GDB 37.0: ASK SAKIC?

Jason Gregor
December 19 2013 12:29PM

As the Oilers get set to face the Colorado Avalanche trying to end a four game losing streak, Taylor Hall and company can take solace in knowing that some other young stars endured many years of losing, before tasting the sweet nectar of victory.

They should ask Joe Sakic, the Avalanche's Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations, about losing. He lost way more than these kids have early in his career, and it didn't break him, and he didn't pout about it. He persevered and became a Hall of Famer.

Hall has played 200 games, Eberle has been in 231 games, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has dressed in 136, while Nail Yakupov is at 82 games and Justin Schultz has played 76. No one should be suggesting that all the losing is going to wear down these kids. I don't believe any of them are that fragile, but even if they thought about having a pity party, they should do a quick search of Joe Sakic's career.

Sakic was drafted 15th overall in 1987 by the Quebec Nordiques. He played one more season in Swift Current before debuting with the Nordiques in October of 1988. Keep in mind that in his first three seasons he played in a 21-team league where 16 teams made the playoffs.

In Sakic's first three seasons, the Nordiques finished dead last every year. The Nordiques drafted 1st, 1st, 1st and 4th in his first four NHL seasons.

1989: They went 27-46-7 for 61 points.
1990: They were 12-61-7 for 31 points.
1991: They went 16-50-14 for 46 points.
1992: They went 20-28-12 for 52 points.

In 1993, they were literally twice as good picking up 104 points going 47-27-10, but in 1994 Sakic and the Nordiques dipped back down to 76 points with a 34-42-8 record.

In his first four seasons, Sakic's Nordiques won a measly 75 of the 320 games they played. Sakic dressed in 299 of those games, and he learned much more about losing than he did winning.

Despite all the losses Sakic played exceptionally well.

YEAR       GP      G       A      PTS
1989        70      23     39      62 
1990        80      39     63     102
1991        80      48     61     109
1992        69      29     65      94

In 1990, the second leading scorer on the Nordiques was Peter Stastny with 62 points in 62 games before being traded. In 1991, Sakic had 50 more points than his closest teammate; Mats Sundin tallied 59 points.

Sakic didn't let the losing get to him. He kept battling and kept producing. 

WINNERS KEEP WORKING DESPITE LOSING  

Hall played his 200th game on Tuesday, and despite another loss, Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins haven't come close to experiencing the type of losing that Sakic had to face.

Hall's Oilers have played 248 games since he entered the league and they've won 87 of those. Sakic's team won 75 of 320 during his first four seasons. Losing sucks and I'm sure it can wear down a player, but if Hall wants to become one of the greats he needs to keep playing hard, and hope that eventually he will be surrounded by better players. He needs to continue to show determination and play strong, and like Sakic, at times he will need to carry the Oilers on his back.

Hall was the Oilers most dangerous forward in LA. He needs to keep playing like that, regardless of where the Oilers are in the standings or how often they are losing. Hall has the ability to be a franchise player, and considering how much he has improved in his last 100 games, I suspect he'll only keep getting better.

I've heard some people suggesting the kids will get tired of losing and want out of Edmonton, but competitive people don't think like that. There will be games where they look frustrated, and understandably so, but many elite players have started their NHL careers tasting defeat more often than victory, and the last thing that Hall or any of his teammates will do is feel sorry for themselves.

They need to be part of the solution, and when they start to win the victories will be more fulfilling because of what they learned in their first few seasons.

MORE TOUGH STARTS...

Mario Lemieux missed the playoffs in his first four seasons, and five of his first six. The Penguins drafted 2nd, 4th, 5th and 4th in his first four years.

Steven Stamkos has missed the playoffs four of his first five seasons. The Bolts have drafted 2nd, 6th, 10th and 3rd during those four losing seasons.

John Tavares has missed the playoffs three of his first four years, and the Islanders are poised to miss the postseason again. They have drafted 4th, 5th and 5th thus far in his non-playoff seasons.

Rick Nash played five full seasons without the playoffs, and he missed the dance in 8 of his first 9 years.

