PACE IN PRACTICE..

Jason Gregor
March 10 2014 11:11AM

Allen Iverson's rant on practice is a classic. Iverson had sat out a practice and it became a huge story in Philly. When Iverson retired Gary Payton told the story how in the summer prior to this interview Iverson had asked him how he was able to keep his body fresh and play every game. Payton told him his head coach, George Karl, wouldn't let him practice very much. Karl knew he was a smaller guard and he needed rest to keep his body healthy. Iverson took it to heart, but he might not have went about it the right way.

It is still a great rant, and it relates to the Oilers because of what Ladislav Smid and Ilya Bryzgalov said regarding the pace and intensity of their new team's practices.

After his first practice with the Calgary Flames, Smid said he was surprised at how intense the practice was, and last week Ilya Brzygalov said the Wild practices had "a much faster pace."

Do the Oilers need to practice harder? Can they practice harder?

I went looking for the answers to those questions and a few more. I spoke with Dallas Eakins, Sam Gagner and David Perron about the Oilers practices.

I spoke to Perron because he was in St.Louis the previous six seasons, and I was curious if he noticed a difference in how the teams practiced.

Do you think it is up to the players to control the pace and tempo practice?

I do. Dallas mentioned it a lot. Do you want to be the guy driving the practice or do you want to sit in the back of the bus and hope the day goes by, and that’s not a way you get better. It’s up to us to bring that level higher. I think it has improved over the season, but there is another level to get to for sure.

How can you make practices more intense?

It’s pretty simple. Every time there is a rebound you try to score. Every time you go by the net you stop. The hard work comes with the habits. When you have good habits it brings your level higher because you want to succeed.

If you’re not going to do it in the game, you have to start doing it in practice and then it will translate in the game. You will go by the net and it will be natural that you will stop. Early in the year we didn’t have many guys going to the net, but I think it has gotten better and when we do have one-on-one battles in practice we can be harder for sure.

What differences have you noticed from practices in St.Louis to Edmonton?

Here they are a bit longer and we have more explanation at the board. I’m not sure if it’s because we are a younger team and having to explain more system stuff.

In St. Louis it (practice) was pretty short, because when you’ve been on the same team for a bit you’re on the same page, and that’s why they are having success and that’s what we are trying to get to here.

THOUGHTS...

The Oilers are younger than the Blues and Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Yakupov, J.Schultz and Petry have had a new coach every season they've played. It makes sense that this team needs more teaching and likely why their practices don't have a consistent flow as often as a veteran team like the Blues.

The Oilers still don't go to the net as often as they should, but Perron was bang on that at least they are doing it more than they did earlier in the season. The issue with the Oilers top-six isn't the individual talent of the players, rather that they are essentially all the same. Outside of Perron, the other five didn't have a "drive-the-net" philosophy in junior. It is hard to completely alter a player's game, and that's why I believe this group needs a different mix of players. They are all too similar.

GAGNER

89-Gagner-7

Sam Gagner has played his entire career in Edmonton. He's had five different head coaches and I asked him his thoughts on the pace and intensity of Oilers practice.

Some former teammates said the pace in practice was higher on their new team. Perron said your team’s pace was lower at the start of the season, but it has improved throughout the year. Have you noticed a difference, and if so in what way?

I think a lot of times when you are going to a new team you are flying and stuff, and that first practice is going to be tough regardless. For us, pace starts with puck movement and I think it has gotten better as the year’s gone on. If you are going to be a successful team in this league you have to be able to execute. That is something we are really focusing on, especially in practice, and we have to continue to get better if we’re going to become one of the top teams in the league. We still have a way to go.

Do you believe if you practice harder maybe they will play harder and grittier?

I’m a huge believer in it. I’ve always thought when you are in a slump you break it in practice before you break it in a game. You’re not always going to feel great in practice, whether you played a game the night before, but you have to find a way to get the most out of yourself, execute properly and move the puck properly and get your pace going. It translates into a game hugely.

Is the pace of practice set more by the players or the coach?

I think the coach is driving the practice and we’re the ones pushing it. The coaches have a practice plan and they lay it out, but it is on us to make sure we are pushing it.

Thoughts...

Gagner was on to something about the first practice with a new team. Smid's first practice in Calgary came after an off day for the Flames and when he was traveling. However, Gagner did admit his team still has room to improve in practice.

