The Way I See It

Robin Brownlee
November 22 2013 09:59PM

Winning, the saying goes, solves everything. While that's not true, at least as it pertains to a flawed team like the Edmonton Oilers, three straight victories has, at the very least, taken some of the edge off a decidedly and rightfully unhappy fan base.

After being booed off the ice by fans at Rexall Place just a week or so ago, the Oilers filed into their dressing room after a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers Thursday and a 7-0 whitewash of the Columbus Blue Jackets to ovations from a capacity crowd. The Oilers started this much-needed three-game respite from futility with a win down the highway in Calgary.

In the big picture that is an 82-game NHL season, 7-15-2 isn't a whole lot better than the 4-15-2 record the Oilers took into this little roll, but it sure feels like it. It most certainly changes, however temporarily, the way fans feel about themselves and their hockey team today.

It might even have you feeling better about goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has been a lightning rod for criticism after a decidedly horrendous start to the season. Fans have to be pretty happy with Dubnyk's performance during this three game stretch – the same people who were losing their minds after his first three games of the season.

Statistically speaking, Dubnyk is neither as inept as he appeared in those first three games (and several more along the way) nor the Vezina Trophy candidate he's looked like in the last three. When the dust settles after 82 games, I suspect Dubnyk will end up somewhere in the middle.

One extreme to the Other

Anybody who is saying, "Thanks for that insight, Captain Obvious," might want to take a look at some of the comments sections here from early in the season, be it Dubnyk's first three outings, or even the first month, for that matter. He was a bum. A joke. A brutal embarrassment. On and on.

While fans and media types are prone to qualifying their observations with "small sample size" these days, that pretty much went out the window as the venom was spewed here and on radio call-in shows when Dubnyk led the collective early season face plant. I don't mind the passion, by any means, but it's funny how a start abysmal beyond words plays hell with a reasoned approach when it comes to fandom.

Dubnyk allowed 13 goals on 85 shots in the first three games he played, recording Andre Racicot-like save percentages of .821, .839 and .885 in those games. In his last three games, Dubnyk has stopped 71 of 74 shots, going .943, 1.000 and, against the Panthers, .960.

With 157 games in the books (all on a bad team), I think it's safe to say we know what Dubnyk is – even if many forgot it for the first 18 games or so. In 2010-11, Dubnyk's save percentage was .916. In 2011-12 it was .914, followed by .920 last season. The numbers, again on miserable teams, show him to be a good, not great, NHL starter.

A good team, which the Oilers aren't yet, can win with Dubnyk. When this season is over, I'd be willing to wager that Dubnyk, who sits at 6-10-1 with an .896 save percentage today, falls right where he has the previous three seasons – in the .914 to .920 range.

Right in the middle between a rail car out of town and a Vezina Trophy.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

I can't figure out fans in this town when it comes to their perceptions of the media, although much of how they view the jobs being done by scribes and broadcasters is obviously based on how good or bad the Oilers are playing at any given time.

Reporters not willing to seek out Kevin Lowe and ask him why the hell he refuses to step down right now, if not bloody sooner – usually after a loss -- are fartcatchers and yes-men. Bought and paid for. Mouthpieces for the team and blah, blah, blah. And why don’t we ask Sam Gagner why he sucks so bad? What the hell is wrong with "you guys."

Then, when a reporter, namely Ryan Rishaug of TSN, presses Ilya Bryzgalov about why the Philadelphia Flyers paid him $23 million to go away and not play for them anymore, he's being an ass and a showboat and picking on the wrong guy because he just got here (and isn’t Kevin Lowe).

There was nothing wrong with the line of questioning Rishaug and others pursued with Bryzgalov during his first availability here. Those questions were asked and answered (very well by Bryzgalov, I thought). Then, you move on and judge Bryzgalov, as he suggested, by whatever his body of work turns out to be this season.

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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#1 gadzic
November 22 2013, 10:38PM
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I think the issue people had with Rishaug was the way in which he asked the questions not what he was asking about. Appeared at least by my ears to be going for a cheap sound bite or to be baiting Bryz .

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#2 Oiler Al
November 22 2013, 10:23PM
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I agree, there is nothing wrong with asking the hard question, that all part of the gig, from both sides of the mike!

But why has no one asked the hard questions of Mr Lowe, the guy who knows something about winning.... while the team flounders at the bottom of the league , yet again.