Ilya Kovalchuk missed the postseason his first four years and seven of his first eight seasons.

Vincent Lecavalier missed the playoffs his first four seasons. The Bolts were scheduled to pick 1st, 5th, 3rd and 4th in those years.

**Sidenote**.. Rick Dudley was the GM for Tampa Bay in 1999 and he traded the 1st overall pick. He moved down to 4th, and then traded again and didn't pick until 47th. He ended up with Dan Cloutier, Andrei Zyuzin, Shawn Burr and the Rangers 1st round pick in 2000. He could have used the first pick on Patrik Stefan or one of the Sedins, although those two had made it known they really wanted to play together.

The next year, Dudley traded the 5th pick to the Islanders for Kevin Weekes, Kristian Kurdroc and the 31st pick. The Islanders selected Raffi Torres. Despite these horrific deals, the Lightning still won the Cup in 2004. ***

Losing stinks but Hall and company aren't the first group of young stars to endure losing seasons, so let's stop the suggestions that they will want out of Edmonton. Anyone in the media or fan base who suggests these kids have endured too much losing need only look at the career paths of other young stars. Rarely is it an instant path to success.

Winning is difficult and as painful as these past few seasons have been for Hall and company, they need to learn from it, and be willing to ensure they improve their play so the team becomes more successful. Hall is good enough to lead this team to better times ahead, and he'll likely inspire his teammates to follow him in the coming seasons.

LINEUP...

Hall-RNH-Eberle
Perron-Gagner-Yakupov
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Jones-Lander-Gazdic

Ference-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Belov-Larsen

Dubnyk

Arcobello got rocked by Drew Doughty in the 3rd period of Tuesday's 3-0 loss to the Kings, and hasn't skated since. Lander will draw in for Arcobello. 

The Oilers will need to get scoring chances from someone other than Hall tonight. The Avalanche are 6-5-1 in their last 12, and after a 16-5 start they are starting to look more like the team people expected. They aren't a force like the Kings, Bruins or Ducks, but they will provide another solid test for the Oilers.

Dubnyk gets the start. I'm not one who buys into the "Dubnyk plays better when pushed" theory; however, it is obvious that Dubnyk needs to be more consistent.  I want a goalie who plays well regardless of who he shares the net with.

WHAT SEE YOU?

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will end their trip on a high, with a 4-2 victory in Denver.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Bordeleau and Gazdic drop the gloves. Fight fans love it, while anti-fight crowd will complain. This will never change.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Usually it is former Oilers scoring against Edmonton, but tonight Ryan Smyth bucks that trend and scores against his former team ending his 10-game goal scoring drought. In 16 home games, Erik Johnson has only been a minus player twice, but he ends up -1 tonight.

DAY 15 MONTH OF GIVING...

Yesterday we raised another $3,850 bringing our total to $58,700. Incredible. Thank you.

Today's packages include:

Package #1:

Today's package is courtesy of The Maximum Fighting Championship:

  • Two season tickets to all three MFC shows in Edmonton in 2014, starting January 17th.
  • VIP dinner for two at the Shaw conference centre prior to each show.
  • Be a cornerman during one of the fights... **You must be 16 years of age or older***

Package #2:

  • $1,000 gift certificate/store credit at Reside Furnishings
  • Pair of club seats (section 112 row 14) for Oilers vs. Penguins on January 10th.
  • $50 bucks in Oilers money to use at the game for beer or food.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds will go to the Christmas Bureau.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 AdamfromOilfans
December 19 2013, 01:31PM
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Instant path to success? Don't see there being a lot of success for most of the guys on your list there.

Columbus never won a playoff game during Nash's time there. He eventually demanded a trade. Atlanta was likewise blanked with Kovalchuk, who declined to re-sign there at the first opportunity to get out (and fellow high pick and star Heatley asked for a trade out too). The Islanders have been almost as bad as the Oilers over the past decade and seem doomed to finish well back again this year.

