Stink in Motown

Robin Brownlee
February 07 2009 09:11PM

stink

I almost crapped myself outside Joe Louis Arena one time, but never inside it like the Edmonton Oilers did during the first 18 minutes of an 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings today.

My near-movement came several years back courtesy of a street person looking for money. With hand extended, the hulking bum sprang from behind a pillar under an overpass near The Joe as Boris Mironov and I were waiting for a taxi. He wanted Mironov's purple snakeskin shoes.

The Oilers, meanwhile, soiled themselves good and plenty in the Murder City, spotting the Red Wings a 5-0 lead by the 18:02 mark of the opening period, making it an easy day for the newspaper guys and a tough afternoon for their broadcast buddies with Sportsnet.

Which brings me, albeit awkwardly, to some thoughts about the distinctly different roles of the many people who travel with the Oilers under the vague umbrella of "media."

DECISIVE IS GOOD

In the decade I travelled with the team, days like today always meant an easy write and a relaxed the trip to the airport, even if the team was mad as hell and everybody had a look on their face like somebody had farted in the bus.

I never cared who won the game -- really. Given that travelling writers usually had just 30 minutes from the time the dressing room doors opened after a game to get our interviews, go through our notes, write our stories, pack up and get to the bus, my only wish was that one of the teams take control of the game -- the earlier, the better. Selfish? Sure.

Today's can of corn was what we used to call a laugher.  When it's 3-0 less than six minutes in and 5-0 before the first intermission, you've got that baby written by the start of the second period. Leave three or four gaps for quotes, be ready to tweak a little if the game swings wildly or somebody breaks a leg and kick back. Start on that "Kevin Lowe -- Dynasty Builder" feature. In a way, it's almost too bad it was wasted on an afternoon game.

SCRIBBLING FOOL

You didn't often get a 5-0 bulge to work with like hall-of-famer Jim Matheson did today. And it's welcome, believe me.

More games than not, you have to wait until the final 10 minutes for the game to swing one way or another, or you're going to overtime or a shootout. Other times, you're deleting the 500 words you wrote when it was 3-0 because it's now 3-3 with 48 seconds to go.

That's hair-on-fire stuff, and I don't have any to spare after climbing aboard the bus still smoking so many times over the years, much to the amusement of Rod Phillips. And the bus doesn't wait, like the time Kevin Lowe, sour after a loss, left me at the United Center in Chicago.

I can't speak for Matheson or anybody else, but if the game was 2-0 for the Oilers after a period, I wanted it 3-0 or 4-0 for them as soon as possible so I could get started. If it was 2-0 for the Red Wings, well, same thing.

The "somebody decide this thing before the final 35 seconds" prayer was most needed for west coast games, where the first version of your game story is due at the buzzer. Yes, at the buzzer. What better way to come off as an illiterate buffoon?

THE HOUSEMEN

It's a different story for the broadcast rightsholders, and while I poke fun at them more than I should, I felt for play-by-play man Kevin Quinn and analyst Louie DeBrusk today.

A blowout is great for Quinn and DeBrusk if the right team is ahead, but if the Oilers are only blowing, like they did in the first period, it makes for a long afternoon. Today, given the Oilers have already been smoked 9-2 by Chicago and 10-2 by Buffalo this season, certainly qualifies.

It had to be tough to sound positive after Dwayne Roloson gave Dan Clearly a hack between the legs 42 seconds in, prompting the Red Wings to spend most of the rest of the day returning the favour by sacking the Oilers on the score board.

As members of the rightsholders broadcast, Quinn and DeBrusk are looking for positive spin. That's their job. They don't hold themselves out as objective observers. So, while the beat guys are merrily tapping away when it's 5-0, KQ and Louie have their work cut out.

Same with Sports Central host Evanka Osmak, who said during the first intermission: "Hopefully, the Oilers can get on the board and climb out of that 5-0 deficit." Or not.

TOUGH GIG

With it 6-0 through 40 minutes, Quinn and DeBrusk didn't have the option of lamenting yet another brutal start by the Good Guys or pointing out to Oilers defencemen that moving your feet in pursuit of an opposing forward cutting to the net is a good thing.

They're left looking for the silver lining. That means talking about "winning" the third period. About building momentum going into Minnesota. About how good Jeff Deslauriers looked in relief of Dwayne Roloson -- which he did, compared, to ahem, his last bit of mop-up duty.

