GDB 21.0: STARTING OVER

Jason Gregor
November 15 2013 12:30PM

The Oilers enter the second quarter of their season tonight vs. the San Jose Sharks. The first quarter had disastrous results, and cost them a playoff spot. The management, coaches and players can't look at it that way, playoffs being a pipe dream, but a 4-14-2 start has them 15 points out of the playoffs.

The remainder of this season will be about understanding the system, learning to compete, not just working hard, every shift and hopefully the bitter taste and stench of losing will motivate the players to never be in this situation again.

The Oilers must use the next 62 games to build the foundation of continuity and winning. If they want to become winners, they must be committed to the system, their teammates and themselves.

The Oilers are showing signs of improvement in some areas of their game.

Despite going 0-for-5 last game the Oilers PP is 25% in their last eight games. Their PK has killed off 25 of the last 26 powerplays, 96.3%, over their past eight games.

Many will say the Oilers haven't improved enough because they aren't winning, and that is valid. However, the Oilers can't  solve all their problems over night. These next 20 games will be a test of their character and inner strength. Do they have willpower and focus to concentrate on the next game and not pout or worry about the previous 20? Have they learned that they need to play smarter, faster, stronger and with move conviction in order to win?

We won't know until December 29th. That is when they will have played half the season. Can this team stick together, play hard and become competitive? The next quarter of the season will show us a glimpse of whether or not they can execute the system, or if they have the guts to go to the net consistently,  or if they have the intestinal fortitude to try and stop opposing teams from going to the net and the internal desire to finally learn how to win.

The 2nd quarter of the season could show us a lot about which players should be here long-term.

DIFFERENT APPROACH...

If I was Andrew Ference, I would sit the team down and show them some of the great inspirational/motivational speeches from movies. Hockey is a game. You can inject some humour into the game. Try and get the players to relax, inhale and recognize that it isn't life or death.

For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often. Yes, the first 20 games were f^@#*&()*) embarrassing. But whining and focusing on it every day isn't going to change that. Learn from it. Challenge them to be better, and maybe have some fun doing it.

Here are some examples. Guys love this stuff. I know watching these clips made me laugh and they got me fired up.

I'd start with something light... 

"That's what were here for guys, to win." I freaking love that line. Makes me laugh every time...

Most sports movies have a dramatic scene that usually leads to the team bonding or that shows an individual realizing they need to work harder. We eat this stuff up. We love it, and that's why we watch those movies over and over again.

Ference could show them this one. (fast forward to 1:40 to the quicksand speech.) 

"You're playing and you think everything is going fine. Then one thing goes wrong. And then another. And another. You try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink. Until you can't move... you can't breathe... because you're in over your head. Like quicksand." Shane Falco

That could resonate with many Oilers right now. They have had numerous things go wrong...but they can't let it paralyze them.

Then I'd show them this one. It is fitting since the Sharks are in town. (actual words start at 2:00)

For some laughs I'd follow it up with this one. This kid is great.

Then, I would play the greatest sports speech of all-time. I don't care what sport you play, whether you are playing beer league, the NHL, NFL or road hockey this scene/speech will get your blood flowing. 

Eakins could play this one.

"I can't make you do it....Either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals...Now what are you going to do?"

Tony FREAKING D'Amato (Pacino) would have made a great coach.

I would leave them with this one.  

I understand the need to talk systems and strategy, but sometimes you simply need to tap into the emotions of the players, and in this case, with the loyal citizens of Oilersnation.

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Hemsky-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Perron
Joensuu-Acton-Jones/Gazdic

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Potter

Dubnyk

Sitting Arcobello is perplexing. I don't get it. He has been solid offensively, defensively and on the PK. 

The Sharks are playing their third game in four nights. They defeated the Flames Tuesday and the Canucks last night, both times in OT. Fatigue

The Sharks have three players averaging a point-a-game. Thornton and Pavelski have 20 points in 19 games, while Logan Couture has 19 in 19. Patrick Marleau has 18 points and Tomas Hertl has 17. The Oilers will face Alex Stalock. He has won both of his starts, and he has a dazzling 0.946 SV% and 1.57 GAA.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: On paper this is an easy choice, the Sharks should dominate, however, it is Positive Friday and if Ference showed even one of the aforementioned videos prior to the game the Oilers will win. Chalk one up for D'Amato, Oilers win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't scored at home in 182 minutes. They score in the first period, and combined with the first 8 p.m. Friday game that I can remember, the first intermission beer sales are the highest of the season.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ilya Bryzgalov stops 33 shots in his AHL debut in a 4-1 victory. During the 2nd intermission the Oilers show highlights of the OKC victory and a few of Bryzgalov's saves. After the highlights, they play the clip of Bryzgalov saying he is only afraid of bears in the woods.   

