A summer of miscalculation; a winter of failure

Jonathan Willis
March 09 2013 11:56AM

The Edmonton Oilers 2013 season did not fall apart during a nine-game road trip. The nine-game road trip was simply the point in the season when a summer of inept management finally caught up to the team.

Forwards

Some of the pain here was an unavoidable part of rebuilding through the draft. Decisions to employ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the team’s top-line forward (an often overlooked weakness entering the season) and to try Nail Yakupov as the second line’s left wing were understandable, perhaps even unavoidable. Nugent-Hopkins’ inexperience means that he would be better suited to a lesser role on a contending team, but he is the best option at the Oilers’ disposal for a top-line job. Yakupov’s left-handed shot, a desire to get him on to a skill line, and the team’s weakness at left wing after Taylor Hall also made a cameo in that position an understandable gamble (particularly given Yakupov’s success in the role in Russia). It is a gamble that has not worked out so far, as the positional change may well have increased the difficulty of Yakupov’s transition to NHL play.

Other errors were unforced. The decisions to re-sign Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk added a pair of 5-on-5 liabilities to a bottom-six group that didn’t need more players incapable of moving the puck in the right direction. The decision not to bring in a second-line left wing to add a capable veteran and force a guy like Ryan Smyth, Magnus Paajarvi or Teemu Hartikainen into a third line role opposite Yakupov on the other wing was another error.

While the root of these problems goes back to the summer, it seems likely the Oilers aren’t even aware of some of them. The decision to spend a fourth-round pick on Mike Brown – fine in his role, but terrible at adding 5-on-5 offence (the Oilers biggest weakness) when plausible options like Simon Gagne (dealt to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick) or Dustin Penner (in the doghouse and rumoured to be cheap) was understandable but wrong-headed. Brown scores high in areas where Penner has been long-criticized, but in just 15 games in a bad season Penner is within a point of matching Brown’s career-best offensive production. Intangibles do matter – but tangibles matter too, and the fact is that the Oilers went shopping for a fourth-line guy who could punch people even as their team struggled to generate any kind of offence. That is not a criticism of Brown, who I actually like; it is a criticism of a management team that was picking out drapes while the house burned down.

Defence

Justin Schultz personifies both the best and worst of the Oilers’ blue line. On the positive side, he’s a sublimely skilled offensive defenceman, a great fit for the team long-term and was a massive windfall for the Oilers when he chose Edmonton in the summer. On the negative side, the fact that Justin Schultz, rookie pro, is the Oilers’ number one defenceman says everything about the state of the blue line.

It was obvious in the summer that the only prudent course of action was to add another defender – and despite the fact that the best options were signed early, players like Michal Rozsival stayed unsigned until September while Chris Campoli eventually had to relocate to Europe. Ideally, the Oilers would have competed for one of the better options out there; instead they failed even to make a basic insurance signing.

They’re paying for it now. Ryan Whitney’s unsurprising struggles, the inability of Justin Schultz and veteran second-pairing guy Nick Schultz to handle the opposition’s best, along with the ups and downs of a still-young Petry/Smid tandem have been the deserved result of an unwillingness to address a problem visible in the summer months.

Elsewhere

The Oilers made it clear as early as April that they were comfortable with a Devan Dubnyk/Nikolai Khabibulin duo, despite the fact that buying out Khabibulin and bringing in a reliable backup was a viable option. Dubnyk – despite some rough individual outings – has performed well, but Khabibulin unsurprisingly has spent most of the season on injured reserve, which in turn has forced Ralph Krueger to lean heavily on Dubnyk, who has started six games in nine days. The Oilers are already within a point of last place, and are one Dubnyk injury away from being comically overmatched by the NHL as a whole.

The jury is still out on Ralph Krueger, the fourth coach of Steve Tambellini’s run as general manager. I like some of the things he’s done, but at times he’s seemed overmatched and despite his eloquence and the clear loyalty of his players his reluctance to play a line-matching game may be costing the Oilers. Jon Cooper, meanwhile, continues to run the most successful team in the AHL.

The reader may notice an abundance of links in the piece above; the reason for that is to establish that this isn’t simply looking in hindsight and spotting things that seem obvious now. Many of the mistakes made by the Oilers management group are mistakes that should have been evident long before now, mistakes that could have been avoided with a little foresight and a little action back in June, July and August. The Oilers management group deserves a team with the record this one has.

