THE CULTURE OF LOSING

Robin Brownlee
November 01 2013 11:20PM

"And lastly, I’ll say that there’s one other guy in hockey today that is still working in the game that has won more Stanley Cups than me. So I think I know a little bit about winning, if there’s ever a concern."

Well, yes, as fans of the Edmonton Oilers will tell you after watching their team miss the playoffs for seven straight seasons, there is a concern -- one inflamed by the defiant words of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe during an exchange with reporters this pre-season.

Lowe, of course, did nothing but win as a member of the Oilers. Lowe won five Stanley Cups in Edmonton, the first two coming by the time he was 25 after making the playoffs in his first six NHL seasons. He won another with the New York Rangers in 1994. Lowe knows about winning, to be sure.

It's quite a different matter when you look at the core of the 2013-14 edition of the Oilers, a group assembled during the seven seasons the team has been on the outside looking in since reaching the 2006 Stanley Cup final. It's a span, counting the first 14 games this season, in which the team has won just 217 of the 554 games played since.

Seven years out. Back-to-back last-place finishes. The only thing the Oilers have won since leaving Carolina in June of 2007 after a Game 7 loss is the NHL Entry Draft lottery, getting Nail Yakupov with their third consecutive first overall pick.

The glory days are a distant memory. The last Cup celebration in 1990 came before some of the Oilers wearing Edmonton silks now, those hailed as the future of this franchise's return to contention, were born. Those players have done nothing, it seems, but lose.

LONG TIME GONE

Taylor Hall, 21, wasn't born when Lowe and the post-Wayne Gretzky Oilers won Edmonton's fifth Cup. Neither was Jordan Eberle, 23, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov, both just 20.

Hall, in his fourth season, has played 180 regular season games without a taste of the playoffs after winning back-to-back Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires. Eberle, who also broke into the NHL in 2010-11, has played 209 games. Nugent-Hopkins, in this third season, has played 114 games, while Yakupov, in his second season, is at just 60.

Beyond the youngest and biggest names on the marquee, Sam Gagner, 24, in his seventh season, has 415 games in the books without so much as a playoff game. Ladislav Smid, 27, has 471 games in eight seasons. Jeff Petry, 25, has played 170 games with the Oilers, none in the post-season.

Then, there's Ales Hemsky. Long the most offensively gifted player in Edmonton before the wave of kids arrived and injuries slowed him, Hemsky, now 30, was part of the 2006 Stanley Cup team that came within a game of making it six Cups for the Oilers. He's played 400 of the 554 games since.

THE ROAD AHEAD

With so much rich and proud history in the rear-view mirror and mostly defeat and disappointment for this franchise since 2006, is any of the above significant here and now? I think so – how can it not be? -- although I've got no way to prove it, nothing I can put my finger on with certainty.

I can't help but think about what GM Craig MacTavish said last off-season when he was talking about the possibility of moving captain Shawn Horcoff, which he did, and Hemsky.

"Both players are really at a similar crossroads," he said. "Sometimes change is good for both the organization and the player. At the same time they’re valuable players, and we’re not in a position where we’re going to be able to move them without getting something substantial in return.

"When you have been in an environment like Edmonton has had over the last little while you start, as a veteran — and maybe it’s just subconsciously — you start to lose your belief in your ability to win. Given the history with these players…"

When I juxtapose the comments by Lowe and MacTavish, it seems obvious to me one, Lowe, is somewhat detached and out of touch with the players in the dressing room today, while the other, MacTavish, fully understands the toll taken on players here these last seven years.

I wonder if any of them, be they the baby faces like Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov or more seasoned veterans like Gagner, Smid and Hemsky, are at or are approaching the kind of crossroads MacTavish spoke of. With it looking very much like it'll be eight straight years of losing, of being out of the playoffs yet again, I'd wager some are.

That possibility should send a shiver down your spine.

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

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Zed
November 01 2013, 11:45PM
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If you're sassumption is true with a player or three, which do you choose? This conundrum may be a direct result of a few more grey hairs on McTavish's head over the next few months.

Bah who am I kidding, I could do his job.

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#2 Retsinnab5
November 02 2013, 12:06AM
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If we win tomorrow i'll go Naked to school

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#3 kale
November 02 2013, 12:15AM
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Excellent article Robin, as usual. For some reason though I know this team has got it...these are the same kids that lit Chicago up last year. Some how some way this team has got to find itself.

