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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#1 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 02:33PM
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I'll be cheering for Smid and the Flames tomorrow.

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#2 JJ
November 15 2013, 03:06PM
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PS.. Glad to see they sent the bastard Arco back down to OKC. He might be doing well, but good, tough teams, especially in the west, would have this guy helping out the farm.

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#3 DamnDuby
November 15 2013, 11:11PM
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Although all of the Debbie downers will crap all over the oil tonight, they played harder and the game was more exciting than almost any last year. But keep craping on "your" team guys cause that is going to help em out.

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#4 Crooked
November 15 2013, 02:37PM
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It's probably not fair, but sitting Arcobello makes a bit of sense if you consider he's had points in just one of the past 10 games, and the team is desperate for scoring.

It also doesn't help he's been in all 20 games so far this season, and the team's only won 4 of them. Just 2 in regulation. They weren't winning with him in the line-up, can't hurt to see what happens without him.

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#5 Citizen David
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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4-3 Oilers.

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#6 JohnDoe
November 15 2013, 03:18PM
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I'm thinking if Edmonton trades Eberle than Hall will want to go to. Those two are butt buddies!

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#7 VK63
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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OGDP

Gags takes over the dubious race to wear the green jacket prompting 8 point game references.

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#8 Wonger
November 15 2013, 02:36PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

It is way past time to move one or three of the "stars?" out! Let's get some SIZE, GRIT and NASTINESS into this line up! I agree! EAKINS and MACT are not the problem! They are the solution! Eberle, J. Schultz, Gagner, Hemsky, Yakupov, Potter, Petry, N. Schultz, Flubnyk, LaBarbera, Larsen are the problem! CLEAN HOUSE!!!! I don't want anybody coming back, at any position except goal, that is under 6'3" 225LBS, averages less than 1 PIM per game played, and who hasn't had to attend ANGER MANAGMENT sessions because they can't handle LOSING! Simmonds, Ott, Lucic, etc. are the type of sweethearts the Oilers need desparately. PAY THE PRICE AND MAKE IT HAPPEN MACT!!!! ETEM, PRUST, T. JACKMAN, FOLIGNO, MAROON, NEIL, STEWART, REAVES, etc. etc. etc.!!!

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#9 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 12:54PM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

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#10 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 01:59PM
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Jason Gregor's truest line in the article:

"For some reason our society thrives on negativity too often."

In other words: "Why you heff to be negative?"

The comments section of this site has become far too negative and depressing in the past couple of weeks.

The fans of this team need to start sending out some positive vibes. From now on, I am going to post one positive item regarding the Oilers on every article posted here. I challenge the rest of you to do this too...

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#11 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 10:42PM
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Disappointed to see the Oil lose again after a tough start but they didn't fold their tents and pushed back at the sharks. A decent effort and Dubey didn't have much chance on the goals tonight either.

Hopefully a win will come tomorrow night!

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#12 Zarny
November 15 2013, 01:03PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

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#13 lolhockey
November 15 2013, 12:42PM
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OGDP - Taylor Hall breaks his wrist attempting a toe drag.

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#14 Fresh Mess
November 15 2013, 08:00PM
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One thing I don't understand is the hate towards Acton. He's an honest player who gives it his all nightly.

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#15 Mike Wazowski
November 15 2013, 08:22PM
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@Spydyr

I'm good with you finding a new team. Been tired of your constant b1tching and ragging on the team anyway.

Hope you don't pull anything jumping on and off the bandwagon.

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#16 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 12:40PM
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Exactly what kind of message is the coach sending to the team, and the fans by sitting the most productive offensive, defensive, and physical player we have in Arcebello?

For those who can see what is happening , this coach seem to have 22 deaf players.

Yea coaching is not our problem.

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#17 j.0
November 15 2013, 02:18PM
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you guys suck,

hilarious we might win tonight..ahahaha

a new start....ahahha

same old BS "watch how good we will be next year"

in summary you guys suck its in the water.