They also deserve to pay the price of failure, a price they haven’t hesitated to visit upon players, coaches, and lower levels of management within the organization: dismissal.

Update: To be clear, not all of the Oilers' problems were forseeable. For example, the run of injuries at centre, and the shooting percentage struggles of the top line have hurt the team badly, and neither was a predictable problem. With teams as close as they are, my personal belief is that it takes some things going wrong to end up at the bottom of the pile, and that's happened in Edmonton. But those unforseen problems would have had less impact if visible problems had been addressed earlier. JW.

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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#101 FastOil
March 09 2013, 03:46PM
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"Our company works with the same firm the Oilers use - Darkhorse at the U of A. They (the Oilers) are heavy into analytics. I don't work with the Darkhorse team directly, but their forward looking situation projection and analysis is uncannily accurate. You think you're good at parsing stats? These guys are freaking Jedi masters by comparison."

There are I am sure multi thousands of statisticians in NA. Why does so much go wrong, especially in business?

How much does dark horse know about hockey? What are they being asked to analyze by the team.

I can buy they are tanking on purpose, but that is far from having a master plan or being able to execute it. There is enough evidence to say that they believe things that aren't true, like a "shutdown defenseman" is more necessary than a full game D - Gilbert for Schultz. That deal hurt the team, a lot, and has nothing to do with tanking, or with Justin Schultz arriving. It was just stupid, a bad trade.

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#102 David S
March 09 2013, 03:54PM
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FastOil wrote:

"Our company works with the same firm the Oilers use - Darkhorse at the U of A. They (the Oilers) are heavy into analytics. I don't work with the Darkhorse team directly, but their forward looking situation projection and analysis is uncannily accurate. You think you're good at parsing stats? These guys are freaking Jedi masters by comparison."

There are I am sure multi thousands of statisticians in NA. Why does so much go wrong, especially in business?

How much does dark horse know about hockey? What are they being asked to analyze by the team.

I can buy they are tanking on purpose, but that is far from having a master plan or being able to execute it. There is enough evidence to say that they believe things that aren't true, like a "shutdown defenseman" is more necessary than a full game D - Gilbert for Schultz. That deal hurt the team, a lot, and has nothing to do with tanking, or with Justin Schultz arriving. It was just stupid, a bad trade.

The Gilbert trade might not have been by design.

Just sayin'.

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#105 David S
March 09 2013, 04:15PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

It's a nice theory, David. It would have more weight if the "guys who've been intimately involved in the sport for decades" hadn't already run the team into the ground.

Either the decisions makers are incredibly bright and they've been playing possum since 2006, or they're exactly what they look like: incompetent, even if they have hired smart people.

And as fun as it is to joke about part-timers and blog heroes, the part-timers and blog heroes were smart enough to know the Khabibulin deal was an albatross before it happened. Now, sure, maybe Steve Tambellini (or Kevin Lowe, if we're going to fully indulge in your conspiracy theory - funny how Lowe keeps hiring coaches Tambellini is intimately familiar with, but that's another story) brought in Pat Quinn/Nikolai Khabibulin specifically to tank the team, or maybe they really are just bad at their jobs.

The popular theory at the time was that Khabibulin was the sweetener for the Heatley deal. I think the mistake they made was in thinking he'd be a good acquisition even if the trade didn't work out.

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#106 TonyT
March 09 2013, 04:17PM
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@David S

Agree 100% I think management threw us a curve ball when they traded for Fistric to start the season, we (the fans, maybe even the players) took it as a sign that they were trying to fill holes and improve the club, then 3 centers go down and *crickets*, we should have knew then and there what the plan for the season was.

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#107 David S
March 09 2013, 04:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Honest question, David: how much AHL hockey did you watch during the lockout?

Because you may recall Antoine Roussel going knee-on-knee with Jordan Eberle, or any of dozens of other incidents. The kids took hits. That's what happens in high level hockey, which the AHL is normally, and especially so during the lockout.

I don't doubt they took their hits, but I DID watch as many AHL games as I could handle (with pixel-vision and all). Eberle, Hall and Nuge did pretty much whatever they wanted more often than not.

