You were expecting a dozen long-stemmed roses and perfume or perhaps a candlelight dinner and a corny poem scrawled on a note tucked in with the dessert. Oh, the seduction.

Instead, you got a fistful of $7.99 daisies from Save-On and a pack of express check-out Turtles. Big papa the Love Machine thought pulling on a clean pair of sweatpants before a quick trip to the drive-thru at DQ would put you in the mood for love. You’re pissed, and big papa ain’t getting any.

The latter is pretty much what the Edmonton Oilers served up to their long-suffering fans with a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Sunday on the heels of a 5-3 loss to the pitiful Ottawa Senators Saturday — two mostly emotionless, half-assed displays that screamed "We don’t really care."

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Affairs of the heart can turn ugly in a hurry, and the relationship between fans and the hockey team they have an emotional investment in certainly qualifies as that.

Given that GM Steve Tambellini and the rest of the front office has been whispering sweet nothings about rebuilding and "the process" in the ears of its fans and asking them to buy into it for some time, is it any surprise ticket buyers are feeling just a bit frosty today of all days after witnessing what they just saw over the last two games?

Not a bit.


While much of what’s being said here and elsewhere is flat out over the top, I certainly understand the frustration that’s generating commentary with a distinct lover-scorned bent to it.

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Twelve shots against the Ducks? Losing at home to the Sens, who haven’t been able to beat anybody outside their own city limits? A team that seems to be regressing rather building toward a climb back to contention we’re told could take four to six years? Four years — soon to be five — out of the playoffs and an effort like Sunday is going to fly with fans? No chance. No way. No how.

And please, fans who are actually calling for reason and cool heads today because losses are part of the deal — it sounds smart and superior to trot out that bit, but it isn’t — stow it. Losing is one thing. What the Oilers delivered Sunday, and Saturday for that matter,  is quit another. That isn’t part of "the process" they signed up for.

If the Oilers want those who’ve bought in to the rebuild — the vast majority of fans here have been pretty reasonable about that, all things considered — then they’d better cut the sweet talk and come up with a fancy dinner or two and some real romance the rest of the season, starting tomorrow against the Dallas Stars.

Clean sweatpants and the drive-thru lane isn’t going to get Tambellini and the Oilers anything but the cold shoulder from fans if what we just saw isn’t nipped in the bud in a hurry and "the process" starts to make some sense. You can only sell hope so long.

There is something a lot worse than the fear and loathing fans have expressed today. It’s called indifference, and once a lover scorned goes down that road, history shows that it’s tough to rekindle that flame.


— Dustin Penner said all the right things about being and staying in Edmonton the other day.

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Call me a cynic, or Dave Mitchell even, but based on an opinion expressed in the press box by somebody I trust yesterday, I’d love to jab a syringe of truth-serum in Penner’s butt and take another run at how he feels between now and the trade deadline. I imagine we will.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Who are we kidding guys, no matter how bad it gets, we’ll never stop caring. Hockey is, and always will be a love hate drug for us all. Once that poison enters your bloodstream, chances of rehabilitation is unlikely.

    As much as i enjoy being able to come here and talk hockey, i equally enjoy a well written messages of a Brownlee,Gregor,Ender, Archey, Chambers etc. As much as my knowledge of the english language suffers, there’s something in the way you present your words that is crystal clear and a delight to read.

    • Yes we will never stop caring but . . . Ender has a point. Last year even when things looked their bleakest I still tried my damndest to get some kind of post for the GDB. I started out this year but my availability (and my interest) has waned to some extent. When it is getting to the point that my motivation to read and post (let alone watch/listen to the games) is starting to fade then I know things are bad.

      I’m still a die hard and will look at the highlights and stats and try my best to talk about the players I love (and love to hate) but I’ll be honest that a multi year playoff drought has had its effect on me.

      I had the doldrums in the 90’s too but then I still had the odd first round playoff win against Dallas or Colorado to keep me in the mix. The run in 06 certainly rejuvinated me and I know I wasn’t alone in this regard.

