Deep Thoughts VII: sick and tired

riddlernation

I was going to go out to Millennium Place today and watch the Edmonton Oilers, but I’ve come down with whatever’s laid the rest of my family low and decided to stay home. Besides, cold sweats, aching joints, fever and the urge to puke or crap myself is more appealing.

With Thursday’s uninspired 1-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the books, the NHL trade deadline looming and my fat head thicker than usual, I’ve got to admit I don’t have any answers.

Not for what ails the Oilers. Not for GM Steve Tambellini. Not for fans still shaking their heads after watching their heroes get outclassed at every turn by the Blue Jackets. I did, however, have a retort for the adult-proof cap on the medicine bottle containing the drugs I hope will lessen the urge I have to establish a new record for projectile vomiting. It’s called a pair of vice-grips.

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No, all I’ve got are questions, observations and complaints, each tainted by nausea and torqued by a ring of fire that makes it difficult to be the positive, care-free guy I usually am.

Still, I’d rather be me than Tambellini.

Just asking…

  • What does it say about the character of the Oilers when a 39-year-old goaltender, who was pegged by many to be kicked to the curb when the season began, is your best player against Columbus? And where would this team, the one that was supposed to be a Northwest Division contender, be without Dwayne Roloson?
  • Anybody who bought the load of bologna offered by Craig MacTavish in pre-season — when he talked about finishing atop the Northwest Division and feeling the need to quell all the optimism he felt — into self-loathing now like a rube roped into a pyramid scheme?
  • Between bloated contracts for the likes of Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner and being saddled with under-achievers like Erik Cole and Robert Nilsson, does Tambellini have a player over the age of 22 not named Ales Hemsky who anybody would want at the deadline?
  • Anybody with a functioning brain steam who thinks tweaking this line-up, even with a rental forward good enough to play top six minutes, will be enough to get the Oilers into the playoffs and past Detroit or San Jose in the first round?

Getting here

  • I know this is heresy, but is there anybody from the group of Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Nilsson, Ladislav Smid and Theo Peckham a lock to be more than a good player? Is there a franchise building block in there?
  • Do the Oilers have as much young talent in the above group as Columbus? How about Chicago? Or Anaheim? Phoenix? Nashville? So, is the future, say the next three or four years, really that rosy?
  • How do the Oilers five best players — let’s go with Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Horcoff, Lubomir Visnovsky and Tom Gilbert — stack up against the top five in San Jose and Detroit? How about Vancouver? Calgary? So, how promising is the immediate future?
  • If Hemsky’s contract is Kevin Lowe’s finest moment, does his offer-sheet to Penner and the stack of dough thrown at Horcoff rate as his biggest gaffes? I know, it’s a rhetorical question…
  • Criticized as a tool, an oaf and a mouth-breathing stooge in his war of words with Lowe, and with reason in terms of STFU Quotient, is bombastic Brian Burke looking a little smarter now? How’s that Bobby Ryan kid?

And another thing…

  • How much, if any, will past moves by Lowe affect Tambellini in trying to make trades? Will Darcy Regier answer Tambellini’s calls? Will Burke, his old boss in Vancouver, talk trade with the Oilers?
  • With the deadline approaching and Marc Pouliot (not to mention JF Jacques and Nilsson) available as a sweetener in deals to anybody who wants them, do you ever imagine Zach Parise in Edmonton silks? And how does someone NOT get fired over that?
  • How much help is on the way when you look at Springfield and prospects still in major junior or college hockey? And, while you’re answering that, are you among the 90 per cent of fans who overvalue the Oilers young talent? Oh, you just wait until Jordan Eberle gets here, Buster. It’ll be different.
  • Is a playoff spot and five-and-out against the Red Wings or the Sharks really enough to make you shrug at the answers to the above questions? Good luck with that.

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


  • Travis Dakin

    DonDon wrote:

    Even Calgary has a better organization, look at their results compared to the Oil.

    Woah Woah Woah there pal! Don't get me started on results. Calgary has and always will be Edmontons wanna be little brother. Sometimes the little brother may hit a growth spurt but in the end, the first born always wins out. Now get your crazy talking ass outta here! haha.

