GDB 44.0: FRUSTRATED AND MAD… OH THE TEAM IS TOO..

It is hard being an Oiler fan right now. The Oilers are 8-20-2 in their last 30, after going 8-3-2 in their first 13 games. In fact, the last 21 games have been even worse at 4-15-2 since November 26th. I understand the frustration, and appreciate the passion of the fans. I took the night off of twitter on Friday, but yesterday I logged in and was welcomed by numerous tweets from frustrated fans.

I’m guessing many of you felt the same way during Friday’s game. Reading my timeline reminded me why I love sports. The raw emotion is incredible. It also reminded me that I’m lucky to have a sports show in a city that cares. Here’s a few of the tweets from Friday.

Malo Das

 

we should go about starting something to get Katz to actually talk about what he wants from this team.
 
Hearing from the boss would be nice, and it should happen a few times a year, but I don’t want a Jerry Jones type owner in Edmonton. Ask Cowboy fans if a hands-on owner has helped them in the last 15 years. Two playoff wins in 15 years. Katz needs to talk to the fans at the end of the year. He needs to show some leadership. The fans want to believe in the Oilers, but it’s getting harder by the day.
 
  Gibbonite 

I couldnt believe nobody Beauchemin after that. I figured 100% it was going to happen. Unreal
 
It was mind-boggling why they did nothing. Eager did try once, but at that point he shouldn’t have been worried about an instigator penalty. The game was 4-0, I’m pretty sure they weren’t going to win. Fact is, fighting Beauchemin wouldn’t have impacted the game, but it was another sign that this team is easy to play against. Sometimes you have show that you’ve had enough, but most of the players played like they didn’t care.
 
Jeff Hendrick

no more excuses for this team, can’t sell fans on so called ‘positives’ and stat improvements-it’s growing weary & old.
 
Who has made any excuses? The only facts are that they aren’t good enough to even compete once they lose a few of their top players. That isn’t an excuse that is a fact. Oiler fans should expect an effort, but with this lineup, if you are expecting wins then you’ll be disappointed every game. It sucks, but that is the truth.
 
 
Brett McNabb

I can’t remember watching two more brutal back to back no shows
 
Young grasshopper, I can guarantee you’ve seen worse. Just go back a few years. The list is too long to mention them all, but trust me the New Jersey game was infinitely better than games in Feb, March and April in 2007. Those were awful.
 
O’ryan McColwell

Hey… I heard you on the show today… hope you enjoy edmonton and you are 1 beautiful lady.
 
 
Smooth Mr. McColwell, smooth. I’m sure he enjoyed googling Crystal’s pictures instead of watching the game. Hard to blame him considering her pics, and how bad the Oilers were on Friday. 
 
Scott Kwasnecha

when is the throw our hands up and say "rebuild" going to end? In this city and organization.
 
Hate to tell you, but the Oilers are a few years away from being really competitive. Does any sane fan, blogger or media member honestly think they can add enough players by next October to be a legit contender. If you do, I want some of whatever you are smoking/drinking. They have some decent pieces, but they still very young, and you can’t expect all of the young guys to mature as quick as Eberle, Hall and RNH have.
 
Dion Leszczynski

Has #10 for the Oilers ever been in a fight. They need a captain who can give the team some sort of identity, lead by example.
 
Yes, Horcoff has been credited for six regular season fights. In 2003 he fought Chris Clark right off the opening faceoff. None of his tilts were great, which isn’t surprising, because he’s not a fighter. Horcoff needs to concentrate on scoring, not fighting at this point.
 
Joshua Moar

is it just me or are the Oilers turning into the Eskimos during the Danny Maciocia era.
 
Interesting comparison, but unless the Oilers let Ales Hemsky leave in the summer, but then re-acquire him in a trade and give up a first rounder, they will never match the Maciocia era. In the CFL you can make four solid moves and be back in the playoffs the next year, the NHL is much harder, but you aren’t far off with your comparison. The last few years Oiler years have been ugly.
 
The Dougler

forget building these guys a new rink, The Oilers should be playing a Mill Woods Rec Center
 
It would be awesome if the new rink had a wave pool. Imagine if during intermission you could go watch some ladies in the swimming pool. Excellent idea Dougler.
 
Tim

we play like losers, we prepare like losers(oilers). Who’s going to step up and say it?
 
Who do you want to be traded the most? Cammalleri said it in Montreal and he got traded, so maybe it could work here. Unlikely, but at this point you should try anything.
 
we’re the fans doing the wave for the 50/50 or a number one pick next year.
 
