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. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Retsinnab5
February 01 2014, 02:03PM
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Our Defence sucks, Our PP sucks and Our first line is having a bad game.

What does Dallas Eakins do?

He decides to bench Yak. What an Idiot!

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#2 otter2233
February 01 2014, 05:20PM
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Anyone else miss Ralph Krueger?

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#3 dougtheslug
February 01 2014, 02:22PM
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What a rude dose of reality.

Sad return to Boston for Ference. I think he was on the ice for all 4 goals. No wonder Boston could let him go when they had 2 stud rookies, Hamilton and Krug, nicely marinating in Junior or down in Providence, then brought up to develop beside real 1-2 d-men.

Boston can afford to let an elite talent like Tyler Seguin go for little more than spare parts because he didn't play Bruin hockey. You don't play Bruin hockey, you don't play in Boston.

Which raises the question, what is Oiler Hockey? The one player who, pound for pound, is arguably their hardest, most responsible player, Mark Arcobello, gets sent down to OKC.

Maybe Oilers were saving themselves for their version of the cup. That would be against Buffalo on Monday. And I'm not sure they will be trying to win. Is that Oiler hockey?

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#4 Spydyr
February 01 2014, 05:23PM
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otter2233 wrote:

Anyone else miss Ralph Krueger?

The special teams sure do.

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#5 J.R.
February 01 2014, 08:28PM
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Skid the entire coaching staff.

Eakins is not a good coach at the NHL level.

Just my opinion.

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#6 Moog's helmet
February 02 2014, 03:08AM
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We've heard a lot about how long it takes a team to adjust to a new coach but it certainly didn't take Paul Maurice long to successfully implement a new system in Winnipeg.

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#7 Wow
February 01 2014, 04:36PM
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What more can you say about Gagner?

The thing I would LOVE,LOVE,LOVE to hear is someone in the Media asking Eakins to explain how this 4.8 million dollar failure doesn't qualify for the "accountability" program.

You remember the one, Dallas...I believe the quote was: "Look, I don't care when you were drafted or what your contract is..."

Well,Dallas, please explain this to Oiler fans.

Just a guess, but I bet there are Oiler players who would love to hear the answer on this one,too.

Accountability? What a joke that is...

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#8 bwar
February 02 2014, 03:43AM
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Moog's helmet wrote:

We've heard a lot about how long it takes a team to adjust to a new coach but it certainly didn't take Paul Maurice long to successfully implement a new system in Winnipeg.

Took Colorado forever to adjust to Patrick Roy.

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#9 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 01 2014, 02:39PM
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By the sounds of it, missing this game was a very, very good thing.

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#10 Air on Egg blood
February 01 2014, 02:05PM
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JW, that power play is a disgrace. Guy Boucher was not too succesful in his tenure as the head coach of the lightning, but he is a power play master mind. Don't you think he would be a wonderful associate coach for Eakins? He's got NHL experience, but not too much, so he wouldn't cast too big a shadow over Eakins. He is working in some swiss league right now, so he's sorta available. Whar do you think?

P.S. Bruins GM Chiarelli is a Genius. Sigh.

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#11 Serious Gord
February 01 2014, 02:30PM
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Six shut outs this year. What's the record for a season?

....

Good to see johnathon formally joining the ranks of journos who are willing to consider removal of Eakins.

....

Benching yak seems foolish to me. Hard to see how he was any worse than than any other player. How come gagner was NOT benched? Heck how about benching hall for his peewee-level passing attempts?

....

And is this a first for Johnathon to completely single out a player Sam Gagner for criticism in his very own bulletpoint in a game review?

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#12 Dave
February 01 2014, 03:13PM
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The good news is that the colors of this site officially were adopted by the team today.

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#13 dougtheslug
February 01 2014, 10:53PM
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Overheard this evening:

Daryl Katz: Um... Kevin... Calgary just won their fifth in row. They're 7 points up on us with 2 games in hand.....and they haven't had a single first overall pick.What gives?

Kevin Lowe: Yeah, those guys don't seem to realize that first overalls are what jumpstart the rebuild. They're screwing it up bigtime. Don't worry, I know a thing or two about winning, if that's ever a concern.

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#14 fasteddy
February 01 2014, 02:58PM
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Eakins needs to go. There isn't one thing that we are "building" on......everything is brutal

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#15 jake
February 01 2014, 02:39PM
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Remember that game when the goalie saved 59 shots in a shut-out? That was awesome.

