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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#1 hallsyoilerforever5
January 16 2014, 11:28PM
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@ryanwhitney6 Gonna miss playing with @stevepinizzotto good luck with Edmonton!

What?

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#2 The Perfect Human
January 16 2014, 11:29PM
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I was saying this 2 years ago - that the core we have in place up front is not going to get us anywhere in this Conference.

Got banned on HFBoards for upsetting the Brotherhood of Hall worshippers

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#3 Dave
January 16 2014, 11:39PM
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I am not buying the theory that the Oilers can succeed with a mediocre goalie.

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#4 NsxZero
January 16 2014, 11:41PM
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Gregor,

You say we need to improve the players that play the most minutes, but if we don't have a good coaching staff how are they supposed to improve. Sure we can make the eventual trades for our #1/2 D and size in the top 6 but with a coaching staff over their heads it doesn't guarantee success.

Not to mention that the assistant coaches have been here since the new core got drafted and have they done a good job developing the top 6? Do you think Eakins is the right guy to develop the core correctly?

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#5 Raine
January 16 2014, 11:43PM
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Most good teams have pairs in their top 6 that work well together and 2 complimentary players to go along with them. Just look around the league: Getzlaf, Perry. Neal, Malkin. Kunitz, Crosby. Benn, Seguin. D. Sedin, H. Sedin. Toews, Hossa. Backstrom, Ovechkin. St. Louis, Stamkos. And there are plenty more.

RNH and Hall or RNH and Eberle. Yakupov and Eberle? Maybe Draisaitl and Eberle come draft day. Whatever it is they need to figure this out.

As these players mature and need free range they should have complimentary players for stability and structure, not 3 risk takers. What the team needs to figure out is more duos, find a center that will fit with Yakupov and then surround them with complimentary players. This is prevalent around the league, trios are out. Being heavy in talent with all 6 players on your top two lines opens the game up too much, we're been witnessing this. It's also diluting the talent level elsewhere on this team by clinging on to them all, it's time to spread the wealth in my opinion and move somebody.

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#6 Retsinnab5
January 16 2014, 11:50PM
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If only the Oilers put in a little effort, they all look like they don't give a $**t.

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#7 T__Bone88
January 16 2014, 11:50PM
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This team will not go anywhere until the defense is fixed. This off-season they have to make significant upgrades and not just inserting Nurse/Klefbom/Ekblad* and hope the existing defensemen play better. When you look at how many games have been played by the 6 defensemen that played tonight only Ference and N. Schultz have played more than 3 full seasons. They need experience on the back end along with talent if they plan on ever getting out the basement. The problem though that the Oilers now put themselves in is that they have to trade top 6 forward talent to acquire top defense talent since there is nothing for free agents this year.

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#8 Kr55
January 16 2014, 11:52PM
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The only solution starts with Lowe and his friends being removed from management positions. Lowe's claim to fame was getting lucky with Pronger and Roloson and adding to a Glen Sather created core to get an 8th place western finish and a lucky playoff run.

With the departure of Horcoff, this team is now officially a 100% Kevin Lowe creation and we all see the results (on pace for 57 points and the worst Oilers season EVER if you need any specifics). He, and his friends DO NOT know how to build a hockey team. They don't have the brains or the relevant experience in management to compete with the other teams in the league. The sooner Katz realizes this, the better off the team will be.

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#9 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 16 2014, 11:52PM
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There never has been an actual plan. The management have no clue how to do this. Bring in competent people to run it.

Lowe is clueless

I still say Eakins has to go and keeping a head coach for the sake of stability is wrong. especially in this case. Eakins is a failure right now. Maybe a decade down the road with some assistant experience and maybe a co-coach role for him but not as an NHL head coach right now

edit forgot to mention that gregors point about 4th line chasing is dead on. MacTavish has always been that way. Reddox, Pederson. hard working guys for sure but not much more than 4th liners and AHLers

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#10 Butters
January 16 2014, 11:58PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

There never has been an actual plan. The management have no clue how to do this. Bring in competent people to run it.

