Winning

The Edmonton Oilers are winning. Craziest damn thing. Well, not quite the craziest. The fan reaction is what’s truly bizarre–half want the wins to stop immediately and the other half consider it manna from heaven. What  can we agree on?

Renney: “Strange as it is, we want to keep climbing up. I know it’s ridiculous and I know people are going to say it’s B.S. Renney and that kind of stuff … but we’d prefer that Tamby (general manager Steve Tambellini) didn’t have to go to Toronto for the draft lottery again.”

I think it’s great–lots of good stories down the stretch. RNH pushing for the Calder, Eberle in the Byng conversation, Gagner posting good numbers, Petry out of site and Devan Dubnyk on the best run of his young NHL career.

Plus the Oilers are moving up the charts! I picked them for 13th in the west and 25th overall–they won’t make it that far–but this final stretch is allowing them some sense of progress and the club is winning some of these games against contenders.

The only negative is the draft, and the Oilers have a plethora of defensemen to choose from. It’s unlikely they’ll save Steve Tambellini that trip to the draft lottery, but winning games is never a bad idea.

Right?

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68 Responses to "Winning"

  1. "Steve Smith" says:

    Right.

    I’m not going to be too critical of the people hoping for a tank, because they’ve obviously got a rational argument. But fandom also isn’t about being rational, or none of us would be here. Fandom’s about wanting the team to win, or so I’ve always thought. And right now, for once, they’re winning, so I’m happy.

  2. ItsTheBGB says:

    I think both years previous Pittsburgh and Chicago came on strong at the end, leading up to their breakout season. Fans have to have trisomy 21 if they think this winning is bad. All winning is good.

  3. "Steve Smith" says:

    (As of right now, the top of the comments section reads “2 responses to “winning””. Fitting. And now ruined by me.)

  4. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    Picking lower in the draft may also remove the tough decision of passing on one of the top forwards. If they pick 4th or 5th they could pick a defenseman with clear consciences.

  5. gcw_rocks says:

    Once the team is eliminated from playoff contention, then there is a logical argument from that point on winning hockey games becomes counterproductive and hurts the team’s chance of long term success under the current system.

    Cult of Hockey ran an article on a system that would effectively eliminate this problem by determinng draft position based on wins after a team is elimiated from the playoffs. That kind of system would solve the problem.

    Since the Russians make me nervous, I would have no problem with a 28th or 27th place finish.

  6. ItsTheBGB says:

    Winning prevents long term success? Get real, sport is every bit psychological as it is physical. There’s a number of players on this team that are part of our golden “plan”, they need to develope too.

  7. shepso says:

    LT, you’re absolutely right; there’s a lot of good stuff happening underneath the surface. This is not yet a great team, let alone a competent team, but learning a bit of consistency and feeling like they are capable of competing going in to the off-season will give the players a bit more confidence, the sort the organization hasn’t had in an awfully long time. I couldn’t care less about draft position at this point. I for one am really pulling for Gagner to break the 50 point barrier for the first time and quite frankly would love to see Eberle and RNH in the conversation for those awards. As sick to death as I am about the “rebuild” narrative, and as unconvinced as I am in the ability of Tambo to actually carry out a cohesive vision for the future, these sorts of incremental improvements are huge for team development and team morale.

    At this point, especially because I am so far away from the team, I selfishly want to see the team actually win some games. Living on a university campus in Jerusalem, I want to be able to share our game with my neighbours who are all exclusively hardcore soccer fanatics. If the Oilers are winning, its a lot easier to convince them to watch games with me, thus making my time away from Canada a little less shitty.

  8. Stocc says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    I was just noticing that when you hover over the title of the article the alt-text says “Permanent Link: Winning”. I think a permanent link to winning is just what this team needs.

  9. oilersfan says:

    Shepso

    While it is none of my business why you are in Jerusalem do you mind if I ask? What are you studying there- or are you a professor?

    Very intriguing. I would love to go to Israel. Is it safe nowadays?

    It’s going to be triple busy there starting next week methinks :)
    Thanks

  10. GordM says:

    Agree with others…winning to end the year a very good thing (coupled with the makeup of the top end of the draft and how it matches with the Oilers long term needs). Tambellini likely won’t avoid making the trip to TSN for the draft lottery but at least he gets to sit further to the left (and can possibly have that perplexed look Murray had last year when his Senators weren’t the fifth overall pick to start things off with the NJD lottery win).

    Need some positive energy for a change as the roster heads into the offseason. And those two regulation wins over the Flames helped for the inevitable crossing of paths with various friends and family from Cowtown over the summer.

