2010-11 OILERS: BOTTOM OF THE BARREL

Robin Brownlee
March 30 2011 02:18PM

What the Edmonton Oilers might do in the future or what they could've accomplished this season had an already thin and raw roster not been riddled by injuries is up to debate. That this edition of the Oilers will set several franchise records for ineptitude and futility is not.

With a 23-42-11 record, a 10-game losing streak on the go after a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles Tuesday and six games remaining, the 2010-11 Oilers will re-write several dubious entries in the team record book.

Unless the Oilers win two of their final six games, this team will end up with fewer wins than a team so devoid of depth a lumbering farmer from Irma named Gord Mark played 12 games on defence. Mark is the worst NHL player I have ever seen.

Unless the Oilers pick up three points from their last half-dozen games, they will finish with fewer points than a team that featured a blue line loaded with the likes of Greg Hawgood, Geoff Smith, Brian Glynn and Brad Werenka. Not the Cape Breton Oilers. The Edmonton Oilers.

Of course those teams did not have the potential and could not sell hope the way this one can . . .

TAKING STOCK

Two years -- or is it three? -- into a rebuild that will see the team contend in another four to six years, according to the calculations of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, the Oilers have set, will set or are flirting with several franchise lows.

-- The franchise low for wins in a full season is 25, set by the 1993-94 juggernaut that featured Mark ankling around his own end of the rink and a 33-goal rookie named Jason Arnott.

-- The franchise low for points is 60, set a season earlier in 1992-93 by a team whose leading scorer, Petr Klima, managed 48 points with a goofy candy-cane tape job on the shaft of his stick.

-- The franchise low for goals in a season is 195, set in 2006-07. The Oilers will need to score 15 goals in their final six games to match that. They've scored 11 goals during the 10-game losing streak.

-- With just two home games remaining, the Oilers will set a new standard for fewest home wins in a single season. They have 12. The record, set in 1995-96, is 15.

-- The franchise record for consecutive losses in one season is 11, set in October and November of the 1993-94 season, the one in which Ted Green got bounced after a 3-18-3 start. They will tie that when they lose for the 17th straight time in Minnesota Thursday.

-- By the way, leading scorer Jordan Eberle will need nine points in the last six games to match Klima's whopping 48. Eberle will be lucky to match the 42 put up by Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky, all out for the season.

WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR

Those entries aside, there's back-to-back 30th-place finishes. Five straight years out of the playoffs is a franchise first. The old record for missing the post-season is four years, a feat done twice.

As for what could have been without all the injuries this season, where would the Oilers have finished had they not lost Ryan Whitney after 35 games and Hall, Hemsky, Gagner and Shawn Horcoff for big chunks of time? Twelfth in the Western Conference, maybe 13th?

As for what might be next season and beyond, are fans expecting Hall, Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi to build on their rookie seasons or are you allowing for the possibility that one or two of them will take a sophomore step back?

Will the Oilers get anybody with a 2011 lottery pick who can match the impact Hall made this season? Will they even land a prospect who can make the roster out of training camp?

What of Gagner and Andrew Cogliano? As good as it gets? Can Hemsky and Horcoff stay healthy? Will GM Steve Tambellini acquire veterans who will give the kids a fighting chance?

I can't help but think of that 1992-93 team, and how a talented, young player and future captain named Doug Weight insisted better days were ahead. Then came the 1993-94 team and the 1994-95 team and . . .

There is no question Oilers fans are in for better days because, at least by the numbers, it can't get much worse. The question is how long the pay off, if it actually comes, will take.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

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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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#101 brodie
March 31 2011, 11:37AM
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Reality Check to the head wrote:

If I had Girlfriends like that, I would have put a bag on my head as well. Kidding of course. This going to be a long ride and hopefully the Oilers are able to reach their potential.

They're wives not girlfriends. You can tell because the one on the right has a ring and the one on the left is eating nacho's instead of salad.

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#102 FastOil
March 31 2011, 03:04PM
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I am not one who buys that rebuilds take forever, or that we have to sit and watch for years and hope it all pans out in the end, that success comes down to uncontrollable events. Good managers build good teams.

Making the playoffs is not some miraculous achievement. Being a contender should not be a generational event. This is hockey, not a peace agreement for the Middle East.

