GDB 50.0: DO THE MOVES MATTER?

Jason Gregor
January 16 2014 12:25PM

Instead of firing another head coach, Craig MacTavish has decided to move out some players who have been here for most of the losing. Ladislav Smid was traded earlier this year, and yesterday Devan Dubnyk was sent to Nashville for Matt Hendricks. MacTavish quickly replaced Dubnyk by acquiring netminder Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles. 

Will these moves make the Oilers better? 

I don't see Hendricks making a major impact, but I also don't expect 4th liners to be difference makers. His salary is too high for a 4th liner, but if he plays well, helps out on the PK and adds some energy then he could break even. The Oilers aren't in a massive cap crunch and I don't see anyone on the roster in line for a significant raise over the next two seasons, so I don't see his $1.85 million cap hit hampering them financially. You can critique Hendricks the player, and have reservations about his play, but his cap hit is not going to hinder the Oilers.

Scrivens has an opportunity of a lifetime. He's coming to a team that is desperate for adequate goaltending. He doesn't need to be great, he just needs to be better than Ilya Bryzgalov's .904 SV%, and if he can avoid allowing weak goals he'll be considered an improvement.

Let's make one thing abundantly clear, however, Dubnyk was not the main reason the Oilers are in 29th place.

He was brutal at the start of the season, but since November he has been no worse than the majority of the roster. I've heard and read suggestions that that his slow start ruined the Oilers season.

I'd say that is just a tad misleading.

No doubt he was brutal early on, especially against the Jets, Canadiens and Leafs. Had he played decent they win those games. However, when you look closer you realize that the Oilers winning % didn't go up when Dubnyk was out of the lineup, it went down.

In the 29 games Dubnyk started the Oilers won 11 of them.
The 20 games he didn't start they won 4.

The Oilers won 38% of the games he started, but only 20% of the games he didn't. In case you are wondering in his 11 wins he only allowed 20 goals, so you can't say the offence carried him. 

I'm not giving Dubnyk a free pass. He didn't play well this year. He has to own that, but they Oilers need to realize that when he didn't play they won 4 of 20 games. FOUR. I'd say they have many other issues besides Dubnyk.

The goaltending needs to be better, but after speaking to a few scouts and goalie coaches I'm not sold that Scrivens is an automatic upgrade.

Dubnyk played much better last season; however, he hasn't been able to shed the "weak goal" label. Those goals were magnified on a losing team, and if he wants to be a starter somewhere else he'll need to limit the softies. Scrivens is a good backup, but he's yet to show he can be a starter. He'll get every opportunity to prove he can be over the next few months.

Dubnyk didn't look comfortable this year and to me it became clear the organization had lost faith in him, and I sense that Dubnyk's confidence was waning. Sometimes you just have to realize that both sides are better off without one another, and I think that was the case.

I won't be surprised if Dubnyk puts up decent numbers elsewhere, but I will be shocked if he re-signs in Nashville. With Pekka Rinne signed for another five seasons, I doubt Dubnyk wants to settle for a guaranteed backup role. I suspect he will sign with a team that doesn't have a clear cut starter.

HENDRICKS...

He is a 4th liner who kills penalties, but he hasn't produced much offence since he tallied 25 points in 2011. He is competitive and will battle, but some won't be able to get past his $1.85 million salary for the next three seasons. If you expect him to produce a lot of points due to his salary, then you'll be disappointed. He won't bring much offence.

He's never been a regular centre, but he has won 53% of the 700+ faceoffs he's taken. I'd have him centre the 4th line the rest of the season. Smyth is better on the wall than he is down the middle.

At best he's a 4th liner who kills penalties and will add some energy and break even offensively. The latter will be his biggest challenge, and MacTavish has opened himself up for criticism if Hendricks can't be break even. 

