DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN

Last night, after a pretty well played hockey game by the Edmonton Oilers, Taylor Hall expressed how he felt—and it should come as no surprise.

tychkowski

I think that’s a great quote, and a fabulous thing for Hall to say. Why? He should feel this way! 248 games into Taylor Hall’s career, the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them. They won 32 games in his second season under Tom Renney, and they are on pace to win 25 this season—I’m certain many feel the club is going the wrong way.

I don’t agree.

HOW WELL DID THEY PLAY?

  • Dallas Eakins: “I liked the pace of our game… Except for a couple bounces, I thought our guys executed the game plan as laid out.”
  • Jordan Eberle: “We showed again we can play with this team… Two mistakes ended up in our net. Other than that we played a good game.”
  • Taylor Hall: “I thought we showed a lot of pushback against a heavy team… It would have been nice to get a couple goals.”

MacTavish, Craig

FACTS

The Edmonton Oilers marched into Los Angeles and played two good hockey games. This isn’t a matter of effort or heart, and really not even execution (mistakes happen, and they had their chances last night—specifically Hall and Yakupov); this is a matter of two California teams being flat out better than the Oilers. Consider it payback for the 1980′s.

MORE FACTS

I think we need to have some patience here, folks. Craig MacTavish has been on the job for less than a year, and found some gems (Perron, Gordon, Ference, Belov, Arcobello) for the group. If he can repeat that this coming summer, that should give this hockey team enough to push for the second season. I understand things are tough right now, and understand that this team needs to win some hockey games this season, but we also knew the left coast road trip was going to be a killler (and it was).

I believe Craig MacTavish is doing the right thing here, keeping his powder dry and waiting for the right opportunity. Who cares if Nail Yakupov may match Mike Bloom’s 1974-75 plus/minus? Does that mean he should trade him to Detroit for Blair Stewart? No. Stay the course, one day this team can identify the turning point and maybe it’s now.

Get good players. KEEP good players.

gardiner common

THEY HAVE TO MAKE A TRADE

Sure, eventually. If someone shakes loose—Ehrhoff or Campbell or maybe Gardiner—MacT needs to pursue the hell out of it, and I’m sure he will. We should even expect an overpay of some sort, but if the ask is any of the cluster group without an impact player returning, then staying the course is the right thing to do. At worst, maybe MacT brings in another veteran D to go with the group that includes Petry, Justin Schultz, Andrew Ference and Belov (the group I imagine will be here next season from the current lineup).

DID YOU HEAR YOUR TONE?

It seems to me that for long periods during the walk through the desert 2006-13, there wasn’t much edgy coverage of the Oilers. The word rebuild seemed to be a cover for progress, and that cover was blown when Craig MacTavish whispered sweet nothings in our ear last spring. I think there’s a real danger on the horizon, and that comes from not allowing the new GM and coach to go through a period of adjustment as they set the roster and the players get used to the new ways.

An article like this one reflects what the fanbase is thinking this year, and the edge is there (“looks like the Edmonton Oilers are OK as long as they don’t have to play anyone good”) in a way I don’t recall seeing from many of Edmonton’s media during that 2006-13 period. Maybe I’m wrong, but the knives seem to be growing quickly on the MacT/Eakins duo, and frankly I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s me creating this scenario in my own mind, I’d love your input.

gagner common

SAMWISE

Well, he did it again. Sam Gagner has to be the absolute champion for “also in photo” appearances this season for the Edmonton Oilers. We knew he wasn’t a gifted defensive player, but there were small signs of progress along the way; however, Shawn Horcoff’s heavy lifting clearly gave us a false impression of young Samwise as a center. He’s not able to play the position without the puck, and last night continued this incredible group of snapshots where brain freeze led to goal against.

This is a tough thing now, folks. Gagner is a big part of the cluster from what we know, and I’m fairly certain the idea is to proceed with him as part of the group. However, keeping him in the middle is costly, and moving him out of town at value impossible (if we see it, other NHL teams sure as hell see it).

What’s the solution? Endeavor to persevere. And move him to wing.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

garr1

10 this morning, TSN 1260, the joint will be rocking! Scheduled to appear:

  • Alan Hull, Copper and Blue. We’ll talk about how much time Dallas Eakins has if things continue this way.
  • Matt Henderson, Hockeybuzz. We’ll talk about last night’s game and what the Oilers can do right now to improve the team.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. The difficult story of Ryan Freel.

10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter.

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156 Responses to "DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN"

  1. boxman says:

    LT do you have a perspective on Eberle won’t pass to Yakupov. Is this more then just a rumour?

  2. Lowetide says:

    boxman:
    LT do you have a perspective on Eberle won’t pass to Yakupov. Is this more then just a rumour?

    I’ve never bought into it as a thing. There is a trust issue, that happens with all players. The only cure i know of is time.
    Gagner-Hemsky trust each other now, but it took time.

  3. Thinker says:

    If gagner is a winger, he is more than expendable. He is similar to eberle, but ten times worse. Yak gives a different look, and Hemsky is useful in the dzone which is needed in a 3RW. The only reason I’m willing to keep gagner is we have nobody to play 2C (I’m not betting on arcobello after half a season). If we draft a centre in the spring, then gagner has to be moved. I hope we are in ekblad territory though. Only problem with him is that he makes the nhl next year, and the organization will likely rush nurse, so we could end up with two or more rookie blue. BYE BYE PLAYOFFS.
    I also think this rebuild is way behind schedule (but did anyone ever really think there was a plan). The year before the lockout, the expectation was the playoffs. Tambellini said something to that extent, but I can’t remember the exact verbal. Sorry, I like everything that MacT and Eakins say, but the smid trade was asinine, and I can’t logically support a coach whose team is losing, and playing below previous year output.

  4. bookje says:

    boxman:
    LT do you have a perspective on Eberle won’t pass to Yakupov. Is this more then just a rumour?

    My perspective is that hockey fans are like 1960s sitcom housewives who love to make things up and/or exaggerate things.

  5. Clarkenstein says:

    Christmas is in a week and the neverending “GroundHog Day” rebuild continues in this cold and dark hinterland. Now only 6 points away from DFL…DFL again. This isn’t progress. This is hopeless. It’s bordering on criminal.

  6. Thiru says:

    The first goal last night was a comedy. There were four players who were moving up the wall, then Doughty turned and headed for the net. The other two pursued the play, and Gagner just stopped.

    Of course, this resulted in a 2 on 1 down low, with Dwight King having an eternity to deke out Bryz for the goal. During that eternity, Sam Gagner did not move!

    89 needs a game in the press box and then some 4th line duty.

    Moving him to the wing and continuing to throw him out there for the PP is not going to make him a better player.

  7. Bar_Qu says:

    Sam Gagner on the point of a powerplay letting the Oilers down? Who’da thunk it?

    MacT. Get Laviolette or someone else to assist your young coach to have a half-decent PP.

    And I won’t dwell on the weak clearing, followed by a line-change to seal the lead for the KIngs. That was too obvious a mistake for almost any NHL player getting more than a million a year.

  8. denny33 says:

    I think we need to have some patience here, folks
    *******************************************************
    Anyone remember all the discussion in October and November of how this 2013 version of the Oilers looked?

    Progressing? Vastly better than last year…without a doubt.

    How many times have we seen the darkest before the Dawn line.

    Patience? In year 2013

  9. oilabroad says:

    I think we have to stop talking about ‘getting value’ for this player or that player… if they are not playing up to their contract $$, then they are negative value and the only value they have is their cap space when they are gone. Trade Gagner for a 4th liner who is actually good in his role, has a value contract and doesn’t leak goals against and that is a good trade. Then take his 4M to overpay players who may actually help you win something…

  10. 8p0intgame says:

    If Daryl Katz is REALLY collecting Boys on the Bus, Gretzky will be GM by springtime.

  11. denny33 says:

    Clarkenstein,

    Christmas is in a week and the neverending “GroundHog Day” rebuild continues in this cold and dark hinterland. Now only 6 points away from DFL…DFL again. This isn’t progress. This is hopeless. It’s bordering on criminal.
    ********************************************************

    You have spoken heresy – “This isn’t progress”…..

    You better duck

  12. denny33 says:

    Waiting for some insight on just how truly Amazing the Dallas Eakins press conference was….

  13. TeeVee says:

    Thiru:
    The first goal last night was a comedy. There were four players who were moving up the wall, then Doughty turned and headed for the net. The other two pursued the play, and Gagner just stopped.

    Of course, this resulted in a 2 on 1 down low, with Dwight King having an eternity to deke out Bryz for the goal. During that eternity, Sam Gagner did not move!

    89 needs a game in the press box and then some 4th line duty.

    Moving him to the wing and continuing to throw him out there for the PP is not going to make him a better player.

    Gagner standing there watching King with the puck, only 6 feet away, makes my effing blood boil.

  14. Dee Dee says:

    Yah, patience. As if seven years of losing wasn’t being patient enough.

    This is the great Oiler Circle of Life folks, it happens like this every single year.

    The next phase is winning down the stretch, once all the pressure is off the team to make the playoffs. This serves to give the fans hope and make them feel a glimmer of hope for next year and getting all the first rate fans a reason to renew their season tickets.

    I’d be pissed if I were Hall too. The first 6 years of the rebuild were supposed to add a supporting cast to the first over alls, and if you take away the excellent signings from this year, there ain’t much left.

  15. russ99 says:

    I’m really down on the braintrust at this point.

    There’s no thinking or adjustment, just ram this style of hockey down everyone’s throats, win or lose.

    You try to play that way vs. the Bruins, Canucks, Ducks and Kings, you may be able to say nice things about how you hung in there with these guys, but that only counts for style points. It comes down to one thing – you can’t score goals, you don’t win, and playing this style of hockey against teams full of pros with players who are apt to playing that way and have had years of success with it is playing right into their hands and basically giving up.

    BTW: Last year when we actually tried to win games and not go back to school on defense and play Detroit-style puck possession without anyone close to Detroit’s defensemen, center depth and bottom six we went 3-1-1 vs. Vancouver, 1-1 vs LA. We did go 0-3 vs. Anaheim, but that was in the great falloff at the end of last season.

    How can anyone think that we’re not going backwards?

    BTW – not sure if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but there’s a great article on Bleacher Report about Clarkson that really reinforces the idea that Corsi doesn’t mean squat unless you’re scoring goals.

  16. Hammers says:

    Right now LT McT needs to get Belov & Bryz signed for a few years , make decisions on Petry ,Hemsky & DD. . Talking about what he can add in the summer can wait . As for Gags I have been saying all year its time to put him on the wing or trade him . Arco probably isn’t a long term solution as 2nd line center but right now he can’t do any worse . That slots Lander as 4th line center and if Gags is rated higher than Hemsky he goes on the wing. I don’t see these decisions as tough but what maybe tough is getting them done .

  17. FastOil says:

    From my point of view, the best thing to do now is pursue Reinhart, sign a vet D and a vet C, resign Dubnyk and Bryz to value deals, trade Eberle to the Sabres for their first and Erhoff and BAM no more roster holes!

    Somebody hit the easy button. Oh, and really there is no excuse for the PP with that much talent to work with.

  18. Colieo87 says:

    Xmas Poem to Santa from Oiler fan in edmonton:

    Dedicated to Lowetide:

    no fire no desire
    Oiler fans should all inquire?
    we get run over like a tire
    the management should all retire

    glory days will be back I’m told
    please saint nick before I get old
    we all have hope then we get rolled
    with any help they’ll all be sold

    they can not check they can not hit
    if they play good their gonna sit
    this team is not a real good fit
    our Goalie needs a larger Mitt

    we get a new coach every year
    and new players just like their peers
    we have to put up with other fans jeers
    I look at the crest and it brings me to tears

    Santa Claus I want you to know
    we need your help we’ve reached a new low
    there is no other team below
    so please get get rid of kevin lowe

  19. Thinker says:

    In today’s nhl, almost every team can beat every other team, save maybe the bottom five. This stupid line of “we showed we could play with them” just shows how far the oiler’s really are. I don’t care if you beat the first place team in a one off, if you lose to every other team. It doesn’t show you are a playoff team if you can beat LA once.

  20. Gret99zky says:

    “I think that’s a great quote, and a fabulous thing for Hall to say. Why? He should feel this way! 200 games into Taylor Hall’s career, the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them.”

    I don’t see this as a great of fabulous thing for Hall to say. To me it is an indication that Hall is going to jump ship sooner rather than later.

    I don’t think all the talk about corgis, good arrows and making sense pressers are going to prevent Hall from asking Orr to call MacT and give him the, “It’s’ not you, it’s me” talk.

    This isn’t like 1950′s marriages where you stick around no matter what.

    There are options for players like Hall who gave it their best but it just isn’t working.

    Christ, I won’t even go out in public wearing an Oilers hat. I can imagine how this kid must feel.

    And when he finally does ask for a trade I won’t blame him one bit. KLowe had his chance. He blew it.

