OBSERVATIONS: THE SIX-RING CIRCUS

Robin Brownlee
November 04 2013 07:22PM

It's not often the aroma inside Rexall Place improves when the Edmonton Oilers move out and the Canadian Finals Rodeo moves in every November, but the smell of horseshit seems like sweet perfume compared to the stench of defeat Oiler fans have endured.

Besides, the CFR will pack up and move on down the road when their gig is done. The Oilers, meanwhile, have been stinking up their barn for seven years on end, and there's no end in sight for fans who, it seems obvious, have been holding their noses long enough.

With the Oilers taking a 3-10-2 record into a four-game road trip that begins against the Florida Panthers Tuesday, I don't have any answers for a season that's already gone sideways and pushed the faithful over the edge. If I did, I'd sell them to Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Daryl Katz. They know how to sell a bill of goods. Perhaps they'd buy one.

What I do have, though, is observations and opinions. Mostly random stuff that's been rattling around my head as the odor of ineptitude and losing has heightened. Nothing profound – no MacTavish must trade so-and-so for this-or-that guy. No fire everybody from Lowe to Joe Moss just 15 games into a season that already seems lost.

Fans in what people used to call Oil Country have pretty much covered all those angles with all the venting around here lately, and that's to be expected. This was, after all, supposed to be the season the Oilers finally pushed for a playoff spot, the season fans saw the pay-off for their patience. At the rate they're going, the Oilers could be out of post-season contention earlier than in any season since the 2006 Stanley Cup run.

It's gone desperately wrong . . .

MANAGEMENT

Fans who want to see Lowe sacked aren't going to get their way, at least not now. I'm not saying fans don't deserve to get their way because Lowe has been the architect of the disaster assembled here, even if Steve Tambellini kept a chair warm for MacTavish until he was shown the door. All I'm saying it's highly unlikely to happen.

Firing Lowe now won't change the fortunes of this team in terms of making the playoffs this season, which they won't, or missing them, which they will. Lowe sticking his shoe down his throat with his ill-timed and pompous "six rings" comment in pre-season was the last straw for many fans, but outside the satisfaction of getting that pound of flesh, I don’t see that move making the Oilers better in the short term.

Might Katz give Lowe, a close friend, the option of stepping down next off-season with some face-saving spin attached? Perhaps. I see that possibility only if this season as a whole is an unmitigated disaster – unlikely because, whether you want to hear it or not right now, this group of players is better than the record indicates. It can't stay this bad, can it? I believe it's time for Lowe to go, but Katz hasn't asked me what I think.

As for MacTavish, I suspect he's been humbled somewhat already by finding out it's a lot easier to talk about making bold moves, as he did last summer, than making them. Rookie mistake. His bad. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver than to set yourself up for criticism as he did.

Trying to right that wrong now with the team off the rails, however, might be the worst thing MacTavish could do. Until the team pulls out of the death spiral it's in, there are nothing but sucker deals waiting for him. If you were an NHL general manager, wouldn't you love the opportunity to make a deal with MacTavish right now? I'd be calling him.

I'm not saying MacTavish can't or shouldn't make a significant deal under the right circumstances, just that it's next to impossible to do so for anything approaching fair value in the compromised position he's in right now.

THE COACHES

Like MacTavish, coach Dallas Eakins grabbed everybody's attention early with his no-nonsense "I'll do things my way" approach. He seemed a bit bold for his own good, frankly, given he's a rookie as an NHL head coach. That said, he came in with a definite sense of what he wanted done and it seemed a welcome change from Ralph Krueger.

Tactically? I'm not going to sit in the cheap seats and pretend I know more about drawing up breakouts and defensive systems than Eakins does. It's clear there's been adjustments and nuances the players haven't grasped. The swarm defensive scheme? That probably works better when a team gets a timely save or two when a mistake is made. Just a thought.

As for speculation and questions about whether Eakins has already "lost the room," if that's even a possibility, that's a more damning indictment of the players than of the rookie bench boss. What, a bunch of players who haven't won a damn thing can't be bothered to listen to the message and, more important, act on it when it's delivered? Really? What, pray tell, has this group of players accomplished that would allow them that out? Nothing.