A few years ago I interviewed Nick Lidstrom and he told me that bad passes weren't acceptable during Red Wings practices. Players would get on each other if they made bad passes. He firmly believed that if you accepted bad passing in practice it would happen in the game. Mike Babcock said those rules were put in place by the players not the coaches, because the players needed to manage and decide which passes weren't acceptable. He said it carried more weight when a teammate challenged a player on his passing rather than the coach.

The Oilers don't have something like that in place, and if they do implement a similar rule, it has to be initiated by the players not the coach.

COACH EAKINS

Dallas Eakins 18

Do you have a response to what Bryzgalov said last week and Smid earlier in the season about the difference in the pace and intensity of practice?

I would totally agree with them. In the Smid case, he traveled the whole day and his first practice came after a day off and of course that will be a high-paced practice.

In Bryz’s case he is excited; he is going to a team that is coming off the trade deadline where they made some moves to try and take a good swat at the Stanley Cup. After that deadline I’m sure their practice was very exciting to get the new players in.

Did they have great pace in those practices, absolutely? But I will tell you this. I’ve watched a lot of teams practice in the NHL, teams that have come into our building and a lot of times when your team is struggling you go watch to make sure you aren’t missing something. I put our practices up against anybody in the league and I’ve seen some very good teams practice that, boy, there was no pace.

It was more rest, move the puck and conserve for the game. There are so many different ways you can skin the cat getting ready for the game. But for our team right now, when it’s supposed to be pace, we go after the pace, but a lot of time it has been about teaching.

How much do you feel is on you to set the pace, or how much of it is up to the players to set the pace?

I think it is up to everyone. It is up to the players to push each other; it is up to the coach to make sure they are going. The structure of the practice depending on the day of the week and how many games they’ve played, what you need to work on, that usually dictates the real pace of the practice is what you are trying to accomplish.

If you are coming off a day off and you don’t play for a couple days, that’s going to be a tough, hard battle, very high-paced practice. When you’re playing every other day you might be just working on your powerplay, which slows down the practice. And for our group, especially this year, we’ve had to do so much teaching that you are stopping practice and going into the details and trying to hammer home these new concepts and new habits. You could go watch a team practice five different days and each day the pace would be greatly, greatly different.

Is the plan to have less whiteboard time next year which will increase the pace of practice?

Exactly. The less you have to go to the board, but more importantly, the less you have to stop the drill and make sure everybody is in the right spots and re-enforce it, then you can get on to other stuff.

You have to be careful with pace in practice. We can go out and do a whole bunch of shooting drills that look nice and shiny and everyone will be skating fast, but they have little to do with the structure of the game. There are days you want the pace high, and there are days where you need the detail and the teaching. Our team right now, much less than at the start of year, we are still in the teaching phase and we are not going to let the details go.

WRAP UP....

  • The Oilers top players aren't very physical or gritty, so I wouldn't expect them to be in practice. They are also young and inexperienced and they keep turning over the puck in games, so I understand why the coach is still spending a lot of time on the whiteboard. I still don't think they battle as hard as they should -- Perron said the same -- but I think that is also a product of the make up of this team.

    The Oilers don't have a very big or aggressive blueline. Prior to Mark Fraser's arrival, Andrew Ference was the only D-man who would play physical. I've watched Fraser in practice and he doesn't go easy on the forwards. That will help them. If they are never exposed to playing against big, mean and aggressive defenders in practice, it makes sense that they would struggle against them in a game. Fraser at least gives them an idea of how hard it will be to go to the net or come out the corner against a big D-man. Petry, J.Schultz, N.Schultz, Potter and Larsen never presented that challenge.

    I remember watching Steve Staios, Jason Smith and Ethan Moreau practice. Smith and Staios practiced like they played, and they used to have some great battles with Moreau. I believe that helped them during games.

    The Oilers are starting to get a few more players like that. Hendricks brings an edge to practice as does Gordon and Perron, but until the Oilers get more skilled players with size I don't see this issue being solved. You practice like you play and the Oilers aren't blessed with many big, strong or aggressive players right now. They also don't have a lot of "old man" strength in their top-six. The Oilers skilled players will be much better and stronger when they are all 24 years of age and older, but they currently they lack the size and strength to compete with other teams.

    I still would like to see a bit more intensity in the battle drills, but like Perron and Gagner said that has to come from the players.

