Conscience

Jonathan Willis
December 08 2013 12:21AM

 

It seems an odd thing to be harping on defensive conscience after a game where the Oilers held Calgary to a single goal through regulation. Yet, here I am, doing just that. 

The guy in the picture is Mark Arcobello. I remember, early into his AHL career, watching him play the wing and thinking he was stuck there because he didn't have the defensive ability to play at his more natural centre position. He was just an itty bitty forward with good but not spectacular offensive skills, and his tendency to cheat for offence was going to be the death of him as an NHL'er. 

Somewhere in the years since then, Arcobello hasn't just stopped going all in for points. He's decided to do all the little things right. Pound-for-pound, there isn't a more physical player on the team; every time it makes sense to finish a hit he does. The next physical battle he walks away from in the NHL will be the first one. He wins faceoffs.

And when the puck starts going the wrong way he's on his horse and chasing after it. 

If Only...

Sam Gagner's a popular whipping boy these days, and there is no mystery as to why, Two terrible plays with the puck tonight demonstrated a big part of the problem: his beautiful breakout pass on the power play to set-up a Flames short-handed chance in the first, a lazy pass into traffic in the second that might have been a goal against had the puck not been lucky enough to find Blair Jones. 

But it's more than that, and while Gagner's a favourite target there's a malaise that seems to afflict almost the entire lineup, including the stars. Jordan Eberle impressed as a rookie with his attention to detail; somewhere in the time since he's gotten negligent in his own end and prone to making bizarre choices with the puck in the defensive zone. Justin Schultz has been cheating for goals since day one and seems unable to break the habit. Even Taylor Hall, a guy who drives results, seems far more engaged from the offensive blue line in than he does elsewhere on the ice and has a nasty habit of flying the defensive zone well before the Oilers have a clear exit route for the puck.

It's hard to watch a guy like Arcobello on one shift - a guy who probably isn't going to be a pivotal part of the Oilers future - and then watch one of the young stars on the next and know that the former is playing a 200-foot game and the latter are looking to fly the zone at the first opportunity. 

Maybe it's the losing, maybe it's the fact that every coach the team has had has preached a different brand of hockey and the none of them lasted long enough to have a permanent effect, or maybe it's something else entirely.

But Dallas Eakins has to figure out a way to fix it. He's taken a hard line with the depth guys, and healthy-scratched second-tier people like Jeff Petry and Anton Belov and even the less-established Nail Yakupov. But the guys at the top end of the lineup keep getting fed primo ice-time, even when other options exist, and they're the ones that really need to get the message if the Oilers are ever going to contend in something other than the draft lottery.  

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Why u heff to be mad
December 08 2013, 01:00AM
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How can Gagner play 7 full seasons in the NHL and still have no clue how to play defence?

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#2 Eric
December 08 2013, 12:25AM
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Amen.

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#3 6 ring circus
December 08 2013, 01:16AM
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Arcobello does not have the luxury of a big time NHL contract like Gagner does , thats what he is playing for game in and game out. The Oilers should have sent Gagner back to junior his first year in the league, instead they kept him in the NHL and he has never developed his defense part of the game or improved his face off abilities and they rewarded him with a nice pay day,the same can be said about about Eberle and Hall they can do no wrong,if they cough up the puck a couple of times in one shift, they are back out there again when its there turn,where's the accountability Eakins was preaching when he took over as head coach? There is a double standard on this team and believe me, the players know it.

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#4 Woodguy
December 08 2013, 12:32AM
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But the guys at the top end of the lineup keep getting fed primo ice-time, even when other options exist, and they're the ones that really need to get the message if the Oilers are ever going to contend in something other than the draft lottery.

Exactly.

Well put.

