‘CAUSE THEY TOOK THE KEYS, SHE’LL THINK IT’S ME

I feel as though we’re all in the mall trying to find “you are here” on that big honking display so we can find the exit. Edmonton Oilers fans can’t take much more of this, I can only imagine what these players are going through, every day grey, every game a series of roll-eyes and endless minuses next to their name.

All is lost. The day is ruined. The coach says conditioning, the GM says he likes this group and we can all see the coach is learning on the job. The fans can see the talent, but nothing rhymes. WHERE ARE WE? Down in the Tube station at midnight, on the floor, staring at  “Jesus Saves” and wondering what draft year he’s available.

And yet, the truth is that Craig MacTavish has been on the job less than a year and Dallas Eakins has been coach for less than 30 games. The hard lessons of being responsible without the puck (‘it’s what you leave’) were easier to endure when it was just Craig MacTavish teaching Ales Hemsky, but this is an entire group learning on the fly in the NHL.

My question for you: how much longer can MacTavish wait? Is there progress (they are 4-3 in the Hunter ‘second 20′)? Do they trade a cornerstone?

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97 Responses to "‘CAUSE THEY TOOK THE KEYS, SHE’LL THINK IT’S ME"

  1. David says:

    I’m not very bothered by the oilers losing one game. Before Columbus the sun was shining, and everyone was in a good mood. We can’t be so affected by small changes. The oilers were showing some improvement. Selling the future is incredibly short sighted. This team just needs some more pajaarvi plus a second for Perron deals. And some more Gordon signings. Preferably in the defence department. The future is still roses and sunshine for the Oilers.

  2. leadfarmer says:

    Too many small skilled forwards, not enough players that are hard on the puck, Would be great if they could find a Gordon with more offense for that second line center position.

  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    Not to downplay another loss

    But if Hall had scored on that breakaway and Petry not shot the puck over the glass,
    The game would’ve had a completely different feel, and result even.

    Change 5 seconds out of 3600 and its likely this morning we’d all feel much better about the Oilers’ effort, their abilities,
    and our worth as hockey fans.

    Peace

  4. meanashell11 says:

    No cornerstone, we will spend the next decade regretting it. The absolute most valuable asset we have right now is our first rounder. At the deadline it will be Hemmer, possibly Smyth and Belov if we can’t get him signed. We have to look to another rebuilding team (BUF??) or one who have a plethora of D and can’t sign them all (STL??) who have a solid #1 D who does not fit their core or budget and see what our first+ can get us. Would you trade the first, second, Nurse for Weber? Would that be close to enough??

  5. borisnikov says:

    David:
    I’m not very bothered by the oilers losing one game.

    But they’ve lost 19, in 27 games.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Jam. natch.

    I blame the right wing meetings. It’s probably Perron. He’s been reading too much Alain de Benoist again:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_de_Benoist

  7. BrazilianOil says:

    I hope not. IMO We need:

    one 1LD
    two 3LW ( 2 shutdown wings with gordon )
    one 2LC ( a good two ways center )

    4-93-14
    57 – ? -64
    ? -27-?

    The 4th line can roll with: Arco, lander, Joensu, Pitlick …

    ? – 2
    77-19
    21 – ( Nurse, Klefbom? )

    The G are OK.

    Trade the first round, D prospects, 83, 15 and 89 if he agrees. Flush the others.

  8. John Chambers says:

    Mr DeBakey,

    Agree with you here. The Corsi #’s are decent, the defensive accountability seems to be improving, and the powerplay has been clicking. Some nights you get a few bad bounces that put you back, and it seems the Oilers have been on the wrong side of lady luck the entire year.

    We probably still need to make a deal or two that improves the defense from the top down, and brings more Gordon / Perron maturity to the lineup.

    The past 10 games have been downright watchable – which can’t be said for the season’s nadir around game 15.

  9. FastOil says:

    Never out of desperation. MacT is already not seeing value. This season is about next season as we know (or we should). Even if by some miracle they have a sniff come playoff time I will spontaneously combust if they repeat the idiocy of last year’s deadline. This team would get annihilated post season and Katz doesn’t need the coin. There is nothing there for the Oilers, yet.

    If they don’t come out of this draft with both Reinhart and Ekblad and find a decent short term 1LD in the trash, MacT better find a way to acquire what is needed or Katz better find someone who can, if he wants to have something other than this pile of.

  10. D says:

    No to trading any cornerstones SVP. I agree we’ll regret it for the rest of the decade. It should be easier to obtain whatever this team is missing than it was to obtain Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yak, et. al.

  11. Clay says:

    As much as I think that trading one of the kids is inevitable, there are 29 vultures circling MacT looking to “help him out” by giving him a 2nd round pick, a middling prospect, and a 2nd pairing damn for Eberle. There is just no way for MacT to get full value right now.

    There’s no easy answer. It’s scary because as LT mentioned the other day, there’s some evidence that Hall may be losing interest, and I’m guessing that as he goes, the other kids will follow.

    The beaten down Oilers fan in me has a sinking feeling that MacT has his own rebuild in mind. Clear out this group for as many picks as possible, then go after Reinhart, McDavid, and Benson. I’m conditioned to think this way now.

  12. sliderule says:

    Willis hit it right on when he posted that the core is just too young.

    A lot of work in gym and a another year of natural maturation and there should be better results

    Hang tough with core and trade the first pick for a true number one D.

    Whoever they go after they better have a good book on to know what they are getting.

  13. russ99 says:

    leadfarmer:
    Too many small skilled forwards, not enough players that are hard on the puck,Would be great if they could find a Gordon with more offense for that second line center position.

    This is obvious to everyone, so the question begs, why are we wasting possessions dumping in order to try and fail to create chances on the wall ad nauseum against bigger and tougher teams?

    Also, will we lose considerable offense if we dump our skilled players for big grinders that are hard on the puck? Or do we even want that kind of team? Trying to play like Boston is in vogue, but the next big thing may very well not be gritty…

    We’re 27 games in with 8 wins. We’re right around that mythical 30 games that the Eakins apologists say the players will “get the system” that is obviously designed for a different group. When will the coaching staff adapt for who we have?

    Or do we have to wait for the next coaching staff?

  14. Rondo says:

    Seems like every game for Oiler fan is the season, they win 1 and they have turned the corner, they lose we need change.

    Reality has jumped the shark for Oiler fans.

    Look at their record since the 2005 lockout. they are a bad team.

    Cognitive dissonance

  15. David says:

    borisnikov: But they’ve lost 19, in 27 games.

    The thing is that even with losing so many games if they had won last night no one would be writing articles on should the Oilers one of the young guns. Things are looking better. Let’s not be swayed so easily.

  16. Pablo Aimar says:

    sliderule:
    Willis hit it right on when he posted that the core is just too young.

    How old were the cores of the Hawks and Pens when they started winning? Or when they started looking half decent? Maybe they aren’t good enough.

  17. vesci says:

    I feel as though we’re all in the mall trying to find “you are here” on that big honking display so we can find the exit.

    LT this line really hit home for me. I am not sure what to think anymore about where the Oilers are or where they are going.

    Before the season I thought they added some nice pieces ( Gordon, Belov, Perron and even Labarbara) and upgraded the fringe players over last year. I liked the coach and not just what he said but his approach . But the reality is the team,although made up of different non core players, looks and plays as inconsistently and frustratingly as the past few years. We can point to some marginal improvement in advanced stats year over year but the reality is the results, by eye, are quite similar. The style of game being played, regardless of the implementation or not of new systems ( see “swarm”) by eye also looks quite similar. But most importantly the results are no better. 3 coaches in the past three years with similarly poor results. Why? I don’t know for certain, but what I do know is I am frustrated, trending towards a dangerous territory of not giving a damn.

    Count me among those who not too long ago was preaching patience and not wanting to break up the core. Now I am not so sure. If 3 coaches in three years, and the turn over of the non core players shows no improvement in results what else is left to do? Better yet what is left to lose?

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    russ99: This is obvious to everyone, so the question begs, why are we wasting possessions dumping in order to try and fail to create chances on the wall ad nauseum against bigger and tougher teams?

    Also, will we lose considerable offense if we dump our skilled players for big grinders that are hard on the puck? Or do we even want that kind of team? Trying to play like Boston is in vogue, but the next big thing may very well not be gritty…

    We’re 27 games in with 8 wins. We’re right around that mythical 30 games that the Eakins apologists say the players will “get the system” that is obviously designed for a different group. When will the coaching staff adapt for who we have?

    Or do we have to wait for the next coaching staff?