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#3 Lowe Expectations
November 22 2013, 11:32PM
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Beat reporters for the most part do a good job. The bad media is the between period player interview with a sweating, breathing heavy player being asked how it felt to score that goal. That I can do without.

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#4 DSF
November 23 2013, 12:41AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I wouldn't cross the street to see a Timberlake concert. That's Rishaug's thing.

Like I said, I understand the passion of fans in this town, but I think some of that gets directed at the wrong people.

Fans fixate on Lowe and I understand why, but the idea that nobody has criticized his tenure here when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary is a fantasy.

It was also puzzling to me why Rishaug took heat for his line of questioning. Those questions, in the context of a first availability with Bryzgalov, had to be asked.

I think you have to admit Lowe has gotten a pretty easy ride in Edmonton.

After 8 years out of the playoffs, virtually every team in the league would be dumping their hockey executives and looking for different answers.

That Lowe was made to feel uncomfortable by ONE reporter in his presser announcing the MacT hire doesn't change that all that much.

Has anyone asked him DIRECTLY why MacT was the best man for the job?

Has anyone asked him DIRECTLY why he thinks Eakins was the best available coaching hire?

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#6 Ron
November 23 2013, 11:03AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Your inability to comprehend what was written is absolutely stunning. Really.

My bad. There I go being wrong again! For an alleged wordsmith maybe your perception is part of the issue. I understand you may not be given access to "He of the six rings whose name cannot be spoken by mere mortals". The fact Oiler management types are thin-skinned mandarins is also not your fault. If you think the haughtiness of the Edmonton media is not noticed by fans you would be what I call wrong.

Like a lot of people I've been buying my way into Oiler games for almost 35 years. Wrong as we may be we don't need you or anyone else telling us what we should be thinking.

Media upstarts like Rishaug are not long on credibility. He set a trap to goad Bryz and Bryz beat him at his own game. If Rishaug is vying for a spot on the big seat in Toronto that kind of naked ambition at other people's expense may not work out so well. I wouldn't trust a reporter who has those kinds of ethical standards.

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#7 OilClog
November 23 2013, 12:06AM
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The way I see it, I want to hear Bryz talk about; why he chose Edmonton, is he prepared for the challenge, can he stay warm, can he help out players build a swagger.

What I don't want to hear; negative directed first interview as a presentation for the fan base.

When are the MSM going to realize the average man isn't watching the sport for Drama. We're watching it for the Sport. I want to read about why Bryz glove hand is top 5, what he prides his game on the most? Builds a better fan/player relationship. Over a bunch of negative Philly mistakes. Report the beautiful game on the damn ice!

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#8 GVBlackhawk
November 23 2013, 01:05AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Fans were rightfully upset with Dubnyk because his 'slump' has significantly contributed to a lost season. The Oilers were out of the playoff picture one month into the season largely in part to abysmal goaltending (both Dubnyk and Labarbera). The fact that Dubnyk's play is regressing to his average is of little comfort at this point.

With respect to the mainstream media's handling of Kevin Lowe, there has not been much pressure on him. MSM reporters know that Lowe is petty and might restrict access to the team. Neither the Sun, the Journal, TSN, or Sportsnet have cast a spotlight on Lowe's management record. There have been a few sporadic articles, but nothing that would constitute real media pressure. Even Yakupov faced more media scrutiny from his comments last week than Lowe has received in his tenure in management.

Other than his six cups debacle, Lowe's record of futility has flown under the radar of most fans -- the blame being deflected by ex-coaches and Steve Tambellini. Has Lowe even given one interview since that press conference? Would Rishaug grill Lowe like he did Yakupov or Bryzgalov? I don't think so.

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#9 Ron
November 23 2013, 04:02AM
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Well now, i'd like to thank you for pointing out to all of the us ticket buying fans that the ineptness of Katz' ownership and management down to the people who clean the rink post-game are not the problem it is the fans who are responsible for team performance since '06. Who'd-a-thunk it?

It is that point of view spelled out so clearly by you that shows me why most if not all Edmonton media types are thought of the way they are.

So once again we the fans are not seeing what we are seeing. It's just our faulty perspective.

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#10 Racki
November 23 2013, 01:42AM
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DSF wrote:

45-10-3 would be one hell of a squeak.

