Kevin Prendergast: Oilers Have “Given Up Hope” On Dany Heatley

lnd

When it comes to truly dream-crushing quotes, Dan Tencer has the best set I’ve seen lately courtesy of Oilers’ assistant GM Kevin Prendergast.

I won’t give away everything, but here’s the money quote:

“I think we’ve given up hope on the Heatley scenario; but, I guess it’s not dead in the water. But, at this point, it looks like we’ll go to camp with the same team we finished with last year outside of a new goaltender.”

“I think at this point, it’s pretty evident what’s going to happen. But, we haven’t closed the door on the whole issue yet.”

Of course, when Prendergast says the ‘same team’ as last year, he means the same team as last year minus Ales Kotalik, Kyle Brodziak and Liam Reddox. Fun stuff.

Honestly, this quote is so ludicrous that I wonder all sorts of things. There are still players on the market who could shore up weaknesses – most notably the obvious lack of a qualified checking centre. The Oilers still have enough cap space to make a play for a guy like Manny Malhotra or Radek Bonk – and if they are truly considering moving away from Heatley than there is no reason not to sign a player of this ilk. Malhotra’s reportedly looking for a deal in the 2MM/season range, while Bonk would undoubtedly be cheaper even than that.

If we can believe that Prendergast is both a) completely aware of the situation and b) being honest with Tencer, than we should be concerned about the competence of the men currently making decisions for the team. Dany Heatley was never a sure thing, and there are an abundance of flaws with the team, so not having a Plan B is simply inexcusable.

The Edmonton Oilers may still improve; young players like Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano might take significant strides forward, the team might enjoy better halth as a whole (not that there were an inordinate number of injuries last season) and a better schedule could all help the Oilers be a better hockey team.

But there are any number of positive steps still left to Steve Tambellini and his staff, and not taking them would be a mistake.

  • Hippy

    DanMan wrote:

    He’s really better at everything than the Pou.

    Fun comparison:

    Brule – 157 GP, 35 pts, .223 points-per-game
    Pouliot – 141 GP, 39 pts, .277 points-per-game

    That's a 20% difference in offense.

    Maybe Brule is better at everything, but offense at the NHL level hasn't shown it.

    While we're at it, here are the AHL numbers:

    Brule – 55 GP, 34 pts, .618 points-per-game
    Pouliot – 153 GP, 123 pts, .804 points-per-game

    That's a 23% difference in offense.

  • Hippy

    DanMan wrote:

    In the new NHL, a good offense beats a good defence.

    May I present the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks, where their great offense (including Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and the "Nothing" Line, featuring noted scorers Sami Pahlsson, Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer) beat the Ottawa Senators great defense (featuring Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and one Dany Heatley).

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I can't argue with you there, Jonathan.

    I dont want Cogliano anywhere near a faceoff circle. I think 45% and up is enough for a 3rd or 4th line C.

    Do you think Cogliano even fits on this team anymore, Jonathan?

    He's too small to be a winger, can't take a draw, and apparently can't be on the PK either.

  • Hippy

    jeanshorts wrote:

    but I remember fondly before the whole Smyth debacle, during many a game I’d sit there and say “jesus, if only these guys could catch a bounce every once and a while. They’re firing with everything they’ve got they just can’t buy a break”. I can’t remember the last time I had that thought watching an Oiler game, especially last season.

    haha sorry dude. It was too funny to me. But I completely agree. I took my GF to three games in the last two seasons. She doesn't know a thing about hockey but guess what she tells everybody about the games. "It looks like they don't even try compared to the other teams. They don't try to get the puck from the other team. They just lose the puck and stand around hoping the other team doesn't score"

    That is an exact quote and THAT is exactly what Oiler hockey has been for the last couple of years. I'm sick and tired of it. The teams form 97-06 were a pain in the ass to play against and exciting as all hell but just needed a pretty player or two to take them over the top. Lowe was like Michael Jackson and went way too far trying to become pretty. Turned themselves into an unrecognizable mess.

    @ DanMan:
    I want you to know that Everything you have said is exactly what I've been thinking for the last two years while reading Oiler blogs. I just haven't ever been able to say it like that. Preach on brother.

  • Hippy

    Im talking regular season J-Will, but I'll bite.

    4-time 50 goal scorer Teemu Selanne.
    Bona-fide 1st line center Ryan Getzlaf.
    Corey Perry
    Chris Kunitz
    250 pounds of Penner.

    Pahlsson's line shut down the big line from Ottawa, there is no doubt about that. But, for the most part, the Lemaire/Hitchcock model doesn't equal automatic success anymore.

    Young skill wins: Malkin, Crosby, Toews, Kane, Staal, Getzlaf, etc. You can't deny that.

  • Hippy

    Prendergast is Ted Turner's evil cousin..

    Prender
    hxxp://cdn.nhl.com/oilers/bc/images/roster/all_staff/prendergast_kevin.jpg

    Ted1
    hxxp://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/ted-turner-WI-1108-lg-77848751.jpg

    Ted2
    hxxp://www.tvweek.com/blogs/blink/2008/11/14/TedTurnerBLINK.jpg

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    Malhotra: 407 wins
    Cogliano: 261 wins

    That means 146 more times the Oilers start without the puck if they run out Cogliano. That’s significant, Dan.

