GDB 48.0: The End of the Road

Jonathan Willis
April 27 2013 12:59PM

The Oilers’ season will once again end at the same time as the NHL playoffs begin. Edmonton plays its final game tonight against the “Vancouver Canucks” – with third place locked up, the Northwest Division champs will rest a bunch of players against the Oilers, underlining the fact that this game is almost entirely meaningless.

The Opposition

There will be no need to worry about the Sedin twins putting on a passing clinic tonight.

Also taking the night off are one or two players of note.

So: the Canucks will be without their three ice-time leaders on the blue line, and of their three ice-time leaders at forward two will be scratched and one will be playing on the fourth line. Frank Corrado (nine games of professional experience) led the team in even-strength ice-time one game ago and is likely to repeat the feat against the Oilers.

The Oilers

Presumably the Oilers use more or less the same forward combinations they played against Minnesota, but the defence is where things might get interesting. Mark Fistric left the game against the Wild early, Ryan Whitney has a leg injury, and Theo Peckham has mono, meaning the Oilers only have five healthy defencemen.

Yesterday’s lines:

  • Taylor Hall – Shawn Horcoff – Nail Yakupov
  • Magnus Paajarvi – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
  • Ryan Jones – Eric Belanger – Anton Lander
  • Ryan Smyth – Jerred Smithson – Mike Brown
  • Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
  • Nick Schultz – Corey Potter
  • Mark Fistric – Justin Schultz

Devan Dubnyk will start for Edmonton.

Predictions

Game day prediction: Yesterday I predicted a dull, soul-crushing affair for the Oilers. They won 6-1. Since that worked out so well, this game’s going to be even more lopsided – a 4-0 Vancouver victory, with Frank Corrado scoring his first NHL goal.

Obvious game day prediction: In keeping with the above, by the end of May Oilers Nation will be flooded with complaints that the 4-0 score on the website’s “last game” marker is depressing.

Not-so-obvious game day prediction: Cam Barker will have a strong night on Vancouver’s third pairing. Jay Feaster, watching the game because Calgary’s season is already over, will be struck by Barker’s draft pedigree (mentioned on the broadcast), puck-moving ability, and size, then click over to NHL Numbers to see that he’s an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. The Flames will sign him to a two-year deal on the first day of free agency and Barker’s agent will just be one team away from filling out his Northwest Division clubs bingo card.

Recently around the Nation Network

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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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#51 DSF
April 27 2013, 01:40PM
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The Canucks will be playing without their entire top 6 D unless Bieksa, who is coming off injury, plays.

Should be guaranteed win night for the Oilers.

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#52 DSF
April 27 2013, 01:45PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Guaranteed win night?

Have you even watched the Oilers play?

Yeah I know but:

Ballard-Bieksa

Alberts-Corrado Joslin-Barker

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#53 messyEH!
April 27 2013, 01:46PM
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Calgary's AHL team handled us easily. Vancouver's may give us some trouble as well. Let's go Oilers and may Colorado crush the Wild of Minnesota in their next meeting.

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#54 Quicksilver ballet
April 27 2013, 02:24PM
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+/- is more of a reflection of the team, than it is said player. How many times have we seen guys like Nicklas Lidstrom turn guys like Ian White into near allstars. Look what Shea Weber did for Ryan Suter, without Weber pimping Suters ride all those years, no way Ryan gets that contract he received last summer.

Put Justin Schultz on the blueline next to a Weber type, and he goes from -20 to +20 in one year. +/- on a cellar dwelling team is nothing but a B/S statistic. You win as a group, and lose as a group. +/- pffft! Flush all those 5v5,pp,pk,+- down the toilet since losing became managements chosen option. Micro-managing statistics is laughable when failure became the Oilers chosen option.

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#55 Rama Lama
April 27 2013, 02:31PM
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Not sure what happened to Fistric.......if anyone knows please let me know. I'm a little perplexed as to why RK does not like Fistric. Yes he is a little slower than some of the others, but he has other skills that compensate......I know that he made a glaring mistake on one shift for which he was benched seven games.

