The First 41: Halfway Where?

Robin Brownlee
December 28 2013 11:23PM

So, are the Edmonton Oilers actually as lousy as their record at the halfway point of their schedule or have they under-achieved through their first 41 games?

While I didn’t see the Oilers as Western Conference playoff contenders this season, I'm leaning heavily toward the latter when I look at a team that is an underwhelming 13-24-4 for 30 points after reaching the halfway pole by coughing up a 2-0 lead in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at Rexall Place Saturday.

Are the Oilers as bad as their record? No. Does that mean this first half has been nothing more than an unlucky aberration and everything will be fine if people just sit back, relax and let things fall into place? Not a chance. I'm not even going to try to blow that brand of sunshine up anybody's backside, and anybody who does should give their head a shake.

The issues are many. Too much of the same thing up front. A defensive group that lacks enough actual NHL defensemen and a true top pairing. Lack of size and grit. Consistency in goal. Not enough veteran leadership . . . blah, blah, blah. GM Craig MacTavish has much work to do. All this we know.

That said, there's no question this group of players, holes and all, didn't come close to playing as well as was reasonably expected under NHL rookie coach Dallas Eakins in the first half. A tough schedule early played a part in that. So did injuries. So have horrid performances by players who have a record of being better.

Are they this bad? No. Are they good enough? No.

In the Second Half

I expected the Oilers to be .500 in terms of points this season. That's not going to happen through 82 games with the terrible start they had, but I expect they'll be at or near .500 in their final 41 games. Even if MacTavish doesn't make a single roster move – he will -- I see the Oilers winning 18-20 games. I see them finishing with 70-74 points.

I know, big deal. Playing .500 in the second half won't be enough to get a playoff spot, making it eight years out of the post-season. If that's your bottom line for reasonable progress four years into the "official" rebuild, I get it. I didn't think a playoff position was a realistic expectation going into the season, but believing the Oilers would stay within hailing distance of the top-eight didn’t seem like too much to ask.

The Oilers went 19-22-7 for 45 points in 48 games last season. They had 74 points from a record of 32-40-10 in 2011-12. I didn't expect to see the Oilers take a step back so far this season. A step, not a leap, ahead? Yes. Back? No, but here we are.

So, back to why I expect the Oilers to be markedly better in the second half than they were in the first . . .

The Who and How

DEVAN DUBNYK: No way Dubnyk struggles in the final 41 games like he did in the first 41, posting a .896 save percentage and 3.24 GAA on the way to a 10-15-2 record. I expect we'll see Dubnyk in the .914 to .920 range -- his season numbers the previous two seasons -- in the second half.

ILYA BRYZGALOV: I was one of the people who thought it was nuts to take a chance on Bryzgalov and his baggage when he was sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. What we've seen so far is a goaltender who can still play and is better than Jason LaBarbera any day of the week.

SAM GAGNER: To understate, it's been a forgettable season for Gagner, who busted his jaw in pre-season, came back too early from surgery and struggled mightily when he did. I'll leave the same old arguments about Gagner to you, but he'll be better in the second half. He can't be worse.

NAIL YAKUPOV: Yakupov's sophomore season has been all over the place, with the overriding theme being how he's been used, or not used, by Eakins. This is a talented kid with holes in his game you expect from a 20-year-old. I don't know how or if he'll pan out long term, but look at his numbers today and tell me with a straight face he won’t be better in the second half.

THE FIT: Facing another year out of the playoffs, fans don't want to hear this, but here's always an adjustment period with a new head coach and we've seen it with Eakins. He needs to get a feel for the players and where they best fit. They need to get a feel for him. Expectations laid out early in the tenure of a new coach get tweaked over time on both sides of the equation. That's not an excuse for the record, but it plays into it.

The Bottom Line

You have to look at who might fall off their pace and performance of the first half, not just who should improve, but in projecting the second half, I don't see anybody who over-achieved to the extent they're destined to drop off the edge of the earth in the final 41 games.

I doubt we'll see a 60-point season from David Perron. He'll likely drop off a bit. Outside Perron, nobody among Edmonton's top-five scorers is scoring at a pace we haven’t seen before. In fact, I expect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who started the season coming off shoulder surgery, to be better.

