Routine Little Plays

Jonathan Willis
January 03 2014 01:24AM

Dallas Eakins hung much of Edmonton's 5-1 loss to San Jose on the second goal against, but for my money it's the Sharks' third tally that really deserves attention because it shows how even good players doing smart things can get exposed.

The Shift

First, a little bit of backstory. Six minutes into the second period, Ryan Smyth dumps the puck into the San Jose zone and both the forwards and defence change. Coming on to the ice is the first line of Taylor Hall (4), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) and David Perron (57) as well as the top defence pairing of Andrew Ference (21) and Justin Schultz (19).

Because of the change San Jose has an unopposed breakout and Dan Boyle (22 for San Jose) goes for the long pass along the far boards to Patrick Marleau (12 for San Jose) waiting at the Edmonton blue line.

Perron gets across the ice quickly enough to break up the pass, which means Marleau doesn’t get a clean possession and the puck ends up getting stuck at the line:

Edmonton’s in good shape here. Schultz and Perron got over quickly, as did Nugent-Hopkins. Off camera supporting that trio is Ference. So even with Marleau, Thornton (19 for San Jose) and Matthew Nieto (83 for San Jose) there’s nothing to worry about yet.

San Jose wins the two-on-two along the boards enough to get the puck deep and then outmans Schultz in the corner. How does a two-on-two turn into a two-on-one? Nugent-Hopkins had slid up ice to receive a pass if Edmonton had won the two-on-two and Ference had opted to guard the front of the net while it was just an even battle between Schultz and Marleau. But Nieto got on his horse immediately while Perron waited at the line. The predictable result is that San Jose wins the puck and works it back to the blue line.

The Sharks’ defence changed after Boyle’s breakout pass, so Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44 for San Jose) gets the puck and passes it over to partner Justin Braun (61) for a shot into traffic at the front of the net. So far things have worked out well for the Sharks – clean breakout, won battle at the line, won 2-on-1 in the corner – and it all culminates in this shot. But Hall gets his stick in the lane and instead of a hard shot into traffic the puck flubs into the slot, where Nugent-Hopkins is able to work it to the boards.

Hall and Nieto tie up, Ference has Thornton, and Nugent-Hopkins has possession of the puck with a bit of time and space. Ference will box out Thornton, Hall will move up the boards so that Nugent-Hopkins has an option and Perron will move out of the zone to give Hall one.

But that’s not how it works. Nugent-Hopkins turns it over to Nieto, Thornton picks the puck up and tries the pass to Joe Pavelski (8 for San Jose), who has come on the ice for Marleau.

Fortunately for Edmonton, the pass doesn’t work and Perron comes back to pick it up at the blue line, with Thornton and Pavelski in hot pursuit (Nieto has gone to the bench, meaning that despite good pressure San Jose has managed to change four of five skaters in the 30 seconds since Smyth’s dump-in). Perron skates the puck back into the Oilers zone and then coolly flips it to Ference, who has nobody near him.

Pavelski wastes no time in skating in on Ference, so Ference makes the low-risk play, banking the puck off the endboards to Schultz. Unfortunately Schultz misjudges the pass and the puck ends up on Joe Thornton’s stick.

I’ve noted the location of Ference and Nieto’s replacement Brent Burns (88 for San Jose) even though they’re off-screen to show Edmonton’s defensive system working. Schultz missed the pass but he blocks Thornton’s lane to the net, and Nugent-Hopkins correctly reads the situation and moves immediately to get to Burns while Ference goes to the front of the net to take Pavelski. It’s never a good thing for Joe Thornton to have the puck like this, but the Oilers actually do a nice job of responding.

Nugent-Hopkins’ quick action prevents a clean pass and he chips the puck ahead to Perron. Danger averted?

Unfortunately for Perron, the puck bounces on him and Burns, backchecking hard, is able to push him off it. Pavelski picks the puck up, and he and Thornton try to overwhelm Schultz at the blue line. To his credit, Schultz stands his ground and prevents a Sharks’ entry.

With the entry blocked, conventional wisdom would be to dump the puck in. Thornton has other ideas and loops back, and suddenly the Sharks have a nice, clean zone entry. Nugent-Hopkins had hurried back to backstop Schultz and Andrew Ference had similarly fallen off the blue line. With Hall forced to be wary of the Sharks’ defence, Burns and Thornton can basically stroll in with possession whenever they want now. I should also mention at this point that Vlasic has shifted off in favour of Matt Irwin (52 for San Jose).

Perron actually does a really nice job getting over to harass Thornton, Nugent-Hopkins jumps up to the line and Hall backs down. It makes what might have been an easy entry difficult, but Thornton manages to get the puck over to Braun on the far side and he has a clear lane now.