SHARE AND DROWN YOUR SORROWS...

Do you need to share your feelings and frustrations about the Oilers? We have the best possible solution. Next Friday is the 2nd annual DJ Suitcase party. Don't miss out. Tickets are already 80% sold out. You can buy them here. See you then.

Speaking of Struds, media whore, make sure you vote for him in Battle of the Blades. If Struds win, the Inner City Children's Program will receive $50,000. That is huge. Take a moment and vote. If you take a few extra moments, answer the Quick Challenge questions, sign in and you will get 7 bonus votes. Do it. Help the kids. Vote here. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#201 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Jerry wrote:

This is not fair Oilers are playing a NHL team.

It's not fair but it's the only way for Edmonton fans to see what an NHL team looks like. Blind passes, turnovers, and odd man rushes seems to be all that our team can muster on offence.

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#202 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 09:15PM
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Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

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#203 RexHolez
November 15 2013, 09:16PM
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Can't teams just start spotting us 3 goals to start?? It's not fair!! every team tries and have professional players and stuff...

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#204 Sidd
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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Randy wrote:

I wonder how the Oilers would do in the AHL. Probably a playoff team

I wonder, they look more like a Junior team

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#205 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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@RexHolez

Sure, but not the 'high end skill' and 'great young players' that the....oh nevermind.

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#206 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:17PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Ryan Smyth, hands of stone.

Hands like a snake

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#207 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Any Rob Ford in Edmonton sightings?

ya he and KLowe both appear to be holding on to their Post for no apparent reason. Fans with bags on their heads. I think Klowe needs to start selling his own bobble head

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#208 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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A Shakespearean tragic comedy...

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#209 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:18PM
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Could we sign SJ's goalpost to be our starting goaltender?

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#210 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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Whoever in the hell that was that made that stupid pass on the 3-on-1 should be cut.

I'm not joking and don't care if it's Hall.

ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.

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#211 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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.

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#212 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:19PM
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Hemsky goes to Smyth on the bench "remember when that guy from Dallas missed the open net and I went back and scored a goal?"

Smyth replies "Why do you ask?"

Hemskey in broken English "He said he wish his stick wasn't curved so much and like 10 times thicker than normal so that when the puck bounced he still could put the puck in the net....what's your excuse?"

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#213 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:22PM
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Wow. Some sustained pressure. Now score dammit!

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#214 Fred
November 15 2013, 09:22PM
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SJ goalie looks bad

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#215 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Buffalo wins.

Oilers 30th.

Here here let's all toast a cheer to Klowe and Mac T - an accomplishment not many can hold their hats to. Loks like the Oil are skating in quick sand tonight. Just can't get enough of all that skill we have. 3 zero and it could be 5 or 6 nothing by now.

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#216 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Smith to Smyth on last play "eh shooter, need to bounce off the tenders skates an in"

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#217 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Wow. Down 3-0. I can't believe they're actually playing now. Lowe must've told them that if they can score a goal, he'll resign.

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#218 exsanguinator
November 15 2013, 09:24PM
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Poll on NHL.com, "how many goals will the Oilers score at home tonight?"

Zero is winning.

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#219 Tom
November 15 2013, 09:24PM
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Ha Ha Ha

Kevin Lowe is getting paid for his job

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#220 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 09:25PM
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Jesus they still won't put Yakupov on the first PP?

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#221 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:26PM
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It's a Christmas miracle.

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#222 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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Eakins says "good couple of shift boys, lets build on that momentum."

than follows that up with:

"PP boys, lets go Smyth, Joensuu, Arcobello....errr Acton and Belov and Smid ...err Petry"

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#223 vetinari
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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A goal???? We're allowed to have one of those?

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#224 Rod from Viking
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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Good, now Gord Miller can STFU about home scoreless drought, he has mentioned it at least 50 times the last two games.

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#225 Peter
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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JESUS FERENCE! Knock that sh*t off!

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#226 Batfink
November 15 2013, 09:28PM
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can we attach dooby to the net like a table hockey goalie?

