The dreaded vote of confidence

Jonathan Willis
November 15 2013 09:42AM

Yesterday, Craig MacTavish spoke to the media about the Edmonton Oilers’ performance. Among other items, he made it clear that he still has confidence in head coach Dallas Eakins.

After uttering similar lines during his availability and stressing the need for stability behind the bench, MacTavish told Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now that he “really couldn’t be happier with the coaching.”

The Vote of Confidence

The interesting thing about the managerial vote of confidence is that it often seems to precede the firing of said coach in short order. There are, I think, a couple of reasons for that.

The biggest is that managers don’t have to give coaches with good records a vote of confidence. Reporters don’t generally ask whether guys like Jon Cooper or Joel Quenneville are going to get fired; it’s obvious that they’re safe. Columnists don’t speculate on the safety of Todd McLellan or Dan Bylsma, at least not when those teams are winning, because there’s no question that the results support their continued employment.

So by the time the manager is in a position to opine on his head coach, there’s something in the record that suggests said head coach should be fired. And as a general rule, the media will always be ready to fire the coach before management is, which means that even when the coach is going to be fired there’s often a period of time when the media thinks he could be and the manager wants to hang on a little longer to see if the coach can turn things around.

The other reason is a simple trick of memory: we tend to remember the contradicition of a general manager supporting his coach and then firing him a week or two later, while we don't necessarily remember the close call that turned out okay.

Eakins

The thing keeping Dallas Eakins safe right now isn’t necessarily Craig MacTavish’s public statement, and it certainly isn’t the record or the underlying performance of his team (both of which are awful at the moment). It’s history.

Too many coaches in Edmonton have fallen by the wayside. The traditional point of reference is Sam Gagner; he’s just started his seventh season with the Oilers and he’s on his fifth head coach. It's ridiculous. 

There has been too much turnover, and other things need to change before the coaching does.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Hammer
November 15 2013, 09:59AM
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Oilers laughing stock in all sports world!!! Managment needs change. Actually Katz needs to pack his team and get out of Edmonton. We have a better chance at bringing in a new organization with class and integrity. Take down all memorabilia of old Oilers an start fresh. Change Wayne Gretzky freeway back to Capilano freeway. Change Messier Trail back to St.Albert Trail. Close down all rexall and turn them into Shoppers Drug Mart or better year Walmart. Just go Katz and his friends. No longer an Edmontonian. Leave please!!! Gary Bettman we want a new Franchise!!!

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#2 -30-
November 15 2013, 09:48AM
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Analyze. Analyze. Analyze. Analyze.

Paralysis by analysis.

JW, your columns are usually very interesting and relevant. This one... meh

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#3 nick
November 15 2013, 10:27AM
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Not much one can say about this Sh*t show called the Oilers. It is a joke and emarassment to the city. MacTavish is an idiot and should never have been hired back here. We were rid of him and somehow he weasled his way back. With this current group of Management and coaches the Oilers will always be the laughing stock of the NHL

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#4 Wohin gehst du?
November 15 2013, 11:31AM
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I'm trying to make up a line-up where the players who aren't working hard are sat, moved down or replaced from OKC (such as Hall or Gagner), and players who are at least trying, even if they aren't getting big numbers are moved up (eg. Hemsky I believe is trying, just failing to get results, or Arco who is getting them):

Perron-Arco-RNH Hemsky-Gordon-Eberle Smyth-Lander-Yakupov Omark-Gagner-Hall

Belov-N.Schultz Larsen-Fedun Ference-Petry

Bryzgalov Bunz Dubnyk

I know it's pretty damn crazy, especially Hall on last line (switch him and Yakupov if you want). What say you? Is this line up according to merit more than now?

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#5 Kevin
November 15 2013, 09:47AM
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"Other things need to change before the coaching does."

Exactly.

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#6 D
November 15 2013, 09:57AM
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MacT made an amateur mistake firing Krueger when he did and the way he did. Ralph was popular with the players and I'm sure it rubbed a few of them the wrong way on how that was handled.

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#7 Ha Ha (NHL fans everywhere, Laughing at you)
November 15 2013, 11:41AM
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The fans in Calgary are right.

Infinibuild !!!

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#8 75ers
November 15 2013, 03:32PM
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Look who's coaching these talented offensive kids. No wonder they don't have a chance. Goals build confidence, confidence builds desire, desire builds a team. With no goals we have no hope for this group.

