Comparing Coaches

Jonathan Willis
January 22 2014 10:32AM

Coaching has been an oft-discussed potential reason for the Edmonton Oilers’ collapse this season. While nobody claims that it is coaching and coaching alone that has the Oilers where they are, some wonder whether general manager Craig MacTavish didn’t make a mistake when he chose Dallas Eakins to replace Ralph Krueger.

How does Eakins’ team compare with that of Krueger, and of Tom Renney at five-on-five?

The Comparison

What is needed for a fair comparison between coaches? A level playing field. Because Ralph Krueger’s Oilers only played against Western Conference teams, we will only consider Oilers games played against Western opponents in 2011-12 and this season.

That introduces another problem. Eakins’ Oilers have played 19 games on the road against Western teams, but only 11 at home. To compensate for that, we will be weighting his home and road games equally so out analysis isn’t impacted by an unbalanced schedule.

What should we compare? We’ll run the gamut of five-on-five statistics: shots, Fenwick (shots + missed shots), Corsi (all shot attempts) and good old goals. All numbers will be expressed as a percentage of total events – in other words, 50 percent represents the break-even mark and a higher number is better. We will also include shooting percentage and save percentage.

Tom Renney

Ralph Krueger

Dallas Eakins

Head-To-Head-To-Head

Tom Renney comes out looking awfully good here. Steve Tambellini never offered an actual explanation of what he thought Renney was doing wrong behind the bench when he fired the veteran coach, but it is abundantly clear in hindsight that canning Renney was the wrong move. The Oilers did a better job at getting shot attempts, and getting shot attempts through without them being blocked, of getting shots on net, and of scoring goals under Renney than they would under either of his successors. If one believes (as I do) that Renney had the weakest roster of the three coaches, it’s impossible to look at this without thinking he did an awfully good job.

Ralph Krueger vs. Dallas Eakins is where it gets interesting. Eakins’ team did a better job of generating shot attempts, but Krueger’s did better work getting them through to the opposition net. Krueger’s teams also did a better job of winning the goals battle, in large part because the team shooting and save percentages were better.

Eakins’ home/road splits are compelling. At home, Eakins’ team is pretty competitive with Renney’s in the shot metrics, but on the road the numbers fall apart to a degree not seen under previous coaches. I don’t have an explanation for that; it’s something I’m going to watch for in future games but the difference suggests that whatever Eakins is doing on the road isn’t working at all.

The other item to note here is the save percentage splits – that the goalies’ terrible play isolated to home games suggests to me that the bad goaltending this year isn’t necessarily driven by team defence. By that, I mean that while the Oilers allow way more shots than the league average, there seems to be little reason to believe that they’re consistently allowing higher quality chances than other teams. Certainly they weren’t under Renney or Krueger; it’s possible that Eakins is doing something bizarre but I don’t think it’s likely.

Would Edmonton be better off with Tom Renney behind the bench? I think so, yes, potentially much better off (particularly given the benefits of continuity). Would they be better off with Krueger than Eakins? I don’t know, but I believe there’s a strong learning curve for any rookie NHL head coach, and Krueger already had a year under his belt. That has to be balanced against MacTavish getting a guy suited to his style of managing, so I’m not sure there’s a definite answer here.

Both Eakins and Krueger strike me as intelligent, motivated coaches; I think Krueger would have figured things out eventually and I believe Eakins still will, but the big mistake here was making Renney a scapegoat for problems that weren’t of his creation.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 Mustangheart
January 22 2014, 03:13PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I've actually never understood the need for a 'President of Hockey Operations.' The team president can run the business side, the general manager can run the hockey side.

But let's say for arrgument sake, Katz terminates KLowes contract. Knowing the fast offensive style the Oilers gave always played, who in your Option would compliment the Oilers organization and assist Mc.T in Transforming the club into a competitive playoff team within a relatively Short period????

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#102 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 03:16PM
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tileguy wrote:

I think Krueger would be perfect for the oil situation right now, either as coach, assistant coach (to Eakins) or as a motivational coach. Somebody has to install a work ethic in our young multi millionair core.

MacT you burnt that bridge, maybe Klowe can go begging Ralph to come back.

We have a motivational coach on the team. It's Billy Moores' job (Director of Coaching Development). He was hired to coach the coaches!! Apparently he's not doing his job very well either.

The Edmonton Oilers are a third world hockey organization.

