The Face of the Franchise?

Jonathan Willis
December 17 2013 08:44AM

This summer, the clear consensus in Edmonton seemed to be that Taylor Hall was the most important part of the team’s long-term core. The year before, Jordan Eberle’s 34-goal, 76-point season likely would have won him that honour.

But if we held a poll today I’m guessing that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would be the name on the lips of most.

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Jason Gregor
December 16 2013 11:36AM

The Oilers, and specifically GM Craig MacTavish, must devise a plan on how to build a winner. It is clear the Oilers aren't any closer to winning now than they were last year or the year before. The coaching carousel has led to instability and new systems which hasn't helped, but the current roster is not built to win. I'm curious to know how MacTavish plans to build this team, so that eventually they become competitive sometime this decade.

There is no guaranteed path to success, but every successful franchise maintains some core values and a solid foundation.
Do the Oilers know what their foundation is?
Do they have core values?

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Moral victory, actual loss: Edmonton falls 3-2 to Anaheim

Jonathan Willis
December 15 2013 09:38PM

For those focused on process, the Oilers’ Sunday night game against Anaheim wasn’t bad. Edmonton’s team competed for 60 minutes, and got strong performances from a number of players. Sam Gagner – who had been demoted to the fourth line in Friday’s game against Vancouver – stood out in particular in the latter category.

But for those focused on results, it was more of the same: yet another loss, in a season full of them.

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Jason Gregor
December 15 2013 09:51AM

Ilya Bryzgalov has been cleared to play and should return to the lineup tonight against his first NHL team, the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers are hoping he injects some life, enthusiasm and even some humour into a downtrodden dressing room.

The Oilers were dominated in Vancouver, and despite a solid 40 minutes against the Bruins on Thursday, the Oilers are 0-2 in their six-game stretch against elite teams. They will need to put forth a much better effort tonight, if they want to avoid being blown out by the red-hot Ducks.

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December 15 2013 08:16AM

That old line about your best players needing to be your best players has an application when it comes to the Oilers this season. Injuries, playing out of position, digging the puck out of your own net, the Oilers Jacks and Kings have had a tough start to this season. The last 10 games are showing us things are returning to normal.

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