OFFENSIVE?

Jason Gregor
February 28 2014 12:54PM

People-Find-Me-Offensive-72dpi

Last night, the Oilers were shutout for the 5th time at home and 8th time all year. Many fans felt their play was offensive, and not in a goal scoring kind of way.

In his post-game press conference Dallas Eakins said, "We have some good offensive players but I don't look at us as a real offensive team," and that comment offended some fans more than the performance on the ice.

I tweeted that comment and many fans were livid and most blamed the coach. (Do you sense a trend in Edmonton?)

Are the Oilers regressing offensively, or have they been an offensively challenged team for years?

A good offensive team doesn't rely solely on their powerplay to score, and when you look at the numbers over the past four seasons it is hard to see why anyone should consider the Oilers a team that consistently scares the opposition. Even when they had a good PP they were still a below average scoring team.

Here is where the Oilers ranked in goals scored the past four seasons.

2011... 27th with 2.33 goals/game.

2012... 19th with 2.52 goals/game.

2013... 18th with 2.56 goals/game.

2014... 21st with 2.48 goals/game.

Now let's look at EV scoring both 5-on-5 and 4-on-4.

2011... 28th with 132, which equates to 1.61 ES goals/game.

2012... 24th with 142, which equates to 1.73ES goals/game.

2013... 24th with 82, which averages out to 1.70 goals/game.

2014... 20th with 108, which averages out to 1.77 goals/game.

To be fair, the Oilers have scored 10 goals at 4-on-4 which is double any of the previous three years so that does boost their  ES GPG up a bit. However, compared to the previous three seasons you don't see much of a difference overall.

The PP hasn't been as good this year compared to the previous two, and people are livid and blaming the coaching staff. It is fair to say they haven't made the best adjustments, but teams have taken away the down low pass that the Oilers feasted on last year, and the Oiler players haven't been able to adjust on the ice.

However, even if the PP was at the exact same % efficiency as last year, 20.1%, they would only have 8 more PP goals this season and they would only be 17th in the NHL at 2.60 goals/game. It might have helped them win a few more games, or it might have just helped prevent a few shutouts. It is difficult to say which games those 8 goals would have impacted.

Even if the PP was identical to last year, which very few teams maintain, the Oilers still wouldn't be an offensive team.

HARSH TRUTHS...

When Eakins says they aren't an offensive team he is correct.

They haven't been one for a long time. The harsh reality is the Oilers haven't been an offensively productive team under Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger or Dallas Eakins. I'm not giving the coaches a free pass, I'd like to see a more offensive minded coach on the current staff, but even when Krueger was on the bench this team wasn't lighting up the opposition.

The Oilers do have some productive forwards in Hall (17th), Eberle (39th), Nugent-Hopkins (50th) and Perron (53rd), however after those four there is a drop offensively.

Most people expect Nail Yakupov to continue to improve and become a 30-goal scorer, but he isn't one yet, and he is currently 188th in NHL scoring. I suspect he will improve moving forward, but this team desperately needs some secondary scoring, and mainly some production from the backend.

Justin Schultz is the only Oiler in the top-90 amongst D-men. He sits 40th with 24 points. Jeff Petry is 97th with 13 points. That is brutal.

The Oilers aren't skilled enough, today, to beat teams offensively and we've all witnessed how much they struggle defensively.

I truly believe both issues should improve once they upgrade the talent on their blueline, but no one should be upset, shocked or surprised when the coach says the TEAM isn't an offensive group.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Bryzarro World
March 01 2014, 09:30AM
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Wrong about a pattern Jason and it is pathetic how you defend Dallas. What don't you understand? It's not hard to understand that Dallas blows.

Renney had a crap team FULL of injuries. (Don't blame him and shouldn't have been fired)

Ralph had no training camp and a short season(got screwed and shouldn't have been fired)

Assistant coaching has an unprecedented run never seen before in ANY sports league.

If you only blame the players then ask yourself who has been here to gather these useless tits for 15 years?

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#102 2004Z06
March 01 2014, 09:41AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

Parking, alcohol, and concessions don't go to Katz, they go to Northlands smart guy. Even if they did, $200k to a billionaire is like $20 to the rest of us. Lowe volunteered to take a sabbatical and Katz refused, he stuck to his guns for 4 years to get the arena deal he wanted, you really think 1 game will force his hand? Successful billionaire businessmen do not get intimidated.

