THE VERDICT IS IN: PORT SIDE

That was one of the worst hockey games I’ve seen the Oilers play in a long time. Dallas Eakins has to take advantage of this moment to galvanize the team behind him, to solve the riddles that face the team, and to set a course for calm waters and success. There are 80 games left, but this team looked awful in game #2 of the regular season, generally considered to be a time when NHL teams are ready for competition. The Oilers are unready.

GET RID OF PEOPLE, I WANT BLOOD DAMMIT!

Probably not a good idea. As bad as the Oilers looked last night, this is a clearly talented bunch and they are going to have points in the season when they win two in a row and we’re talking about the parade. So, first, let’s settle down. Next, let’s find the reasons (not excuses, reasons) for the struggle:

  1. Oilers are missing their #1 and #2 centers
  2. Oilers are playing their best player out of position
  3. Oilers are giving the puck away like motel matches
  4. Oilers are not getting NHL average level goaltending
  5. Oilers are not responding well to puck pressure

SOLVING THE PROBLEMS

  1. Nuge is back, that is a massive deal. Really. I know he’s a kid, but this is going to settle down the roster a lot. Boyd Gordon is having a nice early portion of the season, and believe it or not Arcobello has been putting in some good minutes for this team.
  2. I think you put Hall back on LW and let him run beginning Monday. Enough. I’ve been behind the C move until now, but an unproductive Hall is death.
  3. As God is my witness I don’t understand this team sometimes. Good NHL players have been giving the puck away in the defensive zone. The good thing is that will change–Eakins coaching career depends on it.
  4. Dubnyk has been playing poorly, but there’s also an element of “Shit happens” to the start of this season. ANOTHER goal from long distance was tipped by the SAME GODDAMN DEFENSEMAN who did it the other night. I guess a college education doesn’t mean what it used, Jesus Murphy Petry make yourself useful as well as ornamental. Dammit. Eakins may want to run with LaBarbera Monday night, which is fine. Dubynk’s a big boy, he’ll grab that opportunity when it comes around again.
  5. I think part of the problem is they’ve been behind the entire season, they need to calm down.

The other item is that the club took a long time to come together during training camp. I applaud Dallas Eakins for making sure everyone got a look, but by the same token there’s still some rust on this roster.

LINEUP FOR MONDAY

  • Nuge-Hall-Eberle
  • Gordon-Perron-Yakupov
  • Arcobello-Smyth-Hemsky
  • Acton-Gazdic-Brown
  • Smid-Petry
  • Ference-Schultz
  • N Schultz-Belov

And I’m going to say this again: the Oilers need to find more PKers from that 4line. Part of the problem right now for this team is they’re using the skill guys on the PK and they’re not fresh 5×4 and 5×4. Maybe add that in when they’re back to being able to wheel at evens.

CHANCES FOR AND AGAINST LAST NIGHT

This terrific site gives us a really nice look at all of the advanced stats basically right after each game. It’s insane, and one of the really good features is Chances for-against at 5×5 close. If Dallas Eakins wants to get the attention of these Oilers this morning, he should throw this on a computer screen.

OILERS CF-CA 5X5 CLOSE, OCTOBER 5

  1. David Perron 4-3 (57.1%)
  2. Justin Schultz 6-7 (46.2%)
  3. Nail Yakupov 1-2 (33.3%)
  4. Jordan Eberle 3-8 (27.3%)
  5. Ales Hemsky 2-9 (18.2%)
  6. Taylor Hall 2-10 (16.7%)

These are the guys who are going to push the river on any given night for the Oilers. I’m a Dallas Eakins fan, and believe he’s the right guy for the job, but his biggest problem this morning is not Devan Dubnyk but rather that Hall number. I’m not buying that Hall was playing tough opp, he’s done that since he got here from Windsor. I’m also not going to accept that Hall isn’t buying in or that he’s sulking over not being the captain–these are things that we can discuss but no rational human is going to flush their career over getting passed by for a letter. Seriously.

In game one, Hall’s 5×5 close CF-CA number was 8-14, 36%. I’ve seen enough.

Port side.

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100 Responses to "THE VERDICT IS IN: PORT SIDE"

  1. hunter1909 says:

    It’s really the nightmare scenario.

    ‘Chickenhawk’ Eakins: his feathers ruffled at the idea that Taylor Hall might have his own mind.

  2. JonyPro says:

    I want to cry….I believe the Nuge will help a lot.

  3. Mo Deet says:

    Agreed as far as Hall.

    3.

    I expect to see better in days to come (I mean, I sure hope to), but based on early returns, and on last night especially…

    End-of-career Ference = End-of-career Staios?

  4. hunter1909 says:

    Will no one rid me of this meddlesome coach?

  5. Fixall with Rexall says:

    Any young kids out there that are Oil fans deserve some kind of recognition. We old guys grasp and cling to memories, while a lot of these kids have never seen their favorite team play a meaningful game their entire life. That needs to change.

  6. godot10 says:

    When you don’t have the horses, you protect your good horses and make sure they thrive and let your bad ones die. You don’t protect the bad horses by exposing your good horses to danger and failure.

    Krueger was faced with similar centre challenges as MacT and Eakins, and made the decision NOT to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. MacT’s and Eakins first decisions as GM and coach was to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. One has to have a realistic assessment of a player’s strengths and weaknesses. The Taylor Hall at centre experiment was never going to work. It was sheer madness.

    Under Krueger, Taylor Hall was 2nd in Western Conference scoring. Nail Yakupov let rookies in scoring. Paajarvi became an asset good enough to fetch David Perron for. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a 200-foot centre at nineteen. Special teams were top decile. And if the bad players were exposed for being bad players, so the good players would not be damaged. So be it.

    But the blogosphere’s verdict is that Ralph Krueger was a horrible coach.

  7. Bruce McCurdy says:

    one of the really good features is Chances for-against at 5×5 close

    CF% is Corsi, not chances.

    You’re right that Extra Skater is a fantastic new resource.

  8. Ducey says:

    They should have won the first game. That one is on DD.

    If they were 1-1 everyone wouldn’t be losing their marbles.

  9. DeadmanWaking says:

    hunter1909: Will no one rid me of this meddlesome coach?

    I used that expression once before, I’m pretty sure. You do know how that turned out, don’t you?

    According to some accounts, it was discovered that Becket had worn a hairshirt under his archbishop’s garments—a sign of penance. Soon after, the faithful throughout Europe began venerating Becket as a martyr, and on 21 February 1173—little more than two years after his death—he was canonised by Pope Alexander III in St Peter’s Church in Segni.

  10. Lowetide says:

    hunter: I like Eakins no bullshit approach. I don’t play for him though. If there is a disconnect, he better haul ass and make it right because if #4 quits on him it’s over.

    Godot: We don’t think he was a horrible coach, we think his ideas didn’t work. He is a good and decent man, and I hope he coaches again in the NHL someday.

  11. DBO says:

    Hall at LW does a few things.
    - he backs up opposing D scared shitless of him flying past them.
    - he helps skate the Puck out. Underrated skill is actually getting Puck out of the zone off the boards. Which we lack right now.
    - Hall is so worried about not turning the Puck over down low when he gets Puck he is making telegraphed passes across zone. See many turnovers.
    - he is also expending way more energy battling behind net. One of his greatest assets is his physical attributes which are diminished if he is tired.
    - love him on pk. Love him flying down wing.

    Set him free.

    Hall – Nuge – Hemsky
    Perron – Gordon – Eberle
    Joensuu – Arcobello – Yakupov
    Smyth – Acton – Gazdic

    2 pkers on 4th line. 2 lines who can play tons. 3rd line that gets easier opposition allowing Yak to feast on 3rd pairing D.

  12. RMGS says:

    Coach Eakins said if the Hall experiment doesn’t work, he goes back to LW. Hall is back at LW on Monday. It still leaves the team with little C depth, but Arcobello looks like he may hold his own until Gagner’s back.

    I wouldn’t put Yakupov with Gordon. The latter’s being fed D-zone starts, and starting the 20-year old (happy birthday!) there instead of the O-zone is poor asset management. Plus, Yak is still learning how to play without the puck. The team can look short handed in the D-zone with him on the ice. Play him with Arcobello and Perron with heavy offensive starts where he’s proven deadly.

    Give the toughs to Nuge, Hall, Eberle and Gordon, Joensuu, and Hemsky.

    That wasted fourth line remains sad, but it’s not why team’s been terrible.

  13. Bruce McCurdy says:

    godot10: But the blogosphere’s verdict is that Ralph Krueger was a horrible coach.

    … and the blogosphere fired him. Bad, bad blogosphere!

