GDB 30.0: Three in four

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2013 12:46PM

Tonight’s game kicks off a stretch of three games in four days – the Oilers host St. Louis this evening, go to Nashville to play Monday night, and then play again on Tuesday in St. Louis. To keep up with the playoff pack, they probably need to win two of three, with tonight’s match and the Monday game representing their best chances to come away with two points.

The Standings & Action Today

Today's games:

  • San Jose @ Minnesota
  • Vancouver @ Los Angeles
  • Columbus @ Nashville
  • Colorado @ Dallas

From an Oilers’ playoff perspective, the most important game here is the one at the top of the list: a regulation loss for San Jose to the Wild would make a lot of teams happy. If cheering for the Wild to win even one game bothers the hardcore fan, feel free to spit after that sentence, so long as you aren’t in a library or something. Meanwhile, Nashville vs. Columbus is a two-edged sword; the Blue Jackets are on the precipice of the post-season but the Predators are still in the conversation. Given how few home games the Blue Jackets have left, I’d suggest a regulation win for them is probably the best case scenario here – sure they’re ahead of Nashville right now, but it’s hard to believe the other shoe isn’t about to drop.

From both a playoff perspective and a draft position perspective, a regulation win by Colorado over Dallas is the Oilers’ preferred outcome. Speaking of the latter view – both Tampa Bay and Buffalo play today; a win for both (combined with an Oilers’ loss) would move the Oilers into the eighth overall pick range, and tied in points with the team’s slated to make picks five through seven.

The magic number for the Oilers to make the playoffs entering action today (and assuming all teams maintain their current paces) is 54 points; they likely need either 12 wins and a regulation loss or 11 wins and three regulation losses in their final 19 games for a post-season berth.

The Lineup

The Oilers' official Twitter feed had the lines from the morning skate, which were as follow:

  • Hall - Horcoff - Hemsky
  • Paajarvi - Gagner - Eberle
  • Jones - Belanger - Yakupov
  • Brown - Smyth - Petrell

On defence, the same six - Smid, Petry, the Schultzes, Whitney and Fistric - will dress, while Nikolai Khabibulin gets the start in net.

Predictions

Game day prediction: St. Louis is a very good team and jump out to a two goal lead, but the Oilers fight back in the third, force overtime and ultimately win 3-2 in the shootout.

Obvious game day prediction: Nail Yakupov, who has just one goal in his last 21 games, scores both of the Oilers’ regulation goals. Asked about the goals after the game, Yakupov shrugs and says ‘We win. We scored more goals. We win.’

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Ralph Krueger wears a bright orange blazer and borrows the green hat Don Cherry wore last week for his post-game press availability. Before anyone can ask a question, he yells ‘WHAT DID I TELL YA? DIDN’T I SAY WE COULD WIN IN THE PENALTY SHOTS? SMITTY, SHOW THEM WHAT I SAID.’ At this point a much more conservatively dressed Steve Smith, who nobody had noticed until just then, fires up a monitor and a clip from Friday’s availability of Krueger saying “We just have a lot of confidence in our penalty shooting ability” and “we believe in our ability to win in penalty shots.”

Recently around the Nation Network

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:28PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

No resurrecting this one. Terrible game to watch.

Still, I can't turn it off. I watch the Oilers religiously.

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#102 Slatd
March 23 2013, 10:29PM
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@Harry Crack

unfortunately this team has no more time for guys to have a night of "free passes"

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#103 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:29PM
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Oilersfan4 wrote:

Well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up, I repeat well the real Jordan Eberle please stand up.

He wont be showing up on this line for 5 or 6 games, Yakupov should be where he is right now, the way we have it now is a horrible dynamic fit.

Ralph needs to do SOMETHING, and we might as well go with what has worked in the recent past before we run out of time and Ralph pulls the goalie with 2:40 left to go.

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#104 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:32PM
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Lets double shift Hall and put him in Eberles spot, seriously he has great conditioning and great speed so lets double shift him, this game is critical to our year this is the time to leave it all out there.

Send J Schultz all the way to the net so he can help us out offensively, greelight our weapons before its to late.

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#105 Jay
March 23 2013, 10:33PM
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Lets give smid 6mill a year! Do whatever it takes! The reason were not winning games is because we're not blocking enough shots! It has nothing to do with the fact that were 26th in the league in goals for! And I'm sure that has nothing to do with the fact that we can't transition the puck and get it to our forwards! I'm sure if we just blocked more shots we'd start winning more games

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#106 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:34PM
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nice play Whitney . . ..was 1/2 a Kostitstyn on that one

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#107 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:34PM
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Jesus, if we dont apply immediate and constant pressure right on our blueline and go for the odd man rushes every time we might be rolling over on our season, we need to step up on them and take a stand and try to wrestle this game back. This is no way to lose a game man.

