Wake up and smell the mediocrity

The Oilers woke up this morning in 14th place in the West, one point ahead of the Wild with a five-game road trip on the horizon. As frustrated as this organization and their fans must be today, it could always be worse: you could be a Rider fan or player.

For the past few weeks fans have been demanding the Oilers tank it and position themselves for a lottery pick. News flash people: They are in 27th spot today, Ales Hemsky is done for the season, Nikolai Khabibulin still isn’t practicing and their top-two centres didn’t skate today.

If you wanted the Oilers to get a top-five pick, then be prepared for a long 55 games. But don’t expect them to trade away all of their veterans for prospects or picks. Steve Tambellini will make a move or two as the trade deadline nears if they’re out of it, but don’t expect him to completely gut this team. I’m guessing they will try to mirror more of a Carolina rebuild, compared to the lengthy rebuilds of teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Right now this team is bringing a water gun to a gun fight. Their goaltenders have combined for 15 NHL starts, they have one forward who has scored more than 25 goals in a season, and only Carolina and Columbus have given up more goals so far.

Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff didn’t skate, while Robert Nilsson and Ryan Stone were on the ice, and Stone took part in every drill. Both have been cleared to play and should be in the lineup on Thursday. Horcoff is resting his shoulder, while Gagner had a non-hockey related meeting that he couldn’t get out of. Both will be ready for Thursday.

Khabibulin isn’t close to returning so the JDD and DD tandem will start the trip. Mike Comrie and Denis Grebeshkov aren’t even in the conversation as far as returning.

The Oilers had a fast-paced practice, filled with lots of line rushes, a big hit from Dean Arsene on J.F. Jacques and it ended with some four-on-four time. The problem was in the entire four-on-four scrimmage there was only one goal; a top-shelf slapper by Ethan Moreau on Devan Dubnyk. Then they practiced their shoot-outs. Andrew Cogliano and Lubomir Visnovsky were the best scoring three straight.

I suggest we here at OilersNation try to maintain a level head the remainder of the season. Please don’t waste anyone’s time by posting or linking to ridiculous trade rumours. I know you all want Shawn Horcoff traded, but it won’t happen this season, and it probably won’t happen for a few more years.

If you read that Eric Staal is coming here, make sure you count to 50 and ask yourself, “Will I look like a complete fool if I even mention this?” If you reach 50 and still are tempted to bring it up, then be prepared to be mocked. Staal is not being traded.

I am all for suggesting fair or realistic trades, or scenarios that you would like to see the Oilers take. The next few months might be painful for the Oilers and their fans, but let’s not make it anymore painful by being subjected to asinine and ridiculous rumours.

Speaking of rumours, I got a text from Wanye today. He is alive, but rattled by Hemsky’s injury, stunned at the Riders gag job and frustrated because they have no BLs in his travels. No truth to the rumour that he was in jail. He got a slap on the wrist and ten lashes on his ass, but no criminal record.

  • BarryS wrote:

    You takes your guess, you bets your money, you win or loose. No skill needed.

    For an uneducated guess, yes. But by such measures there's no point at all to, say, professional scouting either. You can't possibly calculate all the variables to predict the next 20 years of a 17-year-old's career. Yet there's no getting around the fact that some guesses are better than others.

    And right now, the smart money says that the Oilers are very, very unlikely to make the playoffs.

      • 1. Did you even read their methodology before thrashing it?

        2. Computing odds is not not just a random odds maker pulling a number out of a hat. It is a very strict process and is a far more accurate predictor than many other things people want to take for granted. (at least vegas odds are) –

        I have no knowledge of the accuracy of the odds as determined by the site in question but I would at least see how they come to a number before ranting about how wrong their predictions are. I loved how you used the possibility of a 20-2 run as an argument against their odds. Can I assume then that you believe the Oilers have a better than 10% chance to go on a 20-2 run?

