A Comedy of Errors

Jonathan Willis
December 31 2013 10:40PM

On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers lost a game by a 4-3 score, falling in overtime to the Phoenix Coyotes. The score and standings point flatter Edmonton, but the comedy of errors on the final goal was something not to be missed.

The Chain of Screaming

We set the scene with 17 seconds left in overtime. Jeff Petry (2) has the puck and is in a bit of trouble, but Anton Belov (77) is in good position to cover him and Petry is about to dump the puck along the boards to where Jordan Eberle (14) can recover it. Provided he does so successfully, the Oilers will have possession in the Phoenix zone with barely any time left.

Two seconds later, all is well. Eberle is under pressure from Radim Vrbata (17) and Keith Yandle (3), but he has possession and even if he somehow loses the puck Yandle is going to need to beat two defencemen back to the Oilers net. Besides which, if Eberle gets into trouble he can dump the puck along the boards and Sam Gagner (89) will be in decent position to recover it.

Well, Eberle doesn’t get it deep and worse gets cut off by Yandle after coughing up the puck. Oh well, no worries; Yandle has to beat two defencemen and he isn’t totally clear of Eberle yet. Good luck with that.

Uh oh. Petry has pinched to hold the puck in, and it’s gone off his skate. Eberle isn’t moving his legs, so he’s out of the play. Suddenly Petry’s vulnerable, Eberle’s irrelevant and Belov is the only player standing between Yandle and Bryzgalov. It shouldn’t be a problem, though, because Belov sees what’s happening and has a lead on Yandle.

Petry’s out of the play and Eberle’s somehow almost as far out of things as Gagner, who started much further back. And suddenly Belov’s lead on Yandle is looking a lot less impressive.

At this point, Petry’s in position to take the second Phoenix attacker, and Belov is in position to take Yandle. There are less than 10 seconds left. Despite some gains made by Yandle on Belov, Petry’s inability to hold the line and Eberle’s inexplicable disappearance from the frame, there’s no problem here that Belov can’t solve.

Oops. Belov went from a slight lead to neck-and-neck to being cleanly beat by Yandle. Oh well, with 8.5 seconds left he might as well wrap Yandle up in a big bear hug and let Bryzgalov get set for a penalty shot.

Or I guess Belov could let Yandle shoot. That’s not what I would have advised, personally.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 K_Mart
January 01 2014, 11:03AM
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JonSwift wrote:

2-on-1's happen all the time in hockey. Otherwise it would be soccer.

When they happen deep in the zone, as a defenceman , you always read the play and cover the man with the greatest chance to score (usually the man in front of the net).

Good defencemen in the NHL need to do this almost all the time. If not, they should not be playing at this level. Petry falls into this category and has been doing it since he started with the Oilers.

He chased the puck, it was a bad decision. But the goal wasn't a 2-on-1 in the classic sense. Everyone was in the zone, and this play wasn't built off the rush. The forward closest to the man in the slot should have tied him up so Petry could safely prevent the puck carrier from freely carrying the puck to the front of the net.

In Petry's scenario if he chases the puck carrier, then the pass is free to the man in the slot, and if he ties up the man in the slot, then the puck carrier has a free path to Bryz from the side of the net(which I agree in this case was less likely to score, especially since bryz was committed to the puck carrier), but in Petry's eyes, I can see how it looked like a lose lose scenario.

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#102 Goalpost
January 01 2014, 11:04AM
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@offthebandwagon

I can't understand why they keep this loser Petry around. He's the biggest liability on the team. Ebbs didn't look hood on that play either.

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#103 Freewheeling Freddie
January 01 2014, 11:04AM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

The love in for Fail continues. Hilarious. I'm sure it would have been a much better result if Eakins dressed the worst player in the NHL.

Worst player in the NHL? Really. He didn't look to bad last year. You do know there is a player on the Oilers who makes 4.8 million ,who coughs up the puck doesn't hit really is invisible 99.9% of the time is generally quite useless .Yak is getting the shaft here. In the game against the Jets he showed much emotion and actually threw some hits ,which cant be said for most players on this team. No lets ruin this kid , and when he goes to competent team and scores 40 goals we will be why did we trade him?

