DEAD-LAST OR DEAD AND LAST?

Robin Brownlee
November 16 2013 12:02AM

 

It seems ridiculous to say the Edmonton Oilers can forget about the playoffs for the eighth straight season after just 21 games, but that's exactly where the Oilers find themselves with 61 games to play after a 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks Friday.

Fact is, you could have said that, and many have, three or four games ago. The loss to San Jose, coupled with a win by the Buffalo Sabres, leaves the Oilers 4-15-2 and dead-last, 30th, in NHL standings as they prepare to face the Calgary Flames Saturday in a provincial showdown of have-nots.

I'm not going to trot out the threadbare "playing for pride" bit coaches tend to default to when it's obvious their teams are also-rans as the Oilers already are, but there's no doubt Dallas Eakins and GM Craig MacTavish are going to learn a lot about the players on their team in the games that remain – aside from the obvious, that this roster isn't good enough.

Frankly, given the frustration bubbling over as the defeats mount, like that articulated by Taylor Hall after the loss to the Sharks, it's going to be a long and challenging string to play out. That said, Eakins and MacTavish will find out a lot about who's-who and what's-what.

FRUSTRATION MOUNTS

The Oilers played some of their best hockey in several games after the Sharks took a 3-0 lead, but that was cold consolation to Hall in the dressing room as the Oilers packed for a quick flight to Calgary.

Gene Principe of Sportsnet Tweeted this quote from Hall after the game: "I'm just so tired of coming in here after games and having to give a reason why we lost. We just gotta win."

Surrounded by reporters, Hall added: "We played well for the rest of the game, but it doesn't matter. It's for nothing.

"I've been around for so many losses that you kind of put yourself in a tailspin of wondering what it is. It's really hard. We're trying really hard in here but we're not winning games. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."

While it's foolish to try to read too much into what Hall said just minutes after another disappointing defeat – one wouldn’t expect him to be tap dancing with glee -- it doesn't take a vast intellect to figure out Hall and his teammates are just as sick of losing as fans are. The question now is what he and his teammates do about it the rest of the way.

LONG WAY TO GO

The way I see it, there's a big difference between being dead-last in the standings and dead and last in the 61 games that remain. What I want to see is who digs in and battles the rest of the way. Who fades away? Who flat out mails it in? I'd imagine Eakins and MacTavish want to know, too.

This isn't about saying, "Don't give up boys and everything will be OK." That's naïve. This team is flawed in the way it's been put together, as has been pointed out for a long, long time, and a bunch of "try-hard" efforts isn’t going to make the deficits in this team's make-up go away.

Addressing the shortcomings by position and in personnel falls to MacTavish, but he's going to get a good, long while to assess who fights and who folds from here on out, and that does play into where this team is going in the long term.

Is Hall up for it? Is Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov and on and on? Who is resilient and stubborn enough to suck it up and go balls out with the post-season again a pipe dream? Who has been broken, or is close to it, by all the failure? Who says, "I'm sick of this and I'm not going to take it?" Who says, "I'm sick of this. I quit?"

Who has a heartbeat? Who is dead and last?

PARTING THOUGHT . . .

I wonder if MacTavish is seriously considering bringing in an experienced NHL coach to bolster his staff and I wonder if he still has Paul Maurice's phone number?

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Rheal1
November 16 2013, 07:37AM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

I can't believe that Katz hasn't cleaned house with Lowe, Howson and MacT yet. How out of touch with the fan base and the sport is he? How low are his expectations? How gullible is he.

You know, absolutely know, Lowe and MacT had to promise him things would be better this year. Instead, this is rock bottom. The worst.

He has Cassie Campbell-Pascal going on national radio and saying that the free agent hockey players she spoke to all said they would sign in Edmonton because Lowe and MacT are living in the 80s, are completely out of touch, and won't go anywhere near the franchise with this current management team.

This isn't on Lowe anymore. He's proven what he is. This is on Katz for not doing anything about it.

