OILERS NEED A WILL TO WIN

Jason Gregor
February 27 2013 11:59AM

It seems clear that any player who makes it to the NHL is competitive. They had to beat out thousands of players just to get a shot in the league, but even in the NHL there are different types of competitors.

Your team will have a mixture of tough competitors and fragile competitors.

Do the Oilers have enough tough competitors?

Yesterday on my radio show I had the pleasure of having Chris Morris in studio. Morris is on the Eskimos wall of honour, he won three Grey Cups and now he is the head coach of the U of A Bears football team. Morris was one the best guests I've had on in months.

He was passionate, well-spoken, intense and he outlined his thoughts on coaching, but we also focused on how you build a winner, and the need to the install the drive and desire necessary to win into your players.

"You build that in people. You aren't born hard like that. You are taught it and you are taught how to retrain your mind and reload it every time something bad happens. There a million things a coach has to build into a player's mindset in order for them to be able to compete at that level," said Morris.

Before the interview Morris and I spoke off-air about his pain threshold and his ability to always battle hard. We talked about fragile and tough competitors, and then during the interview he brought it up and gave an excellent breakdown of their differences. I've debated for years that I felt at times the Oilers were too easy to play against, but not just physically. 

We were talking a little bit earlier about different types of competitors. If you want a hard,  tough competitor you have to get all the things that can break them out of them. There are fragile guys who fight really hard for a few minutes, and then one bad thing happens and they fold a little bit and then they fold a little more when something else goes wrong. Those are fragile guys.

You have to build it (toughness) in them. You have to tell them how to build their mindset. When something bad happens this is how your mind has to react to it. This is how you have to react when you're not feeling well. Don't talk to me about being sick. No one cares that you are sick. No one cares that you are not feeling right. None of your opponents care that you aren't feeling right. You have to show up and work harder than them, despite how you feel.

That is the beginning of teaching kids how to act and how to be leaders and how to have a group of leaders on your team, rather than it coming from your coach. Once players are wired that way, I think you are talking about leadership exuding from your team, and that's when you have a championship-level team. 

Right now the Oilers seemingly have too many fragile competitors and it will be up to Ralph Krueger to find out which ones can become tough competitors, and the ones that don't need to be shipped out of town. The Oilers haven't had as much talent as other teams for the past six years, so I never expected them to win very often.

However, too often over the past seven seasons we've see the Oilers get out worked by their opponents. They lose too many one-on-one battles, and that is more about mental toughness than sheer skill.

EXAMPLE

Jeff Petry's play in OT was a microcosm of a bigger issue in my mind. He got beat coming off the wall, which is fine, because Patrick Sharp also wants to win, however, how Petry reacted after getting beat out of the corner fit perfectly into the "fragile competitor" label.

He went behind the net, and then glided for a few strides before looking back at the play. To use Morris' definition, he folded a bit. I never expect players to be perfect, nor do I expect them never to get beat, but watching Petry's body language and his decision to take the easy route instead of sticking with Sharp and staying in front of the net illustrated a picture we've seen too often in the Edmonton the past few years. I think Petry showed he can be a tough competitor last year, but right now he, like many of his teammates are fragile. They need to learn to become tough competitors on a nightly basis.

I believe one of the main reasons Krueger was hired last year was due to his strong motivational background. The Oilers need a coach who will help them become mentally tougher. It will be a process, and likely not one that changes overnight, but right now I feel the Oilers need more tough competitors, and it will be on Krueger to find out who he feels can become one and who can't. Those who can't need to get weeded out.

OUTSIDER PERSPECTIVE

I spoke with former NHL player, agent and general manager and now Sportnet analyst Brian Lawton yesterday about building a team. I find Lawton is always well spoken and thought provoking.

"The hardest part about building a team is filling out your blueline. I believe once you get your D straight the rest falls in line," said Lawton. He admitted that they struggled with that during his time in Tampa Bay.

I then asked him being building that blueline and finding the right balance between young players, puck movers, guys who are tough in the corners and in front of the net and overall hockey awareness on the ice. 

