NO CIGAR

Robin Brownlee
April 09 2013 12:05AM

As quickly as the Edmonton Oilers playoff bandwagon gathered steam with five straight wins, it is today upside down and on fire in the ditch after three straight losses, the last coming 2-1 against the Anaheim Ducks Monday.

Simply put, it was fun while it lasted, but the post-season drama is done and slim has turned to none. It's over. No chance. No way. No cigar. The Oilers will miss the playoffs, long shot that it was, for the seventh straight season.

The question now, with the Oilers sitting with 39 points through 39 games and with seven of their last nine outings home at Rexall Place, is how close is good enough? Or is close good enough?

If the Oilers push the issue from now until game 48, if they give it the old college try and finish within two or three points of eighth place in the Western Conference, is that sufficient progress? Is that good enough for a team that's finished 30th, 30th and 29th the past three seasons?

PLAYING OUT THE STRING

The Oilers weren't nearly good enough against the Ducks – as far as the big picture, they won’t be good enough, period, until GM Steve Tambellini addresses the holes on this roster -- despite a score dressed up by some terrific goaltending by Devan Dubnyk and a hope-and-a-prayer goal by Nick Schultz.

Outside of Taylor Hall roaring up and down the ice and the stellar play of Dubnyk, Oilers faithful had little to yell about during a game which at least provided comic relief when thick-skulled Anaheim fans mistakenly booed Nick Schultz (before his goal) instead of Justin Schultz for shunning So-Cal fans in favor of a city that actually cares about hockey, but I digress . . .

Thanks to an attack that went south the past three games, a drought that's seen the Oilers outscored 10-2, you don’t need a spread sheet – really -- or a vast intellect to understand the challenge for coach Ralph Krueger and his players now is to suck it up and play it out with as much gusto as they can muster the rest of the way. Finish strong. Don’t fold. Leave what needs to be done to those (Tambellini and Kevin Lowe) responsible for the make-up of this team.

Of course, we'll hear plenty of that from the players and the coaches in coming days. What are they supposed to say? "We give up." As much of a kick in the teeth for fans as another year out of the playoffs is, I do see progress and I do see movement, slow as it has been, toward contention. Right now, that seems like cold consolation for those who wanted and expected more than "close."

No cigar.

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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#2 Sir Smoka Lottt
April 09 2013, 10:28AM
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Time to pull a ole yeller on Smyth....

He shouldve retired as a oiler right after the trade.

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#3 DSF
April 09 2013, 12:13AM
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Thing is...other than a marginal improvement in the PK, the team is actually slightly worse than last year in G/G, GA/G, SH/Diff.

Dubnyk has been better but his performance is masking a team that is underachieving on a massive scale.

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#4 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 09 2013, 07:01AM
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DSF wrote:

Thing is...other than a marginal improvement in the PK, the team is actually slightly worse than last year in G/G, GA/G, SH/Diff.

Dubnyk has been better but his performance is masking a team that is underachieving on a massive scale.

You're so full of sh*t, you're starting to make up stats now??

The Oilers are, IN FACT, better than they were last year in all those categories except for shot differential. They're worse in shot differential because of the terrible SA/G. Their SH/G has actually improved.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm

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#5 The Soup Fascist
April 09 2013, 09:06AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

You trade Gagner, who plays 2C?

That is what it boils down to always, no? Everyone magically trades Gagner and .... POOF .... a Jamie Benn clone suddenly shows up on our door. How, does that happen exactly?

Easy, just throw in Pitlick and the rights to Omark. Right.

Yes it would be nice to find a physical, large PPG center. That is Grade 1 / Day Two at General Manager's school. Everyone has the same playbook.

Since there is little to no chance of trading for this player you have two options, well three really.

1) Draft and hope to develop this guy. Not sure this is optimum for a team with 0 playoff appearances in 7 years.

2) Sign a veteran UFA center to fill the hole until the above (hopefully) happens. Take a Vinny LeCalvier / Patrick Marleau type (not really UFAs this year but likely available pretty cheap) and worry about the cap issues in a year or two. Risky, as these guys are heading in the wrong direction with big contracts.

