ABOUT THAT FAST START . . .

Robin Brownlee
February 20 2013 12:09AM

With 33 games remaining in this shortened 48-game NHL season it's premature for those of us who thought (or hoped) the Edmonton Oilers had an opportunity to make the playoffs to write-off their post-season chances for a seventh straight season, but those so inclined might want to get started.

What those of us – there were many – who picked the Oilers to sneak in based, at least partially, on the feeling that Ralph Krueger's team would get off to a quick start because so many core players were tearing it up in Oklahoma City and elsewhere, can't argue is that premise is officially shot to hell now.

The Oilers are 6-6-3 for 15 points after Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. And, while that leaves them just two points out of a playoff position with 66 points remaining on the table, what we've seen so far hardly qualifies as a fast start.

Yes, it's better than the 4-8-3 record for 11 points they had after 15 games in 2010-11, when they finished 30th, but well off the 20 points (9-4-2) they had last season when they finished, ahem, 29th. It's a record that'll likely look a helluva lot worse by the time the "hurry hard" types vacate Rexall Place after the Brier – an event that puts the Oilers on the road for nine straight games.

It oughta be a barrel of laughs around here by March 12.

 

ARE HAVING FUN YET?

Dissecting why the Oilers find themselves where they are today makes for great copy in the daily sheets and blogs everywhere – and we'll get a heaping helping of that in coming days and weeks by media types patrolling the rink and those nowhere near it – but the fineries of why, or why not, is wearing mighty thin with fans who expected more. Results, please.

With the fast start angle out the window, one glance at the schedule tells fans yet another season could go south in a hurry. After closing out this homestand against Minnesota and Phoenix, the Oilers embark on that nine-game swing, and it's hardly a stroll down the garden path.

The fun begins in Chicago (they're pretty good right now), where they play twice during the trip, and wraps up in Denver, where I'm guessing a weary outfit might have issues with altitude in the Mile High City. The other stops are in Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, Columbus, Detroit and Nashville.

I'm not seeing a bushel of easily acquired points on that trip. By the time the Oilers return, they'll have played 26 games. How many points out of a playoff position might they be by then? Six? Eight? They could be closer to 15th place than eighth by then, no? Fast start my eye.

A real laugh riot, this bunch.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Devolution
February 20 2013, 12:24AM
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The thing I really can't understand is the lack of scoring. I thought our troubles this year were supposed to come from a porous defense and suspect goaltending. What's happening?

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#2 David S
February 20 2013, 12:51AM
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Devolution wrote:

The thing I really can't understand is the lack of scoring. I thought our troubles this year were supposed to come from a porous defense and suspect goaltending. What's happening?

I think it's a combination of huge expectations brought on by the fans, media and players placed on the top two lines and almost zero support scoring from any of the bottom two lines or the D. Literally, it's almost ZERO. That puts alot of heat on the top third of the team to carry the entire load.

Plus, many fans are just now realizing that elite players ripping it up in a league far below their abilities isn't exactly the most accurate indicator of success. In fact, it's been mentioned that those guys playing in OKC may have had an adjustment period coming back to the NHL, negating all their supposed advantages of extra playing time.

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#3 David S
February 20 2013, 12:55AM
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And hey let's face it. Our D is marginal by NHL standards and our bottom two lines aren't much better. This team has to play nuts-out every game to have a chance to win. That level of play is simply not sustainable. They can pull it off for a game or two as we've seen, but even the top players can't summon up the gods every shift, every game, which is about the level they have to play day-in and day-out.

At the end of the day, the margin for error for this team is almost non-existent. Most good teams can have an off night and still eke out wins. We simply cannot do that.

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#4 Muji
February 20 2013, 12:57AM
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The kids (JSchultz, Hall, Eberle, Nuge) ripped it up in the AHL - especially on the powerplay - but that team struggled to win as well.

By eye, they are playing well and much better than last year, but the margin for error is so small that a bad bounce (like tonight) is the difference between a win and a loss. I'm not saying that they've been unlucky; I'm saying that the team still isn't good enough to be impervious to the fortunes of luck.

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#5 Walter Sobchak
February 20 2013, 01:03AM
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I don't mean to sound negative but really, what did we expect?

The Oilers add two players who have never played an NHL game, and a coach who has never coached in the NHL...

Yes, the kids are a year older and are doing very good, after that its the same team.

I've said they are picking 6-9, can't see them getting better.