LINEUP

Hall-RNH-Gagner
Yakupov-Arcobello-Eberle
Perron-Gordon-Hendricks/Jones
Jones/Hendricks-Smyth-Gazdic

Ference-J.Schultz
Marincin-Petry
Belov-N.Schultz

Scrivens

Starting Scrivens was the obvious decision. He'll want to make an impression right away and Bryzgalov wasn't very good in Dallas. The Oilers are 2-16-3 in their last 21 visits to Minnesota, so any new face in the lineup could be a welcomed addition.

Hemsky is back in Edmonton getting his swollen ankle looked at. If it is just bruised, I'd sit him out until it was 100%, not 80 or 90, but 100% before I'd put him back on the ice. The Oilers need him healthy and at his best to maximize his trade value. He won't re-sign to be a 3rd line RW next year, so they need to get something for him at the deadline.

Hendricks should play 4th line centre, mainly because Smyth is better on the wall, but Eakins suggested you might see him on the wing, possibly with Gordon. The Oilers like his energy, which is great, but he'll need to generate some offence if you play him on the third line.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers haven't had a lot of luck in the Twin Cities (inner Gene comes out) recently, but the new faces will give them a boost and they will skate away with a rare win in Minnesota. They get a break not having to face Niklas Backstrom -- he is 25-4-1 all-time vs. Edmonton, although the way he's playing maybe they would prefer to face him -- and they score three on Darcy Kuemper to win 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: You can change the coach and the players, but the Wild are still a boring hockey team. They are 26th in scoring, but have the 10th best GAA. This game is a reminder of how awful it was to have to watch the Wild six times a year. Thankfully we are only subjected to it three times a year now.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Most stats suggest Hendricks won't produce much offence, but he picks up a 2nd period assist and Oilersnation rejoices. Also, in a rare change of fortunes an Oiler scores against his former team when Nick Schultz scores his first of the season. Kyle Brodziak watches in disbelief. He was certain he would score tonight.

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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#1 1983 and This Year
January 16 2014, 12:36PM
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Scene opens in Katz mansion. Lowe is in a leather chair, stroking a cat, flanked by Katz and MacT. Hendricks is led into the room, held by 2 guards.

Lowe: Matt, remember what I told you last summer? That's right, you hadn't seen the last of me. Someday, you would be mine. And now you know -- one way or another, I always get what I want.

Katz points towards Rexall

Katz: Now get in the pit with the others!

MacT throws his head back and laughs maniacally

End scene

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#2 Dallylamma
January 16 2014, 12:34PM
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Dem asses...

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#3 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:09PM
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Darren Dregger breaking a trade rumour on Twitter...

Sam Gagner to the the Canadian Women's Olympic team for Haley Wickenhieser

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#4 Wintoon
January 16 2014, 01:11PM
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Oiler fans amaze me. Hendricks has not played one minute for the team and already the knives are out. I said the other day that in a re-build you don't have to win every trade but you do have to win the key trades. This folks is not a key trade.

Fans have been crying about no size, no grit, no energy and no compete. MacT acquires Hendricks who meets those criteria and every body is moaning that he won't score, he won't this, he won't that. For goodness sake give him 10-15 games and then offer your thoughts but for now give him and MacT the benefit of the doubt. You are starting to sound like Leaf fans.

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#5 LoweBlow
January 16 2014, 09:03PM
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I'm somehow happier when they lose big. No more small character-building losses. I want nothing that can be mistaken as positive. NOTHING.

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#6 Randaman
January 16 2014, 07:35PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

That makes about 50,000 of us

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#7 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:58PM
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Ok starting now.... Lowe vs Burke!! Who can build a better team?? Just to be fair, Burke gave Lowe a 4 year head start

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#8 hockey fan 1976
January 16 2014, 08:53PM
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did anyone see the highlights after this horror show on Paul Maurice in Winnipeg. How he talks to the bench, the intensity and respect you see in the player's faces? man...why did we not go after this guy again. Eakins just stands there with this f#%* look on his face all the time. What is he thinking? he looks lost out there. God I hate the Klowe and Mac Crap

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#9 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 07:27PM
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I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

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#10 Drowning in Oil
January 16 2014, 09:24PM
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GOTTA LOVE THE OILER SYMPATHIZERS. THEY SAY..... MAC T HAS ONLY HAD 7 MONTHS. GIVE HIM A BREAK..........

