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 vetinari
February 02 2014, 11:16AM
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Oasis wrote:

Even if we did convince Scrivens to sign here he is not a legitimate Number 1. He is a good back up or a 2nd half of a 1/2 goalie tandem. He has played well for 2 games but don't forget that he is playing for a contract next year (see Ryan Jones play of late). I hope he continues to play well but am I alone in thinking that we have not seen the real Ben Scrivens yet?

Going into next year all the Oilers need is a true Number 1 goalie, at LEAST 1 top pairing defensemen, a big/legitimate #2 centre, and some more size/grit in the top 6. I don't see a problem with us acquiring that at all. Remember, we got "6 rings" and "Bold Moves" at the helm...........we will be fine.

On Scrivens, I know that we only have a "small sample size", but he's definitely better with his positioning than Dubnyk and fights harder to get back in a scramble than Bryzgalov.

I don't see a lot of potential true #1 goalies coming here without a substantial overpay so we either have to take a chance on someone up-and-coming (like Scrivens) or someone else's damaged goods (like Bryzgalov). Maybe go with the guy we know and may have another 10 years in him...

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#202 samurai003
February 02 2014, 11:29AM
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Get rid of Smith and Bucky. Make Eakins an Assistant water boy. Bring in a real NHL coach (like anyone would want to come here in this mess).

Eakins, KActon, Scrivens and now Fraser... how long until they change the name to Edmonton Marlies?

No vision, thanks to KBlowe.

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#203 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 02 2014, 12:03PM
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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.

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#204 T&A4Flames
February 02 2014, 12:08PM
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nuge2nail wrote:

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.

You can't bench an entire team. Although, why not try?

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#205 Spydyr
February 02 2014, 12:08PM
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Butters wrote:

What happens if/when we trade Gagner and the Oilers still suck? Who do we run our of town next?

The next player not cutting it.

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#206 T&A4Flames
February 02 2014, 12:12PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

I am as frustrated as every other diehard Oiler fan, and fixing this mess will be very hard. The number one problem is Lowe, of course, and we need to find a proven experienced hockey man, who is not an ex-Oiler to come in and clean house. The right man might choose to keep a manager or two but all, or nearly all, must certainly go, obviously including the entire coaching staff, apart from our man in OKC. Hopefully there is enough of a core here, with at least a Top 3 pick coming, to convince such a person to take the reins and my God, they better get the right person. That is if they are even thinking of doing this, as who is competent to tell Katz whom to bring in?

Then there are the players, who have to share a lot of responsibility for the mess we are in. We can slam the top line but they showed under Renney and Kreuger that they can be stars in this league if properly coached and managed. Imagine where we would be today if Renney had not been fired, or Kreuger had not been fired? Things have never been worse than they are right now. The compete level is abysmal, the special teams are totally broken and the players, those that are still trying, look utterly lost. Finally the fans are in open rebellion, but powerless to effect anything.

I fear that nothing much will change for next year. Same president, GM and head coach. They might dump an assistant coach or two, pick up a useful piece at the trade deadline, free agency or the draft, and likely be better next year but for the first time I have increasing doubts that we will be even a playoff team in the near future if major managerial changes are not made and that we are years away from the playoffs even if they are made.

Hey guys, Jay Feaster is available. He seemed to do a decent job preparing for our year 1 of the rebuild.

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#207 Ed in Edmonton
February 02 2014, 12:59PM
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Lower than lowe wrote:

As a lifelong fan why do I want my team to lose every game? Odd.

I know the feeling. Perhaps it has something to do with "experts' lecturing Oiler fans about has unacceptable it is throw jerseys on the ice etc. As the Oil continue to flounder "the experts" refuse to call a spade a shovel and preach patience and that KLowe is a good hockey man. If the Oil implode even more severely in the last 25 games the "experts" may be forced to give the Oiler's long suffering fans their due and agree that tossing jerseys and putting up billboards are well justified.

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#208 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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#209 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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#210 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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#211 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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#212 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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#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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