THE BOYS UNDER THE BUS

Robin Brownlee
December 22 2013 12:06PM

The latest lump in the truckload of coal the Edmonton Oilers have been shoveling under the Christmas trees of their fans for eight seasons came in Saturday's 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. What an ugly, ugly scene it was.

On a utterly forgettable night for a fallen franchise, scenes from Hockey Night in Canada's telecast showed sections of empty seats with five minutes to play with fans long gone to the parking lot, president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe fidgeting with his cellphone and, finally, an Oiler jersey laying on the ice, tossed there by one of the paying customers.

With HNIC's After Hours segment waiting for Taylor Hall to emerge from a dressing room that remained closed for 10 minutes after the game, the CBC panel filled with a post-mortem on the Oilers, losers of six straight games and dead in the water at 11-24-3.

In the room, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who was supposed to have been a sideshow but instead finds himself having joined one, talked about how the Oilers deserved to be booed. Jordan Eberle talked about being sick of what's happening here. Coach Dallas Eakins, less than half a full season into his tenure behind the bench, said much the same thing.

The blah, blah, blah we've heard before, but that shot of the Oiler jersey cast on the ice like so much trash sticks with me. I've never seen that before, and I've seen a lot in the old rink on Gretzky Drive.

THE WORST OF TIMES?

With the venom being spewed by rightfully frustrated fans and the empty seats I'm seeing, despite more than 300 straight official sell-outs at Rexall Place in the books, this is clearly the worst of times since the oh-so-forgettable early 1990s. Back then, owner Peter Pocklington was selling off what was left of the five-time Stanley Cup champions and letting the rest of the team die on the vine. Lots of crowds under 10,000 back then.

I'm not sure which era was worse – the 1992-93 team captained by current GM Craig MacTavish went 26-50-8 for 60 points – but arguing that is setting the bar woefully low. What I do know is nobody with a functioning brain expected much from the raft of mediocre players on that roster. The expectations now are different, and should be, with the likes of Hall, Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on this edition of the team – any one of them would have been the best player on that pitiful 1992-93 team.

Edmonton's management and its spinners have been selling hope for four seasons since the tear-it-down rebuild "officially" began. Fans, obviously loyal to a fault, have been buying in, filling the rink, purchasing souvenirs, parking and over-priced beer. All to watch a team that's won just 45 of its last 123 home games.

Now, paid for or not, empty seats. And no, as team president Patrick LaForge suggested with a straight face, it's not "brutal weather." Now, that jersey thrown on the ice. Was it deposited there by an over-served patron in a fit of drunken defiance? A long-time season ticket holder sick of what they've seen? Both? No matter, it's trouble.

OVER TO YOU, BOSS

I don't know if we'll ever see attendance sink to the levels of the ugly 1990s – I doubt it – but unless something changes drastically, and in a hurry, we're going to see more empty seats, more jerseys on the ice and, worse, more of the kind of indifference Pocklington cultivated as owner.

Drastic change means starting at the top of hockey operations. That means the dirty deed falls to owner Daryl Katz, who has a management group and coaching and scouting staffs filled with old friends and old Oilers. With his initial investment in the team already showing a tidy profit, according to the latest values published for NHL teams, will Katz be so inclined? Not today or tomorrow – it makes no sense – but this off-season?

I can see an argument for MacTavish and Eakins getting more time to do their jobs. I see no such case for managers, coaches or scouts who have been collecting pay cheques for all or most of this eight-year stretch of futility and frustration. The names we know, and Lowe is the obvious starting point.

Will Katz make those calls this off-season? Will he tell his friends that it's time for them to move along? Will he shake their hands and wish them well? If Katz, for whatever reason, isn't inclined to do that – in a city and for a fan base that's committed to building him a new downtown arena – in the name of finally delivering on the hope he's been selling, what's the message?

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 KHR
December 22 2013, 01:50PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

I hope for Robin's sake I hope Monique is not a guy.

Not that there is anything wrong with that . . .

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#52 Jay
December 22 2013, 01:50PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Just a few rules before you get comfortable here Jay. According to most here, Shea Weber rumors are just fictional NHL2K13 type thinking here. Thinking like this will not be tolerated, even though Terry Jones and Glen Healy totally agree with you.

