ABOUT THAT FAST START . . .

With 33 games remaining in this shortened 48-game NHL season it’s premature for those of us who thought (or hoped) the Edmonton Oilers had an opportunity to make the playoffs to write-off their post-season chances for a seventh straight season, but those so inclined might want to get started.

What those of us – there were many – who picked the Oilers to sneak in based, at least partially, on the feeling that Ralph Krueger’s team would get off to a quick start because so many core players were tearing it up in Oklahoma City and elsewhere, can’t argue is that premise is officially shot to hell now.

The Oilers are 6-6-3 for 15 points after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. And, while that leaves them just two points out of a playoff position with 66 points remaining on the table, what we’ve seen so far hardly qualifies as a fast start.

Yes, it’s better than the 4-8-3 record for 11 points they had after 15 games in 2010-11, when they finished 30th, but well off the 20 points (9-4-2) they had last season when they finished, ahem, 29th. It’s a record that’ll likely look a helluva lot worse by the time the "hurry hard" types vacate Rexall Place after the Brier – an event that puts the Oilers on the road for nine straight games.

It oughta be a barrel of laughs around here by March 12.

 

ARE HAVING FUN YET?

Dissecting why the Oilers find themselves where they are today makes for great copy in the daily sheets and blogs everywhere – and we’ll get a heaping helping of that in coming days and weeks by media types patrolling the rink and those nowhere near it – but the fineries of why, or why not, is wearing mighty thin with fans who expected more. Results, please.

With the fast start angle out the window, one glance at the schedule tells fans yet another season could go south in a hurry. After closing out this homestand against Minnesota and Phoenix, the Oilers embark on that nine-game swing, and it’s hardly a stroll down the garden path.

The fun begins in Chicago (they’re pretty good right now), where they play twice during the trip, and wraps up in Denver, where I’m guessing a weary outfit might have issues with altitude in the Mile High City. The other stops are in Dallas, St. Louis, Minnesota, Columbus, Detroit and Nashville.

I’m not seeing a bushel of easily acquired points on that trip. By the time the Oilers return, they’ll have played 26 games. How many points out of a playoff position might they be by then? Six? Eight? They could be closer to 15th place than eighth by then, no? Fast start my eye.

A real laugh riot, this bunch.

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

  • I know it’s been a long time since the playoffs and I know it’s frustrating to watch a team that seems so close at times and so far away at others… but haste ruins the work! If we make the playoffs this year it should be a pleasant surprise.
    If we deal a bunch of picks and prospects to get better right now, we’ll have a better squad for the next couple/few years… then a much worse squad for the next six/eight years. You wanna challenge for 3 Cups or 10?
    A 5 year plan is a powerful thing – we shouldn’t abandon one that is unfolding to a T just because of our impatience.

    • Phixieus666

      The Islanders are real patient and they challenge for 0 cups. At this point if we are debating if we want to challenge for 3 cups for sure or some hypothetical 10 cups I’ll take the former all day long.

      • lol the Islander’s problem isn’t patience… it’s competence! If you crossbred Tambi with a monkey, cloned his offspring, lobotomized him and gave every management position to one of those zombie half-monkey clones, we would STILL be more competently run than that pitiful joke of a once-proud franchise!

        Some fans won’t watch Edmonton play if the Oilers aren’t in the running (not saying you’re one of them). They should by no means be given any credence because they haven’t been paying attention for years, except at the start of every season, when they make a bunch of noise clamouring for instant gratification, then sit in sullen silence from, oh, November onwards when it becomes obvious to everyone and their dog that this is not our year!

        Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. Boy I hated hearing that when I was a kid!

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Not going to happen my friend. Tambellinis Lie back and think of England managerial methods aren’t as effective as he hoped. Our chances of this occuring are looking better for next season.

    • McDavid's Comet

      I bet my dweeb bro.-in-law whom cheers for Calgary (jaded since they traded smyth in 2007) 50 bones. I was so certain that no matter how bad it was this yr. they would be better than the Lames, there is still lots of hockey to played and we can still at the very least beat them in the standings. * crosses fingers *

  • Quicksilver ballet

    5 pts out of last as they prepare to head out soon on that roadtrip from hell. Hopefully we’ll see a leader emerge on this team as our Oilers play out the season. With Hemsky and Gagner elevating their game, perhaps this summer is the year Lowe blows everyone away at the Entry Draft?

