THE WAY I SEE IT

Robin Brownlee
April 22 2013 11:41PM

If the Oil Change folks put a soundtrack to a hockey season that's quickly turned into a bowel movement pie in the face for fans of the Edmonton Oilers, it should be kazoos and whoopee cushions. This is something that stinks so bad, it's funny. Low-brow stuff.

Always a sucker for the for a cheap laugh – and it doesn't get any cheaper than fart humor and a load of crap upside the yap – watching the Oilers lurch and stagger toward the finish line of a lockout-shortened 48-game season has gone from so bad to even worse, you'd better try to laugh or you'll cry.

Many fans filing out of Rexall Place Monday after watching the Anaheim Ducks beat their team for fun likely don’t feel the same way, but how long can you yell down at the ice from the cheap seats or scream at the TV watching this sad-sack outfit without changing things up with a good belly laugh about the remarkable lameness of it all?

Or, like tonight, listening to a caller to the Jason Strudwick Show – that's a tough gig with as much of a farce as this season has become -- ask if the Oilers should get David Clarkson as a UFA. Sure, why not? I can’t imagine why Clarkson wouldn’t leave New Jersey and pass on 28 other teams sign with Edmonton as quickly as possible. Insert laugh track here . . .

Clarkson should ask Justin Schultz how great that would be.

MEA CULPA AND OTHER IDIOCY

. . . While I threw in enough qualifiers and caveats before suggesting I thought the Oilers would make the playoffs if everything fell their way, I can’t help but think that I fell down the stairs and hit my head without knowing it before doing so. Playoffs? Tsk.

Still, I wasn't concussed nearly as badly as Jason Gregor, who picked them sixth, but that's low-hanging fruit. That bit of optimism has to be the worst prediction, an NHL career for Jeff Deslauriers aside, I recall making. Then again, maybe not.

. . . Still with Clarkson because I know some pinhead will take Gregor's scenario about trading Yakupov for a signed Clarkson and a throw-in – "Hey, Brownlee, you fool, you wanted to make that trade" – and shove it at me, I'm a lot less sure about that than I was when I said I'd make the move.

Outside of Taylor Hall, I've liked Yakupov's game and his moxy more than any other Oiler down this horrid stretch. Kid looks like he cares, and that's a start. The talent, we know about. Not nearly enough give-a-damn from most of the line-up right now.

. . . I know Theo Peckham left himself wide open for trouble with Oiler brass and coach Ralph Krueger by showing up fat and blowing a terrific opportunity for a full-time gig in the third pairing, but the team has completely bungled how they've handled him since.

What's the point of having Peckham spend most of the season twisting in Edmonton rather than playing in the AHL or, what a concept, being given a chance to make amends by playing with this stellar blue line corps? Trade him. Demote him. Give him another chance. Whatever. But to let him twist? Low-class – and not a very smart move.

WHILE I'M AT IT

. . . Let the final game of this season be the last in which I lay my eyes on Eric Belanger and Jerred Smithson cloaked in Edmonton silks. Of course, it would have been nice to see Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander actually push one of them out of the line-up rather than get their breaks through injuries, but for the love of sanity, GM Craig MacTavish has to get them gone.

. . . Like I said earlier today (I'm not alone in this), you can bet the farm the Oilers will add another assistant to Krueger's coaching staff for next season. I'd expect it'll be a career coach, rather than a former player, to complement Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger.

A lot of fans keep bringing up Lindy Ruff or Dave Tippett, but you can file that in the same category as Clarkson. Is there one reason why respected and accomplished head coaches like Ruff or Tippett would even cast a sideways glance at Edmonton for any kind of coaching gig? No chance. None.

. . . Go ahead, pull my finger.

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 mouthbreather
April 22 2013, 11:50PM
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yabba dabba doo!

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#2 Metal&Oil
April 22 2013, 11:52PM
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Money talks and the Oilers have a boatload more of that then the Yotes do. Katz needs to open his wallet and bring in a guy like Tippett who always gets the most out of his players. I disagree with that being an impossible task.

