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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#51 -30-
January 17 2014, 07:54AM
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"They need to support their young players and insulate them with veterans who can play significant minutes and help them succeed."

They also need to be better Captain Obvious.

Trading for experienced veterans who can help might have never been more difficult now that ever.

It takes TWO teams to trade. I'm no Oilers management fanboy but are you suggesting getting fleeced when making trades if only to get a veteran?

-30-

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#52 oilcountryforlife
January 17 2014, 08:00AM
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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 pretty much sums it up. The Flip side is

1. Katz fires Lowe 2. Mac T. moves upstairs but also keeps his role. Right now Lowe is the puppet master and it is appearing more and more that Mac T. doesn't really have any power. 3. Firing of head scout, Ass't coaches Acton, Smith, and Buchberger happen the next day 4. NHL calibre assistant coaches and scouts are brought in to teach our "wonderkids" how to play defensive hockey, and team hockey. Even might get to that famous swarm defense some day too. 5. Hall, Nuge, and Hemsky stay. Everyone else giving marching orders. Really rebuild is that is the only way to win. 6. Develop Nurse. I personally think he will be awesome, after that, I am not seeing any of the auditions this season impressing me at all. 7. Spend money for top NHL calibre players 8. No more trading NHL players (Smid) for draft picks and prospects.

9. Give head a shake...is it too much to ask?

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#53 Disputatio
January 17 2014, 08:03AM
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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.

That is a curious criticism of Kreuger considering the fact that it's the most success the franchise has enjoyed in close to half a decade. Especially in the face of the spectacular bomb the team has been this year. It's highly probable that it will set the benchmark for worst season in franchise history considering they were stingier with points in the standings back in 93.

In comparison with Kreuger, Eakin's effort as head coach has been phenomenally bad, with a litany of mistakes that have clearly compounded the problems facing the team. The widespread regression by virtually every player on the roster and the horrible start is making even Pat Quinn's borderline senile effort as coach in 2010 look like the work of a master, Eakins has been that bad.

Coaching stability would be nice, but that was something that could have(should have) been practiced before they hired Eakins. The long term damage that would be caused by keeping such an incredibly poor coach over an ideal(or more likely, the GM's ego and the owner's pocketbook), far outweighs any damage that would be done by going out and installing a competent coach.

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#54 Hemmercules
January 17 2014, 08:30AM
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Have any of the coaches in the last few years hired any of their own staff? How does Bucky get the free pass no matter what happens. I know the assistants aren't the root of the problem here but they don't seem to be helping either.

The way this team is run is pretty embarrassing. If players start asking out, Lowe better step down if he has any self respect what so ever.

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#55 ubermiguel
January 17 2014, 08:45AM
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Hall, Eberle, Hemsky and Gagner have been fixtures on all those losing teams. I have no doubt MacT is trying to move 3 out of 4 of them.

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#56 jr_christ
January 17 2014, 08:50AM
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Excellent article, Gregsters.

Only problem... they won't ever made those necessary changes. They won't part with any one with a sniff of potential until their value has decreased.

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#57 Dave
January 17 2014, 08:53AM
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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....

How are we more talented than other teams?

Look at every playoff team in the Western Conference and tell me who you would rather have right now at centre--Nuge or their Centre? Look at their top four d vs ours. With the exception of Taylor Hall you would take their top talent at almost every position vs the Oilers. The Oilers have top potential talent, but that doesn't help anyone win now.

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#58 Rama Lama
January 17 2014, 08:54AM
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Gregor are you saying that BPA is a flawed strategy? Most of the media, fans, and Oilers Management have been saying take the best player. This usually means take the player with the most points coming out of junior........we now have a bunch of these guys and where has it got us?

I believe that really smart teams take what they know is the hardest position to build around, defence. Our obsession with skill/ speed has left this team with no real top options on defence, except Darnell Nurse?

You keep stating emphatically that coaching is not the problem........I could not disagree more! Just how do you know coaching is not compounding the situation? In spite of numerous upgrades last summer, we have regressed in every metric and that fact cannot be ignored.

