Lost Weekend

Lowetide
February 14 2011 07:03AM

This is Ray Milland. He's on his way to pawn his typewriter. He's in Lost Weekend and that's one heavy 48 hours. Edmonton Oilers fans know the feeling, headache and all.

This is the first time in the 2010-11 season that the Edmonton Oilers resembled last year's disaster. Previous to Hockey Day in Canada, the club seemed to display more spirit and a sense of never giving up--despite being WORSE in actual fact than the Quinn Oilers of 09-10.

This weekend the Oilers went back to Nat's Bar on Third Avenue and drank deep from last season's movie: a sense of absolute defeat, a deer in the headlights performance and the same damn blank looks as one year ago.

So, who's the culprit? Is it those season-ticket holders, for telling the Oilers to fix it and get it right this time? Did they know their grandchildren might be paying for their seats before things got better? What about Steve Tambellini? He's been hired three times now and appears to be slower every time he's hired?

Is it the veterans? The kids? The veteran kids? 

Some of us predicted hard times (my look at the NW division isn't spot on, but the overall gloom of the Oilers portion fits the current mood) and specifically in regard to the blue:

  • The Oilers should be able to score goals at a solid clip, but the blueline as it currently stands is the weakest in the division. Gilbert and Whitney are backed up by role players (Vandermeer), still developing shutdown hopefuls (Smid), men on the comeback trail (Foster) along with a dozen prospects trying to gain traction. We can take heart, as we'll know more a year from now than we do currently about this bunch, but as it stands there are going to be a lot of saloon-door nights along the blue.

Saloon-door nights like this weekend. Ripping Petry and Peckham is ridiculous, in fact I think we're at a point where pointing fingers at any of the defensemen is beyone the pale. Enough.

They're simply not good enough as constructed.

As luck would have it, the best defenseman on the depth chart (Whitney) went down with an injury and chaos blue ruled the day. I don't think we can blame Tom Renney because the foundation isn't there. In country music parlance "the money ran out and the engine blew." We can point a finger at the coaching staff for lots of things (line matching, the special teams) but they don't have the horses on defense.

Steve Tambellini? HE'S the guy to blame? Well, yes and no. Tambellini's job is to build a winner, as described by the fanbase as "get it right this time." Tambellini's style appears to be "wait and then wait a little longer" which fits the style of a team selling out their barn while losing most of their home games. A big part of Tambellini's job currently appears to be making sure Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor's computer doesn't run out of juice. There's no help on the way for these Oilers; in fact the only deals talked about are in regard to dealing off some of the last actual NHL players.

The Edmonton Oilers problem now is the same as it was in fall 2006: not enough actual NHL players. At some point, we're going to have to agree that Daryl Katz is responsible for the current state of the Edmonton Oilers.

He's the boss.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Zarf
February 14 2011, 09:05AM
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Calm down, everyone. Breathe. Chill.

It’s a mid-February slump. It happens to all teams, bad and good and great. And, with the bad teams, the slumps look really bad. But that’s all they are – they’re slumps. Periods of gawd-awful hockey when it looks like no one on the ice is familiar with the game.

Don’t get me wrong – Saturday’s game had me seething and Sunday’s was worse – but I think it’s time for perspective.

We all knew the Oilers were going to finish somewhere in that 25th to 30th spot overall, and probably closer to the 30-spot than the 25-spot.

Well, this is how you get there. You stink. In January/February, you go on an extended losing streak or two. You get blown out at home a bunch of times. You lose by a goal on the road a bunch of times. You suck on the power-play. You can’t kill penalties. You end up taking bad penalties and drawing none (Aside: Is Linus Omark ever going to draw a penalty? He must be wondering what it takes in this league).

For those of you who were OK in October signing on with a team that was destined to finish 28th, 29th or 30th, this is how you get there. That’s why the notion of Exciting Last Place Hockey is a red herring – you can’t expect a last-place team to be competitive in all 82 games. If it was, it wouldn’t be a last-place team.

It sounds like I’m making excuses for the Oilers’ troubles. I’m not. I think there’s plenty of holes on this team but I don’t think there are any surprises, either. The holes were always there – last summer, last September and last month. And now that we’re in the Dog Days of the season – when (almost) every team goes through its worst slumps, the holes are ripping open.

But you can’t be surprised by them. You’ve just got to ride them out.

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#2 Zarf
February 14 2011, 10:10AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

@ Zarf

Oh boy, another self-aggrandizing lecture.