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#4 SmokeyXIII
November 02 2013, 12:18AM
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A few weeks ago I read a blog here about the history of trading away first overall picks. There was an example given about how Quebec was the only other team to get first overall 3 consecutive times, and they traded all of those players away within 5 years. And then won a cup.

So this week it's had me thinking that maybe we don't need to trade away Yakupov, Nuge, or Hall. Maybe we need to trade them all.

Build a team full of guys who work, don't get injured weekly, aren't broken from years of defeat.

That or add in another first overall and see what happens with another 18 year old on the team.

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#5 Gret99zky
November 02 2013, 12:29AM
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No playoffs until the new rink is ready.

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#6 Harry
November 02 2013, 12:44AM
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SmokeyXIII wrote:

A few weeks ago I read a blog here about the history of trading away first overall picks. There was an example given about how Quebec was the only other team to get first overall 3 consecutive times, and they traded all of those players away within 5 years. And then won a cup.

So this week it's had me thinking that maybe we don't need to trade away Yakupov, Nuge, or Hall. Maybe we need to trade them all.

Build a team full of guys who work, don't get injured weekly, aren't broken from years of defeat.

That or add in another first overall and see what happens with another 18 year old on the team.

Out of those 3 RNH os by far the keeper.

He has the most hockey sence and pire skill.

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#7 gongshow
November 02 2013, 12:57AM
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Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

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#8 VK63
November 02 2013, 01:08AM
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yes... there is a lot of inertia that comes from playing with so much indifference for such a long time.

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#9 God
November 02 2013, 01:15AM
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gongshow wrote:

Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

I would do ANYTHING to see a guy like Jason Smith on the Oil right now. Bloody anything.

Seriously,

Anything.

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#10 mlcsellil
November 02 2013, 01:19AM
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Agree completely. What a pathetic state of affairs. Klowe is stuck living in the past and has no idea how to effectively run an organization. I wonder if the players were to be honest, how many would want to be traded to a team with a chance.

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#11 Spoils
November 02 2013, 01:20AM
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The city knows how to win. This team needs to catch a wave and hold on to it.

Oh and cover when the D pinches etc.

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#12 Stacks88
November 02 2013, 02:59AM
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Right now, the Oil need a goalie to make the important stops so the kids can take some chances ,defence can be improved on later. Remember how it was in the early days with fuhr and moog? The game is different now i know but just sayin'.

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#13 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 02 2013, 05:43AM
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gongshow wrote:

Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

Moreau and Hall were never on the same Oiler team but I see what you're getting at. Personally, I think the beginning of this turd parade was when we started chasing after big names like PenneR, Jagr, Nylander! Heatly etc.

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#14 Rheal1
November 02 2013, 06:46AM
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The Oilers have been compared to the NYI often and even nicknamed the Islanders of the west, well let's see the stats. Standings 2012-13: Edm 24th NYI 16th-made playoffs 2011-12: Edm 29th NYI 27th 2010-11 Edm 30th NYI 27th 2009-10 Edm 30th NYI 26th 2008-09 Edm 21st NYI 30th NYI best player: Tavares. His last 3 seasons: 48gp/47pts; 82/81; 79/67 for a total -24 & 88 goals. Eberle has most goals for Oilers for past 3 seasons and is 68/-12. To compare Hall has 65/-7 followed by Gagner at 47/-18

So far this season Tavares has 14pts and Eberle/RNH have 10pts each. While the NYI have the edge in every comparison they have 658 goals against during the same period and Edmonton shows 642. Conclusion: while the NYI seem to be a moderately better team, they would probably fare worst if they were in the west. While it is encouraging to see that the Oilers would be a marginally better team if in the east, the problem is likely to rest in two areas: poor player development and a senior management that has troubling vision and poor decision making skills. Since every problem/shortfall brought forward should be accompanied by a solution, I propose the firing of Kevin Lowe and to hire more fitting player development staff. Then the big question remains: "WHO SHOULD REPLACE KEVIN LOWE AS PREZ OF HOCKEY OPS?"

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#15 madjam
November 02 2013, 06:52AM
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SmokeyXIII wrote:

A few weeks ago I read a blog here about the history of trading away first overall picks. There was an example given about how Quebec was the only other team to get first overall 3 consecutive times, and they traded all of those players away within 5 years. And then won a cup.

So this week it's had me thinking that maybe we don't need to trade away Yakupov, Nuge, or Hall. Maybe we need to trade them all.

Build a team full of guys who work, don't get injured weekly, aren't broken from years of defeat.

That or add in another first overall and see what happens with another 18 year old on the team.

