THE PLAN IS ON FIRE

Lowetide
November 03 2013 12:32PM

The Edmonton Oilers (MacT as GM edition) are 3-10-2 fifteen games in, and OilersNation has gone from anger to real disillusionment. Up next for the fanbase is indifference, but before they get there is there anything the GM can do?

 

  • Darcy Regier: "These GM jobs, they're good jobs. But waiting for a GM opportunity that's structured for success? I'm not sure it exists. When I was assessing the problems in Buffalo before I joined, Al Arbour said to me "Darcy, do you think there would be an opportunity there if there weren't problems? Go in there and do something about it.'" (from the book Behind the Moves).

I'm sure Craig MacTavish knew there were problems (he was part of the organization before agreeing to the job in spring) but there are elements out of the control of the GM that have (at least to this point) conspired against him. His new coach has gone from being seen as confident, fresh and relentless to another in a ever lengthening line of failed coaching hires in Edmonton.

His club has been rocked by injuries (two more last night, and as Robin Brownlee tweeted that Belov injury looked bad) goaltending maladies and confidence issues. I haven't seen locusts, but haven't been looking either.

It's a team in a bad way.

WHAT CAN THEY DO?

As the playoff hopes unhook and release (November 3rd!!!!) there's a sense that the club should do something--anything--to improve things. There are options:

  1. FIRE SOMEONE! Age old solution, find some poor schmuck who was in the room at the time. Candidates often include assistant coaches, pro scouts, the guy who brings the towels and people with one eyebrow. It usually doesn't help.
  2. HIRE SOMEONE! Oilers have already hired Messier, we just don't know what he's going to be doing.
  3. TRADE SOMEONE! Good idea, but you can go from 'we can't trade that guy' to 'no one wants our crap' in a heartbeat and the reality is that it's really early for a significant deal. Besides, the Oilers have traded Mike Brown which means they've used their "Steve Tambellini trade chips mid-season" allotment.
  4. CALL SOMEONE UP! They could call Omark, but I suspect he's broken his phone.

THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY

Probably. However, there's very little that can be done about things as they stand today. Firing the coach would be crazy, trading players when you haven't actually seen your entire team healthy is equally addled and despite being 3-10-2 after fifteen games you could make a case that with goaltending and better luck they could be 6-7-2.

That may sound like sunshine, and hell maybe it is, but from here there's not a lot going on here that some timely goaltending, a better penalty kill and better health can't fix.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The plan is on fire, the season is gone, but there's still a chance to get something out of it. Fix the PK, find useful 6's and 7's and 9's for the 3line with Gordon and the 4line overall. Get Yakupov scoring, get everyone else healthy, find a way to finish above Calgary and then work like buggers next summer to make certain that 2014-15 is the year we see a second season.

Sound horrible? It is. It's also the truth.

Or the owner can fire everyone again.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#101 Jordan
November 03 2013, 02:50PM
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pkam wrote:

I am sick of hearing the 2-tier fans comment from Lowe.

I am a 2nd tier fan according to Lowe's comment. And in my opinion, Lowe is doing the right thing.

Can you imagine those season ticket holders spending thousands of hard earn money, and in 41 night per year, spend 3 hrs per night sitting in the rink, $10 a beer and $8 a hotdog, plus lining up for 30 minutes to get into the parking and another 30 minutes to get out of the parking, to watch this terrible performance. Don't you think they deserve some special recognition from the management?

https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/edmonton-oilers-managment-group-darryl-katz-enforce-their-message-of-accountability-and-hold-kevin-lowe-responsible-for-this-debacle-of-a-season-either-resigning-or-fired#share

Sign the petition for Lowe to be held accountable and ripped from the top and fed to the masses( fans). Share with your friends! Change can be started by all of us !

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#102 Rama Lama
November 03 2013, 02:50PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

The problem with the Eakins'"system" was on display last night - how many point blank shots from the high slot did the Wings have by just moving the puck quickly? That is the difference between the NHL vs. Juniors/AHL - at this level good teams will exploit the high slot that is always open with the Eakins' SWARM "system". Someone should have asked Ference if the Bruins would have ever implemented that system.

A good coach will adapt and implement a system that plays to the strength of the roster, not try to implement something that has no chance of working. The players can smell BS and we are seeing the result. Eakins needs to go or things will continue to slide.

My guess is that the kids are getting fed up with the losing, just like any sane player would. If MacT were smart he would look at changing things up with the entire coaching staff (how much worse are the special teams this season?) before the young talent starts to ask for a trade and the rebuild drags on for "5 more years"........

