Out-finished?

Jason Strudwick
October 30 2013 10:38AM

After the four to nothing loss to the Maple Leafs Tuesday night, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins said his team was simply "out-finished." There is no doubt that James Reimer played a solid game for the Leafs but I know there was more to this loss then the Oilers being "out-finished".

If Dallas Eakins wants to simply chalk this one up to that reason the Oilers will continue to play a very high-risk style with no guaranteed results going forward. Scary thought. These types of teams are happy to play a track meet type of game with lots of chances both for and against. The Oilers will just have to hope they score more goals then the other team. They will also need to go out and find the greatest goalie of all time because he will be under siege and expected to make huge saves nightly to give his team's chance to out gun the opposition.

This has never and will never be a recipe for success in the NHL. It is a lot of fun to watch for fans, it is exciting hockey but no real long-term success will be the result.

The good news about this comment of being "out-finished" is that it is most likely not what Eakins really thinks about the game. He is trying to protect his club after a very poor start to the season. In my experience most often coaches say one thing to the media and another to their team. I am guessing that Eakins sees a fragile team and realizes there is no need for him to beat them up in the press. I get it and agree with him.

Risky Business

Matching lines is a great way for a coach to tip the balance of a game in his team's favor. It isn't easy to get the match ups you want on the road but at home, with last change, it becomes a whole lot easier.

Again last night Eakins seemed to want to have his first line of Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov out again the top line of the Leafs. Oh boy. He also seems to like having Justin Schultz and Anton Belov on the ice with Gagner’s line. Oh no.

Having the J. Schultz pairing on the ice with your top offensive line makes sense from a pure offensive firepower point of view. When those five get skating and are on the attack their creativity is a lot of fun to watch and can produce goals.

The dark side of that combo is what we saw on the first two goals from last night. On the first goal, Belov pinches down, Yakupov is the high man and should back him up. Yakupov doesn't back him up which results in a two on one for the Leafs two most dangerous players. Goal! Barely a minute into the game.

On the second Leafs goal, the same five Oilers are out there against the top line for the leafs. The Oilers have a good offensive rush going up the ice. Belov stays back because J Schultz jumps in and has a great chance to score but Reimer comes up with a big save.

When a d-man jumps into the play, one of the forward needs to stay back a little to be in a position to defend. No one hangs back. Quickly the two most dangerous Leafs, Kessel and Van Reimsdyk, turn the puck up ice for a full ice two versus one. Goal!

The day may come when these five Oilers can match other teams top line both offensively and defensively, that day is not upon us. One school of thought could be that Eakins is putting these match ups together so that these young players can learn tough lessons now. Maybe Eakins wants them to learn under fire.

I can see the reasoning behind this approach long-term, if the players learn the lessons. In the short term these match ups will make it very hard for the Oilers to win games. To many nights this season opponents’ top lines are having a field days against the Oilers. If the Oilers specialty teams continue to struggle and opponents’ top lines produce points the wins will not come for the Oilers. The second to fourth lines can't score that many.

I would suggest a slight change in approach to Eakins. No more Anyon Belov and Justin Schultz on the ice at the same time as the top line. Yakupov and J. Schultz are two extremely offensive minded skaters. The issue is they create far too many offensive chances for opponents and having them on the ice at the same time doesn't work at this point in their development.

The other way at looking at Eakins choice in line match ups is it could be he is uncomfortable with matching any if his other lines up with opponents top lines. This is the scarier thought for me. If he feels his best option is a young group of forwards then this team needs help.

To me Boyd Gordan is a no-brainer to match against top lines. But who should be his wingers? Who does Eakins trust to get the job done? Who has the skating ability, defensive awareness and physical requirements to challenge a top line?

If you are having a tough time answering that question just think how Eakins feels.

The Leafs have a great line that can do this. David Clarkson, Mason Raymond and Dave Bolland, three veteran players from winning organizations. I am not a huge Raymond fan but he fills his role on that line. A line like this would go a long way to helping the clear match up issues the Oilers are having.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 Chris
October 30 2013, 11:20AM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

I'm pretty sure Kevin Lowe will win this. After all, he knows a little bit about winning, if there's ever a concern.

HAHA! Nice, made me LOL. Needed that.

