GDB 19.0: SURVIVAL

Jason Gregor
November 10 2013 11:14AM

I didn't pick the Oilers to make the playoffs this season, had them 10th, but I don't think anyone expected them to start the season this poorly; 4-12-2 in their first 18 games and tonight a date with the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

The Oilers have to play like they did in Tampa Bay or they could easily get blown away in the Windy City.

We could break down the stats. Goals for, goals against, PP, PK or any other stat, but we all know that won't be very flattering for the Oilers.

It would be easy to pile on the Oilers right now, and I've noticed many have. Every goal that goes in is either a major breakdown or bad goaltending. The other team is also paid to play and they are capable of making nice plays. Even if the Oilers were 12-4-2 they'd still be allowing goals.

Hockey is about mistakes, they will happen, but the key is trying to force the opposition to make more. We know that hasn't happened often enough, but that shouldn't be a surprise.

The Oilers aren't built to win more games than they lose. They just aren't.

Yesterday I noticed a debate raging about the Oilers depth, and some were suggesting the Oilers finally have lots of depth in their-top nine. Are they better than they used to be in that department? Yes, but they are a far cry from having lots of proven NHL depth. I'm sorry, but that is true.

The reality is the Oilers won't win consistently until the make up of their top-nine is changed. I and many others have written or said this for the past few years. The Oilers aren't heavy enough, don't have enough grit and they don't have enough consistent skill in their top-nine.

That isn't the player's fault. You can't expect them to suddenly become heavier, or more physical. The one thing they can control is their ability to make smart plays. They need to do that more frequently, but even then I'd only see them as a .500 or so team.

Some people believe the Oilers don't really know what they have in their top-nine because they haven't had all of them healthy at the same time. It is true the forwards are finally healthy, but I defy anyone to tell me why the Oilers don't know what they have up front.

We know what type of player Taylor Hall is. He is their most dominant forward.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still developing his overall game, but he's shown signs of what he can be.

We could describe every player's strength and weaknesses; we've seen them play enough. Marc Arcobello is the only surprise, and thus far he's been a pleasant one. Nail Yakupov has only played 60+ games, but we know where he needs to improve and what skills make him dangerous.

I don't need to see 20 games with a healthy group of forwards to know what the Oilers have. They will show great skill, good speed and creativity, but this team isn't going to win ugly games. They aren't going to overpower you down low. They won't consistently score goals from on top of the crease. They don't have that mixture, and the Oilers need to accept the weaknesses of the group as a whole, and find ways to fix it.

It doesn't mean they don't have good individual players, they do, but collectively as a group this team isn't going to succeed.

The same can be said for their defence.

They don't have any big, physical defencemen. Philadelphia dominated them down low yesterday, strictly by getting good body position. Even if Ladislav Smid was still on the team, the Flyers would have had success. Andrew Ference is now their most physical D-man, and it is unfair to expect him to lead the team in that department. He will battle guys his size, and guys bigger, but the Oilers need some heavy D-man who can stop teams from cycling down low.

WHAT NOW...

 There will be no magical fix for the Oilers. The players have to play smarter and more consistent, and Craig MacTavish has to look for trades that will help balance his lineup; the Oilers need more than just a top-pair D-man.

Until MacTavish tweaks his roster, the leaders need to keep the players unified. It won't be easy, but they owe it to themselves and the fans to compete every shift.

The other teams aren't going to go easy on the Oilers, in fact right now they might look at the Oilers as "point night." After the Detroit loss, Smid said, "Guys think it can't get worse, well it can," and he was correct. It is easy to let negativity overwhelm you. It happens for all of us, and in the case of the Oilers it will be extremely difficult to stay positive and upbeat, but they have to, or the final 64 games might be just as painful, or worse, than the first 18.

LINEUP...

Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Perron-RNH-Eberle
Smyth-Arcobello-Yakupov
Joensuu-Gordon-Jones

It is fair to suggest that Eakins could stick with the same lines for a few games, and hope they find some chemistry. Switching lines often hasn't helped them win. Every NHL coach switches things up when his team is losing, but maybe Eakins should buck that trend and stick with some combinations to see what happens. I'm not sure there is a right answer at this point, but he will keep his top two lines the same to start the game.

Luke Gazdic is out with an injured shoulder.

The same six D-men will play and Devan Dubnyk starts.

QUICK HITS...

