Call me unimpressed

I laughed out loud when Sportsnet play-by-play man Kevin Quinn tipped us off during the third period of the Edmonton Oilers life-and-death struggle with the New York Islanders that “It doesn’t get any easier on this homestand.”

No, Kevin, it doesn’t get any easier — the Islanders are the laughing stocks of the NHL. They arrived at Rexall Place Monday having lost 12 straight games on the road and sitting dead-last in NHL overall standings.

Then, they lost captain and leading scorer Doug Weight during the morning skate. So, no, it really doesn’t get any easier. Of course, that’s not exactly what Quinn meant.

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So how is it that the Oilers, who already gassed two points in losses to the hopeless Florida Panthers and inept Ottawa Senators, needed fluke goals by Kyle Brodziak and Jason Strudwick in the second period on the way to a 3-2 win to avoid making it three times they’ve soiled the sheets?

Because this is a team, regardless of post-game spin, that has no clue about the intensity and fortitude needed to be a consistent winner and a legitimate playoff contender in the Western Conference.

That’s how.

Hero act

“They played as good as anybody against us,” coach Craig MacTavish said after his team pulled a fast one. “Especially early. They put a lot of pressure on us and we didn’t handle the pressure very well.”

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You’d think after blowing off those games against the Panthers and sad-sack Senators, who also came to town with 12 straight road losses before beating the Oilers 3-2 Dec. 30, MacT’s men would have been motivated to come out like a house on fire against the Islanders.

But, down 2-0, they were in danger of falling back to .500 at home until they got lucky — Brodziak banked a puck off Brendan Witt’s skate behind Joey MacDonald and Strudwick made it 2-2 when Zack Stortini’s pass bounced in off his skate.

Good for the fourth-liners, who’ve carried more than their fair share of the workload in recent games, but getting outplayed early before winning it on Andrew Cogliano’s 12th goal of the season is inexcusable.

The Oilers talked the talk in the morning, but they damn sure didn’t walk the walk when the puck dropped.

Not good enough

Serve up the same mistake-filled slop against the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday or the San Jose Sharks Friday and the 19-16-3 Oilers will be back under .500 at home.

Hell, try that against anybody but the feeble Islanders and it’s a loss. Playing down to the level of inferior competition as the Oilers too often do is not the sign of a team ready to contend.

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“We collected ourselves after the first period and played a pretty workmanlike second and third,” offered MacTavish.

“We had a line that was playing a real simple game that got a lot done tonight. That’s a good lesson for everybody. It doesn’t have to be pretty all the time.”

This is not a good team. Tell yourself otherwise if you must, but be prepared to be disappointed.


  • RobinB

    Chris wrote:

    me wrote:
    Questions for Robin
    Since we are asking questions…
    Why are we still booing Comrie? It’s been years and years and the club has never delivered on it’s promise to clear the air… What REALLY happened? At the time I automatically sided with Lowe… now I’m not so sure.

    Actually, it was Comrie and agent Ritch Winter who said they'd tell all when the saga was over and the time was right. It never happened.

  • David Supina

    I don't know what everyone expected out of this team. I thought they were a team that would finish first in their division in a close battle, or second and around the sixth spot, depending on how things went, but either way, would be better towards the end of the year than the beginning. The fact of the matter is that they've been a bit better of late, and should continue to improve. They're a playoff bound team, IMO. Not a conference contender, but I don't think anybody was suggesting that.

    Keep in mind they actually won this game. You can talk all you want about how they played down to the level of the Islanders, but the fact is they found a way to win this one, whereas earlier in the year they didn't. It's slight progress, but progress nonetheless. They'll make the playoffs as long as Hemsky isn't out too long.

  • Deans

    I still boo Jason Arnott and Tom Poti. I'm not mad, bitter or resentful of anything they have done in the past or present. The reason I boo them is because it is fun. It adds something to the game. Frankly the joke is not on them its on us. Yes we still remember, and Yes we are this childish. When I boo Comrie I''m not seething with anger, Im lauging and having a good time. Dont kid yourself, nobody is still upset about Comrie's preceived transgresions against OilersNation.

  • me

    RobinB wrote:

    Chris wrote:
    me wrote:
    Questions for Robin
    Since we are asking questions…
    Why are we still booing Comrie? It’s been years and years and the club has never delivered on it’s promise to clear the air… What REALLY happened? At the time I automatically sided with Lowe… now I’m not so sure.
    Actually, it was Comrie and agent Ritch Winter who said they’d tell all when the saga was over and the time was right. It never happened.

