THE PLAN IS ON FIRE

Lowetide
November 03 2013 12:32PM

The Edmonton Oilers (MacT as GM edition) are 3-10-2 fifteen games in, and OilersNation has gone from anger to real disillusionment. Up next for the fanbase is indifference, but before they get there is there anything the GM can do?

 

  • Darcy Regier: "These GM jobs, they're good jobs. But waiting for a GM opportunity that's structured for success? I'm not sure it exists. When I was assessing the problems in Buffalo before I joined, Al Arbour said to me "Darcy, do you think there would be an opportunity there if there weren't problems? Go in there and do something about it.'" (from the book Behind the Moves).

I'm sure Craig MacTavish knew there were problems (he was part of the organization before agreeing to the job in spring) but there are elements out of the control of the GM that have (at least to this point) conspired against him. His new coach has gone from being seen as confident, fresh and relentless to another in a ever lengthening line of failed coaching hires in Edmonton.

His club has been rocked by injuries (two more last night, and as Robin Brownlee tweeted that Belov injury looked bad) goaltending maladies and confidence issues. I haven't seen locusts, but haven't been looking either.

It's a team in a bad way.

WHAT CAN THEY DO?

As the playoff hopes unhook and release (November 3rd!!!!) there's a sense that the club should do something--anything--to improve things. There are options:

  1. FIRE SOMEONE! Age old solution, find some poor schmuck who was in the room at the time. Candidates often include assistant coaches, pro scouts, the guy who brings the towels and people with one eyebrow. It usually doesn't help.
  2. HIRE SOMEONE! Oilers have already hired Messier, we just don't know what he's going to be doing.
  3. TRADE SOMEONE! Good idea, but you can go from 'we can't trade that guy' to 'no one wants our crap' in a heartbeat and the reality is that it's really early for a significant deal. Besides, the Oilers have traded Mike Brown which means they've used their "Steve Tambellini trade chips mid-season" allotment.
  4. CALL SOMEONE UP! They could call Omark, but I suspect he's broken his phone.

THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY

Probably. However, there's very little that can be done about things as they stand today. Firing the coach would be crazy, trading players when you haven't actually seen your entire team healthy is equally addled and despite being 3-10-2 after fifteen games you could make a case that with goaltending and better luck they could be 6-7-2.

That may sound like sunshine, and hell maybe it is, but from here there's not a lot going on here that some timely goaltending, a better penalty kill and better health can't fix.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The plan is on fire, the season is gone, but there's still a chance to get something out of it. Fix the PK, find useful 6's and 7's and 9's for the 3line with Gordon and the 4line overall. Get Yakupov scoring, get everyone else healthy, find a way to finish above Calgary and then work like buggers next summer to make certain that 2014-15 is the year we see a second season.

Sound horrible? It is. It's also the truth.

Or the owner can fire everyone again.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#202 Greg
November 03 2013, 08:35PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Helluva game by the Flames.

my god. i'm not trashing this comment. but how bad are things around here when you see comments like this.

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#203 Walter Sobchak
November 03 2013, 08:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Calgary hangs around and wins 3-2 in OT.

Now that's a coach that gets his players to go the extra mile! Nothing fancy & doesn't try to re-invent the game.

Too bad the Oilers couldn't trade up for Monahan, kids a Getzlaf clone.

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#204 DSF
November 03 2013, 08:44PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Now that's a coach that gets his players to go the extra mile! Nothing fancy & doesn't try to re-invent the game.

Too bad the Oilers couldn't trade up for Monahan, kids a Getzlaf clone.

Oilers brass should load up 23 iPads with the Flames win over the Hawks and make every player watch "Here's How You Win a Hockey Game" on the flight to Florida.

When they've finished watching it...they should have to watch it again.

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#205 Dog Train
November 03 2013, 08:52PM
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We're long past blaming the goaltending or an unlucky bounce. Over the past few games the Oilers flat out look like a team that has given up on life.

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#206 Anthony
November 03 2013, 08:54PM
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@Lowetide

When we would not give Curtis glen cross a contract, just let a character player walk, I felt we were in trouble

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#207 David S
November 03 2013, 08:59PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Not sure what I should be welcome for.