Tampa is the only success story there with Lecavalier and that required a house cleaning at the top of that organization, a second round pick turning in to a star in Brad Richards, a brilliant trade for Dan Boyle, an almost unnoticed free agent signing becoming a dominant player in Marty St. Louis, and a big trade for a goaltender. That didn't even keep them good for long, as they languished back to the point where they could draft Stamkos first overall. He hasn't seen a lot of post-season success in his career yet, and eventually age is likely to overtake St. Louis which will hurt the franchise again.

As for Lemieux, it's ridiculous to put him up as a comparable. The guy is one of the top five to ever play the game.

With Sakic, you neglected to mention the big item that changed the team's fortunes ahead of the 92-93 season. It's unlikely that the Oilers are going to be able to trade anyone on their roster for to six NHL players including a future Hall of Famer.

This will be the eighth year out of the playoffs for the Oilers. The team has a legitimate shot at tying or breaking the Panthers' futility streak of 10 straight seasons. Even if the players don't get too sick of losing, do the fans have the stomach for much more of it?

It's not enough to just say "they don't have the pieces." Team management needs to start telling them that they are expected to win with what they have. Trades will come later when we can supplement a winning team. As it is now, there's no player or two in the league who are going to come in and turn things around on their own. The team believes what you're saying...they are fine believing they aren't expected to compete yet, and so they're waiting for MacTavish to bring in more stars. That may never happen (trades are hard, trades for stars are almost impossible and stars don't choose perennially bad teams to join when they're UFA), so until the team starts taking it on themselves to better the team, we're in for a dark, dark time here in Edmonton.

And if that time lasts too long, then you will see the team bleed away good players who will have relieved looks on their faces as they leave town.

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#52 S cottV
December 19 2013, 03:26PM
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As compared to Sakic's day, top end young players - feel much more entitled and are less likely to suck it up for any great length of time. Not a criticism - just changes in society between now and then.

No question that Hall would be lights out right now, had he gone number 2 and presently on the Bruins first line with veteran compliments and Chara pushing everthing up ice.

Clearly he has to suck it up, while RNH matures and the Oilers are able to acquire the right mix around these guys. Dont think that Hall has embraced this to the extent that is necessary. You see traces of entitlement in his game and in his demeanor. He should develop his 200 ft game and show more self sacrifice for the good of the team. Comes down to leading better.

It would be easier for Hall to suck it up if the organization was clearly doing its part. Hall must be concerned and this probably makes it harder for him to check his entitlement at the door.

This is the price that Katz pays for less than stellar organizational leadership. When Katz doesn't lead, it is difficult to foster leadership thoughout the organization, including - amongst the player group and specific to team captains, including Hall.

What was a brief period where hockey pundits were predicting a can't miss Oiler resurgence with 3 first overall picks, is giving way to - this doesn't look good and may not happen at all.

So - the Oilers better get it going or today's tendencies toward entitlement will surely gain more and more traction, with Hall and others.

Only way out of this is strong leadership and doing the right things - top to bottom.

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#53 Serious Gord
December 19 2013, 09:26PM
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That is one hell of a power play. - could be 4-2. Amazingly flawed system.

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#54 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 19 2013, 10:08PM
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4 out 5 moral victories!!!!! Lowetide will love it

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#55 dougtheslug
December 19 2013, 10:28PM
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Naky wrote:

Here's a question for the stats guys, has pulling the goaltender ever worked for Eakins this year so far? Because I'm almost positive that it has not and that, even worse, it has more or less guaranteed a goal scored against us in almost every instance.

I only ask because I'm absolutely blown away that he has not quite clued in that his powerplay structure is so poorly implemented that it has lead to a staggering amount of SH goals and quality scoring chances against... and he thinks pulling the goalie for the extra attacker is still a good idea.

As far as I concerned, the third and fourth goals are entirely on Eakins.

Hall scored an empty netter against Calgary. But I totally agree pulling the goalie too early and leaving your elite players out for a 2 minute shift at games end is not innovation, its idiocy.

