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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#1 Renegade
December 22 2013, 12:45PM
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I am starting to think that Katz wants to relocate the team. He has demonstrated that by going over to Seattle. Why else would he let this team go on the way it is?

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#2 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 06:38PM
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bnr wrote:

As someone who lives out of province.. Can someone tell me why the city of Edmonton would put taxpayers money into a private business (essentially what a sports organization is)? I've never heard of that occurring elsewhere.

That's easy.

Because this is a podunk little town with aspirations of glory, and the media is easy to control with limited advertising (as opposed to a big city, with multiple big-revenue advertisers like the Oilers). With an easily-controlled media, comes an easily-manipulated public (like most of the morons reading here), which results in easy votes.

So yeah, advertising will result in people voting their own money away to build an arena for a multi-billionaire so his team of multi-millionaire losers can lose in.

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#3 rob
December 22 2013, 12:55PM
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hall and Perron and Nurse are the only ones that stay,time for a trade(multiple)fire klowe,let Mact stay as gm he has not had enough time yet,see what he can trade our first,eberle,yaks,klefbom and such for.please get rid of belov,ganger and perty even for a bag of pucks!

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#4 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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#5 Rick Stroppel
December 22 2013, 04:16PM
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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

1. What a wonderful Christmas present for Ralph Krueger and his wife! She was in the room when McTavish fired Ralph by skype.

2. Obvious now why Bryzgalov hasn't put any paint on his mask.

3. Katz thinks Edmonton needs the Oilers. We don't need the Oilers. We need NHL hockey. When Katz went to Seattle, city counsel should have sent a delegation to Phoenix, Tampa and Carolina. Wouldn't it be great to see a REAL NHL team playing in the new arena!

4. Yakupov is an "Alexander Daigle" style bust. Minus 26: numbers do not lie. I would try to trade him to Toronto or Ottawa for a package that includes their first round pick this year. Maybe they saw him light it up in the OHL and they can be sucked in to thinking he will make it in the NHL. Unlike Daigle, Yakupov will not suffer the indignity of dragging his sorry butt around the league as a 3-4 line player. He will eventually high-tail it back to the KHL where his selfish, one way style of play will be much appreciated.

5. Lowe, McTavish and Eakins are going nowhere this year. Those three and Katz really like each other, because they are all basically the same person. They don't need any help, they have got it all figured out. As long as these four arrogant jackasses are in charge, this franchise is going nowhere.

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#6 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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#7 bnr
December 22 2013, 04:04PM
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As someone who lives out of province.. Can someone tell me why the city of Edmonton would put taxpayers money into a private business (essentially what a sports organization is)? I've never heard of that occurring elsewhere.

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#8 Forrestt
December 22 2013, 12:18PM
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I think it's "Trade Time". Show the fan base that a bold move has been made, for a top defencemen, or that rugged kick his own teamates arse when there playing like crap forward. The trade will hurt but hopefully heal the Oilers Longterm!

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#9 Zarny
December 23 2013, 10:26AM
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Honestly, it's time for some to step back from the ledge and take a breath. It's been comical to watch some fans go from the next dynasty to complete Armageddon in less than 4 months.

Nothing has actually changed from the start of the season; other than we've seen the folly of those who thought a Stanley Cup contender is only made up of a few high draft picks.

They aren't. Two years ago, Anh had Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan and still finished 25th. Perspective people.

Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yakupov and Schultz remain a very good foundation to build upon but that isn't a finished product. They are still very young and inexperienced, and how fans feel does nothing to change that fact.

Through 38 games we've seen the perils of not having a top pairing D. We've also seen the perils of the top 6 F being too much of the same. The same game plan shutdowns everyone of them...push them to the outside and bump them off the puck. Firing Lowe solves none of this.

The Oilers can't wait for Nurse to maybe fill the role in 4-5 years. With an over abundance of small, skilled F one of them is going to have to moved fill the holes on the roster.

Yes, the player moved will be a very talented forward. Don't worry, the Oilers have three more just like them.

