The Edmonton Oilers are actually gathering positives through this long winter nightmare. Don’t tell anyone! They might run away! Professor Scrivens is a nice story, and there’s an emerging top 4D pairing that might be able to hang around awhile in the good part of town.
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAHMMER (OILERS BLUE 13-14)
Young Marincin is the only blue bubble in the group, and his time with Petry sees him moving up into the shutdown quadrant where the real men work. Jeff Petry is a really good defenseman—I hope someday he plays in a town that gets him—and Marincin is adjusting well. We’re 20 games into the Slovak’s career, so we can’t give Stu MacGregor a passing grade yet. However, the arrows are good.
Do you remember when Smid-Petry rhymed? We’re approaching that, I believe. We don’t know the disconnect between Smid and Dallas Eakins, in fact maybe it wasn’t so much a disconnect as an erosion of talent and the coach being faced with a dilemma. Either way, this pairing works. The gangly kid from Kosice sure can play that blue.
The Oilers are 8-9-3 in the 20 games Marincin has played, and were 11-24-3 before his arrival.
MACT’S REPORT CARD
I’ve read a lot recently online about the job MacT’s doing, and pretty much everything I’ve seen lacks one important thing. Balance. Ripping a guy for failures is fine, but it’s also important to look at the positives.
- I think he raised expectations during the summer, and the poor results this season have sunk the organization into something bordering panic mode. The odds of MacT making a mistake in-season are massive this year.
- MacT was critical of Devan Dubnyk before the season started, and although I don’t believe it impacted Dubnyk’s season, it certainly didn’t help. MacT has done this before (Dustin Penner) and will probably want to tone down the verbal in coming seasons.
- He was unable to quick-fix the terrible start, although I’m not sure a seasoned GM could have handled this house of cards.
- His choice as coach has not been able to fix problems efficiently.
- The Scrivens deal looked like a good one when it was made, and early results match.
- Many of his off-season moves (Perron, Gordon) have worked very well.
- He hasn’t traded a vital player away yet.
- He has been quick to move out mistakes (Grebeshkov) and players that don’t match the system-coach/skills eroding.
His track record isn’t perfect, but this is the first season in years we’ve seen in-season attempts to improve the club. Steve Tambellini grabbed his fiddle in October and put it down deadline week. I think it’s difficult to give a grade in mid-season, better to attempt assessment after the entire year comes into view.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show and a fluid guest list. 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey. We’ll talk Oilers, trade deadline and MacT.
- Guy Flaming, The Pipeline Show. Some prospects are going to be dealt at the deadline, I’ll ask Guy for some input.
- Scott Cullen, tsn. Trade deadline, Olympics, Power Rankings.
- Tim Murphy. The Murph Man is Edmonton’s most famous Seattle Seahawks fan. I’m not certain there’s a more passionate fan on earth, we’ll talk to him about the Super Bowl win on Sunday.
10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. It’ll be a blast!