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#16 K_Mart
February 01 2014, 09:01PM
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I can't believe I'm saying this... But it's coaching. What system are they playing?!?!

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#17 beloch
February 02 2014, 06:38AM
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The 2014 pick is looking pretty sweet right about now. What they heck. Cash it in.

The 2015 1st round pick? Trade it.
The 2016 1st round pick? Trade it.
The 2017 1st round pick? Trade it.

Burn the ships to show the troops that retreat is not an option. Use those picks to bring back some hard-working defensively responsible players with good work-ethics and decent contracts. To get all that, these guys may not be as offensively flashy as you'd hope to get for 1st rounders, but the goal is to make those crap first rounders.

Next:

-Bench any forward who cherry-picks while the opposing team has possession.
-If Gagner wasn't cherry-picking, bench him anyways for having the most ironic name in the NHL.
-Bag skate. Bag skate. Bag skate.
-Blast off and nuke Lowe from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
-Tell the kids that they're no longer kids with great potential. They're adults who are failing because they're slacking off.
-Ask the players to donate half their salary to charity and apologize to all of Edmonton for not doing more to earn it. Maybe class and accountability can start off the ice.
-If the team doesn't have a sports psychologist, hire one.
-If the team does have a sports psychologist, fire him.
-Terminate Eakins' command with extreme prejudice.
-Pay the ice girls to follow Hall, Nuge, Eberle, etc. around during commercial breaks while saying things like, "Gee you guys are slacking off tonight!" or "Poor baby. Want me to beat him up for you?"
-Save every sweater fans throw on the ice and hang them up in the dressing room. Let the team burn one each time they win four games in a row.
-Instruct hotels used by the team that alcohol is off the room-service menu and send the whole damned team to AA.
-Borrow a hard-hat from the Flames. Leave it hanging on the wall unless somebody earns it.
-Take the 'C' away from Ference. It goes on the wall next to the hard-hat until somebody starts earning the hard-hat on a regular basis.
-Have the video room guys splice scenes from "Rocky" into the review tapes.
-Put the damned Gretzky pictures back in the dressing room.

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#18 Rod from Viking
February 01 2014, 07:35PM
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Grant fuhr wrote:

I think that I should be the new gm, I only snorted a little bit of blow, Craig got drunk as a skunk and killed a guy . No more ex cons in the front office.

I really do not like the reference to the vehicular homicide, Craig made a mistake that a lot of people made back then by drinking and driving and he is still paying for it. Make sure you don't text and drive or the same could happen to you. Lets keep personal attacks out of this site.

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#19 6 ring circus
February 01 2014, 03:18PM
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Lowe: Hi Daryl, we lost again today,4-0 to Boston. Katz: Inst that a coincidence,I was just watching reruns of the 1990 Boston- Edmonton Stanley cup finals,Peter Klima,he scored one heck of a goal in triple overtime: were is he anyways?I think he would be a great addition to management or he could help out Bucky and Smith,What do you think? Lowe:He knows a thing or two about winning, not as much as me of course,but then who does? Katz:Oh Kevin, we do not need to go over this again,your my man and it doesn't matter how poorly the team does,you will be the POHO for as long as I own the team,plus your one of the FOK's and the more FOK heads we have, the better our chances of icing a good team,so give that Peter Klima dude a call,I am going to help Junior pick out his suit for the NHL draft, we are going to be picking top 3 again this year and me and JR love going up on that stage, maybe another number one overall pick will be in the cards!!!!

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#20 Rick Stroppel
February 01 2014, 08:28PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

SHOULD ALL THE COACHES BE FIRED NOW?

Jonathan, you seem to imply that the coaches should all be fired now. If so, I disagree. You may be craving a Winnipeg Jets style bounce. I do not think that would help in the long run. Hiring a new head coach is often like eating a big chocolate bar: you get a big burst of energy followed by a let down. Look at Buffalo.

How much do any of us know about what is going on behind the scenes? People are ready to fire many of these guys because they don't like their facial expressions during the game. For all we know, maybe SOME of them are actually good at what they do.

Somebody has to coach the team between now and the end of the season. The franchise is reeling from crisis to crisis. The LAST thing they need is Lowe and MacTavish hiring people hastily, out of a limited pool, based on somebody's misguided hunch. Plenty of time to do an honest assessment in the summer. Have a REAL search to fill these positions, like REAL NHL teams do.

