ARE THE OILERS IMPROVING?

Jason Gregor
April 09 2013 11:23PM

The Oilers goal this season was to play meaningful games in April. Mission accomplished as the Oilers are in the hunt, albeit a long shot now, to make the playoffs.

But is being in the playoff mix after 36 games misleading, when we discuss the improvement of the Oilers? Let's take a deeper look.

Many, me included, feel that the Oilers have improved this season and that they are closer to being a playoff team than in previous years. However, when I looked at some stats, they suggested that I, along with many fans and possibly some within the Oilers organization, might be wrong.

I took a step back, tried to block out the stellar play of Taylor Hall, and started crunching some numbers. I didn't look at fancy stats, just the old fashioned wins, losses, shots and goals. I believe some of the advanced stats have merit, while others don't appeal to me, but the one stat that I never doubt; Wins.

We can all use corsi, fenwick, PDO, +/-, zone starts, quality of competition and other stats to back up our argument, but once you peel that away, all that matters in the NHL is whether you win or lose.

Players and coaches and organizations who win are always held in higher regard. It turns out that Oilers haven't won more games this year than they did last year. Sure they have four more points, due to OT/SO losses, but are they actually a better team this year than they were last year?

Let's look at some numbers and discuss if this team is actually improving.

2013 AFTER 39 games...

The Oilers are 16-16-7 (39pts)… with 99 GF (60 ES and 32 PP) and 105 GA (72 ES and 23 PPG).

Here is their record during the first 39 games in the previous two seasons...

  • 2011…13-19-7 (33 pts)…with 99 GF (77 ES and 20 PP) and 126 GA (87 ES and 36 PP).
  • 2012…16-20-3 (35 pts... with 106 GF (69 ES and 33 PP) and 108 GA (80 ES and 25 PP).

The Oilers won the exact same amount of games as last year. They picked up four more points by going to OT/S0. An improvement, but marginal. Their GA is down slightly this year, but so are their goals for. Their ES scoring has taken a big dip.

When I brought this up on air earlier today, people said it would be more accurate to look at games near the end of the season, since some players played in the AHL and overseas.

So here are the numbers from the final 39 games. (I know not an exact comparison, since 9 games left, but still near the end of season.)

  • 2011...11-23-5 (29 pts)... With 82 GF (55 ES and 24 PP) and 118 GA (81 ES and 34 PP)
  • 2012...16-17-6 (38 pts)... With 96 GF (74 ES and 18 PP) and 109 GA (84 ES and 22 PP)

The Oilers took big steps from 2011 to 2012, but they haven't shown the same improvement this year. In the first 39 and final 39 games of 2011/2012, the Oilers won 16 games; the exact same amount as they have this year.

In the most important category, wins, the Oilers haven't improved.

Here is where it gets cloudy. Many feel the Oilers are better now than they were last year.

They will argue Hall has emerged as a superstar and Devan Dubnyk has become a solid #1 goalie. He isn't top-ten, but compare his numbers to the rest of the starters in the NHL and he'll be in the top half.

Others will claim Justin Schultz has shown potential, Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi have taken big steps and Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins along with Hall are one of the best lines in hockey.

All valid arguments, but even after all that, the Oilers haven't won more games. So what is the problem?

Let's look at some other trends:

Take a look at the Oilers special teams the past three seasons...

  • First 39 games of 2010/2011: PP…14.6% and PK 75%.
  • Final 39 games of 2010/2011:PP... 15.8% and PK 79.2%

  • First 39 games of 2011/2012: PP…21.0% and PK 84.2%.
  • Final 39 games of 2011/2012: PP...19.7% and PK 82.2%.

  • 2013… PP is 22.7% and the PK is 84.0%.

Both special teams took a big jump last year, and they've maintained them this season. The addition of J.Schultz and Nail Yakupov has improved the PP slightly, which is good considering their PP was top-five last year.

Their PK is virtually the same, which is fine considering they are top-ten on PK. It will be more challenging to maintain their dominant special teams play than improve on them moving forward.

SHOTS FOR AND AGAINST A BIG PROBLEM

The one area that the Oilers haven't improved in is their shots for/against ratio. In fact, they've gotten worse this year. It is hard to win consistently when you are getting outshot and outchanced.

Here are the numbers...

  • First 39 games of 2010/2011: SF…1000 and SA…1349… -349
  • Final 39 games of 2010/2011: SF…1068 and SA…1160… -92

  • First 39 games of 2011/2012: SF…1026 and SA…1201. -175
  • Final 39 games of 2011/2012: SF...1046 and SA... 1193... -147

  • 2013…SF..1055 and SA…1281. -226

The Oilers were horrific at the start of 2010, and they made a massive improvement in the second half. The disturbing trend for the Oilers is that last season they improved during the season, but this year they are even than they were at the start of last season.