  14. HBomb says:

    Better yet, for port-side, and it pains me to say this…when Joensuu gets his back right and draws back in (be it Monday, Thursday, or another night), Ryan Smyth needs to play on the 4th line.

    The try is still there, and he still knows where to go…but when you can’t get there in time, that’s a problem.

  15. godot10 says:

    Ralph Krueger, like Curtis Glencross, didn’t go to the good schools, and have the job experience in all the right places, like Marion Hossa and Robert Nilsson did, the guys Katz, Lowe, and MacT preferred to Glencross.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy: … and the blogosphere fired him. Bad, bad blogosphere!

    You’re one of the elders, Bruce. I’m going to have to carve a bad name into your bark when I see you next. Bad, bad Bruce!

  17. Ryan says:

    LT, you’ve highlighted all the problems…

    1. Hall – Smyth – Hemsky: If Eakins runs that line ever again, he should be fired.
    2. Skill killing penalties is a waste of skill.
    3. How much has the new goalie equipment hurt dubnyk–a guy who relies on size in the net?

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “There are 80 games left, but this team looked awful in game #2 of the regular season, generally considered to be a time when NHL teams are ready for competition. The Oilers are unready.”

    That’s about the long and short of it. I think this item might require more scrutiny by us going forward:

    “The other item is that the club took a long time to come together during training camp. I applaud Dallas Eakins for making sure everyone got a look, but by the same token there’s still some rust on this roster.”

    Eakins seemed to say the same thing at the end of the PS. Not enough time with his actual group, too many games.

    The counter-argument would simply be VAN. They have a new coach, played a lot of tweeners in the PS, rarely icing their full NHL club, and looked stellar last night. Of course, their raw material is incomparably strong.

    ———
    “I think part of the problem is they’ve been behind the entire season, they need to calm down.”

    If you mean in goals, it’s only been two games and in both they’ve had the lead at some point, in the first game by some margin and for some time.

    ——–
    “Nuge-Hall-Eberle”

    I’d consider Arco-Hall-Ebs

    I don’t like the idea of throwing tender-faced RNH to the wolves first game back. Also, Arco has played well two games in a row.

    Also, on the lines… I’d prefer to see Joensuu or Hamilton slot in for one of the goons. Either should be able to help PK as well.

  19. Lowetide says:

    HBomb:
    Better yet, for port-side, and it pains me to say this…when Joensuu gets his back right and draws back in (be it Monday, Thursday, or another night), Ryan Smyth needs to play on the 4th line.

    The try is still there, and he still knows where to go…but when you can’t get there in time, that’s a problem.

    Yes, agreed. It’s painful to say, but he might be a HS a lot this year.

  20. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Props to Willis for continuing a nice little tidy summary deal on the Barons:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/10/05/is-tyler-pitlicks-move-to-centre-his-route-to-a-job-with-the-edmonton-oilers/

    Hi-lites:

    1. Lander injured… faaaaack!!!! After having a great game… unreal
    2. Pitlick back to center. This kid gets moved from league to league from position to position… at any rate, his report is very, very good. fantastic.
    3. Klefbom struggled.
    4. Willis talked to Nelson after the game… is he physically in OKC?

  21. Ryan says:

    Lowetide: Yes, agreed. It’s painful to say, but he might be a HS a lot this year.

    And that’s why Hall – Smyth – Hemsky is a curious decision. …

    Hall’s going to draw the top competition and putting him out of position with a boat anchor (94) is like teaching someone how to swim by throwing them in the deep end and putting your foot over their head.

  22. jb says:

    I’m not reading too much into this yet. Think of all those seasons with strong starts only to see the team fizzle out and finish near the bottom.. I’m fine with them taking a few weeks to figure it out, add something at the deadline, and watch them come together and finish with a strong playoff push.

    I am a believer.

  23. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Really enjoyed your write-up. Glad someone else noticed Healy making an ass of himself:

    At game’s end, CBC’s Glenn Healy was ranting about how the Oilers won the statistical battle, that he cherry picked to include faceoffs (31-26), hits (38-22), and blocked shots (19-10), but more than anything those stats highlighted which team didn’t have the puck most of the night and was reacting to the play rather than initiating it. Teams that win statistical battles don’t get outshot 44-23 and outscored 6-2. It wasn’t pretty, folks.

    I thought Gazdic got off light by your rankings. His skating looked a lot worse to my eye last night than the previous game… as did his mind you I was half-cut last game and last night was nursing a cold… so in both cases my perception was altered.

  24. RMGS says:

    Ryan: And that’s why Hall – Smyth – Hemsky is a curious decision. …

    Hall’s going to draw the top competition and putting him out of position with a boat anchor (94) is like teaching someone how to swim by throwing them in the deep end and putting your foot over their head.

    The coach’s decision in camp made sense: if they’re going to try Hall at C, give him veteran support on the wings. It hasn’t worked, so I expect him to make the requisite adjustment by Monday. That’s why they play the games.

  25. TheOtherJohn says:

    Agree with Godot on this: Kruger got a wildly disproportionate share of the failure of the Oilers. They fire Tanbellini and Kruger, and no one else, and it’s all fixed. Would have thought whole series of people in many departments would gotten pink slipped for 30/30/29/24 but 2 guys was enough to right the ship

    Agree with DMW there is no way our best forwards should be playing 25-26 TOI. If Ccach Eakins thinks that he is nowhere near as smart as we credit him her on this site.

    It is however well past time we should expect the Oilers to win. We are dealing with 1 unanticipated injury. We knew RNH would be out at start of the season. Work harder. Work smarter and get it done

  26. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10:
    Ralph Krueger, like Curtis Glencross, didn’t go to the good schools, and have the job experience in all the right places, like Marion Hossa and Robert Nilsson did, the guys Katz, Lowe, and MacT preferred to Glencross.

    Are we suddenly under the impression Marion Hossa is anything but a stellar hockey player?

    This is a weird way to challenge Lowe, a man with many, many faults. Hossa doesn’t even fit some “boys on the bus” and/or “good canadian kid” narrative.

  27. Woodguy says:

    This is Eakjin’s first real test.

    Does he keep 4 at C and ignore the recent results or not.

    I’m with everyone else and mentioned in an earlier thread to keep 26 at 2C until 89 gets back.

    I’d interested in going in a time machine and watching those two game with another LW on that line and see how they do.

    Also,

    Belov is a disaster in his own zone right now as is J.Shultz. The others aren’t too much better, but lordy it ain’t good.

    A big part of my expectation of a better team was the improvement on the D in terms of puck movement resulting in more zone exits with possession, leading to more ozone entries with possession resulting in more scoring, corsis, and winning.

    That’s not happening yet.

    Part of it is the D, part of it is they don’t seem to have anyone to pass to.

    VAN had all the Oiler outlets covered all night and they would try to force the puck and giveaway resulted.

    Also,

    The Oilers couldn’t break up a cycle last night if their life depended on it.

    You don’t need hulking D to break a cycle, the Oiler D are plenty big on average, but they were severely beaten in this area of the game.

    Also,

    I wonder if DD is slightly near sighted and hasn’t addressed it?

    He got beat on long shots quite a bit last year too (remember the one from center?)

    It wonder if he has trouble picking up the puck when it starts from far away?

  28. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: And I’m going to say this again: the Oilers need to find more PKers from that 4line. Part of the problem right now for this team is they’re using the skill guys on the PK and they’re not fresh 5×4 and 5×4. Maybe add that in when they’re back to being able to wheel at evens.

    While I agree with this… I’m not prepared to say the talent needs to be off the PK. I could see their time reduced and managed more appropriately…

    But I’m entirely sure we need to go full AV model coaching with this team.

  29. Lowetide says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Agree with Godot on this: Kruger got a wildly disproportionate share of the failure of the Oilers. They fire Tanbellini and Kruger, and no one else, and it’s all fixed. Would have thought whole series of people in many departments would gotten pink slipped for 30/30/29/24 but 2 guys was enough to right the ship

    Agree with DMW there is no way our best forwards should be playing 25-26 TOI. If Ccach Eakins thinks that he is nowhere near as smart as we credit him her on this site.

    It is however well past time we should expect the Oilers to win. We are dealing with 1 unanticipated injury. We knew RNH would be out at start of the season. Work harder. Work smarter and get it done

    You know, this kind of irks me and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way because it isn’t personal (enjoy your comments a lot). This blog did NOT react that way:

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/06/krueger-fired.html

    “Steve Smith” says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    This kind of strikes me as a tacit admission that the only parts of the rebuild to yield any value thus far are the accumulation of draft picks and, presumably, the restructuring of the minor league system. The organization appears to be undoing virtually everything else Tambellini did (besides Justin Schultz, who I’m just going to slot into the same category as the high draft picks). Other than that (and it’s an admittedly big “that”), they’re starting the rebuild over.

