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 rinkydink333
January 03 2014, 08:54AM
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To me it is incomprehensible that an NHL coaching staff cannot teach 23 players simple things like breakout plays and a fore checking system. If you look at the disaster which has been the Oilers for the last 6 years, the common thread through all of this is the assistant coaches. Somehow Buchberger and Smith simply do not measure up to their peers with other successful teams. This, combined with Eakins unwillingness to accept any responsibility, bodes ill for the team. If MacT wants to make a bold move, maybe he has to start with hiring new assistant coaches who can communicate with and teach the young players what is expected of them. Seems to me Charlie Huddy used to be darn good at this. He got good results with limited talent when with the Oilers and he continues to do so to this day. Mact, be bold.

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#52 camdog
January 03 2014, 09:00AM
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@Sisyphys

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?

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#53 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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#54 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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#55 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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#56 K_Mart
January 03 2014, 12:42PM
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How do we get out hit by something like 25 to 10 when we NEVER HAD THE PUCK?

We are a soft, non contact team playing a contact sport. Arco(our 3' physical presence) can't come back soon enough. Same goes for Pitlick. Prefer him over Joensuu.

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#57 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 12:54PM
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Gaz wrote:

Actually, good coaches have done this "silent treatment" in the past; Mike Babcock comes to mind. I couldn't find the youtube vid, but here's the link.

http://detroitsportsnation.com/blog/silent-treatment-falls-on-deaf-ears/

The coach isn't the problem...nor have they ever been. If this team was assembled properly even Pat Quinn could've gotten something done.

I completely disagree.

Sure the team is full of flaws. But beyond that they are playing very poorly and with no fight. And that is largely on the coach and his staff.

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#58 **
January 03 2014, 01:09PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

I think the gagner NTC is a moot point.

Were MacT to approach gagner a it trading him gagner would leap at the chance to get out of this hockey hell-hole.

But trading gagner would be a significant admission of failure on MacT's part - and to hell with what benefits the team he's not going to lose face.

Why would Gagner want to leave Edmonton?. He's treated like a king, gets millions for playing mediocre hockey, keeps getting ice time no matter how much he f#4s up. At ay other team he would be seeing the game from the press box on a regular basis and he would definitively have a smaller contract.

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#59 nick
January 03 2014, 01:23PM
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Gaz wrote:

Actually, good coaches have done this "silent treatment" in the past; Mike Babcock comes to mind. I couldn't find the youtube vid, but here's the link.

http://detroitsportsnation.com/blog/silent-treatment-falls-on-deaf-ears/

The coach isn't the problem...nor have they ever been. If this team was assembled properly even Pat Quinn could've gotten something done.

Are you seriously mentioning Mike Babcock's name as a reference to Dallas Fricking Eakins. You have got to be kidding me.

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#60 Chet134
January 03 2014, 09:04AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

There is no question that the media in EDM are collectively a group of management lapdogs. By simple way of comparison that is obvious:

Imagine if this was the NYR or PHI we were talking about. Eakins and company would be torn to shreds by now.

Lt and Stauffer fit into that catigory of being a lapdog. I don't think Eakins is the problem. Look at the team he was given. Belov, Larson, maurncin, potter, are all AHL players. N Schultz and Ference are 5/6 defenseman. Petry and Schultz are 4 defenseman that need more time to learn the game. All these players are over there head. Lowe, tambo and scouting staff has put this franchise in a deep hole. Mac T has been given a sh$$$$t show. Unfortunately we can't make any significant trades til the off season when our players give some kind of value back. If any. When it comes to Katz, crickets crickets. That's cuz he's counting his money and he can't be disturbed. Keep up the sellouts fans.

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#61 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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#62 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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#63 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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#64 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 12:38PM
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pkam wrote:

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.

Why wait? Firing lowe begins the process - a process that takes time - you can't fire and replace POHO GM coach and assistants all at once.

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#65 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 12:45PM
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The Swarm wrote:

"Chopping wood. Carrying water." - Dallas Eakins Dec 2013

"There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water? When you labor, stay awake. Notice the frame of mind you bring to your work. Do you approach your work as if it were a nuisance? Do you remove your consciousness from work so that you are filled with resentment or worry? What would you need to do to be more fully present in your work? Practice mindfulness in work. It does little good to attain clarity of mind on your meditation cushion if you lose it as soon as you become active. Start with simple activities like brushing your teeth, ironing clothes, or washing dishes. Be fully alert as you move. Notice the position of your body in space. Notice the feelings in your body as you move. Pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you do the task. See if you can let them go and just focus on the work itself."

Huh?!! This guy is genius!! No wonder the team sucks.

MacT - time to step behind the bench to end this madness.

Did he really make that speech? If so - Jesus it's worse than I thought.

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#66 Serious Gord
January 03 2014, 07:55AM
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Sisyphus wrote:

Do you seriously believe Gagner has any trade value right now? Let alone enough to be combined with Eberle for that package?

