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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#101 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 05 2014, 10:01PM
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ummm... they won tonight. What about that?

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#102 The Real Scuba Steve
January 06 2014, 03:01PM
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I think rock bottom will really us when we break the record for longest playoff drought. Someone call up 6rings and see if still half of the NHL teams will swap their roster with ours.

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#103 A-Mc
January 05 2014, 04:02PM
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I'm curious to know what exactly changed for these teams that took decent jumps in the following year. Was it the return of a key piece, acquisition if a top end player, new coach or simply addressing the needs of team composition.

When I'm not at my phone I'd like to look into the trades made during certain years for certain teams.

What other teams have done to improve respectably the next year, may point to what the Oilers need to do next. Obviously what we are doing isn't working. Our 30th place wasn't followed by an improvement of any kind. We are likely to finish 30th yet again 3 years later.

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#104 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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#105 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 05 2014, 04:26PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

James Joyce is an oilers fan, who knew?

Bahahahaha!

Not sure if you're trying to compliment me or dis me. I'm guessing the latter. Either way, Well played sir.

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#106 Zamboni Driver
January 05 2014, 04:29PM
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RexHolez wrote:

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

Speaking of reasons to watch....have we heard if Stamkos is ready yet?

If so, I might watch.

If not no chance.

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#107 Saytalk
January 05 2014, 04:36PM
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Robin, your comparison simply proves that this team is stuck in an infini-build. The only team with as little "bounce" as the Oilers is the NY Islanders. Both teams are perpetually at the bottom of the league and the smaller sample size of the lockout-shortened season prevented these teams from reaching the bottom like they normally do over 82 games.

I didn't think a dead corpse could bounce, but thanks for proving that it can at least bounce a few millimeters.

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#108 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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#109 K_Mart
January 05 2014, 05:12PM
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Dig up! Dig UP!

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#110 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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#111 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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#112 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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#113 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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#114 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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#116 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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#117 6 ring circus
January 05 2014, 06:05PM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Why would they bring back Howson? Columbus fired him and K Lowe hired him WTF for ? I don't think Lowe and Mactavish need any help ruining the team!!!

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#118 Arius Mumin
January 05 2014, 06:07PM
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The effort and the context of the latest articles on ON, show: if they aren't already-the writers definetely could and should be employed by the Oilers.

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#119 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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#120 Serious Gord
January 05 2014, 07:06PM
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John Chambers wrote:

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.

They haven't traded them - yet.

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#121 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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#122 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 07:26PM
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RexHolez wrote:

ignore previous statement. someone is falsifying facts.

Imitation is the best form of flattery, my life's goals are now fulfilled

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#123 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 07:36PM
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RexHolez wrote:

If only Lowe drafted Cory Schneider instead of Rob Schremp, the oilers wouldnt be tied 3-3 right now. Taylor Hall will never make the olympic team because Kevin Lowe ruined him already.

If only MacT knew he didn't want Smid when Ottawa was trading Bishop

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#124 Batfink
January 05 2014, 08:00PM
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We've even stopped the GDBs.

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#125 bulldog12
January 05 2014, 08:12PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Well I'm the one that trashed your comment and I'm also the one that blames everything on Lowe right down to the type of sock tape Jeff Petry wears. So quit making douche bag statements and check your spelling.

So your all of the above.

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#126 Rotten Ron
January 05 2014, 08:14PM
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2 guys in my section carried jerseys in tonight. Looks like theyve been getting them ready to go since goal#3

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#127 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 08:21PM
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bulldog12 wrote:

So your all of the above.

If you want answers ask Kevin Lowe.

(you're*)

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#128 bulldog12
January 05 2014, 08:27PM
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RexHolez wrote:

If you want answers ask Kevin Lowe.

(you're*)

I'm fairly certain Lowe would agree your all of the above.

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#129 etownman
January 05 2014, 09:11PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Haha this is fun. Brewer's no stud, but he'd be the best Dman on this team

Didn't look anywhere close to that tonight! Just saynin!

