THE WAY I SEE IT: SUCCESS, PLEASE

Robin Brownlee
January 28 2014 06:03PM

The way I see it, the Edmonton Oilers will be far better served in the long run by having as much success as possible in their final 27 games of the season than they will by sucking so badly they get another crack at a first overall pick.

What the Oilers need now is for the core players they've assembled in previous seasons of ineptitude and suffering – Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov – to find out what it feels like to win rather than more filing off the ice game after game carrying yet more failure on their shoulders.

What the Oilers don't need is their fourth first overall draft pick in the last five years, even if the reward for being the worst team in the NHL this season is prized defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Another blue-chipper, no matter how good he is, who'll help the team three years down the road isn’t as important as having the group assembled now – not to mention fans who expected better this season – get a taste of how it feels to win.

The good news is that the Oilers, 17-32-6 for 40 points, can tear it up, relatively speaking, in these final 27 games and still get a crack at a top-three selection next June. They're buried so deep now, even winning 14-15 of their remaining games likely isn't going to move them above 28th place.

No Ekblad there? Too bad.

DOWN THE STRETCH

Not everybody agrees with my approach, of course. With playoffs out of the question for the eighth straight season, there is a segment of fans who'd like to see the Oilers "tank it" and finish last, getting the best possible pick. The hopeless Buffalo Sabres, with 35 points, sit 30th now.

The only team the Oilers have a realistic chance of overtaking is the 28th place Calgary Flames, who have 43 points (and three games in hand). Right now, the Florida Panthers occupy 27th with 49 points and they also have three games in hand. The Oilers won’t catch them even with 14-15 wins.

Playing at or near .500 in terms of available points the rest of the way isn't going to undue the struggles of the first 55 games in the eyes of fans, and that's understandable, but it could do wonders for the aforementioned likes of Hall, Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov. Winning is and has to be a part of development and there's been precious little of that around here.

No matter how this team finishes, it goes without saying there's still a helluva lot of work for GM Craig MacTavish to do before the Oilers get anywhere near a playoff spot. This much we know.

That said, I'd rather see Hall and the rest of the kids head into the off-season with something resembling confidence and feeling good about themselves in April after a modest run of success than have June roll around and hear, "With the first overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers select . . ."

WHILE I'M AT IT

. . . As good as Ekblad is, I'm not sure the Oilers could go far wrong if they were to hang on to the third overall pick and get a crack at either Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett, both centres.

. . . Sam Gagner is playing his best hockey of the season after a horrendous start and that's good news. Gagner is, far and away, the likeliest player to be dealt between now and training camp next season – assuming there's nothing big on the table that involves one of the core group – and he will strengthen MacTavish's hand with a solid finish.

. . . I've liked the way Jeff Petry has played over the last stretch a lot more than I liked him at the start of the season. He's been a lightning rod for criticism, some of it earned, mainly because he's been forced into top-pairing minutes by lack of depth. When Petry is playing second-pairing minutes, the Oilers will be a playoff team.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 Bishai in the Benches
January 28 2014, 06:19PM
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I agree 100%. I don't claim to be a sports psychologist, but I have studied behaviour and motivation, and I do know that there is no way a team can continue losing 67% of their games and keep the fight and their heads held high. I have always wondered why new acquisitions (Gazdic, Perron, Hendricks, ect) always seem to play more aggressively and with more emotion, and I'm sure part of it has to do with playing style, but I guarantee that at least a good portion can be attributed to not having a "loser mentality".

I even see this on my beer league team. We went through a stretch where we won 3 of 18 games, and guys (who are normally best friends) were blaming each other, blowing up in the dressing room, and not showing up to play. I can't imagine what 4 (or 8...) years of losing does to the team.

Humans are social creatures, and culture plays an immense role into our moods, motivation, and effort.

The Oil need to win now.

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#2 dougtheslug
January 28 2014, 09:07PM
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All I can say is this - I felt a whole lot better watching Perron stripping the puck off Kassian and scoring a hat trick goal into an empty net, than I did watching Kassian score the winning goal against the Oilers a week ago.