  11. shepso says:

    oilersfan,

    Check out my blog, which you can link to from my name. I’ve converted it from the Oilers/Philosophy blog it used to be to a bit of a travel/research/political soapbox space until I get back. It will get into specifics. In general, I am doing my PhD research there, looking at the education system, how history and geography texts are designed and interviewing teachers about how they teach these subjects.

    As to safety, its relative, right? But Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as most of the tourist-y destinations are totally fine. It’s an incredible yet very complex and messed up place. Most of what you see on TV or read about in western print-media doesn’t even scratch the surface. I could go on, but you should read my page instead so LT doesn’t get mad.

    (LT, sorry for the minor thread-jack)

  12. stevezie says:

    Hey, I used to live in Tel Aviv, briefly. Now I don’t. Anyway, for me, as a fan, there is no conflict. I cheer for wins because I want to see them, and because all my cheering doesn’t make a lick of difference. Tambi is the one getting paid to seriously think about what is best and then try to make that happen, I’m free to just sit back and hope to see a good game and a win every time I watch.

  13. shepso says:

    Stocc:
    “Steve Smith”,

    I was just noticing that when you hover over the title of the article the alt-text says “Permanent Link: Winning”.I think a permanent link to winning is just what this team needs.

    So true!

    stevezie,

    What were you doing there?

    And yeah, I don’t understand the conflicted nature of the fan-base. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t I guess.

  14. stevezie says:

    shepso,

    I did the kibbutz thing for a few months (Ein Gev), and then just worked odd jobs around Tel Aviv. Stayed up till 6 AM to watch the Devils beat the Ducks in the finals that year.

    Yeah, teaching history would be interesting there. I’ve never been anywhere where the subject was so subjective. I will also now stop hijacking the thread.

  15. shepso says:

    stevezie,

    Nice! I’ve definitely been up till 6 or 7 watching a few games myself. Mostly I use gamecenter’s condensed replay though, especially if I know they’ve lost…

  16. FPB94 says:

    3 N1 picks in a row?

    Sorry for popping it out of nowhere, but this quote (Because i despise such things as workouts and the combine) ”Then, of course, there are the workouts, which can show a team how well a player can play against a chair or an assistant coach with a broom.” made me explode.

    Have a good day.

  17. rich says:

    Find myself agreeing w/everyone who’s posting so far for the very same reasons. Want to see us continue to win (losing gets old), ithe draft is a crap shoot (especially w/2 Russians leading it and there being no real consensus on the d-men). It’s refreshing regardless of who is the coach right now.

    What will be interesting to see this summer is if v3.5 decides that the top 4D is settled heading into next season (Smid/Petry/Whitney/Schultz) and nothing is done to add to that. Whitney still has mobility issues and relying on him to stay healthy a full season is a crap shoot. Barker won’t be requalified so he’s gone. That means Sutton/Potter/Peckham (unless they decide that Peckham is not worth being patient on). If you can get another piece there who’s solid and has NHL experience and allow the draft pick to continue to develop in juniors, why not (if you’re picking another d-man).

    At forward it will be interesting to see if they just tinker w/what’s there or allow the kids to continue to mature.

    The conversation has changed a lot since last year and that’s a relief.

  18. rickithebear says:

    I will take an end of season run, if it helps a UFA Dman and 1B goalie sign with us.

  19. spoiler says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Once the team is eliminated from playoff contention, then there is a logical argument from that point on winning hockey games becomes counterproductive and hurts the team’s chance of long term success under the current system.

    Cult of Hockey ran an article on a system that would effectively eliminate this problem by determinng draft position based on wins after a team is elimiated from the playoffs.That kind of system would solve the problem.

    Since the Russians make me nervous, I would have no problem with a 28th or 27th place finish.

    Aren’t you the guy who thinks beating Calgary in the last game of the season the year of the Kane draft was the stupidest move you have seen by a sports team ever?

    Just wondering if you can justify that comment?

    How, out of all the stupid moves made by any team in any any sport was that the stupidest ever? Please keep in mind that 20/20 hindsight cannot be used to justify the stupidity of the Oilers winning that game.

    Please, enlighten us.

  20. godot10 says:

    Winning is more important than another top two pick, because quality unrestricted free agent signings are more important now than another high draft pick, and a strong finish will convince more agents and players to consider the Oilers.

    There are multiple options for defensemen in the draft….Murray, Reinhart, Dumba, etc. The Oilers are NOT going to lose a quality D prospect by winning.

