APRIL FOOLS

letdown2

In yet another kick to the groin, the Edmonton Oilers shafted themselves — or is it bladed themselves? — in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when coach Craig MacTavish guessed wrong on Teemu Selanne’s stick.

MacTavish thought he had it right when he asked the referees to measure the blade of Selanne’s stick with 2:11 to play, thinking it was too wide, but he got it wrong because he got bad information.

It was just another blunder to add to the misery of Oiler fans who’ve now packed Rexall Place for 151 straight games and in return have been treated to expensive beer, too many half-assed efforts, a grand total of 16 wins in 37 home games and untold heartache this season.

I’m wondering if whoever it was that was eye-balling Anaheim’s stick rack is the same guy who looked over the Oilers roster in pre-season and whispered in MacTavish’s ear he’d bet his job this team would contend for a Northwest Division title. Or did MacT act alone?

Either way, somebody’s going to pay after April 11.

PARTING GIFT FOR MACT?

Selanne shrugged off suggestions in the post-game scrum the blade of his stick was too wide or that he’d made a quick change of twigs. The Finnish Flash instead took a bit of a poke at MacTavish.

“No, not really,” shrugged Selanne, asked if he’d swapped sticks or if it was common to replace illegal sticks with legal ones late in games. “I try to have it as wide as I can because the ice is so bad in a lot of buildings. “It’s right on the borderline, but I knew it was going to be good, so I didn’t really have to worry about it. There’s not much curve at all, but it looks pretty wide.”

Wide enough, obviously, that MacTavish, likely convinced by his stick rack spy, gambled in the hope of going on the power play after Zack Stortini cut Anaheim’s lead to 4-3 at 17:49. “I don’t know who it was,” smiled Selanne, asked if he thought that it was MacTavish who’d been casting suspicious glances toward his stick. “Maybe I should sign the stick for him, though.”

ON EMPTY

No way Dwayne Roloson deserves to be thrown under the bus with the record-setting 33-game stretch he’s played, but he’s looked tired the last two games and it only makes sense he’s finally out of gas.

As much as he’s battled, Roloson gave up three goals on 21 shots, including a softy by Martin Skoula, in the 3-2 loss to Minnesota and there’s no way he should get beat high on the short side by Rob Niedermayer to put the Ducks up 4-1 late in the second period.

So, what do the Oilers do now? Lock Roloson’s 39-year-old bones in a hyperbaric chamber until Thursday or toss Jeff Deslauriers between the pipes when he hasn’t played a minute since Feb. 7 and hasn’t made a start since Nov. 30? That’s not an option.

As dubious as the Selanne stick measurement was, the decision not to give Deslauriers a start or two in the last 33 games, especially with three sets of back-to-back games since Feb. 16, might prove to be more costly.

For me, that’s a more damning indictment of MacTavish’s judgment than the bad call on Selanne’s lumber.

BY THE NUMBERS

— Not to leave former GM and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and his scouting staff out of all the fun, Ryan Getzlaf, selected 19th overall by the Ducks in the 2003 Entry Draft, had two assists Tuesday and has 88-174-262 in 292 games.

Marc Pouliot, taken 22nd by the Oilers in 2003, was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in the last nine games. He’s scored 14-25-39 in 140 games.

— Stortini has scored five goals in the last 18 games he’s played. Shawn Horcoff has two goals in his last 18 and Ales Hemsky has three in his last 18. Who’s been the ham-handed plumber when it’s mattered?

— How many games have the Oilers lost in the second period? They have been outscored 90-74 in the middle frame this season, including 3-0 last night.

— At 16-15-6 the Oilers need to run the table in their final four games at Rexall Place just to hit 20 wins at home this season. There isn’t a team in a playoff position today with a home record nearly as lame.

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

  • Reggie

    Ya, the Comrie story about asking for the signing bonus to be repaid has been discussed before. If you are a hockey player and you are about earning your maximum amount of dollars in a recession economy, then Edmonton should be a good answer – ask Penner, ask Vanek, ask Horcoff, ask Souray.

    All have huge contracts as a result of K-Lowe. In addition, do you think Hossa will command the dollars this summer he could have gotten last summer from Katz and the boys ?

    At the end of the day, hockey players like most athletes are looking to maximize their salary. Kinda like you and I.

  • Darcy

    Jonathan Willis had an excellent post here a while back that defense and special teams was the Oilers undoing this year, and despite that, all the Coach and the Captain can talk about is lack of scoring.

    Let's look at the Oilers's ranking on a few stats at BTN as of this morning.