And judging from the look on Perron's face, so did he.

Maybe the games were equally meaningless in the standings. But my sweet Lord, I'm sick of losing.

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#3 Andrew
January 28 2014, 06:22PM
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I for one am not sold on Gagner. We've seen this flic before. Trade talk spurs him on for a late season burst. He is still small, physically weak compared to strong heavy team's 2nd line Centre's. He's not effective in his own zone. The word lost comes to mind.

He has shown better play offensively of late and seems over the last two games to have found some chemistry. He is one dimensional at best. If the Oil brain trust can make an improvement at his position then they should cut bait.

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#4 NJ
January 28 2014, 06:13PM
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Agreed. We can't go wrong drafting a BIG two way centre. Key word big.

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#6 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 28 2014, 10:20PM
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I think we can all relax a little because the reality is that we can cheer hard for our Oilers and we'll still be getting Ekblad, because we are far enough back and have a tougher schedule than most of the teams in the bottom 5.

So cheer hard and enjoy it...guilt free.

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#7 Harry
January 28 2014, 08:33PM
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Anyone who thinks the Oil could benefit from MORE losing should have their.head examined.

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#9 Chambers
January 28 2014, 06:28PM
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Oiler fans are indeed in big trouble! The hundreds and hundreds of losses over the last 8 years has lost your perspective on sports! Be reminded losers sports is about winning it is not about draft day and drafting 1st overall in 4 consecutive years! Can't believe what I have been reading where you again actually think the Oilers should lose to gain optimal draft position. A lot of good that has done!! You currently have high level talent with shattered dreams and a chronic culture of losing! Do you really think a 17 year old like Ekblad is going to help immediately??? Unbelieveable !!

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#10 Oilcruzer
January 28 2014, 08:29PM
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Having a culture of losing for 8 years, and suggesting continuing that path to take an 18 year old to turn your fortunes around, is crazy logic.

Developing a culture of winning and eventually slotting in pieces, including people who will then want to come over at a discount, and still getting the third or fourth overall pick this year?

People are questioning this?

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#11 Pouzar99
January 28 2014, 06:38PM
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I am incapable of rooting for the Oilers to lose for ANY reason. When they do, at times like this, I take some comfort in that it may improve their draft position, but I still hate it. I believe management did some tanking in the early years of the rebuild and I think they underestimated the damage they were doing to the team culture. Of course since they have been totally incompetent in every other area, it would have been very odd for them to have gotten that right either. Yes, I badly want Ekblad, and don't feel it will take three years for him to start helping, but I will go on rooting for every possible Oiler win. Well said Robin.

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#12 srelio
January 28 2014, 07:58PM
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I dont know why everyone thinks ekblads going first overall. jones went 4th last year when he was projected 1st and teams almost never draft defense 1st overall. if the oil has the 3rd pick he'll probably still be available

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#13 27Ginge
January 28 2014, 10:54PM
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I want to see the Oilers play well and win a few games and still win the lottery. Am I asking too much?

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#14 Craig
January 28 2014, 07:34PM
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Oilers are on a two game win streak! Re sign management and start giving out 7 year deals before they all leave.

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#15 **
January 28 2014, 06:22PM
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I too don't see a need for tanking. This team will be much better served both in terms of emotion and pshyche by winning as much as they can in the final stretch of the season than by tanking and getting another piece that by the time he's ready to contribute the Oilers top guns will be at the end of their contracts and the situation will be much different then. There will be plenty of good options for big guys on the top 5, so let's go, see what this team can really do and see if there's a coach in Eakins or not.

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#16 tom.MTL
January 28 2014, 07:07PM
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I'd love to see how many 1st overall picks could be playing on a 30th place team. Continue the Gong Show!!!

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#17 chambers
January 28 2014, 08:14PM
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srelio wrote:

Looks like Calgary will tank it more than the Oilers come trade deadline. Last year they got Monahan over us. This year it'll be Ekblad.