So you believe that a guy like you who owns a 2004 corvette Z06 and needs to show it off by making it your user name can force the hand of Katz? You make me laugh!

I would say that Lowe has intimidated Katz pretty well, hence the reason he is still here.

The Oilers do get a percentage of revenue from concession/parking etc. All merchandise revenue goes to the Oilers as well.

What my screen name is, what kind of car I drive, drove or maybe just like has nothing to do with the intent of my post.

Anymore than you think you can pick a top right corner.

Personal attacks aside, this is a blog where people are free to express their opinions. You are free to comment and to express yours.

Whether you agree or disagree, present an intelligent opinion, stop with the assumptions and the personal attacks.

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#103 HOFFFF
March 01 2014, 10:55AM
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If you play hard every night and show you care, management will keep you. If you mail it in every game, management will give up and try and trade you. I think a few of these fellas want out of this gong show.

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#104 tealyn
March 01 2014, 11:08AM
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@Jordan1126

Im sure we aren't alone, I have had enough, cancelled all tv….

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#105 Death Metal Nightmare
March 01 2014, 11:42AM
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wow, who couldnt figure out that 3-4 CHILDREN and a bunch of bad players in their mid-late 20s and early 30s over the past few years would be bad at offense?

this isnt even analysis.

here's a better question: WTF is Eakins job if the team has the identity of a garden variety turd? "yea, we suck at defense - obviously - but we're also not an offensive team because we're a bunch of small wimps. im macho, theyre not. my job here is basically a lame duck coach waiting for the roster to get fixed and then you will see HOW GOOD I REALLY AM."

boring

Eakins is a turd and so are the Propagandists of Process up in the suite that do nothing substantial in team building.

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#106 PimKing
March 01 2014, 02:56PM
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I would trade J. Schultz for a bag of skittles. And I don't even like skittles.

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#108 Bryzarro World
March 01 2014, 07:32PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Please show me in the article where I defended him or said he was a good coach?

I said his comments were accurate. This team has not been a strong offensive team for a long time. And stating a coach blows without any actual bullet points is a hollow statement. Tell us what makes him so awful, and please have something other than the PP woes.

Jesus.... look at your past articles defending him. I also stopped listening to your show because i can't stand how you continually defend crap moves and put it all on the players.

THE WHOLE ORG BLOWS. Top to bottom. It stinks. Players, coaching and management.

I need bullet points? Don't you watch and cover the games? From his decisions on n off the ice to his arrogance and pompous demeanor.... not to mention how well he has helped individual players accel.... or look at his record... want more?

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#109 john
March 02 2014, 03:02AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Please show me in the article where I defended him or said he was a good coach?

I said his comments were accurate. This team has not been a strong offensive team for a long time. And stating a coach blows without any actual bullet points is a hollow statement. Tell us what makes him so awful, and please have something other than the PP woes.

Are you serious Jason? For a coach to say his team is not strong offensively is like telling you kids they are not smart. A coach is there to make his team better, create offense and play defense as a team. Shoot the dam pucks, that's how you score right? What's the freaking objective when scoring goals? Shoot the pucks, have someone go for rebounds and tip the pucks in. If you don't shoot you don't score. Eakins swarming defense when he was selling it in preseason is a joke, the team is dead last in goals against. Don't shoot the pucks and allowed too many shots against equals less goals scored and more goals against. The result is 2nd last in NHL in points. Anyone watches the games can see the players are not having fun out there. They are not scoring goals, shut out in 8 games (82 games season that's 10%, not acceptable). It's obvious that the team gave up on the coach, the Flames game tonite proved that. No intensity, no efforts. Time to get new coach in.

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#110 john
March 02 2014, 03:10AM
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Eakins can't coach, his team can't score so he compared it with previous years goals scored. If new CEO come in to bring sales up for the company, after 3rd annual quarter sales still down, he blame it on previous years' sales were bad also. Would that CEO will still have his job? It's his job to run it and improve it. NHL coaches are the same, they get fired when his team is not winning. The Jets start winning when they got Maurice, Latvian team had Nolan as coach they lost to Canadian all star team 2-1. Come on man, what more proof do you need?