After Calgary, Vancouver and Anaheim won tonight, the Oilers chances of making the playoffs have dropped to 00.20%

I'm a firm believer that the Oilers eliminated themselves from the playoffs weeks ago, but I think it's crazy to think a team would need 109 points just to MAKE the playoffs (to my knowledge an 8th place team has never had 100+ points let alone 109 - although a 7th place team has)

Mid-high 90s should still be the number to aim for, for teams. All the top-8 Western teams won't maintain this crazy pace they're on right now.

But again, no chance the Oilers will make the playoffs this year though, so no sense in anyone getting their hopes up after the Oilers steamrolled a couple of bottom-feeder teams.

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#11 Serious Gord
November 23 2013, 11:59AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Just read that Varlamov was charged with assault for beating his girlfriend. Sweet Jesus, what is it with Russian goalies?

What an inane comment. MacT committed vehicular homicide back in the day. Glenn Andersen was no angel. Excreable behavior does not recognize national borders.

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#12 Racki
November 22 2013, 11:14PM
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There are good and bad interviews by the media, whether you all want to admit it or not. I guess some people want to hear Bryzgalov get grilled about some of his issues.. not me. But I'll ease off the torch and pitchfork on anyone who doesn't ask questions I'm looking for.

Personally, I'd say Joanne Ireland is your ideal reporter, to me. She comes up with some interesting quotes from players and coaches.. much of which goes beyond the game. I also listen to you, RB, and Gregor, and really like the player interviews you guys have, although sometimes Gregor maybe needs to blast an air horn in your ear when you take the scenic route to ask your questions (I kid).

I like to hear the more personal side of players... by personal, I don't mean "why do you suck so bad", I mean stuff about players that we can't tell by watching a hockey game. Even though he won't admit it and still got paid loads, I know Bryzgalov hated being dumped by the Flyers because he wasn't good enough for them at his salary. I don't need it to be asked just to see if Bryzgalov will explode on the media. The media's job isn't to coddle players and welcome them to the city, no (although I wouldn't at all mind that), but I don't think it's their job to sniff out locker room problems for MacTavish and Eakins either.

On the flip side, if not for 24/7, I wouldn't know Bryz' wacka-doodle thoughts on bears and the universe. It may not be pertinent hockey information, and this is a piss poor example, but I like hearing the more non-hockey side about these guys and having them become more human to me. I loved Bryz' interview with the Ducks years ago where he started talking about how cold it was here. Some people hated that, but I loved it. Get these guys speaking openly about fun, non-hockey stuff! I think Gregor's writeups here where he interviews players can really get "deep" beyond the "we've got to give it 110% and stick to the game plan" canned answers.

A coach isn't going to reveal to the media too much about his team.. and player isn't going to give too much beyond the usual answers when it comes to hockey stuff, so a LOT of the questions asked by some media (which I believe you refer to as the "fart catchers") just seem like stupid questions that a player really isn't going to answer honestly... or worse yet, there will be certain media guys that will basically answer the question in the question, or you might have the people that ask ridiculously obvious questions (ex: do you think you need more guys to step up and be leaders on the ice than just the guys with the letters?..... no s--- Sherlock).

Anyways, I might use "media" term as a swooping generality, but there are definitely good questions and bad questions. Just because you get x minutes to ask questions it doesn't mean you need to eat it all up.

P.S. TLDR @ me. oops.

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#13 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 22 2013, 11:50PM
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@Robin Brownlee

I hear what you are saying on the Dubnyk front.

Some of us lone voices were saying repeatedly that Goalie slumps aren't that abnormal and barring injury or age, sudden and persistent drop offs in play are very rare for established goalies.

On the media front, I mostly agree. I think a lot of the handwringing about Bryz was overstated and I'm not entirely clear on what Lowe has to do with it.

I think you are right a lot of the frustration was misdirected at Rishaug and others.

My minor beef was on two fronts: 1) I found the questions unnecessarily repetitive; 2) I found the ones about his conduct off the ice, with the media, etc. irritating and accusatory. I still can't figure out why being mildly interesting demands this kind of negative attention.

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#14 **
November 23 2013, 04:09PM
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I don't like Ryan Rishaugh because he goes after the easy tasks. He kept trying to set up Bryzgalov for the golden quote. It is hard to respect a guy who waits for the easy catch instead of going after the really hot potatoes. He did the same thing to Yakupov if I remember correctly, again, a 20 year old, frustrated, in the middle of a media circus.