At least the Oilers gave them something to worth with when Zack Stortini, Dustin Penner and Marc Pouliot narrowed it to 6-3. Quinn's teeth were still vibrating from those goals when he said: "If you want to look at things as half full, you've got to look at this third period."

Half full of what? Which brings me back to Boris and I . . .

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 rindog
February 07 2009, 09:20PM
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What would have Ron Low done on the bus trip after today's game?

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#2 Woody
February 07 2009, 09:27PM
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Robin,

I find myself following the Oilers closer now than ever, I guess you could attribute my heightened interest to a sort of morbid curiosity, like slowing down as you pass a car wreck to look for carnage.

The more I watch and learn about this group brass has assembled the more confused I get and the more disheartened I get because every other perfomance sheds a new negative light or reveals a new gaping hole for this team.

If you were GM from this point on right through to training camp next fall, what moves would you make (or attempt) and what identity would you like to see this team forge for itself?

Keep up the quality writing, too!

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#3 RobinB
February 07 2009, 09:38PM
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@ rindog: What bus trip? We'd be walking to St. Paul . . .

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#4 The Towel Boy
February 07 2009, 09:42PM
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They need Pisani back. He is the glue that binds. That's it. That's the cure. That's what this team needs...right? ....RIGHT?

*breaks down* *sobs* *holds self*

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#5 rindog
February 07 2009, 10:03PM
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@ RobinB: I just find myself wishing for Ron Low to come back.....how sad is that????

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#6 RobinB
February 07 2009, 10:05PM
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@ Woody:

Flash card anwers in no particular order . . .

1. Move one of my puck-carrying defenceman in a package for a first-line left winger.

2. Enlist Andrew Cogliano in face-off school over the summer so he can have a legit shot as my No. 2 centre and kill more penalties.

3. Make a call on Gilbert Brule. He's either good enough to play in my top six or he's an asset I move, perhaps as part of item No. 1.

4. Scour the free agent market for a reliable shutdown defenceman. Failing that, groom Theo Peckham as that guy.

5. If the team misses the playoffs, the coaching staff is gone. Rob Daum gets a spot as an assistant on the new staff.

6. If the team makes the playoffs, I'm still assessing the coaches with the possibility of making a change based on progress, post-season etc etc. And I'm still looking at moves 1-5.

Between now and the trade deadline . . . find out if I've got a chance to re-sign and for how much. If not, move him . . .

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#7 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
February 07 2009, 10:06PM
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This team is a joke.The EIG sold them at the right time they must be laughung all the way to the bank.Does Daryl Katz even exist? he had one press conference and since then he has been the invisable man,maybe he will start listing when Rexall place is half full.Has kevin Lowe given up, know that he is President and does not have to be held accountable? Can someone, anyone with in the Oilers organization explain to us fans what the hell is going on and when are they going to do something or are we expected to pay and watch this sad excuse for a hockey team?

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#8 RobinB
February 07 2009, 10:07PM
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find out if I’ve got a chance to re-sign ERIK COLE and for how much. If not, move him . . .

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#9 rindog
February 07 2009, 10:16PM
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@ RobinB: What about enlisting Shawn Horcoff in Hockey Skill school???

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#10 RobinB
February 07 2009, 10:17PM
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@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99: What is Katz supposed to say? He's paying Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, Kevin Prendergast, a coaching staff and a hockey staff to make decisions. If the team misses the playoffs for another season, these people should have to answer for it. It's the team they put together.

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#11 Teufel
February 07 2009, 10:24PM
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This team needs more veterans and the youngsters need to spend more time in the minors. Yeesh!

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#12 David S
February 07 2009, 10:44PM
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I'd dearly love to see Cole extended. It's hard to see sometimes but the team is making progress. He'd be a great asset for Sam and Robert next year.

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#13 Darren
February 07 2009, 11:01PM
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I'm just glad I went out and bought new shoes instead of watching the game... Man are those shoes comfy!

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#14 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
February 07 2009, 11:10PM
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RobinB wrote:

@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99: What is Katz supposed to say? He’s paying Kevin Lowe, Steve Tambellini, Kevin Prendergast, a coaching staff and a hockey staff to make decisions. If the team misses the playoffs for another season, these people should have to answer for it. It’s the team they put together.

