A WEEKEND TO FORGET

Brian Sutherby
November 11 2013 03:30PM

After a weekend of sharing the same bed with Wanye in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, I have a lot of catching up to do. Please forgive me for being a couple days behind, I’m still haunted by the awkward leg touches as I’m sure many of you are haunted from the Oilers weekend.  I figure I’ll weigh in with my two cents even if I’m behind.

BROKEN RECORD

Not much on the ice has changed in "Oilerland" I see, just more of the same inconsistencies, and no results. I’m not going to dive back into each game and dissect them because it’s the same things that are costing them. To many turnovers, poor defensive zone play, and a lack of any physical element to their game. It’s tough to win in this league with those deficiencies.

TRADE

I struggled a bit with seeing Ladi Smid moved. In past years I’ve never gotten to watch many Oiler games but I remember playing Smid and he was always a nuisance if you were in and around the Oiler net. He was annoying during and after the play.

Nothing was different this year from that standpoint.  I saw him as the only guy that made it tough to be in front of the net or got in someone's face when a teammate needed. He wasn’t the toughest or scariest guy in the world but he was the only guy that I saw that was willing to do it every night on this blue line.  A willingness to compete and be uncomfortable for your teammates is a great thing in any dressing room.

This team needs a shakeup no doubt and I know with the Bryzgalov addition something had to give but when the main concern people have with this team is the makeup and the Oilers having too much soft small skill, why ship out the only guy on the back end that didn’t play a soft game?

WHY NOT

I have seen some who are concerned with the Ilya Byzgalov addition to this locker room and I can understand the concern. I just don’t see at this point how can it get any worse?

The team is a mile below .500 and whatever is happening in that dressing room at the moment would appear to be rock bottom.  It's not all Dubnyk's fault, he's played great at times and struggled during other stretches but if there is a cheap opportunity out there to potentially get better, I think at this point you take it.

UPSIDE

The hope is this guy has learned from his antics in Philly and can provide some depth at the position and maybe the Oil get a bargain moving forward. Thinking somehow this guy is going to come in and hurt a locker room that was 4-11-2 and has since chalked up 2 more losses, I don’t quite understand.

Many goalies are a little different to begin with, if he’s a problem in the room or hurting the focus of young players on the importance of winning then it’s a one year deal and you move on. He can still be sent to the minors or sent home if things get stupid this year as well.

They aren’t winning as is, so I don’t mind the gamble at all. I just wish they didn’t move Smid to do it.

GAGNER

He’s slowly starting to catch some heat here for the start to the season he’s had. Coming off his injury, it obviously hasn’t been the start to his already shortened season that he envisioned but what did you really expect? Struds did a piece on him at the start of the year and how behind the eight ball he would be coming back from this injury and the awful timing of it to boot.

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY

This is such a tough decision for players. The majority of athletes will do whatever it takes to be with their team even if they are not 100% healthy. This leaves players very vulnerable to scrutiny if they are not performing. Lost in it all is the fact he's hungry to play and willing to sacrifice his body for his teammates.

The players know what he is enduring and I’m sure they love him for it. I've played with several guys that had to be 100% healthy for 2 weeks before suiting up. This didn’t always sit well inside the walls of a dressing room because rarely is anyone that healthy during the season.

It’s easy to pile on guys right now when things are going bad and things haven’t been good for Ganger so far, but let’s give the guy some credit.  How easy would it have been for him to sit back and say “boy things are going rough around here, I'm just going to let the boys handle this rough patch and I'll sit up here in this cozy press box for a couple more weeks, till things settle down.” Some guys would do that.

This is a guy that's still clearly hurting, you can see it on the bench when he takes any kind of hit and instead of taking the easy route he chose to dive head first into this fire with his teammates.

He’s another small skilled guy and who knows what the future may hold for him and others on this squad the way things are going but I applaud him for his gutsiness even if things haven’t started that great. I wouldn’t have expected much else from a guy with a shattered jaw, injuries take time.

BATTLE OF THE BLADES

If you missed it, please don’t forget to vote for our friend Struds who was in the final last night on CBC. If he wins, a nice chunk of change will be donated to a local charity here in Edmonton, The Inner City Children’s Program.

