TAKE THE A TRAIN

Leading up to the trade deadline, Craig MacTavish continues to tweak his runaway train in an effort to find something that rhymes. There’s a tendency for us to lump all of these transactions into one statement like “he’s done a terrible job” or “they’re addressing weakness very well” but as always the truth lies in between. The trick is to gather useful assets for players you do not deem to be useful to your team. Here’s a look at the ‘in-season’ MacT—a man as prolific as Duke Ellington.

  1. September 29: Claimed Luke Gazdic on waivers from Dallas. We’ve talk about this player type forever, the Oilers are not going away from him. Getting Gazdic for the waiver price is much better than dealing a 3rd rd pick for him.
  2. October 21: Traded Mike Brown to San Jose for 2014 4th rd pick. Recovered some of the losses from the Brown acquisition (Oilers traded about #92 to Toronto and got back about #117 from San Jose).
  3. November 8: Traded Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy to Calgary for Laurent Brossoit and Roman Horak. It was a weird trade when it happened, it’s a weird trade now. Smid is not performing well, but that’s extremely likely to be a short term item. Brossoit is playing lights out, but in the ECHL. My initial reaction to the deal is that it is not close to value, and until things suss out I’m staying with that viewpoint.
  4. December 14: Traded Jason LaBarbera to Chicago for future considerations. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. We’ll never hear about the futures, that’s my guess.
  5. December 19: Traded Linus Omark to Buffalo for a conditional 6th round pick. I’m still cheering for him, he’s not getting a big chance here. Then again, maybe his performance doesn’t warrant it.
  6. January 15: Traded Devan Dubnyk to Nashville for Matt Hendricks. I’m not as upset as many about this deal, there are ways to get Hendricks off the roster if things don’t work out. Dubnyk wasn’t coming back, that’s for sure. Hendricks has had a few good games since arriving, I’m hopeful they don’t see him as a top 9 option.
  7. January 15: Traded 3rd rd pick to Los Angeles for Ben Scrivens. Has a chance to rival the Perron deal as MacT’s best in year one. Scrivens has been brilliant.
  8. January 31: Traded Teemu Hartikainen and Cameron Abney to Toronto for Mark Fraser. As we discussed earlier this week on this blog, the Hartikainen decision was made last April, not this week. Trading two guys who are not part of the future for a guy who might be? I think that’s pretty good business. As Jonathan Willis pointed out, Fraser’s resume has some interesting things. If it doesn’t work out? Nothing ventured.

 TODAY’S RUMORS

  • Bruce Garrioch: Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish has been the most active this season. He’s finally started to deliver on his promise to make moves. He isn’t done by any stretch. Expect to see left winger Ryan Jones, defenceman Nick Schultz, defenceman Corey Potter and right wing Ales Hemsky moved. The Penguins may have some interest in Hemsky. GM Ray Shero hasn’t been afraid to make moves to bring in help. The other guys are there for teams looking for depth.

We’ve talked about the Penguins before, but in regard to Gagner. If they’re looking for Hemsky, there’s probably a fit. Penguins have about #27 overall in 2014, and also have young defender Simon Despres might make a nice asset, and of course the Oilers could be looking for a big winger or center.

I expect we’ll hear something in the next few days, possibly in the time after the Buffalo game and before the games late in the week.

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179 Responses to "TAKE THE A TRAIN"

  1. oliveoilers says:

    Proof that it’s not the players? That top teams like the Bruins and Pens are interested in our ‘shitty’ players. If they were that bad, there’s not a snowballs chance anyone would want them.

  2. gcw_rocks says:

    Did you click through to the link on the analysis of the trade on Leafs nation? Fraser is a bum. If you want him off your defence you need to have a very strong defender to play with him. Andy Sutton he is not. The only positive that could come out of having Fraser on the roster is maybe they wake up and realize they don’t need Gazdic. Having two of these guys dressed the same night is stupid.

  3. Woodguy says:

    Picked up Steve McIntyre off waivers.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Picked up Steve McIntyre off waivers.

    I counted that as pre-season, but yes MacIntyre was picked up on waivers Sept 23.

  5. Woodguy says:

    I watched CHI and SJS play last night.

    After watching the Oilers get all of two shots within 25ft on BOS, it was nice to watch good hockey.

    I’m interested in MacT moving out players who lose battles, can’t pass or take a pass, put themselves out of position often causing chaos with the line mates, take too long in making decisions with the puck, and make more bad decisions with the puck than good.

    Every player on SJS and CHI worked hard for every puck up for grabs.

    Almost every time a SJS or CHI defender won a puck battle, their D partner and at least two F’s were giving him a pass option for the zone exit.

    It was fun to watch good players try hard and do the right things on the ice.

    I noticed that CHI often had 1 forward fly the zone (esp. Kane) to drag a Dman out with him, but the C and the other F were not more than 20ft away from the D with the puck, giving him 2 passing options.

    Fancy Play Syndrome (FPS) was at a minimum. If a play wasn’t there, the puck went toward the net and players were already on their way there. If no one was going to the net, then they dropped it down for a cycle.

    More often on both teams, the puck went to the net and fowards went to the net without the puck.

    The next time that happens with the top 2 lines of the Oilers will be the first time.

  6. hunter1909 says:

    oliveoilers:
    Proof that it’s not the players?That top teams like the Bruins and Pens are interested in our ‘shitty’ players.If they were that bad, there’s not a snowballs chance anyone would want them.

    In the 1970s Montreal basically robbed 2-3 of the then new expansion franchises of Oakland/St.Louis and LaKings blind – sending old serviceable yet slightly past their prime Stanley Cup veterans for young players+more importantly their 1st round draft picks. They would then go on to form a dynasty while the expansion teams continued to struggle.

    Fast forward to 2014 and MacT feels like JayZ at a Las Vegas party, from the attention 29 other GM’s are giving him.

  7. hunter1909 says:

    Woodguy: I’m interested in MacT moving out players who lose battles, can’t pass or take a pass, put themselves out of position often causing chaos with the line mates, take too long in making decisions with the puck, and make more bad decisions with the puck than good.

    If you please, make a list of these players.

  8. denny33 says:

    The Edmonton Oilers are 29th in the league.

    7 points behind the Calgary Flames.

    Some people feel Lehman bros. CEO Dick Fuld made some good moves in 2006. Some people feel he made some terrible moves in 2006.

    In 2008, Lehman bros. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the largest in US history.

    This past summer, Craig manically hired a rookie head coach.

    He then locked up Sam Gagner to continue to play 2C for the Oilers.

    Even some well respected, diplomatic members of the media are now speaking out, about how the oilers are being managed.

    The trade for Perron deserves recognition and praise.

    The Edmonton Oilers finished 24th last year, playing exclusively Western Conference teams.

    The vaunted Edmonton PR machine is even being ground down from reality.

  9. Yeti says:

    hunter1909,

    hunter1909: If you please, make a list of these players.

    That’s a long list. Wouldn’t it be far easier (and shorter) to make a list of the players who actually have these skills?

  10. Woodguy says:

    RNH played 4:24 on the PK last night.

    Maybe its because Gordon got dinged up early (2:32PK) , but that’s bullshit and needs to stop.

    Look at all the top scoring C’s in the NHL.

    Most of them get little to no PK time.

    Some of them are the 3rd option (Staal), very few are first or second unit option (Gezlaf, Toews)

    When I hear MacT talk about this he usually brings up Gretzky.

    That was 30 years ago and the game has changed.

    You need your 1C to be as fresh as possible for 5v5 and 5v4 so you can actually score a goal.

    Grinding RNH into dust on the PK is idiocy.

    Here’s a smattering of the 1Cs in the NHL and how much PK time they get:

    Sidney Crosby – None
    John Tavares – None
    Ryan Getzlaf – 1PK
    Joe Thornton – None
    Tyler Seguin – None
    Jonathan Toews – 2PK
    Claude Giroux – Almost none
    Nicklas Backstrom – Almost none
    Matt Duchene – None
    David Krejci – Almost none
    Eric Staal – 3PK
    Anze Kopitar – 1PK
    Ryan Johansen – Almost none
    Kyle Turris – 2PK

    There’s a pattern there.

    Expecting a 20 year old 1C to handle heavy PK is not smart.

    Some of this may come from Eakins lack of options at 2C and that 3RW (Hemsky) and 4LW (Gazdic) can’t don’t kill penalties.

    Man this roster make up is just shite.

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’m a big fan of Bad Benson. One of the exceptional pre-Masqueade Benson albums on CTI that all bring it.

    Not the best track on the album, but it’s pretty good:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKO2Vc2bWLw

  12. book¡je says:

    Woodguy,

    Despite my usually being an optimist, things like this (the GM and Coach choosing to use RNH on the PK) really bring out the pessimist in me. The roster has problems, but I really don’t get the sense that the coach is getting anywhere near the best out of this roster. The power play torments me. To see it flounder is painful. It strongly suggests that the coach either has no idea what he is doing or he is unable to execute it with his current coaching staff. Let’s hope it is the latter because the assistants are likely gone in the off season which could help the implementation. I feel that the organization has committed to Eakins until the point where next year either is turning out well or is a lost season.

    To win in the league, you need a really good mix of players and good coaching. I know that management needs to work on the player mix. I worry a lot about the coaching. I hope it comes around.

  13. Lowetide says:

    I think most of these in-season trades are nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but the Scrivens item is a big positive (possibly) and the Smid item is disturbing. I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    No?

  14. Woodguy says:

    hunter1909: If you please, make a list of these players.

    Maybe we need to see this team with a different 2C and 1LHD before throwing everyone overboard.

  15. anonymous says:

    Eakins needs to go. You can’t turn every player into a selke candidate. His so called accountability program is a farce. If I’m Yak I can’t wait to get out and who can blame him.

  16. russ99 says:

    Eakins up to his old tricks again. RNH played over 25 minutes and Yak got benched in the third ; the scoring lines had 5 scoring chances and the bottom six got us a whopping 2 scoring chances.

    I know we have an unbalanced roster and the Bruins are a tough team to play against, but the coach can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over and not learn from them and adapt his approach.

  17. jake70 says:

    RNH on the PK. I agree. At first I liked the idea and to some extent still do of some skill out on PK. I just don’t want RNH doing it. I cringe every time he is out there and a big blast from the point is on it’s way, would probably break his leg for frig sake. Does he even wear those foot protection thingys? Gagner and Petrell were a PK pairing last season IIRC, seems to me they did well, scored a couple of shorties…..put 89 out there instead.

  18. sliderule says:

    Is there any hope for this coaching staff?

    Power play leaks goals and not as effective as previous years.

    Team seems to lack spirit.Calgary while in the dumps like us shows more spunk.

    Coach tell media that players need to go to net more.What about having plays and drills showing them how to do this?

    Coaches seem to have some players they call out (Yak) and other players who make multiple mistakes that are overlooked.There is no uniform accountability.

    I don’t think our drafting after first round has been great but I refuse to believe that all those first picks can be that bad.

    Do the oilers want to do another rebuild or change the coaching staff .

    I think it’s one or the other.

  19. book¡je says:

    Lowetide,

    The Smid trade is interesting. It’s clear that MacT was dumping him and didn’t agree with Tambellini and the vast majority of the Oilogosphere about Smid’s value. I think there may have been more value to get for Smid, but perhaps MacT wanted to respect the spirit of the deal Smid signed (i.e. he wanted to be in Edmonton for family reasons) and was willing to take a bit of value hit to keep the good faith of players in the future.

    So, the long term question will be whether it was worth dumping Smid or not given his salary.

  20. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    oh, and the other 5th Beatle!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLkrhsZWe7I

  21. book¡je says:

    sliderule,

    Yak is a real concern. A few weeks ago, we were told that Yak and Eakins had come to an agreement. After that there was a week or so where things went well. Now we see Yak sitting again. I don’t think this bodes well for his future in Edmonton. I expect that MacT may be forced into trading him and that makes me sad because that trade is not going to work out well in the long run.

  22. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    I think most of these in-season trades are nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but the Scrivens item is a big positive (possibly) and the Smid item is disturbing. I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    No?

    I think MacT made a classic error in valuation.

    How you value something you have for sale has nothing, nothing to do with the market’s valuation of that something.

    To put it into wholesale sales term, sometimes a 10pt sale is a good and sometimes a 30pt sale is bad.