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#5 hallsyoilerforever5
December 08 2013, 01:23AM
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I remember when the blues struggled, until Hitchcock got brought in. Because of it, they managed to turn their season around. Hitchcock stressed defence over offence. Even if he's a coach with experience, the fact that the blues players listened and bought in right away speaks volume. I'm sure Eakins stresses the same, but the fact that the oiler young guns stubbornly refuse to makes me wonder. What is it going to take for this team, especially the young guns to play two way hockey and proper defence without the puck? It's excruciating to watch when Arco is such a smart player willing to backcheck and hit when he's the smallest guy on the team. Why doesn't anybody else follow?

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#6 Stamsky Hemkos
December 08 2013, 12:42AM
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I hope Rogers turfs Hockey Night in (Toronto) Canada. Too many times an Oilers' game is starting and we are forced to watch the completion of a Leafs' game first.

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#7 mlcselli
December 08 2013, 01:50AM
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There's no doubt that Gagner, Hall, J. Shultz and Eberle have all deserved to take a seat n the press box at least once this year. Eakins love to spout off all about the tough love he's willing to exercise, yet these 4 mentioned seem to get a free pass on a regular basis. It seems all of the disposable players suffer the wrath. I'm not sure if Eakins is intimidated or handcuffed into keeping the stars playing, but there are definitely two sets of rules for two groups of players. If consistency on the ice is expected, then consistency from the bench should also be expected. Just an observation/opinion from a 2nd tier fan

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#8 Lowe Expectations
December 08 2013, 12:28AM
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I've said it before and I'll say it again. Too many Oilers are 150' players on a 200' rink.

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#9 spliff
December 08 2013, 04:00AM
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What I can't figure out is why MacT thinks Gagner is a "character guy" who the Oil need to have as part of their future plans. MacT is supposedly a smart guy, who knows a lot about hockey. He is the GM of an NHL team FFS, so why the f*ck does he think Gagner is a character guy?

When I think of character players, I think of Messier, Bobby Clarke, even and Jason Smith. How does Gagner fit in with this group? Gagner is soft, doesn't fight for the puck, glides too much and to my eyes does not bring a lot to the table. But MacT thinks he has character and gives him 4 million a year! This, in a nutshell, is what ails this franchise. The Oil are going nowhere with 7 year veterans like Sam Gagner leading this sorry ass excuse for a team.

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#10 Harry
December 08 2013, 03:32AM
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Zarny wrote:

Big time NHL contract?

Gagner only got a 3 year deal because the Oilers aren't sold on him as a 2nd line C.

And the NMC doesn't kick in until next season which means the clock is ticking for Sam to prove himself.

Explain to me.how 3yrs 12mil is not a big contract for a fringe .5 ppg player? Gagner is the luckiest sob in the league to get that deal.

buy him out or move him asap

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#11 Spydyr
December 08 2013, 07:33AM
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If Yak had made that pass Gagner did at the blue line then dragging his butt back on the back check he would of not seen the ice to after Christmas.What does the Oilers "briantrust" see in Gagner? I just don't get it. Accountability, yeah right.

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#12 BorisMironov2
December 08 2013, 12:41AM
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I was severly disappointed with eberle's play tonight. I think he is saved from a lot of critisim on ON because of Wanye's big crush, but tonight it was evident he was floating all game. I want to see him play like he is pissed off and frustrated, but it hasn't happened. He seems absent minded out there. Just an observation. Also I feel like gags play will improve significantly when he's back 100%. It looks like he's playing apprehensively and that may be due to a jaw that isn't really ready to go yet.

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#13 Hockey Problems
December 08 2013, 03:24AM
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Eberle, Gagner, and J Schultz gotta go. They are a bunch of muffin sissies that couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Can they even play defense? I don't think I have ever seen any of these three win a puck battle on the boards. Get rid of them ASAP as this team is going nowhere with this trio taking up ice time.

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#14 Hoozonphirst
December 08 2013, 02:14AM
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Bang on right JW. I would go just one step further. Who has created and is largely responsible for the likes of Gagner, Hall, Eberle and Schultz. I think Lowe and Mact need to clear their throats in that dressing room and give Eakins the green light to bench these guys until they get it through their heads. Eberle is getting to be a selfish and lazy self-entitled player. His contract is almost as big as his ego. Not quite.

