Disaster

Jonathan Willis
November 09 2013 03:09PM

The Edmonton Oilers had a chance on Saturday to pick up two points from one of the league's worst teams. They had healthy bodies back, the Flyers had lost two straight, and this game represented a real opportunity to start things turning around after a strong effort in a win over Florida and a stronger one in a loss to Tampa Bay.

It didn't happen.

Losing Badly

It's not just that the Oilers lost, or who they lost against, but how they lost. Some fans will want to place the blame on Devan Dubnyk - who was actually reasonably solid until that fourth goal - or on the referees for mistakenly assessing a major penalty against an innocent Anton Belov.

But the real problem was the skaters. The following chart shows on-ice scoring chances at even-strength for the Oilers forwards against Philadelphia, as counted by me.

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Luke Gazdic 0 1 0.0%
Jordan Eberle 1 7 12.5%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1 6 14.3%
Boyd Gordon 1 4 20.0%
Ryan Smyth 1 4 20.0%
Taylor Hall 4 8 33.3%
Jesse Joensuu 1 2 33.3%
Mark Arcobello 2 4 33.3%
Sam Gagner 4 6 40.0%
Ales Hemsky 5 7 41.7%
David Perron 3 3 50.0%
Nail Yakupov 2 1 66.7%

And for the defence:

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Nick Schultz 1 6 14.3%
Taylor Fedun 1 5 16.7%
Andrew Ference 2 9 18.2%
Jeff Petry 2 7 22.2%
Philip Larsen 6 6 50.0%
Anton Belov 6 5 54.5%

For the most part, it was the Oilers' best players getting killed against the Flyers. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall all had among the worst marks on the team in this regard. These are the guys that typically push results - and did last year, even as the rest of the team gave everything back and then some. On defence, the Oilers top pairing of Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry were lit up, too.

The Oilers play in Chicago tomorrow. It seems unlikely to go well.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Randy
November 09 2013, 03:26PM
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Oilers should make a trade for L Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks.

Oilers do need D-men

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#2 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:31PM
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@Newj

Formula for disaster

Have a new owner hire his buddy to run his NHL team.Then hire a rookie GM who hires a rookie coach because he gets a man crush.The rookie coach is then saddled with the owners buddy, buddies as assistant coaches.

How could that ever go wrong?

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#3 36Million
November 09 2013, 03:19PM
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Why should I try? Katz doesn't . Management won't . Pay me. Then get me the F out of here. Seriously, this team is an embarrassing exhibition of total incompetence. Sickening.

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#4 Batfink
November 09 2013, 03:30PM
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Trade another D-Man with nothing coming back! Then throw three AHL rookies in the deep end! Hey, I'm pretty good at this, K-Lowe I'm available!

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#5 Randy
November 09 2013, 03:22PM
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Can you imagine this Kevin Lowe's job based on good results. A novel approach.

What is his record with the Oilers since he retired as a player?

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#6 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:28PM
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How much longer are you going to defend Dubnyk?

Everyone knows he is not an NHL starter now.Maybe he gets it back in a few years like Tim Thomas but now he is just crap.

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#7 God
November 09 2013, 06:52PM
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I read this on TSN today. Made me quite sad, because it's totally true.

"rockmesockme 2 hours ago

I'm done. I liked to come here and take shots at the Oilers because I thought that they would be a formidable team this year. This isn't fun anymore. Honestly, this is an unmitigated disaster. No fan of any team deserves this"

Shame on Oilers management for allowing this cluster-f@ck.

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#8 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:18PM
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Eakins in his post game interview."We were out battled and out sized."

Good thing you traded away you most physical d-man for prospects.

The whole team is just lost.Desperation has set in.This whole rebuild never had a plan.Just play it as we go.That what you get when you don't hire the best people for the job instead hiring your friends.It is shameful what this once great team has become.

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#9 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Tyler Dellow posted a nice chart that seems relevant.

A nice chart does not stop pucks a goalie does.Unless it is Dubnyk.Then you are SOL.

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#10 hemi
November 09 2013, 03:50PM
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My better half and I were doing the BANFF shopping extravaganza this weekend and silly old me, I decided to show my Edmonton pride by wearing my Mighty Oil hat. I actually had some other hockey fans poke a wee bit at me due to my attire......I almost felt like a leaf's fan at times. Being laughed at and or smirked at was and still is a favorite pastime of mine whenever I spot some fool with a Maple Leaf hat and or etc. Sadly, who's laughing now!

All my years as a loyal Edmonton Citizen, I have never been embarrassed to heap the praises of my fair city but the dismal display of the Oil has really made it hard for me to be boastful these days.