Braun has the puck and no great options but he makes a pretty decent choice, taking a bad angle shot past Ference (who doesn’t quite cut-off the shooting lane) in the hopes that the puck will rebound to Pavelski. It’s a low probability play because of Ference and Schultz and in this case Schultz is able to pick off the rebound and put it to Perron but it’s a nice simple move for Braun and if the puck had bounced on Schultz it might have paid off.

Perron skates the puck to the boards and then tries to bank it out to centre. Unfortunately for him, Thornton circles around to Braun’s position at the point and cuts the play off. Thornton plays it across to Pavelski, who skates it into the corner while his linemates change. James Sheppard (15 for San Jose) and Andrew Desjardins (10 for San Jose) come on the ice and Pavelski cycles the puck down to a charging Sheppard before heading off the ice for a change himself to allow Bracken Kearns (38 for San Jose) to come on the ice.

Ference seems leery of leaving the front of the net until Schultz can get back, which allows Sheppard to take the puck unopposed. To his credit, as soon as Ference can hand off the role he rushes to the boards to challenge Sheppard and he’s even able to gain the puck and kick it free. It doesn’t matter, though, because a gassed Nugent-Hopkins (he’s 1:10 into his shift; this is the Sharks’ third line in that same span) gets tangled up a little with Schultz and is easily beaten to the puck by Desjardins.

 

Nugent-Hopkins may be gassed, but he’s not quitting on the play; he blocks a cross-ice pass from Desjardins to a dangerous and fresh Scott Hannan (27 for San Jose). Hall and Schultz are both standing between Hannan and the net but neither is really doing anything useful; if not for Nugent-Hopkins block Hannan would have been in great shape to wire that puck home.

Nugent-Hopkins can’t control the puck in his skates, though, and on his third try Desjardins knocks it over to Bracken Kearns.

The results are predictable.

What Happened?

There’s a lot going on, but the funny thing is how many times there was solid effort from Oilers players and good defensive awareness. Perron and Hall and Nugent-Hopkins and Ference and Schultz all do lots of things right on this shift. Unfortunately for Edmonton, however, there were lapses. Let’s review:

  • On the initial entry, a two-on-two gets lost and turns into a Sharks dump-in. That’ll happen; it’s not a critical error.
  • More troubling is Perron getting beat back into the zone by Nieto, leaving Schultz fighting off two Sharks attackers. Given that Perron had skated hard to breakup San Jose’s initial breakout pass, likely this is just a lapse of concentration rather than an effort problem.
  • Hall makes a nice defensive play and those little problems are negated. At which point Nugent-Hopkins turns the puck over. But Edmonton gets lucky and the puck goes to Perron, who puts it out of danger.
  • And then we have another turnover. Schultz misreads a routine bank pass, and Thornton collects the puck.
  • More nice work without the puck by Edmonton, but just as it looks like they’re out of trouble the puck bounces on Perron, which eventually leads to a low-quality Sharks’ shot.
  • Our third turnover. Perron tries to keep it simple and just bank the puck off the boards; it’s picked off.
  • Ference wins a one-on-one puck battle but at this point fatigue is setting in and Nugent-Hopkins can’t get there in time; the one-on-one turns into another one-on-two and San Jose gains possession again.
  • Nobody picks up Kearns and there’s a goal against.

Turnovers and ultimately fatigue kill Edmonton on this shift. But it’s not really a case of guys being too fancy; these are routine breakdowns. Nugent-Hopkins can’t make a pass quickly enough. Schultz misreads a simple bank pass. Perron’s simple bank clear gets picked off.

The funny thing is that up until the very end when nobody picks up Hannan or Kearns, these guys all do a pretty nice job of defending without the puck. They also do a nice job of engaging in puck battles. But they make a bunch of simple mistakes on simple plays, and eventually getting trapped catches up to a team.

San Jose, incidentally, does something the Oilers need to learn on offence, something that has nothing to do with size or strength: They make quick changes. When there’s an opportunity to switch personnel without losing possession, they take it every time. That, more than brute force, is what wears Edmonton down here.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#51 Bryzarro World
January 03 2014, 09:56AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

So glad I'm not watching anymore. ON provides all the news and spin I need.

It is WAY more entertaining than watching the crap fest that has become the oil.

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#52 Dave
January 03 2014, 09:58AM
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I keep on hoping that I get a "news flash" that announces that Eakins has been fired.

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#53 camdog
January 03 2014, 09:59AM
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@He Who Knows

Mact had Brown and Smid to start the season, but traded them because he didn't value their grit.

This is quite common with Mact. For reference when Glencross went to the Flames Mact said players like Glencross are a dime a dozen. However what's odd about that statement is that since Glencross left the organisation the Oilers haven't even been able to replace what he brought and he's been gone for eons.

