Slow but steady

Jason Strudwick
January 17 2014 07:26AM

When Craig Mactavish took over as Oilers GM he said the Oilers needed to be harder to play against. Move by move he is slowly grinding this Oiler team in that direction.

Since taking over he has added Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, David Perron, Luke Gazdic and most recently Matt Hendricks.

This is a group of players that should make playing against the Oilers less enjoyable than it has been. Nearly every game this year, teams play against the Oilers and their teams trainers don't even bother turning on the ice machine. There is no need for ice bags. These games are not physical.

That had to change. The Oilers inability to challenge teams physically or even match it has been a big issue. Take a look at the Pacific Division! These are big heavy teams, with skill, that most nights push the Oilers around. I don't even want to think about the oilers matching up in a seven-game playoff series against the Kings or Blues! They would lose in three.

Hendricks is a player I thought the Oilers needed to bring in last summer. I have no issue with his cap hit per year. The cap will continue to go up and the Oilers are not in a cap crunch. The issue is the term. I wonder what Hendricks will bring in year four.

He is a physical player that should, I hope, help the oilers connect emotionally with their games. You can't win or have success in the NHL without passion and emotion in your game. This Oilers squad is vanilla basically to a man. There are a few exceptions but not enough. I hope Hendricks comes into the dressing room and stirs up the pot. On the ice, I expect him to chirp and drag other guys into getting pissed off!

Think back to when Yakupov got into it with basically the whole Winnipeg Jets team. It was beautiful! That is one of the few times I saw the Oilers bench on their feet and passion on the guys faces. There is no stat to measure the value of passion but I know it is so important to team moral and confidence. Without it, a team sleep walks through games.

There is still work to be done for MacT. He needs to find a way to bring in edgy players to the top six forwards. These players are hard to get. Sorting out the bottom six is the easier job but slowly the team is starting to get some heart.

Old Goalie out, New Goalie in

Does this even matter? NO. It doesn't.

The overall team defence hasn't changed for the Oilers. Why should we expect Ben Scrivens to come in and have more success? This isn't me saying Scrivens can't be a decent goalie. The facts are that any goalie with an Oilers jersey will see shots and chances against that he will not believe.

Scrivens has been playing behind the Los Angeles Kings and that group controls shots against as good as any team in the NHL. Scrivens is in for rude wakeup call here. He will need to be on his toes the whole sixty minutes.

I like the test drive that the rest of the season brings for the oilers to watch Scrivens up close. I am not convinced he is an upgrade on Dubnyk but we can all watch him close up and form an opinion. Keep an eye on his glove had. He holds it to high which makes most saves a downward motion instead of up. That is the harder way.

I see no reason why Scrivens shouldn't start the bulk of the games the rest of this season. I would expect that Bryz will not be back with the oilers next year. So far he has done nothing to suggest he is the man for the Oilers. I think the team will look to a potential UFA like Jaroslav Halak or Jonas Hiller or make a trade for a guy like Cam Ward. The backup will most likely by Scrivens. In other words: two new goalies to start next season.

I believe Dubnyk is a good goalie. He is the luckiest person in Edmonton right now. He probably skipped all the way to Nashville. The Predators have a history of building goalies. The Preds play a pretty good defensive game. Dubnyk will get a chance to work with Mitch Corn, the Preds goalie coach. He has had success with tall goalies.

Public Breakups

I witnessed a breakup at Starbucks this morning. In fact I had a front row seat and decided to live tweet it! Surrounded by 20 or so people this lady gave her man an outright release.

I don't normally get into other peoples nightmares but I was literally sitting right beside them. Once it started I couldn't stop listening.

This poor guy was dropped like he was hot over a double chai latte. I will give him credit he did fight for it but she wasn't buying his "I will change" or "You deserve better from me" lines.

She shut him down and was convinced a breakup was the right way to go. This is where it got painful to watch.

Judging by their conversation I would guess they hadn't been together long. But this guy was determined not to lose her! It was embarrassing to say the least. At some point shouldn't you just take your lumps and move on? Not this guy! It wasn't like Jen Aniston was breaking up with him.

