TOUGH START

Jason Gregor
October 25 2010 09:27AM

It is very early in the NHL season, but this morning the Oilers find themselves on a four game losing streak and sitting in 30th place. They have three games in hand on the Devils, and sit one point back of them, but I don't think any player thought they'd be in 30th six games into the season.

The only thing worse than being an Oiler fan this morning would being a Dolphin fan, or waking up Sunday morning after an action packed birthday party. While my head was a touch fuzzy Sunday morning I still could have figured out the proper call in the Steelers/Fins game. 

The NFL not only botched the call yesterday, clearly the refs had no clue what they were doing. Regardless of the original wrong touchdown call, isn't it their job to find out who has the ball in the pile?

Even with video review they still screwed it up...

The Dolphins should be 4-2, but the Oilers don't have anyone to blame, but themselves, for their 2-4 start.

The Oilers are struggling in every area of the ice right now in case you haven't been paying attention.

They are tied for 29th/30th on the PK, with a horrific 66.7% rating. In the four losses they have allowed 9 PP goals in 18 chances. You can't be 50% on the PK and expect to win games.

They are 27th in GAA, 25th in goals scored and 28th in SOG. It is never a good mix when you can't score and can't keep the puck out of your net.

I expected there to be some hiccups in their rebuild, but I thought the Oilers would be more competitive than we've seen so far. The spanking they took on Saturday at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, might be what they needed for them to realize they need to start playing better. In their previous three losses the game were close, on the scoreboard and that might have given them a false sense that they were being competitive.

They probably deserved a better fate when they hosted the Wild on Thursday, but outside of the home opener v. the Flames, the Oilers have been outplayed in most of their games thus far.

It is still early, however, Tom Renney needs to find some guys who can kill penalties. In their first two games the Oiler penalty killers were patient and not running all over the ice, but in the past four games too often guys have strayed from their lanes, over pursued the puck carrier, and allowed the opposition to many uncontested shots.

I'll be curious to see if Renney spends any extra time on the PK this morning.

WHAT ARE HIS OPTIONS?

The Oilers will play their first back-to-back games Thursday in Columbus and Friday in Chicago and that might give us an indication as to which back up they are leaning at keeping. Both Renney and Steve Tambellini have stated up until now the three-headed goalie monster hasn't been an issue, but it will become one now that they have to make a choice.

I also think that Renney would like a 14th forward around rather than a 3rd goalie.

I'm not saying the 14th forward would bring more wins, but if he could kill a penalty and deliver the odd body check I'm certain Renney would dress him.

Through six games Gilbert Brule is the only forward with more than eight hits. The Oilers aren't blessed with a lot of size in their top nine, but they need more guys who are willing to at least try and separate guys from the puck. Brule has 15 hits and Andrew Cogliano, Colin Fraser and Ryan Jones are next with eight. If your fourth line is going to be an energy line, they need to deliver at least two hits a game.

I think the Oilers management and coaches expected there to be some growing pains this year, but I don't think they wanted to be sitting in 30th three weeks into the season. The next few weeks are crucial for this club to ensure they stay close to the pack.

I suspect most fans understand the process, but they want to see progress and they don't want to see the Oilers out of the race by December 1st.

Renney has been called a great teacher during his previous NHL stops, and those skills will be put to the test over the next month. We'll see if he has the proper pupils, or if he realizes that moving forward might require some new faces.

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
Avatar
#51 book¡e
October 25 2010, 12:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Stone Hands McOsta wrote:

HAPPY FISTAVUS GREGOR! HOPE IT WAS A GOOD ONE!

Nice work 'Stone Hands' - Fistuvis lives!

Avatar
#52 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 25 2010, 12:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

With the Stampeders and the Roughriders doing the Jekyll and Hyde thing this year, what happens if the Eski-hoes go all the way. Will Danny Babyface Maciacio show up and demand his ring?

Avatar
#53 CM
October 25 2010, 12:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Question for Gregor. Would you give up sex for 2 months to see the oil lift the stanley?