    Yet another top 3 pick along with a Shea Weber type deal before the end of the summer is what’s needed. The current leadership on this team has never won anything on this team, only thing they’re accomplishing it to show the kids how to lose with class. Losing is becoming an acceptable outcome even for the kids now. Lowe needs to do something substantial, or this could go on forever.

    O fer 3 Kevin, time to take control sir.

  • The Goalie 1976

    Quick played extremely well last night denying Hall & Eberle in particular! Would have been a different story if those go in instead of Carter getting the tip in to make it 2-1! It’s amazing how quickly everyone in these parts want to jump down the throat of our 19, 20, 21 & 22 year old rising stars who all the pundits predicted wouldn’t make the playoffs this year!

    I will say i’m disappointed in Whitney’s play last night! The guy just seems slower, less agile & lost without someone stroking his ego! He would be the right guy at this time to package in a deal for some size that can play up & down the line up where needed!

  • One last observation from last nights game! Is there a shift Jarret Stoll takes in a game where he couldn’t be called for an infraction? Right from the face off out, watch this guy! In one particular sequence alone he was holding two Oilers sticks at once, yes two! The only time size plays a factor into a game is when the refs decide ‘to put the whistles away’ & ‘let them play hockey’! Never a good thing for the skilled Oilers!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The upcoming road trip may be a blessing in a way though. When you’re on a gauntlet trip like that, you just want to simplify things. Chip and chase and pucks on net, things we have heard lately about the direction of this team. Last night, I watched Jordan Eberle receive the puck in grade A scoring position on his forehand. Of course, he couldn’t resist deking out the last Dman and taking it to his backhand, but by then, he was just 2 feet off of the goalline and his shooting angle was nowhere near as good as he had when he started. Keep it simple, shoot!

  • Spydyr

    Yeah, I saw a few hooks there that were not called. Stick parallel to the ice and into the player’s hands. That’s a standard we have heard over and over again for several years now. Last night, it didn’t apply.

  • The Goalie 1976

    Another Diving penalty for Ryan Kesler.

    In other news ….. The NHL just changed the name of the “Diving” penalty to “Keslering.”

    So from now on the announcers will say, “wow did you see that player flopping and Keslering all over the place, what an embarrassment.”

  • McDavid's Comet

    WHAT THE $#CK HAS TAMBICAKES DONE? I mean actually taken action.

    I’ll give him credit for resigning Hemsky, I think he was smart to not trade him for peanuts if the market was dry.

    What else? I give him no credit for J Schultz. You can’t credit a guy for getting 1st overalls. Actually thats the spoils of an epic fail. EPIC FAIL X 3 years. The Taylor Hall year the team was trying to win and failed so bad we got last. The 2nd year it could be argued we tried to suck on purpose. Fine. But last year Tambi stated he wanted to make the playoffs. So 2 out of the 3 high draft picks are because of incompetence and FAILURE.

    The only other thing I hear people complimenting him for is inaction. He didn’t panic and do this. Or he didn’t go after this guy. Or he didn’t waste money on so and so.

    When did we turn into a team who prides itself on doing nothing and drafting because of suckery.

    RISE UP FANS. DEMAND MORE. ENOUGH PATIENCE. FIRE TAMBI NOW.

    To clarify I’m not advocating blowing the future on panic trading. But DO SOMETHING. ANYthing. Seriously WTF is Tambicakes doing these days???

    On Oil Change they show like 20 staff in the room for decisions. What the hell are these guys doing?? Today. Wednesday 11am as us normal folks grind away at our jobs, what is Tambi and KLowe doing? Sipping Cognac? Smoking cigars? Watching 80s Oiler video tapes?