Spoken like someone that didn't drop $500 on a pair of duckets to watch those gongshows.

I don't know what's worse, having been in person on Saturday, or having to listen to Kevin Quinn yesterday.

Here's my lecture.

It's PERFECTLY OKAY to be pissed. To be sick and tired of last place with no apparent "plan" in place. "The Process" is a total joke. It's called "We're in over our heads, so let's talk about 4-6 MORE YEARS! In the meantime, we understand that Dom Hasek is playing pretty well, figure 5 years at 3.5 mil will be a steal".

Oh goodness no, Zamboni Driver. Get mad. I'm not saying you shouldn't get mad or frustrated or whatever. Fill your boots.

If it makes you feel better to call for GM's head 65 games or whatever into what's a (minimum) three-year rebuild, then go ahead. If it makes you feel better to call for the coach's firing right now, go ahead. Do what you gots ta do.

You're right (and I'm not being sarcastic when I say this), you're into this a lot deeper than I am because you're paying $500 to go watch them play. I don't live close enough in Edmonton to commit to them financially - not beyond subscribing for Sportsnet Oilers, that is.

Can I ask you a question, though: Why are you paying $500 to watch them play?

Again, it goes back to my previous post: Did anyone truly believe that this season was going to be something better than a finish between 25th and 30th?

If you didn't and you still went out and committed to $500 ducats, then what were you expecting to get for your money?

The Oilers of 2010-11 fit the profile of a 29th or 30th team to a 'T.' They are bad at everything they should be bad at. Their slumps are as miserable as they should be. Their high points are few and far between and often by surprise (see 4-0 win in Nashville).

My advice to you: Stop buying $500 worth of Oiler tickets. Let someone else buy them for a while.

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#3 BarryS
February 14 2011, 11:57AM
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anybody rememember it took 3 years to have a good team even with 99 and 4 other world class players on it? Ain't no 99's on this team, and unlikely 4 other world class players yet on the team, maybe never will be again.

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#4 John Chambers
February 14 2011, 07:10AM
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We knew what we were in for this year. Ta da!

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#5 John Chambers
February 14 2011, 07:22AM
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4-6 years? Is the implication then to draft high for a half-decade and hope it will all work itself out? When's the last time we won on home ice? Who in their right mind is going to buy season tickets?

That's not a plan. You can't select "being uncompetitive" as a strategy ... at least not long-term. That's a recipe for having Penner, Hemsky, and anyone else who matters walk away thinking 'Good Riddance' at the first opportunity.

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#6 John Chambers
February 14 2011, 07:27AM
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I feel like a Democrat after the Bush re-election in '04. I may as well go live overseas until I can feel proud again.

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#7 Hemmertime
February 14 2011, 11:40AM
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Iceman wrote:

I think we have enough young horses in the barn. We need to make some trades. Trade our first pick plus Hemsky, Penner and Smid to the kings for Schenn, Simmonds, Green, Smyth and Stoll. Then trade or put on waivers The Wall. Trade Gilbert, Foster, Vandermeer for picks. Trade Cogs and Brule to New York for Del Zotto. Put Jauques on waivers as well as Strudwick. Trade Fraser and a later pick to Toronto for Colby Armstong. Trade Omark for a decent defenceman. Theses are pipe dreams but Tambelini needs to get active and aggressive. Others wise boot him and hire someone who will get this rebuild done this century. The way it is going before we get anywhere Hall and others will be UFA's and will want to bolt. I have stopped watching games because it is pathetic. The kids playing shinny hockey on the weekend could have beat the Oilers. 12 shots is pathetic and they should be ashamed. This is the NHL start playing like it.

WANYE: Get a us a negative props button plz

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#8 Dennis
February 14 2011, 11:52AM
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I'm a fan of 77 and while I'm disappointed at his lack of offense, just go back and look at how many goals were scored this weekend by the guy who was supposed to be checked by 49.

and that's not me slagging 49 either because I love the hell out of the kid but he had a brutal weekend checking his man and 77 was along for the dive.

adding another 4-6 years sounds like something right up Lowe's alley because he won't allow himself to be judged - unless it's the wonderful John Short:) - until he digs in his heels and proclaims that's "now's the time when we're actually trying."

until that time you keep moving the chains further and further away and who really cares if in the blink of an eye you expect 4-14 to be the new 27-83 while hoping the latest picks turn out to be the next 4-14. Just keep gambling and biding your time and I'm sure every draft pick and prospect you pick up will turn out because that's just the way things work, right?