Avatar
#54 hamzinoilcntry
October 25 2010, 12:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Before the entire blogosphere on the interweb tosses me under the bus for even thinking this let alone saying it.......OK here goes nothing....Would the oil be a better team with Big Sex Sheldom MF Souray on the bench than say Jim Vandermeer or Tom Gilbert?......*eyes door nervously*

Avatar
#55 Hemmercules
October 25 2010, 12:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
hamzinoilcntry wrote:

Before the entire blogosphere on the interweb tosses me under the bus for even thinking this let alone saying it.......OK here goes nothing....Would the oil be a better team with Big Sex Sheldom MF Souray on the bench than say Jim Vandermeer or Tom Gilbert?......*eyes door nervously*

Obviously, any upgrade to Vandermeer would be a welcome change right now. I knew he was just a bad return contract when they got him just to get rid of POS but I expected at least something out of him so far. If he doesn't improve over the next 10 games they might as well bring up another rook.

Avatar
#56 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 25 2010, 12:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
CM wrote:

Question for Gregor. Would you give up sex for 2 months to see the oil lift the stanley?

......

Avatar
#57 Ender
October 25 2010, 12:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Would you still take our roster over the flames, for this year? ;0

You sly dog, you.

Know what, though? I stand by the prediction. I know the Oilers are bad news this season, but first in the West was an aberration and so is 30th overall. We're not that bad, and the Flamers aren't that good.

Check back with me in January and see if I'm suitably humbled by then.

Avatar
#58 hamzinoilcntry
October 25 2010, 12:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Hemmercules

I agree that anything is a better option than Vandermeer at this point, does anyone else think that we could be off to a better start if Tambellini and Souray could have moved past their differences and he was in our line up. At least when he came to play he showed up on a fairly consistant basis and he stood up for the team. All bad attitiude rah rah aside I think we would be a better team with him than without.

Thoughts?

Avatar
#59 I'm a Scientist!
October 25 2010, 12:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Reddox for Jones, Petry/Belle for Vandemeer and get rid of a damn goalie. These seem like obvious simple changes to me?!? Then again, what do i know? i am only a freakin SCIENTIST. Geesh.

Also, make Strudwick Head of Player Development and take away his skates.

Avatar
#60 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 25 2010, 01:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Ender wrote:

You sly dog, you.

Know what, though? I stand by the prediction. I know the Oilers are bad news this season, but first in the West was an aberration and so is 30th overall. We're not that bad, and the Flamers aren't that good.

Check back with me in January and see if I'm suitably humbled by then.

Ha-ha. Will do.

Avatar
#61 baggedmilk
October 25 2010, 01:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

......

Chances are Gregor goes through a two month dry spell often. He can do two months with his eyes closed. Pfft.

Avatar
#62 VMR
October 25 2010, 01:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I know we all want to be armchair GM's and in there making the coaching decisions but as a fan I think we have to sit back and relax and just go with the flow a bit. Last year the Oilers went on a five game winning streak in early December that made me believe they might just turn things around, in the end it didnt mean anything. I'm not ready to say that this four game losing streak means the team is out of the race just yet. They havent played well, big deal, is anybody counting the Devils out yet?

The team is going to have it's up's and downs. Dont get to low with a few losses and dont get too high when they win in the preseason. It's an 82 game marathon not a sprint and this team has a lot to learn yet.

Avatar
#63 baggedmilk
October 25 2010, 02:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

Personally, I think the Oilers are playing exactly as I expected them to. No I didn't foresee the PK sucking falace but it is what it is. It's a rebuild. Pittsburgh picked 4 times in the top 2 in 6 years before they won in 2009. Slowly people, slooowwly.

Avatar
#64 Rob...
October 25 2010, 02:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@baggedmilk

I'm with you. If I was asked in August if I'd be happy with a 2 & 4 start that included: -Eberle scoring two fantastic shorthanders -flashes of brilliance from rookies that otherwise make some boneheaded mistakes -and SmackIntyre KO'ing the Flames goon in an opening night tilt where the Oilers devestated the Flames on the scoreboard

I'd say hell yeah!

I'm not expecting a cup run this year. Nor am I expecting us to make the playoffs without Renney winning coach of the year for his development of the three kids.