  21. Ribs says:

    You guys are nuts if you think Eberle is purposefully not passing the puck to Yakupov.

    Yak plays a very different game than Eberle and that’s likely where the problem is (if there is one). Eberle is used to playing the standard set up game where you slow the play down and have your teammates give you options, whereas Yakupov likes to drive to the open spots as fast as possible and he can easily overshoot himself if the pass doesn’t come. Both styles can work, but these guys need to be on the same page and chemistry takes time.

  22. FastOil says:

    Gret99zky,

    I don’t think we should feel too sorry for the high picks. They are supposed to be the answer to the problem, but they are at the core of the problem.

    If Gagner, Hall, Eberle, even RNH (Yak gets a pass this year) decided to play man hockey the team would be knocking on the door. Yes they are in a tough position but that is the nature of the beast – nearly all high picks go to struggling teams.

    So Hall can use his pain to motivate him to do what needs to be done in the greater sense, to be a more complete player. It is far more efficient to prevent goals and let the talent take games over than to try to overwhelm with offense only – it won’t work.

  23. GordM says:

    When I saw Staples talking about the need for ‘teaching’ assistant coaches, I checked into Smith and Buchberger. Both have absolutely zero coaching outside of the Edmonton Oilers organization (I think the only exception is Smith’s brief stint with the Flames before returning to the ice). How this organization, with it’s considerable failure in the past 8 years, continues to believe the answers lie within is truly mind-boggling. I know…I know…Katz = 80s Oilers Fan Boy and that’s why…still mind-boggling though.

    I did learn Steve Smith is from Glasgow…which I didn’t know.

  24. knighttown says:

    I’m a little shocked by this post to be honest. You don’t agree that this team is going the wrong way? They’ve played 20 games now against decent-to-good (Top 15 in the NHL) hockey teams and won TWO of them. They have two wins to be proud of this entire season; Montreal in October and Colorado in early December. This is getting close to historically bad.

    What’s amazing to me is that some of the brightest people I know (in the ‘sphere) really felt a corner was being turned because of the Corsi rates early in the season but most of us were shouting from the rooftops that this decent Corsi was built up against the softest schedule a Western Conference team could possibly face.

    And I’m guessing when we pick up a win or two in our next few games (Col, St.L, Win, Cal, Phil) it’ll be the same refrain; turning a corner.

    I’ll give you a betting tip here folks…bet on the Oilers finishing bottom two:
    -brutal schedule compared to the EC fodder as the 2nd half of the season has you playing in conference way more often. January is SJ-Ana-TB-StL-Pitt-Chic-Minn-Winn-Van-Phx-Nash-Van-SJ. That’s nine guaranteed losses, a punchers chance in TB and a coin toss against Nashville and Winnipeg.
    -Health. This team is remarkably healthy. They have better depth than before but expect a few more injuries in the second half.

    One thing I would acknowledge is that the Oilers are probably a better team than last year and are definitely a better team than a handful of teams in the East but living in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference in 2013-14 is NO place for kids. We’re looking at 6 no-doubter Cup favorites (SJ, Anah, LA, Chic, St.L, Van) and three or four really good teams (Minn, Col, Phx, Dallas). They picked the wrong time to be shitty against abnormally good competition.

  25. M Parkatti says:

    Yes, Hall can be upset about losing another game like this. But he had 3 very good chances between the late 2nd and 3rd period (including another flubbed breakaway) that could have made that game 1-1, and our mood is very different today. The 2-0 goal was less than a minute after his wide open slot shot in front. There’s randomness in that, but I hope he realizes that the game was on *his* stick. He is this team’s franchise player, and players like that get chances like that to tie or win games (because of ice-time, circumstances, deployment, teammates, etc etc). I can simultaneously feel bad for him for losing another game like that, but also expect him to score on at least one of those chances. I keep going back to imagining what would happen if that was Toews or Kane with the puck on his blade with a chance to tie it late. They bury those. It’s not clutchness — it’s capitalizing on very good chances.

  26. Hammers says:

    Hall’s comment “Ive seen it to many times ” makes me think what I said last night is the next step and that’s asking for a trade . Not sure his approach to the NHL style of play has been learned . He still makes bad cross ice passes that can be picked off . His power move off the wing hasn’t changed to my eye and my guess is other teams “D” no what’s coming . He is a terrific talent who thinks “D” is something for defensemen . Reminds me a bit of Gags in that he keeps doing the same thing over and over . Now we know why Detroit left Zetterburg & Datsyuk in the AHL .Ebs playing in the AHL helped his game and there are times I think RNH & Yak should be there now. The minor leagues of sport are there for a reason to learn and to aspire to get out .

  27. Woodguy says:

    It seems to me that for long periods during the walk through the desert 2006-13, there wasn’t much edgy coverage of the Oilers. The word rebuild seemed to be a cover for progress, and that cover was blown when Craig MacTavish whispered sweet nothings in our ear last spring. I think there’s a real danger on the horizon, and that comes from not allowing the new GM and coach to go through a period of adjustment as they set the roster and the players get used to the new ways.

    An article like this one reflects what the fanbase is thinking this year, and the edge is there (“looks like the Edmonton Oilers are OK as long as they don’t have to play anyone good”) in a way I don’t recall seeing from many of Edmonton’s media during that 2006-13 period. Maybe I’m wrong, but the knives seem to be growing quickly on the MacT/Eakins duo, and frankly I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s me creating this scenario in my own mind, I’d love your input.

    MacT put the target on both he and Eakins this summer with all the talk about being bold, impatient etc.

    He put high expectations out there and gave the MSM a target to shoot at.

    Tambellini promised nothing, and delivered!!

    Tambellini preached patience, so the MSM did as well.

    MacT preached impatience and so the MSM does as well.

    Also,

    I think twitter has something to do with this too.

    The fanbase jumped on the raised expectations and now the natives are restless and the MSM sees it on twitter and knows they have a willing audience for negative pieces.

    I’m bitter that we saw this coming when Tambo added nothing to support the kids for his entire tenure.

    Everyone preached patience, when Tambo should have been adding secondary support.

    Now they actually need patience while MacT adds secondary support but the patience well is dry.

    Good thing Kingsway is immune to the fan base (see: Lowe, Kevin – Employment) so MacT probably won’t feel too much pressure to react with a poor trade.

  28. rickithebear says:

    I used to get all my training concepts in he 80′s from the translation of articles by michael Yessis in the soviet sports Review. Yessis was a student of the russian greats who introduced SHOCK (plyometric), TRANSFER and BLOCK Periodizing Training to North America.

    The great Russian lifter Vasily Alekseyev

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_cBtKQ5y8k&feature=player_embedded

    Wrote a 7 article explanation on how to recognize steriod use in athletes. But was really run to tell the political sports centers to achieve peak athletic performance thru chemicals.

    The key was not to do chemicals until the atheletes had completed the natural growth cycles that occur till age 23 and mass development til age 27. The main reason i did not use chemicals.
    My career nended before age 26. so i did not have to make that decision.

    We talk about size but?
    Perron 25 6’0″ 200lb
    Gagner 24 5’11″ 200lb
    Eberle 23 5’10″ 180lb
    j. Schultz 6’2″ 190Lb
    Hall 22 6’1″ 200lb
    Lander 22 6’0″ 185lb
    RNH 20 6’1″ 180lb
    Yakupov 20 5’11″ 185lb

    In the system
    Martindale 22 6’3″ 202lb
    Pitlick 22 6’2″ 192lb
    Hamilton 22 6’3″ 210Lb
    McCarron 21 6″3″ 220Lb
    Zharkov 19 6’4″ 210Lb
    Moroz 19 6’3″ 215lb
    Slepyshev 19 6’2″ 195lb
    Khaira 19 6’4″ 215Lb
    Yakimov 19 6’4″ 220Lb
    Marco Roy 18 6’1″ 185Lb
    Chase 6’0″ 205Lb
    Houck 6’1″ 195lb

    Davidson 22 6’2″ 210lb
    Marincin 22 6’4″ 190lb
    Musil 20 6’3″ 200lb
    Gernat 20 6’4″ 200lb
    klefbom 20 6’3″ 210lb
    Nurse 6’3″ 195lb
    There is a whole lot of growing and gaining that will occur in the next 5 years.

  29. jake70 says:

    To the young guys, with the money and the ice-time, TAG, you’re it. It sucks but there’s no where to hide you now. Work through it, will make men out of you.

  30. Bruce McCurdy says:

    200 games into Taylor Hall’s career, the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them.

    Sorry to play the role of Debbie Downer (again), but at the team level we are 248 games into Taylor Hall’s career … and the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them. Not sure how many of the 48 games missed by Hall were won by the Oilers, but know it’s a non-zero value. Oilers win rate with or without Hall is well below 40%.

  31. Gret99zky says:

    Don’t worry Hallsy, we got Darnell Nurse and Reinhart/Ekblad coming to the rescue next year.

  32. Lowetide says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    200 games into Taylor Hall’s career, the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them.

    Sorry to play the role of Debbie Downer (again), but at the team level we are 248 games into Taylor Hall’s career … and the Edmonton Oilers have won 87 of them. Not sure how many of the 48 games missed by Hall were won by the Oilers, but know it’s a non-zero value. Oilers win rate with or without Hall is well below 40%.

    Thanks, Bruce. It didn’t look right when I wrote it, but couldn’t figure it out. #mensa

  33. Logan91 says:

    I really feel for the kids on this team.

    After last night I don’t know about this system they’re using, everyone just looks confused at times.

    I feel like things are going to start getting ugly soon, there’s only so much losing a person can take.

  34. denny33 says:

    knighttown,

    I’m a little shocked by this post to be honest. You don’t agree that this team is going the wrong way? They’ve played 20 games now against decent-to-good (Top 15 in the NHL) hockey teams and won TWO of them. They have two wins to be proud of this entire season; Montreal in October and Colorado in early December. This is getting close to historically bad.
    What’s amazing to me is that some of the brightest people I know (in the ‘sphere) really felt a corner was being turned because of the Corsi rates early in the season but most of us were shouting from the rooftops that this decent Corsi was built up against the softest schedule a Western Conference team could possibly face.
    And I’m guessing when we pick up a win or two in our next few games (Col, St.L, Win, Cal, Phil) it’ll be the same refrain; turning a corner.
    I’ll give you a betting tip here folks…bet on the Oilers finishing bottom two:
    -brutal schedule compared to the EC fodder as the 2nd half of the season has you playing in conference way more often. January is SJ-Ana-TB-StL-Pitt-Chic-Minn-Winn-Van-Phx-Nash-Van-SJ. That’s nine guaranteed losses, a punchers chance in TB and a coin toss against Nashville and Winnipeg.
    -Health. This team is remarkably healthy. They have better depth than before but expect a few more injuries in the second half.
    One thing I would acknowledge is that the Oilers are probably a better team than last year and are definitely a better team than a handful of teams in the East but living in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference in 2013-14 is NO place for kids. We’re looking at 6 no-doubter Cup favorites (SJ, Anah, LA, Chic, St.L, Van) and three or four really good teams (Minn, Col, Phx, Dallas). They picked the wrong time to be shitty against abnormally good competition.
    *******************************************************************************
    Best post of the day….please keep posting in here.

    You are like a breath of fresh air in here.

  35. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    As a fan, and given the turd pile laid in the first 15 games, I’m ‘mailing it in’ much like the players will be in about 3 weeks. Its hard for me to get too amped – up or down – given the overwhelming futility and I watch more out of habit than hopeful conviction. Sport is not a forum of rationalization or prediction analytics, its win or lose, fight or succumb. Its pretty simple, this edition of the Oilers blows and we won’t see the needle move until October 2014.

    In the meantime, I await what MacT will do to force changes required and I bet he is itching to pull the trigger and will be pretty damn fearless doing it when opportunity presents itself. Buchberger and Smith will get the pink juice. And two of the youthful core will be jettisoned for different type players. For me personally, its Eberle and Yak and I’m fine with it happening. I have no interest in what the future holds for what these players might or might not accomplish somewhere else. I don’t have fear of it as we wallow in the depths. We place our bets on a couple of the them (Nuge and Hall for me) and build the meaningful support around them – by leveraging our BPA acquisitions into a true pieces of the puzzle. It will likely take up to the trading deadline and through the summer to consummate the deals, but I see no way MacT enters next year with the young four and JShultz all together. It is truly painful to behold – for me and I’m sure for them.

  36. Logan91 says:

    jake70:
    To the young guys, with the money and the ice-time, TAG, you’re it.It sucks but there’s no where to hide you now. Work through it, will make men out of you.

    Minus Perron, and sometimes Hemsky, they aren’t getting any support from anyone on the team. This is a TEAM game, you can’t expect 3-5 players to get you wins every night.

  37. denny33 says:

    Gret99zky,
    Don’t worry Hallsy, we got Darnell Nurse and Reinhart/Ekblad coming to the rescue next year.
    ************************************************************************************************
    Don’t rule out this organization being in on the McDavid Sweepstakes.