You are sadly incorrect. Unlike the Oiler culture Hartley has instilled hard work and energy in the Flames. Despite there minimal talent they work hard every night and will never tank. This tanking practice you are talking about is an 'Oiler' thing given the potential 4 consecutive first overalls. The worst joke in pro sports today!

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#18 Taylor Gang
January 28 2014, 10:51PM
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Hate to break it to some of you, but the Oilers are not trading for a top 2 defenseman until at least the offseason. No team with a top pairing defenseman is looking to trade him away near the playoffs. Our top pairing stud is coming through the pipelines! (That's not to say they shouldn't improve their defense at the trade deadline)

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#19 #ThereGoesTheOilers
January 28 2014, 06:25PM
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Agreed. Tanking for another high pick ain't gonna help anything right now. Success next season will be gauged by whether or not we contend for a playoff spot come April.

If we want to contend, we need to do our damndest to win EVERY game we play, even if it is labled 'meaningless' by the disillusioned.

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#20 vetinari
January 28 2014, 06:29PM
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The players need to feel the satisfaction of winning and the fans need it too. Losing has taken its toll and I would love to see them rip up the last 27 games or so, kick Calgary and Vancouver around a few times, and figure out who our starting goaltender for next year is.

Even if we moved up a spot or two, we'd still be a lottery team and anything could happen (we could still pick first), and the prize would still be Ekblad or a centre which would help us out... y'know... two to three years from now.

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#21 Harry
January 28 2014, 08:42PM
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Sliderule wrote:

This was the story last year.

The team had to win to feel good about themselves

While everyone else was going full tank we moved down to to the number seven pick.

Instead of Seth jones we got Nurse.

This year we could have Ekblad ,Reinhart or Bennett.

Win a few meaningless games and we can have question marks like Draisatl or Dal Colle .

If the oilers have any brains they will bring up all the hopefuls and do the full tank . Hopefully for last time.

I cant imagine that you played sports at all in your life. Tanking is 100% cowardly loser talk

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#22 Sliderule
January 28 2014, 07:40PM
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This was the story last year.

The team had to win to feel good about themselves

While everyone else was going full tank we moved down to to the number seven pick.

Instead of Seth jones we got Nurse.

This year we could have Ekblad ,Reinhart or Bennett.

Win a few meaningless games and we can have question marks like Draisatl or Dal Colle .

If the oilers have any brains they will bring up all the hopefuls and do the full tank . Hopefully for last time.

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#23 The Last Big Bear
January 28 2014, 11:28PM
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The down side to the Oilers going on a mediocre-streak is that it will help convince the already slightly-dizzy management group that this team has "Turned The Corner".

Who needs bold moves? "This team has proven that they can get the job done, and are really starting to come together as a group."

The Oilers rode a mediocre streak last year all the way to the lofty heights of 23rd place, which had everyone on the bandwgon convinced that they had "finally turned the corner". Again.

A few wins down the stretch might be exactly what the boys on the ice need. And would keep the boys (and girls) in the stands happy. But as a Flames fan I recently saw an incompetent manager use a late-season winning streak to convince himself that the wheels had not in fact fallen off the bus, and that everything was fine, and keeping the team together for maybe another two years or so before making changes was a good idea.

A 7-game winning streak down the stretch might see Bryzgalov locked-in long term, and Smyth get another extension.

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#24 kale
January 28 2014, 10:26PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I think we can all relax a little because the reality is that we can cheer hard for our Oilers and we'll still be getting Ekblad, because we are far enough back and have a tougher schedule than most of the teams in the bottom 5.

So cheer hard and enjoy it...guilt free.

amen brother

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#25 hemi
January 28 2014, 07:37PM
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I am sure that I am like most other Oil fans in this matter, the continuous walk up the alter to claim the high draft pick has become very unrewarding. The thrill has gone!

