’t ready, especially his skating. The part that makes me chuckle the most is that some of them stated sending Draisaitl to Prince Albert was a bad idea because THAT organization was unstable… 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

Over at JetsNation, Kevin McCartney breaks down tonight’s game:

I have to begin with a confession I’ve made before – I was born in Edmonton, and I grew up an Oilers fan. Regardless of that fact, I think the misery of the Oiler predicament has moved past funny and into the territory usually reserved for when your friend is in a bad relationship and can’t seem to get out – it’s awkward and uncomfortable and comes with equal parts sympathy and fatigue. “Have you tried changing your opinion on corsi and analytics? You have? I mean… maybe you have to get a new goalie? You were saying your goalies have been bad. You have to do something. You can’t keep going like this. I know, I know it’s hard.”  

So, any Oiler fans or sympathizers, I promise not to pile on in this preview. Edmonton has a better hockey club than their record states, and it’s just a matter of time before they finally beat a Western conference opponent. It could even be the Jets tonight, with injuries to Tobias Enstrom and Grant Clitsome forcing Ben Chiarot into this second NHL game in front of Ondrej Pavelec. (But, I mean, probably not…)

WHAT WILL WE SEE…

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play okay for long stretches, but make two soft plays and lose 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Pavelec is able to see most shots. He doesn’t face much traffic in front of him and rarely has to make a 2nd or 3rd save in one sequence.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Pitlick scores, but unlike when he scored his first NHL goal he finishes the game. Pitlick’s success makes the Oilers wonder if they might be better off calling up Lander and loaning Draisaitl to Germany for the WJC and then back to the WHL. A thought directly related to help the long-term development of a player…hmmm…

DAY 2…MONTH OF GIVING…

Thank you go Jared for bidding $2,100 on our Fireplace package from Dinette & Patio Furniture yesterday.

Today’s item…

A CHEF’s dinner courtesy of Von’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. It will include all your beverages as well.

You and three friends will dine with Eskimos GM Ed Hervey, quarterback Mike Reilly, Eskimos Wall of Honour inductee, current head coach of the U of A Golden Bears Chris Morris and a special guest. I‘ll also be there, but mainly to fill up your wine glasses.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go to Santas Anonymous.

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  • MorningOwl

    THIS IS ONLY ANSWER!!

    I’m getting into a detailed report of how the Oilers breakouts and stand the line defence should be. Its been sent to Winnipeg so Dallas can review it.

    It’s like this all 5 skaters stand still in the defence blue line and have active sticks and knock the luck away. Then use full body torso checks and plant the skater through the boards. This is called the active torso swinger play, Dallas needs to call it from the bench by waving 2 water bottles in the air like an airport runway guy. I’m saying too much here.
    The breakout is a hard pass by whoever has the puck right up the middle to avoid board pressure then skate laterally through the neutral zone and horizontally into the offensive zone and using the back side winger defenceman as an option A with the centre winger as option B. Option C is the trailing puck carrier. He has the option of a swing play or just a routine regroup into the boards by the net. This way we get neutral pressure diverted by the trailing 3rd Dman on the boards by the blue dot. This will initiat all access to the middle left slot for an easy tap in backhand onetimer play. All the big western conference division teams use this play.

    • MorningOwl

      Ference noted a number of weeks ago already that everything that needs to be said has been said, many times. Now he is getting into more detail – he has had enough and this is all he can do that hasn’t been done.

  • Tikkanese

    Gregor predicted a loss, we all know what that means.

    2-1 Oilers OT win in a shoot out. GWG scored by none other than NUGE….

    Which sucks because this team might as well tank for mcdavid at this point.

  • taz115

    Alot of things add up in the Oilers management approach over the past few years but I was likely too blinded by hope to see it at the time. Hopefully I get the order of events correct…

    Oilers hire Tom Renney the year after management declares a ‘rift’ in the dressing room and they trade Moreau, demote Souray and fire the training staff. I recall the media speculating that the older Oilers did not get along with the younger players.