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#18 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 02:40PM
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The Oilers might win 7 games from now to January......Might.

This might be the worst stretch of hockey coming up the Oilers fans may ever see!

The only thing I ask is to beat Calgary! If the only games the Oilers win from here on out, I’ll I ask is just beat Calgary!

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#19 Todd
November 15 2013, 05:49PM
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DSF wrote:

So let me get this straight.

Arcobello has been the most consistent Oiler player during the first 20 game, playing well on both sides of the puck.

The Oilers send him down while keeping Will Acton on the roster.

Then, because Ference is unlikely to play, they call up Klefbom who has been pedestrian in OKC but he won't arrive until tomorrow so the Oilers are going to play THE SHARKS with 5 defensemen.

GOOD GRIEF!

Its a paper shuffle. In the real world there are CBA issues real people have to follow. I'm sure its too much to ask you to do 30 seconds of educating yourself before you flap your face.

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#20 Oil4Life
November 15 2013, 04:06PM
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So many negatives and wishing that "insert oilers player" gets injured..... its just a game guys. if your upset by how the oilers are playing then dont watch. I for one am excited to see if the oilers can play a solid game of hockey and beat those darn sharks who i dislike very much. gagner, hall, ebs and smyth get goals. dubnyck stands on his head and oilers win 4-1.

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#21 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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#22 Sizzay
November 15 2013, 11:01PM
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DSF wrote:

Important to remember the Sharks were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and were on the 2nd game of a back to back.

They won the game in the first 30 minutes and then put it on cruise control.

And, if Couture had had any puck luck at all, the score would likely have been 6-1.

No excuse for back to back games. All teams go through it.

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#23 albertaboy19
November 16 2013, 12:44AM
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I'm embarrassed to be an oiler fan. Booing the team, honestly is disgusting. Why boo and make the situation worse when they have no confidence already and they aren't deciding on what personnel should be here and who should be coaching. Make a statement to Katz and management by not showing up to the games. Booing is pathetic and punishes the players not the owner.

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#24 Mike Krushelnyski
November 15 2013, 02:29PM
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no1curr

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#25 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 03:10PM
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JJ wrote:

PS.. Glad to see they sent the bastard Arco back down to OKC. He might be doing well, but good, tough teams, especially in the west, would have this guy helping out the farm.

AH HA! Mystery solved!

Arco had to be sent down because they recalled Klefbom (only so many roster spots boys). Arco was solid - for sure. But i really want to see Klefbom get a shot!

Actually, i totally forgot that other players could get sent down instead. i would have kept arco over guys like acton... so.. bah.

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#26 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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#27 Bruner
November 15 2013, 01:09PM
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I wish I could kick Kevin Lowe in the balls and then pawn off his 6 rings for beer money. That would make me smile

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#28 Bishai in the Benches
November 15 2013, 02:36PM
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NSOGP - Joe Thorton scores 4 goals in the first period. After the fourth flutters in over dubnyk's shoulder, Jumbo Joe pulls a live rooster out of his pants and starts stroking it affectionately. After the game he opens his media scrum with "told ya I'd do it!" and then leaves to party at the Rack, where all the 18 year old girls have finally come to the realization that Hall and Eberle aren't worth their time anymore.

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

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#30 Zamboni Driver
November 15 2013, 11:16PM
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@DSF

Yup.

The kid had no points.

Tyler Seguin was okay yesterday though, no?

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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#31 DSF
November 15 2013, 11:30PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Yup.

The kid had no points.

Tyler Seguin was okay yesterday though, no?

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Tyler Seguin?

The Tyler Seguin who is on pace for nearly 50 goals and 90 points?

Never heard of him. 😀

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#32 Do bolo
November 15 2013, 01:43PM
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What a stupid idea, playing some dorky movies to help people to do the job that they are very highly paid to do. If this is what it takes to get these guys to attempt to try, they would never cut it in the real world. They should try working shift work outside in - 40 in Ft. McMurray or working 24 hours in an ER helping to save lives. Instead they are playing a game and need to learn to keep it fun. I seem to remember that some of the kids didn't need motivating to head out to the bar and have fun after having their butts handed to them. Stop making excuses for these losers.

