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 Team 1260.
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#1 Jay Gray
November 03 2013, 12:51PM
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I really think this is a low point in franchise history.

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#2 master of my domain
November 03 2013, 01:31PM
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I wish my girlfriend sucked as much as the Oilers do

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#3 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 03 2013, 12:52PM
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Man, four years ago the Oilers looked to be on the verge of something special. We've gone beyond embarrassing, we have achieved carney status. We are circus folk.

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#4 The Real Gongshow
November 03 2013, 01:55PM
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Brian Burke was right all along. K Lowe and his cronies have destroyed this once storied organization.

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#5 Thinker
November 03 2013, 01:02PM
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Soneone call the oilers and tell them mcdavid isn't elligible until next year.

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#6 DSF
November 03 2013, 08:44PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Now that's a coach that gets his players to go the extra mile! Nothing fancy & doesn't try to re-invent the game.

Too bad the Oilers couldn't trade up for Monahan, kids a Getzlaf clone.

Oilers brass should load up 23 iPads with the Flames win over the Hawks and make every player watch "Here's How You Win a Hockey Game" on the flight to Florida.

When they've finished watching it...they should have to watch it again.

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#7 DSF
November 03 2013, 01:41PM
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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.

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#8 Neal
November 03 2013, 12:45PM
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How about implementing Home Game System Play:

1) PVR it 2) Down by 1 - Play and Pray 3) Down by 2 - Fast Forward to (maybe)Oil goal 4) Down by 3 - Max Fast Forward 5) Down by 4 - Turn off. Wonder why you bought the f@#$%^& Mini Pack anyway.

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#10 M22
November 03 2013, 01:31PM
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D. Katz,

Thank you.

P. Pocklington

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#11 Dog Train
November 03 2013, 08:52PM
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We're long past blaming the goaltending or an unlucky bounce. Over the past few games the Oilers flat out look like a team that has given up on life.

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#12 DSF
November 03 2013, 01:58PM
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The Real Gongshow wrote:

Brian Burke was right all along. K Lowe and his cronies have destroyed this once storied organization.

Yes he was.

And I bet he has a little smirk every time he looks at the game scores.

Had Katz had the cajones to fire Lowe and hire Burke, I'd wager things would look pretty different in Oilerland right now.

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#13 Wax Man Riley
November 03 2013, 01:32PM
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PutzStew wrote:

"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?"

LMAO

Disillisionment = Lowetide

1) MacT is in over his head and was not the right man for the job. If he was then he would have made sure that he had enough NHL player to start the season with, never mind injuries. Never mind all the other crap he said, He started the season with One NHL caliber center. That was the beginning of the end right there. And a smart Hockey man would have never said Horcoff should be on the 2010 olympic team. That was one of the stupidest hockey moments ever.

2) Klowe should have been fired as soon as his comments about "stanley cup rings" and "2 tiered fans". Seriously could you image Scotty Bowman saying something so pathetic?

3) Katz is going to make Pocklington look like an angel. You folks got screwed badly with the arena deal.

4) Hall, RNH, Yak, Gagner, ETC are all good hockey players and should be in the NHL. But as Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock made clear last spring, none of them know how to play as a team. This is an organizational issue. It isn't knew either. As I asked a couple blogs ago, How good would Hemsky actually have been if he was brought up in a good system.

5) No successful team would start the season with Smyth on the first line. In fact no good team would even have Smyth on the rosters. Why? BECAUSE HE CAN"T PLAY ANYMORE. Enough said.

So to you Mr. Allen. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You want to choose to support a pathetic team like the Oilers, then I will enjoy laughing my arse off at you and the other like you. You want to waste you time and money supporting a organization that doesn't deserve it then I will enjoy making fun of your misery. So again to you sir……BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! SUCKER!!!!

PS are you ready to give up yet and start demanding change from these losers or are you going to continue with your false hope.

PPS BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. shut out in 2 games straight. I love it. Lossers.

Yep.... The Oilers are a terrible team.

Personal attacks though? Way to go internet tough guy.

You too are a "losser."

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#14 pkam
November 03 2013, 02:22PM
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Racki wrote:

Hey everybody, I'm headed down to Whyte Ave.. LETS BURN THIS CITY DOWN!!

You speak like a Canuck fan. Sorry, not me.