Avatar
#65 smiliegirl15
October 25 2010, 02:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

In terms of talent, Souray was always our best Dman. In terms of value, he probably should have started here in order to be worth something in a trade. Obviously the cost of having him in the lockeroom was too high for management. That he's not the only overpriced player exiled to the AHL is some sort of consolation (sort of).

Avatar
#66 misfit
October 25 2010, 02:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

He could have signed someone to take faceoffs in key situations or kill penalties. But don't you want your young guys to learn how to do this? 60 games from now they likely will be decent at it. 120 games from now they likely be very good at it.

Sure you want them to learn how to do it, but you also don't want them doing it until they're ready for that next step.

You could teach your kid to swim by throwing him overboard in rough waters in the middle of the night too, but there's a reason most kids don't learn to swim that way. There's a really good chance most of them would die.

It's a big enough jump from juniors/minors to the NHL as it is. Why not let them get their feet wet in the shallow end first?

Avatar
#67 A
October 25 2010, 02:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I just learned that Taylor and Jordan live in my building today when taking the elevator (VERY COOL, and there's no way Jordan is 5'10 - as he seems taller). I think they were expecting me to give them crap for the team playing the way they have. However, i just said to have a good day guys when i got off at my floor. Those two kids seem to be the least of our issues.

-Had to share the coolness with people other than my workmates!

Avatar
#69 baggedmilk
October 25 2010, 02:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
A wrote:

I just learned that Taylor and Jordan live in my building today when taking the elevator (VERY COOL, and there's no way Jordan is 5'10 - as he seems taller). I think they were expecting me to give them crap for the team playing the way they have. However, i just said to have a good day guys when i got off at my floor. Those two kids seem to be the least of our issues.

-Had to share the coolness with people other than my workmates!

*baggedmilk furiously tracking "A" by his IP address*

must... stalk... Eberle...

Avatar
#70 GSC
October 25 2010, 02:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Even as a Steeler fan, I can easily admit that the officials screwed up with the review yesterday. Miami should have won that game.

I could tell the call would go the Steelers way as soon as the official said "however" in his explanation. For some reason, I wasn't surprised. Given how often referees screw up calls even with the benefit of replay at their disposal, I'm not surprised by anything anymore.

Avatar
#71 D-Man
October 25 2010, 03:08PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

Not willingly...we've all has droughts, but I would never say if Oilers win I will abstain for two months. No reason for me to do it. A diehard fan might, but I'm not one, so I wouldn't.

Fair point, Gregor - but would you for a) the return of the Hartford Whalers or b) a Superbowl for your Miami Dolphins???

Avatar
#72 Reach Advantage
October 25 2010, 03:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

It's all going to be okay

Avatar
#73 VMR
October 25 2010, 03:23PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
smiliegirl15 wrote:

In terms of talent, Souray was always our best Dman. In terms of value, he probably should have started here in order to be worth something in a trade. Obviously the cost of having him in the lockeroom was too high for management. That he's not the only overpriced player exiled to the AHL is some sort of consolation (sort of).

What exactly do you mean by talent? A powerful shot and some physical play? He had that for sure but if we were looking at smart defensive play he wasnt much better than Peckham.

In terms of value he obviously had none when you factor in salary, age and injury history. Maybe with only one year left on his contract they'll be able to deal him next summer, before then it was always unlikely.

Avatar
#76 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
October 25 2010, 04:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers
baggedmilk wrote:

Chances are Gregor goes through a two month dry spell often. He can do two months with his eyes closed. Pfft.

pretty much anyone over the 5 year married mark with at least one kid can do a 2 month stretch no questions asked....

****sobs in corner, dreaming about boobies****

Avatar
#77 Dennis
October 25 2010, 04:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The Oil are super-thin on the backend and young and ill-fitted up front so who expected them to be good?

Avatar
#78 Mike from Canmore's illegitimate love child
October 25 2010, 04:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Do you think there is any chance that they would consider throwing Strudwick down to OKC "to help with the leadership". While at the same time bring up Shawn Belle who is tearing it up!