I mean it's really smart to deal off vets who are on value contracts because those guys are easy to find anyway.

plus, this crew is good at finding D as well. I'm sure the next Kurtis Foster is right around the corner and perhaps Burke has another Smid in the Leaves pipe that he can deal for 27.

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#9 Zarf
February 14 2011, 04:02PM
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So Daryl Katz is Harold Ballard reincarnate, huh?

When Katz starts over-salting the popcorn and turning up the heat in an effort to get more people to buy pop, then I'll believe you.

When he fires the coach, re-hires him and asks him to stand on the bench with a paper bag on his head, then I might buy that.

When he hires 30-year-old Gord Stellick as his GM, then yeah, maybe.

For now, I'll go with my hunch: Quiet guy with a lot of money and a love for hockey.

I won't speak to his patience level or his tolerance for losing or his penchant for meddling in hockey affairs, a la Mr. Ballard. That's mostly because he rarely makes his public feelings known.

An earlier post suggested that the "plan all along" was to tank for the No. 1 pick. I don't know if that's true, but it's my belief that the only plan for this year was this: Play the Kids a Lot and Live or Die With How it Turns Out.

If it's last place, so be it. If it's 25th, so shall it be. If it's three points out of 8th, great.

But I don't think the organizational philosophy - at least for this season - was really any more complex than that. Play the kids a lot and see what happens. Sell hope through a rebuild.

The thing we've all got to realize is, rebuilds don't really have an "end-date." Heck, I’d bet that if you looked back, you’d find a lot of the “great” teams didn’t have a “start-date” on their rebuilds.

That’s why the shrieking over-reaction to Lowe’s claim of “4-6-year” rebuild plan on HNIC is just as laughable as Lowe daring to put a number on it.

It’s obvious that we’re in the very-early stages of a rebuild right now. But the big moves – both in terms of trades and in terms of player development – are yet to come. The Oilers obviously control the former, but not really the latter – and it is the latter that matters most.

But you don’t always know when it will all come together – sometimes, it just comes together on its own. We’re not at that stage yet with this team … clearly! But it’s not a panic-point either.

A rebuild is a living, breathing thing – it’s not a “plan” or a set of blueprints or a road map. It’s something that grows and shrinks, advances and regresses and wins and loses along the way. It’s almost impossible to put a figure on when it will “end.”

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#10 -30-
February 14 2011, 07:40AM
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Big picture. Big picture.

One weekend does not a trend make. This is expected and a lot worse.

At year end will we be better than at the beginning?

Where will be be next year at this time?

I can't get worked up about two games.

-30-

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#11 john
February 14 2011, 08:36AM
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The stated model for rebuild is the Detroit Red Wings. I know that Chicago and Pittsburgh were able to tank for a few then climb out of the wilderness, but those aren't the models that KL and ST are following. They're trying to build a team that will be competitive for a long period of time.

Lowetide, I'm sure you will remember, the Redwings from 1983 to 1987 were terrible, despite the presence of young superstar Yzerman and the additions of quality players to surround him.

This rebuild only really got started last year. I think KL was right Saturday when he said 4-6 years realistically. I don't expect management to go out and solve the team's problems with that mythical centreman and Dman that many seem to think are all that's missing from icing a playoff worthy team.

This team is going to require a slurry of NHL ready talent developed from within. UFAs will not play a serious role on any team that wants to be competitive year in and year out for decades, until a decade of competitive hockey has been played. We need only look at the Red Wings of the 1990s to see their own experience. It wasn't until they'd been winning it all every few years until the free agents came knocking on their doors regularly.

There are no quick fixes. Frustrating to watch? Damn straight. Is the current management group the one to build the future? Time will tell, although they are definitely walking their talk.

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#12 Hungoverman
February 14 2011, 08:42AM
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I honestly think Mr. Katz is a quieter version of Harold Ballard and that as long as he owns the club there will be no winning. His only priority is cash. Understandable but sad. Just wait until he tries to buy the Eskimos.

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#13 SB
February 14 2011, 09:07AM
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Chris. wrote:
I can"t get worked up about two games.

Did you attend them?

I did and I agree with Gagner. The fans should have booed louder. Weak effort by the fans. If we keep accepting this level of play on home ice then we should expect this.

