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.

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.”

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.

“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.

  • I sound like a broken record but when does MacTavish become accountable for the teams mediocre play? As Robin posted before the turnover on this team in the past 3 seasons is unbelievable. I'm tired of the excuses, I want a new coach.

  • Chris

    I do find it odd that Coffee, Arnott, Comrie, Pronger, and every other Oiler who has ever left the orginization under curious circumstances were all accused of, or rumored to have had inappropriate sexual daliances…

  • oilersseasonticketholdersince99

    The Oilers will not make the playoffs,they will not fire Mac T,they will make a minor trade,they will still have a full hockey arena and a season ticket waiting list,no one will get blamed for missing the play offs and having a sub par season,we will not get a new arena any time soon.

  • Chris

    Caught Tambo on Gregor's show. Seems like Tambo thinks he has the last word on player movement. Has there been a power shift? Lowe claimed that he had final say back when Tambo was first brought in.

    The MacIntyre acquisition remains as Tambo's only mark on this team… and the only player to launch me out of my seat at RX1 this year. I'm hoping for real and positive changes in the offseason… Changes to be made by Tambellini.

  • Deep Oil

    @ Chris: When you are an oiler from then to now – be a denny andrews waitress, goose loonies waitress, grinder waitress (older cougar), earls waitress, and now a joeys girl – all you have to do is speed dial and it is full service for the hope of landing that hockey player by hook or by crook (pregnancy) the money is just too large now vs min wage and tips to not consider getting out of the hood.

    Who hasn't seen the Oiler stanley cup photo with the stripper sitting in the cup…

    With texting and facebook now – it is the horizontal mombo hookup just by logging on….

    A smart hockey player would have a vasectomy to reduce the paternity payments and store some swimmers in the freezer. Sparky – I need some more extra large Trojans…. Living a single life as an NHL hockey player is like a buffet everyday – but in the end – some players really get bored with it – too much fluff no substance… so having inappropriate sexual relations is not the problem it is the volume and frequency that cause the issues of innuendo and heresay… forget NHl players – I know one player on the RUSH that never slept after each game as he had the blue smarties going and a lineup of phillies that an NHL player would die for – it was hilarious – so what is the big deal about sowing your oats – as long as you are not sleeping with your teammates wife, girlfriend or sister.

  • Deep Oil

    oilersseasonticketholdersince99 wrote:

    The Oilers will not make the playoffs,they will not fire Mac T,they will make a minor trade,they will still have a full hockey arena and a season ticket waiting list,no one will get blamed for missing the play offs and having a sub par season,we will not get a new arena any time soon.

    Is that because Katz cannot come up the $100 million he promised and the Northlands Lottery fund is not valid without private money – note to Mandel and friends the parking lot monopoly game is a hold for now. Taking the fans money is easy when people are lining up outside the building – no need to worry about performance – Toronto Maple Leafs west – the king wears no clothes

  • RobinB

    Deep Oil 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.
    RobinB your batter up

    Right. I'll be burning sources and souring relationships on something that, frankly, people should let go of and that doesn't matter any more.

    One thing I will say, as to the accusation Comrie slept with Salo's wife, is that it's totally bogus.
    Mike's already denied it, but to add to that: when it looked like Anaheim and Edmonton had a deal before Lowe queered it by asking for money back, Mike's teammates, including Tommy, went to his house for a going away bash. If a guy's been messing with your wife, do you go over to his house to wish him well? Not where I come from.

  • Chris

    @ Deep Oil:
    I understand these guys get action… But Oiler Fans eagerly spread rumors like: Coffee was traded because he slept with Sather's wife, Arnott was gay, Comrie slept with Salo's wife, and Pronger got the A Channel Weather Girl pregnant…

    Oiler fans. Give these guys some space. Don't spread lies. Accept your share of the blame for our inability to attract UFA's. Not everyone craves the limelight. I'm a huge geek uberfan, but I never bother these guys on the street or claim to know anything about their personal lives.

  • Chris

    @ RobinB:
    Thanks Robin. I never believed that one anyway…nor any of the above rumors either. Due to the cozy relationship between the media and the club good info is hard to come by. I seriously doubt this trend will improve under Katz… I believe it will get worse.

  • Deep Oil

    Chris wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    I understand these guys get action… But Oiler Fans eagerly spread rumors like: Coffee was traded because he slept with Sather’s wife, Arnott was gay, Comrie slept with Salo’s wife, and Pronger got the A Channel Weather Girl pregnant…
    Oiler fans. Give these guys some space. Don’t spread lies. Accept your share of the blame for our inability to attract UFA’s. Not everyone craves the limelight. I’m a huge geek uberfan, but I never bother these guys on the street or claim to know anything about their personal lives.

    Coffey wanted more money – Slats was cheap via PUCK
    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1066684/index.htm

    Arnott was not into it – pregnancy.
    http://hfboards.com/archive/index.php/t-76533.html

    Comrie was butting heads with lowe
    http://articles.latimes.com/2003/dec/11/sports/sp-ducktrade11

    Salo was just plain bad – awful – head case.

    Do you have any other rumors that need to be put to bed -ooops wrong word….

  • Deep Oil

    Chris wrote:

    @ Deep Oil:
    I understand these guys get action… But Oiler Fans eagerly spread rumors like: Coffee was traded because he slept with Sather’s wife, Arnott was gay, Comrie slept with Salo’s wife, and Pronger got the A Channel Weather Girl pregnant…
    Oiler fans. Give these guys some space. Don’t spread lies. Accept your share of the blame for our inability to attract UFA’s. Not everyone craves the limelight. I’m a huge geek uberfan, but I never bother these guys on the street or claim to know anything about their personal lives.