In the end they both got up and gave the most awkward hug I have ever seen. she says "We will be in touch soon". From what I saw there is no chance that will happen.

What is the right way to break up with someone these days? I know for sure doing it at Starbucks at 9:30 AM is a very cold way to do it.

I guess it is better than by text.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#101 D-Unit
January 17 2014, 03:13PM
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S cottV wrote:

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...

So, what you are saying is the Oilers need a coach who will do to all the "talent" what Eakins was trying to do with Yak. Make Yak defensively accountable. Yet, it seems 99% of the people on here and around Edmonton said Yak doesn't need defence and Eakins was ruining Yak.

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#102 Kr55
January 17 2014, 03:18PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

So Perron, Ference, Gordon or now Hendricks are not hard to play against?

Perron can be in a pest way, but he's lost a lot of his St. Louis/Hitchcock mojo now and is starting to look like a typical Oiler. Ference is too busy trying to handle the minutes far beyond his abilities to have time to be hard to play against, plus he's not a big guy anyways. Gordon is on par with Horcoff, although Horc was better at babysitting other players. Gordon doesn't really mix it up with anyone (17 hits this year). Hendricks was Nashville's worst player this season if you look at corsi stats, plus he's only 6'0. At best he's one of those non-factor players MacT was insulting last year.

Sorry, but I think even more so than last year, when other teams see the Oilers in the schedule, they know it will be an easy night. The constant string of backups we are facing every night now really shows that. What we added doesn't really put us that much further ahead compared what we had with our last 4th liners, Fistric and Smid.

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#103 Oil Fan in Flames Town
January 17 2014, 03:28PM
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@vetinari

I was reading the Hockey News People of Power and Influence issue and Patrick Roy was ranked somewhere in the top 20 I believe. What struck me about the piece was Matt Duchene’s glowing comments about Roy and the system that he implemented in Colorado this year. At one point he says something like “it is impossible to overstate Patrick’s contribution to the team’s success this year.”

Of course I can’t link the article, but I did find this old story from the Denver Post where Duchene says many of the same things: http://www.denverpost.com/avalanche/ci_24395710/matt-duchene-loves-fast-pace-system-and-personal-style-patrick-roy

I thought it was interesting that Duchene felt that the old system implemented by Sacco didn’t fit the team that they actually had, whereas Roy has them playing in a way that utilizes their obvious strengths – speed and skill.

Anyway I’m not saying that the Oilers don’t have glaring holes that need to be addressed or that coaching is the sole reason that they are flirting with dead last once again. However, I also don’t remember the team looking this disengaged in the past and it makes most games utterly joyless to watch. As an Oil fan I know a thing or two about losing and I don’t think their dismal record alone explains why I can’t bring myself to watch the third period most nights.

Maybe Eakins is a coaching prodigy and he will eventually revolutionize not only the Oil, but the NHL as a whole. Maybe not. I do think these Duchene interviews suggest that from the perspective of a young, elite player, on a team full of young, elite players, the right coach and system can make a huge difference to a team’s success.

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#104 A-Mc
January 17 2014, 03:36PM
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I dont agree that Hendricks is a lateral move, like most other people here are saying. He looked more capable to me.

My impression of him was first that he definitely moves a little slower (but so does Gordon and to some extend Perron), but he was really aggressive at times that we normally dont see. Aside from throwing some hits, he was grind on guys by getting his glove in faces and being a pest. I liked him alot.

For the first time last night i said out loud that the Oilers are seemingly close to resembling a team with a little jam to their game. If they were bottom barrel before, they are slowly working their way into the picture.

If we kept Smid and Fistric... Suddenly we're not looking too bad. There is a good chance that 1-2 guys on the ice at any given time have some real Jam and grit to their game.