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#54 Bryzarro World
January 03 2014, 10:06AM
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Dave wrote:

I keep on hoping that I get a "news flash" that announces that Eakins has been fired.

If that happens I will be down at Sherlock Holmes pub buying the bar a round. Come down for a drink!

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#55 Brian
January 03 2014, 10:09AM
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Dave wrote:

I keep on hoping that I get a "news flash" that announces that Eakins has been fired.

You'll read that "news flash" coincident with the resignation of KSlow. In other words, don't count on it Buddy.

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#56 The Funky Chicken Has Left The Building
January 03 2014, 10:11AM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

If that happens I will be down at Sherlock Holmes pub buying the bar a round. Come down for a drink!

Here here...a toast to 'Chopping Wood and Carrying Water'!!

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#57 loweblows
January 03 2014, 10:12AM
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Maybe MacT's first bold move will be firing all the coaching staff. Irony on a cold dish.

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#58 Bryzarro World
January 03 2014, 10:13AM
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Katz the savior has become Katz the destroyer. Screw him and that Ronald Mcdonald clone! I've seen people that care more about the deuce they just dropped than Katz the clown cares about this team.

Let this idiot move the F&*K out of here and we can get another team here by the time the arena is built. Tell me what struggling team wouldn't want to come play here? Kick Katz and his moronic minions the hell out!!

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#59 oilers1168
January 03 2014, 10:14AM
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Excellent read. Shows how important short shifts and depth of bench usage is important. Its even more important on back to back games.

This is where coaching is important. Role all four lines and monitor players total minutes of ice time and shifts.

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#60 pkam
January 03 2014, 10:18AM
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camdog wrote:

I would fire Kevin Lowe. The firing would be more symbolic now rather than operational as the damage has already been done. It would send the message that nobody is safe. Not long ago Mac-t said that he has 8-9 core players that he believes in and doesn't want to trade. Other than Hall and RNH nobody should be so privileged to be safe, not on a team this bad and that includes Kevin Lowe.

This organization desperately needs a fresh face. Somebody who can honestly evaluate the players on this team. Mact may turn out to be a great GM, but he is biased, by previous relationships with players, how else can A player like Gags be guaranteed safety?

Unless Katz hires a puppet to replace Kevin Lowe, the hiring of a new president of HC most likely results in new GM and new coaches. So do you want a puppet, or new GM and new coaches?

Just look at Calgary, BB just fired JF and you know Hartley will be next when the new GM reports to duty.

I'll rather give the current management another year or 2, and if it doesn't work out, replace them all at the same time.

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#61 Bryzarro World
January 03 2014, 10:18AM
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JOHN wrote:

YOU ARE A MORON

This has to be the worst self confidence speech ever given into a mirror in the morning.

Dude, try saying "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and dog gone it, people like me" when you face that mirror in the morning! Trust me, you'll feel better about your life...

If it doesn't work, well, go F&*K yourself...

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#62 pkam
January 03 2014, 10:21AM
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oilers1168 wrote:

Excellent read. Shows how important short shifts and depth of bench usage is important. Its even more important on back to back games.

This is where coaching is important. Role all four lines and monitor players total minutes of ice time and shifts.

The problem here is we have 3 NHL lines. And the bigger problem is Sharks' 2nd line is as good as our 1st, their 3rd is as good as our 2nd, and their 4th is better than our 3rd.

And the situation in the defense is even worse.

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#63 Arius Mumin
January 03 2014, 10:25AM
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What came first: chicken or the egg? Props for egg, Trash for chicken.

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#64 Dog Train
January 03 2014, 10:32AM
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We had no business being in that game. It's hard enough to beat the top teams in the West but it's impossible if your three best forwards spend most of the night in their own zone.

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#65 S cottV
January 03 2014, 10:37AM
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The Oilers get themselves bottled up in their own zone, way too often - in particular vs stronger teams. The result is an inevitable breakdown leading to a GA in part because the guys run out of gas.

While part of the problem is failure to make the simple plays - part is also fundamental, the way the Oilers are defending.

Oilers are trying compensate for general weakness in the middle and back end by having their wingers too involved in down low defensive support, that is usually left more in the hands of the centreman and 2 d men, playing in appropriate rotation.

Example - RNH vs Thorton is a mismatch, Ferrance / J Schultz (non legit 1st pairing) vs Sharks 1st line wingers is a mismatch, and so on through the line rotations.

Bringing the wingers down low, may help in some ways, but it hurts in a lot of other ways.

The other fundamental thing that is creating problems - is the back side Oiler d man playing too much in net zone, when all 3 opposition forwards pressure around the puck in the corner or half boards. The oppositon out mans our strong side d man and centreman and take the puck to the net with time and space.