For me, it is the most critical part of the game, but it is also the most difficult to judge.  There are certain players in the league and you know they’re good players, and they look good on the stats sheet, and they’re well trained, and they may even be great guys, but for whatever reason their teams don’t seem to win with that certain position.

Just getting guys in the right positions is critical, and there are so many ways that we’re measuring a players performance today, yet there still is an element of feel in there as to which guys you win with and which guys you don't.

When I look at Edmonton, without naming names because I have great respect for the organization, they have some people that I’m not sure that you’re necessarily going to win with.  They're trying to develop them and they’re trying to build them to a certain level, and that’s what they should do, but at some point you have to make really tough decisions when you’re the leader. That may be the next evolution for the club, to make some tough decisions on people that - they’ve got all the trappings (as I like to say) of a really good player -- but the end result never matches up, and quite frankly those are the most difficult things that you do when you’re managing a club is you make those calls.

Those decisions are not easy. You’re never going to make them all right, so you have to be prepared as a general manager to have some failure.  But if you work at it and you’re diligent in the process, you’ll get it right eventually. 

That is where the Oilers are at with some players. As Lawton said, Tambellini, Lowe and MacTavish won't make the correct decision with every player, but they need to rid themselve of players with "trappings" and the players who are fragile competitors.

This isn't an easy decision, nor will it be a quick fix, but it has to happen, because for the past six seasons I've seen too many games where the Oilers got out worked and lost too many one-on-one battles.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 DigDeepNBleedBlue
February 27 2013, 01:18PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

The Chi-town game had me shaking my head, but I've been noticing this from Eberle for a bit now. He's gotta come around. We need him to step it up. We will live and die this year (and more) by Eberle, Hall and RNH.

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#52 DiscoStu
February 27 2013, 01:20PM
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With Tambellini at the helm, those tough decisions will never be made. He'll just let their contracts expire and not phone them back.

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#53 TonyT
February 27 2013, 01:22PM
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@David S

Agreed, if anything management has taught the players and the fans is that it is okay (if not better) to lose.

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#54 DSF
February 27 2013, 01:25PM
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Will wrote:

Paajarvi has found a role. I think he's too soft along the boards or in front of the net, but that doesn't mean he's not valuable. The kid just needs to play with his speed and drive to the net, and draw a penalty, which he has done a great job of doing this year.

As for Jones, why on earth would you ever want to get rid of that guy. He never takes a shift off, and his production over the last two years has been off the charts, especially in relative to what he's paid. Jones is the exact type of player this article is saying we need to get.

Paajarvi does not do " a great job of drawing penalities."

He sits at 0.9/60 which is tied for 228th in the league and 8th among Oilers.

Interestingly enough, he gets nabbed for 1.3/60 in penalties taken.

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#55 DigDeepNBleedBlue
February 27 2013, 01:28PM
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@Light, Sweet, Crude

Gagner is a great example! He's like four foot f' all (I kid) and has some good compete. Checks, fights and plays with a little edge. Maybe not every night, but...

Was at the game the other night and sat close to the Oilers' bench. I noticed how small Eberle really is. Not so much height, but he's petite. Does that have an affect? Could.

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#56 A-Mc
February 27 2013, 01:32PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I'm going to just leave this here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv2jqFd2-qI

Ha sweet. I have no idea what language they were speaking because i only know hockey, but i enjoyed the chew fest.

That old fart was just vibrating! (or he has nerve damage and continually shakes..)

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#57 Dog Train
February 27 2013, 01:34PM
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I think the big thing is changing the culture. This team is so used to losing that while they might hate losing, they don't know how to handle adversity. It's almost a 'here we go again' mentality. Teams like Phoenix and Nashville lose players all of the time but they continue to win because the guys who remain have become accustomed to winning. Teams like the Oilers and Islanders have gone through numerous lineup changes and they keep losing because they are used to losing. That's why it makes me mad when people start talking about tanking for another high draft pick. This team needs to start winning more before our younger players become accustomed to losing. I don't doubt that guys like Gagner and Hemsky want to win but when things don't go smoothly, it's easy to regress back to bad habits. This team needs thicker skin.