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#108 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:36PM
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The blues defensive support is amazing. No wonder we can't score.

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#109 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:37PM
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All night long we brough nothing from the middle as far as offensive pressure goes, horrible adjusting by the coaches.

Same peripheral crap all night lone especially from Hall.

TAKE IT TO THE NET NOW BOYS.

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#110 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:37PM
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We lose this game and I'm packing her in for the year, another year and no playoffs. Meaningful games in March hahahaha. Ya right. They say Chris Stewart is on the trade block, I wonder how much it would take to get him here in Edmonton

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#111 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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Ralph has better not talk about lessons and so on. The Oilers don't show enough compete and the coaches don't / can't adjust their game plans to compete against different teams & systems.

Eberle is awesome, but the kid is in a super slump. How about giving Yaks a shot in his spot. Really at this point what can that hurt? Maybe we would learn something?? Isnt that what this season is all about Ralph!?! Learning?!?!

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#112 Rod from Viking
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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This fantastic system we are using is so ineffective against the heavy defense oriented teams,I see three losses in a row in our immediate future.Why can't we try to use our speed and skill?

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#113 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:39PM
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Ok lets get creative here, 1st line of MPS-Gagner-Yakupov and ride it out.

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#114 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:40PM
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@Oilersfan4

*tips hat*

Cya next year...

Also, Stewart is shooting something like 25%. He won't be this good forever.

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#115 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:41PM
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Man, I wish the oilers could pull off a trade like the Blues made with Colorado. The Oilers could sure use a player like Stewart.

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#116 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 10:41PM
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Men vs boys.

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#117 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:42PM
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Hey Ralph use your timeout for what it was designed for we have time to score a few goals give the men a boost and at least hope for gods sakes, dont save the dam timeout when we are down 3 goals pal.

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#118 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:43PM
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washed up wrote:

Man, I wish the oilers could pull off a trade like the Blues made with Colorado. The Oilers could sure use a player like Stewart.

you're making the assumption that the Oilers remember how to make legit hockey trades. Bad assumption.

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#119 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:43PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

*tips hat*

Cya next year...

Also, Stewart is shooting something like 25%. He won't be this good forever.

That maybe true but tonight he's a beast, the type of player the Oilers need.

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#120 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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maybe it will occur to Ralph one day that it is the lack of veteran depth that makes his line blending so damaging, the young guys need the support of familiar faces at this level right now and that must be a priority like it or not. He has to learn to trust the men more.

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#121 Quicksilver ballet
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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Look at the urgency in the Blues players. Tenacious,intensity to spare along with the fact the Oilers are easily outworked and outcoached most nights.

Men against boys again.

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#122 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 10:45PM
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Wow that's a lot of booing.

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#123 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:47PM
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@Slatd

You Guys are 1 veteran gritty Winger and another years seasoning from climbing the mountain. Push Smitty into his AGM or scouting role , bury Belanger in a hole somewhere , your good to go!

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#124 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:47PM
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nice marshmallow game Whitney . . .there's a Greyhound leaving at 11pm please get on it . . .

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#125 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:48PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Wow that's a lot of booing.

Maybe mr Katz well hear the booing, oh wait he's in Vancouver

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#126 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:48PM
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When you at rosters like Ottawa and then compare it to the Oilers it really makes a guy wonder.

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#127 Zed
March 23 2013, 10:50PM
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Watched the game, had a drink, saw a good team beat an easy team. Yeah the easy team tried but..... Boo.

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#128 Jay
March 23 2013, 10:51PM
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See you all next year! With tambi, KLowe and the 7 other hockey op guys sitting around the round table, I'm sure there's big and wonderful changes to come! we'll have a new backup goalie, a much higher priced smid and gagner, and pressure another young dman into top minutes(klefbom). Yup, just a matter of time! All we gotta do is sit here and watch

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#129 thednp
March 23 2013, 10:51PM
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washed up wrote:

When you at rosters like Ottawa and then compare it to the Oilers it really makes a guy wonder.

Compete level on the Ottawa team is totally different than what we're seeing here in Edmonton. PJ stock just nailed it - way too many gaps in the team.

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#130 The Soup Fascist
March 23 2013, 10:52PM
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Slats wrote:

nice marshmallow game Whitney . . .there's a Greyhound leaving at 11pm please get on it . . .

Under > on

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#131 washed up
March 23 2013, 10:55PM
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thednp wrote:

Compete level on the Ottawa team is totally different than what we're seeing here in Edmonton. PJ stock just nailed it - way too many gaps in the team.

Man, i'd like to punch PJ Stock in the throat. I can't stand that guy!

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#132 Harry Crack
March 23 2013, 10:57PM
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@Zed

What happened to Ben E.? Was he not supposed and expected to provide needed sandpaper ?