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#103 TayLordBalls
January 22 2014, 03:17PM
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This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

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#104 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:18PM
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A direct statistical comparison isn't valid because you can't adjust for the most important thing...the players on the ice. Which includes both the Oilers roster and their opposition.

Renney had and relied much more heavily on veteran players like Horcoff and Whitney. The kids played less.

Krueger had a healthy Gagner for his entire 48 games and Dubnyk wasn't letting in beach balls.

With Eakins, half the roster had zero NHL experience to start the season and no 2nd line C. When they went into Pit in Oct Eakins had to play Arcobello for 21 min against the two best C in the world.

"Western Conference teams" haven't been static. Renney coached against an Anaheim team that finished at the bottom of their division.

If the Oilers roster and that of their opposition had remained consistent the comparisons would be valid. They haven't. Half the roster is different and that's just on the Oilers.

Apples to apples this is not.

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#105 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 03:19PM
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Mustangheart wrote:

But let's say for arrgument sake, Katz terminates KLowes contract. Knowing the fast offensive style the Oilers gave always played, who in your Option would compliment the Oilers organization and assist Mc.T in Transforming the club into a competitive playoff team within a relatively Short period????

Didn't you read the letter from Lowe, I mean Katz?? There is no quick fix for this team so don't expect anything to be resolved shortly. Patience everyone (tongue in cheek), patience.

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#106 Oiler Al
January 22 2014, 03:20PM
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WOW, a lot of garbbgle here on the make up of three coaches who deliver... 30 29, 30, 24, 29. Folks there is very little difference in what took place here in the last 5 years... its all terrible.

Eakins has had what, 50 games now.. nothing has changed... team hasnt changed or players improved thus far. You wont see any improvement in the next 30 games.... more excuses and more stories.

Eakins has to be fired. Coaching changes have improved play in Philly, Colorado, even Winnipeg now, Montreal,Columbus, Anahiem, etc. Cedrtainly not in Edmonton.. Why.? All these other teams didnt have massive personnel changes.

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#107 MessyEH
January 22 2014, 03:32PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

Phone your mother. She may have your pills.

MacT has done some good things. ( I may never understand the Smid trade.) But their are some obvious holes still in the line up. Top 2 defense being the biggest and our overated underachieving young guns. All are defensively suspect. I didn't notice it as much when Horcoff was here.

Too cutesy on offensive and no passion on the D side. That's on the players and the coach.

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#108 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:34PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

You're nuts.

The Oilers already have more skill and speed than most teams and against bigger, skilled teams like StL, Ana, SJ, LA, Chi the Oilers get absolutely pasted.

The truth is you need everything: speed, skill, size, strength...everything.

The reason is you don't play one type of team. Not over a season. Not in the playoffs. To win the Stanley Cup you have to win four 7 game series against different teams.

If all you have is speed and skill you will meet a team that beats you physically. It's happened to the Penguins against the Flyers and Bruins.

If all you have is size and strength you will get beat by a team with speed and skill.

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#109 Gordie Wayne
January 22 2014, 03:37PM
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I really do hate the so-called "Old Boys Club" excuse people use when talking about firing Lowe (there are better reasons to fire him). There are Old Boys Clubs everywhere in sports and business. If done properly, it works tremendously well. The problem with the Oilers old boys club is that the wrong old boys are in positions of power. It is all about COMPETENCY.

If I own a multi-million dollar business, I would certainly bring on my friends but I would only bring the ones that could effectively do the job, not the ones that were just there to stroke my ego.

If done properly, the Oilers org would look something like this:

Wayne Gretzky - POHO

Craig MacTavish - General Manager

Jari Kurri - Assistant GM

Shawn Horcoff - Head Coach

Mark Messier - Associate Coach

Doug Weight - Assistant Coach

Charlie Huddy - Assistant Coach

Bill Ranford - Goalie Coach

Georges Laraque - Fighting Coach

Kevin Lowe - Stick Boy / Katz' ego stroker

Ok...Shawn Horcoff may be a stretch, but c'mon, I don't think we have a coach in the Oilers history, unless we can take 20 years off of Slat's age...lol. Or maybe we can pretend Katz used to hang out with Scotty Bowman...

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#110 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 03:41PM
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vetinari wrote:

When Renney was fired, I remember posting that the wrong guy lost his job and that it should have been Tambellini.