That was fan's perspective right there. This is a business perspective: Katz: " Kevin I hear that the Oilers fans think the team sucks, boy." KLown: " Sir, how is your bank account?" Katz: " It is full, boy. It is full. Great work". KLown: " Sir, I know a few things about making you money".

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#52 hemi
November 16 2013, 07:39AM
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There are no positives left for even the most die hard fan to cling too. Shame on the Management and the Owner. It is their responsibility to run this team successfully. They have failed miserably!

Shame on the Management and the Owner for taking one of the most die hard fan based franchises in the league for granted. All respect for the Owner and Management has completely disappeared. Kudos to the fans whom have come out in droves and are speaking of their displeasure.

Not even one fan expected the Oil to be knocking at the door for the Cup immediately but it is as plain as the day that the gracious Oil fan has been duped by the incompetency of this Management. The only door this team is knocking is the basement cellar door.

Team is in complete shambles! The good people of Edmonton do not deserve this garbage and it pains me to admit that there is no end in site.

Bottom line, Edmonton does not have an NHL team.

Go Hawks Go!

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#53 JJ
November 16 2013, 07:40AM
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I think those onion rings are intimidating Eakins...

"Must resist.. only eat raw onions"

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#54 Fresh Mess
November 16 2013, 07:41AM
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Great. Another chance for the Oiler management to asses who wants to be here next year. Another 60 game training camp. Another test of character. Another audition for next year when things will be so much better. Again. For the eighth year running......

I know it's your job to try and write something about this perennial joke of a franchise RB, but even you must be sick of writing this stuff every year.

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#55 JJ
November 16 2013, 07:44AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Great. Another chance for the Oiler management to asses who wants to be here next year. Another 60 game training camp. Another test of character. Another audition for next year when things will be so much better. Again. For the eighth year running......

I know it's your job to try and write something about this perennial joke of a franchise RB, but even you must be sick of writing this stuff every year.

Oh I doubt that. He's still collecting a paycheque, The oilers sucking doesn't affect the media one bit.

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#56 Rheal1
November 16 2013, 07:48AM
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50% chances one of the kids demands a trade by xmas. 50% chances another one of the kids is traded by March deadline. 100% certain MacT trades his #1 pick in June for prospects. 'Cause the suckers need hope ya'll know.

BOYCOTT THIS TEAM!!!!

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#57 season not played
November 16 2013, 07:57AM
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Some thoughts.

I find MacT spewing rhetoric about reasons for optimism offensive. How stupid does he think the Oilers fanbase is?

This mess will take years, and several astute transactions to fix. At this point, I would rather have Mike Milbury in charge of it.

By my eye, it sure looks like Tyler Seguin is a better hockey player than Taylor Hall. Mind you, he does have the distinct advantage of playing for an actual NHL hockey team.

I think it's only a matter of time until players want out. Fortunately, I can't see why another team would return any value on one of those ridiculous 6 million dollar deals. Unfortunately, a core of players that don't want to be here should make for fantastic hockey.

I would like to say tonight is rock bottom, but it will get no better tomorrow. The humilitation will go on all season. Bryzgalov isn't even here yet.

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#58 Loyal Oil
November 16 2013, 07:59AM
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@Rheal1

True. The reason there is such frustration between fans and Katz/Lowe is that they are using a different evaluation tool for success. Katz sees a full (tier 1 paying fans) rink every night, millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer money coming to him in the rink deal and a 2 wait list for season tics. How many of you would fire a manager who said "I'm going to absolutely fill your pockets with money and after I do that I'm goin to fill them again with millions and millions of taxpayers money and the only draw back will be some tier 2 fans (non-revenue fans) writting pissed off comments on some blog". Most people would take the money and run. The only problem with their short term money grab is that they could destroy the primary revenue producing asset in the process (the edmonton oilers hockey club, problem is they have already considered that they may destroy the club and have started work on contingency relocation options).