  • My wife is the best. She suggested I use Alice Eve in Oilersnation. I'd never seen Alice before, but I would agree.
     
  • The Oilers are said to be one of the leading teams in terms of using analytics, yet they continue to lose and they are one of the softest teams in the league. Is it just a coincidence, or have they gone too far into looking at statistics rather than on-ice play? Using analytics as another tool is smart, but it leads me to some questions.

    Are the Oilers using them properly?
    Are they relying on them too much?
    Is it too early to see the benefits from them?
    Are they a non-factor, and the issues are mainly with scouting?

    I don't know the answers, but it is something worth looking at. They weren't very good before they started using analytics, so maybe that is the bigger problem. When a team is in the midst of an eight-year losing streak they need to look at every aspect of their organization and try to improve it.
     
  • Speaking of analytics, I'm curious why when Ryan Jones had a bad Corsi rating he was getting ripped, yet now that he is even at Corsi, has two goals in ten games and is +3 no one is suggesting he stay in the lineup?
     
  • Here is a great story on Brendan Shanahan. Shanahan will go into the Hockey Hall of Fame tomorrow, but it will be bittersweet because of his father's battle with Alzheimers. Shanahan was one of my favourite players, and he's very deserving of us his induction into the HHOF.
     
  • Taylor Hall returned from injury with a new stick, and the half-orange shaft matches the Oilers colours. He has two goals in two games, and he's abandoned the toe drag. I'm sure he will bring it back at some point, but he's focusing on beating guys with his speed. He has 60 points in his last 56 games.
     
  • I usually don't rip on the officials, because they have an extremely tough job and they get it right more than they get it wrong, but that 5 minute major to Anton Belov yesterday was the worst call of the season. He never hit Giroux in the head, so how does he get a match penalty? They worst part was they met for three minutes to come up with that decision.

    You can't reverse the call, I understand that, but at least come out after the game, or today, and admit you made a mistake. MLB admitted Angel Hernandez blew a call in May, and Jim Joyce earned a lot of respect when he came out and admitted he blew the call at first base that ruined Armando Gallaraga's perfect game.

    The Flyers never scored on the match penalty, although it did lead to a weak make up call, and a subsequent four-on-four where Giroux scored, but fans deserve hearing someone from the NHL admit it was a horrendous call.
     
  • If the Oilers deal Ales Hemsky, which seems likely, I hope it isn't just for prospects. You won't improve as an organization if you continually ship out proven NHL players for maybes. Dealing Smid for prospects only made sense if they had another trade happening and needed to clear cap space. MacTavish said he felt they had depth and could move Smid, but they don't have size right now. Klefbom and Nurse will add size when they make the team, but today's lineup is smaller without Smid.
     
  • A reminder to watch the Nation's own Jason Strudwick tonight on Battle of the Blades. If you don't watch it, please vote for him. If Struds wins, the Inner City Children's Program will get $50,000. That will make a major difference for many young kids in Edmonton. You can vote here later tonight or tomorrow.

TONIGHT....

GAME DAY PREDICTION:  The Oilers have played the Hawks tough the past few seasons, but I don't see a miracle happening tonight. Hawks win 5-3.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Hall picks up two points. Hall has 15 points in 10 career games vs. the Hawks.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The comment section is filled with positive, up beat comments. Fans decide to pull a George Costanza, and write the opposite of what they feel. Everything in Costanza's life was going wrong....

"Why did it all turn out like this for me? I had so much promise. I was personable. I was bright. Oh, maybe not academically speaking, but I was perceptive. I always know when someone's uncomfortable at a party. It all became very clear to me sitting out there today, that every decision I've ever made in my entire life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat... It's often wrong."

After that riveting speech George decides to do the opposite of everything that is normal for him. Up is down, down is up....Later in the show Costanza is rewarded...

"A job with the New York Yankees! This has been the dream of my life ever since I was a child, and it's all happening because I'm completely ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgement I've ever had. This is no longer just some crazy notion, Elaine, Jerry. This is my religion."  

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 DSF
November 10 2013, 11:32AM
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Anyone who watched last night's Kings-Canucks game will know exactly what Gregor is talking about when he calls for some heaviness in the top 9.

The Canucks came out like gangbusters and, save for Quick, could have been up 2-3 goals early.

But as the game went along, the big, heavy Kings just wore down the Canucks and ended up winning 5-1.

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#2 joshgladu
November 10 2013, 11:54AM
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ryan jones gets ripped because he sucks at hockey.

