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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#201 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 22 2013, 11:10PM
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Hard to believe just eliminating the donuts, would have such an impact on this hockey club.

No donuts, and then no ranch dressing for the veggies. No wonder things are falling apart under these conditions.

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#202 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 22 2013, 11:22PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

None of you will want to hear this, especially given the state of frustration fans are in now, but fixating on Bob Stauffer and the people at 630 CHED is misplacing your anger. They are not the problem.

As far as NHL rightsholders go, 630 CHED is actually far more critical of the team they cover than most stations. You don't have to believe me, but I'm telling you it's so -- and I'm doing it as somebody who is on the air twice a week on a competing station.

If you want to say some of the edge -- even a lot of it -- has been taken off Bob's criticism of the team since he signed on with them, that's fair ball. He is an employee of the team and he can't go after the Oilers, be it management, coaches or the organization in general, as he would if he was still in his old gig at TEAM 1260. You cannot do it in your workplace and he cannot do it in his.

The problem is way higher up the food chain. Going after Stauffer and the radio crew solves nothing. They are doing their jobs.

Excellent Point. May I counter that bob and the ched gang are viable targets because they are part of the Oiler group and this city has has enough of being a non entity in the eyes of the NHL. Being the pr/marketing arm makes them far game for the vitriol. Plus bob does like the use of hyperbole which is basically lying to make things seem better. Only the Octane girls are safe from scorn in my eyes. They actually work hard.

However you are 100% correct that they have nothing to do with the issues they are just the flunkie messangers.

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#203 Tom Barrett
December 22 2013, 11:35PM
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Part way through the third period, Saturday, one of the other long-suffering season ticket holders who sits behind me suggested we should all bring paper bags to the Jets game, Monday, to put on if we tank again. All of us who were still left noticed that Oiler jersey on the ice as well. A very provocative and expensive statement. It will be interesting to see if a loss to the Jets brings more jerseys.

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#204 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 11:48PM
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I've got a $450 signed Yakupov that I'll throw on the ice. I gave all my other jerseys away, but b/c I figured Yak is neither the problem nor likely to be an Oiler for long, I kept it.

Now if someone has lower bowl tickets, I'm willing to toss that over.

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#205 JJ
December 22 2013, 11:49PM
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I always thought 'public building' meant a building that was fully funded by taxpayers and owned by the government/public, not private investment.. such as a museum, library, hospital. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Anyway, with the millions of dollars that Katz put into this new arena.. Are ticket prices expected to rise to cover the owners' costs?

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#206 Kr55
December 22 2013, 11:52PM
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Why wait until the off-season to fire Lowe? A new qualified person needs to be brought in ASAP to evaluate the team to make the best possible moves in this off-season when the cap is being raised. Waiting to get rid of Lowe until the off-season likely means another lost season next year because whoever replaces him will be getting up to speed while every other team is making all the moves they want with the Oilers not in the mix. There is nothing useful Lowe can do for this team between now and the off-season. The sooner Lowe is gone the better off the Oilers will be.

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#207 JJ
December 22 2013, 11:53PM
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One comment I have to make.. Jerseys are so expensive, I wouldn't say it would even have to be something like that to send a message.

Oiler shirts, Oiler mitts, Oiler tuques would get the message across as well with a far lower waste in value. As long as it's not hats as that would send a wrong message of celebration (hat trick).

Just something to think about before throwing $200 of your hard earned money over the edge!

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#208 Rod from Viking
December 23 2013, 12:12AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I largely concur. Bob and others at ched have some constraints and they are certainly more vocal and likely to be critical than the fan 960 in cgy which is the flames rights holder. 960 was the last place to be critical of iginla or the sutters.

But on the fan 590 the leafs rights holder there are several commentators/show hosts who have been exceptionally critical of the teams management - bob McCown being the number one in that regard. But he is definitely the exception as he is very much his own man - set apart from the rest of the Rogers family - much as don cherry is from the CBC.

But back to stauffer - I very much believe that stauffer provides a bit of a conduit between the fans and management - that he relays the emotions and opinions of the fans to them and that sometimes they act. Specifically I think that is what happened after the disastrous six rings press conference. The reaction was so swift and brutal on stauffs show that management realized that Lowe had to apologize right away.