Picture 3 shows Ferrance in front of the net, with no one to cover. He should be way closer to the play, without giving up net zone coverage. There is no point in standing that far away with no one to cover in front of the net and this happens a lot with the Oilers. RNH should be directly engaged with J Schultz in the 2 on 2 - not Perron. Perron should be tighter to the strong side point man which would have negated the d pass and subsequent d to d pass.

The root of the problem is that we need RNH to mature and get stronger, we need a much stronger 2C, and legit 1st pairing d men,so that these compensations are not needed.

Our wingers need to be able to stay out of our low d zone, cover opposition point men more and be available to outlet the puck on turnovers.

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#66 Cynic
January 03 2014, 10:38AM
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Spending 15 diagrams on a single goal in a 5-1 loss in a franchise-worst season is like trying to pin Nickelback's crapitude on the bassist coming in late on their third song during a concert at Rexall. Just go with the shorter version: They blow. And then distract the fans by talking about 5 Corgis on a Fenwick zone start.

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#67 2004Z06
January 03 2014, 10:39AM
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Same crap, different day. Don't you get tired of blaming the coach, Lowe, Katz and the lack of a decent defenseman day after day after day after day?

I used to visit this site daily, but frankly it's become lame, repetitive and a waste of bandwidth.

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#68 Dan the Man
January 03 2014, 10:44AM
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camdog wrote:

Mact had Brown and Smid to start the season, but traded them because he didn't value their grit.

This is quite common with Mact. For reference when Glencross went to the Flames Mact said players like Glencross are a dime a dozen. However what's odd about that statement is that since Glencross left the organisation the Oilers haven't even been able to replace what he brought and he's been gone for eons.

I don't think I would lump in Mike Brown with Smid and Glencross. Smid and Glencross are actually useful players.

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#69 Puck JammeR!
January 03 2014, 10:44AM
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If you're still watching Oilers games at this point you deserve the pain you feel

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#70 rickithebear
January 03 2014, 10:51AM
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Bryzarro;

Lets start with cup winning Chicago; the base for there cup win was created from 1996 to 2007 14 players.

then they signed Hossa, Campbell, Sopel, Madden, Kopecky, Niemi in the summer of 2009. Alot of players 23+ year with alot of base players seeing the Ahl till 22 to 24.

Players from oilers scouting system 1998 to 2007that would Be pocklington ; sather; Fraser and EIG; Lowe: Pendergast

1998 Horcoff -> Larsen and Pick

2001 Hemsky UFA

we traded Stoll, Green, Brodziak, Cogliano

Dubnyk UFA

Petry RFA

Gagner

we basically have 2 players from this period next year.

Not 14 players 2players left.

Under Katz; Tambo; Macgregor

2008 Eberle 23 yr

2009 MP MacT traded for Perron. Lander 22yr

2010 Hall 22yr Pitlick 22 yr Marincin 21 yr hamilton 22 yr davidson 22yr

2011 RNH 20yr Klefbom 20yr Musil 20yr Simpson 20yr Gernat 20yr

2012 Yakupov 20yr Moroz 19yr Khaira 19yr McCarron 21yr

Katz; Mact ; Macgregor

2013 Nurse 18yr MO roy 19yr Yakimov 19yr Slepyshev 19yr Muir 18yr G. Chase 18yr You are blaming katz when it is sather/fraser Loawe pendergast that were the problem.

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#71 spliff
January 03 2014, 10:54AM
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Just read Bruce McCurdy's piece in the Journal,and it raises some good points. Especially, that if things go like this for much longer, then MacT and Eakins have undoubtedly failed in their roles this year. MacT can spin it any way he wants, and give BS soundbites where he talks about "messaging" and "going forward" and "staying the course."

Its is quite obvious to anyone with any hockey intelligence, that Lowe, MacT and Howson are amateurs, and their arrogance has blinded them to the failures that they are. There is no easy fix to the sh*tshow that this group of managers has created, and I can't see this team taking a serious run at a playoff spot, let alone a cup run, for at least 3 - 4 years. That means most likely, 12 years or longer or non-playoff hockey, which will set an NHL record for longest playoff drought in the leagues long history. Unbelievable.

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#72 pkam
January 03 2014, 10:55AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

In my opinion Eberle for Seguin is a straight swap. (In retrospective we should have down this trade in 2010 when Boston asked about it. )

As for the Horcoff thing. I kid, I kid. (We could use cogliano back.)

Seguin didn't go thru 3 coaches in 3 years and always have big linemates to create space for him. Do you really think Seguin will be as productive if he was an Oilers since 2010?

If we swapped Eberle for Seguin in 2010, I bet we will be blaming the management for another terrible trade.