I think that every player in the entire NHL has made glaring mistakes but RK's heavy handedness in my mind is uncalled for. In my mind JS has made more mistakes than Fistric and Whitney combined, but never gets punished.

This type of punishment ( without merit) is why coaches lose a room. In my mind RK has lost the team and should suffer some of his own punishment ........banish yourself RK and all your useless motivational speeches.

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#56 Walter Sobchak
April 27 2013, 02:32PM
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I wonder if Mac-T starts trading as soon as the playoffs start?

Give a real sign of things to come.

I would be right in there with TB trying to pry that pick out of Yzermans death grip!

Bring on the lottery let's see where we finish this Sh!t show!

I'm with Quicksilver on this one, Weber will be a nice addition to the defesive corps next year.

To bad Gagner had to go though.

+/- so overrated.

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#57 Quicksilver ballet
April 27 2013, 02:50PM
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@Walter Sobchak

ASAP, or being really patient are both possibilities. I can also see Craig doing very little till after free agency and keep his options open as long as possible. There will be unprecedented opportunities to upgrade when teams are well over the projected 64.3 cap a month before the season starts. Teams will need to shed dollars/talent for probably very little salary coming back their way. I can see Mact with only 2 or 3 draft choices going into that 2014 draft if he's successful this summer.

Trade up if it's worth it and get that much needed 2nd LC. That BS win over the Wild yesterday is going to probably cost the Oilers a roster player to move up now. A roster player and flip of picks when they should've sand bagged it owned that pick themselves. One meaningless victory pushes us to 7th, instead of possibly 3rd.

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#58 Will
April 27 2013, 02:50PM
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Well it looks like we'll be out of the Barkov pick unless he falls or we win the lottery. So depending on Carolina, we'll either be picking 6th or seventh it looks like. As such, I hope we lose tonight and I hope Carolina wins so as to get the 6th pick. Lets see, Jones, Mckinnon, Druoin, Barkov, Nishkenen, and maybe Lazar? So that means we'll likely get a Nurse, or Monahan. I say they will either take Monahan if he's available, or drop a few spots on the rankings and draft for need by picking up Gauthier. The kid is a huge centre, that hopefully can get better skill wise.

Still fingers crossed for the lottery win, trade our first + something to Tampa for their first and Bishop, then just pray Colorado would rather have Druoin or Mckinnon over Barkov.

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#59 Gaz
April 27 2013, 02:53PM
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As soon as I saw that half of the team's players are from the AHL, it was apparent that this will be a lopsided Oilers loss.

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#60 Fresh Mess
April 27 2013, 02:55PM
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Still not a word from Tambo. Are any reporters even phoning him?

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#61 Gaz
April 27 2013, 02:55PM
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...and by "team" I meant Vancouver...though the same argument could be made about the Oilers too.

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#62 dougtheslug
April 27 2013, 03:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

He was given/agreed to a 1 yr severance package when/after he was fired, hush money. He has to co-operate with this debacle if he hopes to collect these funds. They sure take care of their own well, in those circles.

After Buchberger is hired as head coach, Tambo will be introduced as the new Assistant Coach in charge of Situation Assessment. May the circle be unbroken.

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#63 DonDon
April 27 2013, 03:33PM
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Jonathan

You can joke about Jay Feaster and the Flames as much as you want. Unfortunately, the Oilers' organization has been worse. Remember, the Oilers signed Barker too, and a bunch of other misfits that are still on the Oil roster.

The team may have moved up from 29th place to 23rd, but it is mostly due to the terrible performances of Florida, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Calgary, but hasn't really improved over last season based on many metrics.

Oiler fans can now look forward to real hockey, the SC playoffs, pray for a good draft choice in June, and commiserate over another of many lost seasons. What is happening with the Eskimos?

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#64 michael
April 27 2013, 03:42PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

He was given/agreed to a 1 yr severance package when/after he was fired, hush money. He has to co-operate with this debacle if he hopes to collect these funds. They sure take care of their own well, in those circles.

