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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#51 voom04
November 26 2013, 11:19PM
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Yee of little faith, i see where this is heading, and i for one still believe, maybe not this year, but throwing every one under the bus gets us know where ie: maybe we should bring back quinn or keenan( sarcasm). I really like what mact is and has done,i thought he was wrong about goin after schneider(not so much),he went after clarkson,he got belov, I took my potshots at lowe and i was wrong, its all good, and your all gonna eat your words.

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#52 John
November 26 2013, 11:23PM
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The only thing worse than watching the oilers play is listening to the absolute garbage broadcast by the sportsnet crew, and now they got a 12 year extension. 6 rings should show he cares about the fans n help hire some decent announcers

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#53 voom04
November 26 2013, 11:23PM
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If ya all wanna get off the bus then get the #@!! off, more room for us.

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#54 Slats
November 26 2013, 11:23PM
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What we have is time, if you conclude this season is done. MacT needs to wait as we get to Dec and Jan as other contending teams get injuries in their top 6 forwards.

He should have his list of players available (please include Gagner with NTC - would he not want to go to contender like Pitt? really?)ready and then start trading. Bold trades. No more picks please! Actual players.

We will then be trading on teams with a weakness (hopefully teams like Toronto, Boston, Detroit, Pitt, St. Louis)

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#55 Delphil
November 26 2013, 11:25PM
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@Old School G

So look at all nhl players whose names start with P. Interesting strategy.

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#56 paulie
November 26 2013, 11:29PM
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@voom04

LOL, who are you speaking for? You don't speak for the fanbase bucko so get off the pulpit and have a good man night with Lowe. Six rings could really use your support.

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#57 He Who Knows
November 27 2013, 12:02AM
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Oh god, the watered down sportsnet is now the behemoth of the hockey powers in Canada? Help us all.

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#58 PaperDesigner
November 27 2013, 12:03AM
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The problem isn't too many of the same TYPE of player, the problem is too many impact players at the same position, forward.

Basically, this team is better, but still undermined by the fact that they don't have a number one defenceman. Petry might be the sort of player who's good enough to play on the top pairing if he's with a legitimate #1 defender, or at least a veteran top-pairing player, but he's not a #1 on his own.

Basically, ever single defenceman is playing higher in the batting order than they are capable of. Every. Single. One.

So yes, it might make sense to deal one of the key forwards for a defenceman. But if they do, it better be for a player of similar quality. If you are dealing Taylor Hall, you better be getting back the equivalent defenceman (like Subban or Ekman-Larsson, though I'm not suggesting those deals are likely). Under no circumstances can the Oilers afford to trade for an inferior table, even if he brings a "different element" to the table. A less effective player who plays physically is still a less effective player. This team can't afford to get worse

I do think this might be an eventuality, but the guy they should deal is Eberle. I don't see him as the elite offensive talent that Hall or Yakupov is, and we can't exactly afford to give away Nugent-Hopkins. He is probably established enough to get some strong value on the market.

I think what you do is you offer Eberle and the 1st for Ekman-Larsson, offer to take some unwanted salary back if necessary, and pray they're willing to do something that radical.

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#59 Nimrod
November 27 2013, 03:06AM
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Intuitively, Eberle is the guy that has to go. He embodies the small one-way type player that Oilers have too many of, has a big contract and has put up good enough numbers to have a high trade value.

Hall and RNH are not going to be traded and Yakupov has the shot and a little bit of sandpaper to make him less redundant than Eberle.

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#60 seanjohn
November 27 2013, 03:39AM
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voom04 wrote:

If ya all wanna get off the bus then get the #@!! off, more room for us.

the one eating their words will be you and Mact when he announces his trading of one of the players he, at this moment, believes he never will. eventually, he will come to the conclusion that he can't improve this team without trading one of the young thorobreds. the only question is will he waste next season living in this current state of delusion.