1. Eakins - NHL Career grinder 2. MacT - NHL Career grinder / checker 3. Lowe - NHL Career Defensemen 4. Steve Smith - NHL Career Defensive Defensemen 5. Kelly Buchberger - NHL Career grinder 5. Keith Acton - Checking Faceoff Guy 6. Fred Chabot - Carrer AHL Goalie

Not one talented offensive minded guy in the bunch. Swarm, how stupid, sounds like something from JR High Girls Basketball (No offence intended) those girls play with more heart than this hockey team.

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#9 Zarny
November 15 2013, 12:57PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

This whole mess is going to get worse before it get better. The fact MacT gave Eakins a thumbs up only highlights the problem.

I refuse to believe that coaching has nothing to do with this. Exactly why is Eakins having such a difficult time teaching players defensive minded tactics.? This is not rocket science and many junior hockey players were taught to play defence in junior hockey. Sutter taught RNH to play defence and it's exactly for this reason why RNH was able to land a spot on the team right away.

If the rest of the forwards, ( Hall, Eberle, Gagner Schultz) refuse to play this " new system", that Eakins is preaching then sit them.

To pretend that these player cannot learn a basic defensive system is the cause of all of our problems is simply myopic and stupid! It's time to admit that the line juggling, line matchups, and line combinations that Eakins is coming up with is laughable and causing some of the problems.

Arcabello is superior by any measure to Gagner but is not being utilized properly. The only successful combination we have had ( RNH, Eberle, Hall) are never played together for more than one shift or period. Anyone with a basic understanding of hockey can see they have chemistry, except for our coach who refuses to play them together. As a result of the deficient top-six line combinations, this has had an impact on the bottom six which are continuously mismatched and under played in a game..........exactly how are these guys supposed to get into a game playing 8 minutes a night?

If Eakins could allow line combinations to exist for at least one game, perhaps these guys could develop some chemistry? His bench management skills are junior.........not his players!

You're delusional if you think Arcobello is superior to Gagner by any measure.

Eakins isn't having a problem teaching players defensive tactics.

The players are having a problem being disciplined enough to play defensively. The players know what to do but still choose to cheat to try and score G too often.

That's not coaching...that's the player's fault.

The coach doesn't put on skates and play. Every team juggles lines. The bad match-ups are precisely because some top players were injured and the 3rd and 4th line aren't good enough to fill in.

Do you actually think playing Smyth, Gordon, Hemsky, Acton, Gazdic, Jones or Arcobello more is going to help? Half of them shouldn't even be in the NHL.

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#10 Zarny
November 15 2013, 01:28PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

First of all remove Gordon from your list. He has done everything asked of him.

If you still think Gagner is a legit top 2 centerman then I am afraid it may be you that is delusional.

Arcobello is eating Gagner's lunch in every aspect of the game right now for 1/5th the salary.

Yes, Gordon has done everything asked of him. I really like Gordon. He's a great 3rd line C but he's not a 1-2 C in the NHL which is what he had to play until Nuge & Gagner came back.

Gagner was on pace for 65 pts last year and finished 34th in scoring for F so yes he's a legit #2 C.

And when Gagner's 100% healthy he's much better than Arcobello who will never be a top 2 C in the NHL.

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#11 RL
November 15 2013, 10:10AM
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Apologize to Krueger and get him back! There was now way his firing was justified after a 48 game lockout shortened season with no training camp. Everytime our guys would go out on the PP under him I felt like we were going to score, or had really good chances to score. When we get a PP now I cringe and turn away from the TV. Eakins has made some very questionable coaching decisions in my mind.

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#12 mayorblaine
November 15 2013, 10:16AM
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keep the coach. new GM or not the carousel is embarassing.

the players on the other hand, specifically the top 6...

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#13 pkam
November 15 2013, 11:16AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Please show me examples of how Eakins is better then Ralph.His record does not show it.The special teams have gone from top ten in the NHL to bottom five his system sure doesn't work. The kids are a year older and have all regressed this year.Not one player on the team last year has improved this year.

MacT got conned by a good salesman selling himself.

The sooner he admits to and rectifies his mistake the better.

Where did I say Eakins is better than Dureger or vice verse?

All I said is MacT felt Eakins was a better candidate than Kureger after the 5 hours interview with Eakins.