  38. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Teri Garr. Interesting lady. Her characters often have a way of making a “I may be stupid, but you’re an idiot!” face.

    My preference is for After Hours.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Hours_(film)

    One of those Scorsese gems that the mobster fanboys never seem to remember belong to the catalogue.

  39. Andy P says:

    If we had last night’s team from the start of the season it seems they would be better than .500 and contending for the playoffs. Even as they need to fix their PP and their play without the puck.

    Try to remember the loss of centers/top players, the DD collapse and the failure of La Barb to carry the load. I too found it hard to watch the losing last night but the team itself is miles better than the demoralized, depleted team that started the year.

    If they can hold themselves together and beat Colorado again I will count that as a character win.

  40. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Title made me think of this:

    In brightest day, in blackest night,
    No evil shall escape my sight.
    Let those who worship evil’s might,
    Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!!!

  41. Melman says:

    Worked hard yesterday, went home, did family stuff and then packed it in without bothering to check the score in the game. It’s really getting hard to care anymore.

  42. Gret99zky says:

    Andy P:
    If we had last night’s team from the start of the season it seems they would be better than .500 and contending for the playoffs.

    Andy, with respect, the Oilers were shut out last night. Zero goals. How do you contend for the playoffs with 0 showing on the scoreboard?

    Are you saying is that if we had Bryz from the start of the season we would be better than .500 and looking at a playoff spot?

  43. denny33 says:

    FastOil,

    From my point of view, the best thing to do now is pursue Reinhart
    ************************************************************************
    What about a stud D- in Ekblad?

    We have enough – allegedly talented forwards to fill a team….

    Let’s all dare to dream of drafting a stud defenceman – dare to dream.

  44. Woodguy says:

    denny33,

    .please keep posting in here.

    knighttown has been posting here for 8 years or so.

    He usually brings the goods.

    He has been posting more lately, which is always welcomed.

  45. theres oil in virginia says:

    M Parkatti,
    You read my mind. (Which means you should start asking yourself some tough questions!) Of course, even though Hall doesn’t even hint at it in this quote, voices will be murmuring that Hall wants out. He probably is pissed at himself as much as anything. I’m glad he hates losing, he can use it to get better…and he needs to get better.

  46. Bar_Qu says:

    I really love the insight into the struggle that it a player has to make to get to the NHL which we get from LT’s site. It has changed my perceptions of who these guys are as individuals and made me a little more empathetic to a kid who does all the right things and by dint of luck or talent-level does not make it to the show. I personally know a couple (JJ Hunter was someone I knew but not well as he was a few years younger than me at the camp we attended and his parents helped run) and it is hard to see someone try that much but still have the dream ended.

    Which is why I take such delight in seeing a kid who came through my own classroom have some success and take another step towards the NHL.

    Truly proud to have officially signed my ELC with the @NHLFlames. I owe a lot of thanks to the people who have supported me along the way.— Morgan Klimchuk (@morganklimchuk) December 18, 2013

    I recognise this has nothing to do with the Oilers, but it is good news and I figure there is nothing else good-newsy to talk about today (moral victories aside).

    And in future, if I don’t necessarily cheer against the Flames when he is on the ice, you will understand why.

  47. theres oil in virginia says:

    knighttown: And I’m guessing when we pick up a win or two in our next few games (Col, St.L, Win, Cal, Phil) it’ll be the same refrain; turning a corner.

    Kind of like when they lose a game or two against really good teams (ANA – 53 pts and 7-1-2 last 10, LAK – 50 pts and 7-2-1 last 10), we hear the same refrain about getting pushed around by bigger teams and going backward. I can’t remember the last time the Oilers played such a controlled game against a better and bigger team. It still wasn’t good enough, even without the couple of breakdowns, but it is getting closer. Eakins has them moving the right direction on the ice. They need more talent and more experience for the young talent they’ve got. If they stay on this course, they’ll start putting up wins. If they get as frustrated as the fans are, they’ll blow up and quit. These guys just need to keep going to work…that’s what they get paid for.

    PS – Detroit (at home) just got dismantled by Anaheim. Interested to see how SJS look against LAK.

  48. Lucinius says:

    Well, my father has actually stopped watching the Oiler games. Come game time he is just handing my mother the remote and telling her to find something to watch. This is a guy who did his best to catch every Oiler game humanly possible since their inception to now and he’s checked out. He won’t watch other teams play — his team is the Oilers and he’s done with them until they stop being this bad.

    For me, this was a major moment because fans like my father aren’t hard to keep; all they want is the mere possibility of a win. He doesn’t care that this is MacT and Eakins’ first year. This was the year the Oilers were supposed to move up in the ranks from ‘shitty team with some good players’ to ‘team missing the playoffs by a bit’. By his estimation this team is worse than last year’s team (and he hated last year’s team) and worse than the team from the year before that.

    And I find it hard to argue with him. Eakins, for all the great things he says has not proven that he can do the hard part of coaching; which is benching players like Gagner or telling the guy that he is, and never will be, an NHL Centerman because he sucks at the position (and he does suck at center, and has since he tried it at the NHL level). Players on this team that aren’t new (like Perron) are by and large regressing, or at best standing pat, under the Eakins system — which is something that should not be tolerated.

    Hall, Eberle, Gagner.. all three still can’t play defensive zone hockey. The kids still try to pass the puck into the net. They still blow powerplay after powerplay.

    Eakins should get the full year, but quite honestly? Right now he’s not showing as the man for the job. And all of his assistants are showing that they should quit because they suck — especially whomever is in charge of special teams.

    The team is a joke, run like a joke, and coached like a joke.

    And as a fan I’m almost at the point of giving up, and quite simply I hope they trade Hemsky so the guy can go somewhere else and play on an actual NHL team while he can still play the game at a high level.

    Patience is not something Oiler fans should still be asked to have. Oiler fans have shown a ton of patience. Oiler fans deserve something for that time. Instead they got this year’s OIlers. Hall and Co. have only themselves to blame.

  49. oilersfan says:

    I think Michael understated the issue…if Taylor Hall is upset they aren’t winning…he can cure that by scoring when he has a breakaway or shot from the slot. he is their best player he needs to bury those and own it when he doesn’t

  50. Bank Shot says:

    Andy P:
    If we had last night’s team from the start of the season it seems they would be better than .500 and contending for the playoffs.

    What?

    They were 44.6% CORSI close last night.

    That was the closest to 50% they have been in their 4 game losing streak.

    This team is suck, and I really don’t see it getting any better when they have a GM that trades a guy like Smid for a prospect goalie.

    I

  51. FastOil says:

    Woodguy:
    It seems to me that for long periods during the walk through the desert 2006-13, there wasn’t much edgy coverage of the Oilers. The word rebuild seemed to be a cover for progress, and that cover was blown when Craig MacTavish whispered sweet nothings in our ear last spring. I think there’s a real danger on the horizon, and that comes from not allowing the new GM and coach to go through a period of adjustment as they set the roster and the players get used to the new ways.


    An article like this one reflects what the fanbase is thinking this year, and the edge is there (“looks like the Edmonton Oilers are OK as long as they don’t have to play anyone good”) in a way I don’t recall seeing from many of Edmonton’s media during that 2006-13 period. Maybe I’m wrong, but the knives seem to be growing quickly on the MacT/Eakins duo, and frankly I don’t understand it. Perhaps it’s me creating this scenario in my own mind, I’d love your input.

    MacT put the target on both he and Eakins this summer with all the talk about being bold, impatient etc.

    He put high expectations out there and gave the MSM a target to shoot at.

    Tambellini promised nothing, and delivered!!

    Tambellini preached patience, so the MSM did as well.

    MacT preached impatience and so the MSM does as well.

    Also,

    I think twitter has something to do with this too.

    The fanbase jumped on the raised expectations and now the natives are restless and the MSM sees it on twitter and knows they have a willing audience for negative pieces.

    I’m bitter that we saw this coming when Tambo added nothing to support the kids for his entire tenure.

    Everyone preached patience, when Tambo should have been adding secondary support.

    Now they actually need patience while MacT adds secondary support but the patience well is dry.

    Good thing Kingsway is immune to the fan base (see: Lowe, Kevin – Employment) so MacT probably won’t feel too much pressure to react with a poor trade.

    Sadly I think Tambellini and MacT, in their judgement, added the support players. I think the problem is that what they see as a good player, a good bet, is not that.

    Jones, Joennsu, Acton, R Hamilton, Belov, Larsen, probably others, there isn’t a solid NHL’er in the lot. Pretty bold moves if bold means risky. There were many guys to be had, for cheap, that have at least decent resumes and a proven track record. MacT passed, I don’t think they were turning him down given a lot were signed late.

    I don’t think they get it as an organization. A team full of young players isn’t supported by young inexperienced or questionable ability players. Everyone but them knew they needed veterans to steady the ship or whatever analogy I can’t think of right know.

    This is my primary concern, that they can’t see what type of players they need and keep seeking out long shots or players that aren’t actually very good, or a good fit, based on some erroneous ideas they hold that are clearly wrong given the results under the same head honcho, and the success of the players they don’t seem to want elsewhere.

    This is in general what I see them as needing to do unless a miracle gift falls in their laps:

    FORWARDS
    Taylor Hall ($6.000m) / Paul Stastny ($7.000m) / Jordan Eberle ($6.000m)
    David Perron ($3.813m) / Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6.000m) / Sam Gagner ($4.800m)
    Nikolai Kulemin ($2.500m) / Boyd Gordon ($3.000m) / Nail Yakupov ($0.925m)
    Brad Boyes ($1.500m) / Mark Arcobello ($1.000m) / Luke Gazdic ($1.000m)
    Tyler Pitlick ($0.851m)

    DEFENSEMEN
    Andrew Ference ($3.250m) / Derek Morris ($3.000m)
    Ron Hainsey ($3.000m) / Jeff Petry ($3.500m)
    Anton Belov ($2.000m) / Justin Schultz ($3.500m)
    Klefbom/Nurse ($0.894m) / Philip Larsen ($1.150m)

    GOALTENDERS
    Devan Dubnyk ($3.500m)
    Ilya Bryzgalov ($2.266m)
    ——
    CAPGEEK.COM TOTALS (follow @capgeek on Twitter)
    (estimations for 2014-15)
    SALARY CAP: $71,100,000; CAP PAYROLL: $70,448,401; BONUSES: $3,200,000
    CAP SPACE (23-man roster): $651,599

    Overpay a bit to get them and reduce term – no more Ference deals.

    Choose your favourites, if I can’t get Stastny who is allegedly going to be moved I would find another Gordon type player and adjust accordingly. Given the team is all about wingers, give them solid defensive centres and attack off the wings while defending the middle.

    I would also make sure any centre I get if not Stastny will go to the net to create room for the smaller wingers. I now have three extra centres (Pitlick has played it) and Lander as depth, no more disasters because of injuries.

    My top 4 is veteran and have played the toughs successfully, if unspectacular. Goaltending (barring dreams of clutchiness) is capable enough.

  52. HiddenDarts says:

    Watched the game with a Kings fan buddy last night, and he made an interesting point about the Gagner situation.

    I told him about the whole “Verbal NMC” that Gagner had, and he felt it was complete BS. So all this hand-wringing people are doing about “if he trades him, players won’t trust MacT” is probably just wasted, er, wringing.

    He mentioned another player that had been drafted and given a “verbal NMC”.

    That player’s name was Mike Richards.

    This no trade clause is worth the paper it’s printed on. This is business.

  53. Andy P says:

    Gret99zky: Andy, with respect, the Oilers were shut out last night.Zero goals.How do you contend for the playoffs with 0 showing on the scoreboard?

    Are you saying is that if we had Bryz from the start of the season we would be better than .500 and looking at a playoff spot?

    I’m saying last night’s team including Bryz. Playing as they did. Which means being shut out as they were but winning a lot of other games that were lost by the “other Oilers” that we saw until recently.

  54. Bar_Qu says:

    FastOil,

    Is Stajan another centre who could fill the second line C role? I don’t know how long he lasts in Calgary under Burke’s “truculence rules” regime.

  55. FastOil says:

    denny33:
    FastOil,

    From my point of view, the best thing to do now is pursue Reinhart
    ************************************************************************
    What about a stud D- in Ekblad?

    We have enough – allegedly talented forwards to fill a team….

    Let’s all dare to dream of drafting a stud defenceman – dare to dream.

    I got him too when I traded Eberle for the Sabres first.

  56. denny33 says:

    FastOil,

    Sorry !

