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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#51 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 06:17PM
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boxman wrote:

or is you have just foundationless bile? What bile? My argument is you have been saying the same thing year after year and yes we all know management has been a cluster F#*K for many years. The facts are harping endlessly about K Lowe and the boys on the bus gets old. The reality is Mac T is 8 months into his job and must be given a chance to implement change. The reality is to change coaches now would perpetuate the Oilers carousel of failure. The reality is our "stars" are too young to carry the load and are not supported by veterans. So yeah this is frustrating as hell!! You endlessly griping about K Lowe offers zero to a debate and hell yeah it grinds my gears. " the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" This applies to the Oilers and yes you!

I have plenty of basis for my bile. You say as much in your comment above. Your beef is that I am being repetitive. My complaints are largely unchanged because management remains unchanged.

As for the immovability of MacT and Eakins:

If Klowe is fired how long before that new POHO cleans house? My guess is that much like mr Burke actions as POHO in cgy one or both would be gone inside of 12 months.

Thus my opinions - part of a chorus of thousands - are the only substantive thing one can do to effect change. That it is now a years-long refrain mane they the plight of the oilers remains unchanged only adds weight to the argument that the only way for this team to truly embark on a successful path to adding engravings on the cup is to relieve Lowe of his position.

And I will add that while the overall demand that Lowe be fired remains the same - the reasons and characters are ever-changing - Horcoff, tambo, Quinn, in the past and hemsky, gagner Eakins today are just a few examples.

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#52 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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#53 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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#54 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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#55 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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#56 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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#57 Tyson
December 29 2013, 10:01AM
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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.

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#58 steveb12344
December 29 2013, 10:20AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

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.

Ummm, I'm not sure what you saw in my comments, but I was agreeing with you.

I also said I expect them to be around a .500 team the rest of the way, and obviously a .500 season gets you nowhere near the playoffs.

I said that I see them currently playing as an average team. I said nothing about them being a good team right now.

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#59 Mikey
December 29 2013, 10:44AM
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@Serious Gord

"For the love of god, 9-9-2 is NOT .500 hockey. The loser point makes .500 impossible to calculate, but if you go 9-9-2 you did not get 50% of the points that were earned in those 20 games."

While I do agree with you that 9-9-2 is not .500 hockey, I don't agree with your statment of

"50% of the points that were earned in"

What if a team goes 11-9, but 5 of those wins came in OT or a shoot out?

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#60 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2013, 11:28AM
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camdog wrote:

The term .500 hockey no longer exists, so would everybody please stop using this term. In the old, NHL .500 hockey meant you were a good team, today it means absolutely nothing.

Playing .500 hockey meant you were a good team? No.

Percentages used now, by sites like Hockeyreference.com, are defined as follows: "PTS% -- Points percentage (i.e., points divided by maximum points)"

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#61 Rama Lama
December 29 2013, 12:44PM
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After watching the world juniors I think it's safe to say that any defenceman playing on Canada, USA, Russia, Latvia, Upper Rubber Boot, ..........is better than anyone of our defencemen.

Our issue is in spite of knowing this Mac T and company only added Ference and Larsen ( the two smallest defencemen he could find) to improve our fortunes. I'm no genuis but I suspect they knew all along that adding Ference and Larsen would do nothing except look like they were doing something??

It's now patently obvious that this team was assembled for another run at a top end draft choice. I would be very happy to add Ekblad to our stable and it appears that is where we are headed.

Time for another rebuild, retool, re-engineer.......call it what you will but it's happening right in front of our eyes.

I truly believe that the best way to get another top draft choice is to let Eakins continue his ways with our team.

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#62 David S
December 29 2013, 07:34PM
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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?

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#63 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 07:50PM
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David S wrote:

I have a high degree of confidence in believing Katz is the reason why Smith and Bucky are still around.

And Lowe and MacT and ....

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#64 @Oilanderp
December 30 2013, 01:27AM
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This site has gradually become mouth-breather central. The comments section is usually a whining cesspool of wasteful negativity. I feel sorry for the writers here, not that they need or ask for it. What a waste of their talents.

Even a year ago this site was still a great place to come to. Now it has been reduced to a stinking corner of the undernet where small yappy dogs come to relieve themselves on top of each other.

What a shame.

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#65 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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#66 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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#67 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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#68 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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#69 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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#70 steveb12344
December 29 2013, 09:47AM
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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.

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#71 Buttters
December 29 2013, 10:00AM
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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.