I can say one thing about Kureger. As a head coach, choosing the associate and assistant coach is his job. He shouldn't let someone else do it for him.

Hiring a head coach is MacT responsibility. The question is when he thinks there is a better candidate, should he make the change? Not arguing whether his judgement is right or wrong, but should he make his decision based on his judgement?

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#14 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 11:24AM
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sizzay wrote:

I know what needs to change - Sam Gagner as our 2nd line centre

Exactly, along with Hemsky, Jones,Smyth,Arcobello,Larsen,N.Schultz and Potter.

Yak, Hall, Ebs and the Nuge should be the only small skilled guys in the forward group.

Find some players with heart, grit a will to win and for the once in a generation some mean.

This team has been soft for far to long.Time to bring in some players that are no fun to pay against.Some nasty.

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#15 James
November 15 2013, 09:46AM
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If only MacT realized this before canning another coach at the drop of a hat as his first order of business.

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#16 Dave2
November 15 2013, 09:50AM
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James wrote:

If only MacT realized this before canning another coach at the drop of a hat as his first order of business.

Might have been OK if the new coach had NHL experience.

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#17 Drake
November 15 2013, 09:55AM
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Mact T called out Eakins by saying Oilers have made Junior hockey mistakes. Safe for now but short leash

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#18 BIGDAWG
November 15 2013, 10:17AM
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In this presser Didn't Mac T say he was looking to get bigger and have more grit??? ooooooooohhhhh wait.. so then why did we trade Smid and Brown??

Sorry Mac T but ur making yourself look like a fool and whats worse is that I actually think you guys think that us as fans are believing your bullsheet.. Lots of interest in the core.. well geezuz.... get gojng and make a sound trade... LETS GO ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#19 The Real JR
November 15 2013, 10:52AM
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I am disappointed in all of you .

This has all been a master plan of katz. Field a weak team, surround Edmonton with negatives day and night. then we all get sick , go to our doctors , get prescribed anti depression drugs and go to Rexall pharmacies to have them filled. Katz fills his pockets.

Come on boys and Stauffer figure it out ! and get some new dress shirts Stauffer

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#20 2004Z06
November 15 2013, 10:58AM
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Free tickets or not, I have not and will not go to a game. That is the main problem here. People bitching about change at the top yet still selling out the building.

And before the Tier one fans comment, no one is asking you to give up your season tix, just boycott a game or two.

The images on T.V. of a half empty building (normally standing room only) combined with the loss in parking/concession/merchandise revenue would send a very clear message to ownership.

Further to that a petition was put forward to have Lowe fired. Last count 58 signatures!!!

Have yet to hear the "fire Lowe" chants reverberating through my television speakers as well. Has anyone walked into the Oilers office demanding a refund?

Step up, or shut up!

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#21 Rama Lama
November 15 2013, 11:42AM
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This whole mess is going to get worse before it get better. The fact MacT gave Eakins a thumbs up only highlights the problem.

I refuse to believe that coaching has nothing to do with this. Exactly why is Eakins having such a difficult time teaching players defensive minded tactics.? This is not rocket science and many junior hockey players were taught to play defence in junior hockey. Sutter taught RNH to play defence and it's exactly for this reason why RNH was able to land a spot on the team right away.

If the rest of the forwards, ( Hall, Eberle, Gagner Schultz) refuse to play this " new system", that Eakins is preaching then sit them.

To pretend that these player cannot learn a basic defensive system is the cause of all of our problems is simply myopic and stupid! It's time to admit that the line juggling, line matchups, and line combinations that Eakins is coming up with is laughable and causing some of the problems.

Arcabello is superior by any measure to Gagner but is not being utilized properly. The only successful combination we have had ( RNH, Eberle, Hall) are never played together for more than one shift or period. Anyone with a basic understanding of hockey can see they have chemistry, except for our coach who refuses to play them together. As a result of the deficient top-six line combinations, this has had an impact on the bottom six which are continuously mismatched and under played in a game..........exactly how are these guys supposed to get into a game playing 8 minutes a night?

If Eakins could allow line combinations to exist for at least one game, perhaps these guys could develop some chemistry? His bench management skills are junior.........not his players!

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#22 Crackenbury
November 15 2013, 12:30PM
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Jason wrote:

Funny how you never hear Kevin Lowe speak in public, they can't trust him in public because he is an idiot yet they pay him to be Pres.

