DEBACLE 2.0

The Edmonton Oilers are having a tough time sorting out their useful defensemen this fall. Mark Fayne plays six minutes less than Justin Schultz every night, Niki Nikitin has them hornswoggled into playing him every night, while Martin Marincin and his ‘gallows conditioning sin’ sits in the gondola and wonders where it all went wrong. It’s kind of crazy kids, especially considering the rest of the deployment seems absolutely reasonable.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER, OILERS BLUE

vollman blue nov 20 2014

 

That’s fairly perfect, except they’ve replaced Marincin with Keith Aulie (the Sledgehammer isn’t updating on time this season, this is after 15 games) and one imagines the chaos would be reduced if Fayne had a bigger bubble. The deployment looks reasonable:

  • Marincin and Fayne facing the tough competition no matter the zone start.
  • Ference and Petry getting the tough zone start no matter the opponent.
  • Nikitin and Schultz getting the zone start push and (apparently) the softer competition.

I’m not sure there’s any quarrel with deployment, but rather the problem is performance and Eakins’ inability to identify and punish the culprit. Put another way, Marincin isn’t the problem. I imagine Marincin draws in against New Jersey, replacing either Nikitin or Aulie, and I’d be tempted to run Martin with Schultz for a game or two. They played well in OKC and Nikitin and Schultz aren’t getting enough done with those cherry minutes.

MACT DISCUSSES SCHULTZ

  • On the future of Schultz: “I think he’s going to be a great player and a great Oiler.”
  • On his defensive ability: “I disagree with the perception on the defensive side of things. I’ve always believed he’s very good defensively.”
  • On his potential:  “Justin Schultz has Norris trophy potential.”
  • On Craig Ramsay as it relates to Justin Schultz: “He’s going to give Justin a very experienced perspective.”
  • On the analytics society panning Schultz universally: “I disagree with the analytics on our group.”

 EAKINS COMMENTS ON TURNING NORTH

  • EakinsIt’s time now. We’ve shown that we can play with teams. We’ve shown that we can out-play teams. We’ve showed that we can get both points and we have to turn the heat on now. It’s time to turn the heat up on ourselves, for the result.” 

I need a little help this morning, ladies and men. Can you make these two things—”Justin Schultz is good because I said so” and “We need to win RFN!”—and come up with something resembling logical thought? Please and thanks. Show starts at 10, no pressure.

gregor eakins quoteNiki Nikitin, Justin Schultz, Keith Aulie. And you could give Ben Scrivens a day off, too. Just saying. The idea that Dallas Eakins has to worry about a player reacting to a (deserved) benching is ludicrous. And what about Martin Marincin? Is sitting for two weeks a party? I don’t understand this quote. Not one bit. Dallas Eakins has no trouble benching Marincin and Joensuu, but is hesitant to bench others? How the hell does that work? Answer: It doesn’t. You get lollygaggers from that kind of management template, and sure as hell that’s what they have currently in Justin Schultz.

tych eakins

Yes. Quite. The Nuge line was outplayed by the Sedin line, the Schultz and the Nikitin were outplayed by their opponents and as mentioned I think Ben Scrivens could use a rest (although Ryan Miller didn’t outplay anyone last night). I think Hall wasn’t 100% last night (although he was more impactful in the third, also took a monster hit and appeared shaken) so maybe this was a night where the top line was almost but not quite (I thought Eberle played better to my eye). yost man short

Pinizzotto finally jumped on the ice, but goodness gracious that is Oakland Seals hockey. I’m sure this happens in shorter spurts often, but to be shorthanded because you’re not paying attention is not acceptable.

hitmen trade chaseChase is a Victoria Royals forward now, good to have him back in action (maybe this weekend). I’ll ever know what happened, but that was one weird development. The young man still has a chance to make the WJ team this Christmas but there’s plenty of work to do. He was recently profiled here at Lowetide as the No. 6 prospect in the system.

 PINIZZOTTO GOES BLOTTO!

pinizzotto ferguson 1415

  • Pinizzotto“I felt pretty good. I tried to get that fight out of the way early to get the jitters out, but I said it before, it’s about the team and we couldn’t come out with the win today. As long as the boys come back in here and battle on Friday, we should be good.” Source

pinizzotto first goal

FREE MARTIN

Martin Marincin has played 9 games so far this NHL season. The club is 5-4-0 in those games, and 1-7-2 without him (by my count, check the math). I understand he’s had wobbly moments, but for me he’s a guy who should be in the lineup Friday and then for the next decade. If you’re going to lose hockey games, you might as well get some experience for the kids. Unless of course the organization is still fretting over his summer conditioning program, then by all means sit him for another four games just to make sure he got the message.

mckenzie eakins mact

DEBACLE 2.0

Do you remember before the season, when Craig MacTavish sat down and talked about the 2013-14 season? How it was a “debacle” but better times were ahead? And now we are here. The MSM with access to the Oilers and their sorties into the marketplace are giving conflicting information:

  • Pierre Lebrun on Monday: “Yeah, I’d say. I mean, I really don’t think that management is going to sit back and just take this all in if this continues. I mean, I really think last year – described by Craig MacTavish, no less – in an interview with TSN before the season referred to last year’s start to the year as a ‘debacle,’ and I just don’t think that either Craig, nor the rest of ownership and management in Edmonton is going to sit back over the next couple of months and just accept a similar script.Source
  • Darren Dreger today: “So it’s like the league right now is in financial paralysis. No one is willing to make that deal. Unless you’re willing to take on a big contract. Now, Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens acquired Sergei Gonchar from the Dallas Stars for Travis Moen. That’s bad money coming in and bad contract going out. That’s how you make deals today in the National Hockey League in the first quarter of the regular season. So yeah, you can blame Craig MacTavish for not bringing these players in, and not drafting and all of those things, but I don’t know. When I look at the Oilers and I look at their top six, it looks pretty good to me. And I see the holes on the back end and we’re still waiting to see if there’s a goaltender that’s going to emerge, but it’s not as easy as it sounds filling those holes.” Source

When Dreger says ‘no one is willing to make that deal’ he may be right, but I don’t think Oilers fans are in the mood to here ‘we can’t do it’ at this time. This blog was highly critical of Steve Tambellini for the same kind of inertia and has been generally (some would say wildly) supportive of the Craig MacTavish era. However, when a man stands in front of the camera and calls last season a debacle, and then is unable to give his coach better support at center? I mentioned on the Lowdown yesterday that MacT returned to the organization as (as he said) the guy in the room who said ‘are you sure you want to do that?’ and I wonder where that guy was when they decided Leon and Arco were good enough to cover the two open positions at center.

I can understand the Scrivens/Fasth bets, and I get the Fayne/Nikitin/Aulie additions. Not every move works out, we know that and it’s still miles too early to pass judgement on any of those deals. No such cover is available to Craig MacTavish this morning for the problem at center.

And that’s on the general manager, has been since the start of training camp. Dear Mr. MacTavish: Find an NHL center. Seriously. Your good work will go unnoticed if you continue to wait.

rom on eakins

Eakins is off the charts on point these days, I’m convinced that getting him an NHL center (and adding Marincin while pulling Nikitin) would help this team enough for these one-goal losses to turn just enough for point to appear. Rom’s tweet should hearten every Oilers fan, while we once again are left to ponder the general manager position and the fixes he was unable to negotiate in the current marketplace.

 

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

stanwyck

It’s going to be a put up yer dukes kind of day after the game last night. Today at 10, TSN 1260. You can reach me @Lowetide_ on twitter and 10-1260 on text. Scheduled to appear:

  • Dennis King. Oilers, MacT, goaltending, Schultz.
  • Alanna Phillips, CFL is for Girls. We’ll talk western final, Reilly, Cornish, Vancouver end of November!
  • Rob Vollman, ESPN and Bleacher Report. We’ll drill down on the Schultz/Fayne usage and discuss Oilers deployment.
  • 11:25, we open the phone lines for you to vent.
  • Dave Jamieson talks Oilers and Eskimos.

See you on the radio!

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164 Responses to "DEBACLE 2.0"

  1. russ99 says:

    Not sure what else needs to be said.

    Gotta let this play out and hope some of these guys are better for the experience and pray Hall doesn’t beg out.

    Some of the hubris shown by the management and coaching staff really needs to be let go for us to be able to progress.

    Results show otherwise.

  2. book¡je says:

    Scenario 1: Team is bad, GM understands strengths and weaknesses, GM can’t fix problems because trade market is currently bad. Analysis – it sucks, but will work itself out, the market wont be stuck forever.

    Scenario 2: Team is bad, GM DOES NOT understands strengths and weaknesses, GM can’t fix problems because he believes in fairy tales. Analysis – it sucks, and it will suck until the GM is gone and perhaps the whole lot of management around him.

    By MacT’s own words, we are in scenario 2 are we not? Sure, it would be better if the goaltending were better, but if MacT doesn’t understand the basics of defence, there is no hope.

  3. Lowetide says:

    That Johnson story is awful. The one thing every person should be able to rely on is parents who put their child’s interest front and center. I’m genuinely saddened by that story.

  4. russ99 says:

    Jack Johnson – holy cow. That’s insane.

  5. Snowman says:

    Great post LT. A real beauty.

  6. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: But you’re usually so positive!

  7. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: The one thing every person should be able to rely on is parents who put their child’s interest front and center.

    That’s just it. Many parents these days don’t give a flying fuck about their kids.

  8. Caramel Obvious says:

    russ99,

    Did you see the quote Russ? It sounds like you and Dallas see things eye to eye.

    On another note, Justin Schultz is terrible. Just terrible. And he is particularly terrible on the powerplay.

    There is no path forward with Justin Schultz on this team. It may be too late but if you could trade him for Anisimov or equivalent that would do wonders.

    On a final note, for all my optimism recently that’s just my head. I found myself yesterday skipping ahead on the PVR because my heart just doesn’t believe. That should have been one of the most exciting games of the year and instead I barely watched. I started watching skipped ahead every time they fell behind, saw none of the Oiler goals in real time (because I have no faith) and then skipped ahead to miss the comeback that was never going to happen, saw the goal that wasn’t, and then went to bed.

    Being an Oiler fan is absurdist theatre.

  9. RT26 says:

    I wonder if the MacT verbal is him not publicly degrading his assets while trying to make a trade? I also wonder if the management team resigned themselves to no playoffs this year, instead using this campaign as a chance for the kids to work out the bugs.

    I like Eakins and what he has done this year. I think something big from a personnel standpoint to address the D or 1/2 C would shake things up nicely.

  10. fuzzy muppet says:

    If Eakin’s comments about zone entries is spot on, then why does his defense allow the other team easy entries time after time after time?

    Marincin is the only defender that tries to hold the blue with his reach.

    Eakins has always said good things but failed to follow up with his actions. It’s my biggest complaint. He preaches accountability but plays favorites. It’s never going to work.

  11. book¡je says:

    hunter1909: That’s just it. Many parents these days don’t give a flying fuck about their kids.

    Parents not giving a flying fuck about their kids is not a new phenomenon.

  12. TheOtherJohn says:

    LT your comments re Jack Johnson spot on

    You definitely lean to wildly supportive of MacT sans 2C

    So long as MacT is committed to Schultz as the centrepiece of the Oiler D & a central part of the core, I question his judgment. The longer he continues to hold to that view I more I fear where we are going and we are already 6-11-2

  13. PunjabiOil says:

    – MacT was quick to sling mud at Tambellini for not being aggressive. He is now realizing how difficult it is to make deals, and how he miscalculated his ability to find a 2nd line C via trade (when several UFA options were within his grasp).

    – A quarter of the season is over, and the season is lost. So yeah, you can pick up an Olli Jokinen (who is pointless) or Kyle Brodziak for cheap. But what’s the point now? The time to acquire that 2C was in the summer and would have allowed Draisaitl to develop in junior.

    – Eakins quote is awful and completely inconsistent. I’m still not convinced he’s a good coach. Repeating Tyler Dellow’s arguments doesn’t make him a smart man. Yes, he’s not getting much help from MacT, but he still has failed to ice the best lineup every night. The benching of Marincin, the use of Brad Hunt as a top pairing, the lack of use of Mark Fayne, the use of Schultz, etc. The team has regressed from RK behind the bench, who extracted much more, from far less.

    – Smartest man in room syndrome. Both MacT and Eakins are stubborn. As Lowetide said, they’ll talk themselves into something silly. I’m very close to the point of avoiding watching games like last season. There are better uses of time than watching a sinking ship.

