Sometimes a bad defence just gets exposed

Jonathan Willis
January 07 2014 10:48PM

Edmonton's defence has been bleeding all season, and the St. Louis Blues aren't the kind of team that lets its opponents get away with that kind of weakness. There's a lot that went into the Oilers' 5-2 loss on Tuesday night, but that was a big part of it. 

Scoring Chances

The Rest of It

  • The scoring chance numbers aren't kind to him, but I think they lie a little about Justin Schultz tonight. Edmonton's top pairing featured two players on the evening, and the veteran couldn't seem to make a pass or win a foot race or for that matter catch a break. Schultz was smart all over the ice - he made a gorgeous pinch on the Arcobello goal, but he was economical in his own end and didn't get carried away looking for points - and the coaches rewarded him with almost 30:00 of ice-time. 
  • Brad Hunt, on the other hand, looked like a guy who should get demoted tonight. He's been a nice story for the Oilers and Barons; an undrafted, pint-sized defender who worked his way into an NHL contract, forced his way up the Oklahoma depth chart (and proved capable on his off-side when roster need pushed him there) and was thus in position to take advantage of an NHL opportunity. He's an enthusiastic guy, a heavy underdog and impossible to dislike. He also isn't as good as Taylor Fedun is today (again it's worth mentioning that Hunt is on his off-side, while Fedun would not be) and now that Fedun's healthy the Oilers ought to swap the two.
  • Martin Marincin got exposed a little, particularly by Chris Stewart on the penalty kill in the leadup to Stewart's goal, but he also showed some creativity offensively and there's a lot to like there. On a real NHL team he wouldn't be in the majors, but it's nice to see he's not as far away as we might have thought. 
  • Nail Yakupov might have been the Oilers' best forward. He's looked like a different player since his latest scratch, a much better, more committed player all over the ice. It's too early to say he's turned a corner, but his play of late is fantastic news for a team that could use it. 
  • For a guy with no footspeed, it's amazing how much havoc Ryan Smyth can create on the forecheck. 
  • Twice Jeff Petry, who has an undeserved reputation for not hitting, laid the body in the defensive zone and caused St. Louis turnovers. It was nice to see.
  • Jordan Eberle had an awful first shift, but he certainly recovered nicely as the game went on. That steal off David Backes in the Blues' zone is something very, very few players can do.
  • The Oilers didn't quit when the going got tough, but they did get thoroughly outplayed by a better team. There's not much to say about that; St. Louis is arguably the best team in the NHL today and the Oilers aren't clearly better than anybody. It's the kind of loss that just reinforces how far the team has to go.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Cynic
January 08 2014, 01:01AM
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In any case, the reason Lowe is still around is the same reason lots of people that are horrible at their jobs keep them, his relationship with the owner. However, lots of fans are now hoping the evidence of how terrible he is at his job....

replace "lowe" with "king" and you've got the Flames.

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#52 oilabroad
January 08 2014, 07:11AM
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Impartial Oilers Fan wrote:

If you can provide specific examples of how Kevin Lowes decisions, since he has been President of Hockey Operations have negatively effected the success and results of the on ice product, then I will accept your premise that Lowe is a sole causal link to the Oilers abysmal record

If you can't answer that, but obvious are just hell bent on having a scapegoat for this disaster of a season AND you are a fan that doesn't ever actually put any accountability on the players and their performance, THEN by all means, go ahead and take signs to the game. It will make it much easier to identify who the idiot, over reactionary fan are. It'll be the Oilers fan version of Jeff Foxworthy's "Here's Your Sign". So go ahead, run to Walmart and get your construction paper, markers and glitter. I'm sure those signs are going to have a big impact.

I am not one of the guys calling for Kevin Lowes head but when an organization flounders like this for so long, and there is turnover all throughout the org with little to no change in results, eventually you need to cut the head off the snake. You may not be able to point to any one move and say that is Lowes fault, but you have to assume his fingerprints are on EVERY move they made, its just the way the shat flows...

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#53 Dave
January 08 2014, 07:48AM
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hallsyoilerforever5 wrote:

Bye Brad Hunt. Lowe must go signs = highlight of the night.

Also 20% empty seats and Fire Lowe chant in third period.

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#54 redhot1
January 08 2014, 09:32AM
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Kevin Quinn has got to be one of the worst announcers in the league. Him and Rob Kerr both stink up the joint. Quinn has to not sound depressed when the other team scores. He doesn't have to jump for joy, but at least try to have some semblance of neutrality

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#55 pkam
January 08 2014, 12:09PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If that deal were made it wouldn't quite be the worst deal in Oilers history (hi, Gretzky) but man would it be close.

Gagner's going to get bumped to RW and have a nice little career in another city. McLaren and Fraser are both AHL-level players.