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#6 David S
February 20 2013, 01:08AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

I don't mean to sound negative but really, what did we expect?

The Oilers add two players who have never played an NHL game, and a coach who has never coached in the NHL...

Yes, the kids are a year older and are doing very good, after that its the same team.

I've said they are picking 6-9, can't see them getting better.

So what was Krueger doing behind the bench last year, changing towels and filling water bottles? Really must have chafed Joey Moss.

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#7 common sense
February 20 2013, 01:09AM
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Actually a pretty close game. Oilers had a lot of grade A scoring chances. If they capitalized on a few of them then they win this game. Man did Hopkins get knocked around in this game. It'll be a few years and another 20lbs before he becomes a real force. Tambo has got to get off his high horse and start doing some managing. Whitney is finished here in my opinion. A decent big centre and a vet-D would look nice. Get to work Tambo unless the default plan is another high draft pick...then again that's his M.O.

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#8 Walter Sobchak
February 20 2013, 01:15AM
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David S wrote:

So what was Krueger doing behind the bench last year, changing towels and filling water bottles? Really must have chafed Joey Moss.

Running the PP.

Not being a head coach!

Are the Oilers playing Renny's system this year? No.

Did the players know what to expect prior to coming to camp? Did they know what the lines would be?

So you were well aware the type of new systems he would use? Nope, you know why? because its his FIRST year.

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#9 VK63
February 20 2013, 02:21AM
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This was a very disturbing game on many levels.

i'm glad I didn't go..... woulda been a brutally long drive home. A sentiment that has kept me away from many a predictable outcome at the old barn in recent years.

Sadly one goal from a team that is supposedly "loaded" with young skilled talent is rather loose usage of the terms skilled and talent if one is so inclined.

This is a watershed year for the young A's on this team. Next year they shall be paid as the top dogs and with that comes mounting awareness and pressure. Best get it figured out lads because the heats about to get turned up.

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#10 pan0ramic
February 20 2013, 03:14AM
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I thought we had turned a corner with the Colorado game but we're back to old form. You aren't going to win many games when you:

1) Give up more turnovers than the other team (17-7)

2) Undershoot the other team (24-38)

3) Can't win faceoffs (22-33)

The biggest problem is probably faceoffs where we are 2nd last in the league. If you can't win faceoffs, you don't keep the puck in the attacking zone and powerplays are significantly shorter.

One of the most worrysome stats is 5-on-5 goals. We have 3 empty net goals (which count) and we're still by far the worst team at 5-on-5 goals (0.54 for/against).

Fix faceoffs, fix the turnovers on D, and you'll fix the team.

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#11 Time Travelling Sean
February 20 2013, 03:53AM
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To be fair, if it wasn't for a linesmen not getting out of the way we woulda got a point. :s

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#12 Saytalk
February 20 2013, 04:36AM
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We have more than enough skill to score pretty goals, but not enough grit to score the ugly ones. You need a mix of both to produce a consistent offence.

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#13 Devolution
February 20 2013, 05:23AM
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Saytalk wrote:

We have more than enough skill to score pretty goals, but not enough grit to score the ugly ones. You need a mix of both to produce a consistent offence.

So where are the pretty ones?

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#14 Toro
February 20 2013, 06:46AM
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Expectations high, reality sinking in that Struds was maybe right? Expectations too high ? Is one last season at the bottom acceptable? I still truly believe that we could be a playoff team, but I also truly believe that management will do nothing to improve this team till the summer and start going all out then , I think this shortened season is about seeing who fits long term and not to win the Stanley Cup, hate to say it though but if your not gonna make this team any better to make a run at the playoffs then we might as well lock up another star threw the draft , Barkov anyone?

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#15 spliff
February 20 2013, 07:10AM
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just win baby

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#16 Rob...
February 20 2013, 07:24AM
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Stoll's face-off percentage should pale in comparison to the percentage of time he's kicked out of the face-off circle for cheating. Linemen and refs are stupid.

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#17 Overrated Oilers
February 20 2013, 08:20AM
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nice to see the media pundits sober up after most (on here) picked this sad-sack bunch to make the playoffs

their offense is highly overrated..."elite talent" doesn't mean scoring goals..they are butter soft and small

the defense is bad..can't get bailed out by the goalie every game and don't score goals on offense

they refuse to simplify the game...they don't score greasy goal cause they don't cause them to happen...too pretty

all result in another lost year for the Oilers...the league's laughing stock for 4 years

extend Tambo! lol

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#18 Gerald R. Ford
February 20 2013, 08:26AM
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Rob... wrote:

Stoll's face-off percentage should pale in comparison to the percentage of time he's kicked out of the face-off circle for cheating. Linemen and refs are stupid.

