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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#101 blue31
November 04 2013, 11:14PM
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My biggest beef is with the stupid NHL draft system. You have to hit rock bottom with a roster full of slugs in order to land the big fish. It's a long way up from there.

First overall pick should go to the team finishing 17th in the league. Second pick should go to the 18th, etc.

This would give the bottom teams an achievable goal of moving up two or three spots in the standings each year, and getting a higher draft pick each time they do it. Winning would mean something, even for teams out of the hunt early. Calgary's reward for consistently icing a better team than the Oilers is to be stuck in mediocrity purgatory.

As it is now, it's in the Oilers best interest to do nothing, trade no-one, fire nobody, and go all-in for a lottery pick again. Losing becomes winning.

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#102 Douglas
November 05 2013, 12:37AM
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I like this article. It's honest and heartfelt. What else can we do right now other than see things for what they really are and hope that some sort of positive can come out of this? We stay or we go. Maybe we never care again like we have the last 7 or more years. Maybe we just need an emotional vacation so we can come back with fresh enthusiasm. Hockey is a beautiful game. Business turns things like this into profit and we pay the price of the compromise. I'm tired of ego-riddled conversations at work where subjectivity is thrown around passionately as fact. Actually no, I should clarify: I don't enjoy it when all the conversation is negative and all we seem to be doing is trying to more correctly assign blame in a situation we have basically no control over. Perhaps times like these are there to remind us it's just a game. I feel for all of those who have to make a living solving or documenting this situation because they have to care. Wanye's article was a testament to someone trying to ease the burden of those who come back to this website for something or someone to make them feel like they aren't going crazy alone. We care. And this is a good place to say it. 140 characters can't come close and Twitter is generally best suited for irony and sarcasm. Facebook is like trying to be heard in an arena full of parroted contrarian opinions. Thanks for the articles, Robin, Wanye, and all of you at the nation. Thank you for OilersNation for being here. I feel a bit better now.

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#103 Rheal1
November 05 2013, 04:58AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Girardi is a UFA in a few months. Why give up anything for a rental? This team needs a Shea Weber type, not yet another 4-7 guy. Swapping a first overall selection for middling/late first rounder makes zero sense.

Say that - hypothetically - and against the advice of his agent, Weber agrees to come to Edmonton. His stats would go down, his +/- would definitely go down and he would get injured. And Seth Jones would be pissed as hell of losing his mentor in Nashville. Only a very down and out player would ever come to Deadmonton. And not to revive his career! More like cashing a last cheque. Remember Adam Oates? NHL stars such as PK Subban, Chara, Ovechkin, Bergeron or Doughty would never come to Deadmonton. Maybe Tanguay in another 3 or 4 years or Ray Whitney next year... Get used to it. Even Dany "flash in the pan" Heatley felt nauseated when the prospect of wearing a copper & blue jersey came up in his mind.

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#104 a lg dubl dubl
November 05 2013, 06:06AM
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Ive been interested in montreal's situation with Subban and Markov becoming RFA and UFA respectfully. Subban will want 6-7mil and Markov will ask for 5-6mil, can they really afford both?

I know Subban is the #1dman there, and the fans would probably riot, but if I was gm of a last place hockey club Id send them this

Yak,1st rnd pick,Smid, and maricin

Overpay? yup! getting that true #1 dman pricless

its a nice dream I know, but its time for MacT to get creative for this team to succeed, and please don't keep the draft pick like Dithers.

That is all, good day people!

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#105 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:13AM
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spliff wrote:

How was this post allowed?

Isn't someone moderating these posts?

There is no need for racist sh*t on this blog FFS.

And you just gave it extra exposure while displaying your piety for all to see.

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#106 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 07:01AM
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Oilers will make the playoffs-oops reset the bar-Oilers will win a game-oops reset the bar-Oilers will compete-oops reset the bar-Oilers will score a goal-oops reset the bar. A snail just hit his head on the bar.