  14. raventalon40 says:

    What else do Ilya Byakin, Jaroslav Pouzar, and Steve Pinozotto have in common?

    All were Edmonton Oilers.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Eakins has always said good things but failed to follow up with his actions. It’s my biggest complaint. He preaches accountability but plays favorites. It’s never going to work..

    He’s a fraud.

    He just recycles Tyler Dellow’s arguments, but does not have the technical proficiency to carry out design and implementation of said arguments.

  16. zatch says:

    Lowetide,

    I had a close family member go through a similar situation, although not even close to that scale. He said one of the problems is at first you just feel entitled. I’m sure his folks thought it was fine to get a place near their son and they likely spent way more getting him to the NHL. Then you just start jumping down the rabbit hole. You start to rationalize it because facing what you’ve done would be too much. It stops having meaning any more. You can’t stop. You just keep spending and refusing to think about it until suddenly the walls cave in. You aren’t behaving rationally at that point. It is very much a downward spiral. I also sense there was a degree of financial illiteracy at play here.

    There was a guy in Government who started siphoning off funds (he did it very brilliantly, I say as a gov finance guy) and he did it for years and years (originally to shore up his marriage) but it kept getting worse until he finally got caught after I think about 6-7 years. When they arrested him, the first thing he told the cops was “Thank God you caught me. I couldn’t stop”.

  17. Aitch says:

    The goaltending has been below average, the special teams are disaapointing and the defensive usage is mind-boggling to say the least. If someone could stop a puck or stop the opposing team from getting so many odd man chances and high quality scoring chances, maybe the centre position wouldn’t seem like such a problem.

    And as much as we like to tell ourselves that theNuge has taken his game to the next level, the stats just don’t agree. When a centre takes off, those around him should flourish too. Instead, he’s sitting in a tie for 31st place amongst centres.Now, a little power play success would help those numbers out. Remember when he was referred to a witch on the power play? Where is that player? He has 2 PP points?

    Craig Ramsey was supposed to help out the special teams and the defense. If anything, these two areas have gotten worse. Either this team is cursed, or the braintrust has managed to put together a full team of players who are simply uncoachable.

  18. PhrankLee says:

    Cerebral player, wily coach does not always equal GM gold. Besides I think MacT was more a wily player and a cerebral coach..

    Assessment of on ice performance is starkly lacking in both GM and coach.

    Eakins said he heard Pinizotto played well down there and when that happens you get promoted… He actually used the word promoted. (we will show you how to lose in previously unconvinced ways..) Ask MM about how that works.

    That was more of the same we hoped for the best but it turned out like always.

  19. linkfromhyrule says:

    fuzzy muppet: He preaches accountability but plays favorites. It’s never going to work.

    Yep. That quote about not wanting to bench players because it would hurt their feelings is so completely moronic and out of line with their actions that I got angry reading it. Every time I see Eakins face on the tv, I just have this sudden desire to throw something, like my fist, at him.

    I used to be an Eakins supporter, and still am to some extent because I like what he has done in some ways, but he is making some downright bad decisions this year with his roster.

    How can EVERYONE see Schultz is freaking terrible, except the Oilers org. He leads this team in ice time on the pp and at EV, but he is not producing. How many times did Justin miss the net last night and ruin a lot of hard work? 10 would be a conservative estimate. At the very least he needs a benching, but I would prefer to never see him suit up in an Oilers jersey again. The Justin Schultz sweepstakes has been a curse

  20. RMGS says:

    “You have to be careful about how the player reacts. You don’t want to crush him.” – Eakins on benching guys

    I have the uneasy feeling that the coach may have been referring to someone like Yakupov or Draisaitl rather than Norris Jultz. It’s highly unlikely that he’s referring to Nikitin or any other veteran who would be embarrassed but certainly not ‘crushed’ by a deserved benching. It’s almost impossible that he’s referring to one of the 3-4 amigos (Eberle comes to mind). Who does that leave?

    The blatant double standard applied to his players is obvious to everyone and certainly must be obvious to the players themselves. That’s a terrible way to build trust but fits in perfectly with an organizational culture of entitlement.

    I’ll cut the coach some slack, because I also have the uneasy feeling that his hands may be tied by his boss’s terribly mistaken assessment of vital parts of his roster.

  21. Buddy says:

    Oilers management are the smartest men in hockey. They know exactly what the solution for their problem at center is: Connor McDavid.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    book¡je:
    Scenario 1: Team is bad, GM understands strengths and weaknesses, GM can’t fix problems because trade market is currently bad.Analysis – it sucks, but will work itself out, the market wont be stuck forever.

    Scenario 2: Team is bad, GM DOES NOT understands strengths and weaknesses, GM can’t fix problems because he believes in fairy tales.Analysis – it sucks, and it will suck until the GM is gone and perhaps the whole lot of management around him.

    By MacT’s own words, we are in scenario 2 are we not? Sure, it would be better if the goaltending were better, but if MacT doesn’t understand the basics of defence, there is no hope.

    It may sound squishy, but I think there is a third option here that is nearer the truth.

    Both Eakins and MacTavish (from their respective positions of responsibility) “get it” but are hampered by old habits, slogans and blindspots.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2014/4/6/5587376/janus-headed-hockey-eakins-old-school-side-struggling-to-survive-in

    It’s simply not possible to eliminate completely the bullshit we believe despite evidence.

    The best we can hope for is the prudence to put in place failsafes and checks on decisions, the competence to make decisions (mostly) on the best available evidence and with the best practices available and the humility to re-evaluate decisions and let others offer thorough critique.

  23. su_dhillon says:

    On the Eakins quote about not benching guys because you might lose them, if Nikitin and Schultz got benched and their play suffered because of it, would we notice? I don’t know how Nikitin could look any worse.

    The playing shorthanded for no reason was a second place winner of the ‘That’s So Oilers’ moment of the game to Nikitin’s icing not called icing play where he fired the puck into the corner for no god damn reason.

    Honestly I don’t know how Eakins can be so reasonable with the forward deployment, his general comments about how the game should be played, what is important and what is not and then run the defense the way they do. It just makes no fucking sense.

    Woodguy and I were fooling around on twitter with Godfather references last night, MacT coming into this season with no plan at C is Sonny at the Causeway. If Nikitin is a Howson call and it probably is, he is Tom Higgins, as in he is no war time consigliere.

    And Jultz is the ultimate Fredo, he just always breaks your heart.

    There isn’t a Micheal among the bunch.

    These fuckin guys.

  24. Clay says:

    I thought there was a huge disconnect in Eakins’s post-game verbal with regards to benching people.

    Let’s face it, that turnover by Aulie was horrific, but I’ve seen that and worse from Schultz just in the last few games. I guess Eakins feels that Aulie can handle an entire period on the bench, but doing that to Schultz would ruin his career and life forever because he’s a delicate flower?

    I wonder if he hasn’t been given a strict mandate from MacT about how many minutes Schultz gets? Whatever is going on, the words and the actions do not jive with this particular player.

    LT, I got a good chuckle out of your use of the word “lollygaggers” because it’s the perfect description. Whenever the play turns back against the Oilers and poor Schultz has to skate back and play a little defense, he has that look about him like a kid who’s just been told his trip to Disneyland has been cancelled.

    My wife – who has played lots of hockey but doesn’t watch it much – was irate at that first goal. “He just stood there and watched! Even I know that the last defenseman has one job, and that’s to not let anyone behind him.”

  25. Hammers says:

    Good article LT but there may be one way McT can get a trade . You and a cast of thousands won’t agree but maybe . Trade Hall our best player to say Philly for Cotourier & Coburn . We would have to give a “D” as well but as long as its not Klef or MM I don’t care . Hall will be a fantastic player who plays 65 games a year ,. He is probably Pissed with this team and like now . He may not resign in a few years and is at the top of his value today . If not Philly then NYI .Get this organization back on track and do Hall a favor .

  26. Ben says:

    18 months.

    18 months until this franchise equals the ALL TIME recorded mark of 10 CONSECUTIVE YEARS outside of the NHL postseason.

    In a league where OVER HALF of the teams qualify for the playoffs.

    At some point, you have to stop being disappointed, and let the pure awe of this monumental achievement overwhelm you – like an amazed child before an approaching hurricane. This is a special, special time to be an Oilers fan, and the world is full of legends and magic.

  27. su_dhillon says:

    Oh also it matters little how many minutes Aulie plays, or if Pinnizotto should be in for jesse, or 20 other decisions we discuss for thousands and thousands of words if your goalie can’t make saves.
    Seriously the goaltending has been dreadful, we can wait for a regression to the mean but the season is being flushed with terrible start after terrible start.

  28. russ99 says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    russ99,

    Did you see the quote Russ?It sounds like you and Dallas see things eye to eye.

    On another note, Justin Schultz is terrible.Just terrible.And he is particularly terrible on the powerplay.

    There is no path forward with Justin Schultz on this team.It may be too late but if you could trade him for Anisimov or equivalent that would do wonders.

    On a final note, for all my optimism recently that’s just my head.I found myself yesterday skipping ahead on the PVR because my heart just doesn’t believe.That should have been one of the most exciting games of the year and instead I barely watched.I started watching skipped ahead every time they fell behind, saw none of the Oiler goals in real time (because I have no faith) and then skipped ahead to miss the comeback that was never going to happen, saw the goal that wasn’t, and then went to bed.

    Being an Oiler fan is absurdist theatre.

    Dumping is only part of the problem, it’s the endless cycle around the outside, where possession is more important than anything else alllowing the defense to dictate where we’re shooting from.

    I did see a bit of a difference yesterday, players were getting into better scoring areas. Even the waved-off goal was a nice change with Hall in the goalie’s face. Hopefully that continues, and they do more of it on the breakout before the 4-man defensive wall can be set up.

    As for Schultz and the defense: player utilization is by far our biggest failure this year, even worse than the holes at C, D and G.

    Schutlz plus a slow, plodding and leaky defense-only pairing mate (Nikitin/Ference) requiring him to crease-clear because his pairing mate is too slow to move from the wall and playing them 20+ minutes of icetime is a hand grenade. And Schultz knows it too, you can tell. Setting players up to fail is a bad idea.

    Again, we’re beating a dead horse until management/coaching sees it and does something about it.

  29. Jesse says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: It may sound squishy, but I think there is a third option here that is nearer the truth.

    Both Eakins and MacTavish (from their respective positions of responsibility) “get it” but are hampered by old habits, slogans and blindspots.

    http://www.coppernblue.com/2014/4/6/5587376/janus-headed-hockey-eakins-old-school-side-struggling-to-survive-in

    It’s simply not possible to eliminate completely the bullshit we believe despite evidence.

    The best we can hope for is the prudence to put in place failsafes and checks on decisions, the competence to make decisions (mostly) on the best available evidence and with the best practices available and the humility to re-evaluate decisions and let others offer thorough critique.

    This is the explanation that I’m most on board with. It’s an inescapable cognitive dissonance that is present mostly in MacT, but in Eakins as well. We’ve heard Eakins say things that sound like, “well, part of me thinks we need the big crusher, stay-at-home type on the back end and part of me thinks we need a puck mover”, and here we have Marincin sitting for Aulie. Sometimes I think Eakins is too honest because since that quote now we get to see that inner battle take place on the 23 man roster.

    With MacT the cognitive dissonance is ever more present. In the 2013 offseason, he loads up with Belov and Grebs, clear puck moving guys, both bets “fail” (Belov could be debatable) in MacT’s mind, and so the next year he’s loading up on guys like Nikitin, Fayne, and Aulie, opposite player types.

    The organization can hire Dellow and consult analytics for their FA signings, etc, but if they don’t take what those sources have to say to heart, then what’s the use? They can hire Craig Ramsay, but I can’t believe that Craig Ramsay honestly believes that Schultz should be playing 6 more minutes a night than Fayne. So if they won’t listen to him, what’s the use?

    It’s cognitive dissonance — a struggle between wanting to be progressive and open to finding the right path, and being stubborn and arrogant in the ways of how you’re used to doing things. Right now the latter is winning and we are all losing.