Rishaugh interviewing those 2 with "though questions" is like Tom Cruise when he said his movie training is like being a soldier in the middle east. On a scale between TMZ and CBC documentary Ryan Rishaugh was definitively following the Kardashians around town. He acted no different form that Vancouver guy who posted those colorful quotes from Thornton

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#15 DrunkGuyTy
November 23 2013, 09:57AM
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@OilClog

"When are the MSM going to realize the average man isn't watching the sport for Drama. "

Exactly. This is the stuff that drives me nuts. I don't give a damn about the Bryz / bears thing, any of this 24/7 or Oil Change stuff. I get that this is the networks trying to expand their market but this is becoming more and more of the focus rather than the competition of sport.

I love sports not soap operas and would like the sports networks to focus on reporting on such.

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#16 Oilerz4life
November 23 2013, 06:03AM
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Rishaug is a douche.

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#17 gcw_rocks
November 23 2013, 07:21AM
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If those same reporters asked Lowe, MacT, and Gagner tough questions, no one would have blinked at the questions asked of bryz. It's because those reporters cherry picked when to ask the tough questions that makes them look so bad.

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#18 OilFanInVan
November 23 2013, 09:31AM
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DSF wrote:

45-10-3 would be one hell of a squeak.

After Calgary, Vancouver and Anaheim won tonight, the Oilers chances of making the playoffs have dropped to 00.20%

"So you're saying there's a chance..." Lloyd Christmas

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#21 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 23 2013, 10:13AM
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Sammy D wrote:

Gregor (or Strudwick?) said it best when he said to let the players pick their own song for when they score a goal. We learn something about the player away from hockey and we all celebrate a bit harder with the player cause they are playing 'his' music

Each player having their own personal goal song they picked themselves would actually be cool.

Also, RB, PLEASE ask Wanye to change the background, I'm begging you.

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#22 Slyers
November 23 2013, 01:05AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I wouldn't cross the street to see a Timberlake concert. That's Rishaug's thing.

Like I said, I understand the passion of fans in this town, but I think some of that gets directed at the wrong people.

Fans fixate on Lowe and I understand why, but the idea that nobody has criticized his tenure here when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary is a fantasy.

It was also puzzling to me why Rishaug took heat for his line of questioning. Those questions, in the context of a first availability with Bryzgalov, had to be asked.

What bothered me was Bryz had already gave a well thought out response to Ryan's line of questioning, but Ryan basically reframed and repeated the same question because Bryz did not take his bait. That is when it became obvious to most what Ryan was really up too. As for why there is a difference between questions for. Bryz or Gagner, I think you answered your own question. Bryz just arrived hear and should for the most part be judged on what he does hear, while the MSM seem to give some Oilers a lot of slack for their inferior play ( some fans as well) Dubnyk and Gagner in my mind seem to get a " get out of jail free" card far to often IMHO. As always enjoy reading your work,

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#23 Thumby
November 23 2013, 08:31AM
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Larry wrote:

1. hows are d? 2. hows are 2c? 3. getting better... 4. hurtin, special teams are rising 5. that gags, yac hemmer line is alright 6. coach finally has nuge, hall, eberle back 7. goalie?

How's "are" grammar? I'd say hurting... bad. Sorry, just couldn't stop myself.

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#24 Retsinnab5
November 22 2013, 11:06PM
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For some reason i have a good feeling about our next game... YAKCITY

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#25 The Hammer
November 23 2013, 01:44PM
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Brownlee, I'm tired of your articles constantly mocking Oilers fans. The reason you have a job is because of Oilers fans. I stopped following you on twitter and now I'm going to stop reading your articles. They offer no insight at all, but rather patronizing and rude comments about the Oilers fans who are "unreasonable."

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#26 Reagan
November 23 2013, 03:37PM
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Richaugs questions were ridiculous. They were not hard, more like insulting and pathetic. I'm not the only one to see it that way either. He called them hard, I called them plain old stupid. Reminds me of that line of questioning that he laid out to Mac T just a few year years ago. Egocentric and not called for. Regardless of what you media personal think, the fans are not always in your corner. It seen as negative and ego driven. Just sayin...

I may repeat myself but sometimes you need to read it a couple different ways...