3) Admit you are screwed and try to add size / scoring / toughness on the wing and live with the small / skilled centers.

I honestly think the 3rd option is the best and most attainable. If you are serious about competing next year and want to improve up front (in addition to finding a top pairing D-man - which I think is a much bigger priority and another "easy" pickup) try to find the next Clowe / Clarkson winger. Not easy, but more likely than finding a C. Maybe go with a veteran transition - Ryan Malone / Scott Hartnell type who certainly have some warts and are older than dust, but fit the mold.

At any rate it isnt going to be easy. Hemsky is the moveable piece (not sure of his value?). I just hope they don't dump Gagner for some big center who couldn't hit water from a boat. That would be a mistake.

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#6 bdiddy18
April 09 2013, 10:00AM
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Over a regular 82 games season does this squad make the playoffs ??

on pace for 82 points... probably 10 points short in a regular season anyways.

I really want the media - the guys that have the acess and can really ask the questions that fans want to hold management accountable.

I want them to roll the archived tape of the Oiler management self proclaimed 1-3-5 plan.

they said playoffs in three, CONTEND in 5. This is year 4.

Are we going to Contend next year??? absolutely not - not with this roster.

Also, I want to know

under what rationale was Ryan Smyth given a two year contract? when you got the likes of Ryan Jones, Temmu Haartikanen and Magnus Pajaarvi that do the same thing. And easily Smyth has been the most ineffective of the four and has had the most ice time of the four.

ask Tambellini how effective does he think all of his veteran UFA signings have been to the Oilers over his tenure - Belanger? Eager? Khabibulin? (injured every year) Sutton ? Potter ? Hordichuck? Cam Barker? Kurtis Foster? Steve MacIntyre?

- When Lennert Petrell is the most effective signing you have brought to the team what does that say about the GM?

- When re-signing pieces that existed before you became the GM - Hemsky, Smid - and renewing draft picks to their 2nd contract in the NHL at MAX ... what does that say about the GM?

- And why does the top level executive roster for the Oilers feel glutted - Laforge, Lowe, Mac T, Tambellini, Howson ?? how many former GMs and ex coaches do you need up there? not to mention all the assistant titles

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#7 Slats
April 09 2013, 12:40AM
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DSF wrote:

Thing is...other than a marginal improvement in the PK, the team is actually slightly worse than last year in G/G, GA/G, SH/Diff.

Dubnyk has been better but his performance is masking a team that is underachieving on a massive scale.

nice cherry pick of stats again - see Gregor article of earlier today . . .

what about a simple one like "Standings"?

Is this team Great - No. Are they making progress - Yes. A lot of teams mask their problems thats called playing to your strengths . . .every team,organization does this. Oilers are no different.

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#8 VK63
April 09 2013, 01:06AM
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I sure hope harti, lander and peckham benefitted from "watching".

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#9 Toro
April 09 2013, 01:54AM
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Hmm, I seem too be the only one thinking this but seeing how hope for a playoff appearance is fading quickly, why not try and get the best draft pick available, I personally would rather finish 13th in the west and get a top 6 pick then finish 9th in the west and draft 14th overall , regardless we still are finishing better then last year , or the years before . Obviously management didn't believe in this team enough too make any moves too make the playoffs , so wouldn't surprise me if that was there plan all along ... Just don't be last..

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#10 Wippit
April 09 2013, 02:02AM
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Looking back the GM has managed to bring in two 4th liners and one 7-8th D-man in Fistric this year. Wow, now that's using your noodle. The Oiler management are weak to the point of being useless. They haven't got the first clue on how to build. I'd like to say it's just a lack of caring and creativity. I think it may much more serious.

Although it's not solely Krueger's fault I have tired of the self-indulgent mystery lingo he spews forth daily. Save it for the corporate types Ralphie it has gotten rather tired.