        3. I have seen you repeatedly use the word on this site but I have yet to see you spell it correctly. The word is oxymoron. I would have assumed a typo but you spell it that way every time. I wish you would use it correctly sometime. That would be a nice change of pace.

        • BarryS

          1. Don't have to, all methodologies dealing with the future have to make assumptions, the matter is just to complex not to, so believe the predictions if you want to, just don't try to sell any system based on assumptions as anything more than a guess.

          2. I don't actually care where they finish, its entertainment and as long as there is the occasional entertaining thing in a game, I'm happy, just like a comedy, not every joke works, but if some do, I tend to like it.

          3. Last I heard, there were no marks for spelling on this blog. If spelling is a requirement, there will be very few postings here.

          • Ridiculous. Assumptions are used to make ANY and EVERY prediction of ANY event. Virtually all science is predicated on developing assumptions to use in making predictions.

            Furthermore you are pretending that all estimates are equal. That is idiotic at best. I am not claiming that the web site in question has any special claim to accuracy, but your sweeping generalizations are inane beyond belief.

            By your logic there is no point to scouting, or to even having a draft. Why not assign players to teams alphabetically since we are only guessing and cannot possibly predict the chances of a players success.

            Honestly though, your opinion lost all credibility in my mind when you cited the possibility of a 20-2 run as evidence for the unlikelihood of generating odds.

            Oh and no, there are no marks for spelling, but if you are going to use a word as often as you apparently want to use that one you might want to actually learn how to spell it. Your posts reek of a desire to sound superior but then just come off as sad when you write things like "Oximoron," which I'm pretty sure is a carpet cleaner or something.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      While that may be true it is too early to blow up the team and call it quits. If we when say 5 in a row what are the odds of us making the playoffs? I don't think I have ever seen a team blow up their roster before the all-star break.

  • @ BarryS:

    No, what I mean is that one website calculated those odds at less than 10%. I could have said "93 points (which looks to be a decent estimate of the cutline as there are more three point games this year) would require a 104 point pace over the remaining 55 games" like Tyler did, but instead chose to present it that way.

    The odds are very bad. Players and coaches should ignore the odds, because they aren't being paid to make team decisions, they're being paid to win games. It shouldn't matter to them. Managers should look at the odds, because they are being paid to make team decisions and those odds factor in.

    As for fans, they have options. They can be realistic all the way, or they can live in their own little bubble of faith. I prefer realism. Your mileage may vary. I frankly don't care.

    But suggesting that I'm actively hoping the Oilers miss the playoffs is just asinine.

    • BarryS

      Sorry, I did not mean it as a personal attack on you, rather the person making the program. There is no science to odds. The bookmaker sets a line he thinks will attract betters with small risk of loosing money, then the betters guess who will win, loose, cover, and place their bets. The odds are then adjusted in line with how many bets on each side. But since I don't bet, I put no faith in odds.

  • BarryS

    Everyone should temper their venom with the knowledge that the Oilers lead the league in man games lost, and it certainly seems like barring a miracle run from another team, will lead the league in that category by a long shot.

    No, it's no excuse, yes, every team has to deal with them. But no team will reach its potential when guys like Zack Stortini are getting PP minutes, and when Strudwick is forced to play against top lines.

    At this point as an Oilers fan what I primarily want to see if the kind of effort they put forth versus the Sharks. Gritty, hard-nosed, hard-working play. If they can deliver a more gutsy brand of hockey, at least we will be entertained as we float around in the mid-twenties.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      This is what I think as well. We haven't been a fully healthy roster since almost the beginning of the season, and even when our players are "coming back" they're still covering up injuries or illness. At times this year, we've iced a largly AHL line up. It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that we didn't do super well.

  • Oilitsinyoutogive

    lets take a break here and look at the plus side, more people will be selling their tickets below face value, again like last year which means more coke beers for me and more games to have coke beers at.

  • "For the past few weeks fans have been demanding the Oilers tank it and position themselves for a lottery pick. News flash people: They are in 27th spot today, Ales Hemsky is done for the season, Nikolai Khabibulin still isn’t practicing and their top-two centres didn’t skate today.