I'm guessing that when the crap hit the fan, Lowe protected Tambellini (his hire) and Renney took the fall for all of them ("hey, my rookie GM that does nothing is not the problem-- it's the veteran coach with no other ties to the Oilers and has questionable players that is the problem"). But what do I know? I need another 10 Tier Two fans to agree with me to make my opinion worth the same as a Tier One fan...

I don't think a 10 to 1 ratio is correct or even applicable here. Tier Two fans voices and opinions can be bundled as much as possible and despite the ratio, nobody will hear what is being said.

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#111 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 03:45PM
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Gordie Wayne wrote:

I really do hate the so-called "Old Boys Club" excuse people use when talking about firing Lowe (there are better reasons to fire him). There are Old Boys Clubs everywhere in sports and business. If done properly, it works tremendously well. The problem with the Oilers old boys club is that the wrong old boys are in positions of power. It is all about COMPETENCY.

If I own a multi-million dollar business, I would certainly bring on my friends but I would only bring the ones that could effectively do the job, not the ones that were just there to stroke my ego.

If done properly, the Oilers org would look something like this:

Wayne Gretzky - POHO

Craig MacTavish - General Manager

Jari Kurri - Assistant GM

Shawn Horcoff - Head Coach

Mark Messier - Associate Coach

Doug Weight - Assistant Coach

Charlie Huddy - Assistant Coach

Bill Ranford - Goalie Coach

Georges Laraque - Fighting Coach

Kevin Lowe - Stick Boy / Katz' ego stroker

Ok...Shawn Horcoff may be a stretch, but c'mon, I don't think we have a coach in the Oilers history, unless we can take 20 years off of Slat's age...lol. Or maybe we can pretend Katz used to hang out with Scotty Bowman...

I wouldn't have Messier on that list. He hasn't done anything in hockey since retiring except looking after a Spengler Cup team. He hasn't paid his dues and in my opinion he's worse than Lowe. Messier has waited for something to fall into his lap and that hasn't happened, probably because most people can see through him (except the Oilers, now there's a surprise). At least Lowe paid his dues to get where he is (I'm certainly not saying that's a good thing). Messier just seems to expect it.

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#112 Puck JammeR!
January 22 2014, 03:47PM
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Serious question: has anyone done research on whether better Corsi/Fenwick means more wins/cups?

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#113 Gordie Wayne
January 22 2014, 03:49PM
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@outdoorzguy

Well, we still need someone to scowl behind the bench...Messier would be great at that. And if I was a player and looked back and saw that face, I would probably start playing harder out of pure fear.

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#114 Shredder
January 22 2014, 03:50PM
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I think the one consistent aspect with all 3 coaches is that the Oilers sucked pretty hard and failed to come close to the post season. With Krueger we came closer, but ultimately let's face reality: if the coaches make a difference, and they do, but not one can push them to be successful, then what's the problem? The players. Plain and simple. We all want a scapegoat, whether it's Lowe, MacT, Eakins, Petry, Dubnyk, or whoever, we just want to blame someone. In hindsight it looks like we should have kept Renney. But should have we kept Hemsky? Should we have not overpaid for a half decent defenseman like Calgary did? I don't know. There are lots of issues, so let's not say coaching is going to change the team here. It goes much, much deeper than that.

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#115 Woogie63
January 22 2014, 03:52PM
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Mustangheart wrote:

But let's say for arrgument sake, Katz terminates KLowes contract. Knowing the fast offensive style the Oilers gave always played, who in your Option would compliment the Oilers organization and assist Mc.T in Transforming the club into a competitive playoff team within a relatively Short period????

Bob Nicholson is the best available candidate for our POHO.

POHO should work with + 5 year contract, so he can set the strategy for the long term.

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#116 Shredder
January 22 2014, 03:53PM
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Here's a question slightly off topic...where does the most damage get done:

Lowe as POHO

OR

Rob Ford as Mayor?

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#117 Rama Lama
January 22 2014, 04:03PM
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It's the coach's responsibility to teach, mentor, motivate so that the team can win.....pretty plain and simple.

Yea we al know what the Oilers lack in size and sound defensive hockey players, no real genius needs to tell us that. What has becoming more evident here is that our skilled players are starting to believe their own hype.........that being that the are so skilled.

I for one see the problem as an general unwillingness to shoot the puck by our skilled players........they are all too happy to perimeter pass away, with no real shots taken. How many times does Eberle need to get a one timer at the side of the net and unless he can contain the puck and then wrist it, he seems unwilling to shoot. The only two players that will shoot the puck consitently are PErron and RNH.

