Happy Festivus

We begin with the airing of grievances.

I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it. You, Katz. My son tells me your team STINKS!

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97 Responses to "Happy Festivus"

  1. Swabbubba says:

    oh feats of strength… when does that start… my fav is the aluminum pole for the tree…

    MY grievance:

    The lack of determination/will power of this Oilers team to want to change something. Which I see as an on ice activity Capt Glass has to go. Souray for the C

  2. DBO says:

    LOL. Ok then, made me almost spit out my coffee. Katz, my son tells me your team stinks. Awesome.

    Happy Festivus to all. Here’s hoping the Oilers players and brass regain their positive attitude and start to have some fun again. This team is passionless, and I really think it derives from the sour faced coach. Seems like coming to the rink is a chore for the whole team, each player not sure if it’s his turn to be thrown under the bus. Regardless of coaching skill, MacT has to go. More then 5 years (has it been 8 already?) and a coach loses the team. Time for a change, they need to bring in a new staff and change the culture in the dressing room.

  3. Oilman says:

    I think the PK finds tinsel distracting

  4. B.C.B. says:

    My Grievance:

    I hate all you bandwagon Fire MacTers.
    Please come up with rationale reasons to get rid of the coach, rather then clinging to the phrase: “He has lost the room”. Why do you know the inner workings of the Oilers better then the management? How many Stanley cup finals have you played or coached in?
    I am not saying don’t criticize, but use logical and information (like stats, reports, etc…) rather then your fanciful imagination.

    OR
    The PK. That is a serious grievence too.

  5. Alice says:

    DBO, your MacT update was anticipated in the thread yesterday, you let it slip on account of all that excitement in the 3rd, but you’ve made amends today ;-)

    Of course you might be right – the whole team looks like it needs to get laid, starting with buddy.

    So Fire MacT!
    Or at least someone buy him a lapdance along with a handful of HBomb’s tinctures.

  6. DeBakey says:

    No grievances.

    Except that at Christmas
    The WJHC gets all the ink,
    but I enjoy the Spengler Cup

    Representing the Dominion this year:

    Goalkeepers:
    Daren Machesney (Hershey/AHL),
    Travis Scott (Klagenfurt/Ö).

    Defenders:
    Micki Dupont (Zug)
    Dale Clarke (Espoo/Fi)
    T.J. Kemp (Wilkes/AHL)
    Jay Harrison (Zug)
    Shawn Heins (Fribourg)
    Ric Jackman (Leksand/SWE2)
    Mario Scalzo (Salzburg/Ö)

    Forwards:
    Domenico Pittis (ZSC Lions)
    Serge Aubin (Servette Geneva)
    Kirby Law (Fribourg)
    Hnat Domenichelli (Lugano)
    Stacy Roest (Rapperswil-Jona)
    Jean-Pierre Vigier (Servette Geneva)
    Jeff Toms (SCL Tigers)
    Randy Robitaille (Lugano)
    Brad Isbister (Zug)
    Byron Ritchie (Servette Geneva)
    Martin Kariya (SCL Tigers)
    Jean-Guy Trudel (ZSC Lions)

    Head coach:
    Sean Simpson (ZSC Lions)
    Assistent coaches:
    Russ Courtnall (Hockey Canada)
    Serge Pelletier (Fribourg)

    The Schedule:
    Friday 26 December vs Karlovy Vary RSW 12:00
    Saturday 27 December vs Davos RSW 12:00
    Monday 29 December vs Ingolstadt RSW 1:30
    Tuesday 30 December vs Dynamo Moskva RSW 1:30
    Wednesday 31 December Final (12h

    Fun Fact
    Patrick Thoreson is tied for 2nd in the Swiss League scoring with Juraj Kolnik [whom the Oilers were eyeballing last spring] with 45 points in 31 games.

  7. Schitzo says:

    My grievance is mistaking dumbshit penalties for “leadership”. Uncork your head from your ass, Moreau.

  8. Doogie2K says:

    Strange line combinations, playing numerous people out of position, silly mental errors that veterans shouldn’t be making, especially early, and a Godawful PK all seem like coach things.

    My grievance is with the team’s utter unwillingness to block any shots whatsoever. That was a calling-card of the Oilers for most of the MacT era, and it’s mysteriously fallen by the wayside this year, and the proof is in the penalty-kill. Whatever else you want to say about that Chicago game, if we don’t have three vets who should know better doing the Flamingo instead of blocking a bloody shot, it’s 1-1 in the second and not 4-1, and it’s a very different game from there. And the thing is, there’s no adequate reason why, unless either A) the coaching staff got spooked, B) Bucky’s allergic to shot blocks, or C) the players got spooked. Hence my joke about it being weeks before another block. I mean, just man up guys, you’re costing yourselves standings points. You may be trying to protect yourselves, but being healthy going into the playoffs is only relevant if you’re actually in the playoffs.

  9. Jonathan says:

    RE: Blocking Shots – Back in training camp….

    MacTavish: Guys, any shot can be safely blocked, if you use the correct technique. Sheldon Souray will fire the puck, and Ethan Moreau will demonstrate correct blocking procedure.

    Huddy: Souray fires that puck over 100 miles an hour. You put Ethan in there, it might kill him.

    MacTavish: I would not want the manager’s prize damaged. We will test it… on defenseman Hrabel.

    (Souray fires the puck as Hrabel goes down)

    Principe: Laser! Laser!

    (Hrabel whimpers in pain, clutching the pulverized remains of his knee. Huddy kneels down beside the prone defenseman.)