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#56 Arius Mumin
December 19 2013, 10:31PM
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vetinari wrote:

I used to think that the young players like RNH, Hall an Eberle were the face of the franchise... now, when I think of the Oilers, I think of the draft and Katz's curly haired son standing next to his new first round flavour of the year-- Katz's son is the new face of Oiler's hockey!!! Someone, please put a cut out of this young lad out in front of Rexall so that fans can stand next to it and have their pictures taken, just like on draft day. The draft is now my Stanley Cup!

I would donate $25-50 to any charity to have my picture taken with a Katz Kids Kut out. Maybe we can have it done for the next draft party at the Pint.

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#57 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 19 2013, 10:36PM
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Guys you are starting to get me worried with all the boozing. Think of your livers. I propose a potential class action lawsuit against Rexall, Katz, Lowe and Pronger for the damage to our brain thingers and liverses. We should seek out damages (save your reciepts) in money spent on beer and alcohol (weed as well?) and about 350 mill for arena costs.

Wonder what meth is like? heard lots about it

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#58 Arius Mumin
December 19 2013, 11:40PM
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Gagner for Briere.

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#59 Zarny
December 19 2013, 01:40PM
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Commendable pic for the article Mr. Gregor.

Bravo sir! Bravo.

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#60 Zarny
December 19 2013, 01:44PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The Oilers cannot even lose right. If they had lost that last meaningless game at the end of last season to Calgary. Seth Jones would today be an Oiler. Next year when the only true franchise player since Sid becomes available in the draft. I fully expect the Oilers to be out of the lotto pick sweepstakes.

Correction sir, Stamkos was drafted after Crosby.

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#61 James
December 19 2013, 01:45PM
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Zarny wrote:

Commendable pic for the article Mr. Gregor.

Bravo sir! Bravo.

Agreed. Burnaby Joe is super handsome! *swoon* ;)

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#62 Six Rings
December 19 2013, 01:46PM
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Yikes,

31 points in a season and they still had a 100 pt player in Sakic.

I know there was a lot higher scoring back then but jeez. He was still 10th in the league in scoring.

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#63 **
December 19 2013, 01:56PM
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Gagner not only back in, but back in the second line after his poor play and that specially horrific game. I have no more good expectations for this team. It is painfully obvious there is something extremely rotten in the vowels of the Oilers organization.

Arcobello is hurt, ok,make Smyth center the fourth line and bump Gordon tot he second and Lander tot he third. The season is lost. There should be an effort to demand accountability and changing the losing culture.

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#64 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 19 2013, 09:12PM
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Awesome Shultz pass. Excellent tracking of the puck for the save. I know not dubies fault but here he can steal one and doesnt. Time to sign Shultz to a 6 mill a year deal now.

6rings and counting

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#65 Fresh Mess
December 19 2013, 12:59PM
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I agree the Nords were brutal. I remember it well. Can't believe it was 1990 that Stasny was traded. The loser point completely changed things. How many of the Nords losses were in OT? How many of the games that were a tie would the Nords have won in a shootou(they had some skill guys that would have done well)?

It may have changed the way they played in OT. Just different. Look at the league standings and I think that gives a better indicator. Aside from the season where QC got like thirty points the Oilers have been as brutal IMO.

Personally, I feel they should have gotten rid of the loser point when they brought in the shootout.

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#66 A-Mc
December 19 2013, 01:45PM
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My faith in Dubnyk hangs by a thread. If he lets in another weak one from the blue line, i think that thread will snap. I already believe that Bryz is a better goalie. Duby is basically fighting for a backup spot these days IMO.

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#67 michael
December 19 2013, 03:59PM
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The Detroit argument is full of holes. They bought their way out of mediocrity. Pre salary cap they were one of the highest spending teams.

The Nordiques did not have the same option as the Red Wings or the Pens. They were saddled with a 66 cent dollar and a tax structure that in Quebec that ultimately led to their sale to Denver.

The Canadians and Leafs even at 66cents on the dollar were well heeled due to TV and advertising revenue.