The back end? Will Justin Schultz eliminate some of the glaring errors in his game and be better at picking his spots on the attack? I'd hope so. Will Anton Belov improve in the second half? I'd like to think so. I didn't see anybody on the back end play better than I expected through 41 games.

This team remains several players from being a playoff contender, but my expectation is the Oilers will have a significantly better second half and give everybody, notably MacTavish, a truer picture of what remains to be done than we got in the mess that was the first 41 games.

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 The Real Scuba Steve
December 28 2013, 11:27PM
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Didn't think we would be this bad at the same point last year, we are not better we are getting worse.

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#2 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2013, 11:32PM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Didn't think we would be this bad at the same point last year, we are not better we are getting worse.

So, your call is this team will have fewer than 30 points in the second half. Come back in April and say you told me so.

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#3 The Soup Fascist
December 28 2013, 11:37PM
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Oilers Shopping List

Something resembling a number one defensemen.

A number 2 or 3 D depending if you think Jultz will ever be able to buy a clue in his own end.

A starting goaltender.

A large skilled 2nd line centre.

Something resembling an effective 4th line.

Wayne Simmonds.

Over to you MacT.

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#4 oilredemption
December 28 2013, 11:42PM
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As much as I think Eakins is a tool and loathe his coaching ability. He needs to stay for this team have some consistency in the meassage. Eakins is though ruining yaks career as we know it. Top goal scorer from the team last year and isn't played in ot and played 10 minutes a night. He's obviously not gonna be in the game when he's thrown on pp. I haven't once this year seen the excitement or emotion of the player he was last year playing for his team, his coach and his captain. Yak needs to go to OKC now he's not helping this team. Plus side is hemsky is playing well and oddly enough gagner still isn't.

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#5 The Real Scuba Steve
December 28 2013, 11:44PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

So, your call is this team will have fewer than 30 points in the second half. Come back in April and say you told me so.

Yep, I had honesty believe this was the year we were going to playing or close to 500 hockey, but what your saying is pretty much a pipe dream, nice try though>

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#6 Cold Hard Truth
December 28 2013, 11:44PM
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Sorry, Robin. The Oilers are not better than their record; they are their record. Every team has their ups and downs and catches bad streaks. It's wishful thinking to think the Oilers are really a good team if only this temporary phase of bad luck was lifted.

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#7 Butters
December 28 2013, 11:44PM
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Eakins is in over his head, big time.

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#8 oilredemption
December 28 2013, 11:45PM
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Shopping list: the flyers straight up for the oilers

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#9 Greg the Hammer Valentine
December 28 2013, 11:49PM
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Will this team be better in the second half without any moves by the front office? Probably, but not by much. Injuries, bad goaltending, inexperienced coach, young players learning on the job and unexpected slumps will happen, as they always do. But generally, yes I think we should expect better than 30 points.

But changes WILL happen. The real question is: should we trust this front office to make the right moves?

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#10 Cold Hard Truth
December 28 2013, 11:53PM
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I don't see the Oilers trending upwards. They look as bad as ever, with the exception of goal tending. Bryz has brought some competence and has pushed Dubnyk as well.

I see the Oilers getting worse. All the losing will surely weight on the psyches of those players who still give a dam (Ference, Gordon, Perron, Bryz). Once golfing season comes around, they'll float the rest of the season.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Only until the ex-Oilers cabal is purged will we see a credible hockey team.

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#11 Greg the Hammer Valentine
December 28 2013, 11:55PM
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@oilredemption

So you think Eakins is not the right coach, but that they should keep him in the name of stability? I don't get this. If he's not the right guy, then get rid of him ASAP. If you ran a business, would you keep an incompetant employe in a key position, just because you changed too often? Of course not! Stability is a concept you apply only if you think you have the right person.

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#12 Oiler Al
December 28 2013, 11:59PM
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At the current rate and roster, I doubt they win 15 games on the back half, unless MacT has a couple of tricks up his sleeve, it aint happening...

Nice to see Hemsky and Gagner come out for a Saturday evening skate... What a couple of useless tools making $ 5 million bucks a season.

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#13 Serious Gord
December 28 2013, 11:59PM
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Robin - 41 games is a large enough sample size - they were as bad as their record. And that record was a record - the worst first forty-one games in oilers history. PERIOD

So yes, they very likely will do better in the second half.