    MacT didn’t value Smid that highly, so he sold him for what he thought he was worth, not what the market was willing to pay.

    CAL had something MacT wanted. A young goalie who may have a bright future. There were none in the system for the Oilers.

    I don’t think there’s any question that a youngish vet D (28 years old with 511gp) is worth far more than an ECHL goalie (regardless of his future) and still yet another undersized forward who’s AHL career isn’t as good as Lander’s.

    MacT thought (as many of us did) that Belov had passed Smid, making Smid redundant.

    Mistake (valuation of Smid) piled on mistake (Belov passing Smid), piled on over valuing a young G who was drafted in the 6th round and then taking a very redundant piece in Horat “too make the trade more even”

    So in summation, there were some mistakes made.

  23. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy:
    RNH played 4:24 on the PK last night.

    Maybe its because Gordon got dinged up early (2:32PK) , but that’s bullshit and needs to stop.

    Look at all the top scoring C’s in the NHL.

    Most of them get little to no PK time.

    Some of them are the 3rd option (Staal), very few are first or second unit option (Gezlaf, Toews)

    When I hear MacT talk about this he usually brings up Gretzky.

    That was 30 years ago and the game has changed.

    You need your 1C to be as fresh as possible for 5v5 and 5v4 so you can actually score a goal.

    Grinding RNH into dust on the PK is idiocy.

    Here’s a smattering of the 1Cs in the NHL and how much PK time they get:

    Sidney Crosby – None
    John Tavares – None
    Ryan Getzlaf – 1PK
    Joe Thornton – None
    Tyler Seguin – None
    Jonathan Toews – 2PK
    Claude Giroux – Almost none
    Nicklas Backstrom – Almost none
    Matt Duchene – None
    David Krejci – Almost none
    Eric Staal – 3PK
    Anze Kopitar – 1PK
    Ryan Johansen – Almost none
    Kyle Turris – 2PK

    There’s a pattern there.

    Expecting a 20 year old 1C to handle heavy PK is not smart.

    Some of this may come from Eakins lack of options at 2C and that 3RW (Hemsky) and 4LW (Gazdic) can’t don’t kill penalties.

    Man this roster make up is just shite.

    The only player you left out that is consistently PKing and is 1c is Pavel Datsyuk. Always average 1.5-2.00min. He is very efficient with his time one the ice. RNH not there yet.

  24. speeds says:

    Woodguy:

    When I hear MacT talk about this he usually brings up Gretzky.

    That was 30 years ago and the game has changed.

    This is one of my questions with MacT in general – some moves seem as though they come from a GM who thinks that the game when he played is more similar to the game today than it might really be.

    Claiming Gazdic, S Mac, trading for Hendricks and Fraser, none of those strike me as modern moves, or even frankly moves that are consistent with what MacT said in the summer of 2013.

  25. jake70 says:

    book¡je:
    sliderule,

    Yak is a real concern.A few weeks ago, we were told that Yak and Eakins had come to an agreement.After that there was a week or so where things went well.Now we see Yak sitting again.I don’t think this bodes well for his future in Edmonton.I expect that MacT may be forced into trading him and that makes me sad because that trade is not going to work out well in the long run.

    Don’t know what concerns me more, your scenario of losing a trade, or 2-3 years down the road, we see Yak with no progression in terms of hockey sense (which I don’t think he has enough of), and we are discussing him like the present Gagner conversation. There is no way he, with his present play is getting 6M like the others, in the summer (this summer) before his last year of ELC. Larionov is watching closely I imagine.

  26. book¡je says:

    Woodguy,

    That maybe the case, but the market for Smid might not have been as good as we presumed. With that said, history suggests that he would have garnered more at the trade deadline.

  27. Henry says:

    Lowetide:
    I think most of these in-season trades are nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but the Scrivens item is a big positive (possibly) and the Smid item is disturbing. I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    No?

    Smid was traded when the Oilers were spinning in the vortex of their early season. They had lost 5-0 to Detroit at home in a performance even more embarrassing than the last two. Smid always seemed like a good in the locker room, popular guy and I thought that MacT wanted to shake up the place and that was why he was traded.

    Willis published an interesting analysis of a decline in Smid’s play and numbers compared to a couple years ago. If MacT picked up on this and sold before the asset lost his worth then a trade is smart, sort of like the Janne Niinniimmaaaa trade ages ago.

    Trouble with that reasoning is that if they were selling high, they would have got a lot more for a top 4 defenseman than they did.

    Makes it seem like they wanted Brossoit badly and Smid was the price.

  28. speeds says:

    It will be interesting to see if we find out Smid’s deadline value this year anyways – if it’s high enough, it’s not impossible CAL decides to move him again.

  29. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’ve watched about 3 or 4 BUF games since the Omark trade.

    The scratches on that team are as absurd as they are anywhere else. The only explanation I have is that Nolan has the same view of Omark as everyone else. They seem to consider him a defensive liability (which, hey fine… he’s no Kulemin), but then proceed to play John Scott.

    It’s baffling. When he has played he’s looked the same. Controls the puck well, moves it quickly and efficiently and always looking for offence.

    I think he needs to pot 2 on the PP soon in his next game (maybe against us!) and then Nolan will figure it out.

    That he can’t crack the Sabres and the Oilers IMO says a lot more about how NHL coaches and managers think than it does about Omark’s abilities.

    ps. still 4 games short of that 6th rounder.

  30. flyfish1168 says:

    jake70: Don’t know what concerns me more, your scenario of losing a trade, or 2-3 years down the road, we see Yak with no progression in terms of hockey sense (which I don’t think he has enough of), and we are discussing him like the present Gagner conversation. There is no way he, with his present play is getting 6M like the others, in the summer (this summer) before his last year of ELC. Larionov is watching closely I imagine.

    I can see a bridge contract coming and this will not be liked by them. If they take it I can see a Subban situation. Yak maybe traded so Mact and Eakins won’t have to deal with each other.

  31. tcho says:

    sliderule:
    Is there any hope for this coaching staff?

    Power play leaks goals and not as effective as previous years.

    Team seems to lack spirit.Calgary while in the dumps like us shows more spunk.

    Coach tell media that players need to go to net more.What about having plays and drills showing them how to do this?

    Coaches seem to have some players they call out (Yak) and other players who make multiple mistakes that are overlooked.There is no uniform accountability.

    I don’t think our drafting after first round has been great but I refuse to believe that all those first picks can be that bad.

    Do the oilers want to do another rebuild or change the coaching staff .

    I think it’s one or the other.

    This pretty much nails it from my perspective. I was good with the hiring of Eakins but my doubts are growing. The group of players he’s working with seems marginally better than the hand Krueger was dealt (Perron, Gordon), yet results are worse.

  32. PhrankLee says:

    Lowetide:
    I think most of these in-season trades are nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but the Scrivens item is a big positive (possibly) and the Smid item is disturbing. I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    No?

    I thought Smid got traded for his honest comments about guys getting traded if the loosing continued. His comments hurt MacT pride and embarrassed 6Rings.. That’s my theory. I think it was a lousy move. Billy Preston was responsible for so much. He knew those 4 guys could rock. But with Billy they also, for the first time, rolled. Exhibit #1: Get Back.

  33. Andy P says:

    oliveoilers:
    Proof that it’s not the players?That top teams like the Bruins and Pens are interested in our ‘shitty’ players.If they were that bad, there’s not a snowballs chance anyone would want them.

    All this says is that one of the top teams does not consider Hemsky to be a shitty player. Yesterday’s rumour showed that the LA Kings may not consider Gags to be a shitty player. The Russian Olympic committee apparently does not consider Belov to be a shitty player either.

    If we move away from the term “shitty’ to “underperforming” then, while it is true that the whole team underperforms on certain days, some players on the team underperform their roles and their income packages more than others, and underperformance in some of these roles resonate throughout the entire lineup.

    It would be illuminating if one could, for instance, plot a league average KPI for each role in a top ten team ytd, and then plot each of our players in their typical role against that standard. Express each player’s performance relative to the league average for that role, and the underperforming players for that advanced stat would pop right out. Obviously there are all kinds of variables not taken into account, and different KPI’s should usually be applied to D than forwards, but you get my point.

    “Shitty” is an emotional term. “Underperforming” is a logical term that can be supported by advanced stats. I suspect you’ll find some leading members of the core group included in the underperformers, and as I have said earlier in many different ways, therein lies the core problem. It’s not like you can dump them, there’s too much invested. These players need to be turned.

  34. Younger Oil says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:

    ps. still 4 games short of that 6th rounder.

    Just wondering, what happens if he doesn’t reach that quota for games played? Do we get a lower pick, or nothing at all?

  35. Andy P says:

    denny33:
    The Edmonton Oilers are 29th in the league.

    7 points behind the Calgary Flames.

    Some people feel Lehman bros. CEO Dick Fuld made some good moves in 2006. Some people feel he made some terrible moves in 2006.

    In 2008, Lehman bros. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the largest in US history.

    This past summer, Craig manically hired a rookie head coach.

    He then locked up Sam Gagner to continue to play 2C for the Oilers.

    Even some well respected, diplomatic members of the media are now speaking out, about how the oilers are being managed.

    The trade for Perron deserves recognition and praise.

    The Edmonton Oilers finished 24th last year, playing exclusivelyWestern Conference teams.

    The vaunted Edmonton PR machine is even being ground down from reality.

    So Jon’s brain explodes, and that becomes “some well respected, diplomatic members of the media are now speaking out, about how the oilers are being managed. ” ?

    Which other well respected, diplomatic members of the media are now speaking out, about how the oilers are being managed?

  36. Woodguy says:

    book¡je,

    but perhaps MacT wanted to respect the spirit of the deal Smid signed (i.e. he wanted to be in Edmonton for family reasons) and was willing to take a bit of value hit to keep the good faith of players in the future.

    There is that too.

    The fact that Freidman reported that many teams didn’t know Smid was up for sale speaks to this, or to another mistake.

  37. flyfish1168 says:

    I think due to the salary CAP this year I can see most of the trades happening after the Olympics. This way you can save approximately 20 days worth of salary. Most of the trades will be on expiring contracts too.

  38. TheOtherJohn says:

    We have 3-4 theories on here so far as to why Smid got moved, how he was valued, etc. Whatever the reason, and it’s irrelevant if you want to look favorably on the move for MacT or not, a large defensive 28 year old D men does not simply quit being able to play. Bad season? Sure. He played 21:30 last night. And the time to move an experienced D Is at the trade deadline. Everybody wants depth and Smid might, on right team, play 20+ games in the end of season tournament we keep missing

    But we did get an extra Oil King in the deal

  39. Woodguy says:

    flyfish1168: The only player you left out that is consistently PKing and is 1c isPavel Datsyuk. Always average 1.5-2.00min. He is very efficient with his time one the ice. RNH not there yet.

    I just took the top 20 C’s in points as per NHL.com, removed non 1Cs and looked at their 4v5 TOI/gm, so Dats might not be the only one I missed.

    Getzlaf is PK1 too.

  40. Woodguy says:

    book¡je:
    Woodguy,

    That maybe the case, but the market for Smid might not have been as good as we presumed.With that said, history suggests that he would have garnered more at the trade deadline.

    Given that many teams didn’t know he was for sale, I counter with you don’t know the market price until you get all the bids in.

    As I posted earlier, it may have something to do with MacT wanting to keep Smid close to his wife’s family.

  41. Pouzar says:

    denny33: The Edmonton Oilers are 29th in the league.7 points behind the Calgary Flames.Some people feel Lehman bros. CEO Dick Fuld made some good moves in 2006. Some people feel he made some terrible moves in 2006.In 2008, Lehman bros. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, the largest in US history.This past summer, Craig manically hired a rookie head coach.He then locked up Sam Gagner to continue to play 2C for the Oilers.Even some well respected, diplomatic members of the media are now speaking out, about how the oilers are being managed. The trade for Perron deserves recognition and praise. The Edmonton Oilers finished 24th last year, playing exclusively Western Conference teams.The vaunted Edmonton PR machine is even being ground down from reality.

    I guess LB weren’t BIG enough.

  42. Hammers says:

    LT You forgot something else re Smid . He also picked up Bryz for nothing . No matter if you agree with his reasoning it was really part of that deal . Lastly he seems able to accept when he tries something that doesn’t work Labarba & Grebs . My only concern is if he listens to much to Eakins . Acton , Hamilton and now Fraser . The 1st 2 where mistakes and Fraser maybe as well but he seems to at least listen to his coach .