Now that you let Beetlejuice out of the bag, prepare for the wrath of the naysayers here my friend.

Anything else you'd like to add before you get banned, sir?

haha thanks for the heads up! something has to happen or are we just gonna watch em wimper in pain til they finally die?

I think its obvious MacT, Eakins and yes even Lowe arnt going anywhere so what can be done? the assistants have to be replaced immediately after Christmas dinner at Lowe's and we need a shock to the system

if this is MacT being impatient id hate to see what patience looks like

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
December 22 2013, 01:53PM
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@Serious Gord

You're onto something there Gord.

6 or 8 fans gathered in the same isle to deposit their jerseys over the glass creating a "pile" would create considerably more attention than yesterdays solo act did.

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#54 Yaz
December 22 2013, 01:55PM
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Mr Katz needs to get an outside opinion of this mess( I know it looks obvious but how far do you go).Until this is done he should freeze all player transactions. You cannot deal from weakness. I am really concerned that Lowe et al will make a bunch more panic moves and we'll have dug the hole deeper( see Smid giveaway). Without a doubt when he has some outside advice he needs to take control of his investment and begin the cleanup from the top down. I haven't lost faith in the owner and his love for the team and the return to glory but his people that he chose to get there have badly let him down. I am pretty sure Rexall Inc doesn't work that way in their business model, the same structure with skilled people needs to be applied to the Oilers.

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#55 Serious Gord
December 22 2013, 01:56PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

It needs to be a very ceremonial sacred act:

All fans who want to hurl their jersey or other oiler paraphernalia over the boards should congregate down by the boards - near the oilers bench perhaps - and solemnly line-up and one by one throw their sacred item over the glass... Perhaps they could have "fire Lowe" written on them - in blood preferably...And if a few of them were 10 - 12 years old , all the better.

Think of the scene in schindler's list when the survivors all lined up and one at a time put a pebble on schindler's gravestone...

Now thats something that would be huge on social media and be seen/heard round the NHL and in Katz' Vancouver (or Hawaii, or LA) penthouse.

as a PS: they could shout "incendia Lowe!!!" (Fire LOWE) as they throw the item.

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
December 22 2013, 01:59PM
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@Jay

This is totally off the record Jay, but I'm 110% in agreement with you. I often bite my lip in hopes of eluding the cyber swirley that often occurs when I let beetlejuice out of his cage/ my latest Weber proposal.

Weber is the big fish the Oilers desperately need, but that's just between you and me, eh, nudge nudge wink wink, say na more.

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#57 Johnnydapunk
December 22 2013, 02:06PM
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Bring back the donuts, problem solved :-)

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#58 mlcselli
December 22 2013, 02:06PM
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The arrogance of Kevin Lowe will never allow him to step down. The foolishness (and absence), of Katz will never allow him to fire Lowe. The nerve of these two asshats laughing at us spending our hard earned money year after year, to support this gong show, and fund a new arena, makes me sick. Once upon a time I used to get pissed off when I would read a comment that was insulting, in any way, regarding the Oilers; now I agree with lots of them, and make a few comments myself. The level of expectation for the Oilers could not sink any further. How can the fans force a change that the management is unwilling to recognize is necessary

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#59 Ed in PV
December 22 2013, 02:08PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

While you have stated the above opinion in the past robin, I think this is the first time you have done so so explicitly in a post on ON. And I thank you for it.

Now it's time for other posters - Lowetide, Willis, Wanye et al to follow suit. An editorial in the sun and journal would be nice.

So too a full pager in the sun or journal by the readers/posters on ON. (How expensive could that be? Does anyone read the paper anymore - other than when they left their phone in the car and are waiting In line to order their egg mcmuffin?)

And why wait until the end of the year? Toronto dumped Burke at the beginning of last season - dumping Lowe right now - TODAY - takes the heat off at least until after the all star break - carnivores like myself and others in the oiler fanbase will be occupied with feasting on lowe's carcass at least until then.

