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

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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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#201 @Oilanderp
February 02 2014, 10:55AM
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This article should have been titled: Incromulence.

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#202 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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#203 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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#204 Mason Storm
February 01 2014, 04:06PM
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Ivan Drago wrote:

This is a flipping joke right?

Was this Eakins sales pitch?

Actually meant for Otis and his 2012 rant. Sorry.

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#205 Greb
February 01 2014, 07:40PM
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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.

He signed Grebeshkov. No one other then him expected that to work.

Whats wrong with Jr B? I am guessing you never played? House league perhaps?

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#206 tileguy
February 01 2014, 11:44PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

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!

Very weak brother, that's all hindsight ship except for the Eakins hiring.

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#207 Reg Dunlop
February 02 2014, 12:33PM
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Did they shut down flamenation? Why are all these flamelosers stinking up the one true nation? Get lost and leave us to wallow.

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#208 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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#209 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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#210 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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#211 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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#212 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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#213 ColourMeImpressed
February 01 2014, 04:11PM
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Keep posting like this and soon you'll be on CnB.

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#214 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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#215 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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#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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