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#61 Toro
November 27 2013, 04:11AM
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Playoffs outta the question this year... ya sure....but also next year!? That's unacceptable I can't take it anymore past this year!!

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#62 Copper
November 27 2013, 06:22AM
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Have to disagree with you Robin. You, Rishaug and Jason Negative hang out too much. It's not the top 6. We have a 4th line of AHL players and only 1 3rd liner. Since when is a 6'1" 205 lb athlete small? As for "no hitter", last I saw, Oilers were 7th in the NHL in hits, 10th in fighting majors and 3rd in blocked shots. All stats that do not support your position.

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#63 Larry
November 27 2013, 06:31AM
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Hockeycrazed wrote:

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!

I'm not sure if your trying to be funny, sarcastic or you just did too much acid back in the day?

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#64 Chainsawz
November 27 2013, 06:54AM
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voom04 wrote:

If ya all wanna get off the bus then get the #@!! off, more room for us.

If you're on the bus of blind faith in Lowe and co, you may be surprised it's driving right off a cliff.

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#65 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 27 2013, 07:03AM
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seanjohn wrote:

the one eating their words will be you and Mact when he announces his trading of one of the players he, at this moment, believes he never will. eventually, he will come to the conclusion that he can't improve this team without trading one of the young thorobreds. the only question is will he waste next season living in this current state of delusion.

i would be willing to wager MacT already knows they need to move one of the kids....

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#66 mlcselli
November 27 2013, 07:18AM
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How in the name of all that is holy, are we ever going to compete in this league when we can't even get a roster of NHL players to play for 60 minutes a night? The attitude these players have of giving up on the play, and throwing in the towel half way through a game, when they are down a goal or two is mind boggling to me. It appears to me, more often than not that the Oilers are playing out of their league. They don't show any fight, interest or compete most of the time. As we sit in whatever tier we are in, getting ulcers waiting for the next draft pick, the players are laughing all the way to the bank. This is so unacceptable and a shame for the fan that pay outrageous prices to watch another collapse.

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#67 Citizen David
November 27 2013, 07:27AM
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Everyone please read. Willis speaks the truth

http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/11/27/the-edmonton-oilers-small-young-core-isnt-really-a-problem/

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#68 Reagan
November 27 2013, 07:34AM
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At the end of the day, this new Rogers deal will bring us more out of market games, and can now rely on one main broadcaster to bring us Oilers games. Currently TSN coverage is limited site to the fact they only have two national loops. Rogers can essentially broadcast over five of its feeds. This utilizing CityTV and CBC. If anything I wouldn't worry about the talent factor yet, TSN hopeful will ultimately jump ship, just like Darren Dreger did just a few years ago. I'm not going to complain on saving 200 a year on centre ice. That price will fall.

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#69 hockeycrazed
November 27 2013, 07:40AM
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@Larry

Not trying to be anything, man! Just trying, which is more than I can say about some of the over-paid bystanders the Oils have right now. But it's true isn't it? What I'm afraid is, management's going to trade for, under pressure, a 30 something, over the hill D-man, leftovers that his team don't need no more, and at the same time give away a legitimate prospect or two away!!! Heck, they gave Smid away for almost nothing! If they are going to do that, then might as well start playing their prospects here in Edmonton, at least they'll find out first hand whether they're prospects or suspects!!! At least die-hards like us could have a taste of what the futures is, rather than hear about how good they are playing for the other teams!!! Right?

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#70 Blucifer Copperballs
November 27 2013, 07:54AM
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At the risk of being unpopular, and getting trashed, I'll say what i have been saying since the start of the season. We need to package Yakupov (RNH and Hall arent going anywhere, and Yakupov has more upside to teams then Eberle) along with the 1st round pick ( we dont need another right now;weak draft year)and Hemsky (if anyone will take that contract; he wants out, won't hit, history of injuries) and get a couple grinders that can skate, hit, score to round out the 2nd and 3rd lines. Just make the trade to the east so we dont have to watch Yak light up the net more than twice a year after he comes back. Yaks got a shot, and he will be great one day, but his trade makes the most sense and holds the most value for getting somethign back. Someone out there must need a power play specialist, which is really all Yak is right now.