Like I have said before, bringing in Ference on that contract is a boat anchor going forward. He is not a top pairing d-man and is on the downside of his career. Mind you, the team likely had to overpay to lure him here, but bringing in a depth d-man at the end of his career is not what the team needed. Most of the fans drank the kool-aid with this signing, but the only way it could have worked is if the team had a solid blue line to start with and this signing was a depth move. As we can see now, plugging in one depth d-man (bottom pairing on the Bruins likely this year) does not do anything. Hopefully MacT realizes this by now as well, but I am not certain. Remember, the only season he did anything as a coach was due to a hot goalie - before the Roloson trade the Oilers were out of a playoff spot even with Pronger in the fold.

I'm not sure why the professional hockey writers are so easy on Eakins?

I still believe that Mac T is a a good man but bold is making decisions based on results that counter your first decision........admitting that hiring DE was a mistake.

The players have tuned him out.........plain and simple. He has lost the respect of the players but continuously throwing them under the bus. If he had any coaching abilities he would abandon what is clearly not working, and establish a new system that the players agree with.

Except for one player ( Andrew Ference) not one player has come out and said, man is this system excellent, and we all believe in it and support it. In stead we have AF pathetically trying to explain it on After Hours.

Mac T do the right thing, agree that you made a mistake and hire a real coach..........more of the same will change NOTHING!

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#103 pkam
November 03 2013, 02:52PM
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Jordan wrote:

https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/edmonton-oilers-managment-group-darryl-katz-enforce-their-message-of-accountability-and-hold-kevin-lowe-responsible-for-this-debacle-of-a-season-either-resigning-or-fired#share

Sign the petition for Lowe to be held accountable and ripped from the top and fed to the masses( fans). Share with your friends! Change can be started by all of us !

Sorry, what I mean to say is I am sick of hearing the complaint about the 2-tier fans comment from Lowe.

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#104 DimebagDave
November 03 2013, 02:54PM
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You remember that scene in Moneyball when after another A's loss, Giambi is dancing on the table and everyone is having a good time. Then Billy Beane comes in, smashes the stereo and questions him if losing is fun.

I notice alot of the oilers smiling and joking around on the bench while watching the games on tv (tier 2 fan here). This isn't novice hockey where having fun is the goal. These are profesional millionaires who seem to be having fun losing.

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#105 Turnover
November 03 2013, 02:57PM
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So, there is/was a plan?

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#106 Curcro
November 03 2013, 03:05PM
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D wrote:

Yes we are where we were 4 years ago, but with additional high end talent in the way of Hall, RNH, Yak, and Eberle. Most of this talent would not have been available to the Oilers without major suckitude over the last several years.

What I am saying is that rather than blowing up the core as some posters here would suggest, recognize instead that this organization has been rotting for two decades and that a blow-up now will yield another generation of bottom dwelling.

If as DSF pointed out, this team needs a big #2 center, two top pairing defenders, and above average goaltending, try to address those issues and get this team into Nashville territory before aiming for Chicago territory.

That to me is how you reverse 20 years of ineptitude.

The reality is that the Oilers only need one of those things.

Top Pairing Defenders. That would calm down things in the D Zone, would mean the forwards had the puck more.

Dubnyk is roughly equivalent to Crawford (career .914 SvP).

The forward group except for the fourth line is actually reasonably good but they have been torched by injury.

As a team the Oilers look really tight right now, afraid to make a mistake.

They have Florida and Philadelphia two sucky teams on this trip. They need need need to win those games.

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#107 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 03 2013, 03:15PM
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Is there any truth to the rumor that I'm about to start with this post that one of the young guys has pulled a Comrie on the coaches wife? Hence, why he gets no respect.

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#108 JJ
November 03 2013, 03:18PM
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Nichushkin got his first NHL goal today. How many does Nurse have? Oh wait..

Just another failure by MacT in his first few months. Ya dun goofed.

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#109 oilerman53
November 03 2013, 03:23PM
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Dan 1919 wrote:

Well are you a tier 1 or tier 2 fan?

Im a fan who wants to see some f***in' results!!! I'm a fan who has paid hard earned dollars on merchandise and tickets. I'm a fan who still dedicates at least three hundred hours of tv time watching this team try to win. I'm just a frustrated fan, I dont know what tier that puts me in.

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#110 D
November 03 2013, 03:24PM
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Curcro wrote:

The reality is that the Oilers only need one of those things.

Top Pairing Defenders. That would calm down things in the D Zone, would mean the forwards had the puck more.

Dubnyk is roughly equivalent to Crawford (career .914 SvP).

The forward group except for the fourth line is actually reasonably good but they have been torched by injury.

As a team the Oilers look really tight right now, afraid to make a mistake.

They have Florida and Philadelphia two sucky teams on this trip. They need need need to win those games.

This ^^ is the voice of reason.

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#111 morgie
November 03 2013, 03:26PM
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Lowetide wrote:

GREAT post. Excellent points all.

Your first point is correct and I've wondered it too, the second one (imo) speaks to some PR damage that remains (and will remain until something is done) by the arena negotiation.

The Katz Group will need to repair it.

