EMBARRASSMENT: DOES ANYBODY CARE?

Robin Brownlee
February 09 2010 12:43PM

Losing is one thing. Failure to muster the gumption to compete, to go down swinging and instead laying down while an opponent buffs his boots on your backside is quite another. The Edmonton Oilers are there now.

The Oilers have assumed the prone position and they aren't getting up. They aren't even pushing back now. They've quit. At least that's the way it looks to me after Monday's 6-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Adding embarrassment to ineptitude, the Oilers, save for Mike Comrie and Jason Strudwick, took an Arizona ass-kicking without even a hint of pride or backbone on the way to a franchise-record 10th straight road loss. Aside from the smallest player on the team and another at the bottom of the pay scale, it was, "Please, sir. Can I have another?"

If the Oilers are half as pissed off as their fans are about a season in which they're destined to finish 30th, they didn't show it. They didn't compete. They took whatever the Coyotes felt like giving them without protest. Did you see the look on Robert Lang's face after he sashayed in front of Jeff Deslauriers and flipped a backhand into the net?

From losers to laughing stocks, this outfit.

NO PULSE

"We were passive on the ice, passive in the net. We didn't compete," said a flabbergasted Pat Quinn. "As long as we're that easy to beat, we'll be looking at ugly scores like this one." They are easy to beat. The book on the Oilers is straightforward: stay on them and they'll spit the bit. They've been outscored 13-3 in the first three games of this road trip -- a 4-2 loss in Minnesota, a 3-0 whitewash in Denver and Monday's 6-1 "No mas" fold job.

Fans get it that this team isn't talented enough without Ales Hemsky and Sheldon Souray in the line-up. They understand Deslauriers isn't ready to carry the workload left him because of Nikolai Khabibulin's back injury. They'll allow that man-games lost to injury and illness have been a factor. Most are even willing to console themselves with the possibility something good might come from the Dive For Five.

But "We didn't compete?" That's as damning as it gets. Where was Ethan Moreau Monday? Would another bad penalty by The Captain, maybe a two-hander to send a message, really have hurt when it 4-0 or 5-0 or was he too busy anchoring the "checking" line? Where was, well, anybody else outside Strudwick and Comrie?

A punch in the mouth or a face wash in a scrum isn't going to make the penalty killing better. It isn't going to dress up Shawn Horcoff's minus-31. It isn't going to fill the gaping holes in the line-up or force GM Steve Tambellini to address them. But it's something, no? It's better than just taking it, no? Maybe, like Tambellini, I'm looking at too short a sample size here. I think not.

THE SCRAP HEAP

I know it's a cliché and a bit naive, given some of the contracts the Oilers are burdened with, but I'd like to think at least some players on this roster -- aside from those who'll be asking their agents to inform Tambellini they want the hell out of Edmonton (hello, Lubomir Visnovsky) -- are playing for jobs. Times like this can tell you a lot about a player. Character, or lack of it, gets exposed. Talent being equal, I'll take the guy who hates to lose over the guy who shrugs his shoulders or turtles when the going gets tough every time.

We're seeing way too little of the former and too much of the latter. Are Kevin Lowe, who put this mismatched group of players with fat contracts together, and Tambellini, who continues assessing and hoping somebody will take a stiff or two off his hands, taking the same notes? We'll see.

For now, it looks like fans are stuck with what they got in Phoenix. As the third period began, Sportsnet play-by-play man Kevin Quinn made a point of mentioning to his audience Ilya Bryzgalov had a shutout going. When Dustin Penner scored, Quinn chortled, "Ha, ha. It works every time." Right. "This is as bad as it gets," Horcoff said.

Yes. Yes, it is.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. 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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#151 David S
February 09 2010, 11:22PM
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Dr. Chad Moreau wrote:

Interesting review of Edmonton media today. Bryan Hall and Rod Phillips are Hall of Famers, Dan Tencer and Jason Gregor on the uptick, Kevin Millard and Robyn Brownlee on the skid. It's hard to believe in a very short period of time how Dan and Jason have improved their game to the point where they are probably two of the best media people in Edmonton. At the same time, it's sad to see how fast Kevin and Robyn have fell off the radar. What is the AHL in the media circle, iBoyle. Will we hear Kevin and Robyn on Big Dog? I forgot self promoter Bob. I suspect we will see him with the UFC shortly as a self promoting announcer. The style fits perfect.

Nice attempt at misrepresentation.

Seriously, everybody knows its "Thedrchadmoreau".

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#152 Colin
February 09 2010, 11:27PM
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Would that be Chad Moreau the oilers trainer/fitness coach? The same guy who has seen injuries skyrocket under his tenure?