But I think not much better.

Take a look at the second half of the second half- a brutal final fifteen games against teams that are almost all likely going to be gunning for the playoffs whilst the oilers are planning golf and fishing trips. The oil got so chewed up in the last half of last season - partly because of poor coaching tactics, but also because of the point outlined above.

And compared to last year the oil injuries in this first half were fairly light. Historically the featherweight oilers have had plenty of injuries over a season - will they revert to former form and if so will their record continue to be terrible as a result?

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#14 Butters
December 29 2013, 12:01AM
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If the Oilers didn't have the revolving door of coaches, I wonder if Eakins would make it until April tee off?

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#15 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 12:02AM
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And regarding Eakins robin - how much better does the oil have to play - how many points will they have to get in order for you not to recommend he be replaced?

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#16 Butters
December 29 2013, 12:09AM
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I took a cursory glance at the next 41 games for the Oilers. Not a lot of softies left. A worse second half looks possible to me.

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#17 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 12:18AM
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Butters wrote:

I took a cursory glance at the next 41 games for the Oilers. Not a lot of softies left. A worse second half looks possible to me.

Just look at the next ten games. Every single one is against a team that is in the top sixteen. And the oils record so far is something like 3-20. Will they be 2-8 in the next ten?

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#18 BK
December 29 2013, 12:19AM
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When a player with significant potential is not achieving they get sent to the minors for a bit. Maybe Eakins is not yet ready or the team is not yet ready for Eakins. So why not try something probably never done before and send Eakins to OKC (not players)and bring the OKC coach up and give him a shot. And give me a seriously good reason why this is not that bad of an idea. Eakins tries puling a goalie with 4 minutes left which is not the usual but it makes sense when you think about it. So does my idea.

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#19 Butters
December 29 2013, 12:41AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Just look at the next ten games. Every single one is against a team that is in the top sixteen. And the oils record so far is something like 3-20. Will they be 2-8 in the next ten?

The Oilers had a good record against the NHL lesser lights which is encouraging. They just don't seem to have a lot of games against that type of opposition in the coming months.

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#20 Walter Sobchak
December 29 2013, 12:46AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Just look at the next ten games. Every single one is against a team that is in the top sixteen. And the oils record so far is something like 3-20. Will they be 2-8 in the next ten?

Look at the month of January, they could potentially win maybe two games.

I often find it strange how easy Oilers fans forgive after just a couple wins?

This team can only beat other lottery teams, I can't see the Oilers going 500 the rest of the way myself.

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#21 spliff
December 29 2013, 01:09AM
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Gagner symbolizes all that is wrong with this organization. Soft to play against, questionable defensive skills, not able to deliver when it counts, too small and unable to play against men and always an excuse when things go wrong.

What is it this year with Samwise? What was it in previous years? Always some F*cking excuse. Remember that Samwise always has a slow start but he will get better. If I sucked at my job for two months a year I would get pink-slipped, and I ain't making 4 bills a year.

The Oilers wasting a top first round draft pick on a 160 pound child who has no business playing in the nhl screams to the hockey world what is wrong with this organization. They picked him when KLowes "plan" was to emulate the Red Wings, and have small fast skilled forwards. Management is too stupid to come up with their own plan, so they try to copy the Red Wings, even though Ken Holland alone has more hockey smarts then the entire Oiler management group. Now that their plan has derailed, what is their plan? Who will they emulate now, the Sharks? What a sh*tshow.

This team is as bad as its record, and there is not excuse for how bad they are. When half decent teams decide they want to win against the Oil, they turn it up a notch and the Oil instantly look like an AHL team.

Even if MacT is able to make some trades and UFA signings, this team will never be a top team, and will just be like all the other pre-2007 KLowe-MacT teams, scrambling around in the 8 - 11 position in the conference, making the playoffs once every 3-4 years.

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#22 Clarko
December 29 2013, 01:52AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Look at the month of January, they could potentially win maybe two games.

I often find it strange how easy Oilers fans forgive after just a couple wins?

This team can only beat other lottery teams, I can't see the Oilers going 500 the rest of the way myself.

