ONE-TRICK PONY

Robin Brownlee
November 26 2013 07:23PM

I'm not sure where the Edmonton Oilers would rank if we rated NHL teams one through 30 based on the offensive skill and prowess of their of top-six forwards, but I'm confident they'd sit higher than 30th or 29th or 24th, which is where they've finished in the standings these past three seasons.

While the Oilers stack up pretty well – on paper if not in actual on-ice production -- in top-six flash and dash with the ability to send Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner out the gate, they are so lacking in other dimensions you get what we have here as they head for Nashville with a 7-16-2 record.

If opponents match Edmonton's level of offensive skill on the top two lines – and there are several teams that can – the Oilers are screwed because if they can't coax teams into a track meet or a no-hitter, they don’t have another way to get the job done, to win games.

The Oilers aren't big enough or gritty enough to win games that turn into a physical battle. They aren't mentally tough enough to prevail in a test of wills. They aren't remotely close to defensively sound enough to lock things down in tight games. They lack gamesmanship. They don't have a goaltender who can consistently outperform the guy in the crease at the other end of the rink.

It's been said countless times. We've seen it play out time after time the past three seasons, including last night in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The mix is wrong. Plenty of reasonably skilled and undersized forwards, not much else to bring to the table. This is not stop-the-presses stuff for fans, media or GM Craig MacTavish. All this we know.

THIS JUST IN . . .

Knowing what's lacking, obviously, is one thing. Doing something about it, changing the mix of personnel and adding different dimensions to the meat of the roster, not the fringes, is quite another because MacTavish hasn't managed to pull it off so far with an eighth straight year out of the playoffs on the horizon.

Until MacTavish does that, until coach Dallas Eakins has a different roster of players from which to assemble his line-up, anything he does right now is, to borrow a threadbare cliché, akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. This team, as assembled, isn't going to compete for the playoffs. Not this season. Not next season. It's not going to happen.

Again, this is not a revelation. That, I suspect, is what frustrates Oiler fans most. Does MacTavish need more time to change the make-up of this team? Sure he does. He's been on the job as GM for months, not years. Fact or not, that's a tough sell for fans who've been faithfully buying tickets for decades. They've been more than patient.

That isn't MacTavish's fault, but it most certainly is his problem. Changing the make-up of this team, assembling the right mix, is either going to take a lot more time or the kind of "bold moves" MacT talked about when he took the job. That, in the end, is going to mean taking a player or two from that talented group of forwards and turning it into the necessary pieces.

Time, I'd suggest, is not on MacTavish's side. That leaves bold. My sense is that, while nobody wants to part with one of thoroughbreds up front, they've seen enough of the same damn thing for years on end to have the stomach for it if the return is right. Until that happens, this one-trick pony of a team isn’t going anywhere, except in circles. It's a carousel of false hope.

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 **
November 26 2013, 07:27PM
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First comment, that is all.

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#2 pelhem grenville
November 26 2013, 07:32PM
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RB said...It's a carousel of false hope.

...so there's still a chance then ?

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#3 Terran
November 26 2013, 07:43PM
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Keep RNH, Hall, Perron, and Belov. Everything else is up for grabs, for the right return.

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#4 Retsinnab5
November 26 2013, 07:44PM
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BRYZlightyear ges the start on thursday yes!!!

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#5 Retsinnab5
November 26 2013, 07:45PM
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Terran wrote:

Keep RNH, Hall, Perron, and Belov. Everything else is up for grabs, for the right return.

No yak? Y U HEFF to be MAD?

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#6 michael
November 26 2013, 07:45PM
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MacT must be given time to change whats wrong with this team For example.

Eager was given ample opportunity to return to form. He failed.

Jones. Turning into a tweener. Soft on the puck.

Jesse Joensuu. From what I see.Soft and not willing to initiate.

The defence. Do they hit anyone?

MacT's greatest enemy is time. Can this fanbase be patient enough with MacT to let him do the thinngs he needs to do to change the lineup. Or will they continue to call for heads to roll without a clue as to the why this team is broken.

I have bee a fan since inception. Not going anywhere and really I see the same things that need to be changed as a lot of other fans do. Its not going to happen overnight.We have to grit and bear it.

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#7 hadenough
November 26 2013, 07:48PM
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Of the top 3, Eberle can be dealt. Not a horrible contract and he has the ability to change games. Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals, hes absent. He'll never make a body check, block a shot, back check, or skate hard. He floats and has terrific hands. We need a buyer.

