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.

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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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#101 Dan 1919
November 09 2013, 05:25PM
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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.

Haha it should, but the 8th spot playoff team will not have 106 points, things will cool down. Mac-T will have one of the young guns traded this year before the TD if things don’t shape up... or the 1st Rounder traded for a solid piece.

Is one of the guys in the top three projected to end up better than Ebs/Yak, then they will trade one of those guys and keep the pick or vise-versa. The Tambi erra is over, if there’s one thing I’m confident of, it is that.

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#102 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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#103 Ed in Edmonton
November 09 2013, 05:41PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

then how do you explain getting bryz? that is 100% a short-term move.

In the between period interview MacT said be made the move to make room for young defencemen like Nurse (who can't play here this year) and Klefbom ( is he anywhere close? I don't really know). The point is he never claimed the move will make the Oil better because of .... His explanation was it clears the deck for the future.

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#104 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 05:44PM
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DSF wrote:

What are the odds of that, exactly?

Of a level of play regressing to the mean?

Pretty high I gather…

The only factors we know about for Gs for sharp and sustained drops in performance (injury and age) don't appear to be in play.

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#105 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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#106 Ari Gold
November 09 2013, 05:52PM
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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...

I agree that Eakins is part of the problem but certainly you can't put the majority of the weight on his shoulders. The Oiler management is filled with rookies. Inexperienced owner, president, GM & Coach. Player development on this team is horrific. They aren't taught discipline nor accountability.

I wish they were more like Perron, Gorgon & Arco. Hell I'll throw Belov into a positive. The rest of the team except for Hall can go.

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#107 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 06:11PM
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DSF wrote:

Loss of confidence is HUGE factor in performance.

One of those "intangibles" I keep hearing about.

Not enough fights probably aren't helping him either :)

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#108 Kirk brackenberry
November 09 2013, 06:12PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I wish the problem was as simple as your article suggests...........it's our skaters. Really, so we are back to this being simply a player problem?

Well I'm not buying that as the sole issue anymore. Let's see, Patrick Roy came to a team very similar in skill to ours at basically the same development curve as we are in and they are off and running.

Yea Patrick had absolutely nothing to do with the start, it was all the players that decided to play for him.

Why do our player NOT play for MR. Fitness?

These softies are coach killers. As soon as we trade away the redundancies and get some beef with heart the coach will look fine.

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#109 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 06:26PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

One of those "intangibles" I keep hearing about.

Not enough fights probably aren't helping him either :)

That's correct...not enough fights aren't helping him either. Soft defensemen are not helping him either. Centres who don't back check are not helping him either. And a team still learning a rookie coaches systems are not helping either. And small players who lose puck possession battles are not helping either. And centres who can't win face offs aren't helping him either.............and NONE of these things are intangible. What's truly intangible is your misuse and abuse of statistics.

And I'm not defending Dubnyk...I think he's missed his window of opportunity....but what I am defending is people who talk about non numerical tangible events against people like you who condescendingly speak about these events as if they have no consequence. In my opinion, you need to be more disciplined. And I'm not ramming this down your throat, I'm open to discussing it.

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#110 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 06:30PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

One of those "intangibles" I keep hearing about.

Not enough fights probably aren't helping him either :)

That's correct...not enough fights aren't helping him either. Soft defensemen are not helping him either. Centres who don't back check are not helping him either. And a team still learning a rookie coaches systems are not helping either. And small players who lose puck possession battles are not helping either. And centres who can't win face offs aren't helping him either.............and NONE of these things are intangible. What's truly intangible is your misuse and abuse of statistics.

And I'm not defending Dubnyk...I think he's missed his window of opportunity....but what I am defending is people who talk about non numerical tangible events against people like you who condescendingly speak about these events as if they have no consequence. In my opinion, you need to be more disciplined. And I'm not ramming this down your throat, I'm open to discussing it.

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#111 Alsker
November 09 2013, 06:39PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

On the plus side, watching actual NHL teams play is refreshing my interest in hockey.

You`re a better man than me, there is no way I tune into a game unless the fLames are losing. It just hurts too much.

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#112 Shaun
November 09 2013, 06:42PM
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We won't make the playoffs so we should fail the rest of the season and draft Aaron Ekbald

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#113 Alsker
November 09 2013, 06:58PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I used to think that way too, my friend. I can't cheer for another team with any real conviction, I've bled Oil for too long. But after the last few years, I've started watching real teams just for the hockey. Greatest game on Earth!

I`ll wait for the olympics and see if that helps, besides womans curling is on: Harder More More HARDER!!! Got to love the girls.

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#114 Batfink
November 09 2013, 07:36PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Coach doesn't mean squat if the players refuse to commit!