True the AHL had alot of NHL'ers during the lockout and isn't a bad league by any stretch of the imagination. But the gap between leagues certainly has to account for the redeployed Oilers kicking the crap outta the scoring standings. It also has to account for the fact that we haven't had alot of Barons-grown players making the leap to the main team and holding onto a spot. VDV is a great example.

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#108 moe
March 09 2013, 04:23PM
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If they don't fire someone when they get home from this road trip i quit!!! I will burn this jersey and with that lloydminster didn't bail edmonton out when they were gonna move this team back in the sky reach days!!!!!

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#109 Wäx Män Riley
March 09 2013, 04:24PM
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DSF wrote:

Really, it's been about 7 years.

The wheels started to fall of when he re-signed Pisani, Moreau etc, to vastly inflated contracts and then just kept doing more of the same with Horcoff and Khabibulin.

Signing Hemsky, Hall and Eberle to inflated deals before necessary indicates he's learned nothing from his earlier mistakes.

There isn't another organization in hockey that would allow that kind of track record to go unpunished.

Ummm the Islanders

Crap. The Oilers are no better than the Islanders, and I don't see it getting better with Tambo there.

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#111 David S
March 09 2013, 04:25PM
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FastOil wrote:

"Our company works with the same firm the Oilers use - Darkhorse at the U of A. They (the Oilers) are heavy into analytics. I don't work with the Darkhorse team directly, but their forward looking situation projection and analysis is uncannily accurate. You think you're good at parsing stats? These guys are freaking Jedi masters by comparison."

There are I am sure multi thousands of statisticians in NA. Why does so much go wrong, especially in business?

How much does dark horse know about hockey? What are they being asked to analyze by the team.

I can buy they are tanking on purpose, but that is far from having a master plan or being able to execute it. There is enough evidence to say that they believe things that aren't true, like a "shutdown defenseman" is more necessary than a full game D - Gilbert for Schultz. That deal hurt the team, a lot, and has nothing to do with tanking, or with Justin Schultz arriving. It was just stupid, a bad trade.

Things go wrong because alot of times because senior execs are afraid to act on what the data tells them, or act on it in a timely fashion. Business today works on a timeline far faster than alot of businesses can keep up with. Lack of agility is the prime business Achilles heel these days.

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#113 David S
March 09 2013, 04:29PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Seems like a pretty obvious mistake, especially if they have smart guys who can do things like "add up save percentage" and "count time missed to injury."

It was a while ago, but I seem to remember the team thinking the deal was in the bag and that they were shocked when it fell apart. Might have been a classic example of "eyes off the ball". They might have thought Khabi was the shiny bauble they needed to seal the deal and rushed without doing their due diligence.

Which I suppose falls to your point about crappy management, so I accede to a degree. But I still refuse to believe the guys on Kingsway don't know exactly what's going on right now. It's far too easy (and convenient) to assume they don't.

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#114 David S
March 09 2013, 04:30PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Yeah, the AHL games were hard to watch, no question. And I don't argue that the kids were a league above in the AHL.

I was just objecting to the "paid vacation" and "weren't getting hammered" comments.

Fair enough. I have a habit of overstating for effect. ;)

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#115 Freewheeling Freddie
March 09 2013, 04:42PM
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Congrats to the Oilers, they are officially in 15th place in the west.Columbus with injuries passed us.We can be klumped with lowlife teams such as Florida,NY Islanders Columbus.Next year with realignment Columbus moves to the east.We are officially a sewar rat team.Time to revamp the whole management team.The Oilers are supposed to be the pride of the city,bad management is destroying this team. Mr Katz time to wake up.We are the brunt of many jokes in the hockey world.The Eskimos brought in my opinion a GM who will reshape the team into a championship team.Tambellini may be a nice guy but is in over his head when it comes to rebuilding a hockey team.Mr.Katz the fans deserve much better than this.We want playoff hockey

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#117 Quicksilver ballet
March 09 2013, 04:48PM
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From a fans perspective it may appear as though management has failed miserably. If you look at it from the other side of the fence, management has succeeded well beyond their expectations. Four first overall selections in a row, who wouldn't want to start rebuilding a team that way. If there's been one constant the last 4 yrs, it most certainly has been, why doesn't management do anything. Blind eye management at its best, passing off career AHL'ers as depth NHL'ers has helped greatly during this time.