  30. sliderule says:

    My positive thought is they are keeping Marincin around to have him work on building up his body in particular “his chicken leg arms” as quoted by Mact.
    My negative thought is that they see nothing for him in this organization and Aulie is a better option.
    My positive thought is they have made all these non moves and bad moves to ensnare a generational player of which there might be as many as three.
    My negative thought is that they don’t have a clue and will make some bad trades to get a few meaningless points and miss out.
    Is my positive side or my negative side right?

  31. blainer says:

    Caramel Obvious:
    russ99,

    Did you see the quote Russ?It sounds like you and Dallas see things eye to eye.

    On another note, Justin Schultz is terrible.Just terrible.And he is particularly terrible on the powerplay.

    There is no path forward with Justin Schultz on this team.It may be too late but if you could trade him for Anisimov or equivalent that would do wonders.

    On a final note, for all my optimism recently that’s just my head.I found myself yesterday skipping ahead on the PVR because my heart just doesn’t believe.That should have been one of the most exciting games of the year and instead I barely watched.I started watching skipped ahead every time they fell behind, saw none of the Oiler goals in real time (because I have no faith) and then skipped ahead to miss the comeback that was never going to happen, saw the goal that wasn’t, and then went to bed.

    Being an Oiler fan is absurdist theatre.

    LOL… thats the way im watching most games these days.. They need to trade Shultz and Yak for a talented center if at all possible. Throw in a 2nd rounder. Don’t think though there is another team interested in our mess which looks good for McDavid. This player will turn this mess around if we get him. Immediately if you look at sidney crosby’s rookie year. We will need some luck to win the lottery but a last place finish will get us Eichel at the very least. What a year to suck… if we are drafting in the top ten I rather be picking first this year. Hope the flames draft at least 20th..

  32. zatch says:

    The treatment of Schultz reeks of pride to me. MacT stupidly claimed he had Norris potential (in what universe?) the hockey world scoffed, so now he’s getting a major minuntes and ZS push to try to save face, which won’t come close to working.

    Alternative is he wants to move him but can’t and is pumping his tires in an attempt to inflate his value.

  33. book¡je says:

    I wonder if part of the disconnect is what Pat Quinn noted a number of years ago – that is, that a lot of the coaching decisions on the team are actually made by management.

  34. Bag of Pucks says:

    Aitch:
    The goaltending has been below average, the special teams are disaapointing and the defensive usage is mind-boggling to say the least. If someone could stop a puck or stop the opposing team from getting so many odd man chances and high quality scoring chances, maybe the centre position wouldn’t seem like such a problem.

    And as much as we like to tell ourselves that theNuge has taken his game to the next level, the stats just don’t agree. When a centre takes off, those around him should flourish too. Instead, he’s sitting in a tie for 31st place amongst centres.Now, a little power play success would help those numbers out. Remember when he was referred to a witch on the power play? Where is that player? He has 2 PP points?

    Craig Ramsey was supposed to help out the special teams and the defense. If anything, these two areas have gotten worse. Either this team is cursed, or the braintrust has managed to put together a full team of players who are simply uncoachable.

    I agree with everything you’ve said here in a big way, but on the subject of players being uncoachable, I don’t believe that’s a thing. They are professionals and they are all cabable of and highly motivated to learn. Now, the org may have a culture of entitlement / selfishness that makes them resistant to coaching.

    But by my eye, they’re working hard so the effort and commitment is there but they make a TON of preventable mistakes that prevents a positive outcome. Frankly, when I read Eakins this morning saying turnovers weren’t the reason for the loss last night, I think he’s lost the plot.

    A couple things stand out to me about the way this team is coached:

    1) It seems that many of the better teams the Oil face use far more set plays for FOs, PPs, breakouts, etc. When a team is struggling with positional breakdowns, set plays are a very effective tactic to mitigate against positional breakdowns and maximize execution and individual player talents. Some departing players have questioned the efficacy of practices with this team. That’s a huge red flag for Eakins and a possible sign this org is still living in the past in regards to tactical execution.

    2) A consistent theme in Eakins’ excuses is his system takes time to learn, especially for players to get to the point where read & react within it is instinctual. Imo, this is over coaching and I think it may be Eakins ‘ fatal flaw. He’s a control freak and rather than just simplify and let his horses run, he’s got a million different video scenarios running through their head that confuse the issue.

    I don’t think I’ve seen a team at this level that is so consistently poor at failing to cover for a pinching D or a forward taken out of position on the forecheck, leading to an odd man rush. I guarantee the better opposition coaches prescout and design set transition plays to take advantage of these system flaws. When an Oiler D activates, and the forward is inevitably slow to rotate back in cover, it rolls out the red carpet to the Oilers goal.

    I’m not sure I can watch this anymore. This is a badly coached hockey team with low entertainment value and minimal upside.

    Honest question for those still enamoured with Eakins? Why? No production gains in either individual player or team output? I get that the rotating coach philosophy was not working, but Dallas has had more than ample time to achieve improvement however modest and it ain’t happening.

  35. Unicorns says:

    I spent some money getting an education in reading newspapers years ago (poli sci / econ). I was thinking of talking the civil service exam, running for parliament, changing the world for good.

    At the end of my time there, I was disillusioned. Looking back at history in politics, the back story was almost never what we were told at the time. It takes decades usually for truth to come out, if at all.

    When I read what the Oilers say and look at what they do I get the same feeling that there is a back story that is the cause of the disconnect between things logical and the Oilers.

    I don’t buy that MacT didn’t realize that Arco and Leon aren’t going to cut it in the NHL, if you expect to succeed. I don’t buy that he doesn’t see the weak play of his team after coaching successfully with a bland roster. I don’t buy that not one of those vet centres waiting for a phone call this summer would sign in Edmonton, home of the vet overpay. I don’t buy that MacT felt the team was short on good wingers so he had to stock up.

    I do buy that if you know you’re going to run weak low offense centres you need experienced solid wingers to make it work at all, to not seem too obvious. To play with next year’s high pick centre. I do buy that MacT is enamored with puck moving D and trusts the judgement of people with dubious qualifications. He likely thought based on what had to be Howson’s recommendation that in Nikitin he had a large skating puck mover being given the short end in Columbus, a perfect fit for the Oilers. Why else that contract?

    Of course without being close to a higher up in the organization we can’t know the back story. But one of you bright folks mentioned the other day about Katz not wanting to give a red cent of playoff money to Northlands. I don’t know about the details there, but it caught my attention.

    As did MacT mentioning players needing to step up this year and prove what they are, elite or not.

    I put these two things together and feel things make more sense, less cognitive dissonance. It might not be the case, but I’d bet it is something along these lines. They have to know for certain with Dellow in house that a large part of the fan base knows this is crap at a deeper level than simply losing because rookies and players not caring enough. We can only hope that this phase will end soon and they will begin to run things more professionally and evenly.

    Although I’m not sure the Oilers ever really had respect around the league. People piped down years ago because they couldn’t argue anymore with the overwhelming success and Gretzky obliterating the record books game in and out. They were proven wrong convincingly.

    My hope for this year now is finishing 29th, Eakins sneakily orchestrating better tactics and getting everyone on board while losing a lot, and winning the 1 OV again by luck. I like that McDavid boy.

  36. Hazwasted says:

    “You have to be careful about how the player reacts. You don’t want to crush him.” – Eakins on benching guys

    Didn’t show that compassion with Yak last year????

    Schultz was as bad as ever last night, the short handed goal where he was the only defenseman on the ice and showed he has no concept of the position. He continues to miss the net more than he hits it on the power play and is not a great passer otherwise. Cheated for offence a number of times and got caught out of the play and lolly gags all to often. Aulie wrongly tried to force the pass through two players and got burned and sits as a result shows the disparity between treatment of the players.

    Even the unusually perky and positive LT is frustrated with this group and deservedly so! Go get Em!

    The season is pooched already before the end of November……..sigh!

    How does defenseman fricking Yannick Weber outrace everyone to score that goal? Pitiful effort, positioning and desire. The team wasn’t ready again to start the game and that’s on the coach. There were so many bad points to the game you just can’t list them all.

    Looking forward to the draft update posts once again.

  37. Bag of Pucks says:

    There is enough talent on this team to be mediocre. They are not mediocre however, they are brutal and trending to the basement again.

    Poor coaching is the most obvious and logical explanation.

  38. Pretendergast says:

    Commenting on people’s body language is silly, Schultz is making mistakes and should be held accountable for it, but saying he’s a lollygagger is just like saying Petry is a lollygagger, or Penner, or Hesmky. Just because some of the folks on this blog ‘know’ hard work and effort when they see it and believe Schultz is some punk who is too cool for school does not give them the right to judge a player who clearly had to do a lot of work to get to this level in the first place. Judge his play and what role he should fill but judging his level of lollygagging should be in the realm of eye-glow, a joke.

  39. SoCaloil says:

    That shorty goal should be enough to bench Schultz.
    He was completely clueless on what was happening…and looked like he didn’t give a rats.
    This is not a first offense, but so repeatable its disgusting.
    It warrants no PP time for at least 2 weeks….figure it out kid…you’ve had YEARS NOW!

    As for Marincin…i think there’s two factors.
    1) we’ve talked about
    and 2) He needs to become more competitive against the boards.
    Both at winning puck battles and moving the puck faster and better behind the blue
    He’s go the skill…now he’s got to show the will and greater competitive spirit.
    He needs to show he wants to be there.
    Once he does, he’ll be in full time.

  40. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    book¡je:
    I wonder if part of the disconnect is what Pat Quinn noted a number of years ago – that is, that a lot of the coaching decisions on the team are actually made by management.

    It is interesting to ponder.

    I mean things like demoting Marincin at the beginning of the year for Hunt are one way of management tinkering with coaching, but it’s unclear that Eakins would have chosen differently.

    One of the interesting things Eakins said about benching players (in-game mind you) last night was that sometimes you’re faced with a situation where the other options simply aren’t reliable (that night or in general).

    I think we can credit Eakins here with genuinely being stuck with a defensive roster issues. But… at some point he has to take the blame for not elevating Fayne to Schultz’ detriment.

  41. RexLibris says:

    The solutions at this point have become obvious.

    Once you have eliminated all other options, whatever remains must be the solution. The Oilers’ season to-date has eliminated all other options.

    You must trade a prospect and a pick outside the 1st round for a serviceable 2nd line center, even if it is a reach for someone like Cody Eakin, whom I believe to be more akin to a 3rd or 4th line center at this stage.

    You must sit Nikita Nikitin and Justin Schultz in favour of Martin Marintin and Oscar Klefbom. The team cannot win with those two in the lineup right now and their TOI has a direct correlation, by eye and by math, to poor results and losses. If what you are doing isn’t working, stop doing it and try something else.

    The season was lost after the Arizona game last week. Everything now is merely directional in terms of showing player improvement and development. I’m not even going to say that I’ll be looking for improved decision-making from management and/or coaching because, while their learning curve is tremendous, you ought not be hired for those positions if you have to learn this much on the job.

    The mistakes are outnumbering the positive markers and we are very near the tipping point, by way of years into this rebuild, to where I feel we may ultimately lose our most hard-won assets.

  42. vinotintazo says:

    Petry – Soft
    Nikitin – Soft
    Ference – is ok, but limited size
    Marincin – Soft
    Klefbom – Soft
    Schultz – Ultra Soft
    Aulie – is ok, limited skill

    How are we supposed to win with this souless blue line?

  43. Ben says:

    vinotintazo:
    Petry – Soft
    Nikitin – Soft
    Ference – is ok, but limited size
    Marincin – Soft
    Klefbom – Soft
    Schultz – Ultra Soft
    Aulie – is ok, limited skill

    How are we supposed to win with this souless blue line?

    This whole soft/hard fancy stat thing makes my head hurt.

    Watch the game, nerd!

  44. vinotintazo says:

    Ben: This whole soft/hard fancy stat thing makes my head hurt.

    Watch the game, nerd!

    but but but… did you see how easy we are to play against @ rexall? is a joke at this point. :'(

  45. linkfromhyrule says:

    RexLibris,

    The scary thing is, they don’t seem to understand why they are losing. Until the infatuation with Schultz stops, this team will always be a joke. Last nights game was one of the worst I’ve seen them play in a long time. If Miller wouldn’t have had an off night, that would have been a 5-1 hockey game at best. Just pathetic.

    Let’s hope that it serves Eakins with a wakeup call to put Marincin back in the lineup. They are so slow to respond and make necessary changes, it’s completely infuriating as a fan.

