ROCK BOTTOM: WAITING ON THE BOUNCE

Robin Brownlee
January 05 2014 03:19PM

When a team hits rock bottom in the standings like the Edmonton Oilers have twice since the NHL lockout of 2004-05, the silver lining for fans is the expectation short-term pain will result in long-term gain and that the team will eventually pick itself up off the floor.

After seven straight years out of the playoffs, soon to be eight, the Oilers, as everybody is acutely aware, have been selling that hope to the faithful folks who buy their tickets and jerseys for years now – the bounce off the bottom, a rise back to respectability and playoff contention.

If you look at teams that have hit the bottom of that elevator shaft in the eight seasons since the lockout – I'm leaving out the Florida Panthers, who finished 30th overall in 2012-13 because we don't know where they'll finish this season -- the expectation better times are ahead isn't unfounded.

Except for fans of the Oilers, of course, who've looked on as their team has gone from being Stanley Cup finalists in 2006 to finishing 2009-10 and 2011-12 dead-last, where they have pretty much stayed.

Where's the bounce?

LONG WAY DOWN

Here's a look at the teams that have finished 30th since the lockout and where they've finished in NHL overall standings in subsequent seasons.

2005-06: ST. LOUIS BLUES 21-46-15 for 57 points

  • 2006-07: 34-35-13 for 79 points – 22nd
  • 2007-08: 33-36-13 for 79 points – 27th
  • 2008-09: 41-31-10 for 92 points – 15th
  • 2009-10: 40-32-10 for 90 points – 15th
  • 2010-11: 38-33-11 for 87 points – 20th
  • 2011-12: 49-22-11 for 109 points – 3rd
  • 2012-13: 29-17-2 for 60 points – 6th

2006-07: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 22-48-12 for 56 points

  • 2007-08: 42-29-11 for 95 points – 11th
  • 2008-09: 44-27-11 for 99 points – 9th
  • 2009-10: 41-35-6 for 88 points – 18th
  • 2010-11: 47-23-12 for 106 points – 3rd
  • 2011-12: 47-26-9 for 103 points – 6th
  • 2012-13: 23-22-3 for 49 points – 20th

2007-08: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 31-42-9 for 71 points

  • 2008-09: 24-40-18 for 66 points – 29th
  • 2009-10: 34-36-12 for 80 points – 25th
  • 2010-11: 46-25-11 for 103 points – 8th
  • 2011-12: 38-36-8 for 84 points – 21st
  • 2012-13: 18-26-4 for 40 points – 28th

2008-09: NEW YORK ISLANDERS 26-47-9 for 61 points

  • 2009-10: 34-37-11 for 79 points – 26th
  • 2010-11: 30-39-13 for 73 points – 27th
  • 2011-12: 34-37-11 for 79 points – 27th
  • 2012-13: 24-17-7 for 55 points – 16th

2009-10: EDMONTON OILERS 27-47-8 for 62 points

  • 2010-11: 25-45-12 for 62 points – 30th
  • 2011-12: 32-40-10 for 74 points – 29th
  • 2012-13: 19-22-7 for 45 points – 24th

2011-12: COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 29-46-7 for 65 points

  • 2012-13: 24-17-7 for 55 points – 17th

THIS ABOUT THAT . . .

Philadelphia's last-place finish was a blip on the radar as they enjoyed the biggest bounce in a season after finishing 30th when they improved by 39 points. St. Louis is next with a 24-point improvement. The Blues best season since finishing last is 109 points, an improvement of 52 points. Philly is next with a 50-point jump in 2010-11.

Coming into this season, the Flyers have made the playoffs in four of six seasons since finishing 30th. The Blues have made it in three of seven seasons. Even Tampa Bay and the Islanders, who have floundered almost as badly as the Oilers, have made the playoffs once each, and the Bolts are poised to get in again this season.

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

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 oilbaron
January 05 2014, 03:24PM
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I feel as tho I may be to blame for the oilers losing seasons. I've watched basically every game since 2006, I've gone to about 6 games a season, I've paid for merchandise and autographed pictures and memorabilia. I feel as tho I may be a jinx to the teams success. I think my only option would be to stop watching, stop paying and stop supporting the team. Maybe this will turn things around, all we can do is try our best right?

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#2 Brian
January 05 2014, 03:26PM
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GDP: Yzerman wants Stamkos ready for Olympics. So, Stamkos needs to skate and hone his passing and shooting skills. And he needs a safe environment where there is no danger of being hit or hurt. Stamkos plays tonight.