WELL, YOU PATHETIC, SYMPATHETIC REJECTS, ASK YOURSELVES HOW LONG MAC T GAVE KRUGER?

I'LL TELL YOU IT WAS LESS THAN 7 MONTHS.

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#11 vetinari
January 16 2014, 12:37PM
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There's more games??? It feels like I've sat through 82 games...and our GA seems to confirm it! Madness!

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#12 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 08:51PM
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#oilerspositives - Stauffer will assure us that they will learn from this game

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#13 Max
January 16 2014, 02:51PM
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I just read the comments re Duby on the Predators' web site. What a nice, agreeable, welcoming group of fans they have. They are happy to have Duby, no negatives and feel that now he has some defense in front of him, he will excel. I have to agree. What do the Oilers' fans do? Slam Ben Scriven's wife, call Matt Hendricks a has been, moan about MacT and his choices,and generally moan about everything. Here we go again............. A little positive energy would sure go a long way. Maybe it's the fans who are the problem in Edmonton, they've blamed everyone else, how about taking some responsibility as well.

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#14 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:15PM
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This just in......Oilers agree to retain half of Gagner's salary in the Wickenheiser deal.

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#15 sizzay
January 16 2014, 12:49PM
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For a long time the Oilers had hard workers with no skill. Now the past few years we have had all skill and little to no hard workers.

I think with the Ference, Gordon, and Hendricks acquisitions you're seeing the hard workers creep back on to the team. The goal is to get a good mix of both.

Don't expect to see Hemsky and Gagner traded for high scoring players.

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#16 Jay
January 16 2014, 07:34PM
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I like these quiet buildings when you can hear all the oilers swear like truckers when they give the puck away

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#17 Oiler Al
January 16 2014, 10:22PM
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At least they won't have to launder the equipment for the next game.... no one broke sweat in this one.

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#18 Mason Storm
January 16 2014, 07:44PM
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Randaman wrote:

That makes about 50,000 of us

I think you missed a 0

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#19 OILERSORDEATH
January 16 2014, 07:46PM
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And there ya go oiler hockey at its best, can't get the puck out and and its in the back of the net. Typical Oiler hockey. I feel so bad for Scrivens.

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#20 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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In Indonesia the cook who keeps burning fish gets fired. In the USA some CEO will lose his job for a companies poor earnings. In Pakistan some basket weaver will lose his job for not making baskets fast enough. In Oilerland Unicorns fart rainbows and all is well.

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#21 6 ring circus
January 16 2014, 09:49PM
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Can anyone still blame Pronger or any other player who wants out of this organization ? This is as dysfunctional as it gets!!!!

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#22 hall2010
January 16 2014, 10:21PM
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Eakin needs to go. we can blame mact and klowe as well but at the end of the day, its clear that the players don't want to play for him. mact needs to step up and fire this clown asap. i may not like all his trades but some of them were decent. his biggest mistake was hiring eakins. i bet if the oilers fire eakins, the team will improve dramatically!

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#23 FireKLowe
January 16 2014, 07:47PM
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Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe! Hey Ho Fire Kevin Lowe!

We expect nothing less from the Tier 1 fans at the next home game.

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#24 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 10:37PM
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Eakins is not the problem!! Let me explain.... His "swarm" defence could theoretically work brilliantly!! Definition of swarm : a great number of things or persons, especially in motion.

You see, Eakins strategy isn't the problem, the problem is the NHL only allows us to play 5 guys at a time. But if we could play say 10-15 guys we'd be laughing

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#25 Chainsawz
January 16 2014, 03:37PM
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We traded a nothing goalie for a 4th line plug. The amount of discussion this is generating is surprising to me.

