APRIL FOOLS: SEVEN TO GO

Robin Brownlee
March 30 2014 09:58PM

If there's a silver-lining to the 5-0 speed-bagging the Edmonton Oilers took from the New York Rangers at Rexall Place Sunday, it's that coach Dallas Eakins and his team have just seven games remaining in their dumpster fire of a season and only four of those are at home.

While there's very little new to report in terms of the overall ineptitude and futility that's been fodder for discussion most of this season, the particulars from this no-show included another feeble night by Edmonton's power play, which went 0-for-5 and allowed not one but two shorthanded goals, and failure to score a goal of any kind for the ninth time in 2013-14.

Save for the lucky stiff who won $53,250 in the 50-50 draw, the faithful who hung in long enough to see who won the dough headed for the parking lot sour as the Oilers lost their 20th home game and hit 40 losses overall, dropping to 26-40-9, in the final game of a six-game homestand.

With road games in San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix before they return home to close out the campaign against the Ducks, Colorado, Los Angeles and the Vancouver Canucks, I can't remember a season – I got to Edmonton in 1989 – in which the fans have been pummeled numb to this degree.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I listened to 630 CHED analyst Rob Brown say he thinks all the changes this off-season will be with players, not with management. All the changes? How many people veered off the road on the drive home when they heard that?

THE WAY I SEE IT . . .

Dallas Eakins 17

  • I don't know about you, but I feel my stomach contents rushing up my throat every time somebody refers to the Oilers as this young, exciting club loaded with offensive talent (I've been guilty of that myself a time or two). The Oilers have scored 184 goals in 75 games. Only three teams, Florida, New Jersey and Buffalo, have scored fewer.
  • Eakins, at least, seems to recognize characterizing the Oilers high-powered on the attack is bogus. He addressed it tonight in his post-game availability with media. Addressing it on the ice in the style the team chooses to play is a different matter. Nine shutouts, six of those at home.
  • If the Oilers had a power play that ranked in the top five or six in the league, you could at least make an argument that 13 shorthanded goals against isn't a big deal. When the Oilers are sitting in the bottom third – they're listed 23rd at 16.2 per cent – all those shorties are a big deal. The Oilers need to get back to the drawing board next season and they need somebody new drawing it up when they do.

WHILE I'M AT IT

Nail Yakupov

  • After scoring 17 goals in 48 games last season, Nail Yakupov has 11 in 63 games this year and is out with an ankle fracture. I laughed at people who suggested he'd score 35 this season. I had him pegged for 25, which puts me in the ranks of the over-optimistic as well.
  • Speaking of over-optimistic, I wrote after the 41st game that the Oilers would be better in the second half and that I could see them playing at or near .500 (in terms of available points) even with a tough schedule. They'll need one more to match the 62 they got in 2010-11 under Tom Renney and they hit the road 13 off the 74 they had in 2011-12.

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 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 30 2014, 10:02PM
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Sell the farm...

Ekblad and Draisitl or bust! Haven't made the post season in 8 yrs, and it looks as though the Oilers are still 8 yrs from making the playoffs.

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#2 Bryan in SK
March 30 2014, 10:12PM
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Awww, who cares anymore. We haven't had any playoff stress in years, and the only thing that makes it worth going into work tomorrow is the look on the face of Mr. Leaf while he sucks his thumb in the corner. Sure glad Bernier came in and saved the day from Reimer, huh?

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#3 Max
March 30 2014, 10:14PM
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13 SH goals, wow, that really IS something to be proud of. If this is not enough to get rid of Eakins/Smith/Bucky/Cabot/McGregor/Lowe, then I don't know what is. I am SICK of the Oilers, sick of the empty promises and SICK of the losing. Most of all I am SICK of being an Oilers' fan, and sick of the disrespect the team and management show us.

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#4 hallsyoilerforever5
March 30 2014, 10:15PM
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Can we just skip to the end of the regular season? I rather see GOOD teams play GOOD hockey in the playoffs, than watch the oilers play, while being depressed.

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#5 Oliveoiler
March 30 2014, 10:16PM
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Hello Mr. Katz, is there a light bulb on in that brain of yours? For someone who is such an astute businessman, you sure don't know how to manage a hockey team do you. Wake up, open up, and admit the the f**k up..... AKA Oilers.