ON SECOND THOUGHT

I just checked the box score for today's game. RNH had 25.51 TOI! More than any defenseman on the Oilers (by almost four minutes).

What is the point of this? What exactly are the Oilers playing for right now? Why isn't Yakupov getting more of a look?

Does anyone remember RNH's first game back from injury? Eakins played the hell out of him that night as well, for no apparent reason. Some reporter rudely asked him why he did that. Eakins made some smart-ass reply like "all players want more ice time".

Is it possible that Eakins is so incompetent that he cannot keep track of the ice time of key players? But hey, his hair is FANTASTIC!

I changed my mind. FIRE EAKINS NOW!p

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#21 Alsker
February 01 2014, 02:41PM
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@dougtheslug

Well my guess on Arco is Eakins and MacT had had enough of his effort, physical play and heart making others look bad. ~Definite dressing room issue taken care.~ As for Oiler hockey, MacT went out his way telling us snowpants was everything in an Oiler: ability,skill,character...umm you're right, what is Oiler hockey?

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#22 Drowning in Oil
February 01 2014, 04:56PM
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Dear Dallas Eakins,

SQUARE PEG does not fit in ROUND HOLE. You are a horrible coach.

Sincerely, Any reasonable Oiler fan

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#23 nuge2nail
February 01 2014, 09:15PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I think the problem with the oilers is that the team sucks.

I think the problem with Eakins is he only seems to think Yakupov sucks.

I can't seem to understand why only Yaks gets benched and no other Oilers. How does Eakins approach help preach accountability?

Not like Yaks was on the ice for all 100 shots or something... Love to see Eberle benched once in a while for a behind the back pass on the tape of the opposing team.

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#24 max
February 01 2014, 08:01PM
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2 questions 1-Jets were slumping, obviously didn't get along with the coach - new one hired, Jets soar. Could a respected NHL proven coach help the Oilers? I think yes. 2-Why do the Oilers players think it's okay to have their goalie face almost 100 sots in 2 games? I think they don't care any more.

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#25 Bryzarro World
February 01 2014, 08:30PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

Our Defence sucks, Our PP sucks and Our first line is having a bad game.

What does Dallas Eakins do?

He decides to bench Yak. What an Idiot!

Gregor and Zarny will tell you the coach makes no difference. I shake my head everytime I hear some fool spew that crap.

Some are just afraid to lose their press pass so they bag lick, others are just tools...

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#26 bwar
February 01 2014, 09:04PM
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Also Eberle was the worst player on the ice tonight. Kid needed to sit for a few shifts but Eakins would never risk hurting the feelings of one of the golden boys.

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#27 Spydyr
February 01 2014, 05:07PM
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Wow. even the stats guys think Gagner sucks now .They are only three years late getting on board with that one.

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#28 Fresh Mess
February 01 2014, 02:30PM
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The problem is the owner and his right hand man Lowe.

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#29 OIL86
February 01 2014, 08:50PM
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@Bryzarro World

Gregor is a tool.He doesn't know how to debate without flipping out and insisting his opinion is absolutely flat out correct.

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#30 Spaz
February 01 2014, 03:08PM
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DEAR COACHING STAFF - The one man high umbrella PP formation DOES NOT WORK with this group. Please stop forcing it.

Just try the traditional two dmen on the point, or even Yakupov on there for a one timer.

As much as people malign the defence the one thing I noticed again and again recently was whenever the team got the puck out of their zone the forwards couldn't get 20 feet into the bruins zone without coughing it up. Rag on the blue line all you want but when you're busting your ass to get it out of the zone and it's back across your blue line before you can blink it must be demoralizing.

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#31 dougtheslug
February 01 2014, 04:53PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

When a bad team plays a bad game against a great team that plays a good game, results like these occur.

No need for anyone to lose their minds over it, or make knee-jerk reactions.

The only thing to do right now is go over the "tape" and work on cutting those things out in practice over and over until they're gone. Practice and repeat until good habits are muscle memory.

Is just a game. Why you heff to be medd?

With all due respect, I think the problems with this team aren't going to be fixed by "practicing good habits".

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#32 Spydyr
February 01 2014, 05:09PM
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To all the people who thought Eakins was the second coming of Scotty Bowman before he even coached a game in the NHL.How do you feel about that now?