    Pajamah says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I’m sure it’ll be a divisive topic, but I am certainly not in favor of disposing of Krueger so quickly.

    Sure, he had some failings, be it line matching, who to scratch etc. but short of Eberle and Nuge’s injuries, he got the most out of his best horses

    If it is Eakins, how is he guaranteed to be any better

    Lowetide says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I think we’re now at the point (and I mentioned this a day or so ago) that this team is going to get flushed. We can assume Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yak, Schultz the younger are returning but beyond that it’s not set.

    This is officially a thriller.

    (Quote) (Reply)

    Racki says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    MacT clearly has a vision for what he wants this team to be. Can anyone tell me what Tambellini’s plan was (I know, I know.. many Tambo lovers will chastize me for digging that wound up)?

    Anyways, I really liked Krueger. But it’s clear he had some faults as a coach. The team struggled quite frequently at the worst times with the defensive system in place. Line matching was not in Krueger’s vocabulary (HUGE fault). Krueger clearly wasn’t the X’s and O’s guy, as he did not employ a multitude of strategies, such as MacTavish. MacT wants a guy with solid, concrete defensive systems, and that is something that Eakins is reported to be good at (it’s how the Marlies did so well). Word is Eakins is not only a good X’s and O’s guy.. but he also is already a good motivator. So he’s Krueger with proper NA hockey skills, portentially. I won’t believe it until I see it though, but sounds good to me.

    MacTavish said he let Krueger go based on philosophical differences, there they are in that paragraph above. MacTavish also said that he spent some time trying to find a guy to support Krueger and then decided the guy he was looking for was less in line with Krueger’s strategy and more in line with what he himself wanted.

    Now I wonder if a new coach here will set us back temporarily while his systems are put in place, or if it will be instant chemistry, like Bylsma with the Pens (who, granted, were much further along and already a Stanley Cup finalist the year before).

    asiaoil says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    A complete debacle that I didn’t think even the Oilers could manage. Fire a a very smart coach – could be the brightest in the NHL – and only after a 42 game season with no training camp, cardboard cutouts for assistants, and a GM who did nothing to help at all. Yeah that looks good around the league. All Ralph lacked was a bit of time to adapt his systems to the realities of the NHL and the players he was given. The players like and respect him and he got a several of the young guys settled into the league very well (Yak, Schulz) and rehabbed another guy (MSP). He’s exceptionally bright and people like that do not stay with what doesn’t work – they adapt – fast.

    art vandelay says: (Edit)
    June 8, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    M-I-C
    K-E-Y

    (Quote) (Reply)

    WOODGUY says:
    May 23, 2013 at 10:47 am
    For the record, the roster is a much bigger problem than the coach.
    That being said, if you want to be a team that strives for excellence, you must do so in all areas, and that includes coaching.
    This summer seems to be a “reset button” moment for the Oilers anyhow, and I don’t think that changing the coach would be too drastic a measure.
    If they do inquire into AV or Tippett, I would welcome it as long as they are convinced the coach would fit the roster well AND they allow the coach to pick his own assistants. (I think AV’s style is perfect for the OIlers. I don’t think Tippett’s style would mesh well with th

  30. Lowetide says:

    I did write about his possible firing, here
    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/05/options.html

  31. Woodguy says:

    godot10:
    When you don’t have the horses, you protect your good horses and make sure they thrive and let your bad ones die.You don’t protect the bad horses by exposing your good horses to danger and failure.

    Krueger was faced with similar centre challenges as MacT and Eakins, and made the decision NOT to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail.MacT’s and Eakins first decisions as GM and coach was to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail.One has to have a realistic assessment of a player’s strengths and weaknesses.The Taylor Hall at centre experiment was never going to work.It was sheer madness.

    Under Krueger, Taylor Hall was 2nd in Western Conference scoring.Nail Yakupov let rookies in scoring. Paajarvi became an asset good enough to fetch David Perron for.Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a 200-foot centre at nineteen.Special teams were top decile. And if the bad players were exposed for being bad players, so the good players would not be damaged.So be it.

    But the blogosphere’s verdict is that Ralph Krueger was a horrible coach.

    And he took a team that had 48% of the shot attempts and turned them into a team with 42% at the same time.

    4-93-14 had enough talent and were good enough together to overcome the Krueger effect, but the rest of the team didn’t.

    Now your killing Eakins and MacT for trying Hall at C when RNH and Gagner are out?

    Really?

    2 games in you’ve reached all these conclusions eh?

  32. Big Dan says:

    All is not lost. I expect the Oil to be back at above .500 by Halloween.

    It’s only two games and already, an adjustment of expectations for the Oiler fan base and management will result in a turnaround:

    a) Quinn, Renney, and Krueger were not morons. Dallas Eakins does not have some magic knowledge those three experienced gentlemen didn’t. Stop blaming the coach. This should give Eakins job security – if the four year deal didn’t.

    b) Everybody’s got the “Hall as C” out of their systems. I knew it was a bad idea. The Oilers had a #1 and #2 RW in Hemsky and Yakupov, plus a cerebral/ defensively responsible RW in Eberle who scored 50 goals as a C in junior. We know what to do next time a C goes down.

    c) Anton Belov has shown he’s got the goods. Him showing up late caused a trial by fire evaluation. The verdict is in. You have less time to think in the NHL compared to the KHL. Give him 10-20 games in the AHL. Call up Larsen; to me he was an unknown good that was a pleasant surprise at camp. Keep Grebeshkov (a dumb signing just like Jones) as far away from the ice as possible.

    d) Jason Labarbera looked solid last night. He blew opportunities in New York and LA, and has been a backup ever since. Let’s see if Lowetide is right about him against the Ducks. I don’t think it matters. Dubnyk looked better last night. The Oilers WILL win over New Jersey. Book it.

    e) Arcobello did not have puck luck so far (rookie nerves?) but he’s a good player. With Hall back to dangle between RNH and Eberle, Arco can play with Perron and Hemsky or Yakupov until Gagner comes back. I like him.

    f) The 3rd line is much better. Boyd Gordon has more scoring in his blood than he showed as a 3C/4C in Washington in Phoenix. Jesse Joensuu, although slow, is the beefy/ fiery winger we’ve been looking for.

    g) The 4th line doesn’t play much but serves its purpose. Will Acton is an ok 4C who can kill penalties and work hard. Gazdic can fight.

    h) This should be a wakeup call for the D. Too much standing around. Smid, Petry, Ference will lead the way back. Nick Schultz was exposed… make him a HS and reward Fedun for his great pre-season (why is Schultz an A again?). Replace Belov with Larsen. They also now know that Justin Schultz clearly needs to be protected- 3rd pairing against softies.

    Bad night but a lot of good news, believe it or not.

    I think this will be the low point of the season. Monday’s convincing win will ease everybody’s nerves.

  33. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I thought Gazdic got off light by your rankings. His skating looked a lot worse to my eye last night than the previous game… as did his mind you I was half-cut last game and last night was nursing a cold… so in both cases my perception was altered.

    should read: “as did his passing, taking a pass… mind you”

  34. godot10 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Are we suddenly under the impression Marion Hossa is anything but a stellar hockey player?

    This is a weird way to challenge Lowe, a man with many, many faults. Hossa doesn’t even fit some “boys on the bus” and/or “good canadian kid” narrative.

    I’m not throwing Eakins under the bus. Eakins might be Marion Hossa, or he might be Robert Nilsson. Katz, Lowe, and MacT caught their whale this time. The guy with the brilliant resume and success in all the right places (Toronto, and the Toronto media).

  35. Woodguy says:

    godot10,

    Krueger was faced with similar centre challenges as MacT and Eakins, and made the decision NOT to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. MacT’s and Eakins first decisions as GM and coach was to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. One has to have a realistic assessment of a player’s strengths and weaknesses. The Taylor Hall at centre experiment was never going to work. It was sheer madness.

    What challenge was that?

    When RNH and Horcoff were out and the team went about .200 in winning percentage?

    Sheer madness to try Hall at center?

    Hyperbole much?

  36. Woodguy says:

    godot10: I’m not throwing Eakins under the bus.Eakins might be Marion Hossa, or he might be Robert Nilsson.Katz, Lowe, and MacT caught their whale this time.The guy with the brilliant resume and success in all the right places (Toronto, and the Toronto media).

    So Eakins got the job because he’s from Toronto?

    How in the world do you come to that conclusion?

  37. Lowetide says:

    lol. If anyone knows anything about Edmonton, they know “I’m from Toronto” is going to HURT you in job interviews. :-) I knew a record company guy who decades ago made it a point NOT to mention where Blue Rodeo were from lest he get airplay reduced (this was back at the beginning. I played the hell out of Blue Rodeo).