I think we need a few good cheaters.

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#19 Eddie Shore
February 20 2013, 08:27AM
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Top 2 lines have 30 goals. Bottom 2 lines have 5 goals. Defence(J. schultz) have 4 goals. The "skill" guys are doing there job and putting the puck in the net. Too many guys with 0 goals on our roster. You can't win if you don't score any goals.

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#20 j
February 20 2013, 08:47AM
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Apart from some of the other comments already made, one of the areas we seem to be really struggling is from just inside our own blueline to centre ice. We have trouble clearing our zone and when we do it rarely hits someone in stride. To break it down further, our wingers are weak on the boards exiting our d-zone and our defense can't connct a pass to our thoroughbreds. When we do get a break out, it looks like a jailbreak with very little structure - hence the countless times we ran into the right winger linesman last night.

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#21 Rob...
February 20 2013, 09:00AM
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@Gerald R. Ford

Only because my second statement is true. If Linesmen and refs did their job there would be no need for cheaters.

Speaking of which, after last nights game I now know who America's National Diving team is. Holy crap did the Kings ever fall down a lot while looking directly at the officials for the call. Amazing that this big bruising Kings team could be knocked around so easily by the diminutive Oilers.

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#22 vetinari
February 20 2013, 09:01AM
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Watching last night's game, we were in it until the 59:00 minute mark, however, one thing was evident: after the first ten minutes of the first period when the smurfs swarmed LA like hornets, LA gradually took over and literally out muscled our guys in every corner, in every faceoff and in almost every puck battle.

Teams have figured out that we are a "puck possession" team and try to carry it in whenever we can and all they have to do is stand us up at the blueline or grind us into the boards for a turnover because we can't out muscle them.

Hall, Eb's and RNH are getting bigger and show the promise of things to come but are still two to three years away from being able to out muscle the grabbers and the slashers. Same with Yakupov and J. Schultz.

Krueger may wish to rebalance his lines a bit to give some grit on the wings-- maybe throw one of Eager or Hartikanien (or when he returns, Jones) on each of the first two lines... let them give support to the kids and work the puck from the corners for a one timer from the slot.

Or maybe.... just maybe... Tambellini may wish to take note and look at filling some of these needs from outside the organization.

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#23 Mike Modano's Dog
February 20 2013, 09:03AM
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@Overrated Oilers

And who's your team exactly - Calgary? Good luck with that... Toronto, wow you'd have a lot more to be proud of in the last 46 years, wouldn't you... oh, wait! hahaha! ;)

I love it when people can rain on other people's parades but are too afraid to mention what particular parade they're in themselves. Shows what kind of person they are, perfectly...to me.

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#24 Ducey
February 20 2013, 09:10AM
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So some people picked the Oilers to make the playoffs.

If they don't, maybe the problem was the people (and their expectations).

The bottom line is that this team finished 29th last year. Expecting them to be in the top 16 was always a bad bet.

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#25 Phixieus666
February 20 2013, 09:15AM
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@Walter Sobchak

I sorry I see this team still being in the bottom 5. You ever watch the interviews after a loss. Seriously the other teams must be thinking, oh right on we are going to play those nice guys in Edmonton. None of them seemed pissed or angry at the loss it was just a whatever, we just have to do better next time. That linesman needed to get his A$$ out of the way because he cost the Oiler's a point. Does anyone care. NO. This team needs to grow some balls and Kruger seemed to think it was a good game. Give me Tortorella any day at least that guys shows passion.

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#26 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 09:16AM
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I going to go against the grain and state what is in my heart. We need to get smaller and faster with no supporting cast.

Bring back Omark, and any small player we have and get rid of all the big players that we have........or make them sit. Yes Tamby has a plan and it involves selecting first over all........that is his Stanely Cup.

If the games are physical now, just wait for the playoffs. The top six forwards that we have can only carry this team on their backs for so long........Justin Schultz looks tired as does RNH and Eberle.

The bottom six has some promise ( Hartikianen and MPS) but the lack of quality centerman will hamper team development.

I'm not sure the Oilers Brass have the creativity and guts to do what is required.