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#3 Rocket
April 22 2013, 11:53PM
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Yeah I share your pessimism. I remember a while back being content watching this team. That was years ago. Now I have a hard time making it through an entire game.

I'm also a lifelong Blue Jays fan & now they're injured & underachieving so that's awesome.

It must be nice being a Man. U fan & knowing that your team will win almost every year.

The Oilers will improve. Eventually. Right? Please?

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#4 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 22 2013, 11:59PM
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Seen these guys on my way home after the game heading south on Gretzky drive..

http://i.imgbox.com/acsrpLio.gif

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#5 Oil99
April 23 2013, 12:07AM
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Why Kelly Buchburger is a coach on this team ???? What has he done to be an assistant coach on every coaching staff in last six years ???? Even Steve smith too????

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#6 Coco crisp
April 23 2013, 12:09AM
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A fat Theo Peckham alone on the ice will always be a better option then Whitney and Potter as a pairing. I sure hope this is the last time we need to witness that disaster ever again in oiler colours. Dumping both Potter and Whitney is bold enough for me. Have mercy.

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#7 Time Travelling Sean
April 23 2013, 12:10AM
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I wish we should show some effort though. At least I don't have to watch 34 more games of this.

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#8 Jasmine
April 23 2013, 12:13AM
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Coaches won't come to Edmonton and neither will players. They know they'll get run out buy Oilers fans.

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 23 2013, 12:20AM
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Jasmine wrote:

Coaches won't come to Edmonton and neither will players. They know they'll get run out buy Oilers fans.

Stop talking out of your arse.

Why is Horcoff still here then?

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#10 Metal&Oil
April 23 2013, 12:30AM
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I've never seen this team have trouble bringing in Head coaches. Heck one summer we brought in 2. Just imagine the benefits to your resume if you fixed the Oilers. LOL You would have job security in the NHL for life. Coaches are often fiery individuals who like a good challenge

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#11 shiva
April 23 2013, 12:55AM
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The comment in your post that made me laugh was the "low-class" comment on Peckham. Since when hasn't the oilers been a low class organization when it comes to treating players the last few years?

It's so frustrating to watch this team. The vets have checked out again, just like they have for years now, our organization is full of buddies and cronies to lowe (like our pro scouting, but just about everywhere) and we must be the biggest joke to every player in the league right now. As Oiler fans, we are not even hated anymore, we are pitied.

People were talking about UFA's not signing here because of our "weather". Players will play anywhere if they get paid, and they have a chance to be successful. They won't come to Edmonton because of the organization and how it is run.

The sad thing is the changes that needed to be done may never happen until Katz gets his new building open. Offering up a yearly scape goat to take the blame just hasn't been doing it the last 5 years, and I think we all know that the entire organization needs to be wiped out and replaced with competent people.

Maybe the players might start playing better if they knew better people were running the team, as opposed to this constant death spiral we see every year

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#12 Crispy
April 23 2013, 01:01AM
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Relax people, the final tank job is nearly complete! I can't see this happening next year.

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#13 Mike Krushelnyski
April 23 2013, 01:15AM
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I think I'm just going to become a fan of whatever team Taylor Hall eventually demands a trade to. Who's with me?

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#14 Walter Sobchak
April 23 2013, 02:49AM
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This team is almost in worse shape then when the rebuild started.

Completely miss managed from coaching to Lowe and the rest of the puppets.

Looking at this team objectively, Mac -T needs a new bottom six, two top six large skilled forwards and 3 defensmen with one being a number 1, also, I might add, a goalie too.

For all those fans that thought Hartikinen was a good in the top six, he just proved the last two game why he is not even close to being in the NHL full time.

I honestly can say the Oilers need at least 11 new players, half the roster should be gone.

For me I will be glad when i never have to see these players wear the Oilers s Jersey again. Jones - Paajarvi - Hartikinen - Petrell - Whitney - Belanger - Smithson - Khabibulin - Petry - Hemsky - Peckham.