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#107 Loweblows
November 05 2013, 07:07AM
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To the poster who brought race into the discussion and the people that support that comment-please return all your oiler merchandise and go cheer for another team-you are disgusting and she be ashamed- i am sure you plan on posting your name since you are such a man!

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#108 Rob...
November 05 2013, 09:59AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Just saw the "Katz is greedy . . ." post. Ignorance has been edited out.

I'd appreciate it if you edited it further, in the same manner you'd edit a 'fist' comment, Robin. Something to the effect of: "Katz is greedy... and I'm a goose stepping anti-Semite" if the original comment was anything like I now assume it was.

Coming late to the party it now just looks like a fairly innocent comment that only the most super-sensitive person could attribute to racism.

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#109 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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#110 hankthetank
November 04 2013, 09:28PM
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@Gb

agree. after almost blowing the season thus far are those guys thinking "well there goes the season, according to our coaching track record, eakins will be turfed, so whats the point in trying with this new system"?

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#111 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 04 2013, 09:46PM
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Greg the Hammer Valentine wrote:

In the off-season, it's possible. The Habs did it a couple seasons ago, when they got rid of the Bob Gainey regime. The front office and coaching staff was completely changed, in one fell swoop, as you put it. I'm not saying it's what the Oilers need to do, but it can be done.

correction: I meant the Pierre Gauthier regime.

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#112 Serious Gord
November 04 2013, 10:50PM
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DSF wrote:

And that's pretty much the end of the story.

I must say it is gratifying to see all of the props for fire Lowe comments. Where were they when I and a few others were saying this a year / two years ago? (Yes, yes I know props/trash buttons weren't around then)

But I do not think that Katz' perceived/assumed intransigence is "the end of the story".

Clearly the majority of commenters on this site are now of the opinion that Klowe should be ousted. Presumably that support extends to the oiler fanbase as whole - at least the part of the fanbase that knows who Klowe is.

That was not the case at the beginning of the season.

And if the oil continue there losing way - likely but with a shallower dive than thusfar (it couldn't get worse could it?) this consensus will likely harden and deepen and become more pervasive.

And that could make life very uncomfortable for mr Katz as he goes about his day - exposed to the "fire Klowe" sentiment. It was precisely that kind of mood from the fans that forced Burkes hand causing him to fire Ron Wilson.

...

Good column robin, I agree with pretty much everything you stated. I am more optimistic that Klowe will be removed - things like this can gain momentum quickly (look for it to be a topic of discussion on HNIC real soon) and Katz has been known to cut his losses when necessary in business, perhaps he will apply the same ethic to his hobby (for once).

As for the players with six years and big $$;

These next couple of months could be critical - bad attitudes/ habits could become entrenched or confidence could be lost or a quitter mentality/take the money and run (or demand to be traded) outlook may take hold.

The name that resonates for me when I look at these kids is Luke Schenn. Great promise brought on too quickly, then the talent was eroded by bad coaching and the acclimation to losing. The oils you guns seem to be suffering the same damage to the talent heat shields as they try and enter the NHL orbit. I hope not but these past few games certainly looked bad..:

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#113 madjam
November 04 2013, 11:04PM
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We should have seen the writing on the wall when Howson and MacT. gave their inspirational speeches to last years team after Tams release , and subsequently they went into the toilet to finish off season ? Their fall guy appears to have been Kreuger . Results prove their worth as well as coaches who have managed to make results worse with apparently a better personnel - there is no way around that . " Ain't no doubt , let it all hang out ".

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#114 BleedOil4Life
November 04 2013, 11:21PM
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@DSF

The only way he bungled that was by not putting out feelers sooner that he was Available so we could have got a bigger return.

If you think signing him long term would have helped us... You are wrong. Ryan Smyth wanted way too much cash and if you look at where he went he did not help teams at all. It was smart to deal him because he is not a guy you give into when he demands money....he never did enough to do deserve over 5 mil from this team.

But I will says dsf in the time I have been on this website you have been very blunt and true to your word of who should go so I do respect that

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#115 spliff
November 05 2013, 06:26AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

And you just gave it extra exposure while displaying your piety for all to see.

Displaying my piety for all to see? WTF?