    Well done…

  57. oilersfan says:

    I didn’t read last night’s thread but one thing I haven’t seen today or in the post game scrums is that the first goal was a result of exhaustion. The gagner line was in the LA zone for a full shift length cycling and fighting for the puck. they lost possession and tried to come off but LA would have had a good scoring chance so they stayed on. Perron got possession and iced the puck. If he had been able to just dump it with a little less velocity they would have been able to make a change but it was called for icing and the exhausted worst defensive players on the team were stuck out against Kopitar at all. Bam 1-0 in 10 seconds. No idea why Eakins didn’t call a time out to rest his players as they were clearly gassed.

  58. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Bar_Qu:
    FastOil,

    Is Stajan another centre who could fill the second line C role? I don’t know how long he lasts in Calgary under Burke’s “truculence rules” regime.

    That was LT’s pick a week or so ago when he built next year’s team:

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/12/hurricanes-at-oilers-g32-13-14.html

  59. oilersfan says:

    anybody here think Gagner straight up for travis zajac would fly? New Jersey always is in money trouble and Zajac has a Horcoff like contract that should diminish his value. Zajac has played well with Parise and Elias and isn’t as good with lesser wingers. He would be a perfect complement to Hall and Hemsky.

  60. Woodguy says:

    knighttown:
    I’m a little shocked by this post to be honest.You don’t agree that this team is going the wrong way?They’ve played 20 games now against decent-to-good (Top 15 in the NHL)hockey teams and won TWO of them.They have two wins to be proud of this entire season; Montreal in October and Colorado in early December.This is getting close to historically bad.

    What’s amazing to me is that some of the brightest people I know (in the ‘sphere) really felt a corner was being turned because of the Corsi rates early in the season but most of us were shouting from the rooftops that this decent Corsi was built up against the softest schedule a Western Conference team could possibly face.

    And I’m guessing when we pick up a win or two in our next few games (Col, St.L, Win, Cal, Phil) it’ll be the same refrain; turning a corner.

    I’ll give you a betting tip here folks…bet on the Oilers finishing bottom two:
    -brutal schedule compared to the EC fodder as the 2nd half of the season has you playing in conference way more often.January is SJ-Ana-TB-StL-Pitt-Chic-Minn-Winn-Van-Phx-Nash-Van-SJ.That’s nine guaranteed losses, a punchers chance in TB and a coin toss against Nashville and Winnipeg.
    -Health.This team is remarkably healthy.They have better depth than before but expect a few more injuries in the second half.

    One thing I would acknowledge is that the Oilers are probably a better team than last year and are definitely a better team than a handful of teams in the East but living in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference in 2013-14 is NO place for kids.We’re looking at 6 no-doubter Cup favorites (SJ, Anah, LA, Chic, St.L, Van) and three or four really good teams (Minn, Col, Phx, Dallas).They picked the wrong time to be shitty against abnormally good competition.

    I think they are closer now than they have been in the last few years.

    In 10/11 and 11/12 the Oilers ran really hot to start the year on .940 or so goaltending then came back to earth.

    Last year they had that stretch in the last half of March and into April.

    That annual stretch always made their record look better than they were. Even still they finished 30,29,24.

    This year that’s been flipped on its head.

    PDO by year:

    11/12 999
    12/13 1012
    13/14 981

    Their PDO was in the 970 range after 20 games this year. Just awful goaltending not helping reasonable skating results.

    They started the year playing well and the PDO monster came home to collect from the previous years hot streaks.

    This doesn’t mean they are a good team.

    The are a top pairing D and 2C away from being competitive.

    Also,

    If we look at the Fenclose battle compare to last year, they are doing worse vs. the west.

    Last year they won the FF battle 41% (14/34) of the time vs. the west and this year its 29% (5/17)

    Samples sizes being what they are I’m, not concluding on this, but it doesn’t look good.

    Also,

    Oilers have won the FF battle 11/19 times against the East(58%).

    How bloody awful is the East?

    Lordy.

  61. Woodguy says:

    HiddenDarts,

    Jones, Joennsu, Acton, R Hamilton, Belov, Larsen, probably others, there isn’t a solid NHL’er in the lot.

    You forgot 2 excellent ads in Gordon and Perron.

    Larsen and Belov, for all their foibles are better than any D added by Tambellini.

    I think they’d be an ok 3rd pair.

    I’m pretty sure MacT under estimate how easy it was to get the type of players he wants.

    He knows the holes on D and hasn’t been able to fill them yet.

    I’m not sure he isn’t blind to the Gagner not being the solution as 2C though. He’s been a MacT favorite since he got here.

  62. denny33 says:

    anybody here think Gagner straight up for travis zajac would fly? New Jersey always is in money trouble and Zajac has a Horcoff like contract that should diminish his value. Zajac has played well with Parise and Elias and isn’t as good with lesser wingers. He would be a perfect complement to Hall and Hemsky.
    *****************************************************************************
    The Florida panthers -are a brutal team. Really bad.

    It took them 6 games to figure out just how bad Ryan Whitney is at skating. 6 games.

    Sam Gagner is in his 7th year with Edmonton. He continues to -earn – 2C icetime…..missed the game last night box cars say -3 for Sam – with ZERO shots on goal.

    On NO other team – does Sam Gagner play 2C ( or very few at least )
    ********************************************************************

    Where would this organization be if we had selected Logan Couture instead of Sam Gagner?

  63. FastOil says:

    Bar_Qu:
    FastOil,

    Is Stajan another centre who could fill the second line C role? I don’t know how long he lasts in Calgary under Burke’s “truculence rules” regime.

    He has a blue bubble on the Ninja’s player usage chart with hard usage which is good

    http://somekindofninja.com/nhl/usage.php?f1=2013_s&f2=5v5&f3=&f5=CGY&f4=C%2BLW%2BRW&f7=5-&bubbleType=corsiRel&yAxis=qoc&update-filters=Update+Results

    He is a little lighter than I would like but has 40 hits and 20 PIM in 26 games so it looks like he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a little over .5 PPG.

    He probably would be a nice addition especially if he can play toughs head on and not get punked. I think RNH needs some space to grow physically and develop his 5v5 offensive game which will be hard for him if he’s drowning all the time.

    Gagner can’t play centre on my team and has had more than enough time to get his feet wet even if he is still young. The fact RNH passed him in his first year says it all loud and clear (to bad the Oilers weren’t listening), not many 1 OV’s pass veterans that fast not named Crosby.

    I am not particularly up on other teams players so maybe someone else has some info, but that line of thinking is what makes sense to me.

  64. eidy says:

    Despite the record, I see in the games and in the numbers a real improvement over the last few years. I think 93 is ridiculously good. A 200 ft player and he has real chemistry with 4 and 14. That line can hang with the big boys and will continue to grow.

    Gordon has been better than advertised and Perron one step better than that. Hemsky is having a fine season and hopefully has found enough of a friend in Eakins to convince management to keep him around as a veteran much like Hossa has been in Chicago. I hope Arcobello is alright as he is the third best centre on the team and I have all sorts of time in him staying with the club long term even as a 4th line centre. Smyth is game, but father time has stripped of needed stamina.

    Yakupov is not ready for prime time, but lordy don’t give up on him. It doesn’t help that he is playing on a 3 winger line every time he lines up with 89. Jones has played will, but likely will be trade bait at the deadline. Gazdic is what he is.

    Gagner is lost. Last night I counted the number of times that one of his wingers had to cover for him on the back check or in his own zone and it was 50:50. The other centres were as follows: 93 needed coverage 15% of the time (what a beauty), 27 16%, and arco 20%. There was quite a few times where he coasted back into his own zone so that one of the wingers would take the coverage in the slot and he would peel off to the boards. Hemsky covered once and then pointed to 89 to get back into position. It is unbelievable. 5 different wingers had to cover for 89 while he coasted into the zone with perron doing it 5 times. Get him to wing of off the team. He seems to have another gear to go towards the offensive end, but coasts on the way back.

    Then there was the first goal where he stood and watched the puck for 5-6 seconds as Doughty circled around and down the pipe only to pass to the guy Gagner should have had. Doughty had time to go from the hashmarks, around the top of the circle, through the slot and pass to King and end up near the other dot before Gagner could move 4 feet. His offense does not make up for his defense. I hope they trade him and use it to pick up either a real NHL d or forward. I would take hemsky on my team every time over gagner and gagner has more trade value. My fear is they trade Yakupov and keep gagner because oilers. yeesh

  65. FastOil says:

    Woodguy:
    HiddenDarts,

    Jones, Joennsu, Acton, R Hamilton, Belov, Larsen, probably others, there isn’t a solid NHL’er in the lot.

    You forgot 2 excellent ads in Gordon and Perron.

    Larsen and Belov, for all their foibles are better than any D added by Tambellini.

    I think they’d be an ok 3rd pair.

    I’m pretty sure MacT under estimate how easy it was to get the type of players he wants.

    He knows the holes on D and hasn’t been able to fill them yet.

    I’m not sure he isn’t blind to the Gagner not being the solution as 2C though.He’s been a MacT favorite since he got here.

    That was me. Gordon was good, Perron is a top 6 and it’s the role players I was on about. Larsen and Belov have ‘potential’ but the team needed already there IMO. Hainsey for example. I don’t count Gilbert because of the history.

    There were many decent UFA players to be had this summer, we got Gordon and the team imploded again as we mostly expected. I do feel the D was improved (not enough) but it was a colossal whiff at centre and it was killer.

    Edit: possibly Belov and Larsen could be third but they sure do screw up a lot – maybe one at a time?

  66. theres oil in virginia says:

    LT, the answer is yes. Keep Gagner where he is and let him learn. He looks committed to defense, just bad at it.

    Yakupov didn’t look too good on that first goal either. I don’t think he moved his feet more than a few inches for about 30 seconds. That includes at least two times where the puck carrier skated by him down low, and he didn’t even wave his stick at him. I don’t think that was laziness either, just cluelessness. They have to learn it by doing it.

    Conversely, I thought Taylor Hall’s d-zone game looked much better last night.

  67. Woodguy says:

    FastOil: That was me. Gordon was good, Perron is a top 6 and it’s the role players I was on about. Larsen and Belov have ‘potential’ but the team needed already there IMO. Hainsey for example. I don’t count Gilbert because of the history.

    There were many decent UFA players to be had this summer, we got Gordon and the team imploded again as we mostly expected. I do feel the D was improved (not enough) but it was a colossal whiff at centre and it was killer.

    Edit: possibly Belov and Larsen could be third but they sure do screw up a lot – maybe one at a time?

    The fact that Hainsey, GIlbert and Mason Raymond all went to camps on PTOs kills me.

    All 3 start for the OIlers. Raymond would look good with Gordon and Hemsky on the vet checking line (94,20,83 did very, very well against Kopitar last night)

    Any player going to a camp on a PTO would have jumped at a one year contract with the Oilers and no PTO.

    Missed opportunity for sure.

  68. coolwasabi says:

    During the summer, I liked the suggestion that we trade Gagner – who surely had more value then compared to now – for something useful (gritty winger, solid dman, etc.) and then sign the free agent Grabovski to take his place on 2C.

    Maybe MacT tried and Grabo wasn’t willing to sign in Edmonton. Who knows.

    Btw, I’m still a Gagner fan. I don’t think we should trade him unless something worthwhile comes back the other way. You don’t want another Andrew Cogliano trade (2nd rounder who turned into Marc-Olivier Roy).

  69. Caramel Obvious says:

    This team is so much better than past years it is incredible. If fans are bitching it just shows they have no idea what they are seeing.

    We are through the looking glass. For years I’ve been posting here and elsewhere how the rebuild was a disaster, the team was terrible and had no hope for improvement, that you couldn’t just wait around and wait for young guys to magically become superstars, and that the Oilers were never, ever, ever, going to make the playoffs again, and I was ignored as a nay-sayer.

    Now the team is finally approaching something that resembles a good club and the fanbase has turned rabid, a foaming animal without thought, bent on self-destruction.

    So now it is time to lay down the law.

    Axiom #1 This is the best Oilers team you have seen in years and it isn’t even close. This is beyond dispute by serious people.

    Axion #2 Rebuilding in the NHL is very, very, difficult. Very few teams succeed at turning a losing team into a winner. Hence wins and losses are a poor indicator of the rebuild.

    If you are unhappy and want to fire Eakins or MacT you are an enemy of the people. If either of these things happen the team might as well fold. They are our only hope.

  70. Woodguy says:

    FastOil: That was me. Gordon was good, Perron is a top 6 and it’s the role players I was on about. Larsen and Belov have ‘potential’ but the team needed already there IMO. Hainsey for example. I don’t count Gilbert because of the history.

    There were many decent UFA players to be had this summer, we got Gordon and the team imploded again as we mostly expected. I do feel the D was improved (not enough) but it was a colossal whiff at centre and it was killer.

    Edit: possibly Belov and Larsen could be third but they sure do screw up a lot – maybe one at a time?

    I’m not sure they should play together.

    Belov has a habit of chasing his check. Maybe played in a man system for a long time.

    Larsen is just awful on 2 on 1 situations (like last night and many other nights) where he just does nothing to take away the pass or shot.

    Larsen has been that way since camp.