Oilers record:

Against teams with 40+ points: 4-21-3 Against teams with less than 40 points: 9-3-1

They have 28 games left against 40+ point teams and only 13 games against teams with less than 40 points. It is hard to see how they finish with 41 points in their last half. They might beat the first half 30 points, but it will be within the margin of error (+/- 5 points).

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#23 **
December 29 2013, 02:03AM
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All things staying equal, I see the Oilers getting around 35 more points in the next half of the season. Mark it. The fact is the schedule was actually easier for them in the first half since they played most of the games against eastern teams already. The second half is heavy with western conference teams, and heavy with division rivals.

If Bryzgalov doesn't want to re sign here he will probably be sent to a contender by the deadline, and there goes any chance of moving up the standings.

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#24 **
December 29 2013, 02:04AM
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What say you now, Bryzee's haters? WHAT SAY YOU!!?

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#25 Nowuknow
December 29 2013, 02:05AM
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Robin, I am in courage by your positive wishes for the back end of record breaking losing season in oilers history. YOU MUST HAVE lots of faiths on this team, but they are what the record indicates or even worst!!! This team always folds when the season is on balance not to mention they have already purchase their golf passes. What left for them is going through the emotions... I am glad, I am tear 3 fun listens or log in here for results only. I find them wasting valuable time in this precious life.....

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#26 Oilerz4life
December 29 2013, 02:11AM
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At this point last year the NHL was still in lockout, which ended in the new year and you can't compare a compressed shortened season to a regular season schedule. That being said this roster and line-up is a mess and is still in need of a complete overhaul in year four of the rebuild. One dimensional talent upfront, that's all we have. The Oilers are in need of toughness to compliment that talent all the way around. Our defence is a joke, really and the jury is still out on goaltending, with it being likely that Dubnyk will not be in Oilers silks next year. We are not one or two pieces away from being a contender, we are one or two lines away from being a contender, not including defence and goaltending. That is all.

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#27 Andrew
December 29 2013, 02:13AM
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The player personnel issues have been well covered here. I do have some serious reservations about the coaching staff and primarily Eakins. He is a quirky guy. The NHL coaching ranks have had some real screwballs over the decades but this guy strikes me as an errational odd-ball. Ever since he arrived here he seems to be all about himself, like he makes his theories about everything the issue.

I don't care, Dallas, what quirky analogy you feel you must use to explain your theory about the game, the team and the fans. Put in your big boy panties and quit trying to remake the game if hockey in your own image.

Just win dammit!

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#28 Big Cap
December 29 2013, 02:23AM
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Its a simple as the this.

Down the stretch, teams fighting for the a playoff spot will feast on us and take the 2 points and run. While we proceed down the stretch drive, we will care less and less and will happily mail it in.

Sorry Robin, but there is NO reason to believe this team will be as good or better than the 1st half.

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#29 Nowuknow
December 29 2013, 02:24AM
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Some say losing is contagious as is winning. But here in the city of Champions has be come too comfortable!!!!

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#30 **
December 29 2013, 02:30AM
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David Legwand will be FA at the end of this season. Similar offensive numbers as GAgner, plays on the power play, has size and is old enough (33) that he can be serviceable for at least 2 more years as a stop gap/ veteran presence. He can probably be had for as much as 3.5 million/season. also, he comes from a very defense oriented system.

What do you think nation?

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#31 Fresh Mess
December 29 2013, 06:37AM
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BK wrote:

When a player with significant potential is not achieving they get sent to the minors for a bit. Maybe Eakins is not yet ready or the team is not yet ready for Eakins. So why not try something probably never done before and send Eakins to OKC (not players)and bring the OKC coach up and give him a shot. And give me a seriously good reason why this is not that bad of an idea. Eakins tries puling a goalie with 4 minutes left which is not the usual but it makes sense when you think about it. So does my idea.

Because he has a contract to be head coach of the oilers. It is not a two way contract like players have. If you remove him from the oilers head coach position then his employment is terminated and he is still owed his salary for the remainder of the contract.

This is a silly suggestion.

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#32 pelhem grenville
December 29 2013, 07:01AM
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...I swear if they don't finish with at least 75 points I'm gonna ...I'm gonna ...well I'm gonna

...off topic Robin... what's the collective sound of 20+ NHL players on this team pulling theirs heads outta their asses?

