BACK AT IT: TRULY FEEBLE

Robin Brownlee
February 28 2014 12:07AM

Team-5

As much of a dumpster fire as this season has been for the Edmonton Oilers, there was at least a hint of anticipation as fans dutifully filed into Rexall Place to begin the stretch drive against the Minnesota Wild after three weeks off for the Olympic break. Should have known better.

Rather than come back with some gusto and jump in a stretch that will see the Oilers play 15 of their final 22 games at home, they served up another feeble and indifferent display for the hometown faithful, collectively shrugging their shoulders in a half-hearted, half-assed 3-0 loss to the Wild.

Fans who arrived with at least a hint of hope the Oilers might finish off this mess of 2013-14 with enthusiasm and maybe a win here or there after a tidy roll before the break, were booing by the final buzzer at the Oilers were shut out for the fifth time at home this season, dropping to 10-15-2 at the Rex.

The power play has fallen and it can't get up. There was next-to-no flow on the attack. Ben Scrivens didn’t look particularly sharp. Worst of all, the give-a-damn meter appeared to be as low as it's been all season, save for some nastiness from Matt Hendricks and Luke Gazdic.

Played like their heads and hearts were still on the beach somewhere warm, did the Oilers. The only grit was the sand in their shorts.

NOT CLOSE TO GOOD ENOUGH

When a team has been as bad as long as the Oilers have, virtually every angle involving personnel, team chemistry, coaching and the X's and O's has been exhausted. The power play, at least this 1-3-1 version of it, is brutal. There are holes throughout the lineup front and back. The defense isn’t good enough. All this we know. More fodder for these last days before the trade deadline.

One ongoing glaring deficiency – far from the only one -- that stood out for me in this game was the lack of push-back from the Oilers, the unwillingness to back each other up. The all-for-one, one-for-all mentality most successful teams show consistently. Big problem.

That was illustrated best as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall were getting knocked around near the Minnesota goal by Keith Ballard and Matt Cooke. Out near the blue line stood Jeff Petry and Anton Belov, two of the biggest players on the ice. And that's where they stayed as Ballard cuffed RNH and Hall had a brief altercation with Cooke. They watched.

I'm not foolish enough to think having Petry and Belov wade in and kick some backside, or at least show up, in that circumstance comes anywhere near close to addressing the many needs of this team, but showing opponents they don’t get a free pass in that situation would solve one of them – the lack of will to play and stand up for each other.

I'm not suggesting GM Craig MacTavish go on a thug hunt at the deadline or over the summer, but while he's looking for another defenseman or two and some size that can play in the top-six up front, find a player or two who isn’t so ready to turn the other cheek -- as too many players on this roster now are.

Culture change? Let's start with MacTavish getting some players who are as sick of losing as the fans who filed in to watch yet another no-show by a team that keeps talking the talk but refuses to walk the walk.

Enough already.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
Avatar
#1 john
February 28 2014, 12:19AM
Trash it!
49
trashes
Cheers
53
cheers

Please FIRE EAKINS, this clown can't coach NHL teams. I can't stand to see his face any more, can't stand Patrick Roy and Brian Burke faces too. Lost at home 3-0, that's 5 shut out games lost at home, where people paid to see it? That's unacceptable, bring signs and chant 'Fire Eakins' at all home games. Don't throw jerseys onto the ice, it's not the team, it's the coach that cannot get this team to win.

Avatar
#2 nuge2nail
February 28 2014, 12:20AM
Trash it!
25
trashes
Cheers
9
cheers

Oiler Domination To Follow

We need a #2C

We need a #1D, #2D, #3D

We need a #1G

The lottery pick will fill one of the above. Nurse fills another.

Hopefully MacT uses the 40+ mil in cap space this off season to fill the rest...

DREAM WORLD:

Callahan

Girardi, Markhov, Ekblad, Nurse

Halak

OILER WORLD:

Bolland

Diaz, Hainsey, Ekblad, Nurse

Reimer

Avatar
#3 beloch
February 28 2014, 12:20AM
Trash it!
8
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Burke: Hey, want Smid back yet? He's trrrrrruculent!

Avatar
#4 hallsyoilerforever5
February 28 2014, 12:26AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
50
cheers

Can we go back to the olympics please? Where we were able to watch what a real team looks like, especially on defence? -cries-

Avatar
#5 Muji
February 28 2014, 12:29AM
Trash it!
14
trashes
Cheers
67
cheers

They're so f*cked. They need a new coach. But they can't afford to have another new coach. I'm a MacT supporter, but the coaching was a HUGE mistake this season.