The scary part is that the Hall/Eberle/RNH line has been outshooting the opposition most nights, so that means the other lines are getting crushed. You can believe the Oilers' core will be better in the future because of the kids, but how long will it take for all of them to be consistent in the same season? Is it even fair to put that much pressure on all the young players?

OPTICS WILL ARGUE THESE NUMBERS

When I brought up this topic on air today, many disagreed with me suggesting that of course the Oilers have improved, because their young player are better, and they will continue to improve moving forward.

There is no debate that Hall and Gagner have had great seasons, but Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins' numbers are down so they essentially balance each other out. Paajarvi has played better in many people's eyes, but he only has 11 points in 34 games. He has improved on his numbers from last year, but he is producing fewer points than he did as a rookie.

Yakupov has played well for a rookie, and he has essentially replaced Ryan Smyth's offence from last year. I'm not debating that they won't improve, but will the organization surround them with enough quality players to help them win? The youth is maturing, but the results aren't improving.

That has to change.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

For many a four-point improvement is good enough. The Oilers wanted to be playing meaningful games in April, and they are, so that is good enough. I watch the games and some games I feel they are improving, and others I see the exact same issues that I've seen for years.

Not strong enough. Not big enough. Not consistent enough. And it isn't fair to blame the kids, because they are just learning how to compete in the NHL. It is up to management to make some moves that actually help this team, not players who end up in the pressbox or minors.

Maybe the better question should be: is the organization ready to improve this team in ways other than waiting for all the kids to develop? I think it is risky business to assume all the kids will develop into proven, consistent NHLers. I suspect they will, but will they all do it next season? I don't think so.

Despite all the great individual plays we've seen from the Oilers this season, the results aren't there. If Edmonton was outshooting and outchancing their opponents on a nightly basis, and not winning, that would be a different story, but the clubs hasn't found a way to avoid being outshot by an average of 5 shots per game.

The only playoff teams that are winning despite being outshot are Toronto (-4.5) and Washington (-3.9). Anaheim is -0.3, but essentially they are even. The Oilers need to shoot more, but they also need to cut down on the shots against. Another year of experience will help the young players, but that won't be enough for this team to improve next season.

If the Oilers don't make some roster moves that impact their top-nine forwards and top-four defence, I don't see how they can improve enough to become a playoff team in 2013-14. It is great that they are in the mix, but the last three games showed they have a long way before becoming a contender in the Western conference. The three biggest games of the year and the Oilers got outscored 10-2 and got outshot 105-75. That is a big gap.

The Oilers' brass can't ask, or expect,  much more from their young kids next season. It will be up to Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe to make some astute moves in free agency or via trade to ensure they surround their young players with some key contributors. Thus far, the attempts to add those types of players have failed, and because of that the Oilers haven't improved.

The kids are better, the future looks brighter, but the harsh reality is that the Oilers have yet to see any marked improvement on the ice or in the standings. The young players have gained experience, but I believe the kids are pulling their weight, now it is up to management to pull theirs, and make this team competitive next season. 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Eddie Shore
April 10 2013, 09:08AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I used them to show that the Oilers aren't on the same path as the Penguins. Pretty simple.

And if he used Pittsburgh, why didn't he use Atlanta who had four straight seasons of 1,2,1,2. Likely because they haven't done squat and he's hoping the Oilers don't go down that path.

I agree. However, I just don't think we should expect playoffs because Pittsburgh made it in year three of their rebuild. Apples and oranges.

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#52 Oilfred
April 10 2013, 09:11AM
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michael wrote:

Its a good question Rom. Where is the problem. Is it in the system design? The implementation? The players? The opponents figuring out our system and throwing it back on us. The term puck possession is used a lot. It basically means we don't chip and chase. We try to enter the zone on the rush which is nice in theory but lacks substance in reality. We are currently not able to cycle the puck effectively because of the type of players we employ. Too keep the cycle going you need at least one power forward who can be heavy on the puck.

So is there a simple answer to our problem? I don't think we should look at it at this time. Lets wait till the corpse is cold and take a look at this team at a point where we can look at it without the cloud of emotion that the next 9 games will bring. Lets be patient and wait and then hopefully the whole picture will become clearer.

Its Ryan Whitney. Sam Gagner has not been good but the Horcov and Belanger being hurt have made more of that than it should have been.

But the math is screaming what most of our eyes are seeing. Whitney is now a terrible 5X5 player.

Replacing him with an average second pairing NHL defenceman would immediately make this a playoff team.

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#53 borisnikov
April 10 2013, 09:11AM
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Oilfred wrote:

I'm cunfused about all the disapointment. The season was lost when Horcov went down during the longest road trip in team history.