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#33 BingBong
November 15 2013, 01:45PM
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So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

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#34 Scott
November 15 2013, 01:48PM
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Thanks J, your approach is a breath of fresh air compared with the majority of the TMZ'ers (to steal your line) who cover this team.

I hope, and this is a pipe dream, that Yak wins the Rocket Richard trophy one day and jams it right up Ryan Rishaug's fat @ss. Perhaps then he would finally shut up, leave TSN, and go report on who's the real father of Kim Kardashian's baby.

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#35 pkam
November 15 2013, 03:10PM
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Mac962 wrote:

So is it ridiculous to perhaps have Big Boyd Gordon play centre on either the first or second line ? He may be the only one big enough to deal with Jumbo Joe. Yes, he is not really offensive gifted, but does it really matter. We need another Boyd and 2 more Perrons.

Sam should be getting 3rd line minutes right now and go against weaker [ if there is such a thing] sharks players.

Eakins said players who play well , will be rewarded with more minutes, i think Boyd deserves a shot in the top 6.

i Dont know if this game scares me more or tomorrow in craptown. I dont expect the Oil to win tonight but tomorrow, i damn right expect them to win.

That's why we rest Acrobello tonight. We want him to be a factor in the battle of Alberta tomorrow night.

We don't want him to get hurt by those big nasty bastards tonight. Can you imagine Jumbo Joe and Acrobello going into the board hard? Remember Mason Raymond vs Johnny Boychuk?

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#36 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 04:00PM
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Zarny wrote:

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

Through 48 games last year the Oilers gave up 134 goals.

They’ve given up 75 through 19. Now, I'm not a math wizard but I'm willing to bet that the Oilers through 48 games give up more goals then 134.

Through 48 games last year as you mentioned the Oilers sat 12, through 48 games this year my guess is the Oilers will sit 29th possible 30th.

We have virtually the same players as last year, and yet one could argue we got better positional players this year.

The PK has been worse while so has the PP.

You can argue till your blue in the face that it’s not coaching but even the most diehard Oiler fan has to concede that coaching hasn’t been great ether.

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#37 ThatButthurtOilersFan
November 15 2013, 04:04PM
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It absolutely boggles my mind that they sent down Arcobello. He's one of the hardest working players one the team, plus he's ten times better than Acton and Gagner combined. Ok, maybe a bit of a stretch, but my point is that you don't send down one of your best players. Who are they going to send down next, Yakupov? I can't wait to here Eakins/MacT's excuse for this.

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#38 I tried it at home
November 16 2013, 01:40AM
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I get that it was a great morale booster when he picked us as his new BFF's forever, and he sure did tear up that there AHL something wicked... but seriously, WTF has J.Schultz done for us lately? Hell, at all??? Send him and Yak down to the minors and let them figure it out there. Meantime, more rum. Jeeziz Murphy this sucks

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#39 tileguy
November 15 2013, 01:07PM
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Jumbo Joe hard on the for-check seperates (insert name here) shoulder.

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#40 Serious Gord
November 15 2013, 01:37PM
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San Jose is due for a loss. But i suspect that it won't happen tonight.

GDPs:

Several oilers will get injured

Gagner will end up getting snow on his pants.

Eakins will stare off into space for minutes at a time

San jose will score and likely score often

Fans will boo and boo often

5-2 san jose

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#41 JJmorrocco
November 15 2013, 01:38PM
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Hey Gregor,

Is this Oil's worst 20 game stretch of the past 7 season? Maybe this team is not setting us up like teams of the past that showed decent starts but then always failed in the new year. Hope is they can improve in each 20.

Looks like Steve smith took back the PK (or was given to him by higher powers?) players are dropping again to block shots/passes not the stand up screen and deflecting we had the fisrt 15 games. baby steps.

