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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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  • Oilfaninvan

    A couple of things were reinforced for me tonight: the Oilers have a shot at winning a game if only one of Schultz or Nikitin are playing, and – even if the rest of the Oilers decide to throw some hits, Schultz still doesn’t, and Eberle still falls down all over the place.

  • bwar

    “when I hear players defending their coach, is that they are doing so because they are too comfortable with him”.

    Good point you always want a certain “edginess” and people not too comfortable with their situations. Especially with the Oil which means they are comfortable with losing.

    Players don’t need to like their coach to play for him, in fact it might be detrimental. I have never heard a player have anything warm or fuzzy to say about Hitchcock. I recall seeing Kane crying when the Hawks replaced Savard with Quenville. Good thing the Hawks didn’t ask Kane’s opinion before they made the move.

    • bwar

      Absolutely correct, of course the players will defend Eakins because he runs a nice soft practice and doesn’t really hold anyone accountable. I would defend a boss like that forever. Not going to fire 20 players so may as well get the biggest piece of deadwood out now and fire Eakins. Not sure why Gregor defends him so much, must get invited to family dinners becuase I can think of no other reason.
      The guy was a joke from the beginning coming in with his change the dressing room tactic and chop wood, carry water bullsh*t story. Huge mistake and he continues to solidify that theory with every game he coaches in the NHL. Must be fired if this team has any chance of turning this year into only a semi disaster from a total disaster.

      • Andy7190

        Everybody relax. The National and International media is picking up the ball that no media member in Edmonton wants to pick up.They are being exposed for the frauds that they are by pretty much everyone except MSM in Edmonton. Gregor , I think the people on here want more stories like “Weak Kneed Wimps”. This is one serious clusterf*** and will take years to repair this damage. I live in a 2400 sq ft house 1200 sq ft of hardwood upstairs and 1200 sq ft of cement in the basement and where does my cat puke? On a 2′ X 3 ‘ Oilers Carpet. Even a feline can tell this franchise is broken.Not sure if I should clean the carpet or Email a pic to the Oilers website.

  • WTF2

    Walking the talk is a real challenge for the Oil.

    If you look like a loser, act like a loser, sound like a loser and play like a loser, believe it or not 9 times out of ten, you are a loser.

  • bradleypi

    “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.”

    Well as of last game, he hasnt done this. Hall should have been benched after the first penalty and DEFINITLY after the second. I dont give a damn if hes our best player. He singlehandely had a hand in 3 Phoenix goals in 10 minutes…..Accountability.

    Eakins has shown no signs of being able to properly manage these clowns. I dont see that changing tonight.

  • 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.

  • vetinari

    C’mon Winnipeg, you may take the 2 points but you will never take our dignity! Oh wait, there goes our dignity…

    Jets 3 Oilers 2 Katz $5,000,000.00 Fans 0

  • Clarkopolo

    I do agree with playing Gazdic & Pinizzotto more! When they play you can clearly see it throws the other teams d-coverage out of whack because that’s just not the way the Oilers play. Actually, the best Leon has looked is when he had Gazdic & Perron on his wings. You could see Leon let his game out with those guys there. Should have been like that from the start of the season!

  • Sean17

    Another Eakins mistake is he should of had an early morning practice after the Arizona game. First up – battle drills. Let the captain’s word still be fresh and maybe have the guys it was directed to take a few pops from teammates to wake them up or even those players in question prove to their teammates they are ready to battle. Turn down the suck boys!

  • Spydyr

    Jean Beliveau was a true gentleman.May he rest in peace.

    Jean Beliveau won 10 cups as a player.The Oilers will be hard pressed to win ten games before the new year.

    My question is this:

    Imagine if the Habs had been run like the Oilers for the last nine years.Would Bell Centre even still be standing?

  • 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 .

  • Hemmercules

    I will believe it when I see it. They have said the same thing for years now – “we know what we have to do to win, we have to play for the whole 60 minutes, we need to sohot more, we need to stop SHG going in, we need to blah, blah, blah”

    Game after game, the same lame excuses. Guys, if you KNOW what you have to do to win then why the f**k don’t you bloody well do it? Or are you too busy being individual celebrities that you don’t want to be part of a team?

    I am sick to death of this, you are humiliating the city, the fans and yourselves.

  • Hemmercules

    What the Hell?

    Eakins is not the problem? It’s his job to get players playing and win games, if the players are not playing well, Eakins is the problem right?

    If a family with young kids doing drugs, getting drunk, bullying other kids at school. Shop lifting and mugging people in the street. It’s not because of the parents responsibility to raise them right and stop them from doing those things?

    So what the hell is the coach for then?

    Get a real coach in and see this team turn around.

    Unless they are tanking for another 1st or 2nd pick next June. It looks like it each game.

  • 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.

  • YFC Prez

    Even if the oilers get a magic Mcdavid, it’s not like we will be able to afford everyone when it comes together anyways.

    Our scouting is horrible, and the team is loaded with high priced “superstars”. What’s going to happen if we get mcdavid, wait for Nurse to become Weber, Leon to become Malkin?

    The entire team is based off “what ifs”.

    If all the oilers high picks fruit, there will be zero money left for a good goalie, or anyone beyond a million a year to fill the entire rest of the roster.

    Start trading and making things happen you idiots.