Cause that guy should probably take heed to the proverb about those that live in glass houses......

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#153 Aleslav Smidsky
February 09 2010, 11:30PM
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Lenny wrote:

Brownlee, we will like you more if you start the campane against K. Love and force D.Katz to fire him. So concentrate on that and do it now! OK?

No we wont, he is lying to you.

We like Lowe.

Anyone seen the movie The Skulls, is it any good?

Since there is no trade rumours. I got one for you, Oilers and hockey related.

Pat Quinn was given the job as an Oilers head coach, with knowledge it would only be a 1 year gig. Tom Renney was given the job as an associate coach, with knowledge he would be the head coach the following year. Reason for the Quinn hire was simply to reward him with a fat pay check on behalf of Hockey Canada as his reward for the junior gold.

Pat Quinn will step down in the off-season to save face, and TSN will turn it into how he was too good for the struggling OIlers franchise.

P.S. Heatley is a Douche and he doesnt deserve Olympic Gold.

Note and remember where you read it first.

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#154 David S
February 09 2010, 11:33PM
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Colin wrote:

Would that be Chad Moreau the oilers trainer/fitness coach? The same guy who has seen injuries skyrocket under his tenure?

Cause that guy should probably take heed to the proverb about those that live in glass houses......

I HIGHLY doubt it.

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#155 Gunner
February 09 2010, 11:34PM
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@ Colin

I think I heard on Oilers lunch that this past summer a bunch of the Oilers didn't train with Chad. I'm sure Robin or Jason can verify that.

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#156 Mess11
February 09 2010, 11:46PM
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Rather than sit and whine about our present plight, I would like to offer Tambo some free advice to get out of this mess. We need to get bigger at center, real veteran leadership and better defensive defensemen. I say we package Souray, Cogs and Sully to NYR for Dubinsky and Rosival. Grebby to Columbus for Heida. Try to unload Moreau, Nilsson, Pisani any way we can. Let Struds and Potulny walk at year end. Re-sign Comrie for the same. Sign Jagr for 1-2 yrs if he still looks like he can play during the Olympics (not more than 4 M per) Here is what we could look like: Penner Gagner Hemsky Smid Vis Hall Dubinsky Jagr Rosival Gibby MPS Horcoff Brule Heida Staois Jacques Pouliot Storts Comrie/Stone Comments?

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#157 Puritania
February 09 2010, 11:51PM
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@ Dr. Chad Moreau

Fool! you arent supposed to take your medication with alcohol. Get to a doctor right away!

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#158 JackBauer
February 10 2010, 01:28AM
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This site is a mess. Kind of like HF boards.

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#160 michael clarke
February 10 2010, 07:29AM
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Robin do you feel that the murmerings heard around the team about trades is affecting the performance of certain players. It certainly looks like it to me. We all know that we love Ethan Moreau as a guy. Team guy, warrior, heart and soul kinda guy A trade I feel gives him a shot a CUP. It behooves the team not to try to give guys like Ethan etal a shot at the CUP. They all have paid thier dues. Many a Oiler Alumni has been traded and gone on to success with other teams. Alot of those same guys have come to call Edmonton thier home when they have hung up thier skates. Its almost like Ethan and a couple of the other names mentioned feel spurned and have given up on the team. Wayne Gretzky was traded. Messier was traded. The list goes on. Yet the common theme has always been that they will be Oilers forever. The dressing room signage states "Once an Oiler always an Oiler". I look forward to cheering for Moreau or whoever gets traded in the playoffs this spring.Go out right now and play your butt off and when the time comes don't think that the fans and the team don't want you here because we do, but the reality is what it is.We are a 30th place team that needs to rebuild. Go take a shot at glory.

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#161 BUCK75
February 10 2010, 07:35AM
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@ Dr. Chad Moreau

I didn't realize there was a Kevin Millard covering sports in YEG.

idiot....

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#162 Garett
February 10 2010, 08:07AM
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Dear citizens of Oklahoma City:

As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, I would like to send my condolences and pitty for you are now the home of our incredibly awful AHL hockey funny farm team. This group of saps and losers is sure to drive you into deep depression, although we may soon be sending you some of our average "AHL calibre" talent from the big team here in Edmonton to start next year. I hope you do not all hate us for the burdon we have bestowed upon thee.

SorryX1000,

Garett Oilers Nation member.