Lowe is clueless

I still say Eakins has to go and keeping a head coach for the sake of stability is wrong. especially in this case. Eakins is a failure right now. Maybe a decade down the road with some assistant experience and maybe a co-coach role for him but not as an NHL head coach right now

edit forgot to mention that gregors point about 4th line chasing is dead on. MacTavish has always been that way. Reddox, Pederson. hard working guys for sure but not much more than 4th liners and AHLers

Agree 100%. MacT seems to love the ham and eggers, likely because he was one.

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#11 Tayranchula
January 17 2014, 12:01AM
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Thank you very much for writing this and explaining to the people who have never played competitive hockey that the 4th line has 2 jobs to do. Dont get scored on and create energy. I love Gazdic he is playing his ass off night in night out and improving. Hendrick for Dubnyk was an interesting trade (still think they could have gotten a better player) but having Hendricks on the 4th line (eventually) makes that line better.

The 4th line has to just hit people and maybe even target the other teams best players when they have a chance.

The 4th line is alot better with Jones-Hendricks-Gazdic then with Arcobello-Lander-Joensuu/Smyth

If the 4th line scores 4 goals all year and doesnt make mistakes I would take that 10 times out of 10.

4 scoring lines dont work!!!!!!!!!!!

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#12 Cold Hard Truth
January 17 2014, 12:03AM
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Prediction:

MacTavish will shuffle around a couple more 4th liners. Everyone will anticipate bold moves. Nothing will happen. MacTavish will then convince himself, along with every other fan that the current roster is just waiting to break out, and that this season's failure was just a 'perfect storm' of bad luck. The Oilers then finished in the basement again next year. Eakins is fired. MacTavish picks another coach, who also doesn't work out. This goes on for 4 more years. Lowe finally steps down and has to leave town by a chopper.

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#13 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 17 2014, 12:06AM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

Prediction:

MacTavish will shuffle around a couple more 4th liners. Everyone will anticipate bold moves. Nothing will happen. MacTavish will then convince himself, along with every other fan that the current roster is just waiting to break out, and that this season's failure was just a 'perfect storm' of bad luck. The Oilers then finished in the basement again next year. Eakins is fired. MacTavish picks another coach, who also doesn't work out. This goes on for 4 more years. Lowe finally steps down and has to leave town by a chopper.

This made me cry. It is all to real sounding.

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#14 VK63
January 17 2014, 12:06AM
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"A team so broken it shall be studied in GM school for decades to come." (roughly)

Wanye Gretz

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#15 Muji
January 17 2014, 12:09AM
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Though he's been slumping lately (injury?), we need more players/bold-moves like David Perron.

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#16 S cottV
January 17 2014, 12:16AM
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It's certainly looking like a circus side show.

If an unbiased comprehensive list was put together itemizing all of the challenges that stand in the way of an Oilers return to being a contender, it would surely point to the need for the very best available people in key roles, to have any chance of pulling it off.

For one - Eakins does not represent anything close to being among the best. We are kidding ourselves if we believe that less than the best is going to cut it in the Head Coach role.

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#18 Muji
January 17 2014, 12:27AM
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I really want to like Dallas Eakins...

Btw, I totally agree with Gregor. The Oilers have been sinking for the last 8 years and the fans/management continue to rearrange the deck chairs. Even worse, we're wasting time/effort analyzing these frigging deck chairs.

"Hmm... this deck chair is a little faded. Maybe we should find a slightly newer deck chair that costs a few dollars cheaper. Perhaps that'll help with the sinking ship. Here are some graphs of comparable deck chairs."

FIX THE F-CKING BOAT.

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#19 Mason Storm
January 17 2014, 12:28AM
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I know this is a serious article, but with distraction used in the headline, I feel we are missing a great opportunity to use a picture of twins of some sort.

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#20 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 17 2014, 12:34AM
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Mason Storm wrote:

I know this is a serious article, but with distraction used in the headline, I feel we are missing a great opportunity to use a picture of twins of some sort.

Ya Gregor. What the hell???

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#21 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 17 2014, 12:36AM
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Trade Eberle and a(fill in whatever here) for a(fill in whatever here) and a(fill in whatever here) . With the stipulation(fill in whatever here) .