With as much losing that is going on around here, let’s all step up to get a big win for Struds and a great local charity.  It's not too late, please vote here.

C76a4c69c9026575581a01d4ac34111c
A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#51 Eulers
November 11 2013, 06:21PM
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It's spelled 'Ganye', not 'Ganger'!!

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#52 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:23PM
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Okay....now this is getting serious....

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1m

If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

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#53 D
November 11 2013, 06:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Larionov going public is about as close to a trade demand as you can get.

Did you notice, after Yakupov scored last night, only newcomer Phillip Larson, was genuinely congratulating Yakupov while Hall and others barely acknowledged him?

Big trouble brewing kids.

I noticed that on an Eberle goal a while back as well - he was kind of avoiding Yak. I questioned then if there was a dressing room problem.

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#54 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:40PM
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mlcselli wrote:

DSF, I'm being serious when I ask you this--what do you predict as far as the team he's traded to and the return? I think that MacT is going to play hardball and we will get one helluva defence man.

MacT is the one who will be dealing from a position of weakness. His cards are already on the table.

There will be very few teams interested in acquiring a player who's agent is involved like this.

Reminds me of the Cody Hodgson situation in Vancouver.

I wouldn't be one bit surprised if all the talk with Philly over the last week involved Yakupov but MacT (Lowe in reality) couldn't get what he wanted out of Holmgren.

Montreal might bite but no way they'll move a top pairing D for Yakupov.

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#55 Kirk brackenberry
November 11 2013, 06:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Larionov going public is about as close to a trade demand as you can get.

Did you notice, after Yakupov scored last night, only newcomer Phillip Larson, was genuinely congratulating Yakupov while Hall and others barely acknowledged him?

Big trouble brewing kids.

Why is this trouble? Given this teams ineptitude in making necessary trades I think a forced one is something to celebrate. We can't keep all the kids and well I personally would rather see Ganja or Eberle go, Yak is fine....just don't F this up and get an actual NHL top DMan for this kid.

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#56 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:50PM
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Kirk brackenberry wrote:

Why is this trouble? Given this teams ineptitude in making necessary trades I think a forced one is something to celebrate. We can't keep all the kids and well I personally would rather see Ganja or Eberle go, Yak is fine....just don't F this up and get an actual NHL top DMan for this kid.

Maybe they can trade him to Calgary for Ladislav Smid. 😳

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#57 James
November 11 2013, 07:19PM
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@DSF

I actually think you may be right here. Before I read your comment, reading the ones above it, this was my immediate thought.

I will probably get trashed for this, but I think Hall really drive this kind of garbage. I don't know why, but something about that kid just rubs me the wrong way. Is he skilled? Yes. Does he drive the play? Absolutely. However, there is something wrong with his off-ice attitude, I just get that feeling. Not that he's rude in interviews or whatever, but something is off there and his buddy Eberle is not the same kind of leader...that kid is more of a follower for sure. If Hall says it, Ebs is probably buying into it.

I feel for Yak. It's clear he's struggling and it's also clear that he is being shut out somehow. Cliques are bad news. Morale isn't going to improve with high school BS. IMO, Yak shouldn't be the one shipped out if this is the case...break up the Heathers.

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#58 DSF
November 11 2013, 07:22PM
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James wrote:

I actually think you may be right here. Before I read your comment, reading the ones above it, this was my immediate thought.

I will probably get trashed for this, but I think Hall really drive this kind of garbage. I don't know why, but something about that kid just rubs me the wrong way. Is he skilled? Yes. Does he drive the play? Absolutely. However, there is something wrong with his off-ice attitude, I just get that feeling. Not that he's rude in interviews or whatever, but something is off there and his buddy Eberle is not the same kind of leader...that kid is more of a follower for sure. If Hall says it, Ebs is probably buying into it.

I feel for Yak. It's clear he's struggling and it's also clear that he is being shut out somehow. Cliques are bad news. Morale isn't going to improve with high school BS. IMO, Yak shouldn't be the one shipped out if this is the case...break up the Heathers.

This.

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#59 James
November 11 2013, 07:29PM
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@DSF

Like I said, it's probably not the popular opinion but it's the feeling I get. I'm actually pretty thankful he wasn't gifted the captaincy if there is something going on in the locker room. If what we think is true, and I'm not saying it is for sure, then that would have been a terrible choice. Gifted players don't necessarily make the best choice, you need to consider all aspects of the person.