F.S.T.N.F. Or you won't be seeing any more of my hard earned cash.

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#14 tho318
February 14 2011, 09:16AM
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the following year after crosby and ovechkin were drafted guess who finished 14th and 15th in the eastern conference......yup thats right, the capitals and the penguins. and you know what, you can even throw chicago in that same category too - after kane and toews were drafted chicago wasn't the powerhouse they were last year, and there still a good team this year despite changing 10 roster spots. i have come to believe that tambo must be at least attempting to take a page out of either of these 3 teams. I don't believe he wanted to finish as low as we are going to this year but that will only help the future, which in my opinion is very very bright. - some small changes should be made along the way, but the majority of the youth is here to stay.

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#15 David S
February 14 2011, 09:46AM
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OilFan wrote:

Signed a aging tender with health issues Traded Vish for Whitney ( brutal trade) Signed Foster health issues/brutal foot speed Re-signed Brule ( flu all season AGAIN) Renney coaching! Just a start.

Aaaaand...SMac, Vandermeer, Strudwick, Fraser, JFJ.

Pluuuus...Pulling the young guy but keeping the old guy in no matter how lopsided the game is, no line matching, no mid-season upgrades, demoting the only effective 4th liner we had, Reddox with Hemsky and Penner, a 21 year-old hopeful centering two raw rookies, the wildly over-used word phrase "it's a process", and on and on.... And yet oddly enough, a competent AHL team.

Are we seeing a pattern beginning to develop here?

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#16 RedArmy
February 14 2011, 10:13AM
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Tom Gilbert is being overplayed, in situations that are not ideal for his skill set. A healthy Whitney, maturing Petry and Peckham, one or two veteran free agent signings, and maybe Larsson would help to move Gilbert into the role he is more suited for. If that were to happen Gilbert would thrive.

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#17 Ribs
February 14 2011, 10:39AM
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Gilbert's skating is a joke? Are we watching the same player? The guy is playing 20-25 minutes a night while babysitting Theo Peckham. Give the guy a break. Sheesh.

I hope last nights calling out party was a bit more constructive than last years and I think that's all that really matters coming from their repugnant performance.

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#18 MDF
February 14 2011, 11:20AM
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The most unfortunate part of the incompetence running the team is the fact it will continue indefinitely until the regular (non-internet) fan decides to act and show their frustration by abstaining from the games. Saying that though I am willing to give Tamby until the end of this summer. If he can pull off some amazing trades and sign some quality people to help the team grow then I will lay off. If he trades Penner or Hemsky for magic beans and expects a team of rookies to succeed then the call for his head should truly begin! Draft picks are great and quality prospects are great but they aren't actual "players" and this is what this team needs. Something simple last year like adding a veteran like a Bill Guerin (who still speaks positively of Edmonton) would have helped the kids so much but we get Jason Strudwick.

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#19 The Real Scuba Steve
February 14 2011, 11:29AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Except that you don't want that sense of hopelessness to permeate the room with the kids around.

I felt the club had done a good job of that until this weekend.

And of course most of us were expecting an end game to the losing, but after this weekend that's less certain. IS this team going to be built for a run at the playoffs next season?

Kevin Lowe said 4-6 years on Saturday during Hockey Day in Canada; Tambellini's actions reflect that window.

4-6 years!!! you must be joking? a decade of no playoff hockey. I can't see that happening. I know for a fact that a lot of season ticket holders, (unless they are rich) are not going to pay for more seasons like this.

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#20 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
February 14 2011, 11:33AM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

4-6 years!!! you must be joking? a decade of no playoff hockey. I can't see that happening. I know for a fact that a lot of season ticket holders, (unless they are rich) are not going to pay for more seasons like this.

Being one of those season tickets holders I can tell you yes, another 4-6 years... making a decade of non-playoff hockey would be very tough to keep shelling out thousands of dollars.

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#21 Jonathan Willis
February 14 2011, 11:35AM
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A couple of things:

- Tom Gilbert had a bad weekend. I was yelling at my TV on Saturday, because he was that bad. That said, things like 'buddy can't even skate' are crazy. And before we bust him down to third-pairing defenceman, let's try and remember that right now he's the #1 defenceman, playing the toughest minutes, while trying to babysit Theo Peckham on the losing team. Any second-pairing defenceman is going to look bad doing that, and Gilbert has. But try and maintain perspective.