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#6 Woogie63
March 30 2014, 10:18PM
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Need to fire someone significant from the organization, or;

1) Face not attracting a good free agent,

2) Risk the our first rounder asking to be traded,

3) Yak pulling up stakes and going to KHL,

4) One of the core player requesting/demanding a trade.

Katz needs to fire

Lowe, Dallas or MacT .... Getting rid of the training staff will not cut it this time.

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#7 R U Kidding Me!
March 30 2014, 10:19PM
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The Oilers are so bad I can't even fast forward through the games anymore.

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#8 RexHolez
March 30 2014, 10:20PM
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Stop going to the games people

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#9 Pouzar99
March 30 2014, 10:22PM
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It is difficult for the serious fan to have any faith in the Oiler organization from top to bottom. Senior management, the coaching staff, the players and the scouts all have failed us again and again, yet most escape responsibility. No doubt some sacrificial lambs, say some of the assistant coaches, but not Lowe or Eakins, will pay for the latest disastrous showing and nothing will change.

A few of the holes may get filled, but it is clear that the 'brain trust' has no idea how to build a competitive team, effectively develop the talent we do have or provide them with the kind of structure and motivation that is reviving the Flames. Nothing is more painful than watching the young talent significantly regress under Eakins, as this train keeps backing up.

I love hockey, and having had the pleasure of being a regular fan haunting the building since the last year of the WHA at least have wonderful memories in the bank, and will hold onto my season tickets despite everything, but under protest.

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#11 Rod from Viking
March 30 2014, 10:29PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

What the waiting list for season ticket packages looks like this summer means a lot more than empty seats now.

The Oilers are for once concerned about next year renewals, phone calls, surveys and luncheons have told them fans have had enough, I gave my tickets to the fellow that buys my grain tonight, I'm sure he had a great time. I still have all my "Oiler Bucks" and I am going to spend them all on booze at the game against the Ducks next Sunday.

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#13 Drowning in oil
March 30 2014, 10:35PM
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Its funny how many people in this town enjoy continually gobbling up the crap this team dishes out. Katz is a business man and won't do the right thing until he sees a drop in his profit.

People need to wake up and realize THEY are ultimately the ones responsible for the possibility of changes for the better or more of this horse crap called Oiler hockey.

My God, the Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot and they still start their back-up goaltender.

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#14 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 30 2014, 10:36PM
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MacTavish has mentioned on a number of occasions, he's satisfied with the progress the team has made under Eakins. Nobody on this staff is going anywhere.

No matter how bad it gets, they just keep backing each other up so nobody loses their job. Their entitlement to the piece of the Oiler revenue pie in this market remains unchallenged. You can't fix stupid when he signs all the cheques.

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#16 R U Kidding Me!
March 30 2014, 10:45PM
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Why again, did the Oilers fire Kreuger?

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#17 15w40
March 30 2014, 10:46PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Need to fire someone significant from the organization, or;

1) Face not attracting a good free agent,

2) Risk the our first rounder asking to be traded,

3) Yak pulling up stakes and going to KHL,

4) One of the core player requesting/demanding a trade.

Katz needs to fire

Lowe, Dallas or MacT .... Getting rid of the training staff will not cut it this time.

Point #1 - Horse is already out of the barn on this one - they could fire everybody and bring in Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams and there is no UFA worth anything that is signing here.

Point #2 - The risk is real for the undrafted player in 2014 and the risk is also real for many of the so-called franchise players on the roster

Point #3 - Can't see it hampering his development

Point #4 - See Point #2 - although the core would appear to have a worm or be rotten at this point.

This team looks like a comedy sketch from SCTV.

Sooooooooooo BAAAAAD...........

Watching is not even a passing thought any more. Just check TSN for the laugh track AKA "hilights" and come here to bask in the glow of the red hot embers of fans that are looking for the nearest bridge.

I used to care - now its just comic relief.

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#18 R U Kidding Me!
March 30 2014, 10:46PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I see at least two changes with the coaching staff next season. I can't imagine Buchberger, Smith and Chabot all surviving this mess.

Can we quote you on this.