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#3 Kr55
January 05 2014, 03:26PM
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How many of these teams didn't change leadership (Lowe for us) within 3-4 years of a last place finish? Has there ever been a team to keep their top leader through 8 years of no playoffs? Without a doubt Lowe will become the new record holder of keeping a job through futility when the Oilers break Florida's 10 year playoff drought record.

Zero accountability at the top results in no accountability throughout the rest of our organization. The players know by now that the real problem is at the top and all the head coaches and puppet GM firings mean absolutely nothing to the big picture. The Oilers are trying to do something never done before, turn a franchise around from being at the absolute bottom of the barrel without a real change of leadership. It's not going to work.

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#6 Gerald R. Ford
January 05 2014, 05:26PM
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The only member of Team Katz whose employment is directly tied to performance is Mr. Patrick LaForge. Since he performs extremely well, in the only capacity that Mr. Katz seems concerned about, I see no impetus for substantive change, vis-a-vis the old boys club.

"Rock Bottom" was almost two years ago to the day, when Team Chicken S*** let Sam Gagner get the absolute snot beat out of him by Francois Beauchemin, as they all slid down the bench, whistling aimlessly, pretending like he had walked into a door, or something. The Oilers have dug down several strata below rock since then.

Paraphrasing Brad Pitt as Billy Beane:

"There are unlucky organizations, there are poorly run organizations, there are absolute jokes, there's thirty feet of crud, and then there's the Oilers."

I hate what they've done to this team that we love. Losing is one thing. This is bi-weekly obliteration, physically and morale wise.

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#7 THE PUZ
January 05 2014, 04:01PM
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Just wondering how far the Oilers have to fall for Eakins to be fired? He currently has the worst winning percentage of any head coach in Oiler's history. We do have a solid core of young players (Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Perron, Yakupov, Schultz) that have little to no support through our inept management but should we be this bad?

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#8 Larry
January 05 2014, 03:31PM
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The Oilers are an absolute disaster. They drafted too many small forwards before any defencemen or centers. By the time there dmen develop to the point where they will make an impact all the kids will have moved on. They did it all backwards and they missed there opportunity. They will never be good.

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#9 outdoorzguy
January 05 2014, 04:00PM
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Rocks don't bounce. They just stay put.

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#10 vetinari
January 05 2014, 06:24PM
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To make some extra money for the team, the Oilers should offer a MBA course to interested fans using their management team's strengths:

"How To Distinguish Tiers of Fans with Kevin Lowe"

"Bold Moves, Bad Moves? With Craig MacTavish"

"Mastering the Grimace with Dallas Eakins"

"Media Relations 101: Open Mikes + Management = Disaster?"

"Jersey Tosses and Home Game Losses-- Keeping the Villagers Away From the Pitchforks"

"Terminate Like the Terminators: How to Fire a Coach Using Technology with Craig MacTavish"

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#11 LoweBlows
January 05 2014, 03:44PM
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LOWE HAS GOT TO GO! He keeps drafting identical players! If it wasn't for his bff owning this sorry sack organization, he'd be out of a job! I can only pray to the hockey gods that KLowe isnt around next year to draft another forward we dont need!

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#12 Spydyr
January 05 2014, 05:14PM
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K_Mart wrote:

No game day blog?

Oilers lose......again.

There you go.

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#13 Walter Sobchak
January 05 2014, 05:17PM
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David S wrote:

I honestly have to wonder how many people saying the answer is for fans to cancel their season tickets and quit going to games - actually have season tickets?

Dave, I have season tickets & I've already said that I'm not renewing, I can't see anything changing my mind at this point.

I've enjoyed giving my tickets to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to go to games, at least this way, I think my money is at least spent to make someone happy.

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#14 Hockey Fan 1976
January 05 2014, 05:20PM
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the fact that they want to trade Gags when his value is so low goes to show you that acquiring an MBA in business really was a waste of money. Allocating assets is about moving pieces at high value which you deem will have a greater impact in the long term, not moving pieces when you realized you failed in your player assessment. Any smart GM (which compared to the Oilers I almost argue all of them are smarter) knows you are at their mercy when it comes players coming back in the trade. Its actual value vs. actual value, not potential value vs. great value. Morons!!!