  • I watched last night's game from the lower bowl and the size difference of the Oilers and Kings was even more obvious. If you don't believe the Oilers need more size in their top-six now, then I'm not sure what games you've been watching. I thought the Oilers overall effort was fine, they just aren't as big, mature and experienced as the Kings. The Kings could manhandle the Oilers when they wanted to, and until this team matures and adds some skilled size I don't see that changing.

  • Jordan Nolan sucker punches Jesse Joensuu and nothing happens to him. I didn't see anyone even mouth him off when he was on the ice in the 3rd period. I'm sure Gazdic said something from the bench, but I don't understand why he wasn't put on the ice against Nolan. The score was 4-2 with 10 minutes to play, did anyone think the stingy Kings were going to relinquish the lead? For me it was another example of showing teams they can get away with anything against the Oilers.

    At some point isn't it important to send a message, other than the one that says it is okay to take liberties on our players?

  • I'm looking for a travel agent or agency to team up with me for a great fundraiser. If you are interested please email me at gregor@tsn1260.ca.

  • Oscar Klefbom is a now considered a regular recall and will make his NHL debut in Minnesota tomorrow.

  • Is coaching on the verge of ruining hockey? One NHL sniper thinks it is. Read here.

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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#51 admiralmark
March 10 2014, 01:48PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Edmonton has scored more goals than LA this year. I wonder why there is such a discrepancy in the standings? ;) LA makes a concerted effort to not let you into the high scoring areas. You know, defense....

Maybe someday when all our D pairings are not made up of 3rd pairing D men we will see what good defense looks like?

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#52 A-Mc
March 10 2014, 01:53PM
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@@Oilanderp

I gripe about this as well.

Often the forwards have blown the zone, leaving the 2 defensemen to pass the puck back and forth to one another. As soon as those defensemen are pressured for any reason, the likelihood of a successful pass up to the forwards takes a huge hit.

The other part of this (and you touched on this a little) is that when a forward DOES get the puck, he has no real passing options because his line mates are perfectly horizontal to him. Moving the puck laterally doesn't progress the play forward at all.

Good teams design break outs where the puck carrier moves around to draw defenders and create holes in the coverage. The set play banks on these holes and dictates that another player be crossing over to get open in said hole. Currently, when the Oilers DO attempt to dart laterally and head for open ice, the play goes offside. I BELIEVE this is because (see Point #1) the forwards are getting the puck too far down the ice and now have no room to make a play. The Blueline is a brick wall until the puck crosses it, so 2 of the 3 forwards should be well back of the centerline so that most of the neutral zone can be used to create a clean entry into the offensive zone.

The Oilers don't seem to do this very well. They attempt it with a drop pass but with the puck carrier not really crossing over at all, the drop pass goes to a player that is still being covered by the same Defender that was covering the previous puck carrier. Ie: They are dropping the puck back to players that are already in lanes being covered by a player. The 1st part is being missed entirely - the creation of an open lane.

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#53 Puck_In_Throat
March 10 2014, 01:58PM
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I know that Eakins is taking a lot of heat here, and part of that is his own fault. He shot his mouth off a bit at the start of the year talking about how his system was going to make a big difference.

But I have to say what has been said by other people: even a great coach can't coach a team full of bad players to the finals.

Exhibit A: Ken Hitchcock - coaches a Stacked Dallas team to 5 straight years of 1st place (division) finishes; sacked when performance drops (coincidence: Brett Hull retires and the Stars lose 39 goals and 75 points).

Hitch coaches Philly to divisional finishes of 1st, 2nd, 1st, 2nd - fired in year 5 with a 1-6-1 start. Goalies for philly all have GAA of above 3.00 and Biron is tops for sv% at .908. ouch

Hitch coaches CBJ to a 20 point improvement over 3 years, culminating in their first playoff appearance. Columbus is eliminated in the first round. Hitch is fired the next year when it becomes clear 60 games in that they will not make the playoffs.

Hitch takes a year off and is hired by the Blues. They finish (divisional) 1st, 2nd, and soon-to-be 1st.

Did Hitch all of a sudden become a bad coach in 2002 (fired from Dallas), 2006 (1-6-1 start in philly) and from 2006-2010 in Columbus where his best finish was 4th in the division?

Or is it more likely that a good coach can only win with a good team?