Fine sheep we have all been as management took profiting off hope to a whole new level, to afford them this luxury. The last 4 yrs the ticket purchasing fans have been cheated by this management group. Tambellini and Lowe were entrusted to put the best product possible on the ice in this market, all while fans paid nearly the highest ticket prices in this league for a shit show.

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#118 Dog Train
March 09 2013, 04:49PM
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I've never really understood the facination with Brian Burke. He's a self-promoter but he didn't invent hockey. He never dug the Leafs out of the ground, inherited the core of the cup-winning Ducks (save for Pronger) and left the Canucks with cap issues. He's made some good deals, but he's also made plenty of terrible ones.

There are plenty of good hockey people out there who would do a better job of running this team than the clown squad that's in management right now, that much is obvious.

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#119 DSF
March 09 2013, 04:54PM
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Dog Train wrote:

I've never really understood the facination with Brian Burke. He's a self-promoter but he didn't invent hockey. He never dug the Leafs out of the ground, inherited the core of the cup-winning Ducks (save for Pronger) and left the Canucks with cap issues. He's made some good deals, but he's also made plenty of terrible ones.

There are plenty of good hockey people out there who would do a better job of running this team than the clown squad that's in management right now, that much is obvious.

1) He did 'dig the Leafs out of the ground". They're currently solidly in the playoffs and he built that team.

2) Burke did a lot more in Anaheim that trade for Pronger.

3) Burke did NOT leave the Canucks with cap issues. He left the Canucks in 2004...a year before there even was a cap.

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#120 He Who Knows
March 09 2013, 04:56PM
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Hey JW, remember when K-Lowe and Tambi stated that they were trying to use the same formula the Detroit Red Wings were successful with in 2008? Then they changed that tone and said the Pittsburgh, Chicago model were more of what they were trying to establish, then they brainwashed the fanbase with "the future is bright, be patient". The late 90's and early 2000's Oilers had more of an identity than these so called skilled stars. I remember Adrian Aucoin saying that he hated the Oilers, they were always competitive and had HEART. Lowe shipped out all the heart and soul to bring in skilled small forwards to entice the fans one in every 15 games or so. This team has had no identity since 2006 and it all starts with the confused SOB's in management. JW, do you think Katz will actually clean house and that includes the motivational speaker pretending to be the coach of this team? Brian Burke spoke the truth about how Lowe took this team into the gutter. It would be something if Burkie took over Lowe's and "Clueless" Steve's job. I also hope the fans stop showing up to Rexall like the mid 90's.

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#121 RSD
March 09 2013, 05:00PM
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DSF wrote:

1) He did 'dig the Leafs out of the ground". They're currently solidly in the playoffs and he built that team.

2) Burke did a lot more in Anaheim that trade for Pronger.

3) Burke did NOT leave the Canucks with cap issues. He left the Canucks in 2004...a year before there even was a cap.

If K.Lowe and Tamballini are sacked, would you hire Burke as the GM (that is if another team doesn't hire him first) if you were Katz?

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#122 DSF
March 09 2013, 05:04PM
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RSD wrote:

If K.Lowe and Tamballini are sacked, would you hire Burke as the GM (that is if another team doesn't hire him first) if you were Katz?

Yes.

In a heartbeat.

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#123 michael
March 09 2013, 05:06PM
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Butters wrote:

It's official, Oilers are last in the WC. Do we pick Jones/MacKinnon/Drouin/Barkov or other?

Depends on inept Florida is going to be vs how miserable we will be.The other factor is that he draft has changed.Its still weighted.But now if the the 8th place team wins the lottery they get the first pick instead of just moving up 4 spots in the draft. So in terms of where/who we pick it will be once again luck of the draw.

I would take Barkov if I had the number 1. Big rangy center. Need a guy up the middle with size to compliment RNH.And to compete against the big boys in the Western Conference.

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#124 Carbon Bob
March 09 2013, 05:11PM
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The crime in this is that such young players are being destroyed.

Other than Hall, the oilers should have all their young talent on the farm or a min as 3rd line players.

That is until they mature and learn the game at the highest level.

Oiler management is not competent.

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#125 JCDavies
March 09 2013, 05:14PM
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@Dog Train

Brian Burke is actually pretty good at finding the right pieces and and assembling a team when he has something to work with. The problem with Burke is that he is too impatient to rebuild a team properly and so he rushes out and does something like trade for Kessel. It was way too early in the rebuild for him to try a move like that. The Leafs would have been better off letting someone else start the rebuild and then bringing Burke in later.