So, I want to sell you my '91 dodge 1500 2wd V6. It'd be a good vehicle, if you'd only by it. Come onnnnnn. Please buy my hunk of crap! No? You can tell it's a P.O.S just by looking at it? Maybe you should just buy it. It'll be fine.

It if looks like a duck....

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#115 DSF
November 09 2013, 07:54PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Not smart enough to presume I can gauge another man's level of confidence and its affect on his play.

Also, not smart enough to presume I can interpret body language and many other things.

I take a modest view of what someone can know.

There are many adjectives I would use to describe you.

Modest is very, very far down the list.

If there are many things that you can't know, what you can know is very much diminished in its import.

Anyone who has played competitive sports will be able to tell you that confidence is a major factor in performance...but I'm sure you will slough it off because you can't measure it.

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#116 Overwatchedandunderpaid
November 09 2013, 07:57PM
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People can keep complaining about the coaching but there has to come a time as fans that you realize that after all the coaching changes in the past couple of years and the same results that its not the coaches problem. Every year we get a new coach and we get air in our sails and we are filled with positive messages from the coach and we agree with what he says but when the season starts everything falls apart and who else is there to blame but the coach. We can throw any coach under this awful team right now and it wont change the results. The players have to want to play and want to compete to be successful. Until you have that you can throw as many coaches into the fire as you want, nothing will change.

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#117 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 07:57PM
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DSF wrote:

Nice.

Thank you. I think I'm sobering up now.

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#118 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 08:13PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Hey Rom, I have no issue with regression to the mean......I'm just asking that you and others in the Stats Pack, and I use the term respectfully, would give a little more consideration to qualifying the conclusions you draw from statistics, or perhaps more importantly, the conclusions you draw regarding events that are typically viewed as non statistical or unmeasurable. While these events may not fall in your bailiwick, they are real, and of sincere importance to others, like me.

I highly value the role age, experience, size, character, desire, courage, aggression, toughness, emotion, selflessness, coaching, player development, coordinated team play, etc have to play in the game. And to be summarily dismissive of these factors because we can't easily measure them is both closed minded and irritating.

So all I'm really asking is for a little awareness that this is how some people perceive the game and derive their enjoyment of the game.

Please and thank you, ORG

Once more.

1. I don't think anyone has drawn unqualified conclusions using stats here. I'm sure it has been done and I'm happy to tell you those people are overstepping what the evidence allows.

2. I don't discount "intangibles" or whathaveyou. I do however caution against over-stating variables highly prone to bias, i.e., interpreting a players' "body language" or "confidence." These are real things that actually affect performance. They are also narratives people often default into.

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#119 GK1980
November 09 2013, 08:28PM
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When arev the kids going to realize this is NOT junior hockey. This is NHL hockey. We have too many HEROES who think they are the team and why shouldn't they be going from being all stars in junior now playing in the NHL. But hey they TRIED real hard tonight. Everyone gets a brown star for effort.

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#120 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 08:32PM
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@Hockey Problems

I have to agree with the overall softness. Is it too much to ask a guy to finish a check? You don't have to be big to check a guy and its not even about drilling guys every time. Give the guy a bump after he passes, let him know you're there. Way too many times they waste the opportunity and skate away. I see nuge checking more guys than eberle and hemsky and Gagner put together, that's weak. If only more of them played like Perron. I wouldn't say all the guys on that list are soft but not one of them is intimidating anyone physically.

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#121 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 08:40PM
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DSF wrote:

Of course the only one raising the body language straw man is you.

????????????????

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#122 Pete
November 09 2013, 08:53PM
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Do any of you turds ever go outside?

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#123 Shane
November 09 2013, 09:16PM
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Pete wrote:

Yeah, what he said. Usually when people b#tch about a product they stop using it. STOP USING IT!!

Weren't people saying after the lockout last year to boycott the league? How did that work out?

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#124 Shane
November 09 2013, 09:16PM
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Pete wrote:

Yeah, what he said. Usually when people b#tch about a product they stop using it. STOP USING IT!!

Weren't people saying after the lockout last year to boycott the league? How did that work out?

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#125 Shane
November 09 2013, 09:18PM
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@Pete

Weren't people saying after the lockout last year to boycott the league? How did that work out?

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#126 **
November 09 2013, 09:19PM
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Bryzeee!!!!

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#127 Ari Gold
November 09 2013, 09:20PM
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@Ari Gold

These 4-2 games are irritating. I preferred it when they'd get lit up 5-0 and 4-0 by the Wings & Leafs. Hopefully the players revolt completely soon.

I guarantee that if you asked everyone in that dressingroom if they'd like to play in a different city. They'd all say definitely.