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#33 Ed in PV
December 29 2013, 07:14AM
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** wrote:

David Legwand will be FA at the end of this season. Similar offensive numbers as GAgner, plays on the power play, has size and is old enough (33) that he can be serviceable for at least 2 more years as a stop gap/ veteran presence. He can probably be had for as much as 3.5 million/season. also, he comes from a very defense oriented system.

What do you think nation?

I have suggested that the Oil should seriously consider buying out the last 2 years of Gags' contract and someone like Legwand would fill the gap nicely.

Brownlee may not be drinking the Kool Aid, but he seems to be taking a sip now and the.

After his 1st 8 or so or so games Dubnyk has been what he is. Can play at an NHL level for stretches, but you know a real stinker can happen at any time. The Edmonton media doesn't have the venom for Bryz fully out of its system yet. Come on Brownlee, Bryz is not just an upgrade of the back-up, but the best goalie the Oil have.

Gagner may pick up his scoring pace to get say 25 ish points in the last 40, but the rest of his game is at it's normal level. i.e. other than getting a few more scoring points there is not reason to expect Gagner will play better in the last 40. The Oil play a lot more western teams in the last 40 and Ganger's weaknesses tend to be fully exposed when playing bigger more physical teams.

The Oil are not helping Yak by playing him over his head at the NHL level. Send him the OKC for the rest of the year. If Pitlick has come back from his injury well he is a batter option today than Yak.

Brownlee suggesting that Eakins still needs to get a feel for his players after 40 games is a joke, right? If this is the case, i.e. that it takes Eakins more 40 games to get to know his players, then he would struggle coaching at any level. Cooper, Torts, Vigneault, Ruff etc all seemed to figure there teams out. I'm not saying any coach would be doing better than Eakins as the Oil roster is a mess. But if Brownlee's assessment is correct and Eakin's is still trying to figure out his players, this means Eakins is not NHL coaching material. Think about next year, for the Oil to ne anywhere near competitive they will probably need to change 8 or so players, will it Take Eakins 40 games to figure them out as well?

Oil's schedule is more western laden in the half and they will struggle to get the same number of points as in the first half. We might be watching the worst Oil team ever.

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#34 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
December 29 2013, 07:14AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...I swear if they don't finish with at least 75 points I'm gonna ...I'm gonna ...well I'm gonna

...off topic Robin... what's the collective sound of 20+ NHL players on this team pulling theirs heads outta their asses?

The sound you seek is ALSO the answer to the biggest question on all of man-kinds mind.

Just WHAT does the fox say?

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#35 Huskamania
December 29 2013, 07:29AM
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Everyone thinks, moving this guy or replaceing this guy will put Oil into playoffs you cant just get a defeneman and a top forward and suddenly move up 25pts in standing and be a low playoff team. They have moved guys and will move more, the attitude that has to change is managment get rid of them, the only one they ever change is the Head coach, we have had better coach's then Eakins but they were the scape goats for Lowe or Tamb. Change must come from the top to make it work only thing Lowe has ever done in administration is LOSE , just cause he played behind a great team doesnt make him worthy to make the correct choices. Only way for the Oil to move up is have a good set of eyes evaluate what is happening not the same old eyes that have 5 rings and want all his friends from the 80s to have jobs with him it hasnt worked, how many more years do we have to endure this. I will not blame any young Oiler player for wanting a trade or demanding one, why wreck your whole time playing hockey for a franchise that only care about what is good for them and not what is important to all the fans. my 2¢

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#36 Bob
December 29 2013, 07:30AM
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Robin wrote, "This team remains several players from being a playoff contender, but my expectation is the Oilers will have a significantly better second half "

........ and dont forget one coach and 3 assistant coaches away from contending

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#37 Rdubb
December 29 2013, 08:00AM
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oilredemption wrote:

As much as I think Eakins is a tool and loathe his coaching ability. He needs to stay for this team have some consistency in the meassage. Eakins is though ruining yaks career as we know it. Top goal scorer from the team last year and isn't played in ot and played 10 minutes a night. He's obviously not gonna be in the game when he's thrown on pp. I haven't once this year seen the excitement or emotion of the player he was last year playing for his team, his coach and his captain. Yak needs to go to OKC now he's not helping this team. Plus side is hemsky is playing well and oddly enough gagner still isn't.