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#19 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 10:46PM
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How Lowe can you go?

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#20 Sevenseven
March 30 2014, 10:48PM
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Heads must role after this season. I cant believe my tax dollars are building these klowens a new arena....

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#21 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 10:48PM
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15w40 wrote:

Point #1 - Horse is already out of the barn on this one - they could fire everybody and bring in Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams and there is no UFA worth anything that is signing here.

Point #2 - The risk is real for the undrafted player in 2014 and the risk is also real for many of the so-called franchise players on the roster

Point #3 - Can't see it hampering his development

Point #4 - See Point #2 - although the core would appear to have a worm or be rotten at this point.

This team looks like a comedy sketch from SCTV.

Sooooooooooo BAAAAAD...........

Watching is not even a passing thought any more. Just check TSN for the laugh track AKA "hilights" and come here to bask in the glow of the red hot embers of fans that are looking for the nearest bridge.

I used to care - now its just comic relief.

"This team looks like a comedy sketch from SCTV."

Scaaaaarrrryyyyy kids but I would prefer Blowed up real good.

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#22 Cold Hard Truth
March 30 2014, 10:49PM
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Judging from his open letter, Katz has doubled down on Lowe, while MacTavish has doubled down on Eakins. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

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#23 shaun
March 30 2014, 10:53PM
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I need to stop drinking, I thought I was watching TLC and honey boo boo was on skates and then realized it was TSN

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#24 Rod from Viking
March 30 2014, 10:54PM
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Spydyr wrote:

"This team looks like a comedy sketch from SCTV."

Scaaaaarrrryyyyy kids but I would prefer Blowed up real good.

Its too bad John Candy isn't around, I'm sure him along with Bob & Doug McKenzie could do a better job coaching this team.

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#25 Germoil
March 30 2014, 10:57PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Its too bad John Candy isn't around, I'm sure him along with Bob & Doug McKenzie could do a better job coaching this team.

Add Larry, Darryl and Darryl to the team

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#27 R U Kidding Me!
March 30 2014, 10:58PM
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I hear the Oilers had an optional practice yesterday. Optional?!! There should be no such thing with these players anymore.

Every practice mandatory until they stop sucking arse.

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#28 admiralmark
March 30 2014, 10:58PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I see at least two changes with the coaching staff next season. I can't imagine Buchberger, Smith and Chabot all surviving this mess.

This sounds like music to an Oiler fans ears. I know ultimately Eakins is responsible for the PP but is it Bucky that runs the PP scheme? I mean Holy bloody Hell!! What a complete cluster F%$@*k this is.

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#29 kale
March 30 2014, 10:59PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

When he who sniffs the jocks also signs the cheques, you get what we have here.

Best comment ever!!!!!!!

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#30 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 11:00PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Its too bad John Candy isn't around, I'm sure him along with Bob & Doug McKenzie could do a better job coaching this team.

John Candy is a comic icon.

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#31 Oiler63
March 30 2014, 11:00PM
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Katz probably was pretty happy when he saw the club valued at $400 million by the Forbes. That is twice the price he paid to acquire the team. But, IF he was able to ice a competitive Oilers team, with the hockey market in Edmonton and all the big names and history associated with this club, it could reach a value of at least $450 million, same as the LA Kings. Looking at it that wat, keeping Kevin Lowe as the POHO has cost Katz about $50 million. He essentially paid $50 million plus change to have Kevin Lowe as the head of the club.

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#32 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 30 2014, 11:01PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I see at least two changes with the coaching staff next season. I can't imagine Buchberger, Smith and Chabot all surviving this mess.

They're atleast two years away from seeing a significant amount of unsold seats. Till this happens, the entitlement remains. The fans will continue to be taken for granted.

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#33 oilcountryforlife
March 30 2014, 11:02PM
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"overall ineptitude and futility that's been fodder for discussion"

Good one Brownlee.

Acutally I watched the season finale of "The Walking Dead" tonight. A lot of similarities between the two. In the follow up panel discussion show, "The Talking Dead", the host (a Sam Gagner sized hipster wannabe) points out that the term Walking Dead may refer to the zombies or the survivors. Are the Walking Dead the Oilers or the fans?

Just something to think about late on a Sunday night.

