GDB: 38.0: OILERS WANTED THIS...

Jason Gregor
December 23 2013 12:23PM

 

The Oilers asked for this.

During the past few seasons members of the Oilers management have made references to wanting to build their team in the same vain as Chicago and Pittsburgh. I have no idea if they will ever have the same success as those two franchises, but right now they are emulating the struggles and lack of success that both those franchises endured before becoming two of the best teams in the NHL.

I've cautioned people who only looked at the rebuilds of Chicago and Pittsburgh as blueprints for the Oilers, because the harsh reality is that for every Chicago there are two franchises like Columbus or Atlanta/Winnipeg, and for every Pittsburgh there is a Florida and the New York Islanders.

It was great for the Oilers to aspire to be like the Blackhawks and Penguins, but that was always the "best case scenario."

Many readers won't want to read this, but the truth remains this is only year four of the Oilers rebuild. The previous four seasons were not part of the rebuild. They were four seasons of bad management. That doesn't excuse the Oilers, specifically Kevin Lowe who has been here for all eight years, but if you are someone who was in favour of the rebuild in 2010 then you have to accept the harsh reality of the current timeline.

It is rare for teams to rebuild in a short period of time. The problem is i'm not sure the Oilers truly understood how hard the journey would be. Did they expect this much losing? If so, why did they change coaches every year? It is fair to question if they truly had a plan, and it is more than fair to question whether they have the fortitude or smarts to follow it through and make the correct decisions to become a winner.

When the Oilers management suggested they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Hawks and Penguins, I wonder if they knew exactly what that entailed? Did they know that the Blackhawks made the playoffs once in ten seasons between 1998 and 2008?

The Hawks didn't have a few years of losing; they had a decade of it.

1998: 9th worst record. Drafted 8th (Mark Bell) after a deal with Toronto
1999: 7th worst record. Won lottery, moved up to 4th spot, then traded that pick for Bryan McCabe and the 11th pick in 2000. McCabe played one season in Chicago before being dealt to Toronto for Alex Karpotvsev and a pick.
2000: 8th worst record. Picked 10th, due to Minnesota and Columbus entering league, and selected Mikhail Yakubov 10th and used the 11th pick on Pavel Vorobiev. 
2001: 9th worst record and they selected Tuomo Ruutu 9th.
2002: Made the playoffs. Finished 5th in the west, four points ahead of 9th. Their top six scoring forward were there in 2001 and Jocelyn Thibault was the starter both years, but they added Phil Housley and Jon Klemm on the blueline. They were #2 and #3 in TOI behind Boris Mironov. They made a very smart pick in the 2nd round selecting Duncan Keith 45th overall.
2003: 14th worst record. They selected Brent Seabrook. They took Corey Crawford in the 2nd round and Dustin Byfuglien in the 9th.
2004: 2nd worst record. Washington won the lottery so the Hawks dropped to 3rd and picked Cam Barker after missing out on Ovechkin and Malkin. The Hawks had 17 draft picks that year and took Dave Bolland 32nd, Bryan Bickell 41st and Troy Brouwer 214th. 
2005: No season, but they picked 7th after the lottery and took Jack Skille. They chose Niklas Hjalmarsson 108th overall.
2006: 3rd worst record. They happily took Jonathan Toews at #3.
2007: 5th worst record. They won the lottery and took Patrick Kane first overall. (Sidenote, the Oilers never would have gotten Kane. Had they lost their final game of the season to the Flames they would have finished with the 4th worst record not the fifth.)
2008: 11th worst record. Took Kyle Beach with the 11th pick.

During the first half of that decade of losing none of the Hawks top picks made an impact in Chicago, however, between 2002-2007 the foundation of their team was built through the draft. Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Hjalmarsson, Crawford, Bickell, Bolland, Brouwer and Byfuglien were all key players in one or both of their Stanley Cup victories.

However, it wasn't like they planned to go from being a playoff team in 2002, to missing out by one point in 2003 to being a bottom three team in 2004, 2006 and 2007. You can make a strong argument that their most important decision came from a stroke of luck; winning the draft lottery.

Toews is the heart and soul of that team, but Kane is his deadly sidekick, and I don't see them winning the Cup without Kane. You need some luck and good fortune along the way to win a Cup, but to become a consistent contender you need to build the majority of the key pieces via the draft.

The Oilers have an excellent chance of mirroring the Hawks decade of losing, but they will be hard pressed to go from being a bottom feeder to a Cup contender like the Hawks, because no two paths to Cup success are the same.

The Oilers don't have a Keith or Seabrook right now. You can argue that Petry could be their Hjalmarsson and Eberle was an outstanding pick at #22, but other than a long stretch of losing, I've never made the direct comparison between the two organizations.

The Hawks stunk for a decade, and if Bill Wirtz hadn't passed away in the fall of 2007, I wonder if the Hawks would have had the same success. Wirtz was a very generous man who donated millions of dollars to the Boys and Girls Clubs and other charities, but he was incredibly frugal when it came to the Blackhawks. For years he wouldn't show Blackhawks' home games on television. He alienated his fans to the point that when the Blackhawks held a moment of silence in his honour prior to a game in October of 2007 some fans booed.

