NADIR’S RAIDERS

The dictionary defines nadir as “the lowest or most unsuccessful point in a situation” and Oiler fans know the feeling. The only real question is “which one?” Is it the 2009-10? Is it the 2011-12? Is it the 2013? Or, incredibly, is it now?

Dallas Eakins brought his ideas to Edmonton and on the surface they have failed miserably. The team now sits with a hopeless 3-10-2 record, a goals for-against total of 36-59, a home record of 1-5-0 and a firm hold on 29th overall. Even the Corsi guys like me can’t point this morning to a strong showing last night in shot differential (30-43 overall, the 5×5 close is 3-6 because they weren’t close for long) and for the season they are at Corsi for % of 45 (they were 43.5 a year ago) at 5×5 close.

Injuries are a factor–not having Hall, Perron, Smyth and Joensuu effectively flushes an entire position with replacements who are (without being cruel) not on par with the top end of the injured list. However, even an outmanned team can put forth effort–we merely have to look down the road to see what that looks like–and I’m not going to blame the Oiler fan this morning for viewing this team as pitiful.

connellyWHAT’S NEXT?

This is the point in a comedy where guy one takes off his hat and slaps guy 2 on the upside of the head and says “NOW look at what you’ve done!” and the word “comedy” is probably the best one to retain for Oiler fans today. Whatever your pleasure–family, movie, ahem, a walk–a day spent far from thoughts of the team is probably going to do us a world of good.

Even thinking about this team right now is painful.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Labyrinth movie image Jennifer ConnellyIt means another season on the outside, it means long weeks of NHL auditions and it probably means an assistant coach arriving sometime this week. It means the Messier role will be announced under a dark cloud and it means one of the phenom’s is probably heading out of town on a one-for-three. It means that the period of time when the Oilers had all three number one overall picks is probably going to last fewer than 100 games (or so) and it means that some of the men playing this year will not return to the NHL again.

It likely means that we’ll see Oscar Klefbom later than sooner–why would you bring him into this–and it means we’re going to see defensemen sent away and draft picks added at the deadline. It means Ales Hemsky will be dealt and it means the Oilers will be shopping for a #1 defensemen, a goalie and a veteran 2-way winger with size in the summertime.

It means the playoff dream died at Halloween. It means disaster and laughter for others and good men losing their jobs and more questions than answers. It means, ladies, that the lessons to be learned may remain at ownership level and that, despite (I believe) smart men hired and good moves made this organization is broken this morning.

It means nadir. Again.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

CareerOpportunities

Two reasons:

  1. The Edmonton Oilers don’t have enough NHL players. Find good players, keep good players. There is something rotten in the decision making–and this goes back forever–that allows this organization to throw away useful things (Chimera, Brodziak, Hartikainen, Dubnyk next summer) like they’re yesterday’s papers. They make a decision and that’s it–there’s a sense of certainty that is ill-advised, a sense of expertise that sadly does not exist. The Edmonton Oilers–at their heart–are not as smart as they think they are, and it bites them in the ass routinely. Many believe the disconnect is Kevin Lowe, many feel owner Katz is too hands on, many believe MacT is out of his element. I don’t have those answers because I’m not privy to the relationships and the conversations. I will say it took Detroit from 1983 to 1997 to climb Everest, and that’s a long, long time.
  2. Dallas Eakins. There’s a combination of arrogance, piss, vinegar, courage and intelligence that makes him very interesting, but the process of learning and being schooled is going to be difficult to watch. Eakins is a smart guy–I’d wager he’s going to be an outstanding coach for a long time in the NHL–but there’s every chance he’s going to benefit his second team far more than this one. Example: Roster makeup. They’ve shown a willingness to sacrifice effectiveness on the PK in order to have enforcers (two at a time) on the 4line. It cripples the PK, forces their skill forwards beyond 25 minutes and leaves little energy for a 3rd period push.

IS ALL HOPE LOST?

connely

No. The splendid promise of youth remains, the roster has all kinds of possibilities and 20 years from now we’ll be talking about Stanley’s won and pennant races secured. I believe that, sincerely. I believe Craig MacTavish is a smart man, and I believe Dallas Eakins will be a great coach.

This is a nadir–maybe THE nadir because it comes at a time when expectations are high, and that’s unique compared to the recent past–but at some point you and I have to examime the moves made since Darryl Katz took ownership of this team and reach the only reasonable conclusion:

Edmonton Oilers ownership is not focused on winning. Whatever their priority–arena, empire building, friendships–the established ‘best practices’ of hiring good people and allowing them to do their job without interference do not exist with this organization.

Until that is established, they are Nadir’s raiders.

We wait.

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289 Responses to "NADIR’S RAIDERS"

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  1. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Jesus… is that first Connelly pic from Requiem for a Dream?

    WOW… can we play the dirges now?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyFyAqLtHq8

  2. fuzzy muppet says:

    Eberle for McDonaugh. Is that fair??

  3. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “the wordy “comedy” is probably the best one to retain for Oiler fans today. ”

    I read this a few times wondering if it was a typo or not. I’m still not entirely sure. It could very be that you mean Groucho here, i.e., comedies pushed by language play. Or, it could simply be a typo — that extra “y” added out of spite-typing.

    At any rate, comedies are a good suggestion… they typically “end well,” see the Divine one for reference.

  4. pboy says:

    pboy says:
    October 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Next we’ll hear about a players only meeting and how the guys are all on the same page now. Then the media will talk about the next couple of practises going really well and the team seems like they really understand what the coach is looking for…… Then Detroit scores 2 goals in the first 10 minutes and the circus music starts to play again. Book it.

    This is a post I wrote after the Leafs game. It was so blindingly obvious that even I was able to see this coming. The loss of Hall, Perron, Smyth and Joennsu all at the same time would be crippling to any team but there really is very little fight in this team. There’s something rotten in this organization and until its exorcised, we aren’t going to move forward. I have no issues with what MacT has done so far as GM, there is only so much you can accomplish in 1 summer but the rest of the BOTB need to be cleared out and a whole new organization needs to be airlifted in. It’s not going to happen though.

  5. tcho says:

    I find myself feeling like Charlie Brown, with the Oilers playing the role of Lucy holding the football. Does this kick-and-fall-on-my-ass (belief that we’re on the right track/about to turn a corner) feel worse than the others, or is it just the immediacy of the pain?

  6. Clarkenstein says:

    The fact that MacT thought he had the team ready to challenge for a playoff spot is obviously now laughable…injuries or not. Even when the team was healthy they were getting schooled most nights. Remember this about MacT… a few years back on opening night while he was coaching he looked around the room and declared that this group should finish first in the NW. Where did he finish? DFL if I’m not mistaken. So this summer he gets the gig and huffs and puffs and tells anybody that would listen how solid this team was. Once again DFL! And don’t forget that over the past 3 years or so probably half the teams in the NHL could have hired Dallas Eakins as their HC but not one, not one fucking team, hired him. Even his employer the Leafs. But MacT knew better. All everybody writes about is how smart this guy is but someday he is going to have to prove it.

  7. sliderule says:

    Thoughts

    Eberle is playing like he wants a change in coaches and considering that Eakins didn’t pick two of them I would think there is a lot of second guessing going on.

    Yak and Nuge are at least trying which is more than you can say for most of forwards.

    Did Eakins invent the 2-3 forechecking system as the oilers fairly have a forward high and quite often all three are trapped behind the goal line.

    Finally why did we pick Bunz in fifth and not Mrazek .

  8. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule: Finally why did we pick Bunz in fifth and not Mrazek .

    Rethinking fifth round draft picks 3 years out is a fool’s errand, on goalies it is entirely pointless.

  9. Woodguy says:

    Staples has a similar post up today: http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/02/portait-of-a-coach-as-a-rapidly-aging-man/

    Some key quotes:

    I don’t think Dallas Eakins is a bad coach. He’s stepped into an Edmonton Oilers quagmire which is much bigger than him, which is rooted in owner Daryl Katz and the group of friends he has running the team.

    The evidence is in on this point, with one bad call over the years after another.

    Team Katz is hopeless. Surely Team Katz’s record since 2008 leaves no doubt of that.

  10. Zack says:

    The only Dman I would be okay with trading the kids for would be Shea Weber but that is a pipe dream. I really think a true number one Dman, not jus a first pairing guy, can turn this team around or at least make a significant impact. If Ebs, Yak or Jultz (in some kind of package deal) were to be dealt for Weber I would cringe but I’d still be happy.

    Watching this team right now is just a waste of time.

    Lowtide, random question and I think I already know the answer but have you watched The Godfather series? I’m kind of surprised you never quote/use pics from that masterpiece or maybe I haven’t been around long enough to notice.

  11. Woodguy says:

    Everyone really underestimated the damage the Lowe/Tambellini years did to this organization.

    Other than the top picks, not one NHLer came during those years.

    They sent them out, but none ever came back.

    Now here they sit, the Edmonton Thrashers.

  12. RMGS says:

    If the roster is part of the problem, I can’t see how MacT gets a pass. The ‘truculent fourth line is not in Coach Eakins’ MO, and it’s the GM who claimed SMac and Gazdic.

    You’re letting a lot of others off the hook as well, LT: the players. The “core” is well on its way to earning a reputation as coach killers.

  13. jp says:

    I really hope THIS is the nadir.

  14. mumbai max says:

    Trades

    1. 2014 1st round pick, plus prospect, plus Eberle or Gagner plus N Shultz for Weber.

    1D solved. Salaries are a wash

    2. Eberle or Gagner, plus 2 prospects, plus Smid, for Simmonds and Coburn.

    2D and tough winger solved. Salaries are a wash.

    Tweaking may be required. Feel free to add bits and bobs. In fact you can make up your own. The point is a major shake up involving talent for talent. Not talent for spare parts or spare parts for talent.

    Simmonds, Weber Coburn. Think about how many points our ‘hard to play against’ index goes up!

  15. Hammers says:

    LT . I think your seeing this through rose colored glasses . This goes deeper than you suggest and I don’t mean Lowe or McT . Right know Eakins has lost the whole team partly with ideas and with the arrogance he shows .If he thinks Hamilton & Acton are NHL players he needs to give his head a shake . He plays his players out of position (YAK) They just did that in Washington with Ovie an older established star and it took months . Right now he has a team fighting each other and that is worse than anything . They talk like zombies trying not to say the wrong thing . God only knows what Ference , Perron & Gordon think as newbies but the real concern is the young guns who see nothing that works . Harsh maybe but truthful yes.

  16. mumbai max says:

    Too bad Ralph was not here for the nadir.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Everyone really underestimated the damage the Lowe/Tambellini years did to this organization.

    Other than the top picks, not one NHLer came during those years.

    They sent them out, but none ever came back.

    Now here they sit, the Edmonton Thrashers.

    You can find men who are willing to compete, WG. There’s 20 of them in OKC. When a team gives up like they did last night, there’s something really wrong.

  18. Wolfie says:

    I think the biggest problem for coaches is coming in with an idea of how you want your team to play and marrying that idea with the actual talent on the roster.

    Too often you see coaches come into situations with big ideas for change. The trouble is they don’t have the right cast for their vision. Making this bunch into a responsible defensive team is probably not going to happen. Eakins talked about his connection to players and how he motivates every individual differently. I like that philosophy. However, his coaching hasn’t followed suit. He’s forcing round pegs into square holes.

    Krueger did a better job with the roster. Sure they lost the Corsi battle but this team was made to trade chances. Whatever Eakins message is it’s not getting through. There is no evidence to suggest that the improved Corsi this year has anything to do with Eakins.

    I’m not sure what the answer is but you cannot afford the core group to check out. If that means another coaching change so be it. I’m fed up with the ineptitude. Fix it!

  19. Lowetide says:

    Hammers:
    LT . I think your seeing this through rose colored glasses . This goes deeper than you suggest and I don’t mean Lowe or McT . Right know Eakins has lost the whole team partly with ideas and with the arrogance he shows .If he thinks Hamilton & Acton are NHL players he needs to give his head a shake . He plays his players out of position (YAK)They just did that in Washington with Ovie an older established star and it took months . Right now he has a team fighting each other and that is worse than anything . They talk like zombies trying not to say the wrong thing . God only knows what Ference , Perron & Gordon think as newbies but the real concern is the young guns who see nothing that works . Harsh maybe but truthful yes.

    Eakins is putting systems in place and people don’t like it. I don’t care. Eakins is arrogant. I don’t care. I DO care that he’s going to be learning lessons this season–hopefully he adjusts–but you have to remember he’s been on the job for two months here.

    It’s insane to blame Eakins for this imo. He has flaws–I mentioned them in the piece–but no way Eakins is the main culprit imo.

  20. justDOit says:

    I’m not a fan of this band, but this song is appropriate: A Brand New Low(e)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fcg6KeQjNI

  21. Lowetide says:

    RMGS:
    If the roster is part of the problem, I can’t see how MacT gets a pass. The ‘truculent fourth line is not in Coach Eakins’ MO, and it’s the GM who claimed SMac and Gazdic.

    You’re letting a lot of others off the hook as well, LT: the players. The “core” is well on its way to earning a reputation as coach killers.

    I said in the original post that they don’t have enough NHL players. That’s pretty damning. But you have to agree (I think) that guys like Nuge and Yakupov were playing hard, and that Eberle looks hurt.

    I’m more disappointed in guys like Hamilton, who is getting a chance and doing nothing. And guys like Jones, who made a lazy play on the backcheck and took a neutral zone penalty.

    Your NHL life is on the line, move your feet!

    Not enough NHL players.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: You can find men who are willing to compete, WG. There’s 20 of them in OKC. When a team gives up like they did last night, there’s something really wrong.

    The ones that have made it up and stayed long enough to play (Hamilton, Jones, Lander, Bachman, Larsen, Pitlick, Grebs and Eager) have a pretty uneven record.

    I’d wager you’d get a lot of “compete” out of Nesbitt and Ford if you gave them PTOs and brought them up, but I’m not sure what that gets you beyond Reinhart.

  23. Woodguy says:

    What I find amazing was Eakins talking about needing to go on the road to get their shit together.

    They’ve only had 6 games at home and one of those was a “road” game with the Oilers only in town for 48 hours for the WAS game.

    Team needs to go on the road and get away from the glare of Edmonton? Really?

  24. justDOit says:

    And what I was reminded of, seeing that pic of the woman sitting on the 25 cent kiddie horse:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1hJ6ea0Aik

  25. russ99 says:

    Lowetide,

    IMO, it’s not the systems per se, it’s the unbending “my way or else” mentality behind them.

    If anything, Eakins’ and Ference’s comments have reinforced this after yesterday’s debacle.

    Lack of any flexibility has fractured the locker room, and the primary reason as to why we’re screwed.

    Mac T is really in a pickle. Does he:

    1. Ditch, rein in or find new assistants for his hand-picked coach
    2. Trade away quality players for 50 cents on the dollar because they won’t “buy in” to something that doesn’t work and is undermining their potential?

    The organization’s ways have totally run us off the tracks. Where was the interview process for MacT’s job? Where was the interview process for Howson’s job? Where was the interview process for Eakins’ job? Why weren’t new assistants hired who could contribute more to the room than playing with Gretzky or being one of the above’s buddy?

  26. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: You can find men who are willing to compete, WG. There’s 20 of them in OKC. When a team gives up like they did last night, there’s something really wrong.

    I prefer NHLers that are willing to compete.

    I don’t care who they move out,as long as its not 4 and 93.

    He’s only had 2 games back but 89′s lazy ass back checking is certainly not inspiring his team mates.

    How many time do we have to watch him angrily bang his stick after his check scores a goal like last night’s 2nd Tartar goal?

    Click on the little blue arrow (play button) on the Tartar goal : http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020210

    Sam just fucking glides back, lets’s the man get in front of him, and doesn’t do fuck all.

    64 could have got him too, but I have a lot more patience for a rookie on that shitty play than a 5 year vet who is supposed to be a leader.

  27. Colonel Obvious says:

    I agree completely with Woodguy. The Tambellini years gutted the team entirely of talent. It takes years to undo this.

    What I would add is that we also underestimated how difficult it is to rebuild. Every year it is the same teams that are good, conversely it is the same teams that are bad. There is very little churn in the NHL.

    There are almost no examples of successful rebuilds that transform a team from a bottom feeder to a contender.

    I can think of only two in the last five years: the Blues and the Kings. And both of those were years and years in the making, painstakingly adding good player after good player. That’s an astonishingly low number consider the number of teams that would like to rebuild, or have attempted to rebuild.

    So the Oilers, at this stage, are completely fucked. The only thing they can do is say that the rebuild starts now and stay the course. Get good players. Keep good players. It’s the only thing they can do.

    In the short term that means slogging through the season. But they have to do this knowing that the Ryan Jones of the world are useless garbage playing out their last NHL contract. The point needs to be to separate the wheat from the chaff. So:

    Wheat:

    Hall
    Eberle
    Hopkins
    Yakupov
    Gordon
    Gagner
    Arcobello
    Perron
    Hemsky

    Petry
    Smid
    Belov
    Ference
    JSchultz

    That’s nine NHL forwards and five NHL defensemen. That means they need to add five NHL quality forwards and two NHL defensemen. Depth, depth, depth. The goal should be to have a good player in the pressbox every night. Good teams have good players on the fourth line. Not because the fourth line is so important but because of how much better that means the other lines are.

    So where are these players going to come from. The D is somewhat easy. Play Larsen maybe he’s useful and then have one of Nurse, Klefbom, or Marincin turn out. Strangely enough this is the deepest part of the team and if trades happen they should come from this group.

    The forward group is pretty underwhelming, honestly. Call up Omark and hope he turns out but that’s not going to solve the problem by itself. They have no forward prospects at all. They need another Boyd Gordon free agent signing and another Perron trade.

    And none of this says anything about the goaltending.

    Now is this possible? Not in a world tinged with realism but they have no choice but to try. But whatever the plan it can’t be predicated on the belief that young players always get better. They don’t. The only reasonable plan is to keep adding good players without giving anything away. And even that probably won’t work.

  28. Lowetide says:

    How Kids in the Hall didn’t go supernova is beyond me. Then again, it’s also shocking it made it on the air!

  29. Woodguy says:

    That Tartar goals are exactly the type of plays Eakins is talking about when he says this team needs to be excited to play defense.

    No actual effort by a forward on that entire sequence.

    If MacT can flip some of these guys for players with more of 200 foot game, I’m all for it.

    Don’t touch 4 and 93.