What the heck has gone wrong with our sport teams? Is there any way out of this black hole that has become the Edmonton Sports scene?

A very disappointing year!

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#12 Newj
November 09 2013, 03:27PM
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Formula for diaster

- spot opposition a couple goals within first 10-15 mins, partly claw way back only to give up a softy and then lose. They have the formula down pat!

Maybe Eakins will quit before they fire him, if I were coach, I would. This team is dreadful.

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#13 Walter Sobchak
November 09 2013, 04:14PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

So that Lecavalier goal with 5 minutes left on the goal line is an acceptable goal?

That's a goal that can't go in!! It's deflating and a team killer!

Just a brutal goal.

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#14 DSF
November 09 2013, 05:16PM
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How bad are the Oilers?

In past seasons, the playoff cutoff was 94-95 points.

This season, with the absolute dominance by the WC (except the Oilers), it'll take a lot more to get in the post season.

The final wild card spot is currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

They are on pace for 106 points.

The Oilers are on pace for 45 points.

Missing the playoffs by 61 points (should current trends continue) should be a firing offence from the top of the corporate ladder all the way to the bottom.

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#15 DSF
November 09 2013, 05:00PM
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Who? wrote:

Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

Have you noticed how they've stopped talking about Corsi and how the Oilers are "much improved'?

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#16 Clarko
November 09 2013, 04:12PM
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The optimist in me tells me there are only two problems with this team:

1. We can't keep the puck out of our net (dead last in goals against in the league).

2. We can't score goals with any consistency (13th out of 14 teams in our conference in goals scored).

Other than that, the Oilers are on the pathway to greatness!!

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#17 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
November 09 2013, 06:26PM
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Watching the Leafs/Bruins game right now. We look like a WHL team next to Boston. Like, it's not even close. I ragged on Eller after he called us a junior team and we beat them. I'm now in the process of shoving my foot as far into my mouth as I can get it.

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#18 Gerald R. Ford
November 09 2013, 04:14PM
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It's only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don't think I could blame any kid who'd wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract "developing" in this organization.

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#19 spliff
November 10 2013, 03:57AM
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I am losing interest, not just in the season, but in this franchise. I've been a loyal fan my whole life, but not getting a sniff of playoff hockey for 8 years is killing it for me. Whats the point in cheering for a team with such incompetent management, that they can't get their team in the playoffs once in awhile. I'm lucky I live overseas and can tune it out pretty easily if I want to. I've always been a very loyal fan buy watching your team lose all the time, year after year, is boring. I have no trust anymore in any of the managers of this team. I think they honestly don't have a f*cking clue what they are doing, and they have turned this once respected franchise into a joke of the league. The product is not entertaining anymore, but only pathetic.

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#20 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:09PM
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Hair bag wrote:

Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn't his fault - he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

Someone scored from the goal line in the corner.A back breaker goal after the team battled back into the game.Not sure what game you were watching but the one I watched Dubnyk let in two very questionable goals.

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#21 forsoothed
November 09 2013, 04:41PM
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We're still trading actual players for prospects, the rebuild continues.

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#22 vetinari
November 09 2013, 04:24PM
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64. That's how many more games we have left this season. Even in the years that we finished last in the league, we never reached this low, this early in a season.

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#23 DSF
November 09 2013, 06:02PM
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Hockey Problems wrote:

I don't understand how the rodeo can be in town ...

I just saw the clowns on the ice, playin the Flyers in Philly this very morning !!

The livestock is currently helping to air out Rexall Place.

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#24 D-Unit
November 09 2013, 04:42PM
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It would be nice to see some frustration from the Oilers with all the losing. Wouldn't mind seeing someone do something nasty, like a cross check to someone's teeth. But sadly the Oil have no fight, no heart, no backbone.

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#25 God
November 09 2013, 11:14PM
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Read another quote on TSN:

hawk43 2 hours ago

Not an Oil fan but a once proud team is in need of a management change. Lowe has been at the head of this team on their way down and has done nothing to help them recover but take the #1 picks and all the same type of players. This team need few good vets to help the good young talent they have and a couple of good stay at home Dmen would help also. Seems the assistant coaches never seem to be changed even tho the head coaches keep getting removed-- are they grandfathered there for life? The owner had better make some changes to restore some pride back into this team. This is begining to look like Harold Ballard is running this team-- long as the seats are full why make changes. The Oil fans deserve better, Lowe said he know winning but doesn't look like it!

Chicago fans feel bad for us, even the night before they play us. Seriously, now that's pathetic. We do not deserve this. Shame on your Katz.