Time to win and never mind the standings. We are going to pick high anyway. Perhaps there will be some wheeling and dealing involving upcoming picks and present prospects we have in the cupboard? No matter what the thoughts of how this rebuild has gone thus far and whom may be responsible for it's derailment, it comes done to winning. This team, city and above all, us fans have to get this attitude again that we are indeed one of the best at everything we do. For those of us who have been around for a bit can fully appreciate the "we are the best" attitude we boldly displayed in a most proud manner during the Oil's hay days, way back when......

Being true blue Oil fans, it has been a horrendous number of years for us. We have hit rock bottom and have been there much too long. The winning has to start now!

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#26 Time Travelling Sean
January 28 2014, 09:48PM
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K_Mart wrote:

While I don't see the benefit of tanking this year, I definitely see the benefit of doing so next year. McDavid is a generational talent a la Crosby, lemieux, gretz... We tanked for 7 years, what's 8.

Hall would be a great veteran to bring Mcdavid under his wing.

Katz should just forfeit all 82 Games before the season starts but not tell any of the oilers until the season is over lol. They can win all they want but hold on to that 30th ranking.

McDavid isn't Crosby, the WJ's showed that.

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#27 pkam
January 29 2014, 10:41AM
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I probably will get a lot of thumb down because I disagree with most of the poster here.

1st, I don't believe the coaches and players tank for higher picks. The team may lose for many reasons. The team does not have enough talent, the team does not have enough experience, the team does not have the right mix, etc. But I don't believe the coaches and players purposely lose to get a high draft pick.

2nd, the Pens lost 5 seasons in a row. They have a 5th overall in Whitney, a 1st overall in MAF, the best 2nd overall in the last 10 years in Malkin, the best 1st overall in the last 20 years in Crosby, and they finished 29th overall. And all of a sudden they made the playoff the following year and made the conference final the year after that. So all this 'we have to start to win now or we will not make the playoff next year' is just BS.

3rd, even if we finish last, I'll rather have a big skill center than Ekblad. Why? In 2006, Erik Johnson was drafted 1st overall, followed by 4 forwards in Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel. I don't know about you, I'll rather have any of the 4 forwards. 2008 was just the exact opposite, Stamkos was drafted 1st overall, followed by 4 defense in Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo, and L. Schenn. Now after 5 years, will anyone of you rather have one of those defense over Stamkos? Another reason I'll pass on Ekblad is too many examples that the defense drafted 1st turned out to be not the best defense in that drafted year. in 2002, Bouwmeester went 3rd overall, Pitkanen 4th, and Whitney 5th. But the best d that year was Keith at 54th overall. More recent in 2007, Thomas Hickey was drafted 4th overall and Karl Alzner 5th, however, PK Subban was drafted 43th overall. Do you know who PK Subban is? How about Thomas Hickey?

4th, trade deadline is the best time to get more return for sellers. So if we are not making the playoff, should we try to get more by selling at trade deadline? The problem of being a seller at trade deadline is the return will be draft picks and prospects instead of reliable NHL player. So if we are going to be a seller at trade deadline, the team is going to be less competitive. Do you think the team is going to win more games after replacing Gagner, Hemsky, Jones, Smyth with some of our young prospects in OKC?

I'll rather the management focus on getting more return from trades at the deadline to build our depth. I couldn't care how many games of the remaining 27 we win and where we finish this year.

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#28 Harry
January 28 2014, 08:37PM
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Chambers wrote:

Oiler fans are indeed in big trouble! The hundreds and hundreds of losses over the last 8 years has lost your perspective on sports! Be reminded losers sports is about winning it is not about draft day and drafting 1st overall in 4 consecutive years! Can't believe what I have been reading where you again actually think the Oilers should lose to gain optimal draft position. A lot of good that has done!! You currently have high level talent with shattered dreams and a chronic culture of losing! Do you really think a 17 year old like Ekblad is going to help immediately??? Unbelieveable !!