I wasn’t at the game, but I’m guessing it was for the 50/50. There is no guarantee the Oilers will finish 30th, the Blue Jackets are pretty bad. Maybe the Oilers need to finish 28th or 29th, but WIN the lottery and pick first. Maybe that luck will change their fortunes. At least point I’d look at bringing in someone to "bless" their dressing room with the hope it lessens their injuries.
Jered Seabrook 

What makes the such an easy team to play? Lack of skill? Lack of effort? Lack of coaching?
 
At this point all of the above. Their top-two point producers are out, and Taylor Hall can’t do it all by himself. Lack of effort is very concerning. That hasn’t been an issue often this year, but if it starts to become a trend then they clearly don’t have enough winners in the room and will have to cut those players out. The coaches have to take some blame as well, and if the final 40 games are like the past 20 I don’t see how you can possibly bring them back.
 
Steve & Tara Tailby

. Does Belanger have a "no shoot" clause in his contract? .
 
He has a no-confidence clause right now, but yes unwillingness to shoot is concerning. He should be on the 4th line and PK, until he finds his confidence. There is no reason to keep him as the 3rd line centre. Absolutely none.
 
Michael Pino

EDM rebuild is prob scaring teams like MTL and CGY from doing it.Lol.Who wants to lose this much Yr after Yr!
 
Very few teams ever plan to rebuild. The Oilers didn’t and if it wasn’t for all their injuries in 2009/2010 they likely wouldn’t have. There is no guarantee you will ever emerge from a rebuild. Every organization believes they will, but the list of teams that can’t is much longer than teams that have went through a rebuild successfully. For the fans sake, I hope the Oilers current futility pays off in the future. The fans deserve to have their loyalty rewarded.
 
Trent Johnson

With the 1st overall pick in 2012, the are proud to select …
I like your optimism, it’s a nice change of pace. If the Oilers do have the first pick, I’m guessing they take Nail Yakupov, and hope he is the final "Nail" in their rebuilding coffin. (If Principe ever uses that in the future, I hope he credits me.) I would take a serious look at Grigorenko too. Big strong centreman.
 
Trevor Harris

it’s obvious the Oil need a goalie. What would it take to get either an NHL quality such as Rask or Price in a trade?

Zero chance to get Price. They traded Halak because they wanted Price as their goalie of the future. You might have a shot, albeit slight, to get Rask out of Boston. Rask is playing more this year, and I’m sure the Bruins have told him he’ll be their guy of the future, but unless he asks for a trade I’m not sure why Chiarelli would move him. Thomas turns 38 in April, how many more years can he stay as an elite goalie? One or two at the most, I would think.

greg champion

The #1 draft pick is 5’9 and russian did get the memo
 
Some Russians can be a risk, but drafting Malkin high sure didn’t hurt the Pens, and Ovechkin wasn’t a bust either. Sure size is an issue, but people said size, or lack thereof, would hurt Nugent-Hopkins. I don’t think it has. I understand many fans want someone to pay the price, but now is not the time. If the Oilers fire their coach, they would be the 10th team to do so this year, and the list of quality candidates would be pretty short. Same goes for the GM. All the best options are currently employed, so if the Oilers fire someone they should wait until the season is over.
 
The Oilers GM job would be very attractive to many aspiring GMs. They have Eberle, Hall, RNH and likely another top-five pick in the fold. They have a decent farm system, an owner who will spend money and lots of cap space. The Oilers would be foolish to make a move now and miss out on possibilities like, Jim Nill for instance. Nill is an Alberta guy, has been Ken Holland’s right hand man in Detroit for years and he has lots of experience. Would he want the job? I don’t know, but he wouldn’t leave the Wings during the season, and neither would any of the other qualified candidates.
 
K McGowan

draw the 50/50 already. Out of respect for the suffering
 
I laughed out loud at this one, because it is true. How many of you were feeling the exact same way?
 
Kelly Meier

. at what point do we start to look at coaching here in edm?
 

After the season. Now is not the time to be firing the coach, because as I mentioned earlier the best candidates are under contract.

 
Dan W

so Gagne gets the piss beat out of him and the oil show less passion?
 
Not sure if you heard Beauchemin after the game. He said when Gagner asked him to go that he said to the former 6th overall pick, "Are you sure?" And after the fight Beauchemin basically  said, "Good fight considering you aren’t a guy who fights very often." Beauchemin is tough, and I credit Gagner for stepping up. He clearly didn’t know Beauchemin was a south paw and he ate a few. The Oilers could have jumped him, but if Gagner was the initiator what did Beauchemin really do wrong. He even asked the kid if he was sure. Of course the optics weren’t good and someone bigger should have done something, but the Oilers aren’t blessed with an overabundance of physical forwards. I’m more worried about the overall message. Are the physical guys fed up with their coach? I’ll be watching how they respond in the coming weeks.
 