  30. Lowetide says:

    Thomas Drance: Man the Edmonton Oilers are bad. Early in the season they played pretty well but were betrayed by goaltending, but now they just look like a dispirited squad. They’re also already ten points out of a Wild Card spot chasing the likes of Vancouver, Phoenix, Minnesota and Los Angeles (all of whom are just in a different weight class entirely). The Oilers will probably start to win some games and play better, they’re certainly not the worst team in the league anymore, but this latest season in Edmonton can already be described as still born. Considering the talent on that roster, and the length of this current rebuilding process: that’s a terrible conclusion to be reaching in early November.

    http://hockey.dobbersports.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6052:november-3rd-2013&catid=24:rambling&Itemid=1

  31. Colonel Obvious says:

    I find it amazing that some people think that the problem is that Eakins is trying to make the team play too defensive. That is an incredible thing to believe considering the other substantive criticism is that Eakins has the team playing too aggressive. These two viewpoints cannot be reconciled.

    So I’d just point out that as a point of fact Eakins is not playing a defensive style. He has not pulled back the reins in comparison to past years. This simply is not happening.

  32. Colonel Obvious says:

    Woodguy:
    That Tartar goals are exactly the type of plays Eakins is talking about when he says this team needs to be excited to play defense.

    No actual effort by a forward on that entire sequence.

    If MacT can flip some of these guys for players with more of 200 foot game, I’m all for it.

    Don’t touch 4 and 93.

    It won’t happen but an Eberle for Ekman-Larsen trade would be transformative.

  33. godot10 says:

    I think Eakins is a lousy coach, but the first thing that has to happen is for Lowe to resign. It will be impossible to hire a good GM or a good coach as long as Lowe still is employed.

    Eakins is a coach for ploughhorses, not for thoroughbreds. Which makes him a lot like MacT. But the Oilers have thoroughbreds.

    If Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, or Justin Schultz go, I am done. Eakins has destroyed the trade value for Yakupov for the near term. But then he’s destroyed the near term trade value of almost everyone.

    Contrast the rehab job Krueger did on Paajarvi. Turning him into a tradeable asset.

    Eakins has no clue as to how to differentiate his horses, or how to develop his horses. When you are undermanned, you can still protect and develop your good horses. Krueger showed you how it is done last year. The good young players for the most part got better. Was the 5×5 play flawed? Yep. But developing the players was more important than 5×5 statistics, which is what statheads with their heads up their numbers refused to see or consider.

    So now, not only has Eakins destroyed the confidence of the goaltenders and most of the players, player development has gone backwards, the special teams are bad, and the shot metrics (as they play more Western Conference teams) are quickly trending to be worse than Krueger’s.

    And the coach constantly uses “they” instead of “we” in his press conferences.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    That Tartar goals are exactly the type of plays Eakins is talking about when he says this team needs to be excited to play defense.

    No actual effort by a forward on that entire sequence.

    If MacT can flip some of these guys for players with more of 200 foot game, I’m all for it.

    Don’t touch 4 and 93.

    I think they’ll send 83 to St. Louis, allowing Yakupov to play RW on the 2line. After that, the top 6F should be:

    RNH-Hall-Eberle
    Gagner-Perron-Yakupov

    which is a very nice top 6F. However, the bottom 6 is (once again) a good center surrounded by chaos (Gordon replacing Horcoff).

    If Smyth were younger, if Joensuu were healthy, if Jones knew, if Hamilton could skate.

  35. Gret99zky says:

    All the the fans’ frustration and anger must pale in comparison to how Lowe, MacT, & Eakins must be feeling.

    I don’t see any quick fixes working here. No firings or hirings. No trades. No call-ups. No send-downs.

    I can’t see any way out this season.

    And I don’t believe Katz presently has the personnel in management with enough wherewithal to right the ship in the next two or three seasons.

    So we wait. Again.

  36. dangilitis says:

    There is no way this team has reached its nadir yet. Wait until they come out of the road trip with losses against TB, Florida, and possibly Buffalo. There’s still a 50/50 chance they will lose to a team that is actively trying to throw the season.

    “We all know we have to stick together and play as a team but at the same time we have to hold each other accountable,” said Smid. “I guess it’s got to get uncomfortable in here. Otherwise, we’ll keep saying the right thing and keep going on the ice and it’s going to be the same old thing.”

    I know it wouldn’t change the team’s fate, but why was Smid not selected the captain? He clearly has been more truthful with the media than the coach and Ference. It would have also fit with the Oilers’ recent trend in subsequently trading away the disillusioned captain after years of losing.

  37. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    1.The Edmonton Oilers don’t have enough NHL players. Find good players, keep good players. There is something rotten in the decision making–and this goes back forever–that allows this organization to throw away useful things (Chimera, Brodziak, Hartikainen, Dubnyk next summer) like they’re yesterday’s papers.

    How much of this is simply arrogance & ignorance?

    I had my reservations when MacTavish was hired; I had even more after the press conference that the decisions being made are part of a bigger issue.

    I still have zero idea why MacTavish came out and laid out how he was going to re-shape the team and that Horcoff & Hemsky were most likely gone.
    If not for arrogance or ignorance, why would MacTavish show his hand like that to the rest of the NHL unless he just wanted to be heard?

    The Horcoff trade while others applauded it, I voiced concern that it was a horrible move based on depth & player usefulness. Horcoff was still a valuable asset.
    MacTavish may have made the defense worse than Tambellini ever did, if not, it’s damn close.

    Baffling why Grebeshkov was even a thought? While Belov has been a nice surprise and I applaud MacTavish for finding this guy, doesn’t one have to ask the question? Zero NHL games and the expectation were for him to play.
    Meanwhile the MacTavish spent the summer accumulating 5-6-7 defensemen without getting a legit 1 or 2 defensemen.

    While I blame Tambellini for the Gagner mess, I have to ask as POHO K.Lowe has to see the bigger picture and has to ask, why the hell was Gagner not signed earlier? At the very least does the assistant GM has to speak up one would think?

    I always thought Gagner would be a great tradable asset to use going forward, with the contract MacTavish gave him he lost that ability to use Gagner as an asset, again, poor player management.

    It goes back to Lowetide and the loss of key players such as Brodziak – Glencross, it’s a problem then and it’s a huge issue now, the culture was bad when MacTavish was coach, why would it change with him switching positions?

    This management needs to be flushed.

  38. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    How Kids in the Hall didn’t go supernova is beyond me. Then again, it’s also shocking it made it on the air!

    The CBC’s only risk in terms of developed tv programming I can recall in my life.

    They are as gutless and wasteful as they come. If you want to talk about rot in an organization, there’s your poster child.

    (end rant).

  39. G Money says:

    I’m transplanting this response to Oil in Virginia to this thread from my post in last night’s game thread, since that one is history and the post is directly relevant.

    The main gist being – after yesterday’s game, I basically wondered what the team could do next. Because this dreadful viewing experience that unfolded last night is not new.

    This “Dead Team Skating” bullshit that we saw last night is not in the least new. In fact, it was par for the course last season under Krueger. I lost count of the number of post-game comments last season that basically all boiled down to the same two things: “why can’t we cover the defensive zone?” and “why are Hall and Yak the only players that seem to care?”

    For that reason, I don’t buy godot‘s reasoning of “It’s all Eakins’ fault”. As bad as the teams record has been this year, the team overall (in terms of the things a coach controls) has, apart from the PK, generally been better than last year.

    For that reason, I don’t buy DMW‘s reasoning in the game thread that it is overtraining. Unless they were overtrained 5 out of every 6 nights last year too.

    We’ve also been down a path of blaming a culture of entitled veterans who poisoned the well of the talented newcomers, right back to the days of Moreau, Souray, Staios, and even Horcoff – all of whom have been shipped out – replaced with youth and character veterans.

    We’ve changed coaches every year for three years without a change in the results (except perhaps to go backwards).

    So, having rejected all the easy explanations because they don’t fit the facts – I am literally left with nothing but questions about what the team can do next.

    Who do we blame for last nights debacle?

    Some will say Lowe – and he has enough fingers pointed at him for other reasons, but for last night I say bullshit, the VP of Hockey Ops has nothing – nothing – to do with effort on the ice. Neither does Katz.

    MacT? He took the fall once before, remember? The team has gotten nothing but worse since then, and he’s not going to turn it around in one off-season. And the GM also has nothing to do with effort on the ice.

    Do we point the fingers at individual players? Who is the goat? Certainly, LT’s point about not enough actual NHL players has some validity, and the Injury Gords have not let up as yet. But a team that can ice RNH, Eberle, Yak, Gagner, and Hemsky has enough talent on the ice to be dangerous. But talent is nothing without will. None of them appeared to have much will last night, and that is a scary thought considering that four of those five need to be at the front of the horses taking us to the promised land.

    We brought in a bunch of guys with will – Perron, Gordon, Ference – but now it appears the rot is pulling them down instead of them pulling the team’s fight level up.

    Andy P made a point that it seems like there is “… some dynamic, some power struggle that has ousted the last few coaches”. And maybe there’s something to that. How do we find it? How do we fix it? Is it fixable?

    Right now, the one move I would make (and I’m being consistent here – I said this before the season started, and have been saying regularly since the team started sinking in the muck below neck level) the Oilers absolutely have to turf Bucky and Smith. I feel bad for saying this – they were character players and no doubt are character guys.

    And they may not even be the problem. But what they ARE is a common thread linking directly to a team that has been terrible for years.

    Bring in established, successful coaches to help Eakins out. It sends a message to players, and it at least shows the appearance of trying to do something to fans.

    It’s grasping at straws, but at the moment, straws are the only thing floating in a sea of feces at Rexall…

  40. godot10 says:

    Colonel Obvious: It won’t happen but an Eberle for Ekman-Larsen trade would be transformative.

    Why do people keep expecting Don Maloney to be stupid?

  41. Colonel Obvious says:

    godot10,

    I really wished your posts had even a tangential connection to reality.

  42. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: I think they’ll send 83 to St. Louis, allowing Yakupov to play RW on the 2line. After that, the top 6F should be:

    RNH-Hall-Eberle
    Gagner-Perron-Yakupov

    which is a very nice top 6F. However, the bottom 6 is (once again) a good center surrounded by chaos (Gordon replacing Horcoff).

    If Smyth were younger, if Joensuu were healthy, if Jones knew, if Hamilton could skate.

    How much cap are we eating on that deal?

    The Blues play an internal cap game, no?

  43. lance says:

    Yesterday morning in the Scottsdale market I saw a guy wearing an Orca t-shirt. I said, “Vancouver?!” with a “I’m ready to talk smack” tone. but alas, I said no more. He asked where I was from. I said Edmonton. And he laughed out loud. With my head hanging in shame, he actually started to rub my back.

    Its embarrassing to even say that I’m from there.

    Yet in the Ice Den in North Scottsdale there is (was?) a life size cut out of the Nuge, and at a store near there called HOCKEY is a giant image on their window of Taylor Hall (no sling).

    Until you clowns stop paying for this crap, the hiring practices will continue, the iron fisted approach to the Sourays and Peckhams will continue, and the dues paid will go on. Because its a business about profit, and the profits roll. See the Wertz Hawks or Ballard’s leafs for reference.

    When Katz got the nod I was on record as being exceptionally nervous. When the new arena idea were pitched I came out hard against. When MacT got hired I was not remotely in favour. When Eakins showed up, I wrote them off. Because they are all of the same style of mind.

    People listen: if you want this to change, then stop giving them money. It is the ONLY answer that a billionaire can hear.

  44. Andy P says:

    godot10,

    I suppose you think MacT was a lousy coach too, as well as all of Quinn, Renney, and Krueger?

  45. Hammers says:

    Lowetide: Eakins is putting systems in place and people don’t like it. I don’t care. Eakins is arrogant. I don’t care. I DO care that he’s going to be learning lessons this season–hopefully he adjusts–but you have to remember he’s been on the job for two months here.

    It’s insane to blame Eakins for this imo. He has flaws–I mentioned them in the piece–but no way Eakins is the main culprit imo.

    I see where Nelson feels the swarm can work fine in Okl but wonder if it is only good for the AHL & not NHL . As for Eakins he may not get a chance to learn this season and that is as much on him as the team . He may not be the main culprit then WHO IS . Only leaves McT . A coach analyzes what he has and uses it the best way possible then if that isn’t working he makes changes . Sorry when a coach evaluates players like Hamilton & Acton the way he does tells a part of this story .Maybe they come back TO PLAYING WELL but boy they have to keep the correct players up once injuries are over .

  46. G Money says:

    What’s the NHL record for the earliest mathematical elimination from playoff contention? If we’re on track for record levels of futility, let’s go for the actual record!

  47. Lowetide says:

    I think the interference comes from ownership, but agree that Lowe could be representing ownership in meetings, etc. A recent example came at the end of training camp:

    Sept 21: Gagner hurt
    Followed by Steve MacIntyre waiver claim
    Followed by Luke Fazdic waiver claim

    And that was followed by a 4line that is as useless as previous seasons. Even trading Mike Brown hasn’t helped because they’re all so beaten up now.

    Having said that:

    46 minutes to Mike Brown
    80 minutes to Luke Gazdic

    In 15 games. That’s 8.4 minutes and often two of the 12 forward slots given to guys who can’t play and ruin the PK setup.

    Did MacT do this? As a coach, he had Laraque on the 4line, but BG could do some things. He also had Stortini, but Stortini could play a little.

    Did Eakins do this? I don’t recall reading a lot about it when he was hired.

    I think this was a reaction from above, a knee jerk reaction that once again caused the team to change midstream. Adding MacIntyre/Gazdic is one thing, PLAYING one of them every night (and Brown too) during a period when you’re getting your ass kicked runs counter to both MacT and Eakins and what we know of them.

    imo.

  48. godot10 says:

    G Money:

    For that reason, I don’t buy godot‘s reasoning of “It’s all Eakins’ fault”. As bad as the teams record has been this year, the team overall (in terms of the things a coach controls) has, apart from the PK, generally been better than last year.

    For that reason, I don’t buy DMW‘s reasoning in the game thread that it is overtraining. Unless they were overtrained 5 out of every 6 nights last year too.

    We’ve also been down a path of blaming a culture of entitled veterans who poisoned the well of the talented newcomers, right back to the days of Moreau, Souray, Staios, and even Horcoff – all of whom have been shipped out – replaced with youth and character veterans.

    Against common opponents, Western Conference teams plus Detroit less Winnipeg, Krueger had 5 games out of 48 with Fenwick Close less than 30%). Eakins has 3 games out of 4 with Fenwick Close less than 30%. And 4 out of 15 in total. (Eakins has 0 for 15 above 60%, Krueger had 6 of 48). Really small sample size. But the proportion of games that the Oilers are completed out of looks is starting to trend much worse under Eakins than Krueger.

    The shot metric improvement is an illusion from playing Eastern Conference teams, and equally horrilble shot metric teams like Toronto (twice) and Winnipeg.

  49. G Money says:

    godot10: Against common opponents, Western Conference teams plus Detroit less Winnipeg, Krueger had 5 games out of 48 with Fenwick Close less than 30%). Eakins has 3 games out of 4 with Fenwick Close less than 30%. And 4 out of 15 in total. (Eakins has 0 for 15 above 60%, Krueger had 6 of 48). Really small sample size. But the proportion of games that the Oilers are completed out of looks is starting to trend much worse under Eakins than Krueger.

    Krueger had Hall – the best player and Corsi monster – for all but two games last season, and had RNH, Eberle, Gagner, and Hemsky for most of the season (with three of those guys dinged up of course – but the same thing is happening now, so the injury situation is basically the same as last year except that Eakins has no Hall).

    Krueger’s teams looked like utter shit night after night, but had better-than-deserved results because of excellent goaltending, especially unsustainably good goaltending on the PK.

    Last night’s debacle – no heart, no effort – was a typical game under Krueger – and that was with Hall in the lineup.

    If this was last season, Dubnyk would have pitched a .935 sv % and we would have lost 2-1 (Hall getting the lone goal), and instead of bemoaning what utter garbage the team was, how much worse it was than the previous year under Renney, we would have been bemoaning the inability to get that tying goal.

    Your hatred of Eakins is blinding you to just how terrible the team was last year, from start to finish. (In turn, you could accuse me of hating Krueger too, but in fact, I had no problem with the hiring, and didn’t start to get on Krueger’s case until 25 games into the season when it was clear the team was garbage and wasn’t getting better).

  50. GordM says:

    My positives:

    -This debacle might actually be enough to get Lowe/Smith/Buchberger and the other pro-scout Oiler cronies out. People are bucking up to fill smaller Rexall place and their cheaper seats. Katz will require much more substantive/committed support from this fanbase to maximize the new arena. He knows the long term risk of allowing this to continue I just hope he has the stones to do something about it.
    -I know MacT is in that group from a legacy perspective but he’s smart enough that I want to see him run this through
    -Eakins deserves time especially given the black cloud he has had to operate under
    -Hall and RNH can plow through this…Yak is young enough that he’ll come around…maybe Eberle is in whatever Lowetide 3-1 trade we need to pull off. Gagner/Hemsky may be past the point of no return but whatever.
    -There are some decent pieces that have only been under this mess for a couple months now (Belov, Ference, Gordon, Joensuu, Perron).

    Prediction
    -Culture changing trade between the Oilers and Flyers or maybe Rangers. Enough talent on all sides and drive to make change…plus the benefit of the conference gap to make the long term risk of any mis-fires more manageable.

  51. Woodguy says:

    G Money,

    But a team that can ice RNH, Eberle, Yak, Gagner, and Hemsky has enough talent on the ice to be dangerous. But talent is nothing without will. None of them appeared to have much will last night, and that is a scary thought considering that four of those five need to be at the front of the horses taking us to the promised land.

    This is exactly it.

    The is skill and there is will.

    We have always defaulted to skill (correctly so) as the most desirable trait.

    But skill with no will gets you shut out two in a row at home.

    Time to separate the wheat from the chaff and to me 14 and 89 head the list of skill with little will.

  52. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: How much cap are we eating on that deal?

    The Blues play an internal cap game, no?

    Hemsky’s at $5M, Chris Stewart (as an example) is $4.1M. Oilers could take Elliott in the trade, and Blues replace him with Jake Allen and you’re even.

  53. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: I think they’ll send 83 to St. Louis, allowing Yakupov to play RW on the 2line. After that, the top 6F should be:

    RNH-Hall-Eberle
    Gagner-Perron-Yakupov

    which is a very nice top 6F. However, the bottom 6 is (once again) a good center surrounded by chaos (Gordon replacing Horcoff).

    If Smyth were younger, if Joensuu were healthy, if Jones knew, if Hamilton could skate.