    So instead of making the younger players conform the management deems that a culture change is required. Tom Renney later states that he was fired for his views not alinging with Oilers management desire to sell hope and play the younger players more despite merit not being there.

    So it appears to me, very early on that Oilers management sided/went with with their young superstars, and if you spoke out or got in the way, you were shipped out of town.

    This clearly aligns with what appears to be going on now. Clearly Hall, RNH, Eberle, Shultz are given very long leashes, ‘forgiven’ for their mistakes and put back out the next shift. Some players not so much, Yak, Maricin, Smid seem to have a much, much shorter leash. No benefit of the doubt for them.

    Now Ference speaks out saying some of the younger guys are moping around. It sounds to me like special treatment may have bred poor attitudes in the room and I think it easy to guess and see who this may apply to.

    If you spoil your kids all thier life, its tough to expect them act like adults when they hit 18. And it appears we are still doing it. I’d like to read Dallas’ auto-biography once he is done with this mess. I’d guess he may not be happy with some of the management meddling going on.

    • S cottV

      That’s funny. I was thinking yesterday about what Eakins is gonna do when MacT finally fesses up and has to let him go.

      The severance package is pretty good with a couple of years left on his deal.

      NHL Head Coach is probably out of his deal after this, but I too – thought that he could always write a tell all book about this ordeal and make a bunch of money that way.

      I would buy it…

  • Captain Ron

    “Is this just more talk from a team mired in a 10-game losing streak, or we will the players display the emotion, passion, determination and smarts necessary to win an NHL game tonight vs. the Jets?”

    Nope. They won’t.

  • Anton CP

    We will never know how good any of these players actually are until the beaten to death, obvious gets fixed.

    Maybe Scrivens is the best goalie in the entire league potentially? Maybe Hall is a giant amongst midgets?

    Judging the talent of any players on this team is moot at this point. I said it before, but I bet if you trade hall for crosby, their performances would darn near switch.

    Team canada would probably be bottom 15 in edmonton.

  • Zarny

    Very nice job of the Oilers to begin sending lots of forechecking pressure in late in the period,not high speed reckless pressure,but structured patient pressure looking for the Peggers to make mistakes.

    They have brought numbers up out of the n-zone now to push the river on the Peggers,but the best part is it is patient and looking to trap them on mistakes as they try to make their own transition out of their zone into the n-zone….ha ha ha…that is what they were trying to do to us in a more conservative way since the beginning of the period.They were just stcking everyone in the n-zone then slowly coming in to pressure high on our blueline with numbers as we tried to exit the zone.

    I like that we are bringing the pressure into their zone quickly but are not over-comitting and going to deep at break-neck speed,we are just taking their process away from them by interfering with their defensive zone exits,the patience is perfect letting them hang themselves and trying to tag them on a mistake high in their zone on the blueline or in the n-zone without being overcommitted is good tactic.Keeping our d-men back 2 steps when doing this is also a good idea.The 3rd mn in on the forecheck needs to remember to drive any looses pucks to the net hard because his deeper support is keeping good body position and not getting caught on the wrong side of the pucks so anything squirting out will catch their d-men picked out of the plays,so dont hesitate,hang up pretty high but when you see it take it to the bucket up the middle knowing you have teammates bodies picking their defense out already.Nice high quick release shots,their tender will be worried about the action behind him and be screened by your patient teammate positioned in front of the net.

    The advantage to the patient forecheck is that your first men in dont over-commit and end up on the wrong side of the puck on the boards,keeping the forecheckers always on the right side of the puck picks out their d-men by proxy.You get a different type of structured pressure than from a berserker style focus,one looking for mistakes they can bury quickly without worrying to much about pssing,quick-strike.

    With everything developing in the n-zone getting inside position on them in front of their net by using a patient controlled forecheck with staggered N/S support is critical.