Hey you.dumbfu"! Nobodys saying tank. We're actually saying the opposite. Learn how to read moron

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#29 The Soup Fascist
January 28 2014, 10:36PM
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K_Mart wrote:

While I don't see the benefit of tanking this year, I definitely see the benefit of doing so next year. McDavid is a generational talent a la Crosby, lemieux, gretz... We tanked for 7 years, what's 8.

Hall would be a great veteran to bring Mcdavid under his wing.

Katz should just forfeit all 82 Games before the season starts but not tell any of the oilers until the season is over lol. They can win all they want but hold on to that 30th ranking.

Notwithstanding the moral and ethical issues with intentionally losing games ....

Enough already. This team needs to start winning. Being at the Oiler game on Sunday it is clear the fans WANT to root for this team, the fans WANT to support them. Desperately.

But a glimpse of what this team can do followed by games of incomplete effort or seeming ineptitude for long stretches tries everyone's patience. It has to stop.

I understand the logic but can't support the sentiment. It is in everyone's best interests to win and win as often as possible. Adding Connor McDavid (unless by some super long shot lottery pick next year) would be an embarrassment and indication that this is in fact still a terrible organization instead of one on the rise. Anything less than management securing a solid starting goaltender and a couple of good NHL defensemen (not sure how exactly MacT does that just yet) would be a huge disappointment.

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#30 The Last Big Bear
January 29 2014, 08:17AM
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Jacques Strap wrote:

I don't entirely disagree but I had to trash you for being a Flames fan.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

We can and should be civil (most of the time), but its important to remember to hate your rivals. It's part of what makes sports so great.

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#31 Bushed
January 28 2014, 09:45PM
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Chambers wrote:

"winning is important but let's keep it in context"....your kidding right? Look at the Oiler loss column the last 8 years. Then look at Eberle, RNH, RNH, TH, Schultz, Hemsky, Gagne etc..these high end top guys have never experienced winning in the NHL. DO you think it is in the Oilers best interest to install winning hockey rather than have a 17 year old Eckblad added to the disaster list of ruined young talent. Please give your head a shake!

The article was about winning for the last month or so of the season, not the last 8 years.

We have won games, even this year, so it's not a totally foreign concept. And Hemmer went to game 7 of the SCF, so...

Changes have to happen before the Oilers return to playoff hockey. All I'm saying is that MacT's moves in that direction will matter more than if we win a few more games with 5-6 guys who won't even be here next year.

Finding good players to add to the core will matter more in the long run.

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#32 Moog's helmet
January 28 2014, 09:17PM
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Agreed. If there were 5 games left and we were in this position I'd feel differently. Closing things out with a 4-1 record in the name of "finishing strong" and losing out on Ekblad would be stupid. Momentum barely carries over from game to game let alone season to season. But with 27 games left you want these players to feel that winning feeling.

"Who cares the season is lost! Why not tank to guarantee the best player?? It's not like things could get worse!"

Wrong. There is a lot more poison left in the mug that is this season. If you let these players drink it to the tune of a 5-17-5 finish you could wind up with some Post traumatic season disorder that they never recover from going forward.

Media player relations. Fan player relations. Player coach relations. Fan management relations. All permanently damaged if the season were to be bookended by ungodly 25 game losing streaks.

So let's keep our jersey's on and hope for some wins.

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#33 Jacques Strap
January 29 2014, 07:38AM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

The down side to the Oilers going on a mediocre-streak is that it will help convince the already slightly-dizzy management group that this team has "Turned The Corner".

Who needs bold moves? "This team has proven that they can get the job done, and are really starting to come together as a group."

The Oilers rode a mediocre streak last year all the way to the lofty heights of 23rd place, which had everyone on the bandwgon convinced that they had "finally turned the corner". Again.

A few wins down the stretch might be exactly what the boys on the ice need. And would keep the boys (and girls) in the stands happy. But as a Flames fan I recently saw an incompetent manager use a late-season winning streak to convince himself that the wheels had not in fact fallen off the bus, and that everything was fine, and keeping the team together for maybe another two years or so before making changes was a good idea.

