GDB XLI: Nowhere to go but forward

You’ll notice that the title of this post says "forward" rather than "up." There are places we can decend to from here, but after a slight spanking of the Maple Leafs last night, I say we nod knowingly at the notch in the win column and focus on what needs to be done tonight: ringing in the New Year after humiliating the Flames.

Don’t get me wrong, friends, the DFF is alive and well. But it’s still the holidays and I still don’t like losing — least of all to Calgary. So pour yourself some eggnog, make sure there’s plenty ‘o spiced rum in there and lets wave goodbye and say a hearty f@%k off to 2009, the Year of the Sad.

Oh sure we have a new owner, we scored ourselves some new coaches — and a skid full of magic herbs which work on everything except the game-winning gene which somehow surfaced last night — but we continued our slide into mediocrity.

And here we are on the cusp of a New Year. Nowhere to go but forward.

The Battle of Alberta has been terribly one-sided this year, the Flames collecting wins in each of the teams’ four meetings this season. We’re into the second-last game in the rivalry this season. Both teams are coming off wins. It stands to reason that, just like the Oilers’ recent losing streak, the losing streak to the Flames has to end as well. I can taste it.

Other things I can taste

  • The sweet bubbly I will be consuming this evening — by bubbly I mean a Heineken Bubba Keg.
  • The fear of the Flames, as their defenders puzzle over the reasons why none of them made Canada’s Olympic team
  • Victory

The verdict

I’ve made this one short and sweet, because I’m hitting the highway to send some time with family out in the country. Quadding, cow-tipping, and illegal fireworks are the order of the day. I do it to ring in 2010, but I also do it for the Mighty Oil, who will capture the hearts and minds of Edmonton fans tonight with a 3-2 SO win against the Flames.

Happy New Year, OilersNation! See you next year!

      • You don't seriously expect a prospect, decent as he seems to be, to walk in and set the place on fire right out of junior. If you do, then perhaps you should be posting over at HF boards. They're all over 18 year old NHL'ers over there. Maybe you might be able to win a couple of Oil King tickets in one of those online contests while you're at it.

        • Reggie

          Let's rehash what you said, ok.

          Here it is:

          "BTW. Eberle will be a factor in about three years. Maybe."

          I never said anything about Eberle coming in and setting the place on fire…all we have here is you saying he won't be a factor at all for 3 yrs…and then you qualify that even further by saying "Maybe"

          I would just like to thank you for letting me know for sure that Eberle won't be any sort of factor for 3 yrs…Maybe….because there are ZERO NHL prospects that ever are a factor before 3 yrs…

          I bow to your wisdom

          • I hope he is a factor within 3 years. Its just that the way we (don't) develop talent here makes it that much more unlikely. On top of which, wishing for your team to lose so you can get yet another "maybe in three years" talent pretty much grinds my gears.

            I go to games. Although winning isn't as important to me as some here (I go to see the athletes perform and the progress of guys like Gagner and Stortini), winning is WAY more fun. Phoenix turned it around in a year with some decent moves. Why can't we?

          • Shaun Doe

            Yep I am right on board with this sentiment too David. While a tank job seems to be very likely whether we want it or not, I would like to see our players progress in the face of this adversity. If its just night in and night out of being demoralized I can't see how that is going to be good for any of our players. Bring in some veterans that can actually mentore our youth down the stretch. Make them into gamers not head cases.

          • A reasonable point about developing talent David. I think you could make a case that the Oilers have reasonable luck with first round high picks of late (Gagner, Hemsky, Cogliano) but lack the ability to put moderate prospects through the system and have quality NHL players fall out the other end.

            Eberle is such a talent that if he is unable to turn into a solid NHL player in a reasonable amount of time (barring injuries) the Oilers need to have a long think about themselves and possible career changes all around.

            I'd be shocked if he wasn't making an impact in the NHL in 3 yrs given his development until now.

          • Eberle wouldn't see the light of day for two years if he were the property of a team like Detroit. And when he did eventually get up to the show, he'd be given sheltered minutes with decent vets to help work him in. Two or three years and he might really be something.

            Eberle is an 18 year old human rake. Brule just said last night he was rushed. Gagner was rushed too. Good teams grow their talent in ways that allow them to succeed. The Oilers are so starved for offense that they'll probably put Eberle right in the show. Even if he's got some talent at the pro level, the Oilers system will more than likely ground him into dog meat. He's not the freaking second coming of Gretzky for crap sake.