We all know that goaltender around the league scout players and I'm sure they know the passing tendencies of Oiler players.......when was the last time the top line got a greasy goal? It becomes very easy for goaltender to make the save if they know what they can expect.

Eakins needs to communicate more with his players about this ......as Gretzky says 100% of shot not taken never result in goals.

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#118 Tikkanese
January 22 2014, 04:30PM
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@Gordie Wayne

I wouldn't want anything to do with Laraque. He's being sued left and right for questionable business practises.

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#119 BIGDAWG
January 22 2014, 04:31PM
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The more i hear Eakins talk the more i want him gone. The Media point blank asked him about the lack of physical play and he ducked the questions.. saying "a perfect game is a game with no hits, cause you always have the puck" Well last time i check we were sweeping floor with Buf at the bottom of the NHL. his logic is beyond me...

Then the media ask Ference and again Eakins about nothing being done about Kassian..

Eakins.. "taking liberties with any player is very dangerous...." geezuz.. what a joke

Then Ference... "what? was he supposed to jump him??"

on Ference.. jump him?? well hell yes!! you did it to Stepniak......

if you are asking me.. there is no friggin way Kassian should have been smiling at all last night let alone scoring the winner.. Does this team really have no pride at all??????!!!!!

no wonder this team doesnt hit.. because they know they will get their Butts kicked cause no one will be helping out... im not a big fan of changing the coach again... but.. geezuz this guy is missing the mark by alot!!!!

Lastly .. i like Gazdic... but enough talking to the other player and lay him the eff out!!!!!!!! i mean he broke your team mates job, then mocked him about it...

I just dont get it

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#120 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 04:33PM
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To Oilers Management,

Here is a lesson on opposites:

absent - present

backward - forward

worse - best

timid - bold

The left column represents K.Lowe and Mac T's thinking process and the right column is what other GM's and management groups think of when making decisions for their team. Heres one more:

Nashville Defence - Oilers Defence

Sorry nation for the ultra dumbed down post. In case Mac T and K. Lowe are reading this i want it to be easy enough for them to understand.

Love the OIL Love the NATION

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#121 pkam
January 22 2014, 04:49PM
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Mack Strong wrote:

The implication is that we dropped him and it was not long after that Detroit picked him up.

Detroit is a well run well managed organization that picks well trades well and develops amazingly!!! Period.

Detroit and Ken Holland "know a little about winning" and would not bring in a person who is A. going to upset the balance that they have achieved B. Is not going to compliment and add to what is already a model system and organization.

Sure you can say its Holland or Babcock or Zetterberg or Datsyuk (both of which were 7th and 6th round picks and developed from within) and the list goes on and on. They add to and develop. WE ARE NOT DOING EITHER!!

There is no doubt that we have some assets here that could be great! but thats where its going to stay - in the "could be" category.

This all comes down to Management…imagine if we had Detroit's organization and management right down to coaching………me thinks you'd keep reading then…. =)

Love the OIL Love the Nation!

What is the implication that Detroit picked him up as their associate coach not long after we dropped him?

The Leafs picked up Randy Carlyle as their head coach not long after the Ducks dropped him. The Ducks picked up Bruce Boudreau as their head coach not long after the Caps drop him. Does it make us better than the Ducks and the Caps because they dropped a coach another team picked up as their head coach, not an associate coach?

Do I have to quote you some more examples? It happens to many teams every year. More often than not it is not the coach problem, but the management or the players.

Tambellini didn't fire Renney, he just didn't renew his contract. So in a way it is slightly better than firing the coach. And it is my speculation that he is doing that to save his job, just like all the other GMs do.

What did BB do to Ron Wilson when his job is in risk? How about Gillis? In both cases, the GM just renewed their coaches not long ago before they fired them. If Ken Holland's job is in risk, do you think he would do any differently?

No disrespect to the Wings, but the players that you listed were Europeans drafted before 2000. Detroit had invested in European scouting before 2000 which gave them the edge ahead of other NHL teams. Now they have lost that edge as the other NHL teams are investing in European scouting too.

Since Katz took over the team, he has invested more money in scouting which our previous owners group refused to do. Not saying the management have no fault but not all problems are the management's faults.

