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

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#2 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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#3 Anton
January 03 2014, 02:53AM
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The case of constant coaching change is the issue for Oilers lack of consistency, however that we should review the last few coaching changes and what actually happened. We start off from MacTavish, he was the bench boss for few years before was being let go. He was just the scapegoat for KLowe at the time because of all the bad signings by him and have a collectively a bad team. Later Quinn and Renney were both hired at the same time, but Renney was the original favor to take over the coaching job. Quinn was sacked because he wasn't really the first choice to begin with. Renney took over the job and was the bench boss for 2 years, that was a year longer than he needs to be. There were the cases for firing a coach too early or too late, Quinn was too early, Renney was too late. Follow by Kruger was too early and now, we are going to have a coach will likely be fired too late. For the last 3 coaches that Oilers had, Quinn was unable to adapt, Renney was too soft on players, Kruger was actually have the team looks like heading toward the right direction but was fired because the new manager wants a new coach. Now, Eakins is just uninspired to be bother. How did Avalanche were so awfully bad last year but with a rookie coach like Roy that they look like a contender with very little change to the roster? He showed us why on his first game against Ducks, even when his team is blowing the opponent out that he will still get fired up by any misconduct toward his players. He almost killed Boudreau for it. If the coach is emotional and care for his players then especially the young players will be playing hard for his coach every single day. When Eakins named a new comer Ference as the new captain that actually will discourage young players because the certain lack of trust on the current rosters to have any kind of leadership. What is the major difference between both young rosters, bad records and new coaches of Avalanche and Oilers?

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#4 MessyEH!
January 03 2014, 06:50AM
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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.

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#5 -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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#6 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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#7 mlselli
January 03 2014, 03:57AM
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We have won 13 games and are in 29th place under the direction of the guy that is going to do wonders for the Oilers. Eakins, the skinny little weasel needs to be given the hook. I am so over this big mouth asshat and all the bullish!t he fed us right out of the gate. When is he going to take accountability? He is no more qualified to coach an NHL team than I am.

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#8 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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#9 Oil Is My Blood
January 03 2014, 09:05AM
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To Everyone that posts,

The Oilers woes are not hte fault of the players, or the coaches, or the management team, or even the owners. No, it is entirely the fault of the fans. Specifically, fans that buy tickets, concessions and souvenirs. It should be quite obvious to everyone that the objective of a professional hockey team is not to win, but to make money! If we, the fans, stop the revenue stream, the rest will take care of itself.

Stop spending money to support the Oilers. Drink Labatt's, not Molson's, eat Pizza 73, not Boston Pizza, etc. Go to an Edmonton Rush game, or the U of A Bears.

This approach is also a long, long road to getting the team back into the playoffs, but it will be, far and away, the most effective.

If you can't make the change yourself, why should the Oilers??

Before you start trashing and dissing me as an Oilers' hater (or Flames fan), please note that my handle is TOTALLY accurate. I've been a ticketholder since 2004-2005, including this year, but no more until they get to the playoffs.

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#10 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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#11 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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#12 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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#13 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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#14 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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#15 Kr55
January 03 2014, 01:35AM
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Good read. However, the only goals against that matter these days in Oilerland are ones Yak can be blamed for.

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#16 **
January 03 2014, 02:37AM
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Even when Yak scores he gets criticized, is that enough proof that Eakins is trying to be smart by deflecting all the attention towards Yakupov?. Don't buy his bull, he thinks he is smart but he is starting to show his true colors, he's pathetic. What coach says before the game that they are intimidated by the guys they're about to square off against?.

Fire this bozo!!!

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#17 Oaster
January 03 2014, 03:32AM
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Johnny Willis, that was a damn good read! I like these break downs of the break downs. I wasn't going to comment, but then the show Oil Change is mentioned. Now it's interesting idea for the fans, but that crap has to end. All the 24/7 shows before the Winter classic are labelled as "curses" maybe it’s time the Oilers scrap this knock off HBO show. Not everyone wants to be on TV or have their lives shown to thousands of people (potentially) what’s the worst that can happen?

