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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

GDB 49.0: Just Show Up (7pm MST, SNW)

The Edmonton Oilers have been shutout in four of their last ten home games. They lost those four by a combined score of 19-0. They weren’t remotely engaged in those games. It is an unacceptable trend and if this group has any pride at all, they will at least they will put forth an NHL-worthy effort tonight.

The Oilers have shown up and played well against the Pacific Division this year, going 9-2, and will look for a similar effort tonight against the Flames.

No question Peter Chiarelli made some bad decisions that have led to the Oilers taking a huge step back this season. The coaches also need to share a lot of the blame, because the Oilers have the worst special teams in the NHL, and it isn’t close.

But the players also need to share some responsibility. This lineup has more talent than a 26th place club, and their performance on home ice over the past ten games simply hasn’t been good enough.

I have a hard time accepting the players don’t hold some responsibility.

Through 48 games last year, of the 15 forwards who played 20 games, Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Tyler Pitlick Matt Hendricks and Anton Lander are no longer here.

In those 48 games Eberle had nine goals, Pitlick had eight, Pouliot had five, Hendricks had two and Lander had one. Pitlick played 31 games, Hendricks and Lander had played 20. They combined for 25 goals.

The Oilers forwards have scored 114 goals.

Their forward replacements this year have been Strome for Eberle, Khaira for Pitlick, Cammalleri for Pouliot and Pakarinen for Hendricks/Lander, since those two rarely played at the same time. Lander was sent down November 16th and Hendricks played his first game on November 19th.

Through 48 games this season the Oilers forwards have scored 109 goals.

The five fewer goals came from those changes. So, a small drop, no question.

But the Oilers big minutes players are still the same on forward, and Darnell Nurse took Andrej Sekera’s minutes and has kept them even with Sekera returning.

Many of the existing Oilers haven’t played as consistently or as effectively as last year. No question the GM can be looked at for losing trades, and the special teams coaching has been abysmal, but the players, as a group, haven’t been as effective, especially in the defensive zone.

The Oilers defensive zone coverage, starting with Cam Talbot and including the defence and forwards, hasn’t been as good. They have turned the puck over more and far too often they’ve had five-star giveaways. They have to own that.

MORE CHANGES

Sep 18, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi (98) and Calgary Flames defensemen Matt Bartkowsjki (44) look for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

There will be more changes to this roster, and likely the coaching staff and possibly even management over the next few months, but the majority of this team will be back next year and those players need to use the final 34 games to find the competitiveness they proved they could play with last season.

Do Colorado, New Jersey, Vegas have more talent than the Oilers? I don’t think so, but they have been much more consistent. It is completely fair and accurate to question some of Peter Chiarelli’s moves, but that shouldn’t give this group a free pass to be sitting in 26th spot and to have been lifeless far too often this season.

They have more ability than they’ve shown so far this year and I’d hope they use the final 34 games to rediscover the consistency, passion and commitment they played with last year. Even if they are down a bit in skill, they should not drop from an eighth place team to a 26th place team because of changing out four forwards, and only one who was a top-six forward.

LINEUP

Oilers

Maroon-McDavid-Caggiula
Lucic-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Khaira-Strome-Slepyshev
Cammalleri-Letestu-Kassian

Nurse-Larsson
Klefbom-Benning
Sekera-Russell
Davidson

Talbot

The Oilers might be playing with seven D-men tonight. Todd McLelland wouldn’t announce the roster moves this morning, but Brandon Davidson and Mike Cammalleri said they were playing. Iiro Pakarinen and Mark Letestu were out late after practice.

Adam Larsson is a little banged up and his status will determine what happens with the lineup.

FLAMES

Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland
Tkachuk-Backlund-Brouwer
Bennett-Jankowski-Hathaway
Lazar-Stajan-Lomberg

Giordano-Hamilton
Brodie-Hamonic
Kulak-Stone

Rittich

Ryan Lomberg will make his NHL debut for the Flames. The Flames might have another lineup change.

