Now Eventually You Do Plan To Have Power, On Your Powerplay, Right? Hello?

Jonathan Willis
December 19 2013 10:50PM

The game-winning goal in Thursday’s game was scored by the Colorado Avalanche, while the Edmonton Oilers were on the power play. That’s bad. That it’s just the way Oilers power plays tend to go these days is worse.

The Goal!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Justin Schultz coughs up the puck at the opposition blue line.

This one isn’t especially complex; that’s the crux of it. The initial pass is inexplicable; Schultz had time and space but decided to force a pass to a covered Taylor Hall rather than hang on to it himself or pass it to the open man on the far boards.

That started a two-on-one. Hall did his level best to get back in the play and gained some ground but wasn’t able to get there in time. The Oilers would have been okay if Schultz had played the pass, like every defenceman defending a two-on-one ever is supposed to, but he didn’t and that left Devan Dubnyk hanging out to dry.

The Trend!

Here’s a statistic: In the last 13 games, the Oilers have surrendered 14 shorthanded chances. They have only managed to generate 11 themselves all season.

Here’s another one: in the last six games, Edmonton’s power play has been out-chanced 8-7.

Superficially, the power play ranks 16th in the NHL in overall effectiveness, with 23 goals on 130 chances (17.7%). However, after eight shorthanded goals are taken into account it slips to 25th overall in goal differential/opportunities. It’s a ludicrous number given the talent the team has at its disposal.

Edmonton plays games on Saturday and Monday, but then has a long-ish break before playing Calgary on Friday (Update: as Jason Gregor reminds me, there's a little-known holiday called "Christmas" in that stretch, which makes it somewhat less than ideal as a time for practicing things). That break might be a good time to completely reimagine the power play.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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 Jason Gregor
December 19 2013, 11:01PM
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NHL teams can't practice on Tuesday and Wednesday due to Christmas. They will work on PP tomorrow most likely. The way things are going they will need more than one day.

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#3 hallsyoilerforever5
December 19 2013, 11:03PM
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It's truly frustrating to know how PP was strong last season. Who the hell runs the PP now? Acton? Eakins? League leading SH's is just shameful. Dead last in the west, flames are still ahead, 4 points from 30th with Buffalo winning a game tonight. This season has been such a disaster.

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#4 Retsinnab5
December 19 2013, 11:05PM
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Props if you think we should fire Eakins. Trash if you think we should keep him.

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#5 dougtheslug
December 19 2013, 11:07PM
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Ludicrous indeed. Why not send Schulz the younger back to OKC for a season or two to learn the rudiments of playing professional hockey. He has been lost at sea for most of his NHL career, and it appears learning on the job is a recipe for ruining a career.

Of course that would expose the silliness of trading Smid for very nearly what they got for Linus Omark.

Makes you wonder who is the most incompetent:the Owner, the POHO, the GM, the Coach, or the players that make the same mistakes game after game after game.

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#6 David S
December 19 2013, 11:08PM
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Any chance of doing a screen capture analysis of the PP Jonathan? Seems like alot of the same breakdowns due to some sort of system failure (or lack of being able to execute said system).

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#7 T&A4Flames
December 19 2013, 11:12PM
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MacT's bold move...tank, just like thel last guy, and draft Ekblad to fix the D.

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#9 Toro
December 19 2013, 11:17PM
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I like Ekblad

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#10 @pistolpetestar
December 19 2013, 11:20PM
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I know we joke about it but there has to be some serious consideration taken to declining penalties or firing the puck over the glass to even it up to 4 on 4.

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#11 Oilers4ever
December 19 2013, 11:21PM
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I'll say it like yesterday. Until this team trades gags, yak, and their 1st round pick... heck add hemsky... to get the 1-2 dman they need and a top 6 lucic like player they will continue to suck. They don't frighten anyone and are pushed around far too easy. Until they address that nothing changes.

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#12 Fresh Mess
December 19 2013, 11:24PM
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Props if you think props polls are cool.

Trash if you think they are exceedingly dumb and should be banned.