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#3 Jesse
November 10 2013, 12:34PM
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Oilers need players like Sean Couturier they need to start looking for players like him.

Trade your #1 in 2014 for him. Something

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#5 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 10 2013, 02:18PM
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Analytic are used by most incorrectly (especially bloggers) The only true way to judge talent is with your own eye and if you cant pick out talent and proper play with your own eye then you just won't suceed in hockey as well. The Oilers procve it. MacT must be using analytics exclusively or there is no way he would sign bryz or hire a head coach over one phone conversation.

Let us face it the oiler organization is the laughing stock of professional sport in North America. They spend near the cap and get no results that justify it. They talk and talk and talk but never show quality. Every discussion we have about players or systems or coaches is irrelevent when management is just not good enough to be at an NHL level.

I have no intention of watching another game until Katz proves that his team is worth my time and i suggest my oiler fan brothers and sisters do the same to send the message.

BOYCOTT all Oiler merchandise and all concessions. Katz is only smart enough to understand profit so it is time to send him a message he can understand in Vancouver.

Sorry had to rant...again

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#6 Hemmercules
November 10 2013, 01:47PM
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The oilers are the best franchise in the NHL. Their management is second to none. Oilers dominate tonight, win 8-2 and proceed to run on a winning streak like no one has ever seen.

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#7 DSF
November 10 2013, 12:00PM
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OilClog wrote:

Everyone remembers Chicago beating all these "heavy" teams for another cup last season too.. Just saying

Phhttt...

Toews - 6'2" 210

Hossa 6'1" 210

Sharp 6'1" 200

Handzus 6'5" 215

Bickell 6'4" 225

Saad 6'1" 205

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#8 Primo
November 10 2013, 08:20PM
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Thank goodness the Oiler management and coaches have guaranteed your young guns they will not be traded.

In Calgary we hold everyone accountable. Don't produce you don't play or your gone!

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#9 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
November 10 2013, 11:20AM
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GDP: Chicago wins 7-2.

OGDP: Dubnyk get lit up for 4 in the first, including a softie from center ice.

NSOGDP: Duncan Keith lays out Taylor Hall while Hall is attempting to toe drag the puck across the Chicago blue line. In a fit of rage, Jordan Eberle leaves the bench and lays a beating on Keith in retribution. Unbeknownst to Eberle, one of his skate laces is actually undone when he jumps over the boards.

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#10 Spydyr
November 10 2013, 11:47AM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Groundhog day. Oilers lose.Bad defensive zone play.Eakins looks lost on the bench.Dubnyk lets in a softy.Gagner coasts back on the back check.MacT says we are done making moves for now.Or in other words the season is over.Who are we going to draft this year.

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#11 DSF
November 10 2013, 11:49AM
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An outsider view of the Oilers:

"Craig MacTavish stormed onto the scene.

He declared the Edmonton Oilers weren’t going to take it anymore. He promised to be tough. He would be aggressive. He was ready to lift this team from last place to a playoff spot with the greatest of urgency.

“I’m an impatient guy and I bring that impatience to this situation,” MacTavish said the day he was hired, April 15.

“I think we’re at the stage in terms of the cycle of our hockey club right now that we have to do some bold things.

“We have to expose ourself to some semblance of risk to try to move the team forward in a rapid fashion.”

So, what happened?

Five weeks into the NHL season and already the Oilers are thinking about next year. The Oilers, may in fact, be worse under coach Dallas Eakins and the club is stumbling around in last place in the West.

Where are all these “bold” moves MacTavish declared?

The Oilers sent Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy down the road to the Calgary Flames for a couple of prospects Friday and signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a one-year deal. With any luck, he’ll play well and be trade bait at the deadline.

No, folks, these aren’t blockbusters by any stretch. An NHL executive noted they are more like “distractions” to make Edmonton fans think moves are being made.

“It’s kind of like throwing a flare in the other direction,” said the executive."

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/09/where-are-all-the-bold-moves-edmonton-oilers-general-manager-craig-mactavish-promised-when-he-took-over

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#12 mackb
November 10 2013, 11:16AM
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GDP: Not an Oilers win.

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#13 MessyEH!
November 10 2013, 11:51AM
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Oilers lose 9-2 Sammy Gagner winds up a -9 and the universe is righted.