    What do you think happened?

    I have my own theory and one of management leaked to me that there was a division in the dressing room between MacT supporters and players that did not support him.

    MacT won the battle as the players that I was told did not support MacT have all moved on.

  • Cam

    Chris wrote:

    I boo Pronger for real.

    I do too. And it is good and just to do so.

    I also boo Comrie for real since he did the same thing as CFP. You tell me you will not play for my beloved team and I say "bOoooooo" until you retire… and then I don't say anything at all.

  • Chris

    @ me:
    I really have no real direct source of good info regarding the matter, and therfore, no ability to intelligently speculate. I'd be interested to know if Comrie's direct ties to ownership played a part in this. I disregard rumors of poor sexual conduct as rumors. I think it was bush league of Lowe to ask for money back. This act severley damaged the organizations reputation amoung many agents and players.

  • rindog

    @ RobinB:

    A couple of things.

    I think "broke" would be defined as not making the playoffs with any consistency whatsoever.

    Even the year we went on the cup run – we needed a colossal collapse by Vancouver to do so.

    As far as the make-up of the team – what didn't you like? And I am not necessarily disagreeing with you.

    As far as being concerned with the make-up of the coaching staff…I think a large majority of hockey fans share your concern but aren't nearly as patient/objective as you are when it comes to placing blame/resposibility for our lack of consistency.

    To me it is very hard to evaluate both things simultaneously (coaching & player personnel). It's evident that Lowe has tried to change the roster to see if that was the problem?

    Why do you think MacT has been here so long? Do you think Lowe is afraid that another guy will do worse? Is he just looking out for a buddy? Is he concerned MacT will leave and come back to burn us? Or does he really think that MacT is the guy that will lead us to championship opportunities??

    The whole situation seems very odd, don't you think?

  • Deep Oil

    @ Deans:Comrie received a bad deal – what is the sin in not resigning as a RFA in Edmonton – what is this organization – the IRON CURTAIN – Lowe was ticked off at Comrie for "quitting" on the team in the playoffs with his equipment off based on an injury between periods – and KLOWE went SID VICOUS on the kid – the off ice issue rumors are not valid – but the Oil promised disclosure on this smearing incident that both sides looked bad and caused a FREE AGENT avoidance of Edmonton for some time – causing Lowe to overpay time and time again – for $4mm I would take Comrie over Penner, Pisani and so on….

  • me

    @ Chris:
    Chris wrote:

    @ me:
    I really have no real direct source of good info regarding the matter, and therfore, no ability to intelligently speculate. I’d be interested to know if Comrie’s direct ties to ownership played a part in this. I disregard rumors of poor sexual conduct as rumors. I think it was bush league of Lowe to ask for money back. This act severley damaged the organizations reputation amoung many agents and players.

    Yeah I think those rumours are bunk (sexual conduct)

    I asked a simple question and was suprised that I got an answer. It was at the 25 year season ticket holder luncheon.

    The things I was told by management all turned out to be true. I was at first surprised he would tell me but really what risk was there? I could say that so in so told me but who would have believed me at the time?

    Your theory about the owners ties to management is probably on the mark.

  • me

    Deep Oil wrote:

    @ Deans:Comrie received a bad deal – what is the sin in not resigning as a RFA in Edmonton – what is this organization – the IRON CURTAIN – Lowe was ticked off at Comrie for “quitting” on the team in the playoffs with his equipment off based on an injury between periods – and KLOWE went SID VICOUS on the kid – the off ice issue rumors are not valid – but the Oil promised disclosure on this smearing incident that both sides looked bad and caused a FREE AGENT avoidance of Edmonton for some time – causing Lowe to overpay time and time again – for $4mm I would take Comrie over Penner, Pisani and so on….

    I think the hardline was fine but it was the money back request that was ridiculous.

    I agree with Robin that this move hurt the Oilers and I am sure they are still dealing with the ramifications of that decision with agents and players.

  • Chris

    Klowe. Regrets how he handled Comrie so he bends over backwards for Pronger. Regrets not signing Smyth so he hands Horcoff a dream extension. Knee jerk reactions…or part of a deviously complex series of five year plans?