You mean the kind of PR Klowe displayed this summer :

1. when he described there are two types of fans, paying customers and non paying

2. That if winning is ever a concern Klowe assures us he knows a thing or two about doing it, due to him winning so many cups as a player

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#112 2004Z06
November 03 2013, 03:29PM
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What was the attendance for last nights game? Oh yeah, another sellout. That'll teach em!

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#113 LoweBlow
November 03 2013, 03:29PM
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My the wild speculation by those who didn't watch last nights game. That Oilers team was a complete disgrace. They had no effort, little confidence in Eakins' system and no inclination to engage the opposing team. That was the most disheartening game I've ever watched as an Oiler fan.

There are cancers in this organization. They are in management and on the ice.

I'll promise one thing. Dallas Eakins has not been here long enough to prove whether or not he's competent. All he's done is prove that there are cancers in that dressing room.

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#114 Ryan2
November 03 2013, 03:32PM
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DSF wrote:

Timely goaltending, a better PK and better health would certainly help some but those hardly fix what ails the team.

Even if LT's presumption that the Oilers could be 6-7-2 if those 3 things existed, the Oilers would still be 11th in the WC, barely ahead of Calgary who have 2 games in hand.

And that is with an early schedule against weaker EC teams.

The Oilers record against teams that made the playoffs last season is 2-9-1.

The Oilers record against the WC is 0-3-1.

The issue is, and has been for years, that the Oilers need a big, skilled 2nd line centre, TWO top pairing defensemen and above average goaltending.

MacT addressed NONE of those issues in the offseason just like his predecessor did for half a decade.

If the Vice President in Charge of Remembering the '80's and his hand picked henchman can't see that, nothing much else will matter.

It's pretty easy to say "it's too hard to acquire these players" but take another look at what Burke was able to do in Toronto.

Wow, I am going to sound more pessimistic than DSF here, but............

DSF, I agree with you on needing two top 2 d-men and a big center, along with better goaltending, but that still would not be enough to push the team into the playoffs. They need more size up front across the board, a more functional third line, and at least one PK or other specialist on the 4th line that can take more than 4 minutes per game.

Even if you do all that, they would still missing the biggest thing.....depth. There are some useful recent draft picks in the AHL and juniors that will hopefully be better than bottom pairing/fourth line contributors in two to three years, but that does nothing to help the team today. The lack of development due to weak drafting (the curse of 2003) and not having a farm team in the early 2000s is crippling the team now. Add in the fact that management dumped the few young depth prospects (e.g. Stoll, Brodziak, Mean Matt Greene) that were developed and are contributing elsewhere in the league, and you can see why the depth is as thin as it is.

As a fan, I hope I am wrong, but last year I was arguing with friends/family/co-workers that the organization was still three years away from the playoffs and this year is basically showing that. The biggest mistake MacT made when he came in was promising bold moves and turning everything around instead of taking the traditional GM gimme of assessing the current roster in year one, slowly disassembling it in years one and two for a noticeable change in year 3. He was too busy trying to placate the fans instead of being realistic about the situation. If MacT had actually paid attention in his MBA classes (I have one as well), or been as smart a hockey man as the organization and media claim, he would have taken a different approach. Yet another rookie mistake in a long list of them, including dumping a head coach that actually accomplished two things that the previous failures had not even without a full training camp to implement his system: 1) drastic improvements in PK and PP, and 2) play meaningful games later in the season. Unfortunately, just like in most of the post-lockout MacT, Quinn and Renney years, it looks like the team will be done by Christmas yet again.

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#115 pkam
November 03 2013, 03:32PM
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Curcro wrote:

The reality is that the Oilers only need one of those things.

Top Pairing Defenders. That would calm down things in the D Zone, would mean the forwards had the puck more.

Dubnyk is roughly equivalent to Crawford (career .914 SvP).

The forward group except for the fourth line is actually reasonably good but they have been torched by injury.

As a team the Oilers look really tight right now, afraid to make a mistake.

They have Florida and Philadelphia two sucky teams on this trip. They need need need to win those games.

Who is the top paring D in Colorado Avs?

I think the Avs has proven that you don't really need a top pairing D if the players buy into the team defense concept.

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#117 lucky
November 03 2013, 03:34PM
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@ James Dean Because there was precious little else to do last night, I decided I would just watch Ference for a few shifts, just to get an idea of this "he's everything a captain should be" diatribe by Eakins at the inauguration. Huh? My God isn't a game like last night a time when a captain should step up a bit? I'm afraid I'm just not seeing it. If Hall were out there, he would have been killing himself trying and maybe, just maybe some of these other stiffs may have got the idea. That and everyone and their dog gets an "A", what's the deal with that?

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#118 Ryan2
November 03 2013, 03:37PM
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LoweBlow wrote:

My the wild speculation by those who didn't watch last nights game. That Oilers team was a complete disgrace. They had no effort, little confidence in Eakins' system and no inclination to engage the opposing team. That was the most disheartening game I've ever watched as an Oiler fan.