  38. Woodguy says:

    Off topic, but MacKenzie tweeted about it last night.

    LT is on record in about 100 threads saying that the scouts liked Ryan Murray, but the word came down from above to pick Yak.

    Many posters derided LT for his opinion on this.

    I implore those posters to now attack Bob MacKenzie and tell him he knows nothing.

    Bob MacKenzie tweets last night:

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 11h

    To answer @FriedgeHNIC’s on air question, re: Yakupov vs Murray, and I suspect he knew answer: Yes, majority of EDM scouts wanted Murray.

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 11h

    Decision to take Yakupov over Murray came from a higher authority. That’s not indictment of decision, only saying how it was arrived at.

    Sounds like Bob heard the same things LT did.

  39. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Agree with Godot on this: Kruger got a wildly disproportionate share of the failure of the Oilers. They fire Tanbellini and Kruger, and no one else, and it’s all fixed. Would have thought whole series of people in many departments would gotten pink slipped for 30/30/29/24 but 2 guys was enough to right the ship

    Agree with DMW there is no way our best forwards should be playing 25-26 TOI. If Ccach Eakins thinks that he is nowhere near as smart as we credit him her on this site.

    It is however well past time we should expect the Oilers to win. We are dealing with 1 unanticipated injury. We knew RNH would be out at start of the season. Work harder. Work smarter and get it done

    I disagree with you on the Krueger thing. He paid in full for his mistakes. But I don’t think anyone around here has let the other culprits (KLowe, under mgt., players, scouts, etc.) off the hook, even if Katz and KLowe have. And MacT and Eakins have already seen their fair share of skepticism and reverb.

    On the 26 minutes a night… I think we need some context here.

    1. I agree, under normal circumstances, this would be foolish to run a forward like this.
    2. Eakins first made this remark in the context of two things: fitness and playoff games that go into overtime.
    3. Eakins has always qualified this remark with “I SHOULD be able to…” and never said “I’m going to…” or even “I want to…”
    4. So far in PS and 2 reg. season games Eakins hasn’t used a forward that much. Most was Hall in game one at 23:30. Probably too much… but not 26 minutes and he only played 20 last night.

  40. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    Off topic, but MacKenzie tweeted about it last night.

    LT is on record in about 100 threads saying that the scouts liked Ryan Murray, but the word came down from above to pick Yak.

    Many posters derided LT for his opinion on this.

    I implore those posters to now attack BobMacKenzie and tell him he knows nothing.

    Bob MacKenzie tweets last night:

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 11h


    To answer @FriedgeHNIC’s on air question, re: Yakupov vs Murray, and I suspect he knew answer: Yes, majority of EDM scouts wanted Murray.

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 11h


    Decision to take Yakupov over Murray came from a higher authority. That’s not indictment of decision, only saying how it was arrived at.

    Sounds like Bob heard the same things LT did.

    The weirdest thing about that conversation wasn’t that bit of old news but what the conversation of ostensibly about.

    Stock was complaining that the Oil draft BPA and “all these offensive forwards” and not for need, but never got around to saying how RNH, Hall, Yak, etc. were hurting the team, or whom he thought would have made the team better…

    meanwhile Elliotte noted that the Oil scouts wanted Murray… but what on earth does that have to do with making the team better last year or this? I don’t see how Murray improves this team over last year (he doesn’t even make the team unless they are crazy — of course assuming he doesn’t get injured)… and this year he’s far to young at his position to be expected to dominate.

    I’m surprised they waded into the conversation and even more surprised about where it went… I would have thought Galchenyuk’s name might have turned up.

  41. thejonrmcleod says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yes, Willis is in OKC for the season.

  42. thejonrmcleod says:

    I watched the first period last night and then when to bed. (I’m a pastor and Sunday is the only day of the week that I work.) At least I have the Red Sox.

  43. thejonrmcleod says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    They waded into the conversation because that’s all P. J. Stock has in his reservoir of analysis on the Oilers.

  44. Woodguy says:

    thejonrmcleod:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yes, Willis is in OKC for the season.

    Is Journal paying him to be there?

  45. thejonrmcleod says:

    Woodguy,

    I have no idea. I asked him on Twitter how long he would be in OKC. He said at least 6 months.

  46. jake70 says:

    “The Oilers couldn’t break up a cycle last night if their life depended on it.”

    Until they can consistently do this, this team will not get over the hump. Puck battles. You can’t move the puck if you don’t have it . No big deal if you are 75% as a team in the face-off circle.

  47. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    godot10,

    Krueger was faced with similar centre challenges as MacT and Eakins, and made the decision NOT to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. MacT’s and Eakins first decisions as GM and coach was to put Taylor Hall in a position to fail. One has to have a realistic assessment of a player’s strengths and weaknesses. The Taylor Hall at centre experiment was never going to work. It was sheer madness.

    What challenge was that?

    When RNH and Horcoff were out and the team went about .200 in winning percentage?

    Sheer madness to try Hall at center?

    Hyperbole much?

    I have been unequivocal for months that Hall at centre was folly, and would fail miserably. i don’t have to change my story now. If a dumb f%$ like me knows that, it is sheer madness for MacT, “the smartest man in the room” not to know that.

    Krueger was down two centres to injuries a lot last year. Threw a dying horse (Ryan Smyth) onto the fire, rather than the good horse (Taylor Hall).

    Krueger didn’t really protect anyone on the team last year with his strategies. If you are an NHL player earning an NHL contract, he expected that you should be able to be minimally competent at your job, and he was going to send you out there. But his good young players…he never put them in places where they would fail (well except maybe for Justin Schultz a bit, but on D, Krueger really didn’t have any options).

    Arguably, all of the good players thrived under Krueger. But he wasn’t going to sacrifice or compromise the development of the good players by giving them roles to compensate for the bad players.

    Anyways, at the end of this season, we will have a comparison to make. Krueger’s Corsi against Western Conference teams vs. Eakins’ Corsi against Western Conference teams. And we will also be able to contrast the progress of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov etc.

    I think Eakins will probably be okay. I just think the Krueger criticism in the Oiler blogosphere has been misguided. Some will only look at the numbers, but not in the context of the hand Krueger was dealt and what he was actually trying to accomplish. The Krueger criticism was probably less excessive in the Lowetide community.

  48. thejonrmcleod says:

    http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020030

    Scroll down to the pictures of the 3 stars: good Sedin, evil Sedin.

  49. Andropod says:

    HBomb:
    Better yet, for port-side, and it pains me to say this…when Joensuu gets his back right and draws back in (be it Monday, Thursday, or another night), Ryan Smyth needs to play on the 4th line.

    The try is still there, and he still knows where to go…but when you can’t get there in time, that’s a problem.

    Trouble is, Smythe is a LW and the player he should replace (because Gazdic > Brown) is a RW. Not sure how that pans out. (Brown).

  50. Woodguy says:

    godot10,

    I agree with a lot of what you say.

    I don’t agree with this though:

    Arguably, all of the good players thrived under Krueger.

    The most damning indictment of Krueger was 89-83 going from a history of 50%CF to 42%

    From 2009-2012 89 and 83 played 797min together and achieved a 50.2%CF.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=399&withagainst=true&season=2009-12&sit=5v5

    Last year they played 299min and got a 42.1%

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=399&withagainst=true&season=2012-13&sit=5v5

    I have a hard time thinking they just sucked together out of the blue.

    Krueger was down two centres to injuries a lot last year. Threw a dying horse (Ryan Smyth) onto the fire, rather than the good horse (Taylor Hall).

    Krueger never lost both 93 and 89 at the same time.

    Much different situation than losing 93 and 10.

    Anyways, at the end of this season, we will have a comparison to make. Krueger’s Corsi against Western Conference teams vs. Eakins’ Corsi against Western Conference teams. And we will also be able to contrast the progress of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov etc.

    That’s fair. I have no idea why you are burying him with 2 games in.

    I just think the Krueger criticism in the Oiler blogosphere has been misguided. Some will only look at the numbers, but not in the context of the hand Krueger was dealt and what he was actually trying to accomplish. The Krueger criticism was probably less excessive in the Lowetide community.

    There wasn’t a pile of vitrol for him, more pity, at LT’s.

    The knives didn’t come out in force here until Tyler’s thing about why the corsi died.

  51. ashley says:

    Hall’s an inconsistent player. He has bad games. Playing him out of position hasn’t help. Interesting experiment that I don’t think happens in any other city. This city wants to channel the 80′s team. Different era, different players. There will never be another Messier.

    Hall will be fine. Better than fine. He’s outstanding and putting him back on LW is the key.