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#15 Oiler Al
December 08 2013, 07:38AM
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How many times can you beat a dead horse... Answer: 8 years.

Headline: PLUMBERS BEAT THE MUFFINS ON HOME ICE.

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#16 Muji
December 08 2013, 12:54AM
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"The next physical battle he walks away from in the NHL will be the first one."

Nice wordplay, JW!

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#17 Harry
December 08 2013, 03:28AM
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Where do I start with what is wrong with this article.

First of all how do you figure Arco isnt in the long term plans? He is exactly what any team would want on the 3rd line. Affordable defensively responsible, and he can chip in on the score sheet. Not to mention JW, you continue to say that he is pound for.pound the toughest, most defensively responsible Oiler on the current roster.

So how do we get rid of a player who is still young, has been developed the right way, is very affordable, and is a massive upgrade over our current 2C?

Heres how. Buy out Gagner and attack free agency in 2014 balls out!!

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#18 srbuhr
December 08 2013, 09:36AM
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I totally agree Gagner has been playing poorly since he came back from injury with no consequences. Had the flames not had a bad turnover right before the tieing goal, Gagner ridiculous spin o Rama backhand would have been noticed for its foolishness. Sometimes you get lucky.

That being said beyond Arco and Smyth, the entire oiler team played a lazy indifferent game. Hall turned the puck over every shift and was pretty much responsible for the first unit power play woes. Take off the rose glasses and watch this young guy turn the puck over and over. Someone has to apply some tough love and teach him how to manage the puck or his career will be all "coulda, shoulda if he woulda". As poorly as Eberle played last night, I would move Hall far sooner for a first line centre or top two D.

Finally the coaching is painful to watch. Yak gets benched again because he is playing with turnover machines but it's all his fault. We end period on power play where the second unit (without Hall/Gagner) hit two posts with forty seconds of zone time but we start the first unit next period and they can't even gain zone. To ensure neither unit works, Eakins replaces Yak with Hall on Nuges pp unit and thus kills it as well. The only reason we were even in this game is the flames are really really bad. Unfortunately we are worse.

Good grief!

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#19 Rama Lama
December 08 2013, 12:42PM
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I just figured this out.......talk about delayed intelligence? When Mr. Fitness is talking about accountability he means only the bottom two lines.

Now I understand Mr. Hair better. Hall, Ebs, JSchultz, RNH, Gagner, Ference can all make stupid mistakes and NOT be held accountable, the rest will see the pressbox so they can "reset"!

Now it's time for Mr. Bangs to "reset" the rest of the crew. Once we reset everyone we can start winning more than one game in a row.

Hey maybe we can reset the management team?

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#20 Zarny
December 08 2013, 02:31AM
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Arcobello has been a nice surprise so far this year.

For many players, longevity in the NHL is contingent on knowing and accepting what type of NHL player they are.

I don't think it's a given Arco isn't in the Oiler's future plans.

Gagner only received a 3 yr deal because they aren't sold on him as a 2nd line C. His physical stature and style of play do not compliment Nuge well and the NMC doesn't kick in until next year.

Gagner is on probation and I think he knows it. If his play doesn't improve I expect MacT moves him.

That could open a spot for Arco. Or he could simply play his way into a trade.

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#21 madjam
December 08 2013, 06:23AM
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From illustrious junior careers as the go to guys , our young stars have not progressed their game very far . They were all accustomed to get fed the puck by others and were accordingly lax in defensive accountability . They all have failed up till now to develop a reasonable 200 ft. game , or grit and physical game good enough for positive results in the NHL . Their attempts to do so are very futile and listless . I don't think you can change that with a majority of them unless we bite the bullet and trade away a couple of them that remain the worst offenders . To many of the same problem type forwards . Their passing skills are also very questionable beyond just their low grade team and accountability skills . Like having 5-6 young P. Klima's or K.Neilson's on our team .