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#8 Retsinnab5
November 26 2013, 07:50PM
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hadenough wrote:

Of the top 3, Eberle can be dealt. Not a horrible contract and he has the ability to change games. Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals, hes absent. He'll never make a body check, block a shot, back check, or skate hard. He floats and has terrific hands. We need a buyer.

"Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals"

Have you watched the world juniors?

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#9 Gadzic
November 26 2013, 07:57PM
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This is madness. I am so tired of hearing that the Oilers are bad because they don't hit, or their forwards are too small, not enough grit. Our forwards are the only good part of this team. Are they small? yes. Do they need to work on their defence? Yes. Are they the problem? NO! The problem with the Oilers since the Stanley Cup run in 2006 is that they never have an NHL calibre D corp. Even this year, I understand Smid did not fit in well to Eakins system but trading him for nothing (i.e no replacement) when our D is already the worst in the NHL is not making the team better. Until the Oilers start icing an NHL D corp we will never be able to compete with top teams. Our forwards are not the problem but if we must trade one or two to address our blackhole which we call a defence than so be it. Suggesting that the oilers top six could not win games if we had a capable defence backing them is crazy!

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#10 **
November 26 2013, 08:00PM
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Dallas Eakins might turn out to be a great NHL coach, but he shouldn't have had first crack at it here in Edmonton. It was painful enough to put up with 3 seasons of rookie players and rookie head coaches to be slapped in the face with yet another rookie head coach, who was a hot commodity, but it wasn't like he had won back to back titles in the AHL or anything like that. It is as if the Oilers have secretly agreed to be the NHL developing grounds for players. Once they are good to succeed, they move out. If things look sad now, wait until the last leg of the season when most of the games are against divisional rivals. The Oilers have already played half of their eastern games and only 9 against the western conference and look at where they are. I'm an optimist, hope dies last kind of guy, but it is hard to look at the facts and feel any good about the rest of this season for the Oil. Oil country is in for a really, really rough ride.

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#11 Davr
November 26 2013, 08:01PM
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Not sure what kind of horse Sam Gagner is but I would suggest that he is a long shot. Please put Smitty out to pasture.

Dallas Eakins is not a "horse wisperer" either.

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#12 vetinari
November 26 2013, 08:02PM
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"That isn't MacTavish's fault, but it most certainly is his problem."

Best summary that I've seen regarding MacT's current situation.

It's really been a long vicious cycle-- the team performs badly so player value is low in any potential trade. Thus, when we finally get a GM willing to make moves, he can't unless he moves a core piece. But if the team was doing well, we wouldn't need to trade. And UFA's typically don't want to go to underperforming teams unless they are getting overpaid to do so.

I strongly suspect that one of the kids will be gone by mid-summer next year. I just hope that it's for the right pieces which can get us some wins. The Perron trade does give me some hope that MacT can actually win a trade and improve the team, but I suspect that no meaningful change can come without playing two or three big chips at the same time (such as this year's likely top 3 pick or one or two of the kids in one or more trades).

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#14 **
November 26 2013, 08:08PM
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@pelhem grenville

The Oilers new anthem: Sick cycle carousel by Life house. Here are the lyrics, enjoy:

"Sick Cycle Carousel"

If shame had a face I think it would kind of look like mine If it had a home would it be my eyes Would you believe me if I said I'm tired of this Well here we go now one more time

I tried to climb your steps I tried to chase you down I tried to see how low I could get it down to the ground I tried to earn my way I tried to tame this mind You better believe that I tried to beat this

[CHORUS] So when will this end it goes on and on Over and over and over again Keep spinning around I know that it won't stop Till I step down from this for good

I never thought I'd end up here Never thought I'd be standing where I am I guess I kinda thought it would be easier than this I guess I was wrong now one more time

I tried to climb your steps I tried to chase you down I tried to see how long I could get it down to the ground I tried to earn my way I tried to tame this mind You better believe that I tried yo beat this

[REPEAT CHORUS] Sick cycle carousel This is a sick sycle, yeah Sick cycle carousel This is a sick cycle, yeah

[REPEAT CHORUS TWICE] Sick cycle carousel Sick cycle carousel Sick cycle carousel...

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#15 David S
November 26 2013, 08:10PM
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The only thing missing from this article is the part where Robin drops his mic and walks off stage at the end.