The Oilers sold their best players because they could not compete in the pre salary cap era. After PUCK sold Wayne the teams dissolution was assured. It was inevitable. Once the players saw the money that was being thrown at marginal players the Oilers were done. They could not compete financially because PUCK was insolvent and bleeding red from his other interests. Its was only a matter of time before he sold the team. The EIG could not compete also. Thus the flaccid 90's occurred.

My point is that the QNordiques could have been very successful if they were able to compete on the same playing field as teams are required to do today. thus the push for a team back in QC. 7 teams in Canada produce near 54% of the HRR. The QN traded players partly due to money. And partly due to inability to sign Lindro's.

The Oilers need better compete from their current players.I hear all the naysayers. I agree we need to get bigger on the back end. We need to find a couple of bigger/heavier forwards. But what I do not hear is which of the other 29 other GM's is going to provide us with the players we need without gutting the current core of our team.

No pain. No gain. I hate losing. But what I hate more is the thought that trading an Eberle for a coke machine is going to bring us a CUP.

A naïve view.

We need to let the guy steering the ship some time to get this Titanic out of the way of the iceberg. MacT has been on the job less than 10 months. Its Christmas. Feel free to pray for a miracle. Feel free to rant. Chant Fire Klowe. Scream foul. Give up your season tickets. Boycott the games. Do whatever. It will not get any less painful.

Remember this when you look at those Nordique stats. They no longer have a team to complain about in the dead of December. We do. Just sayin.

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#68 vetinari
December 19 2013, 09:12PM
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Another SH goal????

We've totally abandoned putting a player directly in front of the opposition's net and we now go with a wide umbrella formation around the perimeter and when he give up a turnover near the blue line, it's always an odd man rush back. Fix this Eakins...

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#69 Cubsfan
December 19 2013, 09:12PM
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I think the Oilers should decline the penalty and thus the powerplay....can you do that?

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#70 Mikey
December 19 2013, 09:19PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Eakins Rocks!! Coach of the year finalist for sure.

Yea because he was the one who made the retarded pass.

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#71 Rod from Viking
December 19 2013, 09:26PM
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@Jason Gregor

Great article and makes you think a little different, they Avalanche still drafted a better core than the Oilers have and would not have won without Roy. Why don't you see if you can get Burnaby Joe on your show sometime?

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#72 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
December 19 2013, 09:50PM
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Something's gotta give with this power play system. I don't remember ever being so apprehensive about going on the man advantage.

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#73 Serious Gord
December 19 2013, 09:54PM
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6:30 left and Eakins hasn't pulled the Goalie yet?

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#74 vetinari
December 19 2013, 10:07PM
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I thought that we were the only ones that could miss an empty net... multiple times too!

EDIT: Apparently, the tenth time is the charm... 4-2 Avalanche...

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#75 vetinari
December 19 2013, 10:39PM
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Arius Mumin wrote:

RNH, Hall and Eberle are his safety blanket.

If they were the stars that we are led to believe, any "good" NHL coach would use them on multiples lines to spread the wealth and create offense and match-ups.

Instead, no matter their, or their teammates performace, we are guranteed to see the trio together.

Those three are also young, inexperienced and not able to physically manhandle opposing players yet. They need support and experience around them to show them the ropes. Teams like Boston, Detroit and LA can bring in young players easier by putting them on lines where they have veteran experience. We need to trade for actual NHL players at this point and not picks or prospects.

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#76 Spydyr
December 19 2013, 01:23PM
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S cottV wrote:

Have to keep Dubnyk in the mix and hope they both play well.

Dubnyk still deserves some support, although he better get it going, because it is getting harder to justify.

Bryz looks better - no question, but is still early and with the playoffs gone, why over expose him and draw others into the Bryz ufa sweepstakes.

I mean we ride Bryz - kill Dubnyk - lose Bryz and there is no end to the gong show.

What if Dubnyk continues to play as he has all year. Honestly why should that change. He will only lower his value more. Besides silly me but I thought the coach was supposed to "try" to win games. My bad.

