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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  • 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.

  • Andy7190

    Gregor you know less than I thought if your position is Eakins is the answer.

    Of course ferrence likes him, they are buddies and he gets tons more ice time than deserved. Hall loves him as well, he doesn’t have to change, improve,or be accountable…no wonder these guys like Eakins.

    If the oilers want to show any sustainable improvement they need an NHL caliber coach.

    As everyone knows as well many problems exist with the oilers other than the coach but the organization is not serious or intelligent enough if they don’t punt Eakins immediately.

    Gregor I will assume you actually are smarter than this garbage and you write crap to get the nation reading…..

    FFS fire Eakins, without that step no one is serious about any improvements.

      • SSB1963

        One question if it was a mistake to go hard after Eakins, then there were several other teams willing to make the same mistake. If he was having a winning season we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we.

        • Andy7190

          Other teams are more established in their leadership groups and their “evolution” as a group.

          For instance, Vancouver was interested. Eakins may have had better results with some elite players, if they bought in and gave it a chance.

          But I’m not sure he’s turned out to be an NHL coach.

          Don Hay wasn’t an NHL coach either in his two stints.

          Sometimes it doesn’t translate between AHL and NHL.

          Perhaps Eakins should have spent time in Toronto as an assistant with Wilson or Carlyle after becoming the next hot thing in the AHL.

          Because it sure looks like he got thrown into the deep end of the pool without swimming lessons. And he certainly isn’t having a winning season.

          If. If I had a million dollars. If I were king of the world. If Dallas Eakins was having a winning season. If.

    • Clarkopolo

      “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.”

      Where exactly in the article does Gregor state that “Eakins is the answer”. I think the point of the article is that the players need to be better and take accountability for their crappy play rather than blaming everyone else…including the coach.

      And I agree that the coach and management has been brutal and needs to be changed, but the players have to play better too.

  • 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.

  • rnj

    Nothing is going to change with the Oilers organization because Katz has Lowe’s balls hanging on one side of his face and MacT’s ball’s hanging on the other side of his face.

  • Andy7190

    HALL IS REALLY NOT THAT GOOD

    It is relatively easy to be the best player on a terrible team. That player gets major PP time, usually doesn’t have to do PK, always plays with the best players on the team. If he plays crap defence, if his plus-minus is terrible, people say “that’s just because he’s on a terrible team”. Ollie Jokinen had 88 and 91 point seasons in the middle of his career in Florida. Stephen Weiss recently went from being the dominant player in Florida to a healthy scratch in Detroit to a short stint in the AHL. At the end of his career, people in Toronto thought they would get five first round picks for Mats Sundin.

    On a good, disciplined team, Hall would be forced to play sound defence and use his teammates. His point totals would plummet. Hall is NOT a “franchise player”. I am pretty sure every other team in the league has figured that out. If Edmonton decided to trade him, I think everyone will be shocked at how little they would get for him.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Pretty well the stupidest thing I have read on here. If you are basing his career on the last few games after coming back from injury that is just wrong. I think he is still hurt and he will get back to being the exciting player that he is. He is a point a game player on the worst team in the NHL that is my take on it.

    • YFC Prez

      Hall is part if the problem no doubt, he needs to cut the giveaways and quit trying it alone. He’s got some habits, But to say he’s not good is rediculous. Hall is the best players to wear the oil drop since Pronger. Let’s not scapegoat him. Of all the problems with this team hall is at the bottom of the list.

      This is why oiler fans can’t have nice things.

    • Andy7190

      I think he just needs a true NHL coach.

      I don’t know if he can be what they hoped he could be, but I do think he has a lot of unmet potential.

      He needs to play for someone like Babcock or Sutter (Darryl) or Vigneault.

  • Con-Air McDavid

    Eakins has made mistakes, and no doubt deserves much of the scorn being thrown his way by Oilersnation.

    However, he faces the media and always acts like a pro and never throws his players under the bus.

    Where is MacT? Where is Katz and KBlowe?

    Gutless

    • Anton CP

      MacT is still sitting in his box, staring at the tv with that dumb stupid open mouthed stare thinking, how did we manage to get a point outta this one. i thought we had the loss in the bag with 4 minutes left and a 2 1 lead.

      • hankthetank

        Sad but true. Management is probably mad they got a point. They might not win the draft litter if they keep getting points likes this. Better trade Perron quick

    • Con-Air McDavid

      I agree100%.They should help shield some of the negativity.You cant hide under a rock forever.On a side note Rock Or Bust the new AC/Dc makes me HappyHappyHappy.
      Hey Mac Six Rings Katz wakey wakey hibernating like a bear doesnt work in this city.Show some gonads please

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Smobocop

    If you want fear, hire Torterella, at minimum on an interim basis. He’ll scare the crap out of em. And at bare minimum take some of the media attention away.

  • ubermiguel

    So brutal.

    Two players have said it’s not a coaching problem and you agree.

    I guess as long as 2 out of 28 say he is good than he must be the next Babcock.

    Accountability is huge and they has been now from top down or by this coach.

    To say he is not the problem for bad defence with the swarm is brutal. To suggest he is not at fault for a sub par power play and thus lack of scoring. You guessed it. Brutal.

    When ex oilers and ex oiler radio commentators are saying he needs to go. But you suggest it is the players fault. Wow.