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#58 Bonvie
February 27 2013, 01:41PM
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Will wrote:

It'd be interesting to hear if Petry just read the play wrong. I don't think his compete level was off, it'd be interesting to see if WIllis can analyze that play differently to justify what Petry did. As for having the compete factor on our blue line, I really think Nick, Justin, Fistric, and Smid, are all fierce competitors. I'd put Petry in there as well but he's stilll kind of developing and will be prone to make mistakes.

As for the forwards, Ebs, Hall, Harti, Smyth, Horcoff, Petrell, Yak are all clearly passionate about winning night in night out. I think if anything, this team has turned the corner on the whole nights off thing. The core they are building around (Hall) are notorious competitors. These guys literally bleed for the team. So I really kind of think this argument might not be all that sound as I can't think of another team that is more stacked with tough competitors.

PS Dubnyk and Habby have been competitors all season.

What Petry should have done is stopped at the short side of the net and went to the front of the net, that would have allowed Smid to play Sharp more aggressive because he recognized Hossa as a threat in the slot, so he had to stay where he was and make sure that the pass could not be slid through. Smid then goes down to block the shot, leaving him self vulnerable to react to the next play which was a rebound to Hossa. If Petry wasn't standing behind the net watching he would have ensured Hossa was not able to get to a rebound.

Smid was actually down on all three goals one was actually a blocked shot though, he should avoid going down as it takes him out of the play. This is something I noticed Smid does in odd man situations which leaves him vulnerable to react to the rebound. I always say that in odd man situations the d man need to stay in the middle and take away the pass and stay on their feet so they are the first to get to the rebound.

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#59 DigDeepNBleedBlue
February 27 2013, 01:44PM
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@The Other Ron Burgundy

I remember that in Gretz's autobiography. Impressed me very much when you think of what it takes to win. I like to think of it as the dropping of the balls.

I think a run at a playoff spot will do wonders for this team and its key players. Get in or not the fight that comes with that will be aces!

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#60 BingBong
February 27 2013, 01:44PM
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Dog Train wrote:

I think the big thing is changing the culture. This team is so used to losing that while they might hate losing, they don't know how to handle adversity. It's almost a 'here we go again' mentality. Teams like Phoenix and Nashville lose players all of the time but they continue to win because the guys who remain have become accustomed to winning. Teams like the Oilers and Islanders have gone through numerous lineup changes and they keep losing because they are used to losing. That's why it makes me mad when people start talking about tanking for another high draft pick. This team needs to start winning more before our younger players become accustomed to losing. I don't doubt that guys like Gagner and Hemsky want to win but when things don't go smoothly, it's easy to regress back to bad habits. This team needs thicker skin.

Bingo. Great post. It's not so much individual players who lack drive, it's more that our "team culture" lacks that drive and what it takes to win on a consistent basis. Krueger's main job here is to change that culture; to teach this team what it takes to win and how to locate that drive every game.

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#61 Will
February 27 2013, 01:45PM
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@DSF

Is that this year or overall?

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#62 TigerUnderGlass
February 27 2013, 01:48PM
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DSF wrote:

Paajarvi does not do " a great job of drawing penalities."

He sits at 0.9/60 which is tied for 228th in the league and 8th among Oilers.

Interestingly enough, he gets nabbed for 1.3/60 in penalties taken.

I think what he means to say is that when Paajarvi is playing well he does a good job of it. There is an obvious difference from game to game.

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#63 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 27 2013, 01:52PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Ha sweet. I have no idea what language they were speaking because i only know hockey, but i enjoyed the chew fest.

That old fart was just vibrating! (or he has nerve damage and continually shakes..)

You don't need to know much about basketball to see the relevance of that video to hockey or any other sport and the analysis it produces.

