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 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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#102 zzzzzz
November 11 2013, 01:17PM
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the problem is that klowe, mactavish and Eakins haircut, are stuck in the 80's....

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#103 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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#104 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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#105 DSF
November 11 2013, 02:29PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I have absolutely no inside the dressing room knowledge but perhaps Smid called out one or more of the "wonder kids" and so he gets moved along.

Yeah, something like this I expect.

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#106 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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#107 Mike the Coal Miner
November 11 2013, 06:10PM
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David S wrote:

Just wanted to re-post this for emphasis. Gagner's game is nowhere near 100%. He's floating more than normal because he's unable mentally or physically to engage. Add the full cage and you have a total lack of confidence.

I messed up my knee a few weeks ago, probably torn meniscus. My whole lower body basically shied away from any sort of normal motion and I'm still afraid to attempt stairs despite the fact it doesn't hurt anymore. I'm fighting the urge to get back to the gym because I'm scared crapless I'll be right back to square one.

Sam has his liabilities to be sure. But to judge his performance on his current circumstances is plain wrong. It'll be at least a month before he'll be anywhere near up to speed.

-"no where near 100%"

-"floating more than normal"

-"he's unable to mentally and physically engage"

So we as fans are supposed to be okay with the head coach knowing this and putting him out for a crucial faceoff in the last minute of a one goal game?

Maybe you can explain to me, why we as fans, should have top watch him float around for a month while he gets up to speed?

I'm at the point where the "reasons" these professionals aren't performing don't matter.

I think its about time, we as fans, start demanding results instead of accepting excuses.

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#108 rickthebear
November 11 2013, 07:15PM
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Play Smarter!

Eakin's, " we need to apply 2 man pressure on the guy with the puck. overload one portion of the zone." Oiler player, " Coach? Shouldn't we cover the guy in front of the net." Eakin, "you do not understand the system." Smid, "I understand it Sucks!"

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#109 Matt
November 11 2013, 10:02AM
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Wow.. another High Draft pick..

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#110 Smokey
November 11 2013, 10:18AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And how much would morale improve for all of oilersnation if Lowe was fired?

Sometimes addition happens by subtraction.

That would be to me like selecting first overall, making the playoff, signing a big free agent...

I's start the Stanley Cup parade on Jasper, and buy a season pack.

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#111 Ari Gold
November 11 2013, 10:19AM
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Stang wrote:

This team needs an enimea. FIRE LOWE!!

This team needs a full on colonoscopy. Make sure there aren't any tumors or worms.

That'd be an interesting incentive. Play well or get a colonoscopy.

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#112 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 10:24AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Smokey: I don't have the answer beyond an opinion about Eakins' usage of Smid. Sometimes a coach sees a player in a different way, that's my guess.

I don't know why there wasn't another shoe to drop, though.

Just the sound of the door closing on another season.

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#113 Paq Twinn
November 11 2013, 10:26AM
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This is exactly what I was saying in yesterday's blog comments. Though you said much more eloquently. This IS our reality as much as it S-U-C-K-S. Everyone should be prepared to say good bye to some well liked players, some pretty damn good ones too.

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#114 Alsker
November 11 2013, 10:56AM
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You can bring in any coach you want but as long as management keeps rewarding players for their apparent upsides and neglect their downsides it's not changing. We would still have Renney here if kBlowe/Tambi didn't have their heads up their asses. We didn't play D then and we still don't. Hard to demand new/young players to think D first when the vet core doesn't have to. Lowe sacrificed entertainment value for development these past years and here we are, right where we started from. To add to this all the defensive guys we have had(Stoll,Brodz,GlenX,etc) we've walked away from. Obviously no entertainment value there.

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#115 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 11:05AM
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Matt wrote:

Wow.. another High Draft pick..

Wondering out loud......is this the year where that Katz kid with the red afro will actually be taller than the kid we draft?

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#116 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 11:25AM
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vetinari wrote:

The season's a write off and we're back to 2010. We're also going to tread water until the trade deadline before we can make any more significant changes to our roster but the value of our players is at an all time low so getting anything meaningful back, other than draft picks, is going to be next to impossible unless we are willing to part with one of the kids.

The next 60+ games can be summarized by borrowing a line from "Whose Line is it Anyways":

"Welcome to the Oilers... where the standings don't count and the points don't matter..."

It's like playing a round of golf where you don't keep score....it can take away a lot of the stress.

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#117 Dog Train
November 11 2013, 12:02PM
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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 would trade anybody if the return made us a consistent playoff team from year to year. I would definitely be looking into trading Gagner. I would be exploring the market for what Eberle could fetch. Justin Schultz needs to improve his D big time or he will never be a reliable top 4 Dman. I really like Perron's game. He's our gritties top 6 forward and is both a scorer and playmaker.