Eakins seemed great on paper, but has been a huge letdown. Or maybe it's the assistant coaches? Or maybe both? Doesn't really matter. It's bad.

Should've kept Krueger. Not because he was better than Eakins. But for the same reason that they'll keep Eakins this summer: because this young group cannot afford to have a revolving door of coaches!

Avatar
#6 john
February 28 2014, 12:49AM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers

PRIDE - results from self-directed satisfaction with meeting the personal or team goals. PRIDE - a group of lions. This Oilers team has no PRIDE or scare any other teams like a group of lions scaring other living things. It start from the coach, he is responsible for his team play, this team is not winning. This team has been shut out 8 games this year, 5 at home, that's unacceptable. If Ukraine can over throw a president then Edmonton fans can over throw a bad coach. 'FIRE EAKINS' chant it at the games and bring signs too. It's TIME FOR CHANGE FOR the BETTER people!

Avatar
#7 Soccer Steve
February 28 2014, 12:50AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

Just... What if?... How about... Maybe... But... Try this...

Nope.

Avatar
#8 stll hoping
February 28 2014, 01:05AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
52
cheers

How about starting boycotting the games. March 1 leg the flames fans fill the building. Heard from a buddy that works for hockey Canada. Krueger played a more important role than did Lowe during Olympics. Lowe and Mac T need to go.

Avatar
#9 bwar
February 28 2014, 01:12AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
44
cheers

Closing in on another #1. Obviously things are finally going in the right direction.

Avatar
#10 oilcanz
February 28 2014, 01:29AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

nice job Reuben-you nailed it. these ijits are boring in their ineptitude and their weakness.

Avatar
#11 Big Cap
February 28 2014, 02:11AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
79
cheers

There are MANY MANY things that bug me about Eakins. He's not only been a massive bust, but has sent the team and confidence of the young guys back years.

My BIGGEST question about his coaching methods is: Why do other coaches constantly communicate with their players, leaning over their shoulders, giving instructions and confidence, while our coach leans against the glass with his hands behind his back?? I believe he truly thinks he's the smartest man in the rink and that his game plan is flawless.

Avatar
#12 HOFFFF
February 28 2014, 02:23AM
Trash it!
22
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

Isn't it an automatic penalty if the D come in during a scrum? Belov is willing partner with anyone. Sometimes it's worth a misconduct.

Avatar
#13 kale
February 28 2014, 02:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

You pretty much summed it up perfectly RB

Avatar
#14 Mason Storm
February 28 2014, 03:01AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Dallas Eakins said that the Oilers can't defend against a 1-3-1 when other teams use it against them. I'm sure it looks good in practice too.'

Avatar
#15 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 03:03AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
35
cheers

All the GD hype and hope the coach and some players sold us about their practices, working on special teams over the Olympic break. Unfortunately, they won't be in the playoffs, but they will be playing spoilers for other teams

MacT tells us he is happy with the consistency of the coaching staff, and the hard work paying off. He is happy that he is seeing huge improvements in the last few months from the players.

Really???? As far as I'm concerned, everybody in this organization is full of shat. Where in the hell did we see any evidence of what they're saying? Just a note to the Organization---the fans aren't idiots and don't like being lied to.

Avatar
#16 Walter Sobchak
February 28 2014, 03:23AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
35
cheers

I said this earlier, went to the game and the thing that stood out the most was how much the Oilers were dumping the puck in, I honestly never seen anything like it before.

What bothered me was every line did it, and more often then not they just gave the possession away.

How the hell does a team this skilled & small play a dump and chase game.

Avatar
#17 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 03:40AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

All the GD hype and hope the coach and some players sold us about their practices, working on special teams over the Olympic break. Unfortunately, they won't be in the playoffs, but they will be playing spoilers for other teams

MacT tells us he is happy with the consistency of the coaching staff, and the hard work paying off. He is happy that he is seeing huge improvements in the last few months from the players.

Really???? As far as I'm concerned, everybody in this organization is full of shat. Where in the hell did we see any evidence of what they're saying? Just a note to the Organization---the fans aren't idiots and don't like being lied to.