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#133 Slats
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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PJ-Dracula and Weeks going toe to toe. Oilers are a disappointment - can't play without the puck and got worked by a team that has the best breakout in the NHL.

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#134 Oilersfan4
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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Jay wrote:

See you all next year! With tambi, KLowe and the 7 other hockey op guys sitting around the round table, I'm sure there's big and wonderful changes to come! we'll have a new backup goalie, a much higher priced smid and gagner, and pressure another young dman into top minutes(klefbom). Yup, just a matter of time! All we gotta do is sit here and watch

Ya your right on there. This management has no previous experience than with the Oilers, and it shows on the ice as well. When well Katz wake the heck up.

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#135 NewAgeSys
March 23 2013, 10:59PM
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Even Brown didnt show up, this was a big coaching letdown to me.

No use of the timeout when momentum was obviously shifting, no consistant blueline pressure and offensive thrust.

Poor o-zone entry decisions from the 1st line and a critical lack of chemistry on the 2nd line murdered us tonight. Bad line managment ,poor tactical decision making on both sides of the coin at a very bad time.

we didnt attack the middle which is their weak spot all night long, we allowed them to engage the perimeter game for most of the night in our zone and we failed to read and react to the fast rush and fast one-man penetration and shot/pass tactic with the rest of the line beating our defensive transitions to position for the ultrafast and random shot towards net.

Ralph needs help, and we are really going to be looking for a Genie in a Bottle soon if he cant pull out of this next game and be prepared for this team at the end of this stand when we meet again. Techniclly it wasnt that hard to stop them from the GDB here, but Ralph couldnt find a way down there. Not soon enough and not consistantly enough, he showed signs of reaction in several areas but to slowly and not completely or consistantly enough to kickstart the offense.

I say again, the standup defensive structure is what fits our system and we cant ignore that, had we been engaging the proper defensive structure we wouldnt have been giveing them the blueline control they had all night long and we would have denied them the first random catalysing shot/pass all night long. Stand them up at the blueline and pinch the halfboard outlet off and use that transition point to catalyse odd man rushes back at them. We have been through this exact routine already a few times against their system and we should be dominating them by now, this is a coaching issue and even a recording issue because we are repeateing the same learning steps all over every game.

Where is the disconnect catalysing from? This is like a freaking cerebral Black Hole. Why isnt the bench identifying where the opponents system pressure is catalysing from? Why is it taking so long to read and react again? This WAS NOT a Player issue tonight it was another coaching communication/read and react disaster by Ralph and the crew.

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#136 Sloppy joe
March 23 2013, 11:02PM
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Am I the only one watching CBC who is surprised by how stupid Healy's comments are? Jeez, I never noticed he was that bad. Edmonton had a tremendous defensive game? Really? Nuge is our best defensive C? Really? Pretty embarrassing.

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#137 Sloppy Joe
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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Also, I officially request that the stats gurus do an analysis of oilers' drop-passes just inside the offensive blue line and in the high slot. Let's count the drop passes and figure out what percentage lead to a turnover. It's got to be 85 percent or more. Why do they do it game upon game?

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#138 Slats
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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Healey is trying to be the next version of the CBC's Milbury

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#139 Time Travelling Sean
March 23 2013, 11:09PM
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@Sloppy joe

I think he meant that he played against the opposing teams toughs on a nightly basis.

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#140 Jay
March 23 2013, 11:16PM
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Slats wrote:

Healey is trying to be the next version of the CBC's Milbury

I can't stand healey. Makes me sad! Remember back in the day when CBC was actually credible? Lets just let CBC cover the leafs only! I'd rather watch sports net or tsn or NBC or oln or the discovery channel. HNIC is dead to me

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#141 Sloppy joe
March 23 2013, 11:25PM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

I think he meant that he played against the opposing teams toughs on a nightly basis.

I get that. But he played the toughs while Horc was hurt. Horc is now back and playing the toughs. Don't get me wrong - I'd take Nuge over Horc on my team any day - but Healy has his head up his ass when he says that we missed Nuge for the tough match-up. Those would have been horc's minutes in any event (and rightly sonar Horc is the superior defensive option)

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#142 Newj
March 23 2013, 11:33PM
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4 game home stand of "meaningful March games" & they get 2 out of a possible 8 points. What is meaningful to this team?

I enjoyed the fans reaction to the outcome in a meaningful game.

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#143 Oil Change?
March 23 2013, 11:35PM
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Can't wait for Willis to defend Belanger's position on the team as a face off specialist. He wins 4 more face offs than he loses over 100 total face offs.

Please as a fan of the team do not pile of Yaks scoring production as his fault. Playing with Jones and Belanger as a chance. If he wasn't going to get a chance to play with even average players they should have sent him back and not wasted the year of a rookie contract.