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#13 Loweblows
December 19 2013, 11:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

NHL teams can't practice on Tuesday and Wednesday due to Christmas. They will work on PP tomorrow most likely. The way things are going they will need more than one day.

The oilers need to practice their power play under the guidance of a coach who is experienced in teaching structure. Eakins has set this team back in the fundamentals. Remember the fruit fly swarm defense? I agree coaching change affects players but Eakinsbhas taught this team squat. Set him adrift now and bring in a coach who understands structure. A ll you Eakins apologists can kiss my a&@!

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#14 S cottV
December 19 2013, 11:38PM
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It takes veteran presence and nerve to run the pp from the top of the umbrella. You have to have the right guy to pull it off or you run a different pp formation.

I think Krueger's downfall was handing off too much too soon to the kids. If Eakins doesn't watch it - he will end up getting one of those Skypes.

As for Schultz - he has a long way to go. In fact I would settle his @ss down, hope for some relative calm, so some team might want him and trade his butt for a real d man. He really is over rated

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#15 Oilcan
December 19 2013, 11:51PM
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Schultz is in a rough spot clearly he has the talent but he needs to be on the third pairing and with Edmonton not having what you would call a capable d core, he plays way too many minutes, therefore making too many mistakes.

Also that "2nd line" sure seems to bleed chances against for the past couple years, oh gagner is still the centre on that line, hmmm must be the 9 different wingers fault #oilerlogic

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#16 Turnover
December 19 2013, 11:53PM
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Jonathan, maybe the reality is, the "talent" at the coaches disposal, is not as talented as you believe it is !

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#17 40 Double D
December 19 2013, 11:59PM
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Playoffs... let's "delay it for McDavid."

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#18 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 20 2013, 12:14AM
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Shultz needs a smart veteran to p[lay with. When Coffey first came in the Oilers picked up gary lariviere who Coffey said helped build his confidence by leting him know when to go and when not to. Shultz needs something.

Imo don't see how the AHL will help when he showed he can dominate that league. Played half the season there and still won defenseman of the year I believe.

Is he another pierre larouche or Alex Giroux in that they can't seem to do it in the NHL consistently?

Tough to say when the Oilers are very poor at development

i honestly don't know what to make of him right now. is he this bad?

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#19 Dan
December 20 2013, 12:28AM
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Oilers as an organization have done a very poor job in developing their players and not surrounding the young core with smart veterans. I fear the constant losing will just further erode the confidence and development of our core players...think it already has, you see it in their body language. Six years the Oilers mgt team have done very little to build this team other than acquire first round picks (3 times drafting first overall)and they are no better than the year they bombed in 2007 (and had 3 first round picks and bombed out with two picks). That in a nutshell tells you why the Oilers are where they are. I don't see the Oilers fans waiting for another rebuild with this current management team...this would never happen in MTL, TOR and VAN. Until we get a capable mgt team and making trades/drafting well to meet needs, this organization is going nowhere and Katz will be laughing all the way to the bank in his super nice new arena.

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#20 bazmagoo
December 20 2013, 12:35AM
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@reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)

I think sending J Schultz down to the AHL would be a little over the top, but he should definitely be playing 3rd pairing minutes. Anyone can see that. Trading Smid does look pretty foolish, especially with no replacement in the organization. Just continuing to hope these bad days will motivate these young guys to improve in leaps and bounds.

Ekblad does look like a nice prospect though, wouldn't be a horrible thing to end up with him. He's already rocking a serious beard at 17 - http://www.eliteprospects.com/gallery.php?player=49042. I'm ok with the Oilers sucking now, there is power in beards.

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#21 **
December 20 2013, 12:40AM
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The NHL should add a rule that allows the team receiving the power play to decline it, much like in football. That would reduce the danger of being scored on for the Oilers.

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#22 Ari Gold
December 20 2013, 12:44AM
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Glad I missed this game. I'm seeing that I'm happier when I don't watch the Oilers.