All those who say it is "Eakins fault", you may be correct in saying that a good coach could get more out of the team (hello Ralph), but what Gregor and others are getting at is that this TEAM sucks, and that it wouldn't matter if Scotty Freakin Bowman himself came out of retirement to coach these guys. The Oil would still suck.

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#54 Benny Botts
March 10 2014, 02:05PM
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@Puck_In_Throat

You're comparing a guy that started head coaching in the NHL in 1995 to a first year coach... seems a bit drastic to me no??..

Though I agree with all your other points

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#55 nuge2nail
March 10 2014, 02:06PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

No hate is a strong word. I do not hate him at all in fact I like his personality for the most part.

What I HATE is not seeing any improvement and the general inability to motivate his star players.

If the players are to blame ( including the stars of the team) then bench them. Bring in AHL players to send the message to the stars that NOT giving a total effort has ramifications!!

Has Dallas done that.........no and that's a big part of coaching, do you not agree?

Oiler Domination To Follow

I HATE when Eakins preaches accountability but favours players like Gagner and uses players like Yakupov as a punching bag.

What I HATE is not seeing Eberle get benched after a no look pass on the tape of the opponents stick.

I HATE the 1-3-1 power play Eakins seems to think is hard to defend.

Other than that I actually like Eakins personality.

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#56 Taylor Gang
March 10 2014, 02:07PM
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Will wrote:

It will be interesting to see what he can do with the team next year. I'm equally as excited about Fasth. I know he had a crap showing this year in five games, but last year the guy was incredible. We may have just nabbed the next Ben Bishop.

I'd argue that Scrivens is a better goalie than Fasth, but hey, I also thought Lu would get traded before Schnieder.

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#57 nuge2nail
March 10 2014, 02:11PM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

Oh and I HATE the fact I haven't watched an Oiler playoff game since I was 24, and I'm now 31.

I HATE the fact I havent watched my favorite team play a meaningful game in almost a decade.

I am starting to HATE myself for still caring this much- when most nights the team doesn't seem to care at all...

That's the sad part.

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#58 nunyour
March 10 2014, 02:13PM
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Joensuu is big enough to look after himself,he needs to grow a pair.Where is all this talent in our top 6 everyone talks about?

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#59 westcoastoil
March 10 2014, 02:26PM
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JG - I (thankfully) didn't see the game. Q: Did JJ return to the game after the sucker punch? If he did then there's no reason for him not to stick up for himself when he gets back out. I agree that the team as a whole needs to be tougher and stick up for each other, but JJ's a big boy and him going back out there to make a statement for himself can go a long way to getting the others to join in the fray and how the team gets viewed by their opponents.

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#60 Still Hoping
March 10 2014, 02:38PM
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I do understand everyone's frustration about the coach.

But.... WHO HIRED the Coach?

Who drafted the players?

Who makes the trades and sign's the overpaid contracts?

This is where the problem lies.. It is not the coach. It is the leadership and management of the team.

All you problems will not get better until Lowe et al. (including Mac T) are gone.

The Oilers are a recycle plant for all the NHL garbage (a personal quote from an individual friend who is in management of another NHL club).

The Oilers will not get better until they have new management to introduce a culture change ie not losing and then can gain some respect of the other teams management to attempt some decent trades.

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#61 A-Mc
March 10 2014, 02:51PM
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Still Hoping wrote:

I do understand everyone's frustration about the coach.

But.... WHO HIRED the Coach?

Who drafted the players?

Who makes the trades and sign's the overpaid contracts?

This is where the problem lies.. It is not the coach. It is the leadership and management of the team.

All you problems will not get better until Lowe et al. (including Mac T) are gone.

The Oilers are a recycle plant for all the NHL garbage (a personal quote from an individual friend who is in management of another NHL club).

The Oilers will not get better until they have new management to introduce a culture change ie not losing and then can gain some respect of the other teams management to attempt some decent trades.

I want to agree with your statement, on a philosophical level, but i just can't right now. MacT continues to earn more of my respect with each move he's made since he arrived here.

The players has has brought in are clearly better than what we were working with before.

The coaching situation has been a revolving door since MacT left and it's a total no brainer that it will take some serious time and effort to work out all the bad habits this team has perpetuated over the last 4 years.

I don't think Eakins has been afforded any real coaching time yet with relation to making the team better. I think this year has been more about putting out fires and breaking bad habits. Things always get worse before they get better. I expect a better team next year, based on coaching continuity alone.

