GROUNDHOG YEAR

When the Oilers lost in Boston, Detroit and Chicago many felt it was a sign of how far they had to go to become a contender? Well then what about last night v. the Ottawa Senators?

The Oilers dominated the first 7 1/2 minutes. They swarmed the Sens, but couldn’t beat Craig Anderson. Then the Sens scored two goals on two shots in nine seconds and the game was over. The Oilers got frustrated and abandoned their game plan.

And they set a new low in injuries, as Andy Sutton tweaked his groin in warm up, came out for the start of the game but never took a shift.

UH-OH!

 

If you woke up today worried that you were on the road to another 30th place finish I sympathize with you. The good news is that the Oilers would really have to suck to be passed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, but I digress.

For the past few seasons we’ve seen a team that consistently was inconsistent. They’d have stretches that made you believe they were ready to take the next step, only to crush your hopes and dreams of the playoffs by getting dominated for the next month.

I understand it is a learning process for this team, but are they actually progressing?

They have better skill in Nugent-Hopkins, Hall and Eberle, but this team is still lacking in size in their top-nine. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

For reasons unexplained this organization can’t stay healthy. The Oilers lost Sutton and Corey Potter last night. Potter has a sprained ankle and will be re-evaluated today, while Sutton pulled his groin and as of now there was no timetable for his return. Cam Barker is gone until March, Ryan Whitney is getting closer, but how long will he stay in the lineup?

The Oilers recalled Colten Teubert and Taylor Chorney from OKC this morning, and while that’s great for those two the Oilers will face the best team in the West tomorrow night with Teubert, Chorney, Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham as their 2nd and 3rd pairings.

It is hard to expect this team to win moving forward with that much inexperience on the blueline. I don’t blame the players if they make key mistakes or get overwhelmed, because you shouldn’t have four D-men that young in your lineup. Injuries forced this, but excluding Potter, the other three have had a history of injuries.

At some point you the Oilers brass needs to start looking at previous injury history as much as salary and usefulness when going after free agents or trades.

The forwards, excluding Hemsky, haven’t been banged up, but they haven’t banged anyone either.

Lennart Petrell is doing is best in limited minutes, and while Tom Renney felt Ben Eager tried to make his presence known last night, I don’t think he has done it often enough this season. Of course we shouldn’t ask one 4th line player to be the only physical player, because that is a recipe for disaster, and so far that’s what we’ve seen.

The Oilers were winning early because their goaltending was off the charts. Now that Khabibulin has come down to earth the Oilers have got blown out four straight games.

DO SOMETHING

I know trades aren’t easy, but the Oilers can’t afford to sit around anymore. They have to do something.

It is clear they need to do more offensively, but it is time for Steve Tambellini to make a move and shake things up. Sure, he is dealing from a position of weakness, but sitting around and doing nothing isn’t going to solve the problem. But do they honestly think the players will collectively learn to play grittier at all once? No chance.

For the past five years, I’ve said the Oilers need more size in their top-nine. Not every player needs to be big, but they need to find someone with size and skill. Of course it isn’t easy, but winning isn’t easy either, and if they want to win then Tambellini needs to give Renney some help.

This team needs more DESIRE. You can’t fold your tent because you aren’t rewarded in the first seven minutes. Winning is hard. It takes heart, desire and an inner fire not to give up. I’m not sure they have enough of that right now.

If you bring in one or two free agents and they don’t work out that is fine, but in the past three years the Oilers have signed or traded for Khabibulin, Kurtis Foster, Colin Fraser, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger, Corey Potter, Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth.

Smyth has been great since coming back. Potter had a great start, but he isn’t a top-four D-man. The rest haven’t done much, if anything.

Losing becomes a habit, and while the players, coaches and management continually say it isn’t acceptable, it sure looks like they are better at losing than winning, and that they don’t know how to deal with adversity.

They gave up two goals in nine seconds and they fell apart.

That needs to change.

It is time Tambellini makes a move.

DROWN YOUR SORROWS

I will be guest Bartending at the Boston Pizza on 23rd ave and 50th street tonight from 7 to 9 or maybe later. All of my tips and wages will go to Cancer research. Stop in say hi, and have a pint. We can solve all of the Oilers issues over a few beers. We might need a keg to solve all of them, but what the hell, it is Friday.

See you then.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    @ “Romulus’ Apotheosis”

    I think Mulletgate was resolved by the Oilers paying a “small amount of cash.”

    I read that in the Edmonton Journal.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      thanks for the update. I don’t live in Edmonton, or follow twitter… so basically if it isn’t on here somewhere or in the general NHL news i get from TSN I’m in the dark about it.

      I always find it funny the way news cycles. One week all you talk about is the Lombardi fiasco and then when the news finally breaks you barely hear about it.

  • Slapshot

    It’s time the Oilers part ways with Tambellini, his in ability to make trades and the personal moves that he has made during his time here, will affect the Oilers for many years to come.The Oilers need a new GM who can put the pieces together to build a winner.From what Tambellini has done here these past 3 years he is not the Gm for this organization.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Wow, just an awful week or so to be an Oilers fan. We started fine last night, gave up a pair of quick goals and completely folded our tents. What I saw last night was not acceptable. There was no emotion, no drive to turn things around. I thought that we were supposed to be excited to be back at home. I get that we were shorthanded on D but is it too much to ask for the guys who are healthy to actually hit somebody? Frustrating times for sure. Bring up the big Finn. At least he drives the net. GO OILERS GO!!

