POST GAME: NO MORE DISTRACTIONS...

Jason Gregor
January 16 2014 11:25PM

It is time for the Oilers to stop the distractions.

They need to stop believing that a consistent rotation of head coaches, 4th liners and 3rd pairing defenders will help them become a winner. The organization and some pundits also need to stop expecting goalies to cover up all the weaknesses in front of them.

It hasn't worked so far, and it won't work moving forward.

I doubt any organization, and some of its media, bloggers and fans, spends more time focusing and worrying about the fringe positions than Edmonton.

The 4th liners and 3rd pairing D-men will not change the fortunes of the Oilers. They might make a small impact, but until the players who play the most minutes improve, this team will not be close to the playoffs.

The Oilers need to stop worrying about the 4th line so much. It has been a revolving door for the past four seasons, and the changes have not improved the team. Why? Because teams that win rely on their top three lines and top-four defenders to succeed.

Let's look at the revolving door of 4th liners. ( I didn't include guys who played fewer than 10 games)

2010/2011: Brule, Fraser, Stortini, Jacques,O'Marra and MacIntyre
2011/2012: Eager, Hordichuk, Petrell and Lander.
2012/2013: Eager, Brown, Petrell, Smithson, Vande Velde, Hartikainen and Lander.
2013/2014: Joensuu, Acton, Gazdic, Lander and Jones.

Now compare the top-nine forwards during the same span.

2010/2011: Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff, Paajarvi, Jones, Cogliano, Penner, Omark, Reddox, .
2011/2012: Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff, Paajarvi, Jones, Nugent-Hopkins,Smyth, Belanger, Hartikainen.
2012/2013: Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff, Paajarvi, Jones, Nugent-Hopkins,Smyth, Belanger, Yakupov.
2013/2014: Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, Gordon, Perron, Nugent-Hopkins,Smyth, Yakupov, Arcobello.

The Oilers have also made numerous changes on their blueline, mainly within their bottom three:

D-MEN...

I ranked the D-men based on minutes played and only used players who dressed 20+ games.

2010/2011: Whitney, Gilbert, Petry, Smid, Peckham, Vandermeer, Foster, Strudwick.
2011/2012: Gilbert, Whitney, Petry, Smid, Potter, Barker, Peckham, Sutton, Tuebert.
2012/2013: Petry, J.Schultz, Smid, Whitney, N.Schultz, Peckham, Potter, Fistric.
2013/2014: J.Schultz, Petry, Ference, Larsen, Belov, N.Schultz, (Marincin, Potter have played 12 games).

Basically they replaced Gilbert with J.Schultz last season and Whitney with Ference to start this season. They moved Smid with the hope that Belov would play top-four minutes, but so far that hasn't worked.

The 3rd pairing has been a constant rotation of players, and none of the replacements are making any sort of impact. It is safe to say they need to try and acquire better fringe players, however, I seriously doubt any player who comes here in that role will have much success.

GOALIES

I included GS (games started) and their SV% and GAA.

2010/2011:   GS       SV%          GAA
Khabibulin    46        .890           3.40
Dubnyk          33        .916          2.71

2011/2012:   GS       SV%          GAA
Dubnyk          42        .914           2.67
Khabibulin    40        .910           2.65

2012/2013:  GS       SV%          GAA
Dubnyk          37        .920           2.57
Khabibulin    11        .923           2.54

2013/2014:  GS       SV%          GAA
Dubnyk          29        .894           3.36
Bryzgalov      13        .902           3.27

Labarbera (4) and Bachman (3) started a few games, but outside of Bachman standing on his head in LA one night they didn't make an impact. Scrivens only played one game, so it is too early to tell how he'll play.

Dubnyk had three seasons between .914 and .920 prior to struggling this season. If anyone believes he was the main issue they weren't paying attention. Check out Jonathan Quick's numbers last year in LA...He had a .902 SV%, but the team managed to win, because they had excellent top-nine forwards and top-four D-men.

Good teams don't rely on their goalie to win them every game. Of course Dubnyk let in a few softies, but they were magnified way more than they would be on a good team, because the good teams can overcome a bad goal.