There are cancers in this organization. They are in management and on the ice.

I'll promise one thing. Dallas Eakins has not been here long enough to prove whether or not he's competent. All he's done is prove that there are cancers in that dressing room.

We will agree to disagree re: Eakins - it is clear his system does not work. Look at how easily the Wings beat it with fast and accurate puck movement for great chances in the slot. I am coaching my son's Tier 2 Novice team and even at that level the results are the same - if we "swarm" in the d-zone the other team usually gets a good scoring chance (and vice versa). If my Novice kids can recognize the mistake when you ask them to explain it on the bench, then I am sure NHLers can as well.

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#119 LoweBlow
November 03 2013, 03:37PM
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prudham's wrote:

Your article is a correct assessment as far as I can tell. I'll throw in two peripheral points:

1. Wasn't the Oilers power play last year really good? Did they try to change to he Eakins way this year? If so, why not revert back to last year's PP system tout de suit? They still have two coaches that know it.

2. My anecdotal, but constant observation about organizations of any kind is that everything is affected by the top. This is not an original idea, but every aspect of a company is eventually suffused in ways subtle and overt by the topmost human element. D. Katz: Pressured the EIG into selling, using his love for the city and team as a talking point / went off to Quebec city in order to imply the team was not secure in Edmonton so he could gain leverage / went off Seattle to do the same thing / made secondary purely selfish demands after an agreement that was favorable to him had been made on the arena / then made extra threats based on that situation I believe.

The problem is that the Oilers really are a beloved institution, and the city deserves someone who actually thinks this too, and is not more motivated by greed than the good of the team/community. He doesn't deserve to own the Oilers, and I wish I heard more people strongly suggesting to him that he should sell to a better element.

To those that missed it, read this. Remember how much ownership/management has shown how much they appreciate us. Speculation aside, let's remember what in fact they've truly 'done'.

They've ran the team into the ground, and kept it there. They've threatened to move the team if the arena deal isn't sweet enough for their pockets. They've called all of us fans that 'aren't paying customers' irrelevant.

I'll always look back to the glory days with fond memories but that won't blind me from seeing the obscenity that is this organization of the last 20 years is. I'm already indifferent after last night's performance.

Like any breakup, the key is to accept it & move on.

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#120 hallthetime
November 03 2013, 03:38PM
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The stick guys from oil change look like they can push some guys around, ice them next game.

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#121 LoweBlow
November 03 2013, 03:41PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

We will agree to disagree re: Eakins - it is clear his system does not work. Look at how easily the Wings beat it with fast and accurate puck movement for great chances in the slot. I am coaching my son's Tier 2 Novice team and even at that level the results are the same - if we "swarm" in the d-zone the other team usually gets a good scoring chance (and vice versa). If my Novice kids can recognize the mistake when you ask them to explain it on the bench, then I am sure NHLers can as well.

I'll agree to that. The swarm system has shown serious holes night in and out. I would however suggest that if we had the Hawks D, the system would look like an overwhelming success. I think systems can look good/bad based on who's playing them.

Eakins has tried to employ a lot more than just his D system. Of course the PP/PK look horrible as well. They looked a lot better under Kreuger. I will nonetheless lay most of the blame on the players. Last night's effort was that of a team that has given up, not a team that doesn't understand.

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#122 fig pucker
November 03 2013, 03:42PM
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Lowetide wrote:

No, I mean the exact opposite of that. :-)

you really belive that egomaniac is capable of that? if he had any humility or the best intrest of the team and fans at heart he'd graciously step down, but alas his ego won't allow him to see fault in himself, they'll fire eatkins and make him the patsy. (next year will be just the same)

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#123 Spoils
November 03 2013, 03:43PM
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K_Mart wrote:

So our entire left wing position is gone. Hall,Perron,Joensuu,Smyth

Macintyre and Pitlick being out doesn't help either.

Justin Schultz and Belov are out.

Dubnyk is out.

Before that, Nuge, Gags, Grebs, Potter, and Hamilton were all injured.

Grebs, Potter, Hamilton, and Macintyre are the only injuries that aren't significant.

Not only are we leading the league in man games lost due to injury, almost all of ours have been to significant pieces. This is far from our only problem, but is almost certainly the biggest one this year.

The healthiest team in the league, Colorado, seems to be fine.

Pitt, Detroit, and Anaheim are up there in man games lost, but haven't lost any significant time from major players.

then add the goalie slump, the heavy road schedule to start, and the new systems.

oh and the curse.

there is a curse right? there's no curse on the team?

hmmm...

OK I'll admit it, I am at a total loss.

Looking forward to an out of the blue turnaround beginning next game without reason.

