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 Time Travelling Sean
March 31 2014, 01:02AM
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Big Cap wrote:

I would give MacT a slight passing grade for the season. Some good moves and some not so hot moves.

However he must realize and acknowledge that his decision to fire Krueger and hire this AHL Blowhard has demolished this team and their confidence and really set everyone's development backwards. There is not one stat we are better in than last year, or one facet of our game that is even slightly improved.

If MacT gave Mr. Fitness his walking papers as well as ALL the assistants and even mumbled out a half apology for hiring Eakins, I for one would forgive him and look forward to a new coach and team system.

We hired an AHL coach and have an AHL team.

Todd Nelson is an AHL coach I wouldn't mind.

Jon Cooper was an AHL coach.

Patrick Roy was a QMJHL coach and they're doing well.

You can't coach around crappy defense and drifting forwards.

If Gagner or Eberle were as committed to defense and understanding systems and where to be, who to cover, and what to do as any other forward on a successful team we might be somewhere.

The Canucks have a very good D but helpless forwards, we have a poor D with helpless forwards.

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#2 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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#3 Gored 1970
March 31 2014, 01:53AM
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Well, that was really embarrassing. Not only did the nation get to see how pathetic the Oilers are (I'll bet not too many media types will pick the Oilers to make the playoffs next year) but anyone tuning in got to see ... cheerleaders. Japan has given the world sushi, great cars and cheerleaders at hockey games. Why cheerleaders - it's because nobody in Japan understands hockey so they throw in cheerleaders and a bunch of stupid mascots to entertain the fans. What moron in marketing dreamed up the use of cheerleaders at Oiler games and what management idiot approved it? And then when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I watched Gadzic trying to instigate a fight while wearing a visor. What a characterless buffoon. Noon is and Gillis may have turned their respective franchises into gong shows but Levin Lowe has given us a full 3 ring circus.

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#4 Kr55
March 31 2014, 02:00AM
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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.

Isn't Buchy good friends with Katz? He likely gets a promotion if anything. Smith is one of the old boys club too. MacT was dumping on dubs for the longest time so not sure if Chabot really takes any heat.

I think we should all be patient and see what Eakins has up his sleve next year. He said himself that he knows exactly what to do next season to turn things around, so it must be true.

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#5 Zamboni Driver
March 31 2014, 08:25AM
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Yeah. Kevin Lowe was really awful on the PP last night. Can't believe he pinched and they gave up two shorties.

And Eakins. That floater. He's young with a huge upside, skates like the wind and won those world juniors.

Don't get me started on MacTavish, with that killer one timer, he should have way more than 11 goals.

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#6 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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#7 TheresAlwaysNextYear
March 31 2014, 04:24AM
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hey guys i want to get in your minds and find out what inspires u

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#8 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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#9 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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#10 Big Cap
March 31 2014, 12:37AM
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I would give MacT a slight passing grade for the season. Some good moves and some not so hot moves.

However he must realize and acknowledge that his decision to fire Krueger and hire this AHL Blowhard has demolished this team and their confidence and really set everyone's development backwards. There is not one stat we are better in than last year, or one facet of our game that is even slightly improved.

If MacT gave Mr. Fitness his walking papers as well as ALL the assistants and even mumbled out a half apology for hiring Eakins, I for one would forgive him and look forward to a new coach and team system.

We hired an AHL coach and have an AHL team.

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#11 seanjohn667
March 31 2014, 01:12AM
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Support the Rush. Oiler fans need to move on to other things. when (if) they ever get their act together (in about 3 years), come back then. in the mean, (and in between time) f--- this organization!!!

(I've actually found myself watching wrestling instead of the Oiler, this year)

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#12 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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#13 Walter Sobchak
March 31 2014, 12:29AM
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I’m still flabbergasted that Lowe and company aren’t wearing this disaster, rumor has it Lowe & MacTavish took out the book how to build a team version 2.0 by Mike Milbury and used it on the Oilers.

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#14 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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#15 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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#16 tileguy
March 31 2014, 01:33PM
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Calm down everybody, this is a deliberate tank job for a high draft pick. It is soooo obvious.

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#17 Edmonton Rush
March 31 2014, 04:03PM
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Here's my problems with the Edmonton Rush: The on-floor product is great.