The Edmonton Oilers need to improve their skilled positions. The players who play the most minutes need to be better.

Stop changing head coaches every summer. That isn't helping. Stop the endless rotation of 4th liners, expecting that they will somehow make a big enough impact to help you win games. In reality, they might impact 3 of 4 games all season, and the organization needs to recognize this.

The constant change of coaches and fringe players is distracting the organization from the real problem. They need to improve the guys who play the most minutes, the players who have the greatest chance of impacting the game. Stop blaming the guys who play 8 minutes a night.

The Oilers can keep changing goalies, fourth liners and the bottom pairing defenders, but it won't make a difference.

Stop talking about the Corsi of the 4th line and blaming them for the woes of the Oilers. They aren't the problem, and while I know it is easy to say to point to their 39-42% rating, but the fact is no 4th line in hockey makes that much of a difference.

Colin Fraser's numbers were awful in Edmonton, but in LA suddenly he can play his role and they win a Cup with him. People ripped on Mike Brown because he didn't add anything in Edmonton, yet he plays in San Jose and no one talks about him. Why, because their best players control the game. His Corsi is a bit better in San Jose, but not great, yet the Sharks somehow manage to overcome that. Amazing what can happen when your best players control the game.

It is time the Oilers organization looks in the mirror and realizes that their plan is not working. Have the courage to take a step back, realize the error of your ways and alter accordingly. They need to support their young players and insulate them with veterans who can play significant minutes and help them succeed.

Until that happens this team will not improve.

 

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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#101 mayorblaine
January 17 2014, 11:48AM
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they have good players.

they have a bad team.

the latter being the reason for their lot in life.

blame whomever.

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#102 Towersofdub
January 17 2014, 12:04PM
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i don't know why so many people are whining about Eakins' lack of NHL coaching experience. Pat Roy seems to be doing ok as an inexperienced NHL head coach. Jon Cooper seems like he's doing ok.

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#103 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 12:05PM
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-31- wrote:

Seriously....

maybe you should re-read your own article.... Cannot win without talent....

1980 U.S.A men's Hockey team

Almost every NCAA basketball tournament has a cinderalla team.

From time to time, there are coachs that exist with a symbiotic relationship with their team that produce a result that is above the expections/skill set. To sit there and speak to the length of saying this team is not good enough and blame it on the players.... you must learn the definition of a team... most teams.....wait wait all teams include their coach in their winning celebrations...

The team is not necessarily good enough, no disagreement, but you HALF TO START INCLUDING THE COACH IN THE "NOT GOOD ENOUGH" commentary.

Of course there are Cinderella teams in March Madness. It is a one and done tournament.

Same thing for the "Miracle on Ice". One and done tournament. One hot or cold goalie screws someone every Olympics.

Those do not compare to an 82 game NHL schedule. Even the lowly Oilers had a 5 game win streak this year. A 5 game winning streak would win gold in the Olympics...

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#105 Ryan2
January 17 2014, 12:12PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I stated in the article and in one of my comments that the constant firing of head coaches isn't working.

Firing Eakins now won't help. He is far from perfect, and needs to learn some things, and hopefully hire an assistant with some experience, but firing him in the summer would only start the process from ground zero again.

I said all summer that blaming one person, Krueger, for last season was foolish.

They can't do it again this summer.

@ Jason Gregor

Based on my experience in management, I disagree on this approach. As much as I think the Eakins Experiment is a huge mistake (as I have repeatedly voiced), the type of assistant that you are talking about with experience will either 1) command more respect from the team than Eakins and 2) may have head coaching experience/aspirations, both of which undermine Eakins' authority with the team. Watching the team this year, the players clearly do not fully buy into what Eakins is trying to preach to them. Bringing in someone who could command more respect and possibly step in would basically give the players an out from the get go.

As you and some of us have been saying even before last season, the roster is 2 to 3 years away from being on the playoff bubble. The organization has two options 1) tell the players Eakins is the guy for the next three years and they either buy in or can leave or 2) dump Eakins and bring in an NHL experienced head coach to run things and tell the players that he has a 3 year term to implement his program whether they like it or not.