    I don’t see any evidence that Eakins is pushing a “dump in” or grind system. All his language is about puck movement and possession. He has publicly castigated giving possessions away on dump in numerous times.

    This is a team that has been awful for a long time. It was built to be awful by the last guy. The new guy is trying to turn north and having a tough time doing it with a market that doesn’t have an interest in fixing his team for him.

    It looks to me like Eakins is struggling but we can’t put this on the coach. And firing another coach while expecting this team to turn north is ridiculous.

    This is much more MacT’s problem than it is Eakins’.

    But we don’t need to trade the kids to fix it. The first rounder will be worth a king’s ransom at the draft.

  19. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Pablo Aimar: How old were the cores of the Hawks and Pens when they started winning? Or when they started looking half decent? Maybe they aren’t good enough.

    Well, that may be true… but the bigger difference isn’t the quality of the respective cores, but the quality of the supplementary players.

  20. Andy P says:

    I think we all need to calm down. Stauffer and others said it would take 30 games to settle down. I think we have a good goalie tandem now, and as good a lineup as we will get over the last 2 games. We’ve started to see flashes of what this team can do when they grow up, and so have they. There’s still a few games left before we should start going psycho from game to game.

    Game 31 is against Calgary. Let’s see how they perform from there on out. They need to perform well after that, to regain respect from the other teams and to attract quality free agents.

    The only trades we need to consider are opportunistic trades for unicorns.

    Let’s also try to remember:
    1) We have a new coach, new GM and a 42% ? roster turnover
    2) We had a ridiculous string of early season injuries. What team would not suffer from injuries to their Hall, Gagner, Nuge, Perron, Joensuu etc?
    3) How many teams would have a good start with a goalie that played like DD did? He didn’t only poop his pants, he pooped all over the floor, the walls and up and down the stairs.

    So that’s all behind us, I’m glad they lost to the Hawks and to the Jackets and that they have been booed off the ice when they played like ECHL’ers. Good lessons to bring a 15-20 minute game per player, and a 60 minute game as a team, and to come back from the next offseason in better shape than this year.

    I was worried that this team was not ready for this season when they lost the last pre-season game with their “NHL” line up to the Dallas AHL players. I was worried that Columbus would kick their collective asses last night, and it always seemed reasonable to me that it would take 30 games for the team, coach, and GM to settle in as a regular NHL team.

    I think we have a very good team in the making, I’m hoping we keep Hemmers next year because I think he will make a killer pair with Yak City with either Gags or Arco between them.

    So let’s all just relax and watch them all grow together, we have mostly the right people on the right track.

  21. gcw_rocks says:

    This season is the result of a series of really stupid decisions. First, Katz decided not to clean house. Then Lowe decided to hire a rookie GM grown out of the same idea box as him. Then he hired a retread assistant GM out of the same idea box who had cratered in Columbus. The rookie GM then passes on the best crop of experienced head coaches to hit the market in years and hires a rookie head coach. All of this was done at a time the organization desperately needed to get it right, and instead decided to gamble at every key management position. Not one safe bet. Russian roulette all the way.

    Then the rookie GM gambled that a bunch of AHL players were really NHL players and ignored a solid crop of NHL veterans left desperate for work. not even a training camp invite. The rookie GM ignored a glaring hole at centre. He created some contract list flexibility and then wasted it all.

    We should not give MacT a pass because he is new to the job. We should not given Eakins a pass because he is a rookie. Neither should have been hired if they weren’t ready to get it right from day one.

    And it’s pretty damn clear neither was.

  22. fuzzy muppet says:

    8 wins against mostly the dregs of the league. This team is miles and miles from success.

    The next off-season they’ll have to replace Hemsky, Smyth, Nick Schultz: essentially all their Veterans. Who will want to go to Edmonton unless they over-pay? More picks does nothing to help the team win.

    I’m ready for bold. If it means they move Eberle, so be it.

    I don’t see this team winning for years.

  23. Andy P says:

    gcw_rocks: This season is the result of a series of really stupid decisions. First, Katz decided not to clean house. Then Lowe decided to hire a rookie GM grown out of the same idea box as him. Then he hired a retread assistant GM out of the same idea box who had cratered in Columbus. The rookie GM then passes on the best crop of experienced head coaches to hit the market in years and hires a rookie head coach. All of this was done at a time the organization desperately needed to get it right, and instead decided to gamble at every key management position. Not one safe bet. Russian roulette all the way.Then the rookie GM gambled that a bunch of AHL players were really NHL players and ignored a solid crop of NHL veterans left desperate for work. not even a training camp invite. The rookie GM ignored a glaring hole at centre. He created some contract list flexibility and then wasted it all. We should not give MacT a pass because he is new to the job. We should not given Eakins a pass because he is a rookie. Neither should have been hired if they weren’t ready to get it right from day one.And it’s pretty damn clear neither was.

    So the ones we hired are retreads, and the ones we didn’t are experienced? and, where, other than from AHL teams, Europe and Russia are we supposed to get new players from for the NHL?

    Also, which GM/coach combo do you know, could have a good season with a 42% new roster, injuries to 6 of your top players, a goalie that stank the place out and the only viable replacement goalie getting injured? Just wondering.

  24. rich says:

    I’m with those who like what the vet pickups have done for the team so far this season (Gordon, Perron and even Belov). LaBarbera was a good, low risk bet. Doesn’t work out? Fine, 1 year deal.

    What I’d give if they had Penner on this team right now. They need another one like him who’ll go consistently to the net to create traffic. Love Smyth’s try, but the end of the road is coming into view.

    Don’t think that trading the core (4, 14, 93, 64) makes any sense. Same with Schultz the younger and Petry. But they need a true 1D in the worst way along with a Penner type. A little consistency in net would not hurt either and I don’t think DD is the answer moving forward.

    Woodguy has said it as have others, but the #1 pick should be in play. Adding another 18 year old to this team is not what’s needed at this point. If that and some of your prospects are what’s needed to address those holes, you have to pull the trigger or this team will continue to wander in the wilderness.

    And it needs to happen sooner before the culture of the kids is such that all they know is losing. Maybe it happens at the trade line, maybe sooner, but I’d bet it happens before the end of the season.

  25. lance says:

    Less than a week ago it was all coming together, today the world is lost. And the team isn’t even near the depth of the coming December run.

    Each of us has the opportunity to take the easy road–to coast on natural talent and minimum effort, or to challenge our personal weaknesses and turn them into our greatest strength. There is no trade that will bring forth such from anyone, no coach can make a player choose anything, no agent can make a client back check. Only the individuals can decide if their nights involve chasing tail or pounding weights. Some will always choose FIFA 14 over the stair climber. Finding great restaurants in San Fran is always more fun than squats or curls.

    If I were GM I’d be dealing all the affluent kids and keeping only the aspiring young men. MacT has all the information he needs about each leopard’s spots, and maybe it takes two years to get the right deals. In the mean time, until he acts, I don’t really care if they win. Here apathy for anything moderately professional has long ago set its complacent head. If Hall would rather be elsewhere, I don’t really care. I only want a team full of guys who choose the weights and to back check regardless of score or standings. And from me they’re not getting a dime until after they load up on driven professionals and in so doing dump all the kids who instead of shooting drills choose to spend their time flaunting a bank’s credit.

    Sure like that Perron though. Its like he’s the the Street Fighter instead of running the arcade.

  26. boxman says:

    Not sure if this is allowed but dang I laughed and we can all use that.

    Here’s a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little 4-year-old girl and some construction workers that will make you believe that we all can make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time.

    A young family moved into a house, next to a vacant lot. One day, a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.

    The young family’s 4-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing the
    workers.

    Eventually the construction crew, all of them “gems-in-the-rough,” more or less, adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her, let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch
    breaks, and gave her 20 little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

    At the end of the first week, they even presented her with a pay envelope containing ten dollars.

    The little girl took this home to her mother who suggested that she take her ten dollars “pay” she’d received to the bank the next day to start a savings account.

    When the girl and her mom got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young age.

    The little girl proudly replied, “I worked last week with a real construction crew building the new house next door to us.”

    “Oh my goodness gracious,” said the teller, “and will you be working on the house again this week, too?”

    The little girl replied, “I will, if those assholes at Home Depot ever deliver the fuckin’ drywall…”

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Andy P: So the ones we hired are retreads, and the ones we didn’t are experienced? and, where, other than from AHL teams, Europe and Russia are we supposed to get new players from for the NHL?