Avatar
#18 I AM KEVIN L.
February 28 2014, 04:26AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
21
cheers

Back to reality, hey? Same old Oilers last night....

can't wait to read more dumb ass articles about stupid "what ifs" on here. Weber trade wet dreams and other nonsense that only Edmonton fans can spew. ------------------------ Seriously: PK Subban trade for Perron & our 1st pick. Seriously. Would you do it?

Avatar
#19 Oil_Dude
February 28 2014, 04:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
30
cheers
Walter Sobchak wrote:

I said this earlier, went to the game and the thing that stood out the most was how much the Oilers were dumping the puck in, I honestly never seen anything like it before.

What bothered me was every line did it, and more often then not they just gave the possession away.

How the hell does a team this skilled & small play a dump and chase game.

Well a fast team can win a dump and chase game if they are willing to compete for the puck. Sadly it doesn't matter what type of game we play as there is no one that can compete on this team right now.

Avatar
#20 Loweblows
February 28 2014, 04:50AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
57
cheers

Any intelligent hockey observer would conclude that Eakins is not an NHL coach. What has he done to the power play? The joke continues.

Avatar
#21 mayorblaine
February 28 2014, 04:56AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

the Olympic hockey was the most definitive example of how to achieve victory through commitment and execution. it was in the most plain view for all to see and aspire to achieve.

the Oilers neither have the players to perform nor commit to that level.

if that level of excellence is not a goal, then go. leave. trade. waive. replace. fire. reassign.

it couldn't be more clear. if clarity is your thing.

Avatar
#22 NewfoundlandOil
February 28 2014, 05:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

@nuge2nail

Yes, this team needs those things. But beyond filling the positions of weakness this team needs more fire in their belly.

Will adding any of these players accomplish that or is there a bigger issue here? One would have though that adding Ference, Gordon, Perron, etc. would have upped the compete/care level, but this remains a vanilla team.

Filling positions of need will not by itself fix what ails this team. It would be a start however.

Avatar
#23 oilabroad
February 28 2014, 05:43AM
Trash it!
10
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

all I keep hearing is why we have to keep Eakins for the sake of continuity (even though he is clearly not the answer)... what say you Robin, are you on this bandwagon as well??

Avatar
#24 Drowning in Oil
February 28 2014, 06:47AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers

That fact that Mac T hides his head in the sand and lives in a world of rainbows and unicorns squarely puts this train wreck on him.

He has already tried to turn the fact that we can't get any decent trades for actual NHL talent into a well thought out plan to stock the cupboards full of draft pick, like there was any other option. Teams aren't going to give away talent for any of the heartless playing bunch here.

Then he throws his vote of confidence behind the worst decision he has ever made in Dallas Eakins. He is clearly not NHL ready. Is last nights performance not example enough. People, we've watched it all season. This team is never ready to play. That is on the coach! Mac T will never admit failure and his whimsical words of improvement the other day are laughable.

Mac, until you can fully open your eyes to the true extent of this disaster, you must take the majority of the blame.

Avatar
#27 Air on Egg blood
February 28 2014, 07:13AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
Robin Brownlee wrote:

Eakins stays, at least to start next season. He'll get help from an experienced addition to the coaching staff.

Here's hoping that you are right. But if the past is any indication of what will happen in the future, they will keep their buddies Smith and Buck. I would love if they could land Guy Boucher as an associate coach. Power play is his specialty.

Avatar
#28 BingBong
February 28 2014, 07:13AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

Another stinker. One thing I noticed last night is Easkins' presser. He sounds tired, just doesn't really know what to say anymore. "Systems, in the fight, 3rd best PP, blah blah blah". He's just tossing out cliches wherever/whenver he can.

He'll start next year as coach, and I really have no idea if he's the right coach for the job, but for now he just sounds fed up.

Avatar
#29 Derian Hatcher
February 28 2014, 07:20AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
33
cheers

Eakins reminds me of Mike Kelly who used to coach the Blue Bombers. Put a microphone in front of his face and he'd gladly go on and on about how much he knew, what his players had to do, what they were not doing, what needs to be done, all with the smug arrogance of someone who thought they were the smartest coach in the land. All the while his team is a complete yard sale from top to bottom - no heart, no compete, no accountability, no structure, no grit. HOW THE HECK CAN EAKINS STAND THERE AND BLAB ON ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WHEN HIS PLAYERS CANNOT PROVIDE CONSISTENT D-ZONE COVERAGE 60 GAMES INTO THE SEASON? UNBELIEVABLE! Someone get Eakins a mirror - it may have to be extra large so his ego-inflated head can fit. Wow.