Nolan seems to have improved Buffalo without any player changes, is that concindence?

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#59 Otown
January 17 2014, 08:58AM
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Gregor and Willis for GM and assistant GM!!

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#60 YEGFan
January 17 2014, 08:58AM
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The justification for getting rid of Eakins usually boils down to "the players have given up and don't believe in him anymore." Which essentially is saying they've quit playing hard. Maybe, if this was the first coach anybody complaining about Eakins would have a good point, but it's not. People have made the same excuse for the players every year. It's ridiculous. The players aren't playing to their supposed potential and it's mostly their fault.

Don't tell me these highly respected hockey minds who have had past success with other players have all of a sudden become idiots. You're delusional if you seriously believe these are suddenly incompetent people. There is a clear consistency (and it's not just Lowe) to this disaster and it's our under achieving top 6 / top 4. Just look at Minnesota and Dallas's top three lines. They're riddled with a bunch of players you probably know nothing about. However, they are consistently beating our supposed superstars and competing with the rest of the league.

The list of players who have had success elsewhere after dismal stints in Edmonton is usually cited as proof that it's the coach's fault, which makes no sense. The coaches all keep changing (except the assistants, but their influence on turning this team into a winner is extremely minimal). Furthermore, the players that go have success elsewhere (Brodziak, Cleary, etc.) do it as 3rd or 4th liners. In other words they go to teams with competent top players!

Has the coach made some questionable decisions? Maybe, but you can't really judge him until he's got something decent to work with. Has MacT gotten talented players together? It was virtually unanimous around the league that the players assembled were extremely talented with huge potential at the start of the season. Have the players lived up to their promise? No.

If you think changing the coach will do more good than harm you'd better have more than a gut feeling, because all evidence says otherwise.

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#61 Jay
January 17 2014, 08:59AM
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Stop changing coaches when you get a good one!!! Shoulda stopped at Krueger but Eakins isn't the guy to stop at. Other then that great article

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#62 Constance
January 17 2014, 09:04AM
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Jason. Love how both here and on your show you write irrelevant article after article about inane things no one cares about (music at game and such) in order to avoid the real issue... criticism is required of the Oilers culture of cronyism and nepotism. Let me say the name you never will... Kevin Lowe, Kevin Lowe, Kevin Lowe.

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#63 tiredoilersfan
January 17 2014, 09:11AM
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Remember when Montreal blew up there whole team and then made playoffs had a couple bad seasons but are now annual contenders.

Time for a complete blow out keep 1-3 players everyone else gone. Entire coaching & management staff gone.

How can we be happy with getting Mac T when guys like Jim Nil were available. The main problem is Katz keeps believing the potential players and hype around it from management. I understand we trade a player all of a sudden there great elsewhere, my response who cares they were not here. Rebuild version 3,4,5 to come.

Lowe and company made me a tier 2,3 fan.

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#64 Big Cap
January 17 2014, 09:12AM
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Dave wrote:

How are we more talented than other teams?

Look at every playoff team in the Western Conference and tell me who you would rather have right now at centre--Nuge or their Centre? Look at their top four d vs ours. With the exception of Taylor Hall you would take their top talent at almost every position vs the Oilers. The Oilers have top potential talent, but that doesn't help anyone win now.

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.

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#65 Spydyr
January 17 2014, 09:16AM
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tiredoilersfan wrote:

Remember when Montreal blew up there whole team and then made playoffs had a couple bad seasons but are now annual contenders.

Time for a complete blow out keep 1-3 players everyone else gone. Entire coaching & management staff gone.

How can we be happy with getting Mac T when guys like Jim Nil were available. The main problem is Katz keeps believing the potential players and hype around it from management. I understand we trade a player all of a sudden there great elsewhere, my response who cares they were not here. Rebuild version 3,4,5 to come.

Lowe and company made me a tier 2,3 fan.

Imagine this farce of a team in Montreal.Sac le bleu they would have burned down the Canadians front office by now.

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#66 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 17 2014, 09:20AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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.