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#62 They're $hittie
March 10 2014, 02:52PM
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In that Parise article he says that forwards who are offensive and arent good defensively are critisized but forwards who are good defensively and not offensively arent.

Lets look at this.

1. Offensive players are paid more, therefore more should be expected from them.

2. More often than not elite forwards who have no defensive game is from lack of trying. If you have a good enough knowledge of the game to be a top point producer can you not think like that in your defensive zone (wait for the Gagner comment) and make your coverage.

3. Forwards that can't produce offense but play very good defensively have usually made the effort to adapt their game. They can not be taught how to score so the work hard to stay in the league and have a role carved out for them. Giving up the glory of what you were in junior so you can stay in the NHL as opposed to the Robbie Schremp one dimension all or nothing shows that you will do what it takes to stay in the league.

I get what Parise was getting at with coaching offense out of the game, but the way he backed it up was ridiculous. Me thinks he is mad that the States can't get through a sound defense to win a medal.

We expect more from people who get paid more! We applaud people who adapt to achieve! We don't have time for talented over priced people who do not put in effort when they have been given everything to succeed while we work our but off for what we have and who we love.

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#63 HugThePost
March 10 2014, 02:53PM
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DisappointedFan wrote:

You're watching the absolute best players in the game, who can break up the cycle, retrieve the puck, and work magic anywhere on the ice. They drastically out-shot their opponents and should have won their games by much higher margins. It was also exciting hockey for you because you're used to watching the losing Oilers play. That is why it was "poetry to watch".

Watch the Minnesota Wild, LA Kings, Tampa Bay Lightning (under Guy), NJ Devils, and you will agree that a hard defensive game is EXTREMELY boring to watch for one simple reason: THEY SIT ON SMALL LEADS.

I've been watching Tampa for years, and when they did their defensive 1-3-1 strategy it was the most boring hockey you would ever watch. Because they'd get their lead with a Lecaviler/StLouis/Richards/Stamkos go ahead goal and just sit on it.

So if the NHL did something to improve this whether it be coaching or rules, I would like to see more offensive games.

I see your point; that's fine.

But...I'm just sick and tired of how they Oilers come out and want to be like the Harlem Globetrotters on ice. It all has to be tic-tac-toe. No need to actually back-check and go hard to the net for a greasy rebound and heaven forbid, maybe initiate contact.

I get the want to see offense. And I get that the team that scores most wins. But, I'm just a little tired of continuing to see guys like Gagner and Eberle only show interest in scoring and not give a rat's ass when the puck is in their zone.

Team Canada was a team for the ages, we all can agree on that. But it doesn't take the best players in the world to contest every puck and backcheck. It takes will, which is something I'm pretty sure most if not all of us can agree that the Oilers don't have nearly enough of.

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#64 Zarny
March 10 2014, 03:09PM
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We have Nick Lidstrom stating it was the players in Detroit, not Mike Babcock, that held each other accountable and demanded more.

And yet we still have drivel about the Oilers' coaching.

It's the players, stupid.

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#65 D-Unit
March 10 2014, 03:11PM
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In my opinion, Coaching isn't on the verge or ruining hockey, it is well into the process of ruining it.

The neutral zone trap wasn't thought up by players. This is the type of thing that ruins a game.

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#66 Will
March 10 2014, 03:31PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

I'd argue that Scrivens is a better goalie than Fasth, but hey, I also thought Lu would get traded before Schnieder.

At the moment I am leaning that way as well. I would compare the tandem to the likes of Halak and Elliot, who were both pretty raw when they took over as the tandem for the Blues, but were certainly serviceable goalies.

However, Reimer was also primed to be LA's number one before the emergence of Quick, so you never know what can happen, especially when it comes to goalies.

On the note of Lou, what is Gillies doing? I mean, I know TambLowelinni was bad, but he is finding new ways to be worse. Him and Garth Snow are reading from the same book. At the very least I feel as though our GM is trying to make our team better not worse.

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#67 Anton
March 10 2014, 04:21PM
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A good team fire their coaches not because those coaches just suddenly become bad, it is just philosophy change that needed for team either on the verge of rebuild or on the verge of greater success. Coach also has different type as much so as players, some coach is mentor type that focus mainly of developing each individual's ability to excel. Some coach is tactical type who focus on winning majority of games throughout the entire season. Some coach is strategy type who will adjust and tweak team on every single shift to get them the win for each and every game. What type of coach do you think that Eakins is?

