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.
Avatar
#1 Butters
December 28 2013, 11:44PM
Trash it!
18
trashes
+1
74
props

Eakins is in over his head, big time.

Avatar
#2 Cold Hard Truth
December 28 2013, 11:44PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
+1
69
props

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.

Avatar
#3 spliff
December 29 2013, 01:09AM
Trash it!
14
trashes
+1
69
props

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.

Avatar
#4 Greg the Hammer Valentine
December 28 2013, 11:55PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
65
props

@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.

Avatar
#5 Oiler Al
December 28 2013, 11:59PM
Trash it!
14
trashes
+1
51
props

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.

Avatar
#6 Butters
December 29 2013, 12:09AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
49
props

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.

Avatar
#7 Serious Gord
December 28 2013, 11:59PM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
45
props

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?

Avatar
#8 steveb12344
December 29 2013, 10:09AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
41
props

Speaking of Hitchcock, I wonder how he would be dealing with Yak and his league-worst -25.

TRASH if you think Hitch would continue giving him the cherry minutes, and let him work it out on his own.

PROPS if you think he would be giving him the Eakins treatment, and forcing him to earn his minutes.

Avatar
#9 The Real Scuba Steve
December 28 2013, 11:27PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
+1
39
props

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

Avatar
#10 Big Cap
December 29 2013, 02:23AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
34
props

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.

Avatar
#11 Derian Hatcher
December 29 2013, 11:25AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
34
props

I, like many of you, have been an Oiler fan my whole life. Through all of the glory years and all of the tough years. I have vehemently defended the organization through all of the bad years, poor drafting (even when our “chief scout” was living in the true hockey hotbed of Cabo San Lucas). Against my better judgement I even thought “maybe they know what they are doing” when they selected Steve Kelly instead of Shane Doan. Uuummm, or maybe not.

But this latest installment of the Oilers is a complete and utter embarrassment. A disgrace. A league-wide joke.

Why? Because from the owner, to mr. six rings, to Laforge, to Howson, to MBA, to the professional scouting department, to the coach, to their Oilers Now host, they seem to think they are smarter than everyone, just give us time for the “process to work”.

From last spring when Mr. Eakins was hired after being interviewed for an ASSISTANT coaching position.

MacT –

“He was getting players to do things that as a coach I knew were very difficult to get players to do,” said MacTavish. – umm apparently not in the big leagues Craig.

Eakins -

“I want players to be so fit that a forward, if I ask him to play 26 minutes that night, he’s going to play 26 minutes at a high level. If we’re in a Stanley Cup playoff game and we’re in quadruple overtime, he will still be firing on all cylinders.”

When will this start happening Dallas? Your team cannot compete for 60 minutes on back to back game nights! Stauffer said last night post game that he’s starting to think that the oilers are having problems on the second night of back to backs – REALLY BOB??? Whatever gave you that idea?

More Eakins from when he was hired –

“When we have the puck we are going to challenge the other team with that kind of game. But as soon as we lose the puck, we’re going to push the pace to get it back.”

When will this start happening on a consistent basis Dallas?

"But the No. 1 thing we're going to be committed to is competition. If you're going to play for the Edmonton Oilers, you're going to compete. That's how you win games in the NHL and that's how you make your organization better."

Ummm…..when will this plan be implemented, Dallas?

I realize that rebuilding takes time and there is a process involved. BUT, there is a large difference between saying what WILL happen and implementation.

So far, all I see is the same old lack of compete, same old quotes after the games…like this one from Eberle last night….“The big thing was we turned the puck over a lot.” Ya Jordan, just like for 35 of the last 40 games…or is that “part of the process”

The Kool-aid is getting stale and mouldy….this organization is spiraling and has been a total farce for the last number of years. The fat-cats who sit around telling each other how clever they are and how “when this process is complete….blah, blah ,blah…” need to be held accountable for the lack of direction, lack of planning and lack of overall competence that is displayed year after year. If this was a normal company that actually have to entice customers (tier 1 or tier 2 fans) to buy its products, there would be immediate changes and competent personnel with a TRACK RECORD OF SUCCESS would be put in place.