As for talk about canning assistants Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith, that's not something MacTavish should even entertain during the season. Off-season? Perhaps. That should be up to Eakins. Then again, what should happen and what does happen, as we've seen here these last few years, are often distinctly different matters.

THE PLAYERS

Saturday's no-show in a 5-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings was something I didn’t expect. It came as close to team looking like it has quit or didn’t care as anything I've seen in years. It came on the heels of a closed door meeting by the players. If that's not alarming, I don’t know what is.

We've talked for a long time about the mix of personnel on this team and how it's lacking. There's no question the line-up isn't put together right. Much of the talk has come in the context of the type of player needed – a banging winger, a big centre, a first-pairing defenseman, a veteran presence who brings some gamesmanship. Fair enough.

What about the mental make-up and character? Are there enough hate-to-lose guys in that dressing room? Enough glue guys? Enough talk-is-cheap-just-bust-your-ass guys? I think not. I don't see it. I like Andrew Ference as an addition. He knows what it takes to win. Who else does?

And what about the core players? What about Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Have they performed like the Six Million Dollar Men they became when management threw big money at them before their entry level contracts were even done? Rhetorical question. They haven't.

I get it that locking up Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins long term before the cap went up probably made fiscal sense, but does it make sense for them as players? With fortunes already guaranteed just out of their teens, are they as hungry and driven to succeed as they could be or is life pretty good, win or lose?

I don't know the answer, but the question is worth asking.

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 6 ring circus
November 04 2013, 07:27PM
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Awesome heading to this article "The Six Ring Circus" unfortunately it is very appropriate for what is happening in Oilerland these days.

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#2 Daryl
November 04 2013, 07:27PM
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Your right firing Lowe won't change things in the short-run, but it would show Edmonton is serious about making a change for the better.

I think most posters on this site could have done as badly as Kevin Lowe has done in his management position.

Last time I checked these people are suppose to be professionals and have more experience and knowledge. Kevin Lowe is a fraud and a hack. The sooner he leaves the better.

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#3 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 04 2013, 07:33PM
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Good read

Firing Lowe will have no effect on the on ice product now is a statement that I think everyone knows however it still needs to happen because the only way to right this ship is change at the top.

MacT hasnt helped. His decisions made things worse when things were slowly looking better.

Arrogance and entitlement are killing this team. If the players are acting that way it is because that is the message they are seeing at the top.

Sux this season is lost

just sayin

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#4 Greg
November 04 2013, 07:34PM
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as a fan this is a desperate cry to let Klowe go. Please!!! i'm bagging. i can't take it anymore, uncle, mercy, whatever. please let him go. just don't let him try to "fix" this. he's done enough. we all know that he's the one who calls all the shots for the GM anyways, weather it's Tambilini or McTavish its all Lowe. please let him go.

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#5 Brett York
November 04 2013, 07:39PM
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It is a very sad state of affairs. I believe that myself, and all Oiler fans, have been infinitely patient with the "rebuild". We swallowed our pride and accepted that we would suck for a few years and accumulate picks, and i think we were all hopeful that the #1s, and Ebs, and J . Shultz would take us to the promised last fairly soon.

The bad news is, the management also had the simplistic viewpoint that these high picks and highly touted prospects served as a strategy to building a team and became very lazy and unthoughtful. The management has failed at all levels, who is the architect of the current roster, where have the scouts been, what have the oiler organization been thinking the last few years, i truly believe that all they think they needed to do was wait for Hall, Ebs, Nuge, and Yak to mature like Gretz, Mess, COffey , and Anderson matured and brought Glory. ONe problem, we don't have a Fogolin, or FUhr, or a Craig Muni or a Krusher on the roster. And our "stars" don't have the drive, competitiveness, and will to win. We don't have leadership.. Gretz was a winner, mess was a winner, and they instilled a winning atmosphere.... Our guys, unfortunately, are whiners, or worse, just soft.... I like hall, but he acts like a baby when things do go well, and he is a selfish player he is offside, gives away the puck over and over, and tries to do it himself, Nuge is still a 14 year old body with godlike hockey sesne, Yak is an emotional scoring winger who can't grasp a team game, J schultz just wants to get his elusive wrister from the point and usually it is blocked and is a 2 on 1 the other way.... total garbage, and we need a coach to kick their collective asses and wake them up to reality... we need some blood and guts guys here to give the team a reality check.... ANd we don't have a management that can grasp this never mind deliver it on the ice..... its going to be basement time for a long time unfortunately until things change upstairs..