The Oilers are in a much better position than the Leafs were at that point and having Burke, or someone like him, run the team would help them take the next step.

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#126 RSD
March 09 2013, 05:17PM
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@DSF

Burke has proven himself to be a great GM however after suffering all these years watch this team tank yr. after yr. I would be worried that he starts trading the core, starting a rebuild of his own; after all we know the guy isn't afraid to make big trades but I would be scared that het turns into a Tillman and makes dumba$$ trades for the sake of satisfying his ego.

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#127 JCDavies
March 09 2013, 05:18PM
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@DSF

"3) Burke did NOT leave the Canucks with cap issues. He left the Canucks in 2004...a year before there even was a cap."

No, but he did leave them with one of the worst farm systems in the NHL. It's like the cost of doing business in Burke's win now at all costs mentality.

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#128 JCDavies
March 09 2013, 05:33PM
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@RSD

Brian Burke is a 'win now' GM that doesn't like to rebuild so I don't see him starting a new rebuild.

For the Oilers to really take the next step at least one of those 'core pieces' will probably have to be moved to fill some of the team's needs. He might have trade a piece or two but it shouldn't be a problem because he doesn't have as history of trading away young core players.

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#129 FastOil
March 09 2013, 05:42PM
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"Things go wrong because alot of times because senior execs are afraid to act on what the data tells them, or act on it in a timely fashion. Business today works on a timeline far faster than alot of businesses can keep up with. Lack of agility is the prime business Achilles heel these days."

True and collecting data is the easy part. Understanding it correctly is the hard part.

I have to deal with a large corporate main supplier. IMO they don't understand what is going on in our industry, and make decisions exactly the same way the Oilers seem to. They think they are progressive, but the same guys have been running the show for years. Nothing changes, they expect different results, and make excuses.

Continual failure is usually a sign of incompetence. If we are all lucky, this has all been bluff to get superstar laden team.

I read that last sentence, and I'm not buying what I'm selling. I survive as the smallest player in a huge industry by my instincts. They haven't been telling me good things since 2006 about Oiler hockey, and I trust them a bit.

As a passionate Oiler fan, I find I have to resign to the destruction and/or bungling of what could have been great, with the faintest glimmer of hope that something will happen to save the day, perhaps Katz getting pissed off and the mega corporate blood letter coming out.

Or somehow the brass gets into a deal with one of the worse GM's and the team actually benefits (largely based on Lowe realizing the good guys all seem to want MPS) so they keep him.

That insight made without consideration, piss drunk on Heatley's summer deck at 4 in the morning with stogey in hand, wondering if his eyebrows will old man thicken like Slats, and why Karen won't let him smoke them on his own deck.

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#130 RSD
March 09 2013, 05:56PM
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If we bring in Burke I can only hope the do it before trade deadline or at the very least the draft because we are obviously going to be in the bottom 5.

While I'm musing it would be great if lindy ruff was brought in as well as a accociate coach perhaps to replace Bucky.

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#131 DSF
March 09 2013, 06:10PM
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JCDavies wrote:

"3) Burke did NOT leave the Canucks with cap issues. He left the Canucks in 2004...a year before there even was a cap."

No, but he did leave them with one of the worst farm systems in the NHL. It's like the cost of doing business in Burke's win now at all costs mentality.

You mean the Manitoba Moose...one of the most successful teams in the AHL?

Or how about theCalder Cup finalists, the Toronto Marlies?

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#132 RSD
March 09 2013, 06:25PM
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I was just reading one of Lowetides recent postings' on his blog site, he says that Scott Howson would be Tambi's replacement. That is ludicrous, did they not just se what and why transpired in Columbus. If they hired Howson that would have to be the stupidest, a$$backwards move ever and he even implied that it has been in the works for some time now.

What the F is going on here, is it Lowe's mandate to sucka$$ on purpose or is he smoking rock under his desk in his office.

DAMN!

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#133 Kevin
March 09 2013, 06:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I know you're kidding, but this seems as good a time as any to point out that from this distance it's impossible to know which individual is actually most responsible for the current mess.