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#124 pkam
November 03 2013, 03:43PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

We will agree to disagree re: Eakins - it is clear his system does not work. Look at how easily the Wings beat it with fast and accurate puck movement for great chances in the slot. I am coaching my son's Tier 2 Novice team and even at that level the results are the same - if we "swarm" in the d-zone the other team usually gets a good scoring chance (and vice versa). If my Novice kids can recognize the mistake when you ask them to explain it on the bench, then I am sure NHLers can as well.

I am not sure if this is a coach problem.

If your player cannot win a 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 puck battle 80% of the time, what are you going to do? Do you send another guy to help hoping we can win the puck with one extra player, or just let the other team take the puck 80% of the time?

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#125 Quicksilver ballet
November 03 2013, 03:46PM
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Fire vs Fire

The Avalanche are on fire as well. Could you lay out for us the difference between these two types of fires please LT.

Hoping to pass my firefighters entrance exam in a couple weeks... ;)

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#126 Jordan
November 03 2013, 03:47PM
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https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/edmonton-oilers-managment-group-darryl-katz-enforce-their-message-of-accountability-and-hold-kevin-lowe-responsible-for-this-debacle-of-a-season-either-resigning-or-fired#share

SIGN THE PETITION . WE CAN'T MAKE CHANGE BY VOICING OUR DISPLEASURE HERE AS MUCH AS WE WISH IT COULD. THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO IS ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE . ONE VOICE CANNOT BE HEARD, BUT MANY VOICES WILL BE HEARD. THIS TEAM WILL NOT PROSPER WITH LOWE AT THE HELM. THEY DON'T HAVE THE POWER. THE FANS DO.

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#127 Serious Gord
November 03 2013, 03:50PM
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Of all the bloggers and journos Lowetide is the most pollyannish of the bunch. And consistently so.

Until this post.

Yet he conspicuously ignores the elephant in the room:

Kevin Lowe.

A commenter further up urged patience (what were we doing the last seven years!!)

Another rebutted that if Lowe is fired we fans would grant the organization our patience.

He is absolutely correct.

Trades, coach firings won't do it. Lowes removal will.

It's Katz' choice.

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#128 DSF
November 03 2013, 03:52PM
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Curcro wrote:

The reality is that the Oilers only need one of those things.

Top Pairing Defenders. That would calm down things in the D Zone, would mean the forwards had the puck more.

Dubnyk is roughly equivalent to Crawford (career .914 SvP).

The forward group except for the fourth line is actually reasonably good but they have been torched by injury.

As a team the Oilers look really tight right now, afraid to make a mistake.

They have Florida and Philadelphia two sucky teams on this trip. They need need need to win those games.

The top 6 is nowhere near good enough against the big teams in the WC.

Also, if your team is below average defensively, which they still would be with small skilled forwards, you'd better have ABOVE average goaltending.

.911 (and dropping) won't cut it.

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#129 Quicksilver ballet
November 03 2013, 03:53PM
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Bad news is still news.

Look at all the passion on display here the past couple weeks. We could almost host a rumble in LT's back yard.

If we wait till the end of this upcoming roadtrip. we could hold it at Gregors farm instead.

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#130 Nimrod
November 03 2013, 03:54PM
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The fish rots from the head down. As long as you have the most arrogant man in hockey as the president nothing will change.

But since he's friendly with the owner, he doesn't have to worry about a thing. A team that's not placed higher than 12th in the overall standings since he took over a dozen years ago. A team that's missed the playoffs seven years in a row. A team that had the first overall pick three years in a row. He's untouchable and he knows it.

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#131 pkam
November 03 2013, 03:58PM
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Spoils wrote:

then add the goalie slump, the heavy road schedule to start, and the new systems.

oh and the curse.

there is a curse right? there's no curse on the team?

hmmm...

OK I'll admit it, I am at a total loss.

Looking forward to an out of the blue turnaround beginning next game without reason.

I wasn't too worry until last night.

The team has been competitive even we didn't get the result, but we were completely dominated by the Wings last night. Not to mention we were well rested and they played the night before.

I was thinking that we can recoup some points from the home games down the road. But so far home game doesn't seem to give us any advantage.

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#132 DSF
November 03 2013, 04:09PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

Wow, I am going to sound more pessimistic than DSF here, but............

DSF, I agree with you on needing two top 2 d-men and a big center, along with better goaltending, but that still would not be enough to push the team into the playoffs. They need more size up front across the board, a more functional third line, and at least one PK or other specialist on the 4th line that can take more than 4 minutes per game.

Even if you do all that, they would still missing the biggest thing.....depth. There are some useful recent draft picks in the AHL and juniors that will hopefully be better than bottom pairing/fourth line contributors in two to three years, but that does nothing to help the team today. The lack of development due to weak drafting (the curse of 2003) and not having a farm team in the early 2000s is crippling the team now. Add in the fact that management dumped the few young depth prospects (e.g. Stoll, Brodziak, Mean Matt Greene) that were developed and are contributing elsewhere in the league, and you can see why the depth is as thin as it is.