    You might have to take back the shitty Stewart contract.

    More skill without will.

  54. art vandelay says:

    My Fenwick’s 5×5 Corgi says that’s one fine song you posted today.
    I will also watch Career Opportunities just for the roller skating scene.

  55. DBO says:

    Day 7 of cross country move to Newfoundland. The Oil starting so late in the eve has allowed me to miss the shit show that is this team. “Oilers hockey” of the 90′s was lunch pail, grind it out, make the other team hate playing you. The 80′s we’re crazy skill with no D (but great goaltending) and teams didn’t have the D systems to keep up. So what “Oiler hockey” are Lowe and MacT trying to bring back? The lack of a cohesive and defined vision for this team has damned us for a decade. Talk of being bigger, tough to play against and increasing compete resulted in smallish players coming in, and thugs who can’t play, along with zero dmen with any nasty. Today’s hockey is not wirewagon style. We lack the goalie to do that.

    If MacT wants to be bold, he needs to not fire the coach or panic and deal away the kids. LT’s magical word “Balance” is so stupidly simple these “smart” men may have overthought it and missed the basic point. Get real players, flush goons and AHL quality guys, and go get a goalie. Sorry, As much as I believe Dubnyk can be solid, we can’t have solid with this group. We need elite. And fucked if I know where to get it.

    Hall-Nuge-???
    Perron-Gagner-Eberle
    ???-Gordon-Yak
    ???-Lander-Pitlick

    ???-???
    Smid-Petry
    Ference-Schultz
    Klefbom-Nurse

  56. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    G Money,

    But a team that can ice RNH, Eberle, Yak, Gagner, and Hemsky has enough talent on the ice to be dangerous. But talent is nothing without will. None of them appeared to have much will last night, and that is a scary thought considering that four of those five need to be at the front of the horses taking us to the promised land.

    This is exactly it.

    The is skill and there is will.

    We have always defaulted to skill (correctly so) as the most desirable trait.

    But skill with no will gets you shut out two in a row at home.

    Time to separate the wheat from the chaff and to me 14 and 89 head the list of skill with little will.

    I don’t think that’s fair to Eberle at all, and don’t think it’s wise to flush Gagner either. He did have a terrible 2012-13 and his two games this year were very poor, but that’s not enough to flush a talented player like Gagner over.

    Move him to wing? Fine. But you’re not going to get 100 cents on the dollar for Gagner now anyway, and when he turns the corner it’ll be unwise because he’s a very good NHL player.

    And the only reason to deal Eberle is cap. He’s not lazy, he’s not addled. He’s maybe hurt, that I can agree with.

  57. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: I don’t think that’s fair to Eberle at all, and don’t think it’s wise to flush Gagner either. He did have a terrible 2012-13 and his two games this year were very poor, but that’s not enough to flush a talented player like Gagner over.

    Move him to wing? Fine. But you’re not going to get 100 cents on the dollar for Gagner now anyway, and when he turns the corner it’ll be unwise because he’s a very good NHL player.

    And the only reason to deal Eberle is cap. He’s not lazy, he’s not addled. He’s maybe hurt, that I can agree with.

    Gagner’s work ethic without the puck has been suspect from day one.

    You can chaulk it up to youth and hope that he turns a corner and “gets it” for only so long.

    This is 89′s 7th year in the NHL.

    Waiting for him to outscore his mistakes is a fool’s game and not wanting to deal him for fear of losing the deal is as well.

    Hanging onto to players who look good and are a net negative to team success is something shitty teams do.

    Since Gagner is a C and isn’t tied to a long contract I’d argue that his trade value isn’t dissimilar to Eberle’s.

  58. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: I don’t think that’s fair to Eberle at all, and don’t think it’s wise to flush Gagner either. He did have a terrible 2012-13 and his two games this year were very poor, but that’s not enough to flush a talented player like Gagner over.

    Move him to wing? Fine. But you’re not going to get 100 cents on the dollar for Gagner now anyway, and when he turns the corner it’ll be unwise because he’s a very good NHL player.

    And the only reason to deal Eberle is cap. He’s not lazy, he’s not addled. He’s maybe hurt, that I can agree with.

    Eberle is fighting injury, but he doesn’t drive the bus.

    His numbers without Hall have been poor since day one and the contract Tambellini gave him is about $1.5MM too much.

    Deal him while his value is still high.

    He’s a hell of a complimentary player, but you can’t pay a complimentary player $6MM/yr

    That’s bus driver money and Eberle doesn’t have that class of licence.

  59. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT: “It’s insane to blame Eakins for this imo. He has flaws–I mentioned them in the piece–but no way Eakins is the main culprit imo.”

    Agree completely. Am not a fan of a number of moves made by the organization but firing the coach should not be on the table.

    Gret99zky “All the the fans’ frustration and anger must pale in comparison to how Lowe, MacT, & Eakins must be feeling.”

    Do not care one iota how KLowe feels. He is the single common factor in the Oilers making the playoffs once in the past decade. His fingerprints are all over the makeup of the entire organization and if he was smart enough to realize how truly bad he is at his job he would resign.

    He is not smart. He is however superb at sacrificing others for his inadequacies. Expect Eakins likelihood of getting fired is sitting at 40%. If Oilers lose 2/3 at start of roadtrip…..

    Colonel Obvious: Jordan Eberle would not get you Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a trade. It would be Eberle ++ and don’t think Phx would move out a #1 D. Love to get him. Would trade Eberle for him but …..

    Not a fan of this organization which is an understatement but if they make a move now it lets the players off the hook and that is not how you get better as a player and as a team. When you face adversity work 20% harder and pull together as a group.

    When MacT was hired to replace Tambellini my single biggest beef was that the organization replaced 2 people: ST and RK. Not the amateur scouts that have selected no NHL players outside the 1st round, not the pro scouts that signed us guys like Eager and Belanger, not the player development guys that developed no one. Not the assistant coaches that represent continuity of a 30/30/29/24 team. I would have expected wholesale changes in every single department. Everywhere. That is actually how you “fix” failing organizations.

    Oilers not so much. We have press conferences and talk about bold moves

    So we are where we are. Now would be a shitty time to make wholesale changes. But the organization should have as its highest priority adding capable bottom 6 players and a second top 4 pairing either at the trade deadline from teams outside of the playoffs or in the off season. That thought likely will not occur to these guys. And if we make deals at the deadline for more draft picks maybe hire some scouts that know what to do with those picks.

  60. theres oil in virginia says:

    G Money: Actually, you have my reasoning pegged 180 degrees backward if that’s your impression. My memory is long, I don’t blame the coach, and I do *not* think this is a new thing.

    Sorry bro, I started my post in response to your question: “what then?”, and then wandered off to rebut some of the other thinking that I saw in other posts. I didn’t intend to attribute those thoughts to you. My fault. At any rate, I’m not calling anyone else out either, just trying to bring up a few things which I think you have elaborated on nicely.

  61. Racki says:

    You had me at Jennifer Connelly…

    .. but then you lost me there too, cause I was too busy staring that I had a hard time reading anything.

  62. commonfan14 says:

    Lowetide: Not enough NHL players.

    Trades are part of the reason for this, but the fact is that the total number of regular NHL players that the Oilers have drafted outside the first round in the last 10 years (10!!) stands at 1: Petry.

    That’s astonishing, and it creates a total lack of organizational depth has a few effects.

    The first is that we can’t begin to compete when injuries come calling. Injuries happen to all teams, but most have guys in the minors who are capable of stepping in.

    The second is that we can’t really make the 3-for-1 deals everyone here keeps wishing for – at least real ones where it’s actual players going out the door. If we traded 3 of our real players for 1 back, we couldn’t fill out the roster with decent replacements.

    In fact, the only way to start dealing with the lack of depth is to pull 1 for 3s to get back more useful players while living with losing the best player in the deal. It’s a crappy thought, but nothing short of that is going to balance things in a hurry.

    We only get 1 player per draft, and most will or should take a while to develop.

    Even if this 2015-16 roster fits under the cap somehow…

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Perron-Reinhart-Yak
    Joensuu-McDavid-Gags
    C. Hamilton-Gordon-Pitlick

    Nurse-Klefbom
    Smid-Petry
    J. Schultz-Marincin
    Ference

    Dubnyk
    Bachman…

    There’s still no depth to withstand any injuries and it took me quite a while to think of who they’d put ont he wings for the 4th line.

    Something has to give.

  63. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Gagner’s work ethic without the puck has been suspect from day one.

    You can chaulk it up to youth and hope that he turns a corner and “gets it” for only so long.

    This is 89′s 7th year in the NHL.

    Waiting for him to outscore his mistakes is a fool’s game and not wanting to deal him for fear of losing the deal is as well.

    Hanging onto to players who look good and are a net negative to team success is something shitty teams do.

    Since Gagner is a C and isn’t tied to a long contract I’d argue that his trade value isn’t dissimilar to Eberle’s.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree. For me, dealing Gagner right now is EXACTLY what losing teams do.

  64. theres oil in virginia says:

    Woodguy: Eberle is fighting injury, but he doesn’t drive the bus.

    His numbers without Hall have been poor since day one and the contract Tambellini gave him is about $1.5MM too much.

    Deal him while his value is still high.

    He’s a hell of a complimentary player, but you can’t pay a complimentary player $6MM/yr

    That’s bus driver money and Eberle doesn’t have that class of licence.

    As Eakins said in the post-game, “nobody” stepped up. That includes, but shouldn’t single out either of those two players. Eberle has been a player who can drive play when the other young guns are out; he did so when Hall went out in his rookie year. But he, along with everyone else, was guilty of trying to do it alone last night. Not one of them was worth their paycheck in that game.

  65. vesci says:

    Woodguy: Eberle is fighting injury, but he doesn’t drive the bus.

    His numbers without Hall have been poor since day one and the contract Tambellini gave him is about $1.5MM too much.

    Deal him while his value is still high.

    He’s a hell of a complimentary player, but you can’t pay a complimentary player $6MM/yr

    That’s bus driver money and Eberle doesn’t have that class of licence.

  66. Lowetide says:

    WG: In your original post, you wrote

    “Time to separate the wheat from the chaff and to me 14 and 89 head the list of skill with little will.”

    We can discuss Eberle being overpaid as a reason to trade him, but that statement is completely unfair to both players.

  67. sliderule says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    The oilers were looking for a goalie in fifth.
    They picked a goalie with personal problems with worst stats than Mrazek
    I may be a fool for questioning drafting mistakes but if you don’t learn from your mistakes you truly are a fool.

  68. thepeetso says:

    The game was out of reach by the end of the 2nd period, it was evident to everyone but I sat through the entirety of that wretch of a game for one reason.

    I wanted to see someone/anyone show some emotion. I wanted to see who would step up and show that they weren’t going take this laying down.

    Some chirping. Get in the goalis kitchen. A big hit, a fight.

    Anything.

    Even the small guys, get someone to kick your ass at least.

    There was none. Not a single player showed any emotion . . . other than one of resignation.

  69. vesci says:

    Lowetide: We’ll have to agree to disagree. For me, dealing Gagner right now is EXACTLY what losing teams do.

    LT I usually agree with you and have had I ton of patience for the rebuild but I think WG is right. I am closer to 50 than 40 and live in Calgary. My son is 20 and asked me the other day “why I made him an Oilers fan because other than one year they have been awful his whole life” . I think we have been overvaluing our own players. The mix is clearly not right and I am prepared to live with a bold move even if it may not work out.

    Ganger is what he is. A good, not great offensive player who cannot drive the bus, cannot win face offs and is ok at best defensively.

    Eberle is a real good player and I wouldn’t give him away but he may be able to bring back something more valuable such as a goalie or a first pairing defenseman .

    In short, a shake up is needed. A new mix of players needs to be tried.

    My patience has ended.

  70. Nuckout says:

    This team is broken, there’s no doubt about it. But, I am beginning to see that it is not one part of the whole that is causing this debacle. Everyone in the organization has a hand in this mess, some more than others, and the “easy” fix is never where you want it to be. If I had to rank the culpability level of everyone, it may go something like:

    Katz- 20%. Although he does not directly affect what happens on the ice, he has the final say in any moves in the organization. Not much can be done immediately, however, a new thought process on team management will need to be implemented if Lowe cannot right this ship.

    Lowe- 30%. Fans may be calling for his head, however there is nothing to be gained from canning 6 rings right now, unless Katz has a high level hockey brain waiting in the wings to take over and “De-Lowe” the team, so to speak. Only past blunders and moves can be placed upon KLowe right now. HOWEVER, it is Lowe that needs to begin to right the ship immediately, and deal with the problem areas that are hindering successes. I don’t see that happening from him soon enough. It’s been 8 years. He has bred and raised this disgusting mess, and now he’s got one hell of a problem child on his hands. His life span is coming to an end.

    MacT- 10%. First year GM who did everything in his power to attempt to make this team a 180 flip from what it was under Tambo. Has he failed? I wouldn’t say just yet. He’s a very smart man, and the moves of Perron, Gordon, Belov, etc. were viewed as great moves in the offseason, and a lot of those pieces have had a positive impact. I do believe he will prevail. But same as above, he needs to be part of the immediate solution. He can’t sit idle now.

    Eakins- 15%. Dallas gets more blame than MacT at this point. I firmly believe Eakins has lost part of the room. Not all, but some. Ference seemed like a great choice for captain IMO, and he showed flashes of being a good (not great) leader on the ice, but I don’t hear much out of him otherwise. The youth core is confused and lost under the new systems, and given Eakins supposed arrogance and unwillingness to bend, I would imagine the room is divided. No cohesion as individuals on AND off the ice. No team morale whatsoever. This is Eakins job, and he is failing at it. Unless he can flip the script and be more adaptable to his players skill sets, nothing will change. Motivation and direction is the key here, and Dallas Eakins is charged with the task of having to UNITE the team. I have my doubts. He has been dealt a bum hand with injuries, but he needs to be able to maximize what he has on hand.

    Assistant coaches- 15%. These guys fall under Eakins, and they are not being effective whatsoever. They may at some points have different philosophies than Eakins, but good luck trying to break a stubborn mule. This may be the least difficult fix, and I suspect we’ll see something change in this regard soon.

    Players- 10%. These are guys that are being paid MILLIONS to play a game. They should be good at it, and have had enough time to either adapt to the system. Like I said above, the room is divided, and Eakins voice is being drowned out. They have stopped playing to win. Last night was a wake up call, and we’ll see the men rise above the boys in the next few games, and that will be a huge tell for management in terms of who is going to be part of the long term plan. Which players will overcome? Perron, Gordon, RNH, Hall, Gags, Arco, Smid and JSchultz are all guys that will be the core that turns this mess around. Everyone else is on notice. Ference as a captain needs to step up and help Eakins unite the room. Yak? I don’t have a clue.

    Prediction: Acton and Smith fired, and 2 established assistants brought in. Hemsky, Nultz traded for younger depth players. Eakins, you’re on notice.

  71. lance says:

    I’m with Godot on this, in fact, I agree with much he’s posted lately. Krueger wasn’t necessarily a worse coach than Eakins, Renney did pretty well in NYR, Quinn didn’t become an idiot after leaving TO. To blame the previous coaches, well, I can’t get there. Krueger showed us what horses he had. I fear Eakins, as did MacT, is trying to make them all clydesdales. We’ll see how that goes.

    MacT’s mirror image is cute in a cartoon kinda way, but its systemic to the organization. They are all cut outs of the same profile. Not a metrosexual for 500 miles, now that Krueger is gone at least. I bet they all hang out in the same bar, all eat the same cut of steak, all have the same answer to the meyer-brigg question #42. As in, not a single SJ in the group.

    Eagle hardware landed in Western Canada and tried to superimpose their philosophy of America on Canada. Then Revelstoke got a great deal on some fairly new buildings. But they only bailed because they couldn’t use Blockbuster’s model of squeezing the competition through a heavy and long sustained loss.

    But Katz can. He can lose money for 20 years. Because you already voted to buy him a barn with no outclause connected to performance. And he’s not even losing money because the city thinks its tremendous to be international with a major league organization. So he has no reason to change. And it doesn’t matter if Taylor Hall bails. Because Conner McDavid is coming.

    The Edmonton Trappers won the PCL pennant and Telus Field was half full. Winning doesn’t drive attendance in Edmonton, losing doesn’t cancel it. He has no reason to change. Y’all voted out Eagle hardware, but Katz’ Oilers are going to be forced on you like Blockbuster and Walmart. And you know what? You’re probably going to continue to shop there even though they’ve destroyed every small business in town.

    Welcome back Mr. Ballard. Canada has been without you for long enough.

  72. hunter1909 says:

    Rookie NHL head coach Dallas Eakins tried to implement his rigid system and it’s failed spectacularly.

    If he’s stupid enough to keep with it, it’s going to be a very long winter.

    MEMO TO KATZ: For Fuck Sakes trade Hemsky asap.

  73. rickithebear says:

    Goals per season last 3:
    Injured in bold.

    Eberle 26
    HALL 25
    PERRON 23
    Yakupov 23
    Rnh 19
    GAGNER 19
    SMYTH 17
    Jones 15
    Hemsky 14
    Gordon 7
    Eager 7

  74. hunter1909 says:

    Every time I rechecked into last night game the junior oilers were trying to drive the offense to the perimeter. I’m not even an NHL coach and I can see that they’re beating themselves by 100% trying to end up along the boards. Sure it worked like a dream last year. But it’s this year, dolts.

  75. Chris says:

    Well I’ve been looking at this from the perspective that Dubynk’s early season funk probably cost this team 3 games. Can we all agree that’s fair? That would put the team at something like 6-9-1. If we make that adjustment the Oilers record as concerning but short of the current full blown panic, this is a clusterfuck, mentality that we have in place.

    I turned on the radio last night while driving to my fiance’s place and I heard Ryan Jones was our first line left winger. Realistically you had to know on some level what the result of that game was going to be when Ryan Jones was starting on the left wing. We are currently missing left wingers 1 through 4 on the depth chart. We started the season missing our top two centres and the mojo of our starting goaltender.

    There has been a weird confluence of events this year that have essentially undermined what we all had hoped/expected to be “the great leap forward”. I am not enamored by Dallas Eakins as a coach thus far this year. He strikes me as the type of coach that tries to bend his players to his system rather than creating a system to suit his players. I don’t think that is particularly astute as trying to place square pegs in a round hole is a losing battle. At this point you have to think Ralph Krueger is sitting in Steinbach or Bern or wherever laughing his ass off as he wipes a tear from his eye muttering “And you thought I was the problem.”

    I think we’ve now seen enough of Eakins to recognize there are some problems with his coaching style.