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#77 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 19 2013, 02:49PM
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I think the fan-fretting over the kids is worth putting in context like this…

i.e., most of the time teams acquire top 5 picks because they are terrible and it takes a lot more than fresh-faced top 5 picks to drag a terrible team to the promised land.

BUT… the concern isn't exactly without merit.

Sakic did his serious damage as an AV. I doubt Nords fans take much solace in that.

Nash is a NYR. Columbus got to see many of his prime years go to waste and now won't get to see him do anything as their guy.

The Isles showed some signs in the lockout but can't buy wins in the useless East and Tavares, stud that he is, isn't winning right now when he's in his age of flourishing.

These are, basically, the concerns.

That a team will finally be ready to contend but only after missing out on prime years from their kids (and prime contract bargaining position).

Or, that a player will finally be on a team ready to contend, but a team other than yours.

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#78 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 19 2013, 09:14PM
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vetinari wrote:

Another SH goal????

We've totally abandoned putting a player directly in front of the opposition's net and we now go with a wide umbrella formation around the perimeter and when he give up a turnover near the blue line, it's always an odd man rush back. Fix this Eakins...

Eakins Rocks!! Coach of the year finalist for sure.

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#79 vetinari
December 19 2013, 09:18PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Eakins Rocks!! Coach of the year finalist for sure.

What frustrates me the most is that the old system worked better and Eakins keeps stubbornly ramming this system down our throats. It doesn't work. Teams pressure the lone defenceman (and I use that term loosely) at the point and there's always a turnover. Always. Spread out two defenceman who can bomb the puck at the points, bring a centre to obstruct the goalie and have the wingers cycle for position. Why the heck does he keep going back to the wide umbrella???

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#80 Alsker
December 19 2013, 09:18PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Awesome Shultz pass. Excellent tracking of the puck for the save. I know not dubies fault but here he can steal one and doesnt. Time to sign Shultz to a 6 mill a year deal now.

6rings and counting

How many times have we seen when the games on the line we just don't get that key save...one of many problems we have. Why is all rum gone?

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#81 BingBong
December 19 2013, 09:40PM
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Having Schultz or Larsen play the point on the pp is always a disaster. Neither can shoot, both consistently turn the puck over, and neither can defend after said turnover.

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#82 I tried it at home
December 19 2013, 10:02PM
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Just for fun, every once in a while I think about what would happen if the Oilers had actually invited Bryz to training camp at no cost or obligation whatsoever, and had an open competition, and what this season would look like. Then I get really really drunk.

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#83 Brian
December 19 2013, 10:06PM
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And another thing ...., someone tell Louie Debozo that a real neat , cutesy nickname for "blue paint " is.... Crease . Try it, Lou. Viewers will love it .

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#84 PapaMike
December 19 2013, 10:24PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Stauffer is hinting that the team is not 100% healthy.

That's what you should expect when a small recalcitrant team plays several heavyweights in succession.

And now the meet arguably the fiercest team in the league - the St. Louis blues.

What are the odds that by Sunday the team will be 0-6?

recalcitrant....we are all drunk now..put away the thesaurus and go away...please try to use small words and pretend you are one of us oiler fans...lol

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#85 Alsker
December 19 2013, 10:46PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Guys you are starting to get me worried with all the boozing. Think of your livers. I propose a potential class action lawsuit against Rexall, Katz, Lowe and Pronger for the damage to our brain thingers and liverses. We should seek out damages (save your reciepts) in money spent on beer and alcohol (weed as well?) and about 350 mill for arena costs.

Wonder what meth is like? heard lots about it

First off I don't even want to know how much $ I'm flushing watching this crap. Secondly sounds like you're not sharing. What were we talking about?

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#86 john
December 19 2013, 11:24PM
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Eakins is way over his head in coaching this team, the problem began in preseason they didn't play the main core so they get chemistry together. Instead they played other young players for auditioning then sent them back to the farm and junior teams. Now the team is struggling to jell together and have chemistry. The lines have no set plays when they in other team zone, they should watch the old tapes of the Gretzky team games and learn their set plays. The drop passes, the no look pass, the dump ins. Each player should know where the puck is going and their linemates are going on offense. On defense the 5 players come back as a unit, forwards cover the open men support their defensemen. When they control the puck in their zone then come back to attack as a unit. Too many individual moves out there, puck carrier don't look up to see where his team mates are to pass the puck to. They kept turning the puck over and give aways for the other team to score against.