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#104 michael
January 01 2014, 11:11AM
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JW. Watching the WJHC has given me opportunity to watch Eckblad for the first time. I like what I see. Sam Rheinhart has impressed also.

Could it be possible that the Oilers wind up with 2 picks in the top 5 if they decide to trade Yakupov? Who would not look out of place with Grigerenko. The Isles free fall could also benefit the Oilers. The Isles need a winger who can snipe. Eberle? The Isles are moving to Brooklyn next season I believe. They'll need to be a lot better than they are now if they wish to compete.

MacT certainly has some decision's to make come trade deadline and at draft day. The FA market for defencemen is next to bare now that Phaneuf has signed. The rest are just fodder mostly.

If IB continues to play well. Do we resign him? Or is he in play on trade deadline day? DD will bounce back but as an upcoming UFA Will MacT resign him for another 2 years at 4.0 million? I don't think that will happen.DD has not shown he is a number 1 consistently enough though his numbers say he is in the midrange of NHL goalies. He gives up the goals that kill you.

The defence will definitely see an overhaul this off season. Hopefully MacT will look to NA rather than Europe for the solutions he needs.

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#105 K_Mart
January 01 2014, 11:24AM
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This team doesn't need a d man who is 4 years away from being nhl ready. It needs a d man that is ready to go right now.

Ebs, Yak, or the Pick should be pushed in order to bring in a top pairing d man asap.

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#106 Freewheeling Freddie
January 01 2014, 11:26AM
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Eight years no playoffs out of the race after the first month. We will be 2 years off the record for longest playoff drought. We have a owner who doesn't really care, tell me how do we get to the light at the end of the tunnel? Any other professional sports team in North America would clean house. Players like Hall Nuge and Perron give it their best. This must be very disheartening to lose and lose.Hell Garth Snow would look better here than these clowns. Start by getting rid of Smith Bucky and definitely Chabot

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#107 wizeman
January 01 2014, 11:26AM
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Im not an oiler fan but a hockey fan here in Edmonton. Sadly the defence is not of NHL quality and the constant thru the last four years has been the assistant coaches. They had no prior experience prior to their hire in Edmonton. The scouting staff has to be the worst in the league. Beside the first overall picks, not one other pick from the last six years is on the team or pushing existing players for playing time. Other teams expect at least one player from the draft to be ready for primetime in two to three years.Reports from OKC indicate that Klefbom has been scratched for a couple of games (sound familiar)and is not close to being ready for the NHL. Given all of the above you will not see any vast improvement in this team for at least two to three years. The only thing MacT has left is trading existing players. In my opinion the organization has historically over valued its assets and other clubs know this.

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#108 Alsker
January 01 2014, 11:27AM
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Well at least last nights game gave Yak an opportunity to watch and learn from a well structured and coached team(not the Oil). Since Horak's up and is a center, Yak can come back in and replace him on that line and snowpants can have a seat in the attic if Arco is not yet ready. That line can't/won't be any worse than 12-89-14 were last night. Anyone know WHO would have been with Yak in the pressbox pointing out what Eakins wants him to be doing as to what he has being doing?

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#109 Sisyphus
January 01 2014, 11:44AM
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K_Mart wrote:

This team doesn't need a d man who is 4 years away from being nhl ready. It needs a d man that is ready to go right now.

Ebs, Yak, or the Pick should be pushed in order to bring in a top pairing d man asap.

I still say Ebs is the only one of those 3 who could bring in a top pairing guy alone. If the Oilers weren't dealing from such an obvious position of weakness/desperation, Yak might have been enough, but every GM in the league can smell blood. They know MacT doesn't really have the luxury of time, of waiting for the right deal, and they're going to take advantage of that. What's worse, however, is that even if you trade Ebs for a top-pairing Dman, you still have a mostly terrible Dcorps otherwise, and outside of Hall/Perron, not much skill in forwards, and no solid franchise goalie. You'll have plugged one hole on a ship filled with them.

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#110 Sisyphus
January 01 2014, 11:54AM
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Gleason to TOR. And the Oilers miss out yet again.