It was too much for a young team to recover from in a very tough western conference.

They gave it a good shot and there are many positives.

The main negatives are UFAs.

Its not over yet but I am pleased with this young group and would place good money on a 5th-7th place finish next year.

Higher if their can be another miracle this off season.

ARE YOU ON SOME FORM OF MIND ALTERING HALLUCINOGEN?! YOU SHOULDN'T BE CONFUSED. IT HAS BEEN SPELLED OUT ON MULTIPLE BLOGS BY MULTIPLE BLOGGERS FOR WEEKS & WEEKS. THEY ARE A BAD TEAM OUTSIDE OF A SELECT FEW. GOOD TEAMS DON'T GET OUT-SHOT BY MORE THAN 5 SHOTS PER GAME. TEAMS THAT ARE IMPROVING AS A WHOLE DON'T SEE THEIR NUMBERS DROP FROM A SEASON WHERE THEY FINISHED 30TH. J*SUS-H-CHR*ST. GOOD MONEY ON 5TH TO 7TH?! HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW DIVISION YET? I'LL TAKE YOUR MONEY! ALSO, DON'T FORGET THAT YOU HAVE TO BREATH TODAY TO LIVE!

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#54 Oilfred
April 10 2013, 09:22AM
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borisnikov wrote:

ARE YOU ON SOME FORM OF MIND ALTERING HALLUCINOGEN?! YOU SHOULDN'T BE CONFUSED. IT HAS BEEN SPELLED OUT ON MULTIPLE BLOGS BY MULTIPLE BLOGGERS FOR WEEKS & WEEKS. THEY ARE A BAD TEAM OUTSIDE OF A SELECT FEW. GOOD TEAMS DON'T GET OUT-SHOT BY MORE THAN 5 SHOTS PER GAME. TEAMS THAT ARE IMPROVING AS A WHOLE DON'T SEE THEIR NUMBERS DROP FROM A SEASON WHERE THEY FINISHED 30TH. J*SUS-H-CHR*ST. GOOD MONEY ON 5TH TO 7TH?! HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW DIVISION YET? I'LL TAKE YOUR MONEY! ALSO, DON'T FORGET THAT YOU HAVE TO BREATH TODAY TO LIVE!

I think you forgot to take the Caps Lock off.

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#55 bdiddy18
April 10 2013, 09:22AM
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Fans/Media should take their analysis a little further and follow the chain all the way up to the owner.

Katz makes the call and he ordered for a return to the glory years and build a dynasty. Passionate I'm sure but irrational for today's NHL.

The way Katz feels that could be done was to build with draft lottery picks and so he issued the order to do so.

the rest of the executive team answer to him and carry out the order. How do you do that while keeping a rabid fan base in check? that was their assignment.

So you delcare a rebuild you promote the crap out of the young stars and tell everyone this is your future but in the meantime you need to still suck for a few years in order to keep collecting the draft picks.

So you make moderate trades little moves here and there and you demonstrate to the fanbase some sort of interest in the UFA market but nothing to fancy to not improve to much to affect future draft position.

So for the last 5 years you sign the likes of Cam Barker, Kurtis Foster, Darcy Hordichuck, Corey Potter, Nik Khabibulin (past his prime and injured goaltender), Lennert Pettrell, Jason Strudwick (no offence- lol), Mike Comrie, Eric Belanger, Ben Eager, Ryan Smyth.

NONE OF THESE PLAYERS were meant for the future, they were simply place holders for future draft picks. While we suck we need live bodies in positions...and boy did Tambellini deliver warm bodies...

And then you satisfy the fan base with changes in coaching and shipping out some contracts you don't want (Gilbert). Problem with Quinn was he couldn't hold his honesty comments back, he was presented with crap of a roster and promptly said so in media scrums. Can't perform if you don't have the talent to do so. He said it right of the top. Renney tried to tow the company line and say the right things but also knew night in night out he was putting a team on the ice where 3 to 5 guys belonged in the AHL and 3 or so guys where past their prime. He showed you that he knew the kids werent ready when games were on the line and he would try hard to get a loser point by sending veterans out there instead. Also note Renney forewhadowed his own exit as he even said many of time - if I'm fortunate to be here when this all ends it will be a great team.

AND it worked - sold out Rexall Place buying into the future is bright package. Increasing season ticket prices every year during the rebuild. Making zero fiscal pressure to pick up the pace and show the fanbase something. Katz knew this and he has milked it, and obviously took advantage of it when negotiating the new arena deal. A deal he inevitably got anyways despite all the angry feedback.

The pressure will only pick up the 2015-16 season, when Katz has his shiny new arena that needs to be filled and his economic interests spike and he gains FULL control of the revenue streams from the new arena (parking, concessions, tickets, non-hockey events)

When will we know the Oilers are serious? - when they actually start making some serious UFA signings and trades. If nothing happens this summer then wash-rinse-repeat what you've seen for the last 5 years and keep waiting.