Unfortunately we did not get an real apology (go listen to it again to verify what I'm saying) but Klowe did manage to tamp down the fire for a while at least.

Gord,this is mostly true but he always gets you on the air doesn't he? He knows you are going to say negative things about the team and maybe he uses what you say because he can't, as a matter of fact you sound a lot like he did when he was at another time and place. I still think Rob Brown does the best job of striking a balance and keeping the repect of the show callers and listeners.

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#209 OilDieHard
December 23 2013, 12:12AM
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@JJ....the dude sent a strong message to the team, and if most of them didn't see it, they will have been made aware of it by now. I say kudos to the guy for having the stones to do it !

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#210 Rod from Viking
December 23 2013, 12:14AM
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striking a balance and keeping the "RESPECT" of the show callers and listeners.

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#211 risto siltanen's slapshot
December 23 2013, 12:20AM
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boys under the bus should be renamed no braveheart. this group of heartless players need some fire and muscle from their 1st 2 lines right on thru.the skilled youth of gretzky's era still had the passion and self preservation to have some grit.anderson had his crazy flailing stick,messier charged with reckless abandone,tikkanen slashed and sticked ya,so did linseman and all these guys were top 6 forwards. add in a d that featured smith,beukaboom,muni,jackson...just mean non? then 3rd and 4th line toughness too,sammy ,mcsorley,mcclelland,even hunter's elbows destroyed.so we're only this far away from the boys on the bus ...ah yes that and goaltending! gooooood luuuuuuuck mac t

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#212 Loyal Oil
December 23 2013, 12:26AM
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Thank you Mr. Brownlee. Finally some courage from an ON writer. Jersey Toss and chanting great next steps. What about fan billboards like they did in Denver. "Mr. Katz, the taxpayers of this town have provided you with $100 million dollars, please reciprocate by providing us with NHL hockey". Other suggestions for a billboard?

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#213 G-Unit
December 23 2013, 12:37AM
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@Loyal Oil

I hate soccer, but maybe the way that one teams fans all stand up and look away from the game at the same time would get the message across. We are top ten in payroll with 3 first overall picks in the roster. Enough excuses management

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#214 RexHolez
December 23 2013, 01:43AM
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I think nothing is gonna get Eakins, MacT or Lowe fired. they'll get to make some major player changes first and they're hesitant to make such a move. I'm willing to bet that not much changes at all. Maybe a couple Ference type UFA signings in the summer and perhaps a Perron type deal. But hopefully when they suck this time next year this fire Lowe movement will finally get some traction.

But for the love of all things holy could they atleast throw us a bone and get some new assistant coaches?? WTF

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#215 K_Mart
December 23 2013, 01:52AM
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If only any of this would result in the fans being provided with NHL calibre hockey.

This team is 4-5 Major pieces away from being truly competitive and while the jersey toss is exactly what this organization had coming, it isn't going to result in another gm doing a deal with mact to provide us with the top d man we so desperately need.

Yak or eberle will be dealt, and it will almost certainly be a mistake.

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#216 bazmagoo
December 23 2013, 02:11AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Hard to believe just eliminating the donuts, would have such an impact on this hockey club.

No donuts, and then no ranch dressing for the veggies. No wonder things are falling apart under these conditions.

Ya because when you get to NHL, fitness is something you aren't good at. That's the plan of Eakins, eat better and exercise. Personally I think Klowe hedged his bets and went for another high pick. Crafty K-dub.

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#217 bazmagoo
December 23 2013, 02:23AM
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@Kr55

Nobody needs to replace Klowe, the position was created for him.

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#218 bazmagoo
December 23 2013, 02:26AM
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@JJ

What's with this comment? Pretty oblivious to the reality of the situation. I wonder how big the waiting list for season tickets is though, bet it's pretty huge. K-dub's plan isn't to win this season.

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#219 bazmagoo
December 23 2013, 02:32AM
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@G-Unit

Why do you hate soccer? Have you ever played as an adult? Just curious.