A 7-game winning streak down the stretch might see Bryzgalov locked-in long term, and Smyth get another extension.

I don't entirely disagree but I had to trash you for being a Flames fan.

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#34 Spydyr
January 28 2014, 06:18PM
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Robin, do they wait and hope for two of the kids to grab the top pairing (Marincin has looked great in his short window here) or do they trade for the top paring guys?

I think they can't afford to wait much longer.

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#35 Bushed
January 28 2014, 08:44PM
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So a culture of winning will be established after a month of .500 hockey?

And free agents will suddenly want to play for a 29th place team because they upped their record to .500 for a month?

Winning is important, but let's keep it in context.

What the team does the rest of this season will matter far less than what MacT does between now and next season, I'm guessing.

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#36 Show me da Money
January 28 2014, 06:52PM
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So the team feels a little bit better about itself by winning more games for the remainder of the season?

How important is that feeling which only lasts as long as a winning streak compared to drafting a potentially very good defenceman that will be around for years and years to come?

I'd prefer to have a better player for the long run over feeling a little better about myself.

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#37 Soccer Steve
January 28 2014, 07:04PM
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"Gagner is, far and away, the likeliest player to be dealt between now and training camp next season."

Really?

Surely that's Schultz Sr. or Hemsky. A dark horse in Bryzgalov even.

Second, what GM, knowing, AT THE VERY LEAST, what we already know about Gagner takes this player?

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#38 srelio
January 28 2014, 08:01PM
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Looks like Calgary will tank it more than the Oilers come trade deadline. Last year they got Monahan over us. This year it'll be Ekblad.

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#39 GVBlackhawk
January 28 2014, 09:40PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

All I can say is this - I felt a whole lot better watching Perron stripping the puck off Kassian and scoring a hat trick goal into an empty net, than I did watching Kassian score the winning goal against the Oilers a week ago.

And judging from the look on Perron's face, so did he.

Maybe the games were equally meaningless in the standings. But my sweet Lord, I'm sick of losing.

For truth Doug. Losing sucks and it is mentally draining. The Oilers will end up with a good prospect even if they start winning now...so they might as well keep winning. In fact, there might be less pressure to send the player back to junior if he isn't a 1st overall.

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#40 Oil glob
January 28 2014, 07:17PM
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Trade ganger, Hempsky, smyth all for salary dump.

Bring in nurse and klefblom

Fire the coach

And bring lots of Hope for a new season!

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#42 srelio
January 28 2014, 08:30PM
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@chambers

Yes the Flames work hard. However, it is Burke who will tank it for them by trading away whatever assets they have left come trade deadline.

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So if my math is correct, we would need to win 30 out of the last 27 games to make playoffs. Let's do this Oilers.

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#44 james_dean
January 28 2014, 06:18PM
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Just curious... if mac was going to go against his gentlemens agreement with samwise, whens the deadline?

July 1st? Sept 15th?

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#45 DonDon
January 28 2014, 09:59PM
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Chambers wrote:

Oiler fans are indeed in big trouble! The hundreds and hundreds of losses over the last 8 years has lost your perspective on sports! Be reminded losers sports is about winning it is not about draft day and drafting 1st overall in 4 consecutive years! Can't believe what I have been reading where you again actually think the Oilers should lose to gain optimal draft position. A lot of good that has done!! You currently have high level talent with shattered dreams and a chronic culture of losing! Do you really think a 17 year old like Ekblad is going to help immediately??? Unbelieveable !!

What is unbelievable is the unaccountability of the Oilers top hockey operations people for the years of the teams' utter futility.

There is no question about the Oilers' culture of losing, which starts at the top of any losing organization, with the owner. It is pernicious. ELPH (exciting, last place hockey) has taken an edge off losing for many Oilers fans. What else was there?

For the sake of the players, it is nice to see the Oilers finally win a couple of games; however, the team is still a long way from competing for a playoff spot, and contending is even further.

Choosing Ekblad in the entry draft is one of the few benefits of losing.