Avatar
#79 rubbertrout
October 25 2010, 04:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hey guys check out my Movember page. To donate click here

Wanye and Bingo outed my real identity a while ago so I thought I'd abuse my posting privileges to try and raise some dought for a good cause. If I get $15,000 I'm keeping the moustache until I leave for Xmas vacation. If I get $20,000 I'm changing my photo on my work website to have the 'stache image and will keep it up for a full year. I outlined why I'm doing this on my Movember page and if you are interested please check it out. Help me look ridiculous for a good cause.

EDIT: In case my embedding didn't work the link is below. http://ca.movember.com/mospace/540002/

Avatar
#80 madjam
October 25 2010, 04:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
baggedmilk wrote:

Personally, I think the Oilers are playing exactly as I expected them to. No I didn't foresee the PK sucking falace but it is what it is. It's a rebuild. Pittsburgh picked 4 times in the top 2 in 6 years before they won in 2009. Slowly people, slooowwly.

Oh yes like Toronto , Islanders ,Hawks , etc. - 50 years of futilty should suit you losers well . Pittsburg won the Crosby lottery and looked destined to lose their franchise around then as well if i recall . Are you surprised they never won anything without adding a firm adequate base on which to flourish ? Oiler dynasty they didn't sit on a long slow rebuild with no base to make it a successfull and competitive club in a paltry couple of years . Slow is just an excuse to continue losing ways and poor management .

Avatar
#81 Senator Theo
October 25 2010, 04:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Finsforever wrote:

Enough with the oilers they will lose plenty more this year.

Now Gregor how does the ref blow that call. First they whistle the play dead when the ball is out. Then on the replay it was clear the Fins had the ball. There was 2 of them lying on top of it before a Steeler jumped on the pile. Brutal call cost them the game and in that division possibly the playoffs.

Big Ben saying he had the ball all the time what a joke. Guys an idiot.

First of all, this sounds a bit like sour grapes. Someone named "Finsforever" thinks the Dolphins got the short end of the stick? Hmmmm.

You lost me at "Enough with the oilers..." This is Oilersnation - if you are ready to stop talking about them after game 6, you are going to be really irritated by game 82. For obvious reasons pretty much all the articles and comments here focus on the Oilers and Oilers-related ideas.

Avatar
#82 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 25 2010, 04:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
madjam wrote:

Oh yes like Toronto , Islanders ,Hawks , etc. - 50 years of futilty should suit you losers well . Pittsburg won the Crosby lottery and looked destined to lose their franchise around then as well if i recall . Are you surprised they never won anything without adding a firm adequate base on which to flourish ? Oiler dynasty they didn't sit on a long slow rebuild with no base to make it a successfull and competitive club in a paltry couple of years . Slow is just an excuse to continue losing ways and poor management .

Weren't you the guy talking PO most of the summer?

Avatar
#83 Rogue
October 25 2010, 05:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Horcsky wrote;

Edit: Also, for all the Dustin Penner hating out there right now remember this: not every player on your team has to be playing nasty and getting in the other team's face all the time. Penner is our top goal scorer from last year, and may well be again this year. I ask you, how many other top scorers in the league have to play physical and with a mean edge all the time? To demand that Penner skate, hit, protect his linemates, and score all at once just because he has size, is to demand the kind of complete player that comes along once in an era.

Who else among the top 9 should be? Penner hits no one, yet he is the biggest body out there. I am not a Penner hater, but even a timely shove and a glare from someone like him will back most players off.

Avatar
#84 Rogue
October 25 2010, 05:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Jason Gregor wrote:

Lots of season left to play, but Couturier would be hard to pass over. Some scouts have said Larsson is a once-in-a-decade type of defenceman...

I'd take the centre because, outside of Joe Thornton, not many dominant #1 centres get traded. We've seen lots of top D-men get traded so today I'd take Couturier. But that could change, and I honestly don't think the Oilers will finish 30th.

I had picked Oil to be 24th at best, to 27th at worse. But with a soft front 9 and soft D, plus the 3 headed monster, I see nothing better than 27th. But you are right, it is early. I too would take Couturier. Big and strong and leave Gags as #2 center.