    Goals For per 60min 5v5 Tied for 7th in the league (!?!)

    Goals Against per 60 min 5v5 Tied for 26th in the league

    Goals For per 60 min 5v4 (PP) Tied for 26th in the league

    Goals Against per 60 min 4v5 (PK) Tied for 27th in the league.

    One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is only kinda the same……..

    Despite these stats good ol' Captain Moreau said for the umpteenth time last night that the Oiler's problem is lack of scoring.

    Can't bring yourself to accountability eh Cappy? (good ol Cappy has the worst penalty kill rating on the Oilers with a 8.59GA/60 on the PK and is a league leader in the minor penalties taken department)

    Special teams is mostly coaching and systems. (that being said Detroit's PK is as bad as Edmonton's, their killer PP saves them)

    We seem to have the talent for the PP, just not the execution. Is this coaching?

    The dismal PK numbers is probably a combo of coaching and personel. MacT has always rolled 3 sets of forwards on each PK with short shifts. This year he rolled two sets, with the first set of 10,18 getting two shifts. Losing 34 for most of the seaon, as well as Stoll and Reasoner certainly didn't help, but the Coach's use of the PK early in the season as a way of getting players like 89 and 27 "into the game" is inexcusable. The failure to turn the speedy 13 into a PK player is terrible as well….he doesn't have to take the freaking faceoff, just get him out there.

    So as people like Bryn on 1260 want to trade Hemsky's cheap contract because he's not performing. (how is 63pts in 67 games at 4.1 cap hit not performing??), the real problem on this team is defense.

    No real shut down d-men, bad PK. Lots of player personel problems (Lowe) and Coaching problems (MacTavish)

    I think Lowe deserves most of the blame for this. He hasn't provided MacTavish with MacTavish type players.

    MacTavish has the patience of a saint with all the young and not-so-talented players he has had in the last 3 years, but now that the talent is getting semi-good its easy to see MacTavish isn't the right Coach for this group either.

    /rant

  • Zamboni Driver

    @ Jon:
    Ummmm, you mean those two guys that people keep telling us were maybe going to come here? But…uhmm….you know, aren't.

    Don't get me wrong, Griffiths is a buffoon, running his radio station into the ground, but he's not necessarily wrong on this point.

  • Maverick

    For those of you TopGun fans out there, lame I know but why not so was this whole season

    MacT: Excuse me ref is there something wrong?
    Ref: Yes ma'am , the data on the illegal stick is inaccurate
    MacT: How's that Ref
    Ref:: Well, I just happened to measure the stick
    Linesman: We!
    Ref: Uh, sorry linesman, WE Happened to measure the stick and it was not a 4g negative dive illegal curve
    MacT: How did you measure this?
    Ref: That's classified
    MacT: It's what?
    Ref: It's classified I could tell you, but I'm going to have to make you kill a penalty

  • Robin Brownlee

    Jon wrote:

    Robin Brownlee wrote:
    You don’t have to believe Bryn, it’s true. I broke that story while I was at The Sun. Lowe asked for $2.5 million back as part of a trade that would have sent Comrie to Anaheim.
    But is it true that no star will come here for that reason? All that Hossa, Jagr etc. chaos tells me it’s not.

    No, I don't think it's true. Doesn't help, obviously, but . . .

  • JRocks247

    I'm there no matter what…i guess that is what's most frustrating, I bleed Oiler Blue.
    Mac T has to go, but if he doesn't, I'm still there. KLowe's contracts need to be cleansed, but if not….I'm still there.
    Ales needs to play like an allstar, and if not….

    My Name is Jono, and I'm an Oiler Diehard.

    GO OILERS!

  • Jon

    Robin Brownlee wrote:

    You don’t have to believe Bryn, it’s true. I broke that story while I was at The Sun. Lowe asked for $2.5 million back as part of a trade that would have sent Comrie to Anaheim.

    But is it true that no star will come here for that reason? All that Hossa, Jagr etc. chaos tells me it's not.

  • tedoil

    Keep the negativity up everyone. Awesome!

    "ashamed to be an oilers fan"? Screw you. If you can't cheer for the team when times are bad, then f**k you and go find another team to cheer for. Watch Flames TV and Post on flamesnation until they lose in the first round again.

    I hope some of the season ticket holders that keep bitching and not cheering at games give their tickets up so people who really want to go can get tickets more often.

    Also we should talk more about how the failed draft picks, players making more money then they are worth, the coach losing the room this year and all that other bulls**t. When does the Brownlee article that starts with "I told you so" and ends with "well there is always next year" come? Can't wait for that

    Dammit.