Any comment from Mr Katz would be good,it would at least show the season ticket holders and the fan base that he is around and cares somewhat as to the on ice product and what is happening. Before Mr Katz bought the team, was it not reported that one of the problems selling to him was that he was not avaiable for comment and rarely if ever makes himself avaiable to the media? Do you really beleive K lowe and the rest of management are going to be held accountable if they miss the play offs? From what I have seen from this owner and management group we may see some minor player moves,no coaching or mangement changes amd the same old boys club will be running the show no matter how poorly we play.

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#15 Pat H
February 07 2009, 11:17PM
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Very informative article, Robin. Thanks!

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#16 Hockey Gods
February 07 2009, 11:44PM
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@ oilersseasonticketholdersince99: Dude you have to chill on the Katz making an appearnce thing.

1) The EIG was 37 people who said nothing and made no appearances, were you calling them out too?

2) The only teams with outspoken owners are debacles of an organization. NYI, TB and OTT all have owners who you see in the media, are those teams you want the Oilers to model themselves after. Can you even tell anyone who owns the Red Wings, Blue Jakets, Wild, Flames... I can go on. Probably not, an owners job is to pay the bills and hire the people to run the team, if the they are making staements in themedia it's ussually for the wrong reasons.

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#17 The Towel Boy
February 08 2009, 12:03AM
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@ Hockey Gods:

Agreed.

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#18 Hockey Gods
February 08 2009, 12:32AM
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@ The Towel Boy: Thanks Buddy, man people whining is pissing me off. I too want to the team to play more consistant, start better and actually put in an effort, I want mact to quit playing AHL level players, and I am sick of seeing them get blown out. But why whine about and now blame the owner... who has been at the helm for 7 whole months.

Yes Tambo (who isn't a puppet IMO) needs to make a trade, Yes Mact needs to go, and Klowe... well what can they do now he's been promoted. But all we as fans can do is cheer our butts off and hope for the best. We Fans can cry for Firings, trades, or whatever but there isn't bloody thing us fans can do in the meantime except support the boys who wear the jersey now.

Robin, great article, I love the behind the scenes stuff, keep it coming. I noted something RobinB wrote:

Scour the free agent market for a reliable shutdown defenceman. Failing that, groom Theo Peckham as that guy.

Francois Beauchemin is a UFA this year, do you think he would be a good one for the Oil to persue, or who would your prized pig be?

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#19 rindog
February 08 2009, 12:42AM
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@ Hockey Gods: Hockey Gods wrote:

Francois Beauchemin is a UFA this year, do you think he would be a good one for the Oil to persue, or who would your prized pig be?

IMO - Beauchemin should already be an Oiler!!! The fact that we didn't get him in the Pronger trade still boggles my mind.

I would love to go after him this summer. I am thinking it would take about $5 million per year to get him though. Even if we get rid of Grebs, can we really afford that much on our D and still get the top line forward that we DESPERATELY need?

I have resigned myself to the fact that we might have to go the way of a Marik Malik or a Paul Ranger to fill the need that RB talks about???

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#20 Scotty Eh
February 08 2009, 01:08AM
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So that's 3 humiliating lop-sided losses so far this year. Brings back memories from the early-mid 90s, doesn't it?

How many more putrid games do the Oilers have to play this season before we see anything out of the coaching staff other than emotionless excuses, and singling out the usual whipping boys for punishment. Is it too much to ask for to see a bag skate after one of these stinkers?

I know that MacT was given much credit for his coaching the Oilers to a somewhat respectable showing last year in the face of the myriad of problems that they encountered, but I'm not sure if he knows exactly what he's doing this year.

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#21 Fiveandagame
February 08 2009, 01:19AM
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ROBIN BROWNLEE SAID: " after Dwayne Roloson gave Dan Clearly a hack between the legs 42 seconds in, prompting the Red Wings to spend most of the rest of the day returning the favour by sacking the Oilers on the score board."

HA!

Robin Brownlee will be appearing at Yuk Yuks for the remainder of the 08/09 Oiler season....and as long as MacT coaches the team.

I didn't think it was possible but RB put a positive spin on this game. An easy article to write....easy like an obituary, you know how it ends.