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#22 Manfly
December 08 2013, 12:40AM
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bah, no more high draft picks! I used to get excited about who we could get at or near the top of the draft, but no more! this team has to start winning right now and if we trade our 1st rounder, even if it's a high one, to get better now with the players we need now, then go for it!

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#23 RexHolez
December 08 2013, 07:21AM
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this is all old news. im tired of excuses, reasons and being preached patience! get it together now or lets rebuild again with new management!! my 6yr old nephew could assemble a better team, and im not being dramatic!

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#24 Bruce
December 08 2013, 12:31AM
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Eric wrote:

Amen.

Precisely what I was gonna' say

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#25 Wintoon
December 08 2013, 08:25AM
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It is obvious that Gagner lacks the physical and mental skills to successfully play 2C for the Oilers at a level which would help them win the Cup Can't playD after 7 years and can't win face offs). If he cannot be gritty, competitive, and dialed in as a centre, what makes anyone think he will be effective as a Winger? Wingers need to battle along the wall, go into the corners and win battles there against players who are both big and strong. Wingers have to be able to skate, not coast, up and down the length of the ice. Some how people have arrived at a point where they think Gagner can be an effective winger. I believe that is born of desparation.

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#26 oilers2k10
December 08 2013, 01:20PM
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I know Gagner drops the gloves once, maybe twice a season and takes on anyone..but does that make him a character player? Not when your floating up and down the ice the other 99 percent of the time..

He sucks on the draw, can't help kill penalties..slow and unlike most small players he isn't really quick..doesn't hit much..

He's got good skill with the puck, shoots ok, passes nice..but is pretty much a .5 ppg player..at least at this point in his career.

It's funny how Arcobello in his rookie season does all the little things we always hoped Gagner would do yet in his 7th season Gagner still hasn't figured it out but he's the one with the big contract.

Not saying Arcobello deserves a Gagner contract yet..he's gotta keep it up for at least another two years before he can get that kind of money but for now Gagner's been shown what this team expects of him if he wants to stay on it.

I wouldn't trade Arcobello, not with the way Gagner's been inconsistent over his career...Gagner's still recovering from his injury but is there really a higher upside with this player than what he's shown so far? Maybe make a trade, Gagner and Petry for solid top nine winger. Maybe keep him for another few months, either way don't get rid of Arcobello, his play is what this team needs more of.

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#27 Rdubb
December 08 2013, 07:56AM
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Question for you Johnathon, why not write an article which includes ALL the reasons as to why (& you did touch on them in the above article) as to why Gagner should be moved to the wing and have archobello move to the 2nd line C position, & every person in the crazy hockey town knows why this should happen, but when it comes to the coaching staff & upper management, well, they don't seem to want to give it a go for a half dozen games or so. I don't think there is a big difference in offensive ability between the two (Gagner has never reached what, 46 points in a full season, maybe a few more), but archo is by far a better defensive player, and maybe by moving sam to the wing would allow him to be "offensive"... archo is better defensively, in the dot, taking his man in all 3 zones, making the "breakout" pass up to a winger, and, the fans went NUTTS when he was benched for a few games when he didn't deserve it and others did, @ least that's what I heard from 99% of the callers to the radio... Sam he too hard headed, said he doesn't want to move over, but he must do what's best for the team, otherwise, that A on his sweater should be taken away. Sam is NOT a centre man @ the NHL level, and take away a 8 point game and that season would be a huge disappointment as far as a point level goes... Eakins, read this, pull your noddle out of your butt, and start making all ACCOUNTABLE & move sam over to the wing and arco to the 2nd line C position!!!! Be a COACH

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#28 -30-
December 08 2013, 08:49AM
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I thought that maybe it was just me because I am not a real hockey aficionado and only casually follow hockey.

But it's not. Almost all of the top forward line players have been seemingly throwing away the puck blindly only to have it intercepted by the opposition.

Who's been the most guilty? Hall. Eberle. Two of the players with the most promise have been setting terrible examples and it's costing them.