As I understand the column linked to - Lowetide has a far more acidic attitude towards oiler management on his own blog than he does here or on the radio.

Yet he still refrains from saying Lowe should be fired.

Odd.

As I understand it, his basic premise is that Katz is not dedicated to winning. Until he is firing any senior management is pointless. Lowe is executing exactly as Katz wants. Why? I don't know but it would make for a helluva story.

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#208 Oiler Al
November 03 2013, 09:00PM
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It would appear that the coach has lost the room. How else do you explain the effort and results... Zero goals in the last two games, out shot 9-0.You cannot have 22 players all have an off game on the same two or three games.

It appears no veteran leadership is present.Why?Who are the would be vet. leaders... Hemsky, no, SMid no, Smyth, not playing, Jones.. giving all hes got which is really not that much, Petry.. no... Ference and Gordon new to the room.. Although Ference is the captain... might be a backlash from the Clique ...for Hall not getting the C.

May sound silly, and probably is, but how else do you explain this total collapse of an NHL team... there is more to this than Fire Lowe, and injured players.

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#210 Rod from Viking
November 03 2013, 09:18PM
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Anthony wrote:

When we would not give Curtis glen cross a contract, just let a character player walk, I felt we were in trouble

Because the management had Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques they didn't need him.

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#211 Primo
November 03 2013, 09:37PM
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Ari Gold wrote:

I'm in the market for a new team to cheer for. Any suggestions? They don't have to be a SC favourite, just a dominant, hard-working team.

YOUR CALGARY FLAMES!!!!!!!

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#212 Serious Gord
November 03 2013, 09:43PM
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David S wrote:

As I understand it, his basic premise is that Katz is not dedicated to winning. Until he is firing any senior management is pointless. Lowe is executing exactly as Katz wants. Why? I don't know but it would make for a helluva story.

Barring Katz selling the team the next best thing is firing Lowe. And as this is only a part time gig/hobby for Katz it makes sense to fire the person highest up who is full time involved (Lowe).

Perhaps Lowetide cannot bear thought of conceding that his hero has to be sacked.

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#213 Ari Gold
November 03 2013, 09:53PM
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Primo wrote:

YOUR CALGARY FLAMES!!!!!!!

Bloody ridiculous. The Flames beat the Hawks. Oilers need to take notes. What a humiliating franchise.

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#214 madjam
November 03 2013, 10:22PM
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Lowetide : Any chance you can get Kreuger on your show and ask him what he would do to correct the mess we are in . Would be nice to get his assessment of our personnel as well Thirdly , would he be interested in coming back and coaching the team again .

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#215 I am the Liquor
November 03 2013, 11:28PM
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David S wrote:

As I understand it, his basic premise is that Katz is not dedicated to winning. Until he is firing any senior management is pointless. Lowe is executing exactly as Katz wants. Why? I don't know but it would make for a helluva story.

I dont doubt that Katz is part of the problem. Are you suggesting that the intentional tank strategy was solely a Katz initiative? Possible I suppose. It still doesnt explain why a fiery competitor like Lowe would go against his better judgement and "just follow orders".

That doesnt make much sense to me. Seems more like something someone who is defending him would come up with as a quasi-plausible defense.

Be that as it may, none of that explains the various gaffes and odd/embarrassing behavior from Mr Six Rings over the years. The Comrie/Burke fiasco's as well as the recent two tier fan nonsense. This guy believes his own hype. His arrogance knows no bounds and it colours everything he does. Seems his arrogance is only matched by Katz himself.

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#216 oilerman53
November 04 2013, 12:21AM
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I found it funny after the Ducks cup win in '07 how Brian Burke was called one of the greatest hockey minds ever. Fast forward six years at least four of his teams have his fingerspints all overthem and theyre super competitive. Canucks, Ducks, Leafs a d now the Flames.

How does this team stink so bad after picking three first overalls in the past four years? This is a huge problem now, winters were a bit warmer with an Oiler game and now I watch just to see how bad they'll lose.

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#217 spliff
November 04 2013, 12:21AM
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Who thinks the Oiler players are worried about being traded? If I was a player on the sh*tshow of a team I would welcome a trade, even if it meant taking on a lesser role.

If say, Eberle, was traded, does anyone think he would be bummed out by that?

