Unacceptable

Jonathan Willis
February 01 2014 01:58PM

Without superhuman goaltending from Ben Scrivens (and he was just fine in today's loss) the Edmonton Oilers were on the wrong end of a 4-0 score against Boston. They were outshot, outchanced, somehow outhit despite never having the puck and flat-out out-played.

The Last Two Games

 

Edmonton has allowed 100 shots over its last two contests. They have matched up against the NHL's powers and been found not just wanting but humiliatingly, embarassingly unable to even put in a respectable showing. Team Switzerland has been more competitive in Olympic matches against Team Canada.

The scoring chances today paint an ugly picture of an outsmarted, outskilled and outworked team:

The Problems

 
The problems are myriad. Let's take a quick walk-through:

  • The powerplay. A strength as recently as a year ago - with much the same cast of players - it has devolved into a terrible weakness. Boston outchanced Edmonton 2-0 during Oilers powerplays today, and after a decent start to the night a first period power play sucked whatever energy the team had out of them. This one is on the coaching staff.
  • The Oilers had a top-10 penalty kill a year ago. This year, they sit 17th in the NHL, and they allowed two goals on five opportunities against the Bruins. The cast may even be improved from last season - this one too is on the coaches.
  • The top line. A year ago, the top line was an undisciplined run-and-gun trio that outshot and outchanced the opposition. This year, it's an undisciplined run-and-gun trio that gets badly outshot and outchanced by the opposition.
  • Sam Gagner. Just that.
  • The defence. This one is on the current general manager to some degree, and on the one before him to a much larger degree. A year ago, Nick Schultz and Justin Schultz were in over their heads as the Oilers' second pair. Currently, they're in over their heads as the Oilers' top pair. Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry have good points, but they're being asked to play at levels well beyond their ability to handle. Rookie Martin Marincin is in the top-four on merit. Mark Fraser is just the latest addition to a forgetable group of bottom-pairing blue liners that have demonstrated little beyond an ability to get lit up in the NHL.

Today's loss is yet another in a long series of humiliating low points for the Oilers. There is no excuse. It cannot be allowed to continue. This team desperately needs to turn things around, and soon. Maybe that means reworking the coaching staff so that new assistants can add some outside insight during an Olympic break reworking of team strategy - and provide better support for a rookie head coach. Maybe it means replacing Dallas Eakins with a veteran NHL bench boss.

Maybe it means more than that, or that and more than that. But this team cannot continue as-is. 

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#201 Ed in Edmonton
February 02 2014, 01:11PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I feel like the organization itself is toxic. They need to go total scorched earth: fire everyone. All the coaches, obviously Lowe, completely remove the position of POHO, let the GM have full control.

I'm willing to give MacT a little more time, he's shown he's at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.

You would think a person with plenty of success in the business world would have concluded his hickey organization, as it currently stands, is dysfunctional and must be changed. Katz needs to bring in an "organization doctor" to advise him on how to fix, who goes, who stays etc.

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#202 Rod from Viking
February 02 2014, 01:23PM
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@Death Metal Nightmare

I don't think it has taken this long for a lot of people. I was at the draft party at Rexall when they drafted Sam, Plante and Nash in 2007 and was sick about every pick, they had just been to the Stanley Cup finals with a big gritty team with a stud defense man,(don't look who was drafted after them). Ganger and Hemsky are the only two draft picks left that were picked by this team from 2000-2007. who was the GM? I also was a far bigger fan of Cogliano because of his speed and durability. Mac T was in love with Gagner because he was the most skillful player the Oilers had from 07-his leaving the team. He actually played with a lot more heart a few years ago but was never more than a third line player.

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#203 Serious Gord
February 02 2014, 02:00PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I feel like the organization itself is toxic. They need to go total scorched earth: fire everyone. All the coaches, obviously Lowe, completely remove the position of POHO, let the GM have full control.

I'm willing to give MacT a little more time, he's shown he's at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.

Please see the list of MacT's errors thusfar futher back in this thread and get back to me on your BOLD assertion that "...he's shown he's at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs."

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#204 Serious Gord
February 02 2014, 02:10PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

I feel like the organization itself is toxic. They need to go total scorched earth: fire everyone. All the coaches, obviously Lowe, completely remove the position of POHO, let the GM have full control.

I'm willing to give MacT a little more time, he's shown he's at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.

Please see the list of MacT's errors thusfar futher back in this thread and get back to me on your BOLD assertion that "...he's shown he's at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs."

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#205 Hall the time
February 02 2014, 02:38PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The next player not cutting it.

I cant believe you even had to say that.