    1. Bullshit AHL crony players who do not belong on this roster. Hamilton and Acton have showed nothing.They are warm bodies who are occupying roster spots and should be sent down asap.

    2. A goon squad 4th line that contributes nothing to this team. I supose I’m slightly more tolerant of one of Gadzic/Eager as they can kind of skate but this is the line where I good team stashes two of its four penalty killing forwards.

    3. Aweful special teams – our PK is broken because we have Eakins cronies in the bottom six rather than actual defensive forwards who can play hockey. We’re running our skilled offensive players out on the PK and they clearly can’t handle the additional minutes. Our powerplay was fantastic under Krueger so clearly Eakins needed to come in and change the personel and the system. That hasn’t been working out for us.

    4. Arrogant expectations that he can reinvent the wheel – Eakins thinks we can be the only NHL team in the league where our top forwards can handle playing 25 minutes a night as they will be more fit. Its a league of professional athletes that barring the odd exception train impecably and are near the pinacle of athletic performance. You may be able to out train junior and AHL guys but that clearly isn’t going to work in the NHL and all he is doing is running his top forwards into the ground so they are dead tired by the third period.

    At this point I think its a coin flip as to whether or not we see MacT putting himself behind the bench in the last third of the season. There have been unusual factors that have made the results worse for this team than any of us reasonably expected. But at the same time there are alot of unforced errors and self inflicted wounds to go along with it. I really think it was likely a huge mistake for this team not to have hired an experienced NHL coach whom would have taken a more convential approach. As I have said i think its even money that MacT realizes that at some point in the season.

  76. G Money says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: In your original post, you wrote

    “Time to separate the wheat from the chaff and to me 14 and 89 head the list of skill with little will.”

    We can discuss Eberle being overpaid as a reason to trade him, but that statement is completely unfair to both players.

    In such trying times, it’s easy to fall into a bit of black and white thinking …

    When looking at Gagner (and leaving aside his current state of recovering from injury, which buys him a modest amount of slack), I’ve always liked the fight in that bugger. Works hard, stands up for his teammates.

    What I haven’t seen from him is the will to play a 200-foot game. As Eakins said: you have to care as much about keeping the puck out of your net as you do about putting in the other net. And I just haven’t seen that yet from Gagner.

    Eberle less so but still true – his effort is 95% plus in the o zone, but more like 80% in the d zone (by perception).

    In fact, so far this season, the only forwards that consistently seem to care about defense are Gordon and RNH (Hall is so gifted offensively I suppose he gets a pass just because he tilts the ice so far the good way no matter what). But three out of twelve just isn’t good enough.

    The second issue we have to concern ourselves with is to what extent the system is crushing will. Its fine to talk about will in the context of players, but the fastest way to take the will out of someone is to take away their hope. Last night’s team did not look like it thought it had a hope of winning. Why is that? Fatigue? No faith in the goalie? “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all”? Coaching? Malevolent Gords?

    theres oil in virginia: Sorry bro, I started my post in response to your question: “what then?”, and then wandered off to rebut some of the other thinking that I saw in other posts.

    Heh, no worries, just didn’t want anyone to think I’m in the “blame Eakins” camp. He’s not blameless, but laying this mess at his feet is a lazy answer.

  77. wordbird says:

    Nuckout:

    MacT- 10%. First year GM who did everything in his power to attempt to make this team a 180 flip from what it was under Tambo. Has he failed? I wouldn’t say just yet. He’s a very smart man, and the moves of Perron, Gordon, Belov, etc. were viewed as great moves in the offseason, and a lot of those pieces have had a positive impact. I do believe he will prevail. But same as above, he needs to be part of the immediate solution. He can’t sit idle now.

    Hindsight being 20/20, i wonder if MacT wouldn’t like a do-over on the Eakins/Krueger hiring. not that Eakins and Krueger could necessarily have co-existed, but Ralph’s talents are some of what this team could use right now. Ralph’s warm and fuzziness (and his POWERPLAY!!) plus Eakin’s Xs and Os… dare to dream! :P

    If there was any coach who would have possibly bought in to a (reduced) role as an ASSOCIATE head coach, you could argue it was Kreuger. MacT says “Ralph, we love how you’ve really laid a good foundation here with the guys, but I wanna bring in a guy who’s more a XandO type, but i need you to keep teaching and reinforcing and help with the transition to a more developed system. And, of course, you still handle the PP.”

    Just my opinion, and who knows, but to my eyes it seems like MacT decided to let Eakins go all “scorched earth” walking in to his first NHL gig, and in the process undid any good stuff set in place under Ralph. throw in a defensive strategy surely designed by Mensa… and here we are.

    my two cents. and i’m of the opinion one Ralph type on this coaching staff would be a hundred times more useful than Bucky and co.

  78. Lowetide says:

    G Money: Re Gagner and Eberle. From what I can tell, the issue of a ’200 foot game’ became an issue when Eakins arrived. I think that’s true, they allowed the kids to run free previous to this season (and maybe they tried to tighten it a little under Ralph).

    So, that understood, we’re willing to flush Gagner and Eberle THIS early? I honestly think the entire idea is alarming.

    I know it’s frustrating, I know as fans it’s difficult not to lash out, but the idea that Eberle and Gagner are the problem is just about exactly what the Expos used to do just before dealing Gary Carter.

    Keep what’s good. And they’re good. Not perfect, they have things to learn. But part of that is on the people who were here before Dallas Eakins.

  79. G Money says:

    There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,
    A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.

    A planet of playthings,
    We dance on the strings
    Of powers we cannot perceive.
    “The stars aren’t aligned
    Or the gods are malign”-
    Blame is better to give than receive.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that’s clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

    There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
    The cards were stacked against them- they weren’t born in lotus-land.

    All preordained-
    A prisoner in chains-
    A victim of venomous fate.
    Kicked in the face,
    You can’t pray for a place
    In heaven’s unearthly estate.

    You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
    You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
    I will choose a path that’s clear-
    I will choose Free Will.

    Each of us-
    A cell of awareness-
    Imperfect and incomplete.
    Genetic blends
    With uncertain ends
    On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.

  80. 106 and 106 says:

    Great theme to this post – new word to the lexicon as well…. well done LT.

    Quote of the season:

    Edmonton Oilers ownership is not focused on winning. Whatever their priority–arena, empire building, friendships–the established ‘best practices’ of hiring good people and allowing them to do their job without interference do not exist with this organization.

    Until that is established, they are Nadir’s raiders.

    Like the Nazghoul from Lord of the Rings, but worse.

  81. DeadmanWaking says:

    I didn’t think we would make the playoffs this year unless Yakupov and S. Jr were positive arrows which wasn’t asking for the moon, though it was far from given.

    I believe coaching changes are a set back, whether the new guy is better than the old guy or not. If the GM doesn’t believe the current guy will get you there, it’s better to pay the price sooner rather than later–except perhaps if you are prisoner to failures past (management by expectation). If so, job one is to erase the stench so that you can get on with sanity.

    We have enough talent here to make the playoffs when the team gets it together. Two of our big pieces are still sophomores. And we really only have the offensive cluster in place to begin with. The defensive cluster is a good three years away. That’s when we can legitimately expect to be a consistently good team that threatens year after year.

    I don’t think there’s some management group out there a huge leap better than the current group. Even good people take time to settle in.

    I’ve always felt that “the rebuild” was a toxic phrase. Not all rebuilds are created equal. The worst damage was done in the two years before and the two years after the Katz arrival. Tambi’s management by slow neglect was painful, but not fatal. He didn’t fuck the cluster, even if he did clusterfuck the bottom half of the roster. At the end of the day we got Schultz.

    The problem was that we were deep into a double-barrel rebuild by the time the dust settled on Katz’s tire kicking whale hunt. Glencross? Who needs him? Thereafter Katz came to his senses and booted Lowe upstairs. Tambi was brought in to rebuild the feeder system while presiding over a traditional pooch screwing. We got our picks.

    Tambi should have been ventilated a year sooner than he was. He had completed his other tasks, and didn’t have the appetite to accept real risks. Even if he had brought in more complementary players, we still had an inverted age structure (esp. if weighted for ice time). That was simply an unfixable problem in the short term given that we were drafting in the pole position (aka cradle robbing).

    Gagner has always been a problem here. He simply doesn’t complement our other player types. That job needed a 200 foot player. Because he wasn’t such a player, the coach ends up running the line blender on puree.

    Perhaps it was the best move with Gagner to ride it out. He might really be a character guy moving into his mid twenties with all that experience under his belt. That’s what MacT seems to believe.

    Eakins put the group under a lot of stress, physically and mentally. Stress is good for growth, bad for consistency. That includes effort. There is such a thing as having nothing to give. Burn-out happens, especially when the results are evil. Group burn-out is a contagious malaise.

    I don’t think it means much, unless people get it into their heads that it does. If that does becomes the established narrative–that the players have quit–then you really do have a problem, because all roads from quit lead to eternal suck. Once the players feel labeled by a toxic narrative, then they do want to catch the first horse out of Dodge. It’s self-fulfilling. With great power comes great responsibility.

    My one big criticism of MacT was coach is that he thought you could run the players at 110% during the regular season. When he brought in Eakins I was worried that he had imported his own biggest flaw. Krueger’s approach to running the lines leaves the players with more to draw on when things start to go severely south like they did last night. Either you give the players some padding in the energy level demanded in exchange for consistency, or you take the padding out of the system and accept a few turkeys like we had last night.

    If we label our current cluster as quitters, we really will lose these players. That’s a problem you can’t fix firing the current management team ten times over, so be careful what you wish for in your nadir stocking. The cover story for this is “players learning to lose” or “players becoming frustrated with losing” but really it’s “players beginning to hate being labeled as losers by frustrated fans”. What sane person wants to wear that?

    It’s the day after the night when the “players have quit” that I cease to enjoy the banter. That’s why I was happier with Krueger than Eakins. Krueger was a gentler coach able to deliver a more consistent effort (if not necessarily a good result).

    Stability is good. Sometimes resembles mediocrity.

    Stress is good, too–when expectations are reasonable. Does not resemble mediocrity. Right now, we can’t even tie mediocrity’s shoes. Rolling the dice goes both ways.

    I think Eakins has the makings of a good coach. Probably better than Krueger. But his training wheels might leave some scars before he gets there.

    There’s all this talk about putting players in a position to succeed. But actually, the biggest threat to your players is letting them play a game like the one last night where they get labeled as quitters. There’s the answer to why Krueger didn’t roll his young hotshots twenty-five minutes a night. Krueger valued the team psyche more than stealing a few wins.

  82. hunter1909 says:

    I’m probably not going to bother posting for awhile, so to recap the obvious:

    - Buchberger and Steve Smith as perpetual assistant coaches is sinister. It’s gone way past the point of managerial competence.

    - MacT mister zero (again) experience for the job hasn’t got much going for him if he’s going to fire Kreuger only to replace him with someone even worse.

    - Trade Hemsky because he’s a loser and clogs up the top lines with his pointless hockey skills.

  83. G Money says:

    Lowetide: So, that understood, we’re willing to flush Gagner and Eberle THIS early? I honestly think the entire idea is alarming.

    I should temper that – I am not (yet) in the “flush Eberle and Gagner” camp!

    My point is – you have a whole host of players who have never played a 200 foot game, and now when their coach is demanding it (as seems to be the case with Eakins), they are responding by throwing in the towel.

    If this is reflective of their fundamental attitutude – we are hooped, and the only solution ultimately will be to move them out and replace them with (likely less talented) but more dedicated players.

    If it’s not fundamental to the players – what is the issue? Maybe it’s just a matter of time and adaptation (we hope). Change the head coach yet again? (Invoke Russian proverb and/or traditional Einsteinian definition of insanity here)

    Personally, while we wait for Hall and Perron to return and the Hockey Gords to have their malevolence sated, I think the only think that has a chance of working without making things worse is to flush the assistant coach fixtures.

    I try not to confuse movement with progress, but in this case, in the absence of a clear direction for progress, movement that isn’t backwards is a good thing.

  84. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: We’ll have to agree to disagree. For me, dealing Gagner right now is EXACTLY what losing teams do.

    Losing teams trade to address weaknesses?

    Bullshit.

    Making a shitty trade and not getting anything of value or significantly less value back is what shitty teams do.

    Good teams make trades.

    Shitty management falls in love with a player who still gives up more than he creates.

    I’ll admit that I’m really pissed off right now because Sam coming back was supposed to fill a hole.

    He looks like a downgrade from Arcobello right now, especially without the puck.

    Gliding on the back check in your 7th year in the NHL and watching your check score in both of your first games back while cashing real NHL player cheques is unacceptable.

    Bad teams make bad trades.

    Good teams make good trades.

    If no good trade is available don’t do one.

    To suggest that any trade right now is bad is just rhetoric.

  85. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    From what I can tell, the issue of a ’200 foot game’ became an issue when Eakins arrived

    Its been an issue since MacT was coach.

    Quinn was a gong show but he talked about it.

    Renney was handed the worst team in Oiler history, and he talked about it.

    Krueger talked about it.

    The only thing that’s new about this is that we are starting to see the players for what they are, warts and all, and some it isn’t pretty.

  86. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:

    To suggest that any trade right now is bad is just rhetoric.

    Where did I say that, Woodguy? I honestly have no idea what line would have given you that idea.

  87. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: I’ll admit that I’m really pissed off right now because Sam coming back was supposed to fill a hole.
    He looks like a downgrade from Arcobello right now, especially without the puck.

    Woodguy with respect, I can see you have never played many competitive sports if you assume Gagner’s just waltzing back into the team and scoring another 8 point night in a hurry.

    Gagner’s going to need another month to recover. His injury was incredibly horrible.

    Arcobello riiiight. Mr 5 foot nothing with his massive goal scoring on the 3-10-2 oilers. Take off those rose colored glasses and you will see he’s regressed a LOT in the past couple of games.

  88. G Money says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    I think your narrative here has some terrific points, especially regarding the issue of risk vs burnout.

    I disagree with three things about your narrative though:

    - The only thing consistent about the effort of this team under Krueger is that it was consistently poor. Last nights putrid effort was common last season.

    - The idea that Eakins is burning out his players by playing them too much is a strawman. Eberle is #6, RNH is #8, and Perron is #13 in TOI/60 in the league for forwards. They are the only Oiler forwards in the top 50 in TOI. Crosby, Kesler, Giroux, and the Sedins are the top 5.

    - The idea that MacT demanded too much during the regular season doesn’t make sense to me. I would rather see 110% to make the playoffs and have nothing left, rather than the alternative of consistently less than 100% effort “saving for the playoffs” and have to burn up all that leftover energy on the golf course year after year.

  89. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Lowetide,

    From what I can tell, the issue of a ’200 foot game’ became an issue when Eakins arrived

    Its been an issue since MacT was coach.

    Quinn was a gong show but he talked about it.

    Renney was handed the worst team in Oiler history, and he talked about it.

    Krueger talked about it.

    The only thing that’s new about this is that we are starting to see the players for what they are, warts and all, and some it isn’t pretty.

    We’ve ALWAYS known that Gagner’s skill set was more offense than defense. ALWAYS.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2009/08/re-09-10-sam-gagner.html

  90. hunter1909 says:

    Ain’t it funny how Lowe+MacT have continued to ice the same shitty small teams, for more than 10 years?

    Talk among yourselves.

  91. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Where did I say that, Woodguy? I honestly have no idea what line would have given you that idea.

    For me, dealing Gagner right now is EXACTLY what losing teams do.

  92. wordbird says:

    DeadmanWaking: My one big criticism of MacT was coach is that he thought you could run the players at 110% during the regular season. When he brought in Eakins I was worried that he had imported his own biggest flaw. Krueger’s approach to running the lines leaves the players with more to draw on when things start to go severely south like they did last night. Either you give the players some padding in the energy level demanded in exchange for consistency, or you take the padding out of the system and accept a few turkeys like we had last night.

    Speaking of “padding”…
    Krueger’s lineup showed it’s flaws when the best players weren’t on the ice.
    Eakin’s lineup shows it flaws when the best players aren’t on the ice.

    Good NHL teams run their stars out there time and time again, sure, but (most) of the rest of the lineup can actually play, too.

    Real NHL players. top to bottom. Where have we heard that one before?

  93. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: We’ve ALWAYS known that Gagner’s skill set was more offense than defense. ALWAYS.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2009/08/re-09-10-sam-gagner.html

    Sure, but the expectation is that you put up with young men not playing the same game as Actual NHL players in expectation that one day they will.

    The patience with a rebuild is that the team will be get better, and individuals will become better hockey players over time.

    I’m really losing my shit over 2 games of Gagner, but Goddammit he’s supposed to be a leader and someone the other kids take their cues from, not showing highlight reels of exactly what is wrong with the team.

    This team has become the Edmonton Watiers.

    Outside of Hall and RNH everyone else waits for someone else to get the puck for them.

  94. G Money says:

    By the way, I pasted the lyrics above because some of the turns of phrase just seem so appropriate for where we find ourselves with this team right now:

    “The stars aren’t aligned
    Or the gods are malign”-
    [Gords specifically]
    Blame is better to give than receive.

    There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand, [Thanks Katz. Thanks Lowe]
    The cards were stacked against them- they weren’t born in lotus-land. [Thanks Tambo]
    All preordained-
    A prisoner in chains-
    A victim of venomous fate.
    [F'in goalies]
    Kicked in the face,
    You can’t pray for a place
    In heaven’s unearthly estate.
    [aka the playoffs]

    Genetic blends [the talent we have here ...]
    With uncertain ends [specifically the d zone?]
    On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet. [how long will the rebuild window stay open??]

    And if you have Free Will playing in your head the rest of the day – you’re welcome.

  95. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: For me, dealing Gagner right now is EXACTLY what losing teams do.

    Okay. Let me rephrase. Dealing Sam Gagner right now is exactly what losing teams do UNLESS it improves the club overall.

    And honestly, I don’t see a way to make that happen. You’ve got a guy trying to get up to speed, and you have a GM who can be seen with his pants on fire from a mile away.

    Losing teams make trades when they’re in this situation. It’s a bad way.

  96. Woodguy says:

    hunter1909: Woodguy with respect, I can see you have never played many competitive sports if you assume Gagner’s just waltzing back into the team and scoring another 8 point night in a hurry.

    Hunter.

    I have trophys from Hockey, Baseball (real baseball, not softball), Football , Soccer and Rugby.

    I know exactly like when a leader comes back to a team.

    Its supposed to make everyone better because everyone gets pushed down the depth chart a bit.