    Also, which GM/coach combo do you know, could have a good season with a 42% new roster,injuries to 6 of your top players, a goalie that stank the place out and the only viable replacement goalie getting injured? Just wondering.

    I think we can imagine something like this:

    GM: Jim Nil; AGM: MacT (get a few years training in); Howson scouting or something

    Coach: AV, Torts, Ruff were all on the table. I’m not certain I’d be ecstatic about any of them. At any rate, we can certainly imagine some better assistants.

    Scouting staff (esp. pro) should have been overhauled.

    Roster: No to Jones, Acton, Hamilton, Grebs; Sign Hainsey, Gilbert, Raymond, Hartikainen and Mueller/Thoresen.

  28. Pouzar says:

    I am so f^cking tired of the “too many small skilled forwards” narrative I want to kill the very kittens I said were cool last night. Go back and read Willis’ column from a few days ago on this. Jezzuz.

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/27/the-edmonton-oilers-small-young-core-isnt-really-a-problem/

  29. Caramel Obvious says:

    This is really the wrong time for this thread. By both eye and number the Oilers outplayed another team at even strength. They lost on special teams. It’s really that simple. If you didn’t see that your eyes were unreasonably effected by outcome bias. Learn to watch the game.

    This team is playing the best hockey I’ve seen in years. Puck support, puck movement, guys in position, all these things are miles better. Yakupov and Gagner are miles better than they were earlier in the season. All these things matter much more than special teams. So calm down and see the big picture. Yes, the power play was a disaster last night. Columbus pressure guys and those guys caught a case of the Justin Schultz’ lackadaisicalness. This can be corrected.

    The game threads have descended into collective lunacy. Let’s not let that lunacy carry over into the day after.

  30. Ribs says:

    Conditioning. That has to be it. Hahaha…..Oh man.

    It has been nice to see their cycling game come along in the last couple of games. They don’t seem to be cashing on their efforts but it’s a start.

    Just thinking about Yakupov and how he kind of reminds me of Sergei Samsonov out there. He looks akward as hell but it’s clear there’s a big bottle of potential corked up in him. Hopefully we can get a few 70 point seasons out of him shortly.

  31. Caramel Obvious says:

    russ99: This is obvious to everyone, so the question begs, why are we wasting possessions dumping in order to try and fail to create chances on the wall ad nauseum against bigger and tougher teams?

    Also, will we lose considerable offense if we dump our skilled players for big grinders that are hard on the puck? Or do we even want that kind of team? Trying to play like Boston is in vogue, but the next big thing may very well not be gritty…

    We’re 27 games in with 8 wins. We’re right around that mythical 30 games that the Eakins apologists say the players will “get the system” that is obviously designed for a different group. When will the coaching staff adapt for who we have?

    Or do we have to wait for the next coaching staff?

    It’s incredibly how consistently and stubbornly wrong about this you are.

    First, as Romulus pointed out, Eakins is unequivocably not a dump and chase coach. This is a fact. That you don’t know this makes you ignorant in the technical sense (i.e. not stupid you are simply ignorant of something you don’t know). The thing to do when you discover your are ignorant is to remedy your ignorance. The ability to do this is a mark of character.

    Second, there are times when you have to dump the puck in. When you are outnumbered, pressured, or in a poor position the correct play is to dump the puck. Otherwise you create turnovers at the blue line which turn into odd man rushes the other way. This is called being patient and playing smart. Every single good team in the entire world does this. Every. Single. One. It is impossible to play any other way. Again the fact that you don’t recognize this makes you ignorant. I invite you to remedy this deficiency.

  32. freedomisamyth says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I think we can imagine something like this:

    GM: Jim Nil; AGM: MacT (get a few years training in); Howson scouting or something

    Coach: AV, Torts, Ruff were all on the table. I’m not certain I’d be ecstatic about any of them. At any rate, we can certainly imagine some better assistants.

    Scouting staff (esp. pro) should have been overhauled.

    Roster: No to Jones, Acton, Hamilton, Grebs; Sign Hainsey, Gilbert, Raymond, Hartikainen and Mueller/Thoresen.

    I think it’s funny that just because someone is a well known name, that they’d automatically be preferable. Fans have such conviction about who is good at their job, with their thoughts based on so very little.

    I mean look at those GM/Coach choices.
    What has Nill done? He signed Gonchar to an expensive contract, who has been a huge bust. He traded for Horcoff. He has put together a team that is 3rd last in the west, only ahead of Edmonton and Calgary. Yet he would have been preferable?

    AV was given a playoff quality team, and has so far coached them to a point total even lower than Dallas.

    Torts was given a division winning quality team and is so far out of the playoffs (and wouldn’t have been in the playoffs in the old format either).

    Ruff? Same story as Nill obviously.

    That doesn’t prove that any of those wouldn’t have been better choices, but they all had better teams to start with, and haven’t had some of the issues that the Oilers had that clearly couldn’t have been helped (league worst goaltending at the start of the season, injuries), so I would expect them all to be better than the oilers at this point, so I tend to think all this angst already about who they should have hired is a bit silly at this point. Not one of these guys is doing well, or has even had that much of a chance yet to really put their mark on a team.

    Also, on a side note, are we really going to get this angsty every time the oilers lose from here on out? They are 4-2 in their last 6 and yet its still “all is lost” and “every day is grey”. Sure, they don’t have much of a chance at playoffs at this point, but sounding like a teenager who just got dumped every time we lose, is going to make this season wayyyy more painful.

  33. Otown says:

    For the longest time I thought the Oilers should trade 3 for 1 in order to get that key piece but they’re far away from needing only one piece. The depth on this team isn’t there (whether it’s down the middle, size on the wing, supplementary players in the bottom 6, or the blue line). I know it sounds like I’m bashing them but I’m not. One player in each of those holes makes the team a million times better.

    For instance, if the Oilers traded Eberle, a first rounder and Klefbom (I believe injuries really hurt his development and they should focus on Nurse IMO) to Philly for Voracek, Couturier and Coburn they would address a lot of those needs. I believe the Oilers would be trading the best player in the deal along with two unknowns (albeit first rounders in their own regard) for 3 elements (and former first rounders) the team does not have. If the Oilers picked up a solid free agent in the offseason the roster could look like this:

    2014 Roster
    Hall-Nuge-Voracek
    Gagner-Couturier-Yakupov
    Perron-Gordon-Pitlick/Arcobello
    Horak-Brian Boyle (UFA signing)-Lander

    Coburn-J. Schultz
    Belov-Petry
    Nurse-Ference

    4 new additions to the roster, a rookie defenseman (with a good mentor) and 3 callups from the farm (2 of which already have 50 games of NHL experience) is a lot of change but I believe it’s the type of change that’s necessary in order to become a more complete and well rounded team with added size, depth in the middle and more skill on the blue line.

  34. the_Fab_5 says:

    Hemsky on pace for 39 points and a -33…pretty awful stats for a “vet” 5 million dollar player

    his time is up and we need to replace him with a real 2-way winger who plays a north-south game and more grit

  35. godot10 says:

    sliderule:

    Hang tough with core and trade the first pick for a true number one D.

    It would take Hall and the first pick to get a true number one D. And a team with a true #1 D isn’t going to make that trade.

    Almost all true #1 D are homegrown.

    Doughty. Pieterangelo.Keith, Subban. Weber, Karlsson.

    So you keep the #1 pick and draft Eckblad (to pair with Nurse, RD and LD), if one of the Gagner replacement’s isn’t there, and use Klefbom as the trade bait.

  36. FastOil says:

    Clay,

    “There’s no easy answer. It’s scary because as LT mentioned the other day, there’s some evidence that Hall may be losing interest, and I’m guessing that as he goes, the other kids will follow. ”

    I doubt Hall is losing interest but may be frustrated. That is a natural part of growth. Hall is a very able player of course but needs a lot of growth. He isn’t good enough to get away with what he has been doing.

    Hall is supposed to be a part of the solution. Hall is supposed to be the core of the solution. So was Gagner. I like them both but if playing hockey properly (and getting paid millions to have people adore them and play their favourite game) is too much for them then screw them, get what you can. I mean that in the nicest possible way :)

    This is Hall’s team. I think he’ll calm down and step up. I also think if he sees the GM as competent it will help a ton. What he witnessed before and all the excuse making and doing nothing would make anyone mad. Bad boss, unhappy employees.

  37. Pouzar says:

    Otown,

    I love Eberle and I can say Philly is not doin that deal. Even though we give up the best player, the 1st rder maybe the 5th or 6th pick which is no gimme and Klefbom is also no guarantee. 1 regular NHLer for 3 would be a heckuva haul though.