What is he going to say? And really I am way past giving a sheet what he thinks,says or does not say. 30 GM jobs in the Nhl and he pissed one away by dithering IMO. Lets not waste anymore type on a guy who was never part of the Oilers in circle.

Is Yakupov now in the conversation for the Calder. What if he wins the rookie scoring race? You could argue he did it with less TOI than JH. I am hoping for a Yak trick to put a stamp of finality on this season. Go out with a 8-2 pasting of the depleted Nucks.

Portland vs Edmonton in the WHL final? We'll get to see Seth Jones on Oiler ice. Never know where he'll end up.

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#66 Mark-LW
April 27 2013, 03:53PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

He was given/agreed to a 1 yr severance package when/after he was fired, hush money. He has to co-operate with this debacle if he hopes to collect these funds. They sure take care of their own well, in those circles.

He signed a two year contract extension last year, he's getting paid next year regardless.

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#67 DSF
April 27 2013, 03:59PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't think anybody would say either Alberta franchise has been competently run over the last few seasons.

I think hiring Craig MacTavish was a massive step in the right direction, but his actions will determine whether that is the case or not.

Why do you think so Jon?

Lowe, MacTavish and Howson had years together to build a winner and failed miserably.

Did they get a lot smarter or did MacT learn how to build a winner based on one year in the Canucks' organization?

Same old, same old.

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#68 NewAgeSys
April 27 2013, 03:59PM
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I would love to look into the Crystal Ball and see Yakupov score 5 goals to seal the Calder to anyone but J Schultz.Lets see what Nail can do with more than 17 mins of ice-time,lets max him out.

I say the Oil bust up Luongo bad{he will stay in for 60 mins}, and we see an 8-3 Oilers win,with Dubby taking the 1st star.

The Oilers we have on the roster can put the puck on Nails stick enough times for him score 5 goals, if they all attack hard and use Yak as a primary option for 60 mins anything can happen.

Three wristers, a one-timer and a slapper in that order.No that I am challenging the Man or anything.It would be nice to see him score at least 3 goals the same way on the same play just with different finishes shotwise. Or maybe he can blow everyones mind and score all 5 goals off of the same playaction?Thats not possible is it?

The teams goal should be to get Nail at least ten shots on net,and that can be done.

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#70 Rama Lama
April 27 2013, 04:19PM
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DonDon wrote:

Jonathan

You can joke about Jay Feaster and the Flames as much as you want. Unfortunately, the Oilers' organization has been worse. Remember, the Oilers signed Barker too, and a bunch of other misfits that are still on the Oil roster.

The team may have moved up from 29th place to 23rd, but it is mostly due to the terrible performances of Florida, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Calgary, but hasn't really improved over last season based on many metrics.

Oiler fans can now look forward to real hockey, the SC playoffs, pray for a good draft choice in June, and commiserate over another of many lost seasons. What is happening with the Eskimos?

Pretty hard to argue with your logic.........we are so overjoyed with our four first round prospects that pretty well everyone especially the media has taken their critical eye off the Oilers.

I will give JW credit......Staples too, they did take Oilers management to task the past couple of months. I say that the task of moving and trading assets to create a complete team ( not just the first line) will be harder than what Tamby had to do........absolutely nothing and wait to finish last, and draft first.

For so many year we let good hockey players come and go and not realize their talent and value to a team. The real architect behind this is Klowe and let's pray that Mac T, puts him in his place and does not allow this clown to dictate player transactions. Let's also pray that Mac T does not load this team with a bunch of pluggers in hopes to bolster our ranks with some physical players. He too had a habit in the past to over value defensive player such as Shawn Horcoff, and play them in first line situations.

As far as Feaster is concerned......as much as I think he is a clown, he has out performed the GM's of Edmonton, especially Tamby.

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#71 nunyour
April 27 2013, 04:37PM
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How can they call some of these kids in the draft power forwards when they have never even be in one fight?