Who's saying that firing Kreuger after 48 was justified? Jason says in his article that they need to stop changing coaches every summer, which suggests that's he probably pretty critical of the Kreuger firing. You can't un-ring that bell, though, so why not start being consistent now?

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#67 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 09:24AM
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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.

It's actually worse, it's been 5 coaches in 6 years, not just 4 in 5, but otherwise I agree.

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#68 RexHolez
January 17 2014, 09:29AM
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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.

You lost me on the point you were trying to make by saying the oilers were in the playoffs for 1 day!! That's amazing!! 1 day!!! When was the last time that happened?? Playing only the west too!! Wow, Krueger was a miracle worker!!!!

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#69 Spydyr
January 17 2014, 09:30AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Who's saying that firing Kreuger after 48 was justified? Jason says in his article that they need to stop changing coaches every summer, which suggests that's he probably pretty critical of the Kreuger firing. You can't un-ring that bell, though, so why not start being consistent now?

The don't fire the coach beacuse we fired to many coaches already argument shows why the team is where they are now.

If anyone player, coach ,skate sharpener in the organization can be replaced by a better person.Do it.Don't employ people because they won Cups 30 years ago employ the best hockey minds you can get to run the team.

Stop hiring people with absolutely no experience in their positions.

Lowe was assistant coach with no experience promoted to head coach with no experience as a head coach.Then promoted to Gm with no experience as GM. Then promoted to POHO again with no experience.

Mac-T left/was fired as coach.Comes back as GM with no experience.

Eakins was hired with no experience as an NHL head coach.

It is no surprise this organization is a failure everyone from the Owner down to the players are learning on the job.

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#70 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 17 2014, 09:37AM
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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.

Why does a 20 year old with barely 80 games under his belt deserve first unit powerplay time?

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#71 NsxZero
January 17 2014, 09:41AM
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@Spydyr

That pretty much sums it all up. In any job (not to mention the GM of a NHL team), experience matters. This is why years of experience included in job postings. If you don't have experience you are given a intern/entry level position. And no, experience on the bus doesn't count damnit.

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#72 Big Cap
January 17 2014, 09:43AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Why does a 20 year old with barely 80 games under his belt deserve first unit powerplay time?

He's a Sniper with a rocket. Nugey and Ebs are great set up men, does it not make sense to play to your strengths?

Yak will grow into a better defensive player in time and hopefully kill penalties and protect one goal leads in the last minute of the game one day.

Until then, play him where he is comfortable and best suited.

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#73 Spydyr
January 17 2014, 09:49AM
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NsxZero wrote:

That pretty much sums it all up. In any job (not to mention the GM of a NHL team), experience matters. This is why years of experience included in job postings. If you don't have experience you are given a intern/entry level position. And no, experience on the bus doesn't count damnit.

I'm pretty sure Katz hires experienced people to run his multi-billion dollar business.

With him not doing it with the Oilers, well that shows me the Oilers are a hobby a play thing a toy to him. A place where you can give your buddies a job.

Most of us here love the Oilers and don't deserve to have our beloved franchise toyed with.

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#74 tileguy
January 17 2014, 09:49AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Why does a 20 year old with barely 80 games under his belt deserve first unit powerplay time?

I guess we have to decide if the rest of the year is to be used as a training session(will be good for tanking) or to used as building character, ie you earn your ice time. The season is lost and since the team is full of 18-22 yr olds might as well put who we feel will be keepers on the PP, unless we are showcasing. Dam, so many hard decesions to makle.

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#75 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
January 17 2014, 09:51AM
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Big Cap wrote:

He's a Sniper with a rocket. Nugey and Ebs are great set up men, does it not make sense to play to your strengths?

Yak will grow into a better defensive player in time and hopefully kill penalties and protect one goal leads in the last minute of the game one day.

Until then, play him where he is comfortable and best suited.

If that's where he's most comfortable, PP time should be used as an incentive to get him to work on the aspects of his game that he still needs to work on.

Make the connection in his brain that willingness to backcheck helps him score more goals, and the team benefits.

Anything else is the tail wagging the dog.