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#105 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 03:50PM
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Kr55 wrote:

Perron can be in a pest way, but he's lost a lot of his St. Louis/Hitchcock mojo now and is starting to look like a typical Oiler. Ference is too busy trying to handle the minutes far beyond his abilities to have time to be hard to play against, plus he's not a big guy anyways. Gordon is on par with Horcoff, although Horc was better at babysitting other players. Gordon doesn't really mix it up with anyone (17 hits this year). Hendricks was Nashville's worst player this season if you look at corsi stats, plus he's only 6'0. At best he's one of those non-factor players MacT was insulting last year.

Sorry, but I think even more so than last year, when other teams see the Oilers in the schedule, they know it will be an easy night. The constant string of backups we are facing every night now really shows that. What we added doesn't really put us that much further ahead compared what we had with our last 4th liners, Fistric and Smid.

Size means jack if you don't use it. Those guys are all hard to play against because they compete hard. I'd take half a Brendan Gallagher over a full Dustin Penner any day.

Perron has been somewhat quiet for what 7 games? Oh, no! Call the waa'ambulance! He's probably tired from carrying the team on his back for the entire season up to that point.

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#106 Pokey
January 17 2014, 03:55PM
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Oilers are 3 pts ahead of Buffalo. Buffalo have 4 games in hand. I predict that the Oil will fall off the edge of the planet and could easily end up 30th overall.

Doesn't that make us all so proud of our ownership and management.

What's with this confidence B.S. being tossed around by apologists like Stauffer and Lowetide.

What has confidence got to do with putting both hands on your stick and battling with your check in front of the net. It has nothing to do with confidence and playing with some semblance of respect for yourself, your team-mates and the fans.

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#107 wiseguy
January 17 2014, 03:58PM
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"What is the right way to break up with someone these days? I know for sure doing it at Starbucks at 9:30 AM is a very cold way to do it.

I guess it is better than by text."

MacT recommends doing it via Skype

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#108 Big red ginger snap
January 17 2014, 03:59PM
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This team is a train wreak and i dont see it getting back on the rails anytime soon but i watch and feel nothing

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#109 Sisyphus
January 17 2014, 04:07PM
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Just a thought. There seems to be more and more of the "stop screaming, these were small trades, no point in rushing things, wait til the offseason" commentary going around. And I have to say--waiting for the off-season, thinking that we can plug holes with FA's, is delusional. Given Scrivens less-than-thrilled reaction to coming to EDM, to Hendricks passing on more $ to go someplace other than EDM when he had a choice, should say a lot. FA's aren't going to come here. At least the ones who can get an offer from any other team. And the ones who can't get offers from other teams....do we really want to sign that? We can't afford to wait until our d prospects are hopefully ready, and we're not going to get any valuable FA's

The ONLY way to improve this team for the foreseeable future is via trades. And not like the Scrivens trade, for a guy who's here for 3 months then leaving town. These have to be big, bold, LT trades. Yes, we're going to have to get rid of at least one young stud, possibly two. Get over it. Identify the stud who's going to have the most trade value to other teams, then make a big trade. I would rather see us trade one of our studs, even if its RNH or Hall, and get back 2 or 3 solid pieces that we need. I refuse to listen to those who say that there are untouchables on this team. If by trading one player you fix 2+ holes at once, I say its a win for the team. Period.

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#110 Kr55
January 17 2014, 04:08PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Size means jack if you don't use it. Those guys are all hard to play against because they compete hard. I'd take half a Brendan Gallagher over a full Dustin Penner any day.

Perron has been somewhat quiet for what 7 games? Oh, no! Call the waa'ambulance! He's probably tired from carrying the team on his back for the entire season up to that point.

Yeah, we were really hard to play against last night when Cooke took out Yak and went on to dominate us almost every shift he had the rest of the night with no Oiler touching him.

Fact remains, this team is getting dominated almost every night now. These supposed hard to play against players are spending more time trying to figure out how to play hockey than actually doing stuff that makes life difficult for the other team. Ference especially looks completely lost out there lately.