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#15 Bryzarro World
January 05 2014, 07:40PM
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Josh Oiler wrote:

PLAY BAD FOR EKBLAD

Enough already!

And change your pic. It's more annoying than Samwise chewing on his guard...

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#16 MAC962
January 05 2014, 04:02PM
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Guess we get a post game day blog instead.

I have read 6 too many of the same kind of blogs. Of course what else is there to talk about. Same crap over and over and over.

Ice a nasty up just for the f--k of it. Mac - Abney - Gazdic , just to piss other teams off and beat the sheet out of a few teams just for the hell of it. The losses really dont matter anymore. Toss SMAC on the first line and park his big a$$ in front of the net, see what happens. Even on the PP. Who is going to move him ? no one.

Nothing to lose.

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#17 He Who Knows
January 05 2014, 04:23PM
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Robin, lets say the Oilers finish 29th-30th at the end of the season, would you think Katz actually cleans house this time? That would include the entire old boys crew. I can't wait for the season ending press conference. You guys in the media better gang up on the arrogant fools that pretend they know a thing or two about winning.

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#18 D-Unit
January 05 2014, 04:51PM
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Josh Oiler wrote:

PLAY BAD FOR EKBLAD

This, right here, is everything that is wrong with the Oilers.

Losing should NEVER, EVER be acceptable or hoped for.

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#19 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 05:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Sorry to bore you with information and context.

Hey Robin, in all your years covering this team have you ever seen the fan base so agitated and do you think it will lead to any dominoes falling, or will the fans just keep getting ignored?

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#20 **
January 05 2014, 03:45PM
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This team is being true to its name, it keeps drilling deeper and deeper in search for the big score.

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#21 master of my domain
January 05 2014, 04:13PM
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I'm sure this is somehow still Horcoff's fault.

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#22 6 ring circus
January 05 2014, 05:57PM
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David S wrote:

I honestly have to wonder how many people saying the answer is for fans to cancel their season tickets and quit going to games - actually have season tickets?

Do you want my Oilers account number?

All I know is I will be 10k richer come May,I should've known better to renew this year, I will no longer buy tickets as long as Lowe and the old boys club are involved with the Oilers and I've been a season seat holder since 1999.

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#23 6 ring circus
January 05 2014, 07:38PM
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There's a Kevin Lowe has to go page on Facebook ,it was started 2 hours ago and it has over 1200 likes,let's get this page to over 100,000 like's and see if the Oilers start paying attention.

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#24 John Chambers
January 05 2014, 04:04PM
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Hey if you're not going to make it to the dance you may as well add another elite player.

The Sedins were drafted in 99 and yet didn't register their first 50 pt season until their draft +5 year. That would be next season for Hall, and the year after for Nuge.

This team is going to b very good at some point - they're amassing the talent. This season is a real test of our patience, but if we can trade Gagner and the pick fr help on defense an a 2nd line C who can check, they'll turn it around eventually.

At some point this is going to pay off and when it does we can look back at these days and roll our eyes.

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#25 Rick Stroppel
January 05 2014, 04:33PM
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POSITIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR CHANGE

1. Oilers trade their BAD players for other teams' GOOD players.

2. Oilers trade their SMALL AND SOFT players for others teams' BIG AND STRONG players.

3. Oilers trade their OVERPAID players for other teams' UNDERPAID players.

4. Oilers have two bad goalies, this seems somewhat redundant. Trade two BAD goalies for one GOOD goalie.

I don't have an MBA or six rings, but the path forward seems somewhat obvious. COME ON MACTAVISH! Make it happen buddy!

PS: For those of you who do not understand sarcasm, my point is this. It is really impossible to see how they can fix this incredible mess. It may be 4-5 years before this team even makes the playoffs agai

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#26 hockey fan 1976
January 05 2014, 05:12PM
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JERSEY NIGHT!!JERSEY NIGHT!! Say it with me Oilers fan!!!JERSEY NIGHT!!!!!

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#27 vetinari
January 05 2014, 03:41PM
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Remember:

"This season was brought to you by the fine folks at Rexall Pharmacies.

And the number "30" and the letters "R" and "X"."

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#28 outdoorzguy
January 05 2014, 04:13PM
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Mac962 wrote:

Oh - and GO OILERS GO ! i am still with you, why i have no idea but i am with ya. Most of us still are.

Just play hard all out - win or lose, i am happy with that for now.

Note: FOR NOW.

And therein lies the biggest problem.