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#59 Itchy
November 16 2013, 08:05AM
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Last nights San Jose game was the first game this season I've watched completely from start to finish. Its also the first game I've ever watched where I saw no scrums, no punches after the whistle, no snowing the goalie, nothing to show me any passion or desire to play hard and get under the other teams skin a bit and compete. It was played with the intensity of an All-Star game. I'm a die hard fan, but this was tough to watch...even my non hockey-fan girlfriend had trouble watching. I may have to go team shopping soon after 15 years....gonna be a tough breakup but games like that make it easier.

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#60 Batfink
November 16 2013, 08:08AM
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JJ wrote:

Oh I doubt that. He's still collecting a paycheque, The oilers sucking doesn't affect the media one bit.

Do you truly believe RB takes pride in writing about how much we suck? I rarely agree with his perspective, but I have never doubted that he is a fan and cares what happens to the once mighty Oil. I don't know where you work, but imagine your job sucks everyday, making you stressed and really dreading going into work in the morning. But what the h3ll should it matter, you still collect a paycheque right? Just sayin' that like any job, you get a different sense ofsatisfaction doing different tasks.

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#61 Serious Gord
November 16 2013, 08:08AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Kevin, Craig, Bucky, Stevie, they are all his buddies from back in the 80's. I'm sure when he bought the team his dream was that they would all be together again at centre ice, raising the cup like they were young lions once again. So they set about recreating what they thought was a reasonable facsimile of the 80's dynasty team, with Hall as Messier, RNH as Gretzky, Schulz as Coffey, Yak as Kurri, Eberle as Anderson. Except they're not. And the game has changed a little since the 80's, where Lowe and MacT and Katz seem to permanently stuck. And they can't get their heads around it, and are stunned that their ingenious plan isn't working. So they best we can hope for is they will bring in Mark Messier to help sort things out. As DSF would say, "Book it".

So the hiring of old boys has been a miserable failure, and your solution is to hire another old boy?

I'm pretty sure DSFs response would be: "good grief!"

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#62 Batfink
November 16 2013, 08:12AM
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Itchy wrote:

Last nights San Jose game was the first game this season I've watched completely from start to finish. Its also the first game I've ever watched where I saw no scrums, no punches after the whistle, no snowing the goalie, nothing to show me any passion or desire to play hard and get under the other teams skin a bit and compete. It was played with the intensity of an All-Star game. I'm a die hard fan, but this was tough to watch...even my non hockey-fan girlfriend had trouble watching. I may have to go team shopping soon after 15 years....gonna be a tough breakup but games like that make it easier.

Yeah, what happened to Perron? That wasn't the dude that we love out there. Did DE rein him in? Shouldn't have bothered. Vets broke team last night. Smytty pens and Captain Effin Fantastic slew footing his own goalie. I intitially thought SJ player had pushed him, but no.

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#63 Fresh Mess
November 16 2013, 08:14AM
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Seriously, could some other billionaire looking for a new prestige toy please buy this franchise ? But only a real free market capitalist who believes in paying his own way and reaping the rewards. No more shysters or corporate welfare crooks...

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#64 Loweblows
November 16 2013, 08:16AM
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Glad Arco was sent down-great game by the invisible acton-mactavish couldn't managa a friggin circus-

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#65 Loweblows
November 16 2013, 08:16AM
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Glad Arco was sent down-great game by the invisible acton-mactavish couldn't managa a friggin circus-

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#66 Itchy
November 16 2013, 08:25AM
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@Batfink

All the talk of compete at the beginning of the year, then they go out and play a game like that. DE should be a used car salesman. I actually believed his speech before the season.

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#67 Robin Brownlee
November 16 2013, 08:30AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Great. Another chance for the Oiler management to asses who wants to be here next year. Another 60 game training camp. Another test of character. Another audition for next year when things will be so much better. Again. For the eighth year running......

I know it's your job to try and write something about this perennial joke of a franchise RB, but even you must be sick of writing this stuff every year.