    Since the Penguins drafted Sid they have done nothing but constantly change and make their team better. Not just sit around and let their prospects develop while completely sucking. I quote RexLibris:

    “For the best teams in the league, the act of rebuilding never really stops. Pittsburgh has spent the entire length of Sydney Crosby’s still-young NHL career continually attempting to improve and address areas of organizational need, predominantly in defense. Sometimes they have subtracted from the roster to address need, such as trading Ryan Whitney for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi, or Alex Goligoski for James Neal and Matt Niskanen. At the same time they have focused intently on drafting, rarely relinquishing draft picks for immediate roster help.”

    I say we start booing at games. Not booing the team, but mgmt. We can boo before the team even comes on the ice. Or during intermissions. To make it clear we aren’t booing the players but the Oilers as a whole.

      • Mike Krushelnyski

        YES. I’m so tired of this sh1t show. I’ve been patient for 5 years while Tambolini and the clowns running this mess told us to be patient.

        In general fans have become so accepting of losing, and patience and ‘the process’. Its a big pile of steaming BS.

        #FIRETAMBINOW

        I wish more people would get mad.

        BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

        (practicing for the game tomorrow)

        • Mike Krushelnyski

          Just checking. I agree with you btw. No team just drafts and drafts until they become cup contenders. You need to be proactive and tinker until you can produce a winning team.

          • I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again,
            too many Oilers Fans believe this management team has been tasked in building a cup contender.
            Is it too crazy to believe Katz wants to rebuild a cup dynasty?
            The only way to do that is building thru the draft, if that means drafting inside the top 10
            for the next 4 years until RX2 is finished so be it.

        • The Goalie 1976

          While I agree with your assesment of management, I think Booing at home games is a real no-no. Even if the players somehome realize it’s not against them personally. I think it just sets a bad mood and tone in the rink.

          A different approach would be to hammer the talk shows on 630 and 1260 with your exact complaint relentlessly until the brass gets the message. Also maybe a bunch of people could show up at one of Tamby’s pressers and boo him personally, and hold up signs expressing your displeasure.

          I’m not a fan of booing at the rink. It might turn future RFA and UFA’s off Edmonton, thinking we are as crazy as leaf fans or something.

          • vetinari

            You are right, I hate people who boo at games. Thats why I suggested booing before the game and during intermissions. I’m desperate…. But I really do agree with not booing the players. I hated when fans ran Arnott out of town with their boos and have ever since been fiercely against it.

            I wish the media in this town would get critical of mgmt instead of people either paid puppets or too scared to speak up.

            I like the idea of going to a presser and booing. That would be awesome. I’d pay someone to do it in fact.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Steve is only doing what he was brought in here to do, drive this franchise face first into the mud. He certainly has accomplished this. Katz and Lowe i’m sure gave Steve a five yr blueprint for this rebuild. It obviously hasn’t gone as expected with Steve needing to be extended for a still undetermined number of years.

          The remaining veterans let them down, combined with the slow developement of the kids who’ve been thrust onto this what obviously was just a glorified AHL team. Steve sitting idly by while a first year NHL’er is by far his best blueliner must reveal tanking is on his agenda again this season. Needs are very apparent and he sits doing nothing.

          Tambellini will be let go at seasons end and be made the scapegoat. With Katz and Lowe in hiding, they’re pissing in our ears, and telling us it’s raining.

          This we’ve known for well over a year now.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I think that we missed our boat personally. There won’t be many easy points out there the rest of the season. We still have control but count me as pessimistic about our chances of going on a run to get into the top 8.

  • Rob...

    Multiple times on the radio today I’ve heard the phrase ‘they managed the game, instead of called the game’. What that translates to for me is, ‘the officials did everything in their power to fix the game’.

    This isn’t the first time this season that the Oilers came out with a full head of steam, but by the second period were flat. I think this is a ‘Second Period Sulk’ after coming to the conclusion that the refs were gunning for a specific outcome to the game.

  • vetinari

    What’s funny is that over the last four years, Columbus has finished higher in the standings than the Oilers — from the most recent season, they were 30th, 24th, 27th and 16th (!) in the league while we were 29th, 30th, 30th, and 21st… so why are we hanging on to a GM that could not outperform Scott Howson (and Columbus) over these past four years?

