EMBARRASSMENT: DOES ANYBODY CARE?

Losing is one thing. Failure to muster the gumption to compete, to go down swinging and instead laying down while an opponent buffs his boots on your backside is quite another. The Edmonton Oilers are there now.

The Oilers have assumed the prone position and they aren’t getting up. They aren’t even pushing back now. They’ve quit. At least that’s the way it looks to me after Monday’s 6-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.

Adding embarrassment to ineptitude, the Oilers, save for Mike Comrie and Jason Strudwick, took an Arizona ass-kicking without even a hint of pride or backbone on the way to a franchise-record 10th straight road loss. Aside from the smallest player on the team and another at the bottom of the pay scale, it was, "Please, sir. Can I have another?"

If the Oilers are half as pissed off as their fans are about a season in which they’re destined to finish 30th, they didn’t show it. They didn’t compete. They took whatever the Coyotes felt like giving them without protest. Did you see the look on Robert Lang’s face after he sashayed in front of Jeff Deslauriers and flipped a backhand into the net?

From losers to laughing stocks, this outfit.

NO PULSE

"We were passive on the ice, passive in the net. We didn’t compete," said a flabbergasted Pat Quinn. "As long as we’re that easy to beat, we’ll be looking at ugly scores like this one." They are easy to beat. The book on the Oilers is straightforward: stay on them and they’ll spit the bit. They’ve been outscored 13-3 in the first three games of this road trip — a 4-2 loss in Minnesota, a 3-0 whitewash in Denver and Monday’s 6-1 "No mas" fold job.

Fans get it that this team isn’t talented enough without Ales Hemsky and Sheldon Souray in the line-up. They understand Deslauriers isn’t ready to carry the workload left him because of Nikolai Khabibulin’s back injury. They’ll allow that man-games lost to injury and illness have been a factor. Most are even willing to console themselves with the possibility something good might come from the Dive For Five.

But "We didn’t compete?" That’s as damning as it gets. Where was Ethan Moreau Monday? Would another bad penalty by The Captain, maybe a two-hander to send a message, really have hurt when it 4-0 or 5-0 or was he too busy anchoring the "checking" line? Where was, well, anybody else outside Strudwick and Comrie?

A punch in the mouth or a face wash in a scrum isn’t going to make the penalty killing better. It isn’t going to dress up Shawn Horcoff’s minus-31. It isn’t going to fill the gaping holes in the line-up or force GM Steve Tambellini to address them. But it’s something, no? It’s better than just taking it, no? Maybe, like Tambellini, I’m looking at too short a sample size here. I think not.

THE SCRAP HEAP

I know it’s a cliché and a bit naive, given some of the contracts the Oilers are burdened with, but I’d like to think at least some players on this roster — aside from those who’ll be asking their agents to inform Tambellini they want the hell out of Edmonton (hello, Lubomir Visnovsky) — are playing for jobs. Times like this can tell you a lot about a player. Character, or lack of it, gets exposed. Talent being equal, I’ll take the guy who hates to lose over the guy who shrugs his shoulders or turtles when the going gets tough every time.

We’re seeing way too little of the former and too much of the latter. Are Kevin Lowe, who put this mismatched group of players with fat contracts together, and Tambellini, who continues assessing and hoping somebody will take a stiff or two off his hands, taking the same notes? We’ll see.

For now, it looks like fans are stuck with what they got in Phoenix. As the third period began, Sportsnet play-by-play man Kevin Quinn made a point of mentioning to his audience Ilya Bryzgalov had a shutout going. When Dustin Penner scored, Quinn chortled, "Ha, ha. It works every time." Right. "This is as bad as it gets," Horcoff said.

Yes. Yes, it is.

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

  • Really the pathetic part of this whole conundrum is that it doesn't matter what we or the media says, the Oilers are going to make the decisions when they are good and if ever ready. So take the crap, or even better is ignore them and go on with your lives…

    🙂

  • Pens 2005-2006 finished with only 22 wins (one more than St Louis).

    can anybody remember how that organization handled the 'event', as far as fans go?

    maybe we should just start polishing our clubs and let these guys suck in peace…

  • I have faih in the upcoming talent for the Oilers. What I'm worried about is the ability of the coaching staff to develop it. As for Visnovsky, I've stated here many times that I think the Oilers would be crazy to trade him or Cogliano for that matter. That changes if he asks for a move, get rid of him. This franchise will turn around and I believe it will be sooner rather than later. beating the teams that have players that rejected the Oilers will be that much sweeter.

  • vishcosity

    Every team that signed contracts that summer got smoked by the change in salary cap. No one saw a drop coming, not any of us. In a few years, when the salary cap rises again on some scale like it was before that particular signing, then the Horcoff contract will probably seem fine, when Seguin signs for $13 like. Its just now that its a bit, surprisingly, tight. I think that's all that happened. HD will resurrect hockey in the US, its just way too cool. The cap will be bigger soon and everything will be ducky, you watch.

    I like the idea of using the time to secure a few home run hitters, I hope for a bit better availability for tickets, finally, and I know that season ticket holders aren't going anywhere when the waiting list is ten freakin years.

    I liked watching Penner fight through their best defenders all night and still muster a couple reasonable chances.

  • I find this feud going on with some reader dredging up stuff to throw at Robin interesting. Frankly, I don't get it, to be honest. Now does Robin give me the warm fuzzies: no. But his arguments are generally well constructed and his points are laid out in a clear fashion. I'm sure Robin is a nice enough fellow but people have to realize that his comments on here to others who post are likely designed to challenge. Sure, he can be a little sharp tongued. But I think that is part of the thing I look forward to when Robin posts. I howl laughing and some of the comments and the verbal repartee. Face it, he cultivates the image of a curmudgeon. Maybe he is in real life. Who knows? But that is part of his "charm" on here.