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#60 Shooter
November 11 2013, 07:43PM
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I'd trade Yak in a heartbeat but only for the right deal. Nobody in this league and especially this team is untouchable... for the right deal. Please get some big tough player or players in return.

The Smid deal was not the right deal. We traded a warrior for another soft forward and a goalie prospect. If the goalie turns out to be a starter in the future then maybe it was worth it in the long run, but this team needs help now.

Any word on the Kevin Lowe firing? I hear there's a senior hockey team in Bentley, AB looking for a new prez. Funny thing is they probably wouldn't take Lowe. LOL.

Mr. Lowe, is your fat paycheck really worth all the ill will from the fans? You were a great player but you are tarnishing your image as the days go by. Be a man. Admit your mistakes and step down. This is a complete train wreck and you've been driving the train for 13 years sir. Don't make your buddy Katz fire you. That's an awefull thing to make a buddy do. Do the right thing and go away.

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#61 madjam
November 11 2013, 07:57PM
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Yak going back - home that is , to develop his game there ? Trade seems out of the question .

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#62 Dockstaff
November 11 2013, 08:11PM
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@ubermiguel

I was literally writing the same thing in Lowetide's posting.

Twice against Chicago he stood between the slot and the dot, no where near a Blackhawk jersey. One one the pass came from the boards to the slot and in the net. Yes the Dman was no where to be seen, but that is the job of the centre, to support your D and take their position when they are out.

Gagner just doesn't get this! Move to the wing.

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#65 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 04:32PM
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vetinari wrote:

I have a feeling that any trades in the near future will either have to be an overpay on our end (like the Smid trade) or will be for reclamation projects from someone else's "used" bin.

IMHO it is okay to overpay to get what you need. As long as you get what you need.

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#66 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 04:33PM
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Stack Pad Save wrote:

If you are right than what does it say about a manager willing to lose a trade. What does that say the organization thinks. If.....If you are correct that means the rebuild is still going on for many more years......I so hope you are wrong.

Just to be clear, I didn't say they were willing to loose a trade, I think they were willing to be perceived as losing the trade. That is, that they knew fans and others taking it at face value, would consider it a loss....but that they themselves, we're working from a rational, perhaps including the five things listed above, that made the deal acceptable/palatable for them given their circumstances, and what they felt they knew about the quality/ value of the players involved.

Really I'm just trying to make sense of it.....to conjecture what they might have been thinking.

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#67 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 04:37PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Just to be clear, I didn't say they were willing to loose a trade, I think they were willing to be perceived as losing the trade. That is, that they knew fans and others taking it at face value, would consider it a loss....but that they themselves, we're working from a rational, perhaps including the five things listed above, that made the deal acceptable/palatable for them given their circumstances, and what they felt they knew about the quality/ value of the players involved.

Really I'm just trying to make sense of it.....to conjecture what they might have been thinking.

That is the problem. Why would you ever want to make that trade? It was a loss, they did not need cap cap space, they had enough room for Bryz. The whole problem with that trade is actually What you said and I agrees with your points. But if that is what Oilers management were thinking it makes them incompetent.

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#68 Stack Pad Save
November 11 2013, 04:52PM
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@Brian Sutherby

What would be a players reaction in the dressing room to a trade like this? Would they be grumbling, ignoring it???

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#69 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 04:57PM
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Brian Sutherby wrote:

I hope it was only 3 you listed. I'm sure many played a part actually but I hope it wasn't 1,2, 4 or 5 because I wouldn't have chosen that player for rash moves.

Eakins wasn't playing him as much as Smid had in the past. Perhaps there was something there Eakins didn't like? I don't understand that either however.

I don't believe from the things I've heard or seen about Smid it had anything to do with his character in the dressing room. Quite the opposite actually. He appeared to be a great teammate and dressing room guy.

If we follow your logic...and I tend to agree with you.....then the one thing that we can perhaps conclude is that there was no interest by any team in the league for any Oiler player/contracts that were less value than Smid. Therefore it had to be him by default........no one wanted Hemsky or Jones or Nick Schultz, or Joensuu, or Ryan Smyth etc

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#70 Wanye
November 11 2013, 04:59PM
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PFFT you wish we shared a bed. I spent the weekend in Dubai with supermodels lined 10 deep.