Agree, getting rid of Lowe asap is step 1. I understand that you can't fire everyone mid season as you need coaches to coach, scout to scout etc. But the organization should be able to function without the VP of Hockey Operations for a few months. When Lowe was GM they didn't have a GM of Hockey Operations, which makes we wonder if the position is even needed at all.

Firing Lowe asap will send a strong message to the organization that needs to be sent.

Thank you Brownlee I am glad someone in the Edmonton sports media has stepped up and stated the obvious.

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#60 nick
December 22 2013, 02:09PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

This is totally off the record Jay, but I'm 110% in agreement with you. I often bite my lip in hopes of eluding the cyber swirley that often occurs when I let beetlejuice out of his cage/ my latest Weber proposal.

Weber is the big fish the Oilers desperately need, but that's just between you and me, eh, nudge nudge wink wink, say na more.

Unfortunately fellows, Mr. Weber has a No Trade Clause which means he controls where he goes. Do you really think he would take a trade to Edmonton? Wake up now your dream is over. Danny Heatley wouldn't take it and there is no chance that Weber would ever end up in Edmonton

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#61 nick
December 22 2013, 02:18PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Robin, the best dam write up in a long time by anyone here at ON.

No more spinning stories of the great 5 year rebuild. Rebuild means improving some year by year... this is not the case. Don't need to look at charts and stats spins all day long... This is a terribly built team, every fan can see that except the management and some of the shrinking scribes within the Edmonton media.

Robin, thanks for calling it out... Katz is the only guy that can start the real rebuild and turn this train wreck around... IT HAS TO START RIGHT AT THE TOP...

At this point I am not evern sure if MacT is the right guy for the GM, never mind getting down to the coaching.

MacT is not the right guy for the job and neither is Eakins. They need an experienced NHL coach here, like a Hitchcock or someone of that ilk. They also require an experience GM without a question. The only way to start fixing this disaster is to fire everyone from K Lowe down. Only one that should be left standing is Joey Moss and start from the bottom and build a respectable coaching staff and management team. Who watched Eakins yesterday at the game, never moved never talked just stood there like a lost sheep. Sorry Dallas that little boy had it right YOU SUCK. This team was much more competitive under Krueger and Renney and they both got fired. Hmmm go figure

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#62 The Don
December 22 2013, 02:22PM
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KHR wrote:

Not that there is anything wrong with that . . .

maybe he's am/fm

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#63 Gk1980
December 22 2013, 02:23PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

While you have stated the above opinion in the past robin, I think this is the first time you have done so so explicitly in a post on ON. And I thank you for it.

Now it's time for other posters - Lowetide, Willis, Wanye et al to follow suit. An editorial in the sun and journal would be nice.

So too a full pager in the sun or journal by the readers/posters on ON. (How expensive could that be? Does anyone read the paper anymore - other than when they left their phone in the car and are waiting In line to order their egg mcmuffin?)

And why wait until the end of the year? Toronto dumped Burke at the beginning of last season - dumping Lowe right now - TODAY - takes the heat off at least until after the all star break - carnivores like myself and others in the oiler fanbase will be occupied with feasting on lowe's carcass at least until then.

I'll pitch in $20 for a full page article in the sun paper. Who would be the best person to write it up and represent the fans? Let's start this revolution! It would start a media frenzy! Viva la fans!!!

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#64 Jamesrob56
December 22 2013, 02:23PM
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The City of Edmonton should have made the areana subsidy contingent on a performance clause... Set aside the 25 of the 50 million, each time the Oilers miss the playoffs, 2.5 million goes back to the city, up to 10 x over the next 15 years. No doubt in my mind that during negotiations the Oilers banged the drum loudly about how the young guns would have them in the playoffs for years... this would have held their feet to the fire.

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#65 Quicksilver ballet
December 22 2013, 02:28PM
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nick wrote:

Unfortunately fellows, Mr. Weber has a No Trade Clause which means he controls where he goes. Do you really think he would take a trade to Edmonton? Wake up now your dream is over. Danny Heatley wouldn't take it and there is no chance that Weber would ever end up in Edmonton

Thanks for dropping by for this drive by fruiting Nick.

May want to think/check first before speaking. Shea Weber does not have a no movement clause.

2 shots for a quarter Nick. Anything else you want to know/me to correct for you?