    For almost half a decade, we were the worst team in the league under the stewardship of Tambellini– how many more years do we want to give him? How much more evidence of his handy-work does Katz need to see before doing something?

  • OilClog

    Does MacT automatically replace Steve?

    Does MacT make crazy trades?

    What’s MacT’s GM record..

    I’m just as nervous going that way, Mac can talk but does that translate into negotiation power. With all the trade chips the Oilers have we need someone in charge that can make the most of them. It’s a tough call.

    Maybe another figurehead is brought in as GM named Messier. Elbows to the face until he gets the trade he wants.

  • Word to the Bird

    I don’t understand why sports writers seem insistent on blaming the players for lackluster performaces when they’re for the most part playing to the best of their abilities. The best teams in the NHL have a balanced roster with seasoned veterans who can chip in, not just raw young talent with the weight of an entire franchise on their backs.

    Tambellini’s work as Oilers GM is poor to say the least. Just like my comrades before me have said already, Tambellini has done virtually nothing to improve this team. The only move he can take credit for that has improved this team is the Schultz-Gilbert trade. Other than that, this team is almost identical to when we first started this hopeless rebuild in 2010. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Edmonton’s defense is one of the worst in the NHL. Even Tambellini knows it. And what has he done to improve that? Fistric for a 3rd rounder? Hardly shaking up the D core. In other words nothing. And just to top the cake, he teases us saying a wow factor trade is in the making. How’s that going? And yet they still want us to be patient?!?! As much as I was against it before, we need to bring in somebody with the kahonas to make a deal that can improve this roster.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Almost all these posts are exactly what I have been thinking for some time now. Glad to see I’m not the only one in town that is sick of watching the organization become the laughing stock of the NHL. Bronte said it, and it’s true, this team could be near the basement come the end of this next road trip. I’m an Oiler fan and hate to be so downcast, but really, what has management done to give the fan base any sort of boost in confidence.

    Now saying that, I feel the real issue here is Kevin Lowe. This is the guy who signed Pisani, Moreau, Staios, and Horcoff the gawd awful contracts and got rid of the best d man in the league two seconds after he demanded a trade. What did he get? A promotion. Tambellini is nothing but a figurehead in my mind. Until Lowe is shipped out I have zero faith in where this ship is headed.

    Given the fact that Katz seems to be wanting another ride with the Boys on the Bus, I feel this may be a bad situation for a long time. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Mike Modano's Dog

      I agree with a lot of what you’re saying too…K-Lowe is the guy in charge, and responsible for what the team has done more than anyone else!

      I do say though (though very few will like it) wait it out for this next year ONLY. The talent at the top of this next draft is TO DIE FOR.

      Once that is done, we should be able to get our stud d-man, physical forwards, etc…whether through drafting or trading the assets we have by that time. I think then we should expect this team to compete mightily with the amount of talent that will be on board. That should be sufficient by that time…but we do need just that little bit of extra patience – still, for one more year.

      • vetinari

        We can be patient without the burden of Steve Tambellini weighing us down. If he can’t or won’t do anything to help this roster and team, then we should find someone that can. If his mandate from above is to drive this team into the ditch for as long as he can, then maybe it’s time for fans to stop going to Rexall.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    While I agree with the many here who are frustrated by the lack of moves I have to admit I am thinking a little differently.

    The difference between us and Columbus is that while we both suck (and them a little less) we have gone the entire ‘blow it up’ and into a FULL rebuild. In other words the longer we will go in the future the more disparity there will be between us and almost all the other teams, regarding talent (and young talent, at that.) We have been the #1 team on THN’s top young talented teams for a couple years in a row. I know that doesn’t translate to wins yet – and I get it that that isn’t acceptable…but I have to admit it makes me think of another team.