When you have sucked as much as we have for as long as we have, you really can't afford to put blinders on and overlook any options. We all have our theories as to why but we can all agree on thing: the plan isn't working.

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#118 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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#119 DSF
November 11 2013, 12:58PM
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The Stamkos injury:

http://twitpic.com/dkwvmt

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#120 Randaman
November 11 2013, 01:06PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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?

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.

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#121 Old School G
November 11 2013, 01:16PM
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DSF wrote:

Horak couldn't make the Calgary Flames roster.

He was 7th on a good Abbotsford team in scoring with 2 goals in 13 games and -2.

Rookie Corban Knight has twice as many points, 6 goals and is +7.

MacT traded an actual NHL player (and I'm not a big Smid fan) for the type of player you can pick off the waiver wire or the remainder bin in free agency and some magic beans.

Having $3.5M off the books is useless unless you use it.

Dumb trade.

MacT has made a lot of moves, more good than bad in my humble opinion. I trust that he has a well thought out plan in place. Tambellini was a stop gap GM, brought in to guide the troops to daylight and then step aside, he was necessary and I appreciate his time.

Horak is a clear upgrade over Acton based on comparing their AHL stats. Bryzgalov should knock at least 1 goal off our current GAA once he's going, and who's to say MacT isn't very close to locking up our top tier D man this week?

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#122 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 01:30PM
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D wrote:

@DSF - you raise a valid point here. But the organization is in a bind. Major trades at this point would probably result in the Oilers giving away the farm, especially with the current management in place. There's a certain amount of inertia in place right now that would be difficult to overcome compared to the summer months when there is an expectation that all teams will modify their roster.

Bringing in a new coach right now? Well then it's back to square one relearning systems.

The "smartest men in the NHL" (TM SixRings, Inc.) got served a serious dose of humble pie. For me, that's almost entertaining enough.

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

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#123 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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#124 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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#125 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 01:57PM
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DSF wrote:

When do we get to cancel this rebuild? 💥

Detroit "Reloads"..........Chicago "Rebuilds"......the Oilers "Reset".............Each year they just keep hitting the Reset button waiting for the screen to Reset itself......you're right....they should try Cancel.....or better yet....Ctrl Alt Delete.

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#126 Smokey
November 11 2013, 02:03PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Do they need a water boy because he has done absolutely nothing this year. He does not even belong in the conversation.

I know fully Perron is not in the conversation as for Team Canada, nor am I saying he should be.

If you had to take a player from the Oilers to be on Team Canada, he is the guy. The guy is our best forward this year. 12 points in 15 games, correct me if I am wrong. Only guy in the grill of the opposition. Defensively good, battles and competes. Its like he still has Hitchcock yelling at him.

It seems Eberle is floating more often then not it seems.

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#127 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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#128 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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#129 Rama Lama
November 11 2013, 03:00PM
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It's time for the Oilers to start taking about next year as painful as it is..........start dumping players, acquiring players, and promoting youth from the farm.

I can wait yet another year for the playoffs as long as I know there is a plan to shed players that do not fit into the long term plans.

Let's start the " turf the smurfs", plan right now!

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#130 TDSM31
November 11 2013, 03:10PM
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DSF wrote:

To be honest, Gagner isn't all that great offensively either.

7 years into his pro career he has yet to hit 50 points.

In the last full NHL season, 100 players hit the 50+ mark...many of them defensemen.

McTavish handing him that $4.8M contract for 3 years AND a NTC clause is an epic failure.

You can get Gagner level offensive production AND defensive acumen for, far, far less.

For example, Vancouver signed Mike Santorelli (5G 7A 12P +2 56.7FO%) who also is a great PK'er for $550K.

Now, I doubt Santorelli is likely long term solution at #2C for the Canucks but then Gagner isn't a long term solution at #2C for the Oilers either.

The notion of moving Gagner to the wing with his mediocre offence and limp defense makes no sense either.

He can't win puck battles on the boards and often ends up on his pants.

He IS Kyle Wellwood.

5 out of 100 is many?? I guess the Oilers will have many wins this season.

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

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#132 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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#133 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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#134 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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#135 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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#136 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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#137 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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#138 vetinari
November 11 2013, 11:17AM
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The season's a write off and we're back to 2010. We're also going to tread water until the trade deadline before we can make any more significant changes to our roster but the value of our players is at an all time low so getting anything meaningful back, other than draft picks, is going to be next to impossible unless we are willing to part with one of the kids.

The next 60+ games can be summarized by borrowing a line from "Whose Line is it Anyways":

"Welcome to the Oilers... where the standings don't count and the points don't matter..."

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#139 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
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?

I would do it in a heartbeat if it resulted in a team that would "compete" in the playoffs.