Rittich has a solid .932sv% and a 2.03 GAA in six appearances this season.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From Flamesnation:

The Oilers lost 5-0 on Wednesday to Buffalo. Buffalo. They’re a reeling team. Expect an emotional game from the Oilers as their players try to salvage their season, save their coach’s job and try to somehow get themselves back into the playoff picture.

Nobody in the NHL has a worse penalty kill than Edmonton. Their home penalty kill has only killed off 54% of their penalties. It seems like a nice fit for Calgary’s power play.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk

GAME DAY PREDICTION: Your guess is as good as mine as to which Oilers team will show up, but they have been excellent versus the Pacific Division in their last 40 games, going 29-8-3 with six consecutive wins over the Flames. The Flames have points in ten straight games, but have lost three consecutive games in OT/SO. Oilers continue to frustrate Oilersnation by rebounding with a solid effort and looking like a completely different team than 48 hours earlier. Oilers win 3-1.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Flames score a PP goal.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Puljujarvi continues his goal-a-game pace against the Flames in his career and scores his fourth goal in four career games versus the Flames.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:


Source: Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 1/25/2018, 1:30pm MST



  • 99CupsofCoffey

    These players sometimes just don’t care. Even listening to McDavid’s postgame, he was just calm and confused. Talbot: “we’ve gotta move on”. Maroon: “huh?” Come on, get PISSED off! Especially McDavid. Rant, yell, be upset. anything. Jeez.

    • Hemmercules

      Par for the course if you’re an Oiler. Go out with a whimper in January and go through the motions for 2 more months until vacation time in April.

      Draft parties to come and selling hope again all summer. Season tickets will be all sold up again for another run through the gutter. I’m already cringing at Nurses contract and Chia hasn’t even given it to him yet.

  • CRONENBERG

    I heard from someone who works at the rink, but I’m not sure if it’s true or not (maybe some one can confirm) that almost all the players left practice yesterday as soon as the mandatory part was over. Regardless, if the Oilers can’t show up for a game against Buffalo then fans shouldn’t show up for tonight’s game. I know it will never happen but man that would be great to see. Maybe there could be an initiative for fans to not buy any food or drinks for one game. I still can’t get over the fact I saved up to get me and my dad good tickets for that last game. And the mentality in the organization is “oh well, just one game. We’ll put it behind us and focus on the next one”. Well that ONE game is the only one I get to see this year, so that’s not how it works for me. They couldn’t give us one lousy goal. Not one single reason to cheer no matter how lopsided the score was. I remember a game years ago where we got shutout, the team effort was brutal but in the last few minutes Strudwick started a fight. That’s caring for your fans. Everyone on this team seems to forget that without the fans, there is no NHL. You don’t get to make millions for playing a game without us.

    • Keg on Legs

      Cronenberg, the problem is, is that it’s not only 1 game!!!!! I count at least 12 games where the boys have no emotion, effort etc. the worst part is, is most of them are at home!!!
      PC’s moves has lessened the talent pool slightly, but Hall and Ebs weren’t exactly heart guys, how man times did you see Hall skating back tot he bench in a huff while line mates are involved in a post whistle scrum?
      I have no idea what goes on here but it’s absolutely ridiculous. PC has nothing to do with the fact the PP can’t even get over the blue line and set up most times, or the brutal PK at home.
      BRUTAL!!!!!

  • morsecode89

    The sad thing about all of this anger and fan apathy is that I don’t know if Katz and the Old Boyz Club realize the level it’s hitting. Everyday, r/hockey has an article – parody or not – about how bad the Edmonton Oilers are managed. Over at TSN, talking hairdo Craig Button is livid about how the team hasn’t evidently surrounded Connor McDavid with the right pieces to win. Most journalists that come to town from other teams consistently throw draggers into the current Oiler roster. TSN just posted an article titled ‘The Oilers and the end of Heavy hockey.’ I’ve started watching opposing team broadcast streams online to get away from certain talking heads, and even those broadcasters seem upset or discouraged about the current state of the Oilers.