ESPN is an entertainment network built around developing, pushing and then exploding emotional, information-free narratives (TEBOW!!!)

They aren't interested in telling you how victory actually happens, or how much randomness is involved in the outcome. They are committed to the fiction of hero and villain narratives.

It's fine as entertainment... but it doesn't explain very much.

Or, when someone says a team needs to "learn how to win" (something RK says often) they are making a meaningless statement if they mean a team needs to "want to win."

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#64 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 01:56PM
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You know what winning comes down to: 1) Wanting it more than the other guy (team) 2) Sacrifice and pain. 3) Playing for the guy beside you (teamwork) 4) Skill at your level.

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#65 Romulus' Apotheosis
February 27 2013, 02:01PM
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Will wrote:

Is that this year or overall?

this year:

http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=41&f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=EDM&c=0+1+3+5+41+42+43+44+45+46#

interestingly the team comes out ahead in PF ON/60 (4.8) vs PA ON/60 (6.1) and better than when he is off the ice.

So, the team does better in this category with him on the ice.

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#66 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 02:01PM
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oilerjed wrote:

Good article, I feel that since Jones has been back our team has a new dynamic, hopefully his way of playing will catch on even more! I love a guy that can have that much of an impact on his team and am glad that he was resigned and is back healthy. As for Ebs is he possibly playing hurt? Definetly floating around way too much to have a major effect on the game. And its great to see the Gags haters getting slapped down, that guy is all heart and is getting stronger every year. Now if he could get to 50% in the circle he should be a lifer...

Why is it whenever a player is playing poorly on the Oilers they are possibly hurt.

Maybe they are just ,you know, in a slump.

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#67 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
February 27 2013, 02:03PM
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Spydyr wrote:

You know what winning comes down to: 1) Wanting it more than the other guy (team) 2) Sacrifice and pain. 3) Playing for the guy beside you (teamwork) 4) Skill at your level.

I think there's a bit more to it. But, generally, you're correct.

BTW, did you take this out of the ESPN playbook?

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#68 DigDeepNBleedBlue
February 27 2013, 02:05PM
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@Spydyr

"Wanting it more than the other guy." Aces! That's gospel, dude. We need to get you a soap box at Rexall Place.

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#69 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 02:05PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

I think there's a bit more to it. But, generally, you're correct.

BTW, did you take this out of the ESPN playbook?

Took it out of many, many years of playing sports at various levels.

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#70 A-Mc
February 27 2013, 02:10PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

You don't need to know much about basketball to see the relevance of that video to hockey or any other sport and the analysis it produces.

ESPN is an entertainment network built around developing, pushing and then exploding emotional, information-free narratives (TEBOW!!!)

They aren't interested in telling you how victory actually happens, or how much randomness is involved in the outcome. They are committed to the fiction of hero and villain narratives.

It's fine as entertainment... but it doesn't explain very much.

Or, when someone says a team needs to "learn how to win" (something RK says often) they are making a meaningless statement if they mean a team needs to "want to win."

Part of this is why i like Ralph more than Tom. Ralph will actually discuss real facts more often than the generalizations we were fed by Tom.

I want to know what the coaches know and how they intend on fixing the stats and tendencies that they don't like.

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#71 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 02:10PM
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DigDeepNBleedBlue wrote:

"Wanting it more than the other guy." Aces! That's gospel, dude. We need to get you a soap box at Rexall Place.

When losing becomes acceptable. You're done. Losing has the last few years become acceptable here. The we are rebuilding mantra. That has to change , yesterday.

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#72 DSF
February 27 2013, 02:16PM
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Will wrote:

Is that this year or overall?

This year.

Last season he was 1.0/60...so about the same.

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#73 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
February 27 2013, 02:18PM
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Spydyr wrote:

When losing becomes acceptable. You're done. Losing has the last few years become acceptable here. The we are rebuilding mantra. That has to change , yesterday.

Dude! What happens to your entire world if losing is 100% unacceptable but no matter how hard you try, you can't win? Does it all come crashing down? Or is it just a one way ticket to crazy town.