    Huddy: He’s alive… and done for training camp.

    MacTavish: Good. Prepare the Souray for firing the puck at enemy shot-blockers.

    Moores, to Principe: You’ll note down that it was torn cartilage, and not caused by blocking shots.

    Principe: Your wish, as usual, is my command.

    And that’s why nobody will block shots anymore.

  10. Scott says:

    Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way….

    Great thread, I laughed out loud (not lol’d, actually laughed).

    My grievance is with a team that let me down too many times this year in the first period, but gave me a third period to make me come back one more time.

    I’m sure MacT’s would sound the same.

    Now, Festivus can’t end until Sam Gagner pins Shawn Horcoff.

  11. Soup says:

    B.C.B.

    How about this for firing MacT
    - only 2 seasons out of 8 where he makes the playoffs, or
    - even the big run year, team was listless and underperformed through most of the year and road Rollie and Pronger through Detroit. or,
    - tries to turn every player into a MacT clone. Every player (including those with strong offensive creativity) should be a two way forward. God forbid we have players that take offensive chances and pray their goalie bails them out once in a while (80s Oilers, anyone?), or
    - complete overuse of AHL players (Toby P, Norwegian Viking and now Reddox and Pouliot), or
    - Takes apart a line that was very effective last year when healthy (Hemsky, Horcoff and Penner), throws in Cole and messes up every other line thereafter, or
    - second worst penalty kill in the league (this from the god of penalty killing), or
    - unprepared to play first periods for most of the year, or
    - team gets constantly beat to loose pucks. Just doens’t compete enough.

    Remember, this was a team that most pundits picked to win the NW this year. They no where look like a team that can compete with Calgary and Vancouver on a regular basis. If they have all that talent (as MacT said himself last week), but can’t get it organized to actually do something meaningful, who should be responsible?

    Oh yeah – I forgot. Penner is responsible…

  12. Lord Bob says:

    Did you guys see the Sun Media poll where Steve Macintyre was rated first in the league for strength-to-weight ratio?

    (Proposed new nickname: ‘The Aluminium Pole’)

  13. oilerdago says:

    My grievances:

    Outside of Horcoff no one can win an important face off.

    The line combinations. (Reddox on the 2nd line? Yech)

    Three goalies on the roster is hamstringing the roster. Makes it much tougher to HS guys who need it (for a break or for poor performance).

  14. quain says:

    I’m glad we’re going to fire the coach because pundits decided we were going to win the Cup this year.

    This team is young and this team is mediocre. You know why we get beat to pucks? Because half our team weighs 145lbs. You know why we overuse Reddox and Pouliot (Poo is a good player, but I’ll address it anyways)? Because Marty Reasoner and Curtis Glencross got handed their walking papers.

    A huge portion of complaints against MacT are basically GM screw-ups. There are certainly valid ones: the PK (I don’t buy this is all personnel), the PP and not demoting Moreau to the fourth line, come to mind. But when push comes to shove, this guy is icing a lineup that is sporting a half dozen guys in their rookie or sophomore years, at least. And these aren’t Patrick Kane quality young guys.

  15. Traktor says:

    “This team is good enough to win the division.” – Craig MacTavish

    “This is a result orientated business.” – Craig MacTavish

    My grievance – no accountability.

  16. mc79hockey says:

    Did you think that this team was good enough to win the division Traktor? Because I thought that the coach was wrong when he said the first thing, and it seems crazy to nail him for the second. If you think that this team is good enough to win the division, maybe the coach goes. If you don’t think it is (and I don’t), maybe the GM should be removed from hockey operations completely.

  17. Lord Bob says:

    There’s lots of blame to go around for this debacle of a season. Lowe’s screwed up. I’d support canning him in a second, and it’s hard for me to say that.

    But MacTavish is coaching like an imbecile too. He hasn’t got enough horses, but the ones he has he’s using irresponsibly. To borrow an old Lowetide metaphor, he has too many eights and nines and not enough jacks and queens, but he’s playing the eights and nines in exactly the wrong times.

  18. Santa Merda says:

    My greivance is that the Oilers suck.

    Please, please, just be good. That’s all I’m asking.

  19. Traktor says:

    MC: I think we have a team good enough to at least be in the think of things. Right now we’re tied for last. As frustrating as it is being where we are I’m more pissed off how we got here.

    Dustin Penner was 12th in the NHL last year in PP goals and MacTavish takes him off the PP?

    Things like that have being going on since before the cup run.

    I agree Lowe has to go as well. I’ve always been a fan (he starts every hand with 7-2 and has stock piled enough assets to be competitive for a decade) but MacTavish is ultimately his responsibility and he refuses to deal with it.

  20. bookie says:

    My Greivance,

    The masses of uninformed Edmonton fans who almost randomly pick ‘goats’ like Poti (and now Horcoff?) to boo and attack for no reason – Pronger (and many others) was right about not wanting to play in this town because the fans are idiots. Fans are idiots elsewhere, but at least they don’t care enough to actually impact players’ lives and play.

    Also

    People who cannot accept any legitimate criticism of MacT’s coaching. I love the guy, but his record and his often strange behaviour (two years of focusing on mistakes every game, mixing lines like a 2 year old, etc.) suggest to me that he may not be the best coach in the league and maybe not even the best for the Oilers. I don’t know this, but I have a right to think about it.

