Real Talk

Wanye
January 13 2009 10:27AM

So we made a friend awhile back who has the most interesting skill. It seems he knows exactly what's going on in the room right now for the Oil. Stranger still, it seems he is ok with letting some info out to your ol' pal Wanye from time to time.

Now this isn't the kind of friend that you would call up on a regular basis and ask, "Does Kyle Brodziak put on his left or right skate first?" But it is the kind of friend with whom we have an understanding that when we run into each other from time to time he'll let us know if anything is new or interesting behind those enormous sliding doors. And his message is pretty much confirmation of what is widely suspected and increasingly becoming known -- there are cracks in the room these days that are expanding at a slow but steady rate and it has been affecting play on the ice.

Why are their cracks forming you ask? It seems the Oil –- particularly the youth movement -- no longer enjoy the lack of respect doled out by their head coach on a continual basis and many feel his methods of coaching are no longer effective.

Translation: MacT doing dick stuff to the team will eventually make his players hate him. It's pretty much that simple.

It would seem there is a constant stream of disrespect aimed at the players these days. As it was explained to us, no one incident that stands out above the rest but a bunch of continual things that has helped MacT lose big chunks of the room.

MacT Dick Move #138,962

The Oil played the Coyotes on Dec 22 going into the Christmas Break. Santa delivers and the Oil win 4-2 to send the team into the break on a relative high note given how things were unfolding during the first three months of the season. Now you know how it is around Christmas: you want to be home with your families if at all possible. The understanding seemed to be win on the 22nd and part for the holidays filled with Christmas cheer.

But not with ol’ Coach here in E-town.

In his infinite wisdom, MacT switched it up and made the team attend practice on the 23rd. As a direct result all players couldn't get back east to their families for Christmas as many had planned. Instead they were stranded in Edmonton and away from their families over the holiday. Classy.

Now we can hear you out there saying:

“Shoot Wanye! Miss Christmas? Boo-freakin-hoo. If I made Lubo money it would be Christmas every day! I would hire actors to be my family and they would go with me everywhere and every morning we would gather under the tree and open presents 365 days a year! Are you suggesting that: 1) I should believe that missing Christmas makes the PK bad; and, 2) I should care about these rich athletes in the slightest?”

This is completely fair. If we made Lubo money we would hire Lubomir Visnovsky himself to carry us around on his back all day long. “Mush Lubo!” we would yell, “to the liquor store!” And dutifully, Lubo would piggy back us all the way to Liquor Depot because the only thing better than making Lubo money is making even more money. If we happened to pass someone being piggybacked by a cheaper Oiler –- say Liam Reddox -– we would make Lubo stop and we would stand there laughing heartily at the cheaper player and his fare. But that’s just how we would roll.

But back to the Oilers missing Christmas. Rich athlete or not, people want to be home for Christmas if at all possible. A last-minute practice after a win is a dick move plain and simple. This is a single instance that came up in our conversation and the message was, "There are a million things that have gotten the room to where it is today. This is an easy one."

It's a coaching style -- plain and simple. And if you believe that an under-performing team with myriad players who are under-utilized, miscast, miscoached or poorly motivated may not be responding to the style of their current coach, then you arrive at the same conclusion we did last night when we were hearing these tales.

There has to be a change in coaching style

There are "players' coaches" who cater to the room like Tom Renney in New York. Coach Renney let Jagr sit in the front seat of the Rangers bus anytime he wanted and he had an unlimited Xbox rule on the road. JJ loved his videogames and riding shotgun, and he produced as a result of the treatment he received.

Then are also hard asses like John Tortorella who used to beat Martin St. Louis without mercy in the dressing room before games until Oren Koules bought the team and promptly destroyed it. St. Louis would crawl into the corner and hide for 20 minutes, then he would go out on the ice and dominate. This hard-assed style worked for him.