    Basically, Oilers fans, the media, and even other teams were all hoping to see a competitive Oiler team with Connor McDavid as the new face of the NHL. Instead, Oiler fans are regularly being treated to lackluster performances and a special teams that’s one of the worst in NHL history.

    This franchise has literally become the punch line of jokes around the league. And the saddest part is that we are probably the most loyal and die hard group of fans in the NHL. Selling out 12 years of mediocrity and spending money on jerseys from every savoir of rebuild 1 through 5.

    It’s just sad. We deserved so much better.

    • Even though I’m a diehard Canuck fan, I was really excited about seeing McDavid-Hall, Draisaitl-Eberle and RNH-Yakupov steamrolling the opposition for 50 minutes per game. Then Chiarelli happened. I sincerely feel for you.

  • Coiltown Soilers

    As you’re watching Lucic bumble and fumble the puck all night while skating like his feet are made of cement remember one thing. At $6 000 000 per year, 82 games in a season, and Lucic’s average TOI of 16 minutes, he’s making $4500 per minute while on the ice. Mull that over tomorrow when you’re braving the snow on the way to work.

      • Coiltown Soilers

        Im judging by the fact that you are commenting here that you do not play in the NHL. Im just curious why you choose not to play hockey for millions since you assume its possible for everyone to do so. Let me guess, you didn’t want all that money and those Cactus Club honeys.

        Your comment is the epitome of ridiculous.

        • I’d play hockey if I could, but I have a good job, and I don’t whine about what other people make in their line of work. I think my point was that it’s not really relevant what they earn, or what you or anyone else earns. The relevant point is that their special teams are hopelessly inept.

    • The Future Never Comes

      Yeah, that’s disturbing food for thought. I think most reasonable people suggested years 5, 6, and 7 to be a drop off. But year 2?!?! Damn, he looks like a third liner on his best day and other days if his name wasn’t Lucic he would not even be in the NHL. Any way to rid that contract (which is bulletproof) you take it at the drop of a hat. Five more years after this one of being fed top 6 minutes. I cannot stomach the thought.

  • The Future Never Comes

    My game time procedure right now is change the channel after A) the first period if the Oilers showed little interest, or B) if the opposing team scores two goals in the first period. Saves a lot of frustration, and I am able to adjust my night to something more positive. Try this formula, it will help remedy ruining your entire night.

  • guk365

    Just stay home ! Would you keep going a restaurant that gave you diarrhea, 9 times out of 10 ? Yet good ole Oilers fans actually wonder why they/we keep getting nothing but crap (pun intended) ! If we want change, real change, then stop going to games, start boycotting the Oilers ! Go Flames Go, Go Avalanche Go, Go Lightning Go … !!!

  • crabman

    I’m tired of hearing about this being a 103 point team last year and only moved out bum players so this team should be just as good. Last year multiple players had career years and the way this team was constructed they all needed to repeat those performances to repeat team success. that wasn’t/didn’t happen. The effort should be there by the players and I’m not excusing the lack of effort but they are obviously not being motivated by anyone or anything. And just looking at the lineup for tonight where is the accountability from the coaches. Put up a stinker like last game and through the same lineup and line combinations out there again. the season has been over for a long time now. Let’s start rewarding players that work their butts off with some time on McDavid’s wing and some pp time. Let’s put some lazy players on the 4th line or in the press box when they seem to not want to play anyway.
    Chairelli built this team and from his total body of work has reduced the talent level of the roster and has left us little in prospects. Not good enough. He needs to go.
    The coaching staff isn’t getting the most out of the players they do have and have been too stubren to change. not good enough and need to go.
    And while we’re at it any person still kicking around the organization from past years of failure need to go not enjoy a new role with the franchise. losing has been acceptable for far too long. It needs to stop and the organization needs a rebuild from top to bottom.