    (I think Columbus trades down to the Islanders pick…New York is a place Russians like because of the large wealthy expat community, and the Islanders take Yakupov. Columbus will get something like Bailey, a goaltender, and the Islanders pick. If Roy is the new boss in Montreal, he probably takes Grigorenko, and if Roy doesn’t, well, then you know everything you need to know about Grigorenko.)

  21. Bar_Qu says:

    Two things:

    The Oilers have shown as an organization that they care little what the fans think, so we are free to cheer or not cheer as hard as we like – it makes not one wit of difference. I personally like seeing wins in the morning papers, but I fully understand with the pragmatists that there should be a management initiative to make sure the team gets the best draft position available.

    Second, didn’t Tambi state somewhere that a “defenseman or two” were his priorities this summer. I may be mistaken but I thought I heard that a couple of weeks back. With the sheer inertia of his decision making process, I can’t imagine he would deviate from that course simply because of too much depth at D with prospects or anything. I think the Gilbert trade telegraphed that for us (the desire by the Oilers to get a stay at home type to ‘balance’ out their D).

    Third, the Jerusalem thing is just cool. All the best shepso.

  22. Jordan says:

    Perspective:

    The Oilers recent wins/points have come against:

    BLUE JACKETS
    FLAMES
    COYOTES
    PREDATORS
    LIGHTNING
    PANTHERS
    BLUE JACKETS

    3 of those games have been shootouts, which are eseentially a coin flip for betman points. So lets cut them out. Actual wins:

    BLUE JACKETS
    FLAMES
    PREDATORS
    BLUE JACKETS

    And the Predators win was thanks to a once-in-a-decade game from Hemsky. Quite literally, the difference in the game.

    The Last 6 games:

    STARS (11th in NHL)
    KINGS (14th in NHL)
    DUCKS (24th in NHL)
    KINGS (14th in NHL)
    DUCKS (24th in NHL)
    CANUCKS (4th in NHL)

    Enjoy the moment people! The wins are not going to continue, especially against teams that actually are hungry to win games.

    No, I’m not sure if that includes Vancouver or the Ducks but I’d rather go for the low expectations right now.

  23. DBO says:

    Maybe winning and taking the decision out of Tambellini’s hands is a good thing. Finishing 5th means they will take the best of the dmen remaining between Murray, Dumba and Reinhart. Sometimes no need for a decision is a good thing. And if we draft the D lower then hopefully they won’t feel the need to rush this years 1st rd pick and let them develop at least another year in junior.

    And there is the added benefit of getting some good energy in the room. One thing I’ve noticed is the kids being put in more difficult spots and situations, which can only help development. Also, it took a while but Renney now knows how to use Belanger, so that is a positive. The org has a better handle on some players (yes they are blind to Omark, but he hasn’t helped himself too much), and I do believe the need for size will mean Harsky get sa long look in camp with Gagner and Hemsky, allowing them to run Hall with Nuge and Eberle, giving us 2 true scoring lines and limiting Smyth and Horc’s icetime so they don’t drop dead (like they seemingly are).

  24. Lois Lowe says:

    I like the winning and I hope we climb right out of the lottery by running the table. We’re going to get a good player this draft and it’s nice to not be vehemently arguing over the merits of 1OV vs 2OV as in years past. Magnificent Stu can really earn his title at this draft and with so much uncertainty about draft order, I think there’s a good chance the best player isn’t going to be the guy drafted 1OV.

    Dubnyk looks good right now and he has the coach’s confidence, the d pairings have solidified and while they need some work over the summer, I like what Shultz brings. The real question for me is who is going to suffer a development set back next summer? I would never have pick Paajaarvi to be the guy this year, but I think he comes back strong in the fall. In my mind, that leaves Petry or Dubnyk and we need them to keep playing at the level they’re at right now.

  25. danny says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Right.

    I’m not going to be too critical of the people hoping for a tank, because they’ve obviously got a rational argument.But fandom also isn’t about being rational, or none of us would be here.Fandom’s about wanting the team to win, or so I’ve always thought.And right now, for once, they’re winning, so I’m happy.

    You’re absolutely right that sports fandom is by large an irrational undertaking, and wanting the team to win is the rational approach within this irrational construct.

    I guess tank-supporters would be quick to point out the sample size of winning games this late in the season, isn’t enough to really give a lot of hope. Not when the repercussion is drafting outside the lottery. Tangible example, is drafting RNH, instead of Ryan Strome.

    It’s kind of like giving Ryan Jones a saw him good contract, in the eyes of number crunchers. The bizarro edition.