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#22 raged
February 08 2009, 02:21AM
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Haha good ending, as much disdain i have for Kevin and Louie, they are still waaaaaay better than the jobbers that call the Calgary games.

The only positive I can come up with over the last week in Oilerville is the play of number 12, he has been good, reaaaaaal good. If we can beat Minnesota today that washes out the beatdowns weve taken from Detroit and Chicago, as far as a playoff spot goes.

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#23 Oilerguy
February 08 2009, 03:38AM
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Lets face it, the Oil are just not good enough. As far as i am concerned the only players worth keeping are Hemsky, Souray, Cogliano and Visnovsky. Sam Gagner is a complete joke, he can't handle the puck, he's soft and gets bumped off the puck, and people say he is supposed to be the face of the franchise, give me a break.

I think it's time for everybody to stop buying tickets around here until management does something with this team. We are paying to watch a crap team in a crappy building.

It's the only franchise in sports that rewards our coaches year after year for coaching a team to endless beatings.

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#24 charlie
February 08 2009, 05:02AM
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Typical, typical, typical. If 90 points gets you in, the Oil need to go 17-12-1 in the next 30 games. If they drop 5 or 6 straight, panic. If they lose against the wings without 4 or 5 starters, DON'T panic.

Geezus, I know we're Oilers fans, but c'mon. We'll make the playoffs, we're better than everyone below us, we'll beat the Sharks if we're 8th, the next round will be tough, and at the end of the day lets face it:

WE'RE SOME OF THE ONLY FANS IN HOCKEY WHO GIVE EACH OTHER HEART ATTACKS EVERY F*N SEASON.

We'll make the second round. MacT will still have a job. Fans need to chill. It's a game, and we're not too bad. MacT has his favorites, and we have to deal with that for now. We're never going to have a team of Hemmers, and we're never going to have a team of MAP's. We'll have a mix, and we'll be underdogs, and we'll do what we can.

In the mean time, when we suck, we suck. When we're good, we're OK.

As someone said a few days ago, it ain't asy being a Royals fan. Lets all pull up our pants and support our team. F*n MacT blender?? How bout the Edmonton media blender?! How mny articles and sites were talking about the sophomore slump before Sam & Andrew had even skated this fall??

Fans - CHILL. We're doing alright. It's the yearly drama for an average team. Just because we have a loaded owner for one year doen't mean we can all of a sudden have a team of Zetterbergs and Malkins. We're Oilers fans. WE'RE OILERS FANS!!!!

Enough drama. Let's Go Oil.

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#25 Milli
February 08 2009, 08:37AM
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Robin, I have a few questions, maybe you have an answer or 2.

It sure seems that this team has a total lack of leadership, which surprises me with guys like Souray, Moreau and Staios. Am I mistaken?

Do you think that MacT might do Klo a favor and sack himself if this continues?

Do you think if Klo or Katz thought this team was gonna be this BRUTAL, they would have promoted MacT to a safe position last summer to spare him from the enevitable axe if this continues?

Great read, thanks.

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#26 pmg2
February 08 2009, 08:39AM
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RobinB wrote:

@ Woody: Flash card anwers in no particular order . . . 1. Move one of my puck-carrying defenceman in a package for a first-line left winger. 2. Enlist Andrew Cogliano in face-off school over the summer so he can have a legit shot as my No. 2 centre and kill more penalties. 3. Make a call on Gilbert Brule. He’s either good enough to play in my top six or he’s an asset I move, perhaps as part of item No. 1. 4. Scour the free agent market for a reliable shutdown defenceman. Failing that, groom Theo Peckham as that guy. 5. If the team misses the playoffs, the coaching staff is gone. Rob Daum gets a spot as an assistant on the new staff. 6. If the team makes the playoffs, I’m still assessing the coaches with the possibility of making a change based on progress, post-season etc etc. And I’m still looking at moves 1-5. Between now and the trade deadline . . . find out if I’ve got a chance to re-sign and for how much. If not, move him . . .

Excellent Analogy RB. If I losing a defenceman like Gilbert, however Visnovsky's value for this year's trade deadline is dropped given his injury. SOuray is too valuable...he can be tough, has a great shot, and is reasonable consistent than most on this team. Gilbert's salary is a concern though. I like Theo Peckham for grooming. I especially liked it when he tuned in Matt Cooke rather soundly, ...given Cooke's brash play against the Oil for number of years.