Your talking a direction management does not want to go . They are committed to building this team with our young core , otherwise they would have to admit to a grandiose failure of the rebuild . So it looks like we are in a catch 22 position on a bold move as you put forth . They are waiting for the fab five to turn the corner toward being in top half of league . Will it happen - I have serious reservstions about it , as results remain negative for far to long . We built unconventionally . by not doing it from backend until this year to be honest . Katz would have to install/fascilitate a whole managerial group to make your option viable . That might not be a bad thing , however . The youth on this club are just not developing enough to get positive results . They certainly have more than their few shares of short comes when it comes to their complete games . The fab 5 incomplete games is the bulk of our problems going forward if we stay in this direction as it appears we are . Right now , it's an never ending story . Will it eventually succeed - not looking good so far .

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#16 K_Mart
November 02 2013, 07:30AM
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gongshow wrote:

Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

I can't help but agree with you on some level. But I think the fact that these skilled guys never had to worry about the details of the game is more telling.

When you are so dominant offensively in junior you can get away without backchecking, blocking shots, covering for pinching d men, etc...

These kids are so focused on offense that they've forgotten about the rest of the game. Until they put team success ahead of personal success, we will never see the playoffs.

Eakins has the toughest job in the NHL IMO right now. He has to break habits that are 10+ years in the making for some of these kids.

Winning involves doing the right things, and making the right choices ALL THE TIME. As Lombardi said, you dont just do it some of the time. It's an all the time thing. Winning is a habit, but unfortunately, so is losing.

I'm sure Eakins sees it, and that's the first step.

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#17 K_Mart
November 02 2013, 07:44AM
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If we make the playoffs this year, I will get a tattoo of every player number from the roster, on my arm as a reminder of the people who were able to end the worst oilers Era in history. And maybe I'll get D.E. initialed on my left ass cheek.

I'll do it, I swear.

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#18 Batfink
November 02 2013, 07:46AM
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Off topic, but how does the Gazdic non-fight get broken up for 'player safety' but the refs seem happy to let Emery repeatedly punch Holtby in the back of the head?

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#19 Fresh Mess
November 02 2013, 08:16AM
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@Rheal1

Then the big question remains: "WHO SHOULD REPLACE KEVIN LOWE AS PREZ OF HOCKEY OPS?" .................................

the answer: no one. 'president of hockey operations' is a ridiculous and superfluous position for such a small business. The controller of hockey operations should be the GM.

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#20 Loweblows
November 02 2013, 08:21AM
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I wonder if they will even get a goal tonight let alone the win.

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#21 Hammer
November 02 2013, 08:23AM
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Great organizations come start with the top. The oilers don't have it. Knowing Sheldon Souray brother in law, was told the harassment and childless games Kevin Lowe and Craig Mactavish were giving Souray when he was hurt. Not once did they see him in the hospital but they had time to call him and complain and harassed him. Signs of a great organization. I feel sorry for the young talent. Young guns need to get out of Sour Oil City in order to succeed. I want them to succeed, not under Kevin Lowe or Craig Mactavish.

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#22 Quicksilver ballet
November 02 2013, 08:25AM
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@SmokeyXIII

So this week it's had me thinking that maybe we don't need to trade away Yakupov, Nuge, or Hall. Maybe we need to trade them all.

Build a team full of guys who work, don't get injured weekly, aren't broken from years of defeat.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

That's thinking outside the box. Many here have wondered what Hemskys career would've been like had he been drafted by a team like the Red Wings. Would Edmonton sacrifice each one of these kids potential by keeping them here, and break their spirit like Hemsky has resigned himself to. One thing is certain, none of them appear to be enjoying the game all that much, so far.

After these last 7 years, Edmonton appears to have become the black hole/abyss of the NHL.

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#23 oilabroad
November 02 2013, 08:27AM
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Obviously trading all of them would be retarded, but there is no question that at least one has to go. We cant possibly get the pieces we need by giving up bits and pieces from our reject pile. I think Yakupov, Marincin, Lander, Klefbom and Eberle are all moveable for the right player. There should be few untouchables on a last place team (RNH, Hall and Nurse)

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#24 Quicksilver ballet
November 02 2013, 08:40AM
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@Hammer

Knowing Sheldon Souray brother in law, was told the harassment and childless games Kevin Lowe and Craig Mactavish were giving Souray when he was hurt.

_____________________________________________________________________

There are some holes in your theory. MacTavish was in Chicago (Wolves) when Souray was having a difficult time here. Craig wasn't back in the fold here till long after this issue was set in stone. It was Tambellini and Lowe ruling the roost here then.