  43. Pouzar says:

    jake70: Don’t know what concerns me more, your scenario of losing a trade, or 2-3 years down the road, we see Yak with no progression in terms of hockey sense (which I don’t think he has enough of), and we are discussing him like the present Gagner conversation. There is no way he, with his present play is getting 6M like the others, in the summer (this summer) before his last year of ELC. Larionov is watching closely I imagine.

    I am with you on the lack of hockey sense part. I just don’t see it with Yak. I wanna believe his tools will overcome it and the game will slow down for him. I am in the minority here I know.

  44. Henry says:

    To punish myself for sins to be committed, I just watched highlights of yesterday’s game again. I’m wondering if Ference didn’t come back early just to play in Boston. His gap control was particularly terrible. If he has a concussion, I hope he shuts it down the rest of this road trip and recovers over the break.

  45. flyfish1168 says:

    Woodguy: I just took the top 20 C’s in points as per NHL.com, removed non 1Cs and looked at their 4v5 TOI/gm, so Dats might not be the only one I missed.Getzlaf is PK1 too.

    Datsyuk been out about a month so easy to be out of top centres at this point. I do agree with you RNH is not there at this point in his career to be playing all those PK minutes. He is still trying to master 5×5 and PP which is a disaster this year with eakins.

  46. flyfish1168 says:

    Pouzar: I am with you on the lack of hockey sense part. I just don’t see it with Yak. I wanna believe his tools will overcome it and the game will slow down for him. I am in the minority here I know.

    I think and hope its because he is a confused young man due to eakin’s system and use of him. He doesn’t look comfortable. Even on interviews this year he doesn’t look comfortable especially when he confessed his coach doesn’t have confidence in him with defense. Its a far cry from what he was last year with Krueger and his interviews then.

    Just looks and sounds like a broken down young man.

  47. oliveoilers says:

    Andy P: All this says is that one of the top teams does not consider Hemsky to be a shitty player. Yesterday’s rumour showed that the LA Kings may not consider Gags to be a shitty player. The Russian Olympic committee apparently does not consider Belov to be a shitty player either.

    If we move away from the term “shitty’ to “underperforming” then, while it is true that the whole team underperforms on certain days, some players on the team underperform their roles and their income packages more than others, and underperformance in some of these roles resonate throughout the entire lineup.

    It would be illuminating if one could, for instance, plot a league average KPI for each role in a top ten team ytd, and then plot each of our players in their typical role against that standard. Express each player’s performance relative to the league average for that role, and the underperforming players for that advanced stat would pop right out. Obviously there are all kinds of variables not taken into account, and different KPI’s should usually be applied to D than forwards, but you get my point.

    “Shitty” is an emotional term. “Underperforming” is a logical term that can be supported by advanced stats. I suspect you’ll find some leading members of the core group included in the underperformers, and as I have said earlier in many different ways, therein lies the core problem. It’s not like you can dump them, there’s too much invested. These players need to be turned.

    If think you misunderstood me a tad! The “shitty” is in quotation marks to highlight the sarcasm! I do not think Hemsky is shitty and that other teams’ management have a different view of what is wrong in Oil Country. The fact that they are interested in under performing players indicates they do not think the players are at fault…….;-)

  48. sliderule says:

    PhrankLee: I thought Smid got traded for his honest comments about guys getting traded if the loosing continued. His comments hurt MacT pride and embarrassed 6Rings.. That’s my theory. I think it was a lousy move. Billy Preston was responsible for so much. He knew those 4 guys could rock. But with Billy they also, for the first time, rolled. Exhibit #1: Get Back.

    If you look at history of oilers under 6 rings the love affair with players does not last.

    You could make a pretty good team from all the guys they moved before they reached their past due date.

  49. Pouzar says:

    flyfish1168: I think and hope its because he is a confused young man due to eakin’s system and use of him. He doesn’t look comfortable. Even on interviews this year he doesn’t look comfortable especially when he confessed his coach doesn’t have confidence in him with defense. Its a far cry from what he was last year with Krueger and his interviews then. Just looks and sounds like a broken down young man.

    Yeah something is not right. If we trade him for magic beans I will lose it though. We have to get him right.

  50. book¡je says:

    Hammers:
    LT You forgot something else re Smid . He also picked up Bryz for nothing . No matter if you agree with his reasoning it was really part of that deal . Lastly he seems able to acceptwhen he tries something that doesn’t work Labarba & Grebs . My only concern is if he listens to much to Eakins . Acton , Hamilton and now Fraser . The 1st 2 where mistakes and Fraser maybe as well but he seems to at least listen to his coach .

    Those are two separate and unrelated transactions and need to be Judged that way.

  51. flyfish1168 says:

    Pouzar: Yeah something is not right. If we trade him for magic beans I will lose it though. We have to get him right.

    No player has more of an infectious smile than Yak. His celebrations maybe over the top occasionally. But one thing for sure he brings that even when his linemates score.

    I would like to see that swagger come back a little.

  52. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Younger Oil: Just wondering, what happens if he doesn’t reach that quota for games played? Do we get a lower pick, or nothing at all?

    Nothing.

    Unless they re-sign him. If they re-sign him or he hits 15 games we get the pick. Otherwise nothing.

    But, it’s hard to imagine them playing him less than 15 games and re-signing him. If they can’t manage 15 games out of a possible 40 (or whatever it was), then he’s not part of their plans by a long shot.

  53. hankster says:

    Woodguy,

    Yup. The core players will continue to play on the peripheral while trying to tic tac toe it into the net and the homers here will think that’s what wins games.

    The moment we get rid of our version of Kyle wellwood will be the day we start to win puck battles and exit the zone properly. Too bad I missed commenting on yesterday’s gagner posts. What’s the difference between gagner and wellwood ? 4.8 million but no worries, he’s 2 yrs away from being paid 0 anyways.

  54. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    The problem is… you can’t say whether his is or isn’t for about 3 years.

    MacT bet very early on a G that showed well in jr. Which is essentially meaningless. He’s done nothing to emerge as a better prospect than Bunz, beyond having the shiny new toy feel.

    And, that has more to do with tender-timelines than it does was the player.

  55. leadfarmer says:

    Henry,

    I think the whole team was playing concussed.

  56. theres oil in virginia says:

    Woodguy:
    I watched CHI and SJS play last night.

    After watching the Oilers get all of two shots within 25ft on BOS, it was nice to watch good hockey.

    I’m interested in MacT moving out players who lose battles, can’t pass or take a pass, put themselves out of position often causing chaos with the line mates, take too long in making decisions with the puck, and make more bad decisions with the puck than good.

    Every player on SJS and CHI worked hard for every puck up for grabs.

    Almost every time a SJS or CHI defender won a puck battle, their D partner and at least two F’s were giving him a pass option for the zone exit.

    It was fun to watch good players try hard and do the right things on the ice.

    I noticed that CHI often had 1 forward fly the zone (esp. Kane) to drag a Dman out with him, but the C and the other F were not more than 20ft away from the D with the puck, giving him 2 passing options.

    Fancy Play Syndrome (FPS) was at a minimum.If a play wasn’t there, the puck went toward the net and players were already on their way there.If no one was going to the net, then they dropped it down for a cycle.

    More often on both teams, the puck went to the net and fowards went to the net without the puck.

    The next time that happens with the top 2 lines of the Oilers will be the first time.

    ✓+

  57. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: Almost every time a SJS or CHI defender won a puck battle, their D partner and at least two F’s were giving him a pass option for the zone exit.

    That’s it right there.

    In that last SJS game (it may have been the game before, can’t quite recall) 85-2 got pined in their own zone for a nightmarishly long shift in the first. They looked awful… until you watched a little closer.

    2 or 3 times they’d regain possession and controlled possession at that only to see the wingers and center take off leaving them only the Nick Schultz special, bank the puck into the neutral zone. Even there the forwards were too deep into the offensive zone to pick up the puck, so back in it came.

    Makes you D look horrible, but only if you’re not watching carefully. The forwards on this team have no idea how to make a clean zone exit.

    They’re actually not bad at zone entries (Hemsky, Hall, Eberle… wizards at zone entries). But… man, zone exits. Killer. All-world bad. No support for the D. No clean passing lanes provided. Always “above the puck” and cheating to the O-Zone.

    The Irony as Eakins points out again and again is you don’t get the puck playing this way. You don’t get what you want cheating.

  58. Ducey says:

    Everyone bitches about Gagner’s lack of defensive “learning” then turns around and questions the team’s attempt to teach Yak to play away from the puck.

    How in the world would DET treat Yak? Would they be busting his balls making sure he knew the system and making him earn his minutes? Of course they would.

    The fact is that Yak should likely be farmed out but they can’t do that because of the KHL.

    5.December 19: Traded Linus Omark to Buffalo for a conditional 6th round pick. I’m still cheering for him, he’s not getting a big chance here. Then again, maybe his performance doesn’t warrant it.

    You think? He is averaging 12 minutes in 12 games with BUF. He has 2 assists, is -2, and has taken 7 shots. The best we can hope for is that he will play and play well tomorrow to earn another 4 games for that draft pick.

  59. VOR says:

    Re: RNH and his huge PK minutes:

    RNH has played 61:15 minutes of PK this season. That is 78th amongst NHL centers. He is averaging 1:06 minutes of PK per game which is 103rd in the NHL. That hardly seems extraordinary.

    On the other hand he has played 881:50 minutes at even strength which is 8th amongst NHL centers. RNH has played 16:02 minutes per game at even strength tied for 10th.

    RNH has played 180:08 on the power play which is 21st Overall for NHL centers. He has played 3:16 seconds per game on the PP which is 26th.

    Total time on ice he is 1123:13 which is 9th in the NHL. RNH is 20:25 per game total time one ice which is 14th amongst NHL centers.

    As for the idea that these few minutes of PK are effecting his power play performance he is doing better on the PP per 60 minutes played than last year and is getting more power play minutes per game than last year.

    Of the centers with more total time on ice this season than RNH over half, in fact 62.5% play more on the PK than RNH. Of the centers with more even strength minutes than RNH 50% play more PK minutes than RNH.

    In other words, RNH PKing is not unusual or effecting his power play time, his points per 60 at even strength is up from last year. So there is no evidence that his tiny time penalty killing is damaging the rest of RNH’s time on ice.

  60. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: Anze Kopitar – 1PK

    Kopitar is a special player. What a gem. I harbor such fantasies about Draisaitl becoming him.

    Bergeron should be on your list too. That’s another top flight C that PKs a lot.

    Both a magical players. Just magic. The defensive acumen of Gordon but with infinitely more skill and offensive talent.

    Piss cutters.

  61. flyfish1168 says:

    Just finished reading David Staples article
    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/02/can-edmonton-oilers-coach-dallas-eakins-teach-his-players-to-go-hard-to-the-net/

    To me that means hit the net with your shot and drive to the net for a rebound. To often we take a peripheral shot and it bounces out the other side and it creates chaos onto ourselves.

    Last few games Hall’s shot created odd man rush for the other team when he missed the net.

    I rather hit the net and so what if you don’t score at least create a rebound with your linemates driving to the net.

  62. teddyturnbuckle says:

    LT I’m surprised we haven’t heard more about Kesler’s comments the other night saying “They cheat all over the ice”. I can’t stand Kesler but he is right. Not very often though that players comment on another teams deficiencies in public. Yesterday was a perfect example of wingers trying to poke check the puck past the defence-man at the point and skate around him. 90% of the time the D-man keeps the puck in and the Oiler winger is at centre ice wondering how he is going to stop that D-man who is now taking a shot from the point. It would be interesting to hear what areas of the game Kesler was referring to when he made the comment.

  63. sliderule says:

    Lt
    Have you heard anything on Yakimov.

    He played one or two games after WJC scored a goal and rookie of week.

    Since then he hasn’t played.

    I went to the Khl website and he isn’t even listed on the game sheet or roster.

    Injured?

  64. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    Lt
    Have you heard anything on Yakimov.

    He played one or two games after WJC scored a goal and rookie of week.

    Since then he hasn’t played.

    I went to theKhl website and he isn’t even listed on the game sheet or roster.

    Injured?