I have a question, although I agree that the coach NEEDS to stay longer than one season, even @ least 3 so that these young players get to hear the same message day in and day out for a while and get to know one system; question(s) - why in the world would MacT give a rookie coach a 4 (or 5 yr, unsure which it is) contract? There is no reason why a 2yr deal would have worked, and if Eakins was doing an adequate job, extensions could be given, couldn't they? Didn't Renney do a very good job with the young guys when here? I think that he'd have been a great guy to coach these kids right now, plus they'd have had the same message for 3yrs now, don't you think?

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#38 pelhem grenville
December 29 2013, 08:10AM
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...I agree with Bob... w.t.f. is up with these guys STILL behind the bench ...smitty and bucky MUST have pictures of Eakins with a goat ...acton? came with Eakins ...he apparently belongs

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#39 Spydyr
December 29 2013, 08:33AM
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Trade Gagner to anyone willing to give up their second line center for him. Or package him in a deal for a defenceman. Let Acro sink or swim the rest of the year then fill the 2C hole in the summer.

He just has to go. The team will never win with him as 2C.Full stop.

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#40 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2013, 08:36AM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Sorry, Robin. The Oilers are not better than their record; they are their record. Every team has their ups and downs and catches bad streaks. It's wishful thinking to think the Oilers are really a good team if only this temporary phase of bad luck was lifted.

I said exactly the opposite of what you imply.

"Are the Oilers as bad as their record? No. Does that mean this first half has been nothing more than an unlucky aberration and everything will be fine if people just sit back, relax and let things fall into place? Not a chance. . . "

If you're going to try to put words in my mouth, I'd appreciate it if they were at least based on what I wrote.

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#41 Wintoon
December 29 2013, 08:50AM
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It is time to separate wishful thinking from cold hard reality. Are the Oilers a .500 team? No they are not. Will they be in the last half of the season? Who cares. If they do well then everybody in management will say "look at how much we improved" and be less likely to make the needed changes.

At this point the only things we have to look forward to are the Trade Deadline and the 2014 Draft. This is getting to be so old.

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#42 blue31
December 29 2013, 08:53AM
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As a previous poster said, Dallas Eakins is in way over his head. He is stubborn and headstrong enough to truly believe that he is the smartest guy in the room, and believes he is destined to revolutionize the game of hockey with his brilliance and creativity. I wonder if he's required have a special license for all that awesomeness?

From his "fitness" mantra to goofy unproven systems. From confusing player deployment to bizarre on-ice decisions. Dallas Eakins should be coaching a minor league team of Bad News Bears instead of ruining the careers of promising young elite athletes.

It doesn't appear that he has any sensitivity or feel for the talent that the Oilers have. Just a "my way or the highway" bullheadedness, and it's obvious that no-one is buying in. Where would this team be sitting in terms of points (and player development) with a Ken Hitchkock at the helm?

MacT messed up bigtime with this decision.

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#43 Woogie63
December 29 2013, 09:12AM
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From where I sit this is quality of entertaiment that we can expect for the next FIVE years.

The Chicago/Pittsburg rebuild did not happen the Islander rebuild happen.

We entered up with a rookie GM and rookie Coach that don't have the experience nor are innovative enough to advance the team.

The team has not built a player development system that colleague or undrafted player will trust to get them ready to play in the NHL.

We know the top FA don't consider Edmonton the city, there top destination, we can over pay to get the Gordon, Ferences but we are not going to get the Suter, Webers.

Is there anyone in hockey that believes KLowe just needs two or three more year to turn this team into a consistent playoff performer?

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#44 Ray
December 29 2013, 09:15AM
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Robin....as a side note to your discussion I keyed on ference through most of last nights game....this guy has got game or JAM.... He hits anything and makes you pay....I didn't realize how much of a tyrant he is out there...all our D should watch him and try to emulate him....such tenacity !!!

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#45 Zamboni Driver
December 29 2013, 09:18AM
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Love ya Robin, but I am not buying that the Oil (and specific players) will be better only because they can't be worse.

Sure they can. Or at least stay at the same level of craptastic.