I'd take Smid and Fistric making life miserable for other teams forwards in a heartbeat right now to help this butter soft D group and I don't think either are that good of players. But those are guys that are actually hard to play against because they can punish you physically. If we're only talking about compete level here, well, look no further than Eakins if you want to lay blame. He's running this team into the ground (Perron's recent drop in level of play is the most recent example) and we've seen no indication of this amazing ability to motivate that MacT claims he has.

Seriously, on pace for 57 points, worst Oiler season ever. Every team playing their backup against us. The respect this team gets and the respect they deserve drops with every game they play.

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#111 A-Mc
January 17 2014, 04:09PM
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Pokey wrote:

Oilers are 3 pts ahead of Buffalo. Buffalo have 4 games in hand. I predict that the Oil will fall off the edge of the planet and could easily end up 30th overall.

Doesn't that make us all so proud of our ownership and management.

What's with this confidence B.S. being tossed around by apologists like Stauffer and Lowetide.

What has confidence got to do with putting both hands on your stick and battling with your check in front of the net. It has nothing to do with confidence and playing with some semblance of respect for yourself, your team-mates and the fans.

I'm not proud of where we are but i DO think MacT is doing good things, 1 piece at a time. No one re-tools a team in 1 season while retaining all the talent. You can't trade garbage for a brand new car.

That being said! We have suffered so much this year that i think we deserve to have the top 1/2 pick at this years draft. The only way more disappointment can creep into my feelings of this season, would be for the Oilers to win just enough to not be able to draft Ekblad. OR. MacT passes on ekblad and picks some 170lb winger instead (which i doubt would happen).

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#112 A-Mc
January 17 2014, 04:15PM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Just a thought. There seems to be more and more of the "stop screaming, these were small trades, no point in rushing things, wait til the offseason" commentary going around. And I have to say--waiting for the off-season, thinking that we can plug holes with FA's, is delusional. Given Scrivens less-than-thrilled reaction to coming to EDM, to Hendricks passing on more $ to go someplace other than EDM when he had a choice, should say a lot. FA's aren't going to come here. At least the ones who can get an offer from any other team. And the ones who can't get offers from other teams....do we really want to sign that? We can't afford to wait until our d prospects are hopefully ready, and we're not going to get any valuable FA's

The ONLY way to improve this team for the foreseeable future is via trades. And not like the Scrivens trade, for a guy who's here for 3 months then leaving town. These have to be big, bold, LT trades. Yes, we're going to have to get rid of at least one young stud, possibly two. Get over it. Identify the stud who's going to have the most trade value to other teams, then make a big trade. I would rather see us trade one of our studs, even if its RNH or Hall, and get back 2 or 3 solid pieces that we need. I refuse to listen to those who say that there are untouchables on this team. If by trading one player you fix 2+ holes at once, I say its a win for the team. Period.

Waiting until the off season doesn't necessarily mean building via only FA. You're right in that it'll be hard for edmonton to attract UFA's. Also, the UFA crop isn't very good right now

Teams that are in a playoff spot and/or are close, are reluctant to move significant pieces. Why fix what ain't broken, right? Those teams are looking to acquire depth with picks. I think we can both agree that the oilers dont need more picks. So if we want proven talent, the teams we're able to realistically pull from are other bottom feeders. These trades are more likely to happen at the trade deadline when there is more of a market and the return will be higher. The rest of the teams aren't willing to move anything until the season is over, ie: The Off Season.

If you want the doors open for all 29 other teams, the Off season is really the only time.

This is a timing thing, not a Free Agency thing.

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#113 TigerUnderGlass
January 17 2014, 04:22PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

If by good you mean, soft as kleenex and has no heart, then you are correct.

Belanger was an excellent hockey player until the day he signed with Edmonton.

I cannot believe people are happy to pay almost 2 million dollars a year to a guy in his 30's because he's large and sometimes fights. Have the Leafs taught us nothing?

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#114 Kr55
January 17 2014, 04:29PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Belanger was an excellent hockey player until the day he signed with Edmonton.

I cannot believe people are happy to pay almost 2 million dollars a year to a guy in his 30's because he's large and sometimes fights. Have the Leafs taught us nothing?