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#29 Spydyr
January 05 2014, 04:59PM
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Has Stu the not so magnificent bastard drafted one player outside of the first round that has had any impact on this team.I can't think of a single one.Can anybody?

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#30 DCC
January 05 2014, 06:11PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The mid-90s was bad.

Lots of nights with 7,000-9,000 people in the rink. Not sure if fans were as "agitated," but they certainly were more indifferent to the team, as the attendance indicates.

Fans won't be ignored for long if they stop showing up. That speaks louder than any ranting and raving on fans boards and call-in shows does.

Even if fans don't show up this is a long road to nowhere.

There have been 4-6 games this season where my tickets have gone unused. Two weeks ago I got a call from my "Oiler Game Experience Representative" who after noticing the absences from games was concerned that it was because we were having trouble navigating the online ticket system.

From top to bottom this organization is lost.

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#31 Cold Hard Truth
January 05 2014, 07:36PM
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You know what amazes me? After all this miserable losing, not one Edmonton journalist/media member has the nerve to call out Kevin Lowe or Craig MacTavish (with the slight exception of Robin Brownlee).

Also, I just heard Stauffer say that MacTavish should not trade his 1st overall pick for help, and that it is on the team to perform. Really, Bob? What is MacTavish's job, then, if it is not to help the team?

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#32 Sandra
January 05 2014, 03:50PM
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@RobinBrownlee Your point is?

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#33 Walter Sobchak
January 05 2014, 05:33PM
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It's just terrible to say right now, the only two things that are going to have any chance of getting the Oilers out of this mess is.

The Oilers continuing to lose & fans not showing up.

The only thing that will get the attention of this owner, god knows nothing else has.

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#34 Gerald R. Ford
January 05 2014, 06:07PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

The mid-90s was bad.

Lots of nights with 7,000-9,000 people in the rink. Not sure if fans were as "agitated," but they certainly were more indifferent to the team, as the attendance indicates.

Fans won't be ignored for long if they stop showing up. That speaks louder than any ranting and raving on fans boards and call-in shows does.

It was different back then. People were worried about their jobs and the economy, more than what the Oilers were doing. Plus, I think fans were really sick of the owner. Not in the "He doesn't care" fashion, but, in the "I wish he'd get smothered in honey and dropped on an ant hill fashion". Plus the on-going threat of relocation, combined with Northlands rapidly showing its age, and the general sense of the party being over.

The crowds back then were a lot older, too, and they started spending their disposal income on more practical things. It was the perfect storm of indifference.

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#35 Cold Hard Truth
January 05 2014, 04:22PM
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Edmonton Oilers = career killers.

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#36 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 05 2014, 05:39PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Hey Robin, in all your years covering this team have you ever seen the fan base so agitated and do you think it will lead to any dominoes falling, or will the fans just keep getting ignored?

If Brownlee doesn't respond, will that answer your question?

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#37 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 05 2014, 06:44PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

He makes money. A LOT of it.

With respect, you, sir, have no clue, whatsoever, what it takes to run a corporation the size of the Oilers. If built-in fanbases were all it took to be successful, Steve Jobs would never have been fired from Apple in the 80s. Or John Scully in the 90s, for that matter.

Monopolies, contrary to the disparaging cries of Joe. Q. Public, do NOT succeed without talented human capital.

LaForge, is VERY good at what he does. If you think the fire MacT rally was a bust, I wish you good luck with the fire LaForge rally. Heh.

laforge is a typical lying rich guy. Doesnt take genius to tell us that people dont show up cause of snow. remember a year and a half, 2 years ago he tried to tell us the Oilers were losing money and that why they needed public money for the arena. Yet the Oilers were one of the "Have" franchises when it came to money at the time.

He was one of the architects behind not having a farm team for 2 years.

Laforge is atypical greedy bitch. He will kiss Katz ass to the extreme and lie his ass off when told to. No ethics. No morality when it comes to the fans. just another douche in a suit.

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#38 Zamboni Driver
January 05 2014, 04:12PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Hey if you're not going to make it to the dance you may as well add another elite player.

The Sedins were drafted in 99 and yet didn't register their first 50 pt season until their draft +5 year. That would be next season for Hall, and the year after for Nuge.

This team is going to b very good at some point - they're amassing the talent. This season is a real test of our patience, but if we can trade Gagner and the pick fr help on defense an a 2nd line C who can check, they'll turn it around eventually.