  • Just came back from the Oil Kings game. Gernat looks like he has some real skills out there. Crisp passes and such. He played a ton, it seemed. He was out there in every situation.

    I know offense is the first thing to disappear when a defenseman moves up to the bigs, but it’s also hard to teach those instincts. Definitely a case of saw him good tonight.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Great report! Thanks for the saw him good update. LTs last update on Gernat was really promising too.

      How was Reinhart? LT seems to think MBS might have a strong interest in him for our first pick (of course, we have no idea right now how high we will go)

      Also, can anyone explain the actual status of the affiliation of the Oil Kings with the Oilers?

      • Reinhart didnt play. I think it might have had to do with that Russian series because there were a few higher profile Oil Kings sitting out, but thats a guess. I did see him eating Pizza and pop. The guy is a man-child.

        Maybe the highlight of the game was a fight where the Oil King took some many bombs to his head that I was getting motion sick watching his noggin rock side to side. I dont think he played another minute after the fight.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          I can imagine. He’s listed at 6’4″ 208 at only 17! crazy… I’m guessing he either ate the whole pizza or ate a slice as an afterthought between meals.

          what’s this Russian series?

          When I was a kid in Vic. we used to host these exhibition games with various countries. A russian team visited (I was about 7 or 8 so my memory is foggy) but I got to meet Vladislav Tretiak and get his autograph.

          Another time the Finnish team came and I got to meet Jari Kurri and he signed some cards… must have been after he left the Oil, but before resigning in the NHL with the Kings. It was literally my biggest kid moment! He was really nice… waited around and signed everything for a big hoard of kids.

          anyway, sucks that the highlight was an Oil king getting his face handed to him.

    • Peterborough

      The only good news for the Oil in weeks! Tonight is totally going to suck. Its back to dreaming about the possibilities of a great prospect pool.

      . . . at least thats sure to continue to improve the way this season is about to turn.

  • Eulers

    Gregor, how about bringing in a free agent defenceman? Can the Oilers bring somebody over from Europe?

    Bryan McCabe is starting to look pretty good right about now. The counter-argument I’d previously heard was that McCabe duplicated some of Barker’s skills. With Barker out of the picture for essentially the whole season, an actual NHL defenceman–albeit an aging one–seems like a great option. What do you think?

    I’m a bit concerned about your enthusiasm for making a trade, even from a position of weakness. Like Lowetide and the rest have been saying with regards to Gagner, I think we need to be patient. I’m not against any trade, but the Oilers need to strike a balance between developing winning habits now and their long term potential.

  • A-Mc

    1. Gregor – Why do the Oil “have to do something”? So far this year they have exceeded all reasonable expectations and are simply slipping back down to their true performance level after a hot start. The run of injuries on the D will hurt wins and losses but gives another chance for CT to develop.
    2. Trades are between hard and impossible to make prior to the trading deadline. The last thing the Oil should do is trade from a point of weakness to make the 25th placed team into the 20th placed team.
    3. It will be very interesting to see what happens to Hemsky this season and in teh free agent market. Best case scenario is for Hemsky to have a good remainder of the season to build up his value and then do a deal at the trade deadline. Hemsky is a world class talent that many confuse as a world class player.

  • Slapshot

    This is a young team and a lot of players are still learning how to play at the NHL level. Renney needs to get these forwards to throw the puck on net and bang in some rebounds. The young guys who learn this will start racking up points; the young guys who can’t learn this should be traded. There are a thousand ways to score but if you can’t get the most common one right, then you can try to make YouTube highlights on another team.

    As for a veteran defenceman, how about signing Craig Rivet? Or do we have to compensate Elmira/Columbus to get him?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Wow… this thread fell off the rails… Gregor must have bought a few rounds last night.

    Seriously though, it’s times like these that I wish I lived in the big E so I could have joined you all. It’s awesome that you do events like this Gregor. I’m sure your community appreciates it.

    to the down with Hemsky/Horcoff crowd. I’ve explained why I disagree with you on both counts extensively elsewhere. But I will say this: you aren’t idiots. That’s no argument and it would be a jerk move to call you that. But you hold idiotic positions IMO. There is a difference.

  • I was at the flames game last night and naturally post game topics included the bubble bursting in etown and how awesome the flames were last night. (they werent) Chicago was kinda brutes.. especially Dunk… he sucked…. bad.

    However.

    One interesting topic was how bad Penner has been, post edmonton, with the usual he looked above average on a brutal team (oil) stuff…. it grew tiresome and I injected… he got married.. what did u expect.

    :-))

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      wait… Penner got married and you think that contributed to his terribleness… interesting… I wonder (seriously actually) if we have any adv. stats on that… or more broadly homelife and production, you’d think they’d be correlated in some way, right?

      anyway, here’s Nietzsche on marriage:

      Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with all that might persuade him to it, – marriage as hindrance and catastrophe on his path to the optimum. Which great philosoher, so far, has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer – were not; indeed it is impossible to even think about them as married. A married philosopher belongs to comedy, that is my proposition.

      Genealogy of Morality, III, §7

      and

      You can recognize a philosopher by his avoidance of three shiny loud things, fame, princes, women: which does not mean that they avoid him.

      Ibid., §8