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#73 Rama Lama
January 03 2014, 11:11AM
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Over analysis.........hockey is a game of micro-inches, nano-seconds, and continuously changing plays. To dissect the game to this level only serves the writer.

Dissecting plays will not change the obvious. We are small, fast, and have no players that can effectively use their size advantage. Everyone know what this team needs ( larger stronger forwards / more mobile defensemen / goaltending) mostly a new coach and management staff.

Dissecting plays six ways to Sunday, means very little.

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#74 bumblebpete
January 03 2014, 11:13AM
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Rob... wrote:

How does such a big goalie consistently cover so little of the net?

This is a good question?

The answer is a 6'5" goalie drops to his knees almost every time a puck is shot at him.

The result is; the puck goes over the now 4'5" goalie's shoulder, under the cross bar and in to the top of the net.

Surely I'm not the only one who notices this happening on a regular basis.

The other teams in the league see it, because that is why they "coach" their players to shoot at the top of the net.

Do we have a goalie coach and if we do, is he blind?

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#75 Devon
January 03 2014, 11:16AM
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My chow chow got attacked by 2 pitbulls after he broke the leash. Guy walking the pitbulls got bit. Chow chow was fine, my dad was walking my chow chow while I was in camrose for the weekend. He told my mom not to tell me what happened. My mom told me what happened. They both had him by the neck. His fur was to thick for them to break through it with their teeth. My chow chow was 8 months old at the time. After it was over he wanted to keep playing with them. I'm sick of my in laws texting me after every game making fun of how bad the oilers are. I'm sick of wearing my oilers jacket to the courthouse to pay my monthly fine and the metal detector cop saying "stop, your not aloud in here" than pointing at my coat. Eakins you suck, Mac t you suck, Lowe you suck, Katz your just a dick. Done, no more oilers for this family. Over

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#76 Rick Stroppel
January 03 2014, 11:20AM
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RIP IT DOWN TO THE GROUND

Several people are asking a serious question here: how do you solve this? I think that deserves a serious answer.

On TV there is a show called "Disaster DIY". It is all about people who try to do their own home renovations, but they don't know what they are doing. When they bring in a real expert, they invariably start by ripping everything out and STARTING FROM SCRATCH.

So you say, "fire Eakins, MacTavish, Lowe NOW". Not so fast. That gives Katz the perfect opportunity to say "we are going to be terrible for ANOTHER 3-4 years and IT IS ALL THE FANS FAULT because you asked for this".

I say give them the rest of this year and next, and if there is not MAJOR improvement (ie playoffs and beyond), then fire them all.

This is a free world. Katz is free to run the team however he likes. Fans are free to not waste time and money on this endless sh!t show. DO YOU THINK KATZ HAS FIGURED THAT OUT?

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#77 Randaman
January 03 2014, 11:20AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

I have said this before. But here goes. The only way to fill the holes that we have is by trading Eberle and Gagner. They have not improved there defensive games such.

Maybe we can trade Gagner and Eberle for Seguin and Horcoff.

I see by all the thumbs down to your comment that the Kool-aid is still flowing and being consumed at a massive rate. This love affair with Snow Pants and Passive Eberle must be brought into perspective by management. Oh ya, never mind. What a lost cause this team is from top to bottom. You people want to win? Really? Unpopular trades are the only answer. Ekblad and McDavid wouldn't even help with this mis-management group. I am so pissed off with what is happening to this once proud franchise.

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#78 nick
January 03 2014, 11:23AM
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NHLPA wrote:

Thank the good Lord for No Trade Contracts. Those of us who have them will be spared exile to Edmonton and the consummate cluster _ _ _ _ that is the Oiler organization.

I think the main reason NTC were icorporated into players contracts is so that the players could veto any trade to Edmonton and this clown show of a management team. How bad to you think David Perron wishes he had that NTC now. There is not a decent player out there with a NTC that would accept a trade to this circus.

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#79 Randaman
January 03 2014, 11:25AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

In my opinion Eberle for Seguin is a straight swap. (In retrospective we should have down this trade in 2010 when Boston asked about it. )

As for the Horcoff thing. I kid, I kid. (We could use cogliano back.)

I don't get the negative responses to the thought of Eberle for Suguin. That is a trade I make if it is available. No brainer in my opinion. At least Seguin hits and plays defense

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#80 Chet134
January 03 2014, 11:26AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Same crap, different day. Don't you get tired of blaming the coach, Lowe, Katz and the lack of a decent defenseman day after day after day after day?

I used to visit this site daily, but frankly it's become lame, repetitive and a waste of bandwidth.

Ya but it's fun to see guys get fired up.

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#81 aeiouY
January 03 2014, 11:26AM
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Sisyphys wrote:

Honest question here--and I want answers free from delusion, free from "what I really wish could happen but know its not realistic" answers:

How do you fix this? Where do you start? Even assuming you get a new GM, and a new head coach (yet another new system to learn, which sets things back for at least another entire season)....I don't know how you fix this in a real way.