Winning the Cup is what's hard to do, winning it fairly often even harder. Any good management team, supported by a committed owner should see the playoffs regularly, and should be a perrenially "good" team. There are many that do this. The ones who don't often have ownership issues and/or GM's that don't understand the game as it is or what makes a good player.

The Oilers have a good owner, who spends money. One obstacle gone. There are only 3 other reasons why this team would not begin climbing the standings with the talent that is already here.

For a team with this skill to remain awful can only be from design, in not acquiring needed role players. Utter failure and collapse is not a strategy to build a team, as many have shown on this site and others. Injuries play a role, but if your team is injury riddled year after year it becomes a management issue - lack of balance, players that need to go, perhaps the style of play. Maybe some coaching on how to be in position to take a hit.

Good drafting needs to be augmented with good acquisitions, and every successful team has done this. To favour one way or the other too much will keep this farce running far longer than necessary and with a lack of results I'm sure.

Can you imagine any other management group saying that it will take 5-6 years more publicly after missing the playoffs 5 times? And being mostly bad for years before that?

I can't. A sense of urgency is definitely missing. Are we becoming Leafs West? Being this bad is not a necessity.

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#103 Wax Man Riley
March 31 2011, 04:04PM
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I have to think that if we went for it and bought free agents and traded picks to get over-hyped free agents then the Oilers would be Leafs-West.

That is what it sounds like a lot of posters here want:

"Come on Tambo! Make a big move. Trade some future to get better now and barely compete for 8th like the Flames. Trade 2 first round picks for a big name. Lets start trying to limp in! We want to be the Leafs!"

No GM....I reapeat, NO GM, not even you NHL '11 GMs would be able to build a winner from 800 man games lost to injury in 2 years. Having your best players out hurts a team. Having a team that is made up of more than half of AHL call-ups or NHL rookies due to injuries is not a formula for a Stanley Cup. Take 8 starters out of Detroit and tell me how good they are.

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#104 madjam
March 31 2011, 04:49PM
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Some here talk as though the Oilers are the only team that sustains major and minor injuries and have to use AHL talent . I'd prefer a team , as most would , just missing the playoffs over the years , over a deadlast team any day of the week . Besides we are not the Leafs , we are far worse off . We get over hyped about our 3oth place roster . Fastoil is at least honest and accurate in his assessment . There are other clubs that have had as many injuries as Oilers over the last few years and bigger stars than we have , and yet i don't see them sitting deadlast hoping to become a contender 5-6 years down the road .

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#105 Wax Man Riley
March 31 2011, 08:00PM
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@madjam

Oops... Double post.

Edit: Ok, I'll put something a little more productive. Reddox works hard but has zero finish. Gotta love his heart, but he should stay on the 4th line and the PK.

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#106 Wax Man Riley
March 31 2011, 08:02PM
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madjam wrote:

Some here talk as though the Oilers are the only team that sustains major and minor injuries and have to use AHL talent . I'd prefer a team , as most would , just missing the playoffs over the years , over a deadlast team any day of the week . Besides we are not the Leafs , we are far worse off . We get over hyped about our 3oth place roster . Fastoil is at least honest and accurate in his assessment . There are other clubs that have had as many injuries as Oilers over the last few years and bigger stars than we have , and yet i don't see them sitting deadlast hoping to become a contender 5-6 years down the road .

I completely agree. Vancouver has had a ton of injuries this year too, and they are in first place. But also, they are about 5 years ahead of where the Oilers are now. If 4 years ago they had sustained this many injuries, they would not have been 49-26-0-7.

Take Daniel Sedin, Markus Naslund, Sami Salo (of course), Mattias Ohlund, Kevin Bieksa, Taylor Pyatt and Alexander Burrows out of the lineup for extended periods.

Replace them with Nathan Smith, Nathan McIver, Lee Goren, Patrick Coulomb, Brad Moran, Jesse Schultz and Luc Bourdon for extended periods and tell me how well that team finishes.

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#107 G Flan
April 01 2011, 03:00PM
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dubbs44 wrote:

Brownlee where did you get that pic of us from the draft?

I'm in there too..... We have the same crew going to minny..... Let's party again!

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