    On these quick turnaround type of offensive situations being produced by this type of battle shooting high corners from high in their zone near the blueline from the middle straight on is perfect .Same ways they used to burn Devan,just let it go from high on the blueline in the middle straight on top corners or elbows whenever you pick up loose pucks there..

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Are you applying for a job as the next coach for the Oilers or do you just have this masochistic tendency to write stuff no one likes?

  • Anton CP

    Very nice job of Perron to DRIVE IT TO THE MIDDLE coming out of that turnover.
    Nice job,now rinse and repeat.

    Keep doing that and you will be rewarded with goals or PPs.

  • YFC Prez

    I am not complining but the dam Refs sure are keeping those whistles dry,the oilers deserve a call or two now they are driving the puck up the middle and drawing pressure and not getting penaltys called.

    Sooner thn later one of these will be so blatant they will have to call it,keep taking it to them up the gut to the middle fellas.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Did I just see that player laughing at us in the post game?Saying he”does enjoy” playing us?

    Oh well,back on track to break the record I guess.

    I did like the lines however,they looked great and played very well together tonight.

    I guess the Team will have to take one for Andrew tonight,and leave it at that.I guess Captains need mulligans to,good thing Leon is playing so well he has some to share with the vets.

  • After the opening puck drop the first offside winger needs to stop up hard at the blue dots further swinging right. If neutral zone forecheck swig play is an option he can move to the lateral side of centre and get deep, exposing the left defencemans short gap. This will allow for the centre to push the puck into the short zone by the glass, the other winger is an option for a stick exchange with the trailing Dman who should have the puck by now from the neutral winger, after this is established its a simple give and go and a pass and a shot with the rebound. 1-0 Oilers.

    If the face off is lost then the full body torso check is needed immediately for the swing play. Then it’s a D to D pass after the turnover by the stand up lateral play on the blue line. Then an icing is needed for the face off unit to create the turnover which is followed by a simple shot off the glass to the streaking far winger with speed and a drop pass with a neutral lateral regroup to the strong side winger.

    It’s all basic hockey and all the western eastern teams use it as a simple way to break out and forecheck to the strong post but on the weak side. If followed it should be 3-0 Oilers after 4 whistles on the right side.

    • EVERY time a player becomes available — no matter how good or bad he is — somebody asks: Should we take him?

      Look at Lindback’s numbers the last three years since his first two seasons in Nashville (and not playing amid the dumpster fire the Oilers are) and you tell me. Should they?

      .902
      .891
      .861

  • Hemmercules

    Today’s report is finished and should be well for the Oilers opening parallel attacks in the neutral offensive zone by the blue dots along the glass.

    I’m getting into a detailed report of how the Oilers breakouts and stand the line defence should be. Its been sent to Winnipeg so Dallas can review it.

    It’s like this all 5 skaters stand still in the defence blue line and have active sticks and knock the luck away. Then use full body torso checks and plant the skater through the boards. This is called the active torso swinger play, Dallas needs to call it from the bench by waving 2 water bottles in the air like an airport runway guy. I’m saying too much here.
    The breakout is a hard pass by whoever has the puck right up the middle to avoid board pressure then skate laterally through the neutral zone and horizontally into the offensive zone and using the back side winger defenceman as an option A with the centre winger as option B. Option C is the trailing puck carrier. He has the option of a swing play or just a routine regroup into the boards by the net. This way we get neutral pressure diverted by the trailing 3rd Dman on the boards by the blue dot. This will initiat all access to the middle left slot for an easy tap in backhand onetimer play. All the big western conference division teams use this play.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    This is a n-zone chess match,no deep aggressive forechecking by nyone,you can see the Oilers being patient and crefull when they approach the n-zone,hall is definately adjusting his game and being patient nd cycling the puck into open ice buying time to make the right break-in to the n-zone.

    Nice save by Scrivens on the late shooter there.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    This game is up-tempo because so many possesions are not being chased down nd competed for,once these teams get their first shot at breaking through the n-zone with structure if it isnt good then they just dump it in and give it up,then both defenses have lots of time to exit their zone because there is no hard forechecking just lot of n-zone congestion,everyone looking for those short give and goes entering the o-zones.