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#6 Greg
November 04 2013, 07:41PM
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i know firing Lowe wont do anything for the season. but honestly, do you want Lowe making moves for this team? i say no way.

Trash if you say "Yes Lowe, make the moves" Props if you say "Fire Lowe, don't let him do anything"

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#7 Quicksilver ballet
November 04 2013, 07:50PM
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The Oilers top 7 forwards group is still incomplete. Still searching for a second line center, and a 2nd line LW.

Top 3 defense, missing a 1 and a 2. Ference is a capable No. 3......If there's a 1 or 2 coming up through the pipeline, it's still years away.

Still may need a starting goaltender. The rest of that roster you can buy at Walmart in the summer.

Looks to me like our Oilers are just barely half way there. Halfway to being competitive again.

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#8 Rod from Viking
November 04 2013, 07:51PM
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@Brett York

Agree with you on all points, I hope Ference is Lee Fogolin 30 years later.

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#9 D
November 04 2013, 07:55PM
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RB,

I admittedly was one of those who thought it was a good idea to lock down the core with lucrative contracts, particularly as a signal from ownership that Edmonton's "small market budget" days were over.

However, those who argued that big dollars, too soon, without a track record may result in complacency could find themselves proven right.

I've negotiated a few contracts in my small business and have run into a handful of professionals who excel at (and enjoy) "closing the business deal" and "acquiring new clients for themselves" but subsequently fail to honour their promises.

If any of the six million dollar players on the Oilers have decided that their professional high point was signing the big contract, the team could be in trouble.

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#10 @stevegregson2
November 04 2013, 07:59PM
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What's happening in Oil country is rather sad. The injuries, the goaltending, the special teams, the team seeming to quit on nights. The sked has been brutal as well.

Brownlee makes a very good point. Making a bold move, right now wouldn't be the way to do it. Vanek for Moulson trades are very rare and most likely end up very even. This team isn't going to turn Eberle or Yakupov into a Shea Weber. D men like that don't grow on trees and the ones that do are usually brought up and drafted by their team. Power forwards are usually the same way, drafting, developing and inputting them into a system.

I think the scariest thing so far, has been the fact that this teams core isn't healthy, but when they've been closest to that point, they havent played all that well. This team might deserve to have 5 or 6 wins that season, but they have 3 in 15 games. When I look at rosters like Colorado's, Phoenix or Calgary and see there shot differentials and advanced stats being well ahead of the oilers I shake my head. How is this happening. How is this team, no matter the injuries, so disorganized and unwilling to, as EAKINS says, "compete." I truly hate the word compete, because its something that can't be measured, but at this point I can sort of see it. Eakins loves the word, but my god, in his locker room under his system, this team has competed a lot less lately.

Firing Eakins might be an easy, cheap, painfully brutal out for management. At this point, would replacing him with Todd Nelson in OKC be a bad idea. Nelson who by all accounts of JWillis, has coached extremely well the last few seasons even if his roster has been decimated by the ending lockout and NHL call ups this year.

I've never bought Eakins and under him, key things that coaching does such as special teams and defensive zone coverage (scoring chances aside - the team is getting killed at 45.5% corsi) haven't improved. Systems improve these things. That's why Nashville, Phoenix and New Jersey are always there in the playoffs, winning games, despite the talent.

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#11 Craig
November 04 2013, 08:00PM
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I don't see the point in waiting till the end of the year to fire lowe when he would be making decisions come trade deadline. I wouldn't want a guys influence on a team when he's about to be shown the door.

