GDB 37.0: 2011 NOT A GREAT YEAR FOR OILER FANS

The 2011 calendar year has not been a great one for the Oilers or their fans. The Oilers only won 28 of the 82 games they’ve played so far, so the best part of today’s early morning tilt (MST time) is that it will end a dreadful "year" of Oilers hockey. They went 28-46-8 over the past 364 days.

They started the year with a 2-1 loss at home to the Flames and it pretty much went downhill from there. The Oilers were 13-28-5 from January to April, and from October to today they’ve tallied a 15-18-3 record.

The major bright spot came on June 24th when they choose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, and he hasn’t disappointed with an outstanding start to his NHL career, but the organization needs to make some major moves in 2012 if they hope to avoid another disappointing calendar year.

In case you are wondering, in 2010 the Oilers played 77 games and went 23-43-11, so they improved slightly in 2011, but the Oilers will need to show more progress in 2012 or they will start looking like the Islanders, Blue Jackets and Jets (Thrashers); teams that stockpiled numerous top-ten picks but never improved.

The Oilers were outscored 190-244 in 2011, and here’s who scored their goals.

FORWARDS (168 goals)

Eberle – 25
Jones – 22
Hall     – 20
Smyth  – 14
RNH    – 13
Paajarvi – 11 (all in 46 games in Jan-Apr)
Horcoff  and Penner- 10
Hemsky and Gagner – 9
Cogliano – 7
Omark – 4
Petrell and Jacques- 3
Eager and Brule – 2
Lander, Belanger, Hartikainen and Fraser – 1

D-MEN (22 goals)

Gilbert and Foster – 4
Smid and Peckham – 3
Petry and Potter – 2
Barker, Sutton, Chorney and Vandermeer – 1

Of course you have to look at games played, but it interesting to note that Jones has been almost as productive as Eberle. I suspect that gap will increase in 2012, not because Jones will falter, but because Eberle will likely be over 30.

I’m sure all of you are hoping, expecting and demanding the Oilers improve in 2012, and I believe they will not only improve, but that we’ll see some changes on and off the ice. We’ll talk more about that in the coming months.

AVOID BEING LIKE NYI

It would be hard to follow in the Islanders’ footsteps when it comes to awful jerseys, but the Oilers need to avoid following them down the path of futility. The Islanders have missed the playoffs 12 of the past 16 seasons, and they haven’t won a playoff round since 1994 and they’ve had a whopping 16 top-ten picks since 1994. Top-ten picks won’t guarantee you success if you don’t have competent management.

Ten of those picks were top-five picks, and the Islanders either squandered most of them in trades; Luongo, Torres, Brewer, Dumont, etc or didn’ t develop them. The Islanders have wasted more top picks than any team in the past 16 years, and the Oilers have to ensure they don’t follow that same path. The Islanders traded Zdeno Chara and a bevy of other players because they were impatient, and the Oilers can’t afford to do the same.

LINEUP

Andy Sutton will return to the lineup after an eight game suspension and Devan Dubnyk will get the start in goal. Ales Hemsky didn’t practice on Friday, but I suspect he’ll play today.

Hall –  RNH – Eberle
Smyth  – Horcoff – Hemsky
Gagner – Belanger – Jones
Eager – Lander – Petrell (Hordichuk maybe)

Gilbert – Smid
Potter – Petry
Peckham – Sutton|

Dubnyk

That is my best guess at this point, but does it matter who is on the fourth line at this point?

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Islanders are 13-1-7 in their last 21 v. the NW at home, but I suspect the Oilers will end that trend with a gutsy 3-2 victory.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The broadcast crew will mention how bad the Nassau Coliseum is and state how the Oilers clealry need a new rink.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Ales Hemsky scores a goal and all of the trade Hemsky rumours stop for a day.

ALL THE BEST TO YOU AND YOURS IN 2012. THANKS FOR READING THE NATION AND I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR COMMENTARY IN THE NEW YEAR.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    So after losing to the Isle. is it time to drop the irony laced “Epic” in ELPH and go with a more honest choice?

    “Excruciating” “Execrable” “Exacerbated” “Emasculating” “Exasperated” “Enraging” etc, etc, etc…

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Ben eager today was an unmitigated disaster. DD played as I thought he would. He is so cold that he makes todays weather look balmy in comparison. He is not given an opportunity to find his groove. 4 goals on 9 shots?

    The good news is that Nail Yakupov is now within reach. Or soon will be. Mr Dithers indeed. The longer he dithers the better the pick will be. I can only hope that Bulin and the likes of Eager,Hemsky,Sutton,Belanger,Smyth and Potter can get us a bunch of picks in this years draft or in 2013.

    More good news. Renny’s contract is done at the end of the season.

    How long befoe we here MacT’s name as ST’s replacement?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Is there an answer to this team’s futility somewhere in coach verbal’s ramblings? Oil fans patience is nearing its end.

    P.S. Yakupov, no thanks.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What a train wreck, s#-t show, call it what you will! Its oiler (miss) management pure and simple. An oil fan since WHA, I’m a week away from boxing up my oiler stuff and sending it to His highness Kevin Lowe. He ( and his minions) seems to think we are all village idiots with wallets. What a face wiper…

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Why does this team insist on playing Peckham with Sutton or Tuebert or Plante or Chorney? Why do they play them with the fourth line? Why do they play against everyones top two lines?

    I was happy when the Oilers signed Hordichuck but this is not the same guy who played for the Canucks a few years ago. Watching him throw away the puck everytime he gets it on his stick is getting painful, his footspeed is half as fast as two years ago as well. It isn’t all his fault it is also coaching, when he played in Vancouver he was used properly. He would go out with Rypien, Glass, Hansen, or Bolduc they would make a hit, dump the puck deep and get off the ice. Why are they not using this fourth line like this? Hordichuck and Eager are useless in their own end why do they leave them out for 55 second shifts against teams top 6? Renney seems to have adopted Quinns rolling 4 lines system that worked so well 2 years ago.

  • BigE91

    look at the brightside, young team new arena things are looking up. In a few years we’ll have so many good young players that even kevin lowe can’t screw it up!!!!

  • BigE91

    With all of the negative talk about Oiler’s management and bad coaching I wonder how early in the New Year the Oil spin-doctors make a magical appearance on their local sports radio mouthpiece station to re-assure the sheep that those are not actually shears they are carrying and it won’t be painful at all. The Oilers are not pathetic losers and the losses are actually victories as part of a greater plan and all of this is actually good for Edmonton fans.

    Just please keep buying $225.00 (X 2 or 4), seats and $10 beers.

    This current phase of indignity is just getting wound up.

    What’s the over/under on who the talking head will be re-assuring the sheep. My money is on Laforge and the spin will likely start about noon on Monday, Jan 2.

  • OBC'84

    With hockey like this, who’s going to turn up to watch the games in that new arena?

    When Pitsburg and Chicago did their rebuilts, they supplemented their rosters with quality trades and free agent signings. What have we really done in that department that turned out to be of any significance in the last few years? We lucked out that Smyth wanted to come home, but aside from that trade (which was due to exceptional circumstances), what has Tambi really done?

  • Rob...

    This league is a mess. I wanted to post that if Eager really wanted to fight he just needs to hit the other team’s players a little harder with his checks and the fights would come to him. Unfortunately you can never tell now when a clean hard check is going to result in you getting anywhere from two minutes to a 5 game suspension.