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#18 Javaclub (a frustrated hockey fan)
January 03 2014, 09:26AM
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There are a lot of interesting comments, ideas and solutions posted here. I guess what it all comes down to is; who actually understands what is going on here? My answer is, only the players and management truly know. We as fans just have to either suffer out whatever is happening here and remain loyal, or stop buying tickets and merchandise and remove all support from this team. The only thing which speculation does as to what is happening, is to frustrate the fan and create high blood pressure and deeper depression.

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#19 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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#20 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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#21 Wintoon
January 03 2014, 06:00AM
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The "Katz Era" of Oilers hockey has been a disaster. It has been so bad you almost think it has all been done on purpose.

Well, maybe it has. Maybe Katz has instructed Lowe to bottom feed until the new arena is built. That way fans can jump on the bandwagon for both the team and the arena at the same time.

But then again, maybe Katz and Lowe aren't really as bright as we might give them credit for and they are both less than competent in their respective roles. I vote for the second option.

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#22 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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#23 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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#24 pkam
January 03 2014, 01:00PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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.

Because we just changed the GM and the HC. We need to give them some time to show their result.

And I don't believe the POHC really have much involvement in day to day hockey operation.

So if we replace MacT and Eakins, we basically give up a year, with no guarantee that it will be any better.

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#25 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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#26 Nowuknow
January 03 2014, 02:14AM
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accountability should start from the owner of the team and downwards. If not you get what you have!!!! As a leader of household,you set the rules to be followed and every one should obey them including the legistilator. In other words, when 6rings continues to make a change on the coaches, with no improvement on win column. The owner should say may be you are the issue!!! the tire one supporters should be accountable toountil then, do not talk about accountiblity or play offs.....

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#27 MessyEH!
January 03 2014, 03:35AM
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Anton wrote:

The case of constant coaching change is the issue for Oilers lack of consistency, however that we should review the last few coaching changes and what actually happened. We start off from MacTavish, he was the bench boss for few years before was being let go. He was just the scapegoat for KLowe at the time because of all the bad signings by him and have a collectively a bad team. Later Quinn and Renney were both hired at the same time, but Renney was the original favor to take over the coaching job. Quinn was sacked because he wasn't really the first choice to begin with. Renney took over the job and was the bench boss for 2 years, that was a year longer than he needs to be. There were the cases for firing a coach too early or too late, Quinn was too early, Renney was too late. Follow by Kruger was too early and now, we are going to have a coach will likely be fired too late. For the last 3 coaches that Oilers had, Quinn was unable to adapt, Renney was too soft on players, Kruger was actually have the team looks like heading toward the right direction but was fired because the new manager wants a new coach. Now, Eakins is just uninspired to be bother. How did Avalanche were so awfully bad last year but with a rookie coach like Roy that they look like a contender with very little change to the roster? He showed us why on his first game against Ducks, even when his team is blowing the opponent out that he will still get fired up by any misconduct toward his players. He almost killed Boudreau for it. If the coach is emotional and care for his players then especially the young players will be playing hard for his coach every single day. When Eakins named a new comer Ference as the new captain that actually will discourage young players because the certain lack of trust on the current rosters to have any kind of leadership. What is the major difference between both young rosters, bad records and new coaches of Avalanche and Oilers?

It's because Roy knows a thing, or two, about winning.

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#28 nick
January 03 2014, 07:53AM
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Can someone please tell me the last time they have seen an NHL coach call a time out and just stand behind the bench and stare into space? Why would any player want to play for this idiot. If I was the GM of this team after that display I am giving him the thanks for coming out speech and we wish you well in your future endeavors. Eakins is the biggest mistake this franchise has made in years and they have made some bad ones. MacTavish hired a moron and we are seeing the results. Doesn't have a clue about line match ups and there is not a game where he is not out coached badly. I realize the Oilers have a lot of holes to plug but you can't tell me the players that are here play their hearts out for the coach. Well maybe the ones that have no consequences to their continual puck turnover parade do but other than that the number 1 problem with this team is it is horrendously coached.