*combs hair using a kitchen fork found on ground*

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#71 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:24PM
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Eulers wrote:

It's spelled 'Ganye', not 'Ganger'!!

Nope.

"Ganja"

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#72 Eddie Shore
November 11 2013, 06:27PM
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DSF wrote:

Okay....now this is getting serious....

Craig Custance ‏@CraigCustance 1m

If EDM unhappy with him, Larionov said Yak open to trade: “We’re willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that’s part of life.”

I'm not sure what Igor thinks he will gain by going public with this? I'm also not sure what Nail thinks he deserves from the team but his play has not warranted increased opportunity. The circus continues...

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#73 D
November 11 2013, 06:43PM
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DSF wrote:

It's so "high school" but I think Yakupov may be being shunned by the other young guns.

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

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#74 nick
November 11 2013, 06:44PM
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Brian Sutherby wrote:

I hope it was only 3 you listed. I'm sure many played a part actually but I hope it wasn't 1,2, 4 or 5 because I wouldn't have chosen that player for rash moves.

Eakins wasn't playing him as much as Smid had in the past. Perhaps there was something there Eakins didn't like? I don't understand that either however.

I don't believe from the things I've heard or seen about Smid it had anything to do with his character in the dressing room. Quite the opposite actually. He appeared to be a great teammate and dressing room guy.

I think that the trading of Smid was a useless and classless act by the MacT. This guy was character through and through, A guy like Ference can't match up to Smid and don't say Ference won the cup because on that Boston team I could win a cup. Brutal treatment of a guy who gave up free agency to stay with the Oilers. They just lost one of the few guys in that dressing room with Heart and desire. Too many passengers on the Oiler train and Smid was one of the few workers.

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#75 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:52PM
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D wrote:

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

I expect you're right.

My guess is the Hall-Eberle cabal.

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#76 DSF
November 11 2013, 06:54PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Maybe Katz should have listened to McGregor and stayed out of the way when the management wanted to draft Murray, it was his decision to draft Yakapov and that is a fact. The Oiler's have a new title to Stauffers daily radio show after the teams start and recent moves, It is now called "Oiler's WTF Now".

That's hilarious.

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#77 James
November 11 2013, 07:27PM
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Also, thanks for the player perspective Brian. I appreciate the insider views you and Struds provide. I feel for Sam too, tough break...literally. Eakins is misuing him though, he should be brought back more slowly than he is, or perhaps on the wing. Eakins isn't doing him any favours by inserting him in the top two lines and making him play large minutes just because the team is tanking. We're not winning the season anyway, no harm in bringing Gagner along slowly.

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#78 DAVE
November 11 2013, 07:55PM
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MAC T SIGNED FERENCE, just so he could trade Smid. what a geniuos.

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#79 jr_christ
November 11 2013, 08:58PM
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It's interesting that people have brought it up... I certainly didn't want to be the first. However, I am glad it was brought up. I can't stand watching Hall throw his tantrums on the ice... It's pathetic. I did notice when Hall snapped on Yak after a weak shot on goal which was held. I didn't think much of it... But I have been wondering for about a month if maybe Hall is a bit of a negative nancy in the dressing room.

If Yak wants out, I can't really blame him. I am sure there is only enough room for Hall's ego in the dressing room.

This is like that book - lord of the flies. You put boys in charge and this is what happens. We need veterans leading this team ... Not a whiny little bitch whom everyone seems to look up to.

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#80 Spydyr
November 12 2013, 04:20AM
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Dockstaff wrote:

I was literally writing the same thing in Lowetide's posting.

Twice against Chicago he stood between the slot and the dot, no where near a Blackhawk jersey. One one the pass came from the boards to the slot and in the net. Yes the Dman was no where to be seen, but that is the job of the centre, to support your D and take their position when they are out.

Gagner just doesn't get this! Move to the wing.

I'm all for moving him to the wing.On another team.

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#81 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 03:47PM
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So Brian, what's your take on why they chose to move Smid?