    No on is expecting him to get 8 points.

    I’m expecting him not be a lazy liability when he’s on the ice.

  97. G Money says:

    Woodguy: Lowetide: We’ve ALWAYS known that Gagner’s skill set was more offense than defense. ALWAYS.
    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2009/08/re-09-10-sam-gagner.html
    Sure, but the expectation is that you put up with young men not playing the same game as Actual NHL players in expectation that one day they will.

    The thing about offensive talent (which Gagner has) is that it’s a gift that can’t be taught.

    Defense on the other hand *can* be taught, and is a matter of attitude, effort, and practice.

    I forgive Sammy his defensive failings if they are a matter of lack of practice in genuine defensive fundamentals (as Eakins has implied).

    How do I forgive a lack of effort or will?

  98. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: Okay. Let me rephrase. Dealing Sam Gagner right now is exactly what losing teams do UNLESS it improves the club overall.

    And honestly, I don’t see a way to make that happen. You’ve got a guy trying to get up to speed, and you have a GM who can be seen with his pants on fire from a mile away.

    Losing teams make trades when they’re in this situation. It’s a bad way.

    Easy to remedy that.

    Only make a deal with Holmgren or Tallon.

    I’d almost add Murray in Ottawa to that.

    He doesn’t have a history of bad trades, but he’s under enough heat that you could get value back.

  99. G Money says:

    Woodguy: Easy to remedy that.

    Possible, yes. Easy, no.

  100. Hammers says:

    Lowetide:
    G Money: Re Gagner and Eberle. From what I can tell, the issue of a ’200 foot game’ became an issue when Eakins arrived. I think that’s true, they allowed the kids to run free previous to this season (and maybe they tried to tighten it a little under Ralph).

    So, that understood, we’re willing to flush Gagner and Eberle THIS early? I honestly think the entire idea is alarming.

    I know it’s frustrating, I know as fans it’s difficult not to lash out, but the idea that Eberle and Gagner are the problem is just about exactly what the Expos used to do just before dealing Gary Carter.

    Keep what’s good. And they’re good. Not perfect, they have things to learn. But part of that is on the people who were here before Dallas Eakins.

    LT no matter what any of us think on Eakins , McT or any player this team needs a wake up call . You don’t want to fire the coach trade a top player and say they have things to learn . Guess what 3-6 years is enough time to determine how good players are or will be . My son (in his 40′s) said something last night that may be true and that is maybe our top picks aren’t as good as we the fans think they are . When I see guys like Ference , Gordon & Perron come to this team and slide down in many aspects of the game you have to wonder don’t you . Should they do something ? anything ?My feeling is McT has no choice . It’s his decision and it will be tough . Stay the coarse ? Fire the coach ? Trade a so called top asset in a 2 or 3 for 1 , us giving up the 1 ? a straight up trade top asset for top asset ? Pressure for sure as the fans will complain no matter what he does .

  101. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Sure, but the expectation is that you put up with young men not playing the same game as Actual NHL players in expectation that one day they will.

    The patience with a rebuild is that the team will be get better, and individuals will become better hockey players over time.

    I’m really losing my shit over 2 games of Gagner, but Goddammit he’s supposed to be a leader and someone the other kids take their cues from, not showing highlight reels of exactly what is wrong with the team.

    This team has become the Edmonton Watiers.

    Outside of Hall and RNH everyone else waits for someone else to get the puck for them.

    Let me ask you something: how many games 07-13 was Gagner asked to do heavy lifting? Also, how many times was he handed a rookie? And finally, how many games has he played in Eakins system?

    This is going to take some time, and Gagner I admit is not a star pupil. But he’s got NHL experience, a big brain and they like his character. I’d like to see him for a year or two under Eakins system before giving up.

    But I do understand if they have to make a move then 89 may be the guy going. Certainly center needs to be better.

    I very much doubt they get 100 cents on the dollar though. He’s coming off an injury and a team acquiring him will need to have patience.

  102. RexLibris says:

    Hmm,

    So the good news is that most fans are totally ticked off and are ready to march on Rexall torches at the ready.

    The bad news, and I suspect this is going to become a significant theme very soon, is that many are beginning to tune out altogether.

    Enter apathy.

    In this hockey market, that speaks volumes.

    Personally, while I am disgusted with the results so far, I am perhaps even more terrified with the eventual solution that this dysfunctional organization prescribes.

    I will say this, though. At least we here in Edmonton have been left with no illusions whatsoever about the flaws of this team.

    Oh, and Jennifer Connelly. Thank you, LT. A beautiful salve for this battered fan’s soul.

  103. Nuckout says:

    Woodguy: Hunter.

    I have trophys from Hockey, Baseball (real baseball, not softball), Football , Soccer and Rugby.

    I know exactly like when a leader comes back to a team.

    Its supposed to make everyone better because everyone gets pushed down the depth chart a bit.

    No on is expecting him to get 8 points.

    I’m expecting him not be a lazy liability when he’s on the ice.

    I don’t think you’re going to see another 8 point game from anyone on this team under these systems.

    Breakouts are pathetic. There is no form on the offensive attack, zero forecheck, zero backcheck.

    Do they even analyze video from other teams? Anaheim is a pathetic 6.9% on the PP, yet they are second in the west. That’s because they know how to score 5v5. I bet if you watch their powerplay over the next 2 weeks, that number will jump dramatically.

    The Oilers have a better powerplay % than the Ducks. Yet, we sit 29th.

    The 5v5 systems are not working. Not enough shots, even worse defence.

  104. Chris says:

    In fairness to Gagner as much as he hasn’t been a relevation since he came back he is coming off major jaw surgery. Now I’ve never had titanium plates fusing my jaw together, but I had minor jaw surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth. I spent two weeks eating soup, barely able to talk and feeling weak as a kitten. Gagner came back before most people were expecting him to return. I sincerely doubt he is 100% out there. He in all likihood should have been rehabbing for another couple weeks. I’d say we need to wait a month or so before we start becoming overly upset about his performance.

  105. G Money says:

    RexLibris: The bad news, and I suspect this is going to become a significant theme very soon, is that many are beginning to tune out altogether.
    Enter apathy.
    In this hockey market, that speaks volumes.

    I had a conversation with a colleague here in Calgary last week. He’s a born and bred Calgarian and asked why I bothered to still support those putrid Esks and Oilers. I’ve lived in Calgary longer than I lived in Edmonton, why I didn’t just switch to supporting the Flames and Stamps.

    I laughed. First I asked him if he could imagine himself moving to Edmonton and then *ever* switching teams, even if the Flames ended up in dead last and the Oilers won the Stanley 10 years in a row. The answer was “of course not”. So he got his short answer.

    The longer answer for me is that I have lived in two countries and four cities in my life. I will probably retire to yet another city and maybe even a different country (maybe). But I only have one hometown, one place where I was born and raised, one place that made me the person I am today (for good or bad).

    From the formative range of junior high to grad school, I got to watch what is certainly in the running for the best NHL team ever.

    From junior high through high school, I got to watch what is inarguably the best CFL team ever.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a choice but to support those teams, to cheer when they win and curse when they lose. I literally sleep better on nights when either team wins.

    Apathy for me is short lived. If losing was enough to drive me away, the lost decade of the 90s should have been enough, no?

    If you’re still here, you ain’t gettin’ away. Just ask Cubs fans!

  106. pboy says:

    Lowetide,

    If Batman flew the Rexall-copter and landed in your front yard and asked you to right the ship, what would your first 3 suggestions be?

  107. Lowetide says:

    Jennifer Connelly. I actually thought about it this morning. I said “who is SO beautiful that I can take 5 or so random photos and have all the visitors to this blog (save Louise, God love her) feel better.” And Connelly came to mind.

    Did the opposite for the Raitt song. It was “what song do I love that fits” :-)

  108. Woodguy says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Gagner has always been a problem here. He simply doesn’t complement our other player types. That job needed a 200 foot player. Because he wasn’t such a player, the coach ends up running the line blender on puree.

    While I’m beating up on Gagner today, the first 3-4 years its expected that a kid will not have a 200 foot game (unless you get drafted by Colorado. Duchene, O’Reilly, Landeskog all came out of the womb back checking)

    I agree 100% though that the Oilers need more Patrick Sharp/Saku Koivu type play from him.

    Last night Sam got Hemsky and Yak and was lined up against Abdelkader, Tartar and Andersson for the most part.

    He has to win that match up.

    Has to.

  109. regwald says:

    As for trading Gagner, did we all forget MacT agreeing to a verbal no trade for year 1, NMC for year 2 of his new contract ? They mentioned on CBC that he hasn’t taken his engagement photos due to the injury. That agreement with MacT was cause of his fiancee.

    So, do you think MacT will break that verbal after one of the first significant signings under his watch ? Not likely is my guess.

  110. FastOil says:

    Outside of a league rule change that hooped a lot of goalies and Oiler luck with injuries, the problem is strategy.

    You have to dance to the tune that’s playing. If you have an established veteran team, you need to populate the bottom of the roster with young players and teach them how to be good players.

    If you have a young team full of skill you need to populate the bottom of the roster with veteran players to teach the young guys how to be good players and give them shelter. They can step up in case of injury.

    There were a lot of NHL players, known quantities, available this summer, and for cheap. MacT did good with Gordon and he has been the best player along with Petry. The AHL’ers and unknown quantities were poor decisions now reaping their benefits. I am ok with Belov, not Grebs when Hainsey and Gilbert were available for eg.

    MacT hired on reputation just like Tambellini with Ference. Sold the farm for an average player at best with suspect stats. He could have spent less to get what he got, no term. The team has good players and bad players. Many pine for Harti, love the Finns, he wasn’t good and the team needs experience. Even Petrell????? They need to replace the bad players with stable competence. I was not impressed looking at Cleary on the Wings second line, knowing how long he was out there – did MacT even call?

    These decisions are why the team is bad, not it’s best players or top middle pack goalie in a slump. Keep the good, expel the bad. I am sure Couturier could be had ATM with a 3 point start without selling a Gun. These are the deals good GM’s make, in times like these, when the someone is under pressure, worse than us.

    Lowe and MacT built deep teams before and now with money they can’t see quality just like Slats. I don’t know if Katz or Lowe started Goonfest but that crap has to stop. Obvious denseness. I am reading a lot of frustration here and I feel it. I will always be a fan but spent years barely following.

    Thanks LT because blogs like this and other stats blogs gave me something to be interested in again regarding the team because it is uninteresting. Now that stats have stalled due to a lack of data and the only thing going on is those reinventing the wheel (often wrongly) while ignoring previous work, I am reaching the point again of wanting to watch good hockey played by good well run teams at arm’s length emotionally.

    Like we all have to do every spring.

    I can hack the rest of this year but right now I don’t think I want to hack another season of this full on incompetent garbage put on by pathologically narcissistic, smug, self destructive, massively dysfunctional people. Puke. Was that too strong? Boring.

  111. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    Let me ask you something: how many games 07-13 was Gagner asked to do heavy lifting? Also, how many times was he handed a rookie? And finally, how many games has he played in Eakins system?

    Sam’s been sheltered his whole career.

    That’s part of my point.

    If he’s getting soft seconds he has to win that match up or else he’s as useless as nipples on a bull.

    Getting Yak should push him more into “I need to be the defensive conscious of this line”, not less.

    He’s not 18 anymore.

    He’s not 22 anymore.

    He’s got 416 NHL games, surely to gord asking him to backcheck shouldn’t be an affront to him or alien to his learning.

  112. Lowetide says:

    pboy:
    Lowetide,

    If Batman flew the Rexall-copter and landed in your front yard and asked you to right the ship, what would your first 3 suggestions be?

    Well, I’m not sure that a fan is the best person to address this (I have no idea about how things really work in the NHL and no idea about his relationship with owner Katz). That said:

    1. I’d hold a PC and tell the fanbase that things were/are more difficult than first thought and that I should have been less ‘bold’ at the opening media conference
    2. I’d have a meeting with ownership and tell them that they can’t talk to anyone but me. Not Kevin, not Bob, not Scott, it all goes through me. And when Georges Laraque calls, or Bryzgalov’s agent, or Messier, or whomever calls, he doesn’t do anything about the hiring. And I’ll promise to bring ownership a report on what I’m doing before they read about it.
    3. I’d meet with the coach and try to find a way out of this without fracturing the future. He’s my guy, I’d remind him of the reasons he was hired, I’d ask him to keep working and express confidence in his ability.

    I know. Boring.

  113. lance says:

    Lowetide:

    But I do understand if they have to make a move then 89 may be the guy going. Certainly center needs to be better.

    You mean the 89 with the gentleman’s NMC? it may be obvious that he’s the best candidate to move (as his 200 foot game is a huge handicap to this team) but your rookie GM has pre quashed that idea with one particularly bold move.

    When the return is viable, that’s the time to make the trade. But it better not be Gagner else the free agents will be elsewhere until long after MacT and all his friends are long long gone.

  114. Woodguy says:

    Nice tweet by Mike:

    Michael Parkatti ‏@mparkatti 2h
    If Omark can’t make the team when our 4 starting LW’s are all out and he is tied for 11th in AHL scoring, I’m not sure I get hockey.

  115. FastOil says:

    Woodguy:
    Lowetide,

    Let me ask you something: how many games 07-13 was Gagner asked to do heavy lifting? Also, how many times was he handed a rookie? And finally, how many games has he played in Eakins system?

    Sam’s been sheltered his whole career.

    That’s part of my point.

    If he’s getting soft seconds he has to win that match up or else he’s as useless as nipples on a bull.

    Getting Yak should push him more into “I need to be the defensive conscious of this line”, not less.

    He’s not 18 anymore.

    He’s not 22 anymore.

    He’s got 416 NHL games, surely to gord asking him to backcheck shouldn’t be an affront to him or alien to his learning.

    I’m no fan of Gagner’s play but he isn’t the problem. Playing him ahead of Gordon is. Eakins may be trying to change mindsets or prove a point I don’t know. What I do know is it isn’t smart, it isn’t working, we all knew it wouldn’t, why do they do these things? How can narcissists stand being laughing stocks?

    I could sit here all day with you fine gents but my wife is now sitting by the computer. Apparently there is something she wants me to do other than vent. I think Katz sent her. Or Lowe. Kirk out (for now).

  116. lance says:

    If Batman flew the Rexall-copter and landed in your front yard and asked you to right the ship, what would your first 3 suggestions be?

    1. International search for everyone and anyone from any background (except hockey) to offer their input on solutions and organizational structures. Public notice style. Looking for you G Money.

    2. Private feedback options to players past and present regarding issues with current management. No names, no accountability, free speech.

    3. Announce to players that the scores of the next ten games won’t affect their future. We want to see four passes before the shot, traditional defence first hockey, bodies to the net, and based on those next ten games, considering everything EXCEPT points, the future keepers will be determined. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.

  117. Colonel Obvious says:

    The Godot narrative that one of the problems is that Eakins is trying to force players into his system has to stop. It flies in the face of how hockey is played in the NHL. Every single successful coach in the NHL forces players into their system. So if you think this is a problem then you think something very, very, stupid and should stop infecting others with your stupidity.

    A fair criticism would be that to date Eakins has not successfully implemented his system. That is evident. But that is a problem in practice not in theory. No matter what the coach is going to force players to play his system.

    The idea that Krueger adapted to his personel is a complete and total falsehood. Stop spreading lies.

  118. OilFire says:

    Woodguy:
    Nice tweet by Mike:

    Michael Parkatti ‏@mparkatti 2h
    If Omark can’t make the team when our 4 starting LW’s are all out and he is tied for 11th in AHL scoring, I’m not sure I get hockey.

    I can explain this to Mike:
    When a team’s confidence is shot to the point that giving up two bad goals early leads to a 5-0 score that somehow remains flattering to the losing team, bringing in a guy that tends to make d-zone gaffes is a quick route to deflate your tires right out of the gate.

    I’m not happy with the team’s list of players, but I don’t buy into the emotional storm in the comments that a listless game means nobody cares and there is some secret cancer of hurt feelings or some mysterious ok-to-lose mindset virus. The Hawks have given up some real stinkers to the lowly oilers where real top-shelf two-way players like Toews have done lazy back checking. Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done in getting a roster together and coaching it to play better, but it’s not the apocalypse either.

    side note: I do think pairing your three defensively worst players together in Gagner with Hemmer and Yak is a coaching mistake. Hope he corrects it next game.

  119. Woodguy says:

    FastOil: I’m no fan of Gagner’s play but he isn’t the problem. Playing him ahead of Gordon is. Eakins may be trying to change mindsets or prove a point I don’t know. What I do know is it isn’t smart, it isn’t working, we all knew it wouldn’t, why do they do these things? How can narcissists stand being laughing stocks?

    I could sit here all day with you fine gents but my wife is now sitting by the computer. Apparently there is something she wants me to do other than vent. I think Katz sent her. Or Lowe. Kirk out (for now).

    You aren’t going to give Gagner Gordon’s wingers and give him 30% Ozone starts.

    Someone has to do the heavy Dzone starts on the team, and asking Gagner to do it is pretty much the opposite of his skill set.

    Giving Gordon Yak and Hemsky and still giving him 30% Ozone starts isn’t the answer either.

  120. Woodguy says:

    OilFire: I can explain this to Mike:
    When a team’s confidence is shot to the point thatgiving up two bad goals early leads to a 5-0 score that somehow remains flattering to the losing team, bringing in a guy that tends to make d-zone gaffes is a quick route to deflate your tires right out of the gate.

    I’m not happy with the team’s list of players, but I don’t buy into the emotional storm in the comments that a listless game means nobody cares and there is some secret cancer of hurt feelings or some mysterious ok-to-lose mindset virus.The Hawks have given up some real stinkers to the lowly oilers where real top-shelf two-way players like Toews have done lazy back checking.Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done in getting a roster together and coaching it to play better, but it’s not the apocalypse either.

    Oilers have 1 goal in the last 3 games and the LW is currently populated by playes where the puck is usually optional and a rookie playing out of position (Yak)

    Having Jones, Hamilton and Eager all play ahead of someone who might score is not good.

    I could get behind it if any of these players were good 2 way players, but evidence is that none of them are.

  121. OilFire says:

    Woodguy: Oilers have 1 goal in the last 3 games and the LW is currently populated by playes where the puck is usually optional and a rookie playing out of position (Yak)

    Having Jones, Hamilton and Eager all play ahead of someone who might score is not good.

    I could get behind it if any of these players were good 2 way players, but evidence is that none of them are.