Watch the vid in comment 39. It's very applicable here.

No one is saying you're wrong. You're just not saying much.

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#74 DSF
February 27 2013, 02:20PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I think what he means to say is that when Paajarvi is playing well he does a good job of it. There is an obvious difference from game to game.

He sits in the same place in 56 games over parts of 2 seasons.

In his rookie season it was 0.8 in 80 games so it appears to be a pretty well defined level.

12/13 - 0.9

11/12 - 1.0

10/11 - 0.8

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#75 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 02:31PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Dude! What happens to your entire world if losing is 100% unacceptable but no matter how hard you try, you can't win? Does it all come crashing down? Or is it just a one way ticket to crazy town.

Watch the vid in comment 39. It's very applicable here.

No one is saying you're wrong. You're just not saying much.

If you're trying 100% and still losing every time. You are playing at the wrong level.Say AHL players playing at the NHL level.

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#76 DigDeepNBleedBlue
February 27 2013, 02:33PM
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@Spydyr

I hear ya, brah! That's why I, personally, equate forecheck and hard work with a "winning" attitude. From my perspective it shows a want and desire to do everything you can in order to win. Obviously skill is integral. And, one could argue that it's easy to refer to that as a winning attitude because it's so easy to see. I wouldn't agree with those people, but, hey, that's all good.

I can remember watching the Bruins play the Habs in a late 80s playoff series. The Bruins hit everybody that touched the puck. Sometimes twice! After a while the Habs players were scared as hell. They were making all kinds of mistakes when they got the puck. Hell, they were in panic mode when they heard skates cutting into the ice.

Play hard and you got a chance to win, but everybody needs to buy in.

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#77 Spydyr
February 27 2013, 02:36PM
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DigDeepNBleedBlue wrote:

I hear ya, brah! That's why I, personally, equate forecheck and hard work with a "winning" attitude. From my perspective it shows a want and desire to do everything you can in order to win. Obviously skill is integral. And, one could argue that it's easy to refer to that as a winning attitude because it's so easy to see. I wouldn't agree with those people, but, hey, that's all good.

I can remember watching the Bruins play the Habs in a late 80s playoff series. The Bruins hit everybody that touched the puck. Sometimes twice! After a while the Habs players were scared as hell. They were making all kinds of mistakes when they got the puck. Hell, they were in panic mode when they heard skates cutting into the ice.

Play hard and you got a chance to win, but everybody needs to buy in.

Anyone that says intimidation is not part of hockey never played it competitively. The best of the best have no fear. They are few and far between.

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#78 Phixieus666
February 27 2013, 02:43PM
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Mental toughness is contagious, when your surrounded by people that are it becomes habit

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#79 Rick
February 27 2013, 02:45PM
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For 6 years the organiztion has not only accepted the lack of will but, in a twisted sense of logic, has fully endorsed it as a strategy to actually get better.

Can it really be surprise that the players can't flip a switch on this problem to get away from it?

Heck even now management is in a sense endorsing this behaviour by refusing to make the types of adjustments that would afford Krueger the ability to move the culprits out of, or down, the line up.

The buck should stop with the players but the problem has been bred by a complacent organization.

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#80 geoilersgist
February 27 2013, 03:03PM
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justDOit wrote:

This is worth putting up again on page two of the comments!

That is absolutely amazing

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#81 Oiler Al
February 27 2013, 03:10PM
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I think its up to the coaches to get the team up for the game! If you recall last season, time and time again, the team came out flat and were out of the game in the first period. Its not as bad now, but I see, that if they do come out swinging it disappears very quickly, never last for 60 minutes.

Ask yourself this this.. how is it that teams like Toronto, Montreal [ with not too many super studs on their teams ] play hard on the puck every single night, and win many of their games.Look at Ottawa, with the studs they have lost and continue to win. Somone mention Nashvile, and Coyotes .. there are others.

Maybe the coach and or system as more to do with it then we want to admit.!?