  • Robin Brownlee

    albundy wrote:

    listening to Bryne om TEAM 1260 he said today that no star is going to come to Edmonton because of what happened between KLOWE and Comrie. Bryne said KLOWE asked for money back and that went all around the league. I have to believe Bryne.
    add that to the bad contracts KLOWE has signed and does it not add up to a very poor performance by KLOWE and to start the clean up he should leave even before MacT goes?

    You don't have to believe Bryn, it's true. I broke that story while I was at The Sun. Lowe asked for $2.5 million back as part of a trade that would have sent Comrie to Anaheim.

  • albundy

    listening to Bryne om TEAM 1260 he said today that no star is going to come to Edmonton because of what happened between KLOWE and Comrie. Bryne said KLOWE asked for money back and that went all around the league. I have to believe Bryne.
    add that to the bad contracts KLOWE has signed and does it not add up to a very poor performance by KLOWE and to start the clean up he should leave even before MacT goes?

  • buffalo farmer

    The biggest condemnation of coach MacT is the inability to change the two biggest weaknesses of this team, the pp and the pk. Instead of changing the systems he continually threw out different players to make his systems work. He cannot get the most out of skilled players and it seems like the team has had enough. Cio, Coach.

  • Abdullah The Butcher

    I see a big promotion from within for whomever reported the Selanne's wide stick. Possibly he, they, become the new coach?

    The Oil have a proud tradition of taking care of their own. Long live Oil tradition?

  • TonyT

    I believe the most damning evidence against MacTavish is post game comments. While he may not be the problem to a year long lack of "jam", he clearly didn't and doesn't have the solution. And while I don't pretend to know or understand exactly what system this team plays or if it really is his job to motivate this team. Oilersnation clearly documents the numerous players thrown under the bus by this coach. And while we the fans have lost confidence in this group, I think the group lost confidence in themselves along time ago. From "The Girl Next Door", is the juice worth the squeeze? For these players under this coach to play with jam, no it wasn't.

  • alphah

    MacT made the right move with the stick infraction. We needed a 6 on 4 to score there. It would have made the difference for us. If we were up 6-on-5 EN, we would have lost anyway.

    Obviously he was convinced that the width was illegal. Selanne uses a very wide blade. Very close call, but I don't blame MacT. If it had worked out he would be crowned King of the Universe today.

    I would have made the same call if I felt my information was as good as he clearly did.

  • GA's Lifeguard

    I'm a Flames fan, but I come in peace. Over this season, I have come to have a soft spot for the Oilers, just because I can not believe the way this team is managed. You guys are all passionate fans, I read this site more than any other hockey blog because I enjoy the commentary all of the guys who write for Oilers Nation provide as well as what the commenters have to say- its either pretty insightful and/or funny. Let's just say that we are all just a bunch of useless f*cks in the grand scheme of things who cheer for different teams, and to see famous professional athletes just pound the pooch like this is ridiculous.

    I am just stunned by what this once-proud team has become… Kevin Lowe is a brutal GM as shown by his signings (I just learned Horcoff is making Iginla money- WTF?), and this whole MacTavish bullsh*t is out of control. Playing Roloson for 33 straight games? Why did Lowe even trade Garon? Yeesh. Playing Erik Cole out of position all year, only to trade him for spare parts and see him flourish back in Raliegh? Christ, even though the Flames and Mike Keenan drive me crazy every night with their annual chokeshow, I can't even imagine what you all must be going through.

    I feel bad for all of you, and even if you all despise the Flames, a lot of Calgarians have become a lot more understanding of the Oil fan's plight this year after the debacle that your management, coaching and players have put you all through. As much as I hate to say this, I hope that Katz makes a solid decision, cleans house and gets some new faces in your organization so next year's edition of the Edmonton Oilers is a passionate team ready to take the bull by its horns. Because even if the Oil upend the Flames, my hatred towards Vancouver (and its f*cking *sswipe fans who think that they are the second coming of the 1985 Chicago Bears) will never die, and if it has to be the Oilers to take Luongo, Kesler, Hank n' Dank and the always hateable Burrows to the ground, so be it. Anyways, I hope the rather late Battle of Alberta next weekend is not only entertaining, but will have some significance for the standings- who knows, maybe you'll run the table and sneak into the big dance. But I guess the bottom line is that this club needs a major overhaul, playoffs or not, and I wish your team luck down the road. You got a solid young core, if you can land a franchise goalie, this team will be f*cking scary down the road. Have a good one, guys