The AHL team is where they have hidden Tammy's mistakes. Taking up contract room hiding his goof-ups. The ffect of this has limited them from signing any college free agents. Lander has been called up to sit in the press box instead of leaving him in OKC where he can skate and continue to improve. What the heck is that crafty move in aid of?

The weak, ineffectual, inconsistent and disorganized play is a fairly accurate facsimile of the questionable competence of the high foreheads in the Oiler head-office.

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#12 Neal
April 09 2013, 09:40AM
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Well, on the good side I saw our turnovers about half of what they have been, and the power play at lest tried to get the puck to the net. In other news, Hemsky did not play.

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#13 Bucknuck
April 09 2013, 10:42AM
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I managed to get my hopes up, but watching the game last night there was no question in my mind that Anaheim was far superior at the little things that win games (like working the boards and passing).

For once I was hoping to see the blender. Nugent Hopkins looked lost out there, and I thought they should have put Ebs and Hall with Gagner at some point just to try it out, but Dubnyk kept the score close.

It was hard to watch, and I am officially off the playoff bandwagon. They needed to win two or three of the last four games and they didn't. Season over.

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#14 The Soup Fascist
April 09 2013, 11:06AM
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Smyth is a toughie. Best case scenario is he retires at the end of the season, realizing he can't compete at the level he would like.

Sadly, I don't see that happening. He is a guy who is going to leave the game one (or more) year(s) too late rather than one year too early. Plus, no matter how much money he has, he is not walking away from $2.5 or so million next year.

Really is too bad. The guy has been a blood and guts Oiler and a great community guy, but sadly he just can't compete any more. Waaay to many fluttery shots from outside and not enough dirty nose stuff. The guy has been beat up for close to 20 years and his body is showing the effects.

What is the right way to deal with a guy who gave you everything he had for the better part of 15 seasons but is done like dinner? Like I said, tough one.

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#15 common sense
April 09 2013, 12:41AM
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Coulda woulda shoulda. That's Batman(KLO) and Robin's(Tambo) M.O. The litany of things this tandem skidoodled over the years is mindboggling: getting nothing for Souray, missing on getting Perry for Comrie, idling by soon to be getting nothing for Whitney and Jones. Could they have gotten Filip Forsberg for Hemsky....I betcha we could've but that would be beyond the scope of management expertise from these two buffoons. What was the point of getting Smithson so late to this campaign? I will not accept this Big Lie...

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#16 Devolution
April 09 2013, 02:10AM
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There really is progress, and I believe if in December we were told that they would finish 9th (or wherever they end up) and have at least some playoff run, most fans would be satisfied.

We have gone from losing to everyone, to at least beating the teams we should beat. That is progress.

And hey, some exciting hockey this year!

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#17 Mark-LW
April 09 2013, 06:33AM
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Devolution wrote:

There really is progress, and I believe if in December we were told that they would finish 9th (or wherever they end up) and have at least some playoff run, most fans would be satisfied.

We have gone from losing to everyone, to at least beating the teams we should beat. That is progress.

And hey, some exciting hockey this year!

Fans should be satisfied with no playoffs for seven years?

Just think about that for a minute

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#18 Devolution
April 09 2013, 06:37AM
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Mark-LW wrote:

Fans should be satisfied with no playoffs for seven years?

Just think about that for a minute

When you look at a seven year chunk, fans should absolutely not be happy. When you look at this year versus last year, then yes, I think there is improvement. That is all I am saying.

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#19 DSG
April 09 2013, 06:45AM
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I guess to break it down to one line..

How do the Oilers make the next step from here?

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#20 shifty203
April 09 2013, 07:32AM
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DSG wrote:

Sure we can see a talented core but here is where the rubber hits the road and we are behind in the rebuild.

This summer it all changes... There is no Yakupov coming from the draft. No Schultz choosing our team. Tambo has to make a hard decision. A decision he should have made 6mths ago. Review the roster.

