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 TSN 1260.
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#151 Smokey
November 11 2013, 02:17PM
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Dangilitis wrote:

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...

Smid was not traded for dancing. It was for his karaoke prowess, and silky smooth tenor voice from the rumours I heard. It was also well known he was thinking about sporting some sideburns which Mr. Katz did not like.

Luckily for Smidder, he was traded for peanuts to a better organization. There management group sees a heart and sole player who will block pucks with his face, and stand up for his teammates. (Facepalm)

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#152 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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#153 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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#154 Spydyr
November 11 2013, 04:57PM
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michael wrote:

Can someone explain to me how the Oilers PP and PK got so pathetic?

Ralph left.

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#155 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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#156 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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#157 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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#158 Shifty203
November 11 2013, 07:35PM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

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!!!!

Could be being a princess, or, it could be indicative of problems with coaching/management, who's incompetence should come at no surprise.

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#159 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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#160 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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