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#56 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 10 2013, 09:24AM
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Oilfred wrote:

I think you forgot to take the Caps Lock off.

I LOVE LAMP!

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#57 laughing pug
April 10 2013, 09:24AM
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After how heated things got in yesterday's Spec Report, I wouldn't be surprised if Spec never comes back for another segment.

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#58 bdiddy18
April 10 2013, 09:35AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I agree. However, I just don't think we should expect playoffs because Pittsburgh made it in year three of their rebuild. Apples and oranges.

Atlanta can't be used because the error in their build was not keeping their lottery picks.

When they lost Heatley and Hossa and put a dynamite stick to the original plan never rebounded and now they are in Winnipeg.

The NY Islanders can't be used because Mike Milbury destroyed that team for having no patience to see things through and there is a roster of exIslanders out there that would have made a deep run in the playoffs had they all remained Islanders.

The Chicago Blackhawks can't be used because the Oilers have not drafted a Seabrook and Keith which are just as important as lottery picks Toews and Kane are.

What could be used is the LA KINGS but note - their build through the draft was the start THEN they went for it by using some of that prospect depth to go get the pieces they needed to contend. Carter and Richards and signing legit UFA's that stregthen their roster (Willie Mitchell)

When the oilers start making bold trades and legits UFA signings then we can start talking playoffs.

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#59 Benhur
April 10 2013, 09:36AM
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The Oilers are averaging 22.5 turnovers per game in their own zone while the opposition is averaging 7.4 over the last 9 games. That is an ugly stat and defenitly contributes to being outshot. If you cannot get out of your own zone you can't mount much of an attack! Surprisingly they have 5 wins and 4 losses over those nine games with a five game win streak. Obviously they will not be a winning team until they can exit their own zone without turnovers.

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#60 Eric
April 10 2013, 09:38AM
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"In the most important category, wins, the Oilers haven't improved."

Wrong. The most important category, the ONLY category that matters, is points. That is what gets you to the playoffs.

Last year we collected 76 of a possble 164 pts. 40% This year we have collected 39 of a possible 78 pts. 50%

It doesn't matter HOW we get those points, as dumb as the loser point is, it counts!

We have improved a fair bit. That is the only contadicting I can do with the article. Improving a fair bit doesnt mean much when you had miles and mile of improving to do! The rest of the article I give a big +1

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#61 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 10 2013, 09:38AM
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Lack of skill.

Biggest reason this team isn't going anywhere.

Watch how many times we can't break a cycle in our zone.

Watch how many times we grenade the puck around the boards or behind our net without giving the recipient (if there is one) even a slight chance to make a play.

Watch how many times we dump the puck in with no speed/support to get it.

Watch how many times we lose puck battles on the boards because we don't support each other.
Opposition will have 2 guys digging for the puck, while there's only one Oiler in there. The other is standing behind the scrum, waiting for the puck to pop out. This happens when we're on the PP too.

All this equates to turn overs and momentum shifts. And against solid teams, it goes on the ENTIRE GAME!

We need players that can make better plays.

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#62 michael
April 10 2013, 09:39AM
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Mark "the deck" Spec vs Jason "the thunder dome" Gregor. That was great radio yesterday. The best radio is where people disagree. Made my day.

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#63 ghostofberanek
April 10 2013, 09:43AM
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The Worrier wrote:

The Oilers aren't improving despite having the 1st overall pick for 3 years in a row. Do you know who is? The Columbus Blue Jackets.

How did they manage that???

I believe having new management / a fresh outlook can make a big difference. Look at Toronto after Burkie was let go too. Sometimes a breath of fresh air can do wonders for an organization.

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#64 freeze
April 10 2013, 09:44AM
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The Oilers need a GM that can at least use a remote control! http://www.holdoutsports.com/2013/02/how-many-nhl-gms-does-it-take-to-use.html

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#65 onlyoil
April 10 2013, 09:47AM
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laughing pug wrote:

After how heated things got in yesterday's Spec Report, I wouldn't be surprised if Spec never comes back for another segment.

Are you kidding me, that sewgment with Spec yesterday was awesome! thats what sports talk radio is all about....passion! I'm thinking he''ll be back, don't mean to speak for Jason..but huge props to that yesterday

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#66 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 10 2013, 09:47AM
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freeze wrote:

The Oilers need a GM that can at least use a remote control! http://www.holdoutsports.com/2013/02/how-many-nhl-gms-does-it-take-to-use.html

"Kev, get dad to help us."