  21. Traktor says:

    RE: Horcoff

    What I don’t get is many of the fans who think MacTavish doesn’t have a team good enough to win are the same ones who don’t feel we need to upgrade Horcoff.

    Ask yourself who’s the top 5 or 6 Stanley Cup contenders and then ask yourself where would Horcoff play on that team.

    He’s the 2nd or 3rd line center on most of those teams.

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    My grievance is with a team that let me down too many times this year in the first period, but gave me a third period to make me come back one more time.

    The Edmonton Oilers are a round of gold this year. They go +18 for 14 holes and then string together Par, Three putt bogey, Birdie, par to end the round.

    You walk away thinking what a great game it is.

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    My greviances:

    The penalty kill. There is no shot blocking, there is no challenge from the fowards, Staios uses his time on the ice during the PK to get a scenic skate in and no one except Souray bothers to thump the screener in front of Roloson.

    Sam Gagner. He’s making two stupid plays for every smart one and if it were any other player on the roster except the six vets, they would have been scratched 15 games ago.

    Fans that boo Horcoff. I found this out last night and I would like to have a calm, civil discussion with them to explain why they are complete wastes of human flesh that should die in a grease fire.

  24. Ribs says:

    Traktor… Can you convince any of those teams to give up their #1 centers? I’m just not sure why you think these guys are available for upgrade.

  25. Coach pb9617 says:

    Oh, one more.

    Using Penner’s gloriously beautiful fat ass as a scapegoat for the first 20 games of the season when he was misused for those 20 games.

  26. Doogie2K says:

    Remember, this was a team that most pundits picked to win the NW this year.

    Actually, you’re thinking of Calgary. Most pundits had Edmonton second.

  27. DBO says:

    Alice; happy to oblige.

    B.C.B.: As for the fire MacT stuff. I do think he’s a decent coach, albeit a little too smart for his own good. he seems to over think a lot of stuff. guys who have played for him regularly say he’s the smartest hockey guy they’ve been around. That may be so, but even Scotty Bowman got fired. Eventually a team tunes out the coach. he may be right in everything he’s doing, but right now both vets and rooks are not playing hard for him. My sentiment to let him go is not driven by a hate for him (although at times I do confess to cursing his decisions), it is driven by the huge lack of effort by this team. So unless they plan on making a lot of moves to change the room, they have to let MacT step upstairs and be a vp( because you know he won’t be gone completely). We have had no post season success with the exception of one magical run in 8 years. We have had consistently inconsistent teams, always go on prolonged slumps, and offensive players that come here rarely succeed. eventually you have to stop blaming the multitude of players brought in and look at the coach. This team is not built for a MacT coached system. And so while you can condemn KLowe for bad moves, you either make some moves to bring in players that will succeed here, or you bring in a coach that can succeed with the players here. One of the two has to happen and fast.

  28. Jonathan says:

    Tyler: I figured this team could contend for the division lead, but would probably end up with a lower playoff spot.

    That said, there are a ton of things that I didn’t like MacTavish doing – he basically screwed around experimenting for the first 20 games, and it may cost this team its playoff spot. He’s a good coach, and the folks who regularly trot out “8 years of mediocre teams” really should be looking at the GM, but as long as the team picks a decent replacement (i.e. nobody on the current staff, someon with a successful track record), I think a firing may be a logical move at this point.

    Of course, I want to see a trade first, and there’s no reason for Lowe/Tambellini to be sitting on their hands – Gratton or Smolinski would have been decent additions if there were no other possible trades to be made, something which seems unlikely.

  29. mc79hockey says:

    Eventually a team tunes out the coach. he may be right in everything he’s doing, but right now both vets and rooks are not playing hard for him.

    Even accepting that teams eventually tune out the coach, I don’t accept that people aren’t playing hard for him and in particular the vets. What vets aren’t putting in the effort?

    If it’s the rookies/sophs, it would seem that they’ve tuned him out after about 110 games. Does that really seem that likely?

  30. Traktor says:

    “Traktor… Can you convince any of those teams to give up their #1 centers? I’m just not sure why you think these guys are available for upgrade.”

    I’m not saying they’re available.

    I’m not going to pretend that we’re not deficient in that area either.

    To me locking up Horcoff as our #1 the next 6 seasons is like marrying a women you kinda like because you haven’t found miss right by the age of 25.

    Now you are never going to find her.

    Enjoy 8th place.

  31. Jonathan says:

    Oh, and my greivance:

    People who figure that Kevin Lowe’s brilliant and Craig MacTavish is an idiot. If MacTavish is an idiot/poor coach/whatever, then Kevin Lowe can’t possibly be brilliant, because he chose the coach. It’s nice to see Traktor mentioning that above.

  32. mc79hockey says:

    To me locking up Horcoff as our #1 the next 6 seasons is like marrying a women you kinda like because you haven’t found miss right by the age of 25.

    Just curious – to which players in the NHL do you think Horcoff is comparable? He’s not the prototypical #1, that I agree with, but I don’t think that comparing him to someone like Rod Brind’Amour is out of line. Are the Oilers going to need another scoring line? Certainly. Does Horcoff do enough useful things to make him worth the ticket? I tend to think so.

    It’s all semantics anyways, but maybe if Gagner comes along, he’ll end up playing something near Horcoff’s time at ES against softer comp and eating the lions share of the PK. Is that such a bad thing?

  33. Doogie2K says:

    I wonder if Montrealers lamented Jacques Lemaire being their #1 centre in the 1970s.