If Calgary wants to make that deal, Oilers fans should cheer.

I just read 2 trade suggestions in the other articles.

1st, Hall + Perron for Seth Jones.

2nd, Gagner + Klefbom for Gallagher.

Seems like the site lately is filled with calls for KLowe's head and stupid trade suggestions.

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#56 Posti
January 08 2014, 12:10PM
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I don't think this was strictly the defense's fault. St. Louis let us get as close to them as they were comfortable with. They completely cruised through this game and during a stretch of about 6 minutes of game play in the second they let the boys know who were the men in this fight. They killed a few players, scored a couple goals and stared down the Oilers. End of the show.

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#57 woodenshoes
January 08 2014, 02:40PM
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DT wrote:

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

And whose decision was it to hire Tambo?? Ultimate responsibility for all of this lands at Klowe's feet. That is all.

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#58 Hockey mom
January 08 2014, 03:00PM
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@Rod from Viking

What kind of management spends years drafting and trading for young skilled offensive talent only to dictate to them that that the goal scoring talent that brought them here is not actually what we want you to play.Instead our management and coaching staff would like you to play a defensive system although we have no stud defensemen nor a starting goaltender . I have to barf in my mouth every time Eakins ,Lowe or MacT go on about making their forwards defensively accountable. How about starting with a couple of big stud d-men and a goalie. However with the horrible track record that this management and coaching staff has displayed in the last 15 years I can't see why any valuable free agents would even consider playing for an organization like the oilers that seems to stall the development of our young players or has become a retirement home for the veterans. It's too bad that such loyal fans in Edmonton have to put up with this incompetence year after year. The players that get traded away from this team seem to go on to have more success . It would be interesting to see how well Hall and Yakupov would do on a real NHL team.

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#59 Serious Gord
January 08 2014, 04:40PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

The only way the sign's will get on TV and in the media will be on a TSN or HNIC broadcast, it won't happen on a Rogers broadcast.

True dat.

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#60 bumblebpete
January 09 2014, 10:31AM
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pkam wrote:

What OS and browser do you use?

It doesn't happen to me. Firefox 10 in WinXP or IE11 in Win7.

IE11 in Win7.

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#61 Harry
January 08 2014, 01:00AM
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Impartial Oilers Fan wrote:

If you can provide specific examples of how Kevin Lowes decisions, since he has been President of Hockey Operations have negatively effected the success and results of the on ice product, then I will accept your premise that Lowe is a sole causal link to the Oilers abysmal record

If you can't answer that, but obvious are just hell bent on having a scapegoat for this disaster of a season AND you are a fan that doesn't ever actually put any accountability on the players and their performance, THEN by all means, go ahead and take signs to the game. It will make it much easier to identify who the idiot, over reactionary fan are. It'll be the Oilers fan version of Jeff Foxworthy's "Here's Your Sign". So go ahead, run to Walmart and get your construction paper, markers and glitter. I'm sure those signs are going to have a big impact.

#7 Has been part of the team for.13 seasons and has made the playoffs 3 times.

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#62 Kr55
January 08 2014, 01:19AM
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john wrote:

There are 30 teams, 16 make playoffs, 15 teams will not win the Cup. 14 teams miss playoffs, so these teams keep firing coaches and GMs. This is business, like 30 fast food franchises, some provide bad foods and bad services but people still go there to eat. As sports fans we want a winning team, just to make playoffs we are happy. But making playoffs each year and not winning the Cup, we still not happy. It's hard to win it all, the Penguins has the best player but he can't win it all each year for the team. It's hard being a fan, winning is everything. Look at the Leafs, biggest market still no Cup since 1967. But look at the Jays, when they won it all in 92 and 93. Then they start losing, nobody comes to the game any more. So if some how the Oilers win a Cup next few years, then they start losing, nobody will come to the games any more. That's just business, when teams try to win it all, fans has hope they come to the games. We are just suckers to sports teams, it's a form of entertainment that make us happy when they win, when they lose we get mad.

There is a lot of disparity between teams though. How about how much money teams spend on their players? One thing that makes the Oilers run extraordinarily bad is that Katz is spending near the cap for these awful teams. You can somewhat excuse a team like Florida and thr Islanders for a bunch of years for being bad because they don't spend the big money, but the Oilers do fork out the big cash. If you did an analysis of horrible teams and factored in money spent on them, I would bet you could make a very convincing argument the Oilers over the last 8 years are already the worst NHL team ever.