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#218 The Oilers Shot Clock
November 04 2013, 01:39AM
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I hope we get shut out again. I want this to be the definitive rock bottom.

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#219 DoubleDIon
November 04 2013, 02:08AM
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You guys need 200 foot players plain and simple. I'm a Flames fan and have been saying for a couple of years now that Iginla was creating a selfish culture. Killed me to say it, because at one point he epitomized a 200 foot player. He didn't anymore for his last three years in Calgary and the team competes much harder without him setting the example.

Like any work environment one lazy bum can make the rest resentful and less productive. The Oilers have a few selfish players that stand out. Start by moving those guys for team needs since they have value. Yakupov and Eberle are the guys I'd start with. Move one of them and another asset for a top pairing defenseman. Then move the other with Gagner for a big top 6 centerman with a good 2 way game. If the goaltending still sucks afterwards then fix that in the offseason.

I know Hall and Nuge have their flaws, but they both battle hard and give it 100%. If Nuge can get stronger before his body breaks down he could be a good two-way centerman. If Hall can stay healthy and play with guys who actually battle in the offensive zone I could see him being a top 10 scorer and deadly on the forecheck.

Schultz is not a tough minutes defender. He needs softer minutes. Play him on the third pairing with lots of PP time.

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#220 elpolodiablo
November 04 2013, 03:07AM
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@Lowetide

I think i'd rather fire Eakins then trade one of the kids. You'll be getting pennies on the dollars. I was reading Rick Patino's book very interesting comments he said he had a lack of hubris when he took the celtics job because of his success at the NCAA level. I think Eakins is similar he needs to fail and lose a job to gain some hubris. MacT fired Krueger and brought in Eakins, he said when he did it it either will be judged as a success or failure. I think he should cut his losses and fire the coach rather than double down and trade a player. I think Lowetide and people who defend Eakins are being stubborn (I'm not trying to be argumentative) however a new coach costs you nothing but dollars, losing a young player in a trade on pennies on a dollar can set you back years. It's time to cut the losses and fire the coach

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#221 NJ
November 04 2013, 04:29AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

Bloody ridiculous. The Flames beat the Hawks. Oilers need to take notes. What a humiliating franchise.

Flames beat hawks. ON THE ROAD.

Of note. I watched more of the flames game last night than I watched of the oil on Saturday.

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#222 MMAX
November 04 2013, 06:00AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Barring Katz selling the team the next best thing is firing Lowe. And as this is only a part time gig/hobby for Katz it makes sense to fire the person highest up who is full time involved (Lowe).

Perhaps Lowetide cannot bear thought of conceding that his hero has to be sacked.

I've got it, and I quote, "Somebody should frag his a**". Too bad Staff Sergeant Barnes wasn't in the Oilers organization. He'd do it in a heartbeat.

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#223 seriously
November 04 2013, 06:39AM
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@spliff

I really get the feeling that a majority of the oilers just do not give a f#€k!! I really was wishing that things would turn around this year!! BUT what a disgrace!! I give them the fact that yes they are talented, but like we've seen and commented, there is no effort! Lack of commitment! Yeah yeah... They need mentors but take our armed forces... Young men and women stepping up to the plate and becoming leaders... Just using that as an example!! Even though the oiler management team could not organize a rock fight in a gravel pit..... GROW UP!!! TRY!!! PUT EFFORT IN!! ACCEPT RESPONSIBLITY!! AND PERFORM!! BE A TEAM!!! As for the management....... They all can go f#€k themselves!!!

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#224 Spydyr
November 04 2013, 06:47AM
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cubsfan wrote:

......Flames win!!!! Crap.....Glencross 1 goal and set up winning goal in OT......why cant the Oilers find someone like Glencross.....Oh!......never mind......

And for all the Lowe lovers. Losing Glencross is on Lowe.

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#225 Listener
November 04 2013, 06:49AM
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madjam wrote:

Lowetide : Any chance you can get Kreuger on your show and ask him what he would do to correct the mess we are in . Would be nice to get his assessment of our personnel as well Thirdly , would he be interested in coming back and coaching the team again .

Good luck. LT only talks to obscure , basement bloggers who collectively have no greater insight than 90% of the posters here.