Looking at the number of potential empty spots on the roster next season due to expiring contracts and potential trades, MacT has his golden opportunity to shape the roster as he sees fit for the next 3-4 years. The most important part of that is deciding whether Eakins is the guy to run the team, and if not, cutting him loose and bringing in the coach he wants. Then he can go about filling the roster holes with players that fit the coaching philosophy that the team will commit to for the next three years, at the least.

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#106 Zarny
January 17 2014, 12:19PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

They had injuries and the schedule sucked at the end of the season. Regardless of that, Ralph should have been given more time. Eakins had a healthy team.

The power play and penalty kills were lightyears above what they are now under Ralph. If he was allowed to continue they might have takes some confidence from a healthy PK and PP and transfered that to the other parts of the game.

Ralph shouldn't have been fired and that is on MacT. Karma is a bitch...

Just another notch in the "we don't have a F## KING clue what we are doing" belt...

If I hired a guy to pilot my boat and he is running it straight into an iceberg I knock him out, grab the wheel and right the course. Only a fool would keep on this path imo...

No, actually the PP and PK were not "light years" above where there are now under Krueger. You are literally delusional.

The PP after 48 games under Krueger was a whopping 4 goals better than this year under Eakins.

FOUR GOALS!!! That's the basis of your drivel.

And that 4 G difference is basically entirely due to the Gagner being 100% healthy last year with 4G 11A 15 PTS on the PP vs 1G 4A 5PT this year.

Every time I hear "coaching is the problem" my first question is have any of you actually played hockey?

And if the answer is yes, how on earth did you let the guy standing on the bench effect what you did on the ice so much?

There is no coach and no system that makes this roster a good team.

When you're playing roulette to see which two of Ference, J. Schultz, Petry, Belov, N. Schultz or Marincin are going to play 20+ minutes against Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf etc YOU'RE GOING TO GET YOUR SH*T PUSHED IN EVERY NIGHT!

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#108 Zarny
January 17 2014, 12:27PM
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Big Cap wrote:

Example #1 - Who iced a more "talented" roster last night? Oil or Minnesota??? I believe we did, however they out worked us and played a better overall system.

I agree, we are sadly not a top 8 team yet. But we have left a lot of wins and points on the board because we have been out worked and out coached.

Eakins and his big head, stubborn approach has taken us a step back. Yak being the biggest example. He should be a staple on the PP playing where RNH is, teed up for the big one timer. Instead Eakins sits, benches and blames a 20 year old with barely a full 80 games season under his belt.

You are delusional and typical of many who think a few draft picks make a team. They don't.

Edmonton did not ice a more talented team last night.

The Oil may have iced a more talented 1st line of forwards; but guess what...that isn't a team.

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#109 Air on Egg blood
January 17 2014, 12:31PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I stated in the article and in one of my comments that the constant firing of head coaches isn't working.

Firing Eakins now won't help. He is far from perfect, and needs to learn some things, and hopefully hire an assistant with some experience, but firing him in the summer would only start the process from ground zero again.

I said all summer that blaming one person, Krueger, for last season was foolish.

They can't do it again this summer.

Why not? If they are of opinion they can get someone better, why not do it? If they think Eakins is doing a good job, by all means keep him. If they think they can get a better coaching staff, then it is their duty to fix it.

Those players are not morons. It doesn't take them two full years to understand a game plan. They are professional hockey players! Sometimes, in the NFL, a coaching change makes all the difference in the world (Kansas City for example) And a new system in footbal is a hell of a lot harder to assimilate then in hockey.

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#110 Johnnydapunk
January 17 2014, 12:33PM
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I remember that Ralph Krueger was/is also a motivational speaker and even did a book in German called Team Life (with one of the scariest cover pictures I have ever seen )

Maybe that sh*t actually worked and last years Oil were just punching above their weight (which is a terrible thought) and we are seeing the non-motivated Oil at their worst/best.

Either way we're pooched until something is done with the D as all the deck chair rearranging in the world won't make this poop ship Oil float.

Man it's pants to be an Oil fan right now....