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#87 Arius Mumin
December 19 2013, 11:37PM
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vetinari wrote:

Those three are also young, inexperienced and not able to physically manhandle opposing players yet. They need support and experience around them to show them the ropes. Teams like Boston, Detroit and LA can bring in young players easier by putting them on lines where they have veteran experience. We need to trade for actual NHL players at this point and not picks or prospects.

How long before those three young, inexperienced Oilers are physically able to manhandle opposing players?

If neither one of the three are able to handle the physicallity of the game on their own: what sense does it make to play them together? What is the benefit in that?

This is also not their first time at the rodeo. They have and had experienced players around them to show them the ropes.

Is Smyth not an actual NHL veteran? Horcoff? Ference? I could go on.

How many actual NHL players do the Oilers need?

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#88 YAKCITY64
December 20 2013, 12:03AM
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Guys, STOP DRINKING when you all get liver disease and you have to buy your medication guess where you will buy that medication.... REXALL its totally a conspiracy and Katz business plan. 1. Buy the Oilers 2. Let 6 rings run it into the ground. 3. Watch all the fans start drinking 4. $$$$$$

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#89 **
December 19 2013, 01:47PM
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10-1 Colorado. Take it to the bank.

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#90 VK63
December 19 2013, 02:35PM
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Thankful that Sakic could struggle in relative obscurity, rather than the joke of a microscope that exists in todays "expert" heavy hyper analysis media and shirt tail media world.

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#91 Adam
December 19 2013, 04:56PM
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Zarny wrote:

Good grief.

Krueger coached this team to 24th place; not 4th.

Fans seem to forget about the 10 game losing streak last year. Krueger's coaching excellence included doing nothing during a 10 game slide.

MacT wasn't even with the franchise last year. He's a GM not God and half the roster needs to be turned over. Are you really daft enough to think that was going to happen by Christmas?

Actually, MacTavish WAS involved in the organization last year, with a hand in the decision making. Krueger said that MacTavish was part of his interview process before he was given the head coaching position.

As for Lowe telling them the time was now to win, that was last spring in a press conference where MacTavish promised to change over a third of the roster to make the team competitive - He did just that over the summer - Ference, Gordon, Perron, Joensuu, Acton, Gazdic, Belov, Larsen, Grebeshkov, LaBarbera and Bryzgalov weren't part of the team last April and Arcobello had played all of one game with the NHL squad. You talk about half the roster being turned over? Well, it already happened. Are we shuffling all those guys out and just bringing in the next shift?

This year, MacTavish has said in more than one interview that his team doesn't have the right mix. Regardless of whether or not he believes that to be true, it's foolish to say so, because he has given his team an excuse for losing. How do you come down on them after they post yet another terrible year if you've said specifically that they aren't built to compete? Not to mention, the pieces that MacTavish has identified as the missing links are among the hardest things for a hockey team to acquire. He's saying they need a top pairing defenceman and a big body, productive forward for the top six. Either of those are big asks, so suggesting that your team can't compete until they're in place? Well, it isn't exactly pushing the team to be the best it can be.

The team needs to be challenged to be better. It just hasn't happened, especially with regards to that inner circle.

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#92 Hauk15
December 19 2013, 08:26PM
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5 minute major and a game? Weak. Garbage call. Gags mouth was busted open bleeding but no lets give him a major.

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#93 **
December 19 2013, 08:38PM
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Well F%$k the refs. That is all.

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#94 2004Z06
December 19 2013, 09:37PM
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vetinari wrote:

What frustrates me the most is that the old system worked better and Eakins keeps stubbornly ramming this system down our throats. It doesn't work. Teams pressure the lone defenceman (and I use that term loosely) at the point and there's always a turnover. Always. Spread out two defenceman who can bomb the puck at the points, bring a centre to obstruct the goalie and have the wingers cycle for position. Why the heck does he keep going back to the wide umbrella???