Trade will happen around the Olympics.

EDIT: Also, because I've said this again, Yaks and Hemmer will probably light it up on the road trip Thur and Fri, because thats what always happens when i open my mouth and speak. I just make room for feet.

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#71 Fresh Mess
November 27 2013, 07:55AM
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He Who Knows wrote:

Oh god, the watered down sportsnet is now the behemoth of the hockey powers in Canada? Help us all.

It won't be watered down for long. There is going to be a mass exodus of TSN and CBC employees heading over to Sportsnet. You get the best people when you have the best content.

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#72 Spydyr
November 27 2013, 07:57AM
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Building a balanced hockey team with people filling all the roles necessary to win is what it takes to succeed in todays NHL?

Wow, some of us have been saying this here for years and getting trashed for suggesting they have too many small skilled forwards and not enough hard working, gritty , tough , character players.

Even under Eakins losing is still acceptable here. The crap he spouted after the Chicago loss has to stop. Compete every night. You should field a team that can win on any given night.

One more thing the goaltending sucks , has for years. Not one stat saying Dubnyk is a middle of the road starter will change that.

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#73 Blucifer Copperballs
November 27 2013, 07:58AM
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Terran wrote:

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

Belov will be good someday, and sooner than later. But he sure gets lost under pressure right now. Not really his fault, since the oilers have a real history of throwing too many minutes at guys who shouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility, but have to fill a void where there is no option.

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#74 Rod from Viking
November 27 2013, 08:34AM
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What is concerning me is the lack of compete which was lip serviced would not happen, I am getting so tired of the 2 hour drive home after watching a game like the Chicago game and the many others like that the last 6 years. I am a Taylor Hall fan but he is playing like someone that knows this team is going no where fast and is tired of this losing culture. I think Mac T made a big mistake saying we are going to keep this core of small skilled players and add to it, the most unfortunate thing is when the do decide they need to trade one of these players they will be eating some of the contract to get it done.

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#75 Rob...
November 27 2013, 08:43AM
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I can just imagine Katz sending MacT a text: "So, Dustin Penner has 18 points in 20 games. Interesting, isn't it?"

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#76 Ryan2
November 27 2013, 08:58AM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

What is concerning me is the lack of compete which was lip serviced would not happen, I am getting so tired of the 2 hour drive home after watching a game like the Chicago game and the many others like that the last 6 years. I am a Taylor Hall fan but he is playing like someone that knows this team is going no where fast and is tired of this losing culture. I think Mac T made a big mistake saying we are going to keep this core of small skilled players and add to it, the most unfortunate thing is when the do decide they need to trade one of these players they will be eating some of the contract to get it done.

They compete less this year than they did last year under Kruger - that much is evident. This was MacT's first big mistake. From what I can see, the team is worse away from the puck and is not willing to play as hard as they did last year.

If MacT were smart, he would have said Kruger has another year while he assesses the staff instead of throwing his perceived boy wonder coach into the fire. Sure, a GM wants to bring in his guy, but if it was clear to most of us that the Oilers were not a playoff team then it should have been to the team's "braintrust" as well. At that point, keeping Kruger on for another season was the safest bet - if the team did better than expected you looked like a genius GM, and if it floundered as expected you could pin it on the coach.

Now MacT has backed himself into the corner where his team does not appear to buy into what the coach is selling AND is not competing as hard as they did for the old one.

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#77 hardcore moiler
November 27 2013, 09:01AM
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seanjohn wrote:

the one eating their words will be you and Mact when he announces his trading of one of the players he, at this moment, believes he never will. eventually, he will come to the conclusion that he can't improve this team without trading one of the young thorobreds. the only question is will he waste next season living in this current state of delusion.

