Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/1/13
To the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism of which I’m an occasional member this makes no sense. The Edmonton Oilers have gone from 33-to-1 on June 25 to 25-to-1 on Sept. 1 to 20-to-1 to win the Stanley Cup on bodog.ca the eve of the NHL season. The Oilers will start the season with a 37-year-old who looked like he was pretty much done last year playing on the first line. They have another guy on the first line who they tried to trade without any takers. And they have a 21-year-old trying to transition from left wing to centre playing between them. Their top two centres are injured. And they’re using up roster spots for heavyweights and middleweights like a modern-age gathering of Ogie Oglethorpe Tim ‘Dr Hook’ McCracken Clarence ‘Screaming Buffalo’ Swampton and the Hanson Brothers. Then there’s the goaltending. Despite Devan Dubnyk’s numbers being more than decent playing behind a decidedly indecent defence the jury still seems to be out on him. But undecided as the hockey world seems to be on him the one thing they’ll mostly agree on is if Dubnyk gets hurt this team — like the football team in town with quarterback Mike Reilly — is totally sewered. With that in mind your correspondent figured it was a fair question to ask new head coach Dallas Eakins to analyze his goaltending going into the lid-lifter. “I hate analyzing goalies so I don’t do it” said Eakins. “I just like goalies who stop the puck. “Dubnyk’s numbers in the past have been up in the top part of the league. I think he’s had a good pre-season. And it could have even been better. Dubnyk is the first one to tell you even though his numbers are great that he’d like those ones back so the numbers could be even better” he said of a couple of goofy goals to get by him. Dubnyk had a 2-1 record with .938 save percentage with a 1.73 goals against average and two bad goals in the pre-season. He had a .920 save percentage facing the fifth-highest number of shots in the league last year. His win-loss record in the last three years is one helluva lot better than that of his hockey teams – 12-13 20-20 and 14-16. Yet his general manager in a post-season session with season ticket holders made the following statement: “The verdict is out on Devan. I’ve always believed that when you are assessing goaltenders if you have to ask the question you know the answer. “The question would be ‘Has Devan established himself as a No. 1 goalie in the National Hockey League?’
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