Then there are coaches who have lost the room and act the arrogant fool. They take a hard line with rookies while showing Buddha-like patience when veterans have mistake-riddled games. Think the hardass line is working, Nation? Think the team is finding its motivational state of balance? Hells no -- its Chakra is destroyed these days.

Look at this graph, it’s all very clear:

As the team mails in game after game after game, it's becoming evident that MacT is no longer capable of coaxing, cajoling or Jedi mind-tricking the Oilers into consistent performances this season. His coaching style of taking a continual hard line doesn't seem to be having much effect anymore -- and as we all know you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Instead you hire a new dog who has a whole new bag of tricks. Right?

Miss Christmas with your family. What a dick.

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#1 Mike Krushelnyski
January 13 2009, 10:37AM
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Not only that, he phoned up Sam Gagner's little cousins on Christmas Eve and told them that there's no Santa Claus

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#2 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 10:37AM
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Well, I don't know why but, Wanye I trust in you. I believe what you say to be true. Therefore, I am now finally 100% commited to JeanshortsandBaggedmilk's fire MacT crusade. Are you guys going to swing that Van up to Fort Mac or do I gotta hitch a ride and meet you somewhere? Damn you MacTavish... Damn you and only you to hell!

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#3 King Mob
January 13 2009, 10:39AM
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things are always much easier to understand in graph form.

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#4 Klima85
January 13 2009, 10:45AM
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My god, how many chances does this guy get? it is so frustrating to watch day in and day out. The only good coaching move MacT has evedr made was to trap like mad in the 06 playoffs. But now that's "boring to watch" and "not oiler hockey". it might acutally give this team a chance to compete against some better teams. Sadly not competing every night is the new "oiler Hockey"

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#5 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 10:48AM
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@ Klima85: I don't care how bad they are, Don't you ever suggest a trap style. I will puke.

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#6 Zamboni Driver
January 13 2009, 10:49AM
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MacT and Lowe in a nutshell.

Power hungry - (also known as spare parts for most of their playing careers...certainly Mr. Mousse)

Think they are smarter than everyone else - too many examples. Let's just go with "Bustamakki".

Dicks - though that would more be MacT and Laforge (know someone who worked for the Oilers, Dude is apparently a psycho, and no I don't have a link).

Ladies and gentlemen....your Oilers brain trust.

Can't imagine why nearly 20 years of mediocrity has prevailed. We went from Pocklington/Sather/Fraser to this.

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#7 Mike Krushelnyski
January 13 2009, 10:54AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

@ Klima85: I don’t care how bad they are, Don’t you ever suggest a trap style. I will puke.

Could it really be worse than whatever they're supposed to be playing now? The on-ice product this year has been absolute garbage. Zero entertainment value.

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#8 Klima85
January 13 2009, 10:56AM
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@ Travis Dakin

I'm not saying they need to trap all the time, what i'm saying is that it's the only time MacT has mixed it up. He tried a new system, caught some teams off guards. the change from what ever the hell system he is using now (your guess is as good as mine)might force some of the players to buy in a little more and commit to a better effort. He can't bench everybody, so he has to try something new.

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#9 BUCK75
January 13 2009, 11:00AM
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LOL - CHAKRA, The graph totally sums up the feeling of the players. I suggest a team coached by Deepak Chopra, the players would meditate before games, smell incense & become intouch with each of the 7 Chakras. Deepak would then pep them up with a speech stating "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” Then the oilers go on a 25 game winnning streak...

I personally think the my GAFM is at an all time low. GAFM is my own "Giva F*ck Meter". The players in Oilers silks are probably just as sick of all te BS as the fans are by now.

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#10 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 11:05AM
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@ Mike Krushelnyski: @ Klima85:

Good lord men, Have you lost your minds? Are you that desperate that you'd have the team sell their souls to the dark lord of Trapping hockey for the sake of a few 1-0 wins? Hells no. This team has all the offensive tools to be scary. A new system is definately needed but one that caters to the skill set assembled. MacTavish has done enough Offense squashing on his own team, let alone be even more focused on the other teams.