At some point this is going to pay off and when it does we can look back at these days and roll our eyes.

I bet you $1000 you said the exact same thing last year.

It's unacceptable, yet we keep guzzling the koolaid and shelling out thousands of dollars ever year.

At some point Einstein's oft-misquoted 'insanity' definition does come to mind.

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#39 vetinari
January 05 2014, 05:17PM
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K_Mart wrote:

No game day blog?

They don't deserve a game day blog!

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#40 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
January 05 2014, 07:08PM
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@Josh Oiler

Josh Oiler: redefining rock bottom, one comment at a time.

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#41 John Chambers
January 05 2014, 04:17PM
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@Zamboni Driver

Ha! I have been saying the same thing for years.

You have to bear in mind of course that 15 years of terrible drafting led us here in the first place. I mean, the Oilers front office are still slapping each other on th back for the '80s.

I'm just realistic about time frames - the team wasn't a playoff team at the outset of the season, so at least the current pain will force them to address the bigger problems.

I am optimistic about he team from 2015 and beyond though - just hope it won't include Kevin Lowe.

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#42 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 05 2014, 05:07PM
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** wrote:

This team is being true to its name, it keeps drilling deeper and deeper in search for the big score.

They are following a plan they saw on The Simpsons.....Homer and others have been digging for treasure and now they are stuck at the bottom of a deep deep hole. Homer (AKA Eakins) says, no problem....we'll dig ourselves out of here! (chop wood carry water) Everybody digs in.....a minute later Police Chief Wiggum (AKA KLowe) yells....Stop that you idiots!.....don't you know anything about winning! You can't get out of there by digging deeper..........You need to Dig UP!

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#43 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 07:11PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

Quit your whining and crying in your beer. The Oilers need what everyone else either has, wants or needs. If you already have the big Centremen,bigger bodies or the #1 dman the only reason you trade them is if you have cap issues. See Pronger and Perron. With the cap going up that's not going to happen anytime soon. The only way to build is thru the draft and every manager will tell you that. Now you want to trade a 24 year old Gagner and complain because they traded a young Cogliano. You don't think MacT knows this and tried all summer to acquire these types of players. Patience you idiots. Half you guys are either really stupid or just like complaining and reading each others dumb repetitive comments.

Holy hell you blind faith jock sniffers are annoying

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#44 Cold Hard Truth
January 05 2014, 04:11PM
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@John Chambers

Are you on the Oilers payroll?

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#45 Serious Gord
January 05 2014, 04:34PM
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In terms of what would be the best score for the oil tonight I would say 6-0 Tampa with the end being a stoppage of play for all of the jerseys and other oilers paraphernalia littering the ice.

That just might trigger a move by Katz.

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#46 steelymac
January 05 2014, 07:26PM
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Josh Oiler wrote:

Yes I will take that Oilers Account Number

Joshy you do realize you will have to take on 3 more paper routs and shovel way more driveways to pull that off right?

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#47 Serious Gord
January 05 2014, 04:23PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Hey if you're not going to make it to the dance you may as well add another elite player.

The Sedins were drafted in 99 and yet didn't register their first 50 pt season until their draft +5 year. That would be next season for Hall, and the year after for Nuge.

This team is going to b very good at some point - they're amassing the talent. This season is a real test of our patience, but if we can trade Gagner and the pick fr help on defense an a 2nd line C who can check, they'll turn it around eventually.

At some point this is going to pay off and when it does we can look back at these days and roll our eyes.

Or it just fritters it all away via more bad management like the islanders have done for about 25 years.

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#48 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 04:28PM
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The only reason I can think of to watch this game is to count how many jerseys hit the ice! Don't let me down oil fans

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#49 David S
January 05 2014, 04:39PM
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I honestly have to wonder how many people saying the answer is for fans to cancel their season tickets and quit going to games - actually have season tickets?

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#50 John Chambers
January 05 2014, 06:03PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Or it just fritters it all away via more bad management like the islanders have done for about 25 years.

The Islanders got impatient halfway through their re-build and traded Chara and a 2nd overall pick that became Jason Spezza for Yashin. Whoops!

They also traded away Roberto Luongo for Oleg Kvasha, and selected Rick DiPietro instead of Dany Heatley.

So in fact the Oilers are nothing like the Islanders because they're not wasting the draft picks they paid so dearly to acquire for enigmatic Russians and hunches with the first pic.

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