  46. rickithebear says:

    LAst comment last thread

    we have played 8 of ten against #2-6 teams in WC
    5 of those with our #9-10 Dmen in the game.
    we faced #11 WC team with #9-10 D; Statisctically top G in league DD.

    An average team would get 5 out of 20 points veruus these teams.
    we Got 1.
    refs(hand); hunt-nurse; Fayne pinch GM #1 cost us 5 pt.

    Versus east:
    6-2-1.722 13 of 18 PT
    This is a 46pt from 26 gm pace.

    our season is
    poor results against the west from:
    1. playing top record teams in conf. 5 out 20 pt expected. 1 pt achieved.
    2. playing our #8-10 D in 6 games 5L-1SOL
    3. after the first 2 games our PP is at 10% which is 6-7 G short of the Krueger era. that is 3-6 extra points.

    1. schedule
    2. player usage
    3. coaching

  47. Caramel Obvious says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I mostly agree. Of course, the winning goal involved a pretty big mistake by Fayne (and Pinizotto), and then Hendricks being a second late to back checking hard.

    If you have a young team and your veterans make mistakes that cost you, I’m not sure you have a lot of options.

    To me the big problem is Schultz on the powerplay. He serves no purpose there. But really he needs to be traded while he has any value at all.

  48. Thor762 says:

    I’ve read this blog and watched every Oiler game able for the past several years. Up until about 2 weeks ago where I stopped watching the games. Until something major changes it just isn’t worth it and a perfect example of Alberta Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    I’ve switched to watching New Zealand All Blacks rugby games. It’s nice for a change to watch a team that oozes skill, plays for each other, and fights hard for every bit of ground from start to finish.

  49. elgruntus says:

    This is like being in a bad marriage that takes 20 years to recognize.

    We have had two 40 win seasons in the last 25 years! We have made the playoffs 7 times in the last 21 years. 5 of those were consecutive 1st and 2nd round exits in the mid to late 90’s. We had ONE freaking moment of joy with the Stanley run of 06. We haven’t had a 50 win season since 86-87. Almost 30 damn years!

    Year after year after year. Excuse after lie after justification. The problems remain the same. Nothing changes but the names on the sweaters.

    I loved my wife more than anything in the world, but after 20 years of ulcers, stress and strife, I said goodbye. I still love her 5 years after the divorce, but I’m no longer puking blood.

    I love this city. This is my team. As Jimmy Cliff sang…. “I’m trapped!”

  50. Old School G says:

    I know it’s deep in the dark – but we only need a few things addressed! (He types this as if it’s just that easy).

    1) Marty needs back in, this is just weird and has gone on long enough, split games between Aulie and Nikitin, leave Marty out of it, he’s a top 6 D man, if I know that, Mac and Eakins know it, enough!

    2) Scrivens scares me – I hate to admit, and will always cheer for him, but I hope he is our loveable, big-brained backup by mid-season. We need a top-tier tender, pay what it costs. Taylor deserves playoff hockey, he’s made for it.

    3) Leon is going to be incredible for a long time – in time. We need a C that can play important minutes for about 3 more seasons, this one, plus two more. Let Leon take the wheel in his 20’s, he can learn the craft on the 3/4 line for a bit – if he pushes up to the 2Line before then, that’s a great problem to have.

    Three very difficult areas to address. BUT business needs to be handled or this Groundhog Day fandom will continue. MacT, you silver fox, Groundhog Day needs to be broken, we need playoffs, I live in Vancouver, this losing, year after year, has to end, right?

  51. matt says:

    If the Oilers are saying one thing and doing another, then it is reasonable to believe that they do not mean to do what they say. Marincin, Hunt, Schultz, the lack of centres: this is not meant to be a competitive team this year.

  52. su_dhillon says:

    matt:
    If the Oilers are saying one thing and doing another, then it is reasonable to believe that they do not mean to do what they say.Marincin, Hunt, Schultz, the lack of centres: this is not meant to be a competitive team this year.

    Yuuuuup

  53. Younger Oil says:

    For those interested in the “PDO-Rel” stat that was proposed yesterday, I decided to run the numbers for a team that many said were very “lucky” last year, in the Colarado Avalanche, who people are saying are returning to the form that was expected of them last year. Here’s how the numbers turned out:

    Colarado 13-14:

    Expected Shooting Percentage: 9.18%
    Actual Shooting Percentage: 10.12%
    Expected Save Percentage: 91.55%
    Actual Save Percentage: 92.17%

    This gives us a “PDO-Rel” of +1.57%, which translates into them having a +39.45 goal differential as to what should have been expected over the course of the season. That means they should have had a -8 Goal Differential instead of on that was +31, which definitely shows how lucky they were over the course of the season!

    Colarado 14-15:

    Expected Shooting Percentage: 9.75%
    Actual Shooting Percentage: 8.26%
    Expected Save Percentage: 91.04%
    Actual Save Percentage: 91.42%

    This results in a “PDO-Rel” of -1.12%, which means that they should have a +5.65 goal differential compared to what they have now, which would put them at -8 instead of their current -14. This shows that even though the Avalanche overperformed as to what was expected, but this year, they haven’t reverted back to the mean, instead they are underperforming. Once everything is adjusted, it still points to the fact that they are a below average team.

  54. Ben says:

    One of the main reasons these multiple rebuilds have turfed is that the talented young prospects have not been given high-calibre veteran players in mentorship roles.

    Shultz has ability. He needs a strong vet to kick his ass.

    Whatever the next trade is that the Oilers make, I just hope that it’s (FINALLY) for a top-pairing D, or a top 15 starting goaltender.

    Seabrook/Bickell for Eberle/Petry?

  55. HolyCow says:

    matt:
    If the Oilers are saying one thing and doing another, then it is reasonable to believe that they do not mean to do what they say.Marincin, Hunt, Schultz, the lack of centres: this is not meant to be a competitive team this year.

    Hear hear

  56. Hammers says:

    I realize its a cap world they play in but saying trades can’t or won’t happen is ridiculous . Would McT loose if he makes a trade? Yes he would but that doesn’t mean you don’t do it . So you give up a better potential winger for a good serviceable center . That’s life when you screwed up for 5-7 years in a row . Difference is that you end up with better balance then move Leon to the wing for a couple of years . As for Eakins , McT loves the guy but maybe because he does what his told .How can any coach look at game film of his “D” and keep making the same mistakes . Grow a pair , bench 1st Schultz then Nikitin .

  57. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Ben,

    Can’t imagine Chicago making that trade. I’m assuming the justification is that Bickell is a value drag because of how much he costs, hence allowing for the justification of trading a borderline Canadian Olympic team dman.

    I’m not sure Bickell is overpaid, because I think his job description is “score goals in the playoffs”. HIs inability to get anything done in the regular season hasn’t seemed to matter to Chicago. He’s got 27 points in 42 playoff games, almost entirely at even strength playing mediocre minutes over the last 2 years.

    But, yeah, I’d be down for that trade if we could make it happen. Even if Bickell doesn’t have tremendous scoring rates he is a decent bet for mid level production, and it would be nice to have a 230 pound winger in the top 9.

  58. Hall Awaits says:

    Screw the Oilers. Plain and simple. Just a flaming bag of dog shit on the front step.

  59. book¡je says:

    Just to sum up, the problems with this team are
    A. Coaching
    B. The Players,
    C. The Management
    D. The Owners
    E. The Fans
    F. The City
    G. The Hockey Gords
    H. The Media

  60. frjohnk says:

    Here are the shot quality stats from the Edmonton Vancouver game November 19.

    Shots for
    Edmonton 32
    Vancouver 31
    * The NHL game report is not without errors. I have noticed some players are credited with a shot when it was not them. And sometimes there are phantom shots counted. The NHL will review goals scored to get that right, but they do not review shots.

    Average Shot Distance ( ft)

    Edmonton 34.5
    Vancouver 33

    Clean Shots For( Shots where the goalie had no trouble seeing puck, not deflected or tipped)
    At the shot quality study, it was found that on average goalies that see a clean shot, have a .951 save percentage.

    Edmonton 23
    Vancouver 18

    Dissecting this further, I found that Vancouver had 8 clean shots that I labeled either a 1 or 2, which meant difficult save. Edmonton had 5 clean shots that I labeled either a 1 or 2.

    Vancouver scored 3 goals on a clean shot that was labeled as a 1 or 2 for save difficulty.
    Edmonton had 2 goals for clean shots.

    Transitional Shots For ( from passes like a one timer) league average save % is .693 from the study.

    Edmonton 3 transitional shots ( 2 shots that were labeled a difficult save)
    Vancouver 4 transitional shots ( 4 shots that were labeled a difficult save)

    Edmonton scored 0 goals from transitional shots
    Vancouver scored 1 goal from transitional shots

    Rebounds For ( league average save% is .760 from that study)
    Edmonton 3 ( save difficulty was either a 1 or 2 for all)
    Vancouver 3 ( save difficulty was either a 1 or 2 for all)

    Edmonton had 0 goals from rebounds
    Vancouver had 0 goal from rebounds

    Traffic, Deflections/Tipped ( league average save % is .763)

    Edmonton 3 shots in traffic, deflections/tip ins ( 2 were difficult saves)
    Vancouver 6 shots in traffic, deflections/tip ins ( 1 shot was a difficult save)

    Edmonton had 2 goals from traffic, deflections/tipped in
    Vancouver had 1 goal from traffic, deflections/tipped in.

    This is the preliminary data, could be a mistake or two, will double check.

  61. Ben says:

    book¡je:
    Just to sum up, the problems with this team are
    A. Coaching
    B. The Players,
    C. The Management
    D. The Owners
    E. The Fans
    F. The City
    G. The Hockey Gords
    H. The Media

    Well, at least we can thank Tambo for crossing the training staff off of that list.

  62. Unicorns says:

    Hammers:
    I realize its a cap world they play in but saying trades can’t or won’t happen is ridiculous . Would McT loose if he makes a trade? Yes he would but that doesn’t mean you don’t do it . So you give up a better potential winger for a good serviceable center . That’s life when you screwed up for 5-7 years in a row . Difference is that you end up with better balance then move Leon to the wing for a couple of years . As for Eakins , McT loves the guy but maybe because he does what his told .How can any coach look at game film of his “D” and keep making the same mistakes . Grow a pair , bench 1st Schultz then Nikitin .

    You can also simply sign vet UFA’s, which only costs money. I wouldn’t give up any asset unless there is a long term solution coming back. Giving up quality for a short term fix will keep the team down.

  63. McSorley33 says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    On another note, Justin Schultz is terrible. Just terrible. And he is particularly terrible on the powerplay.
    There is no path forward with Justin Schultz on this team.
    *******************************************************************************
    Okay.

    So, how do you feel about Eakins allocating 20+ min / night to Schultz?

  64. Dicky94 says:

    Hate to say it but the only way we can get out of this is by dealing one of Yak or Eberle. Both if it means a significant return for a #1 d man and center. We don’t have the right mix of players and it is painfully obvious now. I like both Ebs and Yak but I think it’s time to move on to bigger and better players. Get er done.

  65. RexLibris says:

    book¡je:
    Just to sum up, the problems with this team are
    A. Coaching
    B. The Players,
    C. The Management
    D. The Owners
    E. The Fans
    F. The City
    G. The Hockey Gords
    H. The Media

    E needs to be subdivided into E. i. Tier 1 fans, E. ii. Tier 2 fans.

    And you forgot the Scouts, the Training Staff, Foreign Agents Provocateurs, and the Irish.

    This team tests one’s character in ways the US Marine Corps could only dream of.

  66. hunter1909 says:

    Dicky94:
    Hate to say it but the only way we can get out of this is by dealing one of Yak or Eberle. Both if it means a significant return for a #1 d man and center.We don’t have the right mix of players and it is painfully obvious now. I like both Ebs and Yak but I think it’s time to move on to bigger and better players. Get er done.

    Great idea. Because the two new players are going to be slotted in, instantly change the culture of 10 years of crappola hockey and despite everything to the contrary will be able to lead the Oilers, despite Lowe, MacT and Eakin’s street beggar level of competence into a new golden era.

    Better yet. Trade Hall away with Yak/Eberle. They should be able to get a really nice package for these players. Maybe Phaneuf/Kadri. And a really, really good prospect.

  67. Snowman says:

    Schultz has to go. He’s supposed to bring offense. He doesn’t. He’s supposed to be a defenseman. He leaks 5 bell scoring chances against with bad pinches, misreads and slow read/react. He’s at best a third pairing guy.