FIRE KEVIN LOWE

I'm not here to defend Kevin Lowe, but his reluctance to speak in public is all him and nothing to do with Katz. Lowe embarrassed himself badly in public with his 6 rings, 2-tier fans speech. His muzzle is self-imposed. He's an emotional guy. I think he'd rather punch someone in the face than try to articulate how he thinks things are going for the team right now.

I know the common consensus right now is to blame the old Oilers boys club management, I've done it too, but many experts predicted this team to be greatly improved this year. It's bizarre what's happened. At this point I'm just sitting back watching the gong show to see where it goes.

In the case of the Oilers, the sum is not greater than the parts. They have many great individual players that should be better than they are. They just don't work well together. I think this had to happen for the fans to accept we need to trade some of the core players. I'm ready to trade anyone, just start winning.

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#23 Walter Sobchak
November 15 2013, 10:00AM
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I see the Oilers winning maybe 3 more games this month on the top end.

why is this important?

Come December & January , the Oilers will be lucky to win 3 games the whole month of December, they may not even win a game in January... there are some tough teams coming this way.

It's going to get nasty.

I'm not sure how Katz or MacTavish is going to spin this.

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#24 Lowe Expectations
November 15 2013, 10:07AM
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This team simply put has too many perimeter players. Not that players like this can't be valuable to a team, this one is overloaded with them. For me, other than Hall & RNH every other player on the current roster is available for trade. It's time to start the overhaul of this roster, as the way it's currently built will never be successful.

I don't know why the management of the Oilers would be so afraid of trading some assets. One of the reasons you draft the most talented player available rather than for positional need is that the more talent a player has the more value in return you'll receive.

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#25 LOIL99
November 15 2013, 10:09AM
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@JW - your claims that a vote of confidence come in short order before a firing is interesting. So I read on hoping to see examples of this, especially if this was the case for the 4 last Oiler coaches. But you gave none. Just made the claim and left it at that. Weak, weak article from a generally good writer.

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#26 Cold Hard Truth
November 15 2013, 10:21AM
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You should not keep a bad coach, just for the sake of keeping a coach. If Eakins is not fit for the job, he should be replaced by somebody who is. Yes it sucks that there's been such a high turnover, but sticking with a bad coach won't make things better.

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#27 Cold Hard Truth
November 15 2013, 10:25AM
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MacTavish is eating humble pie.

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#28 Spydyr
November 15 2013, 10:37AM
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It is easy to see the entire "braintrust" is in over their heads.Every last one of them.President, GM and coach the trifecta of incompetence.All hired for their current positions with no experience at the NHL level.This will get way worse before it gets better.

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#29 hockeycrazed
November 15 2013, 11:10AM
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It is natural for fans in this parts to lash out their frustrations at Management, and they, in fact deserved most of it, nevertheless, we shouldn't lose sight of the main issue here, the players are not performing to their capabilities! may it be they are getting paid too much? Scare to get hurt? there is so much to address, where should we place the blame? If 'Management types', 'Players' are not to blame, then who? Maybe the fans are! we bitch too much? every arm chair coaches out there are trying to give their two cents worth, and it pisses off the 'Almighty bunch' at Oiler land, and they do that deliberately to teaches us a lesson? It's the most logical conclusion I could think of!

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#30 GTL
November 15 2013, 11:15AM
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Same o'l song and dance I've heard 8 yrs running...

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#31 oilabroad
November 15 2013, 11:15AM
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JW, I assume they are playing the same style down in OKC (swarm) for easy transition to the bigs, are they butchering it the same way the Oil are? Are we just really bad defensively or is this just a really bad system??

I just can't wrap my head around the stubbornness of Eakins to stick to a system they can't execute. I agree the coaching carousel hasnt been easy on the players, however MacT got them into this situation by putting all his faith in a guy who had never coached in the NHL.

Just like everything else in T.O., Eakins got over hyped. Time for MacT to admit his mistake and right this mess.

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#32 Taylor Gang
November 15 2013, 11:18AM
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Of course it isn't the coach's fault; look at our record we've had in the past 5 years! Our team is simply built to lose! Relying on rookie defensemen to shore up our defensive issues? Give me a break! It's amazing how people still think it's mostly the coach's fault.