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#63 JSR
January 08 2014, 06:43AM
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Harry wrote:

You cant be serious. Have you been living under a rock for the past 8 years? There are countless reasons and I know theyll all come out in this comment section so ill start with a couple. 1 Grosly over evaluates Horcoff and gives him a massive contract

2 Hires a rookie GM to head up year 4 of a rebuild who inturn hires a rookie coach to teach rookie players

3 Publicly insults Oiler fans everywhere diring his arrogant assinine press conference during the MacT hiring

4 Sheldon Souray

5 5 coaches 6 years

ok now someone else take ball and run with it

My biggest beef with old Six Rings is the Pronger fiasco. You can't let the best defenceman in the game bully you into a trade at the draft. What should have happened was…"I'll try to accommodate you sometime during the next season, but I need to get full value in return." Pronger should have started the '06-'07 season here and Six Rings could have attempted to get full value during the year. Then, the "two tiers of fans" comment pushed me over the top, and I'm a season seat holder!

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#64 Spydyr
January 08 2014, 07:06AM
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So the Oilers defence sucks. Thanks , who would of ever noticed.

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#65 pelhem grenville
January 08 2014, 07:22AM
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JT...you look like Helen Green!

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#66 Freewheeling Freddie
January 08 2014, 07:57AM
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@Freewheeling Freddie

Playoff drought

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#67 The Real Scuba Steve
January 08 2014, 08:15AM
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Kr55 wrote:

Major Kudos to people with Fire Lowe signs tonight! Tier 1 fans finally sick of the terrible product created under Lowe's leadership!

Hope "Lowe Must Go!" chants are next and can be heard on TV during the games!

Too bad Lowe wasn't in the building.

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#68 Spydyr
January 08 2014, 08:18AM
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The Real Scuba Steve wrote:

Too bad Lowe wasn't in the building.

At least it has started. Pretty sure it is going to snowball now.

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#69 Big Pappa Pump
January 08 2014, 09:04AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Didnt expect anything different , did we ? What you see is what you get. This group can play together for the next 4 years, and would still play the same way.

Team gets out played badly, and players get grades of 5 6 7. Bit of a joke. Even a bigger joke is Gadzic gets a 5.... for what? He is not doing what he is paid to do.... Reaves running around hitting guys, the other night same with Cote doing the same... and Mr Gadzic scores a goal, and thinks he is the second coming of Bobby Hull. He is more like the second coming of Hordichuk.

If he cant make some small difference to the game, why is he on the ice.

Furthermore goofs like Stewart and Reaves and Backes mouth/disrespect the Oilers bench (I was sitting right behind it) with no consequences all night. I guarantee this won't happen Thursday in Calgary - McGrattan and Westgarth will have a quick response to any nonsense ! Why is Steve MacIntyre in OKC? Why? We are gonna finish 30th anyway!Why? The Flames address cheap shots and disrespect to their bench! Watch Mr. Backes get pounded by McG, Westie or O'Brien Thursday for his cheap shot on Stajan last game! Watch how its done Eakins et al. Get rid of all these little FAIRIES on our team already!!! Enough!!!!

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#70 rickithebear
January 08 2014, 09:14AM
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Chicago: 1998 to 2007 10 years of draft affect

Versteeg, Ladd, Sharp, Kieth,Burish,Seabrook, Crawford, Byfuglien, Bolland, Bickell, Brouwer, Hjarlmasson, Toews, Kane 14 players

Edmonton: 1998 to 2007 Hemsky, Dubnyk,Petry, Gagner

2008 to 2013 5 year of draft affect Eberle, MP(perron6' 200lb),Lander, Hall 6'1" 200lb, Marincin, RNH, Yakupov 7 players

Viable prospects: Pitlick 6'2" 190, Hamilton 6'2" 210, Klefbom 6'3" 215, Gernat 6'3" 200, Moroz 6'3'215lb, Khaira 6'3" 215, McCarron 6'3" 225, Nurse 6'4" 195, Yakimov 6'4" 220lb, Slepyshev 6'2" 195, Chase 6'0" 205 11 guys who will see NHL over next 4 years.

St. Loius has 7 guys 215LB+ all but 1 are 26-they have 5 Fwds 205lb or less.

Our prospect list is a colection of effective forwards rolling in the next 3 years.

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#71 Newj
January 08 2014, 09:35AM
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Big Pappa Pump wrote:

Furthermore goofs like Stewart and Reaves and Backes mouth/disrespect the Oilers bench (I was sitting right behind it) with no consequences all night. I guarantee this won't happen Thursday in Calgary - McGrattan and Westgarth will have a quick response to any nonsense ! Why is Steve MacIntyre in OKC? Why? We are gonna finish 30th anyway!Why? The Flames address cheap shots and disrespect to their bench! Watch Mr. Backes get pounded by McG, Westie or O'Brien Thursday for his cheap shot on Stajan last game! Watch how its done Eakins et al. Get rid of all these little FAIRIES on our team already!!! Enough!!!!

I hear ya...St. Louis forwards...