Unfortunately, no matter what kind of product is put forward, tier 1 and tier 2 fans purchase tickets and merchandise, watch the games and display loyalty to an enterprise that IMO is at best, floating, and at worst, incompetent.

Hopefully Brownlee is correct and the second half will be better. Count me as skeptical.

Happy New Year.

Avatar
#12 Butters
December 29 2013, 12:01AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
32
props

If the Oilers didn't have the revolving door of coaches, I wonder if Eakins would make it until April tee off?

Avatar
#13 Walter Sobchak
December 29 2013, 12:46AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
32
props
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.

Avatar
#14 Oiler Al
December 29 2013, 01:48PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
32
props

Half the season is gone,, is it not time that the media did an interview with the guy at the top to review how the rebuild has gone?

Six Rings is around, you can see pan shots at games with him hiding in the upper boxes of Rexall.

Lets get his perspective on this team and where he thinks the rebuild will be next year?

I don't mean Stauffer doing the interview either with the in house Kool Aide production.

Avatar
#15 FireKLowe
December 29 2013, 02:04PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
31
props
Oiler Al wrote:

Half the season is gone,, is it not time that the media did an interview with the guy at the top to review how the rebuild has gone?

Six Rings is around, you can see pan shots at games with him hiding in the upper boxes of Rexall.

Lets get his perspective on this team and where he thinks the rebuild will be next year?

I don't mean Stauffer doing the interview either with the in house Kool Aide production.

I said many times the Edmonton media with the likes of Willis, Staples, and Matheson will never directly criticize Oilers management and ask tough questions. After that MacT hiring presser and the way the season has gone, Edmonton media has every reason to be tough with Lowe but they won't.

Avatar
#16 The Soup Fascist
December 28 2013, 11:37PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
30
props

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.

Avatar
#17 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 12:02AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
30
props

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?

Avatar
#18 Clarko
December 29 2013, 01:52AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
29
props
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).

Avatar
#19 RexHolez
December 29 2013, 01:21PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
+1
29
props

If this team played in the AHL I wonder if they'd make the playoffs?

Avatar
#20 Cold Hard Truth
December 28 2013, 11:53PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
+1
27
props

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.

Avatar
#21 blue31
December 29 2013, 10:14AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
27
props
steveb12344 wrote:

Speaking of Hitchcock, I wonder how he would be dealing with Yak and his league-worst -25.

TRASH if you think Hitch would continue giving him the cherry minutes, and let him work it out on his own.

PROPS if you think he would be giving him the Eakins treatment, and forcing him to earn his minutes.

What button do we press if we don't think Yakupov would even be in this position with Hitchcock as coach?

Avatar
#22 Hockey fan 1976
December 29 2013, 05:50PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
+1
27
props

I also take exception to his comments on HNIC where he indicated that a sports jersey was comparable to the national flag of our country... Soldiers risk their very lives on a daily basis going to war under our flag... These guys play for the jersey and get paid millions of dollars and pampered along the way... Eakins once again needs to retrieve his foot from his mouth and focus on doing his job. What an idiot!!

Avatar
#23 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 12:18AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
26
props
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?

Avatar
#24 Bob
December 29 2013, 07:30AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
26
props

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

Avatar
#25 Robin Brownlee
December 28 2013, 11:32PM
Trash it!
32
trashes
+1
25
props
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.

Avatar
#26 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 01:22PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
25
props
Johnnydapunk wrote:

I could be wrong on this but I know a lot of people are talking about the Oilers coaching and suggesting that someone like Ruff or Hitchcock or Sutter should have been hired instead of Eakins or whoever. There is a bit of me that wonders if these people would even accept the job as it seems like the Oilers coaching job is a poisoned chalice. I can't think of any head coach that the Oilers hired and fired that has had a successful stint as an NHL head coach after they left. It could be a factor as to why perhaps other coaches were not mentioned. Maybe the Oil were rejected by other candidates.

There is no pressure or anything as an Oil head coach, you just have to first live in the constant shadow of one of the greatest teams put together in hockey history, and you have to turn a team that hasn't been in the playoffs for almost a decade with a bunch of young players who have yet to experience anything close to playoff hockey into a Stanley Cup contender. You also have every move you do and every thought you have dissected in numerous media outlets and by some of the most knowledgable passionate fans in the NHL so everything you do has to be fully explained and questioned. I can't imagine it being very easy.