This city comes alive in the playoffs. It's a fun environment to work in. Been a long time.

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#68 Oil Change?
November 16 2013, 08:36AM
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The smart players will stop trying. That might be they're only way to get traded out of this mess.

Only the Oilers after everything that has happened could add another dimension to the problem by sending down the second highest scoring rookie and keep the coaches son.

Katz is fairly young, this could go on for another 30 years with Lowe right by his side the whole way.

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#69 Oiler Al
November 16 2013, 08:38AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Kevin, Craig, Bucky, Stevie, they are all his buddies from back in the 80's. I'm sure when he bought the team his dream was that they would all be together again at centre ice, raising the cup like they were young lions once again. So they set about recreating what they thought was a reasonable facsimile of the 80's dynasty team, with Hall as Messier, RNH as Gretzky, Schulz as Coffey, Yak as Kurri, Eberle as Anderson. Except they're not. And the game has changed a little since the 80's, where Lowe and MacT and Katz seem to permanently stuck. And they can't get their heads around it, and are stunned that their ingenious plan isn't working. So they best we can hope for is they will bring in Mark Messier to help sort things out. As DSF would say, "Book it".

And, Messier isn't from the 80's? He's from the same party... just another jock for Katz to sniff.

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#70 jona
November 16 2013, 08:42AM
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@hemi

plz get all this oilers management to be relieved!! look at this Buffalo sabres they cleaned up everything and LOOK the first game of the new coaching staff got a win right away..

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#71 Batfink
November 16 2013, 08:43AM
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Itchy wrote:

All the talk of compete at the beginning of the year, then they go out and play a game like that. DE should be a used car salesman. I actually believed his speech before the season.

I've used this analogy for him before. He says all the right things. Snake oil salesman. I believe he's the same as putting someone like NAS or DSF in as coach. Clever hockey guys, but would ultimately find themselves out of their depth. Talk a good game.

The trouble is that he doesn't hold himself to the same standards as he does the players. Accountability. That's why Arco didn't play last night?

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#72 MMAX
November 16 2013, 08:48AM
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Rdubb wrote:

Maybe MacT should talk to one of his leaders, say Ference,Hall or Eberle and ask them to be honest and to say who is a "cancer" & who they think "should be moved on"...& then MacT can try & make moves from there. Plus, is Eakins so "hard headed" that he doesn't see that his systems on the PK & PP aren't working and he MUST go back to last seasons "systems" where they were ranked near the top of the NHL, & not near dead last like this years "systems"... Where is all this accountability that was talked about all summer and spring? Should any of the big 3 or 4 have back to back bad nights they too must be benched, & if Nail continues to play poor defensively & feels like being a one man show, than he too should be BENCHED. If Hemsky continues to skate along the blue, have his entire team in the offensive zone, and than make one to many "whopsi-doodles" & give the puck away, than he MUST get benched. What did the WPG coach say last week, "we can't bench the entire team", maybe not, but start benching some of the "stars" & maybe they'll get the hint. Gagner should get benched darn near after every game as his play has been poor in all 3 zones and his +/- shows it, as does his corsi stats (from what I've heard)...

Because Mac T's name would probably come up as one of the "cancers".

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#73 Jason
November 16 2013, 09:24AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Robin (or anyone who cares to comment),

I have been an Edmontonian and Oiler fan all of my 40 years. As maddening as it is for me to see the team as bad as it has been for as long as it has been, the one thing that I think is mostr frustrating is this.

The problem has been the same for the last 7 years - we are too small up front, lack defence, have questionable goaltending, and not enough guys playing with conviction and grit!

How is it that a problem that has been identified for this long seems no closer to being solved?

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#74 camdog
November 16 2013, 09:24AM
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I hear Mact go on and on about goaltending and defence, but right now they are not number one problem, they are being scapegoated and it is unfair.

The number one problem is this team is spent to the cap on over paid soft, forwards that don't score and don't win puck battles. The immediate need for this team is a couple of forwards that can actually win a battle for the puck.