    I can’t find the fire to cheer against winning anymore, as the rebuilding blocks are largely in place. As a fan, I watch the games lately and cheer for the Oilers to win (unlike the last couple winter seasons). I still cheer hard for the Habs / Wild etc to win too, but the we need to lose mentality has waned.

    I’m thankful now, that our idiots in charge were ham handed enough to get us Taylor Hall, and intelligent enough to recognize we may as well get RNH while we are down here. I’d be much less happy talking about what a great mentor Marty Reasoner was for the kids, and how Strome has a few good arrows.

    Please disregard my entire reply. We need to lose. We need to get a good pick while we are here. Winning games after you are eliminated, is just ‘saw him good’ material for all you irrational fanboys.

  26. shepso says:

    Bar_Qu,

    Thanks Bar_Qu…
    DBO,

    DBO: Agreed wholeheartedly with you here. Regardless of the pick, there’s less pressure to rush that player to the show if he’s not the #1 or #2. And as many have already pointed out, including Lois above me, lets see what the MB can do when the choice is a little more cloudy. Eberle was clearly a home run, Magnus is a work in progress with loads of potential, but not having to choose first allows a bit more room to draft according to need rather than just assuming that the best player available at the moment is guaranteed to be the best player from the draft class a few years down the road.

  27. stevezie says:

    rickithebear:
    I will take an end of seasonrun, if ithelpsa UFA Dman and 1B goalie sign with us.

    I agree. Hard to say if it will make a difference, but if we’re quantifying Landeskog’s intangibles we might as well count winning’s intangibles too.

  28. jonrmcleod (aka GospelofJon) says:

    godot10,

    I see you’ve got it all figured out. :)

  29. delooper says:

    I think I saw Gagner really clobber somebody last game. Gagner! I’m looking forward to these pleasant little unexpected positives that come with this phenomenon called… “winnik”… no, “winning”. What a strange word I wonder what it’s etymology is.

  30. Ducey says:

    Part of the problem with the fan reaction is that some people are more interested in whining than winning.

    I am happy watching the team play well. Its great to see DD start to get some confidence, Petry turning into a force, Harsky earning a job, and a guy like VDV having a good game.

    But I am all about the rebuild and want the best pick possible. I would be happy with 6 one goal losses in regulation the rest of the way. Add in a lottery win and and playoff ending injury for a key Canuck in game 82 and I am giddy.

    I think about adding Yakupov (and for that matter Hall (who missed most of the recent fun)) to this lineup or using the first overall to bring in a young stud #1 defenseman. That will put a smile on your face in June that will more than make up for the bad feeling you would have now if they were to lose the rest of the way.

  31. bookje says:

    Last year we manged to Strudwick our way into 30th. Here’s hoping we can Barker out a 28th or 29th place finish this year.

    Trust me, come November when we are watching a new phenom on the ice with our other young stars, nobody will care what the Oilers record was over their final 10-15 games in the 2011/12 season.

  32. delooper says:

    @Bookje, maybe not so much among the fans, but the players will notice. Free agents will notice. Players judge each other by whether or not they get the job of winning done.

  33. gogliano says:

    I’m happy with the recent run but I think part of the problem with all out for wins the last 6 games is the Oil are now in a sweet spot where one or two wins can mean the difference between a really top pick (3rd) and a decent one (6th or 7th). I think this is a better team than 28th overall regardless so I could go for a few one goal losses and a plastering of the Canucks last game of the season for a 28th place finish.

    I’m usually a win-win type of thinker in these kinds of scenarios. My head says I hope they lose enough to stay top three but if they win I can’t help but enjoy it.

  34. oilersfan says:

    anybody here anything on Taylor Hall? Is he going to come back this season?

    I was watching the Flames game last week with my brother in law who is a ER doctor in Calgary and who has had two concussions. He said there is no way the Oilers would let him play within one week as it takes that long to really know how things are. Too bad he didn’t play yesterday as maybe that means he isn’t doing great, or maybe they just think it isn’t worth playing him against Columbus.

    I was hoping he would get to 30 goals this year but maybe he won’t play enough games.

    As for Gagner, as much as i want him to develop it’s not good for his contract renegotiation from the fans perspective if he gets 20 goals and or 50 points. i am hoping for 3.5 over 4 years.

  35. danny says:

    bookje:
    Last year we manged to Strudwick our way into 30th.Here’s hoping we can Barker out a 28th or 29th place finish this year.

    Trust me, come November when we are watching a new phenom on the ice with our other young stars, nobody will care what the Oilers record was over their final 10-15 games in the 2011/12 season.

    (Quote)’d for truth.

