Photo Credit: © Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 45.0: Wandering the desert (7pm MST, SNW)

My friends, we’re only hours away from what will likely be one of the most anticipated games of the season. Who’s excited? Anybody? Alrighty then

If ever there was a game that the Oilers absolutely have to win it’s this one. On paper, this should play out with the Oilers trouncing the Coyotes but nothing on paper seems to make sense anymore. Frankly, this season feels like we’re living in a bizarro world where up is down, night is day, hot is cold, and expansion teams are challenging for the Stanley Cup. I don’t know what kind of cruel joke the Hockey Gods are playing on us, but here we are, wasting our lives in treading water in dark pit of our tears. Excuse me while I light myself on fire to brighten up the mood a little bit.

On the bright side, the Coyotes are so bad that it’s almost impressive, and there is absolutely no reason that this night shouldn’t end with two points for the Oilers. That said, the Edmonton Oilers are about as consistent as the beet poos I’m having, and that ‘who knows what’s going to happen’ existence means that this game could go well or it could be a mess. Those inconsistencies are a major problem that doesn’t seem to have an answer, and it’s costing them points all over the place. At this point, would it really be surprising if the Oilers found a way to lose to the Coyotes? Would you bet on it?

The reality for the Oilers is that tonight’s game will be decided by whether Jekyll or Hyde shows up and for how long. Will we get the team that bulled their way to a four-game winning streak leading into the Christmas break, the one that’s been outscored by a margin of 23-4 over their last six games, or both? At this point in the season, it’s disheartening that we’re still having to ask that question. I’ve written about it a lot over past couple weeks, but the Oilers need to find a way to put in a full 60 minutes worth of effort if they plan on winning this hockey game. If they don’t, the machetes around here will be sharpened, drawn, and looking for vengeance.


  • The Oilers have allowed the first goal of the game 27 times this season. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that spotting the other team an early lead is a recipe for disaster. To make matters worse, they’ve also allowed themselves to get down by two goals in each of the first three games on this road trip, a trend that has to stop and has to stop right now.
  • I’m 18 cans of beets into my #SacrificeFor500 bet and I don’t know if I can handle the 19th coming at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes. It’s fun to talk to you guys every time I have to do a #BeetCast but it’s not something that I want to do this often.
  • With the Oilers working through the back nine and the trade deadline approaching, we’re only weeks away from seeing what Peter Chiarelli’s will be for selling assets. For me, I’ll be watching to see which Oilers play out the string like they actually care. If nothing else, we’re going to find out who wants to be here and who’s going to mail it in until summer rolls around and that could go a ways into showing who stays and who goes. According to NHLNumbers, the Oilers have five guys that will be UFAs come July, and it will be up to management to collect assets for them.
  • Finally, the Oilers are playing against a team that they’re beating in goal differential! The Oilers’ -24 (119 GF, 143 GA) looks like an actual accomplishment in comparison to the Coyotes’ -52 (98 GF, 150 GA). Read em and weep, Coyotes.
  • Connor McDavid is currently sitting at 196 points through 171 NHL games played. That pace puts the captain into some pretty elite company as only three other active players have gotten to 200 points faster – Crosby (142GP), Ovechkin (165GP), and Malkin (166GP). Can we get a four-point McNight against the Coyotes? It’s possible.






According to Jack Michaels, the Oilers went with the same line combos at practice yesterday, so that is what’s showing above. If anything changes, I’ll be sure to update as news comes out. Seeing as they actually played a solid 40 minutes against the Predators, it makes sense that Todd McLellan would go back to the same group.





Coyotes lineup (subject to change) is courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com


From Puck Prose:

The Arizona Coyotes can still salvage this season. Not in the making the playoff way – that dream is long dead. No, this season can still be a net positive for the Coyotes, and reward them with massive team change.

First, the offseason moves that the Coyotes made in 2017 will pay off for the rest of the time those players are around. Maybe they don’t fit into the assigned roles, but they do fit on the team. Plus, there’s the opportunity to draft a true superstar for the first time. Also, the team can sell off pieces and get even more draft picks.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers finally break the curse, open the floodgates, score more than one goal in regulation, and win this game 3-2 in regulation.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The highlight from January so far was that the Oilers got an influx of Vitamin D after spending Wednesday afternoon golfing in the sun. Peter Chiarelli then blamed the sun for burning some of the guys.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oliver Ekman-Larsson heads over to Connor McDavid and asks him how he’s dealing with another wasted season. The two compare notes, wish each other well, and plan to come up with a secret handshake after the final buzzer sounds.


Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?

Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 01/12/2018 – 11:00am MST

  • gordo

    we have reached the point where the oilers do not have to absolutely win any of their games; it might even help to lose, but with chiarelli driving the bus who knows. he\ll probably trade his # 1 pick at the deadline for dion phaneuf

  • Lazarus

    This game is on SportsnetWest on a night the Flames are playing? Good God…put the Flames on. Who is interested in watching Coilers/ Yotes in their annual Basement Bowl dance?

  • @Derian Hatcher

    “If they were to fire the coach…”
    MacT takes over as head coach, Mark Messier stands by his side as assistant coach. This lasts until further notice, while the search for betterment continues into the off season.

    It doesn’t sound like anyone is getting fired soon, but someone should have to pay the price. That’s how business rolls.

    • Derian Hatcher

      Thanks…I’m really torn on this as it seems like the same old fire / hire circus again. I feel (hoping?) that last year was NOT a one-off and that McClellan is a good coach. Perhaps I have rose-coloured glasses on, but the coaching Merry-go-round has been a dismal failure. I guess I am hoping the THIS year is the one-off. Maybe not.