    Even better than that, but him with RNH. Where Hall was failing, RNH excels. RNH is outstanding at gaining possession in his own end. He’s like a 3rd defenceman. His anticipation “hockey sense” is off the radar. Hall doesn’t have that, and him at center was brutal.

    Hall with RNH will be fantastic. RNH with anyone (even Smyth) will always be something to behold. RNH doesn’t get all the points because after fishing out the puck from his end and headmanning it up, it gets passed 2 more times and he doesn’t get an assist.

    Agree that the biggest problem here is not Hall or even Dubnyk. It is Schultz and Belov. Awful defending. Something has to give. I would send Belov to the minors.

    Petry makes that deflection properly 99/100 times. You can’t blame him for getting his stick in the way. That is what he is supposed to do, and most of the time it is up in the netting instead of a shot on goal. You want him to peel off before the shot?

  52. nycoil says:

    Fortunately I missed most of the game last night as I went to the Isles’ home opener and it’s a 2 hour ordeal each way via bus and train. Fourth row centre ice behind the benches where you’re pretty much in the game is an amazing treat. Got to sit behind my hero Dougie Weight the first and third periods and watch Tavares work his magic. Great night.

    Re: Woodguy. Small sample size but Ryan Murray didn’t look all that last night. Above average at most things, but not very big. I wouldn’t have taken him 1st overall based on tools. Or lack thereof. Now I think the bigger question is, and the answer isn’t clear yet, would the Oilers have been better off 3 years from now with RNH-Hall-Eberle / Galchenyuk-Perron-Gagner or RNH-Hall-Eberle / Gagner-Perron-Yakupov ? A lot hinges on how you value Gagner’s play at C vs him on RW. Yak is going to score a lot of goals once he gets his first this year. Those three missed one-timers on the last PP, he is pressing too much.

    Watching Tavares play, and many think he is overrated as he puts up similar points to Hall and Eberle but gets a lot more accolades, he just does so much to control the play and is turning into an all-round player. Hall still has a ways to go to catch up to Tavares’ game, and I’m a huge Hall fan. Watching the first couple of games of Mackinnon’s career, too, I still have high hopes Nuge can be that guy for us, but a part of me fears we were unlucky to tank in the 3 weakest first overall years of the past six (Stamkos, Tavares, Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Mackinnon). Strength down the middle is so important. Sedin-Kesler being a good example.

  53. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Interesting article in the Vancouver Province this morning regarding how a coaching strategy (Tortorella’s) is having more of an impact on Corsi than the players involved.

    When you consider that Vancouver’s player personnel is basically the same as last season, Torts philosophy of throwing everything at the net and attempting to block every shot on your own goal seems to be resonating with the Canuck’s players.

    http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Willes+Shot+happy+Canucks+make+look+simple/9003233/story.html

  54. TheOtherJohn says:

    Was on mobile device hence shortness of earlier comment

    When I say comments here…… I mean everyone LT –your posts and ALL of the comments.

    If anyone seriously does not believe the bulk of the criticism here (see definition above) in off season was laid at the feet of Tambellini & Kruger I respectfully disagree. I could go re-review all of the posts since June and accumulate the stats for/against but do not have a week to waste doing so. Conservatively I would put the comments at 65/35 blaming ST/RK for everything hockey related. Well that and why the Boston Pizza at Rexall is cold. MC79 has clearly shown RK was doing some tactics that were clearly not working, in a strike shortened season, without training camp and short 3 assistant coaches (the associate coach and 2 “real” assistant coaches). Or maybe??? the RelCorsi from the year before was a testimonial to Tom Renney’s coaching the previous year??

    I can say it is astonishing in a chronically under performing business to change 2 managers (even senior managers) and to leave all of the rest of your organization completely untouched and expect improvement. We even get Bob Stauffer on his program fishing for compliments on the great job the pro scouting department did in the off season identifying all of the “great” additions, Guess Bob missed the last 4 years where the pro scouting department brought DRECK in routinely and we overpaid them by 25-40% for what their performance was.

    In any event we are where we are

    Right now single smartest hockey operations decision Oilers have made is the Hall 7 year contract. Contract was signed by Tambellini but, as is the Oiler way, someone else in the organization will step up and take credit for it. Do not believe anyone could consider me a Tambellini apologist but give credit where credit is due.

    I have no difficulty with the Oiler 1OV. We took the BPA. Yes D take longer to develop– see Ladi Smid but there was no comparable top pairing D in Hall’s year, RNH’s year and I expect Ryan Murray will be a real solid player but YAK, in my opinion, has a much higher ceiling. So hindsight is 20/20 and it may have been smart to draft D first but only if they are good enough to go 1OV. Also like the Nurse pick. After watching preseason came away confident that he will be a 20+ TOI D in 3 years. As a result do not care how Nicushkin does.

    As to Eakins hiring its WAY to early to conclude anything. Agree with LT completely saying you are from TO is not a way to get hired in EDM. It is something you have to overcome. “Why would someone from the center of the universe want to move to Edm?”.

    Truly believe though that the Eastern media are confounded by how perpetually bad the Oilers are n/w/s all of the early draft picks. Gagner, MPS (that got us Perron), Hall, RNH, YAK and we continue to struggle mightily. Some like Stock and Healy look for superficial explanations and look and sound stupid. We have made the playoffs once in the last decade (certainly got our monies worth in that playoff) but it is well past time for the organization to make huge strides forward or a whole lot of people should be looking for work. Our luck, we are in a division with some very large skilled teams, and the Nucks

    Beauty of RNH return (if he’s healthy: see Mike Reilly) is it pushes the 12th forward off your game sheet and 10 guys move down a slot. Huge incremental improvement.

  55. Lowetide says:

    TOJ: Oilers changed out a lot of the roster, including veterans Horcoff, Whitney, Khabibulin, Petrell et cetera. On the opening night lineup, there were 9 players, or 45%. That’s an incredible amount of change, plus the head coach and the number one assistant coach. A tremendous amount of change imo.

  56. "Steve Smith" says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    If anyone seriously does not believe the bulk of the criticism here (see definition above) in off season was laid at the feet of Tambellini & Kruger I respectfully disagree.

    One of those things is not like the other (of course, neither is the other one). The bulk of the criticism was laid at the feet of Tambellini, because he was responsible for all the rest of the personnel, and the Oilers’ personnel, by and large, sucked. For the same reason, I don’t think anybody was suggesting that simply replacing Tambellini, without more, would turn things around – Tambellini left a huge mess in his wake, and MacTavish has only begun to clean it up (even with everybody healthy, we’re still short an NHL centre, for example).

    Krueger has actually come in for a good deal more criticism since he was fired than while he was actually coach. I’d describe the dominant attitude towards him at that time as being provisionally and cautiously supportive.

    But Tambellini’s the guy who ran things into the ground, and criticism of him has been rightly merciless.

  57. russ99 says:

    I’m still a fan of Krueger, especially how he handled the kid line, picking good spots for when to shelter them and when to test them vs. the toughs.

    I can understand why some are blaming Eakins for the current run of play, but IMO much of the last two game were due to tough lineup decisions forced on Eakins after what MacT has given him to play with.

    It also begs to mention if MacT has pushed his pet projects to the forefront at the expense of the cohesiveness of the team, case in point:

    Belov missed a chunk of TC and he’s not NHL ready, yet he’s logged 14:29 last night; Acton and the goons getting offensive zone starts; Hall constantly saying he’s not comfortable at center (yet again after last night’s presser) yet pushing him into that role because it’s more important to acquire goons to kick up “toughness” than acquiring someone else that can play center.

    Also that whole “tryout” thing was flawed from the start. When you have 4-5 NHL quality defenseman and 1-2 NHL quality centers it doesn’t matter who “wins” the preseason competiton.

  58. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    "Steve Smith": One of those things is not like the other (of course, neither is the other one).The bulk of the criticism was laid at the feet of Tambellini, because he was responsible for all the rest of the personnel, and the Oilers’ personnel, by and large, sucked.For the same reason, I don’t think anybody was suggesting that simply replacing Tambellini, without more, would turn things around – Tambellini left a huge mess in his wake, and MacTavish has only begun to clean it up (even with everybody healthy, we’re still short an NHL centre, for example).

    Krueger has actually come in for a good deal more criticism since he was fired than while he was actually coach.I’d describe the dominant attitude towards him at that time as being provisionally and cautiously supportive.

    But Tambellini’s the guy who ran things into the ground, and criticism of him has been rightly merciless.

    You realize that the team was “run into the ground” long before Tambelinni was hired, right?

    Might want to apportion some of the blame to the guy that hired Tambellinni.

  59. Lowetide says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: You realize that the team was “run into the ground” long before Tambelinni was hired, right?