I think it was more about STL waking up then it was about how the Oil played. I think other teams actually play a style which beats the Oilers. Trap, wait for turnovers, cash in on same.

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#72 RexHolez
December 29 2013, 10:09AM
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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?

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#73 blue31
December 29 2013, 10:29AM
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K_Mart wrote:

The coaches keep changing, but the results stay the same. Regardless of the validity of your arguments, the results indicate that it's the roster that is the problem, not the coaching.

Also, why mention an untouchable coach like Ken Hitchcock then blame MacT? It was Tambo that missed out on Hitch not MacT.

The results stay the same because every year it's one step forward (player development and experience) and one step backwards (new coach, new system). Net result: no forward progress. Your point doesn't make sense. For the most part, players naturally get stronger and smarter as their careers progress. Why is that not happening here?

And perhaps my point about Hitchcock wasn't expressed clearly. I said they could use "a" Hitchcock. Not "the" Hitchcock. Someone like Hitchcock. And for that, my comment about MacT still stands. Sorry for the confusion.

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#74 season not played
December 29 2013, 12:19PM
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The 'Real' Ron Burgundy wrote:

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.

Agreed. When I see Gagner play the last thing I think of is wise. More like:

no hockey sense unintelligent unaware slow liability outchanced overpaid etc

All more fitting than wise.

And anybody questioning whether or not the Oilers are well coached. Watch the power play. That pretty much says it all.

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#75 Hockey Problems
December 29 2013, 12:42PM
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Justin Schultz couldn't play a lick of defense if the game was played on a Popsicle.

If he was only stronger. He is 24 yrs old and plays with the strength of a 15 yr old. I have seen zero improvement from this player and yet he is constantly on the ice. How do u give the same player (Couturier) 2 chances on the same SH shift? How do u constantly get out positioned in front of your own net? Why are you always in the rush before the forwards and yet last man back into your zone defensively? The only player I see "having to earn ice time" is Yak. Hey coach... How about put up or shut up ! If you made "all" the players on the team earn their ice time, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

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#76 Oiler Al
December 29 2013, 01:48PM
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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.

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#77 boxman
December 29 2013, 05:43PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Just calling it how I see it. Do you actually have an argument or is you have just foundationless bile?

And the Groundhog Day syndrome is all on the oilers - every year is another year of failure - with the same guy at the top.

or is you have just foundationless bile? What bile? My argument is you have been saying the same thing year after year and yes we all know management has been a cluster F#*K for many years. The facts are harping endlessly about K Lowe and the boys on the bus gets old. The reality is Mac T is 8 months into his job and must be given a chance to implement change. The reality is to change coaches now would perpetuate the Oilers carousel of failure. The reality is our "stars" are too young to carry the load and are not supported by veterans. So yeah this is frustrating as hell!! You endlessly griping about K Lowe offers zero to a debate and hell yeah it grinds my gears. " the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result" This applies to the Oilers and yes you!

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#78 Woogie63
December 29 2013, 07:54PM
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Would the Flames trade Hartley for Eakins straight up?

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#79 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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#80 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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#81 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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#82 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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#83 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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#84 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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#85 K_Mart
December 29 2013, 09:49AM
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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.

The coaches keep changing, but the results stay the same. Regardless of the validity of your arguments, the results indicate that it's the roster that is the problem, not the coaching.

Also, why mention an untouchable coach like Ken Hitchcock then blame MacT? It was Tambo that missed out on Hitch not MacT.

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#86 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2013, 10:06AM
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@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.

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#87 K_Mart
December 29 2013, 10:25AM
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@The Swarm

"Coaching is all about special teams." ?!?

As much sense as you made through the rest of your post, this statement has me wondering how much you know about coaching at all.

A more accurate statement would have been: "A new coache's largest and most immediate impact will often be seen on special teams, where they have the most control."

But in the grand scheme of things, the coach should end up having a large impact on all aspects of a team, not just special teams.

That being said, Eakins has ruined our special teams and I'm still waiting for him to put them back together.

On the topic of coaching however, I do believe that Steve Smith has shown a consistent inability to develop and teach nhl defensemen over a very large sample size of games. I know picking on an assistant coach is often seen as 'reaching' but what good has he done for our d men EVER?

Maybe Petry's own goal was his doing though.

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#88 Robin Brownlee
December 29 2013, 10:28AM
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@steveb12344

I didn't think you were disagreeing with me.

I used your comment because it echoed much of what I feel. I just reiterated what I said in the main item -- this isn't a good team, it's a so-so team that has under-achieved.