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#66 Walter Sobchak
December 22 2013, 02:33PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

This is totally off the record Jay, but I'm 110% in agreement with you. I often bite my lip in hopes of eluding the cyber swirley that often occurs when I let beetlejuice out of his cage/ my latest Weber proposal.

Weber is the big fish the Oilers desperately need, but that's just between you and me, eh, nudge nudge wink wink, say na more.

I'm still right there with ya bud!!

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#67 Clarkenstein
December 22 2013, 02:35PM
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First time I've agreed with Brownlee in forever! People....stop going to the bloody games!!! I know you've paid for those tickets but wake up and stop being abused!! Start tomorrow with WPG in town. If 6000 asses were in the seats it would be a start!!! Katz the Oil hockey fan is so disappointed in you yet you are oblivious to this up in your Ivory tower! Do u think a bunch of old hockey players would want to hang with you if you were selling shoes??? It says something about the fabric of a person when he has to buy his friends! And by the way, take off those "Bono" glasses and lose the 80's hair! Man up!

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#68 outdoorzguy
December 22 2013, 02:38PM
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We have a man child who owns this team and loves his living hockey cards because he can actually talk to them instead of putting them in a scrap book and who is non-verbal and non-existent. We have a President of the team who hopes the weather gets better because that is what is causing empty seats. We have a President of Hockey Operations who is non-existent and has alienated the fans. We have a Scott Howson???? We have a Mark Messier???? We have a GM who has no experience. We have at best an AHL coach. We have 3 assistant coaches??? We have, as it stands now in its current form a 29th or 30th place team, again. We have a media who won't ask the tough questions (one was asked a year ago and we got the 6 ring answer, but thats been it). We have fans who will put up with this crap because they buy the rebuild sales crap. We get what we accept!!! Mediocrity? Complacency? Insolence?

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#69 Todd
December 22 2013, 02:38PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

You're onto something there Gord.

6 or 8 fans gathered in the same isle to deposit their jerseys over the glass creating a "pile" would create considerably more attention than yesterdays solo act did.

I think throwing your jersey on the ice is stupid. Disrespect but mostly a waste of money. That said, the group toss is an AMAZING idea. I swear if someone organizes it I will join. I'll bring my $150 jersey and toss it in the ice. Imagine 10 fans in a row one by one pealing off their jerseys and tossing them in a pile. It would make the national sports news and be a serious slap in the face to the cronies running this team. Let me know which aisle and what game, I'm 100% in.

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#70 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 22 2013, 02:39PM
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The Don wrote:

maybe he's am/fm

who are we to judge?

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#71 Walter Sobchak
December 22 2013, 02:42PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Thanks for dropping by for this drive by fruiting Nick.

May want to think/check first before speaking. Shea Weber does not have a no movement clause.

2 shots for a quarter Nick. Anything else you want to know/me to correct for you?

I concur; Mr.Weber does not have a NTC or a NMC.

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#72 merfer
December 22 2013, 02:44PM
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I'm beginning to think Eakins is coaching like a man who wouldn't mind getting fired. First, he has a long term contract so he would get paid for three more years which would give him plenty of time to find another job. Second, his wife the actress probably can't stand to be here and needs to be in a city closer to her work. Also we have already heard how his children are getting hastled by other kids in school. I'm sure with all this crap going on and the fact that this team needs a complete overhaul to compete in this division, he could see the silver lining in getting fired. Some of his coaching decisions and actions almost seem like a guy who could care less if he gets the axe. I actually wouldn't blame him!

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#73 Todd
December 22 2013, 02:46PM
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Gk1980 wrote:

I'll pitch in $20 for a full page article in the sun paper. Who would be the best person to write it up and represent the fans? Let's start this revolution! It would start a media frenzy! Viva la fans!!!

Someone should start a kickstarter campaign for a full page ad in the Journal. I'll pay $50 I promise, send me the link.

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#74 nullterm
December 22 2013, 02:47PM
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I'd chip in for a full page reprint of this article. Make it happen Nation!