I already have made a better plan than 6rings ever has

edit made a punctuation oops fixed

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#22 Mason Storm
January 17 2014, 12:52AM
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Muji wrote:

I really want to like Dallas Eakins...

Btw, I totally agree with Gregor. The Oilers have been sinking for the last 8 years and the fans/management continue to rearrange the deck chairs. Even worse, we're wasting time/effort analyzing these frigging deck chairs.

"Hmm... this deck chair is a little faded. Maybe we should find a slightly newer deck chair that costs a few dollars cheaper. Perhaps that'll help with the sinking ship. Here are some graphs of comparable deck chairs."

FIX THE F-CKING BOAT.

As long as the band keeps playing there's no need to panic. Right?...........Right?

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#23 andrewmk20
January 17 2014, 01:02AM
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I don't know why people are raising opposition to this article. Just watch what Ryan Suter did to the Oilers' top line in this game. A true top 2 defender can completely change the momentum of a game. Bad for Ekblad indeed.

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#24 Muji
January 17 2014, 01:05AM
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Mason Storm wrote:

As long as the band keeps playing there's no need to panic. Right?...........Right?

The band stopped playing after the Kid Line v1.0 (Cogs, Gags, Nillson) imploded. There has been no music for years.

Of course, the band stuck around for a year or so after that, but got fed up with Lennart Petrell's antics (he's mental!). So they left.

There is no band. It's time to PANIC (!)

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#25 john
January 17 2014, 01:06AM
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I believe a good coach will make the players we have now play better. Look at the Avs, Roy turned them into winners, it's the same team that finished near the bottom last year. I afraid that we trade away one of the young guys, he will blossomed there and the players we get back doesn't fit in. We went after Jagr when he played in Europe, he could help this young guys how to score, all he does is score and improve players around him. So when Jagr came back to NHL we didn't signed him, why not? We need a good big center to play 1st line, RNH is still young and too skinny to be 1st line center.

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#26 Muji
January 17 2014, 01:09AM
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andrewmk20 wrote:

I don't know why people are raising opposition to this article. Just watch what Ryan Suter did to the Oilers' top line in this game. A true top 2 defender can completely change the momentum of a game. Bad for Ekblad indeed.

I dunno... Ryan Suter is probably one of the top 5 dmen in the world. Ekblad will be lucky to be a good-but-not-yet-great NHL dman (e.g. Victor Hedman) in 5 years.

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#27 Big Cap
January 17 2014, 01:16AM
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Its clear Eakins is not the right guy for the job and is clearly over his head in the NHL. But again we can thank 6-Rings and MacT for that hire.

Eakins has has made some colossal mistakes.

1. Naming Andrew Ference Captain 2. Revamping our once effective PP 3. Blaming Yak for the teams misfortunes and not putting him in a place to succeed or use his true talents 4. Smarm Defense?!?!?!? 5. Fitness regime 6. Not keeping EVERYONE accountable 7. Keeping Smith and Bucky on the staff

It is true that a coach cant make you bigger or stronger. But you can coach a team to play and utilize its strengths. We are younger, faster, and in some cases more talented than other teams, and Eakins has yet to effectively deploy those skills against our opponents.

Remember when we played in Philly at he beginning of the year and the Flyers was in dire straights, Ed Snider was beside himself with the state of his team. He made a coaching change and look at them now. Its amazing what a team can/will do when they understand and want to play for their coach. The Flyers now sit 5th in the East.

This organization is a complete joke. How much longer will Hall/Ebs/RNH want to play here? Ever day I expect a media source to reveal a private meeting between Hall and MacT saying Taylor is open to a trade should it help the Oilers....

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#28 eastcoastoil
January 17 2014, 01:35AM
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How much does Joe Thorton cost? Just get him and Shea Weber and boom stanley cup. Does our 4th line from this year get us that.

Perfect Trade for us would be Eberle/Yak plus Gagner/Hemsky plus Marchin/Klefblom

From Buffalo

Ott, Erhoff and 1st..