Jono Allen

. That’s it, I’m done. Call me when we know what the F we’re doing
Jono, I feel your pain, but are you truly done? I doubt it. How many of us have, after having puked our guts out or wallowed in pain for days after a huge bender have said, "I’m never drinking like that again, or I’m done drinking." I’m guessing most of you, and most of you always did it again, sometimes as soon as a few days later. You might not spend another dollar, but we all know you’ll watch a few more games, especially when RNH and Eberle return. If you don’t you are a stronger man than all of us.
 
Thomas Chibri

Do the tenders work on rebound control at all during practice? Way to make a bad team look awesome..
 
They do, but they also can’t score goals. Goaltending wasn’t the reason they lost last night. Sure the Ryan goal was from a sharp angle, but the goalies were like everyone else Friday night;  AWFUL
 
Marc Binette

do you know the reason Gagner fought?
 
He thought Beauchemin tried to run Hall, and he wanted to stand up for his teammate, and also try to inject some life into his team. His intentions were good, but he needs to do a bit more advanced scouting on who he fights.
 
Matt Harms

What do you think went through Eagers head while watching that fight?
"Sam is a gamer, I give him credit, but Beauchy sure has a fast left. I’d go fight him later, but the coaches never play me even though I have more goals than the entire 3rd line combined. Who knows, maybe with Gagner out I’ll get a few more shifts for the next five minutes."
I have no idea what he was thinking, but he obviously didn’t think it was worthwhile of taking an instigator penalty later in the game. His response wasn’t great that was obvious.

 

Tim

the Oilers remind me of the Danish team tonight.
How I wish the Oilers would have had five players do a mock press conference after that game. I’d love to hear what they truly thought when the cameras were off. The Danes at least gave their best effort when they played, last night the Oilers didn’t and that can’t happen tonight.
I’ll be tweeting tonight, so join in…. @jasongregor

LOOKING AHEAD TO TONIGHT

I was excited to hear what Dean Lombardi was going to say when he arrived in Edmonton this week, but he ruined that by apologizing on the Mark Spector Show on TEAM 1260 that he was sorry for his outburst regarding the Ryan Smyth/Colin Fraser trade. When it rains, it pours in Oilersnation.

The Oilers can’t win and just when you think we’ll have some exciting off-ice controversy Lombardi decides to play all nice. Oh well, thankfully Dustin Penner has a sense of humour and I’m sure he made your pancakes much more entertaining this morning. Hopefully none of you suffered from S.O.B.S while eating.

The Kings are finally playing up to their potential, and they are 7-1-4 since Darryl Sutter took over as head coach. After struggling all season to find their offence, it looks like they’ve found it with 13 goals in their last three games. That’s not good news for the Oilers, who have two goals in their last three games.

With Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the lineup, the Oilers only goal scoring threat is Taylor Hall.

Hall has 5 goals in his last 8 games.
Gagner has 4 in his last 15.
Eager has 4 in 16.
Jones has 3 in 17.
Smyth has 3 in 21.
Horcoff has 1 in 21.
Hemsky has 1 in 15.
Belanger has 1 in 43.
Lander has 1 in 39.
Paajarvi has 0 in 27.
Hordichuk has 0 in 18.

Until some guys start scoring the Oilers aren’t going to scare anyone, but at least they have to put forth an effort, which didn’t happen on Friday.

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

In the past week I’m noticed some media and bloggers have jumped on the "He was a bad signing," brigade. Interesting to note that none of these people wrote that Eric Belanger or Ben Eager were awful signings in the summer. Let’s look at this objectively for a second.

Belanger was signed because he was good in the faceoff, a decent PKer and could chip in offensively. He has been very good on faceoffs, 57.4%, solid on the PK, but horrendous offensively. Tell me why anyone would have thought he’d be this bad offensively. There were no signs that he would handle the puck like it was a grenade. Here’s his last eight years, starting from last year.

Goals     Points
13              40
15              41
13              36
13              37
17              35
17              37
13              33
16              35

He hasn’t dipped the past few years, in fact his point totals increased slightly. No one could have predicted he’d be this bad, so saying he was a bad signing is wrong. He’s been bad, but the signing wasn’t. He hasn’t produced, and for some strange reason Renney continues to play him too many minutes. Rip on how he has been used, rip on Belanger for not performing, but saying it was the wrong signing is cherry-picking in my opinion.

When Cam Barker was signed, some people raised an eyebrow due to his injury history and because his game was trending downwards. For those who questioned it then, it is completely fair and accurate to question it now. Belanger isn’t in the category. He’s flat out played awful. Blame him. He’s been given ample opportunity to produce, but he hasn’t.