As a fan, I hope I am wrong, but last year I was arguing with friends/family/co-workers that the organization was still three years away from the playoffs and this year is basically showing that. The biggest mistake MacT made when he came in was promising bold moves and turning everything around instead of taking the traditional GM gimme of assessing the current roster in year one, slowly disassembling it in years one and two for a noticeable change in year 3. He was too busy trying to placate the fans instead of being realistic about the situation. If MacT had actually paid attention in his MBA classes (I have one as well), or been as smart a hockey man as the organization and media claim, he would have taken a different approach. Yet another rookie mistake in a long list of them, including dumping a head coach that actually accomplished two things that the previous failures had not even without a full training camp to implement his system: 1) drastic improvements in PK and PP, and 2) play meaningful games later in the season. Unfortunately, just like in most of the post-lockout MacT, Quinn and Renney years, it looks like the team will be done by Christmas yet again.

Depth is actually the easy part IF you have a GM who knows what that looks like.

For example, Vancouver was lacking forward depth in the offseason and, without spending a ton of dough or any assets, Gillis acquired Mike Santorelli (now playing #2C and playing well) Zac Dalpe, Jeremy Welsh and Brad Richardson.

Richardson was signed as a cheap free agent while the other 3 were picked off waivers.

In fact, not one of the Canucks bottom 6 was drafted by them since bottom 6 players are always available. Drafting them, and then waiting years for them to develop is dumb.

They also have their core top 4 D locked up and their bottom pairing is a plug and play of Tanev (free agent signing), Ryan Stanton (waiver pick up)and Yannick Weber (free agent signing).

While Boyd Gordon was a good signing and Andrew Ference might be, MacT paid too much and too long for both.

Then he went nuts on 7-8 defensemen while ignoring the top pairing and in a fit of reactionary thinking, brought in SMac AND Gazdik.

Colour me underwhelmed.

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#133 Zarny
November 03 2013, 04:16PM
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6-7-2 was probably best case scenario with a young team, new system, new responsibilities and a lack of depth. Hit by key injuries the Oilers are a bad team.

I wouldn't say the plan is on fire. They aren't that far off from where you'd expect this roster to be. I think we are seeing answers to some of the questions and what if's.

The long term plan hasn't changed. Bold moves were required before the season started. Those moves probably won't be available until the trade deadline, draft or free agency.

In the short term MacT should target depth at C, better 7-12 F and 3-4 D. Buf, Phi, Fla and NJ should be open for business. Coburn, Simmons, Zajac, Ott and Myers could help the Oilers.

The young kids are going to make mistakes. They can't be supported by 4th year rookies with 15 NHL games experience and a deep 5-7 D.

And yes playoffs is lost. A top 10 draft pick can be used to facilitate one the required Bold Moves™.

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#134 Ryan2
November 03 2013, 04:26PM
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pkam wrote:

I am not sure if this is a coach problem.

If your player cannot win a 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 puck battle 80% of the time, what are you going to do? Do you send another guy to help hoping we can win the puck with one extra player, or just let the other team take the puck 80% of the time?

I disagree with you re: this being a coach problem. IF this roster is more talented than the one last year (it definitely is on the blue line), then how did the supposedly ineffective Kruger get better results?

A more experienced coach would have assessed the roster after being announced and develop a system that fits the players. Eakins did the opposite - he took a Junior or AHL system for a strong team and tried to apply it to a weak NHL team. Now we get to see if he can adapt the system to better fit his team, which is what a good coach would do........

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#135 David S
November 03 2013, 04:29PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Of all the bloggers and journos Lowetide is the most pollyannish of the bunch. And consistently so.

Until this post.

Yet he conspicuously ignores the elephant in the room:

Kevin Lowe.

A commenter further up urged patience (what were we doing the last seven years!!)

Another rebutted that if Lowe is fired we fans would grant the organization our patience.

He is absolutely correct.

Trades, coach firings won't do it. Lowes removal will.

It's Katz' choice.

Firing Lowe will have ZERO effect on the on-ice product. What part of this simple fact do you not get?

The fact is that by tanking we purposely got rid of good players and replaced them with lesser, inferior versions. After multiple years of doing so we get what we're seeing. Underdeveloped D, inferior 3-4 lines and backup goalies masquerading as starters. But hey - three first picks!

You hate Lowe and I get that. But turning this team around from the damage done by tanking isn't going to happen by Lowe's dismissal. I'm pretty sure both MacT and Lowe know this too.

You want to blame someone, start at Katz. He authorized the tank job and he's keeping Lowe around, which tells me he and Lowe are seeing pretty much what they expected.

The team is where it is because they're trying to overcompensate for injuries and the unbalanced team that's resulted. Everybody is overtrying. Compound that with having far too many players who never learned defensive play because they had the puck on their sticks their entire junior careers and we get veteran teams running our show by pressuring our D corps night in and night out.