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#23 **
December 20 2013, 12:57AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Ludicrous indeed. Why not send Schulz the younger back to OKC for a season or two to learn the rudiments of playing professional hockey. He has been lost at sea for most of his NHL career, and it appears learning on the job is a recipe for ruining a career.

Of course that would expose the silliness of trading Smid for very nearly what they got for Linus Omark.

Makes you wonder who is the most incompetent:the Owner, the POHO, the GM, the Coach, or the players that make the same mistakes game after game after game.

I think Schultz won rookie of the year with only half a season in the minors, so what else is there for him to learn in the minors?. One has to think it's the stupid defensive deployment Eakins is giving the team.

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#24 **
December 20 2013, 12:59AM
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40 Double D wrote:

Playoffs... let's "delay it for McDavid."

Dishonor for Connor

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#25 DoubleDIon
December 20 2013, 01:13AM
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What I can't figure out is why Nail Yakupov isn't being sheltered more. He is clearly the worst defensive player in the league. Why the heck is he playing against the Duchene line? The O'Reilly goal is a prime example of his disinterested play. I'd play him the 5 minutes the 4th line plays for the other team until he decides to actually stick with his man.

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#26 bazmagoo
December 20 2013, 01:32AM
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@DoubleDIon

Ya I'm a huge Yak fan but I'm totally sick of watching his lacklustre, disinterested play on defence. I've been saying trade Eberle for a #1 d-man, but to be honest right now if we could trade Yak for a #1 d-man I'd do it in a heartbeat. Then just resign Hemsky in the #2 right wing spot. Too bad we'd get jack for Yak right now.

It's not going to happen unless MacT pulls a Christmas miracle out of his hat. Maybe the best we can hope for is a Festivus miracle, and Yak actually shows up to play a 200 foot game on Saturday night.

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#27 bazmagoo
December 20 2013, 01:45AM
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Crazy trade proposal for the day - Sam Gagner and Justin Schultz to Florida for Dmitri Kulikov, Shawn Mattias and Jimmy Hayes. We'd definitely be beefier, would add some depth and a legit top 4 d-man.

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#28 bob
December 20 2013, 01:46AM
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this 'team' blows........this organization blows........sport announcers on radio and tv blow........no entertainment value at all........

ive heard from buddies with kids......the kids think cheering for oilers youre not cool.....they are cheering for other teams and players............and starting to watch other sports

oilers are on the verge of losing the younger generation.......not good for business

what a shame

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#29 jim
December 20 2013, 01:48AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Crazy trade proposal for the day - Sam Gagner and Justin Schultz to Florida for Dmitri Kulikov, Shawn Mattias and Jimmy Hayes. We'd definitely be beefier, would add some depth and a legit top 4 d-man.

crazier trade.........sam gagner and j schultz for horcoff

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#30 Walter Sobchak
December 20 2013, 01:56AM
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The Oilers are in deep sh!p most night & it doesn't help that the PP is bloody horrible!

I'd go back to 5 forward PP.

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#31 hall2010
December 20 2013, 02:15AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Ya I'm a huge Yak fan but I'm totally sick of watching his lacklustre, disinterested play on defence. I've been saying trade Eberle for a #1 d-man, but to be honest right now if we could trade Yak for a #1 d-man I'd do it in a heartbeat. Then just resign Hemsky in the #2 right wing spot. Too bad we'd get jack for Yak right now.

It's not going to happen unless MacT pulls a Christmas miracle out of his hat. Maybe the best we can hope for is a Festivus miracle, and Yak actually shows up to play a 200 foot game on Saturday night.

i think yak's disinterested in playing for eakins rather than defense.

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#32 bazmagoo
December 20 2013, 02:24AM
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@hall2010

I'm wondering if that's what the issue is with J Schultz too, didn't Krueger convince him to come to E-town?

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#33 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 20 2013, 03:59AM
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Life is hell without a couple first pairing blueliners.

The heart of the power play.

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#34 @Oilanderp
December 20 2013, 05:14AM
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David S wrote:

Any chance of doing a screen capture analysis of the PP Jonathan? Seems like alot of the same breakdowns due to some sort of system failure (or lack of being able to execute said system).