Fans need to rise up and start to embarrass this organization. If you are too much of a druggie to quit going to games at least boo. Don't necessarily boo the players though. Just boo the organization.

I suggest constant booing between each whistle.

Fire Kevin Lowe chants, and constant between whistle booing. Perhaps that will at least prompt some action or firings.

I'm tired of blaming the coach. 27 coaches later, eventually you have to look at the root cancer. Kevin Lowe.

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#52 Clarko
October 30 2013, 11:37AM
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Mark-LW wrote:

The Oilers out shot the Leafs 43-26. The first goal was blown coverage on a pinch. The second goal was a quick turn around after a good scoring chance went off the post and turned into an odd man rush the other way.

Two odd man rushes, two goals. Odd man rushes happen in hockey and not every one ends up a goal.

The third goal was a ridiculous play by Kessel, not much you can do about that shot.

Fourth goal was a horrible, horrible turnover by Petry.

I'm upset as hell with the teams record, but I would be more worried if the Leafs had out shot us 43-26.

Every team makes mistakes in a hockey game, the Leafs seemed to capitalize on every one we made while we couldn't get anything past Reimer.

Shots were also 19-5 in the 3rd period when the game was well in hand for the Leafs. It was 24-21 Oilers after two periods, but how many great scoring opportunities did they have? Seemed like the Leafs shots were of much better quality than the Oilers.

That was the easiest looking 43 save shutout I've ever seen...

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#53 YFC Prez
October 30 2013, 11:56AM
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Jeffff wrote:

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher from Alberta who's hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Kevin Lowe and the Oilers

The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Kevin Lowe is a 'Post Turtle'". Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was. The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road on you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle".

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, and he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with".

I remember hearing this same joke about George bush years ago. Definetly applies though. Lowe is a perfect example of a post turtle.

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#54 Serious Gord
October 30 2013, 12:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I urge you to stay and keep us bookmarked.

Every second Wednesday starting next month we will pick the name of a random poster here and put it in a hat toward a grand prize draw at the end of the season for a brand new 1990 26-inch Zenith television (unopened and still in the original crate in my garage).

Bet you stick around now, eh? Eh?

Robin, I've got the smithstonian institution on line one...

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#55 Lowe Expectations
October 30 2013, 12:47PM
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LOIL99 wrote:

I apologize for the long post but us fans needs to take a step back and look at the big picture in my opinion.

I will start by saying this, all of the anger and hatred and resentment should be point DIRECTLY at management and ownership. They have toyed with our hearts for too many years. And they deserve our rath.

THAT SAID...

It is not our young cores fault that we have been tormented for so long. These kids were in midget, bantam and even peewee when this bad joke started years and years ago. If a person looks at this objectively (difficult I know) you see that we are putting unfair and over the top expectations on our young core, who people forget are all not yet 24 years old, most aren't even 22 (Yak Nuge Hall Shultz Klefbom Nurse)!!

NHL players generally reach their prime at 24-28 years old. Read that again. Our entire core is younger than this yet we are expecting them to compete AND WIN against full grown men. We may not be the youngest team on average, but we have the youngest core players BY FAR.

Where the expectation of playoffs this year came from I will never know (actually I do, it was MacT/Eakins, but it was idiotic of them to promise that). The reality is that this teams core is 2-4 years away from being old enough and experienced enough to make the dance and be a deep playoff contender. When our core reaches 24-28 years old.

Until then lets let them develop, enjoy the immense skill we as Oiler fans have not been able to watch since the 80s (even tho it comes with a lot of mistakes), and support these young kids as they mature and gain NHL experience.

Once you accept that we are still a few years away (reasons given above), you really do start enjoying the little flashes of WOW that these guys are capable of even as young adults and look forward to the future.

Thanks for your time.

Though I feel you make some valid points, I disagree with the premise that we have to wait until these players are 24-28 years old to have success. If you go back in NHL history, the majority of great players win their first cup at rather young ages. Gretzky & Messier were 23, Orr was 22, Howe was 24, Clarke was 24, Crosby was 21. Toews has 2 Cups at age 25. I realize one or two players don't make a team. But in the case of the players I mentioned, all of them made the players around them better.

As individual talents, the core is as good as anybody. But do these players have the ability to make those around them better. Rebuilds like this can work (Chicago & Los Angeles) but they can also fail (Atlanta/Winnipeg).