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#29 Nowuknow
January 17 2014, 01:50AM
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Excellent article! I believe this current management is clueless and incompetence. 6rings is cancer to oilers success on the ice. Why is it this organization constantly firing head coaches but keeps the assistances. It seems to me Buckey and Smith are just security blanket for Low. Also signing the kids for big bucks prior proving any winning capability, is an act of desperation. Winning, accountability and excellency of one organization starts from top to bottom. Until Low is removed or tier one funs stop going to the games the outcome will be the same. The current core group of players (forwards) are not good enough to carry a winning franchise in the NHL and as For D men,keep Farance and petry and trade the rest.

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#30 Anton
January 17 2014, 02:47AM
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Oh, we still need one more change at head coach position, just because we want consistency doesn't mean that we have to settle on BAD consistency. Kreuger should never get fired, so the consistency should apply to him but not Eakins.

Also, instead of looking at GAA, Oilers has been below average on GFA since 2008. The team is just not scoring enough no matter how many skill guys that they have. The management just did not realize that fixing defense maybe important but the team is just not scoring a lot. Other than Kings that every other champions were among top 5 in scoring. If Oilers is indeed trying to copy the formula of Hawks and Pens then they need to improve the scoring consider that they are always among the top in goals. Hire a coach that can teach offense because that should be the build of this team with skill players, Eakins is completely clueless on how to set up an offensive play which he ended up on calling time out without any developed plays. How many still remember the little 6 on 3 PP that Oilers only generated one shot?

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#31 pelhem grenville
January 17 2014, 04:51AM
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...type in sexy twins / jet airplanes

we'll all feel better for the next GDB...

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#32 Walter Sobchak
January 17 2014, 05:07AM
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@Jason Gregor

While I agree with a lot of what you’re saying & I get what you’re trying to convey, things just seem amiss with this team.

What happens when the team quits on a coach? After last night’s game, if you think 18 guys are playing for Eakins then you have to explain to me what the hell is going on out there then? If Eakins is not getting his message through and the players have given up on him….What if the players don’t respect him anymore? I do think changing the coach does matter; it does help.

Nolan has brought a little stability and has a bad team fighting for every point, playing hard and competing! In Winnipeg, Maurice has the Jets playing better. Did you see any compete on the Oilers playing an injury riddled team?

I was indifferent with Krueger, I will say this to defend him though, had Tambellini acted when key players went down, I honestly think the Oilers could have been in 9th or 10th in the West with arguable a worse team & I never seen the players this unmotivated with Krueger.

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#33 Sisyphyus
January 17 2014, 06:00AM
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Welp. That was to be expected. I'm almost glad it happened so quickly. At least this way its already becoming abundantly clear that these moves aren't going to help the team much, if at all. We're still waiting for those big, bold moves.

Frankly, at this point, pick two of the young superstars. Two who have value to other teams (sorry Yak). Then deal them, for big solid dmen and big skilled forwards. Bite the bullet, and do it.

This team has been allowed to mire in the mud for so long, that I'm not sure the current team, top line on down, actually knows how to win, much less win repeatedly, not as a fluke. You have to change the culture, and you have to do so in big, bold WAKE UP moves. There isn't a player on the team who should be allowed to feel "safe", like he's not possible trade bait. At best, it lights a fire under them, and shows them that every player has to compete fully every night, or they can be shipped out. At worst, you do end up shipping out huge portions of the team, and you get in new, fresh faces who haven't become accustomed to being losers for years

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#34 mayorblaine
January 17 2014, 06:01AM
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great post Jason. completely agree.

why the Oilers insist on building a stanley cup out of Lego without all pieces is beyond me, yet they've been doing it for years.

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#35 wintoon
January 17 2014, 06:08AM
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For several years now the Oilers have been atrocious defensively. However, the Kool Aid from management and the experts has been that the Oilers have all this marvellous offensive talent.

If the Oilers have all this marvellous offensive talent, where is it? Our GF is about 19th or 20th in the league. That folks is not marvellous. If we had great offensive talent we would be scoring 4 or 5 goals a game and still losing because our defense sucks. That is not happening.

What this club needs is an "Epiphany". Someone in management has to realize that their view of things is skewed and adjust accordingly.

That adjustment may be drafting a top flight centre at the draft in June o ensure that tfront end is looked after. At least then one piece of this team would potentially be set.