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#12 @stevegregson2
November 04 2013, 08:05PM
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another point to post #10

Nelson, it could be argued has as much experience as - or less at this point - as Eakins. Although losing the room this early would be an inditement of the players, it is also a huge hit to the coach. Yes the Oilers roster isn't healthy, but a lot of the player selection such as playing Nick Schultz, Luke Gazdic, Ben Eager and Will Acton continuosly, despite there terrible numbers has shown me Eakins might not grasp the NHL game.

Theres other examples of this. Playing RNH 28 minutes a night, riding Ferrence and NSchultz vs Detroit despite there brutal numbers, the PK, the PP etc.

Coaches have been fired and hired for a lot a less in the NHL than a 3-10-2 record, even if its a debut. I would be willing to as a fan, forgive MacT for hiring Eakins as a rookie mistake. Right now, that's what this looks like.

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#13 morgie
November 04 2013, 08:06PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Awesome heading to this article "The Six Ring Circus" unfortunately it is very appropriate for what is happening in Oilerland these days.

Yes, Very clever Title, Well done

Very good Article Robin well thought out

It certainly does beg the question now these kids have big deals does the desire lack as it would without the contract

We've seen many players have career seasons in the final year of a contract landing the big deal then not living up to it

I remember when tikannen hit the big time and signed for a million buck, the next year and those after, his play dropped off tremendously

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#14 Poolanov
November 04 2013, 08:09PM
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Daydreaming *

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#15 DSF
November 04 2013, 08:11PM
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Those plucky Jets, through hard work and "compete" are leading the Red Wings 3-2 in the 3rd period.

SOG WPG 36 DET 21

Playing their bags off against a superior team.

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#16 InfiniteJoy
November 04 2013, 08:11PM
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Lowe has done more than anyone else has done for this franchise in its history, but it's time to go. He's not going to get fired (during the season at least), he needs to step down. I really hope he's not stubborn enough to try to stick around through this.

Even if it is Lowe's decision, "relieving him of his duties" (has there ever been a more accurate use of this silly term?) shows that the Oilers aren't going to sit down and take this. Right now may not be the time for a "bold move", but Lowe's dismissal would be something. If it doesn't change anything, making it just a superficial "WE DID SOMETHING!" move, hey at least it means that he doesn't have his finger in the pie making big decisions anymore. If he does still have a big say in things that should be MacT's call, then we will be better off.

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#17 fig pucker
November 04 2013, 08:12PM
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I WANT MY POUND OF FLESH!

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#18 Lowe Expectations
November 04 2013, 08:13PM
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The very top of any organisation dictates what it's all about. Katz assembled a group at the top whose purpose was do what Katz wanted more than anything. The taxpayer funding of a new arena. Frankly, it's always been about the profit, not the product.

However, every strategy has it's flaw. In this case the on ice product has been compromised in a big way. Even though the games are sold out, tickets are becoming available in ever increasing fashion by people simply tired of all the losing. This devalues the product and in the long run the profit.

Good example of this. Today I was in Londonderry mall walking by Game On Sports. The front store display is an Oil Kings jersey. The front entrance area had zero Oiler jerseys on display. You have to go to the back part of the store to find any. I would gather from this demand is down and that doesn't the bottom line.

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#20 Poolanov
November 04 2013, 08:16PM
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teenage alcoholics = bad hockey team

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#21 madjam
November 04 2013, 08:25PM
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Stay the course , blame the players and keep the status quo . Where have we heard this before ? Only a bad trade is available - only to poorly managed teams perhaps .

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#22 2ndTierOilersFan
November 04 2013, 08:26PM
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We are loaded with spoiled immature millionaires. They get paid whether the team wins or loses, so where's the incentive? All you had to do was look at the press box on Saturday night - Taylor Hall texting and laughing and having a grand old time, and Justin Schultz eating his popcorn without a care in the world, all while their team was being beaten to a pulp in the ice. There's one of the major problems with the team right there, too many spoiled little brats and not enough men who give a damn. Trade a couple of them for some real hockey players.

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#23 Whitey31
November 04 2013, 08:30PM
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Been readin this site for years and just had to break the barrier and post something. I'm surprised i haven't read this anywhere yet and it's just a thought.