  • Prairiechicken

    The idea that not going to games/buying merchandise will send a message and cause change is delusional.
    I’m pretty sure Katz et co noticed the merchandise flying off the shelves last April and summer, and the effect it had on their bottom line, because of the playoff run.

    I realize this makes me potentially insane, but until they are mathematically eliminated, I have hope they flip the switch, go on a run, and sneak in. Even though they’ve given me no reason they can go on such run.

    I would pay anything to shut Craig Button up …

  • crabman

    Gregor I have a question regarding Lander and the pk. You’ve wrote many times about Pouliot not being on the pk this year as not being a problem since the pk has been bad the last 60ish games of last year too. But it seems the pk started being bad when Lander was sent down. Do you think keeping a guy like Lander around even with his lack of offence would have been worth it to help the pk considering how bad it is? I don’t think he is the reason the Oilers are bad just wondering how much he could have helped our pk.

    • puckle-head

      I agree. I think that Anton Lander is, to some extent at least, the victim of the high expectations we had for him. It’s a shame his offence never materialized at the NHL level, but he seemed an effective enough bottom 6 forward who could kill penalties, and was reasonably fast and skilled enough that you could bump him up the lineup when injuries struck. He’s cheaper than Letestu, Kassian, and Cammellari, and I wouldn’t say any of those 3 guys have been noticeably better than Lander when he was in the lineup. Hell, Letestu’s biggest saving grace was he seemed to be the only righty capable of connecting on a one-timer on the PP and he’s not even doing that anymore.

  • oilerjed

    @ Gregor You predicted a 3-1 with a goal coming off the PP but with Ryan Lomberg making his debut tonight, and assuming he won’t be on the PP, means that the score would have to be 3-2. Everyone knows that the Oilers love to celebrate a players first game with his first goal. Oilers 3-2

  • puckle-head

    My obvious post- game day prediction is (if the Oilers win) we start seeing a pile of comments and articles referring to the Oilers’ playoff hopes still being alive.

  • Disappointed

    No question Peter Chiarelli made some bad decisions that have led to the Oilers taking a huge step back this season. The coaches also need to share a lot of the blame, and the players need to take responsibility.
    Sounds like the trifecta to me. How does the owner let things get out of hand? We are the laughing stock of the NHL.

  • Mitch92

    After last game’s debacle there is no way the Oil loses to their hated arch rivals tonight. 6-1 Oilers, CMD with 2 goals and two assists, Jesse Puljujarvi with one and one. Go Oilers!

  • elliotsmom

    I put a lot of the blame for the losses on Talbot. This year he has been brutal, and not tracking well, goes down way too early and has been slow moving laterally. Letting easy goals in early and often in games drains the confidence of the guys playing in front of him. He’s playing behind the same defence as last year, but his posture and goaltending has definitely changed this season. Getting chased out of the net this year and shut out in games does not indicate a starting goal tender to me. There are so many other consistent inconsistencies with the rest of the team this year too, but Talbot is our weakest player most nights.

  • TDSM31

    After that embarrassment last game why is no one from the top six sitting in the press box tonight? Seabrook and Spezza have both been healthy scratches this year yet Oilers management doesn’t feel the need to institute any type of disciplinary action? Oh, and Talbot’s starting. I’ve never seen a more incompetent display of management…in any organization.

  • GK1980

    Oilers need some players on their roster that play with tenacity and energy, not the most skilled just always give I it every night. Load the bottom six with these guys. The swagger lines and let the top two lines score the goals and put up points. I thought Lucic would bring the swagger but he hasn’t done it enough. they need players that are vocal and hard on their team mates. It’s nice this team likes each other but they also need to hold each other accountable more. Point fingers and piss each other off, get some emotion into their game.

  • Natti_89

    Why are we starting Talbot? Screw the draft pick – play Montoya to change things up. This team may as well look into building momentum going into next season. If we go out with like quitters, doesn’t give me hope for next year. Players are the ones on the ice, they are playing the game – get some positive energy. I don’t think anyone who protects our country would appreciate the lack of effort this team is putting in – and they put their lives on the line