    Might be a good idea to look for more of a direct route to the net coming out of the n-zone after those n-zone battles,the Peggers are looking to use some passing once they cross the blueline coming in,maybe when the Oilers win those n-zone battles they should blitz it straight to the net,trying to get it into the middle so they can draw penaltys from both sides on the way in.

    If the game is being boiled down to n-zone chess with no serious forechecking or backchecking deep then you have little time coming out of the n-zone from those scrambles,you make short ten foot passes quickly or you blitz it to the net in a sprint up the middle.

  • S cottV

    In a nutshell instead of using a drop pass to engage an up-speed zone transition to catch the opponent flat-footed,you can as you exit your zone drive INTO or EXPLODE into the forechecker head-on center body mass picking his BODY out,then your stacked teammate coming in from behind engages the up-speed action coming off of the LEGAL PICK PLAY.Just remember to keep two tight exiting at high speed looking to engage the 1st forechecker they see,BEFORE they hit the n-zone,the 2nd of them should get the upspeed advantage if not the 3rd man coming out will,the man engaging the forechecker MUST remeber to curly back after the hit and become the deep support.

  • HockeyYoda

    They have been looking for that late man all game long,that was the exact same playaction Scrivens made a great sve on earlier,that lte man coming out of the n-zone should have been red flagged already,dammit.Watch for the picks in the n-zone.

    I would start taking possesions to the net with speed out of the n-zone,bursts of speed when you pick up the pucks there.

    Or get forechecking and pressure them,but if you keep with the n-zone chess you need to begin getting shots on net,they are prepared for this chess match,they are picking you out of the playactions in the n-zone,they are also redy to defend those short passing playctions coming out of the n-zone at them,so sprinting it in on them is the best option.

    Or just ditch the n-zone game and start using the fast-break and dump-nd-chase.

    They ARE prepared better for this n-zone style,the Oilers are better prepared to use all 200 feet of the ice,if they pop another one in on the Oil the volume better go up.

    Personally I would refuse to play this n-zone chess,they are in their comfort zone,I would force them to play a 200 foot game.Make them skate,wear them down.

    Get harder on their d-men to wear them down.

    Nice job Nuge!!!!

  • YFC Prez

    Where did that nice forecheck go?

    Back to the n-zone chess again.

    This is dangerous,it is their Wheelhouse,you are going toe to toe with them in their own Sandbox now,gutsy decision.

    If you dont pressure them on their d-zone exits you are playing their style and the odds lean towards them.

    It is definately a battle attitude,and Dallas and Ramsay are not afraid to go head to head in the n-zone with the Peggers Coaches.

    I would still sprint those pucks coming out of those n-zone duels up the middle right to the net looking to draw some penaltys.Turn this into a special teams game.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There is their late man coming in upspeed AGAIN,while we were pissing around trying to execute a routine d-zone exit???

    You NOW KNOW they are doing this they have been doing it all game ,so what the hell?

  • Anton CP

    If you want to exit your zone and defeat this pressure they are using,dam simple at that with two slow mover forechecking the middle of the zone and a support man looking to come in out of the n-zone up-speed with momentum catching you all flatfooted,then you need to initiate contact and remove their forecheckers hanging in the middle ,stack your men exiting and drive the puck carrier right into the forechecker high speed full on brutal drive them over taking 100% center body mass and letting the puck fall behind them for their stacked support,once you rush t them and hit one of their forecheckers and catch the puck with your stacked support and speed you will be able to penetrate deep into their zone quickly,their d-men cheat and come way up to support their system so when you bring the puck out of your zone with speed you can ctch them.

    So just surprise them,stack 2 or 3 guys and then drive it AT the first forechecker you see kamikazee and make sure you pick him out of the playaction cleanly,then your stcked support should be getting to those pucks with speed as they exit the zone.