  • deepoil

    Robin B wrote:

    speeds wrote:
    Another question I have is why Moreau faces (seemingly) no repercussions for his recent endless string of penalties?
    I would also be curious to hear why Vaananen wasn’t worth taking on waivers.
    There is a blind loyalty when it comes to captains here that I don’t understand. I’m not going to lay all the problems of this team at Moreau’s feet, but his penchant for ill-timed penalties makes the grit and try he brings almost a wash, or worse.
    It’s like the player wearing the C is off limits. The most heated debate I ever had with Kevin Lowe came several years ago when I suggested he’d be willing to trade Jason Smith to Florida.
    He denied it, even though I’d been told by several people I trust he’d talked with the Panthers. It sparked an argument that had saliva flying in both direction and one that carried over from one day to the next until PR man Bill Tuele locked us in a room for 40 minutes and suggested we work it out. Nobody did.

    Sounds like LOWES stubborness costs him respect, money and dollars – case in point – the public temper tantrum of comrie

  • I love the "it's the fans fault" line. For the record:

    The Edmonton Oilers are owned by Daryl Katz. Prior to that they were owned by a group of local businessmen called the EIG.

    Kevin Lowe was first the General Manager and then the President of the team under these successive ownerships.

    In other words, any blame for the performance of this team rests on one guy – the guy who has been calling the shots since the summer of 2000.

    Blaming the fans is just about as asinine as you can get – sure, on an individual level, they provide the money that this team lives on, but they have no say in the decisions made by the organization.

    To suggest otherwise is fairly stupid.

  • Robin B

    @ Travis Dakin:
    I've commented on the mediocrity angle for years. Between archival systems at SLAM that require people to pay for internet stories once they're past a few months old, and the fact that people, including me, don't retain or recall anywhere near everything they read — outside, it seems puff pieces that sneak into copy on the beat — I'm not surprised it seems a revelation. It's not.

    Although I am sick and tired . . .

  • deepoil

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    @ All people that get mad about the Oil bashing:
    You people really need to open your eyes. It’s not us fans that are complaining about team that are the problem. It is you few who accept this constant mediocrity. That was fine when we were a small market but it is no longer an excuse. There are far too many players on this team that do not represent what Oiler hockey is. Does anybody even remember what Oiler hockey is? It used to mean something. Something other teams wanted to be. I’m so sick of hearing things like “this team is still in striking distance of fifth and sixth place.” They’ve been there for 18 friggin years! How can you find it acceptable to just squeek in only to be killed by the Sharks or Wings. They put on a hockey clinck the last few times they played. We pay huge money to support this team and I really expect more. Look at Chicago, Columbus, hell, even LA. Those teams are doing it right and they will be better, way sooner than the Oilers unless something major changes.
    Start by dropping the delusions of a playoff spot… Trade Cole for a pick or two. Moreau and Staios for a third line center Penner can go for a third string Goalie and you can give Nilsson, and, Pouliot away.
    After last night, this team has shown it’s true colours. FMNF:

    when was the last time the oil played a home game and the chatter before the game was confidence, kick some butt and we have this W – it has been a very long time, our barn is a brothel for visiting players – oilers get screwed

  • deepoil

    DK0 wrote:

    @ Cam:
    I bet we would cause MacT would find a way to bring Hossa down to a 3rd line player and turn him into a shot blocking monster.
    FMNF and HAOCWGAATCDIWWASTBAC
    (Hire An Offensive Coach Who Gets Angry And Throws Chairs During Intermissions When We Are S***ing The Bed Against Columbus)

    sorry tambo didnt have the aurthority to hire torts as a scout aka chicago – now he's gone – could we hire a celebrity coach with motivational tendencies such as bobbie knight ?

  • Deep Oil

    RyanD wrote:

    Love your Deep Thoughts articles, Robin. It’s just too bad that when you lay things out in point form, you begin to realize just how crappy things are right and have been in recent history with this team.

    With much respect Robin – are you chastized on two levels – just curious as you seem to be a more free spirited writer than main stream media protecting their press pass…… so do the oilers give you grief for writing negative comments for all to read, and second how has the blogger tag combined with your other affiliates played out this year – are you second class coompared to a journal or sun writer – just curious with much respect…….

  • Deep Oil

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Robin B wrote:
    as long as this management and coaching group is calling the shots.
    It’s mediocrity personified.
    Take that Dennis! HA

    has this organization forgot how to win or just doesnt want to win – like a cancer patient that refuses chemo and just wants the fight (season) to end for better pastures (heaven – or golf courses for nhl players)….
    this is a severe motivation problem combined with self ego confidence…… that's what my doctors tell me here at the institution……

  • Peter Pan

    Robin B wrote:

    @ Jasmine:
    You exceeded the “bash limit” on one post. Are you having one over on us for fun or are you the person from another, ahem, website who can’t put five words or a coherent thought together without writing “bash?”