Players with high value - Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Eberle, Schultz

Players with med value - Gagner, Hemsky, Nick Schultz, MPS, Petry, Smid, and the upcoming 1st round pick

Players with low to marginal value - Hartski, Jones, Horcoff, etc

Players with no value - Whitney, Belanger, Horcoff maybe because of his contract, and the rest of the squad (Smyth (too old), Fistric, Peckham etc etc)

Sure you can argue with the rankings I have put forth but looking at what Calgary got for a D man like Bouwmeester and what a player like Erat brought back to Nashville (it is worth noting that some believe Filip Forsberg may never be an impact NHLer which is why WSH jettisoned him)... you can't argue with what the Oilers have to work with. It requires a tough choice.

Look at that lineup. See the holes. Make the move. The reality is that to get a valuable piece you have to move a valuable piece out. I really don't have much faith in Tambo doing this but I do have some faith in Kevin Lowe

Personally, you start with Gagner. A guy you should have traded 6mths ago because you have to keep RNH and he is a duplicate player with less upside and skill. Then you try and get something for Hemsky and go from there. MPS is the sweetener that will be needed in any deal.

I see these half thought out ideas that Gagner is expendable all the time. My question to you would be, what do you actually expect to get for him?

You're not going to get a bigger or better center for him. As Gregor said many times, you have to give something to get something, and if he's as expendable as everyone around here says he is, who's going to give us anything for him?

Personally, I'd like to see the 23-year old with 35 points in 39 games moved to the wing, and package our 1st and Hemmer to bring in a center.

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#21 oilabroad
April 09 2013, 08:18AM
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I am certainly not a fan of tambo, but all this talk about management not knowing what they are doing is ridiculous. They are building through the draft, you cant do that when you are finishing middle of the pack or sneaking into the playoffs every year. The team is improving, the core is maturing, and the players that will put them over the top are the same ones that would make them a middle of the pack team until the core is ready to make them a contender.... it took Gretz, Mess and Coffey 5 years to win a cup, so stop bitching and enjoy the ride, its just getting good

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#22 Eddie Shore
April 09 2013, 08:30AM
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@Serious Gord

You trade Gagner, who plays 2C?

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#23 Jono
April 09 2013, 08:33AM
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Here's how I see it:

Finish ahead of Calgary? Check

Play meaningful games in April? Check

World domination to follow.

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#24 Gerald R. Ford
April 09 2013, 09:04AM
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The Oil are, collectively, like a composite of "The Kid" from 'The Quick and the Dead'. Young, fast, slick, arrogant, and pretty hot s*** against the Swede, but when it comes to going up against big, mean, crafty bastards like Gene Hackman... close, but no cigar, indeed.

Maybe next year...

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#25 Ryan2
April 09 2013, 09:59AM
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It is funny how many people think that one bigger centerman will solve the team's problems. While I have long been a proponent of trading Gagner (and still back that now - he is brutal defensively and can't compete against the top teams), the biggest issue on the team is on the blueline. Ask any good GM or coach and they will say the same thing - winning teams are built with solid bluelines. That is what is killing the team again this year - they did not change the blueline at all.

Right now the Oilers have 3 NHL calibre d-men to move forward with: Petry (will be a good #3), Smid (forced to play 2nd pairing but likely best served as a #5), and Justin Schultz (possible #2 or #3, but right now is playing too much). Nick Schultz looks like Jason Smith did at the end, Whitney is no longer a true NHL calibre d-man, and the rest are #7s. Until management addresses the blueline deficiencies it does not really matter what happens up front.

FWIW, Detroit is another smallish team, same with Montreal, that is doing better than the Oilers. While neither is a legit cup threat, look at the difference a better defensive corps can make in just getting to the dance.

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#26 oilerjed
April 09 2013, 10:16AM
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@jason

Out of contention. If this was January and we were only 4 points out of 8th we would be doing just fine. The only reason we are out now is because we have 9 games left. Let's not fall all over ourselves crying in our beers Fellas.