I think they've taught the people in charge too much. I think we are actually trying to model our team after the leafs. Look at how pleased MacT and Eakins are that Hall's corsi stats are in the toilet just because he's riding a wave of luck playing Eakins' awesome game plan. We went after Hendricks and Clarkson for MORE than what they took eventually from Nashville and Toronto. It's crazy to think this team can sink lower than it already has, but I think there is still more room to fall if that's how LoweT want this team run.

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#115 Woogie63
January 17 2014, 04:35PM
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Wow is there a lot of distraction at the Oiler brain trust. They seem to be busy shuffling the deck chair. In the meantime,

1) what assets are you going to link together to get a starting goalie/top 2 dman or a 2C

2) have we signed Simpson yet?

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#116 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 04:38PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Belanger was an excellent hockey player until the day he signed with Edmonton.

I cannot believe people are happy to pay almost 2 million dollars a year to a guy in his 30's because he's large and sometimes fights. Have the Leafs taught us nothing?

I cannot believe people are unhappy about getting a type of player that everyone says we need for up to 3.5 years and will always be easily tradeable, or very cheap to buyout if the need be 3 years from now for a failed goalie that was going to be let go to UFA land.

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#117 S cottV
January 17 2014, 04:41PM
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D-Unit wrote:

So, what you are saying is the Oilers need a coach who will do to all the "talent" what Eakins was trying to do with Yak. Make Yak defensively accountable. Yet, it seems 99% of the people on here and around Edmonton said Yak doesn't need defence and Eakins was ruining Yak.

As it relates to Yak - trade him as part of acquiring a key piece. Goaltender, Top D man or a 2C. You Yak guys are kidding yourselves.

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#118 Tikkanese
January 17 2014, 04:42PM
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Kr55 wrote:

Yeah, we were really hard to play against last night when Cooke took out Yak and went on to dominate us almost every shift he had the rest of the night with no Oiler touching him.

Fact remains, this team is getting dominated almost every night now. These supposed hard to play against players are spending more time trying to figure out how to play hockey than actually doing stuff that makes life difficult for the other team. Ference especially looks completely lost out there lately.

I'd take Smid and Fistric making life miserable for other teams forwards in a heartbeat right now to help this butter soft D group and I don't think either are that good of players. But those are guys that are actually hard to play against because they can punish you physically. If we're only talking about compete level here, well, look no further than Eakins if you want to lay blame. He's running this team into the ground (Perron's recent drop in level of play is the most recent example) and we've seen no indication of this amazing ability to motivate that MacT claims he has.

Seriously, on pace for 57 points, worst Oiler season ever. Every team playing their backup against us. The respect this team gets and the respect they deserve drops with every game they play.

LOL at "Smid and Fistric can punish you physically". Fistric sure but only 1/20 games when someone has their head down, but otherwise is way to slow and takes way to many dumb chances at trying to hit people putting himself out of position. Smid tried, but never scared anyone. He at least tried, I'll give him that.

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#119 Joy S. Lee
January 17 2014, 04:45PM
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He Who Knows wrote:

Hey Struds, do the guys in the locker room or when you were there talk about the way the Oilers were being managed? Did you guys know about Souray and his dislike for management before he went public? #lowemustgo

Are you kidding? Hey, it's a great, great question, and one we'd all love to hear the answer to. But, it's an answer Struds can't give. He is too reliant on cooperation from the hockey team in order to do his job, and I would think he'd have to tread carefully when it comes to criticism of ownership or management. That's just the way it is.

Now, if you can find an insider without the reliance, you might get your answer.

Expanding further, let's be real: they WANT to do it right, and they INTENDED on doing it right, the first time. They found out it's harder than it looked, and that every team in the NHL works hard at being the best, and has angles and ideas and strategies that they believe in.

GM is only ONE aspect of management, however, as it's a management TEAM that really runs a hockey club. Perhaps they need some new blood in management that doesn't see things the same way everyone else in the organization does. In other words, they have a DIFFERENT viewpoint. Maybe that's what has hurt this team, is their penchant for sameness; similar thinking is good, but doesn't offer much contrasting variety, if you know what I mean.