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#82 TigerUnderGlass
February 27 2013, 03:32PM
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DSF wrote:

He sits in the same place in 56 games over parts of 2 seasons.

In his rookie season it was 0.8 in 80 games so it appears to be a pretty well defined level.

12/13 - 0.9

11/12 - 1.0

10/11 - 0.8

I don't think he's old enough or has played enough to call it a defined level, but notwithstanding - my point is that when he's driving to the net he draws penalties, when he doesn't, he doesn't. I'm not sure how that's even debatable.

It matters because he has shown an ability to draw penalties, whether or not he has increased the number of penalties drawn as of yet.

The question is if he can be made to incorporate that type of play as part of his game consistently.

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#83 etownman
February 27 2013, 03:34PM
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This would be the point of a normal season where teams would be just settling in & when the bounces would or should start to turn the other way! Wouldn't it be nice to have some of those grade A chances that have been generated so far start to flutter into the net rather than off the post, into the chest protector or missing the net entirely! Or how about Petry not making a pee wee play by skating behind the net & stand there watching the opposition score the winning goal!

My point is this, there's obviously still holes to fill (still don't like our tending, soft goals at the wrong time) but for a very young team still very much maturing physically & mentally, I think the Oilers are playing pretty well, us fans just need to be a little more patient

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#84 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
February 27 2013, 04:01PM
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The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33 wrote:

Thank you for that video. It totally explained how I always suck at hockey pools. Most guys just want it more than I do. I bet they pick their players harder too.

And all these years i thought it was because i use a loonie to make my picks.

That's your one!

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#85 westcoastoil
February 27 2013, 04:14PM
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justDOit wrote:

This is worth putting up again on page two of the comments!

how great would it be to see an NHL coach/gm/owner lay it out like rather instead of the "we have to play it shift by shift, etc." b.s.

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#86 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
February 27 2013, 04:43PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

haha... I think you mean this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrX9Ca7LSyQ

MORE PLEASE!!!!!

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#87 match16
February 27 2013, 05:09PM
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MR. MORRIS! BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER EVER.

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#88 Fresh Mess
February 27 2013, 05:10PM
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This is one of the very rare postings that I agree with one hundred percent.

The problem with this organization is the rot goes beyond player personnel. The organization needs a total purge at the chief executive level on down.

The example has been set with the head of hockey operations. No accountability for repeated failures, but rather promotions and rich contract extensions.

The business operations side is also a mess rife with cronyism. Good people take pay cuts to work at the Oilers only to be treated like garbage. Good people are unceremoniously fired on a regular basis.

It is a terrible organization blessed with an exceptional fanbase in a solid hockey market.

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#89 Rama Lama
February 27 2013, 05:16PM
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Too much is being made out of Ralph K being a motivational speaker......just how does that help a player.

I'm sure that when the players are on the ice trying to make plays, they are not thinking about the last speech that Ralph gave them. You hire for attitude and train for apptitude is the saying. I believe that most of our players have the right attitued.

Where we fall is the team is not structurally balanced......that being the righ combination of skill and toughness. Each of the top two lines should have size ( for the heavy lifting in the corners) and skill to be able to make plays, and most importantly someone who likes to shoot.

Management has not learned this lesson fast enough and are scared to make any deals to improve this team structurally. Waiting for the draft to make deals will only ensure that we are a draft lottery team again this year.

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#90 Geoff
February 27 2013, 05:58PM
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Was a little surprised with the article. Never thought I'd find an article on oilersnation that had a subtle but utterly essential life lesson in it about how to develop mental toughness lol. So thanks for that :)

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#91 NewAgeSys
February 27 2013, 06:07PM
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Nice article, however most of it is a pretty good sales job for a leadership cookie cutter.

Most points are dead on, but remember everyone isnt cut out to be a leader, in fact there are few true leaders in any room full of athletes, its much easier to teach one player how to be a better leader and capture the few guys not getting it than to try to teach everyone to be a leader, ha ha hah ha.