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#226 Kent Wilson
November 04 2013, 07:55AM
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@Listener

And who collectively control this site and it's commenting permissions.

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#227 camdog
November 04 2013, 08:16AM
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Spydyr wrote:

And for all the Lowe lovers. Losing Glencross is on Lowe.

I still remember Mact saying it was no big deal when we lost Glencross as those type of players were easy to replace, sort of like a dime or something. Anybody remember the quote?

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#228 5inatrailer
November 04 2013, 08:30AM
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@D

Me too. My buddies and I have narrowed it down to San Jose (road trip!)

or St Louis Blues- heavy team and not the overall favorite.

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#229 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
November 04 2013, 08:39AM
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@elpolodiablo

"he needs to fail and lose a job to gain some hubris"

Hubris: an excess of ambition, pride, etc., ultimately causing the transgressor's ruin.

I think what you mean is that in your opinion, Eakins is already full of hubris and he needs to lose his job to gain some humility?

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#230 rob
November 04 2013, 08:40AM
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Things are not getting fixed till the new areana,We can say all we want about Katz but he is not stupid(selfish,arrogant,ect)but this is simply put he wants a cup,but not till the Oil are in his building!mark my words the last year before the new areana opens this team will be competive,and then ask yourself if that is coincidence or not!

p.s. please get rid of stauffer,I have never heard a more one sided sports personality in my life!

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#231 THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL
November 04 2013, 08:58AM
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@Lowetide

Trade Hall ( receive 1st round pick plus journeyman third- fourth liner) Trade Eberle ( receive 1st round pick ) Trade Nuge ( receive 1st round pick ) Trade yakapov ( receive 1st round pick )

And start over this is not working

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#232 Dave
November 04 2013, 09:14AM
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rob wrote:

Things are not getting fixed till the new areana,We can say all we want about Katz but he is not stupid(selfish,arrogant,ect)but this is simply put he wants a cup,but not till the Oil are in his building!mark my words the last year before the new areana opens this team will be competive,and then ask yourself if that is coincidence or not!

p.s. please get rid of stauffer,I have never heard a more one sided sports personality in my life!

Why fire Stauffer ? He is probably the most honest employee of any Hockey club out there. He has his opinions which right or wrong are his own.

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#233 geoilersgist
November 04 2013, 10:00AM
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I can't remember the last time I turned off a game it was so bad, but I did it on saturday. What a joke. As a second tier fan it has becoming increasingly difficult to still love this team and follow its every move. I feel like I should start getting into the NFL or NBA.

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#234 michael
November 04 2013, 10:20AM
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Folks who are old enough. Me. Will remember the 11-0 loss way back in the day to the mighty Whale We sucked big time. It was a time when the Oilers team included HOF KLOWE,Coffey,Fuhr,Gretzky,Messier,Anderson and Kurri. Just a god awful bunch of players. We should have traded them all. Yup.

Do the Oilers current woes have anything to do with those times. Nope. Do they have anything to do with 6 years ago? nope. Times have changed. Players have changed. Coaches. GM's. Training staff. What else is requires to satiate the fan base. Lets fire KLOWE ts all his fault. You blame one guy for the performance of 23 players? I am certain the "puppet master" KLOWE has the uncanny ability to manipulate 23 players at the same time. Yup it must be Halloween. Next thing we know Chuckie will be appearing at a news conference being introduced as our new GM.

The Oilers current woes are on the them. Not last years team. Coach or GM. Them. Ference is right. The individual accountability has been limited. The players trust in one another is not there. At all. The end results are lack of cohesion on the ice. This far into the season I expected to see some growth in the systems play by this team. Well I am stunned by the lack of PP and PK. These 2 areas have been at least in the past respectable. Now. The word pathetic applies.

This week we play Florida and Philly. Either this team Cowboy's UP or not. For me what is missing is Hall's heart. His fire. His reckless Anderson like abandon. We need Perron's net prescence. We need Yakupov to be given free reign to create. I think at times Eakins is trying to take a diamond and turn it into a piece of charcoal. Rather than vice versa.

I see a good week. Oilers come home 2-2.With an SO loss in Chicago.