I like trashing Katz and management as much as anyone else, because they deserve it for their sh*t performance. However, I don't like reading racist comments which are vile and unnecessary and hopefully will not be allowed to continue on this great Oilers blog.

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#116 book¡e
November 05 2013, 06:39AM
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spliff wrote:

How was this post allowed?

Isn't someone moderating these posts?

There is no need for racist sh*t on this blog FFS.

I don't think posts are moderated before posting. It was a 12am posting and RB probably hasn't seen it yet. I find the 8 props alarming.

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#117 book¡e
November 05 2013, 07:35AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Better to ignore it than promote it with more attention. ON should really have a flag button for those instances.

I disagree, I think these are important discussions to have. The initial commenter probably mostly engages people who think comments like that are appropriate. The feedback from a diversity of individuals helps people understand that others consider it in appropriate.

Back to Oilers.

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#119 Kelly Youngblood
November 04 2013, 10:53PM
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If Mac T can't make his bold moves via trade I think its time to try bold moves of a different sort. Call up Omark, sign a free agent or 2, do something!!!! There is talent out there that might change the course & could shake the voodoo off these guys. I don't analyze the money and amount of contracts the Oilers have but why not put Labarbera on waivers and take a flyer on Bryzgalov? If it don't work out i'm sure Bryz is at least equal to Labarbera's skill set. Why not insert Peter Mueller into the line up and see if he's still got any scoring touch left in him? (if he's available) Big centre that had a decent scoring touch. I'm sure i'll get verbally mauled over my comments by the "informed" fans but my 2 cents is saying JUST DO SOMETHING!!!

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#120 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:10AM
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I have a revolutionary idea. Katz should create a Board of Directors of Hockey operations. That way he can bring in Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Anderson, Fuhr, Kurri etc.

The Lord of the Rings(Lowe) can be promoted to Chairman.

MacT can be "promoted" to President of Hockey Ops.

This way Katz can have all the old boys on the payroll and pretending to be his friend.

Think of all the economic spinoffs this would create. Think of the world class image the city would gain.

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#121 oilabroad
November 05 2013, 07:22AM
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I agree with most of what I am reading in the comments but lets just play devils advocate here for a minute... we have all heard that Katz has direct input into the hockey ops (keeping bucky, drafting yak etc), how do you turn around and fire a guy (ie Lowe), when you are the one over riding all of managements decisions?? Maybe the problem is not Lowe, maybe its Katz.

Someone on here nailed it earlier when they said Katz would never run his other businesses this way, nepotism does not make you money, nor does over riding the decisions of the 'experts' you hire to make those decisions.

Point being, for all we know afro boy is running daddys team, so firing all these guys might sound good on paper, but the problems could be much deeper than we think... my 2 cents

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#122 the-wolf
November 05 2013, 07:56AM
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Flames fan perspective: hire Feaster, he's perfect at adding complementary vets and 3rd/4th line types. I may be slightly jesting here, but seriously, where are the Oilers when it comes to acquiring the Ramos and Berras and Corban Knights and Joe Colbornes of the world?

Not saying that those guys in particular are some sort of franchise-saving solution, far from it, but the Oilers just never seem to be in on adding complementary type players, whether they be from Europe, college or vets.

I don't think the Oilers are as bad as almost everyone on here thinks, though I understand the anger and frustration.

First, you guys are too hard on those young players. They need vets to show them how to be professionals. I don't think they like losing; you don't grow up and ascend to that level of hockey by being content and having a love of losing.

The Oilers seem like an org paralyzed by fear. Scared to death that if they move one of their 1st overalls it will come back to bite them for decades. But you know what, that's what GMs get paid for. Moving one of those 1st overalls would send one heck of a message too, wouldn't it? And if you're getting quality back, which shouldn't be all that hard to do, then do it.

Next, the Oilers still have a good crop of top prospects. Move most of them and move a couple of first round picks and bring in some quality vets, especially on D.