I have no reservation on bringing up Brule. To hell with his 3 games leftover for waiver purposes. Keep him here. If he shows signs of blooming, lat Gagne sit a couple games or so in the press box. In my humble opinion it won't hurt him to have a lok from up above. He should learn from watching the game from a "slo-mo" perspective.

I further believe that it was an error of sorts in shoving ROb Daum onto the back burner. I firmly believe Bucky should have been in Daum's spot. Bucky gained from some sort of in-house alliance in my humble opinion.

I would like Eric Cole to stay, but that's a question mark. He is valuable, especially with a better team than this. Given the Oil can be "buyers" at the trade deadline, this team should be better. Easier said than done.

My last comment following yesterday's debacle. I believe there are several players who have been rewarded (overpaid) by management as a result of a good season (or a half - as in Horcoff) and loyalty. Just think - if we are close to the top of the cap, why are we struggling mightily ? I know there a myriad of reasons, but,....in theory shouldn't we be better for the amount we are investing here ? Or are we the 90's NY Rangers who got nowhere for spending thru the roof and had a collection of talent which couldn't mesh for an entire season, let alone a month ?

My prediction today given the Oilers have been outscored 30-9 during their eight-game losing streak at the Xcel Energy Center. ---- 4-2 Wild. ..Something's got to be done by March !

I enjoy your show with Gregor. Value your comments. We're blessed with several very knowlegeable media here. Thanks, pmg2.

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#27 Clarkenstein
February 08 2009, 08:46AM
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@ charlie: Charlie where do you get those drugs you're on at this time of the day??

Robin, when you and Gregor had a chat with Hitch the other day I was laughing out loud at some of your questions!!! Almost all of the his answers were in direct contrast to MacT's coaching philosophy. Tell me that isn't the reason you asked all those questions!! Brilliant... loved it!!!

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#28 klowe
February 08 2009, 08:58AM
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I won six Stanley Cups. I think I know a thing or two about custom made suits. We stay at the Hyatt in Detroit. I wish there was a Ritz in Minnisota. Bucky found a great place for wings yesterday, man crispy and hot. Last night I ordered a pizza and put all my rings on. ALL SIX RINGS. I sat there thinking about my rings. Those guys in Springfield don't have any rings, but there is a Hyatt in Springfield. Today I'm going to put my rings on and order a Little Caesars pizza. Caesar doesn't have no six rings I can tell you that much. I like expensive red wine with my wings and pizza, it gives me class. Sometimes I think about hockey. I look great in my new suit. My hair looks great. It's hard to show off hockey genius when I don't have my SIX RINGS on. How can I show the hockey world how smart I am without ALL SIX RINGS on MY BOTH HANDS. I'm glad Tambellini is here, now me and MacT can go shopping for ties. Sometimes I think about Hockey and you just can't teach that.

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#29 RobinB
February 08 2009, 09:12AM
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Clarkenstein wrote:

@ charlie: Charlie where do you get those drugs you’re on at this time of the day?? Robin, when you and Gregor had a chat with Hitch the other day I was laughing out loud at some of your questions!!! Almost all of the his answers were in direct contrast to MacT’s coaching philosophy. Tell me that isn’t the reason you asked all those questions!! Brilliant… loved it!!!

I've known Hitch for 25 years, so yes, I've got a pretty good handle on his way of doing things, but you've still got to ask because that's the nature of the coaching 101 segment on the show.

Milli wrote:

It sure seems that this team has a total lack of leadership, which surprises me with guys like Souray, Moreau and Staios. Am I mistaken?

I've had some questions about that myself. There definitely was a disconnect between the veterans and the younger guys earlier in the season and, in my opinion, that speaks to leadership.

Milli wrote:

Do you think if Klo or Katz thought this team was gonna be this BRUTAL, they would have promoted MacT to a safe position last summer to spare him from the enevitable axe if this continues?

That's kind of a bizarre take, isn't it? First, do you think the team has been "BRUTAL?" I see them right about where they I thought they would be -- hanging around 6th-10th and teasing everybody right until the 82nd game.

rindog wrote:

IMO - Beauchemin should already be an Oiler!!! The fact that we didn’t get him in the Pronger trade still boggles my mind.