MacT, get it through your head. Either you're going to continue to suck for another 2-4 years, minimum, or you're going to have to make at least one, probably more than one, pretty painful trade to get pieces that you need.

You grab all those first overalls for one reason--as something you can use later to get what you need and didn't get in the draft. Not to hold onto them all no matter how bad your team gets.

I feel for Hall--wonder if he's starting to really regret signing such a LT contract with a disaster like this

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#111 Moog's helmet
January 01 2014, 12:09PM
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Now that the Coyotes have been purchased by a group of wealthy Canadians, the Edmonton Oilers are the only franchise in the league that is owned by the other 29 teams in the NHL.

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#113 s
January 01 2014, 12:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Gleason's contract is terrible and he's a shell of what he used to be (at least, in the games I've seen this year and by the numbers).

Agreed he isn't the savior we need, but I'd also argue he's still better than 85% of our current dmen

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#114 G-Unit
January 01 2014, 12:18PM
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That loss falls 100% on Eakins. Argue whatever you want about mistakes in the game, but the line he had come out with a minute left and a defensive zone draw is laughable. Gordon (ok), Hemsky (??) and Smyth(?????????). How do we not have 2 more defensive fourth liners that can shut down for 60 seconds? Unbelievable. I was against changing coaches again for this season, because of the optics, but I might be fine with another change this summer. Unforgivable to dump 3 points like that.

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#115 G-Unit
January 01 2014, 12:30PM
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AthabascaJim wrote:

This goal happened as a direct result of Petry having no idea how to play defense. He doesn't read the play developing and gets caught in between. If he pinches down on Yandle BEFORE the puck comes free nothing develops. Instead he hesitates and plays neither the puck or the man. A 12 year old knows enough to take the man In this situation but Petry seems to have a huge aversion to touching anyone. For all his so called skill he seems incapable of playing with any confidence. Just another in a room full of players regressing under this leadership!

What exactly does Petry do that wouldn't be accomplished by a good AHL D-Man? Such a weak player that offers almost nothing to this team. Decent outlet passer (if not pressured) is the best thing I can say about him. Not even good, but ok. Embarrassing how much time he spends on the ice.

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#116 kale
January 01 2014, 01:00PM
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Alsker wrote:

Well at least last nights game gave Yak an opportunity to watch and learn from a well structured and coached team(not the Oil). Since Horak's up and is a center, Yak can come back in and replace him on that line and snowpants can have a seat in the attic if Arco is not yet ready. That line can't/won't be any worse than 12-89-14 were last night. Anyone know WHO would have been with Yak in the pressbox pointing out what Eakins wants him to be doing as to what he has being doing?

I cant help but thinking, especially after his play against Winnipeg, that Yak's benching was out of spite. Management don't take to kindly to being challenged.

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#117 Randaman
January 01 2014, 01:03PM
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Spurzey wrote:

Anybody see the play where Horak sets up Gags to come around front and get stopped by Greiss. Horak then is digging for the rebound and gets tossed to the ice by two or three dmen. Gags is already watching the replay with his mouth guard hanging out to see how cute he looks. He has no intent at all to come to his teammates aide. He just needs to see himself on the big screen. That folks is what is wrong with this team.

EXACTLY. Trades will not happen because nobody wants our lazy, over paid pretty boys. No free agents will sign here (I mean star free agents). Lowe isn't going anywhere. Nothing will change because the coffers for Katz are full and the sheep continue to follow along. I haven't watched the last five games and don't miss these losers at all. You all want change? Boycott the games or you could always throw a jersey on the ice. Message not received by this team at all!!

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#118 Randaman
January 01 2014, 01:11PM
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Sisyphus wrote:

I still say Ebs is the only one of those 3 who could bring in a top pairing guy alone. If the Oilers weren't dealing from such an obvious position of weakness/desperation, Yak might have been enough, but every GM in the league can smell blood. They know MacT doesn't really have the luxury of time, of waiting for the right deal, and they're going to take advantage of that. What's worse, however, is that even if you trade Ebs for a top-pairing Dman, you still have a mostly terrible Dcorps otherwise, and outside of Hall/Perron, not much skill in forwards, and no solid franchise goalie. You'll have plugged one hole on a ship filled with them.