I hated Krueger's game last season because he coached the Oilers like a European league team, aka they played to the outside. What I didn't understand is that is how Tambelini/Lowe built this team! I have no doubt that if we played on the big ice we would be successful, but this is the NHL, not the KHL!

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#75 camdog
November 16 2013, 09:30AM
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@Jason

Post Pronger the model for this team has remained the same. This is now 3 GM'S that are trying to win with the same model. Look at the Oilers team from Mact's last years as a coach the team is the same team, the philosophy has not changed. This is Kevein Lowe/Mact's original plan for the 2006-07 season, the strategy has not changed!

The number one variable required to get a job with the Oilers is you have to share Kevin Lowe's vision, that is what is wrong with this organization.

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#76 Walter Sobchak
November 16 2013, 09:30AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

So the hiring of old boys has been a miserable failure, and your solution is to hire another old boy?

I'm pretty sure DSFs response would be: "good grief!"

@dougtheslug

Sorry for the bad news, Messier already works for the Oilers.

He's a consultant for Lowe.

All Katz needs now is Gretzky & his childhood dream of being friends with all the 80’s Oilers will be complete.

Forget the hockey club, Katz just bought that to have fancy friends.

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#77 LoweBlow
November 16 2013, 09:38AM
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Not even a trip to Brazil could prevent me from watching these Oilers. I streamed games at 1am, giddy with excitement over the teams evolution this year. That feeling quickly disappeared.

Tonight will be the first game in a while that I won't be able to watch. Part of me enjoys watching the trainwreck and seeing how MacT and Eakins spin it. The rest of me remembers the real hope and energy after game 6 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. That makes me sad. Not sad that they played an amazing gritty playoff and lost, but that it's been so long since I saw an incomplete team come together to get the job done.

This team is a travesty. Not the makeup but the way it's been managed. This team had a 9 game losing streak last year but finished on a dominating high note. They also managed to get to the 8 spot right before the trade deadline. That team was in the mix.

This year, I'd have a hard time saying that there aren't better 'pieces'. The D has improved. Belov is much better than Whitney. Ference is a smarter replacement for Smid. Larsen is a more complete player than Fistric though lacks any toughness. Joensuu, Acton, Arco, Gordon & Perron are great additions.

My question is, how has this team gotten worse? I honestly would've traded Hemsky before Horcoff but I didn't complain. Horcs tough minutes have been replaced by Gordo. Fine.

Gags was injured but Arco stepped in nice at the 2C position. Acton looks a lot better than Smyth at 4C. Hall can't play centre, that was a foolish experiment. Nuge, Arco/Gags & Gordo is a weak top 3 but they succeeded last year with Nuge (injured), Gags & Horcs. I don't think Horcs is THAT much better than Gordo.

My question given that these changes are not in the absolute wrong direction: How could anyone say that the team, having nose-dived, is due to the players? Isn't it 100% obvious that this is on coaching/management?

You can't proclaim bold moves to the media. Other GM's were licking their chops at a possible fleece. MacT shouted out his desperation loud and clear. A clear no-no. You can't name the players you want to trade to the media; desperation once again.

You can't take a #4 Dman in Ference, pay him and expect him to step into a #2 role and succeed. Just as you can't give a rookie centre 25 mins of ice-time against top competition.

You can't hand out millions of dollars to unproven talent. Nuge should've at least played half a season before contract talks. Remember that money/contracts are an incentive for players. Not to say that Nuge is comfy now, but he's certainly not worried.

You can't keep changing coaches and expect the team to adjust immediately. Thank you all who read my rant. I just needed to get this out.

Off to watch the Seahawks. A team that turned their rebuild around in 2 bloody seasons. The franchise player? Russell Wilson, drafted 75th overall. I know it isn't the same sport, but Seattle is basically the Winnipeg of the States. They're forgotten and ignored as an NFL franchise. That's my team. Hard working D and O. Heart, desire & rage.