    Must be, although sometimes they get sent out to tournaments etc we never hear about. I don’t see anything online that would indicate he’s hurt or sent down or really anything.

  65. Chris says:

    Well what the Bruins game showed is we need some players who drive the net in a bad way. Only slightly less so than we need some decent defenseman. Offensively what is hurting is a lack of second chances arising from scoring chances. We need a Ryan Smyth circa 1997 to go into the hard areas. I think all this talk of “big players” from the media misses the point, we need someone to cash in on garbage goals.

  66. Dee Dee says:

    It’s

    Not

    The

    Coaching.

    This team has had more coaches than any other team in the last 5 years.

    If they are going to change coaches again I suggest they hire a Magician, cause they need some magic to happen.

    The Oilers bet the farm on a crop of young players that were never trained to play in the NHL, they were just gifted a big pile of money and massive amounts of playing time and they don’t have the fundamental skill set required to play in the toughest league in the world.

    80% of these guys should have honed their skills in the minors and a competitive smart run team would have never allowed more than two rookies on the roster any given season. Those two rookies learn their craft and hone their skills on the bottom two lines and they have to EARN top playing time.

  67. flyfish1168 says:

    Chris,

    We need a dog like Andrew Shaw on the hawks. No bigger than Gagner but has a monster fight in him. He has 14 goals this year and I’m sure most are 2nd and 3rd effort type goals.

  68. Lowetide says:

    flyfish1168:
    Just finished reading David Staples article
    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/02/02/can-edmonton-oilers-coach-dallas-eakins-teach-his-players-to-go-hard-to-the-net/

    To me that means hit the net with your shot and drive to the net for a rebound. To often we take a peripheral shot and it bounces out the other side and it creates chaos onto ourselves.

    Last few games Hall’s shot created odd man rush for the other team when he missed the net.

    I rather hit the net and so what if you don’t score at least create a rebound with your linemates driving to the net.

    The Willis article and the Dellow work suggests shots on goal is the culprit. That’s kind of my theory based on their work, I think hockey players react on rebounds and chances. They just aren’t getting many.

  69. oliveoilers says:

    Dee Dee:
    It’s

    Not

    The

    Coaching.

    This team has had more coaches than any other team in the last 5 years.

    If they are going to change coaches again I suggest they hire a Magician, cause they need some magic to happen.

    The Oilers bet the farm on a crop of young players that were never trained to play in the NHL, they were just gifted a big pile of money and massive amounts of playing time and they don’t have the fundamental skill set required to play in the toughest league in the world.

    80% of these guys should have honed their skills in the minors and a competitive smart run team would have never allowed more than two rookies on the roster any given season. Those two rookies learn their craft and hone their skills on the bottom two lines and they have to EARN top playing time.

    By your same logic, it can’t be the players. How many of the original roster is here since, oh let’s say 5yrs ago? We’ve changed more players than coaches. And keeping someone regardless of their ability just because five people were fired before him is exactly what’s wrong with this team. Acceptance of sub-standard results and second guessing of decisions. Yes we’ve kept the core of players, but safe to say we’ve kept the same core of coaches? (Smith, Buchy.)

  70. Woodguy says:

    VOR:
    Re: RNH and his huge PK minutes:

    RNH has played 61:15 minutes of PK this season. That is 78th amongst NHL centers. He is averaging 1:06 minutes of PK per game which is 103rd in the NHL. That hardly seems extraordinary.

    On the other hand he has played 881:50 minutes at even strength which is 8th amongst NHL centers. RNH has played 16:02 minutes per game at even strength tied for 10th.

    RNH has played 180:08 on the power play which is 21st Overall for NHL centers. He has played 3:16 seconds per game on the PP which is 26th.

    Total time on ice he is 1123:13 which is 9th in the NHL. RNH is 20:25 per game total time one ice which is 14th amongst NHL centers.

    As for the idea that these few minutes of PK are effecting his power play performance he is doing better on the PP per 60 minutes played than last year and is getting more power play minutes per game than last year.

    Of the centers with more total time on ice this season than RNH over half, in fact 62.5% play more on the PK than RNH. Of the centers with more even strength minutes than RNH 50% play more PK minutes than RNH.

    In other words, RNH PKing is not unusual or effecting his power play time, his points per 60 at even strength is up from last year. So there is no evidence that his tiny time penalty killing is damaging the rest of RNH’s time on ice.

    If you look at the overall, that is what you see.

    The trend though is much different.

    Here are RNH’s PK minutes over the last 10 games.

    BOS – 4:18 1st among F
    SJS – 2:19 3rd among F
    VAN – 1:15 3rd among F
    NAS – 2:00 3rd among F
    PHX – 1:19 2nd among F
    VAN – 3:32 1st among F
    WIN – 3:28 3rd among F
    MIN – 2:11 2nd among F
    DAL – 0:11 3rd among F (only 1 short PK)
    CHI – 3:33 2nd among F

    So, I’m talking about how the coach is using him lately.

    You are looking at blended TOI for the whole season (didn’t PK at all for stretches this season) and coming to incorrect conclusions.

  71. Lowetide says:

    teddyturnbuckle:
    LT I’m surprised we haven’t heard more about Kesler’s comments the other night saying “They cheat all over the ice”.I can’t stand Kesler but he is right.Not very often though that players comment on another teams deficiencies in public.Yesterday was a perfect example of wingers trying to poke check the puck past the defence-man at the point and skate around him.90% of the time the D-man keeps the puck in and the Oiler winger is at centre ice wondering how he is going to stop that D-man who is now taking a shot from the point. It would be interesting to hear what areas of the game Kesler was referring to when he made the comment.

    The Oilers have their share of cheaters, some of them great (Hall) some of them not (Jones). I think the main problems are:

    1. Sam Gagner is having a terrible season and they have a rookie with him.
    2. The pinching defenseman mantra is death.
    3. They cannot get out of their own way on the PP.
    4. They are young and inconsistent.
    5. They are being overcoached but it’s necessary because #4.
    6. They are stubborn.
    7. Many of them have running free through the fields forever.

  72. The Great One says:

    Dee Dee,

    Maybe it is the coaching:

    “When I went to Dallas in January of ’96, I thought I was ready and I got the biggest wake-up call in my life,” Hitchcock said. “I coached from January until April and I never felt more overwhelmed in my life. I felt that everything that I had learned was from watching the Edmonton Oilers play and watching their practices and watching the way they had played the game.

    It’s the same system that I had in junior, the same system that was in the International League. That didn’t work at the NHL level for whatever reason.”

    Hitchcock would turn to a pair of trusted allies understanding change was in order.

    “I don’t think I would have survived in this League without the help of Rick Wilson and Doug Jarvis,” Hitchcock said of his assistants with the Stars. “Those two guys, who had years of experience in the NHL both as players and as coaches, convinced me there was a different way you had to win in the NHL. We spent the summer together. We spent a lot of time together and they showed me a different way to play. It was more the Montreal Canadiens way. Doug had played for Montreal, Rick had played 20 games at Montreal, and there was a way that Montreal had played in the ’70s and early ’80s that yielded six Stanley Cup championships.”

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=703192

  73. Woodguy says:

    VOR:
    Re: RNH and his huge PK minutes:

    RNH has played 61:15 minutes of PK this season. That is 78th amongst NHL centers. He is averaging 1:06 minutes of PK per game which is 103rd in the NHL. That hardly seems extraordinary.

    On the other hand he has played 881:50 minutes at even strength which is 8th amongst NHL centers. RNH has played 16:02 minutes per game at even strength tied for 10th.

    RNH has played 180:08 on the power play which is 21st Overall for NHL centers. He has played 3:16 seconds per game on the PP which is 26th.

    Total time on ice he is 1123:13 which is 9th in the NHL. RNH is 20:25 per game total time one ice which is 14th amongst NHL centers.

    As for the idea that these few minutes of PK are effecting his power play performance he is doing better on the PP per 60 minutes played than last year and is getting more power play minutes per game than last year.

    Of the centers with more total time on ice this season than RNH over half, in fact 62.5% play more on the PK than RNH. Of the centers with more even strength minutes than RNH 50% play more PK minutes than RNH.

    In other words, RNH PKing is not unusual or effecting his power play time, his points per 60 at even strength is up from last year. So there is no evidence that his tiny time penalty killing is damaging the rest of RNH’s time on ice.

    Also, you are talking about “all centers”

    I’m not.

    I’m talking about 1C who are relied upon to create offence.

    I’m looking at how other teams use their 1C on the PK and find that while EDM isn’t out on an island, they are not the norm.

    I think using up your 1C’s energy and strength on the PK is folly unless you are really deep in terms of scoring, or your 1C’s name is Datsyuk.

  74. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers have their share of cheaters, some of them great (Hall) some of them not (Jones). I think the main problems are:

    1. Sam Gagner is having a terrible season and they have a rookie with him.
    2. The pinching defenseman mantra is death.
    3. They cannot get out of their own way on the PP.
    4. They are young and inconsistent.
    5. They are being overcoached but it’s necessary because #4.
    6. They are stubborn.
    7. Many of them have running free through the fields forever.

    8. They lack Dmen who can stop the cycle and make a good first pass.

  75. Woodguy says:

    The Great One:
    Dee Dee,

    Maybe it is the coaching:

    “When I went to Dallas in January of ’96, I thought I was ready and I got the biggest wake-up call in my life,” Hitchcock said. “I coached from January until April and I never felt more overwhelmed in my life. I felt that everything that I had learned was from watching the Edmonton Oilers play and watching their practices and watching the way they had played the game.

    It’s the same system that I had in junior, the same system that was in the International League. That didn’t work at the NHL level for whatever reason.”

    Hitchcock would turn to a pair of trusted allies understanding change was in order.

    “I don’t think I would have survived in this League without the help of Rick Wilson and Doug Jarvis,” Hitchcock said of his assistants with the Stars. “Those two guys, who had years of experience in the NHL both as players and as coaches, convinced me there was a different way you had to win in the NHL. We spent the summer together. We spent a lot of time together and they showed me a different way to play. It was more the Montreal Canadiens way. Doug had played for Montreal, Rick had played 20 games at Montreal, and there was a way that Montreal had played in the ’70s and early ’80s that yielded six Stanley Cup championships.”

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=703192

    The lack of experienced coaches to help Eakins is a big problem.

    MacT said at the Eakins-hired presser that he “hoped” that Eakins would retain Smith and Bucky.

  76. Caramel Obvious says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: That’s it right there.

    In that last SJS game (it may have been the game before, can’t quite recall) 85-2 got pined in their own zone for a nightmarishly long shift in the first. They looked awful… until you watched a little closer.

    2 or 3 times they’d regain possession and controlled possession at that only to see the wingers and center take off leaving them only the Nick Schultz special, bank the puck into the neutral zone. Even there the forwards were too deep into the offensive zone to pick up the puck, so back in it came.

    Makes you D look horrible, but only if you’re not watching carefully. The forwards on this team have no idea how to make a clean zone exit.

    They’re actually not bad at zone entries (Hemsky, Hall, Eberle… wizards at zone entries). But… man, zone exits. Killer. All-world bad. No support for the D. No clean passing lanes provided. Always “above the puck” and cheating to the O-Zone.

    The Irony as Eakins points out again and again is you don’t get the puck playing this way. You don’t get what you want cheating.

    This is the problem. One million times over. The Oilers are terrible at zone exits.

    So the challenge for those of you who blame the coach, demonstrate that this is the fault of the coach. If you can’t show this then you need to stop talking. However, if you can show this then you have really moved the conversation forward.

    So enough with the whining and put something together substantive.

    As to the powerplay, the problem here is lazy, shitty, players, who make stupid decisions time and time again. Their decision making is simply terrible. I don’t see how this part can be coaching.

  77. The Great One says:

    Woodguy: The lack of experienced coaches to help Eakins is a big problem.

    MacT said at the Eakins-hired presser that he “hoped” that Eakins would retain Smith and Bucky.

    But you wonder if Eakins really had any choice.

  78. Woodguy says:

    The Great One: But you wonder if Eakins really had any choice.

    First NHL job and the guy who hired you expresses preferences in 2 of 3 of your assistants.

    Any choice was probably more illusionary than real.

  79. Woodguy says:

    The Great One,

    Nice find on the Hitchcock thing.

    I like Eakins and think he’ll make a fine NHL coach.