  36. Dipstick says:

    oilersfan,

    I’m not surprised that he has not played yet. As an amateur coach, I have always waited one week with no symptoms before allowing any rigorous physical activity. Since he seemed to have a small set back a few days after the hit, I would expect the training staff to be careful reintroducing him to any training. Playing would only happen after reaching a number of stages of activity without any symptoms.

  37. Ontarioil says:

    I’d like to be optimistic about the recent run but, how is the team were seeing right now better than the team we saw for the first part of the year? They had us believing then only to regress and waste another season..

  38. rickithebear says:

    Ontarioil: I’d like to be optimistic about the recent run but, how is the team were seeing right now better than the team we saw for the first part of the year? They had us believing then only to regress and waste another season..

    Look at our top 4 for the each game in the year. broken up into goal tenders.

    I am quite happy with Dubnyk .937SV% since trade deadline and his .937SV% till OCt 28 when the d started to be injured.

    Wonder how he does at the WC.

  39. oilersfan says:

    funny that Stauffer just did a show on whether or not fans are happy or upset on the Oilers recent winning.

    I have a hard time believing they will play .500 for the last 6 games given their schedule of LA, DAllas, L, Ana , Ana , Vancouver

    although i would be happy if they did it…

    at this point it would be nice just to stay in the lottery. as has been said here, there is such little separation between 1-10 overall , i just want the chance to get one of Grigorenko, Galchenyuk, Murray or Reinhart. Pretty much guaranteed one of them will be there at #5 and that’s why I don’t want to pick lower than 5.

  40. Cactus says:

    Assuming this run continues, it is only worthwhile if it actually translates into success next year. The Oilers went on a small run at the end of 2007-08 and that didn’t stop the failure next season and it took the team from a top 5 pick to middle of the pack (thankfully saved by the brilliant selection of Eberle).

    I don’t know if there’s any way we can measure whether a late season run is any indication of future success, unfortunately. By comparison, that 2007-08 team finished -16 overall and the current Oilers sit at -16. If anything, we should be happy that there’s been a sizeable statistical improvement without a commensurate rise in the standings (as long as that’s only a one year phenomenon).

  41. spoiler says:

    Ducey:
    Part of the problem with the fan reaction is that some people are more interested in whining than winning.

    I am happy watching the team play well. Its great to see DD start to get some confidence, Petry turning into a force, Harsky earning a job, and a guy like VDV having a good game.

    But I am all about the rebuild and want the best pick possible.I would be happy with 6 one goal losses in regulation the rest of the way.Add in a lottery win and and playoff ending injury for a key Canuck in game 82 and I am giddy.

    I think about adding Yakupov (and for that matter Hall (who missed most of the recent fun)) to this lineup or using the first overall to bring in a young stud #1 defenseman.That will put a smile on your face in June that will more than make up for the bad feeling you would have now if they were to lose the rest of the way.

    How would you try to lose 6 one-goal games in a row if you were a coach of this team? If the players caught on to your efforts, how would you explain the sabotage to them?

    I’m okay with someone accepting the nice consolation of a good pick if they do lose out. But how would someone plan to accomplish this?

  42. oilersfan says:

    well that pick would have been Tyler Myers if the Oilers hadn’t offer sheeted Penner. The Eberle pick was part of the Pronger trade along with Smid. So hey 7 years later the Oilers might tie the Pronger trade!

    Anyways I was wondering if there are any Oil Kings fans here who have seen this Samuellson kid play? Would he be worth the Oilers’ second pick? I think we all agree the Oilers need a big mean top 6 forward with enough skill to play there. If we get that along with a top pairing dman, then the only thing left is the high end skilled two way second line center with size. that sounds hard to fill but truthfully could be found in the 8-15 spot the Oilers will likely be in next year. guys like Arnott, Couturier have been found between 8-10. Last year Mark McNeil was available at 18. There will be a player like that in the 2013 draft which is rumoured to be very good.

  43. slopitch says:

    Jon Willis with 2 good posts on Oilers Nation today which go along with my belief the Oilers should go after one of the 2 Russians and not draft for need (pick a dman).

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/3/26/the-russian-factor
    http://oilersnation.com/2012/3/26/drafting-defensemen-the-lessons-of-2008

    Also LT, you should get a fav icon :)

  44. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Cactus: The Oilers went on a small run at the end of 2007-08 and that didn’t stop the failure next season and it took the team from a top 5 pick to middle of the pack (thankfully saved by the brilliant selection of Eberle).

