THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES

Lowetide
November 11 2013 09:41AM

The Edmonton Oilers are in a bad spot now, and with a 4-13-2 record to start the season you would be reading some 'fire the coach' articles by now if this were any other franchise. The thing is, they've done that already, seemingly every summer since 2009. I guess they could fire a coach in-season, but I don't think that is going to happen. The alternative? A wild and crazy ride.

Do you remember the famous line uttered by every GM who ever fired a coach? It goes "well, you can't fire all 23 players" and is followed by knowing nods from all gathered for the media conference. I think we're about the see the reverse, kind of a "well, you can't fire 23 coaches" plan.

It started with Ladislav Smid. Dallas Eakins didn't give him a lot of time on the Smid-Petry tandem and honestly Smid's skill set doesn't really fit the Eakins template (get puck, move puck, rinse, repeat) for puck handling. The Oilers sent away Smid partly for cap savings into the next seasons, and that may be the case with more players as the MacT-Eakins tandem makes more final decisions on who can and cannot handle the Eakins way.

Sam Gagner may be in some peril as a center in this system. It's early, and he's coming back from injury, but he's been exposed on this road trip by eye and by math--he's not in good positions, doesn't win enough battles and when he's not helping offensively 89 doesn't do enough without the puck to warrant top line minutes.

Dallas Eakins is the first coach in forever Edmonton has employed to deliver results without worrying too much about talent development. Eakins has to nurse Yakupov a little, but other than that it's a results oriented business and those who can't or won't will be shot out of a cannon to their new home.

Bottom line: Dallas Eakins has a right to ask each player on the ice to be defensively responsible. We've been talking about systems but these aren't new ideas brought from Mars, these are defensive tactics that require a player to adjust to the situation and mark his man. The results so far show some players have been able to adjust and flourish despite some stumbles, and others appear lost. Gagner has played far fewer games than the others, so there may be a sense that he can recover over time--however, at some point he's going to pay for indifference or inability with lost playing time, a change in position, or a ticket out of town.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

It began with Belov replacing Smid on the top 4, and resulted in Smid being sent away. Next step: Mark Arcobello at center, Gagner to the wing. The Edmonton Oilers have lost the season already and that is a horrible reality. The next logical step is to refine the roster to better reflect Dallas Eakins, culling those who don't fit and adding those who are a better match.

Stay close to your internet, this is going to get choppy.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 Andrew
November 11 2013, 06:48PM
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It seems to me one of the causes for bad morale is the players don't back each other up. Time and again I've seen Oiler players roughed up and become intimidated and timid. I've seen players like Smid and Petry hang their heads and sliink their way to the player's bench rather than stand up for their teammates. They aren't the only culprits for there are too many to mention. That has to change. I have seen some gutsy players stand up for teammates this year but far too few.

I think there are too many cowards on this team to have any chance of earning anyone's respect. The demoralized Oilers are a bunch of snivelling whiners Skill my ass...get some freaking balls already.

For all Taylor Hall's skill and passion he doesn't strike me as anything close to a team 'glue' guy. Someone needs to teach these guys what teamwork is. Ebs needs to set sside his Hollywood aspirations and focus on earning his 6 mil.

Eakins needs to shelve his bloated ego and get this thing turned around. I think there may be a circunstance that Mactavish's hand gets forced by fan and media pressure and aeakin's ass may be grass before the end o' season.

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#102 camdog
November 11 2013, 07:00PM
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@Mike the Coal Miner

Gags has never enagaged in the defensive zone, didn't last year and hasn't improved significanlty from his rookie season in my opinion. Although the injury is a real reason for his even poorer play, even when healthy he tends to float around in the d-zone. When Mact promised him the no trade clause I shuddered at the thought.

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#103 Bloodsweatandoil
November 11 2013, 07:20PM
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Just reading on ESPN, Yakupov's agent is meeting with Edmonton brass tomorrow. He is unhappy on how he is being used, Yakupov is willing for a trade. Larinov says EDM unhappy with him said Yak open to trade: "We're willing to make a move. Any team. That happens and that's part of life."

Not cool...what a primadonna!!!!

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#104 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 11:32AM
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Spydyr wrote:

All three?

Man, that is tough but yes. Then the team can finally start to move forward. I'm tired of going nowhere fast.

Would you?

It is tough!......tough to give up on the six years of hope that is represented in the three first overall picks.........but ...sadly.....yes....I would do it.....I would have more faith in Scotty , Lou and Mike building something special...than I have faith that something special is in the works now.