So last year the guys had a new rookie NHL coach and all the changes that come with it. Maybe it was because they knew Ralph, but they bought into his views. Fans were at least happy with the fact that we progressed (PK and PP especially), but Ralph wasn't. He had the balls to go to management and say " I could really use some help with a experienced NHL coach by my side".

Now I'm not gonna try to blame Eakins for this terrible start, but maybe Ralph was on to something? Considering the same support staff is there (+ Action), is it going to take all year before he can admit that he might need some help?

Sure what about Renny and Quinn, MacT? Well the game had progressed too much for Quinn, Renny was left with a pretty crappy roster and MacT was just there to long.

I'm not sayin fire the coach, just that a little extra experience behind the bench might help the players get the message? Just a thought

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#24 David S
November 04 2013, 08:34PM
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Lowe Expectations wrote:

The very top of any organisation dictates what it's all about. Katz assembled a group at the top whose purpose was do what Katz wanted more than anything. The taxpayer funding of a new arena. Frankly, it's always been about the profit, not the product.

However, every strategy has it's flaw. In this case the on ice product has been compromised in a big way. Even though the games are sold out, tickets are becoming available in ever increasing fashion by people simply tired of all the losing. This devalues the product and in the long run the profit.

Good example of this. Today I was in Londonderry mall walking by Game On Sports. The front store display is an Oil Kings jersey. The front entrance area had zero Oiler jerseys on display. You have to go to the back part of the store to find any. I would gather from this demand is down and that doesn't the bottom line.

I'm firmly of the belief that only when Katz decides he wants to make winning the team's number 1 priority will this abomination cease.

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#26 dragon
November 04 2013, 08:37PM
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The leadership is lacking in the dressing room because Lowe & MacT don't/can't handle that type of abrasive, in-your-face, hold-you-accountable type of player. That much-needed player is accountable 360° - both towards his teamates AND management. 6Rings doesn't do that. He's beyond ANY playes talking back. The SexySheldon case proved that point. Until Lowe - and the old boys club goes, there will be no real culture change in the Oilers locker room...

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#27 DSF
November 04 2013, 08:40PM
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What a difference.

The Jets win 4-2...outshooting the Wings 47-28.

Despite having a team that is a real long shot to make the playoffs, the fans are standing and roaring for the last 2 minutes.

Nice to see.

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#28 madjam
November 04 2013, 08:41PM
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Fantasy Playout : Rather than blame the players , as they had better results last year behind Tams and Kreuger , we extend to current management and coaches the same courtesy they showed Tams and Kreuger on their exit out of organization . Katz needs merely to have new voice thank them for their time and services and state we are taking a new step or vision withso and so replacing so and so . Short and sweet just like the two previous ones . No sense waiting until end of season to do something that is appearing to be necessary now in order to best fascilitate next season at least . Why drag it out and completely waste maybe this season , and player development ? The results are already there to justify change requirements .

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#29 hankthetank
November 04 2013, 08:41PM
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Poolanov wrote:

teenage alcoholics = bad hockey team

^^^THIS!!!

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#30 RexHolez
November 04 2013, 08:43PM
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People seem mad for some reason. This team has sucked for 8 years now, losing is what they do. The problems they have now are the same problems they had 4 years ago. I'm not sure being the worst team in the league year after year really constitutes being termed a rebuild. If your mad, be mad at yourself for believing this team could be anything else then what they've proven to be for 8 years. Nothing has changed

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#32 D
November 04 2013, 08:44PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I don't begrudge players a handsome salary because they are special athletes who've already beaten long odds to put themselves in that position.

I thought it somewhat restrictive and unfair under the old system that players had to wait until age 31, often when their best days were behind them, to cash-in with a big UFA deal.

That said. I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Too many players hit the jackpot even before their entry-level deals are done. "We've got to lock them up now in case the cap goes up and it costs us way more later" etc. Or the threat of offer sheets, even though they're seldom used.

Two years in the NHL can get you a contract for $30 or $40 million now. I'd sign a contract like that in a heartbeat, so I don't blame any young player for taking what's offered, but that's a guaranteed future on a silver platter at a very young age.