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#15 DrunkGuyTy
April 23 2013, 06:10AM
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It really is sad. The motivation level is non-existent. The give-a-sh!t is gone.

Hall looks like he's trying to figure a way out of this (as in gone from Edm). Brown, Mr. positive Energy when he arrived, looks like he's been beaten to submission without losing a fight. Eberle, as much as I want to love him, needs to grow a set and quit being such a pu55y - I've never seen so many fly-bys. Petry looks afraid to have the puck on his stick. Smid looks like he aged 10 years over the last month - I think I get up off the ice quicker than he does.

And so it goes...

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#16 pelhem grenville
April 23 2013, 06:18AM
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Q...great gif...those guys are funny!

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#17 godot10g
April 23 2013, 06:25AM
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No competent GM or experienced good head coach will come to Edmonton with the Wirtz-Pulford model (Katz-Lowe model) in place.

MacT is the only GM who has a chance of making this work because he, in some sense, is Lowe's equal.

But if MacT chooses to replace Krueger after next season, he will have trouble bringing in a proven experienced coach with the Wirtz-Pulford model in place, unless MacT demonstrates that he is a good GM, and management is functional. It might take more than one year to do that.

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#18 Westcoastoil
April 23 2013, 06:32AM
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Crispy wrote:

Relax people, the final tank job is nearly complete! I can't see this happening next year.

Didn't somebody post this same thing in 2010 and 2011 and 2012

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#19 Westcoastoil
April 23 2013, 06:32AM
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Crispy wrote:

Relax people, the final tank job is nearly complete! I can't see this happening next year.

Didn't somebody post this same thing in 2010 and 2011 and 2012

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#20 CM
April 23 2013, 07:01AM
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The oilers should just forfeit their last three games and save themselves the embarrassment of playing.

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#21 summer might come
April 23 2013, 07:07AM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

Didn't somebody post this same thing in 2010 and 2011 and 2012

You honestly can't comprehend the difference from 2010 till now?

The fact is we are in a re-build and we are still in a re-build.

Where we are in the standings was expected. The only real disappointment is the lack of effort in some players.

Justin Shultz is a trainwreck on defence. In a couple of years he will be a superstar. These things take time. If people don't want to watch this - then jump off the bandwagon and come back in a few years.

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#22 Hammers
April 23 2013, 07:09AM
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Why is everyone so upset . 25 games in I said we would pick 5-6 and if Lucky Tambo was here higher.The year was done when decisions are made by players and we didn't dump at least 4 guys for picks at the deadline . It should be an interesting 4 months coming up .

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#23 The Soup Fascist
April 23 2013, 07:16AM
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You know the Peckham thing bugs me as much as anything. It is just plain stupid. I was pissed at Peckham too for not being ready to play. But they have (again) made it personal instead of business and wasted an asset. Trade him, send him to the minors or play him. Pick one. Putting him in the corner with a dunce cap does nothing to help the organization. It allows the "brain trust" to smugly say "we showed him" while another potential asset is rendered worthless.

Second on the list is Fistric. WTF ??? Why give up a pick for a guy you are going to rot in the press box, all the while crying about a lack of toughness? I was dumbfounded when Tambo annointed Potter the #6 dman before the season started (thought that was the coach's job) but Tambo is long gone and Fistric is still being treated like a red headed stepchild.

Ok MacT you are on the clock. This sounds looney but no dumber than what has happened this year. Job #1 - get Ruff in here. Ralph lost me with the two issues above and the split second he admitted they play for shoot outs in OT. I swear - how it EVER seems like a good idea to run Smyth and or Horcoff in a 4 on 4 situation is beyond me.

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#24 OilDieHard
April 23 2013, 07:22AM
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and what's really sad is we actually made it to 8th spot briefly...then tanked and i don't know why they did that? had they shown some intensity, they could be sitting where Columbus is right now.