Teams that play for the Stanley Cup move picks and prospects for proven NHL players. It's that time in Edm. The 2014 1st round pick, likely Yak or Eberle as well as some of the prospects (Klefbom or Marincin) will need to be utilized as assets to get the pieces the Oilers are missing.

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#10 CMG30
December 22 2013, 05:42PM
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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.

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#11 Jay
December 22 2013, 01:23PM
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So your Nashville and MacT calls asking for weber. What's gonna get it done? Yak, JSchultz, Marincin and this years first?

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#12 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
December 22 2013, 01:40PM
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Jay wrote:

So your Nashville and MacT calls asking for weber. What's gonna get it done? Yak, JSchultz, Marincin and this years first?

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?

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#13 Copper
December 22 2013, 06:37PM
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Robin, what would firing Lowe accomplish? How does that effect the product on the ice? It's my experience change is made in employee and middle management (coach) long before senior management.

It is my opinion that the arrogance that both McT and Eakins showed early has hurt product and perceptions.

McT should have under promised and over delivered. Instead, he promised "significant change" and "bold" moves.

Eakins is an AHL coach who thought he was better than everyone else. Instead of revolutionizing NHL hockey, he should have learned his team and adjusted his system(s) to his team. Not adjusting his team to unproven systems.

Rookie mistakes by both. Both will need to learn and improve as much as the players do.

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#14 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 07:23PM
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TonyT wrote:

"Public" as defined by dictionary.com

adjective 1. of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole. 2. done, made, acting, etc., for the community as a whole. 3. open to all persons. 4. of, pertaining to, or being in the service of a community or nation, especially as a government officer. 5. maintained at the public expense and under public control. 6. generally known: The fact became public. 7. familiar to the public; prominent. 8. open to the view of all. 9. pertaining or devoted to the welfare or well-being of the community. 10. of or pertaining to all humankind.

"Building" as defined by dictionary.com

noun 1. a relatively permanent enclosed construction over a plot of land, having a roof and usually windows and often more than one level, used for any of a wide variety of activities, as living, entertaining, or manufacturing. 2. anything built or constructed. 3. the act, business, or practice of constructing houses, office buildings, etc.

OK, then by every definition you listed, neither arena is public.

1. Does not affect the community as a whole. 2. Not done for the community as a whole. 3. Not open to all persons. 4. Not pertaining to or in service of the community or nation. 5. Perhaps maintained at public expense, but not under public control. 6. Maybe. 7. Certainly, but not the correct definition. 8. Definitely not. 9. Certainly not. 10. Absolutely not.

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#15 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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#16 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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#17 Rama Lama
December 22 2013, 12:20PM
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Firing KLowe would be a very welcoming gesture by Katz and would send a much needed message of hope, for the Oilers faithful.

I for a second do not believe that the players have mailed it in........it's just they are all the same types of players. Every media, pundit, fans have said that the OIlers need to get tougher, meaner, and bigger.........Mac T should have done more in the offseason......rookie GM mistake.

Next year should be entertaining.......please Santa let it be that way.

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#18 Tileguy
December 22 2013, 01:28PM
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Why can,t macT let it be known that the oilers are open for business? Nobody is untouchable. Let the offers come in and evaluate. Would i trade a Eberle for a powerforward and a #2 defenceman, you bet. There are teams that would want a sniper/playmaker as bad as we want a couple of studs.

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#19 Copper
December 22 2013, 06:41PM
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Mac962 wrote:

I hate to say it - but think about the national coverage it would get that we the fans demand change- if you wore a jersey from Any other team to the next few games until change happens.

No Oilers jerseys, in support of the guy who literally tossed 200 bucks on the ice.

You think this wouldnt get someones attention. Even better, a flames or Canucks Jersey. Wake up Katz you recluse fat wallet Bastard.

Sell the team to someone who knows hockey and who's lips are not connected to someone from the past- that really in the grand scheme of things, never really earned his rings, but rather rode the coat tails of those who did.