In progression, this should be a squeak into the playoffs team right now with a legitimate cup run within 2-3 years. You suggest 5-6 years for that. RNH, Hall & Eberle will be at the tail end of their contracts by then and more than likely dealt away for another rebuild.

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#56 Jordan1126
October 30 2013, 12:56PM
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someplace, somewhere....probably on a different continent, ralph kreuger is.....

feel free to finish this sentence for me!

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#57 james_dean
October 30 2013, 01:02PM
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Louie debrusk vs 4 men and a taxicab=

Win!

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#58 Doctor Smashy
October 30 2013, 01:10PM
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Struds, does anyone know when the last time MacT has shown his face? I've read Eakin's comments he's made after scrums after games but where is MacT? I can't help but picture him crouched in a dark room somewhere with Kleenex boxes on his feet and taking inventory of his urine he has stored in pickle jars. Seriously, where is this guy, or KLowe for that matter. It seems you can't shut Lowe up sometimes but I guess even he has realized that "I have six cup rings" is an even less appropriate response these days to questions he might get asked.

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#59 Johnnydapunk
October 30 2013, 01:12PM
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Jordan1126 wrote:

someplace, somewhere....probably on a different continent, ralph kreuger is.....

feel free to finish this sentence for me!

Helping the Canadian team get ready for the Olympics hopefully as he was hired to assist with the Canadian coaches with scouting, and giving some insight as to how European countries play against Canada.

I would love to be in the room to see the awkwardness that there must be when KLowe and Krueger are in on the Olympic team meetings.

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#60 outdoorzguy
October 30 2013, 01:16PM
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"Once you accept that we are still a few years away"

"I think most fans understand that this team is a few seasons away from being a contender"

"I still have a tiny tiny flicker of hope"

"with seasons tickets who have to go like 35 more times"

"There's a 3 year waiting list for season tickets"

I love the comments, the hanging on by a thread, hoping miraculously this bunch will suddenly turn things around. We've been waiting for this team to develop since 2001. Give it up people. Let it go. Stop buying tickets. Stop going to games. Start directing your angst where it needs to be directed...in the wallet of Katz. When he runs out of money (which he desperately needs to finish re-modelling/re-branding his drug stores) then he might get the message. Until then, you've only got yourselves to blame because you are holding on to that last tiny thread of hope that management actually cares about you.

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#61 Spurzey
October 30 2013, 01:42PM
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1)Forward covering for dman jumping into the play or pinching...pee wee 101 2)Odd man rushes ending in goals against...see above 3)This team does not have the makeup to ever be a contender. Too many kids who think they can do it themselves(and have up until this level) 4)No one can win a puck battle. Can't win a 3 against 1 battle (swarm). 5)Change is good Donkeys

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#62 Romanus
October 30 2013, 02:03PM
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madjam wrote:

Grebs and Potter on waivers . What happens if we draft 3rd next year and take current 3rd ranked Nylander , only to have him decide he will not play here .

we can only draft 3rd if a team above us in the standings wins the lottery. (I'm expecting us to be in last or 2nd last - sigh)

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#63 Douglemmer
October 30 2013, 02:06PM
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"Again last night Eakins seemed to want to have his first line of Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov out again the top line of the Leafs"

A little bit off topic, but if the best player (RNH) is not on this line, how can anyone call it the first line?

It always bugged me when Hemsky/Horcoff was the "first line" of the day and the time MacT split them up, Horcoff's line was still first and Hemmer was on 2nd. So, even though Hemmer is more skilled, they still defaulted to the centre.

I know its not important, but still...

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#64 ubiquitous
October 30 2013, 02:26PM
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madjam wrote:

Grebs and Potter on waivers . What happens if we draft 3rd next year and take current 3rd ranked Nylander , only to have him decide he will not play here .

Wouldn't be the first Nylander to do so.

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#65 vetinari
October 30 2013, 02:39PM
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I thought that Renney was a decent coach who couldn't get the players to do what he wanted, so after changing some of the old veterans who were supposedly the problem, management changed the coach. He then went on to be an assistant in Detroit to apparently good reviews.