    No team plays a third pairing guy 25 minutes but us. Seriously. No team plays a third pair guy 25 minutes.

    He gets cherry minutes, cherry zone starts. Produces terrible results.

  68. theres oil in virginia says:

    Hey LT. Schultz has plenty of defensive acumen, he knows how to use his stick to break up plays, etc. He doesn’t make good decisions (when to step up) and is having trouble reading plays, especially when they go from attack to defense. He needs to sit.

  69. vinotintazo says:

    Snowman:
    Schultz has to go. He’s supposed to bring offense. He doesn’t. He’s supposed to be a defenseman. He leaks 5 bell scoring chances against with bad pinches, misreads and slow read/react. He’s at best a third pairing guy.

    No team plays a third pairing guy 25 minutes but us. Seriously. No team plays a third pair guy 25 minutes.

    He gets cherry minutes, cherry zone starts. Produces terrible results.

    ICE TIME YESTERDAY:

    Petry : 22:53
    Schultz: 19:33

    He’s not playing 25 mins any longer…

  70. Lucinius says:

    I don’t get the amount of flak thrown MacT’s way.I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s made some glaring mistakes and his Norris comments are laughable.. but this is a guy who has dramatically overhauled the roster. He has clearly tried to fix the glaring holes on the team. The two holes coming into this season were at 2C and 1D. The latter you simply cannot get via trade short of over-paying (i.e., trading a Hall or RNH), so he gets a pass there. The 2C spot.. I recall him trying to sign a couple of the centers during free agency. Am I wrong? They chose to not come to Edmonton (don’t blame them) and he decided that Arcobello/Drai were better than picking up a marginal 2C late in free agency (if they wanted to come here, which we don’t know).

    Yes, 2C is a glaring hole.. but it isn’t like there aren’t other teams also with glaring holes; even good teams have holes. The key is using your personnel to compensate.

    Which is why I don’t get why some (such as LT) constantly give Eakins props for what he says. I don’t care what he says; I care what he does, and what he does is clearly mis-manage his roster. The coach is the one who refuses to bench liabilities. The coach has the final say on whether or not a player should be on the team or in the minors to start the season (blaming MacT for Marincin is bat-shit crazy — that is entirely on Eakins).

    – Nikitin should have been IRed to start the year; that is on the entire organization.
    – Marincin should have started the year on the team; that is on Eakins.
    – By now, Nikitin, Schultz, Aulie and Ference have deserved press-boxing at various times (and some more than others) and it is on Eakins that this was not done.
    – Marincin might have deserved a one, or two game, press-boxing; fine, I don’t agree (because even though he had been unsteady he was still not the worst defender on this team prior to his press-boxing) but fine. To continue to sit his ass up there, to not send Klefbom down? That is on Eakins.
    – The powerplay is on Eakins. There may be another coach involved in it, who runs the powerplay, but ultimately all coaching decisions and issues are the responsibility of the head coach; Eakins. This powerplay has no excuse for being as bad as it is. None.

    I know many (some?) are arguing that the Oilers have turned north. Possession stats and the like show marked improvement. Eakins is doing some things well. Doesn’t matter. At the end of the day the job is to get points. Eakins cannot get points because regardless of how well the forwards are deployed, or possession stats are turning north he makes back-breaking decisions that cost the team games.

    Yes, a lot of games have been hampered, or out-right lost due to goaltending. Shit happens and I believe Chabot should be fired (and have thought this for years), and that is on Lowe and MacT. However, the kind of turn overs this defense is committing due to a marriage of system design and horrible play from key defensive personnel is going to cast a negative pall on the goalies regardless of how good they are. Hasek at his best would struggle to keep the Oilers in games with the kind of defensive play we’ve seen from Nikitin, Schultz and, at times, Ference, Aulie and others.

    Mistakes will happen. It is why I’m not down on Petry or Fayne. They’ve made some glaring mistakes this season — Petry has handed the puck to the opposition on a silver platter a couple of times. But they are exceptions to their play otherwise. Schultz has struggled defensively since he got here. Aulie looks more and more out of his depth (which is fine, he’s a #7.. he should be out of his depth when over-played like this). Nikitin looks utterly and completely lost in the woods running from Bryzgalov’s bear and was never this bad in seasons past and I personally believe it is a combination of health, confidence and system play with a bit of being out of his depth thrown in.

    Eakins is the largest problem with this team currently. He has clearly shown he does not know how to run an NHL team competitively without playing favourites or massive blind spots and is unable to right the ship in key areas.

    The buck stops with Eakins on too many issues for it to be anyone else brought before the firing squad. Is he the only culprit? No. Some of the players are simply stuck in a loser mentality. The GM has made key errors, but has tried to address the issues when possible. The organization continues to play players without regard for their health, something it has a long history of doing and should be vehemently condemned for doing.

    But, all to often things come down to the coaching. And the head coach is where the responsibility for those things resides. He was a bad hire, he is a bad coach and either will not or cannot make the decisions needed to improve the team. As such, he needs to go. I would fire Eakins, hand the reins over to Ramsay and then gun for Babcock in the off-season or a similarly veteran coach that is not named Blysma.

    /end rant, sorry.

  71. Lois Lowe says:

    Ben: Well, at least we can thank Tambo for crossing the training staff off of that list.

    Zing!

  72. flyfish1168 says:

    Lucinius,

    I agree with you that our coaching is a big problem. Even last year I never understood why certain players never get sat out or called out. I been calling out Schultz for so long that everyone most think I hate him as a hockey player.

    Accountablity has to start with the coach and nothing fires up a team more then when our Norris trophy canadate or team stars gets sat up for bad play. Attention will be paid when this happens.

  73. Bag of Pucks says:

    I would fire Eakins and promote Nelson as the interim replacement.

    Waiting until Christmas does nothing but ensure that the season is so irretrievably lost that the players would be next to impossible to motivate through yet another death march to the lottery.

    4 year deal for Eakins. This org is a joke and mgmt is the punch line.

    In hindsight, the 06 Cinderella run may have been one of the worst things to happen to this club as it convinced mgmt that they were capable, not culpable.

    A rational person would actually realize they were incompetent when they lost Hart Trophy winning Corey Perry over a pathetically petty contract payback demand from Mike Comrie. Or possibly when they saw Clarkson’s play after they offered him an ever bigger FA deal than the Laughs? Or maybe when their boss forced them to apologize to the fans they described as 2nd tier, and they shot the apology in front of a Rangers team photo?

  74. Bag of Pucks says:

    Actually now that I think about it, cos it’s the Oilers, they’ll probably fire Eakins on Christmas Eve….while he’s nursing some sort of injury…and his mothers ill….over Skype.

  75. PhrankLee says:

    RexLibris,

    What constitutes a lost season? Nobody here had them making the playoffs. I have them down for 72 points. We can say DE has failed to learn NHL coaching in terms of assessing players. Or maybe some smooth talkin GM made promises to guys in terms of what kind of min they would be playing. Because a head coach cannot stand in the bright lights of the cameras and say the team he plays are they guys who have worked for it and keep a threshold prospect out of games for 2 bloody weeks!! It’s dangerous management of a player, imo. It’s all so fishy smelling.

  76. 9,998,383,750,001 says:

    I’d be more than mildly entranced to read a brassy Tyler Dellow blog post right about now.

    The on-ice assignments which presently make the least sense are exactly those where Eakins is getting the most help from an experienced former head coach who is none of things people customarily float to explain Eakins’ failures.

    I do think the coach needs to be careful benching players when a team’s record is well below what the team deserves. It would be kind of like having your name featured on a poster which reads “the worst turd, in the worst stall, in the worst public bathroom, in the worst pub, in the worst county, in the worst country, in the worst Commonwealth, on the worst planet, in the worst solar system, in the worst galaxy, in the worst universe”. Then after the first shot of adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine subside the limbic system starts to seek equilibrium again. By noon the next day your perspective has lightened to “the worst turd, in the worst stall, in the worst public bathroom, in the worst pub, in the worst county, in the worst country, in the worst Commonwealth, on the best planet, in the worst solar system, in the worst galaxy, in the worst universe”.

    Yakupov’s issues went deep enough to ride out the limbic jimmies.

    Aulie was promptly benched for his blunder. The best punishment loops are immediate and brief. That what neurology says though thumbscrew porn begs to differ.

    ———

    Consequence loops work best when you set a line, prepare the player to the best of your ability, give the player some rope, and say “go to it!” The rope needs to be based on what makes sense for the player and not the day-to-day standing of the team, or it functions more like a capricious clothesline, where a cog drops into the locked position at the precise moment you lunge for the Frisbee and all you catch between your teeth is your stretchy pink water straw with a fresh fly wallpapered onto its moist ladle tip doing backstroke cartwheels like a culinary joy buzzer, before thudding down onto your trachea with your hairy hind cleats breasting your schnoz.

    The fly breaks free on impact, gimbals three dizzy halos, regains its bearings, then vectors into some nearby shrubs to regale his buddies with the most amazing shaggy frog story. “I was on final approach to a thin, wispy tendril of some delectably ripe rubbish, when the demon vortex exploded from my six and nearly ripped my wings off, then—pow—out of nowhere I was up to my six armpits in glutinous papillae. I braced myself to counter-slap against the snap, but the snap never came. Unfortunately, my thorax was fully enveloped, so I worked myself around for a better down-tongue view using the inverted motorboat. You’ve never been stuck to a tongue like that one! It was almost as wide as it was long. I lost my bearings more than once and had to motorboat round several times. Then—you won’t believe this—we struck yard. My abdomen flipped up leaving me in a nectar headstand, only it wasn’t nectar, boys and girls. Now was my main chance! I nutted the rubber stamen for all I was worth with my bulging Swartzenfly epicranium. And it worked! Airborne. Grass, sky, grass, sky, grass, NOW! I applied main thrust precisely then, but must have misjudged. Sky, grass, sky, fur, tongue, grass, fur, sky, tongue. Gaah! Counter thrust! Sky, grass, tongue, fur, sky, grass, sky—now thrust again—up, up, and away—sky, sky, sky, nothing but blue sky from that moment on. I can hear you all ask yourselves: What kind of giant, hairy frog explodes out of nowhere with a deadly accurate tongue wider than a honeycomb triplex? A lazy tongue that just hangs there limp in space until it goes yard? It’s true, I tell you, it’s all true. Look—my mesothorax is still covered in fat rivets of goober and I can’t even squeak my tenant hairs.” His fly audience sits aghast as he demonstrates this by rubbing his hind legs together soundlessly to punctuate his peril.

    Grandpa fly is not so easily cowed. “Well, clearly it wasn’t all made up, but whoever heard such a shaggy frog story? Must have been the initial impact. Probably just another case of poopark snaplash stiction syndrome—we’ve all had our in-the-scent PS3 moments. Let me tell you, the life of a fly is no simple cakewalk. No-one knows that better than me. One time I nearly starved to death waiting … and waiting … and waiting … waiting for the giant floating orchids—the frilly white orchid and the slick black orchid—to join together and plunge the cake opener through the desiccated sugar crust into the tender giblets of fortress wedding cake.”

    “Booo!” go all the small maggots, gurgling group maggoty rapture. “Yes, yes, I know. I’ve told you that one a thousand times. It just never gets old, does it?”

    ———

    With Nikitin lingering in the liability column and extra-ply softness down the middle and Yakupov’s carburettor sputtering like a camp stove where the octane greatly exceeds the viscosity and Jultz taking long, leisurely strolls in a lonely pumpkin patch to smooch with a glass slipper, we’re simply not on the dance card no matter how you slice it.

    What is Dellow thinking right now? What is Ramsay thinking right now?

    Less difficult to fathom is what Steve Smith is thinking right now, which surely must be along the lines of blessings in disguise.

  77. Tom Benjamin says:

    I think the Oilers are looking at the process of team building ass backwards. They focus on the wrong things. So do the fans, The fancystats are meaningless at the individual level and mostly irrelevant to the decision making process for the team. Build a good team and the corgis will take care of themselves. Don’t and they won’t

    Everybody is focussing on the weaknesses when an absence of weakness never won anything. Teams win at hockey with team strengths, Calgary is winning (for now) because they have excellent goaltending, a good defense, team speed and a group of forwards who work really hard. Those are strengths. The Canucks are winning despite mediocre goaltending because they have real strengths, things that the TEAM does well.