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#140 15w40
November 11 2013, 12:20PM
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Don't see 89 going anywhere. Has a NTC that kicks in next year and a verbal assurance that he is safe this year. I'm guessing if management had a do over they would have traded him 2 years ago but they didn't and that would also imply they made a mistake so maybe not.

Unless they are willing sell at 20 cents on the dollar, they aren't moving anybody of substance from the so-called core.

When you are dealing from 26th place or lower over the past 4 to 5 years, who really will give any value to the roster. Look at Smid - nothing but a minor leaguer and a prospect - and he was playing in the top 4 for Edmonton.

Can't see many bold moves coming from YEG unless it involves MacT grabbing a brass rail.

Maybe a few deadline deals, but that will likley amount to more futures and likely not high end - potential sure bets either.

By the end of 2013/14 is in the books, this may be the most dark and sobering time in the last few years of the overhaul. They were selling hope and people were buying, but now it would appear that patience is a scant commodity that few of the fan base has left.

Choppy indeed...........

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#141 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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#142 andrewmk20
November 11 2013, 12:56PM
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@Rheal1

I wouldn't love them dealing the last three at all but if it meant the playoffs I wouldn't boycott the team if they dealt the first three for a legit top 2 defender and some top 9 forwards with size and drive. But Perron does all the things that the Oiler forwards have refused to do in the last 7 years. Go hard to the net, create confusion, piss off the opposition, backcheck, and generally play a well rounded game and do all the little things. You can tell St Louis and Hitch rubbed off on him.

I'm not saying Perron is perfect but Hall and Perron by far have been the most consistent and the best performing forwards. If the Oilers had 12 guys up front who played like these two the Oilers wouldn't be out of the playoffs by the first week of November.

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#143 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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#144 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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#145 **
November 11 2013, 01:08PM
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Best thing for this team right now is not to worry about the standings and just focus on building a sound defensive system and a right mix of players. Let the chips fall where they may. I hope they don't decide to tank to get yet another high round pick. And I hope they understand that the playoffs are a statistical improbability at this point.

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#146 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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#147 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 02:05PM
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Smokey wrote:

I know fully Perron is not in the conversation as for Team Canada, nor am I saying he should be.

If you had to take a player from the Oilers to be on Team Canada, he is the guy. The guy is our best forward this year. 12 points in 15 games, correct me if I am wrong. Only guy in the grill of the opposition. Defensively good, battles and competes. Its like he still has Hitchcock yelling at him.

It seems Eberle is floating more often then not it seems.

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.

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#148 Dangilitis
November 11 2013, 02:09PM
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OilFanInVan wrote:

Maybe Smid was Craig McTavish's Jason Giambi*. We don't know what might have happened in the dressing room. We do know Smid has said some things recently to reporters...

* Watch Moneyball if you don't get the reference

I think you are referring to Jeremy Giambi, Jason's less talented little brother, who was arrested for drug charges in Las Vegas the season before the Moneyball movie is set. I suppose we don't know what goes on in the dressing room, but if you are referring to the scene in the movie when Jeremy was dancing after a loss to entertain his teammates, and then was traded thereafter, I can bet that Smid was NOT that kind of player. The snippets we have seen of him from the media show that he was, in fact, the opposite. Jeremy didn't care how his team was performing, while Smid would curse and be downright pissed off, which, IMO, is exactly the way a team mate who cares should react to a beatdown and a record as shotty as the Oilers.

Jason Giambi, at the time (without the subsequently discovered steroid use), was actually a highly coveted 1st baseman who Oakland could no longer afford to pay, but had led the league in on base percentage in 2001, and Moneyball actually focuses on filling the void that Giambi's departure had created for the team. So if you intended to mean that Smid was like Jason Giambi, then I agree, losing him created a void on the team's roster that they have yet to fill adequately unless Klefbom is ready for that role, today...

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#149 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 11 2013, 02:12PM
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DSF wrote:

I expect there is something to this.

The Smid trade just doesn't smell right.

I think it's five things

1) They felt they needed to do something quickly to right the ship and they had limited options

That combined with

2) They needed short term cap relief to bring in Bryz....

3) They need mid term cap relief to make significant change(s) at the trade deadline

4) Smid was not part of the long term plans and they actually like Horak and Brossoit ( they believe it adds organizational depth even if they are perceived as losing the trade)

5) MacT felt he needed to back up his rhetoric about being impatient and not accepting a culture of loosing

* I'm not saying that any of the 5 things couldn't have been dealt with differently....just offering up what I think was the explanation

...in other words, the smell you're referring to may have been the smell of desperation.

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#150 Ralph
November 11 2013, 02:13PM
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Results don't lie after 7 + years. Everything about this organization is overrated .

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