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#122 kale
January 22 2014, 04:49PM
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@Zarny

This is very accurate IMO. It is frustrating to see an attempt to apply such a statistical analysis to this situation without including the millions of qualifiers. Hall was a rookie under Renney and is a 4 year vet under Eakins, the list goes on and on including personnel, experience of players, and strength of competition. Someone once said you can create a statistic for anything but they often mean nothing, this is such a case.

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#123 dougtheslug
January 22 2014, 04:51PM
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I take issue with a general perception, one that is being promoted by Gregor, Stauffer and others, that we can't keep changing coaches because of the disruption it causes in the development of players, so we need to stick with what we have for a while. Gregor insists that the star players have to be sent a message that they are not the captains of this ship.

But isn't an important caveat here that the coach in place meets at least a minimal level of competency? My observation is that Eakins does not. He was rushed into a position he wasn't adequately prepared for. I don't think the voices of ON are imagining things about Eakins' incompetence.

For me, the scene on the bench during Oilers last time out in the dying seconds of last nights game was telling. The three assistant coaches stared glumly off into space offering not the slightest sign of encouragement, while the players barely feigned interest as Eakins frantically sketched out a play. And he then sent out J. Schultz, the least likely Oiler to hold the blueline, to hold the blueline. Which, unsurprisingly to any fan who has watched this team, he didn't. Eakins still seems to have no clue what his personnel is capable of.

Firing Renney was a mistake, which has been compounded three fold by firing Krueger, and then MacT hiring Eakins on a whim. Failing to correct that mistake will be a disaster for this organization. But it is totally predictable given the toxic state of this management group.

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#124 oilerman53
January 22 2014, 04:54PM
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This organization has been totally devoid of everything from vocal leaders to vocal coaches. Anyone who doesnt preach the word of Lowe will not have a job here. 3 playoff appearances i 13 years and in the midst of another failed season where everyone took a huge step back. If this wasn't embarassing before now its getting ridiculous.

These are all grown men with some sort of pride somewhere right? No one in the whole organization can keep pulling the wool over our eyes! Lowe is the puppet master and everyone knows it! If he has any decency he will step down and take his old boys club with him and help usher in a new era of Oilers hockey. Prolonging this is just making him look even more worst. Food for thought, Ken Hitchcock was out of work for a period of time, Edmonton boy maybe would have liked to come home and restore glory. Why wasnt he picked up? All hes done since the firing from Philly is taken St Louis and turn them into a powerhouse team.

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#125 Show me da Money
January 22 2014, 04:55PM
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What about the Oilers goal tending coach?

Is there a reason Dubnyk hasn't progressed? Listen to what Barry Trotz said earlier.

“We got Devan from Edmonton, and what we realized very quickly was that Devan has a lot of… I’ll say bad habits he’s picked up this year,” Predators coach Barry Trotz told Nashville radio station 94.9 Game2 on Wednesday.

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#126 John Kirsch
January 22 2014, 04:56PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

Edmonton pound for pound is up there with any of the elite teams from an offensive skill perspective.

So what?

Like you and your logic, they are a mess. Pure skill means nothing in this league without combining it with 4 competent lines as well as a reliable D corp and goaltending.

Edmonton is lacking leadership from the top down ,the ability to assess and develop talent. The good olde 1980's Edmonton Oilers and 90's Penguins are a thing of the past. Modern teams need to be built with a roster that includes 2 scoring lines and 2 lines that will chip in and provide the "hard" mins (see above for the D and goaltending).

Anyway, hard to blame Dallas for this mess although he probably wasn't ready for prime time. Scotty Bowman couldn't coach this group.

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#127 pkam
January 22 2014, 04:59PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

It's the coach's responsibility to teach, mentor, motivate so that the team can win.....pretty plain and simple.

Yea we al know what the Oilers lack in size and sound defensive hockey players, no real genius needs to tell us that. What has becoming more evident here is that our skilled players are starting to believe their own hype.........that being that the are so skilled.

I for one see the problem as an general unwillingness to shoot the puck by our skilled players........they are all too happy to perimeter pass away, with no real shots taken. How many times does Eberle need to get a one timer at the side of the net and unless he can contain the puck and then wrist it, he seems unwilling to shoot. The only two players that will shoot the puck consitently are PErron and RNH.

We all know that goaltender around the league scout players and I'm sure they know the passing tendencies of Oiler players.......when was the last time the top line got a greasy goal? It becomes very easy for goaltender to make the save if they know what they can expect.

Eakins needs to communicate more with his players about this ......as Gretzky says 100% of shot not taken never result in goals.