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#11 The Towel Boy
January 13 2009, 11:09AM
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Who saw this coming?!? Right? Am I right or what?!

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#12 Since79
January 13 2009, 11:09AM
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Not a shocker at all - in fact I think we might know the same person Wayne. This is just one of the many dick moves MacT has made this year, all with the blessings of his overlord, Kevin Lowe.

These guys are well past their expiry dates. I thought there would be change once Katz took over. I guess it's just more of the same BS with this team.

Hey Daryl, would you mind refunding a portion of the money I've spent on season tickets? Your product is severely defective and useless.

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#13 Kevin Lowe.
January 13 2009, 11:11AM
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Penner hates MacT. Penner has tremendous upside... Nilsson hates MacT. Nilsson has tremendous upside.... HMMMMM. I'm pretty sure the right move for this organization is to dump both players immediately, to the lowest bidder, and demand some money back.

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#14 The Towel Boy
January 13 2009, 11:16AM
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P.S. I almost spit coffee all over my screen when I scrolled down and saw the graphical representation of Chakra vs. Time. Gold!

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#15 baggedmilk
January 13 2009, 11:17AM
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Wanye,

Awesome! That's all there is to it.

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#16 Bruthah
January 13 2009, 11:18AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Not only that, he phoned up Sam Gagner’s little cousins on Christmas Eve and told them that there’s no Santa Claus

Lol! Quote of the Day

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#17 Bruthah
January 13 2009, 11:19AM
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Oh, and great post, Wanye. Loved the graph.

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#18 The Towel Boy
January 13 2009, 11:19AM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Not only that, he phoned up Sam Gagner’s little cousins on Christmas Eve and told them that there’s no Santa Claus

...for his heart was 3 sizes too small.

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#19 Chris
January 13 2009, 11:23AM
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Did Gilbert cross the room to talk video games and cartoons, OR, is he jumping on the fire MacT bandwagon?

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#20 Mike Krushelnyski
January 13 2009, 11:23AM
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@ Travis Dakin:

No, I'm not saying I want the Oilers to be a trap team, I think what Klima and I are getting at is that we would rather see any system being employed - and yes, that includes the dreaded trap - over whatever the hell is going on with the team this year. Trap teams may be boring but pardon me if I'm not particularly thrilled with watching the Oilers scrabble around against the worst team in the league, waiting for the 4th line to kick a couple pucks in.

Having said that, I would love to see them trap for a few games just so I could see the Oilers with some puck possession and clap my hands and squeal with delight at the novelty of it all.

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#21 NoPantsTuesday
January 13 2009, 11:24AM
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Great, now we'll never be able to resign our younger players again. Katz better step up and do something about this fast.

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#22 Mike Krushelnyski
January 13 2009, 11:26AM
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The Towel Boy wrote:

…for his heart was 3 sizes too small.

And his mouth 3 inches too open. Seriously, does the guy have a breathing problem or something?

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#23 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 11:26AM
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@ NoPantsTuesday:

Or else what? haha we are kind of limited to pissing and moaning. ah good times.

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#24 shakey
January 13 2009, 11:37AM
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Buck75...“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

If you add "I really think this team is moving in the right direction" and "Gagne and Nilson don't play a power game but that's what we've been preaching" and you have a week of MacT'ism's.

These young guys have been loved and their egos stroked since they were too young to talk about stroking.

If you had a job that you could do in 29 other places and your boss yelled at you every day and only made select players his whipping boys and didn't hold himself or other workers to the same standard he's preaching to you, you'd get tired of it pretty quick.

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#25 Rick
January 13 2009, 11:38AM
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I know you mentioned that the Christmas example is just one of a few but if that is the worst one and it is enough to divide the room the it leaves me wondering just how fragile and spoiled this group muffins that we call the Edmonton Oilers really are.