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#33 2004Z06
November 15 2013, 04:10PM
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#Six Rings wrote:

"Gagner was on pace for 65 pts last year and finished 34th in scoring for F so yes he's a legit #2 C. "

A "legit" second line center should also have some semblance of defensive awareness and abilities to go along with offensive skills. Does watching the play while standing still make him a "legit" second line center?

Not only has Gagner never topped 50 points in the NHL, after seven seasons he still has the defensive acumen of a bantam player.

To suggest Sam Gagner is a "legit" second line center based on projected point totals for one shortened season while ignoring all of the glaring deficiencies in his defensive game that have been there since day one is nothing short of intentional ignorance.

Amen!

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#34 James
November 15 2013, 09:58AM
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Dave2 wrote:

Might have been OK if the new coach had NHL experience.

Maybe. Or maybe some stability for the younglings would have done more. I guess we'll never know. The Oilers were doing better last season until they petered out towards the end.

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#35 Twoskidoos
November 15 2013, 10:02AM
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Didn't Shero give Bylsma the vote of confidence last June? http://www.pensburgh.com/2013/6/12/4422996/ray-shero-press-conference-dan-bylsma-stays-as-pens-coach

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#36 pkam
November 15 2013, 10:03AM
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James wrote:

If only MacT realized this before canning another coach at the drop of a hat as his first order of business.

The counter argument to your comment is if MacT doesn't see Krueger as a long term solution and foresees a change in the near future, the sooner the better.

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#37 James
November 15 2013, 10:09AM
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pkam wrote:

The counter argument to your comment is if MacT doesn't see Krueger as a long term solution and foresees a change in the near future, the sooner the better.

Fair enough, but don't whine about stability and the amount of coaches the team has gone through. He can't have it both ways.

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#38 pkam
November 15 2013, 10:19AM
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James wrote:

Fair enough, but don't whine about stability and the amount of coaches the team has gone through. He can't have it both ways.

MacT started a new chapter this offseason, so if any changes need to be made, wouldn't you think it is the best opportunity, and hopefully things will settle down after that for an extended period of time?

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#39 HOFFFF
November 15 2013, 10:32AM
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"MacT isn't going anywhere..."

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#40 Reality Check to the head
November 15 2013, 10:40AM
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I cannot figure out why they ever canned Tom Renney, A coach who was willing to live through a rebuild. Modern and hard working. They could have fired Renney yesterday and he would have walked away expecting this. He said so himself in an old interview. To paraphrase; 'I (renney) seems to start rebuilds but I seem to be gone by the time the teams is doing well.'

Renney would have been the perfect Stop-Gap coach. Hindsight is 20-20, but I remember thinking that when they seemed to fire him for no reason.

The rest of the moves the Oilers have made in terms of coaching are amateurish. How are the Oilers ever going to attract good players and retain the likes of Hall, Eberle if they are living in a circus.

The Oilers say they are willing to live through a rebuild, but I am starting to think they are really just inept and have no choice but to be cellar dwellers.

Going to the game tonight, but only because the Ticket is free. I am starting to think, there may be more free tickets to be had.

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#41 Please share what ur Smokin
November 15 2013, 11:26AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Of course it isn't the coach's fault; look at our record we've had in the past 5 years! Our team is simply built to lose! Relying on rookie defensemen to shore up our defensive issues? Give me a break! It's amazing how people still think it's mostly the coach's fault.

It must be the fans fault then, as we've been told umpteen times that it is not management, the coaches are fine, and the players are the "CHOSEN ONES".

Silly me... It must be the Fans !!!

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#42 Jason
November 15 2013, 11:30AM
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Funny how you never hear Kevin Lowe speak in public, they can't trust him in public because he is an idiot yet they pay him to be Pres.

FIRE KEVIN LOWE

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#43 Danger Pay
November 15 2013, 11:35AM
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Mac T also addressed the fact that they are not giving up on Yakupov and he is not going anywhere.

My overall interpretation of this conference was that the Oilers have pressed the re-set button and have started (wait for it, wait, for, it) another Re-Build.

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#44 Blucifer Copperballs
November 15 2013, 11:52AM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

This team simply put has too many perimeter players. Not that players like this can't be valuable to a team, this one is overloaded with them. For me, other than Hall & RNH every other player on the current roster is available for trade. It's time to start the overhaul of this roster, as the way it's currently built will never be successful.