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#29 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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#30 j
January 03 2014, 08:31AM
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A legitimate 1-2 defense pairing will cure a great deal of what ails the oilers. Every current defenseman is playing above his pay grade which has a domino effect throughout the lineup. There is no way that Hall and Nuge can play against the best players in the league and succeed without having world class defenders behind them. Every little mistake ends up in the net (at least with Dubby playing) and the spotlight glares on the kids. A good 1-2 pairing eliminate ice, kill the cycle, can exit the zone via pass or skate, and can box out the best and biggest in the game. We can scream at the forwards all we want but it really is pointless because they are working 35% harder than any other first line in hockey because of the player quality behind them. (Note: 35% is a completely made up stat. No statisticians were injured in the making of this post).

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#31 Spydyr
January 03 2014, 09:04AM
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Weak owner

Weak President

Weak GM

Weak coaches

Weak scouts

Weak players.

See a pattern.No wonder they are a perennial lotto team.

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#32 6 ring circus
January 03 2014, 09:44AM
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Does anyone really believe that Lowe,Howson,Mactavish and Eakins will be able to build a competitive and winning team ?

Props if you don't, Trash if you do

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#33 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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#34 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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#35 God
January 03 2014, 04:18AM
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So glad I'm not watching anymore. ON provides all the news and spin I need.

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#36 The Real Scuba Steve
January 03 2014, 04:49AM
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hemi wrote:

Sweet Lord, we are bad hockey team. It has become difficult to even sit through an entire game these days. Pure garbage!

So, when does Lowe, Mac-T or heaven forbid, the elusive Owner come out of their protective covers and address the fact that their efforts thus far have proven useless. I honestly see no way out of this mess anytime soon. The once Mighty Oil has become the laughing stock of the league and even more so than the laughable leafs. Regrettably, I no longer poke fun at the leafs, it would be highly hypocritical of me to do so with the Oil’s pathetic performances these past years.

Will Katz finally speak out about the dismal state of this team? For a man of his success, I am in total shock of his apparent contentment with the status of the team since his purchase. Surely he cannot endorse what has been happening to this organization, can he?

From a winning and very respected organization to pure crap. It is more than coaching problems I fear. Very sad!

I'm starting to think Katz is the worst thing to happen to this team.

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#37 Anthony D'Amore
January 03 2014, 09:08AM
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WOW. Great analysis and article

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#38 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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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 pkam
January 03 2014, 12:39PM
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A-Mc wrote:

Quite possibly, yes.

Then it is not an option for me. I'll rather wait another 4 years to have a cup contender than a playoff contender.

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#43 tired
January 03 2014, 01:29PM
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@FireKLowe

Please- can you, a reporter with zero coaching experience at high level hockey, take this further and break down the coaching performance as well as their emotional state. Open displays of emotion on the bench guarantee success- ask Ron Lowe

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#44 **
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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#45 hemi
January 03 2014, 04:30AM
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Sweet Lord, we are bad hockey team. It has become difficult to even sit through an entire game these days. Pure garbage!

So, when does Lowe, Mac-T or heaven forbid, the elusive Owner come out of their protective covers and address the fact that their efforts thus far have proven useless. I honestly see no way out of this mess anytime soon. The once Mighty Oil has become the laughing stock of the league and even more so than the laughable leafs. Regrettably, I no longer poke fun at the leafs, it would be highly hypocritical of me to do so with the Oil’s pathetic performances these past years.

Will Katz finally speak out about the dismal state of this team? For a man of his success, I am in total shock of his apparent contentment with the status of the team since his purchase. Surely he cannot endorse what has been happening to this organization, can he?

From a winning and very respected organization to pure crap. It is more than coaching problems I fear. Very sad!

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#46 Sisyphus
January 03 2014, 06:57AM
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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.

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

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#47 mlselli
January 03 2014, 08:29AM
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I think this team has really opened the eyes of the fans in that we no longer over value the players like we once did a short time ago. I think we also realize that some of these guys are no longer untouchable, and we are now willing to see a few get traded, so we can get better. As a result of the standings, and the many coaching changes going from bad to worse, over the last few seasons, the Management is going to have to overpay in a huge way to get experience and size to sigh here. By my eye, i can see 10 players and both goalies gone on or before July 1/14. Crazy,sad and unreal.

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#48 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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#49 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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#50 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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