It seems as if that work has already been done:

http://theexpiredmeter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/crap.jpg

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#35 Rheal1
December 20 2013, 05:36AM
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A few things... I was first to speculate that MacT should move Omark on the TH 200 game post. That he was moved for future consideration - same for LaBarbera - is a bit troubling due to what we could have received in a package trade from Buffalo. Jamie McBain if we threw in Hemsky? Oilers gave another SH goal, the D sucks and Eakins suck for starting DD. Oilers were outshot. Avs beat Oilers fair & square even if it looked easy. Was this another "moral victory"? Sure it was. For some stupid reason perhaps. This team is digging a hole for itself. Regardless of rebuild timeframes, etc or that Hall is not Olympic material, etc etc etc This team sucks. Can't wait to hear "the Edmonton Oilers are"Proud" to select" in the top 5 in June. Saturday we play St-Louis. LOL! Eakins, you moron please put Dubnyk in net again.

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#36 Mike
December 20 2013, 05:43AM
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Christmas is in the way of our powerplay? I don't think the Oilers deserve Christmas this year! Bah humbug and lumps of coal for the lot!

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#37 Rheal1
December 20 2013, 05:47AM
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Famous quotes:

"And lastly I’ll say, there’s one other guy I believe in hockey today, that is still working in the game, that has won more Stanley Cups than me, so I think I know a little bit about winning if that’s ever a concern." - K Lowe.

"The number one thing we're going to be committed to is competition. If you're going to play for the Edmonton Oilers, you're going to compete. That's how you win games in the NHL and that's how you make your organization better." - D. Eakins.

"In professional sports, winning is the bottom line … This isn't about winning one game or one season. We're going to bring this organization back so that we're in the mix to win every single year." - D. Eakins.

"Now, I'm an impatient guy, and I bring that impatience to this situation. And I think that we're at the stage in terms of the cycle of our hockey club right now, that we have to do some bold things. We have to expose ourselves to some semblance of risk to try and move the team forward in a rapid fashion." - MacT.

"What really, truly matters is what we do tomorrow as an organization to get better. If I can come in here and sell you guys on my capability and credibility to do the job today, it means nothing tomorrow." - MacT.

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#38 Rheal1
December 20 2013, 05:57AM
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I am aware that many readers here do not agree with me and trash me but the automatic thumbs downs are a bit immature. Very insightful...

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#39 CMG30
December 20 2013, 06:17AM
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I think the GF might be on to something. She knows nothing about hockey but still somehow came up with this: "I think I hate these guys. Everytime I watch them they make me mad"

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#40 dougtheslug
December 20 2013, 06:34AM
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** wrote:

I think Schultz won rookie of the year with only half a season in the minors, so what else is there for him to learn in the minors?. One has to think it's the stupid defensive deployment Eakins is giving the team.

Remember Schultz played his brief minor league career on a unit with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and RNH. It was all offence, all the time and seriously skewed his offensive numbers, and I think distorted the perception of his abilities, as well as leaving his clear defensive liabilities unexposed until he arrived at the NHL.

It is obvious he has lots to learn on his own side of center ice. Put him down in OKC with their current roster, and I bet you he wouldn't put up anywhere near the offensive numbers he put up last year.

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#41 sizedoesmatter
December 20 2013, 06:53AM
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Thought they played well the last two periods. All I hope for now is improvement for the rest of the year

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#42 Rheal1
December 20 2013, 06:54AM
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Isn't Steve Smith the D coach? Isn't he also the PP guy behind the bench? Shouldn't he be fired? Arent assistant coaches part of this uber failure?

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#43 Ed in PV
December 20 2013, 06:58AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Famous quotes:

"And lastly I’ll say, there’s one other guy I believe in hockey today, that is still working in the game, that has won more Stanley Cups than me, so I think I know a little bit about winning if that’s ever a concern." - K Lowe.

