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.”

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.

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.

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.

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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  • Chuck U Farley

    Ok. Things that need to happen for the Oilers to be good ever.

    Send Drai back to Junior. Let him play in the world Juniors and then go back to the OHL.

    Bring up Anton Lander. Because frankly.. why not. We are in dead last in the league without him.. You cant lose ground when you are at the bottom.

    Scrap this whole 3 scoring line thing and 4th D zone line. First 2 lines, youre top 6 guys. Whoever those are on any given night play there. Line 3 – Youre defensive line with boyd gordon. Line 4 youre hammer line, Gazdic, lander and find another mean S.O.B or put Pinzotto in there. This line has one job. If someone isnt in the top 6 and doesnt want to go play on the hammer line. Press box.

    Play Klefbom and Marincin basically everynight. Sit down with them and talk to both of them. Let them know it is time to see what you guys got. Get them ready to be a focus for next year.

    Buy Nitkinin a one way ticket back to Russie and send him a christmas card.

    Leave the goalies. Get a new one in the summer.

    This likely wont change the results all that much but from a moving forward stand point it is all we can do. Having that strictly energy line will up the compete level on this team. Make those top 6 spots a competition every night. If you are not one of the top scoring forwards you are sitting, make no bones about it this can be anyone. Change the culture of this team and do it now.

    Then draft McDavid and lets do something here.

  • Slapshot

    Lowe goes over to Katz’s house …

    “Daryl I just need six more years to get this right”

    “Kevin as long as I get to play with your six rings,you can have all time you want”


    By the way,Who hired this Eakins fellow”

    “Its all Mactavish fault!!!!”

  • Zarny

    It was good that Ference confirmed the message from the coaches is the correct one. The systems are the right systems. The X’s and O’s are the right X’s and O’s. Eakins is far from perfect but coaching isn’t the root problem in Edmonton. Never has been.

    It was also good that without naming names, he pointed the finger at the core. Nothing discussed is foreign to the vets from other teams. Too bad players like that weren’t around sooner.

    And yes, Draisaitl should have been sent down to Junior. I chuckle most at “he has nothing left to learn in Jr”.

    As for tonight…win. There should be a desperation in this team beyond the 7th game of the Stanley Cup final.

    • i’d like to see some puke on the ice at the next oilers home game. none of the jersey tossing, no one leaving early. I want to see severely drunk people vomiting on an NHL ice surface. I want the oilers to understand that they’re ineptitude is causing people to willfully poison themselves in public.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Jeebus! Enough! Shultz needs to be sent to AHL, let him learn in a “safer” environment. Scrivens playing well but can’t bail them out all the time.

  • charlie manson

    I would love to see Doug Weights’ number 39 retired.I know it won’t happen,but the guy is top 10 in goals,assists, and points all time for the Oilers.and some of those years were pretty bad ones.(well,not as bad as these bums)

  • vetinari

    Normally I wouldn’t want to jinx a possible win but if somehow, somehow, they do win, it will be the first against a western conference team. Two months. Two long, bloody, frustrating, months.

  • moosewacker

    Interesting offensively focused lines.These dont look like Dellows stats based handi-work,this looks like Rammers work.

    I think the Oilers might have a Tidbit of an advantage tonight hidden somewhere in their back-pockets .

    Tonight if they follow their processes full circle I bet you Dellow to Donuts the Death-March ends

    • Hemmercules

      I was quasi-jaw-dropped seeing how many peeps trash this post! Thought it would have been opposite. ..forward lines look good to me, just flip yak and ebs….make eb no flow play off wing for once!

      If oil win eight straight what record would they need to make 93 points?

  • Hemmercules

    Jason : Did not Perron say “coaches and players ” , as I recollected . Did he retract his statement later and say Eakins was not part of that statement ? Maybe Perron was also ticked at the number of gaffes of even Hall and Ference . I think you overstated your first comment putting Perron in there .

  • nuge2drai

    #saddesttimeinhistorytobeanoilersfan

    Hall is not the problem. Kids all heart.

    Shultz, Scrivens, Fasth, Nikitin, Purcell, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Eberle…are the problem….. Eakins, Acton, Howson, Lowe are the problem….