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#206 Randaman
February 02 2014, 02:41PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

You would think a person with plenty of success in the business world would have concluded his hickey organization, as it currently stands, is dysfunctional and must be changed. Katz needs to bring in an "organization doctor" to advise him on how to fix, who goes, who stays etc.

So what makes you think this rich glorified groupee would listen to any advice given when the building is sold out night after night? He has his money and gets to keep his former coattail riders as friends! All is good in his eyes, as his letter stated. The man is dilusionall at best so enjoy being in the bottom fifth of the league for the forseeable future. This is sooooooo frustrating! Good thing my mother is looking over my shoulder or I would be banned!!! What a pathetic gong show as tomorrow will show when Buffalo kicks our weak pathetic asses! Gagner and Eberle lead the parade.

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#207 Randaman
February 02 2014, 02:46PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I don't think it has taken this long for a lot of people. I was at the draft party at Rexall when they drafted Sam, Plante and Nash in 2007 and was sick about every pick, they had just been to the Stanley Cup finals with a big gritty team with a stud defense man,(don't look who was drafted after them). Ganger and Hemsky are the only two draft picks left that were picked by this team from 2000-2007. who was the GM? I also was a far bigger fan of Cogliano because of his speed and durability. Mac T was in love with Gagner because he was the most skillful player the Oilers had from 07-his leaving the team. He actually played with a lot more heart a few years ago but was never more than a third line player.

That is because Kane carried Gagner through junior and raised his value. Lowe failed to notice this. Remember Pouliot? Same thing because he played wing with Crosby. Any questions?

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#208 Rod from Viking
February 02 2014, 03:07PM
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@Randaman

Exactly, you would hope a decent scouting staff would realize that, I still remember the TSN insiders were shocked with the Oiler picks

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#209 justDOit
February 02 2014, 03:11PM
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Randaman wrote:

That is because Kane carried Gagner through junior and raised his value. Lowe failed to notice this. Remember Pouliot? Same thing because he played wing with Crosby. Any questions?

Crosby: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=73288

MAP: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=61459

MAP was drafted by the Oilers in the summer of 2003, and Crosby joined Rimouski later that fall for the 2003-04 season.

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#210 Rod from Viking
February 02 2014, 03:22PM
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justDOit wrote:

Crosby: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=73288

MAP: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=61459

MAP was drafted by the Oilers in the summer of 2003, and Crosby joined Rimouski later that fall for the 2003-04 season.

He did play with Crosby and it must have been after he was drafted, anyway you look at it a team that needed to be built by the draft has two of their picks left from 2000-2007, Gagner and Hemsky, a dismal performance by any measure.

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#211 justDOit
February 02 2014, 03:24PM
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@Rod from Viking

Not defending this team in any manner, but MAP was drafted before he was dragged along by Crosby.

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#212 D-Unit
February 02 2014, 03:31PM
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Thumby wrote:

Hey bud - opinions are like a-holes...and everyone here has one.

I'm sorry to see you are getting strangled by yours.

So pull you head out of your a$$, smell the fresh air and realize that winning games 81 and 82 is retarded when you are out of the playoffs and in line for a top 5 lottery pick (which could have been Jones or a much needed 2 way center).

I have always wanted the Oil to win, but I don't think moral victories matter when you have such a dramatic need to get as many DIFFERNCE makers as you can as quickly as you can. And the probability of getting a difference maker drops off significantly after the top 4 or 5 picks in a given year.

BTW, who made you god of ON? I'll post as often as I like.

So, when is it too early to be out of the playoffs and start playing for losses? 10 games? 15 games? I mean, honestly, you can be out of the playoffs at that time.

You never did explain which games they won that were meaningless? Was it the first 5 wins or the last 5 they won?

I never did say they should win 81 or 82 games.

If you think losing is the answer, maybe you should call Lowe of Katz for a job. Unless of course you already work for them, and you know losing is the answer and are towing the company line.

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#213 Rod from Viking
February 02 2014, 05:54PM
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justDOit wrote:

Not defending this team in any manner, but MAP was drafted before he was dragged along by Crosby.

It was not I that said he was.

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#214 Rdubb
February 03 2014, 07:56AM
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Shouldn't the top lines problems this season also be put on the coach and coaching staff? especially since last season they outshot and out chanced their opposition (your words, not mine). Are they not trying to play the "game plan" to the way Eakins wants them to? Maybe, just maybe, his teaching will aid these guys NEXT season when they are far more comfortable in the "system" Peck

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#215 Sal-Sational
February 03 2014, 09:16AM
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"somehow outhit despite never having the puck and flat-out out-played" LOVE IT!!

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#216 k
February 03 2014, 11:58AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

Never has happened to me.

Are you sure? Which post and which points?

You're sure it wasn't just too much tanqueray?

Isn't the 1st time this has happened

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