MacT was right about bold moves, not sure if he's the one to make them, but he was right. A bonafide #1 goalie alone would make a world of difference to the team. Move Yakupov, some prospects and some 1st rounders and the Oilers would be back into contention all while maintaining an extremely talented young core. People have to remember though - Nuge, Eberle, Schultz, etc. are NOT Gretzky, Messier, Coffee, etc. But, they're still very, very good.

I hate to throw out another Calgary name, but firing Lowe and hiring Burke (or even better, Jim Nill had he agreed to go there) before we got him would have been a solid thing to do IMO. So, fear not, an astute GM could turn the Oiles fortunes around in just a half season.

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#123 Mike Wazowski
November 05 2013, 09:13AM
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I'm as frustrated as any Oiler fan but sweet jeebuz, admit that wanting Lowe fired is more about looking for a pound of flesh and appeasing a frustrated fanbase than actually positively affecting the on-ice product.

Seriously, nobody outside the organization actually knows what affect Lowe has on making trades and personnel choices. The same fans who call MacT arrogant also believe that Lowe is the 'hidden puppet master' behind the scenes. If MacT was so arrogant, do you really think he'd let Lowe make all the decisions?!?

Along those lines...

Katz is a 'fanboy'! Yet he also doesn't care about the team!

Eakins is an egomaniac! But he'd also let the ownership group tell him what to do as far as assistants!

Every so-called Oiler fan who comes on here and calls my home 'deadmonton' and calls the Oilers a joke can go find another frackin team to cheer for!

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#124 forsoothed
November 05 2013, 11:13AM
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All of this hand-wringing and complaining by fans isn't going to mean jack squat to Oilers management until the first game that doesn't sell out.

Unfortunately, until then we're all just full of hot air.

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#125 oilbaron
November 05 2013, 11:15AM
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Anyone else confunsed by all this love for Petry? It looked like he was directly responsible for at least 2 of Detroit's goals. Sure he's creating chances, but he isn't exactly preventing a whole lot

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#126 forsoothed
November 05 2013, 11:43AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

This comment requires a Chris Farley impression, no?

I try to read all Internet comments with a Chris Farley impression - it makes life easier.

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#127 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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#128 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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#129 hankthetank
November 04 2013, 09:13PM
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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

that wasn't my point. all that crap goes on in almost every sport, it's easy to see. i'm speaking more towards a coaches ability to gain attention in the room. i've got more respect for a manager/supervisor/yada yada thats been around for a long time in the business, knows how to deal with a lot of different attitudes (good and bad), than a guy who walks in all fire and brimstone and expects immediate results and me having no idea who this person is.

kind of a "prove yourself to me and i'll prove myself to you" thing

i don't know, i'm looking for answers too. i never played hockey aside from on some ponds and public rinks, so i don't have the locker room experience to go on here.

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#130 Poolanov
November 04 2013, 09:26PM
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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.

So what's to stop them from living the high life??

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#131 TayLordBalls
November 04 2013, 09:49PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Yes, I guess I missed that. A five-game winning streak will right every wrong.

less than 20% into the season and you guys are crying in your beers.

man you guys are downers

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#132 DSF
November 04 2013, 10:58PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I must say it is gratifying to see all of the props for fire Lowe comments. Where were they when I and a few others were saying this a year / two years ago? (Yes, yes I know props/trash buttons weren't around then)

But I do not think that Katz' perceived/assumed intransigence is "the end of the story".

Clearly the majority of commenters on this site are now of the opinion that Klowe should be ousted. Presumably that support extends to the oiler fanbase as whole - at least the part of the fanbase that knows who Klowe is.

That was not the case at the beginning of the season.

And if the oil continue there losing way - likely but with a shallower dive than thusfar (it couldn't get worse could it?) this consensus will likely harden and deepen and become more pervasive.

And that could make life very uncomfortable for mr Katz as he goes about his day - exposed to the "fire Klowe" sentiment. It was precisely that kind of mood from the fans that forced Burkes hand causing him to fire Ron Wilson.

...