    Hall had the worst week of his career, countless giveaways that ended up in the net…. That being said 9/10 games he’s the best player on the team…

    Hate to see oiler fans turn on the heart and soul of this team…

    • Andy7190

      Smytty was the heart and soul of this team – Hall is the prima dona. Hopefully Pitlick will keep going to the net and become a “heart” player, he sure is proud to wear an Oilers’ jersey.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I have read a lot of thoughts & rants here. The last game I watched was the Vancouver game. (I’ve been hoping for some time now that someone in the oilers franchise would notice the “breakdown” when the opposition crosses their blue line with the puck). A Canuck crossed his blue line with the puck, petry had good position on him. Another oiler was beside the Canuck making it a one on two. By the time the Canuck was closing in on centre ice, I and probably most others were ready to see one of the 2 oilers near the puck knock the Canuck off the puck and the other oiler grab the puck and start the other way! What actually happened was the Canuck was not touched crossing his blue line, nor centre then he dumped the puck behind our net where he chased down petry, knocked him off the puck and centred it to a trailer who scored! I’ve seen this type of oiler hockey for decades now! It looks like the harder they try the bigger the mistakes! Frustrating! It’s on the players! It’s on the management! Need help with motivation do the oilers?

  • nuge2drai

    #saddesttimeinhistorytobeanoilersfan

    Hall is not the problem. Kids all heart.

    Shultz, Scrivens, Fasth, Nikitin, Purcell, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Eberle…are the problem….. Eakins, Acton, Howson, Lowe are the problem….

    Hall had the worst week of his career, countless giveaways that ended up in the net…. That being said 9/10 games he’s the best player on the team…

    Hate to see oiler fans turn on the heart and soul of this team…

    • Anton CP

      They don’t need that goal, they will be here until the end of season anyway. You can only hope that things will start being taking care of during off-season.

  • Cain

    Jason,

    I am all for getting a high draft pick next year just like everyone else. Both top picks have been described as generational players and would probably be able to help the Oilers get out of this monumental abyss they find themselves in.

    A strong argument can be made that they would not be able to overcome horrendous management however, and could turn out to be like Marcel Dionne in the 70’s,who was a great player on a crap team for most of his career. How can we know?

    To throw in the towel on this season, play some prospects, fire everyone including the Zamboni drivers after this year, and hope for change next year makes some sense. I understand that side of the coin.

    Here is my biggest problem with “tanking the season” as you and Jim Matheson have both suggested in recent days…

    I am an Oiler fan. I hate that they suck, and have sucked for so long, but I am an Oiler fan. I like cheering for them, I like complaining about them when they lose, and I like reading other people’s opinion and debating what would be the best way for the team to improve. I watch the games and cheer some and get disappointed lots, but it entertains me to watch the games.

    To tank the season takes away any meaning in following the team this year,and that sucks more. There is no point in reading your blog,there is no point in listening to your radio program and there is no point in being on this website. We have 5 more months of winter to get through, and Oiler hockey is a big part of that for me.

    To know the team isn’t even trying to win, so that they have a chance to try and win more games next year, is a waste. I, as a fan, want to cheer now, for a team that is at least TRYING to win THIS year.

    Just my two cents…

  • D'oh-ilers

    I like the line changes, though doubt it will have much of an impact. Scrivens will likely need a Vezina-level performance just to keep the team in the game tonight. Unfortunately, Scrivens is godawful against the Jets with a career 4.76GAA & .865SV%.

    This could get ugly. Uglier, rather.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Why do anything this season , wait till after we draft Connor or Jack then clean house , start the rebuild over see what Hall,Yak City , JUltz and Ebs can fetch us this summe r. Give 5 mill to Babcock and go from there .

    • YFC Prez

      The Oilers are in the unenviable position of having to make wholesale changes to the team before Mc David comes in or risk wasting his talents as clearly as they have wasted their previous 1st round picks, kids don’t develop in isolation, they need support and mentoring, most teams don’t rebuild from scratch, they are always stuck with some older NMC players that provide ‘the kids’ with proper habits, kick a little arse when needed ( like now).
      What they need are some of the easiest things to aquire in the NHL, older players reaching the end of their expensive contracts that bring stability to a younger team for a year or two.
      That the management has taken so long that the team can’t afford the cap room to do this is staggeringly incompetent.

    • Anton CP

      So far, the way how Jets are playing more along the line which they forgot that they are also a bad team. Even that the Oilers are terrible which still not a guarantee win for a lousy Jets to walk all over. Things can change in a hurry though…