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#27 Overrated Oilers
February 20 2013, 09:19AM
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@Mike Modano's Dog

I'm an Oiler fan who's seen this movie too many times

the worst part of this season is they can't even blame injuries

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#28 Mike Modano's Dog
February 20 2013, 09:27AM
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Overrated Oilers wrote:

I'm an Oiler fan who's seen this movie too many times

the worst part of this season is they can't even blame injuries

Ahhh...okay! I think we do need to get tougher, for sure if we're going to compete AND protect our young skilled stars so they can hopefully turn into superstars in the future.

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#29 Todd
February 20 2013, 09:30AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4jGSvxCRp4

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#30 admiralmark
February 20 2013, 09:30AM
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So the team announces the start of a scorched earth rebuild and promptly finishes 30th, 30th, and then 29th.. and adds a total of 2 rookies in the off season... And people "expected" playoffs?! LOL.. Yes lets fire the coach! Its nice to see Oiler fans can be as retarded as Canuck fans... I guess its just a Human fan thing?

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#31 Phixieus666
February 20 2013, 09:32AM
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@Todd

doesn't exist

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#32 oliveoilers
February 20 2013, 09:39AM
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Overrated Oilers wrote:

I'm an Oiler fan who's seen this movie too many times

the worst part of this season is they can't even blame injuries

Overrated Oilers? Are you to DSF as Clark Kent is to superman?

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#33 Todd
February 20 2013, 09:43AM
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Ducey wrote:

So some people picked the Oilers to make the playoffs.

If they don't, maybe the problem was the people (and their expectations).

The bottom line is that this team finished 29th last year. Expecting them to be in the top 16 was always a bad bet.

Agreed. Bad bet. But teams that don't take giants strides forward on a rebuild become the Islanders.

Playoffs may have been unrealistic, but contending for them was not.

Pittsburgh went from last in the East to 5th in 1 year.

Chicago went 13th, 10th, cup

The Islanders go 16th, 15th, 12th, 16th forever.

The jury is out if we are making enough progress to be lumped in with the Penguins/Chicago style rebuilds or the Islanders style infinibuild.

But I don't think its too much to ask for, expect and even demand more progress than 1 spot per year.

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#34 Crackenbury
February 20 2013, 09:48AM
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Haven't posted in over a year. The low expectations article by Strudwick got my attention. I'm wondering how an article like that would go over in Montreal? Many considered Montreal to have a very bleak future just 2 years ago. Today they're in first place. Why? Their fans demand it! The crap we've been subjected to for too many years wouldn't cut it there. The Oilers have some serious shortcomings even the average fan can see. Size down the middle and on the top two lines. It's been a problem for years yet Tambo sits on his hands and does nothing. How many times have we heard about a trade that almost happened during the year after the season is over?

As long as the fans in Edmonton keep drinking the kool-aid , show up in the stands and politely keep supporting the team nothing will ever change here. I doubt very much whether Montreal fans would be quite so patient.

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#35 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 09:56AM
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Furthermore, the Oilers aren’t exactly a team filled with youth who are missing supporting players needed to win games. They have their talented youth, they have some supportive players, a few vets, and above average goaltending. So… what gives? Thing is, you can’t expect to continuously draft young talent and throw them all out there to fend for themselves. They need a proper foundation. They need direction. They need something to work with. The Oilers have not supported their youth enough in past years and their rebuild seems to be never ending. Anyone remember the hype over Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano? Somehow they are no longer prized possessions of the Oil. When will the organization try to get better, rather than increasingly getting younger?

For all those who enjoy passing on their “secretive and insightful” knowledge that

Colin the Flames Blogger on Hockey Buzz summed up our situation best:

"The Flames would be best to tank and rebuild, I have some bad news for you… It’s not going to happen with this organization. The Flames will continue to fight for their success and tweak their team each passing year until the right pieces fall into place. Jay Feaster has only been GM for a short period of time and I feel as though the fans have already been able to appreciate the slight turn around. The Flames have prospects, some which could turn out to be very strong, and have acquired some offshore assets which many overlooked.

The Flames have brought in a strong coaching staff that, despite no preseason games or practice time, has shown what they can do with this group. Feaster and his Calgary Flames are not about to start burning out…and they shouldn’t really be compared to a team who’s already been noted as the next cup champs despite being last in the standings for the past three seasons and not actively moving up this year, either.

