BLAME GAME

Brian Sutherby
November 14 2013 05:27PM

With each passing day, frustrated fans continue to find new or old reasons as to why this team is where it is. Everyone is searching for answers, with many targeting the “old boys club” that has become the Edmonton Oilers. I don’t know if this is new but many want to focus on the assistant coaches today and blame them for this team’s demise.

I’m not going to sit here and defend the constant re hiring of former Oilers because if it works its great and if it doesn’t then it’s a failure and normally fixed. It’s tough to let go of good people and players that have been great to an organization.

I believe like many of you, more changes on ice and potentially off the ice are likely needed, but I do find it strange the focus is now being directed at assistant coaches Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith.

HIS PICK

It’s easy to assume Eakins truly didn’t have a choice in picking his assistant coaches but maybe Eakins did decide he wanted to keep Buchberger and Smith? Maybe the players in the room were a vote of confidence for those two and Eakins understood that? That I cannot factually answer and everyone can form their own opinion.

He did however; bring over his buddy Keith Acton from Toronto, so he has someone he is familiar with on his staff. It’s very common for coaches to bring “their” guys to each new job but it is actually not uncommon for teams to retain an assistant coach when a head coach has been relieved of his duties.

HAPPENS ALL THE TIME

I’ve seen it on two of the three teams I played on in the NHL. When Glen Hanlon was fired in Washington and Bruce Boudreau was hired, Dean Evason (my favorite assistant coach of all time) was retained and Bruce kept him for his entire tenure in Washington. Dean had a great relationship with the guys and was very respected by everyone.

In Dallas Stu Barnes survived the Dave Tippett firing and worked under Mark Crawford for his 2 years in Dallas. Not to mention they were both former players for those respective organizations. It’s not just in Edmonton.

Regardless of all that, I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding of what exactly an assistant coach brings to the table. With all due respect to the great assistant coaches around the league, assistant coaches provide value but not near enough to blame them for day to day decisions.

COMMUNICATION

I was always very tight with my assistant coaches. I have played for some fantastic ones. This was because they were tremendous guys. When times are tough and you have a question about how to handle a certain situation, you could go to them. Assistant coaches could get a message to the coach or from a coach to you about what he is thinking or why certain decisions are being made.

The reason former players are often hired to be assistants is because they have played the game, they understand the ups and downs throughout the year and how players want to be treated. Great assistant coaches in my opinion provide a pipeline to the coach, and they provide tips and good stories or techniques of how they would handle certain situations. They watch game tape and do extra work with you on things that need it. Many head coaches don’t want to deal with the day to day of player mentalities or headaches; this is the greatest asset an assistant coach provides.

FINAL SAY

Assistants have certain assignments and often run the power play or penalty kill meetings but many are mistaken if the thought is assistant coaches are calling the final shots on the systems you see. Some assistants are more active than others and handle more of a load but at the end of it all the head coach is taking their advice and providing the players with his message. It’s him who will ultimately land on the sword if things fail.

Be mad all you want at Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini who re-built this team. Be mad at the fact the players themselves haven’t produced winning results since Gregor debated a comb over, but I don’t think for a second if they had two different assistant coaches this team would be dramatically better. I think we’re reaching now.

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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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#101 dougtheslug
November 15 2013, 08:53AM
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DSF wrote:

Get your head out of your ass.

Hall has just as many warts as Seguin.

Tyler is about to blow him away.

The Taylor-Tyler debate won't be decided until their careers have ended- they are both supremely talented players with enormous potential.

I did note that last night that Seguin was on the receiving end of some stellar work by Team Canada hopeful Jamie Benn (and some Oileresque defending by Calgary) . As RNH matures, I expect Hall will have some similar nights.

Tyler won't "blow away" Hall. But hopefully the debate will go on throughout their careers.

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#102 TKB2677
November 15 2013, 09:01AM
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Does anyone know when Sam Gagner is supposed to start playing?

I checked the stats and it says Gagner 7GP, 1pt, -10. So basically since he has come into the line up, he's been completely useless. It's baffling, almost incredible to me how a player going into his 7th NHL season can come in to a line up and be -10 in 7 games. I think you actually have to try pretty hard to be a -10 in 7 games.

I know he is coming off an injury and when it's a jaw you are probably going to feel every little bump so he's probably a little tentative. Plus missing time you are going to "game speed" but holy crap!! If Gagner is going to be that bad, maybe he needs to sit out a few more weeks until everything is 100% and he no longer has any concerns. He's literally doing NOTHING to help the team and one can argue, he's probably hurting the team with his play right now.

I honestly don't think a player can play any worse based on his stats.

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#103 Shifty203
November 15 2013, 09:03AM
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YFC Prez wrote:

You still put Seguin ahead of Hall ? That's just plain whacky , Hall over Seguin has to be one of the few clear cut wins for this oilers mgmt group.

Seguin is playing really good hockey right now and Hall is slumping with the rest of the team but Hall is the better player, I don't see how this is even debatable anymore.