  38. Caramel Obvious says:

    And if you want to play the pointing fingers game the player who doesn’t match up to the level of competition isn’t Hall, it’s Hopkins. In terms of living up to first overall pedigree he’s the guy I’d be worried about. Obviously he’s a good player but Hall is a lot closer to Hossa than Hopkins is to Toews.

    I’m not worried about Hall. The team’s fortunes don’t depend upon him developing. He’s developed. This team rises or falls on the backs of Hopkins, JSchultz, and Yakupov. If two out of three become stars and the other improves some this is a good team. If they don’t, it isn’t. It’s that simple.

  39. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    There are two significant assets on the table for trade between now and the start of next season. One is one of the young 4 and the other is our first pick. I will be amazed if they are not traded and the only scenario I see of that not happening is the right assets could not be acquired on the other side – and thats ok. There will be many more moves for sure, but I expect these two biggies to happen. It’s just a matter of time. Normally you are afraid to deal a ‘centrepiece’ player but we have more than a couple and timing and chemistry and wallowing in the dark basement for too long are working against us. I’m personally not married to any player and although I really like our young talents, there are many, many good players in this league to be acquired. It just depends on what comes back and the subsequent chemistry it creates. This mix is not right – plain to me to see. I don’t think MacT or Eakins are dismissed before next season, so it’s hockey trades that reframe this collective for next season. I’m on board for it as the ‘maturity’ rationalizing is dissipating quickly for me. When your 3 years in the league and a couple hundred games in, you’re a player. Too many offensive cheats in this mix. We need some boldness and a bit of wholesome bravery to do ‘giving to get’ transactions. .

  40. flyfish1168 says:

    If Eakins and MacT believes in playing the % game there are a few things they need to do. First never play the same goalie on a back to back. Second have players like Lander or Omark on the second game to rotate in to have fresh legs that want to compete for time and rotate out two forwards that may not have it on a back to back. Having that 7th defenseman rotate in may it be a Larson, Marincin or Fedun let it be. This way we have more fresh bodies on a back to back and more internal competition. We don’t need anchors like Acton or Gadzic. Look at the Hawks no real goon on there team, just lots of speed and compete for time and space.

  41. nycoil says:

    If we’re playing armchair GM, and I am MacT, I don’t make a move now from a position of weakness. I wait until closer to the deadline when I have a bit more leverage.

    If we get lucky and the Dys are out of the playoff picture and looking to get younger, I call up Gillis and see if anything needs to be added to Gagner and our first to get Kesler and their second (if Omark needs to go as well, so be it). I pull Sam aside and talk to him about the verbal NMC and get him on board with moving west to be with Dad, and still not being too far from Edmonton.
    I run Kesler between Hall and Hemsky on the top line, move Nuge between Perron and Eberle, then have Gordon between Joensuu and Yakupov for this year.

    I then see how much Hemsky wants to re-sign for 2 years. If $6m/2 cuts it, I sign him. If he wants more than $3~$3.5M per season I send the Prince sailing for a first round pick. I then approach New Jersey at the draft, as they will be missing their first rounder, and offer up Marincin +1st rounder for Adam Larsson, who looks to be about to turn the corner as an NHL Dman, but seems to be disliked by DeBoer, who seems to be allergic to kids. Larsson plays RHD, which is an area of need for us.

    I think as your post said on that other site that shall not be named, LT, we need more Perrons. Kesler fits that mold and would take pressure off the Nuge until he is ready, even if he will never match his peak numbers of a few years ago again. I like Gagner, but he can’t take the load off Nuge at this point in his career. And I think playing Hall with a guy like Kesler would get him to buy in again and focus. Now it’s all a pipe dream contingent on the Canucks falling out of the race and looking to retool, but that’s the type of trade I’d be targeting, rather than moving the core (and after seeing Smid get traded to Calgary, a trade with Vancouver might be finally possible, too). I’d want to enhance the core with some “win now” players.

  42. Caramel Obvious says:

    flyfish1168:
    If Eakins and MacT believes in playing the % game there are a few things they need to do. First never play the same goalie on a back to back. Second have players like Lander or Omark on the second game to rotate in to have fresh legs that want to compete for time and rotate out two forwards that may not have it on a back to back. Having that 7th defenseman rotate in may it be aLarson, Marincin or Fedun let it be. This way we have more fresh bodies on a back to back and more internal competition. We don’t need anchors like Acton or Gadzic. Look at the Hawks no real goon on there team, just lots of speed and compete for time and space.

    This is a good post. I like this kind of innovative thinking.

  43. freedomisamyth says:

    Pouzar:
    I am so f^cking tired of the “too many small skilled forwards” narrative I want to kill the very kittens I said were cool last night. Go back and read Willis’ column from a few days ago on this. Jezzuz.

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/27/the-edmonton-oilers-small-young-core-isnt-really-a-problem/

    That is a way overly simplistic look at the argument though. I don’t think most people want a larger team because of the magic of their higher weight and height numbers. They want a larger team because it’s a proxy for their ability to win battles, play physical and drive the net – which is what people who say they want a larger team really want.

    I think that the narrative that is around here so often, that all you need is good players, is pretty fallacious though. It seems to me that you can’t have all players that occupy the same niche on a line. You need players that can dig the puck out of the corners, players that can take the puck from the other team, players that can drive to the net, players that can setup other players, players that can shoot, players that can get to rebounds and more. Obviously if you have a team full of datsyuks you are fine, because he can occupy any of those roles, but most offensive players don’t. They are effective in a few areas, and if they aren’t able to get support in the areas they are lacking, they are not effective. There are so many aspects to effective hockey that you need balance.

  44. Lowetide says:

    freedomisamyth: That is a way overly simplistic look at the argument though. I don’t think most people want a larger team because of the magic of their higher weight and height numbers. They want a larger team because it’s a proxy for their ability to win battles, play physical and drive the net – which is what people who say they want a larger team really want.

    I think that the narrative that is around here so often, that all you need is good players, is pretty fallacious though. It seems to me that you can’t have all players that occupy the same niche on a line. You need players that can dig the puck out of the corners, players that can take the puck from the other team, players that can drive to the net, players that can setup other players, players that can shoot, players that can get to rebounds and more. Obviously if you have a team full of datsyuks you are fine, because he can occupy any of those roles, but most offensive players don’t. They are effective in a few areas, and if they aren’t able to get support in the areas they are lacking, they are not effective. There are so many aspects to effective hockey that you need balance.

    That’s the point I was trying to make in the ON post last night. Quoting myself (good grief)

    I think that sometimes when we say “the Oilers need to be more physical” what we mean is “why can’t the Oilers be more aggressive on the forecheck, finish their checks and make sure that every pass is challenged when possible?”

  45. flyfish1168 says:

    Bigger players is not the whole answer. We need players that have a bigger fight in them. Eberle, Hemsky and Gagner don’t have that Marchant attitude. Nice if they are bigger but I don’t mind if they are a St. Loius , Thomas Tater or a Patrick Kane with that bit of nastiness. Its not how big you are it what you bring to the fight.

  46. Lowetide says:

    flyfish1168:
    Bigger players is not the whole answer. We need players that have a bigger fight in them. Eberle, Hemsky and Gagner don’t have that Marchant attitude. Nice if they are bigger but I don’t mind if they are a St. Loius , Thomas Tater or a Patrick Kane with that bit of nastiness. Its not how big you are it what you bring to the fight.

    I don’t buy that, not one bit. Hemsky’s taken more physical contact in the name of moving forward than any Oiler I can think of not named Ryan Smyth. Gagner takes abuse, Eberle too.

    The things they need to improve—aggressive on the forecheck, contesting passes—can be done. The early part of the season, when Eakins had them play passively, were miles and miles from the Nashville game.

    They can make the commitment, now they have to do it (coaching strategy married to player execution) every night. That’s why last night was so disappointing.

    young legs thinking they’re tired.

  47. Logan91 says:

    freedomisamyth:.

    AV was given a playoff quality team, and has so far coached them to a point total even lower than Dallas.

    AV is actually a great coach.

    New York started shitting the bed well before he got there, and look at how well Vancouver is playing now that he’s gone.

    A team can have the best coach in the world, but that doesn’t mean the players are always going to listen to him. He can’t go out there and play the game for the team too.

  48. flyfish1168 says:

    Lowetide: That’s the point I was trying to make in the ON post last night. Quoting myself (good grief)

    I think that sometimes when we say “the Oilers need to be more physical” what we mean is “why can’t the Oilers be more aggressive on the forecheck, finish their checks and make sure that every pass is challenged when possible?”