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#16 Butters
November 26 2013, 08:11PM
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You could write a thesis paper on why the Oilers suck, but it boils down to them being too small I guess. Better trade skill for a coke machine, that will solve all the problems. Me, I would try to get a better goalie and better defense, and I might not have hired a rookie NHL caoch. But then again I have never built a last place NHL team before

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#17 Richard
November 26 2013, 08:13PM
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Imagine if Dave Tippett was the coach for this team for the last 5 years the player development would be much higher.

This has been a poorly coached team, the problem could be the coach could be the GM or Kevin Lowe.

People wonder why players like Hall are not on the Olympic team. No one has taught these players how to play a 200ft game. Lowe's philosophy has been run and gun.

If I were a top 1st rd player i would hope Oilers don't draft me.

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#18 **
November 26 2013, 08:13PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

"Suggesting that the oilers top six could not win games if we had a capable defence backing them is crazy!"

Where in the item does it say the Oilers could not win with this group of forwards AND a capable defense?

Teams are playing defense all through the lineup these days (the best teams anyway).

Even if Mac T. brought Shea Webber and Ryan Sutter the Oil would still be out of the playoffs imo.

There's only so much ice the d men can cover. One of the biggest holes up front for me is the lack of a soild, physical two way center. Nuge has shown he has soild defensive fundamentals and he has enough size to fill up a bit in years to come as well as time to work on his faceoffs, but neither Arcobello nor Gagner fit the bill.

By the way, is it me or have the Oilers changed the shawarma defense and are going now more for a man to man?.

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#19 Gadzic
November 26 2013, 08:22PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Not referring to your article in specifically, just a general frustration with some commentators. I have also heard you and Gregor on 1260 mention changing the make-up of the top six. While this might be necessary down the road, our top six will never matter if we do not have a defence that can get the puck up to our forwards. Getting "grit" is not the issue, the issue is we do not have enough proven NHL players and continue to trade NHL players for potential (i.e smid). But I agree, until this is addressed we are just arranging the seats on the titanic, which at this point is already resting at the bottom of the ocean.

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#20 David S
November 26 2013, 08:25PM
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Richard wrote:

Imagine if Dave Tippett was the coach for this team for the last 5 years the player development would be much higher.

This has been a poorly coached team, the problem could be the coach could be the GM or Kevin Lowe.

People wonder why players like Hall are not on the Olympic team. No one has taught these players how to play a 200ft game. Lowe's philosophy has been run and gun.

If I were a top 1st rd player i would hope Oilers don't draft me.

Tippett would have walked away from this train wreck. The situation we're in is the result of (purposefully) trading away actual NHL'ers and replacing them with guys no other team would consider if they were serious about winning.

This is the back end of going into the tank to acquire high end draft picks. I have no doubt Katz (who authorized the tank job), Lowe and MacT fully anticipated what we're seeing right now.

As much as I hate to say it, it's part of "the process". This year is about identifying the core, stripping the rest and adding key players through trades and deadline acquisitions. I have no doubt we'll be quantifiably better next year. I also have no doubt one of our shining lights will be part of that transformation, being traded for that elusive D-man or forward.

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#21 Chainsawz
November 26 2013, 08:26PM
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I think the sentiment that MacTavish has a mess to fix kind of funny.

In one hand I fully agree with it.

In the other we have Kevin Lowe who had signed Tambellini to an extension in June of 2012 so up to that point he must have thought everything was alright.

But of course some would say firing Lowe won't solve anything. To that I say what do the Oilers gain with him around?

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#22 Dog Train
November 26 2013, 08:26PM
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As long as our core players are one-dimensional, we won't make the playoffs. They play the most minutes so blaming the nightly suck routine on an inept fourth line or an incompetent third pairing is hogwash. It's time for the 'kids' to grow up.

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#23 Butters
November 26 2013, 08:44PM
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I think Eakins being too green is part of the issue. One thing that still stands out for me occurred when the Oiler were playing VCR and Torts started jabbering at the Oiler bench. Why Eakins didn't tear a strip out of Torts I will never know. You don't need to lose it all the time, but I thought that was an appropriate time to do it.