We then got Krueger who was suppose to be the "player-friendly, motivational, thinking coach" who led a modest Swiss national team of misfits to international accolades. He also had an established rapport with the players, having been an assistant in Edmonton during Renney's tenure, and after a year at the helm during a lock-out shortened season, didn't produce the results that were needed (apparently he was too player friendly and not enough of a task master) and he was canned via Skype. Classy.

Now we have Eakins who is a task master, fitness freak with a state of the art defensive system that only works on days that end in the letter "q".

Frankly, the problem seems to stem from training camp. With such a turnover from last year's roster (which was not unwarranted), instead of slimming the roster down to your most likely 27 to 30 players and having them work out the defensive kinks during the preseason and make your cuts from there, we instead wasted games on bubble players showing their stuff and the system was an afterthought. Now, we're in the regular season, trying to learn on the fly as units and we're getting creamed.

Right now, we're a bunch of soloists who can't or won't follow the conductor, while other teams are playing like full orchestras. Eakins should have drilled the system into the players during the preseason and now we are paying for it when games really count. And the kids are some of the worst offenders for acting as individuals on the ice and not as part of a unit.

Eakins' options are basically ride out this problem and hope that it self-corrects itself or strip your system down to fit the players that you have (and modify that system over time to allow for their individual creativity as they demonstrate their understanding of the system and their ability to work within it).

In short: we're boned. And it's going to be a long season.

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#66 TM8Trent
October 30 2013, 04:58PM
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@Clarko

Playoffs?

http://youtu.be/Qwq7BYOnDrM

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#67 spliff
October 30 2013, 07:35PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

What's the point of watching this anymore?

We're the best fans in hockey while garbage fans like the Canucks and Leafs have winning teams.

Katz, Lowe, MacT: You don't deserve us.

At least Canuck and Leaf fans come from hockey markets.What pisses me off is fans in places like Nashville have a team that consistently makes the playoffs, or challenges for the playoffs. Nashville has way less financial support then the Oil, yet they always put a decent competitive product on the ice.

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#68 saskguy
October 30 2013, 11:00AM
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I have also noted these matchups. essentially making the firepower of your team a checking line. Crazy... A lot of this teams problems are structural IMHO. It would be nice for them to have clutch goaltending as well.

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#69 2004Z06
October 30 2013, 11:03AM
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Jackson wrote:

Deja Vu all over again.

Eakins can only use the tools he has. The problem dates back to the common denominator Kevin Lowe. His philosophy is wrong , he know nothing about winning.

You could bring in Mike Babcock you would get similar results. Lowe is a cancer whether you like him as a person or not. Oilers have gone for the low hanging fruit( no pun intended) and have fired coaches it is time to right this ship 8 is enough. Fire Kevin Lowe

Unfortunately won't change a damn thing. We need different players. These "kids" are in way over their heads. They handed the keys over to the youth waaaay to soon.

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#70 Doctor Smashy
October 30 2013, 11:11AM
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Doctor Smashy wrote:

Dallas?...come on now...is that you?

Dallas Eakin's Magnificent Forehead

Sorry for being a wise-a$$ but this is about more than wanting them to be gritty. We can all agree we want our young players to be tough and tenacious. The problem is that these two things cannot go together - A. Swarm Defence: Playing a swarm defence means there will always be a man uncovered that you have to hope the guy with the puck isn't good enough to get the puck to quickly. B. Pitting your top line against the other team's top line: This means that the guy being swarmed will ALMOST ALWAYS be good enough to get the puck to the uncovered man quickly.

Unless I don't understand this swarm business (which is possible) I just don't see how this particular combination can ever, ever work.

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#71 2004Z06
October 30 2013, 11:12AM
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The only issue I have with putting Gordon on the top line is that in a matter of 3 games, the fans will make him the new whipping boy.

There may be one player on this team right now that can match up against the other teams top lines. He can score, stir S**t up, goes to the net, plays decent defensively and fore checks hard. His name is David Perron.

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#72 Devolution
October 30 2013, 11:24AM
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Dallas Eakin's Magnificent Forehead wrote:

Everyone in Edmonton is turning into such pouts all of a sudden. The young guns are learning, they're getting better and they're playing harder minutes in more difficult situations. Did we want Hall, Ebs, Nuge and Yak to be perimeter guys for the rest of their careers? Hell no! We want them to be gritty and tough, situations that Kruger never put them in. Now Eakins is making them change their style of play to be more like Ovi, Crosby, etc and be real threats in the NHL. It's gonna look ugly for a while but Eakins is the first coach in a long time to show any determination not just to make the team better, but to make individual players better. (Look how Kadri has turned out under him). I support Eakins 1000% and although there are trades to be made, they aren't trades that will build a dynasty; Eakin's actions will build a winning franchise.