Actually, most Scout's at the draft picked Seguin to be the better player over Hall long term. At the draft they agreed Hall was better at that moment.

Its not unrealistic to think Seguin is going to be better in the long run. You can see improvments in all areas of his game since he was drafted. He's also getting stronger and tougher. He doesn't get pushed off the puck near as easy as Hall.

I haven't seen much improvement from Hall or Eb's since they started playing with the team. Neither seems to be working too hard to improve. Both are still mostly offence, with little defensive upside. A small breeze nearly knocks both of them over.

I've moved on from blaming coaches and GM's, and am starting to wonder about the training staff, and the players commitment to off-season training. Nobody seems to be actually getting better, or stronger, and the constant injuries would support that theory.

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#104 china town man
November 15 2013, 09:18AM
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I Blame the oilers for ruining My morning!!! I wake up happy ready To start off my day, tune in to My radio station to have it all go To poops when they talk about The oilers. It is easy to just Turn off the radio !!! The problem is I bleed COOPER AND BLUE !!!

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#105 camdog
November 15 2013, 09:23AM
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Suds, the call for the firing of Bucky and Smith is a call to fire Kevin Lowe and nothing more. After all it shows Mr. Lowe's continued influence on day to day operations while at the same time saying that he had no control over day to day operations. In my business we would call Bucky and Smith spies as they have direct ties to the President and everything that occurs in the dressing room, goes directly back to Lowe. It's really tough to do your job (coach), when you know your assistants have such a clear pathway to the President.

It appears as though the number one prerequisite to getting a job within the organization is not quality of the resume, but rather loyalty to Kevin Lowe. This is the problem Oiler fans are having right now with the way the organisation is being run. It has nothing specific to deal with Buck or Smith, but what they represent within the organisation.

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#106 GriffCity
November 15 2013, 09:24AM
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Oil are so bad right now, confidence at an all-time low. Watch the Sharks come in tonight and just titty pump these little guys. Im guessing 4-1 sharks final with EDM not scoring until the third period once the game is out of reach. Expect some boo birds in the stands. Dubnyk will play his best but defense will let him down. Oilers will have chances to score but wont. More of the same

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#107 Six Rings
November 15 2013, 09:37AM
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DSF wrote:

Oh look kids....

Tyler Seguin with 4G 1A tonight.

On pace for 56 goals and 95 points.

I wonder if the Bruins (and Oilers) would like a mulligan.

I was reading the comments and thinking... "Wow, DSF will all these valid points."

Then I come across this...

Players have ups and downs all season. He gets 5 points against the Flames and you cherry pick stats.

'X' player has 15 points in their first 10 games and are on pace for 123 points in a season, doesn't mean they will...

Crosby: First 10: 18 points in 10 games. On pace for 147 points. Current: 24 points in 18 games. On pace for 109 Points.

One streak of 6 points in his last 8 games changes his 'on pace' statistic by almost 40 points.

Seguin: Today : 22 points in 19 GP. On pace for 95pts. Before Flames: 17 points in 18 GP. On pace for 77pts.

C'mon man.

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#108 camdog
November 15 2013, 09:49AM
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@Six Rings

If Jamie Benn stays healthy, there is a good chance that Seguin gets 80+ points this season with the possibility of an Olympic berth. As far as I am concerned Benn is going to be a superstar, Seguin right now has the abilities to be the "sidekicks" to one of the greatest one two punches in the league "this season". lol

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#109 Jay
November 15 2013, 09:51AM
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Six Rings wrote:

I was reading the comments and thinking... "Wow, DSF will all these valid points."

Then I come across this...

Players have ups and downs all season. He gets 5 points against the Flames and you cherry pick stats.

'X' player has 15 points in their first 10 games and are on pace for 123 points in a season, doesn't mean they will...

Crosby: First 10: 18 points in 10 games. On pace for 147 points. Current: 24 points in 18 games. On pace for 109 Points.

One streak of 6 points in his last 8 games changes his 'on pace' statistic by almost 40 points.

Seguin: Today : 22 points in 19 GP. On pace for 95pts. Before Flames: 17 points in 18 GP. On pace for 77pts.

C'mon man.

Nice picture on Oiler twitter site of Hall's birthday dinner? Looks like an Elementary kid's birthday dinner. What a cute collection of little people and softies (J. Schultz). McGrattan, Jackman, Breen (6'7" enforcer - Suds battled him last year in the AHL), and O'Brien must be laughing their heads off at the little sweeties coming into the Dome for the "battle" of Alberta tomorrow night! Nothing wrong with the core MacT???? Hockey is a man's game! GET SOME MEN ON THIS TEAM PLEASE!!! P.S. Why wasn't YAKUPOV invited to this birthday party?dinner???? Is he too TUFF for this group???? SIMMONDS, OTT, DUBINSKY, FOLIGNO, COBURN, etc. This is what you need MACT! NO more SMURFS!!!!