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#227 Johnnydapunk
November 15 2013, 09:29PM
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I wonder how big of a dust loud the goal horn just blew out ?

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#228 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:30PM
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Yakupov screams at his coach "HEY Coach you promised IGOR that you would let me have some PP time get me out their coach I'll produce"

Eakins mulls it over and says "I guess I did promise Igor, out you go Yak."

Goal... Yakupov follows the Goal up with a cele that only he and Kevin Lowe understand

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#229 Drowning in Oil
November 15 2013, 09:30PM
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Way to go Yak, he has incredible hand eye co-ordination. Eat that Eakins!!

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#230 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:31PM
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@Rod from Viking

Yeah, he's totally anti Edmonton.

Except for, you know, being from here.

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#231 Darren
November 15 2013, 09:31PM
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That was an amazing shot by Yakupov, it looked like he hit it in the air and got all of it.

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#232 RexHolez
November 15 2013, 09:33PM
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@Batfink

We're gonna play Dubby and Bryzgalov in net at the same time right? Just play with 2 forwards? Is that cool?

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#233 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 09:35PM
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Wow...the TinMan actually made a play.

Shocker.

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#234 jbogus
November 15 2013, 09:39PM
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Not delighted but ok with that effort last 10 or so.

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#235 BingBong
November 15 2013, 09:39PM
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A little FU from Yak.

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#236 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 09:40PM
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@Walter Sobchak

"Taking more shots doesn’t mean jack! Just because you shoot more doesn’t mean anything!" Guess that Gretzky guy didn't know much about hockey.

You like to cherry pick stats (and poorly). The fact is special teams and goaltending have been better lately and they are steps in the right direction.

Make no mistake, the team has to be better. There aren't more than a few players that can claim to have had a good start to the season but never acknowledging when they've done some things right is just a fanboy throwing a fit.

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#237 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 15 2013, 09:41PM
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CHOP WOOOOD!

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#238 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:46PM
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Eakins "Good period boys. We broke the 3 game shutout, mission 1 accomplished...who got the goal, I wasn't watching, there was this guy in the stands and I thought he was mouthing me a suggestion on who to play next shift so I was listening."

Smyth responds "I think that new guy scored Larinov or Belov, I dunno he was Russian Coach, definately a Russian."

Yakupov leans over to Belov "what they say?"

Belov responds "I can't heer, I have been watchen my favourite Polka tunes on Ipod for last 5 minutes, nice Goal, how you get them guys to pass to you?"

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#239 EP
November 15 2013, 09:52PM
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Is it me, or does Craig Button look like Jughead from the Archie comics?

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#240 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 09:57PM
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@Zamboni Driver

This may make me look dumb. Ah what the heck I always make myself look dumb.

Who is the Tinman exactly?

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#241 Stack Pad Save
November 15 2013, 09:58PM
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@YFC Prez

I think he is related to old stone hands, oh and he has no heart.

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#242 YFC Prez
November 15 2013, 10:07PM
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Our home team announcers have run out of ways to talk about the struggling oilers they now just rave about the opposition players. Just spent 3 mins blowing sunshine up coutures *exploitive deleted*

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#243 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:11PM
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Oh well, when the tiering round is over we might get tiered down so we can play some teams at our skill level....oh wait this isn't my sons bantam team I'm watching...

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#244 Reg Dunlop
November 15 2013, 10:28PM
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It could be that SJ is tired or that they called off the dogs early OR it could be that the Oilers finally started to understand how they have to play to get a few wins. Another moral victory, or have my expectations sunk so low that tonight's game seemed pretty good effort-wise.

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#245 I tried it at home
November 15 2013, 10:37PM
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Well, thats over. Oh hey weekend starts now. yay.

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#246 Poolanov
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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I have never hated Ferraro more than I do today

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#247 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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Joke performance. Effort is fine when you're watching junior A. These are professionals. They're paid to perform.

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#248 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 10:38PM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

It could be that SJ is tired or that they called off the dogs early OR it could be that the Oilers finally started to understand how they have to play to get a few wins. Another moral victory, or have my expectations sunk so low that tonight's game seemed pretty good effort-wise.

Could be the start of a moral victory streak....

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#249 Ari Gold
November 15 2013, 10:39PM
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That was the most mundane last 5 minutes ever.

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#250 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 10:40PM
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Oilers now have firmly grasped 30th...

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