  34. DBO says:

    mc79: I agree players are still playing hard for the coach in that they try. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the “not playing hard” quote. Whatever the issue, something isn’t right with this team. And can anyone tell me a time in the MacT era where we felt things were right? Yes the management deserves some blame as well, but a change needs to happen. I’d like to see a few moves as well, but right now it is very hard to make any significant moves due the cap fears. So the other choice is the coach. If people feel that all is well with the Oil, then keeping it as status quo is fine. but if you feel there is something wrong, then a move has to be made.

  35. Ribs says:

    Traktor… You’re arguing that Horcoff’s contract means that the Oilers can’t afford the magic bean center if he did indeed become available?

    How do you figure that?

  36. Traktor says:

    MC: Fisher, Madden, Pisani, Langkow, Morrison, Brind’Amour, Vermette, Langenbrunner, Kesler

    Some of those guys are more physical and not all of them are centers but those are the guys I associate Horc with.

    Horcoff is the guy I send out to protect a lead with a minute to play. Not the guy I would send out when I need a goal though.

  37. Jonathan says:

    Cap hits of the top two centres on every team:

    NYR – 14.4M (Gomez, Drury)
    SJS – 13.5M (Thornton, Marleau)
    DAL – 12.8M (Richards, Ribeiro)
    PIT – 12.5M (Crosby, Malkin)*
    PHI – 12.3M (Briere, Richards)
    OTT – 11.2M (Spezza, Fisher)
    VAN – 10.6M (Sundin, Sedin)
    TBL – 10.6M (Lecavalier, Stamkos)
    BOS – 9.8M (Savard, Bergeron)
    DET – 9.7M (Datsyuk, Filpulla)
    NSH – 9.0M (Arnott, Legwand)
    WSH – 8.9M (Nylander, Fedorov)
    MTL – 8.8M (Koivu, Lang)
    NYI – 8.3M (Weight, Comrie)
    NJD – 8.2M (Rolston, Parise)
    ANA – 8.1M (Getzlaf, Morrison)
    CAR – 8.1M (Staal, Brind’Amour)**
    PHO – 8.0M (Jokinen, Turris)
    LAK – 7.6M (Handzus, Stoll)***
    STL – 7.3M (Boyes, McDonald)
    BUF – 6.9M (Roy, Connolly)
    COL – 6.9M (Sakic, Stastny)****
    CHI – 6.5M (Kane, Toews)
    CGY – 6.3M (Langkow, Lombardi)
    FLA – 6.2M (Olesz, Weiss)
    EDM – 5.2M (Horcoff, Gagner)
    CBJ – 5.1M (Umberger, Peca)
    MIN – 5.0M (Koivu, Belanger)
    ATL – 4.6M (White, Williams)
    TOR – 3.8M (Antropov, Stajan)

    *Pittsburgh jumps to 17.4M next year when Malkin’s extension kicks in.
    **Carolina jumps to 11.9 M next year when Staal’s extension kicks in.
    ***Next season, Kopitar’s extension kicks in, leaving LA with three centres being paid 14.4M for the next two seasons.
    ****Colorado sees Sakic go UFA and Stastny finish his entry-level deal and jump to 6.6M next yr.

    In other words, looking at money distributed to NHL centres, there’s no reason why Horcoff can’t make 5.5M as the second line centre, handling the tough minutes, perhaps with Pisani and a vet LW, while a big dough guy plays with Hemsky and Penner against lower-tier players. No reason at all.

  38. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ mc

    “It’s all semantics anyways, but maybe if Gagner comes along, he’ll end up playing something near Horcoff’s time at ES against softer comp and eating the lions share of the PK. Is that such a bad thing?”

    At best, how long do think that might take?

    Is the fan base prepared to wait that long while the team muddles along?

  39. Ribs says:

    Thanks for that Jonathan.

  40. mc79hockey says:

    At best, how long do think that might take?

    Is the fan base prepared to wait that long while the team muddles along?

    FCM – if it was up to me, Gagner’d be in junior right now.

    I don’t know what the choices are. If they bring in another centre, one who’s better, to play behind Horcoff, then they’re stunting Gagner’s development. Blowing up Horcoff and getting a better centre strikes me as a pretty tricky thing to pull off; ie., it’s something that happens to you, like the Thornton trade, not something that you make happen.

    The fan base may not like it, I just don’t know what the better option is. The team is built in such a way that there’s a nice soft ES C position available. Someone just needs to step up and take it.

  41. Coach pb9617 says:

    The team is built in such a way that there’s a nice soft ES C position available. Someone just needs to step up and take it.

    It goes beyond that.

    If they had a C to take the secondary minutes, they could let one of Gagner, Pouliot, Cogliano feast on the east minutes. Right now they don’t have a C to do that. So they are missing both second and third line centers.

    And somehow it’s…Horcoff’s fault. Like Noah said to god: Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  42. RiversQ says:

    I think it makes a lot more sense to upgrade the team behind Horcoff.

    First off, let me say I don’t subscribe to the EA Sports method of designating lines. The first line is the line that plays the most at ES; the fourth line plays the least at ES; the rest fill in. Typically the roster then breaks down as the top six (who play tougher opposition) and the bottom six (who don’t).

    When I look at the Oilers’ roster I see a legit first line that can play against anyone. You can quibble about Penner or Horcoff if you like, but this group gets results and they play top opposition.

    Now when I look to the second line. I see no one. Arguably Pisani and Cole, but Fernando’s hurt and Cole might as well be most nights (although he draws penalties like crazy – that hasn’t left).