    Oilers didn’t actually own their own pick that year (ceded to Anaheim for the Penner poaching; later traded to Buffalo, who selected Tyler Myers). The Eberle pick was made with Anaheim’s pick which came to the Oilers in an entirely separate transaction — the conditional “fifth asset” in the Pronger deal.

  45. Ducey says:

    spoiler: How would you try to lose 6 one-goal games in a row if you were a coach of this team? If the players caught on to your efforts, how would you explain the sabotage to them?I’m okay with someone accepting the nice consolation of a good pick if they do lose out. But how would someone plan to accomplish this?

    I am not the coach. You get that my cheering has no impact on the team, right? :)

    I expect that Renney will try and win them all.

    If I was the coach and was trying to tank, you could play Barker, Hordichuk and Eager more. You could also play Omark on the first PP unit. You could do a poor job of matching up lines. And of course, Bulin x 6.

  46. Bruce McCurdy says:

    spoiler: How would you try to lose 6 one-goal games in a row if you were a coach of this team?

    Start Khabibulin.

  47. oilersfan says:

    Bruce

    HAve you seen this Samuelson kid on the Oil Kings? would he be a good fit at LW with RNH and Eberle as the proverbial dirty physical winger, the new Tikkanen for Gretzky and Kurri?

  48. oilersfan says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    or, play Barker

  49. OilClog says:

    OilClog says.. Win.

    It’s that simple, anyone that doesn’t want to see the Oilers win every damn game they play regardless of importance, point in season, or potential draft position can go join the Canucks, or Flames fanbase.

    In the last 10 years we’re able to count on one hand the amount of truly awesome brag about moments we’ve had. If winning out, and having a strong finish to this season happens, that gives up atleast a half pinky of excitement. Or atleast personally.. I like seeing the Oilers win.

    Strong start, injury riddled middle, strong finish.. This team can and will make some noise next season, Especially if Renney is replaced with something capable.

  50. bookje says:

    Ducey: I am not the coach.You get that my cheering has no impact on the team, right?

    I expect that Renney will try and win them all.

    If I was the coach and was trying to tank, you could play Barker, Hordichuk and Eager more.You could also play Omark on the first PP unit.You could do a poor job of matching up lines.And of course, Bulin x 6.

    Ducey, I pretty much assume that every commentator here is either Renney, MacT, Quinn, KLowe, Katz or Tambellini. It makes it more fun to comment here than envisioning you sitting in your moms basement eating cheezies.

  51. Cactus says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Oilers didn’t actually own their own pick that year (ceded to Anaheim for the Penner poaching; later traded to Buffalo, who selected Tyler Myers). The Eberle pick was made with Anaheim’s pick which came to the Oilers in an entirely separate transaction — the conditional “fifth asset” in the Pronger deal.

    That’s right Bruce, I didn’t mean to imply that the Oilers held their own pick, only that it went from a top 5 pick at the beginning of March to 12th overall in the final standings. That’s the difference between selecting someone like Pietrangelo or Luke Schenn and Tyler Myers and Colten Teubert (though perhaps I’m undermining my own argument by listing those players). As much as I’d like to see this team win, it’s only worthwhile if this translates to next season.

  52. nathan says:

    First the teams with fewer ROW. The Habs probably get the 2nd lottery spot. Most likely is the 3rd lottery pick but Wild and Islanders could easily bump Oilers to the last lottery pick.

    For the teams with more ROW, Ducks might have a better chance than the Leafs or Canes to take the Oilers out of the lottery. Imagine the hysteria if the G80/82 head to head with the Ducks sets up for a sweep to lose a lottery pick. Perfect timing for Dubnyk to tweak something.

  53. nathan says:

    ˙ǝɔɐɹ uʍop ǝpısdn sıɥʇ uı pǝssɐd ƃuıǝq ǝɹɐ sɹǝlıo ǝɥʇ ʇnq ʍou ʞool ʇ,uop

  54. Denniss says:

    I’m with RBear on this in that the only real reason to want this club to win is if it helps attractive some FA chips or makes players like pants-shitting if we acquire them in a deal.

    I’d love to love the rest of this season’s games and get the #2 overall pick and see what that leaves us. There comes a point in every season where I give up the ghost and just start hoping they lose

  55. Showerhead says:

    I feel like I can understand both perspectives. Yes, it’s fun to cheer for your team and have it win. It is also good to know that they have a good chance at the best new players.

    The parts that confuse me all involve the narratives and rationalizations that people use to support one or the other.