    Eager is not a valid comparison as he’s playing 4 line (and RW I believe). Hamilton isn’t either as he was brought back to play on the D-zone starting 3 line. Only really Jones then, and while I’m not much of a Jones fan, and he’s made some blunders in the last few, but he is better than Omark in his own zone.

  122. edoil1 says:

    Woodguy,

    One thing that is sure,if we trade away these part’s they will most likely do well wherever they go and I think that it is the underlying culture of arrogance that has to change ,it destroy’s brought in player’s Belanger was not bad in Phoenix,for that matter Eager was ok before also.I mean Glencross,Brodziak,Chemara,Cogliano on and on the poor decision making and the our way, or the highway mentality is getting to be a broken record.Fire Bucky and Smith,bring in some seasoned non arrogant coach’s,Trade Hemsky,Jshultz and a no1 for a real NHL defender to help stop the bleeding because that is all you can do with this “Rose Mary’s baby”

  123. fuzzy muppet says:

    My issue with Eakins is his complete lack of of emotion. Why should his player play with any when it looks like the coach doesn’t have any either?

    LIke him or hate him, Patrick Roy set the tone for his team in GAME 1 when he wore his emotions on his sleeve.

    Eakins had a similar opportunity to do so in either game 1 or 2 when a cheap shot occurred against one of his players late in the game. He just stared at the other bench and did nothing. If he doesn’t show he cares, why should his players??

  124. OilFire says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    My issue with Eakins is his complete lack of of emotion.Why should his player play with any whenit looks like the coach doesn’t have any either?

    LIke him or hate him, Patrick Roy set the tone for his team in GAME 1 when he wore his emotions on his sleeve.

    Eakins had a similar opportunity to do so in either game 1 or 2 when a cheap shot occurred against one of his players late in the game.He just stared at the other bench and did nothing.If he doesn’t show he cares, why should his players??

    Eakins reminds me of John Wayne. Tough as nails and all fight, just no histrionics. I dare you to watch one of his press conferences and tell yourself he’s a soft nancy boy that doesn’t care if he wins or what effort his players give.

  125. G Money says:

    fuzzy muppet: My issue with Eakins is his complete lack of of emotion. Why should his player play with any when it looks like the coach doesn’t have any either?

    This sounds vaguely like another criticism I’ve heard the last few years.

    Who was that guy? Lousy leader because he didn’t scream and shout enough.

    Hmmm…. who was he … oh yeah!

    Ricky Ray.

    No emotion. Man that guy sucked.

  126. Woodguy says:

    OilFire: Eager is not a valid comparison as he’s playing 4 line (and RW I believe).Hamilton isn’t either as he was brought back to play on the D-zone starting 3 line.Only really Jones then, and while I’m not much of a Jones fan, and he’s made some blunders in the last few, but he is better than Omark in his own zone.

    Put Jones on the 3rd, Hamilton on the 4th and Eager in the AHL.

    Mix and match them any way you want, but with 4, 57, 6 and 94 all out, there’s room for the 11th leading scorer in the AHL

  127. Woodguy says:

    fuzzy muppet:
    My issue with Eakins is his complete lack of of emotion.Why should his player play with any whenit looks like the coach doesn’t have any either?

    LIke him or hate him, Patrick Roy set the tone for his team in GAME 1 when he wore his emotions on his sleeve.

    Eakins had a similar opportunity to do so in either game 1 or 2 when a cheap shot occurred against one of his players late in the game.He just stared at the other bench and did nothing.If he doesn’t show he cares, why should his players??

    Best coach in the NHL is Dave Tippett and often you have to check to see if he has a pulse.

  128. Woodguy says:

    Remember when we all wanted to trade PHX some offence for some defense because they needed offence?

    PHX is 4th in the NHL with 3.26 GF/60

    Oilers are 9th with 2.77.

    PHX is 16th in the NHL with 2.52 GA/60

    EDM is 30th with 3.85.

    Hey, at least its coming down from 4.00!

  129. OilFire says:

    Woodguy: Put Jones on the 3rd, Hamilton on the 4th and Eager in the AHL.

    Mix and match them any way you want, but with 4, 57, 6 and 94 all out, there’s room for the 11th leading scorer in the AHL

    The point I was making is that I think Omark is more likely than Jones to be the cause of a deflating early two goals. Yes, he’s miles better at offense, but if you give up goals you can’t play on a sane NHL team. I realize Jones is no defensive phenom, but Omark simply hasn’t played to NHL standards in the d-zone.

  130. G Money says:

    lance: International search for everyone and anyone from any background (except hockey) to offer their input on solutions and organizational structures. Public notice style. Looking for you G Money.

    I’m flattered! I do have a ton of (mostly successful) management experience, and certainly if the Oilers ever came looking for input, I would gladly offer it.

    Now if it was a more formal job offer … yikes, I think not! Let me tell you a little tale. (Apologies to those not interested, as always feel free to skip my voluminous tale)

    Three years ago, I decided it was time to leave my company. I joined that company in 1991 as a software developer when it was a startup, worked to build it into the most successful company in its niche by 1996, and (the shareholders) sold it twice (98 and 01). I ended up staying with the company through both acquisitions, with the second being to a NYSE-traded multi-national company based in Denver. I switched into management (“the dark side”) in 2001, and picked up an MBA while I was at it. From 2007 to 2010, I ran the Canadian business unit for that company as VP & GM.

    Side note: my Director of Marketing was MacT’s academic advisor for his MBA.

    By 2010, I was weary of the corporate bullshit and had enough money to have a lot of freedom in deciding what to do next.

    Side note: My initials are GM. My job title was GM. I had a lot of money. So my broker gave me the moniker “G Money”.

    I decided going back to my roots was the right thing to do. I’m getting older and don’t expect to have “startup energy” a decade from now, so jumping to a startup was what I figured I needed to do, and do now.

    As I looked, I had two real opportunities to come up. Both were promising from the point of view of technology.

    The first had a big advantage in that it was much better capitalized than the second, which means that I would take a very modest hit in income.

    However, there was a weird dynamic in the first company. The biggest investor and Chairman was the father of the CEO and Founder. The CEO and Founder had been struggling, badly, for quite some time and the Chairman felt (rightly) that solid strategy, direction, and execution from someone with a good head for business was needed. In the new structure, I would have been CEO and the original founder would have become CTO reporting to me.

    Here’s the problem: if the CEO and Founder was the problem, and ultimately did not want to participate in taking the company in the right direction – the only way out would have been to get rid of him. If push came to shove – would Dad agree? Would he side with me or his son?

    I think anyone moving into management in the Oilers right now needs to understand the political ground – I suspect Katz may call Lowe “son”.

  131. Bank Shot says:

    Lowetide: Okay. Let me rephrase. Dealing Sam Gagner right now is exactly what losing teams do UNLESS it improves the club overall.

    And honestly, I don’t see a way to make that happen. You’ve got a guy trying to get up to speed, and you have a GM who can be seen with his pants on fire from a mile away.

    Losing teams make trades when they’re in this situation. It’s a bad way.

    Not our LOSING team. They just sit on their thumbs year after year after year while seasons of hockey go straight down the toilet.

    There’s no light at the end of the tunnel unless Lowe and MacT and the rest of the boy’s bus gets flushed out of the org.

    Sad days ahead…..

  132. skidplate says:

    Fuck this team. It is hard to stay positive on a wintery Sunday in Early November.

    LT brings something else we can truly enjoy, MUSIC. One thing I know, the team can not make the hair on the back of my neck stand up like the guitar can.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-uDdi6FE2U

  133. Woodguy says:

    OilFire: The point I was making is that I think Omark is more likely than Jones to be the cause of a deflating early two goals.Yes, he’s miles better at offense, but if you give up goals you can’t play on a sane NHL team.I realize Jones is no defensive phenom, but Omark simply hasn’t played to NHL standards in the d-zone.

    No he’s not.

    He’s also more likely to score an uplifting goal.

  134. lance says:

    G Money: I’m flattered!I do have a ton of (mostly successful) management experience, and certainly if the Oilers ever came looking for input, I would gladly offer it.

    I think anyone moving into management in the Oilers right now needs to understand the political ground – I suspect Katz may call Lowe “son”.

    Okay. So lets say that Katz called you and said “Here is a blank slate. Start as you mean to go.”

    What three things happen next? (Four if you include dumping K Lowe.)

  135. VOR says:

    Strategically this would be a very bad time to make a trade or fire anyone. The Oilers long term problem is the guys on the ice aren’t good enough. I think we all assume that is the case. At the trade deadline or in the off season you can try to fix that. Right now you wouldn’t get value because of the evident desperation plus it would deliver exactly the wrong message to the team. You’d be coddling their fragile egos.

    I’d argue there is enough talent here (even with the injuries) for the Oilers to compete every night. Unfortunately the players seem to buy into the idea that they aren’t at fault because there just aren’t enough actual NHL players on the roster. Far too many of them are of the position, or so it seems, that if the team was just good enough their effort level would be acceptable. They are, of course, wrong.

    What Oilers’ management needs to be doing is teaching the players a sense of responsibility. Part of the younger Oilers coming of age is that each of them needs to take responsibility for how badly things are going and work their butts off to try to improve the situation. The blame game and the belief that the losing is somebody else’s fault need to come to an end. You lose as a team and you win as a team and it is when teams realize this that things begin to improve.

    The Oilers need to understand that they suck as a team, stop making excuses, roll up their sleeves and get to work. One way of teaching them all that lesson (at least those who can learn it) is to stick them out night after night and let them get humiliated. Give them no new players, no new coaches, no help. Let them grow up and become professionals.

    Tough times make tough people, or so we used to all believe. Stop worrying about the fragile mental health of these kids and let the world kick them in the cojones over and over until they decide they have had enough. They will fix the problem themselves once they all clue in that talent isn’t worth dick with out commitment and discipline.

    I think some of you need to remember that – it isn’t that player X on other team is more talented. It is that they are better at maximizing what they do have. Put them on a team that has developed a culture of “I’m trying as hard as I can” and they may be no better than those they replace. The Oilers stars have the talent, they show it many nights. They need to learn to maximize that talent.

    This sounds like a series of cliches to some of you I am cure. However, think how psychologically fragile this team seems on many nights. You want them to play ugly, gut it out, wait patiently for the lucky break and pounce on it, come to the aid of a teammate, etc. then you have to let them suffer and we all have to suffer right along with them.

    One dark winter night they will claw their way up out of the pit of sorrows and become the sort of players that win Stanley Cups and anchor Olympic teams.

    Imagine it is the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Oilers are clearly in over their heads against an opponent who is pulverizing them. The Captain, the go to team and league Superstar is mired in a terminal slump captured on live TV. He is hanging his head and showing his frustration and worse, he has just taken an exceedingly dumb penalty. The Oilers superstar talents need to become the sort of players who would skate over to the penalty box, give the kid a pep talk, then reach deep inside themselves and take over the game and the series.

    When you know you have a team with five or six of those guys on it then go out and get them the rest of the pieces. Until then, painful as it is, let them suck.

  136. Big Dan says:

    I think Ralph Krueger (special teams) and Dallas Eakins (x-and-o’s) may have complemented each other until Eakins was ready to be a head coach. Oh well, stability is crucial now in the head office seat. The best thing MacT can do is hire a Paul Maurice or make Mark Messier/ Todd Nelson the assistant coach= something like that. It shows he has Eakins’ back and is giving him a lifeline. He just HAS to fire Buchberger and S.Smith RFN to send the players a message that he’s not giving up on the players or the head coach. Even cronies like Katz and Lowe have to see that now; if not Bucky and Smith themselves.

    The fact Ference says there was yelling in the room indicates accountability. Gagner’s lazy backchecking had to be one of those things being yelled about. He will get it (200 foot game) or he will sit. That is why I think this is THE “low”. This is the wake up that turns around a season, much like Philly’s 7-0 loss. Only problem is we have some injuries to slug through first.

    Every time we find a good addition like Perron or Joensuu, hockey gods curse us. It’s going to turn around; we will likely improve incremently as the year progresses. I think this will be the last ‘terrible’ game in the next while. I’d guess a bunch of close losses and a competitive climb to maybe 80+ points? It’s clear now that MacT needs another summer like last one to improve the depth. And Eakins needs some time for some on-the-job training and shaking out the franchise’s losing culture. Patience once again (sigh).

    The blue sky hopes for Eberle + for Weber or OEL aren’t going to happen folks. We have to hope Dubnyk returns to give us NHL goaltending that Bachman was providing. We have to hope that fire in the locker room will cause the team to band together and follow the coach’s game plan (I think some are resisting or rebelling, send them down).

    Eberle should be moved to the 3rd line until he’s better. Yakupov is a right winger= leave him there. Try Gagner on the LW since he sucks no matter where he lines up right now. Gagner needs to play to get back into game shape. But Arcobello is superior as the #2C at the moment.

    And ffs, call up Omark and don’t move Ryan Jones past the 4th line. We have no scoring on the LW. Linus plays that position; what a concept. He wins battles along the boards. He goes in the ugly areas. He’s good on the PP. He knows that if he pulls a “Gagner”, he’ll be back in Oklahoma so he’ll watch his own end.

    Call up Lander and Fedun too to complete the shakeup. They earned a legitimate callup and will be hungry and inject some positive energy. Send down Acton, Hamilton, and Eager… they haven’t done much and it will tell the players there is no favoritism.

    Florida is next? Just what the doctor ordered. We get to beat up on Ryan Whitney.

  137. godot10 says:

    OilFire: Eakins reminds me of John Wayne.Tough as nails and all fight, just no histrionics.I dare you to watch one of his press conferences and tell yourself he’s a soft nancy boy that doesn’t care if he wins or what effort his players give.

    Eakins, in his press conferences, continually distances himself from the players. They, they, they, they, they, they….no effing we, we, we, we. He doesn’t view them as his players.

    The goaltenders and the players are playing badly, because Eakins doesn’t inspire confidence or anything positive. Eakins is Greg Schiano. Bill Belichek has his roster filled with lots of Schiano’s college players, but Schiano is a dick and a failure as an NFL coach.

    Peter’s Principle.

    A coach can be a dick in college or in the AHL because they allowed to be a dickish God. In the NFL and NHL, one has to deal with players as human beings.

    MacT couldn’t stand hearing a contrary opinion. That is not the sign of a smart man. That is the sign of a stupid man. So he fell for the first guy who knew how to manage up and flatter his so-called intelligence.

    MacT thought he had found a brother in arms. Did Hemsky see a tough minute in his first 100 games, like Yak does under Eakins. Would coach MacT line up sophomore Hemsky against Ovechkin or Kessel? MacT fell for the showy twerking by Eakins.

    The smartest man in the room, NOT. The most gullible man in the room.

  138. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Woodguy: Sam just fucking glides back, lets’s the man get in front of him, and doesn’t do fuck all.
    64 could have got him too, but I have a lot more patience for a rookie on that shitty play than a 5 year vet who is supposed to be a leader.

    SEVEN-year vet. That goal was just terrible, had me cussing a blue streak. This after a few goals just like it on Tuesday. (See this post for 3 rather damning screen grabs of lazy-ass “defence” from the forwards vs. Toronto, combined with miserable “defence” from the “defencemen”. But mainly it was the forwards. )

    Switching off Eberle for Hemsky last night didn’t exactly solve the problem. A very weak line defensively, which also happened to contribute NOTHING offensively. Not even a scoring chance.

  139. whiskeytangoeberle says:

    To everyone who thought that was a bad game for the Oilers, I say pearls before swine. That was a great game. They finally fell below where rhetoric can sustain them. From here on in they can’t lie anymore. Eakins looked like a distressed parent pleading for his children to stop being bullied. He feels for them, his “arrogance” is just a smoke screen, he’s vulnerable. The players will realize this, they’ll start listening and try to stop disappointing him, they’ll bond with him, and if he can win they will, (which I believe he can).

    being born is going blind and biting down a thousand times… to echoes strung on pure temptation- van zandt

    This rebuild has become synonymous with change addiction. Too much change creates an overdrawn account at the Bank of Chance. A fool resorts to more change and the cycle never stops. In my view Eakins was wise when he gave the reason for keeping his assistants as consistency. Hopefully MacT is levelheaded enough to bite down a thousand times, (along with some of the fan base, looking at you Woodguy).

    If I see one major fault with the Oilers it’s that they don’t respect their opponents. They act entitled, maybe draft pedigree will do that, maybe it’s an effect that will wear off, maybe they will win a few seasons, maybe last night resembled an improvement.

  140. OilFire says:

    OilFire: The point I was making is that I think Omark is more likely than Jones to be the cause of a deflating early two goals. Yes, he’s miles better at offense, but if you give up goals you can’t play on a sane NHL team.I realize Jones is no defensive phenom, but Omark simply hasn’t played to NHL standards in the d-zone.

    Woodguy: No he’s not.

    He’s also more likely to score an uplifting goal.

    I assume the bolded parts line up? Hah, just teasing because you’re obviously cranky today. From management’s choice to give Markobello a shot, I’d say it is Omark’s defensive acumen rather than his size holding him back. But I haven’t been watching him in OKC, so if you think Omark is good enough defensively lately to warrant a shot I don’t have any reason to argue against that. I certainly think he has the toolkit to make the NHL if he brings it all together and I hope he does someday.

  141. OilFire says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    I don’t have an account to comment where you blog over at Cult, so I’ll say thanks for all the hard work here. Always enjoy your commentary and excellent analysis.

  142. Bruce McCurdy says:

    OilFire:
    I assume the bolded parts line up?Hah, just teasing because you’re obviously cranky today. From management’s choice to give Markobello a shot, I’d say it is Omark’s defensive acumen rather than his size holding him back.But I haven’t been watching him in OKC, so if you think Omark is good enough defensively lately to warrant a shot I don’t have any reason to argue against that.I certainly think he has the toolkit to make the NHL if he brings it all together and I hope he does someday.

    There’s holding a guy back and holding him back. When ALL FOUR starting LWs are down with injury and your top minor league LW can’t get a game, something is seriously buggered up.

  143. Lowetide says:

    OilFire:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I don’t have an account to comment where you blog over at Cult, so I’ll say thanks for all the hard work here.Always enjoy your commentary and excellent analysis.

    Seconded. McCurdy is gold.

  144. Bruce McCurdy says:

    OilFire:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    I don’t have an account to comment where you blog over at Cult, so I’ll say thanks for all the hard work here.Always enjoy your commentary and excellent analysis.