I like him, too, but you don't need a $3-5-million player in that role. In the Oilers situation especially, with them really needing a LW who can produce, how do pay a shutdown guy $3-5 million if you're keeping three from the group of Souray, Visnovsky, Gilbert and Grebeshkov?

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#30 Smokin' Ray
February 08 2009, 09:24AM
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@ Robin:

"I almost crapped myself outside Joe Louis Arena one time, but never inside it like the Edmonton Oilers did during the first 18 minutes of an 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings today."

That is the best opening line ever! Ever! What a way to wake up. ROFL

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#31 pmg2
February 08 2009, 09:36AM
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klowe wrote:

I won six Stanley Cups. I think I know a thing or two about custom made suits. We stay at the Hyatt in Detroit. I wish there was a Ritz in Minnisota. Bucky found a great place for wings yesterday, man crispy and hot. Last night I ordered a pizza and put all my rings on. ALL SIX RINGS. I sat there thinking about my rings. Those guys in Springfield don’t have any rings, but there is a Hyatt in Springfield. Today I’m going to put my rings on and order a Little Caesars pizza. Caesar doesn’t have no six rings I can tell you that much. I like expensive red wine with my wings and pizza, it gives me class. Sometimes I think about hockey. I look great in my new suit. My hair looks great. It’s hard to show off hockey genius when I don’t have my SIX RINGS on. How can I show the hockey world how smart I am without ALL SIX RINGS on MY BOTH HANDS. I’m glad Tambellini is here, now me and MacT can go shopping for ties. Sometimes I think about Hockey and you just can’t teach that.

klowe --- nice man ! nice ! I needed a chuckle on a dreary Sunday morning. Cheer is good medicine for us that are suffering. But,.....gotta admit, it's not actual reality. I don't like some of Klowe's decisions, and I DO think he's got to get some aspects in order within his own house. Like overpaying "some" guys too much based on their output for "too little" a timeframe. That's my biggest beef.

hope you enjoy watching them lose today,....again ! Luckliy I can't watch due to work commitments. My good luck I guess. pmg2

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#32 Milli
February 08 2009, 09:51AM
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RobinB wrote:

Milli wrote: Do you think if Klo or Katz thought this team was gonna be this BRUTAL, they would have promoted MacT to a safe position last summer to spare him from the enevitable axe if this continues? That’s kind of a bizarre take, isn’t it? First, do you think the team has been “BRUTAL?” I see them right about where they I thought they would be — hanging around 6th-10th and teasing everybody right until the 82nd game.

Robin, Let me rephrase. They (mac and Klo) hyped this team up big time in the summer, did they believe (along with alot of others) that this group really would contend? And, if they thought that there was a chance of a season like this, would they have parachuted MacT into a safe position so as to avoid the embarassement of him having to resign or get axed?

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#33 Jonathan Willis
February 08 2009, 09:52AM
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Robin - nice article; I for one had no idea that the game story had to be filed so quickly.

Which of the four defensemen do you move, Robin? Personally, I think Gilbert's the guy I'd be looking at (and I like Gilbert) if Grebeshkov can be locked up at a lower rate, just to save a little cap space.

Everybody else - what's with the "Gagners a bum, this team stinks" nonsense? Yes, this team is not doing well, but they're in that spread of teams from 5th-13th separated by 6 points total.

As for Gagner, he's 19. Look up Olli Jokinen's career stats (for example) sometime and check out what he was doing at 22.

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#34 Sing A Song For SingSing
February 08 2009, 10:35AM
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@ charlie:

That's quite possibly one of the dumbest things I've ever read. You should stop posting, lol.

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#35 rindog
February 08 2009, 10:36AM
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@ RobinB:

I hear ya!

That is why Iwrote:

rindog wrote:

I am thinking it would take about $5 million per year to get him though. Even if we get rid of Grebs, can we really afford that much on our D and still get the top line forward that we DESPERATELY need? I have resigned myself to the fact that we might have to go the way of a Marik Malik or a Paul Ranger to fill the need that RB talks about???
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#36 RobinB
February 08 2009, 10:42AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I think it's laughable some people are willing to give up on a 19-year-old or point the finger at him as a key reason why the team as struggled so badly at times. If a teenager makes your top five list of reasons why things are going badly, the team isn't very good.