Nothing in the last eight years, or even recent history, would point to him being this dismal offensively. So far the signing hasn’t worked out, but that doesn’t mean it was bad at the time. In this case I think the player has to take most of the blame, because he hasn’t come close to being the player he was for the past eight years.

EAGER IS A BIT DIFFERENT

Eager is in a bit of a different boat. He got off to a bad start, concussion, and when he returned to the lineup he was hesitant to engage. It seems that Renney still holds Eager’s slow start against him. Eager has been the 3rd most productive Oiler (who is healthy), goal wise, in the last 16 games, but he can’t seem to get a regular spot on the 3rd line. I know Eager wasn’t brought here to score, he was supposed to bring some energy, and he hasn’t done it consistently enough, but considering how no one else is scoring you can make the argument he deserves to play as much as anyone on the 3rd line.

I keep hearing how people think he should be fighting more. Eager has averaged 8 1/2 fights/year for the past four years. Fighting is down 25% across the league this year, so if you take into account the dip in fights across the league, he should have six by the end of the year. So if he had three at this point, he’d be more effective? I don’t think so. He needs to be more of a physical presence, but he also needs to get some playing time.

Eager has more goals than the third line has combined, 4-2. Eager isn’t a game breaker, but lately he’s been better and at least he’s shown an ability to score a goal once every four games. What message is the coach sending if guys who produce, in limited minutes, will never get more minutes, yet guys who don’t produce, will continue to play no matter what?

Eager was signed to bring some grit and toughness, but also because he can play the game. He isn’t a goon who just fights, he’s never been that player. He skates well enough that he could play on a 3rd line in Edmonton, especially when the 3rd line is producing nothing.

Not going after Beauchemin on Friday when the score was out of reach was completely unacceptable on his part, it was disgraceful to be honest, and he needs to realize that he has to be a protector at times, but Renney needs to realize that Eager can add something, and right now he should be on the 3rd line with Lander in the middle and Paajarvi on the wing.

The coach and the player are both to blame in this case. Eager has been effective, but even when he is Renney doesn’t seem to reward him. The player needs to be more effective, but the coach needs acknowledge when he is playing well and give him some more minutes.

As for signing him, at the time I recall most people were a bit concerned about the length, rather than the dollars or the player. That’s fair, but something has to give with Eager and Renney. Player needs to play harder for him, and the coach needs to reward him when he does.

LINEUP 

The Oilers didn’t skate this morning, but Devan Dubnyk will likely get the start. The only other possible change will be to dress Darcy Hordichuk. After Friday’s lack of push back, Renney could dress him.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is their 3rd straight game playing a team on the back end of a back-to-back, but I suspect the same result. The Oilers will at least give a solid effort tonight, but barring a surprise, I don’t see them scoring enough to win. 3-1 Kings win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Gene Principe will have a stack of pancakes in his opening. If Geno doesn’t have a pancake prop I’ll be disappointed.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The crowd will be surly tonight. Friday’s performance combined with this sudden cold snap, -20 and getting colder, will have the fans on edge. Unless the Oilers get off to a good start, the boo birds will be out early and often. 

Also if you LIKE The Jason Gregor Show Page on Facebook you could win tics to the Oilers/Flames game next Saturday. We’ll give those away on the page this week, and some other prizes.

    • book¡e

      Nice prediction, but don’t expect too many props or accolades. There are only about 15 people paying attention to the Oilers these days and only 6 of them are on Oilersnation….

  • Light, Sweet, Crude

    Great game tonight! I thought the Oilers showed up and got a great outing from their AHLers. Don’t mind giving these guys a few more games and scratching Belanger.

  • Puritania

    Great comment on Lander, JW.
    I know this is a new idea to Gregor, but Lander should be in the AHL. Just kidding big guy.
    I’d keep Josh Green up for the rest of the year instead. Grizzled vet, Camrose boy, adds some strength and savvy to the lineup. Let Lander eat minutes in the A. Everybody wins.

    How’s Brule doin?

    • Jason Gregor

      Being saying Lander to the AHL for months, glad to see you are listening…haha…He needs to be a tad quicker also. I like his game and I think he’ll be a solid NHLer in the future, but he isn’t one now.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Netting that second top 10 pick isn’t as difficult as some say. The Oilers already have 83 leaving, that there alone should fetch a middle’ish first rounder. Add a few more quantity players along with that pick and they should be able to improve on that middling pick.

    That Wash/Colorado pick may be the best option if it’s in play. Give Macphee anything he wants outside of 4,14 and 93. That alone would be a top 10 pick.

    Tambellini dreams or success, while other GM’s wake and work hard towards it. Make some friggin decisions on this stable full of quantity, not quality players. Make the effort to save your own job..