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#36 J.R.
January 17 2014, 06:22AM
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Big Cap wrote:

Its clear Eakins is not the right guy for the job and is clearly over his head in the NHL. But again we can thank 6-Rings and MacT for that hire.

Eakins has has made some colossal mistakes.

1. Naming Andrew Ference Captain 2. Revamping our once effective PP 3. Blaming Yak for the teams misfortunes and not putting him in a place to succeed or use his true talents 4. Smarm Defense?!?!?!? 5. Fitness regime 6. Not keeping EVERYONE accountable 7. Keeping Smith and Bucky on the staff

It is true that a coach cant make you bigger or stronger. But you can coach a team to play and utilize its strengths. We are younger, faster, and in some cases more talented than other teams, and Eakins has yet to effectively deploy those skills against our opponents.

Remember when we played in Philly at he beginning of the year and the Flyers was in dire straights, Ed Snider was beside himself with the state of his team. He made a coaching change and look at them now. Its amazing what a team can/will do when they understand and want to play for their coach. The Flyers now sit 5th in the East.

This organization is a complete joke. How much longer will Hall/Ebs/RNH want to play here? Ever day I expect a media source to reveal a private meeting between Hall and MacT saying Taylor is open to a trade should it help the Oilers....

I hate the revolving door for head coaches here but, if I'm honest, do not think much of Dallas Eakins.

Too much line juggling (to find player chemistry) and flat out mishandling of players. The worst is what has happened to Yak.

RNH doesn't need to play on the right half wall on the PP. Yak does.

Has the team been any better with reducing minutes/benching/pressbox sitting Yakupov?

Let him play RW on no lower than the second line and get him out on at least the second unit PP like clockwork.

Mac T will look like a major idiot to nuke Eakins but I would go ahead and clean house (cut the rest of the coaching staff too) there...The team can literally get no worse.

The players need to be better and that means some big trades no doubt, but Eakins coaching style blows....hard.

Can't believe I paid for Center Ice again this year.

Do something before the good players ask for a ride out of town.

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#37 Bryan in SK
January 17 2014, 06:23AM
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I keep hoping that MacT phones me to tell me that he's traded me as a fan, because I've tried to leave on my own to no avail.

I think it's time to hang up my Saturday night nacho bowl and call it a career. At least I would get to retire with 5 Stanley Cups as a fan... more than most.

(Glad I got that off my chest. Now, I'm good for a day until I pull a Favre and un-retire my nacho bowl just in time for Hockey Day in Canada).

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#38 madjam
January 17 2014, 06:33AM
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Gregor - mighty fine article . I don't see how you can change that with managerial setup and coaching we have in place .Is owner also to much involved here ? With current results . not sold our mixture of young stars is the answer either at this stage .Dubnyk trade could turn out to be a very one sided gaffe on our part . maybe one of our worst ever .

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#39 Dave "Killer" Carlson
January 17 2014, 06:36AM
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Another stinker, eh? Glad I didn't watch. I just hope some resemblance of an effort shows up Saturday in Winnipeg where I'll be in attendance.

Totally agree with the article Gregor. Something needs to change and what has been changed over past years clearly hasn't worked. I still maintain that until the fans make a BOLD statement (seems to be the phrase of the year) nothing will change. Only reason I'm going to watch then Saturday is the fact I'm supporting the Jets financially and not the Oilers.

Too bad I'm in the 300s, otherwise a sign would be in order.

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#40 Sisyphus
January 17 2014, 06:38AM
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Sort of wishing, at this point, we could find another team, heck, ANY other team in the league, and basically do a full swap. They take all of the Oilers, all the Oilers coaches, GM, owner, everything, and we get back their entire team, ownership, mgmt., etc.

Surely there have to been some cities who'd be up for doing a team swap, right?

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#41 Drowning in Oil
January 17 2014, 06:43AM
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It all starts with the mindset of management and our team is run by 2 former NHL plugs. Neither Lowe or MacTavish were the intergal pieces in the glory days although MacT could muck it up. Lowe was a number 4 Dman and MacT was a 3rd liner...... so....... Of course they believe this is the key ingredient to making a winner.