    The identity of the team is the coaches responsibility. We have no identity and therefore we have no coach. Just that simple

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Go Jets! I’m on the Jets bandwagon for the rest of the season…and possibly longer if the Oilers don’t show up on my lawn in the rain with a ghetto blaster over their head.

  • 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 .

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    For the road games away from home I need to get my tinfoil hat with the antenna ready to go. I get my computer laptop and iPad along with 2 TV’s in the same table with 2 keyboards. Then I sit in my underwear and shoes with 3 big gulps and my tinfoil hat.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Eakins gone tomorrow. Can’t wait for MacT to get behind the bench so we can see how senior oiler management know a thing or two about winning. In case you were wondering.Since we never win anymore maybe instead of the stick wave at the end of the game they can just sh$t on the ice post game?

  • bwar

    While there are a lot of things you can’t blame the coach for, there are a lot of things you can.

    Personnel decisions fall on the coach. Inability to correct Powerplay issues fall on the coach. Mismanagement of players falls on the coach. Faulty systems and overall lack of preparation fall on the coach.

    Eakins is not the answer and you could take an average Canadian hockey fan off the street and he would be doing as good or better a job as Eakins at coaching this club.

    The Oilers are slowly losing fans and the complete lack of action from management won’t be tolerated forever. There is a hockey club down the road that is doing a lot more with a lot less and are very entertaining to watch.

  • WTF2

    Someone mentioned Hall should quietly request a trade out of E-town.

    I would be very surprised if his agent has not already asked about such a move. He would be an idiot not to have made an inquiry. Perhaps that explains it.

    Any player that belongs in the NHL does not want to play for a perennial losing team. Even with a limited education they are smart enough to realize their time in the show is a narrow slice of life.

  • ubermiguel

    The process is so long now they forgot where they placed the secret formula to make it work ? Is Lords of Six Rings gone senile and forgot where he last put it ?

  • Doctor Smashy

    I like the tone of this GDB. I hope it is the same tone in the dressing room today. I hope the Oilers are short with each other, irritable, and try, for the first time in what seems like ages, even if it is out of spite. Ference and Perron need to stay on this team for what I hope they are saying in the dressing room. None of our young players are beyond hope…our season is over but they can turn themselves around.

    Try Oilers. Just try…that is all we can ask for at this point. Play smart and play like you care.

    In other news…I have railed against Spec on this site but this is a fine article…

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/everything-needs-to-change-in-oilers-organization/

  • ubermiguel

    “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…”

    I was hoping the Oil Kings could swing a deal with them to bring Drai to town at least. That part of Katz’s hockey empire is performing well.

  • Gordie Wayne

    I miss Dougie Weight…the way a captain gets his players going is not by whining to the media.

    Here is a quote from Doug Weight on a period of time which feels so long ago now:

    “It was my second year of being captain. We were struggling maybe five points out of a playoff spot. I held a 10 minute meeting on the ice. I was never the type of leader that was comfortable calling people out and I’m still not. I really challenged about seven or eight guys and I ended by really challenging myself. I’m proud of that moment, looking back, because we had 10 straight wins or something like that. We tied a record with the Oilers of the early 80s and making the playoffs. It was an amazing stretch for me to be a part of, to be a leader. I feel pretty proud about that.”

    I remember this moment distinctly and it is obvious that it affected the players based on the results it produced. This is how a captain leads!!!

    I miss you Dougie!!!

    Can we please get another Dougie Weight?

    • Andy7190

      Just loved this. Can we please get another Doug Weight. Or bring in Doug Weight to do something, he can be the manager maybe? Head coach? Goalie coach? chief of scouting? Just anything. Loved #39 back in the day.

      While we are at, whats Bill Guerin doing these days?

      • Derzie

        No more old boys. How can you get Katz to break the habit if the first thing you do is the same damn line of thinking. The past is the past, never to be repeated.

      • Tikkanese

        Weight has always been nothing but class, has the respect of everyone and is a very intelligent person. Basically the complete opposite of the current braintrust.

        The Islanders turnaround also started pretty much the same time he became a part of their braintrust. Coincidence?

      • Gordie Wayne

        What I am wishing for is another Doug Weight on the ice…not in management (although I wouldn’t care if they did bring him in as POHO if it meant Lowe was shown the door).

        He was pure gold for the Oilers.

        Sigh…it’s pretty bad when I look back and would probably trade the entire 2014-15 roster for the 2001 roster.

        At least we saw major effort on the ice every night.

    • ubermiguel

      I remember that year so clearly, it was 2001 and it was a good time to be an Oilers fan. I respect Dougie so much his Cup win is the only thing that takes the sting out of 2006.

      It’s worth noting that was KLowe and MacT’s first year as GM and coach respectively.

  • Hemmercules

    Why is Hall making public statements about the team and/or coach.

    He is the number one problem.

    If the likes of Benn, Pacioretty or Parise played head down, one way, turnover hockey, they would all score 40 goals in 40 games, would be minus 40 and would then be out for the remainder of each season due to concussions.

    This is his 5th season. He’s got 265 games under his belt. If he doesn’t know how to play properly by now, it’s not anyone’s fault but his own.

    • Hemmercules

      Love this comment. I have been saying for almost 4 years now that I would trade Hall in the blink of an eye. He is the cancer that is pivotal to a lot of our woes, and because he feels he is “untouchable” he calls the shots and management and coaching staff kowtow to him. Bench him, trade him but do SOMETHING with him (perhaps a slap around the side of the head?)