I'm not the hugest fan of Eakins mind you, and he may have made some "mistakes" but we can't get Krueger back (who I was alright with) and I kindof understand what he is trying to do so may as well give him a season or two to see what happens, what's the worst that could happen, we finish last and get a top three pick, wouldn't be the first time sadly.

Who would have thought that 6Rings and MacT are tied for having the 2nd best coaching record of the Oil, like exactly the same winning percentage which is somehow over .500 (.537)

I hope this didn't come off as knocking anyone or anything, as that wasn't the intention.

I think the reason why no true veteran Unaffiliated coach has not been hired is because Klowe cannot bear having someone who has credentials and gravitas to face him down and do things that Klowe doesn't agree with. (Eg fire the assistants.)

Avatar
#27 Spydyr
December 29 2013, 08:33AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
24
props

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.

Avatar
#28 oilredemption
December 28 2013, 11:42PM
Trash it!
13
trashes
+1
23
props

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.

Avatar
#29 Ed in PV
December 29 2013, 07:14AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
23
props
** 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.

Avatar
#30 Greg the Hammer Valentine
December 28 2013, 11:49PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
21
props

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?

Avatar
#31 **
December 29 2013, 02:03AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
21
props

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.

Avatar
#32 David S
December 29 2013, 07:34PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
21
props
Serious Gord wrote:

Saw him waiting to get on the elevator to the upper suites at the red deer centrium for the Russian exhibition junior game about a month ago. (My friends and I have our pregame muster and drink Caesars point adjacent to there)

I resisted shouting "fire Lowe!!" But it wasn't easy.

So after years of griping on Stauffer's show and clogging up fan boards with your rhetoric you finally get to say what you think to Lowe in person and cowered like a school girl?

Avatar
#33 Huskamania
December 29 2013, 07:29AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
20
props

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¢

Avatar
#34 blue31
December 29 2013, 08:53AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
+1
20
props

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.

Avatar
#35 Tyson
December 29 2013, 10:01AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
20
props

I have lived in Edmonton for the past 10 years so compared to some of you I am a new fan. In my time hear I have heard Oiler fans complain about EVERY coach. I think a new coach is like a first overall pick, you need to give them a little time to develop.

The biggest mistake of this rebuild is that we have switched coaches every year. Wether you like Dallas or not there needs to be development of coach between players and development of the coach learning the NHL.

I remember reading an article on this site showing some of the great coaches and how bad they were early on in their careers. The problem with Oiler fans is we want to fire a coach every season instead of seeing them develop into a great coach right before our eyes.

Avatar
#36 Johnnydapunk
December 29 2013, 01:36PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
20
props
Serious Gord wrote:

I think the reason why no true veteran Unaffiliated coach has not been hired is because Klowe cannot bear having someone who has credentials and gravitas to face him down and do things that Klowe doesn't agree with. (Eg fire the assistants.)

That wouldn't shock me in any way actually.

Who is better than 6Rings anyways as no one knows more about winning than he does...

Man he is such a muppet....

Avatar
#37 a lg dubl dubl
December 29 2013, 02:03PM
Trash it!
10
trashes
+1
20
props

I still want to know what 6rings was cussing about when Jeff "Im really Tom Gilbert" Petry was called for bording. Gave me a chuckle.

Anyways, Shultz jr has to go, and so does Petry, those 2 alone have caused more goals IMO than anybody else.

Is it just me or is Eberle having the worst year of his career (points aside). To me he was one of the most defensive mined forwards the team had, this year it seems like he could give a rats poop about defensive pressure on the opposing player.

It still baffles me that the players, who have been playing the game since the age of 3, cant put in EFFORT for 60min! I don't care what kind of system is in place or if the "swarm" is to hard to comprehend, put in EFFORT!!

Cheers ON!!