Creating a losing environment in order to draft high is great, however does this environment have any effects on the team who had to play through it? I guess this is still left to be seen as the Edmonton Oilers still have the most “unsuccessful successful” rebuild I’ve witnessed to date.

Anyone else sick of hearing “next year, the Oilers will be great”?

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#36 Rama Lama
February 20 2013, 09:58AM
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The previous comment was copied from Colin The blogger at Hockeybuzz........sorry but I'm not good at copying and pasting yet"

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#37 VK63
February 20 2013, 09:59AM
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@Crackenbury

Montreals current success has little to do with the fans demands. They've added a few bit pieces to the roster they had a couple years ago but nothing earth shattering.

If anything, Montreals success is a testament to patience.

There really isn't much comparison between them and the Oilers. They have established pieces, playing at a high level in critical spots in the roster. Also...Markov being healthy is the largest portion of the upward move... I dont think the fans demanded that. :).

One huge difference between them and the Oilers was trading squid for bourque. No way Tambo does that deal from the Montreal side. Not a chance.

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#38 michael
February 20 2013, 10:01AM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

I sorry I see this team still being in the bottom 5. You ever watch the interviews after a loss. Seriously the other teams must be thinking, oh right on we are going to play those nice guys in Edmonton. None of them seemed pissed or angry at the loss it was just a whatever, we just have to do better next time. That linesman needed to get his A$$ out of the way because he cost the Oiler's a point. Does anyone care. NO. This team needs to grow some balls and Kruger seemed to think it was a good game. Give me Tortorella any day at least that guys shows passion.

The linesman ass had nothing to do with the Oilers loss. It was the Oilers coaching staff who I blame for this one.The Kings made the adjustments and the Oilers coaching staff failed to respond in kind. Tell me why with a minute to go we are attacking? We get caught with three men up and the a hard luck bounce it winds up behind Bulin. Why isn't theplay to chip the puck out of the zone and play for OT. No we need to attack and it cost us a valuable point that seems to be what makes or breaks alot of playoff teams. A little 4 back defence spread across the blue line would not hurt once in a while when needed. It dosen't need to be a Picasso every night.I would have prefer that RK reign in his horses in the last minute rather than the last minute heroics this team seems intent upon.

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#39 Wendy01
February 20 2013, 10:04AM
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David S wrote:

So what was Krueger doing behind the bench last year, changing towels and filling water bottles? Really must have chafed Joey Moss.

Umm he was an associate (assistant... whatever you want to call it) and would have deferred to Head Coach Renney I believe. Sure I'm disappointed, but I'm in the same boat with Walter... what did we really expect? Still the same cast of characters with no size up front and defence that needs more size and toughness as well. I'm saying a trade is coming down the pipe (sorry pipeline guys). Hopefully before it all goes to heck in the next 3 weeks. Fingers crossed.

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#40 Reg Dunlop
February 20 2013, 10:05AM
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@Rama Lama

Next year, I know, will be our year. We'll be great!

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#41 Phixieus666
February 20 2013, 10:08AM
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michael wrote:

The linesman ass had nothing to do with the Oilers loss. It was the Oilers coaching staff who I blame for this one.The Kings made the adjustments and the Oilers coaching staff failed to respond in kind. Tell me why with a minute to go we are attacking? We get caught with three men up and the a hard luck bounce it winds up behind Bulin. Why isn't theplay to chip the puck out of the zone and play for OT. No we need to attack and it cost us a valuable point that seems to be what makes or breaks alot of playoff teams. A little 4 back defence spread across the blue line would not hurt once in a while when needed. It dosen't need to be a Picasso every night.I would have prefer that RK reign in his horses in the last minute rather than the last minute heroics this team seems intent upon.

Its not like they were going hard on offense at the end of the game. They were just looking for your typical zone entry and the linesman got in the way and created an odd man rush back against the two Oiler defenders. Nothing Picasso about that.

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#42 Crackenbury
February 20 2013, 10:08AM
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@VK63

I think there have been a few more moves than you're implying; Bergevin, Cunneyworth, Therrien, Gomez to name a few. I'd think swapping out GM's is fairly significant.

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#43 Sanaa Montana
February 20 2013, 10:09AM
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Oilers number one problem is the coaching, and the lines that are the product of stubborn coach. Krueger maybe a good life coach for some but he isn't a good hockey coach for the Oilers.