    He, like most of his roster, is expected to perform above their established NHL level without any help.

    That is the cornerstone of the Kevin Lowe era.

  80. The Great One says:

    Woodguy,

    In retrospect, a veteran coach would have made more sense for this group.

  81. Woodguy says:

    The Great One:
    Woodguy,

    In retrospect, a veteran coach would have made more sense for this group.

    Or Eakins being supported by good NHL vet coaches.

    Or Tambellini leaving Renney in place a few years ago.

    Also,

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead of an apparent overdose as per the New York Post:

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/02/philip-seymour-hoffman-found-dead-in-his-apartment/

    That’s a real shame.

    One of my favourite actors.

  82. Caramel Obvious says:

    Woodguy: Or Eakins being supported by good NHL vet coaches.

    Or Tambellini leaving Renney in place a few years ago.

    Also,

    Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead of an apparent overdose as per the New York Post:

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/02/philip-seymour-hoffman-found-dead-in-his-apartment/

    That’s a real shame.

    One of my favourite actors.

    That’s terrible. My cousin died of a heroin overdose. Heroin is an awful, awful, thing.

  83. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead of an apparent overdose as per the New York Post:
    http://nypost.com/2014/02/02/philip-seymour-hoffman-found-dead-in-his-apartment/
    That’s a real shame.
    One of my favourite actors.

    That is tragic. what a loss.

  84. Gret99zky says:

    Lowetide:
    I think most of these in-season trades are nothing from nothing leaves nothing, but the Scrivens item is a big positive (possibly) and the Smid item is disturbing. I don’t see evidence that Brossoit is an impact prospect, and Smid would have been worth more now.

    No?

    I think the only way the Scrivens item will be viewed as a positive is if he continues his good play until seasons end and re-signs for reasonable money.

    Otherwise it’s a 3rd round pick for a rental en route to a 29th place finish.

    No?

  85. russ99 says:

    Rip PSH, what a loss..

    My big issue with MacT is that he seems to acquire players in bunches, like he’s single mindedly focused on fixing a particular aspect, like facepunchers at the end of camp, and goalies like the Smid trade.

  86. DBO says:

    Hoffman – horrible. what a talent.

    The Oil: painful. Just painful. I htink the mention of veteran NHL assistants strong in technical aspects, etc., are so important. Th article mentioned earlier about Hitchcock is so telling it’s scary. Keep the head coach, clear out the assistants. Same message, essentially same system, with tweaks brought to table by veteran coaches who has NHL coaching experience.

    Player moves:
    - THere are some UFA’s who would help and may come here with overpays. We need size, and also players who actually play big. And some guys with knowledge of what to do in their own zone. Easy right!?!>??
    - Gagner has value to the right team. he has negative value here, as he is indicative of the failed promise of this team. Not enough growth, not enough of pretty much everything. LT you mentioned it the other day, but we will get less “offense” back n any deal for him, but we need size, grit and two way ability.
    Would still love somehow to get Laich from Washington for Gagner (plus if needed) (size and two way ability and he PK’s. Needed to save the Nuge as per Woodguy).
    Sign or trade for Kulemin now and sign him (size, grit, two way play and he PK’s)
    I still want Boyle form the Rangers for our 4th line centre (size, grit and he PK’s)
    And I would still try to sign Hemsky for a discount
    Smyth back on a one year (he actually is one of the few I like this year)
    And throw a boatload of money at Girardi if he shakes loose this summer, or go get two solid dmen who play top 4 somewhere else. Hell, even Boyle could be had with a solid 2 or 3 year deal.

    Hall-Nuge-Eberle
    Kulemin-Laich-Yakupov
    Perron-Gordon-Hemsky
    Smyth-Boyle-Hendricks
    Gazdic-Lander

    That is a solid forward unit. Is it cup worthy? Not sure, but grittier, more size and some guys added who actually can play in their own zone.

  87. Woodguy says:

    As per Eric Rodgers (@ericrsports) who writes on the OKC Barons, Arcobello is NOT eligible to play for OKC over the Olympic break since he didn’t play enough AHL games leading up to the break.

    If Arco was sent down Jan 24th, he would have had enough games to play.

    Arco’s last NHL was Jan 24th.

    Boy that Ricky O is doing a great job!

    I know its not much in the big scheme of things, but I’d like to root for a team that gets the little things right instead of batting .500.

  88. Oilanderp says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    2 or 3 times they’d regain possession and controlled possession at that only to see the wingers and center take off leaving them only the Nick Schultz special, bank the puck into the neutral zone. Even there the forwards were too deep into the offensive zone to pick up the puck, so back in it came.
    Makes you D look horrible, but only if you’re not watching carefully. The forwards on this team have no idea how to make a clean zone exit.

    Thank you for mentioning this. I am of the same mind. The puck support by the forwards is absolutely atrocious! Back a million years ago when I played defence (low-level amateur but the principle is the same), I would have to deal with this a lot. There I am skating like a madman after the bouncing puck that has been dumped in behind our net. I get there first with 1 forechecker hot on my tail, and another close behind. I don’t want to pin and hold the puck on the boards since I will probably lose the puck given the 2 on 1. My choice is a quick flick up the boards to where I hope to god the winger is OR ring it around behind the net to my partner. More often than not, my strong side winger was cheating for offense and so my ‘around the boards’ was pretty much a giveaway along the half-wall. If I moved it behind the net the second forechecker was on my partner quickly and he would be faced with even more difficulty: clear it up his side boards and hope to get it past the pinching d-man to reach our other cheating winger, or try a risky pass through the middle of the ice to our cheating center!

    Against bad to mediocre teams this was successful in generating a LOT of easy offense for our forwards who proceeded to pat each other on the back for how amazing they are in getting all these points….

    Against good teams this was almost always disastrous… the other team would easily rack up the score and our ‘skilled’ ‘offensive’ fowards would get pretty frustrated at never getting the puck and at how ‘bad the defense is’ at moving it.

    One would think that in the highest professional league on the planet it would be easier to get offensive players to play more responsible and buy into a system that initially curtails their offense but ultimately leads to team success. Maybe not. Time will tell.

  89. Woodguy says:

    So, to re-cap the Arco situation.

    1) Arco needed a total of 69 NHL games by the end of this year to be an Oiler property RFA. He can’t get there he is 27 games short with 25 games left.

    2) So while having him on the Oiler roster, they didn’t play him enough to retain his rights.

    3) Now they send him to OKC to make room for others

    4) They send him to OKC too late to play over the Oly break

    So they’ve pretty much made every decision about where and how much he plays incorrectly to get maximum value.

    Organizations that can’t count pennies have no clue about dollars.

  90. Lowetide says:

    One of my favorite movies is Jack Goes Boating. It appeals to me for reasons personal, but it’s a tremendous film. I am so sorry Hoffman is gone.

  91. G Money says:

    The Great One: I don’t think I would have survived in this League without the help of Rick Wilson and Doug Jarvis,” Hitchcock said of his assistants with the Stars. “Those two guys, who had years of experience in the NHL both as players and as coaches, convinced me there was a different way you had to win in the NHL

    I’ve felt from the day that Eakins was hired that taking a chance on a rookie coach is not a bad thing IF you give him proven and experienced NHL assistant coaches. Bucky and Smith are somewhat the latter and most assuredly not the former of those things.

    So there was little doubt in my mind that keeping them was a huge mistake.

    This quote, while anecdotal, certainly makes me feel all the more confident that the smoke does indeed have a lot of fire hidden behind it.

  92. hunter1909 says:

    book¡je: Now we see Yak sitting again. I don’t think this bodes well for his future in Edmonton. I expect that MacT may be forced into trading him and that makes me sad because that trade is not going to work out well in the long run.

    First Smid, then it’s easy to imagine Gagner getting flushed for not much at all, Hemsky too.

    Then Yaks gets traded away for more Ference style over the hill types, and maybe another young still but busted Nillson/POS type player/prospect.

    Yakupov with good coaching and encouragement goes onto score 400+ goals as a 1st line NHLer.

    That’s a pretty lousy scenario.

  93. book¡je says:

    Woodguy,

    Or at the very least replaces the people who make mistakes.

  94. Ducey says:

    Woodguy,

    If the coach doesn’t want to play Arco for virtually every game in the last half of the season or leaves the decision to play him to just before game time, how is that Rick’s fault?

    If they want to keep him, they can probably offer him whatever his qualifying offer would be as an RFA and he will gladly take it. He likely will have to be exposed to waivers next year too (unless you think he will stay with the Oilers all next year). Its not like we are talking about Zetterberg here.

  95. Henry says:

    Woodguy:
    So, to re-cap the Arco situation.

    1) Arco needed a total of 69 NHL games by the end of this year to be an Oiler property RFA.He can’t get there he is 27 games short with 25 games left.

    2) So while having him on the Oiler roster, they didn’t play him enough to retain his rights.

    3) Now they send him to OKC to make room for others

    4) They send him to OKC too late to play over the Oly break

    So they’ve pretty much made every decision about where and how much he plays incorrectly to get maximum value.

    Organizations that can’t count pennies have no clue about dollars.

    Agreed. This looks seriously incompetent. The only way it makes sense is if they are trading him or signing him and trading Gagner.

  96. ashley says:

    This guy has a couple more goals in the Wings game today:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/players/5279/

    Another late round DET draft pick. 3-4 years before he becomes an NHL’er. Neither tall nor heavy. Puts the puck in the net.

    The heir-apparent for Datsyuk’s throne? Miles to go yet, and odds say never, but the path looks similiar.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have one of Nilsson, Schremp, Omark, Reider, or similiar turn into something like this for us? DET gets one every 3-5 years. Maybe just once for us?

    DET was bad in the Oilers heyday, but DET may never be bad again with this kind of talent emerging consistently. A perennial playoff contender despite paying the price of success* for so many years.

    *citation: Kevin Lowe/Craig MacTavish, Two Types of Fans presser, April, 2013.

  97. sliderule says:

    G Money: I’ve felt from the day that Eakins was hired that taking a chance on a rookie coach is not a bad thing IF you give him proven and experienced NHL assistant coaches.Bucky and Smith are somewhat the latter and most assuredly not the former of those things.

    So there was little doubt in my mind that keeping them was a huge mistake.

    This quote, while anecdotal, certainly makes me feel all the more confident that the smoke does indeed have a lot of fire hidden behind it.

    Would you take a job where two of your three closest assistants were close friends of the president.

    Would you not feel they are reporting your every move to their bud.

  98. G Money says:

    sliderule,

    Heh heh, every executive role I’ve taken, I’ve automatically assumed that the existing management are part of the inner network and reporting on me up to the bossman, at least until I get a feel for the political situation and it tells me otherwise. It determines your actions, not whether you take the job.

    In this case, the main point I take away is that the lack of experienced capable NHL assistants has hurt Eakins and this team. Some have said as counterpoint that assistants don’t matter, but I don’t believe it, otherwise I’m sure some maverick cost-cutting team would have tried it by now.

    The anecdote just helps confirm to me that a. assistants matter, b. we know our assistants have been a constant thread over the last few years of a consistently putrid on-ice product, therefore c. any conclusions you draw about Eakins has to be assessed in that context.

    Even Phelps ain’t swimming too far or too fast with anchors tied to his ankles.

  99. VOR says:

    Woodguy,

    If we are going to do the 10 previous games things lets not consider last night and do the 10 games that preceded last night. In these ten games none of you mentioned RNH’s penalty kill role – not one blogger brought it up. In those games he is averaging 1.99 minutes per game on the PK. Yet it goes up to 2.29 based on one heavy minute game and you are all certain Eakins is a moron. Hmmm, that wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that in my series of 10 RNH is posting a nearly unbelievable 3.0 goals against per 60 while penalty killing (which is beyond elite) whereas your series has him at 9.0 goals per 60 which is still under RNH’s season average but a long way from elite (he was basically 30 goals against per 60 penalty killing last night). Meanwhile coming into the Boston game in RNH’s last 10 games on the PP he is at 8 pts per 60 on the PP which is way beyond elite. Coming into last night’s game RNH was also on his season average for pts per 60 at even strength over the last 10. Even in your series his 3 points in 33 minutes on the PP is still above his season average, and his 9.0 goals against per 60 is still below his season average, and his points per 60 is only slightly off his season average.

