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.
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#1 Big Cap
February 28 2014, 02:11AM
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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.

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#2 Muji
February 28 2014, 12:29AM
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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!

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#3 Hockey problems in a drinking town
February 28 2014, 09:35AM
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Can someone please tell me why the HELL Eberle is getting $6,000,000. a year to play like his mom won't let him get his pretty little skirt dirty ?!?

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#4 Loweblows
February 28 2014, 04:50AM
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Any intelligent hockey observer would conclude that Eakins is not an NHL coach. What has he done to the power play? The joke continues.

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#5 john
February 28 2014, 12:19AM
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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.

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#6 stll hoping
February 28 2014, 01:05AM
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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.

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#7 hallsyoilerforever5
February 28 2014, 12:26AM
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Can we go back to the olympics please? Where we were able to watch what a real team looks like, especially on defence? -cries-

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#8 Spydyr
February 28 2014, 10:15AM
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Anyone who thinks Eakins is an NHL head coach please explain this too me.

Ryan Smyth, Led the team in powerplay time with 4:55.

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#9 Al Low
February 28 2014, 09:19AM
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It's great to know that people are Dallas Eakins for who he is. He's a lousy coach who's not right for this group. Bold Moves was itching so badly to do something that he made his worst move to start his tenure by firing Krueger. They will have to fire Eakins at some point. This team will not win with him.

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#10 bwar
February 28 2014, 01:12AM
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Closing in on another #1. Obviously things are finally going in the right direction.

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#11 Toro
February 28 2014, 09:24AM
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We gotta get rid of Horcoff I'm telling you... What ? We already did... K get rid of Dubnyk that guys a siv... Oh right... Well idn then

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#12 Spydyr
February 28 2014, 09:48AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

4 different coaches with the same type of team with the same holes equals zero success. Why does everyone think the 5th coach is the answer?

Fix the team, fill the holes and give a coach, any coach a fighting chance to succeed.

Firing the coach for not winning with this team is like firing a Formula 1 driver for not winning while driving a Pinto.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Oilers definition of insanity: firing coach after coach with the same team makeup and expecting different results.

Fix the team, worry about the coach later.

In my humble opinion they has been regression in coaches since Renney who was better than Ralph who was better than all hat no cattle.

This team is so broke from the top down.

They have a owner who treats the team as a toy hiring buddies in many key positions.

Then there is six rings.Need I say more?

Then there is the so called "silver fox" a GM who spoke out of turn about bold moves and cannot tell the difference between 2006 and 2007.

Then there is the coach he hired because of a man crush. Saying things like the Oilers powerplay will be impossible to defend against.Really, wow.just wow.

Then you have the assistant coaches.They have survived three head coaching changes.That says it all about who they are buddies with.

Then finally the players.They expect to lose and believe it is acceptable.No passion no heart.

An organization that believes they are the smartest people in the NHL .The record proves otherwise.

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#13 Jeffff
February 28 2014, 09:15AM
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I don't get it. What do Oiler fans expect ? Oilers have been the worst team in the NHL for the last 8 years. Why should any fan expect better results. This is who they are and have been for a long time. A good game is a aberration for the Oilers.

I guess Oiler fans must believe the talking heads.

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#14 Rama Lama
February 28 2014, 09:26AM
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I'm just so happy right now I could sing a sad song and still be happy!

In about 20 games Mac T will finally figure out that the real problem starts with the uber intelligent coach as well as the silly assistants that Lowe and Mac T forced on him.

You want culture change, it starts at the top. An organization does not change it's culture by changing a few front line staff.........business 101 .

Until the Oilers make Lowe a head scout in Bulgaria, nothing will change.

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#15 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 03:03AM
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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.

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#16 Walter Sobchak
February 28 2014, 03:23AM
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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.

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#17 Zamboni Driver
February 28 2014, 09:06AM
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Went to the game last night (thankfully someone else paid for the duckets) - it was even more horrible than you saw if you watched on tv.

The ONLY thing to cheer for all night were Wickenheiser and Szabados - great reaction from them.

Worst player on the ice, and it wasn't close, was Belov - completely useless, clueless, fell down about 5 times, whiffed on a shot and a pass at least.