    Has Steve Smith tried to coach him on this?

    Why has the Oiler D gone to shit since Huddy was turfed with MacT?

    Surely Smith has had less to work with, but outside of Petry (and he still has his moments) I don’t think anyone really progressed under him.

    Ladi kind of ran in place too.

  71. Lois Lowe says:

    I have to admit that yesterday’s game was the first of the season that I payed little or no attention to. It’s that point in the season for me. God bless LT, without him my interest would be close to nil. I love this team, why do they have to hurt me so?

    Also, Vancouver sports radio is asking whether Torts should be in the running for the Jack Adams. And they wonder why everyone hates Dys fans?

  72. Woodguy says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    This team is so much better than past years it is incredible.If fans are bitching it just shows they have no idea what they are seeing.

    We are through the looking glass.For years I’ve been posting here and elsewhere how the rebuild was a disaster, the team was terrible and had no hope for improvement, that you couldn’t just wait around and wait for young guys to magically become superstars, and that the Oilers were never, ever, ever, going to make the playoffs again, and I was ignored as a nay-sayer.

    Now the team is finally approaching something that resembles a good club and the fanbase has turned rabid, a foaming animal without thought, bent on self-destruction.

    So now it is time to lay down the law.

    Axiom #1 This is the best Oilers team you have seen in years and it isn’t even close.This is beyond dispute by serious people.

    Axion #2 Rebuilding in the NHL is very, very, difficult.Very few teams succeed at turning a losing team into a winner.Hence wins and losses are a poor indicator of the rebuild.

    If you are unhappy and want to fire Eakins or MacT you are an enemy of the people.If either of these things happen the team might as well fold.They are our only hope.

    I’m generally on your side on this stuff but consider what I posted earlier.

    If we look at the Fenclose battle compare to last year, they are doing worse vs. the west.

    Last year they won the FF battle 41% (14/34) of the time vs. the west and this year its 29% (5/17)

    Samples sizes being what they are I’m, not concluding on this, but it doesn’t look good.

    Saying:

    Axiom #1 This is the best Oilers team you have seen in years and it isn’t even close. This is beyond dispute by serious people.

    Isn’t jibbing with the fenclose results vs the West.

    It could improve, but I don’t think its a slam dunk.

  73. denny33 says:

    I know this has been commented on but …..Team Canada WJ – pretty good smattering of non-1st round players….

    You bring a lineup like that to represent Canada – you must really know something pro scouts don’t know….not judging ( yet ) but find it very interesting.

    Adam Pelech – 3rd round
    Chris Bigras – 2nd round
    Damon Severson – 2nd round
    Charles Hudon – 5th round?
    Taylor Leirer – 4th round?
    Felix Gerard – 4th round
    Nic Petan – 2nd round ( following his career closely – 66 points/32 games sans Seth Jones )
    Josh Anderson – 4th round

  74. gcw_rocks says:

    if the media is turning on MacT, that’s good. Lowe, I believe, promised us when the rebuild started a 5 to 6 year re-build, with the playoffs in four. That’s this year. And old 6 rings knows a thing or two about winning.

    MacT came in and talked big. He didn’t preach patience. He did the opposite. He preached impatience. So if that is biting him in the ass now, too bad. You set expectations and then you live with this consequences.

    What about the Oilers record this year would contradict the notion that they are fine as long as they don’t have to play anyone good? That is exactly what their record says. They are now sitting in 29th in the league. 29th! They are on pace for 6-7 less wins than last season. They are on pace to give up 51 more goals against per 82 than last season.

    MacT had a whole year to evaluate the roster before he became GM. It’s not like he walked in off the street. The flaws were obvious. Instead of stepping up, he played around the edges.

    And you can’t give him a pass because he is a rookie GM. If the pace of the turn around is impaired by the fact he is a rookie GM, then the team should not have selected a rookie GM after SEVEN YEARS out of the playoffs. And since he has Lowe tagging along with him, one could easily argue any weaknesses in experience should be offset by old six rings’ years of experience.

    If this were Toronto or Montreal, the media would have eaten him and Lowe for breakfast by now.

    There is no acceptable excuse for the state of this franchise. None. They deserve every shot they get.

  75. spoiler says:

    Sam Gagner cannot play wing. He is useless at board battles.

    We have seen that movie before and it had an unhappier ending than Chinatown.

    If we move him to wing and he plays even worse, then his trade value, whatever it may be, will be flushed. At that point, he may well be a buyout candidate at year end (do contracts signed after the CBA qualify?)

    The Heatley contract is killing the Wild and they’re desperate for scoring. They play a structured system that makes everyone look good defensively, even the Sam Gagners of this world.

    Find out Who + Gagner will bring you Brodin and relieve them of Heatley (who is done as a hockey player).

  76. FastOil says:

    Woodguy: The fact that Hainsey, GIlbert and Mason Raymond all went to camps on PTOs kills me.

    All 3 start for the OIlers.Raymond would look good with Gordon and Hemsky on the vet checking line(94,20,83 did very, very well against Kopitar last night)

    Any player going to a camp on a PTO would have jumped at a one year contract with the Oilers and no PTO.

    Missed opportunity for sure.

    It is concerning and is what makes me wonder what is going on in the Batcave. Can they not see that those players are better than what they have/acquired even if not ideal? I think they feel that they are too ‘soft’, forget the hockey playing thing.

  77. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy,

    Surely Smith has had less to work with, but outside of Petry (and he still has his moments) I don’t think anyone really progressed under him.

    it will be a real tell if Smith survives the season. No way a team should be on pace to give up 51 more goals that the previous year and retain its defensive assistant coach. Goalie coach probably should be changed as well.

  78. Jon K says:

    I’ve made my feelings about Hall known repeatedly on this blog. Quite frankly I think these comments from Hall are the beginning of the end of his relationship with the Oilers.

    1. The comments are not constructive.
    2. The comments generally speak to Hall’s disappointment in the team and implicitly his teammates, because.
    3. The comments show a lack of accountability, as by my recollection he’s generally not taking responsibility for missing his chances, turning over the puck, not showing consistent effort defensively, etc.

    He’s plainly critical of teammates during games, he’s speaking out to the media more consistently, and by metrics and eye he’s having a year where he’s cheating for offensive counting numbers.

    I don’t think Hall asks for a trade, I think the team moves him. He’s a darksider in the room.

  79. Caramel Obvious says:

    Woodguy,

    Well, I wasn’t making a rational argument, more of a responding in kind.

    As to that particular parsing of the data, while the western conference is obviously better that doesn’t mean it is sufficiently different to justify ignoring data. There is no evidence that I know of that indicates that record against good teams is more predictive than the record against all teams.

  80. spoiler says:

    Woodguy: Belov has a habit of chasing his check. Maybe played in a man system for a long time.

    Watching him follow Kopitar on the King goal, I felt the same way. Again, small sample sizes, but I’m going to be watching for this more carefully in the future.

  81. denny33 says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Axiom #1 This is the best Oilers team you have seen in years and it isn’t even close. This is beyond dispute by serious people.
    **********************************************************************
    Do you even watch the games?

    US troops did in fact enter and capture the city of Baghdad.

  82. VOR says:

    I can feel for Hall. Hockey is a game where you can’t try to do too much. Yet Hall does. What choice does he have? He hates losing and most of his teammates are spectators not performers.

    I would offer him, the Oilers team, and its fan base the following story. Lets call it, “Climbing out of the pit of despond.”

    Once upon a time a quite good hockey team, realizing that it was badly in need of renewal entered a rebuild. That first year they drafted the two young men Curt and Joey who were meant to lead that renewal. These two kids were widely touted for their intangibles.

    A year later, by the time our two heroes reached the NHL, the team had slid from good to mediocre. In their rookie year their team went from mediocre to bad. Their sophomore season the team went from bad to terrible and stayed there. Management tried desperately to find the support players these two young men needed to have any hope of turning the ship around. Curt and Joey lived through an unimaginable hell of bad. In their first 324 games in the NHL their team won precisely 75 games.

    Then came the year they were 23. From worst to first their team went, the biggest turnaround in NHL history. Curt and Joey were a very big part of that improvement both finally figuring out the NHL game at about the same time. Our heroes were so close to greatness they could taste it. Then the next year their team went right back in the tank!

    What was worse is that management started another rebuild, trading away a future Hall of Famer in the process of getting more grit. It was a dark time for our heroes. Teams don’t get better giving up talent to get toughness.

    That is when the cat that is hockey coughed up one of those rainbow colored fur balls it is known for. A kid already in their system stepped in and replaced the Hall of Famer and was even better. He brought a great nickname, Foppa. Meanwhile, a coach on another team left his goalie in too long on a bad night and the home town fans started jeering him every time he made a simple save. Le Trade followed within days. Curt and Joey suddenly had help, lots and lots of help. They also realized, it is worth noting, that they could lead a team, that they could dominate the NHL and the NHL playoffs.

    As a result at 26 years old, after 7 years of bad dreams and false dawns, Curt and Joey experienced something few athletes in any sport ever get close to achieving. They made it all the way from Dead F…ing Last to Stanley Cup Champions. They did it on the same team, their team, call it the Nordiques or the Avalanche it was still the same team in their hearts. So to summarize, Joe Sakic and Curtis Leschyshyn climbed out of the pit of despond and drank champagne from Lord Stanley’s Cup. Which proves, I guess, that miracles really do happen.

    It also proves that young players need to grow up and get stronger and learn to take responsibility if young teams are ever going to be great. At the same time the players are growing into winners management has to stock pile talent, shuffle many deck chairs looking for the right support players and then be ready to pounce when Le Trade is out there (CFP). But if you can do that, if you commit to doing all that, then miracles can happen.

  83. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    spoiler,

    I believe this is why Gagner still slots in at 2C. This is erosion mitigation whilst a deal tries to get done. Can’t be any other reason. You’re right, his stock falls off a cliff on the wing so we have to gut it out until he can be offloaded. In the meantime, its a team liability. .

  84. spoiler says:

    spoiler: Watching him follow Kopitar on the King goal, I felt the same way. Again, small sample sizes, but I’m going to be watching for this more carefully in the future.

    Sorry I think that was Doughty on the first goal… See what work does to one’s mind!

  85. Caramel Obvious says:

    spoiler:
    Sam Gagner cannot play wing. He is useless at board battles.

    We have seen that movie before and it had an unhappier ending than Chinatown.

    If we move him to wing and he plays even worse, then his trade value, whatever it may be, will be flushed.At that point, he may well be a buyout candidate at year end (do contracts signed after the CBA qualify?)

    The Heatley contract is killing the Wild and they’re desperate for scoring. They play a structured system that makes everyone look good defensively, even the Sam Gagners of this world.

    Find out Who + Gagner will bring you Brodin and relieve them of Heatley (who is done as a hockey player).

    Heatley is in the last year of his deal. Why would they deal Brodin to get rid of half a year of a bad contract? He also has a NMC.

    That said, I like the creativity of your idea, but I don’t think this one in particular will work.

    I do think that we may be approaching the time when Gagner’s contract has negative value. I mean Clarkson’s contract is bad and he’s not scoring but does anyone think the Leafs would trade him for Gagner?

  86. Caramel Obvious says:

    denny33:
    Caramel Obvious,

    Axiom #1 This is the best Oilers team you have seen in years and it isn’t even close. This is beyond dispute by serious people.
    **********************************************************************
    Do you even watch the games?

    US troops did in fact enter and capture the city of Baghdad.

    Do you remember last year? No person who watches the games and remembers the horror show that was previous seasons could conclude anything other than this team is much, much, better.

    Once again, wins and losses are a poor tool for evaluating hockey teams, even over the course of a season. The Kings weren’t a #8 seed that suddenly transformed themselves to crush the rest of the league the year they won the cup. They were always good but how good they were didn’t show up in the standings. This happens all the time.

  87. FastOil says:

    VOR,

    Nicely written. You don’t have to trade blue chips for toughness, you can see it and sign it yearly if you aren’t looking for a mythical beast.

  88. Caramel Obvious says:

    Yakupov was standing still guarding air on the first goal.

    I’ve thought he’s been much better lately in most areas, on breakouts, and moving his feet on offense especially, however it’s not all there yet.

    J. Schultz remains what he is.

    Throw in Gagner, the lack of D who can make up for the mistakes of others, and this is what you get. It doesn’t mean the team isn’t playing better. They clearly are.

    The real trouble is that there is no obvious solution, no single panacea to cure all ills.

  89. hoser313 says:

    My random thoughts today:

    1) After hours – Good movie. Thanks Rom for mentioning that. Surprised it isn’t on TV more often.

    2) “Trends” – The team is better now than at the start of the year simply because there aren’t nearly as many line rushes where 3 or 4 Oilers get trapped behind the other team’s goal line.

    3) Power play – The power play sucks big time. This one really is on the coaching staff. Defensemen spend every game trying to get pucks through coverage and still hit the net. Why do coaches think forwards will magically be better at this? I’ve never been a fan of putting forwards (Gagner, Yakupov or otherwise) on the point and this is why.