I appreciate the "half full" approach, but most of us are way too jaded to buy it.

Unrelated. Sorta.

I say Yakupov should be in OKC. Thoughts? Can't be worse for his ego than riding the pine. He'd (presumably) get to dominate.

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#46 Big Cap
December 29 2013, 09:27AM
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blue31 wrote:

As a previous poster said, Dallas Eakins is in way over his head. He is stubborn and headstrong enough to truly believe that he is the smartest guy in the room, and believes he is destined to revolutionize the game of hockey with his brilliance and creativity. I wonder if he's required have a special license for all that awesomeness?

From his "fitness" mantra to goofy unproven systems. From confusing player deployment to bizarre on-ice decisions. Dallas Eakins should be coaching a minor league team of Bad News Bears instead of ruining the careers of promising young elite athletes.

It doesn't appear that he has any sensitivity or feel for the talent that the Oilers have. Just a "my way or the highway" bullheadedness, and it's obvious that no-one is buying in. Where would this team be sitting in terms of points (and player development) with a Ken Hitchkock at the helm?

MacT messed up bigtime with this decision.

BINGO!!

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#47 steveb12344
December 29 2013, 09:32AM
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While I agree this team definitely has issues, and need to improve in many places. I'm not sure if it's quite as bad as most of you are making it out to be.

Robin is right. They have been much better in the 2nd quarter of the season than in the first.

That start to the season was disasterous. Now that the goaltending has been stabilized, they have been pretty much an average team as opposed to the AHL team they resembled for about the first month and a half.

Believe it or not they have been playing .500 hockey already for the last 20 games.

Their record over the last 20 is 9-9-2 for 20 points. That is including the 6 game journey through Death Valley.

So I agree with RB that we should see something close to .500 hockey the rest of the way, and should easily surpass the 30 points they got in the first half.

I know this still sucks, and I'm not at all happy with the continuing playoff drought. But I think we need to see how the rest of the season, and offseason play out before writing off MacT and Eakins as failures.

When a team is in as much disarray as this one has been in recent years, you honestly can't expect a new GM, and coach to turn this thing around over night.

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#48 K_Mart
December 29 2013, 09:37AM
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When I see the Oilers play like they did last night, I wonder how they'll ever win another game. When I see them play the way they did in the first period against St.Louis a few games ago, I think we have it in us to play above .500.

Never have I seen a team that is able to play so well and so poorly all within one game. There are hot streaks and slumps, good games and bad games, but we've managed to take inconsistency to a whole new level. And outside of Hall and perron, every player on this roster is guilty of it. Even Huge to my surprise.

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#49 K_Mart
December 29 2013, 09:43AM
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steveb12344 wrote:

While I agree this team definitely has issues, and need to improve in many places. I'm not sure if it's quite as bad as most of you are making it out to be.

Robin is right. They have been much better in the 2nd quarter of the season than in the first.

That start to the season was disasterous. Now that the goaltending has been stabilized, they have been pretty much an average team as opposed to the AHL team they resembled for about the first month and a half.

Believe it or not they have been playing .500 hockey already for the last 20 games.

Their record over the last 20 is 9-9-2 for 20 points. That is including the 6 game journey through Death Valley.

So I agree with RB that we should see something close to .500 hockey the rest of the way, and should easily surpass the 30 points they got in the first half.

I know this still sucks, and I'm not at all happy with the continuing playoff drought. But I think we need to see how the rest of the season, and offseason play out before writing off MacT and Eakins as failures.

When a team is in as much disarray as this one has been in recent years, you honestly can't expect a new GM, and coach to turn this thing around over night.

You are absolutely right. We are a bad team, that happened to play horrid hockey for the first twenty games. But we did manage to play just bad hockey the following20 for a 9-9-2 record.

I was expecting a 36-38-8 record this year and don't feel it was even a very high expectation.

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#50 Hockey fan 1976
December 29 2013, 09:45AM
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Is everyone in denial? Has anyone looked at the second half of the schedule ? http://oilers.nhl.com/club/schedule.htm If the Coilers win 10 games of the next 41 it should be considered a freaking achievement. If only Flames and Buffalo played 2 more games each we might win 4 more.

What a joke Dallas, Mac T and KBlow all are.

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