Here is a better question for anyone who think that Eakins shouldn't be fired: other than the so-called "consistency" reason, any other reason regarding his coaching ability that he should remain?

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#68 @Oilanderp
March 10 2014, 04:36PM
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@Anton

A good team fire their coaches not because those coaches just suddenly become bad, it is just philosophy change...

That sure is a lot of philosophy changes in the last few years. I sure wish they would play good hockey instead.

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#69 Derpnherp
March 10 2014, 04:46PM
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Listening to this on the radio the other day, all I could think about was AI's practice video haha...

But on a serious note, Gretzky on his Friday breakfast said what made them the best was hard practice, how they all pushed themselves to be the best, I hope Eakins was listening to that.

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#70 westcoastoil
March 10 2014, 04:48PM
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@Will

Re: Gillis. I'm not sure if even Lowe would have messed up with Schneider and Lou as badly as he did. For arguably 2 of the top 6/7 goalies in the league he got a 9th overall (all looks good, but you never know), a big non-physical strong 3C/weakish 2C & a failing G prospect and he's paying 15% of Lou's cheque. Although he did get himself out of the horrible Luongo contract (so long as Lou doesn't retire before he's 47 or something), which Gillis gave him.

Any remotely good player has an NTC. So now he gets to deal Kesler and the 4 or 5 teams he can talk to all know he's over a barrel. Hey Van. it's time to rebuild/retool! bring in youth! and we just resigned the Sedins for $7M per for 4 more years...at which point they'll be 38.

It's no wonder he's always the smartest guy in the room because I sure can't figure out what the plan is. Who cares we get to enjoy the heck out of watching Canuck fans scream and cry.

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#71 A-Mc
March 10 2014, 04:50PM
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Derpnherp wrote:

Listening to this on the radio the other day, all I could think about was AI's practice video haha...

But on a serious note, Gretzky on his Friday breakfast said what made them the best was hard practice, how they all pushed themselves to be the best, I hope Eakins was listening to that.

Eh... You just contradicted focus in your last sentence.

"how they all pushed themselves to be the best, i hope Eakins was listening to that".

The players need to push themselves and each other. At the end of the day, they are the ones on the ice. They are the ones directly responsible for wins and losses. They are the ones making all the big bucks. Eakins is doing his part: the rest is up to the players.

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#72 Anton
March 10 2014, 04:53PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:
A good team fire their coaches not because those coaches just suddenly become bad, it is just philosophy change...

That sure is a lot of philosophy changes in the last few years. I sure wish they would play good hockey instead.

Unfortunately, that was management's error for not realize what kind of coach is needed for this team. Renney to Kreuger was not much of philosophy change and at least it was slowly but steady working for Oil at time. Suddenly that is too slow for current management so they went to hire golden boy to coach this team.

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#73 ubermiguel
March 10 2014, 04:54PM
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Iverson knows a thing or two about being a champio...oh, never mind. So what'd Lidstrom say about practice again?

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#74 toprightcorner
March 10 2014, 05:35PM
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sizzay wrote:

Also that centre depth would get crushed the same as ours right now. Statsny wouldn't thrive here and Bennett is another young guy. We need vets, no more rookie.

Why would you think Statsney wouldn't thrive here? What evidence is ther to back that up? He has been playing with young guys in Colorado and thrived so history would suggest he should do fine here. If your going to say he won't thrive in Edmonton please use evidence to back up your claim.

Not that I want Statsny, we would have to pay well over $6 mill for him (makes $6.6 now) and I would rather spend that big number on a #1 dman.

If the Oilers drafted Bennet or Reinhart I would hope that either one would go back to junior. They are not elite playes like Hall, McKinnon, Nuge, Duchene or Tavares. They are closer to a Yakopov or slightly lower and Yak would have benefited from another year of junior. Just casue a player is a top 5 pick doesn't mean he needs to play in the NHL, just look at Drouin.

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#75 @Oilanderp
March 10 2014, 06:03PM
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Anton wrote:

Unfortunately, that was management's error for not realize what kind of coach is needed for this team. Renney to Kreuger was not much of philosophy change and at least it was slowly but steady working for Oil at time. Suddenly that is too slow for current management so they went to hire golden boy to coach this team.