    The kids should play in the bottom six where they can play softer opposition and put up some points. The train wreck of a 4th line… well, I’ll stop there.

    Anyway, that’s how I see it. Now if you can find a 1st line centre to bump Horcoff to a 2nd ES line, then by all means, please do it. That would suit me just fine. However, I don’t think that player is available and certainly not without huge strings attached (ancient, pending RFA/UFA, injuries, massive contract, etc).

    Therefore, I say fill in with 1-2 top six forwards and wait until the kids can hold the gig in the long term.

  43. RiversQ says:

    The team is built in such a way that there’s a nice soft ES C position available. Someone just needs to step up and take it.

    Tyler, you cannot be serious.

  44. B.C.B. says:

    To all those who don’t agree.

    Most of you- on this site- provide reasoning and information for you desire to fire MacT. My Oiler based grievance is towards those who claim to have a read on the pulse of the lockerroom. Feel free to think what ever you want, and we can have different opinions.

    My reasons to not what to fire MacT:
    - three of his eight season where pre-lockout and the Oilers had no money, those losing season where only partially his fault.
    - the PK and PP systems haven’t changed that much, but have gone through different levels of effectiveness. When MacT has the personal the system is good.
    Examples: PK good last two years with defensive centers, and not good this year OR PP good this year with healthy shots from the point and sucked when Gilbert was the main guy last year.
    - like his post game comments.
    - can change tactics, and win in new systems if necessary. See 06 playoff run
    - gets alot out of vet D-men

  45. mc79hockey says:

    Riv –

    Horcoff can play the tough minutes indefinitely. He’ll play against the other team’s best. There’s a spot there.

  46. Oilman says:

    If some sort of agreement can be reached today re Horcoff we’ll have ourselves a Festivus Miracle – and dammit, I’m converting!

  47. RiversQ says:

    mc79hockey said…
    Riv –

    Horcoff can play the tough minutes indefinitely. He’ll play against the other team’s best. There’s a spot there.

    And which line plays the second toughest minutes then?

    Horc can’t be out there all the time.

    Are you thinking Pisani-Gagner-Cole is that line? Or Brodziak-Gagner-Cole so that someone can take d-zone draws?

    I don’t know. I think the soft minutes players are in place, but they miss 1-2 forwards that can haul some weight when Horpensky is off the ice. (Like the shift after a PP expires for example.) Moreau can’t do it, maybe Pouliot or Brodziak can fit in, but that’s asking a lot of them I think.

  48. shepso says:

    I understand what pretty much everyone is saying on this thread about MacT, K-Lowe, Horc etc., but the thing that seems to throw me for the biggest loop is that everyone keeps talking about Gagner as the #2 center behind Horc on this team. Yes, maybe with a couple more years of development, that would be true, but his strength and consistency are serious issues for now. I agree that Sammy is our future, but the fact is, Andrew Cogliano is turning into a legit center, he’s got serious wheels, getting way better in defensive situations, is easily the most consistent of all the kids, and his face-off skills are improving pretty rapidly. Cogs will be our #2 center before Gagner, and has potential to turn into a Paul Kariya (pre-concussion) type of player.

    However, onto my grievance: Lack of Discipline/Heart. This team has some individuals that play their asses off every game (like Cogs, Hemmer, Souray, and lately Cole), but they get shot in the foot every time our fearless leader takes one of his boneheaded, undisciplined penalties, putting us back on the PK. The problem here is that Moreau is one of our best penalty killers, but he can’t do much from the box, while Fernie, our best penalty killer by far is still sitting in the press box, broken and wishing he was on the ice. And if Chopper isn’t taking a dumb penalty, then Staios is. These two players have a C and an A on their jerseys, but they are not demonstrating strong leadership. Ok, so Gagner gets hit a bit too hard, you don’t need to leap off the ice and dive tackle a player to pay him back. You follow that up with a strong, clean check that couldn’t be called as interference, but it’s still a momentum changing hit. Look at what Storts did last night? Huge, clean open ice hit, then within 30 seconds, Huggy Bear gets himself a goal. That’s what Chopper and Staios seem to be lacking right now; a sense of discipline.
    This extends to the team as a whole. Few players are consistently getting dirty, going to the tough areas to dig out the puck. When the Oilers are playing well, they skate hard, go to the corners and have a puck-possession, cycle based game. It’s been executed perfectly a couple times this year, but most of the time, the team looks like they just don’t give a shit. Maybe that’s coaching, maybe that’s inexperience combined with too much money to play a game, maybe that’s a lack of team chemistry caused by the MacBlender. I don’t know. I’m not ready to blame MacT yet, but the team has less passion then the Doug Weight teams from the mid-late ’90s. Once they start playing with passion and intensity, the consistency will come. It has to come from the players themselves. Maybe the holiday break will provide them the perspective they need to take this one win at home and build on it. Happy holidays.

  49. Oilman says:

    If some sort of agreement can be reached today re Horcoff we’ll have ourselves a Festivus Miracle – and dammit, I’m converting!

  50. Coach pb9617 says:

    Moreau can’t do it, maybe Pouliot or Brodziak can fit in, but that’s asking a lot of them I think.

    Penner – Horcoff – Hemsky
    Pisani – Pouliot – Cole
    Gagner – Cogliano – ?????
    Moreau – Brodziak – Stortini/Mac/Strudwick

  51. quain says:

    All I want for Festivus is Cogliano winning 50% of his faceoffs going forward so he can actually play center.