The cap hit doesn't bother me. In 2 years the cap is probably going to be somewhere around $10,000,000,000 and he won't even be making the league minimum.

Thanks Rogers.

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#26 6 ring circus
January 16 2014, 10:40PM
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Rod wrote:

Eakins is known around the league as an Ass. No one wanted him for a coach except Edmonton.

Eakins rolled into Edmonton like he was a Jack Adams winner,the day he painted Chop wood ,Carry Water in the Oilers dressing, I'm pretty sure most of the players were like WTF ,this guy is a tool!!!

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#27 dougtheslug
January 16 2014, 10:52PM
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Two nights ago in Dallas, off the opening faceoff, the left dman ( Justin Schulz) jumps up too quickly on a bouncing puck, doesn't control it, causing a 2 on 1 the other way. Nick Schulz flops down too early and Dallas scores a gimme to start the game.

Tonight, off the opening faceoff of the 3rd period, the left dman (Martin Marincin ) jumps up too quickly on a bouncing puck, doesn't control it, causing a 2 on 1 the other way. Jeff Petry makes a half hearted effort to block the pass across, and Minnesota scores a gimme to start the period.

My question is this: Do the oiler coaches actually coach? Do they tell the D not to gamble off a center ice faceoff because the potential reward is not worth the risk? (like I used to tell my son's houseleague peewee team). Did they say anything to the D when they were reviewing the films of the Dallas game? If they did, were the D man listening and incapable of learning, or were they tuning out because at this point of a hopelessly lost season, they couldn't care less what their coaches say?

Just asking.

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#28 Yowza
January 16 2014, 12:42PM
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Gregor, who are those beautiful ladies???

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#29 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 08:19PM
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Breaking news!......in a bold move....Oilers fire teams skate sharpener guy! Have you EVER seen a team with so many guys falling down all the time...every game! WTF!

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#30 Primo
January 16 2014, 09:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Ok starting now.... Lowe vs Burke!! Who can build a better team?? Just to be fair, Burke gave Lowe a 4 year head start

Great post! One small correction.....Burke gave Lowe a 7 year start!

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#31 Serious Gord
January 16 2014, 10:44PM
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Rod wrote:

Eakins was laughed out of Vancouver when they interviewed him. Gillis couldn't believe anyone would hire him.

Got proof of that?

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#32 Randaman
January 16 2014, 07:34PM
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Spaz wrote:

Is it just me or is someone very near the audio gear dropping fbombs on the sportsnet feed? I swear I've heard it four times already.

Ya, it's Hall. Saw it in the first period. My wife doesn't like him anymore. LOL

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#33 6 ring circus
January 16 2014, 08:47PM
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Maybe Lowe said he knew a thing or two about being a wiener and we all misunderstood him for saying a winner.

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#34 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 09:06PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Willis and Staples will show us how the oilers are actually improving with the advanced stats.

Well you see, us peons that have been watching hockey our whole lives don't really know wtf we are watching and need fart catchers to help explain it to...

I'm sure Willis will tell us that we are idiots and forgot to factor the earth's rotation into the stats. Will also blame Gazdic and tell us all that we need a team of Arcos...

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#35 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 16 2014, 09:40PM
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tileguy wrote:

Any tweets from mrs scrivens yet?

Yeah....she was sitting poolside in LA and tweeted an injury report dated last Tuesday proving that Scrivens was injured before the trade occurred ....making the trade null and void!

(she then put down her mobile device and went into the kitchen to find a rolling pin)

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#36 Rod
January 16 2014, 10:26PM
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@hall2010

Eakins is known around the league as an Ass. No one wanted him for a coach except Edmonton.

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#37 Cody anderson
January 16 2014, 03:30PM
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Everyone is complaining about the contract length and amount. Were you aware Mact offered him more to sign with us prior to the season?