But Belov sucks, so who cares?

Second worst, especially with respect to give a damn....Eberle. Horrid. No effort, no heart (and probably another major organ as well) - just horrific to watch a supposed 'star' completely go through the motions.

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#18 Jofa
February 28 2014, 10:20AM
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Time to move to Rebuild 2.0. The first attempt has already been wasted, the second coming of the Boys on the Bus has been an illusion. What a disappointment this team has been, and even more disappointing is that the owner will trust this same group to have another go at getting it right...

I guess if management is learning from their mistakes, they should be the smartest men in hockey now, right? What a joke... Honestly, at this point I'd be happy to see a guy like Brian Burke come in and shake this team up. Seems almost fitting considering how much ol' Six Rings feuded with the guy and talked such a big game about how his team was run. Who's laughing now?

I had to chuckle every time I saw Lowe in Team Canada's "brain trust" box at the Olympic. How could they take the guy seriously give the state of team he has handcrafted for a decade?!? Thanks for all the super helpful ideas Kevin, but we've got this...

Sad state for the franchise... Getting to home games while I was living in Edmonton 15 years ago was awesome, the atmosphere was electric and it was a blast cheering for our plucky underdogs who could slay the giants on any given night with their blue collar effort and speed. Going to a game now seems like it would just be the start of a bad night. I don't know why fans are paying or even showing up, considering their team isn't showing up. The fans in the stands just kind of look like schmucks at this point. Brutal. Thanks Kevin and Darryl.

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#19 Derian Hatcher
February 28 2014, 07:20AM
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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.

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#20 laughing pug
February 28 2014, 09:37AM
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The walk to the rink was crisp and refreshing.

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#21 Spydyr
February 28 2014, 08:01AM
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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.

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#22 Oil_Dude
February 28 2014, 04:46AM
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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.

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#24 Wonger
February 28 2014, 08:06AM
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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!!!

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#25 Bushed
February 28 2014, 10:55AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Anyone who thinks Eakins is an NHL head coach please explain this too me.

Ryan Smyth, Led the team in powerplay time with 4:55.

I'm not defending Eakins as an NHL coach, but here's my best guess at an explanation.

Ryan Smyth has been a good soldier this year, contributing what he can in the twilight of his career. He needs two powerplay goals to pass Glen Anderson's all-time mark as an Oiler.

The PP time is a reward for Smytty, and if he passes Anderson, it's at least something for a few fans to celebrate?

The season's been a complete disaster, and I'm not optimistic about the team's future, but even the cynic in me would like to see Smyth get the two more goals.

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#26 season not played
February 28 2014, 07:49AM
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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.

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#27 Bubba
February 28 2014, 07:26AM
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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?

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#28 Zenoil
February 28 2014, 09:00AM
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This just in!! The Oilers are Improving.

Oilers department of propaghanda

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#29 Bushed
February 28 2014, 09:30AM
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tom.MTL wrote:

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"

You're forgetting that most of those tickets were sold before last year's draft, in the form of season seat renewals.

Check out the Ticket Exchange link on the Oilers website and you will find many seasons ticket holders' seats listed for resale below cost and well below ticket face values (less than half price in most cases). Season seat holders are already sending a message by taking a loss when listing their tickets.

Want to send a message with empty seats? Buy Ticket Exchange tickets online, then don't use them.

And by the way, as a soon-to-be former season ticket holder, I was pissed off in October.

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#30 john
February 28 2014, 12:49AM
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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!

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#31 Hockey Problems
February 28 2014, 08:41AM
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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.

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#32 toprightcorner
February 28 2014, 09:36AM
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4 different coaches with the same type of team with the same holes equals zero success. Why does everyone think the 5th coach is the answer?

Fix the team, fill the holes and give a coach, any coach a fighting chance to succeed.

Firing the coach for not winning with this team is like firing a Formula 1 driver for not winning while driving a Pinto.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Oilers definition of insanity: firing coach after coach with the same team makeup and expecting different results.

Fix the team, worry about the coach later.

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#33 j
February 28 2014, 08:37AM
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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.

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#34 2004Z06
February 28 2014, 10:19AM
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But....but.....the Corsi! What about the Corsi?