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#14 A-Mc
November 10 2013, 12:21PM
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Somehow the #oilers show up for Chicago so I'm predicting an Oilers win 4-3.

Playoff hopes are long gone but the season is not lost. If macT can make some moves that clearly benefit the team, the remainder of this season can be used as time to mesh with one another; next season is when the oilers hit the ground running. If macT sits tight, nothing will change and we can expect more of the same.

Prospects won't help us right now. Imo, klefbom and Nurse won't help right now either. We need to adjust the team to be a .500 team with out those two and when they are ready they can bump us into the 90-98pt range to start making the playoffs.

Plz MacT, don't let the smid trade be solely for bryz...plz no...

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#15 HOFFF
November 10 2013, 12:25PM
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DSF wrote:

An outsider view of the Oilers:

"Craig MacTavish stormed onto the scene.

He declared the Edmonton Oilers weren’t going to take it anymore. He promised to be tough. He would be aggressive. He was ready to lift this team from last place to a playoff spot with the greatest of urgency.

“I’m an impatient guy and I bring that impatience to this situation,” MacTavish said the day he was hired, April 15.

“I think we’re at the stage in terms of the cycle of our hockey club right now that we have to do some bold things.

“We have to expose ourself to some semblance of risk to try to move the team forward in a rapid fashion.”

So, what happened?

Five weeks into the NHL season and already the Oilers are thinking about next year. The Oilers, may in fact, be worse under coach Dallas Eakins and the club is stumbling around in last place in the West.

Where are all these “bold” moves MacTavish declared?

The Oilers sent Ladislav Smid and Olivier Roy down the road to the Calgary Flames for a couple of prospects Friday and signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a one-year deal. With any luck, he’ll play well and be trade bait at the deadline.

No, folks, these aren’t blockbusters by any stretch. An NHL executive noted they are more like “distractions” to make Edmonton fans think moves are being made.

“It’s kind of like throwing a flare in the other direction,” said the executive."

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/11/09/where-are-all-the-bold-moves-edmonton-oilers-general-manager-craig-mactavish-promised-when-he-took-over

All points we already know and we're discussed. But thanks for the update.

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#16 PutzStew
November 10 2013, 02:40PM
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Peter wrote:

Elliott Friedman has mentioned many times the Oilers do lots of analytics. Is he mistaken?

Must be because no one knows anything about hockey in Edmonton, but Edmonton fans. It's because they are so much smarter then everyone else.

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#17 D-Unit
November 10 2013, 07:17PM
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Nice play 36, nothing like losing your stick then being a spectator while the pass goes by you for a goal. Accountability should mean that's his last shift.....tonight or in the NHL...ever.

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#18 Rocket
November 10 2013, 08:23PM
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Predictably Bad result but an entertaining game to watch. Dubnyk played well even with his one-soft-goal-every-game. The kids looked alright too. They just got beat by a better team. Oh well, next....

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#19 rob
November 10 2013, 11:21AM
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Labarbra start= gdp hawks 9 oil 2

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#20 bazmagoo
November 10 2013, 01:48PM
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@Jason Gregor

What are you basing your faith in Eakins on?

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#22 Jay Gray
November 10 2013, 11:31AM
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Hall-Gagner-Hemsky

Perron-RNH-Eberle

Smyth-Arcobello-Yakupov

Joensuu-Gordon-Jones

Despite all the doom and gloom that should be tonight's game, I really like this 4th line. This is the 4th line of a contender.

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#23 OilClog
November 10 2013, 11:55AM
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DSF wrote:

Anyone who watched last night's Kings-Canucks game will know exactly what Gregor is talking about when he calls for some heaviness in the top 9.

The Canucks came out like gangbusters and, save for Quick, could have been up 2-3 goals early.

But as the game went along, the big, heavy Kings just wore down the Canucks and ended up winning 5-1.

Everyone remembers Chicago beating all these "heavy" teams for another cup last season too.. Just saying

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#24 Woodguy
November 10 2013, 12:03PM
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The Oilers are said to be one of the leading teams in terms of using analytics

No they're not.

They can best be described as "dabbling"

They don't even have an analytics department yet.

Dan Haight's a pretty bright guy, but he's just consulting and not on staff full time.

Also, the fruits of proper use of analytics take time as you use them mostly to make roster decisions.

Teams most heavily using them to my knowledge (know people who work/have done work for the teams) are San Jose, Chicago, Boston.