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#67 DSF
April 10 2013, 10:02AM
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The Worrier wrote:

The Oilers aren't improving despite having the 1st overall pick for 3 years in a row. Do you know who is? The Columbus Blue Jackets.

How did they manage that???

And they have 3 first round picks coming right up.

Oh, and John Davidson and draft guru Kelkaleinen now run the show in Columbus.

Watch out for the Jackets

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#68 Rob...
April 10 2013, 10:02AM
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If we are just discussing whether or not this team is better than last year based on wins and losses, you should only be comparing last year's win-loss record vs. Western Conference teams against this year. The Oilers record was better against Eastern Conference teams last year.

The sample size for eastern play is rather small. But might hint at 6-10 more points by this point in the season if Eastern teams were mixed in, especially using next season's format of a home & home vs. every team in the league.

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#69 borisnikov
April 10 2013, 10:06AM
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Rob... wrote:

If we are just discussing whether or not this team is better than last year based on wins and losses, you should only be comparing last year's win-loss record vs. Western Conference teams against this year. The Oilers record was better against Eastern Conference teams last year.

The sample size for eastern play is rather small. But might hint at 6-10 more points by this point in the season if Eastern teams were mixed in, especially using next season's format of a home & home vs. every team in the league.

Now THAT is something I can see the reasoning behind. Good point.

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#70 DSF
April 10 2013, 10:28AM
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Rob... wrote:

If we are just discussing whether or not this team is better than last year based on wins and losses, you should only be comparing last year's win-loss record vs. Western Conference teams against this year. The Oilers record was better against Eastern Conference teams last year.

The sample size for eastern play is rather small. But might hint at 6-10 more points by this point in the season if Eastern teams were mixed in, especially using next season's format of a home & home vs. every team in the league.

Of course you would expect the WC teams that are better than the Oilers would benefit even more from playing EC teams.

Comparing points this season to last is pretty "pointless" since the conditions are so different.

What matters most is how the team performs in relation to other teams in the conference.

Last season, the Oilers finished 21 points out of the playoffs.

At their current rate, they will miss the playoffs by likely 6-8 points which, over and 82 game schedule would be in the range of 12-16 points.

So there is a small improvement.

As Gregor notes though, that continuing trend of being outshot by such a wide margin in virtually every game is huge red flag.

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#71 etownman
April 10 2013, 10:43AM
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DSF wrote:

Of course you would expect the WC teams that are better than the Oilers would benefit even more from playing EC teams.

Comparing points this season to last is pretty "pointless" since the conditions are so different.

What matters most is how the team performs in relation to other teams in the conference.

Last season, the Oilers finished 21 points out of the playoffs.

At their current rate, they will miss the playoffs by likely 6-8 points which, over and 82 game schedule would be in the range of 12-16 points.

So there is a small improvement.

As Gregor notes though, that continuing trend of being outshot by such a wide margin in virtually every game is huge red flag.

SOG will change once teams realize they can't score from center ice :-)

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#72 Rob...
April 10 2013, 10:45AM
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@DSF

"Of course you would expect the WC teams that are better than the Oilers would benefit even more from playing EC teams."

You might be right, but my argument wasn't that the Oilers would be a playoff team this year if they played eastern conference teams. The point was that the Oilers win/loss record would be better than it currently is if we played eastern conference teams.

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#73 Quicksilver ballet
April 10 2013, 10:52AM
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It's tough to SELL THE FARM when nobody wants any of our overpriced chit!

Like some here have been preaching these last two years, outside of the fab 5, every effort should be made to liquidate the few pieces that are moveable. I know there's more than a few Chris Campoli's on this roster, but letting guys like Whitney,Jonesy and possibly Mark Fistric leave for diddly squat is inexcuseable. To an ever rebuilding club like Edmonton, draft picks are the only hope/currency the Oilers have. Buying (Smithson) when Steve should've been selling leads me to believe Tambellini is the George Costanza of the NHL. 3 more draft picks this summer look pretty good now, don't they George?

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#74 Lochenzo
April 10 2013, 10:53AM
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Maybe the solution is in the sytems being used. Let RNH, Hall, Eberle and J Schultz play that up tempo style and dominate like they have. Everybody else just play the trap and wait till the #1 line is ready to go again.

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#75 Oiler Al
April 10 2013, 10:54AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Lack of skill.

Biggest reason this team isn't going anywhere.

Watch how many times we can't break a cycle in our zone.

Watch how many times we grenade the puck around the boards or behind our net without giving the recipient (if there is one) even a slight chance to make a play.

Watch how many times we dump the puck in with no speed/support to get it.

Watch how many times we lose puck battles on the boards because we don't support each other.
Opposition will have 2 guys digging for the puck, while there's only one Oiler in there. The other is standing behind the scrum, waiting for the puck to pop out. This happens when we're on the PP too.