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#27 He Who Knows
November 22 2013, 10:28PM
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Are you Rishaug's bodyguard? Or perhaps you two went to a Timberlake concert and brought sexy back. Lol joking. Mainstream media just seems to give off a bad vibe, maybe it's the whole corporate thing. What do I know? You were in the business so I will take your word for it. Love the sarcasm in your articles as always.

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#28 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 23 2013, 12:41PM
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@Serious Gord

I think you might be overreacting.

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#29 Tim in Kelowna
November 23 2013, 12:49AM
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Nice take, Rubin. But I will note that the fans calling the local media yes-men and the fans criticizing Rishaug for asking Bryzgalov a few "tough" questions are probably not the same people.

It is true that fans in this town get a little carried away when the team is losing, but imagine being a hockey scribe in a place like Sunrise, Florida: zzzzzzz

Fans in Edmonton care, and I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that they deserve a few seasons of winning hockey. The stupid comments will surely taper off once the Oilers become competitive on a regular basis.

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#30 HOFFFF
November 23 2013, 06:57AM
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Rishaug works for the Toronto Sports Network so it doesn't matter what he does or says. If local media was seeking to discredit or embarass our own players, then I would have a problem with that, unless of course it was deserved. As far as Bryz's comments about bears and the universe, thats hilarious, and we all say stupid sh*t but these guys just happen to have a mic or camera in thier face at the time. Scott Oake is another tool. Can't stand listening to him and his absurd questioning. Loved it when Penner shut him down.

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#31 Dave2
November 22 2013, 10:28PM
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It is because we are fans -from Wiki

The word first become popular in reference to baseball enthusiasts. (Fanatic itself, introduced into English around 1550, means "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion". It comes from the Modern Latin fanaticus, meaning "insanely but divinely inspired"

So we can't help ourselves.

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#32 DCC
November 23 2013, 12:54AM
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I don't have an issue with Bryzgalov being asked about the situation in Philly however...who was the guy asking irrelevant and yes, embarrassing questions about the weather? Was that Rishaug? In my opinion, that's where the questioning crossed the line.

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#34 dougtheslug
November 23 2013, 10:37AM
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DSF wrote:

45-10-3 would be one hell of a squeak.

After Calgary, Vancouver and Anaheim won tonight, the Oilers chances of making the playoffs have dropped to 00.20%

Context, please.

A week ago sportsclubstats.com rated Oilers likelihood of making the playoffs at .034%. After their 3 game win streak it is now 0.29%

In other words, they are now nearly 10 times likelier to make the playoffs today than they were a week ago.

So, we're saying there's a chance.......

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#35 Winnie Cooper
November 23 2013, 11:10AM
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I find it difficult to listen to Tom Gazzola conduct post game interviews.

He appears to ask every player he encounters the exact same robotic question(s). Jesus Tom, mix it up a little. Are you trying to elicit the most generic responses possible?

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#36 Robin Brownlee
November 23 2013, 04:36PM
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** wrote:

The Calgary game was a great one for Dubnyk, then again every NHL goalie is bound to have one of those every now and then. On the last 2 games, yes his sv% has been very high, but the team in front of him has played much better, limiting the other side to 14 and 25 shots. Good on Dubnyk for elevating his game, and for the team to win, but he hasn't convinced me of anything yet. The guy doesn't even have a career.500% in wins/losses. His best test will come on monday against Chicago (although for some glitch in the matrix they've been Edmonton's bitc**s at Rexal as of late)

There isn't a goaltender in the NHL today who would be .500 playing behind the teams Dubnyk has played for. Not one.

Hell, Patrick Roy, Tony Esposito and Ken Dryden couldn't drag this team to .500 by themselves.

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#37 spliff
November 23 2013, 01:33AM
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You can try and stand up for your journalistic brethren all you want Robin, but the bottom line is KLowe and his yes-men have gotten off pretty lightly.

Edmonton, although growing rapidly, is in many ways still like a small town, where everyone knows everyone. That may be a reason why the journalists here have given KLowe and MacT a pretty easy ride.

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#38 srbuhr
November 22 2013, 10:16PM
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While it's great to see the win streak, Calgary, Columbus and Florida are not very good teams. Ferrence summed it up well after the Florida game indicating it's great to hear loud cheers for the team because they also heard the loud cheers against. This is still going to be a long season with this line up and this coaching staff. I am sure there will be more shots taken at Lowe, the players and reporters.