The top line is pretty freaking good. 2/3 lines need some help but arent that far off. The fourth line 13-52-37 is starting to look like a capapble line with some pretty strong defensive play. Our D is bad, but replace Whitney with someone who is capable of doing what he was signed to do (1st pairing offence) pushing N Shultz down to the 3rd and potter back to the AHL and that is much improved. Goalie is solid. Som IMO 2nd line and D is where we need to improve and this team will be a force. Keep your head up fellas. Your not Canuck fans after all.

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#27 rindog
April 09 2013, 11:20AM
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Neal wrote:

Well, on the good side I saw our turnovers about half of what they have been, and the power play at lest tried to get the puck to the net. In other news, Hemsky did not play.

Such a bad post.

Not even worth a rebuttal...

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#28 2004Z06
April 09 2013, 11:58AM
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RNH is legit! He is just not ready to be playing on the first line. The ultimate game plan is to get a legit number one center, this will require giving up someone of REAL (not perceived) value.

RNH moves to 2C and Gagner moves to the wing if he is not going out as partial compensation for a 1C mentioned above.

I actually like our 4th line, but MPS, Lander, Hartikainen might become a decent 3rd line.

Jones, Hemsky, Smyth, Belanger, Eager, Hordichuk need to come off the roster....I don't think there is much trade value there (maybe Hemsky).

Horcoff becomes the depth C that can play up or down the lineup when needed.

Defense needs a lot of help.

Smid at #4, J. Shultz at #2, Petry at #3, Everyone else is expendable.

I keep Dubnyk and resign Habby for 1 year as the backup. (1.5 mil)

Easier said than done!

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#29 Grumpy OM
April 09 2013, 05:10PM
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It has been fun, yet frustrating watching the Oil this year. I am of the old school of thought but, why is 4/93/14 not together on the p.p.? I think Ralph has done a good job, but like every other coach in the NHL he must put his mark on the team in order to justify his job.

In my opinion the best coach is one that doesn't over coach, they are far and few between, the best one out there is Dan Bylsma , but then again he has alot of good horses to open the gate for.

The Oilers goal should not be to make the playoffs,but to be win the Stanley Cup. They are heading in the right direction, what management does this off season will tell fans alot.

As a side comment is it just me or is Gene Principe a joke and embarrassment to the entire Sportsnet and Oilers organizations.

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#30 TDSM31
April 09 2013, 06:01PM
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Grumpy OM wrote:

It has been fun, yet frustrating watching the Oil this year. I am of the old school of thought but, why is 4/93/14 not together on the p.p.? I think Ralph has done a good job, but like every other coach in the NHL he must put his mark on the team in order to justify his job.

In my opinion the best coach is one that doesn't over coach, they are far and few between, the best one out there is Dan Bylsma , but then again he has alot of good horses to open the gate for.

The Oilers goal should not be to make the playoffs,but to be win the Stanley Cup. They are heading in the right direction, what management does this off season will tell fans alot.

As a side comment is it just me or is Gene Principe a joke and embarrassment to the entire Sportsnet and Oilers organizations.

Its just you...at least Mean Gene is creative and tries to bring some levity to the telecast. Would you rather watch a guy like Roger Millions go through the motions? Sure, Gene's cheesy but he knows it and he knows we know it. He doesn't care if people are laughing at him or with him...at least they're laughing.

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#31 The Worrier
April 09 2013, 07:13PM
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Hey Brownlee,

Is that former Oiler Zdeno Ciger's store? I thought he would of got into the windshield repair business after hockey...

As they say in Slovakia or when trying to win a prize during Wednesday Night Will Fraser's Trivia on the Jason Gregor Show "Close, but no Zdeno Ciger!"

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#32 Taylor Gang
April 09 2013, 12:08AM
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I'd be disappointed but this will be the first year that we're not bottom feeders. I have come to terms with my Oil.

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#33 oilers2k10
April 09 2013, 12:09AM
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Need more grit that can score 10-15 goals per season.

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#34 Rocket
April 09 2013, 12:10AM
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Yeah disappointing loss. Disappointing season.

