GDB 26.0: Time for action…

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.


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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.

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



  • “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… 


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…)

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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…


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

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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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  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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..

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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…

  • 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.