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#39 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 23 2013, 08:04AM
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@Fresh Mess

This comment is kind of inane.

Dubnyk was utterly horrible to start the season, like sub-AHL bad. He deserved a lot of the criticism that was lobbed his way.

You're damn right I'm going to defend a first overall pick that broke Stamkos' junior scoring records and who hasn't played even a full season yet.

So you consider Smith and Bucky to be 'the guys' going forward then? Even though Eakins was saddled with them and was no doubt told to roll with it?

Lowe certainly needs to go, but firing him isn't going to vault this team into contention. There are problems at every level of the franchise.

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#40 camdog
November 23 2013, 09:23AM
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Few thoughts:

DD was horrible to start the season, but so was Lunquist. There were about dozen starting goalies that struggled with the new rules, none as bad DD though.

The team struggled to adjust to the new system brought in my the new coach didn't help things out. Call it what we want 2 coaches in less than 50 games is not good for kids.

Team has wrong mix of forwards, Gregor's been questioning the organisation in this respect for a long time.

Any other market and K-Lowe's fired and there is no booing. The irony is if the building's empty he's gone.

When Burke made those comments about Lowe during the Penner signing I was made at Burke. Now I understand he was right.

Rishaug's questions were annoying during the press conference were annoying and childish, but they weren't a reason to turn all angry on him, his body of work other than this moment is pretty good. He cares about this team and his frustrations came through.

And worst of all the music at the games is horrible, play some dam music to pump us up rather than mellow crap a doo.

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#41 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 23 2013, 10:08AM
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At least we don't do that heinous 'LE OLE OLE' thing they do in Montreal. Not sure if I hate it because it's associated with the Habs or because it just plain sucks.

EDIT: I think it's Chicago maybe that plays 'Seek and Destroy' by Metallica just before puck drop. Good choice, but I'd suggest Creeping Death if we're going for Metallica songs.

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#42 Your Daddy
November 23 2013, 10:43AM
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No matter how you sugar coat it, Dubnyk played a leading role in the early collapse of the Oilers... Until management acquired Bryz, Dubnyk was awful... letting limp wristers in from the blue line consistently...

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#43 He Who Knows
November 23 2013, 04:17PM
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Rishaug's tirade against Yak had some real hatred in there against Russians. Yeah Yak was yakking but for Timberlake to go off like that, was a bit much. There is definite bias. Gregor and Brownlee get it right. Struds is all good too, just because he keeps a fine balance as a fan and former player. Stauffer had credibility before he turned Katz on with the "have you had your presser" question or something along those lines when he bought the team and doomed Oil Nation. Now Big Bob is on that gravy train and sounds like he is working for Kim Jung Un's regime. Hahaha.

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#44 Ed in Edmonton
November 23 2013, 07:22PM
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I believe the RR was baiting Brygalov, which might or might not be valid. As Brygalov mentioned in the scrum he had answered at least one of RR questions previously and RR asked it a second time in a somewhat different way, apparently to try to get an embarrassing quote.

This might be considered hard ball reporting and this might be okay. But there is a definitely double standard here. Why didn't RR go over to Gagner and ask him how he felt about pulling down 4.8 mill per year and having 0 goals (at that time) and minus gazillion. If you are going to be the hard ass reporter asking the tough questions, you shouldn't pick your spots. You lose your credibility.

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#45 **
November 24 2013, 02:18AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Double standard?

Let me get this straight. Unless Rishaug or another reporter approaches every player the same way, he's "picking his spots," employing a "double standard" and lacks credibility?

So, Gagner, who is in his seventh season with the Oilers, is making $4.8 million and is off to a lousy start coming off a broken jaw that required surgery, is in the same boat as Bryzgalov, who is being paid $23 million dollars not to play for the Flyers amid word from multiple people he's a sideshow and a distraction in the dressing room on his first day in Edmonton? It that your position?

People in any real-word situation, be it an NHL dressing room or a corporate office, earn a certain amount of slack when they've been on the job seven years. That doesn't make them immune from tough questions, but it tends to earn them the benefit of the doubt and buy them more time. That's especially true when it's clear Gagner came back earlier than he probably should have from his injury. Has he been good enough? No.

Fact is, that bothers him more than it does you because if you knew Gagner even a little bit you'd understand he's harder on himself than anybody and is the first player in that room to take responsibility when he doesn't play well. Fact.