    Total agree. The Hawks take away the persons time and space with hard forecheck and also good positioning. The Wings always seem to get even a small piece of you, a little check or a in your way just to disturb you. Doesn’t have to hit you hard. Just enough to disrupt the play.

  49. fifthcartel says:

    With RNH, Hall had ~30 games to get up to speed in the AHL from shoulder surgery, RNH has had 25, so hopefully as the season goes on RNH kicks it up another level.

  50. Showerhead says:

    Last night, there was a lot of gliding in the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay. Tired players whose brains were making clever decisions a full step too late and whose bodies were just not in it. I will give Perron, Yak, and most shifts from Hall and Gagner a pass here. I was not impressed by the others but: the Oilers were unlucky and they were tired and they were rather thoroughly getting out-hustled. I don’t worry about them being worse than Columbus – they’re not.

    The trick is they still have too many guys who are learning on the job. I don’t know how you coach them all at once but I do know that more Perrons and Gordons would make everyone look better.

    We wait and we watch and the sum total is still pretty mediocre, no?

  51. Logan91 says:

    Lowetide: That’s the point I was trying to make in the ON post last night. Quoting myself (good grief)

    I think that sometimes when we say “the Oilers need to be more physical” what we mean is “why can’t the Oilers be more aggressive on the forecheck, finish their checks and make sure that every pass is challenged when possible?”

    I decided to check out ON for the first time in a couple of months this morning and read your post from last night… Then I foolishly scrolled down to the comment section and quickly remembered why I don’t go there anymore.

  52. Lowetide says:

    Showerhead:
    Last night, there was a lot of gliding in the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay. Tired players whose brains were making clever decisions a full step too late and whose bodies were just not in it. I will give Perron, Yak, and most shifts from Hall and Gagner a pass here. I was not impressed by the others but: the Oilers were unlucky and they were tired and they were rather thoroughly getting out-hustled. I don’t worry about them being worse than Columbus – they’re not.

    The trick is they still have too many guys who are learning on the job. I don’t know how you coach them all at once but I do know that more Perrons and Gordons would make everyone look better.

    We wait and we watch and the sum total is still pretty mediocre, no?

    Yes. Get good players, keep good players. The new 4line is a nice improvement, Grebeshkov adds an element. Small victories are big steps.

    It’s a long, long road.

  53. Old School G says:

    This team is playing as well as they can with the pieces they currently have. There’s not a whole lot more to it than that in my mind. We all pretty much agree on the type of players that need to be brought in for the team to be more competitive on a nightly basis. I am telling myself to keep an open mind over the next bit because I have a funny feeling that MacT is going to make a trade or two where we give up great skill for some lesser skilled pieces that we badly need. These trades will not be popular but MacT knows a lot more than I do about the business of making a competitive hockey team. Surely he deserves a bit of time to evaluate and make these trades to acquire the best possible pieces. He has some great assets to work a trade with, but it takes longer than a few months to study the marketplace and understand which players demand what type of return. Good Luck MacT, don’t mess this up.

  54. Oilanderp says:

    It’s gonna continue to hurt, gentlemen. Yes, this team needs a stud d-man, but mostly what it needs is time. They’re just too young.

  55. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Old School G,

    Well said. Don’t screw it up MacT. It isn’t hard, is it? ;-)

  56. vesci says:

    Pouzar,

    I think that is the narrative for some but I think for myself and probably quite a few others the real issue is too many of the same or similar type players at the expense of a complete lack of others. To borrow from LT there is no “balance”. The point where I am at is that I am prepared to lose one of the skilled forward core if that means addressing one of the areas of weakness and having greater balance and ultimately more wins (hopefully). I am also not advocating a trade where we get 50cents on the dollar, but rather a fair hockey trade to help obtain that elusive balance.

  57. FastOil says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    8 wins against mostly the dregs of the league.This team is miles and miles from success.

    The next off-season they’ll have to replace Hemsky, Smyth, Nick Schultz: essentially all their Veterans. Who will want to go to Edmonton unless they over-pay? More picks does nothing to help the team win.

    I’m ready for bold.If it means they move Eberle, so be it.

    I don’t see this team winning for years.

    I think they are only 2 players from decent. They don’t need allstars, they just need competent steady players to hold sway while the younger players learn stability and consistency.

    Chicago is not loaded with great players. They have 5 really good players, a great coach and the rest are guys that do what they are told and take it seriously.

    If MacT finds a 1LD that can keep up with Petry and another vet C along the lines of Gordon the team would be close to playoff. These key positions being weak is what is killing them.

    As for contending, not until the young guys mature under that scenario. To contend now MacT would have to find high end players in those 2 positions and somehow not gut the team.

  58. Hammers says:

    Andy P:
    I think we all need to calm down. Stauffer and others said it would take 30 games to settle down. I think we have a good goalie tandem now, and as good a lineup as we will get over the last 2 games. We’ve started to see flashes of what this team can do when they grow up, and so have they.There’s still a few games left before we should start going psycho from game to game.

    Game 31 is against Calgary.Let’s see how they perform from there on out. They need to perform well after that, to regain respect from the other teams and to attract quality free agents.

    The only trades we need to consider are opportunistic trades for unicorns.

    Let’s also try to remember:
    1) We have a new coach, new GM and a 42% ? roster turnover
    2) We had a ridiculous string of early season injuries. What team would not suffer from injuries to their Hall, Gagner, Nuge, Perron, Joensuu etc?
    3) How many teams would have a good start with a goalie that played like DD did? He didn’t only poop his pants, he pooped all over the floor, the walls and up and down the stairs.

    So that’s all behind us, I’m glad they lost to the Hawks and to the Jackets and that they have been booed off the ice when they played like ECHL’ers. Good lessons to bring a 15-20 minute game per player, and a 60 minute game as a team, and to come back from the next offseason in better shape than this year.

    I was worried that this team was not ready for this season when they lost the last pre-season game with their “NHL” line up to the Dallas AHL players. I was worried that Columbus would kick their collective asses last night, and it always seemed reasonable to me that it would take 30 games for the team, coach, and GM to settle in as a regular NHL team.

    I think we have a very good team in the making, I’m hoping we keep Hemmers next year because I think he will make a killer pair with Yak City with either Gags or Arco between them.

    So let’s all just relax and watch them all grow together, we have mostly the right people on the right track.

    Andy I think your forgetting we don’t have an NHL Goalie signed for next year , Belov is a UFA , Petry an RFA . We don’t need N.Schultz or Potter back plus both are UFA’s . J.Schultz needs resigned. Hemsky will be traded and Jones let go . We have a MAJOR problem this year with the players we have so sorry it’s time for a big trade as I don’t think to many UFA’s will come next year to a loosing team . Starters ) Petry & 1st for a top “D” and one of the young (core??) for an experienced 2nd line center. That needs to be Gags ; Ebs or Yak . This team needs to do something now to build something for next year . Sorry but the truth hurts us all .

  59. vesci says:

    FastOil,

    I think this actually makes my point on balance. I assume the 5 Hawks that you consider to be really good players are Seabrook, Keth, Toews, Kane and Sharp (maybe?). Out of those there are 3 forwards and 2 defensemen and I would suggest all but maybe Kane are multi dimensional. Who are the Oilers 5 best players and what do they bring to the table? I suggest the answer for most would be 4 or 5 forwards and on that list few if any could be considered multi dimensional.

  60. KSC10032 says:

    Folks — with regard to LT’s specific question — IMO its important to realize one basic thing here:

    We do not — YET — have any “cornerstone” players.

    What we do have is a group of talented younger draft choices who are at various stages and rates of development. (The best two have had their progress hindered by the same significant injury problem).

    We hope and, indeed anticipate, that our “fab four” will become genuine “cornerstones”, but they ain’t there yet.

    When you draft in the top spots you take BPA for one basic reason — the knowledge that you can sort and sift players and prospects further down the line, trading for (positional) needs when said players are finished products (or close thereto). None of these kids are there yet. So trading them now vastly decreases the chances of getting genuine, established “value” in return.

  61. KSC10032 says:

    godot10: It would take Hall and the first pick to get a true number one D.And a team with a true #1 D isn’t going to make that trade.

    Almost all true #1 D are homegrown.

    Doughty. Pieterangelo.Keith, Subban. Weber, Karlsson.

    So you keep the #1 pick and draft Eckblad (to pair with Nurse, RD and LD), if one of the Gagner replacement’s isn’t there, and use Klefbom as the trade bait.