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#89 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 11:36AM
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Mikey wrote:

"For the love of god, 9-9-2 is NOT .500 hockey. The loser point makes .500 impossible to calculate, but if you go 9-9-2 you did not get 50% of the points that were earned in those 20 games."

While I do agree with you that 9-9-2 is not .500 hockey, I don't agree with your statment of

"50% of the points that were earned in"

What if a team goes 11-9, but 5 of those wins came in OT or a shoot out?

I agree. The otw total is rarely shown so a true calculation of winning percentage is not possible. And it varies from team to team.

The NHL has THE worst points system in professional NA sports. And for a league that talks constantly about attracting new fans - fans who usually have baseball or football as the primary interest - the points system is a barrier to them casually following their team.

Hell even most fans of hockey - journalists included - don't understand it and they constantly misuse the .500 term.

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#90 Side Note
December 29 2013, 11:52AM
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Off topic - when did the oil hire a 12 year old girl to play the music at the games? Last nite was horrible.

2nd side note - I wonder where this team would be had they hired Brent Sutter last year when he was up against Ralph?

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#91 D-Unit
December 29 2013, 12:20PM
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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.

Not that I think Eakins is a great coach or even will be one some day, or that he is or ever will be on a level of a Hitchcock, but I do have a question.

Do you think Hitchcock would not have a "My way or the highway" approach? Or really any proven Stanley Cup winning coach?

Things would be better with him at the Head Coach spot, but I don't think it would be a huge difference in terms of standings.

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#92 Johnnydapunk
December 29 2013, 12:25PM
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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.

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#93 RexHolez
December 29 2013, 12:28PM
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Side Note wrote:

Off topic - when did the oil hire a 12 year old girl to play the music at the games? Last nite was horrible.

2nd side note - I wonder where this team would be had they hired Brent Sutter last year when he was up against Ralph?

And traded for bishop

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#94 jybute
December 29 2013, 12:31PM
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@Nowuknow

Bryz?? Is that you??

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#95 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 01:13PM
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steveb12344 wrote:

For the love of god, 9-9-2 is NOT .500 hockey. The loser point makes .500 impossible to calculate, but if you go 9-9-2 you did not get 50% of the points that were earned in those 20 games.

9-9-2 will get you 20 out of a possible 40 points.

In the "Bettman point" NHL that is .500 hockey.

But there could be as many as 30 points given out between both teams. Thus .500 is a gibberish term.

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#96 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 01:22PM
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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.)

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#97 Johnnydapunk
December 29 2013, 01:36PM
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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....

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#98 Huskamania
December 29 2013, 02:09PM
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@Tyson

I really dont think its about fireing the coach , that is the only thing they have done, I want to stick with a coach and get rid of the guy with 5 rings from the 80s and while we are there any players that played in the 80s that are administration

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#99 The Swarm
December 29 2013, 02:16PM
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K_Mart wrote:

"Coaching is all about special teams." ?!?

As much sense as you made through the rest of your post, this statement has me wondering how much you know about coaching at all.

A more accurate statement would have been: "A new coache's largest and most immediate impact will often be seen on special teams, where they have the most control."

But in the grand scheme of things, the coach should end up having a large impact on all aspects of a team, not just special teams.

That being said, Eakins has ruined our special teams and I'm still waiting for him to put them back together.

On the topic of coaching however, I do believe that Steve Smith has shown a consistent inability to develop and teach nhl defensemen over a very large sample size of games. I know picking on an assistant coach is often seen as 'reaching' but what good has he done for our d men EVER?

Maybe Petry's own goal was his doing though.

I didn't realize I needed your editorial input prior to posting. Based on your suggested edits, you obviously got my point. In the future though, should you need to edit my posts, please try and run a spell check first. I do actually know bit about coaching and I certainly know how to spell it.

In case you haven't noticed, with overall scoring down so much in the NHL, special teams are often the deciding factors in games. The Oilers were throughly schooled in this area against the Flyers - to the point where Giroux was actually directing traffic on their PP by pointing to who he was going to pass to. As a huge Oiler fan, it really was embarrassing.

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#100 Serious Gord
December 29 2013, 07:15PM
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boxman wrote:

Your point that if enough people rise up and are heard change may come is possible. That said now is not the time for more change as that will perpetuate the problem.

Replacing Klowe would prevent perpetuation. And doing it now is the perfect time - allowing lots of time to search for a replacement before trade deadlines/drafts etc.

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