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#72 michael
April 27 2013, 04:40PM
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MacT's record as GM has already surpassed Tambo's. The Oilers for the first time since 2002? will finish ahead of the cursed Flames. IMO he already has earned his pesos. MacT is not a stupid man. You don't earn a Master's in anything unless you have a few active brain cells. Add his hockey experience as a player/coach/scout/VP and we'll see a different team in the fall than the one we see now.

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#73 Dog Train
April 27 2013, 05:01PM
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I guess this game needs to be played. Yakupov should play 30 minutes tonight. Let's get him that Calder!

GO YAKUPOV!

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#74 keilan
April 27 2013, 05:28PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I was about to point out the hopeless inaccuracy of this post but I see JW beat me to it. Howson was with the Oilers from 2002-2007, leaving after the Stanley Cup final appearance. He was fired in Columbus 10 weeks ago, but he has to be credited at least in part for the Blue Jackets surprising resurgence this year . MacT was a coach, not in management, and thus was not in a place to build the team. His coaching tailed off as the talent on the roster tailed off. That leaves KL. Yes, same old there.

Your kicking people when they are down act is getting so tiresome, DSF. But I notice you have been awful silent about last years favourite target, Sam Gagner - I wonder if that is because he has turned into a serviceable NHL player who currently is tied in scoring with none other than Your Hero, Zach Parise. I hope next year you will be just as silent about Justin Schulz. Or, better still, just silent.

Sam Gagner a serviceable NHL player? Do you watch anyone other than the Oilers?

Sam Gagner picked up another two points last night and wasn't noticeable at all, take away his 2nd assists and try if you can to isolate big goals and meaningful 1st assists when the game was on the line. That total is quite small.

Sam is over-paid now and of almost no trade value yet guys like you keep beating his drum......most over-rated player since Smyth joined the Oilers.

These types of serviceable NHL players are the reason the Oilers have stunk for the past 20 years....

Go ahead and list Sam's hockey skill-set but 1st here's my list

Win draws - no

Physical - no

Hard-on-the-puck - no

Playmaker - no

Good skater - no

Good shot - no

Good defensibly - terrible

Intimidates opposition - I'm laughing now

Hits the opposition - no

He was a better player his 1st year and that was 6 yrs ago. You want to compare Parise to Gagner? Get a grip.

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#75 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 27 2013, 05:55PM
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@keilan

Could you define the word "defensibly"? Also, wouldn't you consider "Physical" and "Hits the opposition" as the same thing? Just wondering.

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#76 Cheap Shot Charlie
April 27 2013, 05:55PM
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@keilan

Could you define the word "defensibly"? Also, wouldn't you consider "Physical" and "Hits the opposition" as the same thing? Just wondering.

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#77 keilan
April 27 2013, 05:55PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Sam Gagner 3.2 million 14 goals 23 assists 37 points

Zach Parise 7.53 million 17goals 20assists 37points

Pretty magical for a guy who isn't physical, can't skate, can't pass, can't shoot, can't hit. Wow. How does he do it?

You're obnoxious

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#78 dougtheslug
April 27 2013, 05:56PM
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keilan wrote:

You're obnoxious

good argument

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#79 The Soup Fascist
April 27 2013, 06:02PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Sam Gagner 3.2 million 14 goals 23 assists 37 points

Zach Parise 7.53 million 17goals 20assists 37points

Pretty magical for a guy who isn't physical, can't skate, can't pass, can't shoot, can't hit. Wow. How does he do it?

You will have to excuse Keilan, Slug. He is the president of the DSF fan club while masquerading as an Oilers fan. He has way too much on his plate to take the time to slant or make up questionable stats like his idol. He has to rely on vague uninformed comments instead. Cut the kid some slack.

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#80 keilan
April 27 2013, 06:11PM
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Cheap Shot Charlie wrote:

Could you define the word "defensibly"? Also, wouldn't you consider "Physical" and "Hits the opposition" as the same thing? Just wondering.

hey chucky what didn't you understand? You have to try hard to be a queef or does that come naturally?

good defensively - nah (he's no good there either)

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#81 Wäx Män Riley
April 27 2013, 06:14PM
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DSF wrote:

Why do you think so Jon?