    What do the Oilers do well? What is the TEAM good at? They have decent speed despite a few plodders on the backend. What else? I can’t see TEAM strengths. The Oilers keep creating and patching holes, trying to eliminate weakness. An absence of weakness never won anything. A team that is without weakness but is mediocre everywhere sucks in the standings.

    I know how the Kings will beat me, I know how the Wings or the Hawks or the Bruins will beat me. I even know how the Leafs will beat me (when they do). I know how the Canucks have to play to win. They have to use their strengths. If they don’t, their weaknesses will kill them.

    I have no idea how the Oilers expect to beat me unless Taylor Hall runs wild. Preparing for the Oilers is so easy. I want to give Hall a steady diet of Chris Tanev. If I keep Hall mostly under control, we play our game, and good things will eventually happen.

    In my opinion, the best news so far for the Oilers this year is that RNH appears to have found another level. It is remarkable that something that positive hasn’t made a big difference. Why? Because it doesn’t create a team strength.

    You can’t expect this team to get better until they are GOOD at something.

  78. Dicky94 says:

    hunter1909,

    Now come on that’s a Tambo kind of trade. Wait…he never made trades. That’s a Mike Milbury trade! Just saying the only way to get a #1 d for this team is we are going to probably have to part with some of our young talent. It’s going to have to happen eventually We can’t wait another four years for Nurse or Klefbom. Hall will jump ship by then. Deep down we all know the real problem is the management of this team and nothing is going to change there. So the players will pay first.

  79. Kmart99 says:

    LT,

    Don’t you mean Debacle 9.0?

    I wonder if even a generational talent like McDavid could save this horrible operation.

  80. RexLibris says:

    PhrankLee,

    I would categorize a season wherein no tangible evidence of improvement can be demonstrated at this stage to be a “lost season”.

    The possession metrics have improved, and that is important, but that alone does not reclaim this year unless the team can begin to win games and reinforce the evidence of the shot metrics with results.

    I had absolutely no expectation that this team would be in the playoffs, however, I also expected that this team would be able to face nearly every opponent in the league every night with the possibility of winning the game based on intelligent and structured play to complement the underlying talent.

  81. leadfarmer says:

    Lucinius,

    MacT absolutely deserves it. First of all he hired a rookie head coach and gave him a 4 year contract. Where did the negotiations begin if that is the end point.
    As much as people complain about Mr. Dithers and he was pretty bad he did leave behind a lot more cap room than he started with, which this problem was coincidentally caused by Lowe, MacT, and Howson in the first place.
    All this cap space is now gone without significant improvement, while Pouliot and Purcell are ok, shoring up the wings is not a place the remaining cap space needed to go.
    Giving Nikitin that contract. Has anyone other than Howson watch him play the last two years. This is how bad Nikitin is and has been. I was against taking him on a 1 year 2 mil contract.
    Hunt starting the season. Not sure what they were going for there.
    He didn’t just not address the #2C, He was also missing the #3C, and #1 and 2 D, and #1 G. Instead of filling those holes or at least improving the roster by committee, he was ok with starting the season with 2 Nhl centers, and 3 NHL defensemen.

    Time for a full purge. From Lowe, to smartest man in room, to Eakins. Please throw a fistful of cash at Babcock this offseason.

    And for the Eakins apologists out there what is the bear minimum points this team has to get for you to finally get rid of him

  82. Bag of Pucks says:

    Tom, isn’t that Eakins’ job ( i.e. To define the strengths of his roster and tailor his system to best leverage those strengths)?

    The fact that we don’t see any perceived strengths despite an infusion of lottery winning talent must tell us something about the HC?

    Yakupov is the classic example for me here. His shot is undoubtedly a strength, but Eakins does next to nothing to tailor system play to maximize opportunity and production from that.

    Instead he spends all his energies trying to transform every F on his roster into a potential Selke candidate. MacT’s primary failing as a HC was stifling the creative, offensive play of his Fs. MacBlender. When he hired Eakins, he said their philosophies meshed perfectly. Sorry Ralph. Skype time.

    And once again, we’re a bottom tier team both even strength and on the power play.

  83. RexLibris says:

    Kmart99:
    LT,

    Don’t you mean Debacle 9.0?

    I wonder if even a generational talent like McDavid could save this horrible operation.

    It would be fitting as it has been more than a generation that has “wandered in the desert”.

    I wonder if Hall is to be our Moses – destined to be denied entry to the promised land.

  84. Woodguy says:

    On the future of Schultz: “I think he’s going to be a great player and a great Oiler.”
    On his defensive ability: “I disagree with the perception on the defensive side of things. I’ve always believed he’s very good defensively.”
    On his potential: “Justin Schultz has Norris trophy potential.”
    On Craig Ramsay as it relates to Justin Schultz: “He’s going to give Justin a very experienced perspective.”
    On the analytics society panning Schultz universally: “I disagree with the analytics on our group.”

    This is true.

    He also said this:

    “There is a significant gap from where the player is and where we expect the player to be and we agree that the gap is significant….and Newport recognizes that as well to their credit”

    Starts at 5:00 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JysWFyOK9IY

    So if they recognize there was a big gap between Schultz and Norris Schultz this summer, they are even more acutely aware of it today.

    I don’t think that they think Schultz is great player.

    I think they see the potential of Schultz to be a great player and have given him every chance to succeed with TOI, ZS and ton of PP time.

    Schultz has not taken advantage of that opportunity in our opinion, and I doubt its much different from anyone else, including management, who watches him.

  85. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris: It would be fitting as it has been more than a generation that has “wandered in the desert”.

    I wonder if Hall is to be our Moses – destined to be denied entry to the promised land.

    Hall is Job. Eakins is Satan. MacT is God. The fans are the damned.

  86. RexLibris says:

    Bag of Pucks: Hall is Job. Eakins is Satan. MacT is God. The fans are the damned.

    I wouldn’t say Eakins is Satan nor MacTavish is God. Neither one is nearly polarized enough to fill those roles.

    Hall as Job? Heck, we could all consider ourselves to have some experience in that role.

  87. bendelson says:

    Interesting thoughts gang…

    Your 2014/15 Edmonton Oilers ladies and gentlemen!

  88. RexLibris says:

    Years ago I had written up a draft article on the Oilers and Flames from the perspective of Hindu mythology.

    Yeah, okay, its the sort of thing I would do.

    Anyway, the gist of the article was suffering, rebirth, cycle of time, creative destruction, etc.

    I found this article about how being a Clippers fan made the author a better Hindu: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/varun-soni/how-the-la-clippers-made_b_474713.html

    I’ll leave you with these excerpts:

    For me, being a Los Angeles Clippers fan for over twenty years has taught me firsthand about the spiritual dimensions of faith and suffering, and has helped me better understand my own Hindu tradition. According to the Bhagavad Gita, a pan-Hindu theological text, we should act righteously in each moment and relinquish attachment to future rewards. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna counsels Arjuna on the battlefield and instructs him to act in the present moment without being attached to the fruits of his labor. In this context, Hinduism shares an Indian philosophical worldview with Buddhism that focuses on the process as opposed to the goal, the present as opposed to the past, and the journey as opposed to the destination.

    and

    Recently, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson (the Zen Master) invoked Indian philosophy when asked about the “Clippers Curse.” He astutely stated that the Clippers aren’t cursed but rather they suffer from the negative karma accrued by their ownership and management. In Sanskrit, the word karma means “action,” and as a philosophical term, karma refers to causality. Karma is cause and effect – a metaphysical caveat to Newton’s third law of motion. Given that the Clippers have historically been managed from a business perspective instead of from a basketball perspective, the effect has been a financially profitable franchise with only a handful of winning seasons. So Phil Jackson was right – the Clippers have definitely been impacted by the karma of their ownership and management, as decades of bad decisions directly resulted in an apathetic and uninspired team culture.

    The Oilers are not the Clippers, but boy could we use a heavy dose of existential detachment right now.

  89. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris: I wouldn’t say Eakins is Satan nor MacTavish is God. Neither one is nearly polarized enough to fill those roles.

    Hall as Job? Heck, we could all consider ourselves to have some experience in that role.

    In the story of Job, God (MacT) allows Satan (Eakins) to torment Job (Hall). I see some parallels there.

    And you’re right, being a fan of this clusterf&@k does feel like a Job at the moment.

  90. book¡je says:

    Woodguy:
    On the future of Schultz: “I think he’s going to be a great player and a great Oiler.”
    On his defensive ability: “I disagree with the perception on the defensive side of things. I’ve always believed he’s very good defensively.”
    On his potential:“Justin Schultz has Norris trophy potential.”
    On Craig Ramsay as it relates to Justin Schultz: “He’s going to give Justin a very experienced perspective.”
    On the analytics society panning Schultz universally: “I disagree with the analytics on our group.”

    This is true.

    He also said this:

    “There is a significant gap from where the player is and where we expect the player to be and we agree that the gap is significant….and Newport recognizes that as well to their credit”

    Starts at 5:00 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JysWFyOK9IY

    So if they recognize there was a big gap between Schultz and Norris Schultz this summer, they are even more acutely aware of it today.

    I don’t think that they think Schultz is great player.

    I think they see the potential of Schultz to be a great player and have given him every chance to succeed with TOI, ZS and ton of PP time.

    Schultz has not taken advantage of that opportunity in our opinion, and I doubt its much different from anyone else, including management, who watches him.

    Stop giving me hope.

  91. Kmart99 says:

    Maybe the rebuild was truly planned around McDavid from the beginning. Once McDavid arrives we will have some veterans to surround him with like Hall Ebs Perron Pouliot Yak . The D (Nurse Klefbom Marincin Petry) will be ripe. It all makes sense. Now about those draft lottery odds.

  92. ashley says:

    LT, I don’t agree. Respectfully, of course. The D is the problem and has been for years. You seem to go down that road in this post, but then harken back to the centre issue.

    We have one second to first pairing D (Petry), two bottom pairing D (Ference and Fayne), and three others who probably wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) make any other NHL team (Nikitin, Schultz, and Aulie). I don’t know how we can pin the results of this season to date on anything but this. This is the same problem we’ve had for 4 years now. The forwards are fine, better than NHL average.

    I would trade Schultz. I suspect you could get something. I don’t care if he scores 45 points every year for the next 20 because I know he’s giving up more going the other way. Defenders must first know how to defend.

    Schultz needs to be in the AHL or somewhere to learn how to play D. That was disgusting last night. No team should give up that many ridiculous scoring chances. It should have been 9-4, and Scrivens was the only man that kept it close. This is not a goalie problem.

    And Cody Eakin is not going to fix it either.

  93. RexLibris says:

    Bag of Pucks: In the story of Job, God (MacT) allows Satan (Eakins) to torment Job (Hall). I see some parallels there.

    And you’re right, being a fan of this clusterf&@k does feel like a Job at the moment.

    I’ve always found the old interpretations of Satan to be profoundly intriguing. In many of the Abrahamic traditions he isn’t the World Destroyer that the modern evangelistic traditions define him as today, but a dedicated persuader/tempter operating under God’s specific sanction to lead souls away.

    It incorporates an underlying philosophy and perception of the role of divinity that bears some similarity to Eastern traditions of unity and wholeness within the Creative Divine.

  94. Kmart99 says:

    Younger Oil,

    Makes sense. I think there’s something to this concept.

  95. Lowetide says:

    Jason Gregor ‏@JasonGregor 2m2 minutes ago

    New lines… Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell… Pouliot-RNH -Eberle (Joensuu filling in one his spot)… Arco and Gordon lines the same. #Oilers

  96. "Steve Smith" says:

    raventalon40:
    What else do Ilya Byakin, Jaroslav Pouzar, and Steve Pinozotto have in common?

    All were Edmonton Oilers.

    I do not think that “else” means what you think it means.

  97. misfit says:

    As a Redskins fan as well as an Oiler fan, “debacle” is a term I’m all too familiar with. Equally as unfortunate is the fact that it’s the perfect word for my two beloved sports teams.

    Not just in their most recent performances, but in the entire season, recent history, and how they seemingly manage to mishandle every bit of adversity they face.

  98. Woodguy says:

    Hazwasted,

    “You have to be careful about how the player reacts. You don’t want to crush him.” – Eakins on benching guys
    Didn’t show that compassion with Yak last year????

    Maybe he’s learned his lesson from what he did to Yak?