Put up your $billions.

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#20 etownman
December 22 2013, 01:15PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Firing KLowe would be a very welcoming gesture by Katz and would send a much needed message of hope, for the Oilers faithful.

I for a second do not believe that the players have mailed it in........it's just they are all the same types of players. Every media, pundit, fans have said that the OIlers need to get tougher, meaner, and bigger.........Mac T should have done more in the offseason......rookie GM mistake.

Next year should be entertaining.......please Santa let it be that way.

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!

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#21 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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#22 D
December 22 2013, 12:26PM
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I was one of those that shelled out quite a few dollars in the mid 1990s to sit in an arena with less than 10,000 fans. That was a sad era, especially with Pocklington threatening to move the team all the time, despite the fact that he was the direct cause of the fans staying away.

I'll give Katz credit for opening his wallet and trying to bring consistently elite hockey back to Edmonton. I hope whatever moves he makes next, they're well thought out and aren't any that will cause regrets a few years from now.

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#23 Monique
December 22 2013, 12:28PM
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Finally someone calling out Katz, If you were beside me I'd suck those big balls

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#24 Sevenseven
December 22 2013, 01:23PM
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Spydyr wrote:

I'm pretty sure there is no trade freeze on letting management go this time of year. Katz give every Oiler fan a Christmas present and let Lowe go.It even rhymes.

Let Lowe go! Let low go!

That is the chant for the next game!!!

Let Lowe go!!!

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#25 Jay
December 22 2013, 01:50PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. 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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#26 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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#27 K_Mart
December 22 2013, 12:35PM
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Hard to fathom how bad this team really is.

As for the up arrows being spewed out by JW, LT, and Tyler Dellow... Take a look at how we've stacked up against western teams this year compared to last year... We are every bit as bad.

Sure, when you include the games against the east our scoring chance numbers are up a bit, our corsi and Fenwick are showing improvement... But we didn't get to play against eastern teams last year.

We are every bit as bad this year as we were last year. It's not the coaching, it is the mix of players on the roster.

When you have all your top forwards on the ice playing the exact same role, it will never work.

I'm a patient guy, and at this point I really don't care if we keep tanking. Ekblad, Nurse, and Mcdavid can end up being the future. Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Jultz, and Yak can play the roles of depth veterans for all I care.

If the right deal comes along for one of Eberle, Yak, Hall, Nuge, Jultz, Hemsky, Gags, or Perron, then by all means make the trade, but only if it makes sense.

What's one more year of losing if it means getting Mcdavid, the kind of player that comes along every 5-10 years?

Times like these will reveal the true character of our young core. If they dig deep and fight tooth and nail right to the bitter end of this season great. If they start to whine and complain, and start asking to be traded then their true colors will show and I say ship em out.

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#28 Jay
December 22 2013, 01:25PM
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How a out eberle instead of yak?

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#29 K_Mart
December 22 2013, 01:45PM
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Nothing the Oil have would get them Weber. Hall and Nuge combined might get it done. Not worth it though.

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#30 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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#31 TonyT
December 22 2013, 07:00PM
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@JJ

If I understand you correctly, you believe all public use buildings should be privately funded by their owners? Who gets what money aside, a public arena of that magnitude is used for other public events besides hockey. But that's not really the topic of this particular blog.

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#32 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 07:02PM
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TonyT wrote:

If I understand you correctly, you believe all public use buildings should be privately funded by their owners? Who gets what money aside, a public arena of that magnitude is used for other public events besides hockey. But that's not really the topic of this particular blog.

How is either arena a public building?

Please, tell me.

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#33 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 07:29PM
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Butters wrote:

A better way to put it might be that the arena is a public good. Tt will pretty much instantly gentrify a pretty rundown area of town.

At what cost?

Maybe you haven't lived here long enough, but I was around for the building of West Ed and then the City Centre Mall.