Truth is, from my perspective, is that MacT is doing the right things, and has been EXTREMELY hampered by what he inherited. Even if Eakins turns out to be a mistake, MacT loved his ideologies, so it did make sense to hire him. But the coach isn't so different from the players, in that he has a lot to learn. They can do it together, because we don't need ANOTHER coaching change! Beg Ralph to come back as a co-coach, or something, but don't fire this guy, too, or it's just MORE spinning of the wheels. Bring in 10 coaches... whatever...more is sometimes better, but don't fire another HEAD coach. And the players on this team need....SOMETHING to get them to the next level. They are clearly resistant to doing whatever it takes, and want the easy road, which they get about 5 nights a year in their 7-3 and 8-1 wins. The other 77, not so much. This team has been working on creating ENERGY and FLOW in their game, to limited results. What they clearly need to master - and NOW - is TEAMWORK. This team needs to be selfless. But with young guys leading the charge, that's a major challenge.

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#120 Kr55
January 17 2014, 04:53PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

LOL at "Smid and Fistric can punish you physically". Fistric sure but only 1/20 games when someone has their head down, but otherwise is way to slow and takes way to many dumb chances at trying to hit people putting himself out of position. Smid tried, but never scared anyone. He at least tried, I'll give him that.

Not just talking about big hits. Those guys were always hacking away at guys and cross-checking them around the net. Now we just have a bunch of guys that try to tap your stick as you pound the puck behind our goalie. The front of the Oilers net is probably the safest place to be in the entire rink now when you play the Oilers.

Look at the 3rd goal for Minny last night that Eakins blames Yakupov for. Minny gets 3 extra shots on net leading to the eventual goal while Ference is standing straight up with no idea what's happening and zero instinct to clear the front of the net until the puck is already going past Scrivens. Yeah, he looked very hard to play against on that one.

Not suggesting Smid and Fistric are the answers, they were not very good hockey players, but as far as hard to play against goes, they would be a big upgrade on his sad sack team. The bigger issue is how MacT has shown he wants guys like Hendricks and Clarkson. That tells me he is taking a terrible approach in trying to get players that are hard to play against and really shouldn't be trusted to turn this team around.

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#121 potential flush
January 17 2014, 05:21PM
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I have more confidence in MacT then I have had in any other gm for this team in years. Feel free to rip me to shreds though. And I will admit that I hated him as a coach. I do not, however, have any confidence in Lowe or any of the other management.

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#122 Bryzarro World
January 17 2014, 05:27PM
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I LOVE the mindless trolls that come with the argument "have you ever played?" Like that troglodyte zarny and his pals...

You do know Lowe and MacT played the game. How's that working out for them right now?.... Thought so.

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#123 TigerUnderGlass
January 17 2014, 05:46PM
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Tikkanese wrote:

I cannot believe people are unhappy about getting a type of player that everyone says we need for up to 3.5 years and will always be easily tradeable, or very cheap to buyout if the need be 3 years from now for a failed goalie that was going to be let go to UFA land.

I can't believe anyone who hates Belanger so much is suddenly excited at the idea of trading for a 32 year old 4th liner with a 4 year deal at 1.85M.

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#124 Joy S. Lee
January 17 2014, 06:30PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

You show class and treat the man with dignity and fly out to meet with him. MacT said coaching wasn't the problem then fires him after talking on the phone with Eakins.

Talk about bad karma.

That's a really interesting point, and an actual problem with this teams' management, to be blunt. They've had how many of these bad karma situations over the years? Too many to go into here, because why relive the pain, right?

But that bad karma 'bug' seems to haunt these guys. You might be closer to the truth in this, buddy, than even you realized. Perhaps it's a part of the fundamental belief system that's not serving them so well. Whose belief system and whose belief or beliefs, I don't know, and it's not for me to speculate, actually. But, the publicly embarrassing gaff's this team has endured, to go along with the product on the ice, well...there's something stinking up the henhouse.