          • So now we're comparing proven superstars to a "maybe". If Eberle or Hall walk in here and set the place on fire I'll be happy to be wrong. Until they do, they are unproven prospects and no more than that.

            Good god man. The Hockey Jesus himself has all of 2 goals this year. WoW!

          • What are you on about man? All of these players didn't start out as superstars. The point was that out of the top 30 scorers in the league roughly 22 of them went directly to the NHL from Junior or a Euro league and did NOT play in the minors.

            The point is players don't have to spend 1 or 2 yrs in the minors to become NHL impact players

        • Let's rehash what you said, ok.

          Here it is:

          "BTW. Eberle will be a factor in about three years. Maybe."

          I never said anything about Eberle coming in and setting the place on fire…all we have here is you saying he won't be a factor at all for 3 yrs…and then you qualify that even further by saying "Maybe"

          I would just like to thank you for letting me know for sure that Eberle won't be any sort of factor for 3 yrs…Maybe….because there are ZERO NHL prospects that ever are a factor before 3 yrs…

          I bow to your wisdom

    • Shaun Doe

      I'm not knocking you here are trying to pick a fight, I was just wondering why you feel this way? Do you figure he spends two seasons in the AHL or does he go directly to the bigs and fails to show up for three seasons? I'm not one to think he will be an instant success either I was thinking he spends at least half a year in the AHL next season to adjust before being called up. I really would like to see our prospects mature a bit in the A before being called up to ripen too quickly.

      • Dan the Man

        I did some what I found to be very interesting research this evening. Take it for what it's worth it's just a little tidbit of info.

        I looked at the top 30 scorers in the NHL this season and found that only 8 of the 30 played a full season or more of AHL hockey…3 others played around 20 AHL games…the other 19 players all went directly to the NHL from either Junior or a Euro league and almost all 30 were age 20 or less.

        So it seems success for players who skip the AHL is quite high. I'm not saying for sure that Eberle can skip the AHL, but I think he stands a better than even chance of staying with the big team next year along with Magnus Paajarvi Svensson.

        • Shaun Doe

          Yeah I can see that as there are quite a few rookies and sophmores playing well with little to no AHL time. However, the current Oiler team just isn't set up in a way that I see being bennificial to a rookie. Gagner has never had a chance to polish his game as he's been relied on to carry the load. Perhaps that is an indication of his mental toughness or a symptom of the team he's been asked to play for/with. There are media heads saying that Eberle could be the most NHL ready player in the tournament though so it will be interesting to see where he slots in. Lets not forget, this could be a completely different looking team next season (maybe…)

          • I sure do hope the team looks completely different. I'd be really disappointed if the braintrust again did nothing after doing nothing this past offseason.

            Keep in mind Eberle played some AHL games last season after Regina was knocked out of the playoffs and he was a point per game player. I agree with all those pundits who say Eberle is NHL ready now…I don't think he has anything to prove in the AHL and I do think he can be a factor on this team…I'm not saying set the world on fire in year one but I think he looks like he can be a factor on this team.

            More than likely we'll get to see him here this year. Regina is dead last in their division and I checked and their season ends March 14th. The Oilers play around 14 games after that.

          • Shaun Doe

            Im not too sure thats the best idea to throw him in for the last 14 games. You burn a year of his contract playing out the final games there if you do keep him in for 14 games (As far as I understand). The reason why I think some AHL time would work is because he would be playing against larger bodies which gives us a chance to see if he has the conditioning to last a full NHL season. These kids have such great fitness now that it might not be a problem but it has been the downfall of rookies in the past. Wilting down the stretch. I'm all for some NHL time though. Might as well test him against his future peers.

          • Shaun Doe

            Never thought of that…are you sure him playing 14 games here at the end of the season would wipe out a whole year of his contract? Actually I don't think he has a contract yet. I'm not sure how it works but sure would be interested in knowing. If 14 games here would wipe out a year on his entry level deal then guaranteed he'll go to the AHL for the end of the Falcons season this year just like he did last year.