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#33 TeddyTurnbuckle
February 01 2014, 02:11PM
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Couple of things. Didn't like the play when Nuge passed it to Eberle breaking out of the zone but Eberle was changing and it came back the other way. Why is he changing before his team is able to dump it in. Didn't like the play when the defense were changing inside the Boston blue line while a puck battle was going on just outside the blue line. We won the puck battle but we went offside. You are allowed to jump over the boards so you are not offside you know? Lastly Taylor Hall's back pass to the other team summed up his night and that's why he isn't on team Canada.

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#34 billythebullet
February 01 2014, 04:56PM
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While this 4-0 drubbing was taking place I was at my sons novice hockey game. I tend to think that the 7-8 yr olds I watched today have more heart then the oilers.

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#35 Rod from Viking
February 01 2014, 06:01PM
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Yakapov doesn't get a sniff on the power play or hardly any ice time, Gagner and Ference were horrible and I am so sick of seeing all the minutes Ryan Smyth is getting, he was good but now you have to line him up with a ad on the boards to tell if he was moving. I bet Scrivens can hardly wait to put ink on a new contract with this team.

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#36 bwar
February 01 2014, 09:03PM
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My favorite part was how Eakins made no effort to keep the team in the game today. The strategy seemed to be try to not lose in an embarrassing fashion. The Oilers had zero offense and absolutely no adjustments were made during the game to even attempt to solve this blatant deficiency. One of the critical lines to the victory over San Jose was broken up and then even when the team was struggling was never put back together (Jones-Gordon-Hendricks). Yes they did have one shift together but that was a product of getting lines back in order after a series of PK/PP time.

Perron also had a very poor game yet when it came time for Eakins to show the team that they needed to be 'accountable' Yakupov was the guy who sat a few shifts. It really is starting to feel like Eakins has no clue what he is doing. This team was much better off with Krueger last season.

Scrivens was the only bright light from todays game but he could only keep this joke of a team in the game for so long.

Oilers get your siht together please.

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#37 Buck Negged
February 01 2014, 02:51PM
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Another disgraceful display. Total lack of effort. Too many mental brain fart pass attempts through multiple sticks. And too many multi-millionaire "super stars" trying to beat multiple NHL players with junior hockey moves. MOVE YOUR LEGS AND THE PUCK QUICKER. DUH!

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#38 john
February 02 2014, 03:47AM
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Old Oilers legend photos in front of locker room were removed by Eakins, those were like gods, without the past there's no present and no future. This Oilers team has no identity and now they can't look up to those legends any more. Fire Eakins, he cannot deliver the winning team.

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#39 Kevin
February 01 2014, 08:45PM
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He Who Knows wrote:

Look at Columbus. Look at us. Fire Lowe just heated up again.

simply put Columbus has John Davidson we have six rings. Lowe must Go !

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#40 TeddyTurnbuckle
February 01 2014, 02:16PM
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Some people want Hall on the half boards instead of Nuge because he is more of a threat to shoot. David Staples tonight was a perfect example why Taylor can't play the position. He may have a hard shot and is a great skater but his decision making is below the NHL average until he matures as a player. He gave the puck away on the offensive end tonight at least 5 times,

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#41 Bryzarro World
February 01 2014, 09:09PM
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OIL86 wrote:

Gregor is a tool.He doesn't know how to debate without flipping out and insisting his opinion is absolutely flat out correct.

Lmao!

Yup.. he also falls back to "not hard ti understand" or "you ever play the game?" I used to like him but he is becoming lame. Waiting for him to start ranting about his playing days at the southside athletics club...

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#42 dougtheslug
February 01 2014, 11:17PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

You're right, of course.

Serially hiring incompetent, unsatisfactory coaches has to stop.

The solution, of course, is to fire the cadre that made the serial hiring mistakes so that the next coach hired is an enduring and successful one.

Actually, I'm not sure that management hired a series of incompetent coaches. I think they made a series of incompetent decisions, serially firing competent coaches as scapegoats for their own managerial incompetence.

And I don't think the fans blamed the past coaches. I don't recall a groundswell of popular support calling for Renney's or Krueger's scalp

They really only hired one incompetent coach. And it is on MacT to correct his mistake, as JW points out, sooner rather than later.

Renney was hired almost immediately upon his dismissal by a competent organization, the RedWings. Krueger found work right away with Hockey Canada.

After this audition, I can't imagine what organization will be beating down Eakins door, if MacT does the right thing.