I'm sorry, but given his upcoming NTC and contract, combined with his play this year, has made him all but untradeable for anything other than "future considerations".

Ebs, he might get you a truly good player back. One, nothing more. We just don't have many tradable assets (which I consider assets we would be willing to part with that another team would want to have).

We have plenty that we'd want to part with, but what team in the league wants to make a trade for a player who is bad on one of the worst teams in the league--bad player, on a bad team, means a player who would look even worse on another, better team

I think the gagner NTC is a moot point.

Were MacT to approach gagner a it trading him gagner would leap at the chance to get out of this hockey hell-hole.

But trading gagner would be a significant admission of failure on MacT's part - and to hell with what benefits the team he's not going to lose face.

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#67 Athabascajim
January 03 2014, 08:03AM
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The problems on this sequence all started when Perron took the puck BACK in to the Oiler zone. They had the zone cleared and with AHL defensemen the puck should never be passed back to them. They need to be smarter with the puck and play north/south hockey.

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#68 dt
January 03 2014, 08:55AM
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Wow. I am as devout an Oiler fan as anyone else. Maybe moreso. I grew up during the dynasty years and was spoiled by watching hall of famers rewrite the record book. I also stuck with the team throught the nineties when there was no hope and no first overall picks to pin hope onto. This is a horrific stretch. But, we certainly have more hope than the nineties teams. The Oilers need work: they need to get bigger, they need to get three more reliable d-men. But, they've done the hard part. They've amassed the elite talent. They're still young. They make poor decisions and turn the puck over in bad areas. They get eaten up by veteran teams like San Jose and LA because they've gone throught their growing pains already. Thornton was terrible his first year and considered a bust (7 points in 55 games), and got traded away. I understand everyone's frustration. It's hard to site through this year after year. But, how many of us were at the top of our fields at the age of 21, 22, or 23? How many of us came right out of university and rose right to the top? Every job has a learning curve, and I could only imagine how steep the lurning curve is in a professional sport. So, blow it up, fire everyone, blah blah blah. Or, wait until the Nuge, only a third year player, busts out. Wait until Hall stops taking risks. All of this being said though, what frustrates me the most is the complete inaction of the organization. I don't think the Oilers need an overhaul, but several tune-ups and part replacements.

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#69 NJ
January 03 2014, 09:25AM
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I stopped watching after the 4th goal last night, which came less than 30 min into the game. I decided to go talk to my wife about my feelings as that was less painful than watching this team.

My worst moment as an Oil fan came a week ago. I had two American pilots make fun of the Oilers on my recent stopover in SFO. They were laughing at the renaming of the airplane arrival into Edmonton, poorly named the "Oil(e)rs1" arrival.

When I questioned them on their team, it was the sharks. Sad to say, I hung my head and went back to my seat.

I'm done. Don't get me wrong, I'll ALWAYS be an Oilers fan. But for now, I'll watch from afar as the Fail Parade continues many years into this "rebuild"?!

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#70 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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#71 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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#72 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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#73 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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#74 2004Z06
January 03 2014, 01:38PM
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And yet every night is a sellout!

Stop your bitching and put your money where your mouth is!

The only way Lowe gets fired is if every damn ticket holder calls the Oilers office and asks for his head.

Stop buying the merchandise, boycott a game or two...The organizations biggest fear is that fans become indifferent. Well make it happen!

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#75 JOHN
January 03 2014, 01:54AM
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YOU ARE A MORON

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#76 **
January 03 2014, 02:34AM
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here's a montage formt he oilers season so far:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XExum0-u8wI

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#77 -30-
January 03 2014, 08:38AM
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@ Serious Gord

The media are a bunch of management lapdogs? That might be a bit extreme but having worked in MSM for over thirty years and talking with the people in sports even a non-sports newsroom person understands the balance that the beat reporters walk.

It's easier to lob softballs and not get on the bad side of the team you are traveling with and covering for the better part of a year.

Edmonton in the past thirty years has only had two notable scribes cross that line. The first was Cam Cole when Dan Kepley tried to physically eject him from the Eskimos locker room for his honest coverage.

The second is John Mackinnon who had the huge juevos to get ole six cups panties tied up in a knot.

Unless you're in the newsroom and hear what's going on in the sports side you would never know the resentment and bitterness that exists between Stauffer and the REAL MSM.

They resent the access that Stauffer has and see the results of being a sycophant. They are also torn between doing their jobs, easily or jumping into the breach every time they as a tough question.

Do you really believe that MSM would have the same access if they played hardball?

You can't lump all media together just like you can't say that DSF and you are the same.

-30-

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#78 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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#79 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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#80 The Swarm
January 03 2014, 12:50PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Did he really make that speech? If so - Jesus it's worse than I thought.

It's on the wall in the Oilers dressing room and was quoted by Eakins. Unless I was having a nightmare I am pretty sure I saw it on Oil Change last night. The explanation of what the hell it means was copied from the internet. God help us.