The Hawks success was a combination of good drafting, some lottery luck and a change in leadership.

Will the Oilers do the same?

WHAT ABOUT PITTSBURGH?

Most people know that the Penguins had five consecutive top-five picks between 2002-2006, but prior to those five lean years the Penguins were a great organization.

The Penguins made the playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons before missing them in 2002. Jaromir Jagr entered the NHL in 1990/1991 and that is when the Penguins 11-year streak began. They also had some guy named Mario Lemieux who was also pretty good.

Jagr came in when their run started, and when he was traded on July 11th, 2001that marked the beginning of their five years in suckville.

The Penguins made it to the conference finals in 2001, losing 4-1 to New Jersey, but Jagr was traded that summer and Lemieux only played 26 games in 2002.

2002: 5th worst record. They drafted Ryan Whitney. They also selected Max Talbot 234th overall.
2003: 2nd worst record. Florida won the lottery and had the first pick. The Penguins had the 3rd choicel, and they moved that pick along with the 55th pick (Stefan Meyer) and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida for the 1st and 73rd pick (Daniel Carcillo).The Penguins took Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.
2004: Worst record in the NHL. Washington won the lottery and picked first, (Ovechkin) and the Penguins grabbed Evgeni Malkin at #2. They took Alex Goligoski 61st and Tyler Kennedy 99th.
2005: No season. The history of the Penguins changed due to luck. They won the lottery and had the pleasure of selecting Sidney Crosby. They chose Kris Letang 62nd that year as well.
2006: 2nd worst record. They selected Jordan Staal 2nd overall.

There is no Crosby in Edmonton, and on any other team for that matter, so it is very difficult for the Oilers to follow the Penguins' path to success. The Penguins drafted three centres, one goalie and a D-man who they used in a trade to acquire Chris Kunitz.

The Penguins went from being very good to terrible in the span of 10 months.

Their five-year drought was painful, but they got Crosby and Malkin; two of the top-five players in the NHL. It is impossible to match that blueprint. The Penguins also got an elite D-man in the 3rd round, similar to the Blackhawks landing Keith.

The Oilers are on pace to grab their 5th consecutive pick in the top-seven, and while that will put them on par with the draft positioning of the Penguins, it doesn't mean their five picks will be as impactful as the Penguins. Just like the Hawks, the Penguins caught a huge break by winning the lottery and selecting a dynamic and dominant player.

The Oilers have also won the lottery, but Nail Yakupov hasn't come close to matching the early success of Kane or Crosby. He likely will produce more in the future, but I don't ever see him being in the same category as those two players.

The one similarity that I do see unfolding with the Oilers, that we also saw in Pittsburgh and Chicago, will be trading away one of their top-five picks.

The Hawks moved Cam Barker for Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy, while the Pens moved Whitney for Kunitz and after winning a Cup, they had to move (pending UFA) Staal for Brandon Sutter and Derrick Pouliot.

The Oilers are similar to the Penguins in their draft position, and are on the verge of being on par with the Blackhawks when it comes to a decade of losing. Now, it is up to MacTavish to see if he can build this team into a contender. They still have a lot of work to do.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

  • It is great to have a goal to strive for, but the I've always felt it was a bit of pipedream to believe you could emulate the road to success of the Penguins or Blackhawks. The fact is there is no guarantee of success in the NHL.
     
  • Having consecutive top-five picks should give you a good base, but only if you use the picks properly. Either you pick the best combination of players, or you pick the ones that you will be able to move for assets in the future. The Oilers aren't in a position to trade one of those picks today, but they will need to in the future.
     
  • The other difference between the Oilers and the Hawks and Penguins thus far is drafting depth outside of a top-ten pick. The Blackhawks built the depth of their team through the draft, and many of them were a bit more mature by the time Kane and Toews burst on the scene.
     
  • The Penguins surrounded their young players with productive and experienced players. In 2008 when they lost in the Cup final, they added Hal Gill, Pascal Dupuis and Marian Hossa. The next year when they won the Cup they acquired Kunitz, Bill Guerin and Craig Adams. The Oilers will need to make smart moves and acquire some veterans to support their young stars.
     
  • The Penguins Cup winning blueline consisted of draft picks, Letang, Rod Scuderi (134th pick, 1998) and Brooks Orpik (18th, 2000), acquired Gill and two free agent signings in Sergie Gonchar (2005) and Mark Eaton (2006).
     
  • The Hawks also had three drafted D-men on their blueline in Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson.
     
  • The only drafted D-man the Oilers curently have on the roster is Petry. We expect Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and possibly Martin Marincin to play in the future, but if the Oilers are going to succeed then one of those three will need to be an impact player within three seasons. That is a lot to ask of a young D-man.
     
  • If I had to pick, I'd say the Oilers have a better chance of following the Penguins path than the Blackhawks, strictly because the Hawks D-men were more mature than their forwards when they won. The Penguins went out and signed a veteran top-pairing D-man in Gonchar, which is a more realistic option for the Oilers. They either trade for one this summer or try and sign one via free agency this summer.
     