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#111 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 12:34PM
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Zarny wrote:

No, actually the PP and PK were not "light years" above where there are now under Krueger. You are literally delusional.

The PP after 48 games under Krueger was a whopping 4 goals better than this year under Eakins.

FOUR GOALS!!! That's the basis of your drivel.

And that 4 G difference is basically entirely due to the Gagner being 100% healthy last year with 4G 11A 15 PTS on the PP vs 1G 4A 5PT this year.

Every time I hear "coaching is the problem" my first question is have any of you actually played hockey?

And if the answer is yes, how on earth did you let the guy standing on the bench effect what you did on the ice so much?

There is no coach and no system that makes this roster a good team.

When you're playing roulette to see which two of Ference, J. Schultz, Petry, Belov, N. Schultz or Marincin are going to play 20+ minutes against Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf etc YOU'RE GOING TO GET YOUR SH*T PUSHED IN EVERY NIGHT!

7th and 9th last year, this year 20 and 20?

You're SMRT

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#112 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 12:38PM
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@Zarny

I also play many sports, including hockey. Obviously you haven't because I can see your insight into a team's collective psyche is literally non existent.

Your rantings are borderline laughable...

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#113 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 12:41PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I don't agree that the coach will undermine Eakins or that the players would listen to assitants more.

Jon Cooper is rookie head coach in Tampa. Rick Bowness, former NHL head coach with lots of experience, is his main assistant. He isn't over powering Cooper. He is helping him due to his experience.

Then Eakins interviews his assistants and gets to pick who he wants, not who Management or the Owner want. That is the key.In the interview process you hire people you know you can work with.

As for free agents leaving allowing MacT to shape the roster.

Hemsky, N.Schultz, Smyth, Jones and the goalies are UFA.

I don't see that as a golden opportunity. None play in top six or top four. Hemsky will be moved at deadline.

He needs to change and improve the top-6 and top-4 D, not the fringe players again.

I can't see how you can say the coach in edmonton gets to pick his assistants with a straight face.

Please show me another example where assistant coaches survived multiple coach firings and I won't say another word on the topic ever again...

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#114 Hoozonphirst
January 17 2014, 12:50PM
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How do fire a useless owner?

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#115 jonny94
January 17 2014, 12:59PM
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Blame Lowe.

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#116 -31-
January 17 2014, 01:02PM
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@Jason Gregor

Still no acknowledgement that the coach is not good enough. Yes those quotes are based on a one and done system so I guess there are no good playoff coaches in the nfl. Weird, here I thought coaches had an impact on a team but apparently it is only players. All that needs to be done is Gregor admit our coach is not good enough and I will never write another reply again. Stating it is just the players not good enough and not including the coach is poor taste or a great love affair for Eakins.

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#117 Zarny
January 17 2014, 01:22PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

I also play many sports, including hockey. Obviously you haven't because I can see your insight into a team's collective psyche is literally non existent.

Your rantings are borderline laughable...

Spare me your drivel Bryzarro World.

I've played Junior A hockey as well as on Provincial teams for baseball, volleyball and several individual sports.

You drivel 9th on the PP like it means something.

In reality, the difference between 9th and 20th from last year to this is 4 goals.

PP last year (48 games) - 34 G in 169 attempts

PP this year (48 games) - 30 G in 160 attempts

That's what your inane ramblings about 9th and 20th amounts to. Four f*cking goals.

Idiots like you will point to anything but the problem which is the players on the ice simply aren't good enough.

But by all means keep driveling about the coach, or the assistant coaches (LMAO), or the stick boy, or the guy running the hot dog stand or the zamboni driver.

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#118 Still Hoping
January 17 2014, 01:52PM
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Well put.

However the brain trust at the top is not smart enough. Edmonton Media needs to recognize that Lowe and Mac-T are NOT SMART Hockey minds.

They were journey man ex-players, that is it. Even the best player in the world couldn't coach in Phoenix.

For the past 14 years during Lowe's reign, the Oilers have had the WORST record in the NHL. That is not disputable. It is a fact.