    4) Matt Stajan – This guy is playing the best hockey of his career. Wouldn’t be a bad pick-up at all.

    5) “Balance” – The team lost the last 2 games because they didn’t score any goals, not because the Oil don’t have Erhoff or Ekblad on D. There is still a secondary scoring problem. Need different personnel and/or offensive strategies on the 2nd or 3rd line.

    6) State of the fanbase – I hope MacT is careful. The last thing the team needs is another panicked Smid trade.

    7) Assistant Coaches – Woodguy, I agree completely on Larsen. Who is teaching defensive fundamentals to all the young offensive D? Seems like a glaring need.

    8) VOR – great post.

  90. FastOil says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic:
    spoiler,

    I believe this is why Gagner still slots in at 2C. This is erosion mitigation whilst a deal tries to get done. Can’t be any other reason. You’re right, his stock falls off a cliff on the wing so we have to gut it out until he can be offloaded. In the meantime, its a team liability. .

    I don’t know why they don’t play Gordon as 2C against toughs (or even 1C) and give Gagner easier minutes (and RNH too if Gordons’ 1C). Offense may fall but so will GA.

    Keep the heat on him but let him practice on easier opponents and perhaps move him back up when he’s better.

  91. DeadmanWaking says:

    I tried to puzzle out how much we’ve improved from the Fenclose numbers at Extraskater last night, but failed.

    First, the change of the conference structure makes year-over-year comparisons difficult. Second, this season was front-loaded with inter-conference games so it’s difficult to tease out a fast/slow start from schedule effects. Third, Fenclose itself is a tainted statistic. You end up trading score effects for PDO effects. While there are merits to looking through a window with a different distortion effects, you’re right back to tentative square one.

    What I don’t recall from my last visit to ES were the ten-game rolling averages. Are those charts new? It’s a bit hilarious how the majority of teams have a rolling-ten hockey-stick. Most of the western conference teams (Canadian prairies excluded) have a Fenclose graph with a high shaft followed by a down-turned blade. Most of the eastern conference teams have a low shaft followed by an up-turned blade. The knee of the blade on each of these graphs is right where all the team planes stopping criss-crossing Kansas airspace, and division rivals were back on the menu.

    It was interesting to try to parse the rollers, but all I really concluded is that it needs to be supplemented with a fighting strength index. I don’t know exactly how this would work, but I do know that if your team’s 2C on the active depth chart could feasibly clear the waiver wire, it’s not good and properly corresponds to a low number.

    I guess could say a thing or two about where we’re at, but it’s not the right day for me to stretch the input box way past the woodshed and into back forty to go on a verbal bender.

    That a proper summation requires a romp across the back forty is a big part of the problem here: this sow has multiple carbuncles—not three, or one. Just for appies: RNH’s wing, Hall’s knee, and Gagner’s chin.

    I’ve noticed that the level of despair correlates with the pursuit of a master narrative. The master narrative–whatever it turns out to be–is not the least bit flattering right now. Yet the more one splits it apart, like Picasso, the less one inclines to panic.

    It’s kind of like playing hot or not after you stagger out of bed one morning with Brundlefly wing buds and Brundlefly bundleyes (this particular lesson in fly physiology was not in the movie).

    You look in the mirror and ask yourself “Is all that me, or have I not finished eating lunch?”

    Things you can wiggle. Me.

    Things you can swallow. Probably not me.

    Thinks you can neither wiggle, nor swallow. Rain check.

    So you’ve looked at your latest evolution and now that’s enough of the mirror this morning.

    Let’s see, what shall Brundlefly do next? He can either sit back in a comfy chair and order in four-dozen Boston creams, or flip out and go District 9 with a cinder block and a meat cleaver concerning those grotesque, unlovable necessaries.

    Well, hell with the donuts! It’s been seven years! We have to do something drastic–I mean look!–so now you’re hunched over the toolbox shuddering over the meat cleaver and wincing about the bolt cutters. You’ll cash that rain check all right when it’s dangling there half-severed. Did it merely sting like hell, or did it curdle your soul?

    Patience, grasshopper. Objects viewed through the newly-erupted compound lens are less fractured than they first appear.

  92. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: If we look at the Fenclose battle compare to last year, they are doing worse vs. the west.
    Last year they won the FF battle 41% (14/34) of the time vs. the west and this year its 29% (5/17)
    Samples sizes being what they are I’m, not concluding on this, but it doesn’t look good.

    The problem with this data set is that it treats 49.99% the same as 00.001%.

    It makes a lot more sense to pair this kind of thing (how many nights did you “win” the battle, i.e., 50.001% or better) with an average of fenclose (currently 46.3% against all teams… can’t figure out how to exclude Eastern teams).

  93. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Although I really appreciated the elevated effort the team made in Anaheim and LA, to my eye these teams weren’t pressed to earn the wins. It was relatively easy for them to enforce their systems and keep the Oil contained. Said another way, we were in fourth gear and they were in 3rd and we walked away with losses. Vancouver was humiliating and that was chocked up to team apathy, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they went to full crank, they would not steal the win. It’s been clarifying to see how far away we really are and galvanizing to me that skill is nice and all, but I’m all in for a healthy dose of truculence coupled with skill. i know we say get good players, keep good players, but that needs some context. Offense is one element to measuring a good player, but defense, intimidation, gap awareness and heaviness are essential ingredients which our skill guys have a real deficit in..How about this….get good balance, keep good balance. That feels better.

  94. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    FastOil,

    The part that is unforgiveable with Gagner is he is a vet, not a youngster. He just has a deficient in hockey IQ out there and it hasn’t changed in the time he has been a professional. He has a role to play in the world’s best league, buts its secondary and needs lots of guard rails around him. He’s the type of player that has to have a cork on his fork at the dinner table or he is gonna hurt himself.

  95. FastOil says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    True but what is concerning isn’t the new compound lens or the fractured image, it is that I see the same off colour pieces marring the combined image that I’ve seen when I’ve looked before. I was hoping for something different, nicer looking. The object remains quite flawed, I was told it was going to be repaired but it has apparently been botched. I am disappointed, again.

  96. FastOil says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic:
    FastOil,

    The part that is unforgiveable with Gagner is he is a vet, not a youngster. He just has a deficient in hockey IQ out there and it hasn’t changed in the time he has been a professional. He has a role to play in the world’s best league, buts its secondary and needs lots of guard rails around him. He’s the type of player that has to have a cork on his fork at the dinner table or he is gonna hurt himself.

    Hilarious, I will refer to SG as Rupret from now on.
    Edit: Oops Ruprecht

  97. Pablo Aimar says:

    Lucinius:

    Patience is not something Oiler fans should still be asked to have. Oiler fans have shown a ton of patience. Oiler fans deserve something for that time. Instead they got this year’s OIlers. Hall and Co. have only themselves to blame.

    This sums it up.
    And they sure as hell did NOT play a good game last night. They were out-shot 40 -24 and never had a hope of winning. Total joke.

  98. Pablo Aimar says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    This team is so much better than past years it is incredible.If fans are bitching it just shows they have no idea what they are seeing.

    Hilarious.

  99. RMGS says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: The problem with this data set is that it treats 49.99% the same as 00.001%.

    It makes a lot more sense to pair this kind of thing (how many nights did you “win” the battle, i.e., 50.001% or better) with an average of fenclose (currently 46.3% against all teams… can’t figure out how to exclude Eastern teams).

    It’s not too much of a problem as long as 50.001% is treated the same as 99.999%.

    In any case, working out the average FF Close % against the West paints an equally ugly picture. 41% over 17 games against the West suggests the Oilers are very bad. I’m astonished that anyone who’s used shot metrics in the past to describe how awful those Oilers teams were can suggest today, given these numbers, that they’re heading in the right direction.

  100. russ99 says:

    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic,

    IMO, that won’t work.

    We had to decide 4-5 years ago what kind of team we wanted to be when we drafted MPS over Ellis or Kulikov, RNH over Landeskog or Larsen, and Yakupov over Murray.

    The core team we have drafted in the first round all those years isn’t suited to play Bruins/Devils hockey, they’re suited to play Hawks/Pens hockey.

    To strip everything down and change course now would put us in Blue Jackets/Islanders/Thrashers territory.

    Plus we’re getting harshly punished for chasing after the next Lucic with our 2nd and 3rd rounders. Look at what the Hawks have been doing with a pipeline of good 2-way players coming up every year.

    BTW: It’s possible to add better defensive players without favoring “truculence” over everything else. Look at Gordon, Perron and Ference. The question begs, why did MacT stop there?

  101. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RMGS: It’s not too much of a problem as long as 50.001% is treated the same as 99.999%.

    But, that’s the exact same problem.

    A team could ride 49.99% all year and win 0% of the battles or 50.001% and win 100%.

    It is a fine and useful item — just as win/loss record, or win/loss shots record — but it needs caveats as it applies a pure zero sum to a pretty bumpy reality.

  102. RMGS says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: But, that’s the exact same problem.

    A team could ride 49.99% all year and win 0% of the battles or 50.001% and win 100%.

    It is a fine and useful item — just as win/loss record, or win/loss shots record — but it needs caveats as it applies a pure zero sum to a pretty bumpy reality.

    I repeat, a 41% FF Close % over 17 games against the West suggests (as does its FF Close “W/L” record) that the Oilers are very bad, even in comparison to some awful teams of years past. These numbers do not suggest they’re “heading in the right direction.”

  103. spoiler says:

    Caramel Obvious: Heatley is in the last year of his deal. Why would they deal Brodin to get rid of half a year of a bad contract? He also has a NMC.That said, I like the creativity of your idea, but I don’t think this one in particular will work.I do think that we may be approaching the time when Gagner’s contract has negative value. I mean Clarkson’s contract is bad and he’s not scoring but does anyone think the Leafs would trade him for Gagner?

    I don’t think your view of Gagner matches that of actual GMs. Minny’s defense is solid. They need offense. They need to dump Heatley to acquire that offense. Gagner is coming off a very good year and his situation this year has been mitigated by injury, which is temporary. Heatley allows the cap numbers to work; so it is really Gagner + something + cap space for Brodin.

    It’s an idea that is worth a phone call. Whether it works or not depends on how Minny feels about Brodin and what their timeline is. Considering the contracts they have added, I would imagine there is some pressure there for playoff success.

    This is an addendum to my post last night which described three “blow it up” rebalancing moves:

    Yak + Marincin to NAS for Jones
    Schultz to PHI for Couturier
    Gagner + Larsen for Heatley + Brodin

  104. Caramel Obvious says:

    Pablo Aimar: Hilarious.

    I suppose you think I don’t know they were outplayed last night. Of course they were outplayed. f course they deserved to lose. What you fail to realize is that this constitutes massive progress.

    Last year’s team was outplayed basically every single night. They were terrible.

    As for the patience theme it isn’t my fault you bought into the Tambelline horror show.

    Face it. Here are some cold hard facts. The past four years were wasted, a complete throw away. The rebuild began in earnest in the spring. It will take years to undo the damage done by Tambellini, and it will take a minor miracle for this team to ever be a serious contender with these young players. I certainly would bet against it.

    That’s why things are looking up. Once hope has died, everything looks like roses. So kill your false expectations and recognize that this team was never, ever, ever, going to make the playoffs on the path they were headed. The rebuild started last year. They added good players for the first time in half a decade. They have an innovative coach who says all the right things and backs it up with actions.

    This is why things look better than they ever have before. Things have clearly and recognizably changed. Management is better. Coaching is better. Results aren’t better. But short-term results are irrelevant.

  105. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RMGS: I repeat, a 41% FF Close % over 17 games against the West suggests (as does its FF Close “W/L” record) that the Oilers are very bad, even in comparison to some awful teams of years past.These numbers do not suggest they’re “heading in the right direction.”

    I haven’t contested these things. I haven’t said anything about them in fact (in this thread).

  106. Young Oil says:

    The Leafs apparently shopping Gardiner for a top 6 forward, especially a center.

    I wonder if Gagner++ could get Gardiner and Kulemin.

    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/darren_dreger/?id=439329

  107. RMGS says:

    Caramel Obvious: This is why things look better than they ever have before. Things have clearly and recognizably changed. Management is better. Coaching is better. Results aren’t better. But short-term results are irrelevant.

    I want to agree with this. Trust me. But, other than taking your word for it, how do I know that management and coaching are better? What measures are you using to come to that conclusion? Short-term or not, the measures we know and use (conventional and “underlying”) tell us that “we hoped for the best, but it turned out like always.”

  108. knighttown says:

    *******************************************************************************
    Best post of the day….please keep posting in here.

    You are like a breath of fresh air in here.

    Thanks Denny. As WG says, I’ve been around since the hfboards days but my posting tends to go in spurts and I generally don’t throw much out there unless I think I have something to add.