Oh, and by the way, did the Oilers play tonight? Did they win?

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#34 Ryan
March 30 2014, 11:04PM
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Why does eakins refuse to change up the power play. Put out 2 defenceman, shooting from the point like every other power play in the league instead of force feeding the same crop over and over again. I am tired of watching the other team get 2on 1s and breakaways on our power play.

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#35 15w40
March 30 2014, 11:06PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Its too bad John Candy isn't around, I'm sure him along with Bob & Doug McKenzie could do a better job coaching this team.

Well this is what's going on right now but its Katz & Lowe in the front seat piloting this infinibuild with MacT and Eakins in the back.

The "drunk" people are everybody else in the NHL looking from afar at this fiasco.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_akwHYMdbsM

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#36 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 11:07PM
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Ryan wrote:

Why does eakins refuse to change up the power play. Put out 2 defenceman, shooting from the point like every other power play in the league instead of force feeding the same crop over and over again. I am tired of watching the other team get 2on 1s and breakaways on our power play.

Have you not heard Eakins says his powerplay will be indefensible.

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#37 The Crystal Ball
March 30 2014, 11:17PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I see at least two changes with the coaching staff next season. I can't imagine Buchberger, Smith and Chabot all surviving this mess.

1. Oilers fire Chabot in the offseason because he is not part of the old boys club to show the fans they are serious about winning. 2. After starting next year 5-15 they fire Eakins because he is also not part of the Old boys club. 3. Buchberger is named head coach. 4. Buchburger hires Ted Green to fill his old role to run the offence and PP. 5. Fans in an outrage stop going to the games. 6. Oilers finish the year 15-55-12. 7. Katz moves the team to Seattle closer to his home in Vancouver where he, Lowe and the rest of the old boys club live for the next 30 years. 8. Oilers get new team and finally make the playoffs under a fresh team of management.

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#38 hagargt
March 30 2014, 11:19PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

They're atleast two years away from seeing a significant amount of unsold seats. Till this happens, the entitlement remains. The fans will continue to be taken for granted.

The sad part that Katz is missing is that as long as it takes to trend to the negative, it can also take a long time to trend back positive again. He needs to stop the bleeding right away, or else it will be an up hill battle once/if the team ever finally turns around. Katz is too stupid to see that he is running this franchise into the ground, and he is a f'ing moron to wait until the place stops selling out to change it.

You don't run any company with a desired product, and a huge waiting list, under the assumption that those customers waiting will always be there to replace the pissed off ones. That only works for so long before the line is empty.

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#39 Al Low
March 30 2014, 11:21PM
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The pic of Eakins in this article is so fitting.

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#40 The Sultan
March 30 2014, 11:24PM
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R U Kidding Me! wrote:

I hear the Oilers had an optional practice yesterday. Optional?!! There should be no such thing with these players anymore.

Every practice mandatory until they stop sucking arse.

When you have an optional skate, and the only players who participate are (according to this site) "four fringe defensemen, enforcer Luke Gazdig, and an injured Nail Yakupov", well.. I can't even finish that sentence. I'm not an Oilers fan, but wow, what a lack of heart. Disappointing doesn't even describe it.

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#41 hagargt
March 30 2014, 11:26PM
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I am starting to think I should start a drug store... how hard could it be?

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#42 a lg dubl dubl
March 30 2014, 11:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

When he who sniffs the jocks also signs the cheques, you get what we have here.

this should be placed on Katz front door!! lol

Im curious, if you had the choice who whould you bring in to replace Bucky and Smith and Chabot?

Thanks.

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#43 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 11:29PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

this should be placed on Katz front door!! lol

Im curious, if you had the choice who whould you bring in to replace Bucky and Smith and Chabot?

Thanks.

Larry,Curly and Moe at least the comedy would be intentional.

n'yuk, n'yuk, n'yuk,"

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#44 ThatButthurtOilersFan
March 30 2014, 11:32PM
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R U Kidding Me! wrote:

Why again, did the Oilers fire Kreuger?

For funsies, apparently.

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#45 ThatButthurtOilersFan
March 30 2014, 11:36PM
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Sevenseven wrote:

Heads must role after this season. I cant believe my tax dollars are building these klowens a new arena....