Ok, maybe it is time for me to speculate, just like all you other speculators on here. I think it has come to the point where they need some new direction at the top, sorry Mr. Lowe, but you can't say you didn't have a fair shot. New thinking is required to fix the old thinking, and the only way to get new thinking is to change the thinker. Good luck in your new endeavours, though. I still think your jersey should be hanging in the rafters, too. You were a very valuable contributor to the success of the greatest hockey team in history. Despite all those Stanley cup rings you want to brag about as if it makes you impervious to criticism, you did earn them, and you helped bring a lot of joy to Edmonton. I'm appreciative of that, but quite honestly, maybe not so much of what you've managed to accomplish in a management role. You were supposed to be pre-ordained for management, according to one of your predecessors, I believe it was, along with some media types, but maybe that's not where your talents lie.

Jeez, couldn't help myself. I've been hearing so much about it for so long, it just got to me. And, I guess I'm finding myself on the side against Mr. Lowe's continuing role with the hockey team. I didn't really know that going in, either, as I've been on the fence, liked some of the things he's done. But I'm not going to argue with my own logic. That'll be for someone else, here. Wouldn't be first time I was wrong, either, if that's the case, because the hard truth is, I have no concrete idea how much the guy actually contributes to the organization. I'm not working with him. You don't know, either. But we can guess, and that's all we're doing here, even those of us who claim to KNOW, and state it in such ways as to supposedly remove all doubt. Like life, the business of hockey has become a fluid thing. Those who keep up with that fluid change are the ones who flourish. Actually, even more so, those who create it are. Meanwhile, those that remain as they are, thinking the way they've always thought, pretending past success dictates future results, well...they get left behind. And their hockey teams go with them. And, finally, that's all I'm saying...

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#125 Jnews14
January 17 2014, 07:00PM
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@Joy S. Lee

Well said Joy S. Lee. I think your last comments summarize the what has been driving this team for quite some time now and why it is so flawed. The leadership group of the Oilers still firmly believe they are ahead of the curve because they won cups as players. However, time and time again they are showing they are well behind the rest of the league and are not able to evolve fast enough to come anywhere close to catching up, especially when the only new minds we bring in are friends of Lowe, some who have been employed by Lowe another time in the past.

This leadership group is doomed in its current state. Katz needs to poach a smart hockey mind from a successful organization and let that person take the reins as president if he ever wants this team to compete the NHL again.

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#126 D-Unit
January 17 2014, 07:12PM
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S cottV wrote:

As it relates to Yak - trade him as part of acquiring a key piece. Goaltender, Top D man or a 2C. You Yak guys are kidding yourselves.

I would have traded Yak to Siberia for a bag of ice the day he said something to the effect he doesn't want to back check or play any D.

When the best players in the world understand that the D zone needs to be part of their game there is no excuse for a guy like Yak saying he doesn't need to.

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#127 corky
January 17 2014, 07:39PM
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I find it crazy people are ready to dump Yak already. Jeez, give the guy a reasonable chance.

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#128 gus1000
January 17 2014, 07:48PM
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Quick tidbit on Perron, they said on the broadcast last night he was battling some illness or ailment the past couple of weeks and is finally starting to feel normal again. Although I agree, the ailment could be a back problem from carrying the team around.

This makes sense for the recent poor play, and he did have a little spark last night. Hopefully he gets back to scoring goals, because we apparently need to average 6 a night to win.

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#129 Walter Sobchak
January 17 2014, 07:51PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I can't believe anyone who hates Belanger so much is suddenly excited at the idea of trading for a 32 year old 4th liner with a 4 year deal at 1.85M.

Almost 33, so ya, 38 when his contract expires for a guy who on "most nights will be a non-factor".

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#130 corky
January 17 2014, 07:56PM
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Perron has been a bright spot. I wonder what mgmt tells these free agents to get to come here? Or is it longer terms and bucks that other teams wouldn't offer (khabby).