Oilers emailed me yesterday about purchasing tix for the remaining games. I told them after 25+ years of supporting/defending the team I was done and would not return until significant changes were made at the top.

Turned down free tix again last night. Heading to Minnesota next week and will be taking in the Wild/Flames game. Not sure how I will react seeing two teams that actually compete.

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#35 I AM KEVIN L.
February 28 2014, 04:26AM
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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?

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#36 The Swarm
February 28 2014, 12:05PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

4 different coaches with the same type of team with the same holes equals zero success. Why does everyone think the 5th coach is the answer?

Fix the team, fill the holes and give a coach, any coach a fighting chance to succeed.

Firing the coach for not winning with this team is like firing a Formula 1 driver for not winning while driving a Pinto.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Oilers definition of insanity: firing coach after coach with the same team makeup and expecting different results.

Fix the team, worry about the coach later.

Why does everyone think the 5th coach is the answer?

That's easy - because they were making progress under Kueger, the kids are 1-year older, then they improved their roster, and now the team is worse than it was under Quinn.

The guy clearly can't coach.

What was suppose to happen is what Maurice is doing in Winnipeg, who incidentally didn't have the benefit of a training camp.

Any questions?

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#37 mayorblaine
February 28 2014, 04:56AM
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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.

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#38 Drowning in Oil
February 28 2014, 06:47AM
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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.

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#39 john
February 28 2014, 09:45AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

4 different coaches with the same type of team with the same holes equals zero success. Why does everyone think the 5th coach is the answer?

Fix the team, fill the holes and give a coach, any coach a fighting chance to succeed.

Firing the coach for not winning with this team is like firing a Formula 1 driver for not winning while driving a Pinto.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Oilers definition of insanity: firing coach after coach with the same team makeup and expecting different results.

Fix the team, worry about the coach later.

Are you freaking serious man? Same players from last year and new coach but statistically this team is worst in PP, PK, goals against dead last and 2nd worst in NHL in points. Oilers got shut out 8 games this year, 5 lost at home by shut out. Who's to blame but the coach? People paid to see this crap? Lose games but at least score some goals so people can cheer to something.

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#40 Tikkanese
February 28 2014, 11:30AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Anyone who thinks Eakins is an NHL head coach please explain this too me.

Ryan Smyth, Led the team in powerplay time with 4:55.

Probably because he was the only one out there with a consistent try effort.

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#41 Nomad787
February 28 2014, 07:28AM
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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.

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#42 6 ring circus
February 28 2014, 10:00AM
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8 Years and counting!!!! At this rate a Decade will have passed and the fans will still be fed the same old garbage from management,the focus will now change to the New arena to divert the mess that we have on the ice,coaching,scouting etc etc etc...

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#43 Zamboni Driver
February 28 2014, 11:36AM
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@GriffCity

You're right on re: Hall.

He was abhorrent too. A one man show over and over. The only positive is there is at least a little TRY in him. It's misguided most of the time (the Olympics talk is more and more hilarious), but at least there seems to be some try.

There is none whatsoever in Eberle.

I would hammer on Gagner too, but....honestly. Why?

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#44 oilcanz
February 28 2014, 01:29AM
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nice job Reuben-you nailed it. these ijits are boring in their ineptitude and their weakness.

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#45 mlcselli
February 28 2014, 03:40AM
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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.

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#46 Anonymous from Calagary
February 28 2014, 08:30AM
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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!!!

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#47 Naky
February 28 2014, 07:21AM
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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.

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#48 tom.MTL
February 28 2014, 08:18AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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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"

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#49 john
February 28 2014, 10:57AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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You can put any NHL team in Edmonton and play under Eakins, you still have a losing team. So trade away all those 1st picks, for finish last 3-4 years, is just rubbing salt on open wounds. All these writers in Oilersnation know that. Someone has the guts to say Eakins has got to go. Look at Latvia, with Canadian team $150 millions of salary barely beat them 2-1 in Olympics. Proof is that a good coach can teach the team stay competitive and with Oilers talent young group, they should win games.

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#50 Mason Storm
February 28 2014, 03:01AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
16
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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.'

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