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#76 S cottV
January 17 2014, 09:52AM
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Oilers have to create conditions to shelter the fact that too many pucks are going in the back of our net.

It may be 3, 4 - even 5 years before the team has a legitimate back end. Guys like Nurse and maybe this years draft pick - will have to be part of the mix and they will take time to get there.

Sure - trades and ufa's may speed things up but development time will still be a big part of this dilemma.

The last thing the Oilers need right now, is continuance of their run and gun - offence first culture. It is an embarrassment. It over exposes the very area where the team is weakest. It hampers the goalie and d corps development process because there are so many bombs going off - these guys get shell shocked and a major dose of ptsd.

This team needs 3 years of Hitchcock like, Sutter like, Torts like, Maurice like - defense first influence, to at least keep things close - while our back end is under construction.

Eakins is not the guy. He is an inexperienced risk taking run and gun guy - who even wants to run and gun on defence for crying out loud. Under his leadership - the team looks so shakey - so unstable, its downright scary.

What is needed is a tough nuts and bolts veteran coach - who can bring some stability to this mess, by influencing (one way or another) our spoiled brat forwards to play 200 feet of hockey.

Its one thing to have the right philosophy for the times and its another thing to have the ability to influence the player group to do what you want them to do.

Eakins has neither the philosophy or the ability to influence because the players do not take him seriously.

Get someone with the right stuff, that will not be ignored - least of all, by a bunch of spoiled brat forwards...

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#77 Dave
January 17 2014, 09:54AM
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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.

Fair enough, although I would argue the Wild ice a line-up with more actual NHL calibre players then the Oilers from top to bottom.

I 100% agree on the Yak for the shot, although he has to earn it as well. IMO, Yak's injury/resulting goal was a direct result of him unwilling to move the puck deep via putting it into a soft area in the corner or skating it even five to ten feet further down the wall. He got caught standing still at the blue-line-ran over-rush resulting in a goal the other way. It is plays like that, that make the coach lose confidence in your decisions on the ice..i.e affect your ice time/pp time, etc.

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#78 Spydyr
January 17 2014, 09:54AM
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In the past two games the OIlers have been scored on 17 seconds and 8 seconds after the start of a period.

That shows me the coach does not have his team ready to play.

Maybe the are tired from : Chopping wood, hauling water during the intermission.

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#79 He Who Knows
January 17 2014, 09:59AM
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We Oilers fans have been underdogs for so long that we now play the part so well. We take sh%# from rival fans, we let Lowe and his cronies ride all over us, we let a billionaire owner milk us for his new palace, we continue to believe in the teams BS and we give a standing ovation when the team wins once in a blue moon. This all reminds me of Phil Leotardo's epic speech from the Sopranos.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rBcbc8eWz6U

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#80 Zarny
January 17 2014, 10:10AM
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Disputatio wrote:

That is a curious criticism of Kreuger considering the fact that it's the most success the franchise has enjoyed in close to half a decade. Especially in the face of the spectacular bomb the team has been this year. It's highly probable that it will set the benchmark for worst season in franchise history considering they were stingier with points in the standings back in 93.

In comparison with Kreuger, Eakin's effort as head coach has been phenomenally bad, with a litany of mistakes that have clearly compounded the problems facing the team. The widespread regression by virtually every player on the roster and the horrible start is making even Pat Quinn's borderline senile effort as coach in 2010 look like the work of a master, Eakins has been that bad.

Coaching stability would be nice, but that was something that could have(should have) been practiced before they hired Eakins. The long term damage that would be caused by keeping such an incredibly poor coach over an ideal(or more likely, the GM's ego and the owner's pocketbook), far outweighs any damage that would be done by going out and installing a competent coach.

LMAO...the most success the franchise has enjoyed?

They finished 24th last year and were free falling after 48 games with better goaltending and fewer injuries.

The Oilers got off to better start last because of the lockout. Our young kids had been playing in OKC and were in shape where lots of teams had a lot of players that had to get into shape.

Once that edge was gone after 20 games the Oilers started plummeting.

Gregor is 100% right. Renney, Krueger and Eakins were/are not bad coaches.