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#131 jim
January 17 2014, 09:14PM
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i'd rather get dumped in person at starbucks than fired over skype

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#132 camdog
January 17 2014, 10:46PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Wow is there a lot of distraction at the Oiler brain trust. They seem to be busy shuffling the deck chair. In the meantime,

1) what assets are you going to link together to get a starting goalie/top 2 dman or a 2C

2) have we signed Simpson yet?

No word on Simpson. With limited draft picks available to trade and with few high rated prospects in the system, short of trading one of the chosen 4 we have no other option but to wait another 2-3 years.

Then again we could just fire Eakins and bring in a coach that knows how to coach NHL players. There are many AHL coaches that are good AHL coaches, that never ever make it in the NHL. George Burnett is one of the top coaches in OHL history. Worst coach of all time to ever coach for the Oilers. Sometimes the transition to the big leagues just doesn't happen. Eakins doesn't deserve a free pass, because of past Oiler failures.

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#133 Josh Oiler
January 17 2014, 11:28PM
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YAK IS AND WILL BE THE BEST OILERS -BAR NONE

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#134 S cottV
January 17 2014, 11:29PM
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D-Unit wrote:

I would have traded Yak to Siberia for a bag of ice the day he said something to the effect he doesn't want to back check or play any D.

When the best players in the world understand that the D zone needs to be part of their game there is no excuse for a guy like Yak saying he doesn't need to.

Too bad for Yak there is no hockey equivalent to the Harlem Globe Trotters.

He could be the star of the show and beat those Generals every night.

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#135 Cynic
January 17 2014, 11:49PM
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I am shocked. I thought the Sun chain folded years ago. Apparently, the interwebs isn't killing newspapers quickly enough.

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#136 Andrew
January 18 2014, 05:20AM
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I wonder how long it will take for the 'sheep' to wake up and stop buying seasons tickets. If the team does mail it in as they have done in the past and the situation gets even worse I can't imagine anyone plopping down a big wad of cash for this kind of disfunctional product. How can Oiler hockey be considered real entertainment for the dollars being laid out?

I wouldn't be surprised if the Oil traded places with OKC and we may not see many wins but I'd bet we would see a better effort night in and night out. I personally think Todd Nelson does a better of getting the most out of the talent he has been given to work with.

My bet is Eakins sees Yakupov as a young inexperienced player who he has turned into his lightning rod to deflect attention away from his own inexperience and incompetence.

Surely the 'Peter Principle' is still required for MBA candidates. It certainly should be readily available to Katz and all Oiler executives. Can you even read Mac?

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#137 wintoon
January 18 2014, 07:24AM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Oh let's see.

Little things called:

compete level

plays with size

has been known to stick up for teammates

even drops the gloves once in a while... All the Gazdic haters should be rejoicing

You know, things everyone and their dog has been asking for the Oilers to get more of in the top 6, bottom 6 and on defense. He just happens to be a bottom 6 that we have for up to 3.5 years for a failed goalie that was not going to be re-signed in the summer.

He's also more of a winger than a center but is adept at winning faceoffs(about the only thing he shares with Belanger) as well as being a useful penalty killer.

Not every trade can be a David Perron. He's still a big upgrade over Will Acton, Eric Belanger, Lennart Pettrel and even Anton Lander at this point. Why does everyone have to be such "Negative Nancy's" about every little transaction?

Posters please note.

This exchange is obviously between one person who is a hockey nerd (totally statistics focussed)and another who is a hockey player (anhas actually been on a rink).

I wonder which is which?

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#138 copper
January 18 2014, 08:44AM
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@Sisyphus

UFA's Ferrence + Boyd signed last off season. No reason not to expect others to sign this off season. Players take time to develop. Why throw away high end talent now before they develop? The type of players we need, top 6 talent with size, skill and attitude along with top pairing dmen are what ever team wants. Hard to come by and who wants to give them up if they have them?

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#139 D-Unit
January 18 2014, 09:28AM
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S cottV wrote:

Too bad for Yak there is no hockey equivalent to the Harlem Globe Trotters.

He could be the star of the show and beat those Generals every night.

Omark too.

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