GDB 54.0: Date with Devils

ToDoList

The Oilers got dominated 5-1 by Toronto, the 24th place team in the league, on Saturday night. After Wednesday’s lacklustre performance vs. the Penguins, Todd Nelson expected his team’s effort to be better, but it wasn’t. In fact, it was worse.

We’ve seen that type of effort far too often the past few seasons, and I’m curious to see how Nelson reacts if his team is flat again tonight against the 23rd ranked team in the league.

Dallas Eakins never showed his frustration publicly, unless he got squirted by a tossed water bottle, and I wonder if Nelson follows the same path, or if he has the “snap factor” in his coaching repertoire. I don’t expect him to pull a Mike Yeo and go on a profanity-laced tirade, but Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and Eakins were more patient teachers than disciplinarians.

That approached hasn’t garnered much success, granted the talent they had was not close to playoff caliber teams, but the Oilers work ethic has not been consistent enough during the previous five seasons. I wonder if a more hard-ass coaching approach would at least increase the team’s effort on a nightly basis?

The Devils are not a dominant team, and even though the Oilers are without their two fastest wingers, Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot, the Oilers must find a way to at least be competitive.

The first 15 games under Nelson’s watch the Oilers were in every game, but the last two games their effort was non-existent. They at least need to show up tonight.

LINEUP…

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The only line up change will be in goal. The speed of the Oilers forward group is very average without Pouliot and Hall. It illustrates another weakness in the organization. They need to improve their defence, goaltending, centre position and overall team speed. 

QUICK HITS…

  • The entire team was terrible in Toronto so it is difficult to get a good read on any player, but I didn’t see improvements in the areas that Marincin needs to improve. He can move the puck well, and I expect him to do that, but watch him closely when he defends. He needs to improve the angles he takes to attack the forward and, as Gerry Fleming mentioned, he needs to recognize when to use one hand or two hands when engaging in a battle. The biggest difference between Marincin and Oscar Klefbom is that Klefbom can separate the man from the puck. Marincin has a long reach and decent stick, but he needs to improve his intensity when he engages in on-one-one battles.

    If he can do this, then I believe he can become an impactful player for the Oilers. If not, then I don’t see him helping them out long term. He has NHL talent, but he, like many young players, needs to develop NHL work ethic and competitiveness.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From John Fisher at In Lou We Trust

It’s going to be fun to see what the attendance will be for a Devils-Oilers game on a Monday night.  Not that it was ever going to be hot ticket, but with the Devils being bad and the Oilers being even worse, I’m not expecting a full house. I’m sure the sales team is looking forward to it.  Pro-tip for the suits on the business side: this isn’t Edmonton, the fans will not keep showing up for crappy hockey for close to a decade.  Especially as you are raising ticket prices for at least parts of the arena.

TONIGHT….

PaulyD

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers effort will be better, but they pick up their 31st regulation loss of the season with a 3-1 loss.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scores his 30th point of the season. That gives him more points than every Oiler except Hall, RNH and Eberle. 

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers have four players in the lineup tonight with more than 13 points, yet some still claim Edmonton is a skilled team. Even if Hall and Pouliot were dressed they’d only have six players with 14 points or more, yet at some point in the broadcast someone will mention how the Devils are a defensive team and the Oilers forte is playing a skilled, uptempo game. 

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  • vetinari

    I THINK THAT PAT LAFORGE THINKS I AM A SHMUCK

    There are two articles up on the Edmonton Sun site where Pat LaForge tries to explain the Oilers new pricing philosophy. He says their “research” indicates that the Edmonton hockey market is “young, educated, and affluent”.

    Zero out of three for me. I am just a pensioner who has been following the Oilers since 1979 and LOVES GOOD HOCKEY. I guess that’s why $8,000 season tickets don’t make a lot of sense to me. I guess people like me don’t really matter to the Oilers organization.

  • vetinari

    The Jersey fans don’t seem to be too engaged in this game. Are we sure that they aren’t really just a bunch of card board cutouts? And tell me why the Oilers ‘sell’ out game after game yet the Devils can’t fill 70% of the stadium?

  • vetinari

    Yak with one on the PP. Good to see him contribute with Hall and Pouliot out. Know better than to get my hopes up heading into the third when I’ve seen them collapse and give up four to Calgary in one period.

  • vetinari

    SERIOUSLY

    The Oilers have really turned it on in the second period and I don’t want to minimize that. However…

    This NJ team is abysmal. On Saturday they lost to the Canadiens 6-2 and got outshot 44-23. Tonight…7 shots through 2 periods, well on their way to getting outshot 2-1 again. I guess Lou Lamoriello couldn’t see how crappy they were from the press box, he had to come down to ice level.

    PS: Sorry about all my posts. I am just finding this blog more interesting than the game.

  • Risto's Canon

    I’m getting my first tattoo tomorrow-a BRING BACK DALLAS EAKIiNS tattoo on my right ass cheek!!! I may also get an Oil coloured 33 on my left ass cheek in honour of my all time favourite- BIG STEVE MACINTYRE!!!