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#24 Jeetz
November 26 2013, 08:44PM
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Butters wrote:

You could write a thesis paper on why the Oilers suck, but it boils down to them being too small I guess. Better trade skill for a coke machine, that will solve all the problems. Me, I would try to get a better goalie and better defense, and I might not have hired a rookie NHL caoch. But then again I have never built a last place NHL team before

I think the answer is as easy as it is sad. At every level in management the oilers think they are smarter than everyone else. Listen to Kevin Low talk, he 'knows' everything about winning and hires a green GM to replace his last inept GM. THAT GM had it right to hire a mentor coach for Kruger but kicked that to the curb to hire a coach with no nhl experience ( brought in no mentor for him) THEN the new 'green' coach wanted to reinvent coaching in the nhl.

It wouldn't have mattered if every oiler came out guns blazing at the start of the season. They were doomed for the 1st 20 games. The season was lost before it started.

Sad

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#25 DCC
November 26 2013, 08:50PM
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David S wrote:

Tippett would have walked away from this train wreck. The situation we're in is the result of (purposefully) trading away actual NHL'ers and replacing them with guys no other team would consider if they were serious about winning.

This is the back end of going into the tank to acquire high end draft picks. I have no doubt Katz (who authorized the tank job), Lowe and MacT fully anticipated what we're seeing right now.

As much as I hate to say it, it's part of "the process". This year is about identifying the core, stripping the rest and adding key players through trades and deadline acquisitions. I have no doubt we'll be quantifiably better next year. I also have no doubt one of our shining lights will be part of that transformation, being traded for that elusive D-man or forward.

Oilers management is lucky the fans have such poor short term memories. I very distinctly remember fans, probably the same ones, saying that LAST year was about identifying the core, getting rid of the rest and filling in holes with key players. This organization is a bad broken record.

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#26 Butters
November 26 2013, 08:51PM
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Give the Oilers Chicago's D and see what happens. I would bet discussions about redundancies in small skilled forwards would not be happening.

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#27 Hockeycrazed
November 26 2013, 08:51PM
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I am not trashing the Oil because they lose another listless game, I have long suggested that they should try and assemble every line with a tough member in it, be it a winger or a Centre, in order to create space for the much smaller, yet skillful players. And they don't really have to look else where for them; If they look closely, they'll find them within themselves. What about Hartikainen? Khaira? Lander? Or even Yakimov? Since they're giving up the season already, why not promote these prospect now? Go for broke, let's get Nurse, Klefbom, Simpson, Marincin and last but not least get Fedun back up here, don't really think they'll fare any worst than some of the D they're putting out there right now!!! The real money the Oil had to dish out is a legitimate No. 1 Goal-Keep... One that can carry the Oil on his shoulders and give them Zeros on the board consistently, then and only then, you will finally see the light at the end of this long tunnel!

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#28 Butters
November 26 2013, 08:58PM
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Jeetz wrote:

I think the answer is as easy as it is sad. At every level in management the oilers think they are smarter than everyone else. Listen to Kevin Low talk, he 'knows' everything about winning and hires a green GM to replace his last inept GM. THAT GM had it right to hire a mentor coach for Kruger but kicked that to the curb to hire a coach with no nhl experience ( brought in no mentor for him) THEN the new 'green' coach wanted to reinvent coaching in the nhl.

It wouldn't have mattered if every oiler came out guns blazing at the start of the season. They were doomed for the 1st 20 games. The season was lost before it started.

Sad

I agree, I think the coach is too green and it shows. And I hate to think they traded Smid because he didn't fit into the system that a rookie coach was trying to implement.

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#29 hadenough
November 26 2013, 09:05PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

"Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals"

Have you watched the world juniors?

What does the world juniors have to do with the last 3 NHL seasons? His NHL contract is not given to him these days for what he did as a jr.

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#30 Bubslub
November 26 2013, 09:08PM
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Hate to bring this back tong anger but it just so epitomizes why we will fail given present management. To protect this guy as a core player when he does not fill any of our needs is insane. Not to say he is not an able NHL player but he does't fit with the playoff destination needs of this team. So why protect him for 3 more years? For this team to change someone has to look at these assets and move hopefully the ones that don't fit but moving anything seems to be our biggest problem. Tough to be bold with guns always holstered.

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#31 SMOKEY
November 26 2013, 09:17PM
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hadenough wrote:

Of the top 3, Eberle can be dealt. Not a horrible contract and he has the ability to change games. Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals, hes absent. He'll never make a body check, block a shot, back check, or skate hard. He floats and has terrific hands. We need a buyer.

Troll much?

Sitting just outside top 30 in scoring and our leading scorer. Yep he sucks.