Why don't u watch the flames and leave the oilers alone stop crying about u guys sound so dumb thinking u know what to do

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#78 bleedblue
November 27 2013, 09:16AM
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Blucifer Copperballs wrote:

At the risk of being unpopular, and getting trashed, I'll say what i have been saying since the start of the season. We need to package Yakupov (RNH and Hall arent going anywhere, and Yakupov has more upside to teams then Eberle) along with the 1st round pick ( we dont need another right now;weak draft year)and Hemsky (if anyone will take that contract; he wants out, won't hit, history of injuries) and get a couple grinders that can skate, hit, score to round out the 2nd and 3rd lines. Just make the trade to the east so we dont have to watch Yak light up the net more than twice a year after he comes back. Yaks got a shot, and he will be great one day, but his trade makes the most sense and holds the most value for getting somethign back. Someone out there must need a power play specialist, which is really all Yak is right now.

Trade will happen around the Olympics.

EDIT: Also, because I've said this again, Yaks and Hemmer will probably light it up on the road trip Thur and Fri, because thats what always happens when i open my mouth and speak. I just make room for feet.

It would be madness to trade Yakupov. He had success in his rookie year because Krueger put him in a position to succeed. Tom Renney did the same for the other young guns. Eakins is a rookie coach who doesn't understand how to utilize what he has, nor does he put the rookies into positions where they are more likely to succeed. Why does it seem like the majority of the posters here seem to be ahead of Eakins? Did he watch every Oiler game from last year to understand what he was taking over? Just wondering.

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#79 camdog
November 27 2013, 10:15AM
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Blucifer Copperballs wrote:

Belov will be good someday, and sooner than later. But he sure gets lost under pressure right now. Not really his fault, since the oilers have a real history of throwing too many minutes at guys who shouldn't have to shoulder the responsibility, but have to fill a void where there is no option.

Belov is a UFA at season's end, no guarantee he will be here next season, regardless of what management thinks of him.

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#80 Hockey Problems
November 27 2013, 10:26AM
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@hardcore moiler

If the fLames had some talent ... ...

Nah!!!

Stil wouldn't watch.

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#82 Larry
November 27 2013, 10:31AM
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hockeycrazed wrote:

Not trying to be anything, man! Just trying, which is more than I can say about some of the over-paid bystanders the Oils have right now. But it's true isn't it? What I'm afraid is, management's going to trade for, under pressure, a 30 something, over the hill D-man, leftovers that his team don't need no more, and at the same time give away a legitimate prospect or two away!!! Heck, they gave Smid away for almost nothing! If they are going to do that, then might as well start playing their prospects here in Edmonton, at least they'll find out first hand whether they're prospects or suspects!!! At least die-hards like us could have a taste of what the futures is, rather than hear about how good they are playing for the other teams!!! Right?

Yeah, your right. Good points. At this point, what do we have to lose? We can't get any worse. (Well we could but there's only one last place team). It's so frustrating. I've been a fan since 85' and after the glory years we iced pretty good teams but were constantly losing good players cause of money. Now, post salary cap era we have tonnes of money yet we have the worst team ever. I just don't know. I've lived in southern Alberta all my life and right now it's embarrassing to be an oilers fan... My Flames fan buddies said KLowe was a joke years ago, now I finally agree with them...

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#83 BIGDAWG
November 27 2013, 10:33AM
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EVANDER KANE is a good start.........

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#84 Tired of thes
November 27 2013, 10:42AM
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Perhaps the best article that I have read on Oilers Nation in years. Finally, an article brimming with common sense. I'm tired of reading of our skilled forwards. Just what have they done in the last 4 years? I've had enough of reading of all the hype and potential. Give me some hard nosed knuckle draggers that live to win!! We have such a soft team to pin our hopes and dreams on.:(

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#86 S cottV
November 27 2013, 10:48AM
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Ryan2 wrote:

They compete less this year than they did last year under Kruger - that much is evident. This was MacT's first big mistake. From what I can see, the team is worse away from the puck and is not willing to play as hard as they did last year.