    1) The best players are Russian so it doesn’t matter.
    They are also people who have made the decision to play junior in Canada. This decision is most often made by players looking for the best route to the NHL. This decision takes an awful lot of commitment, so to use country of origin to denounce either of Yakupov or Grigorenko reeks of two things: If you’re scared off because you don’t think they’ll “come over to play in North America”, that ship has sailed and it may be that you’re clinging to an old-fashioned narrative without considering the specifics of either player’s situation. If you’re scared off because “they’re enigmatic”, then it may be that you’re living your day to day with a smidgen of racism and/or xenophobia. To each their own and I would never accuse any individual poster (because I don’t know you in any way) but I’m still tempted to say it’s twenty-fucking-twelve, grow up. Also read Willis’s post here.

    2) If Edmonton drops in the draft rankings, they won’t have to make a difficult decision.
    My gut reaction is that this is the way losing organizations think. Personally, I am of the firm belief that decisions can only be judged based on what you knew at the time. It is a well established fact that picking higher in the draft order increases your odds of picking a good player. Whether Edmonton picks #2 and has to choose between Grigorenko or a defender… or if they choose #3 and have to choose among the top defenders… this fact does not change! No matter what the future holds, picking at #2 gives EDM a better chance of taking a great player than #3 and picking at #3 gives EDM a better chance than does picking #4. These are the facts and if Stu and company are afraid of making a decision just because it’s difficult, then fire the whole bunch and start over.

    3) You’re not a real fan if you cheer for them to lose (and its reciprocally ugly cousin, “you’re not a real fan if you cheer for them to win.”)
    Being a fan is different for everyone. Feelings are subjective – grow up, get over it.

    4) Winning now will make the team play better next season.
    Really? REALLY?

    Based on my list of complaints, it would probably look like I’m biased towards the tank. Honestly, I think that’s true but my biggest issue with those that support winning now is the demonstrably poor arguments they make to support it. It’s OK to say you cheer for them to win because that’s more fun than cheering for them to lose (or watching them lose). At least then you’re making a defensible argument (and a good one, in my opinion, and my opinion is probably the most important thing to you in the end anyway).

  56. Showerhead says:

    Seeing Denniss’ post above mine, it seems I missed the “UFAs are more likely to sign in EDM if they win” argument. That one actually seems plausible, or at least seems more defensible, but my best guess is that the difference between 29th and 26th isn’t a huge draw. I’d be open to having my mind changed though.

  57. Loxy says:

    Here’s what I figure… even if you have the top picks, if you don’t have management doing the right thing with them, at some point you can’t improve anymore.

    At least the kids might be learning to put it all together anyways.

  58. icecastles says:

    Showerhead: it would probably look like I’m biased towards the tank. Honestly, I think that’s true because I am a bad and hateful person who is afraid of winning and change…

    My beef with this line of thinking comes down to sportsmanship. I’m okay with them losing because I know there is an upside to it. But cheering for them to lose, and the corollary “tanking on purpose” is a different beast to me. Intentional tanks are a slippery slope that, taken to their conclusion, become akin to throwing games. And I don’t think anyone here would argue that throwing a game is ethical or should be allowed (see: gambling scandals). How different is intentional tanking?

    I suppose there is a difference between management setting the team up to lose and the players deliberately letting themselves lose, but in the big picture, it comes out to the same thing: a lack of integrity of the game where the best players in the world battle to the best of their abilities.

    Lastly, if I know my team has a chance to win and I realize that my coach is sabotaging our chances on purpose for a future that may or may not happen, I now I’d have a hell of a time putting 100% into my game and wanting to stay with the team. Especially after so many years of losing.

    The tank has helped the team. But at some point, the brakes have to be put on and someone has to declare that losing is no longer the object. At the beginning of the season, that was the clear statement. When you give up on that and say “we’ll try again next year”, you send a message that this “rebuild” could go on forever, a la New York Islanders. The Oilers aren’t going to jump straight from 15th to a playoff position. you have to start somewhere and have something to build off. It seems that a lot of folks here are of the opinion that it’s all or nothing and either they’re in the playoffs (or competing for it), then they might as well go for the lottery.

    You can’t just have the horses – at some point, you have to let your horses run. Telling them they can only run if they’re going to win is, quite frankly, a bullshit way to build a team. It is, however, a great way to develop players that you can trade to other teams for pennies on the dollar.

    By the way… I might have misquoted Showerhead a touch there… :)

  59. Showerhead says:

    Icecastles, I like that you put forward such a noble argument after such a blatantly dickish quote :)

    I should make it clear that I assume the players and coaches are trying to win and I’m OK with that. I’ve never competed in anything without trying to win at it and I can’t imagine the most competitive and talented portion of society (IE pro athletes) would be any different.