Eberle has been like that since his 1st year.

After 3 years, the other 2 coaches are not in fault, but it is Eakins fault that he didn't change Eberle in 4 months?

Did you see J. Schultz one-timer last year, even once? I didn't see it even earlier this year, but I see it lately. Not very powerful, but at least he tries. But it can't have anything to do with Eakins because he can only do harms, right?

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#128 Rick Stroppel
January 22 2014, 05:00PM
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FREE ADVICE FOR MR. KATZ!

From reading this blog, I have learned that Mr. Katz comes here every day for advice about how to run his hockey team. I did not know that! Anyway, I do not want to be left out, so here is my advice.

Mr. Katz should IMMEDIATELY FIRE these people: Lowe, MacTavish, Howson, Eakins, Buchberger, Steve Smith, Acton, Chabot, the video guy, Laforge, all the professional and amateur scouts, and the guy who picks the music at the games.

Mr. Katz should RETAIN these people: Todd Nelson and his staff, and the Oilers Octane girls.

You are welcome!

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#129 BabyNuge'sBaby
January 22 2014, 05:02PM
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Yes our team sucks, they don't put forth the efforts required to win hockey games at the NHL level. The coaching is probably one of the biggest issues facing this club today, they players don't play for Eakins, I don't feel anyone respects him. Lowe is a legend bit has overstayed his welcome. Mac T, in my opinion, is doing a decent job so far and should be given a chance. The thing that really grinds my gears about this organization is that even after being the worst team in the league year after year Katz managed to raise ticket prices this year over 34%, leading Edmonton to be the fourth most expensive NHL club to attend... This is garbage and management needs to hear about it. Look at the list of least expensive tickets and you will see great teams like STL, Aneheim, etc. Stop bitching and stop supporting this garbage. Change will only be made when Katz feels the change in his bank account.

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#130 David S
January 22 2014, 05:11PM
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Nice #FancyStats but nowhere do I see wins and losses, nor W's estimated per 82 game schedule (in Krueger's case).

Corgi doesn't get you points in the standings, wins do.

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#131 Sketchy
January 22 2014, 05:17PM
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Dave Lumley, lets hear more from him!! He'd be a better POHO than Lowe!!

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#132 Will
January 22 2014, 05:19PM
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Great article Willis. You once again look to answer questions surrounding the Oilers using some hard data without biasing your opinion before you see the numbers.

Having said that, I think this another example of not seeing the whole picture of what the hard data might be representative of. For example, Renny and Kruger had different divisions to content with.

All in all, my friends and are all having a tough time understanding why from coach to coach one part of the team has been great one year, and bad the next year, especially because most of the assistant coaching staff has been in place. I know coaches like to have their own systems but why break what doesn't need fixing?

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#133 Loweblows
January 22 2014, 05:22PM
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Eakins stated today that the team has played poorly due to all the coaching changes. If anyone has a spare PeeWee coaching manual could they mail it to the Oilers. That would be a good start.

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#134 TayLordBalls
January 22 2014, 05:26PM
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Zarny wrote:

You're nuts.

The Oilers already have more skill and speed than most teams and against bigger, skilled teams like StL, Ana, SJ, LA, Chi the Oilers get absolutely pasted.

The truth is you need everything: speed, skill, size, strength...everything.

The reason is you don't play one type of team. Not over a season. Not in the playoffs. To win the Stanley Cup you have to win four 7 game series against different teams.

If all you have is speed and skill you will meet a team that beats you physically. It's happened to the Penguins against the Flyers and Bruins.

If all you have is size and strength you will get beat by a team with speed and skill.

Sheep - You're following the crowd.

The Oiler's management need to be trend setters.

Perhaps the coach can consider shaping the players with:

1) More practice on increasing their passing skills at faster speed.

2) Learning how to get in the open.

3) Learning how to hit the net in pressure situations.

4) Mobilize the defense as rear forwards.

5) Own the puck = don't give it away.

6)Keep the puck off the boards in the offense zone.

7) Keep it on the boards in the defense zone.

baaaaaa

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#135 Loweblows
January 22 2014, 05:28PM
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Will wrote:

Great article Willis. You once again look to answer questions surrounding the Oilers using some hard data without biasing your opinion before you see the numbers.

Having said that, I think this another example of not seeing the whole picture of what the hard data might be representative of. For example, Renny and Kruger had different divisions to content with.