Sorry to burst your over valuing bubble but there are only two players on this team with any value and that is Hall and Perron. Eberle's value is dropping daily because of plays like last night. These plays happen all the time but this one got magnified because it won the game. Eberle and Gagner are what is wrong in Edmonton. Bench them both and show you actually are the boss Dallas.

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#119 Loweblows
January 01 2014, 01:20PM
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Eakins has been a disaster! KLowe and his rookie assistants have been an ongoing disaster. Nero ( Katz) fiddles while Rome burns. If there is a god he will let this season end tomorrow.

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#120 Sisyphus
January 01 2014, 01:21PM
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Randaman wrote:

Sorry to burst your over valuing bubble but there are only two players on this team with any value and that is Hall and Perron. Eberle's value is dropping daily because of plays like last night. These plays happen all the time but this one got magnified because it won the game. Eberle and Gagner are what is wrong in Edmonton. Bench them both and show you actually are the boss Dallas.

Apologies. I should have been more clear. I agree that Hall and Perron are the ones with the most trade value. I was talking about guys that I could possibly see MacT actually moving. It'll be a cold day in hell before MacT would trade Hall, and I dont see him trading Perron either.

I do think that if he could bite the bullet, put Hall on the block, what he could get back would solve a few holes in one trade. But its just not going to happen

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#121 David S
January 01 2014, 01:53PM
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wizeman wrote:

Im not an oiler fan but a hockey fan here in Edmonton. Sadly the defence is not of NHL quality and the constant thru the last four years has been the assistant coaches. They had no prior experience prior to their hire in Edmonton. The scouting staff has to be the worst in the league. Beside the first overall picks, not one other pick from the last six years is on the team or pushing existing players for playing time. Other teams expect at least one player from the draft to be ready for primetime in two to three years.Reports from OKC indicate that Klefbom has been scratched for a couple of games (sound familiar)and is not close to being ready for the NHL. Given all of the above you will not see any vast improvement in this team for at least two to three years. The only thing MacT has left is trading existing players. In my opinion the organization has historically over valued its assets and other clubs know this.

The constant over the past while has been giving up actual NHL D men in the pursuit of 1st picks. Problem is, those guys are the hardest pieces to replace, as we're now seeing.

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#122 Herbie Versmells
January 01 2014, 02:07PM
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Randaman wrote:

Sorry to burst your over valuing bubble but there are only two players on this team with any value and that is Hall and Perron. Eberle's value is dropping daily because of plays like last night. These plays happen all the time but this one got magnified because it won the game. Eberle and Gagner are what is wrong in Edmonton. Bench them both and show you actually are the boss Dallas.

Finally another fan that sees that Eberle is a huge problem with this team! At best, he is the type of player that has the ability to compliment his line mates. He is relied on to carry a team offensively. In order to carry any team in any capacity, you have to play all 200' of the ice and Eberle shuts his brain off the second he crosses the red line on the back check (and on this play it looks like he was still in the offensive zone when he shut it off.) But hey, I'm just a fan and what do I know? I'm sure if Jason Gregor was reading this reply he would find a rebuttal that sounds an awful lot like he just had his lips wrapped around Eberle sack.

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#123 JustThink
January 01 2014, 02:22PM
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@Loweblows

You sound like a nut job. Yeah, we all get it. When Kevin Lowe was the GM he screwed this team up royally. However, where is the proof that he swayed any decision Tambo or MacT has made in the last few years? Its know it alls like yourself with no insight into what goes on in the front office that chats on the internet all day playing pretend GM that p!sses off anyone with a brain.

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#124 Kr55
January 01 2014, 03:10PM
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JustThink wrote:

You sound like a nut job. Yeah, we all get it. When Kevin Lowe was the GM he screwed this team up royally. However, where is the proof that he swayed any decision Tambo or MacT has made in the last few years? Its know it alls like yourself with no insight into what goes on in the front office that chats on the internet all day playing pretend GM that p!sses off anyone with a brain.