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#42 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 01:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers score their first goal at home in November. Dubnyk lets in a weak goal I know shocking.Gagner is again minus something.The beat goes on.Oilers lose.Tough time to be a fan of this team right now.

Some people can't handle the truth.

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#43 Ed in Edmonton
November 15 2013, 01:49PM
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BingBong wrote:

So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

Hard to believe this is real. But if it is MacT should do it in a nanosecond.

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#44 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 01:51PM
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Zarny wrote:

No, coaching isn't the problem.

With Krueger last year, they finished 12th and were falling at the end of a 48 game season.

They weren't one win away from the Stanley Cup.

The problem is the players on the ice...or more specifically a lack of good players on the ice.

Dallas, should you not be working on the game plan for tonight? Stop writing in as a pretty girl, you my friend are Mr. Barbie Doll and we all know it.

Now go back to combing your wavy hair.

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#45 Gordie Wayne
November 15 2013, 02:00PM
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#PositiveThoughts

Boyd Gordon was an amazing signing and full credit goes to MacT.

Gordon could have stayed in Phoenix, or he could have gone to a number of different teams that were interested, instead he chose Edmonton and he has been great for us this year.

He is 4th in the league in faceoff winning percentage at 58.7%, he blocks shots, kills penalties better than anyone on the team, and generally works his bag off every shift.

I don't think enough people realize what an improvement he is over the outgoing Horcoff!

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#46 DSF
November 15 2013, 02:11PM
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San Jose leads the league in shots/game at 36.7.

The Oilers, meanwhile, average 27.8.

Considering the poor relative quality of the Oilers' opposition in the first 20 games, we could see 40+ shots on goal from the Sharks tonight.

Unless Dubnyk is all world, this could get ugly.

How Hopkins, Gagner and Gordon match up against Thornton, Couture and Pavelski pretty much tells the tale.

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#47 JJ
November 15 2013, 02:32PM
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I love coming to Gregor's GDB because no matter how much we suck, we can always anticipate his prediction which is usually something along the lines of "3-2 Oilers". Loving the optimism Gregor, albeit semi-delusional. Dubnyk only letting in 2 tonight? To the Sharks? Suree...

My prediction: 4-0 Sharks to continue the shutout streak. Let's be realists here. Unlike MacT and the gang.

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#48 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 02:40PM
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BingBong wrote:

So Matheson thinks the Preds would trade Weber for Eberle, J. Schultz & Gagner. I highly doubt it, but assuming this is true, then MacT should definitely be making that call.

Ooohhhh that would hurt. Eberle AND JSchultz? I know schultz hasn't had too many fans of late, but i think he'll figure out his D game and be a solid guy going forward.

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#49 Wohin gehst du?
November 15 2013, 02:54PM
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Good effing hell, Arcobello. Don't resign here next season, you deserve better. Arcobello's benching is the epitome of everything wrong with the Oilers right now. OGDP: Eakins mentions accountability only 800 times after a loss

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#50 A-Mc
November 15 2013, 04:49PM
Trash it!
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Naky wrote:

@A-mc

Wow, I didn't know Bryzgalov got all those shutouts playing for the Oilers, the perennial worst team in the league with the league's worst d-corps for several years straight. That's amazing! I, too, like to assume that every statistic is equal and every situation is the same.

So if you couldn't tell, I'm saying your numbers are borderline worthless. Sorry to burst your bubble though.

I understand what you're saying, but I'm helping to diffuse the notion that Bryz is a total write off. It shows that he is capable of winning and POSSIBLY steal you a game (even if it's rarely).

I have been a Dubnyk supporter for years and i want the best for him, but i just can't see him ever stealing us a game when we need it most.

You're right that the teams are vastly different (Oilers vs Anh/Phi) and it's hard to compare the two goalies.

I was offering NO conclusions in my post. It was simply some interesting stats with a little bit of 1260 humor thrown in with the "So you're saying there's a chance !?".

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