War: Belanger always on the ice during four on four

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#144 Mr sense common
March 24 2013, 12:22AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Look at the urgency in the Blues players. Tenacious,intensity to spare along with the fact the Oilers are easily outworked and outcoached most nights.

Men against boys again.

Like I've been sayin, we need Steve Ott

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#145 Mr sense common
March 24 2013, 12:26AM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Even Brown didnt show up, this was a big coaching letdown to me.

No use of the timeout when momentum was obviously shifting, no consistant blueline pressure and offensive thrust.

Poor o-zone entry decisions from the 1st line and a critical lack of chemistry on the 2nd line murdered us tonight. Bad line managment ,poor tactical decision making on both sides of the coin at a very bad time.

we didnt attack the middle which is their weak spot all night long, we allowed them to engage the perimeter game for most of the night in our zone and we failed to read and react to the fast rush and fast one-man penetration and shot/pass tactic with the rest of the line beating our defensive transitions to position for the ultrafast and random shot towards net.

Ralph needs help, and we are really going to be looking for a Genie in a Bottle soon if he cant pull out of this next game and be prepared for this team at the end of this stand when we meet again. Techniclly it wasnt that hard to stop them from the GDB here, but Ralph couldnt find a way down there. Not soon enough and not consistantly enough, he showed signs of reaction in several areas but to slowly and not completely or consistantly enough to kickstart the offense.

I say again, the standup defensive structure is what fits our system and we cant ignore that, had we been engaging the proper defensive structure we wouldnt have been giveing them the blueline control they had all night long and we would have denied them the first random catalysing shot/pass all night long. Stand them up at the blueline and pinch the halfboard outlet off and use that transition point to catalyse odd man rushes back at them. We have been through this exact routine already a few times against their system and we should be dominating them by now, this is a coaching issue and even a recording issue because we are repeateing the same learning steps all over every game.

Where is the disconnect catalysing from? This is like a freaking cerebral Black Hole. Why isnt the bench identifying where the opponents system pressure is catalysing from? Why is it taking so long to read and react again? This WAS NOT a Player issue tonight it was another coaching communication/read and react disaster by Ralph and the crew.

Wow

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#146 Rob...
March 24 2013, 12:26AM
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Mr sense common wrote:

Like I've been sayin, we need Steve Ott

Sounds like we also could have used Hitchcock. Gosh I wish he was available at some point in the last 3 years. Oh wait, he was.

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#147 steelymac
March 24 2013, 12:46AM
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Rob... wrote:

Sounds like we also could have used Hitchcock. Gosh I wish he was available at some point in the last 3 years. Oh wait, he was.

He wouldnt of got the job cause he wouldnt blow sunshine up klowe and tambos asses.I honestly thought kruger would change the team but its just smoke and mirrors.

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#148 common sense
March 24 2013, 01:34AM
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The CBC panel said basically it was the single line of Stewart, Steen and Oshi that was providing all of the St.Louis offensive threat. Swiss Cheese Krueger should've known that and should've done more to neutralize that line. As Rob Brown said on the radio, the St.Louis Blues are just the better team as is most of the NHL. That is the indictment of the management of this organization that it simply hasn't built a good team despite several first overall picks. Bad signings and several missed signings ie.Glencross and this team is simply not good enough. I support this team but I have had it with this mediocre and incompetent management team.

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#149 6 ring circus
March 24 2013, 01:52AM
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There is a losing culture that has been brought to this organization right around the same time Tambellini arrived.It is time there is a complete overhaul starting at the top and working its way down,look at what Montreal has done in this last 10 months.The Oiler's propaganda machine is great at telling everyone we are going to have a great team at the beginning of the season, only to have us watch the team sh*t the bed year after year after year...

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#150 Colbert
March 24 2013, 03:34AM
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To me it is the level of management's 'don't-give-a-sh*t-o'meter' that concerns me most. Lowe and Tambs have known full well for a couple years what this team was lacking on and off the ice and did not do enough in the off-season to address it with good planning. Tambs has been out-managed by almost every GM in the west. What is he, the Western Conference's 2.0 version of the town fop?

The player's lack of pride and caring about the outcome is just a case of the player's collective attitudes following suit with management. I wonder if Taylor Hall and his agents have a calender marked with the exact date of his free agency? Hall certainly cares but the majority of his teammates don't seem to. I can't see him sticking around after that date.

I can't believe what some folks are willing to pay to watch the AHL in Edmonton. If you want to watch the AHL fly to OKC and watch the Barons...it would likely be cheaper!

Katz/Lowe/Tambs have no collective inkling of how to build a successful organization and have no clue where to go from here...betcha.

'Oil Change' should be re-titled 'Chump Change'.

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