    HA HA… You got told by Robin F'N Brownlee!!! HAHA!

  • wiggs22

    You know who i'd want to see in oil blue and i know i'm just dreaming cause i'd trade 2/3 of the team for these two guys… Frolov and Kopitar. there i said…
    maybe just Kopitar then.

  • Deep Oil

    Peter Pan wrote:

    Robin B wrote:
    @ Jasmine:
    You exceeded the “bash limit” on one post. Are you having one over on us for fun or are you the person from another, ahem, website who can’t put five words or a coherent thought together without writing “bash?”
    HA HA… You got told by Robin F’N Brownlee!!! HAHA!

    kinda mild in comparison to ripping warrior a new orface

  • Fiveandagame

    TEMNF – FMNF

    (Trade Ethan Moreau Now [email protected]#kers)

    Hey remember when the Oilers cared about hockey? Insert picture of Doug Weight here….

    @ Robin B:

    Is it just me or has MacTavish lost his fire? The Spark and wit he used to have seems to be replaced with the same frustration that many of the fans feel.

    If he wants his team fired up, shouldn't he get a little fired up?

    Just a question.

  • Deep Oil

    Rogue wrote:

    I really hope the Oil lose the next 2 games. This may convince the brass to pack it up for this year and start planning for next year. It is one thing to get dominated and abused by Detroit or San Jose, but Columbus??? In your own building??? A must win Game???
    Too small, too soft and no scoring touch. Fix this mess or I WILL start cheering for the FLAMES.
    JESUS TAP DANCING CHRIST, I cant believe I just said that!!

    Call Jake Daniels – he will set you straight 426 TEAM monday morning – until then do not be left alone – the voices will get you – trust me.

  • Deep Oil

    Fiveandagame wrote:

    and seriously is that Gregor as the riddler in the photo?

    No but Will Fraser should get a hold of his figure skating outfit photo from the 80's – it would change perception – maybe for the better…. really.

  • Deep Oil

    Robin what is the cap issue when a player leaves his contract and plays in another league….. (Radulov)…

    We could pray reall hard that 2/3 of this team leaves for Russia and KLOWE would be given a do over…..

    Cheers,
    DEEP

  • Peter Pan

    Fiveandagame wrote:

    TEMNF – FMNF
    (Trade Ethan Moreau Now [email protected]#kers)
    Hey remember when the Oilers cared about hockey? Insert picture of Doug Weight here….

    Not an Espisito type moment, but I'll always remember many moons ago when the Oilers were sitting as they are today, on the outside looking in. It was the Oilers Skills Competition and the event was wrapping up. Before the place emptied, Dougie took the microphone and spoke to the fans – face to face. He apologized for the underachievement to that point and assured the people he will guide his team into the dance. The Oilers responded with a magical playoff drive, got in, but lost to Dallas eventually. But that's not the point. He took a half ass team by the reins and led it into the playoffs. He, as captain, inspired his teammates and got them together, on board, as one hand, one voice, and one team. I love Dougie. A true captain and Oiler.

  • M.M.

    At least we aren't New York Islander fans. They are not very good now and there rookie crop isn't exactly a thing of beauty. Ottawa is beginning to look similar. While the Oilers don't have a lot of grade 'A' talent, there are players coming through the system that will be players.
    Admittedly, most of it is on defence or down the middle.
    Linus Omark is shooting out the lights in the SEL.(which isn't exactly a slouch league)

    All I'm saying is there are teams out there drafting worse than the Oilers even though they have higher picks.

  • TV

    Jasmine wrote:

    It’s the fans fault. The fans have been crap since 2000 and they have gotten worse. Ever since Ryan Smyth was traded, the fans have been bashing this team 24/7. I’m getting fed up with the constant Oilers bashing. On Tuesday against the Lightning the fans didn’t cheer when the Oilers scored but they sure cheered when the Lightning scored. The Penner OS has been bashed ever since the OS.
    No one said anything when other teams tendered an OS against the Oilers players. It was fine then. The Oilers have had the most OS against their players but nothing is ever said. St. Louis has tendered the most OS and nothing is said. The minute the Oilers tender an OS, they get bashed. Is it against the rules for the Oilers to tender an OS? It seems like that and I’m fed up with it.
    No wonder players don’t want to come to Edmonton. Fans will bash them before they arrive.