    If you wanted the Oilers to get a top-five pick, then be prepared for a long 55 games. But don’t expect them to trade away all of their veterans for prospects or picks. Steve Tambellini will make a move or two as the trade deadline nears if they're out of it, but don’t expect him to completely gut this team."

    We certainly are well on our way to a lotto pick, but trading one of (if not both) Souray/Vish makes some sense. Both likely have 1-3 good years left in them, Baring a miricle this team is further then that from Cup contention. Get some pics for them… or even some 25 – 27 year old role players (A Jarret Stoll type if you will)

  • BarryS

    Gregor, cna you see the Oil making a trade to get another 1st round pick. It would be nice to get ours and one more in the top 20. If the Oil end up with the 1st pick overall would they take Hall or Seguin? I don't know much about them.

  • I agree we need to get bigger but Jacques, Stone, Storts, and whoever else is brought in will help with that. But can we keep Eberle out of the line up? Comrie won't be back he's small. I honestly think Cogs won't be back. I think Quinn and Tambo realize we need to be bigger and we will see that start happening later this season at the deadline.

  • Chaz

    Catch 22, Oilers Style:

    I want the team to do well everytime I watch them, yet I know realistically the best thing for them might well be to finish near or at the bottom of the league so we get a top 3 pick. Therefore, do I cheer for them to win each game to satisfy my short-term fandom, or do I cheer for them to tank thus ensuring a top pick in next year's draft?

    Answer: As hard as I try, I can't cheer against them, so damn the pick and Go Oil Go!! They are for sure going to turn things around starting Thursday in Detroit…

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    As for some trades. I don't mind the Cogliano for Dubinsky trade that was thrown out there. I just don't know if the Rangers do it and not sure how Dubinsky fits into our center situation.

    If Coglaino isn't moved I wouldn't mind seeing O'Sullivan moved. And one of Grebs/Gilbert. Try get a another defensive d-man and try add some size to our skilled player pool.

  • tricksnard

    This season might be a tank job without trying!! But there are positives. Eberle will be here next year. And man does he look good. MPS might be here and he is having a fine season in the Swedish elite. And we will have a marginally better looking cap situation I think. No Grebeshkov, cause I think he will be traded or let walk. No Pisani, love the guy but cost to much. Nilsson will not be back. Right there is a minus of 7.5 mil. or so. I can see good things in the future.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. wrote:

    It's way too soon to make deals anyways. There is still that slight chance that this team could win without Hemsky.

    The odds of this team earning a playoff spot currently sit at less than 10%.

    Thus, I'd suggest it's not way too early; it's more likely way too late.

    • BarryS

      Like to know how you figure the odds? Lets see, 700 some players, 2000 some games, 50 – 60 on ice officials, a hundred some coaches, all making an unknown number of decisions a game, a billion and a half or more possible player combinations, 30 ice surfaces with 2000 some opportunities to affect the game, unfactorable injury possibilities. Like to find a computer with the possibilities to factor all that.

      What you mean, you guess/hope the odds are less than 10%.

      • Considering they've gone 3-10 this month and are one point out of being last place in the west, are missing more than a handful of regulars including their number one goalie, and haven't been able to string together any sort of consistency all season, I think it's safe to say the odds of them making the playoffs are slim. It doesn't take a complicated algorithm to figure that out.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        There is a website that does calculate that, but at the same time you win a game and the guy ahead of you loses and you jump up.

        It's funny we are 7 points out wtih 55 or so games to go and we are a complete write off.

        • BarryS

          Actually, there isn't, and there isn't likely ever to be. Just like weather models, hockey outcome models only succeed by disregarding most of the possible variables. Last I heard, a computer to compute all the variables in the weather would need to be the size of the known universe, the hockey one would likely be not much smaller. While many variables do cancel each other out, knowing before hand which, is impossible. Garbage in, Garbage out. You can not forecast either a 20 – 2 run or 2 – 20 run in advance, sorry. All this stuff, is assumption/hope in assumption/hope out.