First, West Ed was supposed to gentrify the West, which it did. Then City Centre was supposed to re-gentrify downtown, which it didn't, because West Edmonton Mall was sucking all the commercial resources of the city.

So what is the arena going to kill? Southgate? Alberta Avenue? West Ed? North Common? South Common?

You can build the arena, but it's not like you're adding the 200,000 people necessary to maintain it as a commercial district.

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#34 Serious Gord
December 22 2013, 01:20PM
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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.

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#35 Johnnydapunk
December 22 2013, 05:37PM
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JJ wrote:

Really? I had no idea.. And no idea why that would be economically feasible. I don't care if my city has the Chicago Blackhawks caliber team in it, their playpen should not be funded by taxpayers who don't want to put their money into a private franchise.. It's a shame cities across NA are forced into that.

I'm not completely sure the exact reasoning behind it but in some cases there is a run off effect of having a pro sports team in a city, the attractiveness and perceived value of a city usually goes up when there is a high level (not necessarily high caliber) sports team, which makes it easier to attract private business to invest.

Sometimes it is that a Premier or Mayor wants a "legacy" and things like pretty arenas and whatnot allow that. It can allow a city to justify building other infrastructure related projects ( revitalising downtown, another LRT station for example with Edmonton ) which may be needed but stuff like major sports teams assist in that again in a roundabout way.

There is also things like job creation (construction, maintenance and the daily workings of a pro sports franchise) which means more taxes for the government.

There is also something that is a bit silly but does make a difference, is that people like seeing things being built and new shiny buildings, it's perceived as progress and growth and that makes people feel good.

I'm sure there are many other reasons, and maybe mine are completely off, but I just see it like this as it is quite common in many cities.

Apologies for the rambling, it's a boring cold Sunday today :-)

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#36 Robin Brownlee
December 22 2013, 07:31PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

"Oiler's Now" has turned into a brutal propaganda machine for Katz and Co, I used to have a lot of time for Bob when he had his "Inside Sports" he continually called out Oiler Management and coaching, and then he used his show to convince his trusting listeners that Katz was good, EIG was no longer needed. I don't expect him to lose his job but quit finding new ways to justify this mess. He never say's my tweets or texts on air since I asked him if Taylor Hall's mom was on a tree planting crew, he has no sense of ha ha.

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.

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#37 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 07:33PM
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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.

Now if you could only explain Lowetide and his fetish for the "smartest man in the room" competition between Craig and Dallas, I'd write you a check for a hundred bucks.

Because if either are the smartest man in the room, then the Oilers are in some serious trouble.

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#38 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 09:16PM
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@Adam

Actually, my argument is full of economic facts.

West Edmonton Mall killed Edmonton's downtown within a matter of 3-5 years (depending on who you ask), and that was at a time when Edmonton was booming. I know this may sound odd to a young guy like you, but Jasper Ave and 104 Ave were thriving streets 35 years ago.

Moreover, not a single downtown arena - not Baltimore, not KC, not OKC, not Milwaukee or Chicago - has restored an area. The only example ever brought up as a counter argument is Denver, and that has mitigating factors (for example, the new arena was built in an area already experiencing gentrification, and Denver had seen its population boom for about 10 years prior.)

I picked 200,000 out of random, but I think it's a fair and educated guess, based on what each area of expansion has required to thrive (West Ed, South Common, North Common.)

Millions of dollars in infrastructure investment is a one-time cash injection. More than that, the arena is not part of the infrastructure of the city. Roads, bridges, water and drainage are infrastructure. However, the most important part is that the cash spent is a one-time event. To maintain that arena requires constant cash expenditure by a willing public. Do you suddenly have more money in your pocket? Are you going to spend significantly more on Christmas in 2015 than you would in 2012, are you going to do more shopping overall, are you going to choose downtown as the area to do it in? The answer to all three is likely no.

I'm against the arena for both moral and economic reasons. The economics aren't there.