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#75 boxman
December 22 2013, 02:51PM
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Thanks Robin as you have captured the fans frustration perfectly. If Katz is willing to take the publics money he should at least have the respect to speak to the fans frustration. He dipped into the public trough and then his main man goes off on the different tiers. They bring in new head coach after new head coach and then tie their hands with the same assistants. If he wants his friends to work with him isn't there room in the Rexall corporation. #disgustedwiththeOilersarrogance!!

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#76 Samwise Gange
December 22 2013, 02:58PM
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If you fire Mr Lowe, I still won't backcheck.

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#77 Butters
December 22 2013, 02:59PM
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i'd keep Laforge. That guy has been awesome at selling us turd sandwiches, at a premium no less. Oddly, it is only now we are starting to realize we were buying turd sandwiches all along.

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#78 Kr55
December 22 2013, 03:10PM
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Please don't let up on writing articles like this. The management deserved to be called out, they have deserved it for years. The losing culture in this team starts at the top with Lowe who feels he is entitled to his job because we was lucky enough to play on teams with Gretz and Mess. He hasn't deserved his position for a very long time now based on his performance. His presence is stopping the Oilers from getting qualified smart hockey minds in the important spots in the organization.

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#79 Batfink
December 22 2013, 03:13PM
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Guys, I'm sorry to say that the ship that was the Weber deal has sailed with the trade of the kingpin of the deal, Linus Omark. Much gnashing of the teeth in Nashville, I know, but I think they'll get through it.

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#80 Robin Brownlee
December 22 2013, 03:18PM
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@Ed in PV

Like I wrote, I'm still of the mind that MacTavish and Eakins need more time in their roles. I understand the frustration and the desire to gut the whole works, but that doesn't make sense in the middle of the season when there's hockey business to conduct.

I don't see Katz relieving Lowe of his duties in the middle of the season. I'm not sure he'll do it in the off-season, either.

If that unlikely move was to happen now, Katz could start by bringing in a person in Lowe's place the way Columbus and Calgary did with Davidson and Burke and have them work with MacTavish and Eakins the rest of this season, then make a call on their performance and future, or lack of same, with the team.

If that means a new GM and a new coach for next season, so be it. One thing's for sure, the assistant coaches and the scouting staffs, both pro and amateur, also have to be looked at between now and then.

If Lowe remains at the top of the executive, even if he's somewhat out of the spotlight, I don't think fans are going to accept that the front office and the coaching and scouting staffs are going to be assessed objectively and without favours to old friends and teammates. Change has to start at the top.

Only Katz can make that happen.

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#81 Ed in PV
December 22 2013, 03:20PM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

We have a man child who owns this team and loves his living hockey cards because he can actually talk to them instead of putting them in a scrap book and who is non-verbal and non-existent. We have a President of the team who hopes the weather gets better because that is what is causing empty seats. We have a President of Hockey Operations who is non-existent and has alienated the fans. We have a Scott Howson???? We have a Mark Messier???? We have a GM who has no experience. We have at best an AHL coach. We have 3 assistant coaches??? We have, as it stands now in its current form a 29th or 30th place team, again. We have a media who won't ask the tough questions (one was asked a year ago and we got the 6 ring answer, but thats been it). We have fans who will put up with this crap because they buy the rebuild sales crap. We get what we accept!!! Mediocrity? Complacency? Insolence?

Mediocrity would be a huge improvement.

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#82 Jnewsted14
December 22 2013, 03:22PM
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nick wrote:

Unfortunately fellows, Mr. Weber has a No Trade Clause which means he controls where he goes. Do you really think he would take a trade to Edmonton? Wake up now your dream is over. Danny Heatley wouldn't take it and there is no chance that Weber would ever end up in Edmonton

Capgeek shows no NTC for Weber. I seem to recall the offer he got didn't have one in it. I think Nashville can do whatever they want with him.

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#83 S cottV
December 22 2013, 03:22PM
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Eakins has lost that room and he is so deep, he will not be able to recover.

The player group wants him out. They are embarrassed, frustrated and pissed off that his trial and error AHL to NHL learning curve, has made the situation way worse than it needed to be.

C'mon 29th place and not one facet of team play that seems to be coming together?

A coach is only as good as his ability to influence the player group and they won't have any part of it because they don't believe in him.