    That being said, there is some awful play that needs to be addressed.

  99. leadfarmer says:

    Lowetide,

    Oh dear. Sink or swim time for the big German. I’m guessing that line will last until the middle of the first period.

  100. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide:
    Jason Gregor ‏@JasonGregor 2m2 minutes ago

    New lines… Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell… Pouliot-RNH -Eberle (Joensuu filling in one his spot)… Arco and Gordon lines the same. #Oilers

    “re arranging the deck chairs on the titanic”

  101. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Jason Gregor ‏@JasonGregor 2m2 minutes ago

    New lines… Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell… Pouliot-RNH -Eberle (Joensuu filling in one his spot)… Arco and Gordon lines the same. #Oilers

    The way Saddle and Purcell worked last night, I don’t mind that one bit.

    Yak still on the 4th line….

  102. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Remember when Guy Boucher was the hot commodity coach. Took TB to the Eastern Conference Finals (gm 7). Starts to falter, misses playoffs the next season. Off to a lousy start the following season. Gets sacked promptly by Yzerman. Young Stamkos, young Hedman, uncertain future.TB doesn’t look back. That is how its done. I dare say if Cooper was the wrong choice after, there wouldn’t be stubborn hesitation to watch Rome burn. The NHL is the most competitive hockey league on the planet. There is no quarter to stand by and watch and hope and rub your hands and wish for sunnier outcomes. There is particularly no allowance for stubbornness. Adapt or succumb. You must act with authority if you hope to survive.

  103. Woodguy says:

    book¡je: Stop giving me hope.

    The most simple answers are usually correct.

  104. Woodguy says:

    vinotintazo: ICE TIME YESTERDAY:

    Petry : 22:53
    Schultz: 19:33

    He’s not playing 25 mins any longer…

    Not only that.

    Right Handed Dmen 5v5 TOI

    Petry 16.2
    Fayne 15.6
    Schultz 15.2

    3rd on the list in 5v5 TOI in a game in which they trailed for most of it.

    That has not been the MO up to this point.

    The times, they are a changing…..

  105. admiralmark says:

    Woodguy says:
    This is true.

    He also said this:

    “There is a significant gap from where the player is and where we expect the player to be and we agree that the gap is significant….and Newport recognizes that as well to their credit”

    So if they recognize there was a big gap between Schultz and Norris Schultz this summer, they are even more acutely aware of it today.

    I don’t think that they think Schultz is great player.

    I think they see the potential of Schultz to be a great player and have given him every chance to succeed with TOI, ZS and ton of PP time.

    Schultz has not taken advantage of that opportunity in our opinion, and I doubt its much different from anyone else, including management, who watches him.

    So your saying it’s possible they do have a handle on assessing their defenseman? Because decisions to start the season and sitting Marincin and Petry , assessment of Nikitin all seem to point to incompetence in this regard. Unless trial by fire with the side benefit of tanking as Schultz muddles his way is the order of the day?

  106. Woodguy says:

    As per Gregor:

    New PP units for #Oilers Hall, Perron, Draisaitl, Purcell and Schultz
    . 2nd unit RNH, Pouliot,Yakupov, Arco and Petry… Eberle not skating, might sub in at Arco’s spot for the game.

  107. Bar_Qu says:

    No Nikitin on the ice at #Oilers practice— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) November 20, 2014

    Hmmm

  108. Bag of Pucks says:

    RexLibris: I’ve always found the old interpretations of Satan to be profoundly intriguing. In many of the Abrahamic traditions he isn’t the World Destroyer that the modern evangelistic traditions define him as today, but a dedicated persuader/tempter operating under God’s specific sanction to lead souls away.

    Ok, under that interpretation, Katz is God and LaForge is the tempter leading souls astray.

    You know who I feel most sorry for? That poor lot that keeps renewing their season tix for one more year in the fervent belief that this will be the one in which they finally turn the corner.

    A lot of behavioural parallels btw Oiler season ticket holders and battered wives or possibly drug addicts? Buying tickets to this tire fire is definitely ‘enabling’ this mgmt team in every sense of the word.

  109. Tom Benjamin says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I’ve been blaming Kevin Lowe from about 2000, and I’m not stopping now. He’s the one who built this organization and directly or indirectly hired every person in it. Say what you want about a guy like Brian Burke – he knows exactly what he wants his team to look like and he sets out to put his vision on the ice. I have never been able to understand what Lowe is trying to do. If Lowe is incompetent – and I think he is – the organization is incompetent while good organizations win.

    Every player has individual strengths and weaknesses. The problem with the Oilers is the collective strengths. The Bruins are the Bruins because they have lots of players who are big and bad. Team speed is probably a weakness, but the Bruins don’t go out and try to find a speedster to address it. They want more big, more bad because they win with grinding, not with speed. There are different ways. You start with what you have and you build upon the strengths.

  110. VanOil says:

    9,998,383,750,001,

    I thought this might interest you http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2013/4/22/8-new-punctuation-marks-we-need.html and any others hopeful on the evolution of language.

  111. Bag of Pucks says:

    Tom Benjamin:
    Bag of Pucks,

    I’ve been blaming Kevin Lowe from about 2000, and I’m not stopping now. He’s the one who built this organization and directly or indirectly hired every person in it. Say what you want about a guy like Brian Burke – he knows exactly what he wants his team to look like and he sets out to put his vision on the ice. I have never been able to understand what Lowe is trying to do. If Lowe is incompetent – and I think he is – the organization is incompetent while good organizations win.

    Every player has individual strengths and weaknesses. The problem with the Oilers is the collective strengths. The Bruins are the Bruins because they have lots of players who are big and bad. Team speed is probably a weakness, but the Bruins don’t go out and try to find a speedster to address it. They want more big, more bad because they win with grinding, not with speed. There are different ways. You start with what you have and you build upon the strengths.

    Agreed

  112. Woodguy says:

    Bar_Qu: Hmmm

    Coach said back issues.

  113. Woodguy says:

    Woodguy:
    As per Gregor:

    New PP units for #Oilers Hall, Perron, Draisaitl, Purcell and Schultz
    . 2nd unit RNH, Pouliot,Yakupov, Arco and Petry… Eberle not skating, might sub in at Arco’s spot for the game.

    I like those PP units.

    Hall and Purcell shooters on PP1 (Purcell looksed great on the PP last night)

    Yak and Petry on PP2.

    Oilers 5v4 SF/60 first 19 games last year 60.86
    Oilers 5v4 SF.60 first 19 games this year 50.98

    SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  114. VanOil says:

    Solutions today are the same as the solutions two weeks/months ago;

    Schultz + Gernat + Pick for Tyler Myers. Myers is not perfect but he is better and will be cheaper for the next few years.

    Perron for Lars Elher. Perron would be painful to lose. Elher is only a 2/3 Center and is slightly over priced. But, Elher can play at #2C until Draisaitl is ready (it won’t be next year).

    Sign Petry, sign Marincin (better yet play him) and hope Nitikin or someone else can keep Nurse out of the starting line up next season so he can learn in the AHL.

  115. MenovOil says:

    So what’s the verdict on the CORSI stuff? All good teams have good CORSI but having good CORSI does not make one a good team. Clearly the mirage of the past few games is proof of that. This team still sucks shit and we is contending for DFL in the league. Again.
    It’s crazy.

  116. theres oil in virginia says:

    misfit: As a Redskins fan as well as an Oiler fan

    Oh my gord. How are you even alive? My buddy is a Skins fan, and after we talk about the Skins, I conclude with: “I understand. Remember, I’m an Oilers fan.”

    Seek help.

  117. fifthcartel says:

    LeBrun talking about what happens if the Oilers look for a trade.

    “I don’t think Nail Yakupov is going to get you the kind of change that you need. I think if it’s really the change you kind of need, do you start to look at Jordan Eberle or Justin Schultz. Again guys that you don’t want to keep, you want to build around those guys. Or sorry, guys you don’t want to move, but want to keep. But on the other hand, if it’s really a bone-rattling, franchise-changing move that has to happen between now and March 2, it’s unfortunately going to have to involve somebody you really like because the fact that you really like him, means a lot of other teams will as well.”

    Wonder if they actually start to think re-sign Petry, trade Schultz?

  118. russ99 says:

    Woodguy: I like those PP units.

    Hall and Purcell shooters on PP1 (Purcell looksed great on the PP last night)

    Yak and Petry on PP2.

    Oilers 5v4 SF/60 first 19 games last year 60.86
    Oilers 5v4 SF.60 first 19 games this year 50.98

    SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ah, yes, the good old line blender.

    Looks like he’s trying to plant a big on each line again. Doesn’t bode well for more scoring…

    Eakins is in tough, we either have offense and no defense, or no offense and some defense. Plus the whole roulette wheel goaltending mess.

  119. Lowetide says:

    fifthcartel:
    LeBrun talking about what happens if the Oilers look for a trade.

    “I don’t think Nail Yakupov is going to get you the kind of change that you need. I think if it’s really the change you kind of need, do you start to look at Jordan Eberle or Justin Schultz. Again guys that you don’t want to keep, you want to build around those guys. Or sorry, guys you don’t want to move, but want to keep. But on the other hand, if it’s really a bone-rattling, franchise-changing move that has to happen between now and March 2, it’s unfortunately going to have to involve somebody you really like because the fact that you really like him, means a lot of other teams will as well.”

    Wonder if they actually start to think re-sign Petry, trade Schultz?

    It’s too much to hope for, put it out of your mind.

  120. russ99 says:

    misfit:
    As a Redskins fan as well as an Oiler fan, “debacle” is a term I’m all too familiar with.Equally as unfortunate is the fact that it’s the perfect word for my two beloved sports teams.

    Not just in their most recent performances, but in the entire season, recent history, and how they seemingly manage to mishandle every bit of adversity they face.

    Got you beat:

    I’m an Oilers, Astros and 76ers fan. Thank goodness the Chargers are decent.

    Tankalicious.

  121. since06 says:

    Oiler Fans and Season ticket holders need to boycott one game to show ownership we are done with this process “NO GO 01 27 15” skip Tuesday Jan 27, 2015 vs Wild

  122. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Here’s a wonderful distraction:

    The Tampa Bay Lightning (highest scoring team in the league by a pretty good margin)

    vs.

    Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Tonight at 5:30.

    Decent bet we see Tampa score 10 goals tonight. Could be fun.

  123. Woodguy says:

    admiralmark:
    Woodguy says:
    This is true.

    He also said this:

    “There is a significant gap from where the player is and where we expect the player to be and we agree that the gap is significant….and Newport recognizes that as well to their credit”

    So if they recognize there was a big gap between Schultz and Norris Schultz this summer, they are even more acutely aware of it today.

    I don’t think that they think Schultz is great player.

    I think they see the potential of Schultz to be a great player and have given him every chance to succeed with TOI, ZS and ton of PP time.

    Schultz has not taken advantage of that opportunity in our opinion, and I doubt its much different from anyone else, including management, who watches him.

    So your saying it’s possible they do have a handle on assessing their defenseman? Because decisions to start the season and sitting Marincin and Petry , assessment of Nikitin all seem to point to incompetence in this regard. Unless trial by fire with the side benefit of tanking as Schultz muddles his way is the order of the day?

    I think they decided to teach Marincin a lesson and at the same time MacT talked himself into Hunt.

    Past that I’m as confused as you are.

    Point stands that MacT said there was a wide gap last year and the results are not better this year.

  124. Bling says:

    Schultz is terrible, and Eakins knows it.

    There is no way on earth Eakins wasn’t referring to JS when he said that bit about not wanting to crush a guy’s confidence.

    I’ve said it before — while the org has lavished praise on Schultz, Eakins never has.

    And he definitely hasn’t done it this year.

    Honestly, I truly believe that Eakins/Ramsay have been handcuffed from edicts sent from above regarding D-man deployment. Hunt has MacTavish written all over it.

    Marincin? Eakins was praising him last year, and using him. But we’ve never heard MacT say a single nice thing about MM.

    Problem is, Eakins has no leverage here. If he goes against management, he can easily be fired on the basis of his record.

    So he’s essentially stuck, and here we are.

    Walking papers for MacTavish at season’s end, please. The guy is a total mook.