Avatar
#30 Naky
February 28 2014, 07:21AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

I watched the first period last night and turned it off in the intermission. I already knew they had lost, you see. I watched 20 minutes of Scrivens looking shaky, 20 minutes of the team not being able to connect most passes, 20 minutes of dumping the puck in and not even remotely fighting for possession afterwards, and 20 minutes of nothing look remotely anything like a will to play.

I've seen it before. Many times. I know exactly what it means. So I did something else with my time. Sad that that this is where this team now sits and that I can almost guarantee a loss after watching them for a single period of play.

Oh I'm sure they'll make some sort of official excuse too. Oh the guys, they're just wound up and stressed out because they think they'll be traded. Here's a scary thought, what if they're all playing poorly so MacT will try to trade them all out. After all, what does the player care what sort of return the team gets for them so long as they're out.

Avatar
#31 Bubba
February 28 2014, 07:26AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
24
cheers

It sucks to come to Oilers Nation and have to read stuff like this, mostly because it is 100% true. Not sure the solution, keep trading and maybe bring Kreuger back as a PP coach?

Avatar
#32 Nomad787
February 28 2014, 07:28AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
19
cheers

I knew the game was lost from puck drop. Why do you start the third line in your home barn after a long enough absense that people wre actually excited to watch the Oilers play? Thats a good message to send to everyone.

Avatar
#33 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 07:42AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

On or before March 5, my friendly bet is our roster looks the same--no trades. What other GM in the league looking at our group, could ever be convinced that any Oiler could be a benefit to their team. We are just lucky that there are a number of expiring contracts.

Avatar
#34 season not played
February 28 2014, 07:49AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

Listening to Eakins talk about how good the team looked during practice and Bold Moves tell us what a wise move it was to hire Eakins has helped me reach two conclusions.

1) These two clowns truly believe Oiler fans are complete idiots.

2) MacT has a massive ego that is far more important to him than admitting he made a mistake firing Krueger and hiring Eakins. The only question now is how long he lets a fellow ego maniac ruin their "prized" young players.

This team may one day be a powerhouse capable of winning multiple cups, but it will be a very long time from now with completely different management and a whole new set of first overalls.

Avatar
#35 Spydyr
February 28 2014, 08:01AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
31
cheers

Didn't the smartest coach to ever grace the NHL with his presence just state last week that the Oilers powerplay would be impossible to defend?

What an arrogant asshat.

Avatar
#36 NsxZero
February 28 2014, 08:03AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

@mlcselli

You can't play as spoilers if you don't win...

Avatar
#37 Wonger
February 28 2014, 08:06AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
26
cheers

I missed Oil hockey- but not for long! Wasted another100 bucks on my seat , food, 2 beer and parking to watch that??? What the hell is wrong with me! Love GAZDIC and Hendricks, why doesn't anyone else on this team stick up for their teammates? Why won't any of theses "stars" finish their checks or play nasty/hard when they are down? Why do so many of our STARS quit as soon as they lose the puck! WHY? WTF!!!

Avatar
#38 Rob...
February 28 2014, 08:06AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers
season not played wrote:

Listening to Eakins talk about how good the team looked during practice and Bold Moves tell us what a wise move it was to hire Eakins has helped me reach two conclusions.

1) These two clowns truly believe Oiler fans are complete idiots.

2) MacT has a massive ego that is far more important to him than admitting he made a mistake firing Krueger and hiring Eakins. The only question now is how long he lets a fellow ego maniac ruin their "prized" young players.

This team may one day be a powerhouse capable of winning multiple cups, but it will be a very long time from now with completely different management and a whole new set of first overalls.

For your bullet #2, what good does it do to publicly admit that firing Krueger and hiring Eakins was a mistake unless you've got a vastly superior replacement lined up to take his place? The Oilers can't afford to go out and hire a mediocre coach that was let go by another team. Nor can they afford to take a chance on another assistant coach or minor league coach that 'is read for the big boy chair'.

Avatar
#39 KSC10032
February 28 2014, 08:07AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers
john wrote:

Please FIRE EAKINS, this clown can't coach NHL teams. I can't stand to see his face any more, can't stand Patrick Roy and Brian Burke faces too. Lost at home 3-0, that's 5 shut out games lost at home, where people paid to see it? That's unacceptable, bring signs and chant 'Fire Eakins' at all home games. Don't throw jerseys onto the ice, it's not the team, it's the coach that cannot get this team to win.