    For those of you who can't take a little criticism, that is unfortunate for you. But to go around like little children making snide, distorted and inaccurate remarks on other web sites and blogs only serves to illustrate your childishness. So enjoy it for what it is. And if Robin gets you, laugh it off. Just as I am sure Robin will when people get him.

    Get a life folks. This isn't stuff to live and die by.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Living in Calgary with a split household – father/son Oiler fans, mom/daughter fLames fan – it has been painful to watch any hockey Oiler or Flames. Oilers suck? Flames suck? Alberta sucks. I contend the Flames are a Mikka hamstring from turning into the Oil. Mark my words they are very close to imploding aka Willis' comment about Hors. In fact after the Olympic break if Finland goes deep into the medal rounds – it will happen.

    There will no playoffs in Alberta in 2009-10 – and that is really sad – especially when Ottawa can't even fill their rink and are first in their division!

    . . . if I was Katz I would take any $ and start getting some decent scouts in fact be 50% higher in payroll than the best team in the league (Detroit) – no cap limits here – and get some honest assessments of what they have and what's coming down the pipe.

  • Heavyd

    Interesting review of Edmonton media today. Bryan Hall and Rod Phillips are Hall of Famers, Dan Tencer and Jason Gregor on the uptick, Kevin Millard and Robyn Brownlee on the skid.
    It's hard to believe in a very short period of time how Dan and Jason have improved their game to the point where they are probably two of the best media people in Edmonton. At the same time, it's sad to see how fast Kevin and Robyn have fell off the radar. What is the AHL in the media circle, iBoyle. Will we hear Kevin and Robyn on Big Dog?

    I forgot self promoter Bob. I suspect we will see him with the UFC shortly as a self promoting announcer. The style fits perfect.

  • Bucknuck

    Just watched the Gretzky trade on TSN. Wow, what the F went on. All Gretz had to do was say no, and it all would have been veto'd… This organization wouldn't be what it is today… Maybe…

    • No we wont, he is lying to you.

      We like Lowe.

      Anyone seen the movie The Skulls, is it any good?

      Since there is no trade rumours. I got one for you, Oilers and hockey related.

      Pat Quinn was given the job as an Oilers head coach, with knowledge it would only be a 1 year gig. Tom Renney was given the job as an associate coach, with knowledge he would be the head coach the following year. Reason for the Quinn hire was simply to reward him with a fat pay check on behalf of Hockey Canada as his reward for the junior gold.

      Pat Quinn will step down in the off-season to save face, and TSN will turn it into how he was too good for the struggling OIlers franchise.

      P.S. Heatley is a Douche and he doesnt deserve Olympic Gold.

      Note and remember where you read it first.

  • Colin

    Would that be Chad Moreau the oilers trainer/fitness coach? The same guy who has seen injuries skyrocket under his tenure?

    Cause that guy should probably take heed to the proverb about those that live in glass houses……

  • Rather than sit and whine about our present plight, I would like to offer Tambo some free advice to get out of this mess. We need to get bigger at center, real veteran leadership and better defensive defensemen. I say we package Souray, Cogs and Sully to NYR for Dubinsky and Rosival. Grebby to Columbus for Heida. Try to unload Moreau, Nilsson, Pisani any way we can. Let Struds and Potulny walk at year end. Re-sign Comrie for the same. Sign Jagr for 1-2 yrs if he still looks like he can play during the Olympics (not more than 4 M per)
    Here is what we could look like:
    Penner Gagner Hemsky Smid Vis
    Hall Dubinsky Jagr Rosival Gibby
    MPS Horcoff Brule Heida Staois
    Jacques Pouliot Storts
    Comrie/Stone
    Comments?

  • Robin do you feel that the murmerings heard around the team about trades is affecting the performance of certain players. It certainly looks like it to me. We all know that we love Ethan Moreau as a guy. Team guy, warrior, heart and soul kinda guy A trade I feel gives him a shot a CUP. It behooves the team not to try to give guys like Ethan etal a shot at the CUP. They all have paid thier dues. Many a Oiler Alumni has been traded and gone on to success with other teams. Alot of those same guys have come to call Edmonton thier home when they have hung up thier skates. Its almost like Ethan and a couple of the other names mentioned feel spurned and have given up on the team. Wayne Gretzky was traded. Messier was traded. The list goes on. Yet the common theme has always been that they will be Oilers forever. The dressing room signage states "Once an Oiler always an Oiler". I look forward to cheering for Moreau or whoever gets traded in the playoffs this spring.Go out right now and play your butt off and when the time comes don't think that the fans and the team don't want you here because we do, but the reality is what it is.We are a 30th place team that needs to rebuild. Go take a shot at glory.

  • Dear citizens of Oklahoma City:

    As a fan of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team, I would like to send my condolences and pitty for you are now the home of our incredibly awful AHL hockey funny farm team. This group of saps and losers is sure to drive you into deep depression, although we may soon be sending you some of our average "AHL calibre" talent from the big team here in Edmonton to start next year. I hope you do not all hate us for the burdon we have bestowed upon thee.

    SorryX1000,

    Garett
    Oilers Nation member.

    • Bucknuck

      Potulny, Stone, Pouliot, Dubnyk, and Chorney are all players that Springfield would have if our line up was healthy. If they can fix some of the Oilers holes I have a feeling Oklahoma will be a better team the Springfield.

      this "oh, woe is us" crap is getting tired.

      Quit being *EDIT* insulting to my team. *end EDIT*