The players on the roster simply aren't good enough.

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#81 jr_christ
January 17 2014, 10:14AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Why does a 20 year old with barely 80 games under his belt deserve first unit powerplay time?

wait... is this a trick question?

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#82 Ed in Edmonton
January 17 2014, 10:15AM
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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.

I'm not convinced that the Oil had the more "talented" line up, I think Ryan Suter has more talent than the entire Oil D.

However, my main point is that one should not get confused between "talent" and effectiveness. There have been many players who have great talent but never developed into effective players. I sue the term "effective" as a player who helps the team win.

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#83 Lil Scrivy
January 17 2014, 10:18AM
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So should we trade Yakupov(a young, future superstar, 40 goal scorer) for Clarkson(an old, broken has been whom the wheels are falling off of) then?

There's no easy answers. Old 30+ players are not the answer. I think our young skilled players just need to learn defense. It'll come, give it time.

Also, and NHL caliber defense will help.

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#84 OttawaOilFan
January 17 2014, 10:18AM
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Spydyr wrote:

The don't fire the coach beacuse we fired to many coaches already argument shows why the team is where they are now.

If anyone player, coach ,skate sharpener in the organization can be replaced by a better person.Do it.Don't employ people because they won Cups 30 years ago employ the best hockey minds you can get to run the team.

Stop hiring people with absolutely no experience in their positions.

Lowe was assistant coach with no experience promoted to head coach with no experience as a head coach.Then promoted to Gm with no experience as GM. Then promoted to POHO again with no experience.

Mac-T left/was fired as coach.Comes back as GM with no experience.

Eakins was hired with no experience as an NHL head coach.

It is no surprise this organization is a failure everyone from the Owner down to the players are learning on the job.

It's been a while and I can't remember off the top of my head so feel to correct me if I'm wrong but Lowe moved wasn't moved to POHO as a promotion/doing a good job type of thing, was he not moved because the oragnisation wanted him out of the "public eye" due to his rants "in public/on air" about Burke after the Penner offer sheet?

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#86 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 10:24AM
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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.

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...

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#87 nunyour
January 17 2014, 10:29AM
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The oilers are clueless when it comes to playing defence,it is either the coaching or the players aren't listening.How hard is it for the d-men to take the man,but no,they go for the puck and get beat every time.

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#88 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 10:31AM
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Eakins came in talking all this CRAP about how good he is with players. How he needs to get to each individual and deal with them on a one on one basis. Sit down and find what makes each one tick and motivate them.

REMEMBER THAT??

So tell me all you Eakins supporters, WTF IS GOING ON? The guy can't do a 1/10th of what he advertised.

The argument to keep the coach is a flawed one. He can't work with men. Send him back to play with boys

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#89 Spoils
January 17 2014, 10:39AM
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Really impressive to see it laid out like that - revolving door 3rd 4th liners, no change at the top.

I really want to win with Nuge Hall Ebs and Gagner etc., but we need to be prepared to move any and all of them.

Colorado traded their 3 #1 overalls prior to winning he cup.

If you draft consensus # 1, not best pick for your team, you have to trade later.

IT IS LATER.

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#90 Shifty203
January 17 2014, 10:39AM
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@Jason Gregor

You've been saying for a while this team isn't good enough, and doesn't have the make-up to win. I think everyone around here knows that. You've also been saying for a while that they can't keep all the kids. I have a few questions for you.

Who do you think specifically has to go, or should go?

Who do you think they should be targeting for trades? Teams/players that we should be able to work with?

Personally, I think they should be targeting Ott for one, whatever it takes. Buffalo is undergoing rebuild, and could probably use some more picks.

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#91 RL
January 17 2014, 10:49AM
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Why are we so worried about the revolving door, a new coach and a new system for the players to learn? The season is garbage anyways, the team cant be any worse, what do we have to lose? Head coaches make a difference, and if Eakins is fired right now, the team will have a 30 game headstart on learning a new system for next year!

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#93 GriffCity
January 17 2014, 10:53AM
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Somewhere in Europe Ralphy boy is laughing his ass off.