Oh well, better NHL than no NHL.

Remember when the lockout was a thing?

(Just trying to distract myself from the fact that it's been a while since The Oilers have actually been competitive against legit teams, Chicago excepted).

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#35 Clarence Oveur
April 09 2013, 12:14AM
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Leaving it up to the same clowns (Lowe and Tambellini) who've put the Oilers in this position to begin with?

Why am I not optimistic?

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#36 Taylor Gang
April 09 2013, 12:25AM
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Settle down everyone, we all new before this season begun that Tambellini had no intention of making the playoffs. The problem is that he's backed himself into a corner. Let me explain:

Due to the fact that he has done no major moves to improve this team since Hall was drafted, we are actually a couple of steps behind in the rebuild. We have if not the same then very similar needs to the 2009/10 Oilers. Because of this, in the offseason, Tambellini, who we all know is reluctant to make the big deals, will have to clean house to pull this team out of the rebuild once and for all. The 2006 line simply isn't cutting it anymore. Smyth just looks like he's going for a Sunday scrimmage out there and Hemsky is surplus. Also, these borderline AHL defenseman should not be playing on the roster (I'm looking at you Potter). But why stop there? Why don't you get rid of the Old Boys Club that for whatever reason refuses to want to win games. Someone has to grow a pair and crush some skulls in this organization.

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#37 pan0ramic
April 09 2013, 12:52AM
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Just another game where we're hopelessly out-shot. I'm pretty sure that we've been out-shot in 95% of the games this year (if I'm wrong, it's not by much)

Robin is right that the season is over. We need to go 7-2 (+/- 1) to make it and I don't see that happening considering who we have to play.

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#38 biggesmall
April 09 2013, 12:52AM
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I can nor think, which has more holes???? The city of Edmonton, or The Edmonton Queens????

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#39 Slats
April 09 2013, 12:53AM
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@Robin Brownlee

And that's the Big Conundrum we have Robin. What will they do?

To add to this "core" I believe 1-2 pieces will have to be moved. I think most think its Hemsky and Gagner. I believe it is too, when Hemsky only has 1 year left of that contract, but I think the other will be Nuge if they REALLY want a legit #1 Dman.

But guess what Tambo/Lowe won't make that deal and will limp along with the next "rejuvenated" Cam Barker 2.0 project.

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#40 719
April 09 2013, 12:57AM
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Another great article. I don't always agree with your opinions, but I respect them.

I hope the Oil play hard down the stretch and give all of us delusions of the playoffs.

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#41 Clarence Oveur
April 09 2013, 01:10AM
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Slats wrote:

nice cherry pick of stats again - see Gregor article of earlier today . . .

what about a simple one like "Standings"?

Is this team Great - No. Are they making progress - Yes. A lot of teams mask their problems thats called playing to your strengths . . .every team,organization does this. Oilers are no different.

Standings, as in those based on not even half a season's worth of games?

Playing to your strengths, as you define it, would mean that the Oilers' weaknesses are not debilitating and that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Not even close.

If you want to continue to pretend that this team is improving, do so at your own peril. My guess is that you'll continue to be disappointed.

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#42 TDSM31
April 09 2013, 01:22AM
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Painful to watch the performance of Ryan Smyth. I'm a big fan as are most of us but he is just not able to keep pace in the NHL anymore. He is bringing next to nothing to the table 5 on 5 or on the PK. And worst of all I don't see him playing with the passion that became his trademark.

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#43 Walter Sobchak
April 09 2013, 01:23AM
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The last three games prove how far away the Oilers actually are.

Numbers aside, when the games mean the most and mattered to the opposition the Oilers could not compete.

I don't believe Gagner can handle the playoffs; he was pushed around the last three games and was all but invisible when it mattered.

The defense is playing out of position, and all our kids out perform our veterans.

I honestly have zero faith in Tambellini or Lowe that they could bring this team out of the rebuild.

So many holes and these are not small holes to fix; these are major holes to fill.