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#25 DSF
November 10 2013, 12:33PM
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120 stitches wrote:

I agree with Jay that it will be interesting to see them play 4 lines tonight that can actually play hockey especially on a back to back. All the good teams have 4 lines that can score ---a primary example being the team we are playing tonight. With the lack of size in our current lineup why not try going with a completely skill, speed lineup and just roll the lines. I would even add Omark to that mix as he reminds me of Ray Whitney when Whitney was trying to get established in the NHL. You will recall Whitney was at the Oiler training camp when he was about Omark's age and Lowe let him go for nothing. Just another example of bad player assessment--as was the case with Glencross, Hejda , Brodziak-- other players we desperately could use right now that were given away.

Ray Whitney had a 40 point season in the NHL when he was 21.

Omark is 26.

At Omark's age, Whitney scored 26G and 64P in the NHL.

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#26 Smokey
November 10 2013, 12:53PM
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Jay Gray wrote:

Hall-Gagner-Hemsky

Perron-RNH-Eberle

Smyth-Arcobello-Yakupov

Joensuu-Gordon-Jones

Despite all the doom and gloom that should be tonight's game, I really like this 4th line. This is the 4th line of a contender.

If you remove Jones.

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#27 DSF
November 10 2013, 01:15PM
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Harlie wrote:

Uh oh boys, I hope our uni's don't turn surgical green. I thought Rexall colors were orange and blue?

http://www.rexall.ca/

I can see Michaels licking his lips already, "and Nurse threads the needle like a surgeon!"

That colour scheme is also prominent on renderings of the new arena.

http://sportsbusinesscanada.com/held-hostage/

I'd wager the Oilers will be getting new uniforms when the new arena opens.

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#28 A-Mc
November 10 2013, 01:55PM
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@bazmagoo

I've seen a difference in the team for the better. I think the team is playing harder and is doing some good things. That being said, special teams have suffered since the Eakins hiring but already they are getting better again; it just took some time for players to adjust.

Personally I think the oilers are worse this year based on a total goaltending fail. The rest of the team makes mistakes for sure but they did that last year as well. This year, goaltending has failed and that's why we are 4-12-2 instead of 6-10-2 or 7-9-2 like we would have been last year.

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#29 Spoils
November 10 2013, 02:28PM
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oh heck, here's a rant:

The whole Lowe has 6 rings thing doesn't work for me. He has player rings - different skill set... I guess he was a part of Game 7 SCF and only a freak injury to Rolly stopped us...

And, I want to like MacT. Apparently he was key to bringing in Pronger.

Still, if I was Katz I would fire them all right now.

Rip it off quick. Bring in a whole new management team - let them decide if they want Eakins. Someone who has actually won a non-player SC before.

Do it really nicely - like have a special ceremony where we put up a statue of that famous picture where they all piled together at center ice and started the post stanley win team pic tradition. Heck they innovated upon winning! maybe at the new arena. And name the streets after them - including Lowe.

But still fire all ex-oilers in management. Start from scratch, the sooner the better. Make the bold moves now and work out the kinks in a lost year as opposed to a new season.

The reason is with no additional information it is safest to bet AGAINST Cronyism, nepotism, ineptitism...

Fact is the old boys club (who I will love forever) have thrown up all over themselves and are 4-12-2.

Business is business and this is damn serious business. this is the Oilers.

They should hate losing so much they should want to quit at this point.

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#30 PutzStew
November 10 2013, 02:46PM
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Ray wrote:

Jason....why is gags playing first line centre??????arcobello has deserved to play there and also is a better playmaker . Gags should be at the most 3rd line!!!!l. He missed a lot of games and should work himself into a position where he deserves to play on top line. Why do the oilers do this? Wasn't Eakins the one who said " we are not going to play players based on salary"?

Why is Lowe the President?

Why is MacT the Gm?

Why is Smith and Bucky assistant coaches?

Why is Smyth still playing?

Why is Howson back in Edmonton?

Is it coming clear yet?

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#31 Smokey
November 10 2013, 08:21PM
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What a frustrating game. Oilers play ok for portions of the game, but then leave guys open, don't pick up trailers that come in late. Dubby has got no rebound control, and no confidence. And some one tell me why Gagner is taking faceoffs against Toews, and playing more then Arcobello. Eakins is playing the heck outta him and he's not responding. He's not ready to play that much and his conditioning right now is terrible. Larson and Belov don't look good together defensively. Really could use a shut down guy with both of these guys.