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#32 kale
November 26 2013, 09:21PM
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Great article RB. Wow does Buffalo ever suck (only team I can say that about being an Oiler fan and all)

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#33 nick
November 26 2013, 09:24PM
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Terran wrote:

Keep RNH, Hall, Perron, and Belov. Everything else is up for grabs, for the right return.

Keep Belov????? What have you been smoking. The guy is not an NHL defenseman. If he was good do you think he would have been picked up before he was 27? Sure 29 other teams missed this guy. No they didn't want this guy.

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#34 oilerman53
November 26 2013, 09:26PM
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I would be looking at adding a couple veterans to the mix here in Edmonton. Florida might be willing to give away Jovanovski on the cheap. Get a few guys who know some of the tricks that a guy learns after spending more then a decade in the league. Smyth is a soldier and he can't teach a faceoff or the defense a few tricks. This team needs more personnel out there who know some of the intricacies the game within a game if you will.

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#35 nick
November 26 2013, 09:28PM
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Butters wrote:

Give the Oilers Chicago's D and see what happens. I would bet discussions about redundancies in small skilled forwards would not be happening.

Wouldn't make a difference, the Oiler forwards don't work hard enough and they have no idea how to play defence.

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#36 Wax Man Riley
November 26 2013, 09:49PM
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Butters wrote:

You could write a thesis paper on why the Oilers suck, but it boils down to them being too small I guess. Better trade skill for a coke machine, that will solve all the problems. Me, I would try to get a better goalie and better defense, and I might not have hired a rookie NHL caoch. But then again I have never built a last place NHL team before

I haven't either, but I bet I could!

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#37 Serious Gord
November 26 2013, 09:49PM
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MacT is already part of the problem.

He didn't dispense with the two extra where in the top six - gagner and hemsky - for some of the parts that this team needs. A buyout of hemsky and a trade of rather than signing of gagner leaves no room for the size, fierceness and defense that the team needs. In large part the problems MacT now faces are of his own making.

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#38 Butters
November 26 2013, 09:54PM
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nick wrote:

Wouldn't make a difference, the Oiler forwards don't work hard enough and they have no idea how to play defence.

I agree, they looked pretty listless that night. You would think they would get up to play the SC champions. Still, there D is an issue and next year they may have 2 rookie blue, Nurse and Klef.

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#39 They're $hittie
November 26 2013, 09:55PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

"Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals"

Have you watched the world juniors?

For the love of God oilers fans, the NHL isnt the world Juniors. Can we get past this.

Yes it was an awesome two moments but dominating the WJC as a draft +1 and draft +2 year does not equate to being an elite two way player in the NHL.

He is not our best goal scorer, he is not our best playmaker, he is not our best defensive minded top 6 forward, yet he has the highest contract and is on the position with the most depth. Add it up. If we want change unfortunately he is the one that has to go.

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#40 camdog
November 26 2013, 10:01PM
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Gadzic wrote:

@Robin Brownlee

Not referring to your article in specifically, just a general frustration with some commentators. I have also heard you and Gregor on 1260 mention changing the make-up of the top six. While this might be necessary down the road, our top six will never matter if we do not have a defence that can get the puck up to our forwards. Getting "grit" is not the issue, the issue is we do not have enough proven NHL players and continue to trade NHL players for potential (i.e smid). But I agree, until this is addressed we are just arranging the seats on the titanic, which at this point is already resting at the bottom of the ocean.

In 2-3 months you may need to add Hemsky's name to the above post.

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#41 Reg Dunlop
November 26 2013, 10:29PM
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nick wrote:

Wouldn't make a difference, the Oiler forwards don't work hard enough and they have no idea how to play defence.

I have to say, nick, you got that right. I think, however, team defence is directly proportional to effort so maybe the plight of the oil can be simplified further: the young oilers lack work ethic and character. Very seldom have I witnessed a pro hockey team give up so easily and often. They get down by a goal and give up. They start the season slow and give up. Skill and character don't necessarily live next to each other, sometimes skill lives next door to spoiled, self-centered diva with a sense of entitlement.

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#42 Dave
November 26 2013, 10:36PM
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I really don't think any Oiler player has earned the right to be regarded as an untouchable.

They need to look at all offers.

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#43 Walter Sobchak
November 26 2013, 10:42PM
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RB said it, this team is butter soft.

I can't for the life of me figure out why people think it would be a good idea to bring in another overpriced butter soft player in Ehrhoff!