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#163 Benny Botts
February 10 2010, 08:53AM
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Dr. Chad Moreau wrote:

Interesting review of Edmonton media today. Bryan Hall and Rod Phillips are Hall of Famers, Dan Tencer and Jason Gregor on the uptick, Kevin Millard and Robyn Brownlee on the skid. It's hard to believe in a very short period of time how Dan and Jason have improved their game to the point where they are probably two of the best media people in Edmonton. At the same time, it's sad to see how fast Kevin and Robyn have fell off the radar. What is the AHL in the media circle, iBoyle. Will we hear Kevin and Robyn on Big Dog? I forgot self promoter Bob. I suspect we will see him with the UFC shortly as a self promoting announcer. The style fits perfect.

I hope that was a joke...

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#164 Bucknuck
February 10 2010, 08:57AM
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Garett wrote:

Dear citizens of Oklahoma City:

As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, I would like to send my condolences and pitty for you are now the home of our incredibly awful AHL hockey funny farm team. This group of saps and losers is sure to drive you into deep depression, although we may soon be sending you some of our average "AHL calibre" talent from the big team here in Edmonton to start next year. I hope you do not all hate us for the burdon we have bestowed upon thee.

SorryX1000,

Garett Oilers Nation member.

Potulny, Stone, Pouliot, Dubnyk, and Chorney are all players that Springfield would have if our line up was healthy. If they can fix some of the Oilers holes I have a feeling Oklahoma will be a better team the Springfield.

this "oh, woe is us" crap is getting tired.

Quit being *EDIT* insulting to my team. *end EDIT*

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#165 Harlie
February 10 2010, 09:02AM
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Jasmine wrote:

You're posts are ridiculous and so is your stupid username. It's fans like you that players don't come here. Have some class instead of bashing the Oilers and anything Oilers.

C'mon do you actually believe that? The players don't want to come here because they can't win here. They can't pad their stats here. Their value goes DOWN. Whining from Fans (or bandwagon loser fairweather fans in OS7's case) has nothing to do with players not wanting to come here.

To quote Kevin O'Leary "it's about the MONEY".

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#166 Rob
February 10 2010, 09:29AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Rob:

People like Cormier and Boulerice are embarrassments to hockey.

I think you're indulging in just a little bit of hyperbole by applying that particular label to Horcoff.

Universally speaking I guess you are right...I am exaggerating a tad. I was thinking in terms of his league-worst plus-minus, value for dollars paid and embarassing level of play.

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#167 HOPE
February 10 2010, 10:14AM
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Here's a goal for Horcoff, at least play for something, LOL

Worst ± rating, season: Bill Mikkelson, -82 (1974–75)

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#168 darrenthomas
February 10 2010, 10:21AM
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@Sergei O

who is this curtis guy ands what position does he paly?

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#169 Garett
February 10 2010, 11:01AM
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Bucknuck:

Who is being an a$$? You are the one resorting to name calling. Grow up, let your testicles drop into place and go have a bowl of pablum.

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#170 tyler
February 10 2010, 11:21AM
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@Garett

Good one Bucknuck, did you think of that one by yourself or did you google lame insults?

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#171 Lofty
February 10 2010, 11:30AM
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Garett wrote:

Dear citizens of Oklahoma City:

As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, I would like to send my condolences and pitty for you are now the home of our incredibly awful AHL hockey funny farm team. This group of saps and losers is sure to drive you into deep depression, although we may soon be sending you some of our average "AHL calibre" talent from the big team here in Edmonton to start next year. I hope you do not all hate us for the burdon we have bestowed upon thee.

SorryX1000,

Garett Oilers Nation member.

Doubt they will be depressed...in Soonerville if it aint football it aint important enough to care about.

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#172 Bucknuck
February 10 2010, 12:01PM
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Garett wrote:

Bucknuck:

Who is being an a$$? You are the one resorting to name calling. Grow up, let your testicles drop into place and go have a bowl of pablum.

lol. OK fine. You are right. That comment jsut proves I am equally a$$like.

Iguess I am just tired of people insulting my team and got a tad defensive. Hence name calling.

Go oil. It hurts enough to be a fan right now without spewing unnecessary bile.

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#173 Aleslav Smidsky
February 10 2010, 12:21PM
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Mr.Brownlee

After further research on my claims last night, it would appear i owe you an apology.

SORRY!(

It's was the other guy here that was protecting them. My sincere apologizes sir, my bad.

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#174 Ender
February 10 2010, 01:04PM
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@Aleslav Smidsky

Wow. A real, live apology on the Nation, and to Brownlee no less. In the words of the immortal Towel Boy,

"Who saw this coming?!"

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#175 quicksilver ballet
February 10 2010, 01:30PM
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THERE'S NO APOLOGIZING IN HOCKEY!

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