Good column robin, I agree with pretty much everything you stated. I am more optimistic that Klowe will be removed - things like this can gain momentum quickly (look for it to be a topic of discussion on HNIC real soon) and Katz has been known to cut his losses when necessary in business, perhaps he will apply the same ethic to his hobby (for once).

As for the players with six years and big $$;

These next couple of months could be critical - bad attitudes/ habits could become entrenched or confidence could be lost or a quitter mentality/take the money and run (or demand to be traded) outlook may take hold.

The name that resonates for me when I look at these kids is Luke Schenn. Great promise brought on too quickly, then the talent was eroded by bad coaching and the acclimation to losing. The oils you guns seem to be suffering the same damage to the talent heat shields as they try and enter the NHL orbit. I hope not but these past few games certainly looked bad..:

I've been calling for Lowe's head since 2007 after he bungled the Smyth contract extension and then followed that up with his whale hunting expeditions and his devaluation and crappy treatment of Souray and others.

I agree the worm is turning but I'm not sure Oiler fans have the cajones to call out Lowe even when it is so obviously deserved.

If they don't, as a wise man once said of voters, "you always get the government you deserve."

We'll see.

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#133 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 04 2013, 11:10PM
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PutzStew wrote:

I disagree with your point about firing Lowe not having an effect on the on ice product. This team has a sense of entitlement and lack of accountability.

How can the workers (Players, Coaches, etc.) be held accountable when the person that is suppose to be holding them accountable is the worst offender?

I sure we have all had a supervisor that was like this. Blames everyone else for the problems? That would be Kevin Lowe right now. Get rid of him and all the sudden you can make this a whole different team.

I agree with you but the tangible changes on the ice may take a while.

Maybe it won't.

This team is so disfunctional who knows what would happen. I just know that they have lied to us so often that any credibility this organization had is gone.

Maybe they should give George Burnett a 2nd chance now?

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#134 Alsker
November 05 2013, 12:08AM
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If Katz is so hung up with former Oilers replace kBlowe with either Al Hamilton(providing he wants to give up his place in Sherwood Park) or Messier(providing he comes in with Slats' attitude and his dads standards). Either would be a huge step in the right direction(hell Coffey,Semenko Lumley all live here and would at the very least bring a new vision and a honest view of this team). Man to have Sammy staring down at you and asking "WTF was that" would put all of our megamillion boys in their place.

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#135 MattOcean
November 05 2013, 06:19AM
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One of the best blogs I've read on the Oilers in a long time!

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#136 Johnny
November 05 2013, 06:38AM
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When are we going to hear the true story about Perron's injury?

I am worried about his career...

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#137 Fresh Mess
November 05 2013, 06:44AM
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book¡e wrote:

I don't think posts are moderated before posting. It was a 12am posting and RB probably hasn't seen it yet. I find the 8 props alarming.

Better to ignore it than promote it with more attention. ON should really have a flag button for those instances.

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#138 Ed in Edmonton
November 05 2013, 09:06AM
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the-wolf wrote:

Flames fan perspective: hire Feaster, he's perfect at adding complementary vets and 3rd/4th line types. I may be slightly jesting here, but seriously, where are the Oilers when it comes to acquiring the Ramos and Berras and Corban Knights and Joe Colbornes of the world?

Not saying that those guys in particular are some sort of franchise-saving solution, far from it, but the Oilers just never seem to be in on adding complementary type players, whether they be from Europe, college or vets.

I don't think the Oilers are as bad as almost everyone on here thinks, though I understand the anger and frustration.

First, you guys are too hard on those young players. They need vets to show them how to be professionals. I don't think they like losing; you don't grow up and ascend to that level of hockey by being content and having a love of losing.

The Oilers seem like an org paralyzed by fear. Scared to death that if they move one of their 1st overalls it will come back to bite them for decades. But you know what, that's what GMs get paid for. Moving one of those 1st overalls would send one heck of a message too, wouldn't it? And if you're getting quality back, which shouldn't be all that hard to do, then do it.

Next, the Oilers still have a good crop of top prospects. Move most of them and move a couple of first round picks and bring in some quality vets, especially on D.