What system? I don't understand the ire against this so called system.

Clearly the Oilers have no system whatsoever!

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#95 Alsker
December 19 2013, 10:05PM
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Alright, the two minute empty net drill again....

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#96 Serious Gord
December 19 2013, 10:17PM
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Looking further ahead on the schedule the next game against cgy should be a real Waterloo. If the oil lose to the flames surely something needs to happen in the mgmt ranks.

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#97 Rod from Viking
December 19 2013, 10:30PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Looking further ahead on the schedule the next game against cgy should be a real Waterloo. If the oil lose to the flames surely something needs to happen in the mgmt ranks.

Didn't Calgary win the last one? Look on the positive side Gord, Oiler's will pick before Calgary at the draft and I'm sure there will be a diminutive offensive player available.

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#98 Rod from Viking
December 19 2013, 11:05PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

LOL between my tears at the thought of Lowe and MacT at the podium announcing the pick.

We will get to see if Katz kid has been on the Eakins diet and workout program,he should also be at least a foot taller since the Oiler's first lotto pick.

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#99 Quinn the Eskimo
December 19 2013, 11:53PM
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michael wrote:

The Detroit argument is full of holes. They bought their way out of mediocrity. Pre salary cap they were one of the highest spending teams.

The Nordiques did not have the same option as the Red Wings or the Pens. They were saddled with a 66 cent dollar and a tax structure that in Quebec that ultimately led to their sale to Denver.

The Canadians and Leafs even at 66cents on the dollar were well heeled due to TV and advertising revenue.

The Oilers sold their best players because they could not compete in the pre salary cap era. After PUCK sold Wayne the teams dissolution was assured. It was inevitable. Once the players saw the money that was being thrown at marginal players the Oilers were done. They could not compete financially because PUCK was insolvent and bleeding red from his other interests. Its was only a matter of time before he sold the team. The EIG could not compete also. Thus the flaccid 90's occurred.

My point is that the QNordiques could have been very successful if they were able to compete on the same playing field as teams are required to do today. thus the push for a team back in QC. 7 teams in Canada produce near 54% of the HRR. The QN traded players partly due to money. And partly due to inability to sign Lindro's.

The Oilers need better compete from their current players.I hear all the naysayers. I agree we need to get bigger on the back end. We need to find a couple of bigger/heavier forwards. But what I do not hear is which of the other 29 other GM's is going to provide us with the players we need without gutting the current core of our team.

No pain. No gain. I hate losing. But what I hate more is the thought that trading an Eberle for a coke machine is going to bring us a CUP.

A naïve view.

We need to let the guy steering the ship some time to get this Titanic out of the way of the iceberg. MacT has been on the job less than 10 months. Its Christmas. Feel free to pray for a miracle. Feel free to rant. Chant Fire Klowe. Scream foul. Give up your season tickets. Boycott the games. Do whatever. It will not get any less painful.

Remember this when you look at those Nordique stats. They no longer have a team to complain about in the dead of December. We do. Just sayin.

Best post in days. (Not that I read 'em all). Best post because I agree with it, and because Michael is Bang on: the Oilers play stupid and don't fight hard enough. Ask David Perron if size matters. Props, mike.

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#100 Towersofdub
December 19 2013, 01:59PM
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it's a bit much to pin the oilers playoff futility from 2007 - 2011 on Hall, Eberle, RNH & Yakupov. Maybe Hall was expected to drag edmonton into the playoffs by 2011. I guess he never got that message. I'd like to give him at least 5 years before we declare him a bust. Maybe by this time next season, some team in the NHL has decided they can't afford their #1 Defenseman anymore, or there's some kind of trade to be made to balance the mix out in edmonton...until then, just watch the process evolve. or...just keep whining that you haven't get the winning team you expect,a nd see if it accomplishes anything for you other than giving stomach ulcers and headaches.

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