  52. Doogie2K says:

    Gagner – Cogliano – ?????

    Nilsson, one would assume, once his craniorectotomy goes through.

  53. Jonathan says:

    All I want for Festivus is Cogliano winning 50% of his faceoffs going forward so he can actually play center.

    That’s just it. I could be wrong here, but didn’t someone do a study that showed that if you stink at faceoffs in your first two seasons, the smart money says that you’ll always stink at faceoffs?

    Unless Cogliano can change that, his future with the Oilers should be on the wing – I have no time for a centre who can’t win 48%+ of his draws.

  54. relic says:

    coach: ????? = Nilsson ?
    I didn’t catch the game but it does sort of seem that they’d rather have 13 and 89 as centremen and 78 on the flank.

    grievance: the greed in the nhl and pro sports in general both by players and onwership/management. it’s like they feel as though they live in some kind of bubble of privilege. on the positive side it keeps me from investing too heavily emotionally in pro sports. just for the record I refuse to purchase any tickets/paraphernalia and contribute to this only by consuming media – websites/tv/radio

  55. Coach pb9617 says:

    All I want for Festivus is Cogliano winning 50% of his faceoffs going forward so he can actually play center.

    I’d settle for 45% and consider it a miracle.

    Nilsson, one would assume, once his craniorectotomy goes through.

    I don’t know. For some reason, I think he’s toast.

  56. Coach pb9617 says:

    Unless Cogliano can change that, his future with the Oilers should be on the wing – I have no time for a centre who can’t win 48%+ of his draws.

    45% is good enough for the soft minutes.

    I didn’t catch the game but it does sort of seem that they’d rather have 13 and 89 as centremen and 78 on the flank.

    Well, “they” have had some roster management issues this year, so for now, I’ll just go with the premise that I know better than “they”.

    *grumble grumble* Pisani at center *grumble grumble*

    *grumble grumble*Cole at LW *grumble grumble*

    *grumble grumble*Horpensky 20 games in *grumble grumble*

    *grumble grumble*Gagner on the ice *grumble grumble*

  57. Lord Bob says:

    For the sake of the discussion, the top centres of all the Stanley Cup champions since 1998, ages in parentheses:

    1998: DET, Steve Yzerman (32)
    1999: DAL, Mike Modano (29)
    2000: NJ, Jason Arnott (24)
    2001: COL, Joe Sakic (31)
    2002: DET, Sergei Fedorov (31)
    2003: NJ, Scott Gomez (23)
    2004: TB, Brad Richards (23)
    2005: lockout
    2006: CAR, Eric Staal (20)
    2007: ANA, Andy McDonald (29)
    2008: DET, Pavol Datsyuk (29)

    Good list. I’d have Horcoff over 2002 Fedorov, 2003 Gomez, and 2007 McDonald, myself, and on a good day over 2000 Arnott. But your mileage may vary.

    The much more interesting list, though, is a list of the second centres on those teams. Compare them to Sam Gagner and we’ll see what the problem is.

  58. Kris says:

    My grievance, in the voice of Frank Costanza:

    Katz, your team couldn’t forcheck a team of girl-scouts. No puck pursuit. Lost puck battles! They disgust me.

    I’ve lost my train of thought.

  59. hunter1909 says:

    You can’t fool kids.

  60. hunter1909 says:

    Why is poor Gagner getting crucified?

    Why can’t the tailor’s dummy behind the bench revert to Slats/ Mucklers kid fourth line?

    Then you always have at least three Oilers young players playing quality ice time, which all really helps,

  61. quain says:

    On a completely random note, my subscription to the ESPN RSS feed just let me know that Minnesota’s top scoring defenseman Bergeron is out for ‘weeks.’ ESPN posts one piece of NHL news on their frontpage a day and that’s the best they could pull?

    I guess I should just be glad it wasn’t “Experts say NHL ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’, NBA better.”

  62. Dennis says:

    I find it funny that some many people think Lowe shouldn’t hold any responsibility for the culture that prevades Team Mediocre.

    I’m a MacT guy but even I can take a look around and flirt with the idea that a change might not be the worst thing.

    But the Lowe guys are hardcore and even though they can see his balls scraping the ground they refuse to accept that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.

  63. Kris says:

    Lord Bob:

    Oddly enough, I agree with your point about Horcoff; we can, and almost did, win the cup with him as the #1. But this list you drew up is misleading.

    First, in 2002 Fedorov was still dominant: 31 goals in the dead puck era, and +20. Horcorff is good but nowhere near that good.

    Second, if memory serves, Lecavalier was the de facto #1 center for that TB team, and he was dominant too.

    Third, Jersey’s two pre-lockout cups were won with hooking, holding, and Lou-magic. The fact that they won without a dominant center could be called an anomaly: an exception to the rule that you need a superstar center to win.

    Fourth: Staal had 45 goals and 100 points in 05/06. I think he’s lost his game a bit but he was unbelievable that year. Horcoff is a tier below 05/06 Stall, too.

    Fifth: Horcoff is much better now than MacDonald was in Anaheim, partially vindicating your thesis, but, again, I think it’s disingenuous to suggest MacDonald was the best center, the #1 center, in Anaheim. I mean he really came on that season and had 17 points in 21 playoff games.