I've chosen to highlight the Oilers management group for that reason, though it would surprise me if there weren't competent people at various (non primary decision-making) levels in the organization. As one example, Ken Holland was a low-level guy for years in a terrible Red Wings organization before becoming the general manager of a very successful Red Wings organization.

Jonathan, I certainly appreciate not only yourself but RB when you start to focus some of your articles on the the Management group. I have been saying this for years and I glad you are bringing it to light in hopes that someone ie. Katz will start to get the tone of the fans and media alike. It is clearly our short coming and as a long time die hard oiler fan the state of this team is becoming very hard to accept. What is so sad is that the short comings of the team are quite obvious and have been for years yet we still talk about the same thing. Quite honestly it has become quite comical and sad in the same breath. It's time to clean house but this time from the top of the food chain !

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#134 Big Cap
March 09 2013, 06:52PM
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I used to hate Brian Burke as much as anyone in hockey.

But I've come to change my mind. He was always available for tough questions and comments. He called players out. He openly shared his vision and frustration. He always tried to upgrade his team and went to war with them trying to make them better every game.

Among the thousand things that infuriate me with this season, topping the list is:

1) Where the Heck is Tamby?? Why is he not more vocal and available. He needs to be driving this ship and is NEVER around to lead us. Katz is a recluse, weird as that is, its fine. Its his team. But when his top Managers are No-Shows as well, it leaves us all to wonder where this team is heading.

2) Lowe is a maybe the truest Oiler of all time. But its time to go. No other executive would still have a job with his track record.

3) We allowed Ken Hitchcock last season to sign else where. Imagine if we had him as assistant coach instead of Bucky or Smith. We need to pick up Lindy Ruff in any capacity possible. He will make is a better hockey team.

I hated Brian Burke, but now i would do anything to hear the news he;s our new GM.

Katz needs to show Oil Country that this disaster will NO longer be tolerated!

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#135 Taylor Gang
March 09 2013, 07:08PM
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^ LOL. Also, can we not talk about hiring Burke? Jeez we're talking about the guy who wanted to box Lowe in a barn over an offer sheet. It's never going to happen. Now, here's some food for the mind:

Chicago lost their first game to Colorado, a team barely above us in the standings. Perhaps we can use their lost momentum as a springboard to finally string some wins together... I continue to pray to the great Allah...

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#136 EP
March 09 2013, 07:13PM
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I'm not a Brian Burke fan, but I'm so fed up with the current regime's incompetence that I would accept Burke and all his warts. I know I couldn't accept Burke if he brought in "his guy" (Ron Wilson) to coach. Burke with Dallas Eakins as coach? That would interest me.

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#137 Dave
March 09 2013, 07:34PM
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Katz would not hire Burke but he might promote MacT or bring in Mark Messier.

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#138 DSF
March 09 2013, 07:39PM
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Dave wrote:

Katz would not hire Burke but he might promote MacT or bring in Mark Messier.

You have no idea what Katz is thinking.

Messier...give me a break.

The guy has ZERO experience.

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#139 John Chambers
March 09 2013, 07:42PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

"The reader may notice an abundance of links in the piece above; the reason for that is to establish that this isn’t simply looking in hindsight and spotting things that seem obvious now. Many of the mistakes made by the Oilers management group are mistakes that should have been evident long before now, mistakes that could have been avoided with a little foresight and a little action back in June, July and August. The Oilers management group deserves a team with the record this one has."

Difficult not to notice. What, a dozen links citing and referencing your own work?

Like I said here . . . Like I told you here . . . I saw this coming here . . . I told you so here . . .

This item, without any doubt, establishes a benchmark for self-congratulation, Jonathan. Well done.

I think he's just pointing out that this result was predictable, and that the obvious flaws have been observable to both casual fan and blogger for quite some time.

Unlike another ON writer, Willis didn't predict the Oilers to make the playoffs

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#140 DSF
March 09 2013, 07:45PM
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John Chambers wrote:

I think he's just pointing out that this result was predictable, and that the obvious flaws have been observable to both casual fan and blogger for quite some time.

Unlike another ON writer, Willis didn't predict the Oilers to make the playoffs

Nor did he participate in a drive by shooting.

Man, I miss Cam Cole and Dan Barnes.

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#141 Robin Brownlee
March 09 2013, 08:00PM
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John Chambers wrote:

I think he's just pointing out that this result was predictable, and that the obvious flaws have been observable to both casual fan and blogger for quite some time.