Seems like an odd error to make, when it came to your story. It appears to be as much fabrication as it is fact, if you ask me.

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#25 Serious Gord
November 02 2013, 08:50AM
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Spoils wrote:

The city knows how to win. This team needs to catch a wave and hold on to it.

Oh and cover when the D pinches etc.

What the heck does "knows how to win" mean?

The city hasn't had a nhl champ for decades. The minor pro football team fluked a couple of championships a while back, but it's glory years go back even further than the oils does.

The city has been in one it's darkest losing phases in its sports history. And in both football and hockey the looks to be more darkness than light for some time yet.

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#26 Loweblows
November 02 2013, 09:03AM
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Calgary rookie monahan has 7 goals-thats tha same as yakupov, hall and rnh cobined-sad very sad indeed

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#27 oilredemption
November 02 2013, 09:10AM
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I wish the oilers could be more like the flyers and push back a little after being throttled. Show some emotion. Show you care and stick up for your team. Show we aren't a bunch of girls and easy to play against. Show some damn pride...

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#28 hallthetiime
November 02 2013, 09:10AM
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yak is going to be a good player he passes hard, he starts and stops hard, his shots are hard.

One thing the Pens do is all of that stuff and they play a simple game, they play there position cover each other and do it every shift.

Our team just needs to play like that for every rush and in our own end and if we do it all the time every time other teams are going to make mistakes.

keep on keeping on.

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#29 Mikey
November 02 2013, 09:14AM
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gongshow wrote:

Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

I don't think that hard working mentality comes from working your way up threw the ranks. A person is able to do that becuase they are a hard worker. Someone mentioned this phrase in another blog, "chip on their shoulder", that is what is missing, and you are born with that. Their is no way to fake it 41 games, let alone 82 games a year.

Guys like Toews, even tho he was picked high in the draft had some thing in his life gave him that chip. Some guys get it from being picked really late.

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#30 oilredemption
November 02 2013, 09:16AM
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@oilabroad

As for hall being untouchable. He would my first vote off the island. He would bring in the biggest reward. I think the problem with the team there is two many friends and not enough business. Eberle and hall need to be split up and we would see a reality check and more desperation. And I think hall brings back the biggest return.

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#31 oilredemption
November 02 2013, 09:18AM
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I think nuge and nurse should be the only untouchables on this team going forward.

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#32 vetinari
November 02 2013, 09:22AM
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I said it before-- right now our stars refuse to play as units, night after night, and our record is a product of that. What we need is a 250 pound grinder-- not to scare the other team but to scare our guys into playing as a team.

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#33 VK63
November 02 2013, 09:32AM
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"Sow little, reap little. Sow much, reap much. Then there are those who want to reap without sowing. This is called Entitlement."

The Oilers as an organization have validated this condition in many ways by giving young kids outrageous contracts based not on real merit but on assumed potential merit.

The odds of them getting that "educated guess" wrong are rather large considering its being made by the same guys who drove the bus into the ditch in the first place and those same guys have a vested: personal: pie in the face interest in validating themselves by giving out those contracts.

It has... for all intents and purposes... got hand grenade written all over it.

Its Oiler fans own version of a car crash... the allure of the carnage is nearly as intoxicating as the hope this organizations plight.... might: someday: change....

But in the meantime..... the arrogant posers offer... "we've got this"... look at our past history....... ~ ~please pay at the toll booth on the way in~ ~.

:))

all of the above.. in wanye speak.

bloo bloo bloo.

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#34 "Frank the dog"
November 02 2013, 09:38AM
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gongshow wrote:

Here's an observation. Would love to hear feedback on it:

A few yeara back when it sounded like there was a fractured dressing room with the vets (Moreau and co.) on one side and the kids (Taylor and friends) on the other side, something apparently had to give. Tambo made his choice and sent the vets packing.

At the time I thought 'good riddance to get rid of these old guys who must be soiling the dressing room with their bad attitudes'. Now, in retrospect, I wonder if the old dudes with less talent but huge work ethic that dragged a team of grinders to within a win of Cup #6 weren't the voice of reason and the beacon of hockey common sense. Is it possible that Tambo chose to run with the dark side?

There aren't many present Oilers who will battle for an inch in the crease, who will block a shot with their face etc. Strikingly, the top 6 and muck if the D corps are lacking these types. Does working one's way up through the system create a stronger work ethic? Does being a highly touted draft puck that skips the seasoning in the minors lead to a sense of unwarranted entitlement?