If MacT were smart, he would have said Kruger has another year while he assesses the staff instead of throwing his perceived boy wonder coach into the fire. Sure, a GM wants to bring in his guy, but if it was clear to most of us that the Oilers were not a playoff team then it should have been to the team's "braintrust" as well. At that point, keeping Kruger on for another season was the safest bet - if the team did better than expected you looked like a genius GM, and if it floundered as expected you could pin it on the coach.

Now MacT has backed himself into the corner where his team does not appear to buy into what the coach is selling AND is not competing as hard as they did for the old one.

Agreed 100% - should have left Krueger in charge, evaluate Eakins as an Associate and ease him in - if warranted. As for the line up, I really believe most of the problem originates from the centre ice position, the lack of a stud d man and general weakness in the back end. Oilers just dont get enough possession and zone time, which is largely driven by dominance in the middle and in the back end. Very hard for wingers to get going without strength in the middle and back end. Somebody posted the other day that "someone needs to feed RNH because he looks frail." That might be an overstatement and RNH has great potential - no question. But - right now, he is in over his head as a 1st line centreman and its killing Hall and Eberle. Same can be said in the second rotation with Gagner and when your first two lines have insufficient presence or dominance in the middle - the team is going to be in big trouble. Some of this has to do with injury recovery for both RNH and Gagner and had both been healthy from the get go - the Oilers would probably be in a little better shape right now. RNH isnt going anywhere and eventually he will fill out - gain strength and experience to fill the bill - but this might take another full year or two. What is needed is a high end centre ice tank to replace Gagner which makes him expendable. This tank might even take the place of RNH on the first line, to take some pressure off of him and to allow for more time to develop into a bona fide first line centreman. No way that you would trade Hall, Eberle and Perron - as they just need strength in the middle. RNH and Gordon stay and everyone else including Yakupov could be considered in a trade for a key centre ice man and a stud d man. Yak has great potential but someone has to go and he might command enough with some added frills to get what is really needed.

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#87 camdog
November 27 2013, 10:53AM
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@Robin Brownlee

If this team had another 2-3 Mark Arcobello's on their roster it's not out of the question that this team would lead the league in hits....lol It never fails to amaze me how educated hockey fans can be so blind to their own teams weaknesses.

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#89 Spydyr
November 27 2013, 11:10AM
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@Robin Brownlee

It also cannot be coached, either you have it or you don't.

That being said if both players are equally motivated, say the playoffs, the bigger stronger player will win most battles.

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#90 S cottV
November 27 2013, 11:30AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Arcobello is an excellent example of a smaller player who competes (and has been effective in many areas of the game during his limited NHL time). You can't judge willingness to compete with a tape measure.

Agreed - he competes but is not at a top 2 lines level, Gordon more upside in the 3rd rotation and Arcobello is not really a 4th line centreman kind of guy. He probably deserves to play on demonstrated merit but where?

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#91 thednp
November 27 2013, 11:31AM
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The truest statement written all year about this team and what everyone outside the team seems to know and front office might now be seeing and maybe dealing with.

"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."

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#92 bdiddy18
November 27 2013, 11:33AM
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Or you could wait to allow teenagers to grow into their adult sizes ??

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#93 camdog
November 27 2013, 11:33AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Using hits as a stat is meaningless. General physics dictates that a 5"9, 165 pound checker checking a 6"2 220 pound forward doesn't produce the same effects as a 6"2 220 pound forward hitting a 5"9 165 pound forward. You can have all the compete in the world, that said the body checks are not of equal value. The Oilers being in the top ten in the league in body checks does not equate them to being a physical hockey team.