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#15 Greg
November 03 2013, 08:35PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Helluva game by the Flames.

my god. i'm not trashing this comment. but how bad are things around here when you see comments like this.

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#16 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
November 03 2013, 01:15PM
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Hi. First time poster here at ON. I’ve been coming here regularly for a couple years to read insightful thoughts about my favorite team. So far, you good people have never let me down!

What I took away from Andrew Ference’s interview last night on Hot Stove was that DE has lost a significant part of the locker room, and that it’s largely the “young guns” that he’s lost. I think Ference was also suggesting he believes Eakins’ system would work if the team would actually buy in.

There’s little doubt in my mind that MacT needs to trade one of the so-called untouchables, and he needs to do it now. Given the potential return, and (in my opinion) his complete lack of commitment to the game when the puck isn’t on his stick, Eberle would be my first choice.

This team has become too much of a sh** show to fix with one trade, but trading one of the young guns at this point would bring back something else in return that the team does need, and it would send a message to the locker room that the coach, not the players, run the team.

I’m definitely not sold on Eakins myself, but it does appear to me that a large segment of this team will not commit to defense, and this hasn’t been a problem just since Eakins came along.

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#17 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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#18 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 03 2013, 12:37PM
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Fire and trade everyone.

Woman holding the leash = Lowe and friends, dog = Oiler fans, guy with eggs = DSF

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#19 The Real Gongshow
November 03 2013, 12:39PM
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Not falling for it this year. Infinibuild is right. I'm not jumping off the bandwagon, I'm blowing it up !!! Oh ya... One more thing... M...I...C...K...E...Y, M...O...U...S...E !!!

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#20 Oil_is_runnin_dry
November 03 2013, 01:31PM
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As a die hard oilers fan i have to say this. In the last 5 years the Edmonton Oilers are the worst team in all of sports.

thank you that is all.

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#21 Ari Gold
November 03 2013, 09:53PM
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Primo wrote:

YOUR CALGARY FLAMES!!!!!!!

Bloody ridiculous. The Flames beat the Hawks. Oilers need to take notes. What a humiliating franchise.

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#22 -30-
November 03 2013, 01:03PM
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Whatever the Oil do please keep the assistant coaches for the sake of continuity. K?

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#23 PutzStew
November 03 2013, 01:03PM
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"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?"

LMAO

Disillisionment = Lowetide

1) MacT is in over his head and was not the right man for the job. If he was then he would have made sure that he had enough NHL player to start the season with, never mind injuries. Never mind all the other crap he said, He started the season with One NHL caliber center. That was the beginning of the end right there. And a smart Hockey man would have never said Horcoff should be on the 2010 olympic team. That was one of the stupidest hockey moments ever.

2) Klowe should have been fired as soon as his comments about "stanley cup rings" and "2 tiered fans". Seriously could you image Scotty Bowman saying something so pathetic?

3) Katz is going to make Pocklington look like an angel. You folks got screwed badly with the arena deal.

4) Hall, RNH, Yak, Gagner, ETC are all good hockey players and should be in the NHL. But as Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock made clear last spring, none of them know how to play as a team. This is an organizational issue. It isn't knew either. As I asked a couple blogs ago, How good would Hemsky actually have been if he was brought up in a good system.

5) No successful team would start the season with Smyth on the first line. In fact no good team would even have Smyth on the rosters. Why? BECAUSE HE CAN"T PLAY ANYMORE. Enough said.

So to you Mr. Allen. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You want to choose to support a pathetic team like the Oilers, then I will enjoy laughing my arse off at you and the other like you. You want to waste you time and money supporting a organization that doesn't deserve it then I will enjoy making fun of your misery. So again to you sir……BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! SUCKER!!!!

PS are you ready to give up yet and start demanding change from these losers or are you going to continue with your false hope.

PPS BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. shut out in 2 games straight. I love it. Lossers.

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#24 K_Mart
November 03 2013, 12:41PM
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TRADE EVERYONE, THEN FIRE EVERYONE

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#25 Primo
November 03 2013, 09:37PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

I'm in the market for a new team to cheer for. Any suggestions? They don't have to be a SC favourite, just a dominant, hard-working team.

YOUR CALGARY FLAMES!!!!!!!

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#26 Dan 1919
November 03 2013, 12:58PM
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It’s been going on too long to accredit the downfalls to injuries and bad goalies (even though they’re both true). As mentioned many times by many people, the NYR couldn’t get a skilled team working together with a group of elites in their prime, the Oilers clearly are not going to do it with a group of skilled guys under 23. It’s time to build a team. Who should be safe... no one. So where to start.