-30-

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#29 **
December 08 2013, 01:18PM
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srbuhr wrote:

I totally agree Gagner has been playing poorly since he came back from injury with no consequences. Had the flames not had a bad turnover right before the tieing goal, Gagner ridiculous spin o Rama backhand would have been noticed for its foolishness. Sometimes you get lucky.

That being said beyond Arco and Smyth, the entire oiler team played a lazy indifferent game. Hall turned the puck over every shift and was pretty much responsible for the first unit power play woes. Take off the rose glasses and watch this young guy turn the puck over and over. Someone has to apply some tough love and teach him how to manage the puck or his career will be all "coulda, shoulda if he woulda". As poorly as Eberle played last night, I would move Hall far sooner for a first line centre or top two D.

Finally the coaching is painful to watch. Yak gets benched again because he is playing with turnover machines but it's all his fault. We end period on power play where the second unit (without Hall/Gagner) hit two posts with forty seconds of zone time but we start the first unit next period and they can't even gain zone. To ensure neither unit works, Eakins replaces Yak with Hall on Nuges pp unit and thus kills it as well. The only reason we were even in this game is the flames are really really bad. Unfortunately we are worse.

Good grief!

I agree with most of what you said except that only Arco and Smyth were game. Perron is the best player on this team. He shows up almost every night at both ends of the rink.

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#30 Batfink
December 08 2013, 08:10AM
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So JW, what are the 'other options' for the top six? Last night was a lack off effort couple to the fLames being VERY well coached. Took all the angles and lanes we had against COL away, the boys didn't know what to do and Eakins just said "I know I'm right, keep going." I've said this before, Eakins has it in him to be a good coach, but his inability to show humility and adapt his game (other than using the MacBlender TM) is worrying.

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#31 BillHK
December 08 2013, 01:15PM
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Gagner should have taken another week off to let his injury recover fully, and then played a game or 2 in OKC to get back up to speed. Arco was playing well and should not have been a healthy scratch. It would probably have been a good time to move Gagner to the wing seeing that he is weak on the dot.

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#32 **
December 08 2013, 01:46PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

3 turnovers by Hall in two shifts last night. Toe drag that Brodie broke up, two passes on the tape to Giardano on the PP no less. He scores the game tying goal.....and it is all overlooked as a result!

I have harped on Gagners game for years and took the heat from Gagner lovers here. Seems a few more fans are starting to see the light!

For all of Pat Quinn's faults during his time here, he was bang on on Gagner's deficiencies.

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#33 **
December 08 2013, 01:05AM
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Amen

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#34 Silver Streak
December 08 2013, 10:14AM
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@Hoozonphirst

“ Eberle is getting to be a selfish and lazy self-entitled player. His contract is almost as big as his ego “ .

How big would Eakins balls have to be to sit all 5 of the kids and Gagne for a game or two….

now that message would be heard…and if that didn’t work….move Eberle and Gagne.

Screw the "Team building” trips to the Mountains and or golf in Phoenix…sitting the baby stars till they get it, is the answer would show the other 17 guys that there is a team here and not 5 or 6 prima-donnas running the show.

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#35 kale
December 08 2013, 01:01PM
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Zarny wrote:

Arcobello has been a nice surprise so far this year.

For many players, longevity in the NHL is contingent on knowing and accepting what type of NHL player they are.

I don't think it's a given Arco isn't in the Oiler's future plans.

Gagner only received a 3 yr deal because they aren't sold on him as a 2nd line C. His physical stature and style of play do not compliment Nuge well and the NMC doesn't kick in until next year.

Gagner is on probation and I think he knows it. If his play doesn't improve I expect MacT moves him.

That could open a spot for Arco. Or he could simply play his way into a trade.

I dont agree with this. When MacT gave Gagner his extension he said he would have gave Gagner a longer term if he wanted it. This is one of the reasons that, despite Perron and Gordon, MacT does not get a passing grade.

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#36 Westcoastoil
December 08 2013, 03:23PM
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Oilers Coffey wrote:

I'm sad to say this too, but I'm sure Yakupov is going to move along to a place where he has an opportunity. Eakins still refuses to use him effectively.