- At some point, we have to stop using the word "culture" like it's synonymous with "winning." The problem isn't culture, and it never was: the problem is that this team has been sent out undermanned every year since the summer of 2006.

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#22 BarryS
February 14 2011, 11:39AM
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lighten up. Its a team game. Just getting rid of the player(s) you don't like does nothing until the Oilers become an actual team. What, there are 6? 7? new guys on the team. Will take more than a couple months for them to actually become a team, not just a collection of 20 or so players. Yes some players need to be changed, but every change means a longer time for the Oilers to become a team in every sense of the word.

ten years becoming this way likely means ten years to become something else.

Just look at how few dead line deals actually make a team better and make them win the cup? Usually the team plays about the same or a little bit worse. 2006 was a fluke, not the norm, and the Oilers never won the cup.

And 4 to 6 years to rebuild an organization to bottom is quite likely accurate. Not so sure it takes that long to get a competative team, but a deep organization is likely that long.

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#23 BarryS
February 14 2011, 12:00PM
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Avs's 14th, Phoenix 6th, in the playoff by 2 points at the moment.

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#24 Death Metal Nightmare
February 14 2011, 12:04PM
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yo wheres the podcast!

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#25 arabian mom
February 14 2011, 12:19PM
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remember that right now he's the #1 defenceman, playing the toughest minutes, while trying to babysit Theo Peckham on the losing team

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#26 Dan the Man
February 14 2011, 01:02PM
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A few things...

The effort on the weekend was inexcusable, I expect a fair bit losing but up until recently the effort, for the most part, has been there.

I'm OK with that considering it's year 1.5 of the "planned" rebuild and they are missing their best player.

Gilbert is the new Poti, Arnott, Horcoff, etc...but he's obviously been thrust into playing top pairing minutes due to injury and lack of other qualified personell. I think for the most part he's done OK given the circumstances. He had a rough weekend but so did everyone else. Get over it.

Anyone else think they should have given Plante a look instead of Chorney? He's someone I'd like to see before the season is over.

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#27 Quicksilver ballet
February 14 2011, 04:38PM
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Gilbert gets a free pass from me, he's in over his head with this role he's saddled with since the halfway mark. Have to give the guy credit for still being able to whistle while he's at work.

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#29 John Chambers
February 14 2011, 07:15AM
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Catching opening sequence of the 3rd period last night, I thought to myself how difficult it must be for Hall and Eberle to feel primarily responsible for creating offense.

Great article, LT. Captures exactly what I was thinking. ST needs to add some veteran leadership to stabilize this team. Fortunately we'll walk into draft day and select another key component or two ... but for these young players to develop they'll need bona fide players who can contribute offensively, play against the Perry's & Getzlaf's, and give our guys a sense of optimism.

One has to think that everyone will want out if this lasts for another two seasons.

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#30 Reagan
February 14 2011, 07:24AM
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Tambellini is 26 games from a first round pick, let the season go... He knows how he has to move this summer, or not resign. My guess is around 5 or 6 guys yet that probably do not deserve to play here.

On to trade deadline day!

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#31 Tracie
February 14 2011, 07:46AM
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This weekend was embarrassing to be an Oilers fan, and you wonder how Tambo is ever going to lure in the veterans we need to fill the holes. But Lowetide's prospect posts give me a bit of hope...I might be wrong, but it sounds like we are going to ice a team mostly made of up prospects next year...Lander is ready to come up and be at least a third line center, maybe a Swedish line? Hamilton might come up and be that big presence in front of the net that we need on power plays. Larssen hopefully will be coming up as well b/c that's who'll we'll pick in the draft...Dubnyk will be the starter...

So it sounds like Lowe's "4-6 years" more means that we will be icing a young team that is bound to make mistakes and have trouble finding consistency for a few years but that timeline gives them time to figure it out and not be pressured to do it in a hurry...is that a pretty good assumption?

If that's the assumption, then Tambo still needs to find dmen and a faceoff/pk guy for the lineup...something we've needed for a few years now and haven't been able/refuse to find. And I find it hard to believe that bringing up an AHL team and telling them to grow into NHLers on their own is a very successful plan.

I really hope there is a better plan out there...4-6 years of this is going to be hell!Especially if teams like calgary and vancouver continue to do well...it would be alot easier to be an Oiler fan right now if the Flamers sucked again! :)

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#32 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
February 14 2011, 08:03AM
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@ Reagan, the trick isn't to subtract players, it is to add them. I will say this though, since a good chunk of fans cheered a lot of quality players out the door the last 5 years, I'd say for the most part we are getting what we deserve.