Bryzgalov? Look at his numbers in Philly. Not great but not horrendous, yet he was bought out at a cost of $23 million. He couldn't find NHL work until the Oilers called him. That's worth finding out about. That was the story of the day and every reporter in town wanted to know what happened. Bryzgalov was clever and charming and might have won some people over with what he said, but the fact is he never gave a straight answer as to what went wrong in Philly.

I know I'm getting $23 million not to play for the Flyers, but I don't want to talk about that too much. I don't want to discuss possible changes to the way I conduct myself because it was their call to cut me loose, not mine. Just judge me from here on out.

Given all that, you're offering up some textbook-type theory that not approaching Gagner with the same hard-line type of questions means a reporter is picking his spots and, thus, lacks credibility?

How naïve.

Man I was with you up until this reply.

"People in any real-word situation, be it an NHL dressing room or a corporate office, earn a certain amount of slack when they've been on the job seven years. That doesn't make them immune from tough questions, but it tends to earn them the benefit of the doubt and buy them more time".

This line of thinking right here is the problem with the Edmonton Oilers. And I'm sorry Mr. Brownlee but you just gave yourself up on this one. There is so much wrong with this statement.

First, unless you are part of a union, if you are getting paid high money and do not deliver, in any real world job which is not sports, you get fired. Even if you've been at it for 30 years. You don't get the benefit of the doubt because businesses need results on a daily basis and people's incompetence causes loss of revenue. This is real world. A guy on a rig screws up, that's millions of dollars, and he gets canned even if he's a 7 year veteran.

Your comment basically says not only that there is nepotism in the organization, but that you think that is ok. Which shows another problem: lack of accountability. Paying millions to someone to perform a job, he does not, but he gets a pass because he's been on the job for 7 years, that's zero fear of consequence. Which brings me to another big issue with your response: Double standard. Bryzgalov has been on the job even longer than Gagner and has proven himself even more than Gagner, so what yo are saying for Gagner should be even more true for Bryzgalov.

And that brings me to the final problem I have with your response: Philly was willing to pay Bryz all that money to go away because they thought he was a problem. SO zero nepotism there. It didn't matter to the owner that Bryz was a veteran of so many years and he didn't think that was a reason to "earn them the benefit of the doubt and buy them more time".

You contradicted yourself in your comparison. Philly proves you wrong.

Damn Sydney Crosby was getting harassed by the media a couple of weeks ago for his recent slump in point production, even though he was in the top 5 in the top NHL. What makes Gagner, or Lowe, or anyone else for that matter so special?.

The reality is some of you media guys here in Edmonton ( I don't know if elsewhere because I don't follow other cities as often) don't go to certain players or certain management guys who are favorites of such and such because you are afraid you won't get the interviews for your shows or the special guests, and that costs you ratings or sponsors.

It's business, no big deal, I understand.

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#46 kgo
November 22 2013, 10:15PM
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love the fartcatcher moniker

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#48 Sammy D
November 23 2013, 10:11AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I've noticed the crap music too. Didn't they play a five minute Adele song right before puck drop a while ago? She's got a killer voice, but pump up music Adele is not.

We need Zombie Nation as our goal song again! Something the fans can chant along with. I can't remember which team uses the chorus from Bro Hymn by Pennywise, but that's gotta be the best goal song in the league right now.

Gregor (or Strudwick?) said it best when he said to let the players pick their own song for when they score a goal. We learn something about the player away from hockey and we all celebrate a bit harder with the player cause they are playing 'his' music

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#49 Serious Gord
November 23 2013, 10:36AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I've noticed the crap music too. Didn't they play a five minute Adele song right before puck drop a while ago? She's got a killer voice, but pump up music Adele is not.

We need Zombie Nation as our goal song again! Something the fans can chant along with. I can't remember which team uses the chorus from Bro Hymn by Pennywise, but that's gotta be the best goal song in the league right now.

The crap, low energy music is likely a result of the focus groups six rings had with season ticket holders - aka old corporate farts who abhor the new-fangled music kids listen to these days...

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#50 Robin Brownlee
November 23 2013, 11:15AM
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@Ron

"My bad. There I go being wrong again!"

Never said you were wrong or right. Never told you what to think. Again, your ability, or maybe it's your willingness, to comprehend is in question.

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