    Pronger may of had a child out of wedlock in Edmonton (unproven) – but the bottom line if your wife is not happy – you are not happy – and when she has more money than you – she wears the pants in the family. No we did not burn his furniture on the street – as per JIM ROME / PRONGER LOVE IN INTERVIEW – JAB JAB EDM

  • Chris

    Pronger knew his wife. Pronger knew Edmonton. He signed a long term contract anyway…
    Then when the whole situation predictably deteriorates Lowe moves that big lying jerk quickly to avoid an ugly situation and this is how Pronger repays us. Deep Oil wrote:

    No we did not burn his furniture on the street – as per JIM ROME / PRONGER LOVE IN INTERVIEW – JAB JAB EDM

    This is why I Boooo!

  • Deep Oil

    @ Chris: You must be single – any guy in Edmonton can tell you that his wife can change her mind based on weather, period, mood, shopping, – so lets set the record straight – no man in the world can consistently predict what his wife is thinking….. arrrrghhh!!!!

    How about this – why did Lowe pull the trigger based on Pronger's request so quickly – why not let him sit or not report for 5 months and see what happens – what was the rush – if he played in Edmonton on with a trade request – past history shows the rewards to trading to a team looking for that last piece is pretty rich at the deadline…. LOWE folded like a tent – should of told Pronger to either show up or wait till spring.. I could never figure out what the rush to appease PRONGER was from an organizational sense – he was professional in the playoffs – as stated – LOWE had a premature trigger finger here – and in retrospect dealing with Burke shows even more weakness…

  • tired of boring hockey

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

    Hey Robin…I guess that's most of us were trying to say a few weeks ago when you said "when we lose we're to low and when we win we're too high". Things need to change but it won't happen from what I got from Tambellini's interview with Gregor this afternoon

  • Dennis

    I could list how I'd construct and run the lines once 34-83 get back but we'll have to be extra-special at both EV and on the PP because we simply don't have the guys in-house to kill penalties.

    I think that's clear to anyone who watches the games.

  • Chris

    @ Deep Oil:
    I have already stated earlier on this very thread that I believe the Pronger trade was a knee jerk reaction resulting from regret generated by the Comrie situation. Lowe SHOULD have got more. It's scandalous that he didn't.
    Oh and I am married. Women are easy to read and relatively stable if you LISTEN to them, and KNOW them at all. Pronger KNEW his blue blood princess wife would not fare well in working class Edmonton. The proletariat here think they are people too! How shocking this must have been for her to leave behind her servants and gated communities and exclusive social clubs to live in a place where family money doesn't insulate you from the masses… Oh and the weather…how could she have known a north Canadian city would be cold in the winter? It was a very predictable situation and shame on the Prongers, and shame on Lowe for being unrealistic about life in Edmonton. A large longterm contract was requested and Lowe obliged. Too bad it was never liklely to be honoured. I work in the Oilpatch and would never move my wife to the Middle East because I know that would be a recipe for personal disaster. Or maybe I should ignore the obvious, sign a big contract, force my family into an uncomfortable situation, and then breach my contract, blame the region, and spread lies about the inhabitants. Pronger gets BOOOOOOOOOh for being an elitist, a liar, and a person of poor character.

  • What confuses me most is how the Oilers seem to show up for some big games and disappear for large stretches for the rest of the season. Is there no professionalism left or is that just a word coaches throw around in interviews just because?

  • Rick

    Antony Ta wrote:

    What confuses me most is how the Oilers seem to show up for some big games and disappear for large stretches for the rest of the season.

    Earlier in the discussion Brownlee asked what constitutes broken. This pretty much sums it up for me.

    Having a good team doesn't mean that they win every game but it damn well better mean that they play with a complete effort consistantly. You can lose while playing well the same way you can win while playing bad.

    This team has done more of the latter and for me that is the crux of my disappointment with this season. It's hard enough to count their complete single game efforts this year never mind looking for a string of complete games.

    For me that means it is definately broken.

  • Colin

    On the nose Robin, on the nose.

    An Ugly, ugly game and another ping pong between good and bad efforts. The good efforts seem to be occurring more frequently though of late so just maybe they will improve. Full marks to the 4th line on Monday though.

    Part of me says that it's growing pains with so many young players, but then why are so many veterans not showing up?

    You sort of wonder if there are some hurt feelings among some of the vets about all of the bodies that have left and they are showing their displeasure in this manner.

    A couple questions for Robin:

    Would you still ship Cole out?

    Any chance of Quinn coming here?

    Will you be on Gregor's show today? – I'll probably get flamed for this, but those are the shows I prefer.

  • J-Bird

    Personally, for me, all this frustration from fans is the result of coming to realization that this team isn't very good…………….for the 3rd year in a row.

    We got to puff our chests out for like 2 days after the 2006 Stanley Cup run before the wheels fell off the wagon.

    After years of not being a very good team….

    And that darn realization that they aren't very good again, and despite what your heart tells you, your brain says it's not going to be a very good team for some time….

    and fans are FRUSTRATED with the same old song and dance and no changes of any substance.

    And on top of that, we get the Rah, Rah type media coverage from the Sun and Journal (not this place thank god) which only fuels the disappointment when they suck year after year.