      Tyler Dellow used to have a byline something to the effect of “I can’t believe people are reading this and I can’t believe why I’m still following this team” I know I’m butchering this but it was something to that effect. The years of Tamblowe are having their effect on me.

      I can see the future tantalizingly in front of me but I’m almost certain these clowns are going to screw it up and that makes me sad.

  • oilbaron


    You could easily swap Halls line with Penners.
    Penner is going to get you 25+ goals. MPS will score 20 next year and Gagner is surprisingly a veteran like player.

    The oil are going to be crap next year but if I was the Oilers i would be looking at assembling from the back end out now cause we have our forwards set for years to come now.

    Rookie Dman arent going to get this team good, oil need veterans on the back end. If the oil go as young as the forwards they are going to be terrible for another 3 years plus we will be loosing our rookie forwards cause who would want to stay with a team that is loosing so much so often.

    top 3 lines should be prime to young players role players on the 4th should be vets or nasty in your face.

    the D need 4 out of the 6 to be proven vets

    • D-Man

      No arguments about Penner or MPS, but you forget that this is a rebuild and we can’t simply dump contracts as easily as you think. Sure – we could buy out a whole bunch like Foster, but Katz isn’t in the business of spending money for no reason.

      You’re right – we do need proven vets, but your list of defensemen for next year has only one proven vet – Whitney… Brewer’s a good d-man(but isn’t coming here), Gilbert is shaky and the rest you’ve mentioned are either rookies or 2nd year players… We aren’t getting any decent veteran defensemen via free agency (without overpaying), so we’ll need to develop within… That will take time.

      I don’t buy your argument that we’ll lose our young players either… Hall/MPS/Eberle’s will be RFA’s after their ELC’s are done… They’ll either sign here or NOT play in the NHL. The only way they’d leave is if Toronto gives them a Penner-like offer sheet; then we’ll get a ton of draft picks.. You also assume that we won’t get better – I’m guessing we continue to progress like we are, we’ll be around 25th overall next year and fighting for a playoff spot after that..

      Finally – your lineup doesn’t address any of the gaping holes we currently have… We’ll still suck in the faceoff dot and we’ll be ‘easy’ to play against.

      In short – we need to be patient with the rebuild… The old cliche that Rome wasn’t built in a day applies here. We’ll need to draft a bit wiser and develop from within.

  • D-Man,

    You are right Im just venting and so frustrated and sick of seeing the Oilers loose. Yes they are better from last year but they get pushed around so easily outside of peckham. It drives me crazy. The teams from the late 90’s early 2000’s who made the playoffs around the 8th position had no top end talent (exception Guerin and Weight) that this team currently has, but they had so much heart and grit and nastyness it made for exciting games cuz the oil never got pushed around. Im sort of loosing faith with how Tambellini is keeping his cards so close to his chest and how patient Renney has been with the players.

    Just venting and getting frustrated. Ill go watch the Red Wings and wish the Oil end up like them one day.

  • Hungoverman

    This is a good article Brownlee and after the weekend summed up exactly what I felt. So much so I did not watch the Dallas game (mistake!).

    A couple of points for this Team

    1. Stop serving the Kool-Aid to the kids about their talent
    This is the NHL and guess what there’s loads of talent in this league and a lot of it comes from guys not taken in the 1st/2nd rounds. Rather it’s your gift + effort that will make this team a winner.

    2. Too many games of 5 guys on peripheral
    Anaheim was is a good game for Oilers to watch what happens when you go to the net – “wow it’s a rebound back to the slot, he shoots, he scores”. Watch any of those losses on weekend and we always have 5 guys on the outside.

    3. To use the speed effectively needs quick direct passes not saucers.
    In the game against Ottawa I saw in a stretch of 10 passes – 7 of them saucer passes that were either intercepted or the defender was able to close time and space. Again see point #1 you are not the only the ones in the NHL that are quick and fast. In fact teams enjoy playing you because you rarely hit and your special teams are the weakest in the league.