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#26 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:21PM
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Clarko wrote:

I understand that Dubnyk hasn't been great this season, but our defensive zone coverage today was abysmal. Even on the last goal, you can see Schultz, Smyth, and Gagner covering nobody while Lecavlier stands alone at the side of the net.

The scoring chances were like 2 or 3 to 1 today.

Lecavlier was standing on the goal line half way to the corner.No goal ever should go in from there.He was not a scoring threat from there.

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#27 6 ring circus
November 09 2013, 05:10PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

agree, but we cant fire an owner

I will no longer buy season tickets or Oiler's merchandise,I will gladly take the family on a nice winter holiday instead of supporting the Oiler's by buying seasons tickets,after 14 years. I have had enough of this,It's sad to say, but I bought into the rebuild and believed all the hype that the Oilers propaganda machine puts out in the off season and pre season every year, but no more,I am tired of wasting my hard earned money on Katz and Kevin Lowe and this so called hockey team,I have lost my patience and will not wait another 5-7 years before they get it right.

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#28 Hockey Problems
November 09 2013, 05:37PM
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Bucknuck wrote:

oh no man... you didn't just say it couldn't get worse. Did you?? Did you really??

Out of the playoffs by the 5th week of the season ?!?

This comedy has turned into a tragedy !

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#29 Greg the Hammer Valentine
November 09 2013, 03:59PM
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JW, I think it's time for you start telling us about Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl. Please divert our attention to something other than the on-ice product we have right now.

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#30 God
November 09 2013, 05:43PM
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I'm sick of this entire organization but I can't like another team. I'm staying with them because I can't stand anyone else. Now that's a dysfunctional relationship.

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#31 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 04:49PM
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D-Unit wrote:

It would be nice to see some frustration from the Oilers with all the losing. Wouldn't mind seeing someone do something nasty, like a cross check to someone's teeth. But sadly the Oil have no fight, no heart, no backbone.

Even Gretzky would have taken somebody's teeth out by now!

*disclaimer. Or had Semenko do it*

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#32 yawto
November 09 2013, 04:56PM
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I'm just going to start calling Dubnyk the slump buster. If you are on a cold streak, circle Edmonton and pray he is in net. Him and mason had basically the same record at the start of the game, only difference, mason is losing without giving up 4 a game. Ridiculous. Bring on Bryz, it couldn't be worse.

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#33 Walter Sobchak
November 09 2013, 05:46PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

I will no longer buy season tickets or Oiler's merchandise,I will gladly take the family on a nice winter holiday instead of supporting the Oiler's by buying seasons tickets,after 14 years. I have had enough of this,It's sad to say, but I bought into the rebuild and believed all the hype that the Oilers propaganda machine puts out in the off season and pre season every year, but no more,I am tired of wasting my hard earned money on Katz and Kevin Lowe and this so called hockey team,I have lost my patience and will not wait another 5-7 years before they get it right.

This will also be my last year as a season seat holder.

I'll use that money to go to LA and watch the Oilers there during the winter.

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#34 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 03:44PM
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Wasting of a good fan base is the goal apparently.

Trading players fixes nothing. the problem is systemic. Attitude reflects leadership in sport. Lowe is the leader and look at the on ice result.

What a complete waste.

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#35 Smokey
November 09 2013, 03:53PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

If we started the season with Ralph, Smith, Bucky, and Action as the co-coach Ralph was looking for... And we got off to this start .... Would they be fired by now?

I know we have gone through a lot of coaches in five years, but lets not show patience with the worst coaching group.

I think we need a coach with more experience to get most out of this team.

This year is done. We have 60 games to learn a new system.

I agree. Frankly watching how bad this team is coached, watching the same mistakes over and over again, I could care less if theirs a new coach.

Find a coach who knows defence, and can instill confidence, and who has track record. Give him 60 games to implement his system for next year.

I was so anti Sutter when they hired Krueger, but I have changed my mind, because this team needs "Hitchcockian" transformation. Sutter the guy I want, cause Sutter's get things done. I want boring winning hockey, proper systems, coaches who scare you into being a better team, who don't take crap from anyone.

I'm going to go read draft previews.

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#36 Alsker
November 09 2013, 04:19PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

It's only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don't think I could blame any kid who'd wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract "developing" in this organization.

And everyone questioned the length of 4,14,93 contracts...by the time these are up maybe this a competitive team...but honestly the bus is on cruise control and no one at the wheel.

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#37 Eddie Shore
November 09 2013, 04:24PM
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Who? wrote:

Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

Spector? hahahahahahahahah

No really? Spector? Haha now that is funny.