There are so many holes, and so many issues with the player personnel that we already have on the team, that it makes fixing it, even with a good GM and a good coach, a very hard and long road. You cannot trade pieces of crap players for the solid players a contender needs. Yet you can't trade away the very few good players you do have, since you'll plug some holes and open up new ones in their place.

Genuine prediction here--the Oilers beat the playoff drought record, and its at least 2016-17 before there are even any glimpse of being considered a "good" team. I mean, consider this--all the fan boards now are talking about prospects who are coming down the pipeline. If that's all you have to look forward to, batten down the hatches and prepare for a lot more pain and embarrassment

Everybody knows it, but here is my 2 cents anyway.....we need to fix the back end.

To me, it would look like this and it would happen over a span of 48 hours. It has to happen in season and before the deadline. This team is sinking way to hard way to fast. The organization needs a hard fast turn and it is possible.

trade 1.

Gagner, hemsky, and petry to ottawa for z smith and j. cowen

trade 2.

yakupov (who I do not want to trade) to ny for M. staal (maybe you get a conditional pick back)

both staal and cowen have warts in their game and neither is a top pairing defenceman yet.... but they both have the chance to be soon. sooner than klefbom or nurse. And no NHL team is going around trading validated top pairing guys.

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#82 Rama Lama
January 03 2014, 11:30AM
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I think that Lowetide absolutely nailed it on his website with his latest article.........pure gold!

As Bruce Buffer says.......it's time!

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#83 nick
January 03 2014, 11:32AM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

RIP IT DOWN TO THE GROUND

Several people are asking a serious question here: how do you solve this? I think that deserves a serious answer.

On TV there is a show called "Disaster DIY". It is all about people who try to do their own home renovations, but they don't know what they are doing. When they bring in a real expert, they invariably start by ripping everything out and STARTING FROM SCRATCH.

So you say, "fire Eakins, MacTavish, Lowe NOW". Not so fast. That gives Katz the perfect opportunity to say "we are going to be terrible for ANOTHER 3-4 years and IT IS ALL THE FANS FAULT because you asked for this".

I say give them the rest of this year and next, and if there is not MAJOR improvement (ie playoffs and beyond), then fire them all.

This is a free world. Katz is free to run the team however he likes. Fans are free to not waste time and money on this endless sh!t show. DO YOU THINK KATZ HAS FIGURED THAT OUT?

I like your thought process here but I do not think you can wait another year and a half with these clowns running the show. If you fire them after the season you can find some experienced good hockey men to run this franchise that will not say I need years to sort this out. They have some talent here just need some serious guidance and some decent hockey minds to run the ship. Another year with these guys and the hole may be way to deep to dig out of.

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#84 camdog
January 03 2014, 11:36AM
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Randaman wrote:

I see by all the thumbs down to your comment that the Kool-aid is still flowing and being consumed at a massive rate. This love affair with Snow Pants and Passive Eberle must be brought into perspective by management. Oh ya, never mind. What a lost cause this team is from top to bottom. You people want to win? Really? Unpopular trades are the only answer. Ekblad and McDavid wouldn't even help with this mis-management group. I am so pissed off with what is happening to this once proud franchise.

The thumbs down might be a result of people not believing you can fill holes by trading gags, because he has no value...

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#85 Oil Is My Blood
January 03 2014, 11:37AM
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Great Article.

Anyway that MacT considers the following BOLD move?

Fire Steve Smith, replace him with Jonathan Willis. Gets the fans off his back, and makes his coaching staff better!!

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#86 aeiouY
January 03 2014, 11:40AM
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@camdog

that is why you have to package him

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#87 A-Mc
January 03 2014, 11:45AM
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Sisyphys wrote:

Honest question here--and I want answers free from delusion, free from "what I really wish could happen but know its not realistic" answers:

How do you fix this? Where do you start? Even assuming you get a new GM, and a new head coach (yet another new system to learn, which sets things back for at least another entire season)....I don't know how you fix this in a real way.

There are so many holes, and so many issues with the player personnel that we already have on the team, that it makes fixing it, even with a good GM and a good coach, a very hard and long road. You cannot trade pieces of crap players for the solid players a contender needs. Yet you can't trade away the very few good players you do have, since you'll plug some holes and open up new ones in their place.

Genuine prediction here--the Oilers beat the playoff drought record, and its at least 2016-17 before there are even any glimpse of being considered a "good" team. I mean, consider this--all the fan boards now are talking about prospects who are coming down the pipeline. If that's all you have to look forward to, batten down the hatches and prepare for a lot more pain and embarrassment

In all honesty there are only 2 ways to get out of this if we make 1 solid assumption.

