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 

Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
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 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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#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 -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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#5 Otown
January 17 2014, 08:58AM
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Gregor and Willis for GM and assistant GM!!

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#6 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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#7 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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#8 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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#9 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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#10 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 02:53PM
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Zarny wrote:

Spare me your drivel Bryzarro World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context you douche, Context.

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

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

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

Blowe me

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#11 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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 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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#16 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 12:38PM
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@Zarny

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

Your rantings are borderline laughable...

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

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

Your rantings are borderline laughable...

Spare me your drivel Bryzarro World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#18 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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#19 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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#20 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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#21 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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#22 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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#25 Towersofdub
January 17 2014, 12:04PM
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i don't know why so many people are whining about Eakins' lack of NHL coaching experience. Pat Roy seems to be doing ok as an inexperienced NHL head coach. Jon Cooper seems like he's doing ok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edmonton did not ice a more talented team last night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You're SMRT

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#29 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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#30 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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#31 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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#32 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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#33 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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#34 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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#35 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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#37 -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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#38 TDSM31
January 17 2014, 02:28PM
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Nailed it JG! Its time to stop f*cking around and deal one of the top 3 for some assets this team needs. Eberle is the one that should go.

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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#49 mayorblaine
January 17 2014, 11:48AM
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they have good players.

they have a bad team.

the latter being the reason for their lot in life.

blame whomever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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