Should of made a deal that once the Oilers made the playoffs, then the shovels hit the ground. But no, we're spending millions on a new arena for a AHL level team.

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#46 Chongler
March 30 2014, 11:46PM
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R U Kidding Me! wrote:

Why again, did the Oilers fire Kreuger?

A huge Knee-Jerk reaction in an attempt to 1-up Vancouver? I think MacT neglected to see the skilled coach he already had when word was out that a new hotshot rookie coach was looking at making his jump to the NHL. Who better to lead this young team than a young coach? Looks good on paper, but on the Ice? Well....

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#47 toprightcorner
March 30 2014, 11:50PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Sell the farm...

Ekblad and Draisitl or bust! Haven't made the post season in 8 yrs, and it looks as though the Oilers are still 8 yrs from making the playoffs.

~Yeah cause Eklad or Draisitl will make this team infinitly better next year~

Use the first pick in a package to trade for a vet that will impact this club positively. Then add 4 more vets right after that.

That is the only chance at making the playoffs next year unless every other teams set NHL records for all of their top line players missing 50+ games each and every starting goalie requires knee surgery.

Add vets or fail!

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#48 hagargt
March 30 2014, 11:51PM
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ThatButthurtOilersFan wrote:

Should of made a deal that once the Oilers made the playoffs, then the shovels hit the ground. But no, we're spending millions on a new arena for a AHL level team.

Too much of our hard earned money to play with.. I remember when mayor Mandel went to city hall half way through the whitemud bridge re-build and asked for approval after the contractor said the quote was going to double when they were half way through the build.. they had 4 plus companies that all bid normal market value on the job, then they took the unreasonably cheap bid.. when they couldnt stand up to their bid, Mandel went in front of city council and said "what are we supposed to do..not finish the bridge?" It's full on corruption, and nothing less. Katz thinks of us all like ants in an ant farm. He got city hall on board with his end game, and we are all going to pay for it like it or not. I love my hockey, but still can't believe we are on the hook for that rink!! Hell.. don't even get me started on the museum we are all paying for too with zero input from the taxpayers. Out of the 300 people I can think to know and call, I don't know one single one that is ever going to that stupid thing when it's done.

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#49 toprightcorner
March 30 2014, 11:55PM
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Max wrote:

13 SH goals, wow, that really IS something to be proud of. If this is not enough to get rid of Eakins/Smith/Bucky/Cabot/McGregor/Lowe, then I don't know what is. I am SICK of the Oilers, sick of the empty promises and SICK of the losing. Most of all I am SICK of being an Oilers' fan, and sick of the disrespect the team and management show us.

Wow you cant be that sick if your still reading the blogs about the Oilers.

Trading every management member will make less than a 10% difference on this team at the most.

Fire Jones, Joensuu, Lander, Smyth, Pitlick, Gagner, Fraser, Belov and Larsen and replace them, with vets approx 26-29 years of age and toss i a big top 6 winger as well. That will make the biggest difference to improving the team.

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#50 Walter Sobchak
March 31 2014, 12:09AM
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@Robin Brownlee

“Eakins, at least, seems to recognize characterizing the Oilers high-powered on the attack is bogus. He addressed it tonight in his post-game availability with media”

So, I usually never disagree with you but a couple things here.

If Eakins is telling you the Oilers don’t have offensive players, the first thing you should do is completely ignore what Eakins thinks.

The other thing you should be questioning is how can the Oilers score goals when they can’t get out of their own defensive zone? I'm not even sure how he can even assess the full potential of the offensive players?

It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to realize that when you have a team like the Oilers the young skilled guys can’t use their full potential for obvious reasons, in order to use their offense they actually have to be in the other team’s offensive zone.

To make matters worse Eakins is so defensive minded he had Taylor Hall and the rest dumping and chasing for half the year.

On top of all that, the Oilers don’t have the right mix of players to complement the high skilled players.

The Oilers have plenty of offensive skill just waiting to be released, it’s on this Oilers group to actually surround this team with a capable supporting cast.

Good read Robin, but tonight, I'm afraid Eakins has confirmed more in his presser then he has all season about the state of the team and what type of players he wants this team to have............

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