    Which over the course of the season is less than two times a game.

    I'm more worried about Cogliano's defensive skills and the fact he has to play with hacks most of the time. The kid could be an offensive jewel and he plays the majority of his time on a checking line? To me, that's the bigger issue at hand with him.

  • Hippy

    Travis Dakin wrote:

    Lowe was like Michael Jackson and went way too far trying to become pretty. Turned themselves into an unrecognizable mess.

    Scientists are now saying that MJ's attempt to change his looks was based on the mental anguish he sustained after having a raging bonfire on his head when he filmed that Pepsi commercial back in the 80's. You see the video of that sh*t!? I remember hearing about it through the grapevine school rumour crap back in the day and we all laughed at the thought of him having his head on fire. Now that I've seen the video… http://www.usmagazine.com/news/video-michael-jacksons-tragic-commercial-accident-2009157 OUCH!!

  • Hippy

    Every off-season I believe management can't be this dumb, they know what their doing and have something big up their sleeve. Then the season starts, I focus on watching the team and assume the big deals couldn't happen as it's hard to make these things happen in the cap world. Yet, somehow, other teams seem to improve. Why is this? It must be because, yes, they are this dumb.
    *pours another drink, tries to return to state of blind (drunken) optimism*

  • Hippy

    @ Hemmertime:

    Detroit plays a puck posession game when they have the puck, and forecheck hard when they don't have the puck. Thats not defensive hockey.

    To me, defensive hockey is playing in a way, that when you don't have the puck, or it is a loose puck with the opposite team closer to it, you don't forcheck, you set up a zone and sit back to break up the pass at the destination (ie. trapping, which neither team did very much in the finals, which should tell us all something).

    But, I have to ask you Hemmertime, and J-Will, why are you such strong advocates of defensive hockey? Is that really the style you want to watch?

    I would much rather see Chicago, Washington, even Vancouver play than teams like Minnesota and New Jersey. That is ugly hockey. Shutdown hockey is horrible for the game. It takes the game away from the players and gives it to the coaches.

    Not too long ago, we sat through the worst era of hockey. The new rules have SAVED hockey. Do you really want to see the Oilers try and rekindle the magic of the trapinng-era?

  • Hippy

    as far as pendergast goes i think he is probably the least competent member of the management team and most likely to be fired at this point. he did a terrible job of running the ahl teams the last few years and is now making statements contrary to other members of the staff. i heard patrick laforge on cbc just this week talking about how the team was still in the hunt for players.

    KP is a joke.

  • Hippy

    At one point this year I was so mad about the cost to attend an Oilers game, I live in Grande Prairie and used to rip in, go to the game and rip home all in the same day. Me and some buddies would do this 6-8 times a year, we loved it. Last year we did it once, that is all (in this dire economy) that we can afford now. At this point after much thought, I realize the rise in the cost to go to the game is actually a blessing because it would have been a waste of time, money, and emotion to go to any more games! The game we attended was the one where Horcoff had an open net with less than 2 minutes to go and only had to side-step the d-man to put it in, instead shot it into the d-man's pads and Darcey Tucker went back to tie it up with 10 sec to go, then he scores the winner in a shootout! This years budget for extra-curricular activities may well not have an Oiler game in it!

  • Hippy

    @ DanMan:
    There is a happy median. The Oilers tightened up their reigns when Hemsky is not on the ice. The MacT "press" I believe its called, 1 man in, 4 in the neutral zone. Gasp, defensive hockey.

    It all depends on roster. As long as we are pumping north of 25 shots on net I could care less how we accomplish it. Be it "pressing" and playing for PP, free wheeling offense or a combination of the two. Quite frankly, if we had Minnesota's roster the years where they were just horrible to watch (every year?) I would want us playing a defensive system too. Sorry, but Andrew Brunette shouldnt be told to run wild and he was one of their best. Mind you he did have over 80 pts in Colorado – but 95% their roster you get the picture.

  • Hippy

    The phones are still on. Just not for the big star we all want, but may not need. A defensive center man would get into the dance. Then trade or two during the season Oil will be fine.

  • Hippy

    A lot of good posts especially the ones between DanMan and JW.
    I am thinking perhaps Cogliano gets traded to a team that has several defensively sound centres and needs a more offensive one.
    I am also thinking that Quinn will use the players the Oil have the way they were meant to be used.
    My complaint was always the fact that the team KLowe built was not the right team for MacT. KLowe built a Ferrari (okay maybe a Corvette) fast skating, offensively gifted and designed to go forward and meanwhile MacT was trying to drive the car like a Semi or a tank.
    The disconnect between the team built by the GM and the team the coach wanted or could drive was huge. From what I have seen of Quinn he doesn't match lines and he doesn't have a specific checking line, what he does is have every line forecheck as hard as they can and attempt to score goals.
    The junior team Quinn coached to the gold medal was a team based on this premise and his main players were offensive minded guys (who were criticized for their inability to play a solid two way game) like Tavares, Eberle, Saban, etc. in fact I would be hard pressed to name too many defensive type players who played a big part. In fact it would be interesting to see the face off percentage of that team.
    The Oilers have more prospects at centre than any other position and the fact is DanMan is right we need to develop them in their natural positions and let them learn the hard way. I think Quinn will play the young guys and the message will be "I don't care if you lose the draw but you better fracking work your ass off to get the puck back if you do lose." Guys like Brule, Stortini and Horcoff fit this type of player, Brodziak as much as he was liked doesn't.