Unlike another ON writer, Willis didn't predict the Oilers to make the playoffs

Are you referring to Gregor (6th), Lowetide (8th) or me (8th)?

Holes and flaws in the roster, and the potential problems that come with them, were written about by many people here.

If showing predictability of the problems the team is enduring now was the intent, Willis could have cited any number of items to establish that criticism now was not simply the product of hindsight. Maybe mix in a cross-section of items by others raising red flags.

He chose not to. It comes off as a self-serving bunch of "I told you so" about issues many other writers (MSM and bloggers) here and elsewhere offered commentary on.

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#142 JDP
March 09 2013, 08:03PM
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Everybody has to go. I don't even get why media over hypes Stu MacGregor. He's hasn't been the magician that all of you seem to think he is. He can go too.

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#143 JCDavies
March 09 2013, 08:04PM
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@DSF

I made no comment about the Leafs or the Marlies.

There weren't very many high-end prospects on those Moose teams you are talking about. Brian Burke is great at creating winning teams but he really likes to trade away draft picks and he doesn't like to trade for prospects and unproven players. It's just the way he does things. So. Yes, the Canucks farm system was pretty depleted when he left Vancouver. They were in the playoffs most of the time he was there too.

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#144 JDP
March 09 2013, 08:10PM
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That's all I here from you "media" folk is how great of a job Stu has done. What the hell has he done? Are you comparing him to someone? He hasn't done anything substantial either. Nothing.

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#145 DSF
March 09 2013, 08:20PM
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JCDavies wrote:

I made no comment about the Leafs or the Marlies.

There weren't very many high-end prospects on those Moose teams you are talking about. Brian Burke is great at creating winning teams but he really likes to trade away draft picks and he doesn't like to trade for prospects and unproven players. It's just the way he does things. So. Yes, the Canucks farm system was pretty depleted when he left Vancouver. They were in the playoffs most of the time he was there too.

No, you said the farm system the Canucks had was bad.

It wasn't.

You are wrong.

You'll find that teams that finish high in the standings don't have "high end prospects"...duh.

Who is the best prospect on the farm in OKC?

Is he better than Jake Gardiner or Niklas Jensen?

Check the facts before you spout off.

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#146 merfer
March 09 2013, 08:26PM
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Please, let's not consider Burke. He is just another Eric Tillman without the goofy hair. He would get tired of Edmonton in a hurry. We need someone who would appreciate this job work hard and can live in Edmonton. Maybe Ken Hitchcock for example. He knows talent every bit as well as Klowe. Maybe he wouldn't mind being moved to a management position. Just talking.

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#147 Butters
March 09 2013, 08:35PM
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I was critical of Renney last year because I thought he didn't play the kids enough. Renney is let go, Krueger is hired, and the kids are getting killed.

Tambo being fired? I am going to be careful about what I wish for.

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#148 Oilfred
March 09 2013, 08:39PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Are you referring to Gregor (6th), Lowetide (8th) or me (8th)?

Holes and flaws in the roster, and the potential problems that come with them, were written about by many people here.

If showing predictability of the problems the team is enduring now was the intent, Willis could have cited any number of items to establish that criticism now was not simply the product of hindsight. Maybe mix in a cross-section of items by others raising red flags.

He chose not to. It comes off as a self-serving bunch of "I told you so" about issues many other writers (MSM and bloggers) here and elsewhere offered commentary on.

I didn't see that or get that sense at from reading it.

No one else made a comment to that effect either.

Maybe it your own issues clouding your perception?

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#149 Robin Brownlee
March 09 2013, 08:41PM
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@John Chambers

I kind of liked the not-so-subtle playoff rub comment you threw in, even if you didn't clarify which one of the writers you were referring to.

In the name of clarity, it's probably fair to point out how fine the line is between optimistic types who picked the Oilers to finish, say, eighth, and the more cynical analysts who picked Edmonton to finish, say, 10th.

The point difference between 8th and 10th in the Western Conference in the six years the Oilers have missed the playoffs has been:

2011-12: 6 pts

10-11: 2 pts

09-10: 5 pts

08-09: 2 pts

07-08: 3 pts

06-07: 1 pt

Pretty tight between the pie-in-the-sky types and those who saw this big mess coming, no?

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