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#81 Randaman
January 03 2014, 01:13PM
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camdog wrote:

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

Ok fine then. Trade Eberle while he has value. I just don't see him as a long term solution. Just because he is a Junior Hero?? Come on people. Look at Nuge as well. There have been way to many regressions for this to be coincidence. The system Eakins has implemented SUCKS!! This is obvious to everyone but him and management. Gut check time for these losers. Eberle being interviewed about Yak getting back into the line-up was a joke and Eakins saying Ebs has been rock solid all year? What planet are these guys on??

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#82 MessyEH!
January 03 2014, 07:38AM
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@Sisyphus

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.)

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#83 Oiler Al
January 03 2014, 09:23AM
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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.)

Why would Dallas trade a ham sandwich for a bowl of jelly.

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#84 Gaz
January 03 2014, 12:48PM
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@nick

Actually, good coaches have done this "silent treatment" in the past; Mike Babcock comes to mind. I couldn't find the youtube vid, but here's the link.

http://detroitsportsnation.com/blog/silent-treatment-falls-on-deaf-ears/

The coach isn't the problem...nor have they ever been. If this team was assembled properly even Pat Quinn could've gotten something done.

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#85 Gaz
January 03 2014, 01:01PM
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@Serious Gord

@Serious Gord

See your comment - #25 - you were incredulous that Eakins played the silent card. Just curious if you are indignant about that move in general, or only if Eakins does it?

I agree that coaches motivate players, but I think assembling players with this character flaw is once again on management.

4 coaches in 5 years; Renney is top-notch and Kreuger came with international pedigree. I agree that Eakins and Quinn are "meh" at best...but surely you don't think it's been a coaching issue all along, do you?

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#86 Gaz
January 03 2014, 01:15PM
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@**

I think the fact that his wife is a practicing doctor in Edmonton might play a role too.

That comes directly via a commercial-break piece Sportsnet did a month or so ago.

I think he should be moved; he has more pedigree than Arcobello and they're basically the same player. Even if Arco poops the bed next year, its no great loss.

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#87 Oiler Al
January 03 2014, 09:19AM
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Wow!, Jonathan, seems like a lot of work and it is on your write up here, only to point out that there is " a pony in this pile of manure".

This is a SOFT, LAZY team. The team had 10 hits, and 5 of them were by Gadzic!. Cant recall a follow through body check from anyone on the top six. Lose puck battles all game long and the list goes on on .

The Sharks never got it out of 2 nd gear, and didnt really play a heavy game, they didnt have to against these cup cakes.. Very very bad hockey team. This is a rebuild...Of What?

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#88 He Who Knows
January 03 2014, 09:49AM
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First of all the fans that continue to go to the home games are the problem. I stopped going for awhile now because I see how bad this organization is from top to bottom. The Oilers win once in a blue moon and once a year at home, yet the sheeple think it's parade time. We are all die hard fans of this team but our loyalty has been misused by the owner and his cronies. Fans need to stop going to the games and continue to demand accountability through radio shows and sites like ON. Anyone who thinks Mac T is the right man for gm needs to realize that he knew in the summer how the pacific division had teams built with size and grit, yet he did not do squat to address that. Some people will say that maybe there was no deal to be made, yeah because he values his smurfs way too high. They have no effin plan. None! That Oil Change show is a disgrace. Letting everyone know about their inner workings, even though they have no clue how to run a successful business. Boycott until there is a proper house cleaning.

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#89 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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#90 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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#91 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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#92 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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#93 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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#94 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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#95 The Swarm
January 03 2014, 12:41PM
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"Chopping wood. Carrying water." - Dallas Eakins Dec 2013

"There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water? When you labor, stay awake. Notice the frame of mind you bring to your work. Do you approach your work as if it were a nuisance? Do you remove your consciousness from work so that you are filled with resentment or worry? What would you need to do to be more fully present in your work? Practice mindfulness in work. It does little good to attain clarity of mind on your meditation cushion if you lose it as soon as you become active. Start with simple activities like brushing your teeth, ironing clothes, or washing dishes. Be fully alert as you move. Notice the position of your body in space. Notice the feelings in your body as you move. Pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you do the task. See if you can let them go and just focus on the work itself."

Huh?!! This guy is genius!! No wonder the team sucks.

MacT - time to step behind the bench to end this madness.

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#96 John
January 03 2014, 01:35PM
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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

Bryz, is that you??

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#97 pkam
January 03 2014, 01:42PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

Oh this is the best news ever.

Have we heard about the call up?

A defenceman named "Brad" or "Bob" or something. Who cares what his name is, really?

The important piece.

HE IS FIVE FOOT F-ING NINE.

I swear to god I think the braintrust needs to step away from the bong (or propecia in K-Lowe's case) from time to time.

5'9".

Hilarious.

If this is hilarious, how funny is those who suggested to trade one of young core player for Kimmo Timonen, a 38 year old defenseman who is only 1 inch taller than this call up?

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#98 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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#99 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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#100 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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