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#25 madjam
April 23 2013, 07:24AM
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"To many cooks " if we bring in more coaches at this stage . Not going to happen unless team falters badly thru first half of next season .

Require two centers with high skill, size and grit , and not rookies I might add ! Require two defencemen of equal abilities . Require a good younger (under 35) backup goalie . We know how long it takes even the best draftees to develop a solid all around game . Our youngsters are proof of that.

First line proof that when we acquire our two centers and defencemen they will be split up . Why ? Two injuries to top line caused unnecessary injuries to two of them as other clubs relentlessly run them , and subsequently affected their play and effectiveness!

Upcoming draft is unlikely to get us an immediate player . Best scenario might be Nicushkin for development later . Hall for trade ? Gretzky after all was traded , albeit a different scenario . Weber and Nashvilles first pick be tempting with maybe t weaking on their part as well ? If not Hall one of the other blue chippers ?

How many of our young stars can we safely maintain in a tough size ,coupled with skill and grit league , especially our new division next season ? I think we already know from last few seasons that we have too many that lean toward softness - something has to give here .

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#26 madjam
April 23 2013, 07:37AM
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Thru the bleakest and frustating rebuild we find one success story that epitomizes why Edmonton fans are the greatest in hockey . A true success story of climbing to the top . Cudos to all the ON writers who have kept the hockey tempest alive thru such trying times .

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#27 @Oilanderp
April 23 2013, 07:37AM
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"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." ~ Sun Tzu

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#28 Sliderule
April 23 2013, 07:46AM
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The only hope for the fans is that they lose out which might give them a shot at Barkov who might end up being the best player in draft.

The other thing this would do is pressure oilers to fire RK and hire an NHL coach who knows defensive zone play because the oiler coaches right now are running a system from the nineties .

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#29 Taylor Gang
April 23 2013, 07:48AM
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The oilers throughout the rebuild kept players that should've been upgraded every offseason. As a result, half of our team is duds

I pray MacT pulls us out of the Tambellini "sitting on hands" regime

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#30 Rob...
April 23 2013, 07:49AM
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I laughed out loud during one point in yesterday's game, when Kevin Quinn said 'Belanger almost scored'. Then I died inside a little bit more.

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#31 madjam
April 23 2013, 07:57AM
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You can run almost any system you want successfully if you have the tools to do it . Accordingly , we do not at the present time . At least management recognizes it more readily now . Next season should be the turnaround . The more tools the better the results will be . Krueger not the problem at this stage .

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#32 michael
April 23 2013, 08:10AM
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Robin I agree with you pie in the sky argument on Clarkson. But I disagree with you on Ruff. I think we see him sign here as an associate coach after the WHC's. Rk has gone to gun fight with a knife. He is so out of his league. Literally. Combined with a lack of 3rd and 4 th line players who can support the top 2 lines it has all added up to a miserable season. The good news. JS has gained a year of experience. Along with Yakupov. Who looks like a player. MP has regained his confidence but needs to play down in the lineup rather than up in the top 6. DD proved to me he is a number 1 goalie. Imagine if he actually had a defence in front of him? There are positives to build on. But given the last 2 weeks the team has to look into the mirror and find more next year.

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#33 michael
April 23 2013, 08:13AM
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Rob... wrote:

I laughed out loud during one point in yesterday's game, when Kevin Quinn said 'Belanger almost scored'. Then I died inside a little bit more.

The over/under on Belanger for goals is set at one.I bet the under.

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#34 j
April 23 2013, 08:15AM
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Coaches are as competitive as players. They want to win. But they also want to challenge themselves. Edmonton has one of the best core groups of talent in the league. There would be a dozen coaches lined up to help guide these kids. We had no trouble getting Quinn/Renney here - why would Ruff hesitate? I don't think getting a great assistant coach will be a problem at all. Also, the days of free agents saying 'no' to cities is pretty much over. With the cap (and it going down), there is only so much money in the entire pool to go around. Players want their money and they want some guarantee re ice time. The Oilers can offer second line work (centre, wing), first line defense, and 1A backup (possibly starter) positions - there are many players that will be looking at Edmonton this summer. I have been watching this team for over 30 years and am as bipolar as the rest of you - but I really do believe we are close to a 10 year run of excellent hockey.