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#220 2004Z06
December 23 2013, 02:39AM
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JJ wrote:

One comment I have to make.. Jerseys are so expensive, I wouldn't say it would even have to be something like that to send a message.

Oiler shirts, Oiler mitts, Oiler tuques would get the message across as well with a far lower waste in value. As long as it's not hats as that would send a wrong message of celebration (hat trick).

Just something to think about before throwing $200 of your hard earned money over the edge!

Throwing something of value is entirely the point! It sends the message that a fan paying hard earned money is fed up and would rather part with 200 bucks than watch this debacle continue to unfold! Throwing a 5 dollar Oilers mitten sends no message at all.

The real message would be to have half the building empty against the Jets. Lost parking, merchandise, concession, alcohol revenue and the image on tv of a normally sold out building half empty would send a clear message.

Unfortunately someone will always park their ass in a seat at Rexall.

The jersey on the ice should be the tip of the iceberg.

And no one is asking anyone to give up their season tickets. Just boycott one damn game.

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#221 BackEastOiler
December 23 2013, 03:54AM
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I don't understand why MacTavish and Eakins receive a free pass, again and again. Just listen to the players: to a man they seem baffled by what it is they're doing. That translates into less committed (if that was even possible), and supposed statistical gains obviously don't translate into results. Not a week goes by, when "management through negativity" rears its ugly head (people being singled out), and some players, who spoke in glowing terms of Krueger or Renney, must now be reassured they're "part of the plan" (i.e.: Yakupov). We all know this train wreck could have been avoided, if goal tending had been better early on - self confidence could have taken hold - now, however, it is too late: a fragile group has become even more fragile, and leadership obviously has no answers. This is beyond anybody "deserves more time", now, this must be the beginning of Rebuild #2: Front Office, Management AND Coaching, regardless of tenure and/or history with the organization ...

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#222 Theraven
December 23 2013, 06:11AM
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JJ wrote:

One comment I have to make.. Jerseys are so expensive, I wouldn't say it would even have to be something like that to send a message.

Oiler shirts, Oiler mitts, Oiler tuques would get the message across as well with a far lower waste in value. As long as it's not hats as that would send a wrong message of celebration (hat trick).

Just something to think about before throwing $200 of your hard earned money over the edge!

If you are willing to waste $200+ on tickets what's another $200? Six Rings probably just had the jersey hung it up to resell anyway.

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#223 Joe McPhee
December 23 2013, 06:20AM
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It's time to fire Lowe for sure. He is NOT giving the team a chance to listent

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#224 camdog
December 23 2013, 06:42AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

None of you will want to hear this, especially given the state of frustration fans are in now, but fixating on Bob Stauffer and the people at 630 CHED is misplacing your anger. They are not the problem.

As far as NHL rightsholders go, 630 CHED is actually far more critical of the team they cover than most stations. You don't have to believe me, but I'm telling you it's so -- and I'm doing it as somebody who is on the air twice a week on a competing station.

If you want to say some of the edge -- even a lot of it -- has been taken off Bob's criticism of the team since he signed on with them, that's fair ball. He is an employee of the team and he can't go after the Oilers, be it management, coaches or the organization in general, as he would if he was still in his old gig at TEAM 1260. You cannot do it in your workplace and he cannot do it in his.

The problem is way higher up the food chain. Going after Stauffer and the radio crew solves nothing. They are doing their jobs.

Regardless Stauffer's opinion on the team changed the day he became a member of the organization. He regularly speaks as though he is privy to details others are not. He is no longer a member of the media, he is public relations for the Oilers, and deserves the criticism he receives. If he was an independent thinker like the writers at Oilersnation such as yourself, then I would agree but he is not, he speaks for the organization, he speaks for Katz!

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#225 Bryzarro World
December 23 2013, 06:50AM
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JJ wrote:

One comment I have to make.. Jerseys are so expensive, I wouldn't say it would even have to be something like that to send a message.

Oiler shirts, Oiler mitts, Oiler tuques would get the message across as well with a far lower waste in value. As long as it's not hats as that would send a wrong message of celebration (hat trick).

Just something to think about before throwing $200 of your hard earned money over the edge!