Ahhh yes the golden years of Renney/Krueger. Man, those were some good years. We hoisted our golf clubs high above our heads then! Yes we did.

How about this: Until you invent a time machine and we can go back and fix everything to those glory days where we were picking 7th overall, how about we put some blame on the guys holding the hockey sticks?

Or, have you tried putting your pants on other-leg-first? That may work as well. You have to try it many times to see if it works. It may help to spin around 3 times while whispering 'Avalokiteśvara'.

What part of FIVE different coaches since 2009 do you NOT understand, man?

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#76 Anton
March 10 2014, 06:50PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Ahhh yes the golden years of Renney/Krueger. Man, those were some good years. We hoisted our golf clubs high above our heads then! Yes we did.

How about this: Until you invent a time machine and we can go back and fix everything to those glory days where we were picking 7th overall, how about we put some blame on the guys holding the hockey sticks?

Or, have you tried putting your pants on other-leg-first? That may work as well. You have to try it many times to see if it works. It may help to spin around 3 times while whispering 'Avalokiteśvara'.

What part of FIVE different coaches since 2009 do you NOT understand, man?

What not to understand? Do you like to break down one-by-one for each of the past coaches?

MacT was having simply a bad team when he was the coach with no talent, no structure, no hope. 6lings let him go to hide his own wrong doing due to overpaying bunch of at best third line players and lost all core players through trades or FAs. At time I hope that you still remember all the ridiculous claim that Hossa, Jagr, and Heatley's name were just throwing around in hope of a great future. Then MacT was replaced by Quinn who at time was supposed to be Renney's job but 6lings wanted to have big name coach to lure FAs which didn't work out and finish dead last. He realized that mistake and quickly hand the job over to Renney but it was even a more broken team from last year of MacT, Hall is not Ovi nor Crosby which he did not made immediate impact which is understandable. Along with Eberle that the team finish last place again was not a big surprise. After that, team added RNH to the roster which team was slowly getting out of basement on Renney's second year. At time that Tambo was trying to save his own ass so he fired Renney for team has not been good enough and replace him with Kreuger, the firing of Renney was not justified and so was Kreuger. So, you were clearly being delusional believing that the team was ready for the big dance just like the current Oilers managements. Those coaches should not be fired at first place, it was just everyone trying to save their own ass by blaming it on the coaches. However, even from the beginning of this season, VERY BEGINNING OF THIS SEASON, that there was virtually no sign whatsoever that Eakins has a clue at all. I have never want Oilers to fire any of the previous coaches before because the realistic view of this team needs time to get better before they can compete. Then we have a crackpot believed he is the savior of franchise as HC, he should be fired not simply because this team is bad. He should be fired because he just simply can't coach!

Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

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#77 toprightcorner
March 10 2014, 08:49PM
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sizzay wrote:

Gregor, give me your thoughts here:

2014 1st pick (likely 2nd overall) for Sean Couturier and a second round pick. Perhaps Philly really likes Ekblad and can live with Giroux and Schenn as its 1-2 punch

Gagner + Klefbom + a couple mid round picks for Yandle

Then you take a run at Winnik, Goc and Kulemin this summer

Hall/Couturier/Yakupov

Kulemin/RNH/Eberle

Perron/Goc/Winnik

Smyth/Gordon/Hendricks

Yandle/Petry

Marincin/Schultz

Ference/Fedun or Fraser

I don't know if Yandle is the guy we need but he is an improvement and has been rumored to be available for a couple years.

It could take more than a 1st to get Couturier as he was a 1st round pick and has proven he is not a bust.

Phoenix already has Ribero, Hanzal and Vermette for centres, they don't need Gagner and may be more inclined to trade Hanzal to upgrade their wingers

Your not playing Goc and Kulimen ahead of Gordon and Perron as these two are clearly better.

Trade the 1st and Arcobello for Hanzal Sign Orpik Sign Brian Boyle Sign Winnik Sign Setagouchi Trade Eberle for Josi Trade Gagner, Klefbom,for Brouwer Trade Lander for Smith-Pelly

Hall - Nuge - Brouwer Perron - Hanzal - Yak Winnik - Gordon - Smith-Pelly Gazdic - Boyle - Hendricks

Josi - Petry Orpik - Schultz Ference - Marincin

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