  • Trading or signing an elite D-man is going to be extremely difficult. If they don't go that route, I don't see how this team can take the steps needed to becoming a competitive team.
     
  • I understand the frustration amongst Oilers fans. You are sick of watching a losing product, and you should be. However, the Oilers haven't been rebuilding for eight years. From 2007-2010 they tried being competitive, but they failed. They made some questionable trades and free agent signings, and the only reason they actually went into a rebuild was due to numerous injuries to key players during the 2009/2010 season. They didn't plan to rebuild, it just unfolded that way.
     
  • That doesn't excuse Kevin Lowe, far from it, but the biggest mistake the Oilers could make today is to try and speed up the rebuild. If they need to fire someone within the organization to appease their fans, then they have to do it, but if they try to deviate from their original plan, or try and speed up the process, then there is a very good chance they will end up driving this team into an even longer cycle of losing. They have to see the process through, and accept that there might be some empty seats in the process. If they try to change the plan now, they likely will screw it up even worse.
     
  • Eakins was pretty fired up about the fan who threw his jersey on the ice. "That's a bunch of bull crap. Whoever through that jersey on the ice is a quitter and they're out. I never want our players to quit," said Eakins. Every sports team values the jersey, it is very symbolic and I see why the coach didn't like it. He was okay with fans booing, said his team deserved it, but the jersey was offside. I'm guessing this will be a hot topic amongst Oiler fans. Some I spoke to loved it, while others felt it was disrespectful to the jersey.
     
  • My personal opinion on it is this. Eakins is in a no win situation. They didn't need another distraction, although I'm guessing that was his plan. Have fans hate him, not the team.

    Also...If the fan who threw it is officially done with the Oilers, then he went out with a bang. If he threw it on the ice, but will be back watching them tonight then it was just a moment of dumb frustration and rather bushleague. You can be upset at the Oilers, yell at them because they haven't improved, demand that Lowe be fired. That is fair game. Tossing a jersey, or anything else on the ice, other than a hat after a hat trick, should not be applauded.

    I do believe many fans are fed up and likely won't go to any games or watch any until the Oilers improve, and if you are strong enough to stay away I tip my hat to you. I'm a diehard Dolphins fan, and my team has stunk for the most part of the past two decades, yet everytime I think I'm done with them they win a few games and I get sucked back in. It is very hard to stop cheering for a team, and if you are able to do it then you are stronger than me. Good on ya.

 LINEUP

It shouldn't matter who they play with, the entire team's focus should be about working hard and competing. If they don't instill that into their foundation this team will never improve. Eakins juggled his lines and came up with these new combos at practice yesterday.

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

Ference-J Schultz
Belov-Petry
N Schultz-Potter

Bryzgalov

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers worst game of the year was the 5-0 loss to Detroit. They rebounded three days later and beat Florida on the road. Tonight is different. They are at home and their fans are frothing at the mouth in frustration. If they have any pride they will put forth a good effort. If they don't, the fans won't hold back their displeasure. The Oilers avoid a raucous round of boos with a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers announce a sell out, but there will be some empty seats. Whether they are paid for or not, the message should be clear to the Oilers; patience is wearing thin amongst Oiler fans.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The powerplay doesn't give up a good scoring chance.
 

DAY 16: MONTH OF GIVING...

Today is our final day, so if you haven't finished your Christmas shopping you could do it during the show and help out Santas Anonymous and The Christmas Bureau at the same time.

Package #1: Update your wardrobe.

 

  • A $1,000 shopping spree at Derk's Mens Wear
  • One Derk's Black Label Suit.
  • $300 in tailoring to help with your new wardrobe.
  • A wardrobe consultation. Derks will come to your house, go through your closet and asses what you need or what pieces need to go.

Package #2: Tee It Up.

  • 10 rounds of golf at the Ranch Golf and Country Club (hole 14 above)  with a power cart with each round and use of driving range before every round.

 Package #3: For your special lady.

  • A pair of white gold diamond earrings. Beautiful floral type deign with micro pavee set diamonds on lever backs, they are a stunning dangling style with .30 carats of diamonds. Courtesy of Michael Anthony Jewellers. 

Package #4:

  • Two pairs of seats to watch the Flyers/Oilers on Saturday.
    Row 23 seats 1,2 and seats 5.6  with club access courtesy of Nation reader VK63!

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

Thanks in advance...

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 westcoastoil
December 23 2013, 05:06PM
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Bottom line is if Lowe & Katz respected the jersey as much as the fans, and more than their egos, the team wouldn't be in the mess that it is.

I'll give Eakins and MacT a pass because you can't expect them to clean up this debacle in a matter of months.

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#102 kale
December 23 2013, 07:28PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

1:00 today - starts at the 1:35 mark give or take.

Useful if only because Bob replays the entire eakins comment. Bob thinks it gives some kine of exoneration of what he said in the soundbite, but i think - and i think you will agree - he only digs a deeper hole.

You did really well with that Gord...prior to that there was way too much spin going on...