@RB. Agreed. Paying players their highest salary in the prime of their careers is the optimal economic solution.

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#33 Poolanov
November 04 2013, 08:44PM
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That doesn't mean his son can play

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#34 Whitey31
November 04 2013, 08:46PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Acton has been a coach in the NHL since 1994. I'd think he'd qualify as adding experience to the staff.

Thanks for the info Robin, I didnt realize he had that much exp under his belt. Granted it has always been as an assistant, it should be more than enough exp? Do you think he was even on the radar as an option for Ralph? Guess I was thinkin more head coach with winning exp. No wonder no one brought up this point, I just feel dumb now lol!

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#35 hankthetank
November 04 2013, 08:48PM
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Whitey31 wrote:

Been readin this site for years and just had to break the barrier and post something. I'm surprised i haven't read this anywhere yet and it's just a thought.

So last year the guys had a new rookie NHL coach and all the changes that come with it. Maybe it was because they knew Ralph, but they bought into his views. Fans were at least happy with the fact that we progressed (PK and PP especially), but Ralph wasn't. He had the balls to go to management and say " I could really use some help with a experienced NHL coach by my side".

Now I'm not gonna try to blame Eakins for this terrible start, but maybe Ralph was on to something? Considering the same support staff is there (+ Action), is it going to take all year before he can admit that he might need some help?

Sure what about Renny and Quinn, MacT? Well the game had progressed too much for Quinn, Renny was left with a pretty crappy roster and MacT was just there to long.

I'm not sayin fire the coach, just that a little extra experience behind the bench might help the players get the message? Just a thought

ralph combed thair hair after their showers and whispered sweet nothings into their ears. they were just doing ralph a favor by winning a few games for him. "thanks for the ego stroke ralph, i guess i'll move a little faster this period, but you're SOL for the third cause i need to save enough energy to go slay some chicks after the game."

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#37 yegCopywriter
November 04 2013, 08:49PM
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One thing firing Lowe now would do is take his voice out of the room before the trade deadline. You could wait until after the season for him to "step down", but why not let MacT and Howson take care of this deadline on their own if they're going to shape the team moving forward?

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#38 BleedOil4Life
November 04 2013, 08:51PM
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@hankthetank

Players... Win or lose....go out It's been done since the 80's If we had 10 wins right now you are not saying this It has nothing to do with what's going on the ice

Funny how people forget the cocaine and booze The oilers did in the 80's

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#39 Cynics
November 04 2013, 08:52PM
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Yet just-beyond-teenagers with a coke problem won 5 cups. Oh wait. The Hairlip said it wasn't true, so it wasn't. Michael Farber/SI must have just dreamed it all up, like Sue Ellen on Dallas.

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#40 Gerald R. Ford
November 04 2013, 08:53PM
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You know, every time we get the poop end of the stick in this relationship, the phrase "Hey, it's a business." gets tossed out to justify... whatever. The thing is, Katz would NEVER run his other interests the way he's run this team into the ground with his verging-on-creepy 80s fanboy crushes. If some old lady walked into a Rexall pharmacy asking for a suppository, and got a turkey baster instead, I'm pretty sure the responsible employee would get dropped in a hole somewhere on the finely manicured grounds of Stately Katz Manor fairly instantaneously. We've had seven years of that turkey baster!

When Lowe goes, he won't be fired, he'll be "de-jobified", "disengaged from his position", or "designated for non-functionality".

And then Katz will hire another hero.

"Six Ring Circus"

*snicker*

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#41 Batfink
November 04 2013, 08:54PM
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Mickey Mouse wears an Oilers watch....

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#43 Poolanov
November 04 2013, 08:57PM
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BleedOil4Life wrote:

Players... Win or lose....go out It's been done since the 80's If we had 10 wins right now you are not saying this It has nothing to do with what's going on the ice

Funny how people forget the cocaine and booze The oilers did in the 80's

You are forgetting one thing. Hockey came first for them boys!!