    In other words what you are saying is he got torched last night on the PK and thus Eakins is a moron. Rather than saying holy crap Eakins is a genius developing this great young defensive center who is also a savant on the power play, which would be your conclusion using just the 10 games coming into the Boston game. Hmmm…which blogger was it that talked about small sample sizes being very bad? That would be you by the way. Yet, when you want to pontificate apparently 1 game is a season.

  100. Lowetide says:

    VOR:
    Woodguy,

    If we are going to do the 10 previous games things lets not consider last night and do the 10 games that preceded last night. In these ten games none of you mentioned RNH’s penalty kill role – not one blogger brought it up. In those games he is averaging 1.99 minutes per game on the PK. Yet it goes up to 2.29 based on one heavy minute game and you are all certain Eakins is a moron. Hmmm, that wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that in my series of 10 RNH is posting a nearly unbelievable 3.0 goals against per 60 while penalty killing (which is beyond elite) whereas your series has him at 9.0 goals per 60 which is still under RNH’s season average but a long way from elite (he was basically 30 goals against per 60 penalty killing last night). Meanwhile coming into the Boston game in RNH’s last 10 games on the PP he is at 8 pts per 60 on the PP which is way beyond elite. Coming into last night’s game RNH was also on his season average for pts per 60 at even strength over the last 10. Even in your series his 3 points in 33 minutes on the PP is still above his season average, and his 9.0 goals against per 60 is still below his season average, and his points per 60 is only slightly off his season average.

    In other words what you are saying is he got torched last night on the PK and thus Eakins is a moron. Rather than saying holy crap Eakins is a genius developing this great young defensive center who is also a savant on the power play, which would be your conclusion using just the 10 games coming into the Boston game. Hmmm…which blogger was it that talked about small sample sizes being very bad? That would be you by the way. Yet, when you want to pontificate apparently 1 game is a season.

    I mentioned Nuge’s PK work, I love it!

  101. OilClog says:

    Eakins benching of Yak was as idiotic as it gets.. He’s one of the few players this team has that in a moment can make something happen.. But bench him, Ice ryan jones and Gazdic, put Smyth out there every other shift.. Yea makes sense coach.

    Yak in no way deserved to be benched, Eakins proves every 3rd game or so that he’s not ready for the big show. Can’t grasp his own roster by this point is terrible.

    How is it even remotely possible to allow a PP as good as the Oilers have had to fall apart in such a ugly fashion.. Where is the accountability or the proof if effort that this is being corrected coach.

  102. fifthcartel says:

    I have to say CBC applauding Therrien line-matching Douglas Murray to Byfuglien because they’re both big is hilarious to watch. What an awful idea.

  103. VOR says:

    LT,

    You and me both. I was just pointing out that nobody was criticizing the way Eakins uses him until after he got lit up yesterday in Boston. There is a tendency here to only look at the negatives and only recent negatives. RNH coming into Boston had been doing a tremendous job penalty killing and on the power play. He is still, long term pattern struggling to score at EV strength. But you can see what might be one day. A center who plays the toughs and saws off at EVs, kills it on the power play and is an elite penalty killer. Yet, the opinion here this morning was that playing him as a penalty killer was somehow hurting the rest of his game, of which there is no evidence.

    I might cut back on his EV minutes or try to get him some softer minutes in there but I would be relentlessly rolling him out on the PP and the PK. His bad nights can’t cost us anything and his good nights, 10/11, he helps us compete.

  104. anonymous says:

    I’ve never seen a number one overall treated like this. To allow a rookie coach with no results to come in and handle a huge asset like this is crazy.

  105. Lowetide says:

    VOR:
    LT,

    You and me both. I was just pointing out that nobody was criticizing the way Eakins uses him until after he got lit up yesterday in Boston. There is a tendency here to only look at the negatives and only recent negatives. RNH coming into Boston had been doing a tremendous job penalty killing and on the power play. He is still, long term pattern struggling to score at EV strength. But you can see what might be one day. A center who plays the toughs and saws off at EVs, kills it on the power play and is an elite penalty killer. Yet, the opinion here this morning was that playing him as a penalty killer was somehow hurting the rest of his game, of which there is no evidence.

    I might cut back on his EV minutes or try to get him some softer minutes in there but I would be relentlessly rolling him out on the PP and the PK. His bad nights can’t cost us anything and his good nights, 10/11, he helps us compete.

    Yeah, agreed. I think we’re all frustrated, to be honest. If we were 20 we’d go to a bar and pick a fight, or chop down a tree. However, I don’t think the head coach can pay much attention. If Nuge can PK, that’s great and I love it.

    Now, if the 4line had another PK guy that would help, or if Gagner’s line could come out and kill the shift after the PK, even better.

    But I agree, Nuge penalty killing is a good thing.

  106. Chris says:

    The problem with RNH is that he and Gordon are the only players on this team that can play center. There really isn’t anyone else to help shoulder the load.

  107. verdad says:

    Can anyone deny thst Eakins is out coached by every other NHL voach?
    Like Lowe and Gagnet , he is just making things worse.
    Cut losses, and flush him over the Olympic break.

  108. sliderule says:

    Oiler fans can now relax.

    We are now 16 pts behind the team in sixth position in lottery.

    This pretty much locks up a top five pick.

    We have higher goals though and we have the coaching to meet them.

  109. Lowetide says:

    On the 22nd of December, the Oilers were 11-24-3. Since then, they are 7-9-3. The Boston game was a disaster, let’s see what Buffalo and the big apple bring.

  110. russ99 says:

    Lowetide:
    On the 22nd of December, the Oilers were 11-24-3. Since then, they are 7-9-3. The Boston game was a disaster, let’s see what Buffalo and the big apple bring.

    Agreed, plus Friday is the defacto trade deadline, since there’s only 3 days left to trade after the Olympic break and nobody wants to wait on a move of an Olympic participant in case they get hurt.

  111. hunter1909 says:

    anonymous:
    I’ve never seen a number one overall treated like this.To allow a rookie coach with no results to come in and handle a huge asset like this is crazy.

    Oilers management like to think of themselves as innovators.

  112. jp says:

    Woodguy: If you look at the overall, that is what you see.

    The trend though is much different.

    Here are RNH’s PK minutes over the last 10 games.

    BOS – 4:18 1st among F
    SJS – 2:19 3rd among F
    VAN – 1:15 3rd among F
    NAS – 2:00 3rd among F
    PHX – 1:19 2nd among F
    VAN – 3:32 1st among F
    WIN – 3:28 3rd among F
    MIN – 2:11 2nd among F
    DAL – 0:11 3rd among F (only 1 short PK)
    CHI – 3:33 2nd among F

    So, I’m talking about how the coach is using him lately.

    You are looking at blended TOI for the whole season (didn’t PK at all for stretches this season) and coming to incorrect conclusions.

    I apologize if this was already noted – I haven’t been able to read the full thread.

    But are we just seeing RNH honing a new skill in a lost season? He hasn’t been used like this all year, and it certainly may be a useful skill down the road. I agree this isn’t the best use of the player if you’re trying to win, but it’s possible that’s not the motivation at this point. Just a thought.

  113. prairieschooner says:

    If Smid does get traded by the Flames so much for the theory that MAcT was doing Laddy a favour……exactly.
    I would hope that as nice an idea as that is, the Oilers did not try to do Laddy a favour
    The Oilers do not have the luxury of diminishing the value of assets.
    Struds likes the moves Mac T has made to make the team tougher to play against

  114. "Steve Smith" says:

    verdad:
    Can anyone deny thst Eakins is out coached by every other NHL voach?

    I think Kevin Lowe would deny it.

    What do you think about Kevin Lowe?

  115. KatznKlowe says:

    “Steve Smith”: I think Kevin Lowe would deny it.

    What do you think about Kevin Lowe?

    Actually, we were discussing this last night over a bottle of ’39 Macallan and some KY, and we believe that our vision and strategy for this team can best be described as Copernican. The short-term pain felt now, will be long forgotten when this team is a perennial contender for years and years.

  116. flyfish1168 says:

    I don’t mind that the coach is letting RNH hone a new skill PKing. Espeially since its a lost season. My problem comes with the double standard treatment. If that is the intention by eakins

    Then Yak needs to play and develop his skills too, in a lost season. Benching moving him down the line up and HS. Not the proper way. Just remember Yak is a dangerous player and I don’t blame him if he and Larionov play hard.

  117. dessert1111 says:

    The pattern in this organization of primarily picking up people they are used to has gone from a curious coincidence to downright alarming. From former oilers in the front office (management, scouting, coaching), to filling the bottom of the roster with players from the coach’s old ahl team, to drafting and trading for prospects from the edmonton junior team, it’s as if the organization can’t see past what is immediately in front of them.

    As a long time fan, it leaves me with next to no confidence that they have the ability to turn things around. I have no problem with most of them on an individual level (I like MacT just fine for example), but the accumulation of all these moves paints such a dire picture of incompetence that I no longer have confidence that the young skill will triumph in the end. Can’t they find pro scouts who weren’t former tough guys? Don’t they realize that having familiarity with someone doesn’t make them better than all the other options?

    I don’t know what the solution is at this point, but before getting anymore people who have experience with what has proven to be a poor franchise over the past eight years, they should think damn hard about it.

  118. bendelson says:

    Lowetide:
    On the 22nd of December, the Oilers were 11-24-3. Since then, they are 7-9-3. The Boston game was a disaster, let’s see what Buffalo and the big apple bring.

    7-9-3
    Interestingly, Marincin has played 19 games.

  119. bendelson says:

    Go Seahawks!

  120. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy:
    So, to re-cap the Arco situation.

    1) Arco needed a total of 69 NHL games by the end of this year to be an Oiler property RFA.He can’t get there he is 27 games short with 25 games left.

    2) So while having him on the Oiler roster, they didn’t play him enough to retain his rights.

    3) Now they send him to OKC to make room for others

    4) They send him to OKC too late to play over the Oly break

    So they’ve pretty much made every decision about where and how much he plays incorrectly to get maximum value.

    Organizations that can’t count pennies have no clue about dollars.

    This. So much this.

    But watch two things happen.

    First, the team and the media will ignore reality: oh, no that’s not the case, yadda yadda, yadda.

    Second, the team and the media will realize they fumbled the ball and will say in unison: what does it matter if a small, older, unskilled forward gets lost in the shuffle, he’s not what this team needs anyway, this team needs more Hendrickses and Frasers.

    Idiots. Jackasses.

  121. godot10 says:

    Chris:
    The problem with RNH is that he and Gordon are the only players on this team that can play center. There really isn’t anyone else to help shoulder the load.

    Er…Arcobello and Lander can both PK. Acton has a two-year NHL contract because Eakins told MacT that Willyboy could do the job.

  122. "Steve Smith" says:

    godot10: Er…Arcobello and Lander can both PK.Acton has a two-year NHL contract because Eakins told MacT that Willyboy could do the job.

    None of those players is currently on the Oilers, which I understand to be part of Chris’s point.

  123. godot10 says:

    sliderule:
    Oiler fans can now relax.

    We are now 16 pts behind the team in sixth position in lottery.

    This pretty much locks up a top five pick.

    We have higher goals though and we have the coaching to meet them.

    All non-playoff teams are in the lottery, and can move up all the way to #1.

  124. hunter1909 says:

    godot10: All non-playoff teams are in the lottery, and can move up all the way to #1.

    Yes, but Oilers are playing in the NHL tank Super Bowl tomorrow night. The worst thing that happens is your team loses 1 position. Oilers finish in 29th or 30th and they have a super shot at that hotshot defenceman prospect.

    It might be fun to see other teams than the total dregs win the odd 1st overall pick. Oilers/Panthers/Islanders alone all seem like permanent cellar dwellers where no amount of 1st overall picks can possibly help, lol.

  125. hunter1909 says:

    dessert1111:
    The pattern in this organization of primarily picking up people they are used to has gone from a curious coincidence to downright alarming. From former oilers in the front office (management, scouting, coaching), to filling the bottom of the roster with players from the coach’s old ahl team, to drafting and trading for prospects from the edmonton junior team, it’s as if the organization can’t see past what is immediately in front of them.

    As a long time fan, it leaves me with next to no confidence that they have the ability to turn things around. I have no problem with most of them on an individual level (I like MacT just fine for example), but the accumulation of all these moves paints such a dire picture of incompetence that I no longer have confidence that the young skill will triumph in the end. Can’t they find pro scouts who weren’t former tough guys? Don’t they realize that having familiarity with someone doesn’t make them better than all the other options?