How good would younger versions of Moreau, Horcoff, Pisani, Reasoner, Jason Smith, Staios, Rollie etc look in Oil silks right now.

Maybe the old guys were the problem.... Then again, is it possible that the answer is maybe not?

I have no insider knowledge of the current workings of the dressing room. Just wondering.

I think seasoning has a lot to do with it. So does weak management.

I have seen several indications in my readings (being an outsider)that Tambellini backed the young ones over the veterans, and worse still backed the young ones over the coaching staff. So potential prevailed over hard work, the flashy play over fighting over the inches of territory and the extra seconds of puck position.

While Quinn was out of touch with the younger players, IIRC he was put out after complaints by one or more of those players.

So yes, we are stuck with the problem of softness in our core, due to the lack of seasoning in the minors. Caused in part by Tambo pulling them up too fast as a tactical fix to save his own skin. Under Tambo I would wager we would have Nurse in this team now. Under MacT, he may still rush Nurse, but at least he has him in the Juniors right now, and may have to spend an additional year in the A.

Put simply, good teams are made up of varying levels of skill and a universal work ethic in fighting to their utmost for every inch.

Our team has been one of less hard working uber talented players, and some hard working vets that were unsupported and ultimately soured by Tambo and finally gave up.

That is why, if you follow LT's blogs here and elsewhere, you will see that this time around we have strong leadership at the MacT level, and a team that now is prepared to sacrifice short term mirage like improvements, for long term competitiveness by forcing the players that are worth keeping into the work habits required to win championships.

The skilled players are having to learn the hard lesson that the team will never win their way, and they are no longer in control. This, and the usual. excessive string of injuries is why we will likely not see the playoffs but should see and increasingly better team hit the ice in the second half of this season.

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#35 God
November 02 2013, 09:39AM
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To all those stressing patience, I urge you to compare the Oilers to the Aves. Top to bottom the teams aren't terribly different.

How has Roy been able to get these results from his team after a terrible last season? Why does it appear that Eakins has zero effect on the team?

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#37 "Frank the dog"
November 02 2013, 09:47AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Knowing Sheldon Souray brother in law, was told the harassment and childless games Kevin Lowe and Craig Mactavish were giving Souray when he was hurt.

_____________________________________________________________________

There are some holes in your theory. MacTavish was in Chicago (Wolves) when Souray was having a difficult time here. Craig wasn't back in the fold here till long after this issue was set in stone. It was Tambellini and Lowe ruling the roost here then.

Seems like an odd error to make, when it came to your story. It appears to be as much fabrication as it is fact, if you ask me.

But this does coincide with my observation that as a weak leader Tambo backed the young guns over the veterans and the coaches.

Hence my optimism that this year's losing record is the bitter pill we have to swallow as MacT and Eakins have the b@lls to follow through.

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#38 "Frank the dog"
November 02 2013, 09:50AM
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oilredemption wrote:

I wish the oilers could be more like the flyers and push back a little after being throttled. Show some emotion. Show you care and stick up for your team. Show we aren't a bunch of girls and easy to play against. Show some damn pride...

Hall injured his ankle trying to do that. Gags has frequently stood up against opponents way bigger than him. Jones just did that too recently. I'm hoping that Eakins finds a way to encourage that behavior.

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#39 Neal
November 02 2013, 09:51AM
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It's interesting that so many people are now coming around to realizing that this team cannot win with 6 (7 if you include 83 - it's arguable) of their big minutes guys all being smaller soft stickhandlers. Again, I really believe Mac sees this. Lowe tried to recreate The Boys On The Bus thing, but it's a different era and a different game now.

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#40 albertaboy19
November 02 2013, 09:57AM
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Oilers lose game tonight but come together as a team when an unexpected line brawl starts as the Oilers are down 5-0. Howard gets punched out by Dubnyk, Nuge gets into his first professional fight against Zetterberg Oilers rally as a team and go on a 12 game winning streak after the line brawl

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#41 Hammer
November 02 2013, 10:02AM
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Correction: Great organizations come start with the top. The oilers don't have it. Knowing Sheldon Souray brother in law, was told the harassment and childless games Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini were giving Souray when he was hurt. Not once did they see him in the hospital but they had time to call him and complain and harassed him. Signs of a great organization. I feel sorry for the young talent. Young guns need to get out of Sour Oil City in order to succeed. I want them to succeed, not under Kevin Lowe or Craig Mactavish.