MacT was right about bold moves, not sure if he's the one to make them, but he was right. A bonafide #1 goalie alone would make a world of difference to the team. Move Yakupov, some prospects and some 1st rounders and the Oilers would be back into contention all while maintaining an extremely talented young core. People have to remember though - Nuge, Eberle, Schultz, etc. are NOT Gretzky, Messier, Coffee, etc. But, they're still very, very good.

I hate to throw out another Calgary name, but firing Lowe and hiring Burke (or even better, Jim Nill had he agreed to go there) before we got him would have been a solid thing to do IMO. So, fear not, an astute GM could turn the Oiles fortunes around in just a half season.

It's refreshing to see an unemotional evaluation of the Oil's problems. Especially from a Flamer who isn't just giddy and dancing on the grave in early Nov.

Re a few points you make

I don't think the Oil have not been interested in complimentary players. However the ones they have brought in have either:

not been effective eg. Eager, Belanger, Petrell etc. Poor judgement of player's abilities by the brain trust;

working out okay (the exeption) Arcabello, Belov ;

a disaster i.e. Grebeshkov; or

injured Joensuu, Hamilton and Pitlick.

I agree that there is a fear in our town about moving a young gun and not getting full value for them. Any rational analysis of the Oil results in the conclusion, that even if everyone turns out well, moves will be inevitable. No team would be able to afford a succession of high end picks all playing well and demanding salaries in accordance. The fear is not just with Oil management but with the fan base and perhaps most of all with the media.

When the Oil move a young gun, the question that needs to be asked is not whether the young gun might go on to be a super star somewhere else, but if what the Oil are getting back is of enough value to them and whether it makes them better.

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#139 outdoorzguy
November 05 2013, 09:52AM
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It's game night!! Everybody put on your jersey (that put $$$ in the pocket of Katz) and head to the game to fill the building again. Your hope is that after a dozen or so years of mediocrity things will miraculously turn around tonight. A win will sure change the attitude of the fans. What a great team we have, things are heading down the right path now with a win. We might win, more realistically we'll lose.But keep going to the games and buying the jerseys because sooner or later things will get better and we all want to be on that band wagon when it happens. But this is a bad team. It's not capable of doing anything even resembling success as this team. It's poorly managed. The ownership is absent. As long as the Katz pockets fill up with our hard money nothing will change. Its been like that for a decade. But maybe tonight. Maybe. This could be the night we become great. But if it doesn't happen, just leave the building like lemmings and hope for the next game to be that magical moment. Sooner or later it will happen. Won't it??

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#140 Tikkanese
November 05 2013, 10:26AM
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spliff wrote:

How was this post allowed?

Isn't someone moderating these posts?

There is no need for racist sh*t on this blog FFS.

Was there more to it than those 3 words? Those 3 words alone are not racist, are they?

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#141 Zarny
November 05 2013, 10:42AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Girardi is a UFA in a few months. Why give up anything for a rental? This team needs a Shea Weber type, not yet another 4-7 guy. Swapping a first overall selection for middling/late first rounder makes zero sense.

I completely agree a Shea Weber type would be ideal.

The problem is Weber isn't available. None of those D are available because every team that has one is looking to win the Stanley Cup not rebuild.

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#142 Rama Lama
November 05 2013, 11:09AM
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I have been one of the most vocal opponents to Eakins system.......not for any measure except one.

Have any players flourished under his leadership? Any? Have any players regressed under his leadership? I would contend every player including his spokeperson Andrew Ference.

I understand that he is only 15 games into the season, but if there was even one player that looks like they are off and running, I would cut him some slack. I personally like his style and swagger but I hold him most accountable for running the bench.

If we start all of a sudden winning and can sustain a game from start to finish, then I will think his systems are worth pursuing.

Right now I only see a team that stopped playing for him. Sports can be a brutal game.

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#143 Zarny
November 05 2013, 04:17PM
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As always good observations by LT. Playoffs are lots but the situation isn't as dire as some make it out to be.