And the carousel continues all the while, our top 2 lines continue to not score enough and get knocked around at will. And will things ever change. I doubt it.

And with no top 2 defense, and a very suspect supporting cast on the backed,........ What goal could ever flourish? Patrick Roy and Marty Brodeur would look average behind this group of defense.

MacTavish needs to once and for all make some bold moves but we are still waiting. The only bold move in hindsight was hiring Eakins as coach when there were so many NHL ready coaches available.

Maybe spinning his wheels with more 3rd and 4th liners and back-up goalies is all MacTavish can do but this team needs a top 2 Dman and 1or 2 big forwards, plain and simple........

All the rest of his "roster moves" are just fluff and essentially meaningless.

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#42 Sisyphus
January 17 2014, 06:49AM
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Someone made the excellent point of how good our superstar forwards actually are. Which is frankly alarming, now that I'm thinking about it. We all start to scream when people suggest we trade them away, to try to get pieces back we need. We yell about how great they are, they're fantastic, don't touch them, they're top-NHL quality. And yet....we aren't losing games, like it was noted, simply because our defense sucks. We're not scoring much either. It'd be one thing if we were losing games 9-7, or 6-5, etc. Just getting outscored by the other team because we have zero D. But we're not. Our "star" forwards aren't even all that much of stars--they're not racking up the goals. So maybe we need to re-evaluate our aversion to trading any of them--if we got new stars back in return, might be worth it

As it is, the shiny spot on our terrible team is starting to look awfully tarnished--if it turns out we don't even have all that great of superstar forwards, this team's chances of getting out of the basement before the 2020's looks reallllly rough

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#43 Cameron
January 17 2014, 06:52AM
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Re last nights game: I am still agitated that Bob, Reid, and Rob were so quick to throw Yak under the bus for not getting off the ice quickly after his injury. Their comments were bad enough but then when Reid and Rob when on to defend their remarks after Yak did not return in the 3rd?

I guess no one makes an a mistake or apologizes in this Oiler culture.......pitiful, just pitiful

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#44 Loweblows
January 17 2014, 06:53AM
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Even MacT admitted that Eakins is still learning how to coach. This team does not need rookie coaches who are learning how to coach. This team needs some experienced coaching that teaches fundamentals, not new systems. Getting rid off Eakins and assistants is not going to hinder this teams development. Getting experienced coaching NOW is the best thing you could do for this team. Youbare wrong JG.

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#45 Air on Egg blood
January 17 2014, 07:08AM
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I mostly agree with what you're saying, except maybe the coaching position.

Unlike the 4th lin players, the head coach is in a key position for the organization. If they think Eakins is doing a good job, then of course they have to keep him. But if the conclusion is that he is not the man for this job, they can't keep him in the name of stability.

Anybody who runs a business - big or small - will tell you that. Stability and continuity applies only if you're sure you have the right personnel in place. For the key positions anyways. You don't keep a head coach in place if it is not working out, no matter how many times you've changed before.

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#46 YAKCITY64
January 17 2014, 07:24AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They have made four coaching changes in five years. You want them to keep making more? A coach is only as good as his players. Until they get better players they won't win regardless of the coach.

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.

Eakins has made some mistakes, no doubt, and we'll see if he learns from them next year. I don't fire him, because I've seen that movie and the results don't change.

I don't think Renney, Krueger and Eakins are all awful coaches, but they all coached a team that didn't have enough NHL talent.

A new coach won't make the Oilers bigger, stronger, heavier, more intense or more experienced. I'd like to see the young players enter a season where they don't have to learn a new system.

Get some better players and allow the ones you keep to at least come to camp with an understanding of what the coach wants.

Gregor,

I agree with your point that there is not even close to enough NHL talent on this team and really it is hard to judge a coach based on that. But the reality is there is more NHL talent on this team than last season and yet this team has taken a step back. Judge eakins on what eakins has done and if you think he deserves a shot to continue then fine I for one thinks in terms or setting a standard and sticking to that he has failed miserably.

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#47 God
January 17 2014, 07:28AM
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Unless the Oilers want to import established top 6 forwards and top 3 Dmen , which would come via UFA and are thus unwilling to come to Edmonton or are completely unaffordable, they'll have to develop within the organization. This current brand of management has proven that they can't do this effectively.