I used to pay over 10g a year to watch these skating turds until I got my head out of my ass and said goodbye to the Oilers. Do you really think I would care an iota about a $200 jersey that brings nothing but shame and embarrassment along with it?

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#226 German Titov
December 23 2013, 06:52AM
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Why not sign me to come back and mentor Yakupov, Belov, Bryzgalov and Buchberger?

Смотря эту команду вызывает моя жена, чтобы сжечь блины!

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#227 K_Mart
December 23 2013, 06:53AM
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camdog wrote:

Regardless Stauffer's opinion on the team changed the day he became a member of the organization. He regularly speaks as though he is privy to details others are not. He is no longer a member of the media, he is public relations for the Oilers, and deserves the criticism he receives. If he was an independent thinker like the writers at Oilersnation such as yourself, then I would agree but he is not, he speaks for the organization, he speaks for Katz!

First off, all radio show hosts are open to criticism, not just Stauffer. Second, regardless of how his position with the team may affect his opinion, Stauffer isn't even a factor as far as winning or losing games goes. Yeah, it's clear that he helps spin this web for the Oil now, but so what?

We're pissed that the Oilers still suck despite having the best draft position for three straight years and having "hope" stuffed down our throats. It has NOTHING to do with Stauffer, or any other radio personality.

If the oilers were winning, would that change whether or not you criticize Stauf? Because it shouldn't, the two are completely unrelated.

My anger is towards the spinmasters at the Head of this mess trying to convince fans that all these years of losing are about to result in several Stanley cups. Those guys affect the outcome by controlling the names that end up on the roster for the Oil. Our roster is crap, and as much as it pains me, id take a season full of 1-0 OT wins (like the kings get) over anything this team has shoveled the passed few seasons.

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#228 camdog
December 23 2013, 07:08AM
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@camdog

Just a fair question does anybody remember Stauffer trashing the Edmonton Investors group regularly before the sale went through? I didn't realize it at the time but Stauffer was activively campaigning for his friend/business associate to get the team.

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#229 JJ
December 23 2013, 07:09AM
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Reports say Leafs are interested in Gagner.. Thoughts on a Clarkson for Gagner swap?

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#230 Jacques Strap
December 23 2013, 07:26AM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Excellent Point. May I counter that bob and the ched gang are viable targets because they are part of the Oiler group and this city has has enough of being a non entity in the eyes of the NHL. Being the pr/marketing arm makes them far game for the vitriol. Plus bob does like the use of hyperbole which is basically lying to make things seem better. Only the Octane girls are safe from scorn in my eyes. They actually work hard.

However you are 100% correct that they have nothing to do with the issues they are just the flunkie messangers.

Why should the Octane girls be safe? Burn it all down, I say.

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#231 hankthetank
December 23 2013, 07:26AM
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JJ wrote:

Reports say Leafs are interested in Gagner.. Thoughts on a Clarkson for Gagner swap?

Clarkson is a fail so far in TO, but is probably an upgrade over snowpants here.

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#232 Theraven
December 23 2013, 07:32AM
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CMG30 wrote:

I guess I'm at the point of indifference. I didn't bother to watch the game last night and I didn't even check the score till a friend texted it to me around noon.

As for the management of the team, I'm split. Kevin Lowe? I don't see how it matters if he stays or goes. If someone can show me that he's got his fingers all over the terrible drafting and trading that has happened over the past 5 or so years then fine send him packing. But I just don't see that. I see his position as more of a proxy for the owner. Katz might be a hockey fan but he's not an expert, therefor he has someone he trusts to fulfill the owners duties for him. If that is the case then firing him won't make one iota of difference in the on-ice product. Of course it will appease a growing segment of the fan base but how long till they select a new target? Edmonton has a history of running viable/good players out of town. At least with the venom mostly directed his way it deflects some of the attention away from the guys on the ice deserved or not. Is that a good enough reason to keep him around? Probably not but when/if he goes I don't expect the team to get better anytime soon.

MacT: I'm on his side, at least for the next year or so then I'll re-evaluate. The only one of his moves thus far that I take issue with is the Smid trade. I didn't get it then and I really, really don't get it now. Actually now that I think about it, I also don't get how Acton stayed for so long especially once Arcobello was spending time in the pressbox. But I can't complain too much about that one because at the time I wanted the Oil to be heavier and gritter.