As a group they're exhausted because Eakins is overplaying the first two lines to compensate for the injuries. He'll never admit it but I'm sure he knows he's running his horses into the ground because we don't have the depth to pick up the slack.

So please. Enlighten me as to how firing Lowe is going to fix any of this.

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#136 Spydyr
November 03 2013, 04:29PM
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GK1980 wrote:

Please everyone be patient

Should we patient for another eight years.Till it is sixteen years outside the playoffs?

Enough is enough.Something is not working in the management of the team from the owner on down.The truly sad part is I cannot see it being fixed anytime soon.

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#137 BigE91
November 03 2013, 04:29PM
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I keep reading ON, following along on twitter waiting for something good to happen. I'm now resigned to the fact that the day when the ship is righted is not coming. This owner has his tree fort and he doesn't care.

I actually like what Eakins has been doing and I think a few changes in personnel would go a long way. And I'm not talking about Hemsky or 3rd or 4th line guys. One of Hall, Eberle, Schultz or Yakupov have to be the sacrificial lamb.

As it stands now, this organization won't see any of my money for tickets or merchandise for a very long time. The City of Edmonton was held hostage in arena negotiations and now the shoe is on the other foot and Katz and Co. aren't stepping up and providing a product that the City and fans can get behind. It's horrendous.

Except for the fact that if they left Edmonton would not see another NHL team for 50+ years I can't see any reason why we wouldn't have let this lousy group of slackers fly the coupe when there was a chance.

Signed,

another fan just venting and unlikely to look away from this car wreck!

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#138 madjam
November 03 2013, 04:30PM
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If the players cannot make system work , then it is time for change . Either the players go or the coaches and/ or management . In our case it may require all 3 , however . Staying the course is not a likely viable alternative here .

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#139 Rheal1
November 03 2013, 04:32PM
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I'll assess that the Oilers have a 33% chance to make playoffs by the time that new white elephant...heu... I mean that new arena is up & running.

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#140 Jordan1126
November 03 2013, 04:38PM
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I'm sick of hearing what the oilers record could be if they had goaltending that was consistent.

Bottom line it is what it is. Good teams find ways to win. If I don't produce results at my job I get let go or put on some sort of corrective action. Being understaffed or having someone on my team not performing is mine and their responsibility.

On the oilers nobody is held accountable. How about paying the players based on performance results, and actual effort.

I wish I knew I was guaranteed 6 mil per year for the next six years regardless of how I performed or whether I was on disability etc.

I'm sure a lot of teams would also have better records if they had another ingredient on their team. Bottom line our goaltending sucks our d coverage sucks and all this so called talent can't score 1 goal in two whole games.

Where I come from this would be considered a failure, but instead I have to witness k lowe driving his escalade through the Starbucks drive thru to get his latte every morning while I bust my ass off to make ends meet.

Plus nobody pays to watch me work.....

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#141 i blow klow aka oilers owner
November 03 2013, 04:40PM
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everyone calm down please. everything is fine kevin told me he's making all the right moves. any way i've got to go make kevin a sandwich, he deserves it (he's won six stanly cups you know). just remember kevin has all the anawers, i just do what he tells me. thanks daryl

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#142 hankthetank
November 03 2013, 04:42PM
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@LoweBlow

i don't see enough emotion from eakins on the bench besides pure resignation. why doesn't he get fired up and scream once in a while? when my kids do something wrong, i don't just roll my eyes and swear under my breath...you have to know how to motivate them to do what you ask. motivation = emotion, look at the Avs/Roy, win or lose, the guy is a firecracker and it's infectious!

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#143 DSF
November 03 2013, 04:49PM
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David S wrote:

Firing Lowe will have ZERO effect on the on-ice product. What part of this simple fact do you not get?

The fact is that by tanking we purposely got rid of good players and replaced them with lesser, inferior versions. After multiple years of doing so we get what we're seeing. Underdeveloped D, inferior 3-4 lines and backup goalies masquerading as starters. But hey - three first picks!

You hate Lowe and I get that. But turning this team around from the damage done by tanking isn't going to happen by Lowe's dismissal. I'm pretty sure both MacT and Lowe know this too.

You want to blame someone, start at Katz. He authorized the tank job and he's keeping Lowe around, which tells me he and Lowe are seeing pretty much what they expected.

The team is where it is because they're trying to overcompensate for injuries and the unbalanced team that's resulted. Everybody is overtrying. Compound that with having far too many players who never learned defensive play because they had the puck on their sticks their entire junior careers and we get veteran teams running our show by pressuring our D corps night in and night out.

As a group they're exhausted because Eakins is overplaying the first two lines to compensate for the injuries. He'll never admit it but I'm sure he knows he's running his horses into the ground because we don't have the depth to pick up the slack.