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#32 YFC Prez
November 10 2013, 08:29PM
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@Primo

Beat it flame riff raff. Calgary flames are not a pillar of success and a model of a perfect franchise. It's not looking all that good down there either buddy. Pitts Chicago Detroit Boston are successfull franchises and ones that I would love the oilers to mold into. Not Calgary. Get off you pedestal.

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#33 Harry
November 10 2013, 08:38PM
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Dubnyk is absolutely ruining this season for the Oilers. He needs to be takin out back behind Rexall and put down.

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#34 Rama Lama
November 10 2013, 12:51PM
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I'm not totally buying the argument you are laying down here Jason........that being it's totally a heaviness issue with the team.

Look at Colorado, they were worse than the Oilers last year, made no significant player additions ( except for what they drafted) got a new coach ..........and are tearing up the league. Yes they have larger defensemen than we do but presumably they are slower as well.

So why is Colorado doing so well and we are not? Might I suggest the following:

We covet speed way too much.......we are so fast our players are constantly in front of the play and always seem to be skating past the puck.

We do not covet size enough.......should be drafting the best size /skill combination instead of speed/skill combination.

Drafting from the basic principle of back end first........start with goaltending, then defense and finally forwards.

Coaching........I find it incredulous that some how Dallas Eakins and his systems have not come under more scrutiny?? Why are Patrick Roy's systems producing so mightily given the similarities in our player profile? Why were our speciality teams to much better last year ? Our players have gained experience, we have brought in additional skill and grit, but continue to go in reverse??

Management........what's to say here except we have "six rings" and he knows how to win!

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#35 Rama Lama
November 10 2013, 01:22PM
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@bazmagoo

AMEN Brother!

Too bad he has been given a free ride from all the professional writers. I know no one wants a coaching change.......me included, but come on, exactly how many games do we need to lose before people figure out the players have tuned out DE?

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#36 bazmagoo
November 10 2013, 01:40PM
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@Jason Gregor

All fair points Jason, except for "The dumbest thing MacTavish could do is fire the coach and let the players believe once again that they aren't the issue."

The dumbest thing MacT could do is do nothing. This is the NHL, not training camp for coaches and gm's.

It's my opinion and I believe it will prove to be the right one. Only time will tell.

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#37 Rama Lama
November 10 2013, 01:56PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

@bazmagoo

They have killed off 17 of last 18 PPs...The players are finally starting to understand the system.

You two want to change it again?

Rama says players have tuned a coach out after 18 games and you think the coach is the issue???

Seriously. First of all they haven't tuned him out, and even if they had then I'd want to trade all the players. You don't tune out your coach.

Any system can work. You have to PLAY the system. Stop blaming coach. It is old. It has been proven that coaches haven't been issue in Edmonton.

The dumbest thing MacTavish could do is fire the coach and let the players believe once again that they aren't the issue. It is on the players to play smarter. Don't turn the puck over. Don't check the wrong guy.

Eakins hasn't invited a new system that no one has ever seen before. The players just need to be better. Starting with the goalie.

I really and I mean really, what to believe what you are saying in respect to coaching not being an issue.

Firstly, I find it hard to believe that our players all played for teams that never taught defense......just look at RNH under Sutter. Renny and Krueger both taught Defense.

Secondly, why are all our players (old and new) struggling from not knowing where to be and how to play? I know that we are young but we have a lot of veterans that are also confused playing out of position.

Thirdly, there is more to coaching than systems........even if you don't buy the argument of systems being a factor, just maybe his other coaching responsibilities ( line combinations, line march-ups, bench managment, player management) is causing some issues.

Gregor, simply asking the players to play better, is not working. I'm not against making changes on players ( only RNH & Hall should be kept) everyone else can be traded in my opinion.

Bold need to be Bold!

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#38 6 ring circus
November 10 2013, 02:16PM
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After watching this gong show for 8 seasons, Katz continues to let Kevin Lowe be the president of hockey operations.What is Kevin Lowe's record in the past 8 years? Does he not get a performance review,why does he continue to get a free pass, we have had 5 head coaches,1 general manager and 3 first over all picks all under the time he has been the President of hockey operations and we still cant get out of the NHL basement,we cannot attract top end free agents, because they want to play for a winner and we are no were near that,we cannot properly develop the players we have and the players that we do have, play similar styles and are small physically.Yet we are told to be patient, give it time and continue to get the same results,there had to be a plan or system in place on the type of team this was to become, that has obviously failed, its time whoever was in charge (Kevin Lowe) should be fired,a top NHL manager with experience should be brought in from a winning organization to turn this around, only then will Oiler's fans get the results and team that they deserve to watch and support.Is that asking to much?