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So why did Hitchcock go to CBJ or STL? Why did Quennville go to CHI? Why would Carlyle go to Toronto? Even Tippett not like he went to a good situation in PHX in the first place

I don't know if either Tippett or Ruff are options, but to say there is zero chance isn't accurate at all.

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#36 ghostofberanek
April 23 2013, 08:43AM
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My list of personnel who need to be given their walking papers includes ( but is not limited to)

-Hemsky -Horcoff -Smyth -Buchberger -Steve Smith

These guys have been the constant through all these god-awful seasons, and definitely need to go. Lowes not on the list only because I know it's not going to happen, same with Krueger. I honestly believe replacing these individuals will give the team a new energy and attitude. We'll see what MacT thinks...

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#37 David
April 23 2013, 08:49AM
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I have been going to Oiler games since the WHA days. The game last night was the worst one ever.

RK talks a good game but he doesn't deliver. I would like to replace ALL of the coaching staff in addition to Smyth, Horcoff, Belanger, Whitney , Potter etc etc. The only guy I like that the Oilers have semi- soured on is Jones.

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#38 Ducey
April 23 2013, 09:03AM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

Didn't somebody post this same thing in 2010 and 2011 and 2012

Yes, but they were wrong.

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#39 Smokey
April 23 2013, 09:05AM
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I stopped watching Oil Change after last season. Won't watch till the Kevin Lowe firing episode comes out in season 13 after like 15 years of no playoffs

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#40 2004Z06
April 23 2013, 09:12AM
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Yeah lets tank again for a high draft pick. That will help turn this losing culture around!

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#41 Smokey
April 23 2013, 09:17AM
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madjam wrote:

You can run almost any system you want successfully if you have the tools to do it . Accordingly , we do not at the present time . At least management recognizes it more readily now . Next season should be the turnaround . The more tools the better the results will be . Krueger not the problem at this stage .

I don't believe that for a minute. How many years did Nashville make the playoffs with no name forwards, what about Phoenix winning division titles and then going to the conference championships. Even Anaheim with barely 1 and half lines of top 6 forwards with holes in the bottom six and mediocre defence on paper won their division. St. Louis could not win anything till the proper structure was in place with Hitch. As much as not having the right players, coaching is a big of a variable as the nucleus of players. Both are equally important in my estimation.

I like Kreuger just fine, but this team has not progressed, and has lost confidence and has stopped competing. Holes in the lineup have contributed, but this team lacks effort most night from probably half the roster. I believe its as much coaching as players.

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#42 Smokey
April 23 2013, 09:19AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Yeah lets tank again for a high draft pick. That will help turn this losing culture around!

Your right, but its all we got to look forward too.

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#43 Rama Lama
April 23 2013, 09:21AM
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I could not agree with RB more on Belenger and Smithson. I never thought in my wildest dreams that the Oilers could find two players less talented than Horcoff.........but Tamby found a way.

We are getting close to being able to draft Barkov who has the ability to step in right away......we should not under any circumstances trade this pick as some have suggested. Everyone is talking about Clarkson as being the player we most need........there are better options than Clarkson that can be obtained through a trade.

NO surprise with all the frustration, but we must remind ourselves we have Klowe running things.

Nothing will change until this clown gets fired.

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#44 Aitch
April 23 2013, 09:24AM
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Blah. As much as some of us are optimists, I don't know why we thought adding two absolute rookies to this line-up was going to move them from 29th up into a playoff team. Let's face it... the team plan wasn't to win this year. It was another year of maturation for the young kids. Otherwise, why do you bring back the exact bunch of losers who couldn't win a coin flip the year before?