As for his major moves over the summer (Perron, Ferrence and Gordon) I still give them the thumbs up. I know people will argue about Ferrence but we all need to realize that he's not a legit #1 defenceman even though he's being asked to play those minutes. Once a true #1 arrives and Ferrence slides down the depth chart he'll be fine. If MacT actually expected him to be more that a temp #1 then I retract my support of that move.

Perhaps the only other thing to look at with MacT is the moves he failed to make. He couldn't get the big gritty skilled center (though he came close with Clarkson but I'm actually glad he struck out there) or the big number one defenseman which I don't believe for a second wasn't for lack of trying. Finally, he wasn't sold on Dubnyk and went after an alternative but again hit a wall.

Taken as a whole, this tells me that MacT sees the holes and is trying to fix them. Combine that with the successes he did have and I'm willing to give him a little more rope.

I guess the final point I would make is that if Katz does clean house with management then whoever does come in will inevitability begin a new 3-5yr rebuild in their image. I don't think anybody really wants to wait that long. So I'm hoping against all evidence that this is finally rock bottom and the long climb out can begin.

Have another sip of that 6-ring Kool Aide! This team needs to clean house with the management!

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#233 Rheal1
December 23 2013, 07:34AM
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hankthetank wrote:

Clarkson is a fail so far in TO, but is probably an upgrade over snowpants here.

Gagner to T.O.? He'd be traded for "future considerations". That way MacT will have more cash on hand to re-sign Ales hemsky. Makes no sense you say? Of course it makes no sense. It's our Oilers!!!

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#234 Rdubb
December 23 2013, 07:41AM
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Katz doesn't have the GUTS to fire those who NEED TO BE FIRED!!! The head needs to be cut off of the snake as they say...then, the Oilers NEED a new scouting staff, any dog can pick a winner with the #1 pick, but other than Eberle, which picks after the top 10 have really panned out in the past 7 or 8yrs? NOT MANY!!! Now, go down the list and look @ all the other teams (ok, 25 of the other teams) and look @ their picks from 11 on, and how many of those guys have gone on to play in the NHL & how many of those guys have gone on to be a above average contributors on their teams? A lot more than the Oilers than have had... There have been so many "diamonds" in the "ruff" these past 7yrs in the later picks or even in the later rounds... Just look @ the past 2 drafts, Edmonton KNEW they NEEDED a goalie in their system and let 3 very good guys slip through their fingers last season, hell, they had an Oil Kings tender they know very good & could have had, but NO...or how many bigger sized guys could have they had, or picking a d-man in the 1st two rounds, sorry...the scouting staff decided to pick smaller guys with skill...time for a new scouting staff too... And finally, Eakins MUST BE TOLD that he must get his fingers out of the special teams and allow them to get back to where they had success... Just my thoughts though PECK

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#235 Spydyr
December 23 2013, 07:55AM
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Rheal1 wrote:

Gagner to T.O.? He'd be traded for "future considerations". That way MacT will have more cash on hand to re-sign Ales hemsky. Makes no sense you say? Of course it makes no sense. It's our Oilers!!!

At least try for one of their goalies and send Dammit with him.

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#236 nowuknow
December 23 2013, 08:05AM
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camdog wrote:

Just a fair question does anybody remember Stauffer trashing the Edmonton Investors group regularly before the sale went through? I didn't realize it at the time but Stauffer was activively campaigning for his friend/business associate to get the team.

That Dud(Stauffer) is a jock, so is most of these sport media personals. They are in the business for the money not to unveil the truth, what is wrong with particular company or sport team once they are employed. He is a prime example of everything, what is wrong with society these days. will do or say anything for money.....

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#237 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 08:06AM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Gord,this is mostly true but he always gets you on the air doesn't he? He knows you are going to say negative things about the team and maybe he uses what you say because he can't, as a matter of fact you sound a lot like he did when he was at another time and place. I still think Rob Brown does the best job of striking a balance and keeping the repect of the show callers and listeners.