Lowe's massive ego would never let him be hands off with this team. He wants to be the guy to take the credit when things finally turn around. If he really was not involved, he would have no reason to brag about his past winning as a player to the media like he did last year and act like it has some relevance to what he is doing today.

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#125 Loweblows
January 01 2014, 03:17PM
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JustThink wrote:

You sound like a nut job. Yeah, we all get it. When Kevin Lowe was the GM he screwed this team up royally. However, where is the proof that he swayed any decision Tambo or MacT has made in the last few years? Its know it alls like yourself with no insight into what goes on in the front office that chats on the internet all day playing pretend GM that p!sses off anyone with a brain.

Actually the point I was trying to get across was that Katz is responsible for letting the madness continue by not making the changes necessary ie. getting rid of KLowe and Bucky and Smith. I would suggest that you improve your reading comprehension. Nero was a Roman Emperor who according to legend allowed Rome to burn. Inwould suggest you improve your history. And in conclusion it is obvious that you are a hypocrite by posting your insight and condemning others. What a wanker!

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#126 JustThink
January 01 2014, 04:22PM
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@Loweblows

I'm not sure if you understand the definition of hypocrite. You seem to be the one condemning others (wanker?)

Anyways, why even reference Lowe if your point is about Katz not cleaning house? At this point, what would getting rid of Lowe do? According to you (and the other know it alls), he's telling MacT what to do daily. Does that mean, according to your job chart, that MacT is telling Eakins how to coach the team every practice and game? Of course not. Lowe was removed from his position as GM years ago and does not call the shots anymore, he simply still has a job with the team because his buddy is the owner. So unless you have some insider info or first hand experience with evidence that you work in the organization, your opinion is moot. Improve your reading comprehension. My post clearly said that there is no proof that Lowe has no say in the work of the GM these days so getting rid of him would do nothing in the improvement of the team. Thanks for the history lesson though. I should spend less time correcting armchair hockey managers like yourself I suppose.

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#127 Groundhog
January 01 2014, 04:42PM
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Welcome to 2014 as an Edmonton Oiler fan. Groundhog year... again ..

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#128 meh
January 01 2014, 05:45PM
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Let's not forget the absolutely horrible Power Play 2 minutes earlier where everyone just stood around and passed it back and forth with each other with no traffic in front.

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#129 camdog
January 01 2014, 07:27PM
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JustThink wrote:

You sound like a nut job. Yeah, we all get it. When Kevin Lowe was the GM he screwed this team up royally. However, where is the proof that he swayed any decision Tambo or MacT has made in the last few years? Its know it alls like yourself with no insight into what goes on in the front office that chats on the internet all day playing pretend GM that p!sses off anyone with a brain.

On the Oilers official website it states that Lowe was "integral part of the scouting/ management team that selected Hall, RNH and Yakopov."

On the Oilers official website it admits that Lowe was heavily involved. Now the question bigs, where else was Lowe involved in other decisions surrounding the team? If he was involved in drafting, he surely was involved in other aspects of team management, one would think...

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#130 Loweblows
January 01 2014, 09:59PM
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JustThink wrote:

I'm not sure if you understand the definition of hypocrite. You seem to be the one condemning others (wanker?)

Anyways, why even reference Lowe if your point is about Katz not cleaning house? At this point, what would getting rid of Lowe do? According to you (and the other know it alls), he's telling MacT what to do daily. Does that mean, according to your job chart, that MacT is telling Eakins how to coach the team every practice and game? Of course not. Lowe was removed from his position as GM years ago and does not call the shots anymore, he simply still has a job with the team because his buddy is the owner. So unless you have some insider info or first hand experience with evidence that you work in the organization, your opinion is moot. Improve your reading comprehension. My post clearly said that there is no proof that Lowe has no say in the work of the GM these days so getting rid of him would do nothing in the improvement of the team. Thanks for the history lesson though. I should spend less time correcting armchair hockey managers like yourself I suppose.

I am selling the high level bridge. Any interest?