All in all, my friends and are all having a tough time understanding why from coach to coach one part of the team has been great one year, and bad the next year, especially because most of the assistant coaching staff has been in place. I know coaches like to have their own systems but why break what doesn't need fixing?

Everything is broke and desperately needs fixing.I can guarantee no other teams fans obsess more over Corsi than Oilers. Thats because we have forgotten the most important percentages: WINS.

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#136 Hall the time
January 22 2014, 05:31PM
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I really like Jesse Joensuu's play and he's big, now if only he could put up the same points Penner did he would be world class.

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#137 Harlie
January 22 2014, 05:36PM
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I liked Renney. I still like Renney. Now, I miss Renney. Damn you TambelLoweni!

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#138 Freewheeling Freddie
January 22 2014, 05:37PM
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Advanced stats were made for losing teams. Teams that are good Anaheim LA Chicago etc care only about wins, playoffs and Stanley cups. Loser teams Edmonton Calgary and NY Islanders embrace advanced stats because they certainly cant talk about wins or playoffs. They mask a teams pathetic performance.

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#139 Rick Stroppel
January 22 2014, 05:38PM
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Mack Strong wrote:

And I we speak of the coaches….

Nashville picks up Michael Del Zotto for Kevin Klien…Calvin's cousin!

WTF!!!!???

So Mac T we don't have anyone in the Oilers roster or in the system that is a better fit for NYC that Kevin Klein for Del Zotto???

Oh thats right…were not making moves that would be mortgaging our future or set our team back "cuz those days are gone" …

INEPT MANAGEMENT!!! Borderline RETARDED.

I know the comments are moderated but my mom reading over my shoulder told me to say that!

Love the OIL love the NATION…..Dont Love the Management!

DON'T BE IGNORANT, LIKE MACTAVISH HIMSELF

It is really inappropriate to refer to ANYONE as "retarded". MacTavish referred to a referee as a "retard" a few years ago...with Joey Moss probably not far away in the dressing room. The so-called media in this city said little about that, because they were still in the throes of their collective man-crush on all the Oilers glory boys.

Much better to refer to MacTavish as a jackass, jackbutt, clown, bozo, imbecile, donkey, dunce, poseur, nincompoop, egomaniac, fool, etc.

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#140 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 05:41PM
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@pkam

My implication is that Detroit had a philosophy and model. They follow this philosophy and model in everything they do. Including bringing in Renney who we let go…Renny and Ralph were good for the young guys. He was patient with them. How is Eakins punitive mentality working with Yak?? He's 20 and thinks his $hit don't stink…maybe not the best mentality but Ralph brought a better side out of Yak.

You are 100 % correct that Detroit made a decision to scout European and and European style players because they broke away from the chip and chase philosophy and utilized the puck possession philosophy in the mid 90's.

MANAGEMENT implemented a philosophy and followed up by getting the personnel to follow it. They traded I believe 8 1st round picks:

Primeau plus 1st for Paul Coffey

Eriksson plus 2 more 1st picks for Chelios

Kozlov (1st rd) for Hasek

1st and Fleischman for Lang

1st and roster player for Schneider.

Those are BOLD MOVES!

Point is they had a philosophy implemented by MANAGEMENT, made moves for players that would fit the philosophy, moves made by MANAGEMENT, and brought in Babcock a possession minded coach. They also have a philosophy that players that enter that organization from draft will "Do time in the AHL to learn the game" and patience and mentoring is exercised with them.

What philosophy do you see here in Edmonton? Are they picking players that fit a philosophy? Are they making trades that fit a philosophy? Many of us in the Nation would argue that there seem to be a lack of direction or T. fortitude to make the type of moves Detroit did in the mid 90's. This organization rushes players then slows others, says they'll trade players then keeps them, etc…

Lack of direction from the top bring what we have…Leadership, mentorship, and direction is what brings what they have. Renney is right there with them and so is Ralph just with Team Canada - which by the way is essentially the brain trust of the Red Wings.

Love the OIL Love the Nation

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#141 pkam
January 22 2014, 05:45PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

Sheep - You're following the crowd.

The Oiler's management need to be trend setters.

Perhaps the coach can consider shaping the players with:

1) More practice on increasing their passing skills at faster speed.

2) Learning how to get in the open.

3) Learning how to hit the net in pressure situations.

4) Mobilize the defense as rear forwards.

5) Own the puck = don't give it away.

6)Keep the puck off the boards in the offense zone.