I think here is a lot of truth to what you say. I also think that he puts me on because I don't (Often) mess it up and stammer and drift and repeat what others have to say.

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#238 Dave
December 23 2013, 08:10AM
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camdog wrote:

Regardless Stauffer's opinion on the team changed the day he became a member of the organization. He regularly speaks as though he is privy to details others are not. He is no longer a member of the media, he is public relations for the Oilers, and deserves the criticism he receives. If he was an independent thinker like the writers at Oilersnation such as yourself, then I would agree but he is not, he speaks for the organization, he speaks for Katz!

Stauffer has always alluded to insider secrets and gossip, he used to do that on his 1260 show as well. My favorite Staufferism is the 5 minute question where he attempts to get a radio guest prove a pet theory.

Regardless, he is probably far more critical of the coaching and management of the team in public than other team owned broadcasters.

For all of his faults and fiobles I enjoy listening to his show and game broadcasts.

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#239 Ed in PV
December 23 2013, 08:12AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

Nobody needs to replace Klowe, the position was created for him.

Exactly, they didn't have a VP of hockey operations before they hired Tambo, so I question if they truly need one, and could at the very least function quite okay for a few months with the position empty.

I recall KL being asked why he moved to VP from GM on after hours shortly after the change. His answer was basically I have more free time now!!! He didn't say anything about why it would improve the organization or what his actual duties as VP were.

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#240 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 08:12AM
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camdog wrote:

Just a fair question does anybody remember Stauffer trashing the Edmonton Investors group regularly before the sale went through? I didn't realize it at the time but Stauffer was activively campaigning for his friend/business associate to get the team.

Interesting perspective. Stauffer definitely was a friend of Katz - he had his private number on his phone.

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#241 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 08:14AM
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JJ wrote:

Reports say Leafs are interested in Gagner.. Thoughts on a Clarkson for Gagner swap?

Not sure the oil have enough cap room.

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#242 Spydyr
December 23 2013, 08:15AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Not sure the oil have enough cap room.

Dubnyk and Gagner a prospect for Clarkson and one of their goalies.They should have cap space.

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#243 NsxZero
December 23 2013, 08:16AM
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Wow Jones actually found the guy that threw his jersey on the ice. Ladies and Gentleman our hero, Curtis Goyetche.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/12/22/jones-oilers-fan-shows-frustration-by-throwing-jersey-on-the-ice

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#244 Chainsawz
December 23 2013, 08:25AM
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CMG30 wrote:

I guess I'm at the point of indifference. I didn't bother to watch the game last night and I didn't even check the score till a friend texted it to me around noon.

As for the management of the team, I'm split. Kevin Lowe? I don't see how it matters if he stays or goes. If someone can show me that he's got his fingers all over the terrible drafting and trading that has happened over the past 5 or so years then fine send him packing. But I just don't see that. I see his position as more of a proxy for the owner. Katz might be a hockey fan but he's not an expert, therefor he has someone he trusts to fulfill the owners duties for him. If that is the case then firing him won't make one iota of difference in the on-ice product. Of course it will appease a growing segment of the fan base but how long till they select a new target? Edmonton has a history of running viable/good players out of town. At least with the venom mostly directed his way it deflects some of the attention away from the guys on the ice deserved or not. Is that a good enough reason to keep him around? Probably not but when/if he goes I don't expect the team to get better anytime soon.

MacT: I'm on his side, at least for the next year or so then I'll re-evaluate. The only one of his moves thus far that I take issue with is the Smid trade. I didn't get it then and I really, really don't get it now. Actually now that I think about it, I also don't get how Acton stayed for so long especially once Arcobello was spending time in the pressbox. But I can't complain too much about that one because at the time I wanted the Oil to be heavier and gritter.

As for his major moves over the summer (Perron, Ferrence and Gordon) I still give them the thumbs up. I know people will argue about Ferrence but we all need to realize that he's not a legit #1 defenceman even though he's being asked to play those minutes. Once a true #1 arrives and Ferrence slides down the depth chart he'll be fine. If MacT actually expected him to be more that a temp #1 then I retract my support of that move.