All this equates to turn overs and momentum shifts. And against solid teams, it goes on the ENTIRE GAME!

We need players that can make better plays.

B.M. ------ Could not agree more with you. You are dead on.. your description is pretty much a replay of all their games. Almost every game the same old , same old. The scary part is that there is no change or improvement to this circus!

Its up to the coaching staff to make changes and correction to the flaws of the teams play.

This is a very soft team and is not hard on the puck from both sides.

One thing for sure, with all the standing around they save on skate sharpening.

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#76 DSF
April 10 2013, 10:58AM
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Rob... wrote:

"Of course you would expect the WC teams that are better than the Oilers would benefit even more from playing EC teams."

You might be right, but my argument wasn't that the Oilers would be a playoff team this year if they played eastern conference teams. The point was that the Oilers win/loss record would be better than it currently is if we played eastern conference teams.

Might be.

Might not.

The Oilers play in a division that features the two worst teams in the league...Colorado and Calgary.

Hell, even Florida is 6-4-0 in their last 10.

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#77 DSF
April 10 2013, 10:59AM
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etownman wrote:

SOG will change once teams realize they can't score from center ice :-)

Well...except that one time.....:)

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#78 Rama Lama
April 10 2013, 11:06AM
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Everyone who comments on this site has an angle on what the Oilers need to do.......fair comment for the most part.

JG you state in your article, that current attempts to surround the youth with complimentary talent, have failed.......and that we should not expect them to carry this team? Totally agree with that except I'm confused on what management has done to surround the youth with talent? What talent?

Making deals for fourth line players, in my mind does not constitute what is needed. All we hear from Oilers management is that " they have a plan" and we just have to trust their plan and be patient. We are told there are no deal out there and we should not expect players as a result of trades. We do nothing at trade deadline because Tamby does not want to send the wrong message to the team, after they win five games.

I suspect these clowns have no plan to do anything..........the Oilers management seem to think they work for the CIA, and trot out Tamby occasionally to say two part of nothing, except for all of us to be patient.

BS, BS, BS,.........they have no plan and I'm not buying the concept of improving marginally as something to be proud of.

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#79 smiliegirl15
April 10 2013, 11:07AM
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Spec wasn't listening to what Gregor had to say yesterday regarding the stats. I was starting to wonder if he was being deliberately obtuse. I think Gregor's objectivity is kind of refreshing. When you look at it with wins and losses, and shooting percentages, the Oilers really haven't improved. I think if RNH and Eberle had had the season they had last year, their stats would be a lot better.

Fortunately, this season still goes to show that behind the first line of Hall, RNH and Eberle, we have a lot of third and fourth line guys. On a better team where would Gagner fall? Would he be a second line centre? Probably not, unless he had a couple wingers of size with him.

The kids are doing great and they are improving but they need some solid vets beside them. The team as a whole hasn't show enough improvement. Until they can get their shooting percentages up and bring a full effort every game, they're still wandering in the desert. There have too many games where they've been there in body but definitely not in spirit.

People keep saying you have to be patient. Oiler fans have been extremely patient, maybe too much so. Mr Dithers is not the man to take the Oil to the next level. We need a man who can make some good hockey deals because it's now been proven players want to play here so chasing waterfalls is over.

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#80 Tazer
April 10 2013, 11:09AM
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I didn't think as a fan base we were expecting playoffs this year? The team is giving it a run and will probably fall short. You have to learn how to win and thats what's happening right now. Finishing just outside the playoffs is a huge improvement from 2nd last and we haven't even played the last 9 games yet. Throw out the numbers, I think it's obvious when watching that this team is improving. They're young and inconsistent.. All that being said, are there improvements to the roster to be made? Yes. But in time I'm sure management will make these moves. The core is just not good enough YET.

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#81 The Worrier
April 10 2013, 11:12AM
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Gregor,

Please stop posting pictures of Rainbows under the "What does it mean" section. Seriously.

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#82 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
April 10 2013, 11:41AM
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Toro wrote:

Move our draft pick along with whatever draft picks needed too move up too take any of Mackinnon,Barkov, or Monahan , then move Gagner, Hemsky, 2014 1st rounder for Shea Weber , we will have the newest drafted Oiler as our 2nd like center with Yakupov taking Hemskys spot on 2nd line , and we have the Franchise Dman we need , NHL 13 thinking ? Maybe but I wish Tambo had the balls too pull something like this off but sadly he doesn't ....

Chances are slim to none on moving up in the draft...and that has nothing to do with our managment.