Assumption:
The team is simply not good enough and there is literally zero chance that this collection of players will ever make the playoffs regardless of system buy in or added years of experience.

Option 1:
Draft Defensemen and sit on them for the next 4 years. Even at 4 years, we'd be rushing them along, but there is a slight chance that even inexperienced (yet decent) drafted defensemen bump the oilers into something other than a cellar team.

Option 2:
Flip our high draft picks for established players. It'll likely take a few more years of picking top 5 and flipping them for half decent players. To use language lowetide gravitates to: We'd only be getting 60-70 cents on the dollar for our draft pick flips. But the flip side is atleast the player is good enough to play NOW.

In both scenarios we're likely waiting a solid 2-3 years before anything changes

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#88 camdog
January 03 2014, 11:49AM
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@aeiouY

Lets re-phrase Gags has negative to no trade value at his 5 million cap hit and no trade clause coming in.

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#89 Walter Sobchak
January 03 2014, 11:50AM
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I can't understand why some thought MacTavish would somehow come in and re-build the re-build?

This is the same guy who compared Reasner was Sakic, this is the same guy that put Toby Peterson on the PP & had a stranger player love affair with Moreau!

MacTavish thought players like Penner, Brodziak & Glencross were expendable or Lazy.

Put to much faith in players like M.A Bergeron & Grebeshkov (both times).

This was one of the key members of team Oil that put the Team head first into the rebuild, then he returns to bottom the team out again.

Besides the Peron deal which had to be mostly the Blues dumping salary none of his moves have worked out.

This team is a mess & run by the same people who messed it up??

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#90 Rama Lama
January 03 2014, 11:56AM
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A-Mc wrote:

In all honesty there are only 2 ways to get out of this if we make 1 solid assumption.

Assumption:
The team is simply not good enough and there is literally zero chance that this collection of players will ever make the playoffs regardless of system buy in or added years of experience.

Option 1:
Draft Defensemen and sit on them for the next 4 years. Even at 4 years, we'd be rushing them along, but there is a slight chance that even inexperienced (yet decent) drafted defensemen bump the oilers into something other than a cellar team.

Option 2:
Flip our high draft picks for established players. It'll likely take a few more years of picking top 5 and flipping them for half decent players. To use language lowetide gravitates to: We'd only be getting 60-70 cents on the dollar for our draft pick flips. But the flip side is atleast the player is good enough to play NOW.

In both scenarios we're likely waiting a solid 2-3 years before anything changes

ASSUMPTION:

We have the right coach and management to see thing through to their logical conclusion.

I think it's time to seriously ask ourselves, "maybe we had the right coach in Krueger all along"? Just maybe the players have tuned out this current coach and his egomaniac ways? Just how many times is Mr. Blame going to run his players over and over?

The team has tuned out Mr. Fitness and his three stooges!

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#91 aeiouY
January 03 2014, 11:57AM
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@camdog

fair enough....

the alternative is to move him to the wing. Gags is killing whatever line he is on at center. maybe he can get some confidence back on the wing.

On a totally seperate matter, check out the post game interview of yakupov on edmontonoilers.com today.

it is shocking how far this kids confidence has fallen under this coaching staff. this is the same guy that was staring directly into the camera a year ago talking about beating the canadian jr team... now he can't keep his eyes off of the floor and all he can talk about is mistakes he is making.

something has to change in that locker room

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#92 Newj
January 03 2014, 11:58AM
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I'm not a season ticket holder although in years past I had seriously considered doling out the bucks to get a decent seat.

My question is " who truly would buy season tickets for next year?" With the outlook for next year and likely coming off the worst year ever...who would buy? Yes there will be the company/corporate purchases but I have a hard time envisioning what type of fan would see value in spending their money on this team?

No matter how hard MacT and the marketing dept can spin a positive outlook...who will buy?

Maybe Katz wont care...maybe there will be enough ticket sales to people like me who go only occasionally.

Just a thought but it may be some justice this summer when season ticket sales reach levels so low they havent been seen for 20 years.

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#93 devojo
January 03 2014, 12:03PM
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Heres my 2 cents...this team has no leader, no team unity and ffs no professionalism. I think Mike Brown touched on that in his interview in the sun or journal yesterday.

Case in point i take my 2 year old to his first oiler game where they lay the 4-0 egg on their back to back in vancouver. That night the boys are out on the town partying with dubnyk hanging out the window of the limo like hes gods gift to woman.

Was it their rookie party? Like come on, they were more interested in the after party then the game they just played. You think a captain like Toews would stand for that?

If you think MacT and Eakins are on the same page i think you're mistaken... at least thats how it looked at breakfast that next morning...very awkward

A lot of problems but until we get somebody that leads this team and gets this group under control we're not going anywheres and it starts in the room.