7) Keep it on the boards in the defense zone.

baaaaaa

You can do some of that with your offense.

We will need a few big guns who can one-timer from the blueliners. Now the other teams just collapse before the net and box out our forwards. Hard to get to the net without a few canons to pull their players out.

Without size, it is very hard to win the puck battle along the board and the corners. So the only way is to cycle the puck very fast and accurately.

And without size, how are you going to defend? Unless we are going to possess the puck for all 60 minutes.

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#142 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 05:49PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

DON'T BE IGNORANT, LIKE MACTAVISH HIMSELF

It is really inappropriate to refer to ANYONE as "retarded". MacTavish referred to a referee as a "retard" a few years ago...with Joey Moss probably not far away in the dressing room. The so-called media in this city said little about that, because they were still in the throes of their collective man-crush on all the Oilers glory boys.

Much better to refer to MacTavish as a jackass, jackbutt, clown, bozo, imbecile, donkey, dunce, poseur, nincompoop, egomaniac, fool, etc.

Rick,

I stand corrected and recant my reference of Mac T and K. Lowe as such.

It was frustrating to see that NYC had made a deal that we apparently were trying to get done as well and help our woeful backend.

This does not excuse the reference or rationalize is…bad choice of words.

Call it frustration boil over!

My apologies to Rick and members of the Nation that may have taken that to offence….

Love the OIL Love the NATION

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#143 TayLordBalls
January 22 2014, 06:01PM
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pkam wrote:

You can do some of that with your offense.

We will need a few big guns who can one-timer from the blueliners. Now the other teams just collapse before the net and box out our forwards. Hard to get to the net without a few canons to pull their players out.

Without size, it is very hard to win the puck battle along the board and the corners. So the only way is to cycle the puck very fast and accurately.

And without size, how are you going to defend? Unless we are going to possess the puck for all 60 minutes.

Hockey is real simple:

Score more goals than the other team.

In other words - spend more time on offense and less time on defense.

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#144 Virtual_Xi
January 22 2014, 06:02PM
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Honestly,

I truly feel this team would have infinitely more scoring opportunities if they committed to taking a shot from the blue line more than 2-3 times per game. The only time I seem to see it is in last minute desparations with the goalie pulled. got a bunch of puck hogs down low and nobody with balls on the blueline to rip one.

Too easy to play against when they're so one-dimensional.

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#145 Johnnydapunk
January 22 2014, 06:15PM
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So.... How many balls do we get in the lottery to try and win Ekblad?

I don't know what the Oil should do now, I mean there is nothing to play for, pride was long gone and there are no more loser records to play for (fewest points in a season or most losses or fewest wins) so I don't really know what is best here.

Do the Oil just poop the bed properly and make sure they end up at the bottom for the best chance at winning the lottery of try to build something for next year and risk ruining their chances for Ekblad, or try to make the Oil a semi decent option for UFAs (potential and all that blah blah) ?

I'm kindof torn at this point, losing doesn't phase me anymore and a win now just papers over the horrible cracks and makes it harder for certain management types to see what the problems are.

It's not easy being an Oil fan nowadays. I miss the 80s.

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#146 The PUZ
January 22 2014, 06:25PM
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The only stat that matters is that Eakins has the WORST winning percentage of any head coach in Oiler history!

PS: Thanks Katz for ramping up the parking fees from 12 dollars to 15 dollars on this horrific "NHL" team with 7th highest revenues in the NHL and close to highest ticket prices in the NHL.

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#147 Butters
January 22 2014, 06:26PM
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I think Eakin's and the TO media head-faked MacT a little bit. MacT didn't want to miss out on his guy so he hastily hired Eakins as a head coach before he was hired a head coach somewhere else(maybe not).

This year, I am cheering for Yak and Hall. That is about it.

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#148 Oilers Coffey
January 22 2014, 06:31PM
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Intriguing!!! #Renneylogic trumps both Kruegerisms and Eakins dog n pony show.

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#149 Jay
January 22 2014, 06:43PM
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Good Article, I used to think Willis was a bit of a downer but he's quickly become my favourite Oil writer. Smart dude

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#150 oilcountryforlife
January 22 2014, 06:45PM
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All I hear is fire Kevin Lowe who is useless and keep Eakins for another year to see if he is useless as he has been thus far. Lowe has had 8 years of failure, Eakins is only halfway through year one....maybe MacT can overhaul this team so the coach can have something to work with. Nobody can help Lowe.

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