Hall is clearly the catalyst for sparking all the Hemskys on the team (Hemsky, Eberle, Gagner, RNH, Arco... yes too many Hemskys), so he should stay for now.

RNH is/will be the best centre, so let’s not start with him either. Gordon and Perron seem to be self motivated, keep them, do not trade Nurse.

With Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, 2014 1stRound, Arco, Hemsky, J.Shultz, Klefbom, Petry and more on this team being expendable, you would think there is some sort of package deal that could bring a stellar defenceman to this town, maybe management deems goaltending to be the main culprit, get a goalie first then reassess... Do something............................

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#27 Walter Sobchak
November 03 2013, 08:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Calgary hangs around and wins 3-2 in OT.

Now that's a coach that gets his players to go the extra mile! Nothing fancy & doesn't try to re-invent the game.

Too bad the Oilers couldn't trade up for Monahan, kids a Getzlaf clone.

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#28 Anthony
November 03 2013, 08:54PM
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@Lowetide

When we would not give Curtis glen cross a contract, just let a character player walk, I felt we were in trouble

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#29 Sammy
November 03 2013, 01:27PM
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If Oilers are serious about winning they will fire Kevin Lowe, Bucky and Smith. Clean house.

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#30 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 03 2013, 12:58PM
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Firing the coach would be carzy? I'm not so sure. From what I see since the beginning of the regular season, I would say the players have no faith in Dallas Eakins. But I'm no sport psychologist, so I could be mistaking.

What I'm sure of, is that:

1- The special teams are a total mess. Man advantage in particular, has no structure at all.

2- The swamp defense is not working. At all. It's chaos on ice.

The Eakins hiring was done too hastily and it turned into an epic fail. The entire coaching staff needs to be changed. Again.

That, plus we need goaltending. And depth at center. And grit. And a no.1 defenseman...

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#31 Clarko
November 03 2013, 02:09PM
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"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 if we flipped that "optimistic" view around and look at the record with some pessimism. They were losing 3-0 to NJ and after playing brutal for over 40 minutes, they had a miraculous comeback. Beat Ottawa 3-1 (with an empty-netter), but was really outplayed and outshot 36-21. And were pummeled for 65 minutes by the Kings and still managed a loser point.

You could make the argument that this team might be 1-13-1 without some good breaks in the games they actually got points in.

Pretty depressing...

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#32 Stangconv
November 03 2013, 05:08PM
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Fire everyone again? How about just Lowe?

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#33 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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#34 Rama Lama
November 03 2013, 12:41PM
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Start with firing the coach and all his junior systems.

Bring in Brent Sutter.........a real NHL Coach.

Start observing players to see who stay and who goes.

Trade as many players as possible for draft picks.

Bring in as many AHL players and see what we really have........I mean could they be worse that what we have?

Start assembling a team for next year.........this year is over.

Embrace change as it is all we have left...........do not attend a game ( fan revolt) to send a clear message to Katz that Six Rings has to go.

Drink and drink heavily, this will be a long second rebuild!

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#35 Randaman
November 03 2013, 01:08PM
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D wrote:

When a patient is in triage, the first step ER doctors take is to stabilize. Figure out what will get the patient through the night and then the week. Once the patient is clear from mortal danger, then follow-on medical personnel can determine how to rehabilitate the patient.

For the Oilers, it should be no different. We now have talented players that we were unable to retain in the late 90s and early 2000s. Determine this season what is missing in order to stabilize the team (while retaining the top end talent) and at least make it a passable NHL organization.

Okay, so there's no playoffs this year, but what could the Oilers do this season to compete at the level of say, Carolina or Nashville. Not elite, but at least passable NHL franchises. Once you get to that point, then worry about jumping to the Chicago-Pittsburgh level.

So what you are saying is we are where we were 4 years ago and we should relax and start over. No thanks. Lowe, buchberger & Smith have to go. This circus is a complete and utter failure.

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#36 Wax Man Riley
November 03 2013, 06:16PM
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DSF wrote:

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.

I'm going to point out the obvious irony in stating that the Avs hiring Sakic (and Roy) is rooting out cronyism.