          You takes your guess, you bets your money, you win or loose. No skill needed.

  • BarryS

    Really stoked we signed a 36-year-old injury prone goalie who only puts it together in contract years to a rich 4 year deal. Bravo Tambo! Next signing: Jagr to a 3 year $15 million contract!

      • Nobody said he wasn't good when he was healthy. Everyones issue when he signed the deal was the length of the contract, and his injury riddled history vs. what other players were available at the time. It was an unneccesary risk, and it's looking like it caught up to us. If the kids can play fine, then all will be well, but they aren't exactly looking solid.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        Not sure it was even hindsight. Bulin has an injruy problem, lets just hope he is able to play 55-60 games a year througout the length of his contract.

        • BarryS

          Of course it is hindsight, all O N seems to be is everybody trumpeting their version of hindsight. Except of course, for the claims every other team in the league has better players, no bad contracts, and otherwise is better. The term, small town – small mind, syndrome comes to town.

          Guess what folks, every other town has fans just as small-minded as this one, just as many bad contracts, non-preforming players etc. etc.

          • BarryS

            So what? At the moment the Wings and the Ducks are out of the playoff's. Anybody writing them off yet? Don't think the oilers being in the playoff is any more than a remote possibilty, though they have done it before, but this is no reason not to watch the rest of the season.

          • Travis Dakin

            Nobody is writing them off because they have each won a cup within the last 4 years and they each have at least 3 franchise players on their team and they have both demonstrated success…. And I never said don't watch the rest of the season. I think it would be good to watch the young guys develop and see how the rest of the team responds.

          • BarryS

            Both are likely to have those risking injury and tiredness in the upcoming Olympics, so their chances of making the playoffs, so it is by no means clear they will make it year end.

            Sorry I did not mean to imply you said don't watch the season, just flustration with the general negativity about of late.

            So far I've been impressed with the general play of the callups. JDD's play is hard to judge, seem to be a lot of shots the shooter had all day to make. But I see progress and the taking of responsibility for his play, which is good. The number of under the crossbar goals might be a bit of an aboration, since I don't remember a high presentage of goals in the NHL being upper net goals, but without doubt he needs to work on the upper net stuff.

  • tricksnard

    I've not been fond of the idea of purposely tanking. It doesn't make for fun hockey to watch, even when it's free on tv. I'm hoping that our injury parade stops and we can get healthy, truly healthy again. We've not been healthy since the first couple games in, despite getting some players back. Even when they come back, their not healthy, and we all need to remember that.

    *wonders about what a non-hockey related meeting could entail* LOL, yes I'm that bored at work. Sigh!

  • This piss poor season is exactly what we need. The young guys will get some more experience and the best case scenario is they play poorly enough for a Hall or Seguin. At the very least we may find out if JDD can bounce back or if his confidence is shot worse than Jim Carrey (RE: Capitals)

    • BarryS

      Nothing like hard times to seperate the men from the boys, applies to fans as well as players. O N seems to have lots of boys posting.

      To the men amongst us, this season, more than the last two, offers great opportunities for us to see guys stuck in the minors make or break their careers. At the moment, several seem to be making real NHL careers possible, either here or somewhere else.

      At the moment, it looks to me like we have more real assets than it looked last year.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    It's way too soon to make deals anyways. There is still that slight chance that this team could win without Hemsky. I don't think anything major happens until the new year and even then it won't be blockbuster deals.

    I guess the question is if you are Katz how do you handle hearing every year that injuries hurt us again?

    I still have a feeling that one of Pouilot and Nilsson will help this team when they comeback, then again I have been drinking quite a bit in November.

  • BarryS

    The season is long, our fans can't spell patience little lone use it, nobody in the league wants to trade anybody of interest to anybody, the team is loosing, Calgary is winning, boy this season sure is boring.