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#105 Rheal1
November 11 2013, 11:45AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Quick poll: Would you trade away Gagner, Eberle, Justin Schultz and David Perron IF if it resulted in that the team would make playoffs?

I meant "if the players in return" resulted....

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#106 Sizzay
November 11 2013, 12:45PM
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Said all last year trade gagner. Sell high. I feel for the guy with the broken jaw but he is being outplayed by arcobello, another guy I'd sell high on.

Move Arco and a pick for Andersen in Anaheim (similar to the bishop trade)

I'm interested in Colin Wilson personally. 6'1 215lbs who has been groomed under trotz. I believe he was drafted as a centre but could be ready to actually play centre now. He would be an interesting replacement t for gagner. I also like the idea of inquiring on Matthias or goc in Florida

Maybe hemsky and gagner for Colin Wilson and Craig smith.

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#107 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 12:46PM
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Randaman wrote:

Difference here is that we really don't qualify as a veteran team. Not compared to Vancouver anyways. I want to see Eakins given the full season to implement his way of doing things before I pass judgement. We weren't making the play offs anyway.

so if we are at 8-28-5 at the halfway point will you still have the same opinion?

How about a similar record at the trade deadline?

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#108 Randaman
November 11 2013, 01:12PM
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DSF wrote:

Pat Quinn might be available. :)

😀

Now that is funny! We need humorous in these dark times. Props to you

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#109 DSF
November 11 2013, 01:51PM
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madjam wrote:

This is the first season of the rebuild , what did you expect form new group ? Last rebuild was cancelled last year . Even if we finish 29th , that's still better than the 30th we were in last rebuild . Isn't progress fun ?

When do we get to cancel this rebuild? 💥

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#110 Smokey
November 11 2013, 01:57PM
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DSF wrote:

Pat Quinn might be available. :)

😀

I miss the old guys quotes and press conferences. He made loosing at least kinda entertaining. Him and Bryz would be pure gold all year in the media scrums. Always laughed at those in the media who painted Quinn as being outta touch. The only thing he never won was a Cup, he accomplished everything else. Even in those dark days of his tenure I felt that he never lost the room like Eakins, he just had no talent, an AHL goalie, and his only star was broken. Listening to Eakins, I wanna take to the bottle...no wonder he lost the team.

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#111 Gaz
November 11 2013, 04:38PM
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DSF wrote:

I followed the Vancouver coaching situation very closely and Gillis did NOT offer Eakins a job

He was interviewed the day after the Eakins interview and said he still had a few candidates to look at.

Seems like the Luongo/Schneider fiasco turned out just fine too.

Schneider - .915

Luongo - .911

Dubnyk - .876.

Oops.

You'll get no argument from me on the Oilers goaltending It also had nothing to do with my post...so I don't really see why you included it.

My point was: when Gillis claimed that it was his plan all along to move one of the two goalies, it made him look like as big a buffoon as any in the league.

And with all due respect: I don't think you know exactly what went on behind closed doors in Vancouver re: coaching hires, unless you are in fact Gillis, Aqulini, or any of those other folks...and you're not.

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#112 TheLines
November 11 2013, 11:44AM
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Oilers lines if I was coach 1.Hall-RNH-Yakupov 2.Perron-Gagner-Eberle 3.Joensuu-Gordon-Hemsky 4.Smyth-Arcobello-Jones D 1. N.Schultz-Petry D 2. Belov-J.Schultz D 3. Ference-Klefbom That's right KLEFBOM, bring in some more size get rid of these midget defenders.

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#113 mlcselli
November 11 2013, 12:08PM
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Gagner should never play centre especially with Arcs as a proven option. As far as the rest of the team, hopefully they will play a less stressful game when Bryz takes his place between the pipes. DD has shown that he can not be trusted to make the saves that are important to win the games. Whatever happened to him in the off season that has him such a hot mess, has really taken a toll on his performance. What a disappointing season for everyone. I wasn't expecting to make it to the post season, but I certainly didn't see this coming.

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#114 Rheal1
November 11 2013, 12:09PM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Quick poll: Would you trade away Gagner, Eberle, Justin Schultz and David Perron IF if it resulted in that the team would make playoffs?

Wow!!!! Not even 30 minutes in and 7 trashes! I suspect that some fans deserve the team they cheer for.

Boldness = results

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#115 Walter Sobchak
November 11 2013, 12:35PM
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DSF wrote:

Stamkos taken off the ice on a stretcher.

Does it look bad? That could be a potential huge blow for team Canada.

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#116 Gaz
November 11 2013, 01:19PM
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@Lawndemon

Oh please. I'm not sold on Eakins but lets not get too carried away here.