"The number one thing we're going to be committed to is competition. If you're going to play for the Edmonton Oilers, you're going to compete. That's how you win games in the NHL and that's how you make your organization better." - D. Eakins.

"In professional sports, winning is the bottom line … This isn't about winning one game or one season. We're going to bring this organization back so that we're in the mix to win every single year." - D. Eakins.

"Now, I'm an impatient guy, and I bring that impatience to this situation. And I think that we're at the stage in terms of the cycle of our hockey club right now, that we have to do some bold things. We have to expose ourselves to some semblance of risk to try and move the team forward in a rapid fashion." - MacT.

"What really, truly matters is what we do tomorrow as an organization to get better. If I can come in here and sell you guys on my capability and credibility to do the job today, it means nothing tomorrow." - MacT.

That pretty much sums up the Oil's management team. Plenty of good quotes but nothing is being delivered.

Gregor, Brownlee and anyone else in the Edmonton sports media I ask for a Xmas gift from you guys. The next time KL has a media availability (and I know it is not all that often) please someone ask him directly is he is accountable for the embarrassment the Oil have become, if not him then who. Will the responsible people be held accountable (i.e. be shown the door due to not doing their jobs).

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#44 Oilers4ever
December 20 2013, 06:58AM
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@Oilers4ever

All you bashers can bash all you like but my point is true and yer anal rentitive if you think otherwise. Tell me who our team is bigger than in our division? None of the three cali beasts. Definately not the canucks. We were suppised to be heads and tails above the Flames. Ummm have you checked the standings lately? They are bigger than us too and so is Phoenix. Klowe and any other former oiler in any capacity needs their ass jettisoned off this team. I hope we finish 30th again. Maybe then katz will get his head out of his and release the make up of this team from mgmt to players is 150% wrong.

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#45 Oilers4ever
December 20 2013, 06:59AM
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And I hate typing on smart phones!!

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#46 -30-
December 20 2013, 07:08AM
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What happened from last year to this year?

Last year the Oil powerplay was deadly. Zipping the puck quickly and then bang. Goal!

Is it the system? Is it the players? Is it the coach or is everyone else in the league defending the Oil PP better?

Mental lapses happen but lately they seem to be magnified by more lapses. Can't J Schultz be benched at least?

-30-

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#47 Jacques Strap
December 20 2013, 07:12AM
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Props if you think they should fire K-Lowe.

Trash if you kick puppies and want the terrorists to win.

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#48 gcw_rocks
December 20 2013, 07:19AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Might be a - wait, what's the opposite of fun? - project for the Christmas break.

Opposite of fun is "Oilers".

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#49 75ers
December 20 2013, 07:21AM
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bob wrote:

this 'team' blows........this organization blows........sport announcers on radio and tv blow........no entertainment value at all........

ive heard from buddies with kids......the kids think cheering for oilers youre not cool.....they are cheering for other teams and players............and starting to watch other sports

oilers are on the verge of losing the younger generation.......not good for business

what a shame

When I was a kid playing pond or road hockey... It was I want to be Gretzky or Messier, or Fuhr. I skate at the local pond and hear the road hockey games on my street and it's... I want to be Crosby, Stamkos and so on. I never thought I would hear it. The love affair is dying in the streets.

Hockey is alive and well in Canada and the Oilers benefit from the geographical location, but it is sad to say this team for the kids and the adults has washed away all the magic the Oilers once held.

It's a real shame for everyone.

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#50 gcw_rocks
December 20 2013, 07:24AM
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Ed in PV wrote:

That pretty much sums up the Oil's management team. Plenty of good quotes but nothing is being delivered.

Gregor, Brownlee and anyone else in the Edmonton sports media I ask for a Xmas gift from you guys. The next time KL has a media availability (and I know it is not all that often) please someone ask him directly is he is accountable for the embarrassment the Oil have become, if not him then who. Will the responsible people be held accountable (i.e. be shown the door due to not doing their jobs).

Those would be the best questions ever asked. But I doubt anyone in the media has the balls to ask them. Lowe is vindictive and they would probably risk losing "access".

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