Actually, there is very little evidence that they are learning or getting better.

Saying it doesn't make it so.

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#73 Dallylamma
October 30 2013, 11:26AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I urge you to stay and keep us bookmarked.

Every second Wednesday starting next month we will pick the name of a random poster here and put it in a hat toward a grand prize draw at the end of the season for a brand new 1990 26-inch Zenith television (unopened and still in the original crate in my garage).

Bet you stick around now, eh? Eh?

Man, throw in a VHS copy of some early 90s Oilers highlights and your page clicks will skyrocket!

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#74 rob
October 30 2013, 11:36AM
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Been an oiler fan sice 82,will always be an oier fan(although it hurts)but when will there be some changes?They need to change up the balance of this team and I am sick and tired of listening to give them time to learn,injuries,new coach ect.first 5 years I bought into but now its getting old and something has to give!Please santa bring us a #1 goalie,a true #1 defenceman and a bit of grit up front(also let hall stay healthy!)

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#75 Jed
October 30 2013, 11:37AM
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Why can't Daryl Katz see the elephant in the room.?

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#76 YFC Prez
October 30 2013, 11:40AM
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Watching who's line last night to get my mind off the oilers. Turns out The musician ladies that play for them are Linda TAYLOR and Laura HALL. There is no escape!

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#77 RL
October 30 2013, 11:45AM
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I am scared by Eakins comments after that game. I hope it's the case that he didn't want to trash the players, but he seems unphased by the horrible record/no heart of this team. If the new system was such a big undertaking for the team to understand, why was he hired? He talks really well, but hockey is a results driven game. If he wants his players to learn with trial by fire, that means when MacT hired him they wrote off this season. Why are we still trying to develop our players for the long-term? This change in coaching and GM was to create success this season, this season being short term.

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#78 mayorblaine
October 30 2013, 11:52AM
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fairly confident i'd rather see them get 15 shots and the win, as opposed to 43 and a take a shelling.

wins are a measure of progress. i'd say they've got some work to do.

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#79 mackb
October 30 2013, 11:52AM
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Grebeshkov and Potter placed on waivers: https://twitter.com/Real_ESPNLeBrun/status/395585782116659200

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#80 Mark B
October 30 2013, 12:09PM
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The good part is that I can turn the TV off and not watch that garbage. But the Coaches the players, the Manager have to sit there and watch it. I hope it hurts like hell, cause your team sucks!!!!

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#81 Taylor Gang
October 30 2013, 12:09PM
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I'm pretty pissed off, but I know that once they win again I won't even be mad anymore. That's where the problem lies. Once they start playing the way they should be playing, they rip my heart out by getting stomped on in the next 5

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#82 Henry
October 30 2013, 12:12PM
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BleedingOil,

That was a fabulous rant. ROCKET SURGERY!

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#83 Clarko
October 30 2013, 12:12PM
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@LOIL99

I think most fans understand that this team is a few seasons away from being a contender, and yes their core is very young.

However, the expectation is that there is progress. After finishing dead last or next to it, we saw modest improvement up to 24th place in the league (nothing great, but at least it was a move in the right direction).

The Oilers are currently 29th in win percentage...only Buffalo is worse. They are next to last in goal differential. 30th in goals against and a rather pedestrian 19th in goals for per game. They are already 8 points out of a playoff spot...and nearly all the teams ahead of them have games in hand.

I think most Oiler fans expected to be 16th-20th this season with some optimism for a playoff spot, but at the very least competing for a spot in March and April. The fact that this team has regressed is what most fans are frustrated about.

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#84 Ari Gold
October 30 2013, 12:25PM
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What's the point of watching this anymore?

We're the best fans in hockey while garbage fans like the Canucks and Leafs have winning teams.

Katz, Lowe, MacT: You don't deserve us.

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#85 Cynic
October 30 2013, 12:52PM
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There's a tiebreaker for last place?