    Like many, I don’t always agree with Godot.

    But when he’s right,……

    This is a self evident truth, folks.

  62. FastOil says:

    vesci:
    FastOil,

    I think this actually makes my point on balance. I assume the 5 Hawks that you consider to be really good players are Seabrook, Keth, Toews, Kane and Sharp (maybe?). Out of those there are 3 forwards and 2 defensemen and I would suggest all but maybe Kane are multi dimensional. Who are the Oilers 5 best players and what do they bring to the table?I suggest the answer for most would be 4 or 5 forwards and on that list few if any could be considered multi dimensional.

    Bang on. I should have listed the Hawks’ players because they have 6 if you add Hossa to the ones you put.

    Agreed the the main difference is their balance. The Oilers have drafted poorly outside of the first round and didn’t have the good fortune to draft a Toews like centre. RNH will be good but is going to take time and may never be a league top player. As of right now the team has one good centre in Gordon.

    By good I mean currently can play the whole game. And really only 2 good wingers in Hemsky and Perron, one good D in Petry. No wonder they don’t win.

    At least they have 2 competent if unspectacular goalies.

    Really when we look at the team it’s still all about potential. MacT needs to knock it out of the park in the next 9 months or so. I hate that I said that about Tambellini last season and have to say it again.

  63. Nuckout says:

    First off, LT, you have a way with words, man. That’s what makes this blog great.

    Secondly, I think the key here is never losing 2 in a row. All teams lose bad ones during the season, the trick is learning to get back up and keep throwing. That mentality has been absent since…I can’t remember. But it all starts with the proper approach, and time be damned, Eakins will do things the right way.

    We probably won’t make the playoffs. If we did, it would be an absolutely historic feat, nothing short of miraculous.

    Stats people.. Has any team ever come back from a deficit this heavy to make the post season?

  64. vesci says:

    KSC10032,

    I agree with what you have to say about taking BPA in the draft and then sifting and sorting to fill needs and holes. My concern is that if you wait too long to fill needs and you create a culture of losing or more importantly a situation where young players with potential are forced to be in roles that set them up for failure and not success ( ie- Petry arguably thrown into #1 role when he is currently probably #3) that those players will have a more difficult time fulfilling their potential. Or may become frustrated and want out. For me now is the time to sift and sort.

    In fairness some of this sentiment may be me selfishly not wanting to have another season where it is Nov 29 and there are no more “meaningful games” to watch.

  65. Lowetide says:

    KSC10032: Like many, I don’t always agree with Godot.

    But when he’s right,……

    This is a self evident truth, folks.

    Hall and the first round pick? Get real. We’re smoking the drapes now, ladies.

  66. Hammers says:

    KSC10032:
    Folks — with regard to LT’s specific question — IMO its important to realize one basic thing here:

    We do not — YET — have any “cornerstone” players.

    What we do have is a group of talented younger draft choices who are at various stages and rates of development.(The best two have had their progress hindered by the same significant injury problem).

    We hope and, indeed anticipate, that our “fab four” will become genuine “cornerstones”, but they ain’t there yet.

    When you draft in the top spots you take BPA for one basic reason — the knowledge that you can sort and sift players and prospects further down the line, trading for (positional) needs when said players are finished products (or close thereto).None of these kids are there yet.So trading them now vastly decreases the chances of getting genuine, established “value” in return.

    I guess your saying Hall for example is not a cornerstone where as Seguin has become a cornerstone for Dallas . So did we draft the wrong player? Gags& Ebs where never going to be Cornerstone players but complimentary players ( although there both still young ) That lets us decide on RNH & YAK who both need another couple of years to establish true value . Finally we have J.Schultz who I agree still needs another couple of years to fully establish himself . Note our real problem . We need another “D” in the core and a goalie in the core . We have 2 maybe 3 players with real value , Petry , Eberle and Gagne . 1 or 2 of them need to be traded with someone else ( player or draft pick ) to get what we need

  67. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    freedomisamyth,

    I think you have a bit of reading issue. You’ve read way too much into what I wrote. Outlining the options on the table is far from arguing strenuously for them.

    Several points.

    1. What this team needed from top to bottom was a thorough audit and hiring process. Everyone (non-roster) should have been fired from KL down and made to interview extensively to win their job back or lose it to a better candidate.

    Nothing remotely like this happened. There is no way to shine that process into a strong, competitive one.

    2. Jim Nill has a much longer and more extensive and successful record managing hockey clubs than MacT does. I have no idea why anyone would challenge this. He may not turn out to be the better GM, but one hire-day, he was the safer choice and he wasn’t even interviewed.

    I have no idea why you think Dallas was a good team that he has somehow tanked.

    3. I explicitly said I wasn’t terribly wowed by AV, Torts or Ruff (did you read that part of not? doesn’t look like it from here). But they should have been interviewed. And, Smith and Bucky should have been fired and made to interview for their jobs.

    4. The point isn’t to say x would have been a better choice now or long term. The point is that — counter to Andy’s point — alternatives existed at all levels that weren’t explored and which an argument can reasonably be made would have been better routes to take.

  68. DeadmanWaking says:

    Columbus was as determined to take away our time and space as any team we’ll play this season: they had no other way to succeed, and we had recently rubbed their nose in this ugly fact. Combined with mental and physical fatigue, this scenario was unlikely to cast a flattering glow.

    “Digging deep” is a kind of mental trance; it reverts a player to his original programming, and the body more so than the mind, which doesn’t favour efficient routes to the puck.

    Romulus Apotheosis: He’s been reading too much Alain de Benoist again

    Some of these polemical types are enshrouded by a sick, inside joke. It was but two clicks to here:

    While present-day scholars tend to identify Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman as the masterminds of neoliberalism, most scholars in the 1950s and 1960s understood neoliberalism as referring to the social market economy and its principal economic theorists such as Eucken, Röpke, Rüstow, and Müller-Armack.

    One knows an intellectual tradition is bankrupt the moment it prepends “neo” to a concept formerly well understood.

    Neo-anything can not be precisely and fully grasped by any person who isn’t swimming in the rhetorical stew to begin with. Surprise! They all think the word means something slightly different.

    Typically it refers to a break-away peloton of five guys one later discovers were, in fact, all riding for different teams, whose founding premises are not yet fully elucidated–and might never be.

    See here, Eakins isn’t coaching a swarm, he’s coaching a neoswarm. What this means in practice is that everyone who observes his system explains it differently, and there are ten different cooks in the kitchen after every setback.

    Then you get guys like Alain who flip a coin on ten different neo-traditions, where the price of admission to the discourse greatly exceeds any potential value extracted–unless you’re mired in the sunk cost of the self-inflicted inhumanity of a second rat-race post doc, and all that remains of the day is to dribble your acid venom into the wound.

    I love the humanities. I despise the neohumanities. In my humanities, “neo” is a prefix meaning “start over”.

  69. Chris says:

    I’m really not comfortable with the general sense of panick. Firstly I don’t think our top line is the problem. RNH is coming off of shoulder surgery and has 21 points in 23 games. Hall has suffered a knee injury which kept him out of seven games. He has 19 points in 20 games. Eberle has been healthy although was rumoured to be nursing some manner of hip injury and has 23 points in 27 games.

    All three of these players are just under a point a game. Sure it would be nice if they could post Crosby type 1.5 pts/gm numbers but in this day and age rare is the player that can do that. If they can cosistently post 70-82 points a year we have three very good players.

    Gagner came back early from having his jaw shattered and is only starting to play normally.

    Yakupov encountered the fabled softmore slump.

    Perron, Gordon and Yakupov have all been excellent additions.

    On defense we need Belov resigned, Petry is a keeper and Justin Shultz has alot of potential.

    It is not that this team does not have good players. Its that we need a handful of players to round out the group. Lowetide keeps talking about us needing more actual NHL players and that remains true today. We have a bunch of pieces of the puzzle but there remain holes.

    The fact that we have holes in the line up does not mean that we need to take a sledgehammer to the pieces that we do have.

  70. Andy P says:

    Hammers: Andy I think your forgetting we don’t have an NHL Goalie signed for next year , Belov is a UFA , Petry an RFA . We don’t need N.Schultz or Potter back plus both are UFA’s . J.Schultz needs resigned. Hemsky will be traded and Jones let go . We have a MAJOR problem this year with the players we have so sorry it’s time for a big trade as I don’t think to many UFA’s will come next year to a loosing team . Starters ) Petry & 1st for a top “D” and one of the young (core??) for an experienced 2nd line center. That needs to be Gags ; Ebs or Yak . This team needs to do something now to build something for next year . Sorry but the truth hurts us all .