  64. Kris says:

    In that last sentence I mean that Getzlaf really became the #1 center by the end of the season

  65. godot10 says:

    //My grievance is with the team’s utter unwillingness to block any shots whatsoever. That was a calling-card of the Oilers for most of the MacT era, and it’s mysteriously fallen by the wayside this year, and the proof is in the penalty-kill.//

    My wild speculation:

    Maybe the NHL adopted Bob Gainey’s rule change on shot blocking with a start date of next year, and they just didn’t announce it, or maybe the support of GM’s in the room was such that Lowe and MacT decided to begin adapting to the perhaps inevitable rule change.

  66. Lord Bob says:

    Kris:

    Obviously, any list like that is going to have its problems and opinions are going to vary.

    Fedorov in 2002 was playing with four Hockey Jesuses every time he hit the ice; to put it simply, every Detroit Red Wing from those teams looked great because he was playing with other Detroit Red Wings. He was not the straw that stirred the drink, though.

    Lecavalier might have got the press, but down the stretch Richards was putting out the best results against the best players. In Anaheim, Getzlaf got minutes so soft you could sleep in them.

    In a way, though, that proves my point. The reason for their success wasn’t having One Dominant Center that Shawn Horcoff would be ashamed to be seen next to. The main reason they won is… and this is going to be news to somebody… they had lots of good hockey players.

  67. PDO says:

    Grievances eh?

    Beer is too damn expensive, girls have too many mood swings and everyone at work is hustling me for a discount.

  68. PDO says:

    Oh.

    And Eric Cole left his hands in Carolina.

  69. Unleaded says:

    My Greivances:

    Calling this year anything other than a development year.

    The Coach buying into the marketing hype that the oilers fans created based on a 30 game sample last season when the team was out of the playoffs and had no preassure to succeed after horcoff got injured.

    Not playing players in positions where they would be most useful, or have the best chance to succeed.

    Giving up quality players for nothing in the offseason. And then signing SMac and Strudwick (both of whom I like, but would rather have had GlenX here instead).

    Moreau and Staois being considered major cogs in the leadership group of this team. Both are underpreforming, and so is the team.

    Lastly, I would like to file a greivance with the world blogging association for not having given Lowetide a raise yet. Or at least budgeted in additional dancing girls….

  70. Doogie2K says:

    Lastly, I would like to file a greivance with the world blogging association for not having given Lowetide a raise yet. Or at least budgeted in additional dancing girls….

    Blame the Four Habs Fans. They’re bogarting the ladies.

  71. Jonathan says:

    Doogie: Nice use of “bogarting”. The National Association of Words Not Commonly Used thanks you, sir.

  72. Doogie2K says:

    Jonathan: Mom’s a fan of the Easy Rider soundtrack. After a few renditions of “Don’t Bogart That Joint”, it sticks with you.

  73. Ribs says:

    A second thanks to Alice from the NAWNCU for her use of “tinctures” up in the thread.

  74. Kris says:

    Lord Bob:

    Again, I agree with your conclusion. But I think the best evidence for Horcoff as the #1 center going ahead is the cup run. (Do the Horcoff-doubters mentioned in previous posts have such short memories?)

    But there is an idea out there that a superstar center makes his teammates better in a way that superstar wingers don’t. I’m not sure if I agree with this idea, but you can see why fans in Edmonton would cling to it; our past superstar centers made their teammates look better than they were and cups followed.

    I think the real question regarding the Oil’s next couple years is not about Horcoff but about our best player: Hemsky. Does Hemsky elevate the his team mates’ games to the degree that a cup winning team needs. That is, all teams need somebody who isn’t just a star player, but who truly carries the team. Some nights I’m sure Hemsky is that guy, but other nights I think he’s just a hair short, despite his world beating talent.

  75. DBO says:

    Ribs: Wow. That was… wow. I wonder if the fellas in that little card know that happened and was sent out?

  76. Kris says:

    Perhaps the oddest thing about that video is that the players weren’t just puppets: they were NUT CRACKERS! An they singing a song about jingle bells– i.e. LITTLE BALLS!

    Freud would have a heyday with this video.

  77. HBomb says:

    HBomb’s Grievances:

    - The senseless non-signing of Hejda and Glencross.

    - People booing Shawn Horcoff at home games.

    - Ladislav Smid going so long between games on the Oiler blueline.

    - The continued over-rating of Steve Staios and Ethan Moreau by the media and the coaching staff based on “leadership”.

    - Whomever keeps selling LSD to Grebeshkov.

    - People trumpeting the need for a “true #1 center”, not knowing that a) it’s depth that wins, b) our first line is doing it’s job and c) Horcoff’s the closest thing we have to a “true first liner” past Hemsky (i.e. if there’s an upgrade needed, it’s on LW.

    - Anyone who isn’t down with the play of Marc Pouliot lately.

    - The awarding of the Masterton to Jason Blake.

    - The fact that Todd Bertuzzi is still employed by an NHL team.

    - The sheer existence of Corey Perry, Alex Burrows, Darcy Tucker, Steve Downie, Matt Cooke, Jordin Tootoo and Jarko Ruutu.

    - The fact that there’s a finite amount of space in my liquor cabinet and fridge.

    - The continued antics of Hunter1909.

    - The fact that, no matter how much it MIGHT help, we’ll never see MacT fired.

  78. Oilmaniac says:

    Haha…

    B.C.B. said…
    My Grievance:

    I hate all you bandwagon Fire MacTers.
    Please come up with rationale reasons to get rid of the coach,…

    AND then he says

    The PK. That is a serious grievence too.