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#103 BingBong
December 23 2013, 08:26PM
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Stinker given up by Bryz, but good effort from everybody so far. Hemmer really looks great.

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#104 Tuningout
December 23 2013, 09:17PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I am actually more in touch with fans than you think. I had over 500 texts into the show today, and it was about 50/50 with those who liked the jersey toss and others who didn't.

I've learned people who post on the Nation are very passionate, but they don't speak for every fan. There are many types.

The guy admitted he would wear a jersey to the next game. So what was so profound about his actions? What is he protesting if he shows up the next game and wears a jersey? Pointless.

Why wouldn't he be protesting if he shows up the next game with a jersey ?

People protest through hunger strikes, doesn't mean their never going to eat again.

Gov't employees have protested by picketing for a morning, doesn't mean they didn't protest because they go back to work in the afternoon.

There are different forms of protest. This one was overblown for importance, it was a small and harmless protest blown out of porportion by media.

However to say it wasn't a protest confuses me.

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#106 RexHolez
December 23 2013, 10:25PM
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didn't bother watching tonight, why would I? just turned on Ched and it sounds like the boys didn't want to see too many jerseys on the ice so they showed up!

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#109 Serious Gord
December 24 2013, 12:44AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Not true. Go look at a record book and get back to me.

And when people say the best or worst teams or players they use the entire season, not half of it. That isn't my rule, it is just how it has been when people compare teams. And most statisticians wait until the end or a season to accurately compare to previous years, otherwise it is just a projection History shows many teams can have vastly different first or second halves of a season, both in improvment or in a decline.

I have consistently said "on track" at the halfway point to be the worst team in oilers history.

This is hardly an odd concept. Such projections are made all the time. I am pretty confident that you have made similar extrapolations for the oil and other teams (your beloved dolphins) in the past.

Forty odd games IS a substantive body of work - a sample size not much smaller than all of last season. And that was long enough for MacT to justify firing kreuger (for example).

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#110 Batfink
December 23 2013, 01:26PM
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Jersey? Sure.

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#111 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
December 23 2013, 01:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Your ticket says you can't throw things on the ice. Paying for a product doesn't give you freedom to act how ever you want. Sorry it doesn't.

Where did I say Lowe should stay on? I have no personal gain if he stays or goes, and I've said many times he is the only constant so it is safe to assume he is more part of the problem than the solution.

However, I don't think one person will make that drastic of a change. The organization has many areas it needs to improve on. Start with Lowe, sure, but understand more needs to happen than firing one man for this team to win.

Do you believe that the fans in Detroit should be thrown out for the Octupus on the ice? During the fluke cup run here were you horrified that the steak was thrown on the ice? Did you immediatly call the cops?

When a hat trick gets scored do you get nervous that a riot squad will appear to deal with all the miscreants and vandals who are not living up to the obligation of what their ticket says?

Good Grief

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#112 Zamboni Driver
December 23 2013, 01:56PM
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@Wintoon

I think the only thing I'm more tired of than losing repeatedly is this nonsense.

I'm so much more evolved as a fan. *I* understand that it's a long process, you dullards do not. There is progress...blah blah blah...

Dude.

Did you actually WATCH Saturday night's game?

Happy with being in second last place (only because Buffalo is seemingly tanking on purpose) after finishing last two years in a row two of the last three years? LAST PLACE.

And this year....not 29th place. SECOND LAST.

Take your sanctimony and shove it, respectfully.

And Happy Festivus

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#113 Chris.
December 23 2013, 02:05PM
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Just listened to Stauffer on the radio and I'm so furious I'm vibrating... His take: Eakins and MacTavish haven't even had a full year yet so we need to be patient.

Remember when we missed the playoffs in 2007 and we needed to be patient because we were re-tooling after Pronger left..?..

And then we missed the playoffs in 2008 and we needed to be patient because we had to let our exciting young core of Nilsson, Cogliano and Gagner grow and mature..??..

And then we missed the playoffs in 2009 but we had to be patient because Tambellini had only been general manager for one season..????..

And then in 2010 we finished last and missed the playoffs but we were going to need to be patient because we were just now starting a rebuild for the very first time with the Hall pick...?????..

And then in 2011 we finished last and missed the playoffs but still needed to be more patient because we were still by Stauffer's math in the first year of a rebuild..??????..

And then in 2012 we finished second last and missed the playoffs but needed to be patient because we were in the second year of a rebuild... and we had a brand new coach..???????..

And in 2013 we finished 24th and missed the playoffs but we no longer had to be to patient because our brand new General Manager is an "impatient guy" who predicted "some pretty immediate growth and change"..????????..

In 2014 we are trending towards our worst season in franchise history and Stauffer has the nerve to trot out the excuse that MacTavish and Eakins deserve MORE TIME??????????

More time for a coach that is stupid enough to call a frustrated fan a quitter and then quote a never quit the fight mantra one day after his team folded the tent after going down by only 2 goals in the second period of a nationally televised game?