  • me

    rindog wrote:

    @ RobinB:
    A couple of things.
    I think “broke” would be defined as not making the playoffs with any consistency whatsoever.
    Even the year we went on the cup run – we needed a colossal collapse by Vancouver to do so.
    As far as the make-up of the team – what didn’t you like? And I am not necessarily disagreeing with you.
    As far as being concerned with the make-up of the coaching staff…I think a large majority of hockey fans share your concern but aren’t nearly as patient/objective as you are when it comes to placing blame/resposibility for our lack of consistency.
    To me it is very hard to evaluate both things simultaneously (coaching & player personnel). It’s evident that Lowe has tried to change the roster to see if that was the problem?
    Why do you think MacT has been here so long? Do you think Lowe is afraid that another guy will do worse? Is he just looking out for a buddy? Is he concerned MacT will leave and come back to burn us? Or does he really think that MacT is the guy that will lead us to championship opportunities??
    The whole situation seems very odd, don’t you think?

    The coaching situation is the oddest to me.

    I am not on the "fire MacTavish bandwagon" after every loss group but by the same token I wonder if a change is in order.

    It seems though that Katz is part of that "old boys network" and not the solution.

  • CurtisS

    I wonder how long Katz keeps spending to the cap missing the playoffs. Im curious to know what he thinks right now and what excuses he is being given from management/coaching.

    I bet it was the schedule. Which held no water because of our ****y home record so far. I wonder what it is now.

  • Deep Oil

    @ Chris: Asking for the money back was a LOWE point for this organization showing the personal disdain that this kid was making more coin in one year than Lowe saw in most of his career – it was documented that Lowe made very little as an Oiler – total earnings were $5 million as a player over 20 years – cashing in with $850K with NYR…. letting it get personal is a no win with Comrie. How do you penalize a rich kid who is stubborn on principle and does not need the coin.

    As per Mike's ties to direct ownership – money is principle and Mikey drew a line in the sand over principle – screw the cash – his father gave away $80 million corporately to his employees when The Brick went public and took home $850 million in share value himself. Next time you want to have a gun fight with very rich player – much richer than yourself – bring bullets – otherwise case in point – life moves on and no one wins – and you make the organization look LOWE class. Bill Comrie could of bought into the team – he didn't for just this reason – INTERFERENCE – and left Edmonton in disappointment for better weather when the city turned on his family – that is sad – but why live in a city that hurts your kids.

    Next time you boo Comrie – maybe you should be BOOING LOWE – but be careful that is not allowed at REXALL – you might get escorted out of the building for negative thoughts by Northlands security.

  • Cam

    CurtisS wrote:

    I wonder how long Katz keeps spending to the cap missing the playoffs. Im curious to know what he thinks right now and what excuses he is being given from management/coaching.
    I bet it was the schedule. Which held no water because of our ****y home record so far. I wonder what it is now.

    Well since this is the first year of Katz spending anything and I actually think they will make the playoffs, I am not sure if we will ever know how to answer your question.

  • rindog

    @ me:

    It is puzzling to me as well?

    Just as puzzling as Horcoff dropping down to 18:29 in icetime. While I have been a big opponent against the minutes Horcoff has been getting versus other players; I have resigned myself to the fact that it is a coaching belief that Horcoff is our "Mr. Everything" and needs the minutes.

    That being said, if all season long Horcoff has been our guy – why when our best offensive player is out, does Horcoff's icetime go down?

    I guess it might be because Horcoff was having a bad game – but if that was the case he should have had his icetime reduced many times at the beginning of the year. It might also be that MacT was forced to give the 4th line more minutes (based on their play)- although those minutes seemed to have come from Moreau, Reddox and Pouliot??

    I realize that with Hemsky out and Reddox in his spot – our true #1 line defaults to the Gagner line. It just baffles me that no matter how much Hemsky carried this team (even when he and Horcoff were not playing together) – he was never given the minutes that Horcoff was.

    I realize Greger wrote a nice blog regarding the length of shifts, etc. But it still doesn't explain the mentality of not trying to get Hemsky more (a lot more) icetime than any other forward (including Horcoff).

    If the coach can see that the Gagner line is playing well and got them more ice – why not atleast try to bump up Hemmer?

    I realize there is more icetime available with Hemsky out. I also realize it might be easier to bump a guy from a 14:42 ATOI (Nilsson) to 18:25 last night than it is to bump Hemsky from 18:44 to 21:00, but it still concerns me?

    Does it concern anyone else?

  • CurtisS

    @ Cam:
    You honestly think we will make the playoffs.

    Hilarious. Half the season gone and we only broke into the top 8 two times this year. Expect that trend to continue. It doesnt get easier it gets harder.