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#38 DSF
November 09 2013, 04:57PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Tyler Dellow posted a nice chart that seems relevant.

Dellow posted a "rolling average save percentage" chart which looks at averages.

While that approach has some validity, it doesn't mean Dubnyk WILL return to his career average.

Some goalies have certainly done that...many haven't.

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#39 Hockey Problems
November 09 2013, 05:50PM
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I don't understand how the rodeo can be in town ...

I just saw the clowns on the ice, playin the Flyers in Philly this very morning !!

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#40 DSF
November 09 2013, 10:53PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Carter, Richards and Fraser were trades that LA won.

Yeah, Lombardi also wins trades.

Don't forget Stoll and Greene for Visnovsky who turned into Whitney who turned into SFA.

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#41 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 04:37PM
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@Batfink

Dallas is too tired from his bike ride to get angry.

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#42 DSF
November 09 2013, 06:01PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Agree on all points.

What is annoying me of late is the resistance on the part of many in the EDM sports media - Stauffer and Brown most notably to not criticize Eakins for the lack of effort by the team and the lack of discipline.

And yet it was Eakins who personally guaranteed that the team would always play with effort.

The fall back excuse of many is that we have already had too many coaching changes in a short period.

I say to heck with that. If the coach is failing - and Eakins is arguably failing and inarguably not progressing - firing makes sense regardless of the turnover rate.

What if the oil finish with fewer than 20 wins? Is that grounds to fire Eakins? How could anyone justify keeping him?

I suspect we may see Kreuger 2.0 - management and the press stand foursquare behind Eakins at the end of the season and then a few weeks/months later... he's out the door, and the press says they knew it all along...

Sounds about right.

History is littered with AHL coaches who couldn't make the jump to the NHL.

So far, there is little evidence he can walk the walk.

All hat...no cattle.

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#43 Quicksilver ballet
November 09 2013, 03:37PM
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A disclaimer should accompany this article. *** 5 beer minimum recommended consumed before partaking in this article***

Red Solo cup, I fill you up....lets have a party!

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#44 Who?
November 09 2013, 03:52PM
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Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

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#45 6 ring circus
November 09 2013, 04:11PM
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@reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)

The bigger problem than Lowe is Katz,He does not hold his hockey management team accountable,he does not care about his fan base, if he did he would've made made changes by now,his only concern is that he gets to hang out with the glory day Oilers and the end result is this sorry excuse of a hockey team we have left after Kevin Lowe has screwed it up so bad.Good luck attracting any free agents here,it wont be much longer before the stars on the team ask for a ticket out of town,as a fan base we are all frustrated and have pretty much given up all hope with Lowe running this team,how do you think the players feel and why would they want to continue to play for such a MICKEY MOUSE ORGANIZATION!!!!

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#47 Craig1981
November 09 2013, 04:33PM
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Its only early November and I am already googleing next years draft.........

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#48 Slats
November 09 2013, 04:50PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Dubnyk will probably play better when people aren't trying to figure out if his putrid play has a historical precedent on blogs.

It works that way, right?

and it will start around game 62 when loosey goosey Oilers will be wheeling around the the NHL scoring 5 Goals vs 1 against and the Oilers will go 14-4-2 to finish the season 26-44-12

AND then what??

Rinse and repeat for 2014-15

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#49 Walter Sobchak
November 09 2013, 05:26PM
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DSF wrote:

How bad are the Oilers?

In past seasons, the playoff cutoff was 94-95 points.

This season, with the absolute dominance by the WC (except the Oilers), it'll take a lot more to get in the post season.

The final wild card spot is currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

They are on pace for 106 points.

The Oilers are on pace for 45 points.

Missing the playoffs by 61 points (should current trends continue) should be a firing offence from the top of the corporate ladder all the way to the bottom.

Why waste your breath on that statement, if Katz doesn't have the balls to clean house two or three or four years ago he ain't doing it now.

He'll just let his two buddies run this team even further into the ground, I didn't even think it was possible to be worse then the last three years!

One thing is a certainty, Lowe continues to astonish me at his complete uselessness.

Fact.

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#50 God
November 09 2013, 05:48PM
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Seriously, Hemsky's giveaway to Giroux that led to the winning goal. He's skating into traffic, pressure from behind and ahead. He decides to drop the puck behind himself blindly to Hall who is coming straight into traffic. Hall can't grab possession and the Flyers go back the other way and score.

Bone-headed play by Hemsky. He's good for a few of these a game. Why is he on our team? Why is he being paid $5mil!!!??? So many screaming bad contracts on this team. So many brutally spoiled players that won't backcheck. Where's the player development and accountability?

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