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#42 Hammer
November 02 2013, 10:03AM
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"Frank the dog" wrote:

But this does coincide with my observation that as a weak leader Tambo backed the young guns over the veterans and the coaches.

Hence my optimism that this year's losing record is the bitter pill we have to swallow as MacT and Eakins have the b@lls to follow through.

Correction Steve Tambellini Craig Mactavish was on my mind about another incident

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#43 a lg dubl dubl
November 02 2013, 10:12AM
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Hammer wrote:

Correction: Great organizations come start with the top. The oilers don't have it. Knowing Sheldon Souray brother in law, was told the harassment and childless games Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini were giving Souray when he was hurt. Not once did they see him in the hospital but they had time to call him and complain and harassed him. Signs of a great organization. I feel sorry for the young talent. Young guns need to get out of Sour Oil City in order to succeed. I want them to succeed, not under Kevin Lowe or Craig Mactavish.

By call him and complain, and harass him do you mean they called to see how the injury was coming along, or can anything be done to speed up recovery?

I don't expect my boss to come see me at the hospital. Souray is a prema-dona plain and simple. Sure Dithers should have traded him for something in return instead of sending him to the minors but Souray shouldn't have gone to the media crying that they never came to the hospital.

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#44 Soccer Steve
November 02 2013, 10:23AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Very interesting and appreciated insight. The Average Fan, however, simply sees the one constant in all the misery.

I'm not one that grabs a megaphone and a flaming stick but I think the point that is trying to be made with calling for Lowe to resign is; What's the worst that could happen?

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#45 a lg dubl dubl
November 02 2013, 10:23AM
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Kaleta is on waivers, could use a $hit disturber like that on the oilers....

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#46 EP
November 02 2013, 10:44AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Kaleta is on waivers, could use a $hit disturber like that on the oilers....

If he could clean up his game a little bit, he'd look good on the 4th line instead of Eager.

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#47 D
November 02 2013, 10:45AM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

Very interesting and appreciated insight. The Average Fan, however, simply sees the one constant in all the misery.

I'm not one that grabs a megaphone and a flaming stick but I think the point that is trying to be made with calling for Lowe to resign is; What's the worst that could happen?

I'm no expert, but have run a fair share of small companies over the years. Every time somebody like Lowe resigns or is fired, the organization loses institutional knowledge - whether it's something as large as strategy or as small as the minute details of a contract negotiation.

I was happy to see Tambellini go and have argued numerous times that you can't build a winner with someone who couldn't get the GM slot with the Vancouver Canucks. But even with Tambellini's departure, institutional knowledge was lost for the Oilers. MacTavish, being privy to most of that knowledge, was able to slide in easily. But there is still a loss of continuity at a business level.

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#48 dougtheslug
November 02 2013, 10:48AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I don't share the frustration of fans out there but I certainly do understand it. That said, I didn't write this item as a vehicle for people to pile on Kevin Lowe, although it was certainly predictable some would.

Let me say this about Kevin, and you can take it for what you think it's worth. I've covered sports for 30 years now as a writer. In that time, I've never met a person more driven to win than Lowe. He has a competitive streak that, frankly, borders on unhealthy at times. I've seen it. No second-hand information here.

At the same time, I can't think of anybody I've met who cares about this organization more, was prouder to wear the jersey or who wants to see the team succeed as badly as he does. This I know, again, first-hand.

None of the above, of course, means Lowe deserves a pass on the failures fans have endured these last several years. He doesn't. It's not to say, "Poor Kevin. He cares so much, so look the other way and give him a break." Results matter. Always have, always will. Context, though, is important

Anybody who thinks Lowe is sitting in the background, pulling the strings, enjoying a fat pay cheque and shrugging his shoulders in indifference while MacT takes the bullets as GM is mistaken. If you're in the growing camp that is shouting, "Kevin Lowe can go to hell," you can take some solace. He is there now.

I'm not interested if he cares about winning. I'm much more interested if he knows anything about building a winner in the modern NHL. And the answer seems to be no.

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#49 a lg dubl dubl
November 02 2013, 10:51AM
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EP wrote:

If he could clean up his game a little bit, he'd look good on the 4th line instead of Eager.

Indeed, either way I wouldn't mind him on the team, The Oilers need a player like that, he knows how to get the other team off their game a bit, and likes to go after the big names on other teams.

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#50 oilfaninvic
November 02 2013, 10:57AM
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@gongshow

Regarding Kevin Lowe:

I think he knows a thing or two about losing at this stage of his Oiler's presidency.

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