    The Quebec Nordiques, and many here might be too young to have lived through that experience, did a similar thing in the early 90’s. THEY SUCKED…and man, did they ever – for about 5 or 6 years straight. All the while acquiring high or 1st overall picks…and still sucking. Everyone could see what they were building – and yet it seemed so distant. When it finally came together – and Quebec never did get to enjoy it as the team moved to Colorado, they won the Stanley Cup that year – and were a force to be reckoned with for the next 10 years or so! Perenial Stanley Cup contenders, year after year. I know they did a big trade with a first overall pick that helped, mainly as it brought Peter Forsberg to them – but you could argue that we could get/or already have that kind of a talent here…and RNH is sort of a dead ringer for Sakic.

    My point isn’t that we ARE the Avalanche of old, or are going to be – it’s just that they were the LAUGHING STOCK OF THE ENTIRE LEAGUE for years, with 1st overall picks – until it all came together and a couple trades were made, using all that talent acquired. That might happen here one day too, apparently overnight, even though that’s not the case because we’re paying our dues in full right now.

  • What’s worse, that was L.A not good!

    If you get Brown going, Kopitar going and they have there regular NHL defence and not the AHL one……….The Oilers get crushed in that game.

    L.A will soon pass the Oilers, with Minny coming into town…..Do the Oilers ever play good against Minny?

    Not looking good folks………For the record if the Oilers are losing to Minny in the third, I’m starting the fire Steve chant.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    One way to send a message to management. A couple hundred picketers at the Oiler offices for a few hrs before a weekend game. Who cares if there’s even someone inside to see. Ryan Rishaug could man the Oilersnation table onsite selling ON merchadise.

  • Wendy01

    Why would Katz want to make any changes. Who cares about our record for the last three years. He’s still selling out games and jerseys. He’s making money, he has a new area and understands a rebuilt takes time. Status quo.

    • Wendy01

      I hate this attitude, and its probably true.

      We need to be angry and fierce like Montreal fans/media. Somehow. When was the last time anyone was ran out of town??

      MacT was rehired he ran him out so hard…. (For the record I always liked MacT. Maybe I’m the problem…)

  • Just love it when “fans” demand things from a product (Oilers) they choose to consume.

    One day reality will set it in and come to the conclusion my obsession with the in’s and outs of the squad is really just about me. It is my choice to involve myself or not and at what level. ahem the definition of fan.

    but end it there man! the organization is a business entity just like anything else – did the lockout not teach that to you. IT OWES YOU nothing! It is a one-way street of love .. yes its true. and its all voluntary you CAN turn away at anytime – guess what no one will care from the other end.

    So demand away – ask for firings and trades all you want – no different than the crazy guy shouting random nothings on the street – the conversation is with yourself.

    Will the management team be held accountable is for Daryl Katz to decide. a 1-3-5 plan was announced at the time of drafting Taylor Hall. They are on year 4… that leaves 18 months for Tambo to deliver … we will see what Katz does then.

    Until then go to games or watch on tv – rant and rave .. enjoy or don’t… drink coke or don’t buy nike or don’t… the business doesn’t care.

  • A Facebook page or send a tweet, eh.

    That’s about the most lazy-assed, ineffective way to approach anything, isn’t it? Everybody is for the cause as long as they can carry it out at their covenience — “Like” the Tambo must go page. FFS.

    I seem to recall more than 20,000 people signing up for a fire MacTavish FB page. When those who signed up were asked to show up for a rally at Rexall Place before a game, the media got wind of it and sent reporters to cover the protest.

    Less than a dozen people showed up. They were outnumbered by reporters. A similar attempt would have the Oilers LOL, and they should.

    You want change? No chance if your commitment to bring it about stops at anything more taxing than thumb-typing a 140-character message or signing up on FB.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Brownlee, What do you suggest? If we as fans are truly upset is there anything we can do?

    I don’t think the media in this town holds anyone accountable. But I’m not a media guy, so I don’t really know how that all works. Do you feel the main stream media are hard enough on management? Seems to me like Lowe and Tambo have got a fairly free ride the past 3-4 years.

    Is it because us as fans aren’t hard enough first? I know in a place like Montreal the media would eat the team alive for 10 years of incompetence. But is it because the fans demand it and the media as a whole follow the vibe of the city? Or is it the other way around….. Where the hard ass tone of the media puts the fanbase on edge. I’m honestly asking, I’d be curious to know what you think.