You could take someone who knows nothing about hockey and give them 14 years, they will do at least as well as Lowe. Statistically speaking, it would be very highly improbable to do this bad. That does not say that individual is good, but what is does say is Lowe is a REALLY REALLY BAD hockey executive. In fact, he may be the worst in history (someone look it up).

So would a player want to play with a management team that has produced the worse team over 14 years. NO WAY. That is the problem. GET rid of Lowe and Mac T. Time for new management with a plan and understanding of what it takes to make a good team. Enough of the journey man hockey dribble.

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#119 TDSM31
January 17 2014, 02:28PM
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Nailed it JG! Its time to stop f*cking around and deal one of the top 3 for some assets this team needs. Eberle is the one that should go.

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#120 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 02:53PM
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Zarny wrote:

Spare me your drivel Bryzarro World.

I've played Junior A hockey as well as on Provincial teams for baseball, volleyball and several individual sports.

You drivel 9th on the PP like it means something.

In reality, the difference between 9th and 20th from last year to this is 4 goals.

PP last year (48 games) - 34 G in 169 attempts

PP this year (48 games) - 30 G in 160 attempts

That's what your inane ramblings about 9th and 20th amounts to. Four f*cking goals.

Idiots like you will point to anything but the problem which is the players on the ice simply aren't good enough.

But by all means keep driveling about the coach, or the assistant coaches (LMAO), or the stick boy, or the guy running the hot dog stand or the zamboni driver.

Lmao.. well you must know about as much as k lowe about winning then with your marvelous career.

Idiots like you can't see past your nose. Who said the players were good enough?

Context you douche, Context.

Looks like a good system they have on the PP? On the PK? I forgot, you know more because you claim to have played hockey... How many participation ribbons your mom keep?

Had less to work with and we're more composed.

Morons like you call the kids stupid when the they dont learn or do you look at the teacher and system they're in?

Blowe me

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#121 Arius Mumin
January 17 2014, 03:04PM
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@Bryzarro World

Do you still reside in the same barn you were born in?

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#122 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 03:10PM
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Oh not to mention the short handed goals against when we on PP... GREAT system. So we actually -10 compared to last year if you take into account the short handed goals against. Pretty big diff...

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#123 J.R.
January 17 2014, 03:16PM
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Towersofdub wrote:

i don't know why so many people are whining about Eakins' lack of NHL coaching experience. Pat Roy seems to be doing ok as an inexperienced NHL head coach. Jon Cooper seems like he's doing ok.

I think the whining comes from the fact that he is doing a crappy job....

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#124 Sorensenator
January 17 2014, 03:31PM
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They have revolved through so many coaches I don't see how it matters if they bring in another one. Eakins has done a terrible job... I completely agree with what Craig button has said. This team is better then last years team on paper and we are worse in almost every category. Not to mention the shorthanded goals we give up... horrendous.

Bring in Brent Sutter, he will truly seed out the players who do not compete..

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#125 TDSM31
January 17 2014, 03:48PM
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-31- wrote:

Still no acknowledgement that the coach is not good enough. Yes those quotes are based on a one and done system so I guess there are no good playoff coaches in the nfl. Weird, here I thought coaches had an impact on a team but apparently it is only players. All that needs to be done is Gregor admit our coach is not good enough and I will never write another reply again. Stating it is just the players not good enough and not including the coach is poor taste or a great love affair for Eakins.

I'm sure JG is banging his head against the wall the same as I am when reading your posts. Bringing in Scotty Bowman or any other highly decorated coach will not turn this team into a playoff contender! Gregor is not saying that Eakins is the greatest coach in the world, he's simply stating that making a change at the head coaching position is not going to be the cure. Not even close. Managements efforts have to be focused on bringing in the right mix of players which means some difficult trades need to happen. Sheesh, why is this so hard to understand??

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#126 Zarny
January 17 2014, 03:58PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Lmao.. well you must know about as much as k lowe about winning then with your marvelous career.

Idiots like you can't see past your nose. Who said the players were good enough?

Context you douche, Context.

Looks like a good system they have on the PP? On the PK? I forgot, you know more because you claim to have played hockey... How many participation ribbons your mom keep?