    Woodguy…I’m with you that the team is **probably** better than previous seasons although that FF of 29% you posted is frightening. Saying that, you sort of have to play this game against another team and my Christ there are some good teams in the West this year.

    I think LA is better than they were when they won the Cup…Kopitar, Carter, Richards, Doughty and Quick are in (or closer to) their prime.

    We thought SJ’s window would close but it appears they might just be the rare team to retool on the fly with Pavs, Pickles and Couture being the new Marleau, Boyle and Thornton.

    Kesler is healthy making the Nucks as good as they’ve been since their Cup run. I really rate a healthy Kesler high…like top 10 in the NHL high. Can produce but just destroys other teams top lines. He’s right there with Toews and Bergeron.

    Hawks core has gotten older (in a good way) and that depth they lost after their first Cup is back with Kruger, Leddy, Pirri, Saad.

    As Parkatti said the other night on Twitter, I don’t know half of the Ducks (Bonino et al) but somehow they destroy our more famous “soft minutes killers” and Penner, Getzlaf and Perry are all right in their prime.

    And the team I like coming out of all of this is St. Louis. Massive depth at forward, the best first pairing in hockey and Hitchcock behind the bench. And they could easily lose in the first round.

    Which of these teams is going to fade enough in the next FIVE years even to allow us to close the gap? Optimistically Vancouver. The rest are young and you might be adding Colorado and Minnesota to the list if this season isn’t a mirage.

    The reason this year feels different for me is that excitement comes from hope and hope comes from the unknown. We always had a new #1 coming up and Hall/Nuge/Yak or SOMEONE was going to go supernova. It feels to me like we are what we are. We’re better and we will continue to improve but you know what? In the end, it won’t even be close to enough to make up that gap. Forwards (hopefully) round out there game but tend to put up their best scoring at around age 22 assuming they’ve gotten the opportunity to score. People look at scoring jumps and assume the player got way better but in most cases they just finally we’re given their turn at the top of the playbill. These Oilers have had the best linemates and 1PP time for a few years now and as we’ve seen, the improvement in their play is offset by facing tougher competition and getting less sheltered minutes as the coach has to give those to others.

    Getzlaf is 28, Toews is 25, Kane is 25, Perry is 28, Steen is 29, Pavelski 29, Backes 29, Couture is 24, Kopitar 26, Duchene 22, Seguin 21, Benn 24, Doughty 24, Pietrangelo 23. These guys aren’t going anywhere for between 5-15 years. They are the figurative Big Brothers of Hall and Nuge. They’re beating us up now and will continue to do so until they can’t anymore and by that time our window will be tiny.

    Long post but the point is that it might be time to start considering the fact that this core may have had the potential to be very good/great in any other era probably won’t be in the 2014-2020 Western Conference.

    We’re Sergio Garcia and we’ve got 6 Tiger Woods we’ve got to go through if we want to win that Green Jacket. Let’s hope for Toews has a taste for skanky whores.

  109. RMGS says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I haven’t contested these things. I haven’t said anything about them in fact (in this thread).

    I know – just providing some of the caveats you suggested were necessary. :)

  110. FastOil says:

    Young Oil:
    The Leafs apparently shopping Gardiner for a top 6 forward, especially a center.

    I wonder if Gagner++ could get Gardiner and Kulemin.

    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/darren_dreger/?id=439329

    I think given Gagner is established and young (if warty) and has offense that it would be straight up for those two or it’s a pretty big overpay. Gardiner has no track record to speak of and Kulemin is a lower tier player. The thing is who plays centre for the Oilers where the real depth issue is? Arco is good so far but he is a rookie still.

  111. knighttown says:

    russ99:
    Well Oiled and Enthusiastic,

    IMO, that won’t work.

    We had to decide 4-5 years ago what kind of team we wanted to be when we drafted MPS over Ellis or Kulikov, RNH over Landeskog or Larsen, and Yakupov over Murray.

    The core team we have drafted in the first round all those years isn’t suited to play Bruins/Devils hockey, they’re suited to play Hawks/Pens hockey.

    To strip everything down and change course now would put us in Blue Jackets/Islanders/Thrashers territory.

    Agree completely with this and MacT made a comment about this as well. They’ve gone all in with small and fast and should be doubling down on that. They have one hope and that is, at some point, these big teams won’t be able to keep up anymore. The Hawks have tipped that balance. To try and beat the Kings at heavy hockey is not going to work.

    Saying that, I don’t think that’ll work either.

  112. spoiler says:

    DeadmanWaking: Patience, grasshopper. Objects viewed through the newly-erupted compound lens are less fractured than they first appear.

    One of the pundit panels on TV was commenting the other day on actual rebuilds historically taking 9-10 years of suckage.

  113. misfit says:

    I never expected him to be a difference maker this early in his career, but we’re 34 games into the season and I’m still waiting on a good game from Yakupov. He’s had good moments, sure, but I don’t recall once thinking “Yak had a good game tonight” this season.

  114. RexLibris says:

    Young Oil: The Leafs apparently shopping Gardiner for a top 6 forward, especially a center.I wonder if Gagner++ could get Gardiner and Kulemin.http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/darren_dreger/?id=439329

    In a heartbeat.

    Gagner for Gardiner straight across. If we want Kulemin, fine here’s Ryan Jones or maybe the rights to Teemu Hartikainen.

    I’d make that deal in a heartbeat. It weakens the middle, but Arcobello can be better defensively than Gagner and arguably the offensive drop-off isn’t significant this year. It also means that you’ve got an immediate blueline improvement and someone to, potentially, pair with Justin Schultz. Gardiner is another Eakins product and could pick up his system quickly. It seems unlikely he’ll become the point-producer some want him to be, but as a good first-pass defenseman who could calm the waters, he’d be a great ground-floor pick up for this team.

    I’d be over the moon if they could make that deal.

    Here’s Gardiner’s ES stats http://www.extraskater.com/player/624/jake-gardiner

  115. Caramel Obvious says:

    RMGS: I want to agree with this.Trust me.But, other than taking your word for it, how do I know that management and coaching are better?What measures are you using to come to that conclusion?Short-term or not, the measures we know and use (conventional and “underlying”) tell us that “we hoped for the best, but it turned out like always.”

    Words and actions. They’ve said all the right things and they’ve, mostly, done all the right things. In contrast to Tambelline who said nothing intelligible and did nothing intelligent.

    Also, the team looks so much better. Really, it is night and day, by eye.

  116. JohnnyRocket says:

    GordM:
    When I saw Staples talking about the need for ‘teaching’ assistant coaches, I checked into Smith and Buchberger.Both have absolutely zero coaching outside of the Edmonton Oilers organization (I think the only exception is Smith’s brief stint with the Flames before returning to the ice).How this organization, with it’s considerable failure in the past 8 years, continues to believe the answers lie within is truly mind-boggling.I know…I know…Katz = 80s Oilers Fan Boy and that’s why…still mind-boggling though.

    I did learn Steve Smith is from Glasgow…which I didn’t know.

    I have on authority from someone close the the organization that part of the reason Kreuger was let go is that he wanted to choose his own assistant coaches. I’m baffled as to why they are still there.

  117. Jon K says:

    JohnnyRocket: I have on authority from someone close the the organization that part ofthe reason Kreuger was let go is that he wanted to choose his own assistant coaches. I’m baffled as to why they are still there.

    The same reason that dictator’s consolidate power and insulate themselves with loyal individuals.

  118. Andy P says:

    Jon K:
    I’ve made my feelings about Hall known repeatedly on this blog. Quite frankly I think these comments from Hall are the beginning of the end of his relationship with the Oilers.

    1. The comments are not constructive.
    2. The comments generally speak to Hall’s disappointment in the team and implicitly his teammates, because.
    3. The comments show a lack of accountability, as by my recollection he’s generally not taking responsibility for missing his chances, turning over the puck, not showing consistent effort defensively, etc.

    He’s plainly critical of teammates during games, he’s speaking out to the media more consistently, and by metrics and eye he’s having a year where he’s cheating for offensive counting numbers.

    I don’t think Hall asks for a trade, I think the team moves him. He’s a darksider in the room.

    Swap Hall for Seguin? :)

  119. Tarkus says:

    JohnnyRocket: I have on authority from someone close the the organization that part ofthe reason Kreuger was let go is that he wanted to choose his own assistant coaches. I’m baffled as to why they are still there.

    Ah yes…why should the Oilers have competent personnel in place when they can have sinecures for their alumni?

    Buffalo will crawl out of the basement before the Oilers will, if for no other reason than LaFontaine is broadening his hiring scope to actually include those who didn’t play for their organization a generation ago.

  120. sync303 says:

    JohnnyRocket: I have on authority from someone close the the organization that part ofthe reason Kreuger was let go is that he wanted to choose his own assistant coaches. I’m baffled as to why they are still there.

    JohnnyRocket,

    This is madness if true, and speaks to why this team will continue to languish for years no matter how many 1st rounders they accumulate.

  121. Bar_Qu says:

    Young Oil:
    The Leafs apparently shopping Gardiner for a top 6 forward, especially a center.

    I wonder if Gagner++ could get Gardiner and Kulemin.

    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/darren_dreger/?id=439329

    Based on what TO is asking for and not getting, I don’t know that Edm has even discussed this possibility with them. I suspect Carlyle would jump at a chance to get a centre who scores and drops the gloves. In that way, I think we undervalue Gagner (and MacT may be overvaluing him, hence his continued career in Edm).

  122. Bank Shot says:

    Caramel Obvious: Words and actions.They’ve said all the right things and they’ve, mostly, done all the right things. In contrast to Tambelline who said nothing intelligible and did nothing intelligent.

    Also, the team looks so much better.Really, it is night and day, by eye.

    Dumping Smid for picks was not the right thing. Signing Grebeshkov, wrong thing. They have said the right things. Certainly haven’t followed it up.

    I think perhaps the team looks better by eye to you because you are emotionally attached to Craig Mactavish.

    All the numbers, both regular results and the underlying ones say this is the same team that has been terrible for the past 4 years.

  123. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    russ99,

    For clarity, Perron is truculent. Let’s call it prickishness. I will trade a percentage of offensive output for players that demand respect – physically and mentally – on the ice, on every friggin shift. The Pens and Chicago are exactly what I would like. But they will play any way you want. Skill or rough. Pick your poison. So will Perron. In fact, I think he relishes a good ole alley fight out there. Hall, Ebs, Gagner, RNH, Yak, JSchultz, Petry – forget it. They DO NOT like when it gets beyond floor hockey physicality. Ever see them scrum? It’s embarrassing how little stomach they have for it and if you want to drive through 16 winning games in the playoffs to hoist the cup, you’re gonna have to embrace it. Regular season is powder puff stuff and they are outmatched, outmuscled and intimidated. We have too much of the same and not near enough of the prickishness.

  124. Captain Smarmy says:

    Man it seems like LT has made this post 10 times this year.

  125. Andy P says:

    Bank Shot: Dumping Smid for picks was not the right thing. Signing Grebeshkov, wrong thing. They have said the right things. Certainly haven’t followed it up.

    I think perhaps the team looks better by eye to you because you are emotionally attached to Craig Mactavish.

    All the numbers, both regular results and the underlying ones say this is the same team that has been terrible for the past 4 years.

    Smid was traded for 2 goalies and a 4th line center plus he freed up cap space to allow us to acquire Bryz. Did we get picks too?

  126. Captain Smarmy says:

    Not only has LT made this post a bunch of times but Captain Obvious has tirelessly informed readers that this is in fact a much better last place hockey. Still last place but uh… better last place. That should comfort y’all.

  127. Bar_Qu says:

    Captain Smarmy,

    That seems a bit smarmy for you to say.

    ba-dump-bah!

  128. GordM says:

    JohnnyRocket: I have on authority from someone close the the organization that part ofthe reason Kreuger was let go is that he wanted to choose his own assistant coaches. I’m baffled as to why they are still there.

    MacTavish said as much in a presser before the season. I think he was asked about whether or not Dallas will be allowed to hire his own staff and the response was something like this:

    “I’d certainly like to see those two individuals stay but ultimately Dallas will have the final say on his staff”

    Because when your new boss tells you what he wants but then says it’s your choice…Because Oilers

  129. Andy P says:

    GordM: MacTavish said as much in a presser before the season.I think he was asked about whether or not Dallas will be allowed to hire his own staff and the response was something like this:

    “I’d certainly like to see those two individuals stay but ultimately Dallas will have the final say on his staff”

    Because when your new boss tells you what he wants but then says it’s your choice…Because Oilers

    I suspect that Eakins will have enough backing from MacT to do a gut and rebuild of his assistants, based on their poor performance this season. At least I certainly hope so.

  130. commonfan14 says:

    knighttown,

    Pretty grim assessment, skanky whores aside.

    In thinking about what can be done about it, it there really any answer other than the outrageously maddening one of “suck for the rest of this year and next year, collect 2 more high picks”?