More time for a GM who fired the last coach after only 48 games... a GM who is such a good evaluator of talent that he said his 2008/2009 team was the most skilled group he ever worked with and figured they would challenge for the division... and when that didn't happen; he quit? After years of high picks this team is a poorer functioning mirror of the 2008/2009 team that was filled with too many small, soft, perimeter type players to seriously compete for anything meaningful in the Western Conference... We are going in circles!

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#114 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
December 23 2013, 02:21PM
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I wonder if things would change if Sidney Crosby went on record calling the Oilers a Mickey Mouse organization.

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#115 vetinari
December 23 2013, 02:35PM
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As for Eakins commenting on the jersey... if his players didn't quit on the season, starting with the blowout against Detroit, then fans wouldn't be throwing jerseys onto the ice.

Now let's take this one step further-- which guy in the organization is responsible for motivating and teaching the players? Oh yeah, that's right, the coach!

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#116 Constance
December 23 2013, 02:39PM
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@Dallylamma

Entirely possible, though one would imagine that a "winner" like Kevin wouldn't require deals from Gregor to score stylish Menswear, pretty much anything he puts on would attain the level of high style due to clothings association with a true "winner" like Kevin.

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#117 outdoorzguy
December 23 2013, 02:53PM
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I just watched the Eakins jersey comments. If I didn't see his lips moving, I'd have said Kevin Lowe made that statement. Can you imaging a professional coach throwing a fan under the bus because his team is playing like crap? Lowe alienated the fans before the season started. Eakins just downright pissed them all away. Every jersey should be thrown on the bench tonight, at Eakins so he can see how many quitters are actually in the stands. I can't believe the arrogance of these guys. The seats have stayed relatively full night in and night out for the 29th place team in the NHL and he throws the only person with some balls under the bus. This guy should be buried in jerseys tonight, then marched right out of town!

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#118 Ivan Drago
December 23 2013, 02:55PM
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Couldn't disagree with Gregor more on this one. If fans can throw $30 hats on the ice in celebration of a great night from a player, and sometimes even underwear, with no complaints at all, then that same fan can throw his jersey on the ice when he has finally had enough. Arguing what fine print on a ticket says as your argument is just pathetic.

As far as that guy not coming to any more games, or its bush league if he does, Id still go to most, but I would not spend ONE nickel on drinks, food, merchandise or even at Rex drugs. Id still go because unfortunately Ive already paid for my seat.

The only thing bush league about this are Eakins comments. He should've taken the high road, like a professional, and said something along the lines of "this his opinion and I disagree we work hard blah blah blah". Not rip into the fan.

Its not just the mounting losses in the rebuild, its the flat out lack of compete from too many of the players. Some fans put in more effort getting to and from the game on a cold night than some of the players do on the ice. Shameful.

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#119 albertaboy19
December 23 2013, 03:20PM
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Haha us fans are fickle. Gregor has nothing to gain by agreeing with any of us or going against any of us. Hes in media boys and girls, he will always look at both sides of the fence wheither we like it or not. Same with Stauff. What I dont agree on is, fans need to make a statement, so I am ok with a jersey being thrown on the ice. What else are we supposed to do? Nothing else seems to make a difference, if we held a public jersey burning ceremony we would be bashed endlessly (like chris pronger did when we said we burned the furniture that he rented)

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#120 Lochenzo
December 23 2013, 03:29PM
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Eakins' message is for the players. If it comes across as harsh, that's just where we are at this point.

You play for pride. And pride in your game refers to your overall game and overall effort, not just your goals and assists. If you have no pride in your game, you'll never win. It's evident that the kids still need to learn this.

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#121 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 04:29PM
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Wintoon wrote:

I cannot believe the arrogance of some of the posters. The Oilers are a bad hockey team right now but they are moving in the right direction overall. Have they improved as much and as fast as we all hoped? No they haven't. Unfortunately everyone seems to think building a winner is easy. It is not. Patience is required and even then a perennial powerhouse is not guaranteed. Almost every NHL team has smart men working for them but very few teams actually achieve any form of greatness. I am confident that if MacT has an opportunity to make a bold move that helps the team he will. Until then, show some class, be humble and support the team. Listening to the haters is bad enough. Having to listen to Oiler fans whine is disgusting.

Arrogance my A$$. The oilers are on track to finish with their worst record ever. This after seven years of miserable hockey. Being upset and demanding change is not arrogance - it's rage at incompetence.

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#122 Bucknuck
December 23 2013, 07:41PM
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I keep waiting for them to turn a corner. I keep defending them. I keep hoping, and I keep cheering. I am a fan.

Now it's time to have something to cheer for. the turnaround begins tonight, Boys.

6-4 Oil win.

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#123 outdoorzguy
December 23 2013, 08:05PM
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The guy will be dead before he has a chance to drop the puck at a Oiler playoff game!! Besides McTavish will be long gone and Lowe won't honor the promise.

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#124 Mjolnir
December 23 2013, 09:24PM
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Why is everyone so pissy about Ralph getting fired over Skype? Would it be better if he flew back to Edmonton from Switzerland to get fired?? I'd be more pissed some idiot made me spend 15 hrs on an airplane just to piss in my mouth.