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#44 common sense
April 09 2013, 02:09AM
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Toro wrote:

Hmm, I seem too be the only one thinking this but seeing how hope for a playoff appearance is fading quickly, why not try and get the best draft pick available, I personally would rather finish 13th in the west and get a top 6 pick then finish 9th in the west and draft 14th overall , regardless we still are finishing better then last year , or the years before . Obviously management didn't believe in this team enough too make any moves too make the playoffs , so wouldn't surprise me if that was there plan all along ... Just don't be last..

What plan? They don't have one.

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#45 HOFFFF
April 09 2013, 02:14AM
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"The Oilers will miss the playoffs, long shot that it was, for the seventh straight season."

For missing the playoffs for the 7th straight season, and only making the playoffs twice in the last 12 years (counting the 1 missed year due to lockout), I would have expected more changes than just the 3 (free) first round draft picks.

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#46 DSG
April 09 2013, 05:54AM
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@Robin Brownlee

Sure we can see a talented core but here is where the rubber hits the road and we are behind in the rebuild.

This summer it all changes... There is no Yakupov coming from the draft. No Schultz choosing our team. Tambo has to make a hard decision. A decision he should have made 6mths ago. Review the roster.

Players with high value - Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Eberle, Schultz

Players with med value - Gagner, Hemsky, Nick Schultz, MPS, Petry, Smid, and the upcoming 1st round pick

Players with low to marginal value - Hartski, Jones, Horcoff, etc

Players with no value - Whitney, Belanger, Horcoff maybe because of his contract, and the rest of the squad (Smyth (too old), Fistric, Peckham etc etc)

Sure you can argue with the rankings I have put forth but looking at what Calgary got for a D man like Bouwmeester and what a player like Erat brought back to Nashville (it is worth noting that some believe Filip Forsberg may never be an impact NHLer which is why WSH jettisoned him)... you can't argue with what the Oilers have to work with. It requires a tough choice.

Look at that lineup. See the holes. Make the move. The reality is that to get a valuable piece you have to move a valuable piece out. I really don't have much faith in Tambo doing this but I do have some faith in Kevin Lowe

Personally, you start with Gagner. A guy you should have traded 6mths ago because you have to keep RNH and he is a duplicate player with less upside and skill. Then you try and get something for Hemsky and go from there. MPS is the sweetener that will be needed in any deal.

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#47 Mark-LW
April 09 2013, 06:41AM
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Devolution wrote:

There really is progress, and I believe if in December we were told that they would finish 9th (or wherever they end up) and have at least some playoff run, most fans would be satisfied.

We have gone from losing to everyone, to at least beating the teams we should beat. That is progress.

And hey, some exciting hockey this year!

Also who are the team's that we're beating who we are supposed to, Calgary? Do we have a winning record against anyone else?

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#48 jason
April 09 2013, 06:55AM
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@Slats

just saying, if this were not a shortened season it wouldn't even be the new year yet and they'd be out of playoff contention, nothing has changed the results are just skewed. and when has a late season push ever resulted in a carryover perfomance to the following season, almost never. his assesment is right with the exception of a few bright spots this team is moving backward.

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#49 Newj
April 09 2013, 07:21AM
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Devolution wrote:

When you look at a seven year chunk, fans should absolutely not be happy. When you look at this year versus last year, then yes, I think there is improvement. That is all I am saying.

I'm not sure that is absolutely the case. If we assume an 82 game schedule projected out of where we stand today we would finish 34-34-14 (16-16-7 in 39 games as of today) when the season is complete. Last year the record was 32-40-10.

Yes comparing this shortened season to previous years is difficult, but to date our improvement is marginal..in my opinion. Particularly because our younger players had another year under them.

I, like a lot of others feel more could be done by management to address the team's needs.

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#50 Harlie
April 09 2013, 07:40AM
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Tambo should be fired. Someone must pay. Let's see what happens...I'll be checking TSN and twitter for the news until it happens.

Not as exciting as checking boxcars ill tell you that!

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