I have no doubt - absolutely zero - that downtown will get a boost from the arena. However, I do wonder at whose cost that boost will come from. Will West Ed whither and die the way downtown did in the late 70s? Will Southgate suffer? Or, most likely in my estimation, will Alberta Avenue take a hit? We just spent tens of millions renovating Alberta Avenue. That renovation is already showing signs of not achieving its goals. If the new arena kills Northlands, what then?

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 TonyT
December 22 2013, 12:13PM
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FLA the rat toss DET octopus EDM the jersey

I congratulate whoever made that statement last night. We've all ranted till we've been blue in the face. I knew way to get a message across? Let's hope someone, anyone, is listening...

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#42 vetinari
December 22 2013, 12:15PM
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I posted in this in the previous thread and it is just as appropriate here---

Take a lesson from "Breaking Bad": "No more half measures..."

Katz:

There are problems with your management team.

There are problems with your mix of coaches and assistant coaches.

There are problems with the current roster of players and how they relate to the coaches.

Where do you want to start because the ball is in your court?

I suppose that as long as this investment continues to make you money, there is no incentive for you to change business practices.

I only hope that you get to feel the pain that we all do in some small way, whether it's a fan boycott for all games from February to the end of the year, or some other collective action by the fans (anyone have management's e-mail addresses?).

Just a little piece of free advice for you, Mr. Katz-- when your management team is the basically the one that got you into this mess, maybe you should hire a consultant from outside of the organization to do a review of what's currently wrong from top to bottom... but that would only be needed if you actually thought that there was a problem and that the problem needed to be fixed.

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#43 Renegade
December 22 2013, 01:09PM
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I like how some people keep saying play bad for the first over all pick.... hmm... how has that worked out for us so far?

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#44 Serious Gord
December 22 2013, 01:49PM
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Jersey salesman wrote:

One suggestion to any potential jersey throwers, wait till Saturdays CBC game so that it will actually get some press. I think it's a great way to get our frustration across for whoever is willing and can afford it.

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.

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#45 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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#46 John Kirsch
December 22 2013, 04:01PM
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@nick

Weber won't help this group we need more than 1 player (I don't care if it were Lemiuex or Gretzky), besides there is no way he would come to Edmonton.

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#47 ColourMeImpressed
December 22 2013, 09:18PM
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@Adam

FYI, my taxes have essentially doubled since 2000. We've seen tax hikes of 5-8% every year, and they compound.

Just the idea of paying taxes for Richie Rich's arena so that his multi-millionaire losers can build a team to play terrible hockey chokes me up.

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#48 Former ND Hound
December 22 2013, 09:24PM
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@ColourMeImpressed

"So what is the arena going to kill?"

You're making an interesting observation but it's void of any economic facts. First of all, Edmonton's population has, and is soaring. 200,000 people (don't know why u picked that number) isn't going to be a stretch within the next 10 years, given the number of emmigrants from across the nation, and even from other countries. Canada is booming (refer to our immigrant numbers or GDP for reassurance).

Secondly, our DT was just inject with millions of dollars in infrastructure, to make way for a new core. Have you seen the buildings going up like corn stalks here? Grant Macewan is expanding with hundreds of millions over the last few years in new buildings, housing, loft and apartment space is DOUBLING year to year in certain areas, and we have a lot more leisure centers, restaurants, and various venues to prove it. This is because of money, capital, and job creation.

Third, larger areas of commerce do not equate to a drain on other areas of commerce. City Center still functions QUITE comfortably, even with the megalithic WEM down the road, and will continue to do so.

If ur against an arena because of the moral implications of a tax-infused, investment risk, i totally got ur back. But the economic data is Wayyyyyyy too juicy to pass up as some sort of bust.

Put it this way: If Edmonton has economic troubles AFTER the arena is built, we have bigger problems because it means something happened to our precious oil industry. Don't forge that this is an investment too, and we get money back. In 50 years, there will be other problems to worry about. In the meantime, don't be such a dinosaur about growth and learn how to research numbers. . . .

Katz troll...get rid of Gagner ...

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#49 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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#50 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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