    Might want to apportion some of the blame to the guy that hired Tambellinni.

    You’re moving the line. No one would argue your point, we’re in another part of the textbook.

  60. OilLeak says:

    I’m going to call an Edmonton win on Monday. Mainly because the devils had to wait 2 hours outside of their hotel this morning while it was evacuated. Perhaps they take ill and are in no shape to play well tomorrow night. #analysis

  61. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Lowetide: You’re moving the line. No one would argue your point, we’re in another part of the textbook.

    Doesn’t mean that Chapter 2 can be ignored.

    Suggesting Tambellini is the major villain is revisionist.

  62. bookje says:

    TheOtherJohn:

    If anyone seriously does not believe the bulk of the criticism here (see definition above) in off season was laid at the feet of Tambellini & Kruger I respectfully disagree.

    If anyone seriously does not believe that Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and my cat did not receive a tremendous number of gold albums, I respectfully disagree!

  63. "Steve Smith" says:

    bookje: If anyone seriously does not believe that Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, the Beatles, and my cat did not receive a tremendous number of gold albums, I respectfully disagree!

    As usual, Bookje makes my point better than I did.

  64. bookje says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: Doesn’t mean that Chapter 2 can be ignored.

    Suggesting Tambellini is the major villain is revisionist.

    Suggesting Tambellini is the major villain is revisionist is revisionist.

  65. DBO says:

    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 2m
    Lines at skate acc to jersey colors. Hall RNH Eberle, Perron, Gordon Hemsky, Smyth Arcob Yakupov Hamilton (extra?) , Gazdik Acton Brown

    good news

  66. bookje says:

    I defended Tambellini for a long time because there was room for doubt about the strategy (I.e – doubt regarding how hard they were trying to win vs get draft picks and pace the rebuild). However, by the end, it was clear, he was terrible at some key parts of job.

    Yes, Kevin Lowe left him a mess.

    Also, I think 2 games in is early to pass judgement on MacT and Eakins.

  67. TheOtherJohn says:

    My comments about changes in the organization are not talking about hockey players. Amateur scouting department? Pro Scouting department? Player development? Minor league coaching? Salary Cap management. Those are the people who identify, select, develop, pay and trade for your players. In that group I apologize if I missed it but when the Oilers gassed ST & RK who in those departments got removed? I may be wrong but ,,,,,,nobody? As an example who was the guy in pro scouting touting Eric Belanger to ST? Why does he have a job?

    Now we can agree to disagree but surely no one is going to seriously argue moving Whitney, Khabby Belanger and Petrell out were particularly difficult or prescient decisions by management. Would think they would constitute dead solid locks.

    Now as to the decisions made on player personnel I like the addiition of Ference. Real solid player. A pro! 4 year contract for a smallish 34 year old D is puzzling though. Love the Gordon addition but not really sure why if was so necessary to jettison Horcoff. Particularly when RNH was scheduled to be out for a month. Think he’d be a good player to be filling in at 1C or 2C? Joensuu looks like a good bottom 6 add but Acton, Lander, R Hamilton, Gadzic, Brown, Eager, Smac do nothing that I have seen to fix the bottom 6. In fact with the exception of the Gordon/Horcoff trade it looks kinda the same to me. Do not remember the MacT quote but it was difference makers on bottom 6 or some such: still waiting to see that improvement

    Now I agree completely Tambellini is justifiably criticized. In fact I suspect I wrote 5000-10000 words right here on that very topic. Probably each year for 2-3 years. But axing 2 guys does not fix an organization. It may be a start. But it just seemed to me that everyone piled on Tambellini and Kruger and said: there the organization is fixed.

    Bookje was one of the last here to turn on Tambellini, pretty sure he was waiting 8 months ago for the Plan (patent pending) to come to fruition

  68. bookje says:

    “Steve Smith”: As usual, Bookje makes my point better than I did.

    I don’t think the word ‘better’ means what you think it means.

    (Did I do that right?)

  69. VOR says:

    Fixall,

    Like you, I feel for the young fans who never saw any of the great Oilers teams of the past. But I also think there may be some young fans who think it was all sunshine and happiness pre-2007-2008. They also think those great teams were built by geniuses with a master plan.

    However, being a long time Oilers fan I go far enough back that I can remember rooting for Oilers teams in the WHA that ranged from mediocre to terrible. Team dissention was evident long before the Oilers GM/coach got so annoyed with a journeyman player who wouldn’t stop beaking off in the dressing room that he said, “so you think you can do my job better than I can, well guess what, here is your chance.” I may misremember but I think that coaching change happened during a game.

    I can remember the NHL eviscerating the WHA teams during the merger. It was awful. The draft made it worse. The WHA teams were tagged on to the end of the draft as I remember it. Then, as Lowetide has pointed out, the Oilers apparently didn’t understand who was draft eligible in 1979-80.

    I remember the early NHL Oilers. They had their moments but they weren’t all good. The chants of “messed up”, “messed up” and “cough-up”, “cough-up” still ring in my ears. I remember Sather in desperation taking back over as coach and blenderizing his lines until something clicked.

    I remember the Oilers starting one year with a D corp that featured a player from the Japanese pro league, a real estate salesman, a Finnish kid so short he had to look up to see a fire hydrant, and a kid who wasn’t good enough to even get drafted.

    I can remember the day they traded Gretzky and we all knew the glory years were over. It took a while for us all the realize the Oilers were literally selling players. Sometimes they got something back, like picking up the goalie from Boston who everyone knew just wasn’t good enough. Famously a columnist, I think it was Cam Cole, said if the kid was good enough to win a Stanley Cup he’d eat his column at center ice to open the next season.

    I can remember the horrible moment when the Oilers traded my favorite Oiler, Esa Tikkanen, away. It was just one step in the fire sale. But it was the closest I ever came to giving up on the Oilers. I went to the first game at the Coliseum post the trade and what kept the hope alive is right from the first shift the kid the Oilers picked up in that trade had good arrows as LT would say.

    That brings us to the worst period of all. The Ron Low years. God, that team was terrible. Maybe the worst part was watching one of the games’ greatest players have the heart and soul sucked out of him by playing on a horrible team. That would of course be Dougie Weight, the kid the Oilers picked up for Esa Tikkanen. One year he had 104 points when the next best Oiler had 70.

    Gradually, though the Oilers surrounded Weight with good players. Suddenly the Oilers were competitive. They were within a hair of a Stanley Cup. Then in 2001 it all started again. This time they broke my heart by trading away Dougie Weight. Those teams were bad, and only MacT’s coaching saved the Oilers from total debacle.

    In 2006 it looked for the longest time the Oilers were going to win the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes. But it wasn’t to be. The mediocrity was destined to last forever.

    My point is the dark times were always followed by bright sunlight. In 2006, I think it may have been the day after losing Peter Forsberg, that Kevin Lowe got a phone call from St. Louis. CFP, miraculously became an Oiler.

    Is it dark now? Sure. Is the darkness going to last forever? No. For all we know the sun is already rising. Young fans don’t get that. They also don’t understand how much of that greatness of the Oilers history, was plain, dumb, luck. So they think if the Oilers just did this or that they would be great again. They propose brilliant ideas, argue the virtues of various waiver pickups, look for new statistical tools, and wait for a sunrise that never comes. They are all living the “Game of Thrones.”

    They’d be better off making burnt offerings to the Gods of Hockey luck.

  70. hunter1909 says:

    bookje: Also, I think 2 games in is early to pass judgement on MacT and Eakins.

    It’s never too early to start forming a lynch mob.

    Even if you don’t use it, you always need to make sure that the normal, rational folk among you don’t get too much time to think of alternatives.

  71. TheOtherJohn says:

    Agree, way too early to make any judgements about MAcT & Eakins.

    Do not recall hearing anyone else in the NHL trying swarm forecheck. Am I right? if so would quicker anticipation/reactions by NHL calibre players negate its effectiveness?

    Wonder if Tom Gilbert at $900K would look good on our 3rd pairing?

    Everyone realizes we have 3 one way NHL contracts in AHL

  72. Benhur says:

    Same Old, Same Old…yes that sounds right, exactly my thoughts while watching the game. Last year I started tracking Own Zone Turnovers (OZTs)which is a loss of possession in your own defensive end when the defensive team has possession. It did look like “Old Times” as you and the other commentors stated. Here are the stats for your interest! -Oilers OZTs 41, SAAs due to OZTs 19, GA due to OZTs 3. -Canucks OZTs 13, SAAs due to turnovers 5, GA due to OZTs 0. The Oilers gave up 3 times as many OZTs and 3 goals due to them! Yep, Same Old, Same Old. Who were the bad actors: -5 OZTs – #2, 19, 21 -4 OZTs – #4 -3 OZTs – 15, 57, 83. Of the defenseman Belov was the only one without a OZT. One area of improvement I’ve seen from last year is 0 OZTs by Dubnyk in the first two (1 1/2 ) games. Last year he was bad.