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#111 nick
March 02 2014, 09:50AM
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Eakins is without a doubt the most ineffective coach in the NHL. MacTavish keeps getting his Toronto Marlies guys in here so they can justify trying to keep him. This team has regressed so much under his coaching it is unbelievable. MacTavish looks like such an idiot defending him when he knows he made the mistake getting rid of Krueger. This Fraser guy they got from Toronto, are you kidding me he is not even AHL material, how could he be playing here? Oh ya he is one of Eakins boys from Toronto. Its a joke, this whole operation from top to bottom. Only person that deserves a job here is Joey Moss

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#115 BadforEkblad
March 02 2014, 12:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

John,

Last season on April 3rd they were in a playoff spot, granted only for one day. Then the Oilers lost nine of ten games to fall out of the playoffs.

In those nine losses they scored more than 1 goal ONCE. They were shutout twice, and scored one goal six times.

Krueger was the coach, a guy they supposedly loved. Did he suddenly become dumb and tell them not to shoot or score, or maybe, just maybe the players weren't good enough or committed enough.

Not scoring this year is not new. It has been an issue regardless of who the coach is. It is right there to see, but some fans don't want to admit that the players aren't good enough. I understand why, because when you do, you will realize just how far away this team is from contending.

This times 1000...

It is amazing how quickly fans forget our tank job from last year. When the games mattered we folded like cheap tents.

I knew it was bad but didn't realize we scored 1 goal or less in 8 of the 9 losses. Pathetic.

I'm not sold on Eakins, but I've seen what changing the coach every year does. Nothing.

Make the players accountable and see if they can at least compete when they don't have to learn a new system next year.

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#116 Rama Lama
March 02 2014, 12:37PM
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The only claim to fame that Eakins has in his history is making Khadri a better player.......how did he do this?

Well it's common knowledge that Khadri was not fit......ate too many donuts I guess? Well news broke that he is good with youth, and bam we hired him. I have read all the comments on Eakins, ( especially JG because I so profoundly disagree with him on this topic) and what needs to be done!

JG, just because we have had more coaches in the last five years than all the teams in the NHL combined, does NOT mean that coaching should not be looked at. Just maybe having a coach that continuously exposes his players weaknesses, ( by not playing to their strengths) is not a good overall strategy. Yea we all know that Hall, Ebs, Yaks, RNH like to score goals over playing defense.........so what???

I think that the fan base knows, that we do not have the overall player mix needed to win in the new NHL, no genius require to figure that out. What I think many are saying is that there should be no sacred cows as Mac T figures out his next moves.........including coaching!

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#118 Rama Lama
March 03 2014, 09:09AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Coaching will be looked at. They better smarten up and allow him to hire the assistants he wants. And then Eakins better bring in some coaches with experience.

I don't see Eakins as a sacred cow, good line though, but MacTavish understands the importance of continuity. I'm not saying MacT won't look at coaching, he will, and that is why you will see changes with the assistants.

Exposing their weaknesses and making them play better away from the puck is the only way this team will improve. You think Eakins should just tell his young players to not worry about defence and cheat out of the zone and all over the ice? How will that make them better. They did that last year and it led them to 24th place.

People don't have to agree, and I understand why the frustration in Edmonton is higher than ever, but I see no reason to can the coach this year. Just like I thought it was wrong to fire Krueger.

MacTavish will evaluate Eakins, and I'm sure he will point out the areas he erred in, but like the players I'd give him time to develop and learn.

The harsh truth is that I don't see this team as a playoff team again next season, mainly due to the blueline. Unless MacTavish can work some miracles and acquire a top-pairing D-man this team at best will be try to be in the playoff race in early April.

I understand your position better now. Let's hope that we somehow find a stud defenceman.......on that we all agree!

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#119 Hall the time
March 03 2014, 10:08AM
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lol Dallas is the the best guy for the job in Edmonton, if the Oilers want to stay at the bottom of the NHL for years to come then Dallas and company are made for this team.

The Oilers top guys don't want to be here and other top nhl players don't want to come here what a joke.

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