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#128 Rob Gilgan
November 09 2013, 09:25PM
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@Overwatchedandunderpaid

"there has to come a time as fans that you realize that after all the coaching changes in the past couple of years and the same results that its not the coaches problem"

Everything I've witnessed over the past three weeks leads me to conclude that it is, indeed the coach that's the problem. Confused, dispirited players - the stand out was Gagner, after taking a penalty easing himself back up the ice, not showing any inclination to back check. I think it's past time the 'smart money' in Oilersnation face the fact - Eakins isn't going to get it done. Not this year, not next. The only thing fuelling Oiler fans these days is a healthy dose of masochism.

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#129 Alsker
November 09 2013, 09:55PM
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The utter lack of real management, lack of respect, no accountability, no fear of consequence, no heart, no desire. F*ck kBlowe how do you look at yourself in the mirror? YOU blew it, admit it!! Hate Burke but try and weasel him out of Cowtown and get lost. If this were a soccer club anywhere in Europe he'd bin hung by now, rexall would be demolished and Katz would have a reason for living in Vancity.

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#130 Pouzar99
November 09 2013, 10:05PM
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I thought Dubnyk and a few missed chances by the Flyers actually kept the Oilers in the game until he blew the 4th one very late. They didn't come close to the same effort level they mustered against Florida and Tampa Bay. We need to bring in psychiatrists not hockey analysts to explain what the story is with these guys. We actually have at least one on FISO but he can't figure them out either.

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#131 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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#132 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 11:13PM
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DSF wrote:

A saw off...LOL.

Lombardi moved Visnovsky because he wasn't a good fit at his pay grade.

What the Oilers did with that asset subsequently is hardly his fault or his concern.

Sweet F All

Why the Kings traded him is irrelevant.

The team that gets the best player wins, so the old adage goes. Vis was (and still probably is) the best player in that trade and had a lot of miles left.

Not sure how the Oil lost that one. Seems like both teams got what they wanted.

You brought Whitney up in a conversation about Lombardi winning trades. You tell me why it's his fault or concern.

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#133 Ari Gold
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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#134 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 09 2013, 11:21PM
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@DSF

Not sure what we are arguing about here.

Trading for Vis = excellent move

Trading Vis for Whitney = absolute calamity

If you disagree with this (and you must, otherwise why keep pressing the issue) tell me why… you haven't made a case against these obvious points yet.

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#135 Rheal1
November 10 2013, 03:56AM
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Every single decision taken by the management reeks idiocy. This team and its managers are the butt end of many jokes. The Oilers are -sigh- a useless franchise at this stage. I'd rather see Katz move this embarrassment away. In any case I feel sad as the Oilers are imploding. It is happening. Now. This team can actually get worst than it already is. How much more ill can KLowe do to this team?

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#136 Spydyr
November 10 2013, 05:33AM
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Hockey Problems wrote:

The problem is that the Oilers are TOO soft for almost any defensive strategy. 4 coaches. 1 problem. SOFT !!!

Nuge: Soft

Ebs: Soft

Hall: Soft

Yak: Soft

Gags: Soft

Hemsky: Soft

Arcobello: Soft

Jones: Soft

Petry: Soft

N. Schultz: Soft

J. Schultz: Soft

Larsen: Soft

What has been done in recent history to make this team harder to play against ?! Trade away Smid.

Trade away Brown.

Ya. Wow, teams are shakin in their boots !!

Brown and Smid did not fit in.They were not soft enough.They had to go.

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#137 Bryzarro World
November 10 2013, 05:46AM
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Oasis wrote:

One word........"paragraphs".

Try them sometime.

Yup. When children crap on a post like this I just skip it. If you can't be bothered to attempt writing properly then I'm not goimg to waste even more of my time trying to read that junk..

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#138 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 10 2013, 07:41AM
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You are all insane.

The Whitney deal is clearly BS, but the Lubo trade was magical and had the team kept him they would have been in far greater shape going forward.

3Cs and bottom pairing Ds are way more replaceable than top pairing Ds. Everyone knows this. DSF knows this (when Oilers aren't involved).

We've been looking for Vis ever since he left.

http://oilersnation.com/2009/8/14/the-oilers-won-the-visnovsky-trade

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#139 15w40
November 10 2013, 08:04AM
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In true Oiler fashion, they will finish in the higher ranking for the lottery AGAIN this year, in a year when the top rated prospect is a smallish forward.

Then when they actually have a chance to grab a generational talent the following year, they will probably do just enough to finish out of the running there...........or maybe not.