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#44 michael
February 20 2013, 10:10AM
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As far as the road trip goes Brownlee.A 3-6 road trip see's ST "body of work" out on his ass. The Oilers come back from this roadtrip 15th in the conference it'll be time to for a change to take place and a new GM in place before the trade deadline. Just sayin.The "expectations" are that we are no longer a 15th place team. In one sense I am rootin for a 3-6 roadtrip but on the other hand the diehard fan in me wants us to succeed in spite of our recent travails.

The NHL has become a league once again where size matters.The refs no longer call the stick infractions. Remember the San Jose game? Where was that last night? A LA King could have rode on Taylor Halls back and it would not have been called. The league can't make its mind up.Sad

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#45 Todd
February 20 2013, 10:11AM
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Crackenbury wrote:

Haven't posted in over a year. The low expectations article by Strudwick got my attention. I'm wondering how an article like that would go over in Montreal? Many considered Montreal to have a very bleak future just 2 years ago. Today they're in first place. Why? Their fans demand it! The crap we've been subjected to for too many years wouldn't cut it there. The Oilers have some serious shortcomings even the average fan can see. Size down the middle and on the top two lines. It's been a problem for years yet Tambo sits on his hands and does nothing. How many times have we heard about a trade that almost happened during the year after the season is over?

As long as the fans in Edmonton keep drinking the kool-aid , show up in the stands and politely keep supporting the team nothing will ever change here. I doubt very much whether Montreal fans would be quite so patient.

I don't buy it. I have no doubt that mgmt is trying very hard to win. From Katz to Lowe to Tambo on down the team has nothing but a desire to win. There is no way you'd spend to the cap and tank job 30th place for years on end. It has nothing to do with mgmt's effort or the fans demanding more.

What it does show me is incompetence or lack of ability. When you try your hardest at something with unlimited support and resources and still fail then you just suck and should either be fired or quit.

#FireTambo #FireLowe

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#46 Phixieus666
February 20 2013, 10:12AM
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@Wendy01

I say they sit on their fingers until the trade deadline. But I think they need to make a 2 or 3 for one deal. Oilers have too many useless contracts and makes it hard to acquire positions you need when you have no roster slots.

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#47 Sanaa Montana
February 20 2013, 10:13AM
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@michael

1st, Oiler will not fire ST, they will fire Krueger and MacT will step down and replace him.

2nd, NHL refs and officiating is a joke and shouldn't not be taken serious or into serious consideration at any time.

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#48 Oiler Al
February 20 2013, 10:16AM
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How is year 4 of the rebuild so far?

This team with one of the worst minus rating in the league, cannot sustain in games by just scoring one goal. If you cant or wont play a defensive team game, then for god's sake score some goals.

Check the stats, plus minus , scoring %, shots on goal, etc etc are at the bottom of the heap. What is Kruger and Tambo rebuilding here.

Too many Junior style players running around , not realizing they are in the NHL. If I was Kruger I would be mad is hell. Its one thing to lose, but to play terrible and responsible is not in this teams lexicon.

Kruger is not impressing me. Too many stories, here, more of what we have been hearing for the last 4 years.

This is a bottom 5 team,never mind the playoffs.

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#49 VK63
February 20 2013, 10:18AM
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Back to the game specifically.

Ebs was whatever the inverse of squeee is last night. Egad.

I actually thought whitney was decent, a couple times in the first he engaged in the rush and was wide open on left wing with a clear path to the net. Somehow, the young, skilled center on the ice who "thinks the game on a higher level" missed that in a failed effort to go all Datsyuk against the trap... with predictable results.

A very me, me, me effort from the lads.

And Penner is so bad its laughable right now. WOW. I hope that performance quells all thoughts of a reformation project on the big diesel.

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#50 Reg Dunlop
February 20 2013, 10:20AM
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The problem here is the mistaken impression that the NHL wants to move away from intimidation and towards fancy skill; the mistaken impression that the league will call obstruction fouls consistantly; the mistaken impression that the 80's oilers won solely based on superior skill. In fact, the league is putting progressively larger and faster players into the same sized rink, no longer are small skilled players substantially faster than the big bullies. The oiler mgmt seems to believe that the NHL is going towards Olympic sized ice and limited physical contact. The oiler mgmt seems to think that Edmontonians prefer a clean-hands, fancy white-collar approach to the game when, in fact, Edmonton is a no-collar meat and potatoes city and a hockey club mirroring that would be much more appropriate, beloved and successful.

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