And Yakupov still refuses so much as run into anybody. Their refusal to throw a hit last night was painful to watch. Arco is proof anyone can play the body - you don't need to run a guy through the glass, just finish your bloody check.

Hall scrum with Giordano summed it up. They don't have to fight but the other teams know that everyone, except Perron, in the Oilers top 6 will always back down first. Perron (I think) to a late whack at a loose puck in the 2nd - 4 Flames surrounded him & not one Oiler tried to intervene. It's not a size issue, it's an attitude that's missing.

Since Hall is the alpha dog amongst the skill young guys until he starts to do it the team will not. 3 years of soft play by the forwards says so.

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#37 Ari Gold
December 08 2013, 10:12AM
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I enjoy watching every AHL call-up this year. It makes me think the coach down there is getting 100% out of his players and teaching them defensive commitment. (Except for Acton, he's just not a good hockey player)

This makes me wonder. Why can't Eakins get 100% out of his players?

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#38 Minister D-
December 08 2013, 10:38AM
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If I were Eakins, I would bench Gagner as soon as Gordon is back. A close second would be Hall, who, along with (Lolly)Gags, was punked hard by Cassie Campbell in the intermission. These bums don't know what it takes to win hockey games. They aren't putting in the work: it's time for consequences.

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#39 Turnover
December 08 2013, 11:18AM
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The puck dies on Sam Gagners stick. He is too slowto be the puck carrier. And he DOES NOT HEADMAN the puck. If he did, he would advance the play. Instead he continues to carry it, while his wingers stop for a smoke break at the offensive blueline and wait for him to catch up. 'Think SAM. Think !...how the game looks from the pressbox. Be a team player.

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#40 2004Z06
December 08 2013, 11:48AM
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3 turnovers by Hall in two shifts last night. Toe drag that Brodie broke up, two passes on the tape to Giardano on the PP no less. He scores the game tying goal.....and it is all overlooked as a result!

I have harped on Gagners game for years and took the heat from Gagner lovers here. Seems a few more fans are starting to see the light!

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#41 mlcselli
December 08 2013, 01:35PM
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Gagner sucks at centre and it pisses me off to see him in that position, when there is another player better suited for that spot. I absolutely believe the reason we see him at centre, is because that is what his contract (one of the worst) stipulates. Being arrogant, Gagner won't think Arco is better on the dot and he should be on the wing. God knows, MacT and Eakins know, Gagner is the wrong guy for the job.

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#42 Oilers Coffey
December 08 2013, 01:52PM
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When is the Perron deal expiring? He's been the best player by far and most consistent. He's out played the big $$$ of Gagner and Eberle. I'm afraid to lose Perron for nothing cuz this organization has already paid the big bucks.

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#43 non descript
December 08 2013, 08:38AM
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there are those that suscribe to the theory that this disaster of a "team" is tambos mess and mact hasnt been on the job long enough to be faulted for where the club is in the standings and the generally brutal product we as oiler fans have the privelidge of calling our hometown team. i am not one of those people. mact made at least two critical mistakes this summer, one being not bringing mark fistric back to maintain some physicality on the blueline(grebeschkov?) and the other was not trading the rights to gagner. the only time his value would have been higher was if tambo would have picked up the phone imediately after the eight point night. i am not going to speculate as to what the return might have been, but even a center with far less offence who plays the position properly would have been fine. in my mind, the only question for mact should be this phantam no movement, exactly what promises were made and how he sees his credibility moving ahead. at some point they need to start building a hockey team. dont they?

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#44 Oilers Coffey
December 08 2013, 02:52PM
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@**

I'm sad to say this too, but I'm sure Yakupov is going to move along to a place where he has an opportunity. Eakins still refuses to use him effectively.

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#45 **
December 08 2013, 12:20PM
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Zarny wrote:

Big time NHL contract?

Gagner only got a 3 year deal because the Oilers aren't sold on him as a 2nd line C.

And the NMC doesn't kick in until next season which means the clock is ticking for Sam to prove himself.