To me - the boys under the bus, have one more play to salvage something from the balance of the season. Fire Eakins and Acton. Go all in with MacT as coach and Messier as an Associate.

Messier has the brand of leadership that is sorely lacking in that group. One glare from Messier is as good as saying "kid - if you don't start doing what we say, I'm gonna take your stick and ..."

We could use some legendary killer leadership even if it nets a short term Roy-like bump.

The boys under the bus might just get enough of a Messier spark - to climb back inside for a few more miles and get thru this season.

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#84 james_dean
December 22 2013, 03:27PM
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Todd wrote:

Someone should start a kickstarter campaign for a full page ad in the Journal. I'll pay $50 I promise, send me the link.

20 is my max but post the link again

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#85 Rod from Viking
December 22 2013, 03:33PM
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nick wrote:

Unfortunately fellows, Mr. Weber has a No Trade Clause which means he controls where he goes. Do you really think he would take a trade to Edmonton? Wake up now your dream is over. Danny Heatley wouldn't take it and there is no chance that Weber would ever end up in Edmonton

No he doesn't have a no trade clause!

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#86 Spydyr
December 22 2013, 03:38PM
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Maybe someone with media pull could organize and Jersey toss like the Teddy bear toss.Then give the jerseys to underprivileged kids.Do it for the Jets game and the kids get a nice Christmas present.

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#87 Gerald R. Ford
December 22 2013, 03:39PM
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Props to the fan who threw the jersey on the ice. I hope it stings Katz and K-Lowe's 6-ring circus as much as it does the rest of us to see something like that. Ugly, ugly moment, but, maybe that guy will be remembered as our Rosa Parks someday.

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#88 Batfink
December 22 2013, 03:41PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Maybe someone with media pull could organize and Jersey toss like the Teddy bear toss.Then give the jerseys to underprivileged kids.Do it for the Jets game and the kids get a nice Christmas present.

What have them kids ever done to you?

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#89 Ryan2`
December 22 2013, 03:42PM
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Why should Eakins and MacT be given more time?

MacT was "in training" last year and given a head start for a GM by being able to assess the players for an entire season before being handed the keys to the car. Sure, he won the Perron trade right now, but did it make the team any better? Could he have used the MPS trading chip (he was a decent commodity at the time) + another prospect and pick for a true #2 D-Man? That would have helped the team way more than another small, skilled forward (btw, how much "edge" has he played with the past couple of games against bigger teams?).

His other signature moves were two bad contracts: 1) overpaying in term and price for a smallish, end of career d-man from the area, and, even worse, 2) severely overpaying for a small, defensively clueless after 7 years, average skating at best, centerman who MacT considers a cornerstone piece moving forward. Both contracts are dead money, IMHO, as they take up significant cap space that could be put to better use elsewhere and basically make the players untradeable for 3 years.

Craig also had a questionable eye for talent as a coach (remember his MacFavorites like Petersen, Thoreson and Pouliot?) and dumped on players that the team sure could use now that he did not like such as Greene, Brodziak, Penner, etc.

As far as Eakins, being at the game yesterday you could see the difference between a well coached team with structure and commitment to team play (Hitchcock trademark since back in the day with Midget AAA in Sherwood Park) vs. a team with no structure, no commitment to team play and a fragile confidence. The Oilers were much more organized under Kruger last year with an even weaker roster (as bad as their d is this year, at least all of them can turn both ways unlike Ryan Whitney last season). As weak as Ralph was from an NHL strategy point of view, Eakins is even worse. Right now the Oilers as still playing Junior or AHL level hockey out there, and it shows against any close to or playoff team.

IMHO, Eakins' first mistake was playing two career AHLers he liked, Acton and Hamilton, when they were clearly not up to NHL level play. At work, how does it look to the rest of the team when the manager's kid/nephew/niece/etc. steps right into a job above their level without earning it? How much does that hurt a manager's credibility as well as team morale? That sent the wrong message to the team from the get go and the players still do not buy in.