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#131 Loweblows
January 01 2014, 10:09PM
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JustThink wrote:

I'm not sure if you understand the definition of hypocrite. You seem to be the one condemning others (wanker?)

Anyways, why even reference Lowe if your point is about Katz not cleaning house? At this point, what would getting rid of Lowe do? According to you (and the other know it alls), he's telling MacT what to do daily. Does that mean, according to your job chart, that MacT is telling Eakins how to coach the team every practice and game? Of course not. Lowe was removed from his position as GM years ago and does not call the shots anymore, he simply still has a job with the team because his buddy is the owner. So unless you have some insider info or first hand experience with evidence that you work in the organization, your opinion is moot. Improve your reading comprehension. My post clearly said that there is no proof that Lowe has no say in the work of the GM these days so getting rid of him would do nothing in the improvement of the team. Thanks for the history lesson though. I should spend less time correcting armchair hockey managers like yourself I suppose.

You hit the nail on the head. I am an armchair GM. That is exactly why this site exists. So armchair critics like myself have a place to offer opinions. Now that you have joined the site I suppose that I will stop posting since you have all the answers. I await you higher than thou opinions. And ya you are still a wanker.

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#132 joey_10
January 01 2014, 10:49PM
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I love the "USA!!!" at the end...awkward now that we know Yandle was left off Team USA's roster

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#133 Pucker
January 01 2014, 11:15PM
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I watched the game off an on. Oiler's were lucky the game wasn't over in the first period.

What burned me more was their power play in the OT. 4 on 3 should be an automatic goal. I know it is for teams playing against the Oilers.

Or at least some tremendous saves provided by the opposition goalie. The Phoenix goal typified the Oiler season.

thanks for doing this Jonathon and I expect all the Eberle haters out there will change their tune once he gets out of this funk . . . and he will.

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#134 Peter
January 01 2014, 11:17PM
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@K_Mart

Oilers are softer than a Dairy Queen ice cream cone both physically and mentally. Lots to happen to change this around

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#135 Lowe4GM
January 01 2014, 11:46PM
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@Loweblows

whats your price?

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#136 Lowe4GM
January 01 2014, 11:47PM
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@Lowe4GM

Sorry, for the high level bridge. $?

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#137 BeatTheFlames!
January 01 2014, 11:58PM
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Loweblows wrote:

You hit the nail on the head. I am an armchair GM. That is exactly why this site exists. So armchair critics like myself have a place to offer opinions. Now that you have joined the site I suppose that I will stop posting since you have all the answers. I await you higher than thou opinions. And ya you are still a wanker.

Im just an "armchair GM" like the rest of us on here, but JustThink has a valid argument that mentioning Kevin Lowe in any house clearing scenario is redundant at this point. Hes like that upper management guy at every job whos just collecting a pay cheque at this point while he wears rose coloured glasses because he thinks his company has better assets than they actually do. The Oilers are a business afterall haha.

That did get awkward for a bit. Seems like a couple of people on here can't see each others point of view without it getting heated haha

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#138 Byks
January 01 2014, 11:59PM
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I couldn't believe what I saw there. Harmless looking series of events turned into an overtime loss pretty quickly. In fact I didn't even really notice the other breakdowns until I watched the replay (save for Belov, who caused me to scream at the TV in real time). Maybe my expectations are too high - you know, asking a defender to…defend???

Belov's "backcheck" has to be up there as one of the worst efforts I've ever seen. He just chose to let Yandle go. Maybe he was hoping it would help Yandle make team USA. Well that didn't work either.

I've been saying it for a while. It sucks to watch a perpetual loser, but it's easier to stomach when they're leaving it all on the ice and coming up short. It's a totally different story when night in and night out the main story is "lack of effort". I'm so tired of hearing that phrase. Enough is enough. How about "no forecheck, no backcheck, no paycheque"? That'll be the day.

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#139 john
January 02 2014, 02:29PM
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Groundhog wrote:

Welcome to 2014 as an Edmonton Oiler fan. Groundhog year... again ..

Lol, sad but probably true! Let's hope MacT had Jan.1 circled on his calender with a list of resolutions (trades & aquisitions) he plans on following through on soon.

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