    Why trade Hemsky if he’s willing to sign for a home town discount?
    No question with letting go og Nultz, Potter, Jonesy, Dubs (unless he stays for backup money). But if the cap goes up a lot because of the SN deal then why not sign Hemmers, Jultz, Petry, Belov, and Bryz?

    The willingness of FA’s to sign here will surely depend on how well we play down the stretch, don’t you think?

  71. bendelson says:

    On a day where we can get overly focused on the disappointment that is the Oilers I thought I would point out some good news…

    David Perron. What a wonderful player. A beauty. His stick work is excellent whether it’s ripping a surprise shot at a tough angle or slapping some lumber across an opponents arms just a few moments after a whistle… Circle around one more time David and let the player know you’ll be back for more.

    Barking in the goaltender’s ear every chance he gets… is he speaking French? English? Or does he have his own dialect of Tikkanese to share with the league? I love it.

    The need for a new TIkkanen has been discussed at length around here. Alas, he has been found. We should be embracing every damn minute of it.

    Now, about that Pisani-type…

  72. nycoil says:

    Congrats, Dougie Weight. Well deserved and missed on the Oil.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=693255&navid=nhl:topheads

  73. VanOil says:

    Today I am Jam-ing

    A neo-Benoist-ia

    A neo-Corsi-ista

    A neo-Oiler fan who sometimes hates that he is.

    A neo-Multiculturalist expressing polemical concerned over drinking Canadian in an Aluminum American Bottle. For who the else would fucking think 473ml is a serving size even in a hockey-sweater can even if it is crested in a team logo.

    But I leave you with a meaning less stat I had been saving from a dark day not 6 games for now but I need to wallow now.

    Steven Stamkos in his first 79 games with 1 training camp and 2 coaches produced 23-23-46.

    Nail Yakupov in his first 73 games with 1 training camp and 2 coaches produced 21-19-40.

    Both were on horrible hockey teams one had a hall of fame line mate and both could not find the Plus in Minus.

  74. DBO says:

    Hall-Nuge-Yak
    ???-Gagner-Eberle
    Perron-Gordon-???
    Joennsu-Arco-???

    3 spots for “heavy, gritty, two way types with high compete level”. Perron can obviously play 2 LW if needed, he just fits with Gordon, just need a younger version of Smyth to play with them. Lander could slide in somewhere (he competes and is a Perron type), Hartikainen as well.

    ???-Petry
    Belov-Schultz
    Ference-???

    Need for a top 1LD (Petry is a great sidekick to one of those top D) and a solid two way 3rd pair Dman. Klefbom may be it as soon as next year. Nurse may be that top LD, but as LT posted at ON, he is a few years away.

    Make a move now using anyone not on list above, 1st rd pick, etc. Klefbom and a 1st may be a lot, but it may be what is needed and right quick. The forwards may be a bit easier to obtain. Go crazy MAcT, go get some balance.

  75. Oilanderp says:

    The following quote is from Shakespeare’s Othello, Act II, Scene III:

    IAGO:
    How poor are they that have not patience!
    What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
    Thou know’st we work by wit and not by witchcraft,
    And wit depends on dilatory time.

    Does’t not go well? Cassio hath beaten thee.
    And thou, by that small hurt, hath cashiered Cassio.
    Though other things grow fair against the sun,
    Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe.
    Content thyself awhile. In troth, ’tis morning.
    Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
    Retire thee, go where thou art billeted.
    Away, I say, thou shalt know more hereafter.
    Nay, get thee gone.

  76. nycoil says:

    VanOil,

    Stamkos, as he approached 79 games played, had found the range, being a point-per-game player over the last 20 games. It formed the foundation for his next season, where he scored 50+ goals and 90+ points.

    Yakupov, as he approaches 79 games played, has lost the range, and doesn’t seem to be building anything consistent.

    I love the player, think he will be a star, but the Stamkos comparisons aren’t going to help expectations any. He needs time to grow into his own player, but I don’t think we can realistically hope he follows Stamkos’ career path.

  77. cc says:

    Hey LT,

    Love the blog, enjoy the debates and I understand you need things to write about. So I’ll take this column with a grain of salt knowing you just need to say something, ask a question, and/or post a blurb.

    But let me add my personal thought to the mix of ideas…..RELAX PEOPLE! chill-out, take a breather, grab some fresh air, walk the dog, go for a run, or a skate for that matter (it is winter), but please, relax!

    We don’t need to make any major changes in the next 15 minutes (25 games for those who need perspective). This team is coming along. You think because they’re playing a perennial lower placing team they should win every time. That is not reality, not in the NHL and not in todays game. The better team does not always win.

    We played very well against Chicago and yet the score was 5 -1. A couple of bad bounces (Yak and Potter), a PP goal DD couldn’t cover, some fabulous goaltending by Crawford.

    This team is playing very well night in -night out right now, yet everyone is micro viewing every little play and mistake being made. RELAX I say. No team is flawless.

    If these last 5-6-7 games were from the start to the season everyone would be…. “okay this is looking like it might a decent year.”

    This team is looking stronger and more mature with each passing game. Do we need to maybe do some tweaking along the way? Sure, every team does. But please let’s not get stupid and continue talking about trading a cornerstone player.

    Man I’m glad MacT doesn’t think like most of the readership does or react to public opinion.

    Some of you wanted to crucify Nick Schultz early in the season. Here’s a veteran guy, who was smothered in a bad system in Minni for years and was now playing with a young upstart (Schultz JR – who still today makes major mistakes – to be expected) but he’s learning the NHL game, and most think he’s the second coming and wanted to kick Schultz to who knows where.

    Schultz has become a solid anchor and as mentioned many times before, he has an offensive upside interms of good first pass out of the zone, etc. that just needed to be encouraged. Apply this encouragement and confidence to the whole group and they just might become what we hope.

    So relax.

  78. cc says:

    By the way… did anyone else notice (just because you used Ebs picture on the post) that twice in the Chicago game Ebs and Kane came together and guess who came up with the puck both times – that’s right, Ebs. And on the second time Ebs dangled Kane.

  79. russ99 says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    I’m not naive, I know there there are some times when it’s advantageous to dump the puck in.

    And yes, when our third line or fourth line needs to relieve some pressure, dumping and acquiring the puck does the trick. Sometimes to break the pressure, a skill line should dump and try to cycle to get the puck to a shooter at the net to vary up the attack and keep the defense on it’s toes.

    My issue is the top two lines dumping, and doing it EVERY SINGLE SHIFT. I wonder if there’s a stat for retaining posession after the dump. If so we’re probably bottom 5 in the league.

    They’re wasted possesions, and it’s safe hockey to minimize odd chances going back the other way, it’s not winning hockey. If we go into Columbus with a plan to win 1-0, then it’s a loss already.

    Hemsky should never, ever, ever dump the puck with the puck skills and passing acumen he has.

    This is the crux of the issue, our coach expects all of our players to do the exact same thing every shift. There’s no strategies for different lines, no adjustments for players or for game situations, no shutdown line. Plus there’s the whole line matching issue that’s been discussed tons recently.

    BTW: Don’t say this is the players. The same top 6 players (give or take a few) were much more successfully on offense last year carrying the puck in the majority of times. The players just didn’t decide to play the dump-cycle game out of spite…

    Yes, this could all be rookie coaching mistakes, but in order to move forward those mistakes have to be rectified.

  80. RexLibris says:

    Kaleta out for the season with a torn ACL.

    Karma.