It is not only Eakins' that needs to go, though. When you watch the next Oilers game take a look at how often their D just rims the puck instead of making a tape-to-tape pass to start a breakout vs. the opponents D. Back in the Charlie Huddy era, the Oilers' d-men would actually start a breakout with a quick and accurate pass. Since Steve Smith has been in charge the d-men have started to just rim the puck, which either keeps the forwards penned in or results in a turnover at the red line which is just dumped back in. My son's Novice team is better at making tape-to-tape passes under duress to start a breakout than the Oilers defence is. The reason - we coach them that making a good first pass is key to a break out.

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#90 Butters
December 22 2013, 03:43PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Maybe someone with media pull could organize and Jersey toss like the Teddy bear toss.Then give the jerseys to underprivileged kids.Do it for the Jets game and the kids get a nice Christmas present.

Or they could have a beer toss for us underprivileged alcoholics. Seriously though, interesting idea.

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#91 Spydyr
December 22 2013, 03:46PM
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Butters wrote:

Or they could have a beer toss for us underprivileged alcoholics. Seriously though, interesting idea.

Put Lowe and centre ice I bet you would see a few beers flying that way.

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#92 jake
December 22 2013, 03:48PM
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What number is the jersey? Looks like Petry's 2 but not sure.

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#93 RexHolez
December 22 2013, 03:49PM
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So no trade clause on weber, just a 7.85 cap hit til he's like 40. I can see the predators willing to move him for the right return. Why not?? I know this isn't hockey buzz but why not make a bold move? I'd give Eberle, JSchultz 1st round pick and some other prospect for weber's steadying influence on the D.

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#94 ALLCAPSRAGE
December 22 2013, 03:51PM
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How about a boycott of the national anthem? Nobody sits in their seats until the puck is dropped. It would send a message if there was nobody in the stands for even a short period of time at the start of the game as opposed to the end.

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#95 Robfra50
December 22 2013, 03:52PM
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@nick

We'd have to get Shea Weber on Whyte Avenue completely hammered with some of Edmonton's finest women for him to consider Edmonton.

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#96 OilFanInVan
December 22 2013, 03:53PM
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Full Page ad in the Edmonton Journal will run about $17k. Do you guys really have the balls to make something like that happen?? I suspect you'd get about $500 bucks...

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/about-edmonton-journal/advertising/pdf/mrc_rate_card_august_2013.pdf

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#97 TigerUnderGlass
December 22 2013, 03:55PM
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@S cottV

It's great having people around who know exactly what the players think. Otherwise we'd all just be guessing.

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#98 Rama Lama
December 22 2013, 03:59PM
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etownman wrote:

Do you really think MacT is trading from a position of strength? Of course there is teams out there willing to trade you a Heatley for that kid Eberle or Nurse! Maybe it's not the best example but I'm sure you get my intent!

A lot of bad contracts are up after this year, Hemsky, Smyth, N. Schultz, Eager, Dubnyk etc, that is the point where I'll start judging MacT & his scouts! Lot's of draftees to come through the system yet & trades to be made! Of course this is the wrong mix of players & I'm positive MacT recognizes this but it would be far more foolish to panick & start dumping the skill just to appease the media, bloggers & part time fans!

He too has to be held accountable........he added a bunch of players that have added NOTHING to the overall small equation.

Except Perron, nothing Mac T did in the offseason has really helped us. Now I for one will give him another shot this upcoming summer, but he had better do something special. If that means moving one of our talented hobbits, so be it.

Trading our top draft pick, IMHO, would be stupid and probably do nothing for us long term. Signing some UFA's and overpaying is probably our only option, as long as they are not like Clarkson........we dodged a bullet there.

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#99 Serious Gord
December 22 2013, 04:00PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Put Lowe and centre ice I bet you would see a few beers flying that way.

I'm thinking we'd all act like pooh-flinging monkeys...

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#100 Serious Gord
December 22 2013, 04:01PM
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RexHolez wrote:

So no trade clause on weber, just a 7.85 cap hit til he's like 40. I can see the predators willing to move him for the right return. Why not?? I know this isn't hockey buzz but why not make a bold move? I'd give Eberle, JSchultz 1st round pick and some other prospect for weber's steadying influence on the D.

An even bigger concern would be weber pulling a pronger and demanding a trade...

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