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.

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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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#151 Eddie Shore
November 11 2013, 07:39PM
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@Shifty203

Based on the way he's played thus far, I doubt it's the latter.

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#152 Rheal1
November 11 2013, 12:39PM
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Does Dallas still go to work on his road bike?

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#153 DSF
November 11 2013, 12:58PM
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The Stamkos injury:

http://twitpic.com/dkwvmt

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#154 Serious Gord
November 11 2013, 01:00PM
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DSF wrote:

The Stamkos injury:

http://twitpic.com/dkwvmt

looks bad - hairline fracture?

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#155 DSF
November 11 2013, 01:01PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

looks bad - hairline fracture?

Worse I would think.

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#156 DSF
November 11 2013, 01:04PM
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Dave Stubbs ‏@Dave_Stubbs

Stamkos's crash into post instantly reminded me #Habs defenceman Serge Savard in 1970: broken left leg, five places http://tmblr.co/ZDwsup_7iuTY

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#157 The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33
November 11 2013, 03:18PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Random thought......I would gain a great deal of respect for Eakins if he volunteered to shave his head for cancer!

Great idea! I'm not a fan of the Jason Priestly hair either. 9-0, nope 2-10.

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#158 oildrops
November 11 2013, 03:24PM
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DSF wrote:

Aaron Ward ✔ @aaronward_nhl

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

In my post earlier on lowetides article NEXT!.

I mention how to play Stamkos(post#125)

Boston took him out like I said the oilers should have done then score two goals right after to win the game, that's what Edmonton should have done.

The only reason I bring this up is because I made a few more point that are correct and I still get trashed.

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#159 DSF
November 11 2013, 03:30PM
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More on Stamkos:

http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/27714/no-one-can-replace-steven-stamkos

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#160 Lawndemon
November 11 2013, 11:11PM
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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?

Clearly you are unfamiliar with the concept of "off the record." All I can say is that the player was a former Oiler from the 80s.

I have the opportunity to interact with various players and NHL execs from time to time as part of my job. However, I generally don't share items that I am told as a matter of professionalism. I chose to share these snippets anonymously but if you choose to believe I am making it up then that's your choice.

Take it or leave it.

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