Had less to work with and we're more composed.

Morons like you call the kids stupid when the they dont learn or do you look at the teacher and system they're in?

Blowe me

LMAO...context would be the fact that your a$$inine rants about the PP amount to a real life difference of 4 goals instead of simply driveling on about 9th and 20th like it's actually a point.

The Oilers didn't have less to work with last year. Gagner, you know...the #2 C, was playing lights out last year compared to missing 13 games this year and playing about 15 with a gibbled jaw.

Perhaps the problem is you need to look up what the word context actually means.

But hey, don't stop. Keep driveling about a 4 goal difference on the PP over 48 games like that's actually the problem.

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#127 Ed in Edmoonton
January 17 2014, 04:10PM
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TDSM31 wrote:

I'm sure JG is banging his head against the wall the same as I am when reading your posts. Bringing in Scotty Bowman or any other highly decorated coach will not turn this team into a playoff contender! Gregor is not saying that Eakins is the greatest coach in the world, he's simply stating that making a change at the head coaching position is not going to be the cure. Not even close. Managements efforts have to be focused on bringing in the right mix of players which means some difficult trades need to happen. Sheesh, why is this so hard to understand??

Agree.

I have no great opinion whether Eakins is an adequate NHL coach or not. It is not an important issue at this point and anyone who if fixated on him is missing the point. The problem with the Oil is in the executive suite. Until that is fixed anything else is just shuffling deck chairs.

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#128 Disputatio
January 17 2014, 04:29PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

@Serious Gord..

IT seems both of you, specifically Gord in his usual haste to want to argue, didn't read slow enough to see the point... I will highlight it again...

Everyone who loved Krueger seems to forget that the Oilers were in the playoffs for one day, then after that they proceeded to lose 9 of 10 games and fall right out of playoff race. Did Krueger suddenly become an idiot or did the true skill level of the players emerge when the games became more intense? Likely the latter.

You see the last line LIKELY THE LATTER. That means the talent wasn't good enough. I never said they should have fired Krueger. I said those who claim he was good need to realize that no coach can win without talent.

If the coach was so great why did the team lose 9 of 10 games when it mattered most?

BECAUSE THE TEAM ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH.

The point was the Oilers and fans to stop assuming that a new coach will magically win with this group of players. I never once blamed Krueger. Read things twice next time, so you can understand the point before making things up. Thanks.

I did read it, which is why I was disputing your premise that Eakins should be kept around because the team is bad. We all know the roster is setup for failure, but the coaches are not equal simply because of that context.

The point was not that I liked Kreuger, the player personnel doesn't need to be improved, or that I think the team will magically a playoff team with the replacement of the coach - it's that Eakins has been a big enough of a bomb that keeping him(or heaven forbid, tuning the roster to suit him) would be a disaster.

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#130 Arius Mumin
January 17 2014, 04:44PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Oh not to mention the short handed goals against when we on PP... GREAT system. So we actually -10 compared to last year if you take into account the short handed goals against. Pretty big diff...

Why must you project your insecurities on other posters on here?

Do you honestly believe that you are tough, or that you are scaring/intimidating anyone?

You're right, I didn't have bus fare. But you are also a #@$%ing goof and a half, at best. Just a goof for most part.

Fake accounts? I know your parents IQ can't be that high, but I'm also certain it is not lowe enough to name you Bryzarro. Is it? Or did you really use your real name in the account? Last name World of course?

Stop calling people morons and idiots, especially when you are the poster child for both. Have some respect and express your opinion in somewhat civilized manner. No one is going to come Northgate and beef with your pride of juvenile deliquents, use that energy properly and go kick a verse in your friends basement.

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#132 Arius Mumin
January 17 2014, 04:49PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I can't see how you can't understand what I wrote. Read it again. I said he needs to be able to pick his assistants. The suggestion from Ryan was that an experienced assistant would hurt Eakins or want his job. Not the case if he hires his own guys, which I suspect will happen this summer.