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#125 boxman
December 23 2013, 09:28PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I am actually more in touch with fans than you think. I had over 500 texts into the show today, and it was about 50/50 with those who liked the jersey toss and others who didn't.

I've learned people who post on the Nation are very passionate, but they don't speak for every fan. There are many types.

The guy admitted he would wear a jersey to the next game. So what was so profound about his actions? What is he protesting if he shows up the next game and wears a jersey? Pointless.

Jason I love your show and your blogs but you're wrong. That one jersey throw expressed the frustrations of a huge section of the fans. I would also suggest to you that your point about the over the top passion of Oilersnation fans not representing everybody works for your show as well. If you got a 50/50 response on your show that doesn't necessarily represent all the fans. I believe far more fans appreciated the gesture than didn't. How is this "I am sooo tired of this and I can't take it anymore" gesture pointless. It was heart felt and spoke for many of us. How is it any more pointless than phoning your show to express yourself. This was a fan expressing himself and for you to say it was pointless is pointless.

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#126 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 23 2013, 09:37PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Unless he throws a jersey on the ice tonight, then his protest is not like the suggestions you used. Those people do the same thing day after day. He isn't.

It confuses me that you can somehow read my previous post and try to suggest I said it wasn't a protest. I asked what was he protesting? Major difference.

Hi Jason,

You asked a question on your show today....I'm paraphrasing...but you asked if we thought the Oilers were on a path that would lead to a competitive team that would contend , or alternatively...are they on the wrong path altogether.

Upto the beginning of this season I thought they could potentially build a contender.....today, I think they are too far off track....I have lost confidence that they can ever become a contender with this roster. I think they need at least ten changes to this roster to get onto the right path.

I missed you're answer to the question......what do you think?

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#127 YFC Prez
December 23 2013, 10:20PM
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@Dave "Killer" Carlson

Love the handle and avatar. DAVES A KILLERRR!!!!!

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#128 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 10:28PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

And my GDP:

Oilers 5-2. Fans go nuts. No jerseys and other detritus will be tossed.

But Calgary looms...

And the worst mid-season record in oilers history is already a fact.

6-2.

I was close.

With apologies to Winston Churchill the Calgary game on the 27th is the hinge of the season.

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#129 boxman
December 23 2013, 10:41PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

Jersey jersey jersey blah blah blah blah. Give it a rest already. What a beauty of a game 6 GF 2 GA a Gazdic fight a scrum at the end for team building and headed into the Xmas break feeling good!!!!!!!!

Seriously...blah, blah, blah. After such a great game and now I'm angry at all the educators that let you down. It's sad when people fall through the cracks.

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#130 Butters
December 23 2013, 10:57PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

The Oilers were playing well, 7-3-1, before the six games against elite teams. They aren't an elite team and those six games proved it.

The Oilers should be able to compete and beat teams like the Jets. They need to beat middle of the road teams, gain experience and hope that next year they will add some new pieces and be able to at least compete with some of the elite teams.

I'm not believing the jersey theory and how it will play out in the future. I don't think you will see multiple bras thrown on the ice for the next hat trick either, but I could be wrong on both accounts.

They laid down and died a lot during that six game stretch. That is what a lot of us are ticked about.

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#131 THE PUZ
December 24 2013, 12:15AM
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Gregor's analysis does not take into account that the Oiler fans have been putting up with a "rebuild" for 20+ years, other than one fluky run, with excuse after excuse. We are tired of being the only ones bleeding orange and blue.

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#132 Zarny
December 24 2013, 12:26AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Garbage rebuttal. I nailed you fair and square. Admit it.

No, actually record books simply record wins, losses and ties.

For each year, every team plays by the same rules.

Regardless, by the end of the season it won't matter. This team won't have anywhere near the worst record ever.

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#133 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 24 2013, 12:56AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Is this not the type of expected courtesy the Oilers demand with your media participation Jason?

I'm conflicted. I like QSB and the dark presence he brings to the site......but Gregor is the best writer on the site..........hhhhmmm......I need to consult with nacho Jesus.

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#134 Serious Gord
December 24 2013, 01:31AM
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wiseguy wrote:

I'm pretty certain Churchill would neither know nor care about hockey, let alone favor a 3-2-1 system. He would be doing more interesting and valuable things than arguing on internet blog sites.

But if - hypothetically - you could ask him...

He was very much a fan of horse racing - can't recall if I ever read that he was or wasn't a fan of team sports - but he was a connoisseur of pretty much everything he turned his eye to and had an opinion to boot.

No doubt he would have known of lord Stanley - his grandfather the duke of Marlboro - whose memory Winston Churchill worshipped and he wrote a massive biography of - was in the Conservative party at the same time. And being a big believer in the dominions he no doubt was aware of the cup.

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#135 -30-
December 24 2013, 08:24AM
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After seeing 270 comments I have come to this conclusion.

IT'S JUST A GAME!!!!!

Happy holidays everyone :)

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#136 Quintana
December 23 2013, 12:57PM
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So its Jersey on ice tonight?

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#137 JJ
December 23 2013, 01:32PM
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You know what the problem is with NHL hockey players in general..