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#44 Batfink
November 04 2013, 09:01PM
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Dudes, careful what you wish for, like Lowe hiring Tambi's replacement in MacT and parading him for all to see, he's done the same with hiring Howson. And maybe Messier. Man, KLowe really sees the big picture! Fans of Rexall your feet to welcome your 2014/15 Edmonton Blue Jackets!

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#45 Gerald R. Ford
November 04 2013, 09:01PM
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@Robin Brownlee

If they had tried to "Skype" PQ, he'd have reached through the screen, grabbed K-Lowe's six rings, and shoved them up his seventh.

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#46 Batfink
November 04 2013, 09:01PM
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Dudes, careful what you wish for, like Lowe hiring Tambi's replacement in MacT and parading him for all to see, he's done the same with hiring Howson. And maybe Messier. Man, KLowe really sees the big picture! Fans of Rexall on your feet to welcome your 2014/15 Edmonton Blue Jackets!

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#47 **
November 04 2013, 09:02PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Look at the NBA, 18 year olds getting millions of dollars even before their first pro game. There have been mixed results, but I think it puts more pressure on them to succeed rather than make them feel that they don't have to push hard anymore.

I think the problem with hockey is that the sport is not popular enough to allow a no salary cap system where bad teams can just lose their franchise and be relocated, because the pool of players is too small and the number of available markets is also very restricted.

Teams in the NHL become somewhat less accountable due to the relative safety they have that no other competitor will come to take their business away.

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#48 DSF
November 04 2013, 09:03PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

If the old boys club includes Lowe, MacTavish, Acton, Buchberger and Smith, you gut it and start over with Eakins and who?

That's a lot of positions to fill with qualified people during the off-season, let alone during the season. You can't do that, as much as some people are calling for it, in one fell swoop. Not realistic.

You start at the top.

Get a Hockey Ops manager who knows what he is doing and has a track record for doing so and then let him make the decisions with no regard for past glories or friendships.

Let him take the time to assess the job performance of his GM, the head coach and assistants and then decide if their record is positive or negative.

If negative, wave goodbye to the GM, find a new one and let him rebuild the organization from scratch.

I would think, if a guy like Brian Burke was in charge, that MacT, Howson, Olczyk, Eakins, Buchberger, Smith and Acton would be on very short leashes.

None of these guys have ever won anything in a management role.

While Burke is no longer an option, I can't imagine it would be difficult for Katz with his resources, to lure the best of the best to run the Oilers hockey ops.

I think the Oilers missed a huge opportunity when they let Dallas hire Jim Nill, instead opting for a reprise with MacT who failed as a coach and then let him, with ZERO track record as a manager, set out to resurrect the fortunes of a dysfunctional franchise that he had a hand in running into the sewer.

As a couple of very astute hockey observers have mentioned repeatedly in the last couple of years, a GM who works under a President of Hockey Operations is not a GM at all...he's an Assistant GM in all but name.

This is Kevin Lowe's team and he has to wear its failure no matter what.

Start there and let the chips fall where they may.

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#49 BleedOil4Life
November 04 2013, 09:03PM
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@Poolanov

So doing something that is illegal is ok as long as you win ...got it

I agree they are not playing hard But to say its because they go out and drink is crap

Again All teams do it Let it go

We don't have the depth We don't have the dmen We haven't been healthy

Plain and simple

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#50 oilerman53
November 04 2013, 09:07PM
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All the years of seeing guys like Ales Hemsky get squashed along the boards is never ending. Their seems to be a real sense of fear in the dressing room. There is little to no confidence within the organization to compete on a nightly basis. We have seen sometime or another in the past few years the skill guys taking a beating with no response. All of this has to stop somewhere!!!! We saw Wayne Simmonds hulk out on everyone sfter they lost seven nothing to the Caps. All pundits in the world and everyone who follows hockey disagrees with it but I loved it. To me it showed he is a guy who fights for pride and the logo at the front of that jersey.

This team hasnt had a true leader since Jason Smith. A true warrior who goes out and pounds out anyone who crosses the line. This whole crappy hockey team and organization has put me in one awful mood lately. Seven years of suck with no end in sight, all from a bunch of players who want it all to be handed it to then night in and night out.

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