As for trade Gagner, Hemsky and the 2014 first rounder...yes please....and personally (going against the peachings of Jason Gregor and David S.) I don't care if we create a hole at #2 center.....This team has 3 or 4 or 5 holes....If you create a hole at #2 center (perhaps fill it with Stephen Weise in free agency) while filling one or two other holes in the process (#1 Dman) , AND get the bonus of changing the chemistry/makeup/identity of the team....THEN YES YES and YES!

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#83 Rob...
April 10 2013, 11:46AM
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@The Worrier

The Oilers are going to miss the playoffs again and there are still some major flaws on this team that management continues to ignore and you're critical of Jason's use of rainbows? I hope it's due to Iridophobia.

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#84 non descript
April 10 2013, 11:51AM
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wins and losses. thats the only relevant statistical measure at this point. this year allows krueger to get his feet wet, and by next year if they dont make the playoffs then heads should roll. enough is enough.

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#85 seanjohn
April 10 2013, 11:52AM
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i agree that they haven't improved in respect to wins compared to past years. but each year is different. how do they compare to their competition this year and how did they compare last year or year before? they were at or near the bottom of the league the last 3 years, and now they are closer to the middle, probably in the 15th-20th ranged.

i appreciate that you (Gregor) are putting the heat on Oilers' management. not many pundits are ripping them like you, as they deserve to be ripped

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#86 The Worrier
April 10 2013, 12:37PM
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Rob... wrote:

The Oilers are going to miss the playoffs again and there are still some major flaws on this team that management continues to ignore and you're critical of Jason's use of rainbows? I hope it's due to Iridophobia.

No I don't have a fear rainbows. Truth be told I just come to this site to scroll down to the "What Does It Mean" section too look at the hot chicks. It is disappointing to find a rainbow instead of photo of a beautiful woman staring at me in my rainbow thong.

The Oilers seasons are disappointing enough. With this criticism I am confident Gregor will change his future posts. I am not confident that crticism of Oilers management will lead to change. But then I am not guy who sees life through rainbow coloured glasses.

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#87 Jasmine
April 10 2013, 12:57PM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

Just too bad Oilers fans run them out of town.

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#88 Rob...
April 10 2013, 12:58PM
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@The Worrier

What I find funny is the air-brushed/photo-shopped fake cleavage and slimmed bodies on many of those beautiful women. That, in my opinion, is adding rainbow coloured glasses to life.

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#89 Jasmine
April 10 2013, 12:59PM
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@ghostofberanek

Too bad fans would run new management out of town like they forced Lowe to resign because they constantly bashed Lowe. Other things fans did to Lowe I can't mention. Fans will run every management out of town because it's not Slats.

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#90 Jasmine
April 10 2013, 01:00PM
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@freeze

Perhaps fans should be the GM. They run everybody else out of town. Time for fans to become GM. Lowe and now Tambellini have been bashed for every move they made even if they got better player.

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#91 Jasmine
April 10 2013, 01:07PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Fans wanted those players traded for draft picks. That's what's inexcusable. Those players are worth more than 7th round draft picks. Fans don't care about the playoffs. They just care that Oilers make a trade and that they can bash the trade.

The problem I have is Oilers fans will bash every move the team makes. If the team ever makes the playoffs, Oilers fans will bash the team for making the playoffs instead of finishing 30th.

Oilers fans are never happy unless they can bash the team. It's what Oilers fans do best.

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#92 Jasmine
April 10 2013, 01:11PM
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@Rama Lama

Biggest clowns are the Oilers fans. Oilers can only sign UFAs that no one else wants. True UFAs won't sign in Edmonton because of the fans. Most players that have NMC or NTC have Edmonton on the list of teams they don't want to be traded to. You know why that is. It's because of the fans. Oilers fans have a habit of running players out of town. Word gets around and that's the reason Oilers have a difficult time signing good UFAs.

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#93 Quicksilver ballet
April 10 2013, 01:21PM
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@Jasmine

That's a lot of bashing, coming from the anti basher.

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#94 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 10 2013, 01:31PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

B.M. ------ Could not agree more with you. You are dead on.. your description is pretty much a replay of all their games. Almost every game the same old , same old. The scary part is that there is no change or improvement to this circus!

Its up to the coaching staff to make changes and correction to the flaws of the teams play.

This is a very soft team and is not hard on the puck from both sides.

One thing for sure, with all the standing around they save on skate sharpening.

I'm glad others are seeing it. Because I don't hear it being talked about much. The soft part? Sure. But the poor puck decisions over and over. I don't recall that getting much publicity.

And I agree. It's got a lot to do with coaching. But I'm also not sure if the players we have are capable of much more than that.

Skate sharpening gets into the tens of dollars territory for me in the winter months. I can't imagine what the Oilers are paying. Good decision!