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#130 Bryzarro World
January 05 2014, 09:31PM
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yessir wrote:

And you're angry...again.

I'm worried about ya Buddy...you okay?

The constant misspelling of Gagner and the endless you're/your F#@kups have driven me over the edge.

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#131 yessir
January 05 2014, 09:47PM
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RexHolez wrote:

*you're - I thought we established this

Bulldog12 wrote:

"I'm fairly certain Lowe would agree your all of the above."

"Pretend your mom is reading over your shoulder."

Mom, can you please help this stupid,stupid gentleman...because he's really a stupid,stupid gentleman.

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#132 madjam
January 05 2014, 09:50PM
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The BIG DIFFERENCE between Oilers building and other top competitors now , is they drafted more size , centers and defenceman -also with more size and weight than what we have . Some say we are better , but Ference and Perron are not exactly big players either . Only this year have we in reality taken a first step toward upsizing with the likes of Nurse . A decade late perhaps , but maybe a step in the right direction .

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#133 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 10:12PM
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reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

Also against a top 10 team!!!??!! This is as exciting as the first time my name was in the phone book.

They must've seen all the guys in the stands with their jersey's balled up ready to chuck.

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#134 Rod from Viking
January 05 2014, 10:20PM
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Arius Mumin wrote:

Things are going to get wild at the Rack, both Hall and Eberle got points tonight.

One of the two will hit Rack Bottom tonight.

Eakins announced 8am practice tomorrow, some players may not make it to their own beds or get any sleep.

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#135 K_Mart
January 05 2014, 05:12PM
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No game day blog?

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#136 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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#137 Spydyr
January 05 2014, 05:32PM
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oilbaron wrote:

I truly believe this has allot more to do with player development than drafting....

Ever try to polish a turd?

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#138 Serious Gord
January 05 2014, 05:39PM
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Gerald R. Ford wrote:

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.

And your proof that laforge is performing well in a job that considering the market is akin to shooting fish in a barrel would be?...

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#139 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 05 2014, 05:40PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Do we really want the team to start winning now? Since we are out of the playoffs, let's stink bad for Ekblad.

All the pundits are saying he is good enough to start in the NHL right away........perfect!

Since Mr. Chop Water drink wood is leading the charge.......I say stay the course.

Then the Oilers can ruin his career as well as Yak's

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#140 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 05:50PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

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

I'm afraid I knew the answer before I even asked it

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#141 Sevenseven
January 05 2014, 05:57PM
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You know things are bad for the oilers when they dont even bother to do a gdb at thr oilers nation anymore. Talk about apathy, hope katz hears about this...

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#142 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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#143 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 05 2014, 06:17PM
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Early PP goal against....though nice comeback by Ebs

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#144 Shawn Cronin
January 05 2014, 06:26PM
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Oilers win this one, in keeping with their trend of losing 4-6 games in a row then winning 1. Fans hop back on bandwagon, which is also part of the trend. Oilers lose next 5 after this one (STL, PIT, CHI, DAL, MIN) before beating Jets in the 6th game. The cycle repeats......

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#145 Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)
January 05 2014, 06:29PM
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@vetinari

Or this award winning Kevin Lowe course: WARNING: Consumption of alcohol. Will make Kevin Lowe believe that NHL GMs are dying to call him at four in the morning!

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#146 RexHolez
January 05 2014, 07:23PM
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RexHolez wrote:

That wasn't me, although I do agree

ignore previous statement. someone is falsifying facts.

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#147 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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#148 Batfink
January 05 2014, 07:59PM
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Cold Hard Truth wrote:

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?

Read between the lines. Bob is an employee of the oilers. He's preparing us for the fact that nothing is going to happen. He just repeats what he hears in a way that seems like his opinion.

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#149 Arius Mumin
January 05 2014, 08:19PM
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Things are going to get wild at the Rack, both Hall and Eberle got points tonight.

One of the two will hit Rack Bottom tonight.

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#150 yessir
January 05 2014, 09:04PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

You're out to lunch....

And you're angry...again.

I'm worried about ya Buddy...you okay?

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