On a day when the Toronto Maple Leafs finally took Ron Wilson by the hand for a one-way walk out behind the barn, Edmonton Oilers fans filing out of Rexall Place had to be wishing someone would show them the same mercy after witnessing a coma-inducing 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.

Result aside for an outfit that’s dropped six of its last seven games on home ice, you have to work the memory banks overtime to think of a game this disjointed and devoid of any offensive flow or fluidity of attack. It’s as if every player on the ice slipped into the Belanger Triangle. Hands of wood all around. Line rushes resembled group seizures.

At one point, after watching for five minutes without looking away to give my brain a rest, I started to hallucinate. I could have sworn I saw Lennart Petrell playing on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Tom Renney would have to lose his concussed mind to put that trio together, no?

Inept on the attack in a 5-2 loss to the stifling St. Louis Blues Wednesday, a game in which they managed just 24 shots on goal, the Oilers got even less done against the Stars, directing just 20 shots at Kari Lehtonen, spoiling his shutout bid when Sam Gagner hacked a puck past him in the final minute.

Against the Blues, the Oilers had just one power play. They didn’t have a single man-advantage against the Stars. For a team that has struggled so mightily on the power play in recent seasons, the Oilers are leaning too heavily on it now. They’re getting almost nothing accomplished at even strength.

Perhaps we’ll see Darcy Hordichuk alongside Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle against the Ducks in Anaheim on Monday. Maybe, if Renney really wants to take a flyer, how about, lemme see, Linus Omark or Magnus Paajarvi? Or is that getting really silly?


— I don’t know about you, but I found it disconcerting when Taylor Hall flinched in pain after tweaking his left shoulder early on a hit by Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric.

That’s the same shoulder Hall injured on a hit by Ryan Wilson against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Against Fistric, as was the case with Wilson, Hall tried to brace himself with his left arm and ended up heading to the bench with arm hanging by his side. While Hall finished the game and Renney didn’t seem concerned during his post-game availability, I’m thinking Edmonton’s training staff should be keeping an eye on it.

— As you likely already know, Ales Hemsky spent a fair bit of time after practice this morning doing extra work. Hemsky, usually one of the first players off the ice, worked on taking some one-timers.

Whether that was Hemsky’s call or was induced by a talk from the coaching staff or management, maybe both, the sight of him hanging around has been a rarity in the decade he’s been an Oiler. When a player as gifted as Hemsky has just five goals, it’s time well spent.

— While it seems NHL officials are pocketing the whistles down the stretch, which is of particular consequence to a team like the Oilers that has relied so heavily on the power play, bitching about non-calls, as Renney alluded to tonight, won’t change anything. Shut up and play.

— Almost as mind-boggling as Petrell playing with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle: Jason Gregor is getting married Saturday and I will witness it with my own two eyes. Congratulations, Gregor.

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

  • O.C.

    So Brownlee, I have heard you say “Renny is not the problem” on Greggors show. Do you still feel that way 100% ? I think Tom has proven over his rein as coach here, that he just can’t figure out the chemistry. It would be a good time to see if Kruger is the man they respond too.

    Here’s my take on Horcoff. He goes to WORK every game. I doubt if he’s paid to produce high point totals. If everybody played as hard and determined as Shawn, they might be winning more.

    • I don’t have to agree “100” per cent with everything Renney does to argue he’s not the problem. Every coach makes decisions that can and should be questioned.

      Tom does a lot of things that make him a very good fit for this team at this time. That doesn’t mean the situation or the needs of the team won’t change over time or that he always makes the right decisions.

      • PutzStew

        Hey Brownlee, as someone who has been around and in inner loop for a number of years what’s your take on management/ownership. Do you feel they are headed in the right direction? How does this administration compare to Sather?

        It’s been to easy to blame the players and coaches. Heck this team even skidded the training staff. Do you think management is going to one day be held accountable?

        I am sorry about being negative as well. But come on. Ten plus years of this is getting to far.

  • bluedevil

    Oilers show their potential, beat the Flyers then with the exception of a the win over the Jets, the team loses to Coyotes, Blues and last night the Stars. Are those three teams THAT MUCH better? How? Better players? Better line combinations? Better depth? Better coaching? Better training? Better motivation? What’s the Oilers missing ingredient(s)?

  • FastOil

    I was (for once) wishing we were in TO’s place, getting in Carlyle. A stronger coach would have the Oil in a playoff race right now imo. Currently its bleak, no respectable win-streaks all season, no noticeable team toughness, few (any?) come-from-behind wins. Also, riding a 40-yr-old and other questionable goalie all year when the best netminders in the ahl are in the organization (total of 35 nhl minutes this season), is a head-scratcher.

    Hoping we move on soon (but NOT with Wilson!).

  • FastOil

    Hey Robin: I mentioned this on another site, but I would like your opinion
    We have a minor league team in first place. No player on that team can conceivably make the Oilers, a 29th place team.
    Maybe the coaches for the Barons should be brought up to coach the Oilers…..

  • Reg Dunlop

    I think Bowman’s greatest skill was picking a winner. His move to Buffalo was just at their peak, with the French Connection and Danny Gare. His arrival there was supposed to push them over the top and he never did, as the stars began to age. He went to Pittsburgh with Lemieux in his prime, then onto Detroit for Yzerman and the Russian Five. He never really coached an underdog to anything because he never coached underdogs. I give him credit for being there, but not for any “magic”.

  • Reg Dunlop

    it seems to me that your hockey team is only as good as your star players are playing,like the sedins’or datsyuk and zetterberg,toews and kane,our high end players are not getting it done,horcoff and smyth,hemsky,but the future is bright with hall eberle and nug ,i just wish that someone would ride shotgun for them so they are healthy when that day comes.i say out with the old in with the new.