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#43 Chambers
February 02 2014, 08:30AM
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How about those FLAMES!! Zero talent yet they have a 5 games win streak the longest in the NHL this season. They play with big heart and desire and work there ass off every shift.

Oh well Oiller fans enjoy watching 17 year old Ekblad develop and the Flamers instead will play for winning culture rather than draft position.

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#44 Rick Stroppel
February 01 2014, 07:40PM
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Grant fuhr wrote:

I think that I should be the new gm, I only snorted a little bit of blow, Craig got drunk as a skunk and killed a guy . No more ex cons in the front office.

THIS IS A LOW BLOW

FYI, the victim in MacTavish's case was a woman. He paid the price. He got a three year sentence (about what he would he would have got in Canada) and spent a year behind bars (ditto).

This is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to a hockey discussion. A wise person once said "a man is more than the worst thing he ever did". MacTavish has moved on, so should everyone else.

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#45 Rick Stroppel
February 01 2014, 09:57PM
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APROPOS OF NOTHING: BOB STAUFFER IS NOT A SMART PERSON

Somebody said that Stauffer predicted earlier this season that by February the Oilers would have caught the Avalanche in the standings.

I just did the math. Colorado 33 points ahead of Edmonton. Edmonton wins their four games left in February, Colorado loses their three games, we are only 25 points behind! Missed by THAT much!

I don't listen to phone in shows. Someone who does, could you please phone the Amazing Kreskin and remind him about his prediction? Thanks!

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#46 Oiler63
February 01 2014, 05:26PM
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I always consider anything from the Leafs organization is a damaged good, but was willing to give Eakins the benefits of doubt. Turns out he proved anything from the Leafs organization IS damaged good. Lesson learned.

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#47 Rick Stroppel
February 01 2014, 06:33PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

Because MacT can't go back in time. He can't fix 7 yrs of losing with one off season, when the coming season had a salary cap going down. Hes made mistakes, we all do regardless of our profession. But Perron, Gordon, Ference are all solid additions. Eakins may have been a mistake. Signing Gags was another. Using the word Bold, was prob his biggest. MacT will improve as GM with time, like most of us do when gaining experience.

Let me ask this, what has MacT done or not done to show he is incapable of turning this around? I'd love to hear from all you armchair gm's who played Jr B and think they know it all.

OK, I'LL BITE

What has MacTavish done to show he is NOT capable of turning this around:

1. Firing Kreuger and hiring Eakins on a whim.

2. Not replacing the assistants.

3. Grebeshkov.

4. Belov.

5. Further to 4 and 5, totally failing to provide the team with NHL quality defense.

6. Labarbera.

7. Bryzgalov.

8. Further to 6 and 7 (and keeping in mind that one great game does not make an NHL career) totally failing to provide the team with NHL quality goaltending.

9. Gagner contract.

10. Total clown show at the draft, resulting in no goalie prospects drafted.

11. Merrily trading away draft choices when the team is supposed to be rebuilding.

I am sure I missed some but I am tired.

PS : We are all "armchair GM's", and it is fun, that is why we read and write these posts!

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#48 Oiler Al
February 01 2014, 09:21PM
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I have no argument with the out pourings of Gagners poor play on the team and his lack of effort etc etc., however, if Gagner was the only problem on this team we would have won this game. Its deeper than NO. 89 by a long strech.

Out Number 1 line could not muster a point and gave the puck away all day long. Lets tryig focusing on these high paid , big minute players that didnt show up for the game today.

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#49 dougtheslug
February 01 2014, 11:00PM
Trash it!
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admiralmark wrote:

Oh look it's the annual "Lets get rid of the coach" group out in full force. If these guys had it their way we would fire the coach twice each season.

Here's a thought.. OILERS DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TALENT! Mull it over a bit maybe it will sink in where the problem truly lies? But i doubt it.

As a founding member of the "Let's get rid of the coach" group, I have to clarify that if we had our way, we wouldn't even fire the coach once a season, if that coach proved he was even remotely competent.

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#50 Dan 1919
February 01 2014, 02:20PM
Trash it!
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props

Here we are 4 season into the stamped and certified KLowe rebuild and we’ve got 1 good player in Taylor Hall, a few small flashy forwards like Ebs and RNH, and a team no where close to NHL compete level... utter failure.

Hopefully Mac-T can right this ship in the next year or two because if he doesn’t there would be no choice left but to actually rebuild the rebuild, meaning a very long time without watching a real NHL team.

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