This team so badly needs strength, size down the middle, what does MacTavish do? He signs Frodo snow pants to an extension with a NTC!

So while something's remain obvious to those outside the Oilers, MacTavish and Lowe are busy trying to construct the 80's Oilers.

I'm not convinced the Oilers know what to do! 8 years tells me the have no clue.

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#44 Willy
November 26 2013, 10:50PM
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The problem is coaching, don't see the puck possession team we were told about. Players all seem lost under Eakins system like he was going to revolutionize coaching in the NHL. What worked with the AHL is not working here. With the talent that is up front it matches the size of the Black Hawks. Wonder what Alain Vigneault would have done with this team. It's his type of team. Are the top 2 lines of the Canucks bigger? not by much..... wait til next season... not for me done!

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#45 Mjolnir
November 26 2013, 10:51PM
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The oilers don't stack up well on paper. That is their problem. Lots of teams get "coaxed" into a track meet and win. Why?? Cause they got a goalie that stop pucks and finishers that finish. Parting with all the thoroughbreds is the only thing that will help this team. That and Ekblad.

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#46 Sam
November 26 2013, 10:57PM
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I think the Oilers will trade Eberle because he wear number 14 and Mactavish wants to retire that number, Eberle cant switch to 41 because Wil Acton is a longer term Oiler because his dad is an associate coach and he can give him the ice time he deserves, maybe Ferrance should give him the C too. It sure seems like Pee Wee hockey.

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#47 madjam
November 26 2013, 10:59PM
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NHL has fast become a war zone in front of opposition net , and also our own .That's where the bulk of every game is played/evolved . That's natural progression with the deluge of hockey players available today . Like football,you require a superior offence and defence lineman in todays upper eschilon . Neither of which we are very good at , or have the prerequisite size . Our results certainly bear that out . Gone are the days of skilled multiples of smaller softer forwards with questionable defensive liabilities beyond just their size . Lowe may be responsible for builing it , but MacT. is not going about correcting it or only partially recognizing it . Wish it were otherwise but 8 years of failure shows much needs to change or we will remain on same course .

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#48 Old School G
November 26 2013, 11:06PM
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With our combination of prospects, free agents, and bargaining chips this year it can only get better. MacT is looking for a Peca, Pisani, Pronger, and Roloson.

Is Bryzgalov our Roloson?

With more ice time can Joensuu be our Pisani? When's Pitlick back? He had some of this type of game too.

We have Gordon but we need one more Peca type player, I'm looking forward to seeing how MacT handles this. Whoever MacT acquires will be huge at determining the course of the team, such an important player.

The "Pronger" is so important. Bring in a stud big time d man or a couple higher calibre d men. One big time guy has the flash, but two higher calibre d men may be a good option, couple all around guys to pair with JSchultz and Petry.

HUGE DECISIONS! MacT, I don't blame you for taking your time.

It's not impossible, he's already got some good things going on so far. I got to keep believing.

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#49 BleedingOil
November 26 2013, 11:15PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

"Im my opinion, he can go because if hes not scoring big goals"

Have you watched the world juniors?

In the World Juniors he was more experienced and somewhat considered a "vet" by junior standards. Comparing his skill there where he was one of the best in one small league in Canada to being one of 600 players in the WORLD is a huge difference. He is playing against men now and is considerably younger than most of the league. It wasnt until his 5th year of Junior / Major Junior hockey that he stood head and shoulders above his peers. At that point in time, everyone he played against was less mature and experienced. How long will it take to see that here? The Oilers cannot afford to do that with all their young talent. Keep one player per line and make the rest expendable.

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#50 Butters
November 26 2013, 11:17PM
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madjam wrote:

NHL has fast become a war zone in front of opposition net , and also our own .That's where the bulk of every game is played/evolved . That's natural progression with the deluge of hockey players available today . Like football,you require a superior offence and defence lineman in todays upper eschilon . Neither of which we are very good at , or have the prerequisite size . Our results certainly bear that out . Gone are the days of skilled multiples of smaller softer forwards with questionable defensive liabilities beyond just their size . Lowe may be responsible for builing it , but MacT. is not going about correcting it or only partially recognizing it . Wish it were otherwise but 8 years of failure shows much needs to change or we will remain on same course .

Seriously? Do you not remember when Chelios played? I wish they collected a stat for how many crosschecks he gave out in a game. And the players on the receiving end weren't wearing Kevlar.

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