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#86 Mark B
October 30 2013, 12:55PM
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Those poor Bastards with seasons tickets who have to go like 35 more times to watch that garbage. I do feel for you. The only good part is folks, you can start looking forward to the dentist now, it will not hurt as much as going to the watch the Oilers!!!

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#87 Oiler63
October 30 2013, 01:36PM
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@outdoorzguy

Few years away... hmm, that makes it a decade of sucking!

How many decades do you have as a fan in your life supporting your team?! That's one decade, GONE! LOST! SUFFERING!

Lowe, I hope this doesn't extend to another decade and I want my decade back!!!

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#88 gcw_rocks
October 30 2013, 01:48PM
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Now, I think Eakins only has one option for a tough minutes line:

Perron - Gordon - Hemsky

These are the only established veterans on the team with enough skill and experience to play this role consistently.

When the team is healthy you can add:

Hall - RNH - Eberle

as they showed last season they can push the river the right way.

If Eakins wants to win games, he needs to shelter Yakupov, and probably Gagner, amongst his forward group. The thing is, Gagner and Yakupov should absolutely feast on soft minutes so even if the Gordon line saws off against the opposition, the Hall line and the soft minutes line should come out ahead against the rest.

Under that scenario, you could run Schultz Jr, with the Hall line because Hall and RNH generally have the defensive awareness to know when they have to cover (and the coaches should be drilling that into the line).

I just don't get what Eakins is trying to do. He is making me long for Krueger.

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#89 Romanus
October 30 2013, 02:07PM
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Cynic wrote:

There's a tiebreaker for last place?

yes. To see who gets more balls into the lottery.

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#90 MessyEH!
October 30 2013, 02:14PM
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So .... can we get a list of the top five draft rankings. I wanna see who the future Oilers will be.

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#91 pkam
October 30 2013, 02:17PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Now, I think Eakins only has one option for a tough minutes line:

Perron - Gordon - Hemsky

These are the only established veterans on the team with enough skill and experience to play this role consistently.

When the team is healthy you can add:

Hall - RNH - Eberle

as they showed last season they can push the river the right way.

If Eakins wants to win games, he needs to shelter Yakupov, and probably Gagner, amongst his forward group. The thing is, Gagner and Yakupov should absolutely feast on soft minutes so even if the Gordon line saws off against the opposition, the Hall line and the soft minutes line should come out ahead against the rest.

Under that scenario, you could run Schultz Jr, with the Hall line because Hall and RNH generally have the defensive awareness to know when they have to cover (and the coaches should be drilling that into the line).

I just don't get what Eakins is trying to do. He is making me long for Krueger.

So you have two lines of Perron-Gordon-Hemsky and Hall-RNH-Eberle.

Are you going to put Yakupov and Gagner in 2 different lines so one of them will end up in the 4th line, or put them both in the same line? If you put both of them in the same line, who is the other forward left in our roster who is capable to shelter them? Smyth, Jones, or Joensuu?

If you want to split them into two different lines, but don't want to put any of them in the 4th line (which makes zero sense), you either have to break up one or both of your dream lines, or find another strong defensive forward to shelter them.

Every piece of the puzzle looks good, but they just couldn't fit together.

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#92 Spydyr
October 30 2013, 02:18PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

Now, I think Eakins only has one option for a tough minutes line:

Perron - Gordon - Hemsky

These are the only established veterans on the team with enough skill and experience to play this role consistently.

When the team is healthy you can add:

Hall - RNH - Eberle

as they showed last season they can push the river the right way.

If Eakins wants to win games, he needs to shelter Yakupov, and probably Gagner, amongst his forward group. The thing is, Gagner and Yakupov should absolutely feast on soft minutes so even if the Gordon line saws off against the opposition, the Hall line and the soft minutes line should come out ahead against the rest.

Under that scenario, you could run Schultz Jr, with the Hall line because Hall and RNH generally have the defensive awareness to know when they have to cover (and the coaches should be drilling that into the line).

I just don't get what Eakins is trying to do. He is making me long for Krueger.

"If Eakins wants to win games, he needs to shelter Yakupov, and probably Gagner,"

If you need to shelter a player in his 7th year in the NHL(Gagner) he must be not much of a player.

Bold move MacT trade him as soon as he is healthy for a player with balls.Something this team has very little of.