I am curious, was it said outright or just implied that they also believe MacT purposely controlled the weather on that fateful day which left them stranded here in Edmonton?

The Oilers underachieved leading up to Christmas and he wanted another practice. Big freakin deal, I thought everyone has been demanding some kind of accountability from this club...any accountability, from any part of it?

It looks to me like this was an attempt at it, certainly more so than patting them all on the back and saying "yeah we pretty much sucked up to this point but go stuff your face with turkey and forget about if for a few days".

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#26 Hockey Gods
January 13 2009, 11:41AM
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I can't wait to hear Deep Oil's insider insight on this one, should be interesting.

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#27 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 11:42AM
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@ Rick:

As a parent, there are times when you need to oush certain issues and others when the best thing to do is scale back. This is Definately a case of doing more damage than good. I know they are Pros and all but there are so many ramifications to pissing off the players to that degree. ie. Players like Cole saying hell no to coming back.

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#28 jdrevenge
January 13 2009, 11:49AM
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My Uncle works for one of the big banks in cowtown and used to meet with one of the part owners on the regular and. He used to find out all sorts of great stuff as it was going on... Comrie/Salo, Pronger/Achannel, Smyth/Lowe. Sadly the group is group and therefore the same kind of dirt doesnt surface anymore.

Nice work Gretz. Look at you, all making Robin proud and stuff.

Here's to hoping Tambo is flying the jet while the boys are on the bus.

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#29 baggedmilk
January 13 2009, 11:53AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Well, I don’t know why but, Wanye I trust in you. I believe what you say to be true. Therefore, I am now finally 100% commited to JeanshortsandBaggedmilk’s fire MacT crusade. Are you guys going to swing that Van up to Fort Mac or do I gotta hitch a ride and meet you somewhere? Damn you MacTavish… Damn you and only you to hell!

TD, I'm on my way.

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#30 Dennis Castro
January 13 2009, 11:56AM
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Wanye great blog and sweet looking graph, did you use the excel chart wizard?

Lots of individuals on the Oil and not enough of a team, it appears a lack of accountability to your teammates exists in the locker room. It also appears that Mac T has his men, and whoever he doesn't like is on the outs regardless of how they perform a prime example is Shremp. Now I am not a big yes man for Shremp, but he deserves more of a chance than he's gotten. Mac T either has to go or players need to be traded, but something has to happen because there is far too much drama and poor results coming from the locker room for the amount of skill and talent the Oil have.

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#31 bingofuel
January 13 2009, 11:58AM
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@ Rick: It sounds like this before-xmas practice is tip of the iceberg stuff. Given that this team was sucking long before December, I think it's fair to say that MacT losing the room is the culmination of a lot of things, very little of which we're actually privy to.

It's probably not entirely fair to call these guys a bunch of muffins. If coaches are meant to lead and inspire, I think it's a pretty clear interpretation from the boys' on-ice performance that exactly no one is inspired, and no one is filling the leadership void.

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#32 baggedmilk
January 13 2009, 11:59AM
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@ Dennis Castro:

I think one problem that no one seems to mention that often is that this team depended on the production of the 3 sophmores. The kid line had huge expectations this year, and really should not have been expected to carry such a heavy load.

Not to mention Craig MacTavish... Can't stand that guy.

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#33 Rick
January 13 2009, 12:00PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

This is Definately a case of doing more damage than good.

Why because the fire MacT bandwagon has become a runaway train and as such it fits nicely with what people want to believe?

It may have been a dickish move by MacT to make them in some cases adjust their plans but can anyone really say that there wasn't any reason for the Oilers to try and get the attention of the players for under achieving up to that point?

I think the fans really need to decide what they want here. Do they want the players to be held accountable or do they want a nice country club atmosphere?

Further to that, the practice was held at 7:30 am supposedly to minimize the impact of the plans already made.