A bigger, gritty utility player that is good in the dot and willing to stand up for teammates may be a step in the right direction for a small soft team that has trouble winning faceoffs.

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#38 Yaz
January 16 2014, 09:08PM
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Would be nice if the coaching staff gets sacked after the upcoming loss in Winnipeg preferably at the airport so they can get out of town asap. These coaching dorks are so damn lost it is unbelieveable. If we keep Eakins into next year he will destroy whatever spark of hope or potential exists on this team. I know Lowe has to go but on a go forward basis Mac T takes over til the end of the year, brings up Nelson fron OKC and whatever he has for available assistants and resets the players confidence and spirit before they all ask for a trade to get them away from these idiots, they have badly digressed this year and it is all on Eakins and the assistants. At least last year with less talent, younger players and a reduced schedule we were competative til the fateful west coast road trip where they got hammered but at least it was nearly 40 games into the season that we had some hope.

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#39 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 09:40PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

Thing is, that is nothing new, and there is little that any of us can do about it, we can complain and boo and vow to never go to a building with the word "Rexall" in it but until the people who make the decisions make those decisions, all we can do is talk about what we got.

I am not trying to pick fights here so I hope it's not interpreted that way, but you have yet to answer the question I had. What would it take for these two players to make people think it was a decent trade. It can be anything, surely it has to be something. Unless you are telling me that if Hendricks goes on a 30 game scoring streak and Scrivens posts 15 shutouts in a row would not make people think the trade was decent.

It sucks being an Oil fan right now, it has sucked for a while actually, but there isn't any point in being upset about yesterday's as you can do f*ck all about them! but there is tomorrow's and I guess next season.

I don't see a point in being annoyed as nothing will really change anytime soon.

Not trying to pick a fight here either at all. Most of us are true fans and i have respect for those bros.

A decent trade would address need. this team needs defence. they traded a goalie for a goalie which will most likely look like a push and they got a 4th line center. We are 2nd last in the leage and a 4th line center will do nothing to change that.

As far as being no point in being upset I find that a tad naive. Upset is what it is gonna take for an absentee owner to realize he has a sh(t show for an NHL team.

How will being positive change anything?

I am allowed to be pissed because my city government is forking over about 350 million dollars to a guy who could have paid for this arena on his own.

I am pissed because the Owner used dirty tactics to speed up the Arena deal when if he had used an honest open approach he could have gotten the same results and also the respect of this city's people, well a little respect anyway.

i am pissed because kevin Lowe has taken the sports team that i love more than any other on this planet and through incompetence and nepotism has made this team worse.

Sorry for the rant but to all those true oiler bros out there, no matter your views of this team we all deserve better.

To the trolls and people the Oilers send on here and we know they are here, I wish you a happy life

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#40 pkam
January 16 2014, 03:42PM
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Max wrote:

I just read the comments re Duby on the Predators' web site. What a nice, agreeable, welcoming group of fans they have. They are happy to have Duby, no negatives and feel that now he has some defense in front of him, he will excel. I have to agree. What do the Oilers' fans do? Slam Ben Scriven's wife, call Matt Hendricks a has been, moan about MacT and his choices,and generally moan about everything. Here we go again............. A little positive energy would sure go a long way. Maybe it's the fans who are the problem in Edmonton, they've blamed everyone else, how about taking some responsibility as well.

I always wonder why Peca chose Toronto over Edmonton for less money. And Spacek was willing to go to Montreal but would not return to Edmonton.

Now I start to wonder if Oilers fans are worse than Leafs fans and Habs fans.

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#41 Loweblows
January 16 2014, 08:07PM
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Welcome to edmonton scrivens! Where all hope dies.

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#42 KSC10032
January 16 2014, 09:51PM
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Mike Krushelnyski wrote:

Hitler did less harm than Lowe

Just when you think comments can't possibly get more "douchy".

Read a WWII history, watch a documentary on The Holocaust, get some kind of #@%ing idea about the single most important event in the formation of today's world before you use this kind of description of what is just a hockey team and one of its staff.