Don't bring Gregor into your little squabble. Both of you and Bryzarro are acting like children. Both of you will be banned if either one of you calls the other person a name. Feel free to debate and disagree all you like, but anymore name calling and you are blocked. Signed the new Nation Moderator... #Iwillcleanupthecomments

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#133 Ryan2
January 17 2014, 05:50PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I don't agree that the coach will undermine Eakins or that the players would listen to assitants more.

Jon Cooper is rookie head coach in Tampa. Rick Bowness, former NHL head coach with lots of experience, is his main assistant. He isn't over powering Cooper. He is helping him due to his experience.

Then Eakins interviews his assistants and gets to pick who he wants, not who Management or the Owner want. That is the key.In the interview process you hire people you know you can work with.

As for free agents leaving allowing MacT to shape the roster.

Hemsky, N.Schultz, Smyth, Jones and the goalies are UFA.

I don't see that as a golden opportunity. None play in top six or top four. Hemsky will be moved at deadline.

He needs to change and improve the top-6 and top-4 D, not the fringe players again.

WRT assistants, it might work if Eakins is allowed to pick his own assistants. However, looking at the Oilers' recent history the trend seems to be that Management/the Owner have a say in assistants/co-coaches and they end up getting the job within a season or two.

In addition, does the team look to you like they buy into the direction he is leading them? If the young guns do not buy in, we know it is the coach that will lose........it happens all the time in sports.

As far as the roster, I still say it is a golden opportunity for MacT as he has cap flexibility with the expiring contracts and a fanbase that is sick of winning and finally willing to give up one of the young "stars" and go big game hunting. With the team tanking he has a clean slate to trade anyone outside of Hall and Nuge. Last off-season the fans would have lynched him to touch any of the young guns. Now, with the team tanking, everyone should be available outside of those two up front.

Overpaying for another third pairing veteran D-man like Ference or trading for a small skill top-6 forward like Perron will not appease the masses. MacT needs to make a bold move for a top pairing d-man and/or top 6 forward with size, and this is the year he will be able to package up someone like Eberle or Yak without a huge outcry from the fans.

That being said, in the end the only way any of the type of players we need will agree to come here and stay is if they have confidence in the coaching staff and organization, which is a huge issue right now.............

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#134 Arius Mumin
January 17 2014, 06:04PM
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Arius Mumin wrote:

Don't bring Gregor into your little squabble. Both of you and Bryzarro are acting like children. Both of you will be banned if either one of you calls the other person a name. Feel free to debate and disagree all you like, but anymore name calling and you are blocked. Signed the new Nation Moderator... #Iwillcleanupthecomments

You are on thin ice...This is your first warning...One more and goodbye. Play nice. Signed, your friendly Nation Moderator.

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#135 Smythyyy
January 17 2014, 06:11PM
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Eakins still hasn't impressed...Krueger this many games in last year has proved to be the better coach.

It may not be that the coach is the reason why the team is so bad but he's not helping either. Maybe we shouldn't discount the possibility that we don't know how to hire coaches either.

But seriously, three #1 overall picks (and heading towards a fourth one) and you couldn't transform that into a competitive team? I have to stop blaming just the players for that.

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#136 Anton
January 17 2014, 06:46PM
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It is really annoy to a point about how often the same phrase of "defense", "stability", "lack of size", etc. etc. etc. has been repeated. "Draft this" and "trade that" has also been repeated non-stop. Stop already...

Is this group of players are bad? By standing then yes, by how many top talents that we have drafted then no. Where's the problem? When will peoples start to realize that the team just can't score? Unless that you are trying to build a team like Kings which rely heavily on physical play and suffocating defense then with the type of players that we have that is just unrealistic. To build a team like that requires depth throughout the entire 4 lines and 3 pairing to ensure that they can fight for every possession of the pucks. If we don't have a team, nor able to assemble a squad like that then the team needs to focus on the other end instead. Shoot more, shoot often, stop dangling the puck, getting better at one-timer (at least hit the goalie instead always shot wide, I was sicken by how often during play-by-play that the same phrase "shoot wide miss the net" has been repeated). Learn how to play offense before learning how to play defense because this is not golf that rewards for lower scores.