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#140 Rob F
November 10 2013, 08:10AM
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Things i hear from management and their puppets on 630.

sure last year good pk and pp but 5 on 5 no good and this year 5 on 5 is better just a matter of time until our advantage in shots turns this around

oilers started season injured. wait till they have their full line up

this isnt McTs team. wait till he gets his guys in

Now its....hey MacT didnt draft these guys, Tambellini did. Im hearing stuff like........ all Tambellinis fault, and Kruger didnt cut it.....can u say scapegoats.....or where i come from....excuses.....and deflect blame

as soon as Bryzgalof turns into an epic failure, he will also be blamed

i remember just after Oilers went to final in 2006, the cocky attitude this franchise had and laforge strutting around town talking up their accomplishments.....just before jacking up season tickets by a lot and justifying it by the performance on the ice

this is bad....ive had season tickets for 14 years. i go to 2 games per year......i sell them to strangers.........only good thing the franchise has done is print the ticketmaster prices on the tickets.....i now make money on the suffering of others.....not proud of this id rather watch quality on the ice

we've suffered long enough.....REVOLT!

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#141 Rob F
November 10 2013, 08:13AM
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big slick wrote:

There is only one thing left to do...finish higher than the Flames.

not gonna happen....i heard they got a defenceman recently for some magic beans

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#142 Rob F
November 10 2013, 08:20AM
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Pete wrote:

Yeah, what he said. Usually when people b#tch about a product they stop using it. STOP USING IT!!

sorry to be picky

oilers preferred restaurants dont deserve to be targeted....they probably pay advertising $ to be listed....if anything they are also not getting what they paid for.....

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#143 Rob Gilgan
November 10 2013, 08:51AM
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@Ari Gold

"This is begining to look like Harold Ballard is running this team-- long as the seats are full why make changes."

You nailed it. They prefer the Leafs' business model to the Wings'. When you're selling every seat every night, why change?

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#144 Cold Hard Truth
November 10 2013, 09:16AM
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What we are witnessing -- and it appears to becoming increasingly obvious to most fans -- is the manifestation of an unaccountable and unprofessional management structure.

It is not one or two trivial problems, like goal tending or poor tactics -- in spite of what apologists like Jonathan Willis will have you believe. The problems are deep-seated. And only after we purge the Lowe regime, and install a management structure based off merit and accountability, will the healing process begin.

For the naysayers, ask yourself this:

Would MacTavish have been hired as GM if he did not have a personal connection with Kevin Lowe?

That's the real problem with the Oilers.

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#145 Oiler Al
November 10 2013, 09:29AM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

The Wings have been a top calibre team for 2 decades now. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The Kings are better now and have a brighter future and look built to last… but who knows what the future holds.

Kings drafting… something special.

DSF and Romulus, spare us this senseless unending drivel, and just go and get a motel room .

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#146 mackb
November 10 2013, 11:06AM
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@Rob F

(Crap. Missed the checkbox to include the quote until it was too late. This comment is in response to your comment #238)

Ahh, but they do (need to stop supporting Oilers Preferred Reastaurants). The only way changes will be made is to stop the flow of money. While it is unfortunate for these restaurants, they made the decision to hitch their trailer to a losing horse. Seasons tickets are already bought and paid for (and I can't blame expect anyone going to the game for requiring 12-18 heroin beers to dull the pain that is the Oilers).

Don't just stop going though. Talk to the owners and managers of the establishments and let them know why you will not be coming back. Restaurant managers are infinitely more accessible than 'Ol Six Rings and crew, but they are a pretty efficient conduit to create change.

In the end, try a new place every second time you would normally make your visit to an OPR, but make your reasons known in a polite but direct way to the OPR management. No one wants to see local businesses fail, but if you let it be known that until the Oilers get their sh1t together, you're not supporting their advertisers, the advertisers will create the required change much more quickly than comments by fans on an Oilers forum will.

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#147 Rob Gilgan
November 10 2013, 11:22AM
Trash it!
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@Cold Hard Truth

"When he starts seeing sales plummet, the Lowe regime will be out of there pretty darn quick."

And one more thing: If i lived in Edmonton right now, had a little extra time on my hands and a passion for Oilers hockey, I'd be getting Rexall bags printed, with eye-holes in them and be giving them out - or selling them with the proceeds to 'challenged youth' outside the arena before the next home game.

And watch how the media jumps on your team when Rexall's lawyers cry foul for trademark infringement.

A veritable media wet dream.

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#148 Batfink
November 09 2013, 03:30PM
Trash it!
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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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#149 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 03:31PM
Trash it!
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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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#150 Lowe Expectations
November 09 2013, 03:47PM
Trash it!
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When you go out in public and mention the Oilers, people laugh. It's actually better to be ignored than laughed at.

Everybody seems to have an opinion |

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