    Thank you kindly. Sorry about the account business, nowadays you need a Facebook ID, but there have always been issues of one sort or another. That’s one of the reasons I drop in to LT’s fine comments section periodically, great place to have a two/multi-way convo in a mostly civilized environment. (Except when LT & WG are fighting, which makes me sad.) ;)

  145. OilFire says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Thank you kindly. Sorry about the account business, nowadays you need a Facebook ID, but there have always been issues of one sort or another. That’s one of the reasons I drop in to LT’s fine comments section periodically, great place to have a two/multi-way convo in a mostly civilized environment. (Except when LT & WG are fighting, which makes me sad.)

    Yeah, don’t you hate in when Mom and Dad fight?

  146. godot10 says:

    1) Andrew Ference is Ethan Moreau. Discuss amongst yourselves. Got one of those 4-year cushy Moreau/Staios contracts.

    2) And dammit. Eberle, like Justin Schultz, is the furthest thing from a problem. Eberle has played for competent GM’s and coaches at the World Juniors, at the World Championships, and in the AHL, and effing excelled.

    3) And we’re dumping on Gagner, two games back from a horrific injury, and he’s being asked to carry Yakupov on his back, in the toughest minutes against Toronto. Why isn’t Hemsky leading this team in its time of torment? Why is he getting off scott free?

    Eakins has no effing clue how to use the players he has. It is all trial and mostly error in his decision making. Zero insight into human nature. The NHL is the “New Testament” baby. The AHL is the “Old Testament”. Our boy Dallas is mightily confused by the difference.

    Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton. Toby Peterson Dee and Toby Peterson Dum.

    Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, and Teemu Hartikainen would have made a pretty good 4th line that could play a lot of minutes, even against better lines. Eakins wouldn’t put Jake Gardiner out on the ice against Hartikainen in the AHL playoffs two years ago.

    Could have signed Penner to play with Gagner and Yakupov.

    Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle
    Penner, Gagner, Yakupov
    Horcoff, Gordon, Hemsky
    Paajarvi, Lander, Hartikainen.
    Smyth, Arcobello

    Boldness isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

  147. Bruce McCurdy says:

    whiskeytangoeberle: If I see one major fault with the Oilers it’s that they don’t respect their opponents. They act entitled, maybe draft pedigree will do that, maybe it’s an effect that will wear off, maybe they will win a few seasons, maybe last night resembled an improvement.

    They sure in the hell didn’t respect Phil Kessel on Tuesday. The one thing that shocked me from those previously-cited screen grabs was how Kessel was a good 15-20 feet from any Oiler in all 3 cases. Wide open, burned them every time. And Eakins kept throwing the same 3 forwards over the boards against Kessel’s group and praised the match-up. #facepalm

  148. striatic says:

    G Money: I think anyone moving into management in the Oilers right now needs to understand the political ground – I suspect Katz may call Lowe “son”.

    or “Pop”. or “Bro”.

    your point is well taken though.

  149. G Money says:

    lance: Okay.So lets say that Katz called you and said “Here is a blank slate. Start as you mean to go.”

    What three things happen next?(Four if you include dumping K Lowe.)

    Ouch – loaded question! Unsuccessful companies are rife with examples of executives airlifted into their midst and making changes before understanding the groundwork of what is there, what is needed, and what has already been tried. (You could argue that this is part of Eakins’ problems).

    So with enormous caveats (I reserve the right to change anything and everything I say if I were ever put in that position!), I would say this:

    1. Yes, I would fire Lowe. The new guy – me – would have to be responsible for all hockey operations. I actually have a higher opinion of Lowe’s capabilities than I suspect most do – he’s made many smart moves in the past. I believe the bitter disappointment of 2006 and all the metaphoric kicks in the junk that followed have poisoned his ability to think and act with clarity, and so he needs to go. As part of this, I would reassure MacT that he is not a lame duck GM, that he has my confidence and a two year window to compete.

    2. I would complete a strategic review of *every* staff member. This business some have stated of “fire every pro scout” is stupid because we don’t actually know who recommended what, and who made the actual decision. The guys who recommended Gordon and Joensuu and Belov look pretty good. The guys who recommended say Jones over Raymond, Acton over Lapierre (if that happened) – not so much. But I would keep or remove staffers based on their track record of success. I might change my mind once the details surface, but its highly unlikely that Smith or Buchberger survive that process.

    3. I would review off-ice operations with MacT and Katz. The Oilers are a wealthy team. There is a cap in place that prevents spending more than anyone else on players. But there is no such limit on other areas like coaching, training, medical, facilities … if Katz is serious about winning, I would tell him that we can leave no stone unturned in exploiting every non-capped advantage. For obvious reasons, the medical situation gets an extra careful look!

    4. I would ask MacT and Eakins to present a player-by-player assessment of where the team is now and what they feel the team needs to look like to be a contender in two years. What I want to see is an actual strategic plan. Some of those changes will occur because of player development e.g. I’m comfortable with a statement like “Yak will be our first line RW on a contender.” Plans by nature are static while reality is dynamic, so the plan as executed will be radically different from what is put on paper. The purpose of the planning exercise is to force a rigorous assessment of the here and now, and a rigorous basis on how and when to make changes. It forms the basis for making good and objective decisions instead of stupid, passive, and/or kneejerk decisions.

    That’s kind of my initial off the cuff assessment – I hope that I have not overwhelmed you with management bullshit!

  150. dangilitis says:

    Woodguy: Easy to remedy that.

    Only make a deal with Holmgren or Tallon.

    I’d almost add Murray in Ottawa to that.

    He doesn’t have a history of bad trades, but he’s under enough heat that you could get value back.

    Or accept that the season is over and wait a bit longer until more teams are out of the playoff hunt so there are more dance partners, more options, more desperation.

    And for God’s sake, use that 1st round draft pick. It will have great potential but its easier mentally to trade a fantasy player that shouldn’t be a major contributor on the team for 3-4 years to get you a very good NHL player now. I am very willing at this point to lose a trade like this to increase the chances of an NHL caliber roster.

  151. striatic says:

    G Money: The guys who recommended Gordon and Joensuu and Belov look pretty good. The guys who recommended say Jones over Raymond, Acton over Lapierre (if that happened) – not so much.

    what if these guys are the same guys?

    just kidding, that’s impossible.

  152. striatic says:

    G Money: That’s kind of my initial off the cuff assessment – I hope that I have not overwhelmed you with management bullshit!

    i’ve read plenty of management bullshit.

    that wasn’t management bullshit.

  153. Woodguy says:

    godot10,

    Godot,

    Watch his last 4 pressers.

    We we we we we we we we.

    Find a new non-thing to hang your hat on.

  154. Woodguy says:

    dangilitis: Or accept that the season is over and wait a bit longer until more teams are out of the playoff hunt so there are more dance partners, more options, more desperation.

    And for God’s sake, use that 1st round draft pick. It will have great potential but its easier mentally to trade a fantasy player that shouldn’t be a major contributor on the team for 3-4 years to get you a very good NHL player now. I am very willing at this point to lose a trade like this to increase the chances of an NHL caliber roster.

    You never get more for a 1st rounder than you do at the draft.

    You never get less for a 1st rounder than what you get in season, especially at the deadline.

  155. Woodguy says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Except when LT & WG are fighting, which makes me sad.

    I don’t think we’re fighting.

    4 coaches later and I’m ready to cut bait on players who don’t play a 200ft game and have had years to become that player.

    Who’s job does Gagner take on the 05/06 Oilers?

    No one.

    Not even close.

  156. dangilitis says:

    Woodguy: You never get more for a 1st rounder than you do at the draft.

    You never get less for a 1st rounder than what you get in season, especially at the deadline.

    Oh, I know, the season is over though, so I don’t care when they do it. I can’t stand watching Katz and co stand on the podium and call out the name of a top 5 pick again, because that is more selling hope for half a decade away. Show me that you are committed to winning long-term even if it means giving up on some teenage phenom that may turn out to be Gagner or MPS for a NHL player with a lesser but established ceiling.

  157. G Money says:

    striatic: what if these guys are the same guys?

    just kidding, that’s impossible.

    Ha! Yeah, I suspect it could lead to some tough decisions. Nobody has a 100% good or bad track record, so if they are the same guy, an assessment of the balance of good vs bad decisions would have to rule the day.

    To be honest, I might apply a rule like – “if in doubt, they gotta go out.” If a staffer’s decision history suggest he or she might be good or might be bad, you have to consider the context of how crappy this team has been, and its probably safe to conclude that the answer is therefore “bad”.

    BTW – Happy Diwali to all my Indian Oiler fan peeps out there!

    Today’s Edmonton – and the demographics of the Oiler fan base – sure aren’t the same as when I was growing up there in the 70s!

  158. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    godot10,

    Godot,

    Watch his last 4 pressers.

    We we we we we we we we.

    Find a new non-thing to hang your hat on.

    You mean like you, who blames Eberle for the woes of this team. Eberle has success at the highest levels of hockey outside of the Oilers. You choose Eakins over Eberle. Not a peep out of you about Hemsky abdication of any leadership or responsibility as one of the veterans. The blogosphere wants to choose Eakins over Eberle and Justin Schultz.

  159. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Except when LT & WG are fighting, which makes me sad.

    I don’t think we’re fighting.

    4 coaches later and I’m ready to cut bait on players who don’t play a 200ft game and have had years to become that player.

    Who’s job does Gagner take on the 05/06 Oilers?

    No one.

    Not even close.

    I’m still onside with Gagner, and would hope he’s earned more than 2 regular season games to find his way in the new system.

    That said, I agree about the 05-06 team. Gagner would be rehabbing in OKC or still on IR, but the Oilers are a MASH unit now and Gagner is playing.

    If you can get me value for Gagner–real value–fine. But if you’re trading him for a 2nd round pick and replacing him with Arcobello then no sale.

  160. godot10 says:

    Gagner has proven that he is an NHL hockey player. At worst, a soft minutes second line centre.

    All Eakins has proven is that he is a mediocre AHL hockey coach.

    So the solution is to dump another actual NHL player, like MacT dumped Horcoff.

  161. lance says:

    G Money,

    If you can’t beat em with brains, braze em with bullshit. I dig. and kid.

    I’ve been running a business for 20 years (albeit with significantly less financial viability than your’s. but likely way more ethical egalitarianism, for whatever that’s worth) and I suspect I know far less about hockey than any single NHL player. Similarly, I suspect I know more about business than any hockey player including MacT or Kevin Lowe. They just don’t have the years of employee management under their belt that you or I do. So while its cute to have NHL players running the business, I hardly think its a good move. Charelli skates probably like I do. He seems to do fine.

    Your point about Lowe being set back emotionally from the 06 loss is probably significant. The whale hunting that followed is probably solid evidence thereof. And since Ken Holland keeps picking him to join Team Canada, I suspect its not because Ken Holland thinks he’s a tool. He clearly too has good and bad ability, but as you suggest, his best before date in Edmonton is probably long gone. For me that six ring presser was the definitive cut off line, it was clear that his emotions were well in front of his judgement.

    As far as written plans of action, I think its fair to suggest that it may turn up the concept that 2 dynamos are the most a successful team can accommodate, Edmonton holding 5 or 6 tells me that 3 or 4 need to be traded. And if MacT found he didn’t get a good offer for Gagner pre arbitration, it could be because other GM’s see what Woodguy is expressing – flash is fun, but it doesn’t win games. Thus, the market was a bit thin, and not because the GM was a rookie.

    Vor –

    You could throw me and four friends out there for two full seasons and I guarantee that we will NOT learn to win. Because I don’t have any friends that are good enough and I certainly am not. Further, if too many players are of the same ilk, then repeatedly throwing an unbalanced roster to the wolves won’t necessarily provide balance. Instead, it could destroy players ala Anton Lander skating in impossible situations.

    many of these kids have never actually needed to play defence ever, rather, their coaches until now have thrown them over and let their talent carry the team. Again, one or two on a roster is fine. Five or six is likely three or four too many. Such are the burdens of drafting 1OV. Now its time to balance the roster with 3 or 4 more Gordons and longingly a Horcoff or two.

  162. hunter1909 says:

    They insist on sending puppies to fight tigers.

    I was one of the first around here to call this season an abortion, and got duly mocked…but the thing was, I had enough residual paranoia to realise just what tools Lowe + + can be.

    This team is DOOMED until Kevin Lowe is gone.

  163. whiskeytangoeberle says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Thanks for responding to my post. This is the most male bonding I’ve ever done in my life and I’m 31. I agree with what you had to say about the Phil Kessel goa…oh wait sorry got to go my mom needs the computer.

  164. G Money says:

    lance:

    If you can’t beat em with brains, braze em with bullshit.
    Rule #1 in business!

    albeit with significantly less financial viability than your’s. but likely way more ethical egalitarianism, for whatever that’s worth
    We definitely achieved some good stuff on the first part, but don’t be so sure on the second! We were a high tech company and did some amazing Google-like things years before Google existed. Flat salary structure! Flat reporting structure (no managers)! 20% of all profits went to employees! Among piles of others… one of my more proud moments is that we were named a Top 5 Employer in Calgary back in the early 2000′s and never even applied for it (it was a push started entirely by staff members).

    On the other hand, you’d be absolutely correct in saying that this egalitarian approach disappeared as the US public company ethic became stronger and stronger – one of the reasons I needed to get out.

    I think its fair to suggest that it may turn up the concept that 2 dynamos are the most a successful team can accommodate, Edmonton holding 5 or 6 tells me that 3 or 4 need to be traded
    Personally, I suspect the number is three. After that, you need to trade a King or an Ace for some top rank lower royalty and/or 8′s and 9′s and 10′s.

    As others have noted, it is much the opposite situation that Lowe & MacT thrived in before the cap era. We had teams stuffed to the gills with hard-working character guys, but lacked top-end talent. Now we have gobs of top-end talent and a severe lack of depth in the hard-working character guys area.

  165. wuthering says:

    Wow. Lots of angst. Though last night’s debacle was probably the nadir, any thinking fan knows we are quite a ways from the zenith anyways. Last night was an AHL riddled front-end plugged with a few NHLers who happened to play like plugs. The back-end had its best defensive players ready to go, and they looked dreadful out there, including thecaptainandrewference. The D cannot get the puck to the forwards in the right spots. The few times they did make a pass, it was on the tape of guys who are in a league higher than they ought to be. All really, a recipe for a huge loss.

    Last night was a good thing in my twisted mind. It underscores the need for at least two good ‘D’. How the guy with a ‘C’ should be one who can actually lead a team ON the ice. AHL players are just that. Coaching gaffes galore (should’ve wrote ‘Guidance’ for those alliteration lovers). Bucky and Smith should be gone because Oilers.

    And, for the love of the Oilers, do not sell low on young talent.

  166. Pablo Aimar says:

    godot10: You mean like you, who blames Eberle for the woes of this team.Eberle has success at the highest levels of hockey outside of the Oilers.You choose Eakins over Eberle.Not a peep out of you about Hemsky abdication of any leadership or responsibility as one of the veterans.The blogosphere wants to choose Eakins over Eberle and Justin Schultz.

    Eberle has had success at the junior level playing a junior style that he is still playing in his 4th fucking year in the NHL. That style will let him score some points but it won’t help the team win games. Justin Schultz may be a useful player some day (he hasn’t played 80 games) but he sure isn’t right now. Eakins looks clueless. Get rid of them all. At some point people will have to stop making excuses (Gagner is in his SEVENTH year) and realize the problem isn’t the 4th line or the backup goalie. The problem is this much ballyhooed core of superstars isn’t good enough. And there is zero indication they ever will be.

  167. prairieschooner says:

    The problem lies with Mac T
    He wanted his own guy
    He chose Eakins because he was a hard nosed no namby pamby coach with an aggressive approach to coaching.
    There was nothing wrong with his thinking after all we were all talking about a no nonsense guy capable of dishing out tough love as the best way to change the culture.
    The problem was that Eakins has a few deficiencies in his make up that are exposed at the NHL level but not at the AHL level..
    I do not think you can ascribe culture to the Oilers given the personnel changes over the past few seasons. If a player is not playing a 2 way game and will not change then change the player
    It is a cop out to label the whole team
    I think we are stuck with Eakins so I hope he is willing to let the fans have some success as he implements his system

  168. hunter1909 says:

    What do you think it will take for Kevin Lowe to publicly address the fan’s current angst?

    It would make everyone feel better if he could step out of The Tower™ and let us in on some of his secrets of success. Or even a lecture, on how the fans aren’t really pulling their weight. Anything.

  169. godot10 says:

    Pablo Aimar: Eberle has had success at the junior level playing a junior style that he is still playing in his 4th fucking year in the NHL. That style will let him score some points but it won’t help the team win games.Justin Schultz may be a useful player some day (he hasn’t played 80 games) but he sure isn’t right now.

    Jake Gardiner is still a 3rd pairing defensemen on the Maple Leafs. Bryan Campbell played a couple of years in the AHL, and a couple more on the 3rd pairing with James Patrick in Buffalo.

    Justin Schultz has been forced to play top 4 D from day 1.

    Eberle was rocking and rolling with Matt Duschene at the World Championships last spring with Lindy Ruff coaching, and it wasn’t the first time he excelled there with a real hockey coach.

  170. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909:
    What do you think it will take for Kevin Lowe to publicly address the fan’s current angst?

    It would make everyone feel better if he could step out ofThe Tower™ and let us in on some of his secrets of success. Or even a lecture, on how the fans aren’t really pulling their weight. Anything.

    I don’t think he makes an appearance. MacT is the GM, Eakins the coach, they trot out MacGregor to speak to media when the need arises. Lowe is outside the job description for public speaking, and based on his ‘we have levels of fans’ comment I suspect there’s a pretty tight cover on that lid.

  171. godot10 says:

    prairieschooner:
    The problem lies with Mac T
    He wanted his own guy
    He chose Eakins because he was a hard nosed no namby pamby coach with an aggressive approach to coaching.
    There was nothing wrong with his thinking after all we were all talking about a no nonsense guy capable of dishing out tough love as the best way to change the culture.
    The problem was that Eakins has a few deficiencies in his make up that are exposed at the NHL level but not at the AHL level..

    I doubt MacT thought he was hiring a guy who was going to put Yakupov out against the first lines of the other teams as a player with less than 100 games experience, and out of position. And who after the fact, and -4′s, still thinks it was a good idea.

    There is stubborn, and there is stupid stubborn.

    MacT hired the second guy he talked too, an AHL coach with no NHL experience, and he gave him a 4 year contract.

    The smartest man in the room.

    The guy who was supposed to say….”do you really want to do that”?

  172. prairieschooner says:

    Would Randy Carlyle have been a better hard ass to hire had he been available?