    Jasmine, or should I say, AKA "Hemsky83", please try & refrain from spamming this good site with your constant rhetoric.

    We get it, You HATE Oiler fans, (even though you are 1 yourself) now how about actually trying to make a comment regarding a puck issue for once? You might even get a decent reply from someone if you got off the path of hate for 6 seconds a day…

    x6

  • Fiveandagame

    @ Peter Pan:

    *sighs with fond memories of Doug Weight*

    Sorry to here you have the ebola flu Mr. Brownlee.

    Get well Soon, we're going to need your piss and vinegar for the stretch drive.

  • deepoil

    M.M. wrote:

    At least we aren’t New York Islander fans. They are not very good now and there rookie crop isn’t exactly a thing of beauty. Ottawa is beginning to look similar. While the Oilers don’t have a lot of grade ‘A’ talent, there are players coming through the system that will be players.
    Admittedly, most of it is on defence or down the middle.
    Linus Omark is shooting out the lights in the SEL.(which isn’t exactly a slouch league)
    All I’m saying is there are teams out there drafting worse than the Oilers even though they have higher picks.

    in a true form of racism – it is the last group that is picked on by the OTHERS….. stating the argument that we are better than the islanders, sens, is like saying
    that we are remedial students repeating the same grade…. and the special kids need to take this class 2 or 3 more years – not impressed with this comparison to other non winners – how about comparing yourself to Detroit, San Jose where the model of reverse engineering would pay benefits…… the last time I checked – saying your better than the losers next to is very small and trumpeting what if's is very shallow – the class of 09 has to pull themselves up, look in the mirror and address their problems either individually or collectively as a group – maybe a locker ass kicking instead of a team meeting would establish some heart, soul and substance – to which, is invisible – just like lowe's accountability and katz' commitment / presence.

  • deepoil

    Fiveandagame wrote:

    @ Peter Pan:
    *sighs with fond memories of Doug Weight*
    Sorry to here you have the ebola flu Mr. Brownlee.
    Get well Soon, we’re going to need your piss and vinegar for the stretch drive.

    yes – dougie left here for a bag of cash in st. louis

    i think he has made over $50million – not bad for kid from detroit that kept his lunch money in his shoes

    when we were a small team sucking on nhl welfare….

    how times have changed and the results have basically stayed the same…….. is it fair to state the obvious and expect a stanley cup every 30 years….. right now the law of averages seem better than the circus can put up

  • deepoil

    Peter Pan wrote:

    You know what the problem is in E-Town? It’s not the owner. It’s not the president. It’s not teh GM. It’s not the coach. And it’s not the players. IT IS THE FANS!!! Why do WE keep falling for the false hope that always presented to us by this organization? Why do we continue to pay one the highest in ticket prices to a product that mediocre, at best. The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club is a business. And any business’s primary objective is to make a profit. That is where they judge their success; in the books not on the ice. Sure, they would love to win a championship, but it is not the number one priority. And as long as we allow that to be by falling head over heals everytime Lowe and Company make a bold prediction or statement, they will profit and hence, accomplish their goals. Why do you think the Oilers are always in these huge rumours? To get the hopes up of the fans, to create excitement, to exhaust each media outlet, and most importantly, to have us suckers by in and support their business. For us to bitch and complain on radio, newspapers, or blogs like this is fun for us all. But the people who we HOPE are listening, actually aren’t. The only way they will here us is when the accountant has a concern. Money talks!

    sorry oilers can lose a portion of funds as long as the nj accountants approve the cross branding of the conglomerate – when you have a company called rexall that is profitable and is paying corporate tax – rexall sports is the ying to the yang and sometimes the expenses of an entertainment entity are positive to have in the term of checks and balances – making money is not primary – capturing the brand name and association with non taxable benefit is KEY – you can hide a lot of cash in a hockey team with losses – great tax avoidance vehicle…. really

  • M.M.