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#46 mlselli
January 29 2014, 01:51AM
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Robin, great article and once again I agree with you. Just wanted to say, that we have all heard or watched pre and post game interviews from opposing players and their coaches speak of the Oilers. Many times I've heard these guys say that the Oilers have skilled guys and are a fast team. I'm hoping that if the Oilers can go on a good run of winning games, and rack up about 30 or more points, UFA & RAs may look at us differently and consider coming here. Even though our place won't change much in the standings, the very least that would be evident, is the consistency in their play,and the determination to win, which would lend itself to a system that is finally working. Just trying to stay optimistic.

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#47 Chambers
January 28 2014, 09:28PM
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** wrote:

The point of the article is precisely that the team has to win and not chase another draft pick. Did you fall on your head when you were little?, or are you just naturally $tup!d?

Actually I have one up on you...I am able to read! And what I read are various posts from Oiler fans promoting losses and draft position rather than winning culture. All that after 4 consecutive years of finishing in the sewer.

Naturally if you were able to read you would understand this.

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#48 Sisyphys
January 29 2014, 05:46AM
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mlselli wrote:

Robin, great article and once again I agree with you. Just wanted to say, that we have all heard or watched pre and post game interviews from opposing players and their coaches speak of the Oilers. Many times I've heard these guys say that the Oilers have skilled guys and are a fast team. I'm hoping that if the Oilers can go on a good run of winning games, and rack up about 30 or more points, UFA & RAs may look at us differently and consider coming here. Even though our place won't change much in the standings, the very least that would be evident, is the consistency in their play,and the determination to win, which would lend itself to a system that is finally working. Just trying to stay optimistic.

I hate to say it, but its going to take more than winning a few games down the stretch this year to convince any UFA's and RA's to give this team a real look. The management is terrible, and the accountability is a joke. If you aren't named Hall, RNH, or Eberle, you will be thrown under the bus for every mistake, while they will be allowed to coast no matter how many mistakes they make. Add to that the crappy climate, the smaller city feel, and the chances of the team even making the playoffs in the next season or two...

I wish I could say there was a way to get FA's interested in the Oilers. However, short of firing Lowe, MacT, and the entire coaching staff, I really can't see how we can get anyone of value to come here willingly. It will have to be via trade, like Hendricks. I mean, come on--if you have a 4th line grinder at the end of his career, who turned down more money from us and took his chances on getting another offer? Why on earth should we think there's any chance we'll be able to get any kind of solid dmen, goalies, or even some better bottom forwards to round things out for us?

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#49 K_Mart
January 29 2014, 07:42AM
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Time Travelling Sean wrote:

McDavid isn't Crosby, the WJ's showed that.

I agree.

However he did produce more than Crosby did in the WJC at the same age. And he's looking far and away better than Hall, Yak, Nuge, Ebs, Kane, and Stamkos did at 15 and 16.

Finishing with the first overall pick next year would be beyond embarrassing, but McDavid is the best 15-16 year old I've seen since Tavares and Crosby. He isn't the goal scorer that Tavares,Stamkos,and Yak were, but he's a much superior skater and playmaker.

Embarrassment of riches

Should Mcdavid's numbers take a dip next year the way Tavares' did at the same age I won't be so concerned about getting him. Should they track the way most 17 year old Jr players' nbrs do and he cracks 140pts in 55-60 gp.... Then I'll be upset we finished 20th.

From the wjc, the U17, and the few OHL games I've seen I won't be one bit surprised if he ends up with 150+ pts next season, and 80+ pts as a rookie in the NHL. Not Crosby good, but the best since.

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#50 Neal
January 29 2014, 10:10AM
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Yeah - we have to go for it. All out. A culture of losing has to be exorcised and that can never be too slow. If Lowe and Tambellini were pulling the strings there would be a danger in what Last Big Bear wrote (good post by the way), but I think MacTavish has shown he's not those two.

Guys, a Culture of Winning has to start sometime, and I for one say say it can't be soon enough.

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