    I love saying this,think Flying-V impacts,just “pick| em off one by one head on and power through.if you do catch them this way you will have good speed if your d-men are greenlit to drive it deep.

    When you stack up to exit the zone send two out with the puck tight together to ehgage the pick play and upspeed penetration of the n-zone and then bring the 3rd one in late fifteen feet behind them,and if anything goes wrong he can again pick up the loose pucks upspeed nd penetrte again.Just stack the men N/S and pick out the forecheck,then use upspeed to penetrate the n-zone and take it deep,they are abbreviating this and executing it out of the n-zone,you can do it coming out of your own zone if you stack em up and pick em out..

  • Anton CP

    They are not using a high speed aggressive forecheck they are hanging up in our mid-zone,so really all you need to do is NOT make passes when you exit,sprint up at least ten feet fullspeed to back their forechekers off,if they dont back off run them over,they do not have incoming high speed aggressive support in your zone,it is in the n-zone waiting to pounce,so use the 3 man Flying-V d-zone exit,run em over,pick one out and then bully through the n-zone,they will begin collapsing back as soon as you engage their forecheck hard,wait till they are hovering in mid-zone before you engage this,while they get set up to hover five feet inside our zone get your men stacked then make it look like a controlled exit but then EXPLODE RIGHT AT THE CLOSEST FORECHECKER and overwhelm that side on them.

    This game is a blast,now if we can just get our faceoff men to get into the playactions after we win in their zone by driving the net immdeiatly without the puck to pick up some garbage as we have everyone funnel pucks to him in front from everywhere things might pick up a little.We need to find a way to capitalise on the FO numbers,build a little off of it if we can. Execute the FO in their zone,send the FO man directly to the net front at high speed to hover,and then drop everyone into lateral support just inside the blueline with one man back deep for you,if you dont win the FO instead of sending everyone in full speed pursuit send one to the chase the puck or go to the net ASAP and then just drop 3 back in a scrimmage line just inside the zone,with one man back deep,then let them make mistake as they try to exit their zone,just “stay on the right side of the puck” and outwait them,dont get caught behind them,make them force things.Only one man pursues inside position off the FO if we win he goes to the net if we lose he goes for the puck everyone else takes step back to catch them trying to trnsition out of their zone except one man who we isolte deep towards our zone as a fall back. .

      • vetinari

        In the 3rd the Oilers have begun to pressure the middle very hard,it has caused the Peggers to make some questionable defensive plays which looked on a few occasions like penaltys to me,I am surprised the Refs are not calling these and letting the Oilers PP go to work.

        I hope the Oilers keep taking pucks to the middle in the o-zone and that sooner or later they draw a penalty in this process.

  • Andy7190

    After the opening puck drop the first offside winger needs to stop up hard at the blue dots further swinging right. If neutral zone forecheck swig play is an option he can move to the lateral side of centre and get deep, exposing the left defencemans short gap. This will allow for the centre to push the puck into the short zone by the glass, the other winger is an option for a stick exchange with the trailing Dman who should have the puck by now from the neutral winger, after this is established its a simple give and go and a pass and a shot with the rebound. 1-0 Oilers.

    If the face off is lost then the full body torso check is needed immediately for the swing play. Then it’s a D to D pass after the turnover by the stand up lateral play on the blue line. Then an icing is needed for the face off unit to create the turnover which is followed by a simple shot off the glass to the streaking far winger with speed and a drop pass with a neutral lateral regroup to the strong side winger.

    It’s all basic hockey and all the western eastern teams use it as a simple way to break out and forecheck to the strong post but on the weak side. If followed it should be 3-0 Oilers after 4 whistles on the right side.

    • WTF2

      What a treat it would be if you became a hockey analyst on T.V. one night . Maybe that’s your calling ? You could put Howard Cosell and B.Hall to shame . Split screen with your comments and telestrater , while other half the game itself . Got to be better than watching us lose anyways .