    @ deepoil:
    How many teams would you say draft better than the oilers. They missed the boat on one year and everyone will point at that year forever.(2003) But if you look at our talent pool coming through the system is a lot better than most teams. I would say top half of the league and we didn't spend year after year as a lottery team to get there.

    keep in mind, being above 50% is better than average

    Teams I think that have better prospects:

    St. Louis
    Columbus(I take Howson over KLowe any day)
    Los Angeles
    Phoenix(if any team's fans have the right to get rid of their coach it's this one, imo)
    Boston
    Chicago
    Washington
    Atlanta
    Tampa Bay

    Maybe Florida

    all of those teams have veen bottom feeding for a while now.

    Detroit
    Montreal
    Philadelphia has done a good job despite being competitive most of the time( minus 06-07 )

    These are the teams that do fairly good every year and I think have a better pool than us.

    I admit, there's no gamebreakers, but there are lots of players in our system, IMO.
    Philidelphia(Who I thin

  • Clarkenstein

    Had an interesting phone call today from the Oilers Robin… they are getting a feel if I'm going to renew my season tickets and buy playoff tickets. The price for my $94. per seat regular season seat will go to approx. $450. per seat for the 4th round of the playoffs!!! Glad I won't have to worry about that… but after much thought over the last couple weeks I told them:
    a) I would not be buying my playoff tickets this year and
    b) If there are not signicant changes made to coaching and management staffs that I would let my (5) season seats that we've had for 21 years.
    I've had enough of this B.S.
    I'm done…

  • deepoil

    Clarkenstein wrote:

    Had an interesting phone call today from the Oilers Robin… they are getting a feel if I’m going to renew my season tickets and buy playoff tickets. The price for my $94. per seat regular season seat will go to approx. $450. per seat for the 4th round of the playoffs!!! Glad I won’t have to worry about that… but after much thought over the last couple weeks I told them:
    a) I would not be buying my playoff tickets this year and
    b) If there are not signicant changes made to coaching and management staffs that I would let my (5) season seats that we’ve had for 21 years.
    I’ve had enough of this B.S.
    I’m done…

    wow clark – I did the same this year – groundhog year got to you…… can you imagine if more people thought this way….. at some point there has to be an equilibrium of accountability and success or the protest becomes too successful and the team looks at leaving eventually – but your disgust for your cash going down the drain is understandable…… can you imagine if the oilers had a feedback email or rant voicemail number (Allan Watt would have call display) to let loose after this professional organization has gone off the rails……. don't you think they should learn how to run a hockey team first before expanding its customer demo to semi pro ball – what is the focus here……

  • deepoil

    M.M. wrote:

    @ deepoil:
    How many teams would you say draft better than the oilers. They missed the boat on one year and everyone will point at that year forever.(2003) But if you look at our talent pool coming through the system is a lot better than most teams. I would say top half of the league and we didn’t spend year after year as a lottery team to get there.
    keep in mind, being above 50% is better than average
    Teams I think that have better prospects:
    St. Louis
    Columbus(I take Howson over KLowe any day)
    Los Angeles
    Phoenix(if any team’s fans have the right to get rid of their coach it’s this one, imo)
    Boston
    Chicago
    Washington
    Atlanta
    Tampa Bay
    Maybe Florida
    all of those teams have veen bottom feeding for a while now.
    Detroit
    Montreal
    Philadelphia has done a good job despite being competitive most of the time( minus 06-07 )
    These are the teams that do fairly good every year and I think have a better pool than us.
    I admit, there’s no gamebreakers, but there are lots of players in our system, IMO.
    Philidelphia(Who I thin

    Three teams off the top of my head – san jose, detroit and boston….. I am giving the kids a break here – drafting is a crap shoot…. I am holding LOWE accountable for $15mm in mistakes for just one year….

    Penner – failure (spector – hockeycentral)
    Horcoff – under performing
    Cole – better in in NC – gone
    $15mm that is hossa and player x

    but the problem here is that players have free flipping will unless you are traded like cole – and hossa told batman thanks but no thanks……..

    Thanks for the vine in regards to drafts – Gags and Cogs are works in progress – most teams can add a player to the draft once in two years – but I am disappointed in the lack of performance of LOWE's boys that he trumpeted on the team and made himself look like King Lear (look at me look at me) give me a break… in reality this was a pissing match between two egos with problems (burke and lowe) – I dont want problems – I want solutions and if you cross that line LOWE again – may the villagers string you up to show who YOU serve – go home to your riverbend mansion – think what you have done – think hard and have a drink as you will need it after you sober up and fix this train wreck