  173. cabbiesmacker says:

    Pablo Aimar: Eberle has had success at the junior level playing a junior style that he is still playing in his 4th fucking year in the NHL. That style will let him score some points but it won’t help the team win games.Justin Schultz may be a useful player some day (he hasn’t played 80 games) but he sure isn’t right now. Eakins looks clueless. Get rid of them all. At some point people will have to stop making excuses (Gagner is in his SEVENTH year) and realize the problem isn’t the 4th line or the backup goalie. The problem is this much ballyhooed core of superstars isn’t good enough. And there is zero indication they ever will be.

    Eberle’s scored 76. If my memory serves that’s second only to Hemsky in the past 10 years. I get the angst over Gagner who can’t crack 50 and is in his 7th pro season pulling pretty good coin. eberle is what he is which is what Gagner was “supposed” to be.

    Yes lets trade Eberle and see what happens when he’s on a team where he doesn’t have to carry a big piece of the load along with two other 20 year olds.

    Dangle Gagner? By all means. Been advocating that for 3 years. He’s redundant

  174. TheOtherJohn says:

    Dave Tippett was available when the Oilers hired Eakins

  175. hags9k says:

    What a sad comments section to trudge through. This is a nightmare…

    LT, why have you said Chase has been thinking he’s Bobby Clarke? I haven’t seen him play…

    Gagner’s lack of defense is at the epicenter of what I feel the problem is. (And let me say I give him some slack for having been back for only 2 games.) We have not implemented a defensive system since the 06 playoffs, starting with the Detroit series. We trapped and we won. Then we lose that tall prick and go back to the high flyin Oiler hockey mantra. No results. Nobody checks, the team doesn’t defend as a 5 man unit. Good teams defend, then offense comes from the counter. We won’t implement a defend first mentality due to some bizarre matter of insulting Oiler heritage it seems. Maybe they think UFAs won’t come if we adopt a Wild/Devils type philosophy? Gord knows that topic has their asses puckered…I think it’s time for a Sutter…

    Please stop with the trade Eberle talk. He’s been our best player this year.

    Sam Reinhart step right up. Kevin Lowe step down.

  176. cabbiesmacker says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Dave Tippett was available when the Oilers hired Eakins

    So was Brian Burke when Lowe hired MacTavish.

    That would have taken ol 6 rings right out of his fn comfort zone of course and we can’t have that.

  177. lance says:

    G Money:

    I think its fair to suggest that it may turn up the concept that 2 dynamos are the most a successful team can accommodate, Edmonton holding 5 or 6 tells me that 3 or 4 need to be traded
    Personally, I suspect the number is three.After that, you need to trade a King or an Ace for some top rank lower royalty and/or 8′s and 9′s and 10′s.

    I don’t mind the idea of having 6 guys in the 6M + range, I’m more thinking that losing a few of the fancy pants puck handling magicians is the issue. One Anze goes a long way on a team full of Eberle’s and Hemsky’s. The human rake was no dynamo by my eye but may be yet to the Oilers what the big breasted red head is to the fashion industry.

    but don’t be so sure on the second!

    I remember one winter night near Westlock, our injectors full of used vegetable oil, the battery dead from trying to bear on, 10 000 lbs of certified organic hempseed on the trailer, and between us a single $5 bill. At the time we thought that was very much the nadir, that it couldn’t get worse. When we set the family combine on fire, we found out that it very much could.

    The Oiler’s aren’t necessarily at the bottom at all. As the lady just said, there are still 55 games they can yet lose.

  178. Dee Dee says:

    The Oilers have problems on numerous levels.

    An owner in love with the past and wants to repeat it, without knowing how, and is smitten with the BOTB gang.

    A President of hockey operations who micro manages everything and takes responsibility for nothing. Defends himself by holding up his rings and firing subordinates that he hired.

    A rookie GM

    A rookie Coach who replaced a rookie coach who replaced an oldtime coach who replaced a Grandpa Onion coach who replaced the coach who returned as our latest GM.

    Unbalanced team severely lacking in team toughness (gotten better this year though)

    Completely decimated Left Wing
    Weakness in Centers
    Weakness in Goaltending
    Weakness at Defense

    The entire culture of the organization has been “wait until next year, we’ll be good then” since the 2006 Cup run.

    Injuries have hurt a bit, but more importantly have exposed the severe lack of depth in the organization.

    The problem is not the coach that has been proven 5 times over. It’s not the GM, it’s not the players.

    Nothing will change until paid attendance starts to drop and the profits start to drop. Then when Mr. Katz starts to lose money maybe we will see something happen then.

    The Owner needs to get a new President. The GM needs to get more pieces without sacrificing the chosen ones. The coach needs to reward the players who are best following his system and sit the ones who are not. And the players need to play the coaches team game and not try to do everything on their own.

    I personally believe that replacing Lowe would do wonders for the organization but will not be holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

  179. flyfish1168 says:

    We have hit rock bottom again. I hope they bring their golf clubs to Florida. Relax have a team bonding experience and get back to simply playing a simple system and start having fun. Relax the grip on the stick. Coach and G.M. let the players know to go out have fun and don’t worry if you make a mistake.

  180. Lowetide says:

    hags9k:
    What a sad comments section to trudge through.This is a nightmare…

    LT, why have you said Chase has been thinking he’s Bobby Clarke?I haven’t seen him play…

    Gagner’s lack of defense is at the epicenter of what I feel the problem is.(And let me say I give him some slack for having been back for only 2 games.)We have not implemented a defensive system since the 06 playoffs, starting with the Detroit series.We trapped and we won.Then we lose that tall prick and go back to the high flyin Oiler hockey mantra.No results.Nobody checks, the team doesn’t defend as a 5 man unit.Good teams defend, then offense comes from the counter.We won’t implement a defend first mentality due to some bizarre matter of insulting Oiler heritage it seems.Maybe they think UFAs won’t come if we adopt a Wild/Devils type philosophy?Gord knows that topic has their asses puckered…I think it’s time for a Sutter…

    Please stop with the trade Eberle talk.He’s been our best player this year.

    Sam Reinhart step right up.Kevin Lowe step down.

    I’ve mentioned Chase in regard to Clarke because that’s what Clarke did. He kind of showed up in Flin Flon at 16 and didn’t come off the ice until he was 20.

    In regard to Eberle, agreed.

    In regard to Gagner, I’m wondering if I can get reaction to this Zona item from a few days ago (and please watch video). Sincere request, would like input.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/11/1/5048376/gagners-hustle-breaking-down-torontos-second-goal

  181. Lowetide says:

    Chase with an assist early in today’s game.

  182. Henry says:

    I just spent the past hour and a half reading this blog when I should have been working. I feel guilty not at all. Just some terrific, intelligent posts in here, particularly DMWs but there is gold everywhere. This blog is almost the only good thing about being an otherwise sad Oiler fan. Even when Mom and Dad have a tiff when both are right.

    Some have tried to quantify the contributions of ownership, various managements, coaches and players to yesterday’s embarrassment. All are at fault to the Oiler’s overall predicament, but, to me, their principal problem responsible for yesterday is the head coach carousel the key players have been asked to grow around. Sure they are professionals and talented and whatever, but they have been tasked to get the latest system and their own shit together under the duress of a losing streak and against the Red Wings – the poster children of roster flexibility, but system continuity. Disaster.

    DMW, LT, Dellow, Zona and others are right that Eakins may be a better coach than Ralph, but Ralph had the guys buy in for the most part. It was wishful thinking to fire Krueger and expect the team to gel under a new system right away at their experience level. Lurching everyone to yet another system just exposes them to good teams like Detroit and the goddam Vancouvers. They are confused and fall back on their talent. It isn’t enough. On the other hand, better (maybe) MacT gets the guy he wanted now than waste years disagreeing with Krueger’s tactics. We just have to wait. I don’t want to.

    MacT has a giant problem, but with the playoffs looking like a hopeless aspiration, he does have time. There is no need to shake up the roster immediately, it is well shaken. If not, give Smid a baseball bat. MacT can make trades with the purpose of winning the trade, not sending a message. Firing the coach would be a Milbury move.

  183. Woodguy says:

    godot10: You mean like you, who blames Eberle for the woes of this team.Eberle has success at the highest levels of hockey outside of the Oilers.You choose Eakins over Eberle.Not a peep out of you about Hemsky abdication of any leadership or responsibility as one of the veterans.The blogosphere wants to choose Eakins over Eberle and Justin Schultz.

    I don’t blame Eberle.

    Like everything else in your world, you bend facts to fit your narrative, the truth be damned.

    Eberle is over paid for what he brings and doesn’t bring enough defense.

    Gagner hasn’t been good enough to keep a soft seconds line in the black ever in the NHL, even with quality team mates.

    I also think that these are two players who have skills that many don’t and would bring back the most in trade to fill the holes.

    As for Hemsky, he’s been their best back checking winger all year.

  184. Woodguy says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Dave Tippett was available when the Oilers hired Eakins

    He wasn’t doing anything until the ownership situation was resolved.

    If PHX didn’t get new ownership, he may have moved.

  185. Andy P says:

    G Money: Ouch – loaded question!Unsuccessful companies are rife with examples of executives airlifted into their midst and making changes before understanding the groundwork of what is there, what is needed, and what has already been tried. (You could argue that this is part of Eakins’ problems).

    So with enormous caveats (I reserve the right to change anything and everything I say if I were ever put in that position!), I would say this:

    1. Yes, I would fire Lowe. The new guy – me – would have to be responsible for all hockey operations. I actually have a higher opinion of Lowe’s capabilities than I suspect most do – he’s made many smart moves in the past. I believe the bitter disappointment of 2006 and all the metaphoric kicks in the junk that followed have poisoned his ability to think and act with clarity, and so he needs to go. As part of this, I would reassure MacT that he is not a lame duck GM, that he has my confidence and a two year window to compete.

    2. I would complete a strategic review of *every* staff member. This business some have stated of “fire every pro scout” is stupid because we don’t actually know who recommended what, and who made the actual decision. The guys who recommended Gordon and Joensuu and Belov look pretty good.The guys who recommended say Jones over Raymond, Acton over Lapierre (if that happened) – not so much. But I would keep or remove staffers based on their track record of success. I might change my mind once the details surface, but its highly unlikely that Smith or Buchberger survive that process.

    3. I would review off-ice operations with MacT and Katz.The Oilers are a wealthy team.There is a cap in place that prevents spending more than anyone else on players. But there is no such limit on other areas like coaching, training, medical, facilities … if Katz is serious about winning, I would tell him that we can leave no stone unturned in exploiting every non-capped advantage. For obvious reasons, the medical situation gets an extra careful look!

    4. I would ask MacT and Eakins to present a player-by-player assessment of where the team is now and what they feel the team needs to look like to be a contender in two years. What I want to see is an actual strategic plan. Some of those changes will occur because of player development e.g. I’m comfortable with a statement like “Yak will be our first line RW on a contender.”Plans by nature are static while reality is dynamic, so the plan as executed will be radically different from what is put on paper. The purpose of the planning exercise is to force a rigorous assessment of the here and now, and a rigorous basis on how and when to make changes. It forms the basis for making good and objective decisions instead of stupid, passive, and/or kneejerk decisions.

    That’s kind of my initial off the cuff assessment – I hope that I have not overwhelmed you with management bullshit!

    That is not mgmt. BS. that is the talk of a person who has clearly been there, done that. With his intelligence, Hockey experience and qualifications, you would likely find him to be a useful asset.

  186. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: I’m still onside with Gagner, and would hope he’s earned more than 2 regular season games to find his way in the new system.

    That said, I agree about the 05-06 team. Gagner would be rehabbing in OKC or still on IR, but the Oilers are a MASH unit now and Gagner is playing.

    If you can get me value for Gagner–real value–fine. But if you’re trading him for a 2nd round pick and replacing him with Arcobello then no sale.

    Every system has the C as the defensive conscious of a line.

    I know the guy has had a lot of coaches, but no one has got that one through to him.

    He plays a lot like Kane, who is a huge defensive liability for CHI.

    Kane makes up for it with his scoring rates, and has a C to cover him.

    Gagner’s scoring rates haven’t covered his up, and doesn’t have a safety valve on his line. He’s supposed to be the safety valve.

  187. Clay says:

    The Messier thing confuses me. Didn’t he leave NYR because he wasn’t given the coaching job when Torts was sacked? So why does he come to Edmonton? Wouldn’t it be for nothing less than a coaching or GM job? I don’t get it.

    Unless, of course, he’s waiting until they give Eakins the boot, and then he swoops in to save the team. I won’t lie to you, this seems as likely to me as Messier accepting some bullshit “special assistant to the GM” job.

    I’m not a fan of this idea, however, you can bet there won’t be a single player in that dressing room that doesn’t listen to his every word.

  188. G Money says:

    Lowetide: In regard to Gagner, I’m wondering if I can get reaction to this Zona item from a few days ago (and please watch video). Sincere request, would like input.

    It’s a fair question, and probably captures both the good and the bad that is Gagner.

    Zona’s comment is fair – Gagner did bustle his buns to skate hard all the way back, and that is to his credit.

    The *problem* with Gagner (and many other Oilers) can also be captured in that sequence, though.

    This screencap http://cdn0.sbnation.com/assets/3484073/JVR3.png

    shows the problem, IMO. After skating all the way back, Gagner is now one step behind JVR – and he stops skating. If you look at how that play is shaping up, Kessel is at the circle with the puck and covered by Belov. If he shoots, it’s on either Belov or Dubnyk to stop him. But the other two ways the play can shape up have JVR as the danger man. Kessel can pass to JVR, or he can shoot (as he does) with JVR right there free and clear to put away any rebound uncontested. He had both options, and it’s the latter that happens.

    Gassed or not, what Gagner should do, *has* to do is not glide and watch the puck, but take the extra two strides and get himself in line or ahead of JVR so he can either break up/prevent the pass, or prevent JVR from having an uncontested shot at the rebound. If he had gotten there, the goal might still have gone in, but it would have been a whole lot less likely. In fact, with JVR covered, Kessel might have decided to skate in behind the net, giving the others a chance to get back in the play.

    Given all the skating, “lazy” might indeed be an unfair representation of Gagner’s effort (and I assume that’s Zona’s point) – but the fact is, that extra two strides is the difference between good defensive coverage and no defensive coverage, and Gagner chose the latter.

  189. godot10 says:

    Henry:
    .On the other hand, better MacT gets the guy he wanted now than waste years disagreeing with Krueger’s tactics.We just have to wait.

    Is the guy who is putting Yakupov out against the first lines of the opposition on purpose the guy MacT thought he was getting? Did MacT do that with Hemsky?

    So is the guy who tells you what you want to hear better than the one who tells you like it is? A yes man over a truth teller?

  190. Clay says:

    Woodguy: Every system has the C as the defensive conscious of a line.

    I know the guy has had a lot of coaches, but no one has got that one through to him.

    He plays a lot like Kane, who is a huge defensive liability for CHI.

    Kane makes up for it with his scoring rates, and has a C to cover him.

    Gagner’s scoring rates haven’t covered his up, and doesn’t have a safety valve on his line.He’s supposed to be the safety valve.

    This, combined with the fact that he can’t win a faceoff, makes it painfully obvious that he should be a winger, no?

  191. Andy P says:

    dangilitis: Oh, I know, the season is over though, so I don’t care when they do it. I can’t stand watching Katz and co stand on the podium and call out the name of a top 5 pick again, because that is more selling hope for half a decade away. Show me that you are committed to winning long-term even if it means giving up on some teenage phenom that may turn out to be Gagner or MPS for a NHL player with a lesser but established ceiling.

    Surely any high draft pick should be traded for nhl players that can be put into service immediately?

  192. Lowetide says:

    G Money: It’s a fair question, and probably captures both the good and the bad that is Gagner.

    Zona’s comment is fair – Gagner did bustle his buns to skate hard all the way back, and that is to his credit.

    The *problem* with Gagner (and many other Oilers) can also be captured in that sequence, though.

    This screencap http://cdn0.sbnation.com/assets/3484073/JVR3.png

    shows the problem, IMO. After skating all the way back, Gagner is now one step behind JVR – and he stops skating. If you look at how that play is shaping up, Kessel is at the circle with the puck and covered by Belov. If he shoots, it’s on either Belov or Dubnyk to stop him. But the other two ways the play can shape up have JVR as the danger man. Kessel can pass to JVR, or he can shoot (as he does) with JVR right there free and clear to put away any rebound uncontested. He had both options, and it’s the latter that happens.

    Gassed or not, what Gagner should do, *has* to do is not glide and watch the puck, but take the extra two strides and get himself in line or ahead of JVR so he can either break up/prevent the pass, or prevent JVR from having an uncontested shot at the rebound.If he had gotten there, the goal might still have gone in, but it would have been a whole lot less likely. In fact, with JVR covered, Kessel might have decided to skate in behind the net, giving the others a chance to get back in the play.

    Given all the skating, “lazy” might indeed be an unfair representation of Gagner’s effort (and I assume that’s Zona’s point) – but the fact is, that extra two strides is the difference between good defensive coverage and no defensive coverage, and Gagner chose the latter.

    That’s exactly what I saw. Gagner haul’s ass back (beating others, implying laziness isn’t part of this play in regard to 89) and then:

    1. Misjudges the speed/development of the play
    2. Runs out of gas in his first game back

    I’m of a mind to forgive that sequence. Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going crazy. :-)

  193. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT

    Expect you look at the Zona’s piece and the pictures/video therein as some evidence of Gagner’s committed back check. Sam did a pretty good job of getting into the picture when JVR shot, he did not get close enough to impede JVR in any way.

    I look at the first picture in the sequence and am absolutely appalled.that there are 4 Oilers beneath the opposition goal line. That photo should be made into a poster of the start to this season. Toronto has 5 players up ice from 4 Oilers . Think that would happen on a team that had any clue about defensive responsibility? a Babcock coached team? Tippett? Hitchcock? Bowman?

    And we wonder why we are 3-10-2. That play highlights what our offensive players don’t get about play in the NHL. They clearly recognize the potential reward from 4 people in tight on the TO goalie. No recognition as to the risk of 4 players below the opposition goalline

  194. pboy says:

    Woodguy,

    Hemmer was the best backchecking forward but I think Nuge has since surpassed him, IMO.

  195. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    That play wasn’t the worst Gagner made that night.

    Watch his Dzone coverage on the 3rd goal : http://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/en/boxscore?id=2013020182

    Last night he missed his check on the back check 5 times in the first period alone.

    1 in the net, 4 not in the net.

    Highlights show one thing, but its the same thing over and over.

    Since the have piles of talent on the wing, wouldn’t the Oilers be better suited to have a Couturier type for 2C?

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