A lot of things are plausible. You know what else is? That Vancouver interviewed him and tried to hire him, but he chose Edmonton because they did a better sell job (and anyone who handles the Luongo/Schneider fiasco as poorly as Gillis did isn't much more credible than the current Oilers braintrust).

Who is the former NHL player?

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#117 D
November 11 2013, 01:33PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Personally I would rather be entertained by good competitive hockey. Then a run at the Cup.

I definitely agree with you on that one. But I think we're out of luck with this season. So a little schadenfreude is all that's really left for me.

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#118 DSF
November 11 2013, 02:00PM
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Gaz wrote:

Oh please. I'm not sold on Eakins but lets not get too carried away here.

A lot of things are plausible. You know what else is? That Vancouver interviewed him and tried to hire him, but he chose Edmonton because they did a better sell job (and anyone who handles the Luongo/Schneider fiasco as poorly as Gillis did isn't much more credible than the current Oilers braintrust).

Who is the former NHL player?

I followed the Vancouver coaching situation very closely and Gillis did NOT offer Eakins a job

He was interviewed the day after the Eakins interview and said he still had a few candidates to look at.

Seems like the Luongo/Schneider fiasco turned out just fine too.

Schneider - .915

Luongo - .911

Dubnyk - .876.

Oops.

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#119 Oiler Al
November 11 2013, 05:07PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Ralph left.

Simple, Eakin had the Fab danglers taking on the PK. These guys cant defend 5X5, what you expect them do get smarter and better on 4X5, with one less player on the ice.

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#120 superhall
November 11 2013, 11:33PM
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Gagner needs to go, I would have traded him the second after his first game this year when he watched that guy tap the puck in on a 2on 1when Sam could've easily stopped it....I think we've all been letting samwise get away with his lack of defensive effort for way to long

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#121 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 11:21AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Would you give up Hall, RNH, and Yakupov to get it?

All three?

Man, that is tough but yes. Then the team can finally start to move forward. I'm tired of going nowhere fast.

Would you?

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#122 I Remember the Orange Jerseys
November 11 2013, 11:33AM
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Randaman wrote:

I think we can all agree that changes are required and will be forthcoming if MacT has the balls to trade one of the so called fab five (excluding Hall of course). If Weber is available for Eberle, our 2014 first rounder and a prospect? Of course you pull the trigger. Webers don't grow on trees and the big bonus money has already been spent. Secondly, Gagner is really struggling but that is nothing new to the people here. He will have a 6 point night or something to that effect and all is forgiven for some reason. Deal him and and or Hemsky and get a bigger top 6 forward (easier said than done I know). Thirdly, Eakins is here long term. Get used to it and buy in or you will sit or be gone. Yes, I am looking at you Eberle(whom I really like by the way). Thoughts?

Agreed, except that I would add RNH to your short list of untouchables. When I look at the so-called fab five, I see RNH as the player making the greatest effort to improve his overall game, and I see a great deal of yet-to-be achieved potential. This guy is going to be a star for years to come.

I really don’t see us getting anything other than draft picks and prospects for Gagner or Hemsky. Yak, with his current struggles and relatively small sample size, would as well likely bring back little in return.

This leaves the Oilers with two major tradable assets, J. Schultz and Eberle.

Personally, I don’t think Schultz will ever live up to the hype. I think Eberle has already peaked as a player, and will never live up to that $6M contract. Very soon, he’s going to become Horcoff 2.0 in the fans’ eyes. If trading either or both of these players will bring immediate, sustainable help to the line-up, I hope MacT would have the balls to make the bold moves he has promised us, and that he’d pull the trigger.

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#123 DSF
November 11 2013, 01:00PM
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Randaman wrote:

I guess that would depend on who is available. Maybe a veteran coach with Eakins staying on as an assistant along with Acton. Then bring in Kevin Dineen to fill out the staff an punt Bucky & Smith. How's that for off the top of my head.

Pat Quinn might be available. :)

😀

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#124 Smokey
November 11 2013, 01:42PM
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TheLines wrote:

Oilers lines if I was coach 1.Hall-RNH-Yakupov 2.Perron-Gagner-Eberle 3.Joensuu-Gordon-Hemsky 4.Smyth-Arcobello-Jones D 1. N.Schultz-Petry D 2. Belov-J.Schultz D 3. Ference-Klefbom That's right KLEFBOM, bring in some more size get rid of these midget defenders.

I think he is on his way in 4-5 games...they can't play with most of their defence 200 pounds and under. Petry and Schultz Sr. are huge at 200, yikes...good luck with that.