And finally Fire Kevin Lowe please and thanks.

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#94 pkam
January 03 2014, 12:04PM
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A-Mc wrote:

In all honesty there are only 2 ways to get out of this if we make 1 solid assumption.

Assumption:
The team is simply not good enough and there is literally zero chance that this collection of players will ever make the playoffs regardless of system buy in or added years of experience.

Option 1:
Draft Defensemen and sit on them for the next 4 years. Even at 4 years, we'd be rushing them along, but there is a slight chance that even inexperienced (yet decent) drafted defensemen bump the oilers into something other than a cellar team.

Option 2:
Flip our high draft picks for established players. It'll likely take a few more years of picking top 5 and flipping them for half decent players. To use language lowetide gravitates to: We'd only be getting 60-70 cents on the dollar for our draft pick flips. But the flip side is atleast the player is good enough to play NOW.

In both scenarios we're likely waiting a solid 2-3 years before anything changes

Does option 2 mean a team good enough for playoff contender but will never be good enough to be a cup contender?

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#95 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 12:11PM
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spliff wrote:

Just read Bruce McCurdy's piece in the Journal,and it raises some good points. Especially, that if things go like this for much longer, then MacT and Eakins have undoubtedly failed in their roles this year. MacT can spin it any way he wants, and give BS soundbites where he talks about "messaging" and "going forward" and "staying the course."

Its is quite obvious to anyone with any hockey intelligence, that Lowe, MacT and Howson are amateurs, and their arrogance has blinded them to the failures that they are. There is no easy fix to the sh*tshow that this group of managers has created, and I can't see this team taking a serious run at a playoff spot, let alone a cup run, for at least 3 - 4 years. That means most likely, 12 years or longer or non-playoff hockey, which will set an NHL record for longest playoff drought in the leagues long history. Unbelievable.

Mccurdy says 43 games isn't enough to judge Eakins and MacT. I say 21 games was enough. But mccurdy begs the question: how many is enough for him to make a judgement?

Frankly I think mccurdy et al in the journo community will be the last to make any call for a firing and that they won't make one but rather will keep mum until the oil makes a move and then they will back that move whatever it is - just as they did with Tambos hiring, the firing of all the coaches and the hiring of MacT (though to be fair some did question MacT being made GM).

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#96 SlaveLake
January 03 2014, 12:16PM
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@Newj

How to fix this team.

Admit a mistake and fire the entire coaching staff, now. I don't care how many coaches they have been through each #1 pick is worth more than 10 coaches to this franchise. Keep firing until you find one that works.

Make trades/moves whatever you have to do for the new coach to maintain a .500 winning percentage or better for the remaining 15-20 games of this season. If this team does not finish with at least some hope for next year, not a single free agent that is worth anything to anyone will sign here. Money or no money.

Draft Ekblad and trade as many B prospects and late picks as we have for NHL players next year. Like Smid for prospects, but actually the other way around. Real trades and getting real players in trades will be the marker for this team trying to turn it around.

If enough progress is shown maybe one or two useful free agents will come here. Combined with one or two players obtained in trades.

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#97 A-Mc
January 03 2014, 12:16PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

ASSUMPTION:

We have the right coach and management to see thing through to their logical conclusion.

I think it's time to seriously ask ourselves, "maybe we had the right coach in Krueger all along"? Just maybe the players have tuned out this current coach and his egomaniac ways? Just how many times is Mr. Blame going to run his players over and over?

The team has tuned out Mr. Fitness and his three stooges!

I didn't mention coaching because i dont believe a coaching change can or will happen. Eakins could 100% be the problem but IMO i think we're stuck with him for atleast 3 years.

The players will have to dig themselves out of this hole with a little help from Mac T.

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#98 A-Mc
January 03 2014, 12:17PM
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pkam wrote:

Does option 2 mean a team good enough for playoff contender but will never be good enough to be a cup contender?

Quite possibly, yes.

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#99 me
January 03 2014, 12:24PM
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The fact that so many losers care about a team they don't play for cracks me up...get a life...try not cheering for a team because geography and need to feel like you belong to something that you have nothing to do with....the only thing u have in common is that you are LOSERS...but on the other hand I come here to laugh at your comments and how many of you think you know so much more....hahahahahaha

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#100 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 12:31PM
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me wrote:

The fact that so many losers care about a team they don't play for cracks me up...get a life...try not cheering for a team because geography and need to feel like you belong to something that you have nothing to do with....the only thing u have in common is that you are LOSERS...but on the other hand I come here to laugh at your comments and how many of you think you know so much more....hahahahahaha

Thanks for reading and taking the time and showing us that you care by posting.

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