  73. hunter1909 says:

    Re Dubnyk: Why couldn’t they have spent half the effort to see whether Schremp might have been an NHL player?

    PS: Bwahahahahahahahaha

  74. TheOtherJohn says:

    Vor

    Have followed Oilers since WHA days and the Doug Weight Oilers were never a “hair away from the SC”. The 06 Oilers, sure, D Weight Oilers not even close: 97 lost to Colorado 4-1 in 2nd round, lost to Dallas in 98 in 2nd round 4-1

    Oilers in playoffs once in past decade

  75. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    godot10,

    Arguably, all of the good players thrived under Krueger.

    The most damning indictment of Krueger was 89-83 going from a history of 50%CF to 42%

    From 2009-2012 89 and 83 played 797min together and achieved a 50.2%CF.

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=399&withagainst=true&season=2009-12&sit=5v5

    Last year they played 299min and got a 42.1%

    http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=399&withagainst=true&season=2012-13&sit=5v5

    I have a hard time thinking they just sucked together out of the blue.

    Dustin Penner ( advanced stat monster) vs. Nail Yakupov (raw NHL rookie, with no training camp, little practice time, and lost on LW)

    And facing 2nd toughs pretty much out of the gate when Horcoff went down.

    And a rookie defensemen on the 2nd pairing. And a one-legged defensemen on the 3rd.

    Tyler found that it was 2nd shots mostly that were lacking, so probably the Penner vs. Yakupov effect.

    I’ve never particularly liked Gagner and Hemsky together (way back to the days when if I had to choose to keep Hemsky or Penner arguments, I would choose Penner). I would never play them together unless I pretty much absolutely had to, like Krueger pretty much had to. So their “failure” together is my expectation, though probably not a bad as last year. Last year was “mean reversion” to my expectation. Ha ha.

  76. BlacqueJacque says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    I think Vor can be forgiven for that statement because considering where the Oilers have been for 7 seasons, and are currently trending, getting blown out in the second round does look like being a hair away from the Stanley Cup.

  77. VOR says:

    The Other John,

    They were close. Had they managed to keep the team together they would have been Stanley Cup champions. Money made that impossible. It was depth those Weight/Joseph teams lacked. Another million or two in the budget and they would have taken a long run in the playoffs.

    Twice in the last nine full NHL seasons the Oilers have made the playoffs. This season isn’t over yet so unless you are saying the season is over after two games it is twice in the last nine years or decade (lockout year) and 3 times in 11 years. Just saying.

    Also don’t understand how your comment does more than prove that long time fans also forget the past.

  78. VOR says:

    Blacque Jacques,

    I get that you hide behind sarcasm, but truthfully it doesn’t really ever advance a discussion. My point is the sun always rose again. The great Ken Holland said that you can’t set out to win a Stanley Cup. To much of it is luck in a short series. All you can do is be competitive. Those Weight/Joseph teams were competitive.

  79. VOR says:

    Also, Blacque Jacques, two games don’t a trend make.

  80. Woodguy says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: You realize that the team was “run into the ground” long before Tambelinni was hired, right?

    Might want to apportion some of the blame to the guy that hired Tambellinni.

    Yeah, no one ever mentions Kevin Lowe on this blog

    Lordy.

  81. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    For a blog that routinely picks over the carcasses (they are ample) of this — for far too long — terrible, terrible team…

    …it never ceases to amaze me to find people who think they are the first and only voice to question the decisions of management, the scouting staff, the coaching staff, etc.

    It’s like they’ve never been here before and they’ve got a great new idea to pitch… it’s guaranteed to change our lives, clear our dimmed eyes and show us the way!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI

  82. Woodguy says:

    DBO:
    Ryan Rishaug ‏@TSNRyanRishaug 2m
    Lines at skate acc to jersey colors. Hall RNH Eberle, Perron, Gordon Hemsky, Smyth Arcob Yakupov Hamilton (extra?) , Gazdik Acton Brown

    good news

    If 6 takes 94′s spot when he back is better and 94 skates with 41, 20 that’s not bad at all.

    Gifted line and 57-27-83 can handle the toughest comp and maybe even both can come out ahead if the D can break up a cycle and make a good first pass.

  83. Dead Cat Bounce says:

    Woodguy: But Tambellini’s the guy who ran things into the ground, and criticism of him has been rightly merciless.

    Merely responding directly to this assertion:

    “But Tambellini’s the guy who ran things into the ground, and criticism of him has been rightly merciless.”

    The team was already in the ground.

    Good grief.

  84. Woodguy says:

    godot10: Dustin Penner ( advanced stat monster) vs. Nail Yakupov (raw NHL rookie, with no training camp, little practice time, and lost on LW)

    And facing 2nd toughs pretty much out of the gate when Horcoff went down.

    And a rookie defensemen on the 2nd pairing.And a one-legged defensemen on the 3rd.

    Tyler found that it was 2nd shots mostly that were lacking, so probably the Penner vs. Yakupov effect.

    I’ve never particularly liked Gagner and Hemsky together (way back to the days when if I had to choose to keep Hemsky or Penner arguments, I would choose Penner). I would never play them together unless I pretty much absolutely had to, like Krueger pretty much had to.So their “failure” together is my expectation, though probably not a bad as last year.Last year was “mean reversion” to my expectation.Ha ha.

    Paajarvi played with 89/83 much, much more than 64, but there’s no question Penner helps.

    Whether he helps by 8pts over Paajarvi isn’t clear.

    I have a hard time seeing it as 89 was 47% with Paajarvi before last year and 42.5% last year.

  85. Woodguy says:

    Dead Cat Bounce: Merely responding directly to this assertion:

    “But Tambellini’s the guy who ran things into the ground, and criticism of him has been rightly merciless.”

    The team was already in the ground.

    Good grief.

    Wrong quote Dee

    Also,

    So 4 years at the helm isn’t enough time for him to change anything or even evaluate Tambellini?

    Good to know.

  86. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    Dude…

    literally every point you’ve brought up (scouting, coaching, mgt., legal dept, player acquisition, contract size and length, players not signed, players signed, etc)… has been debated here ad nauseum.

    I have no problem going back over these things… but I find the whole “teller of hard truths to sycophantic shlubs” routine tedious.

    On the Swarm. Kevin McCartney has a good article at ON about it, how common it is, different versions, Eakins’ version, etc.:

    http://oilersnation.com/2013/10/1/systems-analysis-different-looks-at-the-swarm

  87. TheOtherJohn says:

    Rom

    That is not my point at all. It is that we have a bad organization and the way to “fix it” was to remove 2 people. Oh, and then to blame those two people for all of the teams flaws.

    Thank you for the info re: swarm

    As to the sycophantic comment, I don’t read enough of your comments to form an opinion

  88. BlacqueJacque says:

    VOR,

    I’m just making a quip. No sarcasm, no meaningful point.

  89. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    TheOtherJohn: That is not my point at all. It is that we have a bad organization and the way to “fix it” was to remove 2 people. Oh, and then to blame those two people for all of the teams flaws.

    But that’s the thing. Who around here mapped that out as optimal? Who laid all the blame on Tambo and RK and left none for Lowe, Ricky O, Morey Gare, Dave Semenko, Steve Smith, etc. etc.

    These fellows have been routinely pilloried before the Tambo/RK firings and after.

    All last year most posters were hoping to finally see Lowe and Tambo gone, a new mgt. team with a completely new staff.

    Not until after Tambo was gone did anyone serious consider even RK in the hot seat and then mostly because the new GM might want his own man at the helm. The real knives for RK only came out with MC79′s work.

    Even then, no one that I’ve read has ever thrown a barb at RK while sparing Tambo, Lowe, etc.

    Not firing Lowe was a mistake. Not firing Tambo ages ago was a mistake. Not holding a proper interview process for GM was a mistake. Not cleaning house in the scouting dept. was a mistake (or at least make them re-interview!)… etc. etc.

    All these decisions have been picked over laboriously here.

  90. spoiler says:

    Last night’s game was so bad, I have to think the flu was having some effect. They looked brain-dead and leg-dead in a way I have rearely seen. I mean really, they looked awful. The give-up midway through the first period was uncharacteristic of this team.

    And despite that, Schultz hit the iron twice,and Arco missed a wide-open net… despite the overwhelming flow of the play in the Canfuck’s favour, we could easily have been tied 5-5.