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#33 Lochenzo
February 14 2011, 08:21AM
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We knew there was going to be growing pains. Relapses are not unexpected. Given the team's struggles, we need to focus on individual development. Hall is looking more and more like a star. Eberle and Paajarvi look solid. Omark is exciting and looks more comfortable with each game. Peckham has taken a major step forward this year. Petry looks like he's been in the league for years. Dubnyk has established himself as the #1 on this squad. Penner has had another solid year. Hemsky is close to being that point per game player we knew he could be, if only he could stay healthy. And we have young guys coming that have had good years in the CHL. And we are pretty much guaranteed a lottery pick this year. Given the stated goal of a rebuild, getting back to back lottery picks is a good thing. There's size in the top of the draft. Size! Larsson, Landeskog, Couturier.

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#34 Dapper Dan
February 14 2011, 08:29AM
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John Chambers wrote:

I feel like a Democrat after the Bush re-election in '04. I may as well go live overseas until I can feel proud again.

Shouldn't this say you feel like a Democrat after you voted for Obama ? Change we can believe in? How about taking the dollar and turning it into change...

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#35 CSimpson18
February 14 2011, 08:42AM
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If you believe that being awful won't ruin our prospects for all eternity, as I do, then this really isn't that big a deal. If we were expecting to finish last but by only a point or something well, that's not realistic. Tambo knowingly built a rotten defense but noone expected Foster to be so bad, nor to have Joey Moss coaching special teams, nor Renney to refuse to line match, nor Khabi to be quite this bad.

Degrees of suckiness are apparently tough to judge. Nonetheless, I'm not bothered by it. Let the players get pissed off and embarrassed early in their career. You can just as easily argue that it will motivate them in the future as that it will destroy their development. We're not talking about Joffrey Lupuls here. These are professionals.

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#36 VMR
February 14 2011, 08:43AM
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The 4-6 year comment plus the horrendous look of our blueline makes me think more and more that our first round pick is most likely to be a certain swedish defenceman.

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#37 CSimpson18
February 14 2011, 08:43AM
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Also in what world is Detroit a model for a rebuild?

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#38 Jedi_Tiger
February 14 2011, 08:45AM
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At what point do we need to start asking whether this team has intentionally been setup and coached to fail? Can we be confident that this is the case? I know the fan base is hoping for another 1st overall pick, but is it worth compromising team and league integrity to make sure we get it?

What are people's thoughts?

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#39 They're $hittie
February 14 2011, 08:46AM
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Gilbert is what is wrong with this team hands down, Just terrible. Can he even skate backwards. I hope only Whitney, Peckham and Petry return on D next year.

The fourth line is not good either, Jones aside, but they are not on the ice long enough to blame fot the season.

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#40 OilFan
February 14 2011, 08:51AM
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@Jedi_Tiger

Signed a aging tender with health issues Traded Vish for Whitney ( brutal trade) Signed Foster health issues/brutal foot speed Re-signed Brule ( flu all season AGAIN) Renney coaching! Just a start.

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#41 CSimpson18
February 14 2011, 08:53AM
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Jedi_Tiger wrote:

At what point do we need to start asking whether this team has intentionally been setup and coached to fail? Can we be confident that this is the case? I know the fan base is hoping for another 1st overall pick, but is it worth compromising team and league integrity to make sure we get it?

What are people's thoughts?

My thoughts: You're way late to the game on the idea that Edmonton was tanking this year. It's a given. Jason Strudwick Kurtis Foster Jim Vandermeer. Need I say more?

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#42 Chris.
February 14 2011, 08:54AM
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-30- wrote:

Big picture. Big picture.

One weekend does not a trend make. This is expected and a lot worse.

At year end will we be better than at the beginning?

Where will be be next year at this time?

I can't get worked up about two games.

-30-

I can"t get worked up about two games.

Did you attend them?

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#43 OilFan
February 14 2011, 08:54AM
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@They're $hittie

I agree Gilbert is brutal to watch. Can't shoot, can't hit and his skating is a joke.

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#44 They're $hittie
February 14 2011, 09:00AM
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OilFan wrote:

I agree Gilbert is brutal to watch. Can't shoot, can't hit and his skating is a joke.

agreed also, he can chip in offensively once in a while but why not just put a forward back there. The purpose of a defensemen is to keep the puck out of out zone and away from the net. Not cause odd man rushes and scoring chances for the other team by being out of position.