The difference could be that both Roy and Sakic were difference makers on the Stanley teams. Lowe and MacT were..... there.

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#37 DSF
November 03 2013, 06:22PM
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D wrote:

Watching the Chicago game. It's interesting to see the difference in compete levels between the Flames and the Oilers.

Yep.

Agree completely.

They work hard every shift.

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#39 K_Mart
November 03 2013, 12:59PM
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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.

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#40 Spydyr
November 03 2013, 01:43PM
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This team has no heart, grit, passion, will to win. A bunch of soft, small, skill boys in a mans(NHL)game.

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#41 Wow, oh, wow!!
November 03 2013, 01:45PM
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It is scary to think that Hockey Canada still trust Lowe to be a part the Olympic process, although with Canada's talent, it is not like it is a difficult job!! The Oilers dilemma starts and ends with Lowe, Mac T, Bucky, and Smith. The bus is broken down and all the boys have grown up.

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#42 Oiler Al
November 03 2013, 01:58PM
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master of my domain wrote:

I wish my girlfriend sucked as much as the Oilers do

You got to find it first.

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#43 Ari Gold
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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#44 cubsfan
November 03 2013, 08:17PM
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......Flames win!!!! Crap.....Glencross 1 goal and set up winning goal in OT......why cant the Oilers find someone like Glencross.....Oh!......never mind......

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#45 HeavyChevy
November 03 2013, 01:35PM
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I didn't think I would ever write this but I would like to see Katz hold a press conference announcing the firing of Lowe (maybe others) and the hiring of a Brian Burke type. There is talent on this roster. The pieces just don't fit and a couple are missing. Management are the puzzle builders. Yes injuries are not helping but this culture of losing has gone on for a long time now. It's time to bring in proven NHL management. When they hire unproven/unknown staff and it works, they look like geniuses. After a few attempts and it doesn't work it looks bad. It's time for Katz to put aside his love of the old Oilers and hire someone who's had even some success building an NHL team puzzle. I get it. I love the old Oilers too, but despite Lowe maintaining he know a thing or two about winning, it was from the passenger seat of the Gretzky and Messier driven bus.

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#46 Jackson
November 03 2013, 01:54PM
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Jeffff wrote:

Every year young fast talented team. New coach every couple years. Rinse wash and repeat.

“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.”

FIRE KEVIN LOWE

FIRE KEVIN LOWE

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#47 JayW
November 03 2013, 02:22PM
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"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."

You could reasonably make the case that this team could have ZERO wins on the season if you'd like to play that game...remember that New Jersey and Montreal both gassed 3rd period leads against them, and Dubnyk stood on his head to beat Ottawa.

For me, this type of cherry picking results is BS. I am tired of people saying we have "skilled" players. Skill means you're good at something, and as far as I can tell the Oilers are not good at anything except losing. When Ryan Jones is your best player two home games in a row, I think it's prudent to trade anyone on the active roster.

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#48 DoubleDIon
November 04 2013, 02:08AM
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You guys need 200 foot players plain and simple. I'm a Flames fan and have been saying for a couple of years now that Iginla was creating a selfish culture. Killed me to say it, because at one point he epitomized a 200 foot player. He didn't anymore for his last three years in Calgary and the team competes much harder without him setting the example.

Like any work environment one lazy bum can make the rest resentful and less productive. The Oilers have a few selfish players that stand out. Start by moving those guys for team needs since they have value. Yakupov and Eberle are the guys I'd start with. Move one of them and another asset for a top pairing defenseman. Then move the other with Gagner for a big top 6 centerman with a good 2 way game. If the goaltending still sucks afterwards then fix that in the offseason.

I know Hall and Nuge have their flaws, but they both battle hard and give it 100%. If Nuge can get stronger before his body breaks down he could be a good two-way centerman. If Hall can stay healthy and play with guys who actually battle in the offensive zone I could see him being a top 10 scorer and deadly on the forecheck.

Schultz is not a tough minutes defender. He needs softer minutes. Play him on the third pairing with lots of PP time.

Avatar
#50 JonSwift
November 03 2013, 12:58PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
17
props

I am now indifferent.

While I still consider myself a fan, it now doesn't bother me to miss games. If I have something else to do, I do it without regret.

The only thing making me keep my share of season's tickets is that I don't want to lose my seat at the new arena. I am not sure this is enough to hold on to them for 3 or 4 more years though. Still thinking about this...

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