    I don’t know when I appointed myself arbiter of what is a valid reason to cheer for or against the tank but some of the rationalization/intellectual dishonesty has been getting to me. If you believe in sportsmanship, I think you have a wholly defensible reason to cheer for the wins. The xenophobia, logical fallacies, etc that really irk me.

  60. icecastles says:

    Showerhead: The xenophobia, logical fallacies, etc that really irk me.

    I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we shouldn’t draft a Russian. They’re all xenophobic.

    Kidding aside, I do wonder how the “intentional tank” works with the rank and file. Do you make your players aware of the plan so they buy in to the long-term plan and risk giving them less to play for that year? Or do you keep them thinking the plan really is to win and risk having them think they are playing for an incompetent or badly managed team when the truth is more that they are playing for a team with longer-term goals?

    I’m not sure how you navigate that and which one, from a motivational / team-building perspective, risks doing more damage to your players and the team identity.

  61. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Showerhead: my best guess is that the difference between 29th and 26th isn’t a huge draw.

    I don’t think the placement makes much difference, but a team making some real noise at the end of the season ought to be way more attractive than one whimpering to a 62-point finish with its tail between its legs.

    I for one am enjoying the current streak, just as I enjoyed the 5-game winning streak in Dec./09 that had me taking a lot of shit in this and other comments sections. Rightfully so, since those five wins knocked us down from first overall to, uh, first overall. But with very VERY rare exceptions, such as Game 82 in Calgary in ’07, I root for my team to win all the time. Even that game I took some glum pride in the fact that the Oil tried to go out with a bang, even if it was just 20 decent minutes at the tail end of 20 horrawful games.

    I accept that there are ancillary benefits to losing, but am dead-set opposed to tanking. GOILERS

  62. Bruce McCurdy says:

    While I realize circumstances are vastly different in a 30-team league, two of the positive turning points for the dynasty Oilers were the late season runs in both ’80 and ’81 which enabled the team to scrape into a playoff spot each year. They still wound up with decent draft position, 6th and 8th overall, and made a couple of pretty good selections with those picks.

    A late season surge which pushed the Oilers down a few spots now would NOT accomplish the goal of making the playoffs, but I am nonetheless convinced there are some positives simply from winning some damn games. This team has lost more than enough already.

    Even if they win out, they’ll still get a decently high pick. As it stands they are “lucky” to be as low as they are in the standings; they’re way better than the 28th-best team in the NHL.

  63. Brett Gee says:

    You got to start winning sometime. Can’t really dictate when that will be, so it might as well be right now, no?

  64. DSF says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    While I realize circumstances are vastly different in a 30-team league, two of the positive turning points for the dynasty Oilers were the late season runs in both ’80 and ’81 which enabled the team to scrape into a playoff spot each year. They still wound up with decent draft position, 6th and 8th overall, and made a couple of pretty good selections with those picks.

    A late season surge which pushed the Oilers down a few spots now would NOT accomplish the goal of making the playoffs, but I am nonetheless convinced there are some positives simply from winning some damn games. This team has lost more than enough already.

    Even if they win out, they’ll still get a decently high pick. As it stands they are “lucky” to be as low as they are in the standings; they’re way better than the 28th-best team in the NHL.

    Bruce…the Oilers are 29th in the league in Shots/G but 14th in Goals/G.

    Unless you believe they have the best snipers in the league…something’s gotta give.

  65. Bruce McCurdy says:

    DSF: Bruce…the Oilers are 29th in the league in Shots/G but 14th in Goals/G.

    Unless you believe they have the best snipers in the league…something’s gotta give.

    Well, I’m HOPING we have some of the best snipers in the league. It’s encouraging that other than Mr. 100% (CVV), the top three shooting percentages on the team belong to Messrs. Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, and Hall respectively. I do believe that is indicative of real talent rather than just luck, but I guess time will tell.

  66. Bruce McCurdy says:

    You have to realize that I recall a year when the Oilers came 17th (of 21) in shots/game, and 1st in goals/game. By about 1 G/G, at that.

    I know that doesn’t fit the current model, but I don’t quite buy in 100% to the current model either. :)

  67. spoiler says:

    Finally, after a few posts some people actually cottoned onto what I was saying. It is ridiculous to be mad as a fan at the Oilers trying to win these games.

  68. edwards_daddy says:

    A late season winning run always reminds me of the Everton side of 84, who were very average but just clicked and started winning in the back half of the season. They won the title two of the next three years.
    RE the Pronger trade, if the Ducks had Eberle, Smid and Lupul I would have them down as contenders…..

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