Perhaps the only other thing to look at with MacT is the moves he failed to make. He couldn't get the big gritty skilled center (though he came close with Clarkson but I'm actually glad he struck out there) or the big number one defenseman which I don't believe for a second wasn't for lack of trying. Finally, he wasn't sold on Dubnyk and went after an alternative but again hit a wall.

Taken as a whole, this tells me that MacT sees the holes and is trying to fix them. Combine that with the successes he did have and I'm willing to give him a little more rope.

I guess the final point I would make is that if Katz does clean house with management then whoever does come in will inevitability begin a new 3-5yr rebuild in their image. I don't think anybody really wants to wait that long. So I'm hoping against all evidence that this is finally rock bottom and the long climb out can begin.

Oh, where to start....

1. Lowe. He has in a say in the GM. By re-signing Tambellini, he set back the Oilers another year. Then he hired his buddy MacTavish, who is a rookie GM that went out and hired rookie NHL coach. To say Lowe has had no effect of on ice product is taking the small view of the picture.

Even if he had no say in any hire, trade, or signing, he should be replaced by someone who does. Katz can keep him on the pay roll but keep him away from anything Oilers related.

2. MacTavish quickly burned any goodwill he builded up with me with the Perron trade. Gordon and Ference are run of the mill guys who are available almost every offseason. His biggest mistake was being hoodwinked by Eakins who basically rode 2 NHL goalies in the AHL and turned it into a NHL job.

3. You're not okay with cleaning house and starting a 3-5 year rebuild but accept that the current crew has a "long climb out"? You can't be paralyzed with fear of what will be. A new management team could have the Oilers in the playoffs 1-2 seasons. I don't see this front office accomplishing that.

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#245 nick
December 23 2013, 08:26AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Dubnyk and Gagner a prospect for Clarkson and one of their goalies.They should have cap space.

Sorry can't happen. Clarkson has a limited No Trade clause as well as a No Movement Clause. He turned down a large amount of money from the Oilers to sign for cheaper in Toronto, do you think he would accept a trade to this gong show.

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#246 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 08:36AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Dubnyk and Gagner a prospect for Clarkson and one of their goalies.They should have cap space.

Why would TO make that trade (even if it were possible in light if clarksons NTC)?

The leafs are too small up front without clarkson and defensively have already have defensive liabilities like khadri. And they want clear value for one of their goalies - dubnyk sure isn't that.

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#247 The Worrier
December 23 2013, 09:14AM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

No need to wait:

12:05 - 12:15: Tree planting

12:15 - 12:30: Glory days of South Side Athletic Club

12:30 - 12:35: Royal Pizza interlude

12:35 - 12:50: Obscure Golden Bears anecdote

12:50 - 1:00: Ruth's Chris interlude

1:05 - 1:20: Gratuitous name-dropping session / I know inside stuff that you guys aren't important enough to know, so, zip it, because everything's going right on schedule.

1:20 - 1:40: This is actually only, for all intents and purposes, like, Day 4 of the rebuild, not YEAR 7, so everyone be patient, etc.

1:40 - 1:50: All six goals the Blues got were screwjobs by the refs.

1:50 - 1:58: Ungrateful little people who throw jerseys on the ice are traitors to Katz nation, and should be pointed out to security.

1:59 - 2:00: Merry Christmas, I'm off to count my fat stacks.

Best post ever!

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#248 Blackhawks 2013
December 23 2013, 09:34AM
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Mr. Brownlee great article picture says it all (old boys club) Many years ago the great Gretzky once commented that the Devils were a "Mickey Mouse organization" I think the shoe in on the other foot now. I feel sorry for you oiler fans for having to see the same cluster every year.

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#249 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 23 2013, 09:56AM
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Standing O for Brownlee!..........for having the balls to write the article that Oilersnation loyalists have been demanding and have deserved to see in print for some time now!

Well done my man!

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#250 Cynic
December 23 2013, 10:01AM
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"Mr. Katz, the taxpayers of this town have provided you with $100 million dollars, ...

Check your math. Because if you think it's only a $100M giveaway, you're a bigger sukcer than ost of the people who buy season's tickets. Or you're David Staples. Not sure which would be sadder.

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