I don't know why the management of the Oilers would be so afraid of trading some assets. One of the reasons you draft the most talented player available rather than for positional need is that the more talent a player has the more value in return you'll receive.

Agree. Hall and RNH are at the core. I was in favor of a Yakupov/Hemsky deal since before the season started, to bring defence in. And at the risk of being unpopular, i'd be all for trading Eberle ahead of Gagner,only because we were so weak at C at the start of the year ( it's filled in nicely) the return on Ebs would be better, and once Gags gets the headgear off (thats gotta be distracting) and can see the ice at his feet again, he'll get back to being a contributor.

Yeah, i said it. Go ahead and tell me i'm a fool. Hate is the fuel that feeds the batteries that keep the Internet up and running, and i need to get my daily fix of cat pictures.

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#45 Rob F
November 15 2013, 12:53PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Just found out Arcabello is sitting..........our most solid player both offensively and defensively, and physically will not be playing.

Yea, coaching is not our problem!

probably getting traded...we cant have him out shining our young stars.....how dare he

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#46 Geoff
November 15 2013, 01:34PM
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So Jonathan if Eakins isn't a fit anymore who would be? I can't imagine the bench being coached by MacT himself or Lowe. Would the Oilers consider re hiring Tom Renney?

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#47 Chongler
November 15 2013, 02:09PM
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As fans, we need to rally behind this team. This is our team and like it or not, we are a part of it. It sucks watching them lose, and it really sucks watching them take 1 step forward and 3 steps back, but we, as fans NEED to get behind them. It's obvious we care, otherwise we wouldn't be reading blogs, tweeting and just so damn frustrated and pissed off about the whole situation. The Coach needs time, the management isn't going anywhere and can obviously identify the need for certain player types. As fans, we DO deserve a winning team, we've stuck it out this long and the road ahead seems worse than its ever been, but we have to keep telling ourselves that it will only get better-it HAS to get better... Don't go out and pay money to boo the team, step up and cheer for them, they aren't going to hear the cheers and think "Hey these fans are okay with us losing, so its no big deal, right?" They are going to hear the cheers and realize WHAT and WHO it is that they are playing for, they will find that extra bit inside each and every one of them that will turn this slump around, and when the losing stops, the party can FINALLY begin.

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#48 Wonger
November 15 2013, 02:21PM
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Chongler wrote:

As fans, we need to rally behind this team. This is our team and like it or not, we are a part of it. It sucks watching them lose, and it really sucks watching them take 1 step forward and 3 steps back, but we, as fans NEED to get behind them. It's obvious we care, otherwise we wouldn't be reading blogs, tweeting and just so damn frustrated and pissed off about the whole situation. The Coach needs time, the management isn't going anywhere and can obviously identify the need for certain player types. As fans, we DO deserve a winning team, we've stuck it out this long and the road ahead seems worse than its ever been, but we have to keep telling ourselves that it will only get better-it HAS to get better... Don't go out and pay money to boo the team, step up and cheer for them, they aren't going to hear the cheers and think "Hey these fans are okay with us losing, so its no big deal, right?" They are going to hear the cheers and realize WHAT and WHO it is that they are playing for, they will find that extra bit inside each and every one of them that will turn this slump around, and when the losing stops, the party can FINALLY begin.

I'm in! I LOVE THE OILERS - how could a true, blue fan cheer for anyone else! I've been going to games since 1978!!! - GO OILERS!!!! GO MAC T!!!! GO EAKINS!!!! NOW LET's GET SOME SIZE, GRIT and a big SCOOP OF NASTINESS to complement this SMALL, SKILLED , a little SOFT lineup!

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#49 2004Z06
November 15 2013, 04:07PM
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@Zarny

God I hate that on pace crap! Until he does it for real, I don't want to hear it.

His production could have completely fallen off a cliff in the second half and likely would have based on his career numbers. One good 48 game stretch is not justification for your argument. Look at his career numbers as a whole.

Purely point totals are not an accurate depiction of a centermans legitimacy either.

Gagner is likely a decent point producing winger, but with the added defensive, puck possession and face off responsibilities of the position of centerman, he is awful.

I am not saying he isn't a decent player, but he is a horrible centerman. We won't even discuss his +/-, his lack of back checking ability or his size.

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#50 Tayranchula
November 15 2013, 11:04PM
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Hey Willis,

Just wondering did you ever play hockey growing up and if did was it any competitive hockey?

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