          • Found it….if I'm reading it right it looks like Eberle could play up to and including 9 games and it wouldn't wipe out the 1st yr of his 3 yr entry level contract…he would still have 3 yrs to go but once he hits 10 games he wipes out yr 1 of the deal

    • Reggie

      May not need to make any trades at the way the Oilers are joining the IR. If Lubo is gone for a while, we will slide even further in the basement, challenging Carolina. We won't need any trades.

      • If Lubo is injured for any length of time I am going to go work in an underground sugar mine in Equador and you guys can send me a letter when things return to anything better than 'super sucky.'

        Oh good Horcoff scores (!)

        -10 in the last 8 games. Bra-VO

  • Oilers STINK, SUCK, and are PATHETIC. What an embarrassment to this city. Apart from a few players, how useless the rest of these clowns are !
    Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Cogliano, O'sullivan, Moreau, Horcoff, Pouliot, Pisani, Staios, ..can all go for all I care. These guys are either useless or just not good enough in this league.
    As for Gagne and Nilsson, they're too small. Watching Gagne get manhandled by bigger guys is simply embarrassing. He's got skill, but can't do anything with it due to a lack of size.
    This team is hopeless. Time to plan other winter activity. Watching these guys is not an option anymore.!!!

  • Considering it is 3:25 local time here I am going to ring in the New Year listening to Tencer I think. Why not? This team is so awesome any amount of coverage is a great thing.

    *bursts into tears, so loud that the Oilers are awarded a goal*

  • If Katz is not worried about money, and we can't get rid of any of Lowes brain cramp trades and signings, just put them on waivers and lets start fresh,with Quinn as GM now, it's not like they will better 25th spot with or with out the vets. Lets see some new blood.

  • Shaun Doe

    So much for a win over the evil Calgary Flames! That is five straight losses so far this season. Only one more pathetic game to go to run out the skein. If these are indeed four point games, that is 20 points that separate the two rivals, 20 points to the good of Calgary. One more loss is 24 points. The good result is the dive-for-five is alive and well. Let's pray that Tambellini leaves this sorry mess for what it is, so he gets fired. Happy New Year everyone.

  • Dan the Man

    Anyone that's ever complained about DeBrusk as a colour guy should probably be grateful we don't have to listen to the Flames guy….absolutely brutal.

    I do actually prefer Loubardias to Quinn mind you but someone should tell him that DesLauriers dropped the "Drouin" quite a while ago.

  • I wouldn't put Hall on the same level as Eberle either, he has a lot to prove before he can be put in that basket.

    Note: Just heard that it is -25 in Edmonton. 29 degrees here suckers!

  • Pat Quinn post game sounds like a guy who would like 23 simultaneous trades to be made right about now.

    Remember when GMs made trades to improve their team? Remember when they made bad trades sometimes just to move people off the roster?

  • A guy on the post game CHED show just suggested Horcoff should be paid to quit the NHL and become an assistant coach in Springfield.

    I can't believe I haven't listened to this show before. It's hilarious

      • They are way too straight laced with some of these folk. The only way to deal with crazy is with more crazy. I would have let the "make Horcoff retire and become a coach" guy have a lot longer to explain himself and would have passed him Horcoff's personal phone number so he could give him the advice personally.

  • Watching the Oilers is very frustrating. I can't see how this mess can be solved by next season. The farm team in Springfield is also pathetic. Too small, dumb plays. Continuous breakdowns by those who have no excuses for their mistakes. Terrible on the boards where they are outclassed nearly all the time. Poor passing. All in all, this is no more than an average AHL team at best. An awful lot of changes need to be made and I don't know how you can pawn these guys off onto other teams. We have very little to offer any other NHL team. The Oilers lack talent and smarts. That's a bad omen.

    • Nonsense Elaine. A bad omen would be a black cat crossing your path on Friday the 13th, while you shatter a mirror and someone in the background yelled "JINX" in your direction.

      The team you describe accurately is waaaay past omens and luck.

    • Sydney Australia Harlie. I have a couple half written dispatches from the road that I will toss up in the next few days if anyone wants to read about a Canadian Hobo dancing for change hither and tither.

      Happy New Year Nation!



  • Harlie

    A few thoughts on 2 games tonight. Eberle is impressive. I hope Taylor Hall learns he has team mates. Gagner is impressing me more and more. Cogs needs to keep working hard, points will come. Grabs gives me ulcers. JDD has a big upside, but we playing a rockie Goalie and it often shows. A trade is needed just to change the dressing room (Moreau).