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#110 pkam
November 15 2013, 09:53AM
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Six Rings wrote:

I was reading the comments and thinking... "Wow, DSF will all these valid points."

Then I come across this...

Players have ups and downs all season. He gets 5 points against the Flames and you cherry pick stats.

'X' player has 15 points in their first 10 games and are on pace for 123 points in a season, doesn't mean they will...

Crosby: First 10: 18 points in 10 games. On pace for 147 points. Current: 24 points in 18 games. On pace for 109 Points.

One streak of 6 points in his last 8 games changes his 'on pace' statistic by almost 40 points.

Seguin: Today : 22 points in 19 GP. On pace for 95pts. Before Flames: 17 points in 18 GP. On pace for 77pts.

C'mon man.

When did DSF not cherry pick stats to irritate Oilers fans?

Let me use an example to show how meaningful his comment is. Fedun is 2 pts and +1 after 2 games, so he is on pace to 82 pts and +41 after 82 games as a rookie defenseman. And base on this, he is better than Bobby Orr.

That is why I have stop reading his comment anymore. It is a total waste of time.

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#111 LOIL99
November 15 2013, 10:19AM
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This Taylor Tyler debate is hilarious. Seguin is a good player, but until he finishes in top 10 in league scoring like Hall has, he is 2nd best.

Im not saying Sequin wont be better than Hall at some point in their careers, but to date, not close. The fact that Boston shipped a #2 overall pick out of town before his 22nd bday because he partied too much during playoffs is all I need to know about the kid.

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#112 LOIL99
November 15 2013, 10:22AM
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pkam wrote:

When did DSF not cherry pick stats to irritate Oilers fans?

Let me use an example to show how meaningful his comment is. Fedun is 2 pts and +1 after 2 games, so he is on pace to 82 pts and +41 after 82 games as a rookie defenseman. And base on this, he is better than Bobby Orr.

That is why I have stop reading his comment anymore. It is a total waste of time.

I have written a script that goes through and votes "trash" on all DSF posts before it hides them from my screen. Saves me a lot of time. Free to anyone interested!!

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#113 pkam
November 15 2013, 10:27AM
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LOIL99 wrote:

I have written a script that goes through and votes "trash" on all DSF posts before it hides them from my screen. Saves me a lot of time. Free to anyone interested!!

I don't even border to trash his comments. Not worth my time.

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#114 Blucifer Copperballs
November 15 2013, 10:28AM
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TKB2677 wrote:

Does anyone know when Sam Gagner is supposed to start playing?

I checked the stats and it says Gagner 7GP, 1pt, -10. So basically since he has come into the line up, he's been completely useless. It's baffling, almost incredible to me how a player going into his 7th NHL season can come in to a line up and be -10 in 7 games. I think you actually have to try pretty hard to be a -10 in 7 games.

I know he is coming off an injury and when it's a jaw you are probably going to feel every little bump so he's probably a little tentative. Plus missing time you are going to "game speed" but holy crap!! If Gagner is going to be that bad, maybe he needs to sit out a few more weeks until everything is 100% and he no longer has any concerns. He's literally doing NOTHING to help the team and one can argue, he's probably hurting the team with his play right now.

I honestly don't think a player can play any worse based on his stats.

Early on, it seemed like he was having trouble finding the puck with that chin gaurd on. It's got to be a distraction, and you would lose the puck in you peripherary really easy, even in the faceoff dot. I thought he would adapt quicker and chip in, but maybe he'll need to get that guard removed before he really starts getting back to playing the way he has before. Remember, he looked pretty strong pre-season before the injury.

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#115 Lloyd B.
November 15 2013, 10:48AM
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@Jay

You are making the assumption that Yak was not invited. What if he was and said no thanks.

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#116 Danger Pay
November 15 2013, 11:07AM
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You just gotta blame the thing up!

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#117 Bryzarro World
November 15 2013, 02:41PM
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Maybe maybe maybe... tired of it. Fact is that they were here for several coaching changes. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. Fact is that the players play like pussies with NO heart so who really cares what they think? Listen to players that play like garbage and want to krep fluffers around them? Kick their asses out already. They have proven they can't do the job and can't gey the players to do their job so......

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#118 Primo
November 15 2013, 06:36PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The two Alberta teams are so competitive...."We're the a Worst Team in the league".......NO!......"We Are!"......"Are Not!"......"We Are!".....

You seem a bit confused...let me try to clarify things for you.

I attended the Young Stars tourney in Penticton this summer. The Oilers by far had the worst young talent. It was very obvious the top skilled talent belonged to the Jets and Flames. and that didn't even include the star laden young strs the Flames have in college. It's amazing the accomplishments of fat boy Jay Feaster in 2 short years vs the accomplishment of 6 rings Kevin Lowe in 8 years. As a Flames fan I'm hoping Mr Rexall Drugs gives Kevin a raise and contact extension. That will ensure the next 10 years of excessive losses continue for the Oilers. The only part that hurts is that the Oilers continue to inherit top drafts and shattered dreams.

Go Flames Go!!

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