      I just think that it’s so easy to call for firings…there has to be a solid plan for better replacements. The disappointment felt by all Oiler fans runs deep. I know that I could hardly wait for the season to start. That first game when Connor owned that sheet of ice was artwork. Downhill from there – I get it – but I wonder if it would be compounded by hiring, or listenting to, the same people who were part of the mess in the first place. Arrgh…so frustrating.

      • RJ

        I’ve seen this dissected at other sites.

        McLellan is a systems coach. That kind of coach is great with a veteran team. Not so great with a young team that needs guidance.

        If you need examples, the overreliance on a veteran like Letestu versus the weird usage of Slepyshev. Letestu is a vet that doesn’t have a lot of time left as an Oiler. Slepyshev is a young guy that could have been a contributor longer-term.

        Listening to the radio this morning, they pointed out that Slepyshev has his best success playing with Drai and Lucic during the playoffs last season. Seems like it could work again right? We don’t know because they’ve played together all of 19 seconds this season.

    • Most do, any accountability and we would not have to talk about these guys again. That is how any other business rolls. Common knowledge if you fail here, you have a job for life. Done with this joke of a franchise until they clean house properly, which will never happen as long as Katz owns it. Fire trainers, fire medical staff, fire ushers, but never fire anyone who deserves it.

      • btrain

        How exactly do these former men still tied to the team continue to be THE reason this team fails. Lets reflect for a moment to prior to the season starting. Take a look at where every credible hockey analyst believed the Oilers would place. Many of these credible folks even considering them as legit contenders. Fast forward to today and the unexpected happens and somehow its still Kevin Lowes fault. Its time to move on from this narrative, its getting old and its simply a target of frustration that has little to do with the current situation. It’s not Lowe’s fault that Kelfbom, Larson, Talbot, Drai, Letestu, Kassian, & Maroon have all taken some steps backward this season or that Sekera was injured or that a backup tender wasn’t prioritized. It’s not MacT’s fault that Russell, Lucic, and Drai were all given blank checks to determine their own value with. None of these former Oilers are on the hook for banking on Ryan Strome, Caggiula, Sleppy, or Puljujarvi becoming top 6 wingers, when none had yet to prove or maintain this ability. They aren’t behind the scenes designing and implementing special teams strategies.

        There are many places where criticism should fall and is warranted, but kicking this dead horse is lost on me.

        • Proof that they are not. Please supply. Do you not agree that any reputable business would fire the people that are screwing up the business and have been for years? No problem with Gretz or Mess, former stars, figurehead with a paycheque, most clubs do that. All clubs except the Oilers do not promote or give tenure to people who are abject failures at their jobs, and you most certainly do not retain the prior manager for advice, why would anybody want advice from someone who has proven they did not know what they were doing?

          • jultz=2cups!😂😂

            Can you please supply proof that they are making decisions? Did you plant a city worker in the oiler offices and this is what he’s reporting back to you? That the hiring of chia was all a conspiracy and klowe and Mact are laughing and laughing at us?? 😂. Well they didn’t fool you. What do you think klowe and Macts end game is? To destroy the oilers franchise and move the team to Seattle? Is that what’s happening?? Yeesh! I agree with btrain. This is getting so old. This is chias mess.

          • btrain

            If they are involved in these areas, it still falls on the current GM and Coach to decide what to do with the advice. Its really as simple as that. Also, I do not agree that firing someone for underperforming is the only logical response. Many times over people have struggled in one particular role within a company only to thrive in another. I mean MacT’s GMing is what is often held against him but he was a great as a coach and as a player. Not everything he did as a GM was poor either and most of his moves were generally supported by analysts and fans alike until they didn’t work out. As opposed to Chia, who’s moves were criticized by analysts the moment they were made. MacT is also a very cerebral person, one who I don’t imagine would let his ego get in the way of learning a lesson. If you had a chance to pick his brain, on what he has learned through his many experiences in different roles, both the good and the bad, you would be a fool not to at least listen.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Messier wouldn’t coach…
      If he wanted to, I’m sure we would have seen him somewhere already…?
      There are a few unemployed ex NHL coaches out there with great records…
      But I’d be looking closely at the Minor Hockey coaches…
      Lately, the ones that have made the jump, like Greene in Vancouver have really surprised me? I have slowly lost ALL confidence in Oiler scouting, I doubt they could get that job done efficiently… Bring back Frazier… lol.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          He was the main scout for those 80’s teams…
          The talent pool is similar now… for the first time since.
          Early 2000’s had very little talent to choose from & Frazier had lost his influence on the Old Boys in the front office.
          The Frazier/Sather combo was as good as it gets…
          The statement was more of a sarcastic one my friend.
          I have to remind myself, that a very large number of Oiler fans have not experienced a winning culture… (We are becoming the “Leafs of the West”) And by gum, that has to stop…

        • Glencontrolurstik

          It’s weird eh Bung, that arguably one of the best “on ice leaders” in hockey history, hasn’t had a passion to coach the game?
          And if he did, would that leadership transmit to the players?
          He could do it on the ice & in the room when he played, as he pretty much controlled the players, but that never seemed to translate to a career after playing. I always found that weird…

  • GregJP

    Watching the Coyotes feed. Tyson Nash (colour guy) is completely crapping on the Oilers. Calling them slow and basically a one man team. You know you’ve reached rock bottom when the Phoenix Coyotes are making fun of you.


    Can’t wait just landed in Arizona gonna catch my first Oilers game with Mcdavid tonight! Already started drinking! Wooooo!! Any one else going? I’ll be sporting the Sheldon Surrey jersey!Let’s Have a frosty!!