Like you, I move Gilbert. I'm not as impressed by him as many, although I'll certainly concede he has some attributes that give him market value and, thus, might get the Oilers something. There's got to be a GM out there who loves all those second assists, right?

I don't think most people realize (or care) about the hair-on-fire existence of a beat writer. It's not difficult to produce witty prose when you've got time to sit back, contemplate and actually craft a 700-word story. It's another world to hit deadline when a game has turned completely in the last five or 10 minutes and you're staring at a blank screen. Fans and readers want accuracy, insight and great quotes in stories, and they should, but that's easier said than done sometimes. When you get it right, it's a great rush. Then again, there are many times when the best thing about the story is that it's done and on time.

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#37 Deno
February 08 2009, 10:50AM
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Why do the Oilers continue to not show up. Its one thing to get beaten by a better team but when there is no effort, no attempt to even try, thats diconcerting. Something needs to change. What exactly I don't know.

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#38 Rick
February 08 2009, 10:56AM
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RobinB wrote:

First, do you think the team has been “BRUTAL?” I see them right about where they I thought they would be — hanging around 6th-10th and teasing everybody right until the 82nd game.

Their position in the standings may not be too much of a surprise, it's how they got there that is. There is no cohesiveness or consistancy and that is a bigger disappointment than anything else.

No one enjoys losing but there are ways to lose well, this team hasn't even figured out how to win well.

Hands up by everyone who has been following how this team has played this year that finds the number of losses they have to be less surprising than the number of wins they have. Actually reverse that, there would be less counting on the tally.

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#39 RobinB
February 08 2009, 11:03AM
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Rick wrote:

There is no cohesiveness or consistancy

That would top my list . . .

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#40 Rick
February 08 2009, 11:05AM
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Rick wrote:

No one enjoys losing but there are ways to lose well, this team hasn’t even figured out how to win well.

oops that should have said;

... this team hasn’t even figured out how to lose well nevermind win well.

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#41 APE
February 08 2009, 11:07AM
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Game day b!tches!

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#42 Zamboni Driver
February 08 2009, 11:10AM
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Great job Robin....re: the TV guys (I only caught part of the game on the tube, but that was enough).

I understand their job, and who (at least in part) pays them.

But does it really do justice to the fans, who (you would think there would be some) stuck through this debacle of mediocre proportions to insult their intelligence? And/or to look like complete morons with stupid grins on their faces.

The sighs on the radio were DEAFENING - why can't the TV guys call a spade a spade? [Though I guess the obvious answer is the TV crew the oilers get has gotta be among the worst anywhere.]

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#43 APE
February 08 2009, 11:11AM
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Great article Robin. I also listened to you and Gregor talk with Hitch on coaching 101 and I must say that I could listen to him explain coaching for hours. I found myself sitting in my running car in my parkade for a good 20 mins. Listening to the way Hitch explains things compared to Mac T dancing around questions and making intelligent yet smart ass remarks was a breath of fresh air.

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#44 Colin
February 08 2009, 11:20AM
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Great article Robin, an interesting (if small) look at sports journalism. I'd like to see more little snippets like that, its always been something I've been interested in.

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#45 Jonathan Willis
February 08 2009, 11:28AM
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@ RobinB:

It's good to be reminded from time to time of the realities facing a beat writer - you've commented on it before, but the exact details help drive the point home. I suppose afternoon games must be a welcome change for folks in your profession, yes?

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#46 Jonathan Willis
February 08 2009, 11:30AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Though I guess the obvious answer is the TV crew the oilers get has gotta be among the worst anywhere.

I don't know - as a guy who watches most of his games online (because you can't watch Oilers games in BC most of the time) I'd say the Oilers broadcast crew is middle of the pack. Some of the American cities are great, while others are ridiculous.

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#47 RobinB
February 08 2009, 11:31AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

[Though I guess the obvious answer is the TV crew the oilers get has gotta be among the worst anywhere.]

Not even close in terms of being, to use your term, "the worst." First, you have to accept and understand what their job is. It's easy to criticize team broadcasters and rightsholders as homers, but they aren't trying to sell themselves as a critical voice or objective observers. They are helping to deliver and sell a product -- the Oilers. Rightsholders will always lean toward the positive. That's what's expected of them.