Avatar
#38 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
December 29 2013, 01:17PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
19
props
K_Mart wrote:

Samwise, Joensuu, Smytty, and All 8 d men are the problem. I believe that Ference, Petry and Jultz can be #4-5-6's on a playoff team, and Belov may be a #7. But Nultz, Potter, Larsen, and Marincin are not NHL caliber d men IMO. Larsen is a great skater, and I have hope for him because he's young, but even if he pans out, he'll never be more than a D Wide man.

This team is 3-4 dmen, and 3 forwards away from being a playoff team, and nothing Eakins does will change that.

This team is AT LEAST 10 players away from being a contender and it's not just positional....it's also character.

Avatar
#39 K_Mart
December 29 2013, 11:24AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
18
props
gcw_rocks wrote:

No, but he missed out on Lindy Ruff. Anyone who is taking over a fragile team with a need to improve quickly and then picks Eakins over Ruff is a complete moron.

Tell that to the bolts who had the choice of Ruff(who would have never come here) and chose Cooper.

The Ahl is a great source for coaches, and always will be.

Boudreau, Bylsma, Laviolette, Hartley, Therrien, Cooper, Torterella... All from the AHL. I'm sure there's more, but you get the point.

Dallas has clearly struggled, but so has every coach here. Also, you're point about the team getting better simply because the young players are getting older is part of the problem, you don't just automatically get better because you're aging, you have to work at it, and to put the lack of progress on Eakins, who has been here for 3 months out of 7 years of missing the playoffs is foolish.

Steve Smith has been butchering our defensemen for far longer, and Klowe has been pulling s strings in trades and signings for far too long.

Eakins fine in my books. Arrogant, yes. But the reason for regression? not a chance. Our roster is the wrong mix plain and simple. Everyone knows it.

Avatar
#40 BK
December 29 2013, 12:19AM
Trash it!
12
trashes
+1
17
props

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.

Avatar
#41 Andrew
December 29 2013, 02:13AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
17
props

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!

Avatar
#42 Fresh Mess
December 29 2013, 06:37AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
17
props
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.

Avatar
#43 Wintoon
December 29 2013, 08:50AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
17
props

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.

Avatar
#44 The 'Real' Ron Burgundy
December 29 2013, 10:22AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
+1
17
props

Can we all agree to stop calling #89 "Samwise" ? It's definitely not a fitting nickname. "Snowpants" is a much better fit, and if you've never heard it before You'd at least be able to figure out who it refers to.

Avatar
#45 **
December 29 2013, 02:04AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
+1
16
props

What say you now, Bryzee's haters? WHAT SAY YOU!!?

Avatar
#46 steveb12344
December 29 2013, 09:47AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
16
props
K_Mart wrote:

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.

That is what you get when the core of your team is a bunch of kids playing in the best MEN'S league in the world.

Nobody (myself included) wants to hear it right now, but the truth is they are just not quite ready yet.

On the plus side, just imagine how good they will be when they do learn how to bring their A game consistently, and learn how to win in this league.

Avatar
#47 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2013, 10:06AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
16
props

@steveb12344

I don't recall a lot of people around here predicting the Oilers would have their worst season since the "official" rebuild began four seasons ago. You can look for those comments on this site but you won't find them.

While a few optimists picked the Oilers to make the playoffs, most people, including me, looked at the roster and the rookie coach and figured this team would finish 9-12 and be slightly better than last season. I had them, as I said, as a .500 team, which doesn't get you in the playoffs.

Good teams can under-achieve and so can bad teams, which is what I think the Oilers did in the first 41 games. Saying I expect them to improve to "at or near" .500 in the second half doesn't suggest in any way I think this is a good team. It's not. It's a mediocre team that has been awful.

Avatar
#48 Oilerz4life
December 29 2013, 02:11AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
15
props

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.

Avatar
#49 RexHolez
December 29 2013, 10:09AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
15
props

I'd like to know how many years Lowe and his ring polishers get for this so called rebuild? if we're at the bottom of the league yet again this time next year will I still be reading articles about the lack of defense, grit and how young the kids are?

Avatar
#50 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 01:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
15
props
Johnnydapunk wrote:

That wouldn't shock me in any way actually.

Who is better than 6Rings anyways as no one knows more about winning than he does...

Man he is such a muppet....

And very thin-skinned...

Comments are closed for this article.