    Dont forget we will most likely lose 4 of our next 5 games.

  • me

    rindog wrote:

    @ me:
    It is puzzling to me as well?
    Just as puzzling as Horcoff dropping down to 18:29 in icetime. While I have been a big opponent against the minutes Horcoff has been getting versus other players; I have resigned myself to the fact that it is a coaching belief that Horcoff is our “Mr. Everything” and needs the minutes.
    That being said, if all season long Horcoff has been our guy – why when our best offensive player is out, does Horcoff’s icetime go down?
    I guess it might be because Horcoff was having a bad game – but if that was the case he should have had his icetime reduced many times at the beginning of the year. It might also be that MacT was forced to give the 4th line more minutes (based on their play)- although those minutes seemed to have come from Moreau, Reddox and Pouliot??
    I realize that with Hemsky out and Reddox in his spot – our true #1 line defaults to the Gagner line. It just baffles me that no matter how much Hemsky carried this team (even when he and Horcoff were not playing together) – he was never given the minutes that Horcoff was.
    I realize Greger wrote a nice blog regarding the length of shifts, etc. But it still doesn’t explain the mentality of not trying to get Hemsky more (a lot more) icetime than any other forward (including Horcoff).
    If the coach can see that the Gagner line is playing well and got them more ice – why not atleast try to bump up Hemmer?
    I realize there is more icetime available with Hemsky out. I also realize it might be easier to bump a guy from a 14:42 ATOI (Nilsson) to 18:25 last night than it is to bump Hemsky from 18:44 to 21:00, but it still concerns me?
    Does it concern anyone else?

    A lot of little things have concerned me.

    I have no problem calling out players once in a while and in hindsight it was obviously the right move with Penner.

    But no so sure about the need to publicly call out Nilsson.

    Calling out players should be a very last resort and to me it seemed like he is/was in desperation move very quickly these days with mixed results.

    Reddox being put on the first line when Hemsky went out seems like an odd decision.

    Not just to pick on Mactavish but this seems to be an organizational flaw.

    Managements hesitancy and non-action on the goaltending situation.

    Not seeming to address the PK or faceoff problem.

    Tambellini has done nothing to make his mark on the team.

    This organization seems slow to react and when they do it sometimes is an overreaction.

  • @ Deep Oil:

    The children of the one reborn shall find their own country – Compartmentalize integrity conflicts with the obligation to provide access – No ceremonies are necessary – Contact is inevitable, leading to information bleed – Assume the relaxation length of photons in the sample atmosphere is constant – end of line.

  • RobinB

    @ rindog:
    I've been over this. See Dec. 18 item on the site or here it is from my files . . . .

    THE TO-DO LIST
    BY ROBIN BROWNLEE
    If I was King of the World, or better yet, Daryl Katz, and could snap my fingers and shape the Edmonton Oilers until they fit my vision of what a hockey team should be, there would be changes. Brother, would there be changes.
    With the Oilers sitting at 14-14-2 through 30 games after Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, some fans are frustrated beyond words with the performance of a team coach Craig MacTavish deemed in pre-season as a contender for a Northwest Division title.
    Then again, despite the inconsistencies — like playing one of their best games of the season in a 3-0 win over the Canucks last weekend before getting their backsides handed to them without a whimper in a 9-2 loss to Chicago Tuesday — optimists might peruse Western Conference standings today and insist, "It isn't that bad."
    Well, it is that bad, at least in my mind, and I didn't even like the make-up of this edition of the Oilers as much as some fans did when the season began. I picked them to be in the mix, as usual, but to finish ninth.
    What would I do?

    AIN'T ROCKET SURGERY
    Let's first state the obvious — it's infinitely easier to sit in front of a laptop and pontificate about what must be done, who should be traded and who should be acquired, than it is for GM Steve Tambellini or president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe to pick up the telephone and make it happen in the real world. Duh!
    That said, here's my list of things to do — in order of importance — based on what I've seen and heard, what I know and what I think. And, yes, much of it is Master of the Obvious stuff that has already been suggested by people smarter than I . . .