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#125 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 02:04PM
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@DSF

Well there would be less Barbra Ann Scott's on the team. That is for sure.

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#126 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 02:29PM
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Random thought......I would gain a great deal of respect for Eakins if he volunteered to shave his head for cancer!

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#127 Wayne Bond
November 11 2013, 04:32PM
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Do you really believe that Nashville would trade (arguably) the best defenseman in the league for a #1 and Nail or Eberle???? As usual you are greatly over rating your players; until you get reasonable NO ONE will trade with you. Nashville matched when the Flyers offered a staggering offer sheet this summer.

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#128 michael
November 11 2013, 04:50PM
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Can someone explain to me how the Oilers PP and PK got so pathetic?

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#129 Rod from Viking
November 11 2013, 06:21PM
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@DSF

I have been wondering, is that you in the Canuck's mascot outfit in the Scotia Bank commercial?

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#130 dangilitis
November 11 2013, 08:28PM
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DSF wrote:

I followed the Vancouver coaching situation very closely and Gillis did NOT offer Eakins a job

He was interviewed the day after the Eakins interview and said he still had a few candidates to look at.

Seems like the Luongo/Schneider fiasco turned out just fine too.

Schneider - .915

Luongo - .911

Dubnyk - .876.

Oops.

Schneider also has cobbled together 5 points in 8 starts, akin to Dubnyk's 7 points in 12 starts.

Why am I bringing this up? To point out that last year when Dubnyk's SPG was in the top tier, especially for goalies facing the most shots in the NHL, you continually critiqued him saying that the SPG didn't matter, and that he couldn't win the important games.

Do I think Dubnyk needs someone defending him right now? No, certainly not. But I will point out how you are now using save percentage over 8 game stretch from Schneider with a 12 game stretch from Dubnyk to make broad sweeping statements, while completely ignoring your former argument, which is that neither goalie is getting it done. 41 year old Brodeur has helped NJD to twice as many points in one more start than Schneider, with a .908 SPG. Why have you now decided to neglect goaltender performance in terms of wins and losses in your argument? Because it no longer suits you, of course.

But if you are going to use SPG in your argument, then you should admit that "the Luongo/Schneider fiasco" ultimately led to Vancouver trading the better goalie with a better contract for a prospect.

Again, your head must be spinning with all of the stats that you use to simultaneously credit one of your arguments while discrediting another...

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#131 D-Unit
November 11 2013, 11:23AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Would you give up Hall, RNH, and Yakupov to get it?

Pretty sure in that dream world, Scotty, Lou and Mike would give them up if they didn't want to complete, show some heart and stand up for themselves and their teammates. Not just once in a while, 60 minutes a game, 82 games a year.

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#132 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 11:40AM
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LT....good article...showing a little balance in your perspective.....

Now can you shows us the chart that rates Morale....you know...the Morale stats.....and how do they relate to CORSI again?....is it linear?......(just having some fun with ya!) ....keep up the good work....fighting the good fight as they say!

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#133 DSF
November 11 2013, 12:41PM
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Randaman wrote:

Difference here is that we really don't qualify as a veteran team. Not compared to Vancouver anyways. I want to see Eakins given the full season to implement his way of doing things before I pass judgement. We weren't making the play offs anyway.

Then what?

If the Oilers continue to stink for the rest of the season, what do you do next?

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#134 oildrops
November 11 2013, 01:08PM
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DSF wrote:

Looks like it might be a broken leg.

He crashed into the net.

it came three games too late. That's to bad for team Canada though

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#135 Randaman
November 11 2013, 01:08PM
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15w40 wrote:

I'm not saying that Brossoit (sp??) will not turn into a valuable part. What I am saying is that what other teams' top 4 defensemen would be worth a depth forward part time nhl-er and some long term potential?

Your point about the 3.5 salary being upside down for what you get is well taken, however it just illustrates more of the problem. Ference - useful but overpay, Gordon - desperately fills a hole but is really to some degree an overpay. Smid was an overpay, Gagner is an overpay.

When you have to overpay players to come here and they are paid above their job description its like death by paper cut.

Edmonton is counting on value coming from some of their later draft picks and that hasn't come to fruition to this point and it is killing them.

When you go to trade a player that is not playing up to their contract, then you are typically forced to take less talent back or another bad contract.

Makes it nearly impossible to improve the roster via trade. Basically the GM is left hoping that when trading his under-performer for somebody elses under-performer will end up paying dividends.

Even the 93, 4, and 14 $6 mil contracts are overpays at the beginning but there again, management is banking on value on the back half of the deal.