  125. vangolf says:

    I can’t resist posting about a recent encounter with an NHL owner. Don’t ask me how (and believe me I don’t run in these types of circles), but I recently sat down and had a quiet beer with a current NHL owner (not Batman unfortunately). I obviously tried to steer the conversation to the Oilers, and surprisingly he held Lowe in quite high esteem having spent a bunch of time with him in Sochi. He also described the Oiler situation as quite disappointing and the marketing opportunities lost by the league as a whole by having all the #1’s go to one market and then not succeed. Conversation moved on to other things and it would have been weird if I tried to bring up the Oilers again. Anyways, thought I’d share.

  126. OilClog says:

    I’m holding out hope MacT’s Norris talk was just a very loud “he’s for sale, look how pretty he is” notice to the league.

  127. su_dhillon says:

    Woodguy: Not only that.

    Right Handed Dmen 5v5 TOI

    Petry 16.2
    Fayne 15.6
    Schultz 15.2

    3rd on the list in 5v5 TOI in a game in which they trailed for most of it.

    That has not been the MO up to this point.

    The times, they are a changing…..

    Meanwhile on left side Nikki “It’s a Grenade” Nikitin plays 23+. I realize 6 mins was on PP/PK but no way he deserved to play anywhere near that.

  128. su_dhillon says:

    Maybe Lander gets a 2nd life. Per Mirtle on the twitter : “Oilers have traded Will Acton to Vancouver for prospect Kellan Lain.”

  129. Tom Benjamin says:

    vangolf,

    I obviously tried to steer the conversation to the Oilers, and surprisingly he held Lowe in quite high esteem having spent a bunch of time with him in Sochi

    The owners have all loved Lowe since he did such a great job marketing the 2004 lockout for them from coast to coast. He actually had Oiler fans believing the old CBA – rather than his own incompetence – kept the Oilers from winning.

  130. Pretendergast says:

    no eberle on ice, another shoe to drop?

  131. russ99 says:

    su_dhillon:
    Maybe Lander gets a 2nd life. Per Mirtle on the twitter : “Oilers have traded Will Acton to Vancouver for prospect Kellan Lain.”

    Yay, another facepuncher. Like we need another one here – or in OKC.

    “Lain set an NHL record for the fastest fight to start a career” – wikipedia

    LOL!

  132. OilClog says:

    They traded Acton… What the hell.. Someone traded for Acton? Vancouver no less.

  133. VanOil says:

    su_dhillon:
    Maybe Lander gets a 2nd life. Per Mirtle on the twitter : “Oilers have traded Will Acton to Vancouver for prospect Kellan Lain.”

    BOLD

  134. Snowman says:

    Good for Will. Kid would be haunted with being his father’s son for as long he was in this organization. Fair or not. At least he’ll get a chance to make a name for himself without nepotism hanging over his head.

  135. vinotintazo says:

    Woodguy: Not only that.

    Right Handed Dmen 5v5 TOI

    Petry 16.2
    Fayne 15.6
    Schultz 15.2

    3rd on the list in 5v5 TOI in a game in which they trailed for most of it.

    That has not been the MO up to this point.

    The times, they are a changing…..

    That’s what I’m saying, the teams knows that Schultz is not a 25 min D.
    Those guys play ES,PP,PK Every Situation…

    Jschultz is our 3rd pair ES, and 1 PP unit guy.

    Use Petry and Fayne more.

  136. icecastles says:

    As per Jason Gregor:

    The Oilers have traded Will Acton to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for centre Kellan Lain.

    That’s right, a CENTRE.

    6’6″, 220lbs… and 9 whole games on NHL experience. Undrafted.

    Centre problems have officially been addressed! Sigh.

    edit: he played for the Chicago Wolves, around the time MacT was there. Looks like a “saw him good” pickup.

  137. su_dhillon says:

    So from what I hear from Canuck fans here, we traded a minor league hockey player for a minor league face puncher. Not sure how helps anything.

  138. Snowman says:

    I don’t like Schultz on the PP. I don’t think he brings enough. His shot is less than intimidating and he rarely uses it anyways. His go to offensive contribution is skating the blue line from one side to the other and then making a pass. Not really a specialized skill that only he possesses. Combined with his reads on potential danger being questionable or flat out wrong a little too often make me think he should maybe just be a soft minutes EV guy. I’m really not seeing a very good hockey player in him right now. Lots of skills that are poorly utilized.

    He skates like a dream but he doesn’t have the rest of the tools required to be effective on the PP in my opinion unless its with another d-man who can cover for him on the other point.

  139. blainer says:

    Lowetide:
    Jason Gregor ‏@JasonGregor 2m2 minutes ago

    New lines… Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell… Pouliot-RNH -Eberle (Joensuu filling in one his spot)… Arco and Gordon lines the same. #Oilers

    Now that’s what I was calling for two games ago. Should be interesting if he actually keeps them together. We have to give Dry every chance we can before we send him back after game 39.

  140. vinotintazo says:

    Am I the only one here… getting nightmares with the open net that Drai missed yesterday?

    Kid needs to work on his shot.

  141. Hammers says:

    icecastles:
    As per Jason Gregor:

    That’s right, a CENTRE.

    6’6″, 220lbs… and 9 whole games on NHL experience. Undrafted.

    Centre problems have officially been addressed! Sigh.

    edit: he played for the Chicago Wolves, around the time MacT was there. Looks like a “saw him good” pickup.

    We must be on our way now LT .McT saw him play just like Hunt , Schultz & Klefbom

  142. Hammers says:

    Actually I’m happy for Acton as it must have been pure hell playing on a pro team with your Dad a coach . Bad enough at the amateur level .

  143. linkfromhyrule says:

    icecastles: he played for the Chicago Wolves, around the time MacT was there. Looks like a “saw him good” pickup.

    WEOOOO Brad Hunt 2.0.

  144. book¡je says:

    AHL trade , nothing to see, move along…

  145. icecastles says:

    book¡je: AHL trade , nothing to see, move along…

    You say that now. But when Lain is playing 17 minutes a night centering Yak starting next week….

    MacT agreed we need someone to anchor the powerplay. He thought we meant a boat anchor.

  146. OilClog says:

    If in April, Liam destroys a canucks face, I’ll call this a win. Right now it’s a win still, no more Acton on the ice..

  147. russ99 says:

    Sean MacIndoe posted his usual NHL Hotseat column on Grantland:

    “Everyone Who Works for the Edmonton Oilers”

    Nice…

  148. Younger Oil says:

    Apparently Holmberg was sent to Vancouver as well ON is saying. Not a huge deal, but with the Oilers’ luck he’s gonna be the next Marty St Louis.

  149. russ99 says:

    Younger Oil,

    Really?? Kessy 2.0.

    Need a defenseman, center or goalie? Just throw in another goon.

  150. icecastles says:

    Woodguy’s inventory doesn’t contain as much dead wood as this team.

  151. "Frank The Dog" says:

    There’s a lot of focus on the tactical issues as if that’s going to suddenly turn this team into a contender: Find a 2C, trade Schultz, waive nikitin, play MM, promote Klef, sit Aulie, send Leon down to Junior/Europe.

    Let’s rather take a look at the more strategic side:
    Dallas has been given a significantrly better roster than last year. He has also been given the opportunity to hire his own assistants. Granted, there is a lrgitimate hole at 2C but there have also been some pretty loony decisiona made too. In the process he is busy assembling a track record little different to the 2013/4 fiasco.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, he is assembling one of the worst track records since MacT was coach, the following being my projection of his standing after 40 games (more or less by end of 2014):

    Season |After 40 |Coach |% Wins |Changes
    2014/5: 6-11-2 Eakins 32% + Draisatl (Projected)
    2013/4: 13-24-3 Eakins 33% + MacT +Nurse
    2012/3: 16-17-7 Krueger 40% + Yak City
    2011/2: 16-21-3 Renney 40% + Nuge
    2010/1: 13-20-7 Renney 33% +Taylor Hall + Steve Smith
    2009/10: 16-20-4 Quinn 40%
    2008/9: 19-18-3 MacT 48% +Tambo +Buchberger.
    2007/8: 16-20-4 MacT 40%
    2006/7: 19-18-3 MacT 48% Exodus
    2005/6: 22-14-4 MacT 55% Cup Run

    Is there a number, expressed in % wins at some point, say 20, 30, 40 games below which, would cost Eakins his job?
    Certainly, below 33% would surely be cause for termination. Beyond that, I don’t know. 48% would be cause for celebration, and I’d bake myself a big serving of crow if Dallas achieved that after this start. Along with a beer and then another one.

    But in the big picture, shouldn’t a coach be given a minimum % win target to be achieved within a certain period, say 3 years, with a defined progression from current levels? Say, 33% first year 40% second year, 48% 3rd year, 55% subsequent?

    That would give Dallas his break in the first year, require him to produce at least as good results as Renney or Krueger did in Renney’s second and Kreuger’s “illusionary” first, equal MacT’s best in his third year, and playoffs subsequent.

    Secondly, teams with strong corgi’s don’t automatically win games, and the variable that does not even out over a period of time isn’t luck, it’s determination, size, skill, and strategy. I agree with GMoney
    s point that Eakins’ system may be suspect. It’s not enough to own the Corgi’s, they have to bite too. There has to be an element of speed, accuracy and surprize to the shots, and some level of disorganization on the part of the opposing D. Screening, misdirection and all that.

    How often do the players receiving the puck on a PP hold back, settle down the puck, and wait for the opposing D to gather their composure, before shooting or passing the puck? It’s almost as if our players are saying, “are you ready yet?”

  152. Clay says:

    So Will Acton for a face-puncher. I don’t know how any trade involving a warm body coming back for Will Acton is a loss, but the last thing this team needs is more Gazdics.

  153. stevezie says:

    The teeth gnashing over this trade would be hilarious if I didn’t think it was mean to laugh at an oppressed people.

  154. icecastles says:

    stevezie: The teeth gnashing over this trade would be hilarious if I didn’t think it was mean to laugh at an oppressed people.

    Hey man, it feels good to have something new to gnash my teeth about. Th eold topics were starting to give me lockjaw.

    Seriously though, I think the scorn is coming not from anything about this trade per se, rather from the fact that there are such glaring issues that have needed to be addressed for so long: seeing a minor league deal be made is cause for scorn exactly BECAUSE it’s such a non-factor in affecting anything that matters.

    MacT is not Tambellini and I would never imply that he is. But the failures to address issues this season (I know it’s only November, it takes two to tango, yadda yadda) are disturbingly Tambelesque.

  155. McSorley33 says:

    stevezie:
    The teeth gnashing over this trade would be hilarious if I didn’t think it was mean to laugh at an oppressed people.

    It is not the trade per se….just the sense that someone is playing a musical instrument while smoke billows from all around……

  156. Younger Oil says:

    russ99:
    Younger Oil,

    Really?? Kessy 2.0.

    Need a defenseman, center or goalie? Just throw in another goon.

    I was referring to Mitch Holmberg, the WHL leading scorer last year, a throwaway in the deal, becoming the next Marty St Louis for the Canucks, because Oilers.

  157. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Younger Oil:
    Apparently Holmberg was sent to Vancouver as well ON is saying. Not a huge deal, but with the Oilers’ luck he’s gonna be the next Marty St Louis.

    Holmberg has 1 point in 8 ECHL games this year. That gives him about a 0.000000000000000001% chance of becoming the next Marty St. Louis.

  158. misfit says:

    icecastles:
    As per Jason Gregor:

    That’s right, a CENTRE.

    6’6″, 220lbs… and 9 whole games on NHL experience. Undrafted.

    Centre problems have officially been addressed! Sigh.

    edit: he played for the Chicago Wolves, around the time MacT was there. Looks like a “saw him good” pickup.

    He played with the Wolves the year after MacT returned to the Oilers, and only for part of the season. He was playing college hockey when MacTavish was in Chicago as well as the majority of the year he joined the Wolves.

  159. Bruce McCurdy says:

    icecastles: You say that now. But when Lain is playing 17 minutes a night centering Yak starting next week….

    No worries, if he’s centring Yak it’ll only be 7 minutes a night, not 17.

  160. Lowetide says:

    New post up

  161. icecastles says:

    Ca$h-Money!: Holmberg has 1 point in 8 ECHL games this year. That gives him about a

    So you’re saying there’s a chance.

  162. gcw_rocks says:

    “generally (some would say wildly) supportive of the Craig MacTavish era. ”

    I think that would be me. ; )

    I do appreciate the more balanced tone that has been emerging lately. MacT isn’t ask bad, but clearly hadn’t been good enough.

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