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#83 Pucker
November 11 2013, 04:20PM
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He should be on the wing. Maybe with Boyd and Joensuu.

something like: RNH-Hall-Ebs Arco-Hemsky-Yak Boyd-Gags-Joensuu . . . I guess that leaves Acton-Smyth-Jones

Hemsky & Yak together kind of scares me but I've been quite impressed with Arco's work. Yak is going to get better.

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#84 vetinari
November 11 2013, 04:28PM
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I have a feeling that any trades in the near future will either have to be an overpay on our end (like the Smid trade) or will be for reclamation projects from someone else's "used" bin.

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#86 Rama Lama
November 11 2013, 04:55PM
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Eakins has been given ideas by many ( insiders and outsiders) on how to use his players. He said right from the beginning he was not going to shelter players?

Fair enough, but why would you not utilize players is roles and positions that highlights their game positively? In stead he puts players seemingly willy nilly where ever he wants.

I'm starting to think he is purposely exposing the weaknesses of his team.......to which end I cannot begin to understand. It's become painfully obvious he does not subscribe to the notion of having role players,.............. in his world every should be able to work the PP, and PK, and fight, all at the same time if necessary.

I think we all can agree the last player that needed to be changed is Ladi........but here is where we sit. Can things get any stranger in Oilerland?

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#87 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 05:08PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Eakins has been given ideas by many ( insiders and outsiders) on how to use his players. He said right from the beginning he was not going to shelter players?

Fair enough, but why would you not utilize players is roles and positions that highlights their game positively? In stead he puts players seemingly willy nilly where ever he wants.

I'm starting to think he is purposely exposing the weaknesses of his team.......to which end I cannot begin to understand. It's become painfully obvious he does not subscribe to the notion of having role players,.............. in his world every should be able to work the PP, and PK, and fight, all at the same time if necessary.

I think we all can agree the last player that needed to be changed is Ladi........but here is where we sit. Can things get any stranger in Oilerland?

I don't really go in for the ....they're dumping the season on purpose conspiracies....but if I were to indulge in that kind of thinking....it might be smart on the part of the coach to shine a light on all the weaknesses he sees/perceives, very early into his tenure, knowing that he is in the honeymoon period of his contract. It would be one way to covertly force the hand of upper management to make changes that up to now they have been unwilling/ unable to make. Eakins may be rolling the dice in an attempt to increase his chances long term. Maybe he sees it as a team full of smurfs...but can't say that to management....otherwise they'd question why he took the job in the first place.

Give me a minute....I'm going to run this by Mel Gibson.....

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#88 Kirk brackenberry
November 11 2013, 06:57PM
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This does truly make you sat WTF. This rutterless ship is going to truly crash for good. Is there anyone within this organization that can save this mess...don't think so....it's up to the owner to flush these bums but we know that ain't going to happen. What a sad state it has become.

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#89 DCC
November 11 2013, 07:40PM
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DSF wrote:

It's so "high school" but I think Yakupov may be being shunned by the other young guns.

You are spot on DSF....this has been witnessed at recent player events.

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#90 book¡e
November 11 2013, 07:42PM
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D wrote:

Agreed. For the record, if there is a dressing room problem/cancer with the guns, I don't believe it's Yakupov.

Remember Yakupov doesn't go to bars or party. The boys have often been seen partying after loses.

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#91 James
November 11 2013, 07:44PM
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@DCC

Care to elaborate?

Wasn't Yak pretty close with Gagner last season? Is that still the case? I know they tweeted each other a bit last season, but I didn't notice it with other players.

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#92 book¡e
November 11 2013, 07:46PM
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With that said, none of us know anything.

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#93 nrXic
November 11 2013, 08:17PM
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Anyone remember when Hall was berating Yak on the ice after a play (play ended with a Yak SOG and goalie held it for a whistle)?

This was prior to Hall's injury, not too long ago.

I couldn't understand it, myself. Seemed...rude.

I gave Hall the benefit of the doubt because at the whistle he was wrestled to the ground, maybe he wasn't happy with Yak not stepping in. But it just seemed so weird that I took note of it. Hall looked like a kid throwing a tantrum...against a fellow player.

I'm in Calgary so I don't get to listen to Sport Radio as much as I'd like, but has this stuff been covered in the Edmonton media?

If there is a high school clique going on, the only way to fix that is either bringing it out in the media so they step it down a notch, or trade them.

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