Shame on you Katz, Lowe, MacT & Eakins. You're about to start losing fans.

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#78 dougtheslug
November 16 2013, 09:50AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

So the hiring of old boys has been a miserable failure, and your solution is to hire another old boy?

I'm pretty sure DSFs response would be: "good grief!"

Thats not my solution. Thats my prediction

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#79 Jason
November 16 2013, 09:52AM
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@camdog

I agree. I think one of the big problems is that they have tried to build a team that could win the cup in 1983, forgetting that it is now 2013.

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#80 outdoorzguy
November 16 2013, 09:53AM
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Hey McTavish...see what Toronto just did..."BOLD MOVES"!!it can be done if you put a bit of effort into it.

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#81 Gav
November 16 2013, 10:15AM
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I'm a fan. I'll keep on cheering for the Oilers because for some reason I love watching hockey. It is irrational, but that is what being a fan is all about. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't have to be rational.

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#82 crobar
November 16 2013, 10:17AM
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arsenaloilerbarca wrote:

First time poster - 27 years a fan

Going to the game vs columbus on tuesday, bringing a sign that says:

"hey MacT, here's a bold move, refund us our money"

first time i spent money on a mini pack and actually regret it… sad times being a fan of the oil :(

pretty sure the gestapo at the rink will take it from you at the door. you will have to sneak it in and unroll it during the game. you will then be asked to remove the sign and yourself from the building. book it!!

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#83 LoweBlow
November 16 2013, 10:18AM
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P.S. 'Book it' makes you sound like a dbag Nuck/Leaf fan.

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#84 TDSM31
November 16 2013, 10:20AM
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LoweBlow wrote:

That game was a disgrace, for the Sharks. The Oil should feel flattered that it wasn't 6-1. Couture had tough puck-luck tonight and they had a tonne of posts. The Oilers couldn't/wouldn't finish. There was no fight, nor jam left in the 3rd. The Sharks were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. They were exhausted, they still pulled out an ugly road win.

That game was a joke to watch.

I don't blame the players for the seeming lack of fight. They're confused, sad and annoyed. How did they get stuck on this broken ship, adrift? I can understand if there's a few cancers in the dressingroom that won't play under a coach. This entire team, however, is beyond hope. That's on the coach & organization.

I know the Oilers players are confused...and I am too by this post. So the other team has tough puck-luck when they don't score against us and we should be grateful the score isn't even more lopsided, but when we miss scoring opportunities (like the two heartbreakers against Dallas and Smyttys failed wrap around last night) its because we don't have the ability to finish? No bad 'puck-luck' for us?

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#85 Chad
November 16 2013, 10:21AM
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he's not bringing in another coach, he just said in his news conference that the coaching staff is doing a great job

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#86 tileguy
November 16 2013, 10:40AM
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Itchy wrote:

Last nights San Jose game was the first game this season I've watched completely from start to finish. Its also the first game I've ever watched where I saw no scrums, no punches after the whistle, no snowing the goalie, nothing to show me any passion or desire to play hard and get under the other teams skin a bit and compete. It was played with the intensity of an All-Star game. I'm a die hard fan, but this was tough to watch...even my non hockey-fan girlfriend had trouble watching. I may have to go team shopping soon after 15 years....gonna be a tough breakup but games like that make it easier.

If they snowed the goalie they would get their lights punched out. Too many sweeties.

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#87 Johnnydapunk
November 16 2013, 10:50AM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

Hey McTavish...see what Toronto just did..."BOLD MOVES"!!it can be done if you put a bit of effort into it.

As much as I blame MacT for not getting, trading, or even signing players that the Oil needed, I think a big part of it which is sad but true is Edmonton is not that appealing of a place to live for well paid NHLers. It's easier for teams in big cities, or typically non hockey markets to sign and have players to agree to go to their teams because they are either wanting to live in a fairly large city, or not want to be noticed or annoyed in their off time.