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#93 Ari Gold
October 30 2013, 02:21PM
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Too much politics in this head office. The Oilers are like the Venezuela of the NHL.

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#94 ArmchairAnalyst
October 30 2013, 02:22PM
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This team needs to do something they've avoided for years: focus strictly on developing the players and setting goals with tangible results. Ever since the "Fall For Hall" year, they've been writing the narrative of the rebuild instantly turning them into contenders because they picked first overall.

The best example of this is "Oil Change" which is now in its fourth season of being a monumental distraction for the team.

The constant coaching changes have followed the same path. Pat Quinn was brought in because he was a big name whose only recent success with young players was with a good world junior team. Renney was given two years as the development coach after being Quinn's associate so he at least had some semblance of opportunity and continuity for the young team with no defence.

Then there's Ralph Krueger. What the team did with him was criminal: locked out training camp and half a season, where the PP and PK were both in the top 10...all without his own associate coach so he got Buchberger and Smith as supports. Krueger was treated so poorly by MacTavish & Lowe this summer because they saw the new, shiny object that is Eakins made yet another change looking for a way to make headlines in the offseason instead of where they actually matter on the ice.

If the management was remotely competent, they would have focused on addressing the needs any good team covers: skills, defence, depth, goaltending, and player development. Outside of the first rounders, their track record of identifying prospects and developing them has been mediocre at best.

Until the focus is strictly on the product on the ice having actual success and growth year to year, this team is basically operating like a terrible expansion team.

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#95 Brett YOrk
October 30 2013, 02:38PM
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The NHL is a very competitive league, it is not realistic to be strong at every aspect, but the OIlers so far in comparison to most teams they face are:

Coaching: Weakness (1st year coach, unrealistic/unproven strategies)

Defense: Weakness (forwards not being responsible, existing D group soft/no top end talent denfensively)

Offense: Weakness (no PP game, no team game, all trying to "do it themselves")

Management : Weakness (1st year GM, stubborn, stuck in the past, not with reality management group/ownership from Katz to Lowe right on down the organization.

OVERALL ANLYSIS: FAIL.... this won't be fixed for a long time.....

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#96 marla
October 30 2013, 02:41PM
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Does anybody even know what Eakins system is? based on the 14 games played we havent seen much in regards to 2 way hockey, the PP and PK.

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#97 Bleak Winter
October 30 2013, 02:48PM
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All day long I'm just handing out free props to the best rants! I've got one of my own but not sure I should even bother.

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#98 Oasis
October 30 2013, 03:00PM
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Mark B wrote:

Those poor Bastards with seasons tickets who have to go like 35 more times to watch that garbage. I do feel for you. The only good part is folks, you can start looking forward to the dentist now, it will not hurt as much as going to the watch the Oilers!!!

Sadly I am part of this group. Approximately 35 games to attend and we are already out of the playoffs.

In the past I would just give my tickets away to employees, but lately I can't even find people to go for free. Do you know what it's like to phone 15 people and offer them free tickets and all of them have an excuse why they can't go?

Can't say that I blame them though.

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#99 hallthetime
October 30 2013, 03:37PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

I'm most likely gonna be trashed heavily for saying this, but since the Oil made the playoffs last in 2005-06 season, they have been above .500 in October (January last year) every year with the exception of the 2007-08 season and the 2010-11 season where they were 3 games and 1 game below .500 respectively. In 2011-12 they started 7-2-2 and finished 29th. Perhaps I am just in denial that this may be another horror show of a season but I look at the stats and see that a good start in October means little at the end of the season. I still have a tiny tiny flicker of hope that I don't have to watch the games with my head in my hands.

all-aboard !

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#100 LOIL99
October 30 2013, 03:49PM
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Thanks @Clarko and @ LoweExpectations for your reply's. Well said.

My main point is our fan base needs to separate our 10 years of anger that we as Oiler fans have with management and ownership from the young product on the ice right now. A product whose core are still teenagers and very young men and who are not quite yet experienced enough to win in the NHL against MEN.

The Hall Nuge Yak Ebs core doesn't deserve the brunt of our frustration and angst because it is not rooted with them, they are new here, but with their bosses

I would hate if we ran these kids out of town because Lowe has been an idiot for the last 10 years, beginning so far back that these kids were only 10-12 years old.

Thanks for your time.

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