    Thanks for starting the list of ‘Rational Reasons’…

  79. J says:

    OK weird question but did anyone catch who scored the sirius satellite radio bundle safeway score n win goal? I thought I was paying attention to the game pretty closely(give it up for holiday cheer). I am just curious because it was my mom that won it haha.

  80. Coach pb9617 says:

    - Whomever keeps selling LSD to Grebeshkov.

    It’s only a grievance because he’s a millionaire and you’re not.

  81. HBomb says:

    It’s only a grievance because he’s a millionaire and you’re not.

    Point taken. Lord knows I’d probably have an expensive cocaine habit or something if I made that kind of dough.

  82. Traktor says:

    The sheer existence of Corey Perry, Alex Burrows, Darcy Tucker, Steve Downie, Matt Cooke, Jordin Tootoo and Jarko Ruutu.

    Wow..

    Take away Tucker and you got a list of some of my favorite players.

    I love guys that get under the skin.

  83. Bruce says:

    craniorectotomy

    Doogie: I assume that’s the formal medical term for the operation to extract one’s head from one’s ass.

    Had to look up “bogarting”, always nice to learn new words. “Tinctures” was a nice touch as well.

    The sheer existence of Corey Perry, Alex Burrows …

    HBomb: Ha! Did you see the first two pukes on your list going after each other at the end of last night’s game?

    Take away Tucker and you got a list of some of my favorite players.

    Traktor: That figures.

  84. HBomb says:


    HBomb: Ha! Did you see the first two pukes on your list going after each other at the end of last night’s game?

    I think if they had actually dropped the gloves and fought, the universe might have collapsed. Did they just slash and hack at each other like a pair of pussies?

    Oh, and I missed another on that list: Joffrey Lupul. Completely fuckin’ useless.

  85. HBomb says:

    I love guys that get under the skin.

    I do too, but I prefer the guys like Colby Armstrong, Carcillo, Laperriere and Ott who do it with some degree of honor (i.e. will drop the mitts when challenged).

    Add another to the shit-list. Kirk Maltby. Former Oiler, but a grade-A pussy.

  86. Lord Bob says:

    - The fact that there’s a finite amount of space in my liquor cabinet and fridge.

    Judging from your comments here, if the entire universe was converted to liquor you’d complain about not having more universes. :P

  87. Traktor says:

    Corey Perry is a great player. Great hands, laser shot, goes to all the dirty areas, sticks up for teammates.

    Tootoo is one of the best players in his role in the league. He’s got speed and hits like a truck. Always a player like that on my team.

    Burrows is a little shit disturber make he can play hockey. He’s like Avery but not a headcase.

    Ruutu knows how to get under the opponents skin and makes them take penalties on him because they hate him so much.

    Cooke and Downie are greasier but Id still take them over vanilla players like Reasoner.

  88. HBomb says:

    Corey Perry is a great player. Great hands, laser shot, goes to all the dirty areas, sticks up for teammates.

    Turtles like crazy, sponges of Getzlaf, is invisible for large stretches, plays cheap, takes dives.

    He’s a cheaper version of Lupul. Friday night, outside of the goal at ES and getting run over by Smid, he was 100% invsible. I think he’s possibly the most overrated player in the league and should not even be considered for the Olympic team. Dead serious.

  89. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    @ Traktor.

    Are you still sure the Hawks won’t finish ahead of the Oilers in the standings?

    Just curious about our long standing bet.

  90. Jonathan says:

    Traktor: I’ve always liked Ruutu, but I’ve seen Cooke go for the knee-on-knee hit a half-dozen times now, and that’s a black mark in my book.

    Hell, I recall Crawford benching him for being too dirty. Crawford.

  91. B.C.B. says:

    Oilmaniac:

    Does a bad PK mean bad coach?
    CLB 20th overall 80.7% or
    NJD 23rd overall 80.2%
    Does that mean that Hitchcoch or Sutter are bad coaches?
    Personal has an effect on PK as much as coaching. Could Lemaire make Atlanta better? yes
    Would he turn them into top ten, within the year? No
    Our PK will be fixed by better players not some AHL coach.

  92. Bruce says:

    I’ve always liked Ruutu, but I’ve seen Cooke go for the knee-on-knee hit a half-dozen times now, and that’s a black mark in my book.

    I’ve seen Cooke go for the hit in the numbers about 10,000 times now, and he is a black mark on the league in my book. Compleat fucking prick. Jerkko Ruutu is an honourable player by comparison.

    Speaking of compleat fucking pricks, the name of Gary Roberts must be raised at some point. He hits three different ways: 1) high, 2) from behind, 3) high AND from behind. Always yapping and whining to the refs, and it works because about 90% of the zebras are afraid to give him a penalty no matter how filthy he plays it. I really, really hate this guy … almost as much as Matt Cooke.

  93. boopronger says:

    When people spout off stuff like horcoff is not a center that can bring us to the Stanley cup, do they realize that our top line in ’06 was horcoff, smyth and hemsky? If they have the talent to get within one game they have the talent to win it.

    BTW horcoff also had 19 points.

  94. Black Dog says:

    boopronger – don’t forget that Hemsky played most of the playoffs with Stoll and Samsonov, only vs Carolina did he get moved to that line

    It was Horcoff, Smyth and one of Harvey, Winchester or Dvorak for the most part

  95. Traktor says:

    Fake Craig MacTavish: Clearly I was wrong to believe this team could have success with MacTavish.

  96. Unleaded says:

    I thought our top line in the playoffs that year was Smyth Horcoff and Pisani… Guess my memory is worse than I thought…

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