  • Hippy

    Just did a quick look for the 09 juniors face off percentage and Canada had 4 players in the top 30. Tavares was number 2 at a 65% rate.. so perhaps that isnt a good judge.. 🙂

  • Hippy

    All I wanna know is what happened to Tambellini's desire to get "bigger and stronger", did he not have a gameplan or did he simply change his mind. Also, please forgive me if these were already adressed as I haven't read the other posts.

  • Hippy

    West Coast Oil wrote:

    A lot of good posts especially the ones between DanMan and JW.
    I am thinking perhaps Cogliano gets traded to a team that has several defensively sound centres and needs a more offensive one.
    I am also thinking that Quinn will use the players the Oil have the way they were meant to be used.
    My complaint was always the fact that the team KLowe built was not the right team for MacT. KLowe built a Ferrari (okay maybe a Corvette) fast skating, offensively gifted and designed to go forward and meanwhile MacT was trying to drive the car like a Semi or a tank.
    The disconnect between the team built by the GM and the team the coach wanted or could drive was huge. From what I have seen of Quinn he doesn’t match lines and he doesn’t have a specific checking line, what he does is have every line forecheck as hard as they can and attempt to score goals.
    The junior team Quinn coached to the gold medal was a team based on this premise and his main players were offensive minded guys (who were criticized for their inability to play a solid two way game) like Tavares, Eberle, Saban, etc. in fact I would be hard pressed to name too many defensive type players who played a big part. In fact it would be interesting to see the face off percentage of that team.
    The Oilers have more prospects at centre than any other position and the fact is DanMan is right we need to develop them in their natural positions and let them learn the hard way. I think Quinn will play the young guys and the message will be “I don’t care if you lose the draw but you better fracking work your ass off to get the puck back if you do lose.” Guys like Brule, Stortini and Horcoff fit this type of player, Brodziak as much as he was liked doesn’t.

    WestCoastHockey, you have a brilliant hockey mind.

    Pat Quinn has always been my favourite NHL coach. If more teams played his style of hockey without the micromanaging BS, the game would THRIVE in the United States

  • Hippy

    For the Oil to go into next season with the same team as last year is like taking a spoon to a gunfight.

    Kevin P should be locked in a back room and not allowed to speak unless spoken to.

  • Hippy

    There are a few big factors that should they happen, could make the current roster a playoff team as it is right now:

    1) Quinn and Renney need to be clear when they explain to the players that this is a new start. Each person on the team will get a chance to do what he does best. They'll be expected to work hard every shift and be responsible, but that they will coach to excentuate their strengths.

    2) The players have to believe point #2.

    3) Penner, Nilsson, Hemsky and have to decide that they can change the game when they want to in a positive way. We've already seen that when their minds are in the game they can be game changers.

    4) The coaching staff has to encourage point #3.

    5)Every player has to work on areas of weakness. Cogliano on face-offs, Penner on using the body, Hemsky on shooting…

    The team does this stuff, it can be a much better team that the underachievers we all saw last year.

  • Hippy

    "But, at this point, it looks like we’ll go to camp with the same team we finished with last year outside of a new goaltender.”

    That part kind of makes my stomach turn. Honestly, I'm no GM and I oversimplify things, but rumors have been abound this year of a few players being available that could easily fit that top line role. To name a few: Frolov, Semin (according to Scott Cullen of TSN), Gagne, Tanguay (while I'm not a fan of his), our very own Kotalik, Kessel (debatable though since he's a RWer). Then we can name the players we missed the boat on while staying 100% focused on Dany Heatley – Martin Havlat and Marion Gaborik to name two. Is this the doing of Steve Tambellini? Is he that focused on one player? Or is it maybe a mandate from above again from Mr. Katz, I have to wonder.

    Anyways, there are other holes, as you have mentioned in your article, Jonathan. I've been on the Malhotra bandwagon for quite some time now (since the start of last season, anyways). As well, I still think we could use a bigger physical/defensive presence in our top 4. It kind of makes me sick that Boynton was signed for a mere 1.5M. He would have been perfect, and the Oil could have flipped any of our top 4 d-men elsewhere to another team to solve our top line LW/C issue.

    All I can say is, I sure as hell hope that the Oilers don't stand pat. Are we really expected to believe that new coaches and a bit better of a goaltender are all we need to succeed this year? Can Quinn and Renney get the most out of our forwards that MacT could not? Possibly, but I still think more could be done here, and why make it harder on ourselves than we need to? Get out there and get one of the other available players for that top line!