However, from a purely marketing perspective, they have failed.

First, what is a "Rush" exactly, and how does that have anything to do with Edmonton? Oil Rush? Reaching.

Second, bland bland jerseys. People like to buy things that look good. Simple pattern, bright colours - note to Rush Marketing Staff.

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

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#19 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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#20 R U Kidding Me!
March 30 2014, 10:45PM
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Why again, did the Oilers fire Kreuger?

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#21 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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#22 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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#23 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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#24 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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#25 Kr55
March 31 2014, 12:22AM
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Lots of excuses from Eakins lately. He said the teams mix is wrong and he has to fix it with MacT. Not sure I've ever heard a coach talk that way about his players with 9 games left in a season. Then he's in a nhl.com article saying the team would be better if they played in the East. Then more junk about how the players are still learning the system and how he knows EXACTLY what he needs to do next year. Like Oiler fans need to hear more people from the Oilers org promising better times next year.

Sucks that MacT probably knows he is a dud but doesn't want to embarrass himself by firing him after all the hype he created around him.

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#26 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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#28 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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#30 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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#31 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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#33 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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#34 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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#35 seanjohn667
March 31 2014, 01:04AM
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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.

the least significant pieces.... big surprise. And KLowe will remain comfortable in the corner office. How does he face people at work and in the industry. He's got to know they are snickering the minute he turns his back.

top 5 pick in 2015 in the bag.

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#37 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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#38 Spydyr
March 30 2014, 10:46PM
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How Lowe can you go?

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#42 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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#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 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
March 31 2014, 12:13AM
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@toprightcorner

What part of rebuild from within don't you understand? You don't think they tried to do the same thing last summer? Their so called "progress" landed them squarely in 29th place this season.

Who are your 4 vets you want to bring in? I hear Danny Heatley is available now. Anybody who can help has already said, thanks, but no thanks to the Oilers.

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#45 hagargt
March 31 2014, 12:37AM
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Kr55 wrote:

Lots of excuses from Eakins lately. He said the teams mix is wrong and he has to fix it with MacT. Not sure I've ever heard a coach talk that way about his players with 9 games left in a season. Then he's in a nhl.com article saying the team would be better if they played in the East. Then more junk about how the players are still learning the system and how he knows EXACTLY what he needs to do next year. Like Oiler fans need to hear more people from the Oilers org promising better times next year.

Sucks that MacT probably knows he is a dud but doesn't want to embarrass himself by firing him after all the hype he created around him.

Kevin will put eakins in the spotlight more and more as the season comes to an end. He will encourage him to make enough comments on the state of the team, that the inevitable contradictions in the direction of the team will show like you are quoting. This is a very simple mis-direction he has been employing since his first year as an F'up.. He can't promote himself any higher than president, so he now needs to throw his underlings out for the dogs. I am in no way an eakins fan, but where the hell is kevin when the screams for his head are at an all time high? He is hiding like the coward he is, hoping that the oilers win another 2 games in a row, or until he can fire another coach to make us all "happy campers" again.

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#46 hagargt
March 31 2014, 01:10AM
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@seanjohn667

Start calling him kevin with a lower case k. For some reason it just sounds way more personal. Lol!! He probably signs off his emails Klowe.

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#47 Dan
March 31 2014, 02:55AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

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.

I agree they should fire all those players, but first you gotta fire the guy who brought them all here!

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#48 BlueMile
March 31 2014, 05:23AM
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At least we know N64 isn't part of the problem now... only 22 more to go!!

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#49 Fresh Mess
March 31 2014, 07:19AM
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@The Soup Fascist

Jonny LaRue and Bobby Bittman for GM and Coach.

HOW ARE YAAA!!!

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#50 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 31 2014, 09:35AM
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as much as it pains me to, i need to give DSF some credit.

prior to the start of the year, he made claims that the Oilers could/would even finish behind the Flames this season. I, like many, ripped him to shreds. I even proposed a wager, which thankfully he didnt have the stones to accept at the time.

DSF takes alot of abuse around the interwebs, and most of it is justified. However, in this case, he was bang on.

I will now go watch the "Boys on the Bus" VHS 10 times to repent.

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