Of course firing Eakins is still matter at this point of season. For anyone said that it is meaningless to fire Eakins right now is deep down still defending him to retain the job. Don't tell me that you are not still deep down supporting to have Eakins stay on the job by saying "it is pointless", that is just hypocritical. Eakins should be fired like now, it will be an indication for management to realize their mistake and willing to correct it. At least it can still salvage of whatever is still left from this group of players. Even hiring an intern at this point cannot do any worst, but a change is needed and needed fast! I doubt this team has another 2~3 years of patience before everyone on the roster will demand a trade later. Then what? Redo every single draft and rebuild again? This is just idiotic and absolutely wasting time.

Also, why trade the current roster and draft some unproven rookies and think the team can get better with that? So often for every players that Oilers traded away has either became a star or at least had a decent career later on. Why is that? Simply because the other team can see the talent of players and use them correctly instead of tossing them into some fancy play which will never work out in NHL. If any trade should happen is that Oilers should trade away their first round pick for next year for decent returns. Since Oilers players' stock has been dropping but draft pick will at least still remain at high value. Burke traded away a potential 2nd overall picks for Phil Kessel which later became Seguin. It was just a lucky break for Boston because what would happen if it is not a second overall pick? Can you find any other players in that year's draft after Seguin is even come close to Kessel?

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#137 corky
January 17 2014, 07:18PM
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Firing Eakins not the answer. Make Bucky and Smith walk the plank this summer, then give Eakins one season with his own assistants. Firing Eakins would empower these players even more for the worse

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#138 Saytalk
January 17 2014, 07:42PM
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I remember the same cries to fire Quinn, Renney and Kruger at around the same time 4, 2 and 1 year(s) ago. The players will never be held accountable for their lousy effort if the coach who's supposed to hold them accountable keeps getting fired.

The best thing for management to do at this stage is to keep Eakins and use his input to blow up the lineup over the summer. Blow up as in half the roster should be turned over by this time next year. Gagner and Eberle are small, lazy and can't backcheck, trade them. Smyth is tired and can retire. Hemsky and N.Schultz gone at the deadline for draft picks or prospects. Jones, Eager, Grebeshkov and Potter can start packing their bags.

Let MacT and Eakins bring in some guys with grit and heart who will battle for the puck, crash the net, finish their checks and make this team hard to play against.

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#139 madjam
January 17 2014, 10:10PM
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So old Six Rings knows a little about winning hockey ? Ironic when you think about it . To bad he didn't say a fair amount or a lot , them maybe we might see better results .

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#140 S cottV
January 17 2014, 11:04PM
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@Jason Gregor

So - JG, if the team continues to lose bad for the balance of the season and it becomes apparent that Eakins is losing the room, you would just ignore it?

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#141 tileguy
January 18 2014, 10:03AM
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I see yak is undergoing concussion treatment.

Quote from Eakins "Yakupov left immediately and didn’t return, sitting out the entire third period. The Edmonton Journal notes that, during his postgame presser, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins didn’t offer up any health news regarding Yakupov, but did classify the play as a “bad turnover.”

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#143 Smythyyy
January 21 2014, 10:23AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I still wouldn't, based solely on the fact that if you do that you are sending the message to the players that once again they weren't the problem.

Like Sutherby said on my show today... "You can continually shrug off the coach as a young player when they are constantly getting fired."

I don't fire him, at least not this summer.

old post, but I couldn't get past your assumption or implication JG that our players don't take it to heart when they lose or that they don't take the blame for losing...that somehow, if you fire that coach that they won't think it's their fault that they're losing. Is there any inside info that this is what the players think?

I don't think these players got to where they are, got drafted so high or have been successful in their amateur careers if they don't have that competitive drive. We might be frustrated as fans but I'm pretty sure the players feel even worse and take a lot of blame as well. I know the team sucks but questioning their heart is a bit too much don't you think?

If a brilliant coaching mind can help nudge us forward then why wait. Hypothetically, if Scotty Bowman were 20 years younger and would be available now shouldn't we be jumping at that opportunity? He won't make us champions overnight but I'm pretty sure he'll help.

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