How do you motivate a bunch of disinterested early 20 year olds who's millions of dollars have already been guaranteed to them and they have nothing monetary to work towards?

I wish pro-sports contracts didn't work like that. If I'm lousy at my job and don't put in the effort, I'm fired. These kids? They are serenaded all the same and finish the night off partying in some bars.

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#138 DoubleTap
December 23 2013, 01:45PM
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@Jason Gregor

But your argument wasn't that it is wrong because the ticket says not to. It was based on the premise that throwing a jersey is disrespectful and I disagree with that. I'm sure the fan was escorted out by security for his actions.

My point is, what the action symbolizes and the protest behind it is valid. You didn't directly state that you wanted Lowe to stay, and I agree much more needs to be done, but you obviously don't think that the incompetence shown by the management and ownership warrants this form of protest. I believe it does, regardless what the fine print on a ticket might say. This is where I disagree with you.

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#139 Rheal1 "Ontario Oilers Fan"
December 23 2013, 01:54PM
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Not asking for much. Please Oilers get your collective $@#% together and get us a great win tonight. Please.

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#140 Rheal1 "Ontario Oilers Fan"
December 23 2013, 02:05PM
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Is Ron Low available to come back?

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#141 Chris.
December 23 2013, 02:21PM
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ColourMeImpressed wrote:

Have you seen Eakins quitter comment in full context?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mD0-_Nay_IE#t=208

It's not like how it sounds in text.

I listened to all 2 minutes and the meat of what he said remains the same. The comments were incredibly ill advised.

a) It is galactically stupid for Eakins to pretend he is calling out "one fan" when so many people are in support of what that fellow did, or at least really understand why he did it and hope this can become a rallying point for change...

b) It's naive to imagine there won't be more jerseys on the ice after the next Oiler loss... What's your move then Eakins? War with the fanbase?

c) It's pathetic he didn't see the irony of his comments when it was his team that had so clearly quit.

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#142 Dallylamma
December 23 2013, 02:30PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Do you believe that the fans in Detroit should be thrown out for the Octupus on the ice? During the fluke cup run here were you horrified that the steak was thrown on the ice? Did you immediatly call the cops?

When a hat trick gets scored do you get nervous that a riot squad will appear to deal with all the miscreants and vandals who are not living up to the obligation of what their ticket says?

Good Grief

The steak thing was a media stunt by CISN...freaking lame.

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#143 outdoorzguy
December 23 2013, 02:45PM
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michael wrote:

These last 6 games were exactly what I expected. Psalm 23 folks is my mantra.Talk about the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Cripes we knew it was coming.Yet when these 6 games came and went it left many of us still wondering if our faith in the players and management was/is warranted?

The good news is that the light of a new day can bring new hope to all of us Oiler fans.

The Oilers have a chance to recover some of their confidence with games against the Jets,the Flames and the Flyers. We hope.

I look at the last 6 games as a test of our faith in all things Oilers. Like many of you I get crazy when we see how easily St Louis ran our show. 6-0 is in the books.

Now is the time to renew our faith in the team. Not leave them wandering alone in the wilderness.

Those of you who go to the game tonight show your faith and your support for this team.They need cheers not jeers. Their confidence is shaken so a show of support is needed.

Merry Christmas

Yeah, thats right, go ahead and look for the "light of a new day". Not happening. Can't possibly happen under this regime. Hasn't happened for a decade. What makes you think it will change now? Keep drinking the 6Ring flavoured Kool-Aid.

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#144 Top Cheddar
December 23 2013, 03:01PM
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Chris. wrote:

Just listened to Stauffer on the radio and I'm so furious I'm vibrating... His take: Eakins and MacTavish haven't even had a full year yet so we need to be patient.

Remember when we missed the playoffs in 2007 and we needed to be patient because we were re-tooling after Pronger left..?..

And then we missed the playoffs in 2008 and we needed to be patient because we had to let our exciting young core of Nilsson, Cogliano and Gagner grow and mature..??..

And then we missed the playoffs in 2009 but we had to be patient because Tambellini had only been general manager for one season..????..

And then in 2010 we finished last and missed the playoffs but we were going to need to be patient because we were just now starting a rebuild for the very first time with the Hall pick...?????..

And then in 2011 we finished last and missed the playoffs but still needed to be more patient because we were still by Stauffer's math in the first year of a rebuild..??????..

And then in 2012 we finished second last and missed the playoffs but needed to be patient because we were in the second year of a rebuild... and we had a brand new coach..???????..

And in 2013 we finished 24th and missed the playoffs but we no longer had to be to patient because our brand new General Manager is an "impatient guy" who predicted "some pretty immediate growth and change"..????????..

In 2014 we are trending towards our worst season in franchise history and Stauffer has the nerve to trot out the excuse that MacTavish and Eakins deserve MORE TIME??????????

More time for a coach that is stupid enough to call a frustrated fan a quitter and then quote a never quit the fight mantra one day after his team folded the tent after going down by only 2 goals in the second period of a nationally televised game?