If things don't start to fall the Oiler's way in the next 2 seasons, this whole rebuild will have been an unmitigated disaster & they will be starting at ground zero again.

Management will have to come up with a couple magic tricks based on all of the obstacles that lie in front of them to prevent that from happening.

IMHO

Agreed. Maybe in two years we get McDavid. Maybe that is the magic trick you are eluding to. LOL

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#136 Rheal1
November 11 2013, 01:10PM
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The Oilers badly need Reggie Dunlop as a coach so he can tell Craig "Joe McGrath" MacTavish to f@#k off. Would it cost Taylor Hall to acquire the Hansons? I'd do it.

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#137 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 01:40PM
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D wrote:

I definitely agree with you on that one. But I think we're out of luck with this season. So a little schadenfreude is all that's really left for me.

Yeah , I really don't get off on the suffering of others, Especially when they suffer so suffers my beloved Oilers.

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#138 Smokey
November 11 2013, 01:47PM
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Sizzay wrote:

Said all last year trade gagner. Sell high. I feel for the guy with the broken jaw but he is being outplayed by arcobello, another guy I'd sell high on.

Move Arco and a pick for Andersen in Anaheim (similar to the bishop trade)

I'm interested in Colin Wilson personally. 6'1 215lbs who has been groomed under trotz. I believe he was drafted as a centre but could be ready to actually play centre now. He would be an interesting replacement t for gagner. I also like the idea of inquiring on Matthias or goc in Florida

Maybe hemsky and gagner for Colin Wilson and Craig smith.

I'm fine with him as long as Trotz comes part of the package.

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#139 DSF
November 11 2013, 02:10PM
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Aaron Ward ✔ @aaronward_nhl

Source, Steven Stamkos has broken tibia. Told will require surgery. #TSN

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#140 Smokey
November 11 2013, 02:22PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Why would you take a player from the second last team in the NHL unless he was having a phenomenal year?

Too bad Hitchcock isn't yelling at the Oilers kids.

Read the first line...talking hypotheticals

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#141 DSF
November 11 2013, 02:28PM
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Some Oiler talk and why Minnesota is one of the best puck possession teams in the NHL from Elliote Friedman:

http://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/hockey/opinion/2013/11/30-thoughts-wild-prosper-from-playing-puck-more.html

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#142 rickithebear
November 11 2013, 06:36PM
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I look forward to MacT interviewing Kruger to be Dallas's assistant.

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#143 DSF
November 11 2013, 12:32PM
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Stamkos taken off the ice on a stretcher.

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#144 DSF
November 11 2013, 12:40PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Does it look bad? That could be a potential huge blow for team Canada.

Looks like it might be a broken leg.

He crashed into the net.

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#145 Randaman
November 11 2013, 12:58PM
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DSF wrote:

Then what?

If the Oilers continue to stink for the rest of the season, what do you do next?

I guess that would depend on who is available. Maybe a veteran coach with Eakins staying on as an assistant along with Acton. Then bring in Kevin Dineen to fill out the staff an punt Bucky & Smith. How's that for off the top of my head.

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#146 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 01:20PM
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Randaman wrote:

I am hopeful that a couple more moves (please) by MacT will improve the mix. I just don't see the need to continue the revolving door for coaches because we think the players aren't at fault here. Eberle has been invisible in the defensive zone along with Hemsky, Yak and many others. Eakins doesn't play the game. The players carry the ultimate responsibility for our situation. The effort level on most nights tells us this.

Didn't answer my question. Here it is again:

so if we are at 8-28-5 at the halfway point will you still have the same opinion?

How about a similar record at the trade deadline?

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#147 Pucker
November 11 2013, 04:07PM
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Let's win the next one!

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#148 Don W
November 11 2013, 07:00PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Simple, Eakin had the Fab danglers taking on the PK. These guys cant defend 5X5, what you expect them do get smarter and better on 4X5, with one less player on the ice.

I wonder if he is putting them out there for PK in the hopes of getting through to them that they need to play smarter. If it is short term pain for long term gain I'm for it, the kids need to play simpler hockey all the time.

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#149 Joilers8
November 12 2013, 09:43AM
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Perhaps at the GM meetings they should discuss this......

..... I think a team should only have so many first overall top picks in a specific time frame. Why do teams get rewarded for continually being bad?

....yes I am an Oiler fan.

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#150 michael
November 11 2013, 01:38PM
Trash it!
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Stamko's definitely fubared his leg. Broke? If it is there is a monster opportunity for MacT. Team Canada will be weaker with his loss. Opportunity knocks for Eberle.

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