So please. Enlighten me as to how firing Lowe is going to fix any of this.

Firing Lowe and bringing in a competent Hockey Operations Manager would be the first step toward rooting out the failure and cronyism that infects the franchise. (see Joe Sakic in Colorado for reference)

Given what we've seen this far, I doubt MacT or Eakins would survive for long if they didn't produce results.

As for your assertion that The Oilers forwards are "exhausted" please note that the top 4 forwards for TOI/G are Ryan Kesler (8 goals 12 points), Henrik Sedin (3G 19P), Sidney Crosby(8G 23P) and Daniel Sedin (7G 16P).

Oddly, none of them are exhausted and are producing at a great rate despite being older.

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#144 gr8one
November 03 2013, 04:50PM
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JJ wrote:

Nichushkin got his first NHL goal today. How many does Nurse have? Oh wait..

Just another failure by MacT in his first few months. Ya dun goofed.

Wow, just wow.

That's about all I can say and still be nice.

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#145 Zarny
November 03 2013, 04:54PM
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hankthetank wrote:

i don't see enough emotion from eakins on the bench besides pure resignation. why doesn't he get fired up and scream once in a while? when my kids do something wrong, i don't just roll my eyes and swear under my breath...you have to know how to motivate them to do what you ask. motivation = emotion, look at the Avs/Roy, win or lose, the guy is a firecracker and it's infectious!

If motivation = emotion was true Mike Keenan would still be coaching in the NHL.

The Avalanche are winning because their defense gives up very few scoring chances and their G has been the best in the NHL.

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#146 pkam
November 03 2013, 04:56PM
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Ryan2 wrote:

I disagree with you re: this being a coach problem. IF this roster is more talented than the one last year (it definitely is on the blue line), then how did the supposedly ineffective Kruger get better results?

A more experienced coach would have assessed the roster after being announced and develop a system that fits the players. Eakins did the opposite - he took a Junior or AHL system for a strong team and tried to apply it to a weak NHL team. Now we get to see if he can adapt the system to better fit his team, which is what a good coach would do........

Did you still remember Krueger's defense system last year? The Oilers sometimes would ignore a free puck 5 feet from him and looked for the player he supposed to shadow. That is the weirdest defense I ever watched in my life.

The GA was worse this year for several reasons.

1st, poor goaltending. I think this contributed to at least 10 GA, probably more. The 3rd goal last night is a great example.

2nd, terrible PK because Eakins believe our best players should be able to kill penalties and we are paying the price now. If you agree that our best players should have the ability to kill penalties, then it is the fault of the previous coaches, and Eakins is paying the price.

3rd, poor defense play by our players which has nothing to do with the Swarm system. Like the 1st goal last night, Petry cannot handle the puck and end up with a break away and a goal.

Eakins has explained his Swarm system. We will play a standard D zone coverage, but when one of our player pinch the opponent puck carrier near the wall, a 2nd player will jump in right away to take the puck away. To me, this is exactly a system to address the problem that our players can't win the 1 on 1 battle along the board 80% of the time.

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#147 DSF
November 03 2013, 04:59PM
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For those of you with an interest and access to NHL Centre Ice, in half an hour, the Calgary Flames play the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Now, I have very little double that Chicago will win but I also have little doubt the Flames will show up and bust their butts for 3 periods.

Watch.

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#148 DSF
November 03 2013, 05:00PM
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Zarny wrote:

If motivation = emotion was true Mike Keenan would still be coaching in the NHL.

The Avalanche are winning because their defense gives up very few scoring chances and their G has been the best in the NHL.

And because they have forwards like O'Reilly, Landeskog and McKinnon who already know how to play a 200 ft. game and show it every night.

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#149 pkam
November 03 2013, 05:01PM
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hankthetank wrote:

i don't see enough emotion from eakins on the bench besides pure resignation. why doesn't he get fired up and scream once in a while? when my kids do something wrong, i don't just roll my eyes and swear under my breath...you have to know how to motivate them to do what you ask. motivation = emotion, look at the Avs/Roy, win or lose, the guy is a firecracker and it's infectious!

Do you see Mike Babcock screaming at the bench? I guess you must think Tortorella is a better coach than Babcock.

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#150 Rob Gilgan
November 03 2013, 05:02PM
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Why should any of them care? (DKatz, KLowe, MacT, DEakins, the players….) They’re all making lots of money producing a disgrace. Just like the Leafs, for decades. You don’t need to win the Stanley Cup to make millions in Edmonton or Toronto, or to maintain a sell-out fan base. None of them are the problem. We are. As long as we watch play and pay, they don’t have to change a thing. When the owners weren’t happy, they shut the doors. That’s the only thing the fans can do to respond - and if Oilers fans have any jam at all - the next home game will have a minimum of 10,000 with Rexall bags on their heads. Want to make some money like DKatz, KLowe, MacT, DEakins, the players? Print those bags.

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