More time for a GM who fired the last coach after only 48 games... a GM who is such a good evaluator of talent that he said his 2008/2009 team was the most skilled group he ever worked with and figured they would challenge for the division... and when that didn't happen; he quit? After years of high picks this team is a poorer functioning mirror of the 2008/2009 team that was filled with too many small, soft, perimeter type players to seriously compete for anything meaningful in the Western Conference... We are going in circles!

Very well said sir.

(Slow clap)

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#145 A-Mc
December 23 2013, 03:52PM
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OilCanFan wrote:

Does anyone remember the movie The Toy starring Richard Pryor? A billionaire buys him - similar to another certain billionaire buying living hockey cards. He appears to not care a lick about what is going on with the team on the ice, only the one from the 80's. I think that most people can agree that as long as he is making money, he won't change a thing. The issue is that most of the seats are seasons ticket holders and most of those are corporate owned and they also don't really care about what goes on with the team. I'm a Tier 1 fan and would have gotten rid of my tickets had my wife not convinced me to hold on to them for our kids on the hope that one day the team will deserve the respect they seem to think we fans (Tier 2 and 3 too) owe them.

can i have ur tix?

Tier 3 fan here. can't afford to go to games.

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#146 arsenaloilerbarca
December 23 2013, 04:19PM
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Rotten Ron wrote:

I remember the George Burnett days as the darkest times as a season ticket holder. I was curious so I looked up his record. When he was canned his record was 35 games 12 wins 20 losses 3 ties He was selling basically the same bill of goods as Eakins is, new captain (corson,ference), youth movement, hard work every night, blah blah blah. At no point since then have I looked back and thought, man if we had just gave Burnett more time.

Props on that comment. I was thinking the same.

You are right, and I don't think we will ever say the same about Eakins unless the correct thing happens and we rid ourselves of him...looks like we are stuck with him though.

Does anyone ever notice how eakins sounds like a complete idiot when he speaks? I like a coach that speaks with passion, and don't mind if a he gets fired up and lets out some steam every now and then (torts, roy, laviolette as examples), but eakins fits right into the oilers mold: an arrogant guy who doesn't think before he speaks (similar to lowe with the 6 rings/2 tier fans comments)

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#147 Spydyr
December 23 2013, 04:45PM
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sizedoesmatter wrote:

Throwing the jersey on the ice was disrespectful And might have caught the oilers managements attention but It also Is a slap to the face of all the Oilers who wore that sweater. Gretztky, Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Dave semenko,Dave hunter on and on all the moments that this team that has brought me so much pride and joy over the years. This current version of the Oilers Is struggling. but don't think throwing the jersey is the same as booing It just makes me sad

You know what makes me sad?

That it has come to this.Fans have had enough. This man just spoke up for many of us. For that I thank him.It has been the only "bold move" I have seen this year.

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#148 Serious Gord
December 23 2013, 04:46PM
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sizedoesmatter wrote:

Throwing the jersey on the ice was disrespectful And might have caught the oilers managements attention but It also Is a slap to the face of all the Oilers who wore that sweater. Gretztky, Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Dave semenko,Dave hunter on and on all the moments that this team that has brought me so much pride and joy over the years. This current version of the Oilers Is struggling. but don't think throwing the jersey is the same as booing It just makes me sad

Then those oilers - if they are true oilers should be calling for lowes head too.

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#149 Will
December 23 2013, 04:52PM
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Sliderule wrote:

The jersey on the ice was awesome.

It's a symbol of oiler fan frustration with the oiler management.

It's a final blowout against the arrogance of Lowe and the nepotism in their scouting and coaching.

The problem is at the very top.

Deal with that and it will work out.

I agree, all this stuff about how fans need to respect the jersey and crap, boourns to that. Official sell out streak during the course of the worst years in franchise history, clearly the organization stopped respecting the fans a long time ago. It was a great symbol of someone saying I am not purchasing your product anymore until you start making a better quality product. I wish we could do this with all consumer products against all companies who begin to just crank out lower quality products while maintaining high prices.

Good for whoever did that.

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#150 papler
December 23 2013, 05:07PM
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sizedoesmatter wrote:

Throwing the jersey on the ice was disrespectful And might have caught the oilers managements attention but It also Is a slap to the face of all the Oilers who wore that sweater. Gretztky, Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Dave semenko,Dave hunter on and on all the moments that this team that has brought me so much pride and joy over the years. This current version of the Oilers Is struggling. but don't think throwing the jersey is the same as booing It just makes me sad

To be honest, I don' get this thing about respect for the jersey. It's an overpriced piece of garment. And making a link to the great players of the past and stating that this is disrespectful towards them is quite a stretch imho.

I find it a lot more disrespectful how some players show a complete indifference to the state the team is in. Do they bust their asses off every night? No. We can see them float around and make fancy plays. THAT is disrespectful.

that being said, should the team be pissed off about that jersey on the ice? Hell yes. Should they take it personal? Absolutely! And then they should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why that jersey landed on the ice. And maybe, just maybe, they realize that it's the fans, who pay a lot of money to see them play, that should get some more respect from the players...

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