    I don’t know what the solution is at this point, but before getting anymore people who have experience with what has proven to be a poor franchise over the past eight years, they should think damn hard about it.

    I’m sure Steve Smith and Buchberger are giving Dallas Eakins a lot of advice, which might be along the lines of this:

    “We’ve got this billionaire total fanboy who will basically give everyone jobs for life. We’re here to make sure you don’t fuck things up for everyone”.

    Or this:

    “Darryl likes his banana daiquiris like this…”

  126. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    http://www.buffalohockeybeat.com/sabres-linus-omark-to-return-against-oilers-drew-stafford-healed/

    Omark back in tomorrow. Classic coach thinking: we’ll play him against his old team

    Man, these guys are as predictable as a group of old men ordering soup at a lunch counter.

    I hope he lights us up!

  127. flyfish1168 says:

    I thought they were changing the draft lottery system. Can anyone confirm how the 2014 NHL draft lottery works and the date.

  128. sliderule says:

    godot10: All non-playoff teams are in the lottery, and can move up all the way to #1.

    That’s true.the odds of bottom of a bottom 10 team winning is 40 percent.

    The only way oilers should be out of top five is the get in five spot and one of those teams win.

    I like the odds of oil picking top three.

  129. Ryan says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers have their share of cheaters, some of them great (Hall) some of them not (Jones). I think the main problems are:

    1. Sam Gagner is having a terrible season and they have a rookie with him.
    2. The pinching defenseman mantra is death.
    3. They cannot get out of their own way on the PP.
    4. They are young and inconsistent.
    5. They are being overcoached but it’s necessary because #4.
    6. They are stubborn.
    7. Many of them have running free through the fields forever.

    I’m not sure where my comment went, but I had an epiphany that a potential comp for Sam Gagner’s value is Jussi Jokinen last year.

    Similar players in size and other respects (with the exception of draft pedigree). Jokinen sailed thru waivers with a cap hit of $3 million last year.

    If anyone here thinks we’re trading Gagner and getting an asset back, they’re smoking the drapes.

    Freeing the cap space is the asset.

  130. Andy P says:

    oliveoilers,

    touche’ ! :)

  131. hunter1909 says:

    sliderule: If you look at history of oilers under 6 rings the love affair with players does not last.

    You could make a pretty good team from all the guys they moved before they reached their past due date.

    Considering the 90 proof arrogance Lowe exhibited during his latest press conference, it’s always heart warming to read hominies re how much Lowe is committed to bringing another great team back. How he loves the Oilers, the city of Edmonton, puppies…

  132. Ryan says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I’ve watched about 3 or 4 BUF games since the Omark trade.


    It’s baffling. When he has played he’s looked the same. Controls the puck well, moves it quickly and efficiently and always looking for offence.


    That he can’t crack the Sabres and the Oilers IMO says a lot more about how NHL coaches and managers think than it does about Omark’s abilities.

    The infatuation otherwise intelligent people have for Linus Omark’s hockey abilities baffles the mind.

  133. stevezie says:

    Ryan,

    Eh, Jussi was older, and before his two break out seasons hadn’t shown much. There was less of a foundation of trust built.

    EDIT I retract. His early years were pretty solid. Still, he had more bad seasons than Sam too.

  134. Gerta Rauss says:

    flyfish1168:
    I thought they were changing the draft lottery system. Can anyone confirm how the 2014 NHL draft lottery works and the date.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=658503

    june 27 in Philly

    google is your friend, my friend..:)

  135. Ryan says:

    stevezie:
    Ryan,

    Eh, Jussi was older, and before his two break out seasons hadn’t shown much. There was less of a foundation of trust built.

    Hey, I agree that they’re not photocopies of each other, but there’s a lot of similarities.

    Both are similar in size (5’11 and listed at 200 lbs), have offensive skill but lack defensive acumen and float from wing to centre. Neither kill penalties.

    Jussi was older and yes was a 6th rounder not a 6 OV

    Jussi put up 30 goals and 65 points in 2009-10 and he sailed thru waivers at a $3m cap hit last year. To me, that says something about the value of this player type by other GM’s in the league.

    If we think Gagner currently has anything but negative value at his current cap hit, we’re collectively delusional.

  136. Woodguy says:

    VOR,

    In other words what you are saying is he got torched last night on the PK and thus Eakins is a moron

    Are you Jason Gregor?

    I said nothing of the sort.

    I said that I don’t like the 1C getting PK time because it takes energy away from his 5v5 and 5v4 game.

    That’s it.

    Go back and actually read what I wrote.

    You read about 15 things into that I didn’t say.

  137. Woodguy says:

    VOR:
    LT,

    You and me both. I was just pointing out that nobody was criticizing the way Eakins uses him until after he got lit up yesterday in Boston.

    I said nothing about him getting lit up in BOS yesterday.

    It was noted that RNH played a ridiculous 24+ mins.

    I decided to go look and see how many 1C’s play on their team’s 1PK or 2PK.

    The answer is “Not Many”, and I agree with that strategy.

    Pay attention.

  138. Woodguy says:

    jp: I apologize if this was already noted – I haven’t been able to read the full thread.

    But are we just seeing RNH honing a new skill in a lost season? He hasn’t been used like this all year, and it certainly may be a useful skill down the road. I agree this isn’t the best use of the player if you’re trying to win, but it’s possible that’s not the motivation at this point. Just a thought.

    I’m of the opinion that 1C shouldn’t PK at all.

    Should be able to make 3 sets of PKers out of the bottom 6, and maybe use the 2C if the 4th has a fighter instead of hockey player.

    I don’t think running the 1C is a judicious use of their energy.

    Looking at many team, and it doesn’t seem to be wide spread in the NHL.

  139. Kitchener says:

    IF Yak gets traded, the offseason would make more sense. More trade partners & fewer cap constrictions = better chance at getting value.

  140. Ryan says:

    Woodguy: I’m of the opinion that 1C shouldn’t PK at all.

    Should be able to make 3 sets of PKers out of the bottom 6, and maybe use the 2C if the 4th has a fighter instead of hockey player.

    I don’t think running the 1C is a judicious use of their energy.

    Looking at many team, and it doesn’t seem to be wide spread in the NHL.

    This all day long…. completely agree here.

    Smart teams have bottom 6 players killing penalties. The Oilers not so much.

  141. Ryan says:

    Anyway, back to Gagner vs Jokinen

    Here’s Gagner’s career ppg:

    0.62
    0.54
    0.6
    0.62
    0.63
    0.79 – last year’s shortened season
    0.52 this year

    Jokinen (prior to waive)

    0.67
    0.59
    0.54
    0.7
    0.35
    0.6
    0.80 (over 81 gp)
    0.74 (70 gp)
    0.58
    0.33 (waived)

    Jokinen’s had a few really bad years, but his production was in the range of Gagner or better for much of his career prior to getting waived including having the cache of being a one time 30 goal scorer.

    His value at a cap hit of $3m during a bad season was = sail thru waivers.

    Gagner has the advantage of being younger and the vaunted draft pedigree, but other than that…

  142. Ryan says:

    The Great One,

    Great stuff DSF.

    Eakin’s is so far over his head here and SS and Bucky can’t save him.

  143. The Great One says:

    The hundred I bet on the Seahawks is looking pretty good :)

  144. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ryan: The infatuation otherwise intelligent people have for Linus Omark’s hockey abilities baffles the mind.

    You either have reasonable expectations and honor talent or you don’t.

  145. Ryan says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: You either have reasonable expectations and honor talent or you don’t.

    I like reading your comments and you’ve come along way in terms of your ‘hockey sense’ from your first arrival here.

    Hell, I’d probably buy you a beer one day if you live in Edmonton…

    But with respect, if Linus Omark contributed to winning hockey games, don’t you think there would be more of a market for him?

  146. Woodguy says:

    Was briefly talking about the PP with a few guys on twitter and Staples confirmed something:

    avid Staples ‏@dstaples 4h
    @Woodguy55 @mc79hockey @BruceMcCurdy Yes, MacT emphatic in my interview that RNH belongs on right half wall.

    The PP was bumping along nicely with some interesting set ups until CHI got a shortie against the 5 forward set up.

    Since then its been a steady diet of RNH on the 1/2 wall.

    With the two best one timers on the team belonging to left hand shots Hall and Yak, that simply isn’t a good use of your talent.

    Its also not good that MacT is giving PP advice, he never had a good one.

    As of Dec 29nd the Oilers 5v5 S/60 was 51.5.

    I was bemoaning how had it regressed down to 51.5 in this thread: http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/12/my-kingdom-for-a-power-play.html#comments

    Today its 46.6, 26th in the NHL.

    So if its 46.6 a month and a bit after being 51.5 they are running something like 41/60 since Dec 29.

    That’s just purely awful.

    They don’t seem to want to change it either.

    MacT gives it a big thumbs up too.

  147. book¡je says:

    Woodguy,

    MacT’s powerplays were terrible – no movement at all and focused on getting the one big perfect shot (usually from the designated point man or the pass across the slot).

    The powerplay was much more mobile and dynamic last year.

  148. denny33 says:

    Ryan,

    Ryan – Jokinen is only 30…..

    Mac T will be interested in Jokinen in three years….

  149. Ryan says:

    denny33:
    Ryan,

    Ryan – Jokinen is only 30…..

    Mac T will be interested in Jokinen in three years….

    Only if he has contract and term left on his deal at that time. :)

  150. Ryan says:

    book¡je:
    Woodguy,

    MacT’s powerplays were terrible – no movement at all and focused on getting the one big perfect shot (usually from the designated point man or the pass across the slot).

    The powerplay was much more mobile and dynamic last year.

    Hemsky to Souray….

  151. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Ryan: I like reading your comments and you’ve come along way in terms of your ‘hockey sense’ from your first arrival here.

    Hell, I’d probably buy you a beer one day if you live in Edmonton…

    But with respect, if Linus Omark contributed to winning hockey games, don’t you think there would be more of a market for him?

    Live in Toronto. If any of you find yourselves out here and ever want to have a beer I’d be more than happy to take part. I’m an affable and social guy (if ever there was a question about that), as you also seem to be.

    At any rate, I don’t see much point in re-litigating Omark. I follow him because I always had a shine for him. I probably rate him higher than I should and I definitely rate him higher than most hockey decision makers do in NA.

    But, I don’t put much stock in the powers that be in North American hockey to always make the right decision on talent.

    And, I think with a player like Omark we have to set the bar right. A lot of people — as Nolan seems to confirm in his comments — seem to want him to drive all the offence or they have no time for him. That’s too high for him to clear and setting him up for failure.

    If he was on my team I’d play him every night on which ever line had a free spot, even if that meant the 4th line. I’d give him PP time and I’d enjoy watching his creativity.

    There is no reason to play a player like John Scott in the NHL. There is certainly no reason for a shitty, offence starved team like the Sabres to fail to at least try and entertain fans by playing a gifted, if limited, player like Omark and to play Scott in his place.

    That’s crazy to me. But… I’m more than happy to acknowledge that Nolan has all the authority and weight of NA hockey decision-makers on his side. I think they are wrong.

  152. hunter1909 says:

    book¡je: The powerplay was much more mobile and dynamic last year.

    The power play was excellent last year.

    This year it’s fucking p.a.t.h.e.t.i.c.

    Nice work, management.

    FYI everyone: It’s official: Everyone outside oilerville now feels sorry for us oiler fans.

  153. hunter1909 says:

    ps: If they beat the Sabres tomorrow say, 7-1 does that mean we’re all back aboard on the Happy Train?

  154. leadfarmer says:

    Looks like Eakins did some moonlighting work as a motivator for the Broncos.

  155. Woodguy says:

    Powerplay was not good last year.

    41.5 S/60 29th in NHL

    SH% 16.9% – 2nd in NHL.

    The PP success last year was a bit of mirage due to high SH%.

    They did manage to get the cross crease pass though a bunch, which shows in the high SH%.

    This year no one is giving any thought to pressuring the point (they don’t shoot) and take away everything in the middle and down low.

    SH% this year 12.1% 16th in NHL.

    Under Renney 44.5 S/60 24th in NHL.
    SH% 16.1% – 1st in NHL.