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#41 Jay
November 10 2013, 05:33PM
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New page

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#42 Spydyr
November 10 2013, 08:11PM
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Yak sparks the team!!!

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#43 Johnnydapunk
November 10 2013, 08:16PM
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I'm sure I will be pooped on for saying this but the Oil didn't play that bad. They weren't world beaters obviously, but they weren't embarrassing like they were against the wings last week. Oh well.

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#44 outdoorzguy
November 10 2013, 10:36PM
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TDSM31 wrote:

Putting Gagner out to take a crucial draw with 23 seconds left is not players adjusting to a system...that's just bad coaching.

Jason Gregor has become the biggest apologist for the Oilers! Even Bob Stauffer will admit there are issues. Start to earn your paycheque and challenge the Oilers and their decisions. This is the problem in Edmonton...nobody will stand up to the team. Reporters refer to players by first name (Rishaug). The media is too comfortable in their role covering this mess. Be a reporter and ask the tough questions. In the last decade only one reporter (John MacKinnon) has had the balls to ask a tough question...and we got the six ring answer!!

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#45 AdamfromOilfans
November 10 2013, 11:51AM
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The Oilers are clearly NOT using analytics correctly because there's no advanced stat I've seen that says it's wise to ice a fourth line consisting of two face-punchers and a career AHL plug night after night.

Gazdic has been TERRIBLE at hockey, and yet he's played every game until now.

That's not the only problem on the Oilers, but if they were really relying heavily on advanced stats, they'd be trying to make sure that they didn't ice a line that gets no scoring chances and allows many even while playing against the worst players the opposition can throw against them.

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#46 DevoKnows
November 10 2013, 11:58AM
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Ya, I really think that 4th line looks good too!

What I don't get is, the whole city (Edm) knows that the Oilers are too small and soft, but Oiler management keep building a soft/small lineup every year! Why?

I know it will never happen, but I would have loved to seen a huge shake up, say a Eberle/Hemsky/Gagne/Petry to Philly for Giroux/Simmonds/Mezeros/Colborn blockbuster. Something like that to really "shake" things up. This may not be a fair trade (I dont follow Oilers or Philly that close) but something along those lines. Holmgrem is definitely the type of manager you want to work with, he loves to take chances.

what do you peeps think?

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#47 Woodguy
November 10 2013, 12:06PM
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Why won't Eakins put 4-93-14 back together?

They won the battle most nights against the toughest in the Western Conference last year.

89 is serious defensive liability and Eakins has had 4 at his side since they came back.

A lot of teams like to go power vs power and 89 is seeing the toughest assignments and he simply can't handle them.

The fact that 89 is in his 7th NHL year and you'd rather see 93 in 3rd NHL year out against the tough comp speaks volumes about the make up of this team.

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#48 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
November 10 2013, 12:39PM
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Just keep it close boys

We ain't gonna win this one

The reverse is true*.

* I Hope

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#49 Old School G
November 10 2013, 02:27PM
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I feel that when Joensuu and Pitlick are both back and healthy we will have some good functional size in the Top 9. Joensuu needs to stay healthy and find some rhythm. What's the latest on Pitlick?

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#50 kale
November 10 2013, 03:15PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Coaches aren't miracle workers. I don't recall a coach who was considered great not having great players.

It is 18 games. To suggest Eakins is awful based on is premature.

This team isn't built to win right now. Also if they had decent goaltending we all agree they'd be one or two games under .500 which would be about right for the talent they have.

True coaches are not miracle workers but I really do not get the logic that says that since we have had 5 coaches the coaching is not the problem. That is nonsensical. Hypothetically you put in five AHL goalies all who collectively have a 6 GA average, do you then say the goal tending is not the problem because we have put five goalies in and they all achieve the same results? When Eakins on home ice refuses to properly match lines because he believes his best should play against the other teams best and emass a minus 4, the coaching is a problem. He directly influences the teams chance of success. Eakins says they have to learn to play against the best unless they show they cant. At what point do they show they cant, when they are minus 3? minus 4? minus 5?

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