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#34 Jack Bauer
January 13 2009, 12:00PM
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I say this in all seriousness. There is a reason why this team has a difficult time attracting free agents, and its not the weather. Its not the bar scene. Its not that the city is full of ravid fans. Its the reputation this team and its management have developed in the hockey world. Sure some of it may be true and it may not be true, but its out there, that is a problem. I truly believe a lot of people in the NHL think Edmonton, as a team, is a complete joke.

Gretz, I believe what you say dude. Remember it was someone who reported that one Oiler veteran said the team needs a trade or a coaching trade. Stuff like this doesnt come out of thin air.

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#35 cranley
January 13 2009, 12:05PM
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@ Rick: There's something to be said about a time and place for everything, though. No, MacT doesn't control the weather, but c'mon - it's not like nobody knew that the weather for that entire week was going to be gross. Air Canada had warnings on their site the entire week, and were offering to book people on earlier flights for free. There was a small window of good-weather opportunity there, and he slammed it shut. I know what travelling was like during that time, as I had to fly out east that same weekend.

Yea, we want the team accountable, but we also want them happy. It's Christmas, ffs. Let them get home and see their family, especially since a lot of these guys don't live in Edmonton full time, and spend oodles of time away from their families. If you want a practice, then cut the holidays short - but man, given that everybody knew the weather was going to be crap, let them get out of there asap.

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#36 BUCK75
January 13 2009, 12:11PM
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Rick wrote:

Travis Dakin wrote: I think the fans really need to decide what they want here. Do they want the players to be held accountable or do they want a nice country club atmosphere? Further to that, the practice was held at 7:30 am supposedly to minimize the impact of the plans already made.

I think the fans need to decide more if they want a team that is good enough to sneak in play-offs or suck bad enough to get better (draft or free agent). I don't want to put 2 or 3 new guys in the room & be the same team. I want 2 or 3 guys & be a great team.

We aren't like a few years ago when you add 4 guys & get to the 7th game of the cup finals. That team was WAY different than this years mix of players.

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#37 Travis Dakin
January 13 2009, 12:16PM
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Rick wrote:

It may have been a dickish move by MacT to make them in some cases adjust their plans but can anyone really say that there wasn’t any reason for the Oilers to try and get the attention of the players for under achieving up to that point?

Again, there is getting good attention and bad. Just pissing everybody off is not good leadership. Everybody knows that you get the best production out of people that want to perform for you. A happy worker is a productive worker. Pure dick move.

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#38 topshelf
January 13 2009, 12:28PM
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@ Travis Dakin: I agree. Let them go for Christmas. When they get back, then bag skate the (edited) out of them if you so desire.

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#39 Rick
January 13 2009, 12:38PM
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bingofuel wrote:

@ Rick: It sounds like this before-xmas practice is tip of the iceberg stuff. Given that this team was sucking long before December, I think it’s fair to say that MacT losing the room is the culmination of a lot of things, very little of which we’re actually privy to.

Unless the players that have taken exception to MacT's tactics are Moreau, Hemsky, Horcoff, Staios and Pisani are then any that have been here long enough to tune out MacT?

Half of this team is still learning how to be a pro nevermind having already earned the right to question the coach.

I take no issue with the idea that MacT's time has passed him here and replacement could prove beneficial but I do take issue with unproven players or players new to the organization pouting in the corner and apparently tuning out the boss. How the players have performed has been as much if not more of an issue than the coaching. bingofuelIt’s probably not entirely fair to call these guys a bunch of muffins. If coaches are meant to lead and inspire, I think it’s a pretty clear interpretation from the boys’ on-ice performance that exactly no one is inspired, and no one is filling the leadership void.

How else would describe a group of players that have played as uninspired as this group and apparently can't find a single leader in a group of 23 men?

I won't even mention how unphysical they are on the ice.

Seems to me that Muffin is a pretty good summary of description.

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#40 Dustin Penner
January 13 2009, 12:48PM
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Rick wrote:

but go stuff your face with turkey

Did somebody say Turkey?