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#94 BIGDAWG
November 27 2013, 11:55AM
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Using hits as a stat is meaningless. General physics dictates that a 5"9, 165 pound checker checking a 6"2 220 pound forward doesn't produce the same effects as a 6"2 220 pound forward hitting a 5"9 165 pound forward. You can have all the compete in the world, that said the body checks are not of equal value. The Oilers being in the top ten in the league in body checks does not equate them to being a physical hockey team.

I agree.. It shows they are trying... but we don't need try anymore.. its time to friggin DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#96 paulie
November 27 2013, 12:30PM
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@hardcore moiler

Hockey really isn't for you there guy. Perhaps the redneck Olympics and a get out my country moran shirt are.

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#97 paulie
November 27 2013, 12:39PM
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Two of the most frustrating aspects to me are, does this organization do a good job of evaluating players and two properly developing them? On both counts it is a solid no from me. Now it seems the fanbase is being set up again in regards to the development of this team to also ran to playoff team. I don't see a lot of positives going forward unless they are willing to part with one of the younger guys to get a defenceman. The biggest worry I have for next year will they rush Nurse into the league when I bet a good year in the AHL might be better for his development if the team is not expected to compete for a playoff spot. Either way, what a mess of a hockey team. Thank you Katz and Lowe for turning a once proud organization into a laughingstock.

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#98 @Oilanderp
November 27 2013, 12:44PM
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Most teams are so tight against the cap these days that it's pretty hard to make a trade. MacT has his work cut out for him.

I spent some time here:

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/teamstats.php?disp=1&db=201314&sit=5v5&sort=SVPCT&sortdir=ASC

today and it's interesting to click on the different headings and see where the Oilers rank. Some things that stand out in their 5v5 play:

1. Oilers are LAST in save %.

2. Oilers have given up the second most goals against.

3. Oilers are LAST in OZFO%(percentage of faceoffs in offensive zone while on ice).

4. Oilers have the 4th most DZFO% (percentage of faceoffs in defensive zone while on ice)

OK, so we spend too much time in our own zone and we can't get a save. No sh** Sherlock. It looks like we need to add better defense and, if the goaltending woes continue, a goalie.

Right?

Hold on, let's look at the offensive side of things:

1. Oilers are 12th in shooting %.

2. Oilers are 18th in goals FOR.

3. Only 3 teams take less shots per game than the Oilers (hard to shoot when always in your own zone I guess)

4. Only 6 teams take more faceoffs in the NEUTRAL zone than the Oilers.

OK so as always the difficulty in using these facts is how to interpret what they mean.

I'm going to make up a story that tries to explain these stats and you see if you like it.

Our D needs improvement. Our O will be fine but could perhaps make simpler plays a little more like put it on the net (Oilers don't take many shots)or chip n chase instead of turning it over at the blue line (hence the neutral zone faceoff stat).

Ok, so go get a #1 or #2 d-man that pushes the rest down into their appropriate slots. How?

As Robin writes:

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.

The problem is that we may even already have some great defensemen in the pipeline. Can we trade THEM for a stud d-man? No.

As Robin points out, either we have to wait (years probably) or trade a beauty to get our stud. Either option will hurt like hell.

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#99 S cottV
November 27 2013, 01:15PM
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@@Oilanderp

Answer probably somewhere in the middle. Wait for RNH to develop into a dominant centreman. He presently sits in 105th position among centreman in the NHL for Corsi CF%. Thats way too far down the list and he is upside down at 46.7 (more shots against than for) - when on the ice. Gagner doesnt even register on the list. We really need both a top end hard to play against centreman and d man. Not many untouchables beyond RNH, Hall, Eberle, and Perron - toward trading for one or both of these needs. The sooner the better on this front - although, up against the trade dead line might produce some motivated buyers for pieces that the Oilers are willing to give up.

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#100 chris
November 27 2013, 01:15PM
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its funny when people talk about the oilers skill levels like they have proven themselves at the nhl level. when the oilers freakin compete every night then and only then will I consider them to have skill. right now there a bunch of spoiled millionaires. my dead grandmother has more energy than these bums

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