You must be very wealthy to think that a contract worth $14,400,000 ($4,800,000/year) is not a big time NHL contract. The average salary in the NHL is around 2.4 million/year. Arcobello is making $600,000/year. That is 1/8 of Gagner's salary. on a related note, Perron is making $3,812,500 for the next 2 seasons. Talk about bang for your buck.

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#46 **
December 08 2013, 02:05PM
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Oilers Coffey wrote:

When is the Perron deal expiring? He's been the best player by far and most consistent. He's out played the big $$$ of Gagner and Eberle. I'm afraid to lose Perron for nothing cuz this organization has already paid the big bucks.

$3,812,500 for 3 seasons including this one. He is a steal of a deal and a great bargain for the next 2 seasons. If he keeps playing like that, he is going to want (and deserve) at least as much as the six million dollar men. The good thing is that Hemsky and Gagner's contract will be done by then (assuming Gagner doesn't get a 10 year 10 million/year contract after the fact) and the salary cap will be going up. By then the Oilers will hopefully at least one legit top 2 d man with a similar salary and Yakupov will probably be somewhere else (not that I want that, it's just my feeling given how this organization has handled him.)

If MacTavish keeps giving out big contracts like candy, come crunch time he won't have any money to pay the players who have really earned it and the Oilers will go into another cycle of sucking until 2020.

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#47 Zarny
December 08 2013, 02:16AM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Arcobello does not have the luxury of a big time NHL contract like Gagner does , thats what he is playing for game in and game out. The Oilers should have sent Gagner back to junior his first year in the league, instead they kept him in the NHL and he has never developed his defense part of the game or improved his face off abilities and they rewarded him with a nice pay day,the same can be said about about Eberle and Hall they can do no wrong,if they cough up the puck a couple of times in one shift, they are back out there again when its there turn,where's the accountability Eakins was preaching when he took over as head coach? There is a double standard on this team and believe me, the players know it.

Big time NHL contract?

Gagner only got a 3 year deal because the Oilers aren't sold on him as a 2nd line C.

And the NMC doesn't kick in until next season which means the clock is ticking for Sam to prove himself.

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#48 morgie
December 08 2013, 09:29AM
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Hoozonphirst wrote:

Bang on right JW. I would go just one step further. Who has created and is largely responsible for the likes of Gagner, Hall, Eberle and Schultz. I think Lowe and Mact need to clear their throats in that dressing room and give Eakins the green light to bench these guys until they get it through their heads. Eberle is getting to be a selfish and lazy self-entitled player. His contract is almost as big as his ego. Not quite.

Great idea and most likely needed, hopefully the brain trust realize this or read this article and do it

double standard is right, yes the kids perform offensively, but have too weak of a defensive game rampant through the team.

it a losing proposition till changed, in the NHL most teams have defensive conscience, except the oilers lol

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#49 Bushed
December 08 2013, 08:50AM
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JW:

Your post is dead on--could not agree more!

Now the tougher question. After "Glide" Gagner is gone, how to fix the bigger problems?

The popular opinion seems to be clean house and start over. Katz has the money to do whatever he wants with this mess, but is the will there?

Chicago went out and found the best and most experienced hockey mind they could identify, and gave Scotty Bowman a blank cheque and job description to fill out however he wanted. He got his son on board, added lots of zeros to the cheque, and the Hawks have not looked back.

There is no cap on GM, coaching, or scouting salaries, is there? So why not go out and "offer sheet" the best talents out there and get this show back on the road?

Too simple? Katz doesn't understand competitive advantage in business (doubtful)? Thoughts?

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#50 Redwolf
December 08 2013, 12:32PM
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Hockey Problems wrote:

Eberle, Gagner, and J Schultz gotta go. They are a bunch of muffin sissies that couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Can they even play defense? I don't think I have ever seen any of these three win a puck battle on the boards. Get rid of them ASAP as this team is going nowhere with this trio taking up ice time.

Trade all three for Shea Weber

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