Lowe, MacTavish and Howson had years together to build a winner and failed miserably.

Did they get a lot smarter or did MacT learn how to build a winner based on one year in the Canucks' organization?

Same old, same old.

Game 7 of The Stanley Cup Finals, no?

So by the same logic:

Vancouver Management has failed miserably.

Minnesota Management has failed miserably.

NYR Management has failed miserably.

Chicago Management has faile....wait, they got a cup, so they succeeded, right?

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#82 keilan
April 27 2013, 06:19PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

You will have to excuse Keilan, Slug. He is the president of the DSF fan club while masquerading as an Oilers fan. He has way too much on his plate to take the time to slant or make up questionable stats like his idol. He has to rely on vague uninformed comments instead. Cut the kid some slack.

soupy, DSF forgot more then you'll ever know about hockey. I'm old enough to be your Daddy soupy-boy.

Tell me soupy are you drunk again? You drink and spend your time on Oiler Nation - what do your parents think about this?

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#83 The Soup Fascist
April 27 2013, 06:28PM
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keilan wrote:

soupy, DSF forgot more then you'll ever know about hockey. I'm old enough to be your Daddy soupy-boy.

Tell me soupy are you drunk again? You drink and spend your time on Oiler Nation - what do your parents think about this?

Sorry, sonny ...... "calls 'em like I sees 'em".

I apologize for thinking you are anything less than a seasoned, veteran hockey fan / commentator. Clearly the way you handle yourself, you are extremely mature.

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#84 6 ring circus
April 27 2013, 06:38PM
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Joe Nieuwendy is going to get fired as the general manager of the Dallas Stars,Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill will be his replacement which will be announced on Monday per TSN.To bad Katz didn't take time from watching all those boy's on the bus video's and made this hire instead!!!! How's it been working out having K Lowe and his 6 Stanley cup rings running this team?

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#85 DSF
April 27 2013, 06:43PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Two things:

1) Craig MacTavish was the head coach, and based on the work of Pat Quinn after his departure I'm not at all sure it's fair to say he did anything other than a good job with the talent that was assembled.

2) Scott Howson was named general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007. You'll note his departure from the organization was well before rock bottom.

Judge both guys on their own merits - it isn't fair to hang the post-2009 debacle of a team around their necks. They weren't part of the organization at the time.

You're assuming that the hockey operations staff don't talk to each other and collaborate on personnel decisions.

I think that's a pretty specious assumption.

Howson had 5 years in Columbus to build a winner and, only after his departure has the team had any success.

You may give him partial credit for the resurgence of the Jackets but 5 years is a bigger body of work.

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#86 DSF
April 27 2013, 06:45PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I was about to point out the hopeless inaccuracy of this post but I see JW beat me to it. Howson was with the Oilers from 2002-2007, leaving after the Stanley Cup final appearance. He was fired in Columbus 10 weeks ago, but he has to be credited at least in part for the Blue Jackets surprising resurgence this year . MacT was a coach, not in management, and thus was not in a place to build the team. His coaching tailed off as the talent on the roster tailed off. That leaves KL. Yes, same old there.

Your kicking people when they are down act is getting so tiresome, DSF. But I notice you have been awful silent about last years favourite target, Sam Gagner - I wonder if that is because he has turned into a serviceable NHL player who currently is tied in scoring with none other than Your Hero, Zach Parise. I hope next year you will be just as silent about Justin Schulz. Or, better still, just silent.

Sam Gagner is a defensive disaster and has once again gone in the tank save for a couple of second assists on a night when his team scored 6 goals.

Justin Schultz is even worse.

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#87 DSF
April 27 2013, 06:47PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Game 7 of The Stanley Cup Finals, no?

So by the same logic:

Vancouver Management has failed miserably.

Minnesota Management has failed miserably.

NYR Management has failed miserably.

Chicago Management has faile....wait, they got a cup, so they succeeded, right?