    Top 5 SH% 5v4 teams last 3 years

    11/12
    EDM
    NAS
    NYI
    TOR
    WIN

    12/13
    WAS
    EDM
    CAL
    LAK
    PIT

    13/14
    STL
    WAS
    CHI
    TOR
    PIT

    Top 5 S/60 4v5

    11/12
    SJS
    PIT
    VAN
    CBJ
    ANA

    12/13
    SJS
    ANA
    PIT
    OTT
    MIN

    12/14
    SJS
    PIT
    WAS
    VAN
    NYR

    Tyler has fleshed this out much more, but S/60 can be coached and is a repeatable skill.

    SH% varies much more.

  156. gogliano says:

    Ryan: This all day long….completely agree here.

    Smart teams have bottom 6 players killing penalties. The Oilers not so much.

    Smart teams like Detroit?

  157. The Great One says:

    Rascal Gas ‏@rascalgas 19m

    Luke Gazdic’s salary: $635,000

    Russell Wilson’s salary: $526,217
    Retweeted by Bruce McCurdy

  158. The Great One says:

    Jaime Werby ‏@jwerbs 5m

    So, Nomaha?
    Retweeted by Jay Onrait

  159. rich says:

    Woodguy,

    You make 2 very good points about the PP. Watching the Oilers yesterday on the PP was incredibly frustrating because when they would finally gain the zone, it was all too predictable. They tried one cross seam pass after another the Bruin forwards/defenders were expecting it and taking away this away.

    Doesn’t help either that the only “threat” from the point on the PP is Justin Schultz. What I like about him is that he has the ability to get shots through.

    That the shooting percentage is down this year just tells me that they’re coming back to normal…just like last year, the Oilers rode a ridiculous save percentage on the PK (DD). The Oiler’s special teams last year were unsustainable mirages, not the result of a coaching system.

  160. Marcus Oilerius says:

    nm, should google before talking rumors

  161. VOR says:

    woodguy,

    You have offered exactly zero prove that RNH PKing is a bad idea. Or for that matter that any 1C penalty killing is a bad idea. Seems to work just fine for Anze Kopitar so you can’t say good teams don’t do it with good players since one of the best teams does it with their best player. There is no evidence as I said before that the PKing is hurting RNH in other disciplines.

    I am trying to figure out what argument you are advancing. Frankly, I am having a hard time finding one.

    Right now what you’ve got is we shouldn’t do it with RNH because only a few teams do it with a few very talented hockey players.

    The evidence from the ongoing experiment (the strategy you object to) is that as RNH’s PKing time went up so did his performance on the PK and on the PP. It went up at even strength (if you ignore the last game) or look at the last 11. So why exactly shouldn’t the Oilers do it?

    The coaches job is to deploy his players in the way that is best for the team and that usually means the one that makes the best use of the players’ talents. You haven’t shown RNH can’t handle the minutes or that the rest of his game deteriorates. Not to mention you haven’t shown what strategy the Oilers should be using instead or what the benefits and costs are of this other approach you are so sure is superior. Right now we are left with the argument of, “it is wrong because I say so.”

    I have never found that argument moving or useful so if you have a case for your assertion make it.

  162. Woodguy says:

    VOR:
    woodguy,

    You have offered exactly zero prove that RNH PKing is a bad idea. Or for that matter that any 1C penalty killing is a bad idea. Seems to work just fine for Anze Kopitar so you can’t say good teams don’t do it with good players since one of the best teams does it with their best player. There is no evidence as I said before that the PKing is hurting RNH in other disciplines so what argument is you are attempting to make.

    Right now what you’ve got is we shouldn’t do it with RNH because only a few teams do it with a few very talented hockey players. RNH’s PKing time went up, as did his performance on the PK and on the PP. It went up at even strength (if you ignore the last game) or look at the last 11. So why exactly shouldn’t the Oilers do it?

    Surely, I’m pretty sure I remember this from coaching theory, the point is for a coach to deploy his players in the way that is best for the team and that usually means the one that makes the best use of the players talents. You haven’t shown RNH can’t handle the minutes or that the rest of his game deteriorates. Not to mention you haven’t shown what strategy the Oilers should be using instead or what the benefits and costs are of this other approach you are so sure is superior. Right now we are left with the argument of, “it is wrong because I say so.”

    Jesus man, its an opinion, not a thesis.

    Some teams with highly offensive 1C don’t play them on the PK and I agree with that strategy.

    For every Kopitar, Datsyuk and Getzlaf there is a Crosby, Tavares and Stamkos.

    I favour the latter.

  163. VOR says:

    But why is that your opinion? Why should your opinion have any more validity that mine, which is based on actual empirical evidence? Why do you think it is a bad idea?

  164. VOR says:

    Wouldn’t you say Kopitar, Getzlaff, and Datysuk are better comparables for RNH than Crosby, Tavares, and Stamkos? In which case shouldn’t he be deployed more like them?

  165. AZOIL says:

    I think he means no1 centers, not all centers.

    VOR:
    Re: RNH and his huge PK minutes:

    RNH has played 61:15 minutes of PK this season. That is 78th amongst NHL centers. He is averaging 1:06 minutes of PK per game which is 103rd in the NHL. That hardly seems extraordinary.

    On the other hand he has played 881:50 minutes at even strength which is 8th amongst NHL centers. RNH has played 16:02 minutes per game at even strength tied for 10th.

    RNH has played 180:08 on the power play which is 21st Overall for NHL centers. He has played 3:16 seconds per game on the PP which is 26th.

    Total time on ice he is 1123:13 which is 9th in the NHL. RNH is 20:25 per game total time one ice which is 14th amongst NHL centers.

    As for the idea that these few minutes of PK are effecting his power play performance he is doing better on the PP per 60 minutes played than last year and is getting more power play minutes per game than last year.

    Of the centers with more total time on ice this season than RNH over half, in fact 62.5% play more on the PK than RNH. Of the centers with more even strength minutes than RNH 50% play more PK minutes than RNH.

    In other words, RNH PKing is not unusual or effecting his power play time, his points per 60 at even strength is up from last year. So there is no evidence that his tiny time penalty killing is damaging the rest of RNH’s time on ice.

  166. AZOIL says:

    Wow, really? That kind if seams like a no brainer, wow!

    Woodguy:
    As per Eric Rodgers (@ericrsports) who writes on the OKC Barons, Arcobello is NOT eligible to play for OKC over the Olympic break since he didn’t play enough AHL games leading up to the break.

    If Arco was sent down Jan 24th, he would have had enough games to play.

    Arco’s last NHL was Jan 24th.

    Boy that Ricky O is doing a great job!

    I know its not much in the big scheme of things, but I’d like to root for a team that gets the little things right instead of batting .500.

  167. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    FWIW I don’t mind if RNH plays some limited PK time, like when Gordon or Hendricks are in the box he can play on the 2nd unit… say :45 to 1:00 a game on the PK every now and again.

    I don’t favor him being a 1st option PKer and prefer for him to push offence when he’s on the ice, especially given his linemates… but I have no problem with him taking on the extra role and testing himself in another discipline.

  168. VanOil says:

    The only moves I would rush into before the Olympic deadline is to reassign Kelly Buckberger to a developmental scouting role and replace him with Cassie Campbell. I would also send Steve Smith down the river and replace him with a nice closet organizer or Frank Musil.

  169. Big Dan says:

    The Caps have a couple experienced, two-way 2nd liners that I wonder if the MacT can pot. What the Oilers need more than anything is experience to mentor the Yakupov’s and I’d rather get two proven guys to prevent a Clarkson UFA overpay.

    George McPhee is desperate for his job. Laich is a leader and a battler who is good for 40 points a season (he got 59, 53, and 48). He’s 31 years old so he would add to the “experience” and “two way” contingents the Oilers need.

    The drawbacks are that he’s 31 and signed for 3 more years – so Oiler fans accustomed to young guys will beller just like they did for Hendricks. To me, that’s not a problem at all. The price tag at $4.5M is. Then again, so is Gagner’s.

    Also, Laich got injured last year and missed 39 NHL games (after scoring 18 in 19 out in Europe). He then only got 9 points in 41 games this year because of the acquisition of Grabovski and emergence of Johansson. Seems like a prime time to buy low.

    This is a classic Sather-like acquisition to snap up a player when he seems to be of no value – but he fits like a glove on your team. Same with Martin Erat. He’s been a consistent 50-point player for Nashville for years, is sensible at both ends, and has a lot to prove. At 33 years old and signed for only one more year at $4.5M, he pots 40 points and buys our kids more time. “Stop gap” that MacT alluded to.

    Michael Neuvirth’s save percentages have varied from .892 to .914 at the NHL level. He has asked for a trade and would be a perfect complement to Ben Scrivens as he tries to establish a role as a starter. Scrivens has been a backup at every spot in the AHL and NHL. He’ll push Scrivens, give him rest, and maybe even take over in spots.

    We can dish off a couple more Russians to party with Ovechkin, some experience in goal to help Holtby along, cap relief, a young forward with the potential to turn into another Cogliano, and an upgrade on wing for this playoff push.

    Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky, Anton Belov, Ilya Bryzgalov
    for
    Brooks Laich, Martin Erat, Michal Neuvirth, 1st round pick (prime trade bait, or we keep it if we trade away our 2nd overall)

    I’d still like the Gagner/Belov for Couturier/Meszaros or Sutter/Depres rumors more – but are they realistic? A lot of these rumors, including Byfuglien and Campbell, are just navel gazing dreamed up by the media.

    Eberle – RNH – Hall
    Yakupov – Laich – Perron L/R
    Erat L/R – Gordon – Hendricks
    Pitlick – Lander/Horak – Gazdic/Smyth

    J.Schultz – ???
    Petry – Marincin/ (Nurse for 9 games)
    ??? – Ference

    Scrivens – Neuvirth

    I would love help on D more but nobody gives up D until the season’s over. Maybe a team like Florida would deal Kulikov for Washington’s #1 pick? … meh.

    The hardest thing MacT will need to pull off is to acquire a #1 pairing D for prospects or $$$ as a UFA. Not much out there.

  170. gcw_rocks says:

    Woodguy,

    Re: Keeping Smid close to his family.

    Is that the kind of consideration a 30th place team with a weak prospect pool can afford to make?

    I think not.

  171. stevezie says:

    gcw_rocks,

    Can an Edmonton team afford a reputation that alienates the FA pool? I think the answer there is also no.

  172. hunter1909 says:

    stevezie,

    I’ll take that bet.

    Katz bought a guaranteed revenue stream to indulge his wildest whims.

    Tier 1 fans, no worthless bloggers either.

    Also: Lowe’s about as attractive a boss as Eddie Shore. We just haven’t heard the truth behind the facade yet.

  173. godot10 says:

    How one utilizes players depends on the quality of your team.

    If one is a lousy team, it is a poor tactic to have your best players penalty kill, because they should be saving all their energy for offense and trying to win the game.

    If one is a contender, using your best players to PK is fine, because you are preparing for the Stanley Cup finals, when in the 3rd period of a tie game 7, you are going to want Toews out penalty killing against Sydney Crosby.

    Eakins has relatively little experience as a coach, and has no experience coaching an undermanned roster, so he has never be challenged to deal with this type of player utilization issue. He is learning on the job.

    Nugent-Hopkins and Hall can learn how to PK when the Oilers are contending. Right now it is really bad idea.

  174. godot10 says:

    Gagner plus to Tampa for Ryan Malone plus would make sense for both teams.

    Gagner has two years left. Malone one. At similar salaries.

  175. Lynas1 says:

    Hey lowetide. Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly in the blue hell does “future considerations” actually mean?

  176. auzy11 says:

    sliderule,
    I agree with you the coaching is the worst we have ever had here,,,Eakins at best is an assistant for someone,,I know some players have had 3-4 coaches in a short period,,I dont think the players like this guy and he will never get the best out of players..Admit the mistake Mct and if you were on the ball Maurice was available,,,,,,i really like Craig but i feel this is a HUGE mistake this coach,,,,i mean HUGE

  177. auzy11 says:

    The team basically same players has gone backwords with this coach,,,,,way more goals against,,,,,its horrid..i can hardly watch this fire hydrant behind the bench,,,,just horrid,,,and no one talks about this missing link

  178. auzy11 says:

    If the Oil trade and get Despre i will shit a square nickel i swear,,,,

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