Right or wrong, Katz won't fire anyone this year. Lowe sold Katz on a 6 yr plan and we're only starting yr 4. It wouldn't make a difference anyway...the problem is on the ice.

I'm not a fan of Kevin Lowe's, but to be fair he was baited into the 6 rings comment.

Lowe and MacT were asked a fair question...why should the group who torpedoed a Cup contender be trusted with the rebuild?

To Lowe's credit he admitted that he chased the dream for a few years after 2006. Sutter did the same thing in Cgy. They were so close.

When it became obvious that without Pronger no amount of duct tape would get the Oilers back to the Cup Lowe sold Katz on his 6 yr plan. And I think that is where the disconnect is between Lowe/Katz etc and Oiler fans.

Lowe responds to a comment by asking "are you getting impatient?"

I think most Oilers fans would say yes; but not Lowe et al. I don't think they really count those first few years of losing because they were "chasing the dream" after 2006. I'm not sure how it makes a difference but in their mind it does.

Kevin Lowe undoubtedly knows about winning; he brought in the right players and added ridiculous depth for the 2006 Cup run.

What I find ironic is the Oilers current biggest weakness is a complete and utter lack of depth.

The rebuild strategy seems to be throw the kids to the wolves and when they're ready add depth. So far that isn't working.

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#144 **
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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#145 hankthetank
November 04 2013, 09:29PM
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@Poolanov

short supply of Millers?

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#146 Shifty203
November 04 2013, 10:26PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

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*

The difference in your analogy, and what's happening with the oilers, is that in your analogy, he's essentially emptying the shelves (selling out seats) every time he opens the doors. Fixing complaints can't bring him more money, because he still has no product to sell.

Several other nhl owners have essentially said the same thing over the years. "Why spend up to the cap, when I'm selling out every night? Spending more money on players can't fill seats I don't have". Why should he spend money firing management, who's on contracts that would need to be paid out, and the pay a new guy for those same years he already paid for, when he's not going to make more money.

Fact of the matter is, is that we have Lowe and MacT to fix things. Katz isn't likely to do anything until his wallet starts feeling the burn. No matter what he says about being a fan, he is a businessman first.

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#147 sizzay
November 04 2013, 11:05PM
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DSF wrote:

The Rangers interested in Yakupov (and Hemsky).

http://nypost.com/2013/11/04/rangers-interested-in-oilers-phenom-yakupov/

I don't see any deal sending Yakupov to the Rangers without McDonagh as the centrepiece coming back.

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#148 Alsker
November 05 2013, 12:33AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Girardi is a UFA in a few months. Why give up anything for a rental? This team needs a Shea Weber type, not yet another 4-7 guy. Swapping a first overall selection for middling/late first rounder makes zero sense.

Hang on there QSB, that type of honesty is not acceptable in Oil Country. Kills me to see the names on the cup at the home page:Hunter,Hughes,Jackson,Linseman yes a #1 D man would be great, but a few tough SOB's with more heart than ability would really be nice too.

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#149 Fatbob24
November 05 2013, 06:31AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Ive been interested in montreal's situation with Subban and Markov becoming RFA and UFA respectfully. Subban will want 6-7mil and Markov will ask for 5-6mil, can they really afford both?

I know Subban is the #1dman there, and the fans would probably riot, but if I was gm of a last place hockey club Id send them this

Yak,1st rnd pick,Smid, and maricin

Overpay? yup! getting that true #1 dman pricless

its a nice dream I know, but its time for MacT to get creative for this team to succeed, and please don't keep the draft pick like Dithers.

That is all, good day people!

Subban is not all that right now. Sure he won a Norris, for scoring the most goals. Didn't have anything to do with his defensive skills which is what we really need right now. But he does have grit and attitude, so...toss up.

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#150 Tikkanese
November 05 2013, 11:26AM
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oilbaron wrote:

Anyone else confunsed by all this love for Petry? It looked like he was directly responsible for at least 2 of Detroit's goals. Sure he's creating chances, but he isn't exactly preventing a whole lot

I'm confused as well. Not only responsible for two against by Detroit, but also directly responisble for two against by Toronto.

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