To get all over them for not "telling it like it is" is no different than criticizing a newspaper beat guy for not being positive enough (although there's people out there who believe we're too positive as it is). Everybody has a different job to do.

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#48 RobinB
February 08 2009, 11:41AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Yes, they are, although if there's a game in another city the next day, the bus still leaves within that time frame. The good thing about that is that if it's early enough, you can actually fly to the next city and be at the hotel in time to phone back to Edmonton and make any changes or correct errors in the gamer that appears the next day -- NEVER assume your desk will catch an error.

Once (no lie), I caught a typo on a flight from Montreal to Detroit and phoned the desk as soon as the plane landed and before we even got on the bus to go to the hotel. I'd written something along the lines of "Weight found Guerin at the top of the circle and hit him with a perfectly placed pass. Guerin cut to the middle and buried it from high in the slut." The story was on the page and ready to go because the desk hadn't caught it. "Slot" read much better.

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#49 Deep Oil
February 08 2009, 12:13PM
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oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

This team is a joke.The EIG sold them at the right time they must be laughung all the way to the bank.Does Daryl Katz even exist? he had one press conference and since then he has been the invisable man,maybe he will start listing when Rexall place is half full.Has kevin Lowe given up, know that he is President and does not have to be held accountable? Can someone, anyone with in the Oilers organization explain to us fans what the hell is going on and when are they going to do something or are we expected to pay and watch this sad excuse for a hockey team?

EIG sold the property prior to the September meltdown, if they stayed in cash - hooray.... Katz is even with the falling of the team value and increase of the American dollar it is a net financial wash...

Daryl Katz is not Gene Melnyk - this is Kevin Lowe's Kingdom with DK checking in on his cross branding takeover.... business as usual

(edited by WG)

The true test of Oilers season ticketholders and sell outs (a Canadian given until recently - Ottawa)... will be next year with Alberta finally catching the economic cold from the mortgage meltdown of American banks lending money to anyone with or without a pulse....

Maybe they will have to hire Eric Upton back for SALES, a term that LaForge has not needed to understand as he has focusses more on marketing with a full house...

LaForge has added responsibilities to keep him on now that he has the CrackerKatz to manage - maybe a lateral move when his Oil contract is up..... hoping.

KLowe has done whatever executive has desired - insulate yourself from blame in case of disaster - hired Tambo to deflect and look after his mistakes. DK is too much in love with his man crush from the 80's to let KLOWE go - result: gravy train for 1.5mm per season with a raise in the future....

Oilers are arrogant when it comes to selling tickets, question is what is Katz' business plan when there are 7000 people in the building after not wanting to put up with this crap.... with companies looking at their bottom line at the end of this quarter - things will be much different and the Oil will have to start accomodating the customer - three bags full sir.

Question is if the fans are not paying for the arena - it probably wont get built - this means the team must be a winning proposition to maintain the demand for sold out NHL hockey and transfer this demand into monies (PERSONAL SEAT LICENSES) when the RX2 is constructed under the MANDEL watch (lobbying) to various parking lot factions that have positioned themselves based on relationships and back room deals. In some USA cases the personal seat license is renewable after 10 - 12 years - providing a re-occurring revenue stream that only succeeds if the team is a winner....

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#50 Deep Oil
February 08 2009, 12:17PM
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RobinB wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: Yes, they are, although if there’s a game in another city the next day, the bus still leaves within that time frame. The good thing about that is that if it’s early enough, you can actually fly to the next city and be at the hotel in time to phone back to Edmonton and make any changes or correct errors in the gamer that appears the next day — NEVER assume your desk will catch an error. Once (no lie), I caught a typo on a flight from Montreal to Detroit and phoned the desk as soon as the plane landed and before we even got on the bus to go to the hotel. I’d written something along the lines of “Weight found Guerin at the top of the circle and hit him with a perfectly placed pass. Guerin cut to the middle and buried it from high in the slut.” The story was on the page and ready to go because the desk hadn’t caught it. “Slot” read much better.

I was reading the 10 ten sex scandals in the sun today...speaking of sluts.... maybe the team needs to hit a massage parlor like all the NBA teams do... when the Vikings held the LOVE Boat - they went onto win the next 7 of 9.............

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