Imagine, just for a moment, Hall, Hemsky, Ebs, Yak, Gags, Mags, RNH or even Omark being raised in Detroit's organization? That's right, they'd all be superstars.

Now look at Cogliano, Brodziak, Frazer, Cleary and the other blaring reality of former Oilers turning their careers around only once they leave this black hole for talent.

With the current state of affairs, no respectable UFA wants to come to Edmonton. We can't keep throwing ridiculous dollars at guys like Nylander or Vanek, they aren't the kind of guy that can turn it around. We also can't expect any player to become dominant in this current organization. OKC is doing a fair job but the moment these players step onto Rexall ice, their careers are in serious jeopardy.

Don't ignore the terrible development of this organization. That's what kept the losing sustainable. Players are not the problem Gregor. Don't forget that Kreuger got more out of an inferior lineup last year. These players have no faith, it's obvious in their body language. They're tired of being rag dolled on the scoreboard and on the ice. No leadership, no coaching in that dressing room. I'm not faulting Ference, he just arrived in this mess. He never had a chance.

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#48 God
January 17 2014, 07:32AM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Sort of wishing, at this point, we could find another team, heck, ANY other team in the league, and basically do a full swap. They take all of the Oilers, all the Oilers coaches, GM, owner, everything, and we get back their entire team, ownership, mgmt., etc.

Surely there have to been some cities who'd be up for doing a team swap, right?

I'd take bloody Phoenix even with their ownership struggles. That team plays hard. They minimize mistakes and thus fan frustration. I'd love Doan on my team.

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#49 Serious Gord
January 17 2014, 07:40AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They have made four coaching changes in five years. You want them to keep making more? A coach is only as good as his players. Until they get better players they won't win regardless of the coach.

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.

Eakins has made some mistakes, no doubt, and we'll see if he learns from them next year. I don't fire him, because I've seen that movie and the results don't change.

I don't think Renney, Krueger and Eakins are all awful coaches, but they all coached a team that didn't have enough NHL talent.

A new coach won't make the Oilers bigger, stronger, heavier, more intense or more experienced. I'd like to see the young players enter a season where they don't have to learn a new system.

Get some better players and allow the ones you keep to at least come to camp with an understanding of what the coach wants.

Jason:

I am sick to death if the refrain by you and others regarding the ten game stretch last year where the oil lost 9 of ten.

Let's look at the teams they played: Van, La, Ana,PHX,flames,wild,col(won),Ana,Ana,chi.

Not exactly a cakewalk and I doubt this years team under this coach would have done much better.

And take a look at the last ten of the season this year. Are you going to call for Eakins removal if he has similar results as kreuger against very similar opponents?

I never liked kruegers hiring and I wasn't sad to see him fired, but that streak shouldn't have been why he was let go.

And it's pretty rich to be saying firing kreuger after 48 was justified, yet not firing Eakins after more games and a worse record is to act too rashly.

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#50 hockey fan 1976
January 17 2014, 07:40AM
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what these players must have said after last night...LMAO

Scribs: " yo Brizzy, omg, were the guys on D just having an off night or are they really this bad?"

Bryz: " you know Scribs, I thought that too in my first couple, but then I asked the universe to bring me good solid D ever since"

Scribs : " did it work?" Bryz " hell no, the universe responded back and said I cant make miracles happen with the personnel you have"

Scribs: " this sucks man, how am I supposed to sign in the off season when my GAA goes from under 2.0 goal/game to under 4"?

Bryz: " put it out in the universe and she might listen my man...wait, don't bother..she'll just laugh at you"

Scribs:" god, my wife is texting me" Bryz " what's she saying?"

Scribs: "don't you there sign with these losers or I swear I will leave you and make a huge scandal by saying I slept with Huge, oh she meant Nuge"

Bryz : " how does she know already he's, you know? Huge?" Scribs: " that b*&^, that's it am having a talk with KBlow and asking to trade me asap, he did it with Prongs"

Bryz: " peace be with you bro, I can't wait to play in a sunny destination next year"

Scribs: " screw you Bryz, am outta here"

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