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#41 Malc
January 13 2009, 12:50PM
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I can see why Mac T would want the extra practice... but given that it was christmas and the team was on the road so much to begin the season - they should have been given the time with their families. Practices don't seem to be accomplishing much - what made him think this extra one would... a christmas miracle?

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#42 Chris
January 13 2009, 12:51PM
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This isn't the first time there have been rumors of MacT "losing the room" or at least a group of young players... Maybe when these guys have been dumped the club can smear their reputations, Lowe can demand partial refunds, and we can all BOOOOOO them at RX1. We might as well have another group of guys out there warning new teammates not to ever sign in Edmonton.

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#43 Bruthah
January 13 2009, 12:55PM
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Maybe we can wait and see if Gregor or RobBro have some insight into this, like was there actually a practice that fateful morning?

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#44 Colin
January 13 2009, 12:55PM
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Given that the team(and youngsters in particular) were kicking ass and taking names when they had a freer reign offensively and much less of the defense first BS; I don't find this to be that far out to lunch.

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#45 freeze
January 13 2009, 01:03PM
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Rick wrote:

I think the fans really need to decide what they want here. Do they want the players to be held accountable or do they want a nice country club atmosphere?

I think this decision is starting to appear. RX1 has been pretty quiet for the last few games and tickets are easy to come by. Our company often has lower bowl tix up for grabs.

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#46 King Mob
January 13 2009, 01:04PM
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@ Bruthah: yeah, there was. I sawz it on the newzes.

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#47 King Mob
January 13 2009, 01:08PM
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cranley wrote:

@ Rick: There’s something to be said about a time and place for everything, though. No, MacT doesn’t control the weather, but c’mon - it’s not like nobody knew that the weather for that entire week was going to be gross. Air Canada had warnings on their site the entire week, and were offering to book people on earlier flights for free. There was a small window of good-weather opportunity there, and he slammed it shut. I know what travelling was like during that time, as I had to fly out east that same weekend.

wow, are we already at point where we're going to start blaming poor preformance on the weather??

bra-VO.

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#48 lego
January 13 2009, 01:18PM
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BUCK75 wrote:

Rick wrote: Travis Dakin wrote: I think the fans need to decide more if they want a team that is good enough to sneak in play-offs or suck bad enough to get better (draft or free agent).

How on earth is that the fans decision? I agree that decision must be made but the fans certainly have no say. If the fans have so much power here MacT would be collecting EI by now.

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#49 shakey
January 13 2009, 01:21PM
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I've been a long time fan and taken the good with the bad and watched no matter what but I find myself losing interest in this team. It's hard to stay positive when every year it's the same story; Lots of success talk out of training camp. Rough stretch through the first 40 games, can't overcome injuries. Complete self-destruct January and February. Nothing to lose attitude last part of the season, fans get excited, we miss the playoffs. Change parts over summer and start all over again.

It gets old after awhile.

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#50 Chris
January 13 2009, 01:22PM
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freeze wrote:

I think this decision is starting to appear. RX1 has been pretty quiet for the last few games and tickets are easy to come by. Our company often has lower bowl tix up for grabs.

As a season ticket holder I agree. For now, the building is full. For now, there is a waiting list for season tickets. I'm not a high roller, my tickets are personal and not a business write-off. Having tickets is the realization of a personal dream, but I cannot afford to attend every game. If I become unable to sell a portion of my games to family and friends due to lack of interest, I will be unable to renew my seats next year. It's getting harder all the time to move seats; and I know many ticket holders are in the same boat as me. Katz will not have a sold-out building for much longer if the on ice product doesn't improve. People respond to honesty and hard work. I'd be pumped going to RX1 to watch a rebuilding team if there was even a glimmer of the enthusiasm I saw on the ice during the IIHF World Junior games. Who wants to pay hundreds of bucks to watch the Oilers methodically smother the Blues on a Sunday night?

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