    The current group is signed up long-term to what look to be great to decent deals, the cap is going up… it might actually be feasible to have all of Eberle and the 6 high picks all eventually making big money on one team.

    Is this the current plan? There’s certainly nothing about bringing in a rookie GM and rookie coach in the middle of the process to suggest that it isn’t.

  131. FastOil says:

    Andy P: I suspect that Eakins will have enough backing from MacT to do a gut and rebuild of his assistants, based on their poor performance this season. At least I certainly hope so.

    I wonder if any other teams have coaches or managers with not only no NHL experience, but no experience at all? The fact that the Oilers have not only any, but multiples, makes me proud that I am a fan of a team brave enough to try to reinvent everything. They see things that others don’t.

  132. rickithebear says:

    i looked at all the great defensive pairs in the game:
    sure shot search shows a well defined structure to location % relative to shots.

    what we find is that the chara, boychuck; oduya, hjarlmasson, Keith; Mitchell, reghr types
    are all
    6.6-7.8% goals per shot overall
    around 13.9-14.7% goals per shot in the 0-20 ft range.

    they have a good 0-20 ft persentage of total shots of
    25 to 28% of the shots come from inside 20 feet.
    good at restricting shots on net to outside 20 ft.

    We traded Smid
    Last year he was 7.9% OVR 12.3% 0-20 26.8%
    Petry was 7.5% OVR 12.1% 0-20 25.6%

    Smid in Calgary is currently
    5.8% overall 11.4% 0-20 25.4%

    we traded one of the best box Dmen in the game because of a Shit system.

    ference this year is
    7.9% OVR 14.7% 0-20 23.5% shots inside 20ft.

    Belov does not show up on the list

    justin Schultz
    11.2% OVR 21.1% 0-20 30.3%
    he gets lit up and lets people walk in.

    Free agent Dmen who have displayed these ranges over the last 2-3 years.
    Nikitin 6’3″ 220lb 7.9% 14.5% 26.1%
    Greene 6’3″ 233lb 7.3% 10.6% 26.6%
    Klesla 6’3″ 223lb 7.0% 13.5% 29.0%
    Fistric 6’2″ 235lb 7.45 14.0% 26.7%
    Stoner 6’3′ 215lb 6.55 14.2% 23.2%

    Oh!
    dmen in the top 50 even assists at least once the last two years.
    petry #36 and #26
    ference #50 & #48
    J. schultz #50
    N. schultz #50

    Stoner #36
    Nikitin #26

    Nikitin-Stoner
    Ference-Belov
    Fistric-Petry

  133. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Bar_Qu: Which is why I take such delight in seeing a kid who came through my own classroom have some success …

    … at whatever walk of life. It is the best form of positive feedback for a teacher.

    I recall seeing Klimchuk play with the Pats the year Davidson was captain, so 2011-12. He had to be 16 at the time, but wow, fine offensive player, very hard to contain. He also had a good showing at the U-18, saw some of that on the telly.

    Out of respect to you, Bar_Qu, I’m now following him on Twitter and will follow his career with a little more interest. Up with teachers!

  134. Romulus Apotheosis says:
  135. Bank Shot says:

    Andy P: Smid was traded for 2 goalies and a 4th line center plus he freed up cap space to allow us to acquire Bryz. Did we get picks too?

    Smid was traded for dust in the wind.

  136. Lucinius says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Really interesting contract. It could be a great value contract if this year establishes a new norm for him. Or it could be a bad contract should he return to previous norms. Be interesting to see. Only a three year deal, however, so it wouldn’t handcuff St. Louis too badly if Steen doesn’t make this year’s production a habit.

  137. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    Steen cashing in high:

    http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=439340

    You know, we complain bitterly about mismanagement and bad moves, but the Blues have thus far this season traded Perron for an underwhelming Paajarvi and a pick (proverbial magic beans, according to some) and have now committed 1st to 2nd line money ($5.8 million cap hit, by my reckoning) to a career 2nd or 3rd line player.

    This isn’t exactly Bobby Holik type overpay, but for a team with rumours of internal salary ceilings and who have only recently traded away a very useful player for cap considerations, this is not a move in the right direction.

    The Oilers may be run with a little too much slack on the line sometimes, but at least we can say that they get the contracts right more often than not – Horcoff notwithstanding.

  138. RexLibris says:

    Bank Shot: Smid was traded for dust in the wind.

    The Smid move was a lateral one, in my opinion.

    Would the Oilers be better right now with him? No. His moving made the addition of Bryzgalov possible.

    Was he traded for maximum return? No, this was a soft trade that fit the team’s needs but also took the player’s life into account.

    The positives are that it did address an area of organizational need, adding forward depth for the farm and a solid goaltending prospect, at least as solid as any goaltending prospect ever really is at 20 years old.

    I’m okay with the move if only because there is enough of a body of work now to suggest that this was one MacTavish was willing to lose because it resulted in delayed return, ie: Bryzgalov signing.

    I think MacTavish is willing to play it easy on the minor moves like LaBarbera and Smid because he realizes that being hardnosed on these things only alienates his colleagues and the team and players suffer as a result.

    Let’s see what his next move is.

  139. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot: Smid was traded for dust in the wind.

    (rising) a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a (fiddle)…….

  140. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris: You know, we complain bitterly about mismanagement and bad moves, but the Blues have thus far this season traded Perron for an underwhelming Paajarvi and a pick (proverbial magic beans, according to some) and have now committed 1st to 2nd line money ($5.8 million cap hit, by my reckoning) to a career 2nd or 3rd line player.

    This isn’t exactly Bobby Holik type overpay, but for a team with rumours of internal salary ceilings and who have only recently traded away a very useful player for cap considerations, this is not a move in the right direction.

    The Oilers may be run with a little too much slack on the line sometimes, but at least we can say that they get the contracts right more often than not – Horcoff notwithstanding.

    I really don’t know what to make of it…

    My instinct is to question what the rush was… I mean, if his shooting% drops to historic levels over the last 50 odd games, you probably get a better deal… and if not, well… are you really going to have to pay more than you did today?

    One caveat is that with the big cap rise over the next several years these deals probably are hard to evaluate right now (of course, as you mention, the Blues run a tighter ship than other outfits).

  141. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide: (rising) a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a (fiddle)…….

    I probably should have asked if it was the CD, casette or vinyl. Original vinyl would’ve been a pretty sweet deal. LP or single? Some very nice late-70s album art there. Do we dare even consider if he was moved for the 8-track?

    Per the wikipedias “Dust in the Wind” is a song recorded by American progressive rock band Kansas and written by band member Kerry Livgren, first released on their 1977 album Point of Know Return. The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 22, 1978, making it Kansas’ only top ten Billboard Hot 100 charting single. The 45-rpm single was certified Gold for sales of one million units by the RIAA shortly after the height of its popularity as a hit single. More than 25 years later, the RIAA certified Gold the digital download format of the song, Kansas’ only single to do so certified as of September 17, 2008.”

  142. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I really don’t know what to make of it…

    My instinct is to question what the rush was… I mean, if his shooting% drops to historic levels over the last 50 odd games, you probably get a better deal… and if not, well… are you really going to have to pay more than you did today?

    One caveat is that with the big cap rise over the next several years these deals probably are hard to evaluate right now (of course, as you mention, the Blues run a tighter ship than other outfits).

    Hey, maybe this opens a door for an eventual Bouwmeester trade down the road. ;)

  143. RexLibris says:

    Just got a little curious about the number of suspensions that have been handed out this year.

    7 in September for 34 games (10 of those to Clarkson)
    9 in October for 42 games
    4 in November for 10 games
    9 midway through December for 38 games thus far, with Thornton’s final tally pending.

    Will anyone at the NHL be more relieved by the Olympic break than Brendan Shanahan?

  144. Lowetide says:

    Steen deal is excellent to my eye. He’s a fine player without the offense, and they might have overpaid by a ton. The contract is a fair one if he remains offensive, and one they can handle if he fades away.

  145. Old School G says:

    DeadmanWaking:

    It was interesting to try to parse the rollers, but all I really concluded is that it needs to be supplemented with a fighting strength index.I don’t know exactly how this would work, but I do know that if your team’s 2C on the active depth chart could feasibly clear the waiver wire, it’s not good and properly corresponds to a low number.

    It’s the way you say it. Brilliant.

  146. TheOtherJohn says:

    Caramel Obvious: Words and actions.They’ve said all the right things and they’ve, mostly, done all the right things. In contrast to Tambelline who said nothing intelligible and did nothing intelligent.

    Also, the team looks so much better.Really, it is night and day, by eye.

    So, take my word for it. Got it

  147. TheOtherJohn says:

    RexLibris: You know, we complain bitterly about mismanagement and bad moves, but the Blues have thus far this season traded Perron for an underwhelming Paajarvi and a pick (proverbial magic beans, according to some) and have now committed 1st to 2nd line money ($5.8 million cap hit, by my reckoning) to a career 2nd or 3rd line player.

    This isn’t exactly Bobby Holik type overpay, but for a team with rumours of internal salary ceilings and who have only recently traded away a very useful player for cap considerations, this is not a move in the right direction.

    The Oilers may be run with a little too much slack on the line sometimes, but at least we can say that they get the contracts right more often than not – Horcoff notwithstanding.

    Steen is a very good player. Not a 2nd line player. High sh% but a very good player. StL had to choose where to spend their $$ and chose not to spend it on Perron. He might have been their 7-8 th best player

    On contracts Souray horrible $ & term, ditto Hall, ditto Khabby, how’s Gagner $4.8m looking right now? Ryan Jones, Grebeshkov l

  148. Woodguy says:

    TheOtherJohn: Steen is a very good player. Not a 2nd line player. High sh% but a very good player. StL had to choose where to spend their $$ and chose not to spend it on Perron. He might have been their 7-8 th best player

    On contracts Souray horrible $ & term, ditto Hall, ditto Khabby, how’s Gagner $4.8m looking right now? Ryan Jones, Grebeshkov l

    Hall is terrible $ and term?

    Really?

  149. TheOtherJohn says:

    Thanks heads up WG

    Typed Hall…… Meant Horcoff…..that is Horcoff’s contract terrible term/$$ Hall’s contract is one of the best bargains in NHL might be the best value contract w great term. Only comparable values I can think of is Tavares and OEL.

    With $71m cap $6m contract for 1st liner strong player =bargain

  150. edoil1 says:

    Lowetide,

    “Dust in the wind” by Kansas,went to a concert in the Kinsmen feildhouse in 74/75 believe it or not the backup band,north american debut I believe ,was a band from England called “Queen” they proceded to blow the door’s off the headliner’s…. Not to put Sam Gagner down ,but could this be another Marc Pouliot type situation ,he played in junior with Crosby,was overrated,Sam played with Pat Kane,that would make any player look better, no?

  151. Bos8 says:

    On that first goal last night, Gagner skating in circles on the dot while the whole world went by, sums up his career. Not, clue one. Seventh year and no progress.

  152. unca miltie says:

    edoil1:
    Lowetide,

    “Dust in the wind” by Kansas,went to a concert in the Kinsmen feildhouse in 74/75 believe it or not the backup band,north american debutI believe ,was a band from England called “Queen” they proceded to blow the door’s off the headliner’s…. Not to put Sam Gagner down ,but could this be another Marc Pouliot type situation ,he played in junior with Crosby,was overrated,Sam played with Pat Kane,that would make any player look better, no?

    Interesting place, the Kinsmen field house , saw zz top there on their way up too!

  153. stevezie says:

    TheOtherJohn,

    I dunno, isn’t what he says true?

    We’re being blinded by the recent results coming after a long stretch of terrible results. OUr patience is gone. Take any of the lottery-era teams in a vacuum and I think this team would beat any team from the lottery pick era, wouldn’t it? I think it would. Last year’s squad might have had a chance if Hall was flying, but is couldn’t this year’s Hall theoretically get back close to where he was? Other than that what advantage do you see from the past? Yak’s shooting percentage? Dubnyk not selling us out (sorry Dub, hope you continue to return to historical levels but boy did you submarine this team early).

    I don’t agree with every move MacT has made (Smid and Jones continue to confuse me), but It’s clear which summer has seen the most positive movements. Of course there are still problems, but- I’ll put my money where my mouth is. If this team does not beat last year’s winning percentage I’ll donate $50 to the charity of whoever reminds me first.

    spoiler: We have seen that movie before and it had an unhappier ending than Chinatown.

    That remains the single most depressing movie I have ever seen. Also one of the best.

  154. FastOil says:

    Steen is like Perron but bigger and better at the heavy play. Unbelievable O zone board player. Health is the only concern. MacT needs to find the next Steen.

  155. Cameron says:

    DeadmanWaking:
    Did it merely sting like hell, or did it curdle your soul?

    Patience, grasshopper.Objects viewed through the newly-erupted compound lens are less fractured than they first appear.

    Cronenberg references FTW

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