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.