While I'm not in love with Eakins either, its vital to always remember that a call to fire the coach is only half of the equation.

I would ask all who want the coach to be canned to also suggest a realistic replacement alternative. Personally, I wanted Kevin Dineen three coaches ago. Now that was before his stint in FLA, so I may have to re-think this. But my point remains -- if not Eakins WHO?

Avatar
#40 Bi-Curious Gord
February 28 2014, 08:18AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

A half full arena for the remainder of the season might get someone's attention. Until then, forget about anything changing. If you're paying $ for tickets and beer & popcorn & jerseys you're sending a clear message:

"WE'RE NOT PISSED OFF YET"

Avatar
#41 Alsker
February 28 2014, 08:23AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
5
cheers

I still don't get how after a weeks practice/mini-camp the coaching staff doesn't have a game plan specifically targeted towards the Wilds weaknesses. Almost as bad on the road as we are, no practice time, players returning from Sochi. To hel[ with your system Eakins, plan an attack for Minni only, give the guys some confidence and some trust in you!!! Instead we get another evening of playing into Minni's strengths and another crapfest for our guys. Not giving the players a free ride here,way to much same old-same old crap, but at least give them a fighting chance.

Avatar
#42 Max
February 28 2014, 08:24AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Well, back to the usual, shut out in front of the home crowd, and Hall doing his usual "hey guys, here I come blasting around the boards, no worries, I wont dump the puck, just hang on, wait for me, you can take it away from me when I get there" act again (constantly.)

He has to be the most selfish puck hog on the team - doesn't he LISTEN OR LEARN??

Avatar
#43 ryan
February 28 2014, 08:28AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

I wish nuge would have just dropped his gloves and started giving it to ballard, even if he got his ass kicked he would hae shown some emotion and fight.

How long before hall asks for a trade out of edmonton ? I think if there isnt a huge improvement next year, then he'll ask for a trade

Why is Ryan Jones in the NHL ? What the hell happened to hime , he does nothing. If your not playing well then you can always be physical , he barely hits, he is useless

Avatar
#44 Anonymous from Calagary
February 28 2014, 08:30AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers
beloch wrote:

Burke: Hey, want Smid back yet? He's trrrrrruculent!

So is McGarattan, Westgarth, Breen, Bouma, Glenncross, Trevor Gillies, etc. Watch what happens when somebody fu(kz around with our skill players they way Ballard and Cooke did with RNH and Hallsie last night!!! WATCH and LEARN wise guy!!!

Avatar
#45 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 08:32AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers
NsxZero wrote:

You can't play as spoilers if you don't win...

I agree completely with you. Those were the words of Jordan Eberle yesterday when he was doing an interview. He said that even though they aren't making the playoffs, they can still play spoilers for the teams still in the hunt. If last nights game was any indication of what we can expect, the other teams have no worry going into the post season. Oilers won't be a problem.

Avatar
#46 j
February 28 2014, 08:37AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers
Anonymous from Calagary wrote:

So is McGarattan, Westgarth, Breen, Bouma, Glenncross, Trevor Gillies, etc. Watch what happens when somebody fu(kz around with our skill players they way Ballard and Cooke did with RNH and Hallsie last night!!! WATCH and LEARN wise guy!!!

I agree completely.

And your team shows up every night to play,with passion and effort...I don't see how anyone can disagree with either of those points.

I wish we had that commitment and drive here. It's hard for me to criticize a team that lacks talent but shows up every night, and the Calgary Flames definitely do.Like I said, I wish we had that here in Edmonton.

Avatar
#47 Hockey Problems
February 28 2014, 08:41AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers

Ahhh!! Good to see nothing has changed.

Maybe next year.

Or not,

My guess is not.

More loser garbage.

More excuses.

More draft picks.

More excuses.

More losses.

More excuses.

This is one bad hockey team.

Perennially.

Avatar
#48 Haajarverle
February 28 2014, 08:42AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
7
cheers

I miss Theo Peckham.

Avatar
#49 Zenoil
February 28 2014, 09:00AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
24
cheers

This just in!! The Oilers are Improving.

Oilers department of propaghanda

Avatar
#50 BoyToy
February 28 2014, 09:02AM
Trash it!
9
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers

Eberle, Nurse and Yakupov for Eller, Subban and Gallagher

Comments are closed for this article.