I have been that leader in rooms before and the biggest problem was always setting the pecking order, that normally just took a few games to provide results and gain trust, but occasionally there was a bully or two a sub-alpha pushing to evolve, if the system discourages this type of leadership evolution based on results and supports sub-alphas constantly bumping the steering wheel,it is doomed.

In my Book Sam Gagner has earned the leadership role here and Smid has earned an A as well as an A for Smyth as long as he is here. Our team has been stripped of its traditions with Kevin Lowe and others who know better sitting there watching, this is an embarrasment already, someone put Hall and Ebbs in the backseat where they belong for now,let the guys pulling the team assume the leadership roles they are earning, this is the NHL the greatest league in the world and they are not popping freaking corn here, they are proving they can lead, but are being macro-managed to death. Give Gagner the C Smyth and Smid the As, and lets get on with the real work.

All it takes to become a tough competitor is a common cause to support and defend, colors if you will, a flag, a belief, anything that can catalyse all of your energy and focus as a group. When the day comes that you see Ebbs break his stick over someones beanbag to defend Nuge and Hall doing the same thing to protect and support their alpha Nuge then we will be on the right track. This team has had to much external interference in its leadership evolution the organisation totally screwed the internal competative dynamic by attatching todays percieved long term player committments to the letters more than they should have, they should have let the room decide all on their own based on realtime results. Point being all teams need a catalyst, we used to use gretzky as a catalyst a ralling point, now we dont seem to have one, we need to pick one, our system isnt capable so that leaves the other options.

Players body language is reflective of the level of personal accontability they feel internally, not a lack of accountability or focus,and it is the coach and system that allocates these levels of player percieved accountability, this benching and moving of players and always attatching a negative dynamic catalyst to the actions is like cancer and we brought it on ourselves, now we need to remove it ourselves. The players feel like they are letting down the system and all their teammates every time something goes wrong, its time for a reality check, of all pro sports hockey is the one with the most number of non-system catalysed sudden unexpected plays that carry terminal results. This is not the sport to use this coaching tacitc. This emotionally draining dynamic must be offloaded onto the system where it belongs, the system needs to be openly held accountable and so does the coach running it, not the players time after time and loss after loss.

When do we stop looking from Ralph down for the reasons this horrible offensive trap system is used here? Is it time to focus on whoever is forcing this down the fans and rosters throat?

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#92 DieHard
February 27 2013, 06:41PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

This is one of the very rare postings that I agree with one hundred percent.

The problem with this organization is the rot goes beyond player personnel. The organization needs a total purge at the chief executive level on down.

The example has been set with the head of hockey operations. No accountability for repeated failures, but rather promotions and rich contract extensions.

The business operations side is also a mess rife with cronyism. Good people take pay cuts to work at the Oilers only to be treated like garbage. Good people are unceremoniously fired on a regular basis.

It is a terrible organization blessed with an exceptional fanbase in a solid hockey market.

Too much.

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#93 DSF
February 27 2013, 08:26PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I don't think he's old enough or has played enough to call it a defined level, but notwithstanding - my point is that when he's driving to the net he draws penalties, when he doesn't, he doesn't. I'm not sure how that's even debatable.

It matters because he has shown an ability to draw penalties, whether or not he has increased the number of penalties drawn as of yet.

The question is if he can be made to incorporate that type of play as part of his game consistently.

Thinking he should be able to draw penalties and him actually doing it are entirely different.

The facts are, in close to 200 NHL games...he doesn't.

Teams keep him to the outside and he fires a muffin into the goalies crest.

Easy peasy.

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#94 The Soup Fascist
February 27 2013, 09:53PM
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DSF wrote:

Thinking he should be able to draw penalties and him actually doing it are entirely different.

The facts are, in close to 200 NHL games...he doesn't.

Teams keep him to the outside and he fires a muffin into the goalies crest.

Easy peasy.

Only in DSF land does 136 = "close to 200". This why your continual misrepresentation of data leads to suspect credibility. Were you sick the week they taught numeric values and rounding in second grade?