Sometimes I despair.

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#43 A-Mc
January 16 2014, 12:36PM
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Oilers win 4-1 and for the next week or so, OilersNation swoons at the thought that scrivens might be the real deal.

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#44 Bryzarro World
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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RexHolez wrote:

I'm really getting tired of looking at Bucky and Smith standing on the bench

I was sick of them 2 coaches ago...

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#45 camdog
January 16 2014, 10:38PM
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Jackson wrote:

As an Oiler fan I have to agree with you. Oilers Organization is an embarrassment. City of losers

Have to give credit to Lowe. He sold everybody from the fans to the ownership that losing was acceptable as a tool to gain assets. The very fact that it took 8 years of being the worst team in all of hockey before we became embarrassed is quite the testament to how good of a used car salesman Mr. Lowe is.

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#46 Serious Gord
January 16 2014, 10:39PM
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Drowning in Oil wrote:

GOTTA LOVE THE OILER SYMPATHIZERS. THEY SAY..... MAC T HAS ONLY HAD 7 MONTHS. GIVE HIM A BREAK..........

WELL, YOU PATHETIC, SYMPATHETIC REJECTS, ASK YOURSELVES HOW LONG MAC T GAVE KRUGER?

I'LL TELL YOU IT WAS LESS THAN 7 MONTHS.

Very interesting point. One should search the transcripts to see if Lowe or MacT have used the "too soon to judge/fire Eakins" justification/Defence.

One thing I wonder is: did kreuger rub MacT or Klowe the wrong way? Was his end of season report damning of oiler management - perhaps recommending the firing of some of the assistants? Was he being too independent-minded? Was he a threat to the power structure or rebellious within it?

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#47 Jay
January 16 2014, 11:01PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Buffalo is three points back with four games at hand and a much easier schedule from here to the end of the season than the oil has.

Cgy seems to be able to just suck a little less than the oil does and remains three points ahead with two games at hand.

Thirtieth is within the oils grasp.

If I was to have posited at the beginning of the season that even with the team being relatively injury-free that they would finish dead last - and with the worst record in franchise history - would anyone reading this have said that despite that horrendous - record-setting outcome no one in management should be fired?

As I am stating it now, does anyone think that anyone will be fired save for perhaps one or more of the assistant coaches?

I'm actually thinking for the first time that Eakins maybe fired. It really looks like the Oilers are not playing for him.

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#48 Hockey fan 1976
January 16 2014, 08:18PM
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How sad that Sportsnet keeps showing Eberle's lone goal as " remax play of the game". All good though we are only losing 4-1. God I am starting to hate anything to do Oilers including these loser commentators.

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#49 hockey fan 1976
January 16 2014, 09:06PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Ok starting now.... Lowe vs Burke!! Who can build a better team?? Just to be fair, Burke gave Lowe a 4 year head start

LMAO!!! the sad thing is, in 2 years most I can see Burke having the Flamers back into the playoffs. Why? because as much of an arrogant prick as he is, he doesn't not accept mediocrity and actually holds people "accountable". So really, it will have taken Burke 3 years to take them from the bottom of the barrel to top 8 in 3 years max, while KBlowe, and Mac Crap get their furniture measured at the new arena while going for all time NHL record 6 straight first draft picks!!!

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#50 RexHolez
January 16 2014, 09:14PM
Trash it!
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hockey fan 1976 wrote:

LMAO!!! the sad thing is, in 2 years most I can see Burke having the Flamers back into the playoffs. Why? because as much of an arrogant prick as he is, he doesn't not accept mediocrity and actually holds people "accountable". So really, it will have taken Burke 3 years to take them from the bottom of the barrel to top 8 in 3 years max, while KBlowe, and Mac Crap get their furniture measured at the new arena while going for all time NHL record 6 straight first draft picks!!!

And he'll probably do it without any #1 overall picks

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