  81. rickithebear says:

    09-10 cup winners:
    there drafts since turn of the century.
    200
    2001 13 picks
    1st ruutu nhl 3year post draft age 20 traded for Ladd
    3rd C. anderson
    2002 9 picks
    1st babchuck
    2nd kieth 5yr PD 22 yr
    5th wizniewski
    9th Burish 7yr PD 24 yr old
    2003 10 picks
    1st seabrook 3yr post draft 20 yr
    2nd Crawford
    8th bufylien 5Yr PD 22 yr
    2004
    1st barker for johnsson and Leddy
    2nd bolland 4yr PD 22 yr
    2nd Bickell 7 yr PD 24 yr
    7th Brower 6 yr PD 23 yr
    2005
    1st Skille 6yr PD 23 yr
    4th Hjarlmasson 5 yr 22 yr
    2006
    1st Toews 2nyr PD 19 yrs
    2007
    1st kane 1yr PD 19 yr
    2002 pick ellison for sharp
    Bochenski for versteeg
    Ruutu for Ladd
    Hossa UFA
    Campbell UFA
    A lot of 4-6yr post draft before first full season.
    unloading the questionable 1st of 3-9 fwd level and 3-6 dmen.
    for better or future.
    there 2 lottery picks walked in to mature depth.
    and elite UFa fill and won a cup 3 years after there 1st season with a collection of 6-10 year post draft chicago picks.
    plus draft depth from 2001 to 2005 and 09-to 11 phigh picks to reduce cap cost at the depth level.
    that allowed there lottery picks to win again 7 years after there 1st season.

    so 2000 to 2007 picks got
    toews, Kane, Sharp,Versteeg, ladd, Bolland, Bickell, Brower, Burish,
    Kieth, seabrook, byfuglien, Hjarlmasson

    since 2001
    Edmonton
    2000
    1st mikhanov
    2nd winchester
    7th lombardi
    2001
    1st hemsky
    2nd Lynch
    2nd Caron
    2002
    1st ninimaki
    2nd JDD
    2nd Stoll
    2nd Greene traded for vishnovsy
    2003
    1st MAP
    2nd Mcdonald
    2nd JFJ
    7th Brodziak traded for picks (ROY & Bigos)
    2004
    1st dubnyk
    1st Schremp
    2nd tesliuk
    2nd Puakovich
    2005
    1st Cogliano traded for a 2nd
    2nd Chorney
    2006
    2nd Petry
    2007
    1st Gagner
    1st Plante
    1st Nash

    when you look at the draft our 2007 is chicagos 2001
    which says hello to 2016 cup run.

  82. Pouzar says:

    I just can’t believe all the talk about similar offensive type players and the need to trade for more balance. It just boggles my mind. Balance comes from drafting better in the later rds and signing actual NHL players. Boyd Gordon has done wonders. We sign a couple more of those in the offseason and focus on defense. If you want to tell me that trading one of our big offensive pieces ( Eberle/Yak) as part of a package for an Elite #1 d-man then I think that makes sense. Anybody think that Pronger/Peca circa 2006 would take this present day team to the playoffs? Damn straight they do.
    Then we’d be talking about how balanced our team is.

  83. gcw_rocks says:

    Andy P,

    Howson was a loser in Columbus and he’s loser now.

    I don’t know about the GM role, but Lindy Ruff would have been a much safer bet as head coach. I don’t know how anyone can be satisfied with this management group. They were out of the playoffs by Halloween.

    As for the injuries, that’s my point. This collection of wannabes and never weres in management failed to add the depth in talent to survive injuries during the easiest summer to add NHL talent since the cap era started.

  84. hags9k says:

    Agreed with Willis, this banana is still green. Once the Nuges and Yaks and Nurses are nice and yellow this thing is going to roll. And please Santa let Moroz be something, we need a tough SOB in top 6.

  85. godot10 says:

    Lowetide: Hall and the first round pick? Get real. We’re smoking the drapes now, ladies.

    I’m not saying to do it (I wouldn’t), but the that is about the minimum price of a true proven #1 D, in the Team Canada Olympic team consideration range.

    But you can’t get a true #1 D for a first round draft pick.

    One develops #1 D. Trades and uses free agency for #2′s and #3′s. Ehrhoff isn’t a true #1 D. He’s really a #2.

  86. Andy P says:

    gcw_rocks: Andy P, Howson was a loser in Columbus and he’s loser now.I don’t know about the GM role, but Lindy Ruff would have been a much safer bet as head coach. I don’t know how anyone can be satisfied with this management group. They were out of the playoffs by Halloween.As for the injuries, that’s my point. This collection of wannabes and never weres in management failed to add the depth in talent to survive injuries during the easiest summer to add NHL talent since the cap era started.

    Based on the barrel of low grade wannabe’s and never were’s that MacT inherited from Dithers, and the draft pieces and trade opportunities that were available to him a that time, what would you have done?

  87. Andy P says:

    hags9k: Agreed with Willis, this banana is still green. Once the Nuges and Yaks and Nurses are nice and yellow this thing is going to roll. And please Santa let Moroz be something, we need a tough SOB in top 6.

    We also need to keep Hemmers to play with Yak City. I suspect those two will take a lot of pressure off and add a lot of scoring to the other two lines. Please, Santa, let us keep Hemmers at an affordable cap hit?

  88. Andy P says:

    godot10: I’m not saying to do it (I wouldn’t), but the that is about the minimum price of a true proven #1 D, in the Team Canada Olympic team consideration range.But you can’t get a true #1 D for a first round draft pick. One develops #1 D. Trades and uses free agency for #2′s and #3′s. Ehrhoff isn’t a true #1 D. He’s really a #2.

    I suppose you don’t think Nurse is a potential #1D? or only after our window has closed?

  89. TheOtherJohn says:

    Yeah the banana is still just a little green.

    Chicago 2010 team

    Byfuglien 250+ lbs
    Bickel 235 lbs*
    Eager 235 lbs
    Hossa 220 lbs
    Seabrook 221 lbs
    Brouwer 215 lbs
    Ladd 210 lbs
    Toews 210 lb
    Kopecky 205 lbs
    Hjalmaerson 205 lbs
    Sopel 205 lbs
    Keith 200 lbs
    Sharp 200 lbs (i.e. same size as Taylor Hall)

    3 smaller players….yup Campbell, Kane and Versteeg were not very big surrounded by a very large team that played physical, finished checks, etc

    Everybody listed played more than 11 minutes per game in playoffs excepting Eager 6:32 including Bickel* 4 games 13;14 TOI

    So quit using the 2010 Chicago Black Hawks with the “not a big team” narrative. Not only is it not accurate it is ridiculous

  90. hags9k says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    Oh, so maybe the size of the banana does matter? Oh yeah well then we’re fucked.

  91. hags9k says:

    Andy P,

    The topic has been beat to death but it sure looks like one of Ebs, Hemmer, or Yak is going to have to be moved in the name of balance. (#1-2 D and/or power forward, and I’m not talking a Perron agitator, but a killer.)

    I’m not as big a Hemsky fan as anyone, and still quietly count his buttersofts/per, but I do love him and will never forget the Detroit goal…

    I’m all for keeping him, but if we could get a Simmonds (killer) for him…

    I am way too high on Nurse and am set up for certain disappointment. I may as well be Klowe.

  92. GATO BANDIDO says:

    I propose that from now on we replace the word “grit” with “jam” and the phrase “small skilled forwards” with “style council.”

  93. Woodguy says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Yeah the banana is still just a little green.

    Chicago 2010 team

    Byfuglien 250+ lbs
    Bickel 235 lbs*
    Eager 235 lbs
    Hossa 220 lbs
    Seabrook 221 lbs
    Brouwer 215 lbs
    Ladd 210 lbs
    Toews 210 lb
    Kopecky 205 lbs
    Hjalmaerson 205 lbs
    Sopel205 lbs
    Keith 200 lbs
    Sharp 200 lbs (i.e. same size as Taylor Hall)

    3 smaller players….yup Campbell, Kane and Versteeg were not very big surrounded bya very large team that played physical, finished checks, etc

    Everybody listed played more than 11 minutes per game in playoffs excepting Eager 6:32 including Bickel* 4 games 13;14 TOI

    So quit using the 2010 Chicago Black Hawks with the “not a big team” narrative. Not only is it not accurate it is ridiculous

    Chicago Cup team 2013

    Top 12 forwards via TOI/gm in playoffs. Weight via nhl.com

    Jonathan Toews 208
    Patrick Kane 181
    Marian Hossa 210
    Patrick Sharp 199
    Brandon Saad 202
    Michal Handzus 215
    Bryan Bickell 233
    Andrew Shaw 180
    Marcus Kruger 181
    Dave Bolland 184
    Michael Frolik 198
    Viktor Stalberg 209

    Average 200

    They were really not that heavy up front.

  94. delooper says:

    How does this thread relate to the (fairly consistent) narrative on this blog (and over much of the NHL) that somehow forwards mature more quickly than defencemen. That D prospects need more time in junior and the AHL, but talented forwards can be thrust into the NHL right away?

    It seems this thread is very much about young NHL players that haven’t spent enough time learning the defensive game at lower levels. If we were talking about young D, the narrative would be completely different.

  95. Oilanderp says:

    Ahhhhhhhh crap. Shiela, start the car!

  96. theres oil in virginia says:

    Hey Woodguy, you were right on with your prediction of the CBJ game.

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