    That said, there are structural issues:

    1. Hall…with time I’m sure he would improve. But I asked a question a few months back: if you’re the opposition, where would you fear Hall more, at LW or C. HAll was a massive part of this team’s Corsi last season, regulariy ringing up six shot games. I don’t see that happening at C.

    2. Belov… has had all of about 35 minutes at NHL pace on NHL-sized rinks in his entire life. It’s gonna take time for him to get up to speed and get used to the lack of time and space, but there’s definitely a player there.

    3. Joensuu’s back… WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS! TheOilers dearly missed the Jensuu of game 1 last night. I hope to god, this isn’t chronic.

    4. I don’t mind skill on the PK, especially when playing from behind, but it can’t be every powerplay all the time. Gordon and Acton are one unit. And I expect Joensuu’s injury affected this a little last night, but this is an area where a Ryan Jones instead of a Mike Brown might be helpful. Let’s a also note that Torterella used the Sedins on the PK last night too.

    5. I can easily see Grebs in for N. Scultz when he’s ready. Some awful passing in his own zone last night. Jeff Petry on the other hand, is a helluva defenseman.

    6. The forwards were turning up the ice early again last night, forcing the defensemen into longer passes. Again this might have something to do with flu legs, I can’t know for sure without seeing more ames, but it is something Big D has to address.

    7. Lots of individuals doing individual things last night like there was in the first game. Maybe this is because they haven’t learned the system yet, or because they’re young and don’t have their heads screwed on right, or because they haven’t gelled as a team or as lines, but again it needs to be addressed.

    The Canucks played a different system than Vigneault hockey last night. I think that threw us a bit too. Lots of lane clogging and more sticks in the way than the start of a game of Kerplunk. That’s frustrating for thoroughbreds to play against. They need a better game plan against this style of hockey as the Central is filled with teams that will do this.

    But I am optimistic. I’m hoping the Oil have gone all Opposite George. We’ve had some fast starts over these past few seasons and they have done fuck all for us. Let’s do things differently this season.

  91. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Rom

    That is not my point at all. It is that we have a bad organization and the way to “fix it” was to remove 2 people. Oh, and then to blame those two people for all of the teams flaws.

    Thank you for the info re: swarm

    As to the sycophantic comment,I don’t read enough of your comments to form an opinion

    or, I think we agree. that’s all I’m saying. there’s no need to argue about what we probably all generally agree on…

    this team has been terribly managed for a long long time and few (even major) changes does not make-over this team entirely or clear all the rot.

  92. prairieschooner says:

    If we are looking for scapegoats I am going for
    Kelly Buchberger
    We have changed the players
    We have changed the management
    We have changed the head coach
    There has only been one constant
    Kelly Buchberger

  93. denny33 says:

    Woodguy,

    Last year we were so embarassing 5 on 5 and I wondered if some of the blame sould not be given top the top talent.

    WG is correct J.Schultz is frightening in his own end…like the end of last year, J Schultz cannot even defend against opposition defenceman rushing. He is so lost.

    Do people in here still want to stick the claim about Ference being a top 4 NHL defenceman? He is just behind Brown for puck hanling…

    Perron and Gordon stick out like sore thumbs on this team….each player fights to win / maintain puck battles in the corners and along the boards. They don”t win all the time but their effort and ‘compete’ level tell you they are from outside this organization.

    Lilke the first game, watching Mike Santorilli hold the puck along the boards for a minute as two hapless oilers try to get him off the puck is painful and telling….

    How many open looks does Arco need to score? Does he even score in warm up?

    RNH is going to help but imo there is a large gap in the compete level of the Oilers. And I was under the impression that was what Dallas is all about….?

  94. DeadmanWaking says:

    TheOtherJohn: Bookje was one of the last here to turn on Tambellini, pretty sure he was waiting 8 months ago for the Plan (patent pending) to come to fruition

    The least rational position is the suck-and-blow opera where a devoted partisan perseverates (my favourite Meadow Soprano word) like a heroin junkie stranded in an airspace shutdown over “asset management”, and the next day shows up to sing a tune about the organization’s long playoff drought. Deep fried in fat-free oil coming right up.

    Tambi’s reign of torpor did oversee a significant strengthening of our feeder pipeline, if I’m not mistaken. He obviously was never cut from the cloth to hustle the waiver wire. But that’s not an irredeemable flaw. Tambi was at the extreme Ben Kingsley keeping-your-queen-dry end of the spectrum as compared to the Laurence Fishburne street hustler in Searching for Bobby Fischer.

    As much as Staples likes to circle our five young guns and compare them to Chicago or Pittsburgh, I think our age structure was particularly egregious. Our 24-28 year age bracket was as denuded of landfall as 45 degrees south latitude. 18+32 does not average out to 25. Savvy isn’t worth much piloting broken wheels, neither is burning a strip with no clue.

    If the team has been methodically and relentlessly instilling the right fundamentals in the core group, Tambi’s story could have had a happy outcome until very nearly his end days. But this was taking on faith that he was concealing from outward view his true Sun Tzu nature with Kobayashi guile. Likely? No. But at least one didn’t have to believe that the world is run by idiots.

    Generally people who believe the world is run by idiots perform even worse than the original idiots when their day at the helm arrives. The people who best rise to the occasion when greatness is trust upon them are those who realized from the outset that the job is a lot harder than it looks when viewed with slippers and pipe.

    They say the best way to succeed is to dress like the boss. All the way down to the ulcer he’s not admitting, in my opinion.

    I also think Katz was more concerned about selling his arena deal than achieving immediate success on the ice. Celebrity pups fit the bill, and Tambi delivered.

    I don’t think a team can parachute in the missing critical pieces and hit the ground running in just one season, so I started to come to the firm conclusion in the middle of last season (when daffodils were blooming) that not even Kobayashi Tzu in his crowning moment of glory could salvage the window. We were deep into rottweilers on freshly waxed linoleum even if a masterful 3-1 landed the big kahuna weeks before the long-awaited bold stroke of asset-management blitzkrieg turned into Jerred Smithson. Okay, he’s just some schlep with a limp after all.

    At this juncture MacT + Howson + Eakins are not being bossed around by Kevin Lowe, who is at best one step removed from becoming a talking portrait on the wall of Dumbledore’s office.

    These are hard jobs, and effectiveness at this level takes years of working together. We wait.

  95. Lowetide says:

    DMW: Strong point about Katz.

  96. BlacqueJacque says:

    DeadmanWaking:

    reign of torpor

    Arrrhurm, I say bravo, and a good day to you too, sir.

  97. TheOtherJohn says:

    Agree completely it is a tough job and takes years to get right with very good people (amateur, pro scouts, development, etc) at all positions

    As to the pipeline of young talent, time will tell. So far outside of the 1st rounders we have seen very very few of the kids produce playing pro hockey with the exception of Marincin (2010 draft) and Klefbom (2011 draft) briefly in the SEL. Other teams are getting NHL players outside of the 1st round

    My greatest criticism of LoweBellini was that they found:drafted/signed/traded for no complimentary players that are young enough to be a part of this team when the kids hit their prime. That is they never added to the denuded young veterans. Imagine if we signed Boyd Gordon 3 years ago when he and Eric Belanger were free agents. Gordon was younger, more competitive ,slightly worse offensively, and cheaper.

    In 06 we had very solid secondary players and added Pronger, Peca and Spacek. Now we have to find the entire bottom of our roster

  98. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Agree completely it is a tough job and takes years to get right with very good people (amateur, pro scouts, development, etc) at all positions

    As to the pipeline of young talent, time will tell. So far outside of the 1st rounders we have seen very very few of the kids produce playing pro hockey with the exception of Marincin (2010 draft) and Klefbom (2011 draft) briefly in the SEL. Other teams are getting NHL players outside of the 1st round

    My greatest criticism of LoweBellini was that they found:drafted/signed/traded for no complimentary players that are young enough to be a part of this team when the kids hit their prime. That is they never added to the denuded young veterans. Imagine if we signed Boyd Gordon 3 years ago when he and Eric Belanger were free agents. Gordon was younger, more competitive ,slightly worse offensively, and cheaper.

    In 06 we had very solid secondary players and added Pronger, Peca and Spacek. Now we have to find the entire bottom of our roster

    Agreed completely.

    A fair amount of the bottom 6 was turned over as MacT promised… but not nearly enough and some bad bets were made at too dear a price. Other options were available.

    Mistakes have been noted.

  99. Ribs says:

    #Oilers have recalled defenceman Brandon Davidson (@bdavy3) from the AHL’s @OKCBarons.
    Strange…But Neato. So, Ference or Smid injured? Grrreeeeaatttt…..

  100. OilLeak says:

    Ribs,

    Woah. Davidson shot up the depth chart quickly.

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