I'm not saying it just to knock Edmonton as it is the city I grew up in but, it's the sad reality that sometimes players have to be overpaid to stay here. The Oilers are lucky that they have a pretty amazing history that some players want to be a part of.

I am guessing that I will get trashed for saying all that, but it is the reality.

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#88 CMG30
November 16 2013, 10:51AM
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"This team is put together wrong"

True statement, but not something that can be fixed overnight. I don't believe for a second that MacT is happy with this roster and I believe that he desperately wants to change it. The problem is that the right deal is not out there yet.

There is talk of the trade between Anaheim and Toronto. I don't see that trade being available to the Oilers for that price for 2 reasons: 1 Anaheim and Edmonton are in the same conference and 2 there has got to be a premium on any trade involving Edmonton because of the situation in Edmonton right now.

There is no doubt that the Oil need to trade a young star but I can't see that happening until closer to the trade deadline. The right deal just isn't available. As painful as the loses are, the Oilers still need to be careful with their assets. For all intents and purposes this is the team Tambi built and it was why he was fired. The surest way for the new GM to get fired as well is to panic and ship out one of the past season's booby prizes for a has-been or a rental.

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#89 tileguy
November 16 2013, 10:53AM
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MacT is paralyzed to make a trade for a couple of reasons. To me the solutions is he has to overpay to find some size and grit that still has some reasonable skill level, ie Simmonds. But can you imagine the uproar it will cause, "you gave away potential 40 goals for this" So he doesn't make the trade and we are stuck as a small soft team. Nurse coming in as a 19 year old isn't going to make us gritty next year. My solution is to overpay for size on the offence. That's where we start, goal-tending can betaken care of this summer.

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#90 **
November 16 2013, 10:59AM
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MacTavish is in denial about the state of this team. Gordon, Perron, Ference, Belov, these guys just came from organizations where they were successful. They come here and they play so poorly. It is difficult to believe that it is the players' fault for not stepping up their game. There is obviously something not working with the coach's system. How long before MacT accepts he made a mistake and fires the coach.

The argument that this team needs stability and the coach can't get fired is a weak one. You can't keep a faulty part in an engine just because the last 4 you replaced were faulty as well. You keep looking for the right part until you find it.

The decision to sit down the best all around player in the team by all metrics (Arcobello) was to me the last straw. At least they finally told him he is staying.

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#91 **
November 16 2013, 11:01AM
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diminishing expectations for the Oilers:

Make the playoffs. No?. Ok.

Win a game. No?. Ok.

Score a goal. Yes!!!!!!!!!Let's Go Oilers!!!!!!!!

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#92 **
November 16 2013, 11:04AM
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It really rattles my mind that people keep filling up the seats at Rexall when this team has been such a piece of garbage for 8 seasons now. In any other place with this record the team would be giving free beer, free seats, scrambling to sell tickets, let alone sell out.

Every time Rexall is sold out this city confirms that this is the team it wants and deserves. So there is no incentive for the owner to shake anything up when the dollars keep rolling in.

Sad reality.

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#93 **
November 16 2013, 11:09AM
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Bishai in the Benches wrote:

Went to a U of A Golden Bears game tonight instead of watching the Oilers. I can honestly say it's one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I was so nice hearing the final horn sound, and not being pissed off. It cost me $7 to get in, $4.50 for a beer, the Bears outshot and outplayed Regina, it was fast, physical, entertaining hockey, the crowd was into it, and I enjoyed myself 100%. Although it may not be "the best league in the world", I'll take $7 hockey, an honest effort, and a win over the Oilers any day. CCIS and the U of A Golden Bears have just found a new fan. I urge you all to do the same.

If you bring a cushion, the seating at Clare Drake is actually much more comfortable than at Rexall.

Go G BEARS!!!!!!!!!

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#94 Rama Lama
November 16 2013, 11:09AM
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I for one do not care anymore if they win or lose........just play hard and leave it all on the ice.