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#235 DoubleDIon
November 04 2013, 10:38AM
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@THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL

I'd give you our next two 1st round picks for Hall and Nuge in a heartbeat. No interest in Yak or Eberle though. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Hall is your franchise and will be a top 10 player in this league. Nuge puts in the effort to be a 200 foot player, he's just not strong enough yet. The hockey sense and desire is there for Nuge.

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#236 Neal
November 04 2013, 10:45AM
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Love seeing Ference's and Smid's comments. Ference pulling a Messier is exactly what's needed to get the danglers playing hockey.

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#237 outdoorzguy
November 04 2013, 11:30AM
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The title says "The Plan is on Fire". There's a "PLAN"?

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#238 oilerjed
November 04 2013, 11:47AM
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THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL wrote:

Trade Hall ( receive 1st round pick plus journeyman third- fourth liner) Trade Eberle ( receive 1st round pick ) Trade Nuge ( receive 1st round pick ) Trade yakapov ( receive 1st round pick )

And start over this is not working

Thats a special kind of stupid that is.

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#239 Captain Ron
November 04 2013, 11:55AM
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NJ wrote:

Flames beat hawks. ON THE ROAD.

Of note. I watched more of the flames game last night than I watched of the oil on Saturday.

Welcome to the fan club!!! Were having lots of fun over here right now!!!

Beat the Hawks on the road with a first game goalie. The Flames best D and captain, and one of their best forwards out of the lineup.

If not for the generous 5 on 3 the Hawks got they would have won it in regulation.

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#240 Pucker
November 04 2013, 01:29PM
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DSF wrote:

For those of you with an interest and access to NHL Centre Ice, in half an hour, the Calgary Flames play the Blackhawks in Chicago.

Now, I have very little double that Chicago will win but I also have little doubt the Flames will show up and bust their butts for 3 periods.

Watch.

This is the first time I've propped DSF.

What's this world coming to ???

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#241 prudhams
November 04 2013, 02:39PM
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@Dangilitis

We have a difference in philosophy, and neither will convince the other, but I'll respond.

A little spurious to say you aren't trying to defend Katz, and then to get emotional and say I'm bitching and so forth...

I don't give him credit for keeping the Oilers in Edmonton. If the EIG - just as one example - had kept the team, it would still be here as well. Any hypothetical owner might just as easily have kept the team here as move it. Ticket sales here are good, other cities like Seattle etc. have been shown to be less profitable. So no, I won't give him my love for dangling the team over two other cities to get more for himself.

As you said things were going better for the EIG. If they had managed to keep the team during the hard Canadian dollar years, they likely could have kept it up then. I can't say that for sure because neither I nor many others know the inner workings, but I can say this - and you'll probably really disagree - a group similar to the EIG would be great right about now. With the cap and strong dollar, an ownership group that exists purely to keep the Oilers in town is something I'd take over solitary businessman that pulls these kinds of moves.

Call it greed or whatever you want. What do you call the Quebec, Seattle, and arena backslide? Don't answer, that's a hypothetical question. Just reflect. Did he donate to the U. of A.? Yes he did. I thought that was cool too until he did this other stuff. Why emphasize the donation over the manipulation? I seem to remember donating to the U. of A. was a promise he made when he bought the Oilers to make his pitch more convincing when they were saying no to him. Is that the same money you're talking about? Philanthropy? Who should laugh.

I don't care if he bought the team because he loves it. Lots of people love it and doesn't make them good people or good owners.

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#242 elpolodiabli
November 04 2013, 06:15PM
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@Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

Lol you're right guess I blame the 3am post

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#243 moved home
November 04 2013, 07:48PM
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well... I was living in canucks country for such a long time, never once did I cheer them on. I will always be true to my oilers.... I'm not a die hard hockey fan knowing all these names like you guys obviously do... but Im not retarded when it comes to the game...

My workplace... I was always the only one wearing an oilers jersey holding my head up high... just recently, I still wear my jersey but not with my head held high.

this team is a disgrace! we have all the young talent, have for the past years.... isn't it obvious that something must be wrong?

trading more players would be stupid.. lose the talent we have?? paying them more?? HELL NO, they get paid enough to skate and do what they love...

perhaps it could be the way they're managing their team???

just some food for thought...

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