    1. PICK TWO GOALTENDERS. Three doesn't work. Never has. Never will. I don't care which two, as long as one of them is Jeff Deslauriers because I'm not willing to lose him to waivers for nothing at this point.
    — With no takers via trade right now, I'd send Dwayne Roloson to the AHL, even if he's played better than Mathieu Garon at this point. Roloson's a pro and he gets his full salary in the minors. He'd be a mentor to Devan Dubnyk.
    — It's time to find out if Garon can regain his form of last season and prove he's a legit No. 1 starter. If Garon can't do that by starting, say, seven of the next 10 games, I shop him. If he doesn't move, I send him to the minors, recall Roloson and ride Deslauriers the rest of the way.
    — In any case, Roloson's gone after this season. What I want to know is if Garon or Deslauriers is my starter next season or if I'm diving into the trade and free agent pool to get a stopper.

    2. SORT IT OUT UP FRONT. And, for crying out loud, stop trying to force square pegs into round holes, as was the case too often with MacTavish early this season when he tried to make a center out of Fernando Pisani and a left winger out of Erik Cole.
    — Keep Dustin Penner, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky together as the first line. It's working.
    — Cut your losses and trade Cole. He's not producing. He's not re-signing in Edmonton as an unrestricted free agent. Get what you can for him — picks, prospects, a bag of pucks. The sooner the better.
    — Consider going with three offensive lines instead of the traditional two scoring lines, one checking line and an energy/grinding line format. Is there enough talent on the second and third lines with Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Robert Nilsson, Gilbert Brule, Pisani and Rob Schremp or Marc Pouliot in the mix as your second six? While I've said before I'd rather not have more than four "small" forwards on the roster, I'd look at this group for 10 games to find out.
    — Establish a fourth line. For me, it's going to be captain Ethan Moreau on left wing and Kyle Brodziak at centre every game. The right winger is Zack Stortini or Steve MacIntyre, when he's healthy again.

    3. FIX THE PK. Stop the presses!
    This season's miserable showing by the penalty killing is a bit of a mystery to me because the personnel up front — Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani and Brodziak — has proven capable in the past, although it's obvious the Oilers have lost too many face-offs leading directly to goals and aren't blocking shots like they have in past seasons.
    — Given that I'd move Cole and would like to at least look at the mix of the seven forwards mentioned above as components of secondary scoring lines, I'd be looking to move No. 26 for a proven face-off man who can kill penalties. If that took Cole and, say, Pouliot, Nilsson or Schremp, so be it.
    — Add a tough-as-nails-mean-as-hell defenceman (not named Jason Smith) capable of clearing the front of the net like a D9 Cat with a jammed throttle. See below.

    4. TOUGHEN UP THE D. On paper, having a back end loaded with puck-movers makes sense — and it certainly works for the Detroit Red Wings — but the Oilers have sacrificed grit and shutdown capability with the personnel in place now.
    — Keep any three from the group of Denis Grebeshkov, Tom Gilbert, Sheldon Souray and Lubomir Visnovsky and trade the odd-man for a proven veteran who can play a shutdown role.
    — In my mind, the likeliest candidates to go are Gilbert and Grebeshkov because both are relatively soft and I'm not willing to give Grebeshkov a long-term contract to keep him. Besides, not many teams will take Souray's contract, despite a great start, because of his age and injury history.
    — If I've got, say, Souray, Visnovsky and Gilbert as my three offensive D-men plus a shutdown guy for whoever I trade, then I'm keeping Staios and Smid as my fifth and sixth guys for now and Strudwick as my swing man.

    5. TAKE STOCK. Who's who and what's what?
    — Decide once and for all by the trade deadline if Brule and Schremp fit in the long-term plans. If they don't, move them.
    — Get a read and make a call on whether Theo Peckham is ready to play in the NHL next season. How about Taylor Chorney? Any chance Jordan Eberle is ready for 2009-10? If he is, does that make one of the small forwards on the roster available as trade bait?
    — Does Dubnyk factor into the goaltending picture at the NHL level next season? I'm guessing not, but my scouting staff has to be all over him for the rest of this season to find out if it's a possibility.

    6. THE BOTTOM LINE. Pink slips for failure.
    — If the Oilers miss the playoffs this season after tweaking and tinkering from the 40-game mark to the trade deadline, MacTavish and assistants Charlie Huddy, Bill Moores, Kelly Buchberger and Pete Peeters are sacked, fired, gone. No questions. No song and dance. Gone.

    — Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

  • Deep Oil

    @ me: MacT is maybe one of the top two – three longest serving coaches next to Ruff. A new phrase this year is losing the room….????

    1) Katz is a oilers fan and a hands off owner.
    2) Katz has green lighted full cap expenditure to win.
    2) Katz is the same age range as Lowe and 99.
    3) Katz / Rexall benefits from the ownership via brand
    synergies.
    4) Katz has purchased numerous oiler items for charity
    supporting the community.