This team has been assembled with too much emphasis on skill /speed in stead of skill/size........those chickens are coming home to roost. The only one that can be held accountable for that is Kevin Lowe. He proclaimed long ago that small fast players given the new interferrence rules would rule the NHL world.

He and he alone is the master of this disaster. I can't wait for the day when the fans start chanting, "hey hey, ho ho, Kevin LOwe has got to go"!

Oh to see the look on his face!

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#95 Rama Lama
November 16 2013, 11:11AM
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** wrote:

MacTavish is in denial about the state of this team. Gordon, Perron, Ference, Belov, these guys just came from organizations where they were successful. They come here and they play so poorly. It is difficult to believe that it is the players' fault for not stepping up their game. There is obviously something not working with the coach's system. How long before MacT accepts he made a mistake and fires the coach.

The argument that this team needs stability and the coach can't get fired is a weak one. You can't keep a faulty part in an engine just because the last 4 you replaced were faulty as well. You keep looking for the right part until you find it.

The decision to sit down the best all around player in the team by all metrics (Arcobello) was to me the last straw. At least they finally told him he is staying.

Could not agree with you more!

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#96 Gret99zky
November 16 2013, 11:30AM
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arsenaloilerbarca wrote:

First time poster - 27 years a fan

Going to the game vs columbus on tuesday, bringing a sign that says:

"hey MacT, here's a bold move, refund us our money"

first time i spent money on a mini pack and actually regret it… sad times being a fan of the oil :(

the sign won't make it past security

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#97 tileguy
November 16 2013, 11:39AM
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I can't wait for the day when the fans start chanting, "hey hey, ho ho, Kevin LOwe has got to go"!

Can you hum a few bars of that so we get it straight?

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#98 **
November 16 2013, 11:49AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I for one do not care anymore if they win or lose........just play hard and leave it all on the ice.

This team has been assembled with too much emphasis on skill /speed in stead of skill/size........those chickens are coming home to roost. The only one that can be held accountable for that is Kevin Lowe. He proclaimed long ago that small fast players given the new interferrence rules would rule the NHL world.

He and he alone is the master of this disaster. I can't wait for the day when the fans start chanting, "hey hey, ho ho, Kevin LOwe has got to go"!

Oh to see the look on his face!

I agree they neeed to focus on skill/size. I would add grit. Penner had size but never played physical enough, same with Eager. Funny how the smallest forward in the team leads them in hits and all around game (Arcobello). And they are not just ove taps, he actually separates players form the puck in good defensive plays. I wish Joenssu and Eager played with that spirit. THey certainly have enough skill.

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#100 Death Metal Nightmare
November 16 2013, 12:06PM
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solid article but...

we know who the floaters are. we know who the guys are with talent who play with some guts (it's not many). we know who the Fancy Boys are who overpass, sit on the perimeter and are too weak to get greasy. having 61 games to figure that out is ridiculous.

the defense is so over-matched by any team that isnt symmetric with the Oilers caliber of roster. "puck moving D" is a farce. "puck losing D" - the non-red wings model.

there's way too many walking dead on this team. theyre not even passengers. passengers rely on a driver and no one is driving this team.

this is just a game of politics and money now since we all know that the management team should be completely wiped. theyve all had their fingers in this too long. "We gave them dumb contracts so now we have to eat our humble pie of crap while we wait patiently."

and WTF are the coaches teaching these kids during TC and pre-season? Eakins not being able to "implement" some facets of his system? if this was the NFL that f-ing coach would have been fired for getting partial (or non-existent) systems in place.

rebuild FAIL. this is the Atlanta Thrashers at expansion time through the early 2000s. the fact that an established NHL team has a roster as poor as an expansion team even after multiple attempts at free agency, trades and drafts (where's the help there outside of obvious picks?) is a massive disappointment.

instead of seeing who has the guts on the ice, lets see "authority" in the franchise has the guts to get rid of some of these faith-based flunkies running the show.

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