Chris Stewart 6' 2" 231 Ryan Reaves 6' 1" 224 David Backes "C" 6' 3" 221 Patrik Berglund 6' 3" 217 Maxim Lapierre 6' 2" 215 Adam Cracknell 6' 2" 210

besides Gadzic...Who ya gonna call? They were pushing RNH around last night like a grocery cart at a Walmart parking lot... Reaves parked himself in our crease just waiting for someone to try and remove him...of course no one did. Poor ol' Hemmer...got in the way of a few trucks last nite. Men playing against boys.

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#72 Rod from Viking
January 08 2014, 09:55AM
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Harry wrote:

You cant be serious. Have you been living under a rock for the past 8 years? There are countless reasons and I know theyll all come out in this comment section so ill start with a couple. 1 Grosly over evaluates Horcoff and gives him a massive contract

2 Hires a rookie GM to head up year 4 of a rebuild who inturn hires a rookie coach to teach rookie players

3 Publicly insults Oiler fans everywhere diring his arrogant assinine press conference during the MacT hiring

4 Sheldon Souray

5 5 coaches 6 years

ok now someone else take ball and run with it

6 Not trading Comrie for Cory Perry.

7 Trading Brodziak, keeping Pouliot

8 Letting Glencross go for FA.

9 Signing Horcoft and Pisani for horrible contracts.

10 Drafting Plante, Schremp, Pouliot and others in first round.

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#73 Harry
January 08 2014, 10:47AM
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DT wrote:

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

Your pointing to.Tambellini for.making all there poor moves so let me ask you this. WHO HIRED TENTATIVE TAMBY!! Thats right Kevin Lowe hired a rookie GM to head up a massive over haul and suprise suprise he failed miserably. Then he fires him and hires another rookie GM. Wake up buddy Lowes record of incompetance speaks for itself

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#74 bumblebpete
January 08 2014, 12:06PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Jonathon

Can you please fix your videos. As soon as I open ON your video starts up, so I have to find it and put it on pause.

When I open your blog it starts up again.

Every time I change pages on your blog the dang video starts up again.

Please, please fix it.

It's only your videos on the ON site that start up on their own.

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#75 pkam
January 08 2014, 12:13PM
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bumblebpete wrote:

Jonathon

Can you please fix your videos. As soon as I open ON your video starts up, so I have to find it and put it on pause.

When I open your blog it starts up again.

Every time I change pages on your blog the dang video starts up again.

Please, please fix it.

It's only your videos on the ON site that start up on their own.

What OS and browser do you use?

It doesn't happen to me. Firefox 10 in WinXP or IE11 in Win7.

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#76 camdog
January 08 2014, 12:23PM
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@EHH Team

Hatred is better than indiffence. I was at the game last night. THe fans that were there were very energenetic and positive. However the building was not full, many people came to the game very late and mnay left early.

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#77 Greenlingj
January 08 2014, 01:11PM
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If this team wants to preach accountability they need to practice it.

Lowe the ship has sunk, and like any good captain, you need to go down with it.

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#78 Rod from Viking
January 08 2014, 03:57PM
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Kr55 wrote:

Major Kudos to people with Fire Lowe signs tonight! Tier 1 fans finally sick of the terrible product created under Lowe's leadership!

Hope "Lowe Must Go!" chants are next and can be heard on TV during the games!

The only way the sign's will get on TV and in the media will be on a TSN or HNIC broadcast, it won't happen on a Rogers broadcast.

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#79 Serious Gord
January 08 2014, 04:42PM
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DT wrote:

Give me a break. Now you're going to blame him for who he didn't trade for? You're going to blame him for things that didn't happen? Brodziak was on pace for slightly more than 20 points last year, and is on pace for the same total this year. Lowe traded a franchise player? If that's all you can drum up, keep whining.

It is widely agreed that tambo was fired because of his timidity - what he didn't do. If it's okay to criticize/fire tambo for it it should be okay to do the same to Klowe.

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#80 Harry
January 09 2014, 11:41AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Lowe doesn't hire the coaches, that is the GM's job.

Horcoff was not grossly overpaid when the contract was signed, based on his numbers and what other players of his equivalent were garnering at the time.

Keep in mind Edmonton has always had to pay more for less as no one wants to come here/play here.

Horcoff failed to live up to the expectations of the contract partly due to the supporting cast jumping ship shortly thereafter

Bad contract in todays market, absolutely! But the contract at the time and Horcoffs failure to live up to said contract are two very different things.

On Souray and Lowes assinine insults to Oiler fans everywhere, I couldn't agree more.

I believe that Mac T is the right guy to turn this s&%t show around, but you cannot turn over 60% of a roster in one season.

.....sigh!!

Do you seriously believe that Lowe isnt at the very least involved in choosing a coach? Also hes the guy who hires the GM who in tuen hires the coach. So yes it os at least partly his fault weve had 5 coaches in 6 years

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