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#95 The Worrier
April 10 2013, 01:34PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Biggest clowns are the Oilers fans. Oilers can only sign UFAs that no one else wants. True UFAs won't sign in Edmonton because of the fans. Most players that have NMC or NTC have Edmonton on the list of teams they don't want to be traded to. You know why that is. It's because of the fans. Oilers fans have a habit of running players out of town. Word gets around and that's the reason Oilers have a difficult time signing good UFAs.

Sure Edmonton has it limitations. Frankly, I would not live in Edmonton unless I made $6M / year. However, fans are fans regardless where you live or what prosport league they support. They will bitch and complain. Even if this rebuild is successful and they win the Cup the Oilers management will be thrown under the bus.

I think there are far more important reasons for Edmontonians to be upset. It is April and there is snow outside!

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#96 vetinari
April 10 2013, 01:57PM
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Because our players, our lines and our systems change so much from year to year because of continuous coaching and player changes, it's hard to tell what is truly improving and what is actually declining.

I feel like we are on some type of treadmill and have made a few strides ahead, but the fact remains that our GM has to either draft, trade, or sign for several key players to make this team competitive. And to date, the only mode our GM knows is "draft"-- he still has to learn the "trade" and "sign" portions of the job.

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#97 DigDeepNBleedBlue
April 10 2013, 02:05PM
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My 2 bits:

Coaching this year has seemed to emphasize a defence first mentality. I can appreciate that. However, it took far too many games to figure out how to dump the puck into places where there were players or where players were going. Plus, they just weren't driving to the net once they won the battles down low.

In addition, lousy shots were taken on net when players were driving, 2 on 1 or 2 on 2, to the net. A simple wrist shot that was gobbled up by the tender. No rebound. Slap shot, it's not just a good movie.

Things that still need to be addressed.

Offence needed to be more of a priority, IMO. Was that strategy or players issues? I wonder.

A lot of peeps have a hate on for the management. I get it. For me, I'm not sold on the coaching to this point. No real practice time make it real hard to properly assess. But, I'm not sold.

It's been a long, short season which plays a factor in looking at whether this year is better than previous ones. My freakin' liver hurts. That's my scientific research on the subject....

I still believe they need to push for that final playoff spot. Giving up now teaches this young core nothing.

Draft high? Mah! Learn to win.

Yes, I intentionally wrote 2 bits instead of 2 cents. Y'all got the bonus rant because I'm pissed off, man!

Win damn you, win! lol

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#98 Rama Lama
April 10 2013, 04:29PM
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Jasmine wrote:

Biggest clowns are the Oilers fans. Oilers can only sign UFAs that no one else wants. True UFAs won't sign in Edmonton because of the fans. Most players that have NMC or NTC have Edmonton on the list of teams they don't want to be traded to. You know why that is. It's because of the fans. Oilers fans have a habit of running players out of town. Word gets around and that's the reason Oilers have a difficult time signing good UFAs.

Not sure I buy your argument.........there are fans in about 10 markets that get more rabid fans than Edmonton, including Calgary where I live.

UFA will come but know something else that the average fan does not know.......that being that management here is inept and incompetent. There are a lot of ex-Edmonton Oilers players that have a beef with how they were treated here.......that is the main problem, NOT the fans.

Until these clowns are moved ( Lowe and Tamby) nothing will change with the fortunes of the team. We will be counting on drafting for our fortunes.......god help us, we will need it.

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#99 vetinari
April 10 2013, 04:51PM
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Players will generally play where they think that:

1.) they have the best chance to win a Cup; 2.) they think that they and their families will be treated the best; or, 3.) they think that they will paid the best.

Right now, #1 hasn't been a reasonable expectation since 2006. As for #2, this is where former players and their experiences in Edmonton hamper us (see: Souray, Comrie, Poti, Coglianno, Marchant, Omark, Smyth the first time he was traded, Arnott, etc.). That doesn't even count guys like Nylander or Heatley who refused to become Oilers. As for #3, Katz's money is clearly earmarked for the first rounders for the next decade or so.

What does that leave us to entice free agents to fill gaps in our lineup? Likely not much unless we trade for them.

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#100 Citizen David
April 10 2013, 06:53PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They did that over span of 5 years...FYI...

They drafted 3 centres and a goalie. Enlighten me on how the Oilers are the same. Pittsburgh also drafted two of the top-three best players in the game.

No offense to any of the Oilers but none of them are Sidney Crosby.

It is wishful thinking, and a bit "bozo" of you to assume that because one team had success that the Oilers will also.

Pens made playoffs in Crosby's 2nd season, Malkin's and Staal's first year, then went to Cup the next year. Oilers aren't on the path with Hall.

And unless they make some changes they likely won't make playoffs next year.

Like I said the point isn't that the oilers are guaranteed to have success just that it takes time. If The Penguins did it over five years that means the oilers have even more time before we should expect them to compete.

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