Avatar
#85 DoubleJ
October 25 2010, 06:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Has anyone mentioned Ryan Johnson as good pick up for the Oilers. He's a faceoff and pk specialist who is one of the best shotblockers in the nhl. If there's one player who could help the team learn the defensive side of the game it's Johnson.

I say send one goalie down already and pick up Johnson. He can play with Fraser and Jones. Stortini and Smac can come in when ever needed.

Avatar
#86 Kevin
October 25 2010, 06:53PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Yes , this is a rebuild and Tambo finally admitted and declared that mid way through last season. Having said that, if this is truly a rebuild what might be in store for The disinterested Mr. Penner who becomes a free agent at the end of this season. A big man that plays like a mouse. If this is truly a rebuild , why is he still an oiler ? Let's face it he's bolting July 1. Why are we still talking about the three headed monster ? If this is a rebuild what are we building ? Is there any gritt in this system anywhere. Its not on the big team and it's nowhere on the farm ? The defense is soft at best. It's likely we will get nothing for Sourary. The only hard nosed D we had. I really have to question our asset management here. Why are we still talking about face-offs and why are we still talking about gritt ? Yes - I get the fact that we are rebuilding. But my question is more like -What are we building ? Is Gagne a number one center - I would say we have bigger problems if that hasn't been answered by now. Are we still trying to figure out where Cogs fits on this team. Again if this is a rebuild how is Hemsky going to help our cause now or 5 years from now. If we have anything on this current roster that might be desired by anyone, I'd say make the move. Acquire picks, size or grit. I don't mind losing if this team goes out with a fight. This edition of the Oil has no fight !

Avatar
#87 Bucknuck
October 25 2010, 09:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Kevin wrote:

Yes , this is a rebuild and Tambo finally admitted and declared that mid way through last season. Having said that, if this is truly a rebuild what might be in store for The disinterested Mr. Penner who becomes a free agent at the end of this season. A big man that plays like a mouse. If this is truly a rebuild , why is he still an oiler ? Let's face it he's bolting July 1. Why are we still talking about the three headed monster ? If this is a rebuild what are we building ? Is there any gritt in this system anywhere. Its not on the big team and it's nowhere on the farm ? The defense is soft at best. It's likely we will get nothing for Sourary. The only hard nosed D we had. I really have to question our asset management here. Why are we still talking about face-offs and why are we still talking about gritt ? Yes - I get the fact that we are rebuilding. But my question is more like -What are we building ? Is Gagne a number one center - I would say we have bigger problems if that hasn't been answered by now. Are we still trying to figure out where Cogs fits on this team. Again if this is a rebuild how is Hemsky going to help our cause now or 5 years from now. If we have anything on this current roster that might be desired by anyone, I'd say make the move. Acquire picks, size or grit. I don't mind losing if this team goes out with a fight. This edition of the Oil has no fight !

He has two years left on his contract.

Avatar
#88 Team Larsson
October 25 2010, 09:11PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

So let me get this straight. You would pass over a generational defenceman because " A centre is more valuable". Let the old Seguin vs Hall battle renew again. Ha ha, its a bit early for this discussion, I thought last year from January to June was long enough, but this will set some records, Oct to June. Would it kill the kids if we had a Todd White winning a few faceoffs on the 4th line? No, no, winning doesnt hurt anyones development. Would it kill us to bring up Reddox and Petiot to win a couple of games? No. The answer is no.

Avatar
#89 OilW30
October 25 2010, 09:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Gregor,

Why is it so bad that we are already in 30th and why would we want to be in the pack? 30th is the best placed this club could end be. It would be awesome if we finished 30th despite Steve "this is my fourth do-over as Oilers GM" Tambellini's best efforts to screw this team's chances of winning a Cup.

And why does it suck to be an Oilers fan today? It's fun to watch and we should expect them to lose. Any fan who gets depressed about losses this season doesn't understand what's going on.

Avatar
#90 Microsoft Office 2007
November 05 2010, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Avatar
#91 Microsoft Office 2007
November 05 2010, 09:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Comments are closed for this article.