Nothing stinks more than 7 consecutive years out of the playoffs...except 8.

Coming right up.

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#88 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:01PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Mostly, I'm leery about hanging things on guys who weren't primary decision makers.

Howson's record in Columbus is pretty mixed - his big mistake was hanging on to Steve Mason - but the point stands that it would be wrong to hang the Oilers post-2006 problems on him. MacTavish's track record as coach is pretty strong, and I really don't think the Oilers personnel moves are on him - he was coaching the team and knew what they needed, but it's pretty doubtful he was the guy pulling the trigger on acquisitions. Additionally, they didn't go into free-fall until his departure.

I just think the "these guys wrecked the team" narrative is pretty overstated, given when they actually left.

Whether or not they "wrecked the team" is likely not the issue.

The fact remains they did NOT build a winner while working together.

You may point to MacT's coaching record as "pretty strong" but in fact it's dismal.

301W - 308L - 47T

That's a record that will keep you out of the playoffs in perpetuity.

If you then move the goalposts and blame Lowe and Howson for not giving MacT the players he needed to win...why exactly are Lowe and Howson still involved in the process?

There is no record of success from any of this triumvirate....none.

Why are they in charge of fixing the mess THEY created?

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#89 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:32PM
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Columbus and Detroit win...Minnesota leading 2-1 in the 3rd.

Comes down to 15 minutes of hockey.

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#90 Darrell
April 27 2013, 07:33PM
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keilan wrote:

You're obnoxious

You sleeping with DSF or just steal his lines cause your lonely too ...

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#91 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:33PM
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Huberdeau with 2 points.

Yakupov needs 3 to win the rookie scoring race.

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#92 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:39PM
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Huberdeau with 3 points.

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#93 michael
April 27 2013, 07:42PM
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DSF wrote:

Huberdeau with 2 points.

Yakupov needs 3 to win the rookie scoring race.

Gallagher with 2 goals tonight. Its feed Yakupov the puck night.$ point night with a trick will do very nicely.

Go Colorado go.

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#94 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:43PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

You just described your hero Brian Burke.

Ouch.

Really?

Brian Burke has a Stanley Cup ring.

How many do Huey, Louie and Dewey have as hockey executives?

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#95 Darrell
April 27 2013, 07:47PM
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DSF wrote:

Really?

Brian Burke has a Stanley Cup ring.

How many do Huey, Louie and Dewey have as hockey executives?

Nice 5-3 champ .... Hope you took your meds!

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#96 DSF
April 27 2013, 07:50PM
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Darrell wrote:

Nice 5-3 champ .... Hope you took your meds!

Right.

Roll another one.

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#97 Darrell
April 27 2013, 07:56PM
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DSF wrote:

Right.

Roll another one.

I play off your previous BS dude - it's entertaining .....

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#98 NewAgeSys
April 27 2013, 07:58PM
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The lines are nicely balanced.

Lets hope Horcoff has enough left in the tank to set Nail up for a Big Night,hopefully a hattrick or more,Horcs is the man tonight.A 5 point night might take the Calder for Yakupov .

MPS has the speed and size to take a game like this on his shoulders.I hope to see the move where MPS takes it wide and deep but spins just past the half-wall and dishes back, if Nail can find those spots magnus will hit him consistantly and that is the PERFECT onetime setup.

If both wingers feed Sam he could have a statement goal scoring night,earlier in the year,Sammy didnt give up on them he carried the fight, they can pay him back by being deadly and also trying to score themselves so he can find room to elevate to elite for 60 mins.

Lets go fellas,come on Yak-Attack!!!

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#99 ubermiguel
April 27 2013, 07:59PM
Trash it!
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Regarding tonight's game: FEED THE YAK! I want to see him take the rookie scoring lead to give him the best shot at the Calder.

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#100 DSF
April 27 2013, 08:01PM
Trash it!
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trashes
+1
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props
ubermiguel wrote:

Regarding tonight's game: FEED THE YAK! I want to see him take the rookie scoring lead to give him the best shot at the Calder.

He needs 4 points to win.

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