    An old boys network was FOG (FRIEND OF GRETZKY) in PHX – with gretzky's brother scouting, coffey being skating coach showing up when he felt like it, fuhrsie providing some instruction (still) and Barnett (former bartender and business agent advisor to WG) as GM.

  • Deep Oil

    Chris wrote:

    Klowe. Regrets how he handled Comrie so he bends over backwards for Pronger. Regrets not signing Smyth so he hands Horcoff a dream extension. Knee jerk reactions…or part of a deviously complex series of five year plans?

    sounds like a deep oil diciple

  • me

    Deep Oil wrote:

    @ me: MacT is maybe one of the top two – three longest serving coaches next to Ruff. A new phrase this year is losing the room….????
    1) Katz is a oilers fan and a hands off owner.
    2) Katz has green lighted full cap expenditure to win.
    2) Katz is the same age range as Lowe and 99.
    3) Katz / Rexall benefits from the ownership via brand
    synergies.
    4) Katz has purchased numerous oiler items for charity
    supporting the community.
    An old boys network was FOG (FRIEND OF GRETZKY) in PHX – with gretzky’s brother scouting, coffey being skating coach showing up when he felt like it, fuhrsie providing some instruction (still) and Barnett (former bartender and business agent advisor to WG) as GM.

    I am aware of MacT's duration and coach and as I said I am not part of the "fire MacT" after every loss parade.

    So far I am willing to be patient as this is a young team and I believe the Pronger episode put them back a few years.

    But if the Oilers do miss the playoffs again this year, the Oilers must start to evaluate what keeps going wrong and I hope that Katz and or Lowe will have the foresight and courage to make the changes needed.

    I am not in anyway against Katz (in fact I support his ownership as I could site many problems that arose over having too many owners) but I hope that if the worst does happen that he will make the changes necessary. (hopefully it doesn't come down to that)

  • Deep Oil

    Chris wrote:

    me wrote:
    Questions for Robin
    Since we are asking questions…
    Why are we still booing Comrie? It’s been years and years and the club has never delivered on it’s promise to clear the air… What REALLY happened? At the time I automatically sided with Lowe… now I’m not so sure.

    RobinB your batter up

  • rindog

    @ RobinB:

    Yeah I read that when you posted before (and I agreed)but does it really have much to do with questioning the team make up from the outset (preseason)?

    Even after the the to-do list is complete we still have the same set of of forwards as we had at the start of the year (except maybe the face-off PK guy in place of Cole and the shut down Dman). We still have the same goaltending options. The only thing that we are lacking is the mean Dman.

    If I am not mistaken, the roster after the to-do list would look something like this:

    Penner Horcoff Hemsky
    Gagner Cogliano Pisani
    Brule Yelle/Draper Pouliot (Schremp)
    Moreau Brodziak MacIntyre (Stortini)

    Souray Gilbert
    Visnovsky Sauer/O'Donnell/Vandermeer/etc
    Staios Smid (Strudwick)

    Garon
    Deslaurier

    Those don't seem to be MAJOR changes to what we have now (or had at the start of the season).

    Also, at the start of the year we didn't expect to have problems on the PK so I am not sure if you would have thought we needed that guy then (although I hardly think you would have traded Cole [or Pitkanen] for a Kris Draper or Stephane Yelle)??

    The things that I see you wanting done have more to do with the coaching than the personnel…I think???

    For me,

    I thought we had a pretty good team at the start of year. I questioned numerous coaching/personnel positions that we started out with and can't help but think that is what led us to the position we are in now.

    Some things really bothered me. I never liked the idea of splitting up our firstline for Cole. That being said, if Cole was supposed to be the answer for the first line (which never really seemed to be broken), how does he go from a 1st liner to a 3rd liner for the next 20+ games? No offence to Moreau or Pisani (or his replacement) but it would be hard for any winger to produce with those guys???

    After not making 2nd year players prove themselves first… when the kids struggled for so long – wouldn't an obvious choice to help them out be to put a veteran goal scorer with them? Why did it take so long to try Cole with them?

    Uggh….I will just stop now!!!

    I guess what I am saying is – with a few minor teaks are we going to be a better team, playing the systems that we do? Or is it going to take a fundamental change in philosophy (ie. coaching) for this team to be consistently competitive?

    Or maybe we are doomed either way??