I don't blame Eakins for everything that's for sure but he certainly doesn't fire me up when the camera spans over his face after a bad play or bad goal and he's standing there looking like Mr. Bean in line at the airport. How about a little passion there coach? Yell at someone, show some fire on the bench and hold people contactable like you said you would when you first got this job.

At the end of the day, our defense is AWFUL and our top 6 are just not very good. Say what you want but Eberle,Gagner, Yakupov, and recently Perron have been playing poorly and that can't happen if you want to remain competitive.

Did I mention our defense stinks? - Worst in the league. Fedun and Hunt are undersized but effective puck movers and made very few mistakes when called up. Marincin makes glaring mistakes far more often and he sticks around...wtf

When you lose 4-1 to a completely depleted MIN roster there isn't a whole lot to say. We are the worst team in the league AGAIN.

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#94 Zarny
January 17 2014, 10:54AM
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Some of you have to quit living and dying with each game. The stress is going to kill you.

The problem with the Oilers isn't coaching. The problem is the roster...as in the players simply are not good enough.

The Oilers embarked on a rebuild because every skilled player in the league shunned Edmonton. Mission accomplished...Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yak, Gagner, Perron and Schultz...lots of skill now.

The problem is they have nothing else.

I disagree with Mr. Gregor that changes aren't required on the 4th line and bottom pair D. Those players aren't NHLers and with such a young group of top 6 F they shouldn't have even less experience.

The Oilers' biggest problem however is a complete lack of top pairing D. Every Oiler D is playing above their head against the top F in the league. You can't coach around that I'm afraid. Until the Oilers have two D who can play against top line forwards nothing will change regardless of who is on the bench.

They also need at least one top 6 F who isn't smaller than the average NHL F. Right now the Oilers top 6 F are the easiest in the league to shutdown...push them all to the outside and bump them off the puck. Doesn't matter which one you're talking about...they are all the same.

3-4 moves could drastically change the Oiler's fortunes but they are big moves. They aren't easy trades to make and they tend to only happen at a few times in the year. One of those windows is coming up with the trade deadline.

Until those moves are made nothing is going to change. No one is going to coach the current roster to a better record. There are simply way too many holes at key positions.

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#95 GriffCity
January 17 2014, 10:55AM
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GriffCity wrote:

Somewhere in Europe Ralphy boy is laughing his ass off.

I don't blame Eakins for everything that's for sure but he certainly doesn't fire me up when the camera spans over his face after a bad play or bad goal and he's standing there looking like Mr. Bean in line at the airport. How about a little passion there coach? Yell at someone, show some fire on the bench and hold people contactable like you said you would when you first got this job.

At the end of the day, our defense is AWFUL and our top 6 are just not very good. Say what you want but Eberle,Gagner, Yakupov, and recently Perron have been playing poorly and that can't happen if you want to remain competitive.

Did I mention our defense stinks? - Worst in the league. Fedun and Hunt are undersized but effective puck movers and made very few mistakes when called up. Marincin makes glaring mistakes far more often and he sticks around...wtf

When you lose 4-1 to a completely depleted MIN roster there isn't a whole lot to say. We are the worst team in the league AGAIN.

*Accountable* - not contactable

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#97 Oiler Al
January 17 2014, 11:03AM
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Not the coaching? This team cannot even set up a power play box with all the NO, 1 picks on the ice. One big cluster flak going on. There is no plan here, just pond hockey , with guys running around and passing where ever and when ever. Its a total circus.

These guys are all individual players , with no team concept in place. There are many teams in the NHL with lesser skilled players that are playing like professional teams, instead of this crap we have to watch.

I dont care if its 5 in six years, I would fire Eakins after the Winnipeg game, cant get any worse.

MacT can explain to Katz the $2 million write off.

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#98 2004Z06
January 17 2014, 11:08AM
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Muji wrote:

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 (!)

The band is still playing, it just keeps playing wan wan waaaaaa over and over and over!

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#100 -31-
January 17 2014, 11:43AM
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@Jason Gregor

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.

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