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#45 Will
April 23 2013, 09:33AM
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I'm trying to keep things in perspective by comparing the Oiler's to some other teams around the league. Teams like the Rangers who are clinging to a playoff spot, or teams like Detroit who kick the crap out of us, yet might be on the outside looking in. And finally Colorardo. Colorado has these big top six, two way forwards in Landeskog, and O'Reily, and look how well they are doing. I mean, we look at our team and say we need to flush the bottom six, get two top 2 d men, a back up goalie and size in our top six. But if that's the case for us, what the hell would a team like Colorado need to turn it around, and why is a team like the Rangers, arguably the exact make up everyone is crying for, just barely making the play offs?

I don't really know what the answer is. I kind of hate to say it cause I like the guy but I think the issue this year may have been Krueger. I'm no coach so commenting like I know what I'm talking about would be stupid, but I am just finding it hard to come up with another explanation for the team's performance, when you look around the league at the make up of other teams and how they are doing.

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#46 Rick
April 23 2013, 09:34AM
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This team needs a heart transplant. For 5 years they got in the habit of pulling the chute down the stretch and not only did the organization allow it, they outright endorsed it all in the name of the greater good.

So with all that history to draw on, how can any of us be surprised that they can't break the habit of taking the easy out?

Thanks to Tambellini's passive approach to team building, this organization is in much deeper trouble than anyone seems willing to recognize.

They need to move out at least half of their roster including the common denominators like Hemsky and Horcoff, just to get the needed change in culture. And some of those changes will have to come in true hockey type deals where fans may cringe at the guys heading out the door.

They need to demand that their coaches take a real hard look inwards and challenge them to hold this team accountable instead of framing everything as if it's alright and part of what's expected. Their is a time for motivation AND a time for a kick in the ass. If they are not convinced these guys can make the adjustment then they need to move them out as well. Even as outrageous as 4 coaches in 5 years sounds, a lot of nights this group needs a whip more than a pat on the back.

Finally they need to stop looking at their prospects as the answers to all their woes. They have a lot of kids that show promise but if guys like Hartikainen, Lander and even PRV have shown anything, it's that even the most promising prospects take time to ripen. You can't plan for those guys to be a part of the solution you need them to kick the door down and prove they will be before they ever pull on an Oiler jersey.

So all that considered, even if by some miracle they make all the right moves, can anyone really imagine that kind of a shake up not taking at least one more season of transition before showing results?

I have a hard time picturing this season being the last one without playoffs.

The only saving grace is that the kids they will be counting on tomorrow are also some of the remaining few that haven't called it in down the stretch.

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#47 Harlie
April 23 2013, 09:34AM
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Jasmine wrote:

Coaches won't come to Edmonton and neither will players. They know they'll get run out buy Oilers fans.

Good, because if some thin skinned millionaire athlete or coach doesn't want to collect a paycheck and put up with having to justify their pay, then we don't want them here.

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#48 Rob...
April 23 2013, 09:36AM
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One other thing about yesterday's game. I saw the Dvorak interview and couldn't help but notice his dilated pupils. Was the interview actually taped right after the whistle ending the period and shown later on in the intermission or was this guy on something?

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#49 Crispy
April 23 2013, 09:42AM
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Westcoastoil wrote:

Didn't somebody post this same thing in 2010 and 2011 and 2012

The people who said we would make the playoffs after 2010 were nuts. I half believed the ones who said it after 2012 but had a feeling we would be out of the playoffs again.

Avatar
#50 tileguy
April 23 2013, 09:43AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Can't wait til we start pruning some of the dead wood around here. Then we are going to pick up I would say a minimun of 4 high end players in the off season, either through trade or ufa's. Katz cheque book will be wide open with the mandate to acquire the personel to get us competitive. I could care less how MacT does it, if he has to trade talent and or high draft picks so be it. IF the oilers do not attempt to accomplish this, and we find out it is because Katz is having a squabble with the city/province on a new arena, than I will be done with this organization for ever, and will boycott every know business of Katz and his empire.

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