There is a reason that The Great and all Knowing Steve Yzerman did not pock Mike Green for the olympic team, he cant play D. So why with the exception of Whitney being out do we trust this guy so much.

Also I know the Americans played well, but look at the lack of depth on their blue line. Yet Gilbert was not even close to making this team. He is not a top four defensemen on any team with dignity in this league.

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#45 Soup
February 14 2011, 09:00AM
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LT

I wonder if the plan all along was to grow things slowly in parallel with the new arena plans. New arena opens same year as a real contender rises from the ashes. Subsequently, slow and steady - painful slow - till the big bash under the new pill bottle with the easy open top. Arena opens right in time for a meaningful playoff run. Think of the storylines there, eh?

Possible, or giving too much credit to the braintrust's forward thinking ability?

Also...

You've often mentioned that the chances of Tambo being around when things really improve are slim. What do you think the chances are that one of DK's other friends sweeps in as icing on the cake? Someone like, say, Gretzky after his exile period expires?

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#46 Hack The Bone
February 14 2011, 09:08AM
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After watching Oil Change last night I had a bit of a realization. It was mentioned that Renney is the perfect coach to teach this young team how to become NHL'ers. This is true. I believe Renney and Tambellini are the perfect tandem to orchestrate the rebuild.... but not the right group to turn them into a contender. I believe when all is said and done, they will be the Oilers version of Dale Tallon and Denis Savard.

That's the Chicago model :)

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#47 Craziness
February 14 2011, 09:11AM
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WOW!! This weekend was just like last year, first time I felt this way all season. The fan base knew it was going to be a tough year, but the GM Tambi stated 'we will get tougher to play against' really when?? The Foster, Frasier, sigings? Strudwick? It is not really good in Oilerville, sad part is, we have to trade one of Hemsky and Penner now, just have to get more bullets in the system, move some of the dead weight in the summer.

We are icing 6 ROOKIES!! Every game, that is just craziness!! Here is the thing... they are some times the best players on the ice!! That is telling fact of this team and needs to be addressed. With Tambi as the GM who is very slow to react I dont see a trade for Hemsky or Penner coming at the deadline maybe in the summer so everyone enjoy the next 26 games. Yipee!!

Tambellini is on a 3 year contract correct?? If so, will he be resigned??

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#48 Zarf
February 14 2011, 09:19AM
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Great point, tho318, and I'll throw another team out there for consideration: The Quebec Nordiques.

There were a good three or four years of suckiness AFTER Sakic and Sundin arrived. As memory serves, things turned out OK there (franchise-move notwithstanding, of course).

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#49 Islandkid
February 14 2011, 09:46AM
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Yes.

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#50 Islandkid
February 14 2011, 09:49AM
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Zarf wrote:

Calm down, everyone. Breathe. Chill.

It’s a mid-February slump. It happens to all teams, bad and good and great. And, with the bad teams, the slumps look really bad. But that’s all they are – they’re slumps. Periods of gawd-awful hockey when it looks like no one on the ice is familiar with the game.

Don’t get me wrong – Saturday’s game had me seething and Sunday’s was worse – but I think it’s time for perspective.

We all knew the Oilers were going to finish somewhere in that 25th to 30th spot overall, and probably closer to the 30-spot than the 25-spot.

Well, this is how you get there. You stink. In January/February, you go on an extended losing streak or two. You get blown out at home a bunch of times. You lose by a goal on the road a bunch of times. You suck on the power-play. You can’t kill penalties. You end up taking bad penalties and drawing none (Aside: Is Linus Omark ever going to draw a penalty? He must be wondering what it takes in this league).

For those of you who were OK in October signing on with a team that was destined to finish 28th, 29th or 30th, this is how you get there. That’s why the notion of Exciting Last Place Hockey is a red herring – you can’t expect a last-place team to be competitive in all 82 games. If it was, it wouldn’t be a last-place team.

It sounds like I’m making excuses for the Oilers’ troubles. I’m not. I think there’s plenty of holes on this team but I don’t think there are any surprises, either. The holes were always there – last summer, last September and last month. And now that we’re in the Dog Days of the season – when (almost) every team goes through its worst slumps, the holes are ripping open.

But you can’t be surprised by them. You’ve just got to ride them out.

Props to you Zarf.

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