There are lies, damn lies and DSF "facts".

I would like to think you can make your points sufficiently without providing false information.

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#95 DSF
February 27 2013, 10:08PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Only in DSF land does 136 = "close to 200". This why your continual misrepresentation of data leads to suspect credibility. Were you sick the week they taught numeric values and rounding in second grade?

There are lies, damn lies and DSF "facts".

I would like to think you can make your points sufficiently without providing false information.

Expecting him to draw more penalties based on games played is just a ridiculous notion.

There is enough evidence to come to the conclusion that he doesn't do that.

Give him another 200 games and nothing will change.

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#96 The Soup Fascist
February 27 2013, 10:23PM
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DSF wrote:

Expecting him to draw more penalties based on games played is just a ridiculous notion.

There is enough evidence to come to the conclusion that he doesn't do that.

Give him another 200 games and nothing will change.

Fine. But why misrepresent the facts? Why can't you make the same point and say MP has played 136 games and doesn't draw penalties?

Make up stats all you want, your prerogative! Just calling BS in this instance.

And players can and do change their games. Numerous examples of players changing their games to stay in the league. Also lots who are unable to - who have short careers. I am not sure where MP will end up, but so far this year he LOOKS a lot more willing to go to the net than last year. And given his size and speed, as a fan, I am willing to see where he ends up. I do agree the jury is still out.

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#97 Taylor Gang
February 27 2013, 11:47PM
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Dog Train wrote:

I think the big thing is changing the culture. This team is so used to losing that while they might hate losing, they don't know how to handle adversity. It's almost a 'here we go again' mentality. Teams like Phoenix and Nashville lose players all of the time but they continue to win because the guys who remain have become accustomed to winning. Teams like the Oilers and Islanders have gone through numerous lineup changes and they keep losing because they are used to losing. That's why it makes me mad when people start talking about tanking for another high draft pick. This team needs to start winning more before our younger players become accustomed to losing. I don't doubt that guys like Gagner and Hemsky want to win but when things don't go smoothly, it's easy to regress back to bad habits. This team needs thicker skin.

Holy Moses. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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#98 Where's Your Towel
February 28 2013, 08:01AM
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YEAH! Experience has no bearing on ability to draw penalties!

No one ever gets better after playing more games and it wouldn't matter if it did because being a better player has zero impact on drawing penalties!

Everyone's play and infractions are evaluated equally by referees regardless of time served!

... drivel

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#99 Rdubb
February 28 2013, 08:39AM
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I think the big decision has to come from Katz, & it is that plain and simple! Lowe needs to go, all he has done to this team is screw it up, signed many players to much bigger deals than they deserved (& I am not talking about Horc either). He made BAD deals when the GM & I think his nose is in the decision making too much again, bye bye Lowe! Tambbi must go too. What has he done? Nothing. Hell, I could have drafted the guys he drafted, when you have the #1 pick its pretty damn easy. He has not made 1 trade to improve this team in his 3+ yrs, his signings haven't been very good, & I know not many guys want to go to a losing team, so make a deal and get some in! I say leave Ralph in, good coach and needs some time. Give the GM to MacT, let him work and make deals, sign players and get this team to where IT SHOULD BE & where WE DESERVE IT TO BE! It is in the head office where changes need to be made. It is like any business, you can only have as good as employees as the boss's are, if the business isn't working, you get new management. Time to change things up Katz and run this team like an owner, not like a buddy employing his pals, which is what you're doing. Be the boss which made you a billionare

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#100 Quicksilver ballet
February 28 2013, 09:22AM
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@Rdubb

Katz/Tambellini/Lowe obviously have a gameplan. If tanking for yet a 4th year in a row is part of his plan, then who are we to argue. Holes are apparent throught the lineup and nothing is done, zero activity/help coming their way. The writing is on the wall. These kids are on their own if they're going to have any success this yr. Success through failing is still managements gameplan.

Nothing is being done on purpose. Ownership/management obviously covet one more lotto pick.

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