THE WAY I SEE IT

If the Oil Change folks put a soundtrack to a hockey season that’s quickly turned into a bowel movement pie in the face for fans of the Edmonton Oilers, it should be kazoos and whoopee cushions. This is something that stinks so bad, it’s funny. Low-brow stuff.

Always a sucker for the for a cheap laugh – and it doesn’t get any cheaper than fart humor and a load of crap upside the yap – watching the Oilers lurch and stagger toward the finish line of a lockout-shortened 48-game season has gone from so bad to even worse, you’d better try to laugh or you’ll cry.

Many fans filing out of Rexall Place Monday after watching the Anaheim Ducks beat their team for fun likely don’t feel the same way, but how long can you yell down at the ice from the cheap seats or scream at the TV watching this sad-sack outfit without changing things up with a good belly laugh about the remarkable lameness of it all?

Or, like tonight, listening to a caller to the Jason Strudwick Show – that’s a tough gig with as much of a farce as this season has become — ask if the Oilers should get David Clarkson as a UFA. Sure, why not? I can’t imagine why Clarkson wouldn’t leave New Jersey and pass on 28 other teams sign with Edmonton as quickly as possible. Insert laugh track here . . .

Clarkson should ask Justin Schultz how great that would be.

MEA CULPA AND OTHER IDIOCY

. . . While I threw in enough qualifiers and caveats before suggesting I thought the Oilers would make the playoffs if everything fell their way, I can’t help but think that I fell down the stairs and hit my head without knowing it before doing so. Playoffs? Tsk.

Still, I wasn’t concussed nearly as badly as Jason Gregor, who picked them sixth, but that’s low-hanging fruit. That bit of optimism has to be the worst prediction, an NHL career for Jeff Deslauriers aside, I recall making. Then again, maybe not.

. . . Still with Clarkson because I know some pinhead will take Gregor’s scenario about trading Yakupov for a signed Clarkson and a throw-in – "Hey, Brownlee, you fool, you wanted to make that trade" – and shove it at me, I’m a lot less sure about that than I was when I said I’d make the move.

Outside of Taylor Hall, I’ve liked Yakupov’s game and his moxy more than any other Oiler down this horrid stretch. Kid looks like he cares, and that’s a start. The talent, we know about. Not nearly enough give-a-damn from most of the line-up right now.

. . . I know Theo Peckham left himself wide open for trouble with Oiler brass and coach Ralph Krueger by showing up fat and blowing a terrific opportunity for a full-time gig in the third pairing, but the team has completely bungled how they’ve handled him since.

What’s the point of having Peckham spend most of the season twisting in Edmonton rather than playing in the AHL or, what a concept, being given a chance to make amends by playing with this stellar blue line corps? Trade him. Demote him. Give him another chance. Whatever. But to let him twist? Low-class – and not a very smart move.

WHILE I’M AT IT

. . . Let the final game of this season be the last in which I lay my eyes on Eric Belanger and Jerred Smithson cloaked in Edmonton silks. Of course, it would have been nice to see Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander actually push one of them out of the line-up rather than get their breaks through injuries, but for the love of sanity, GM Craig MacTavish has to get them gone.

. . . Like I said earlier today (I’m not alone in this), you can bet the farm the Oilers will add another assistant to Krueger’s coaching staff for next season. I’d expect it’ll be a career coach, rather than a former player, to complement Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger.

A lot of fans keep bringing up Lindy Ruff or Dave Tippett, but you can file that in the same category as Clarkson. Is there one reason why respected and accomplished head coaches like Ruff or Tippett would even cast a sideways glance at Edmonton for any kind of coaching gig? No chance. None.

. . . Go ahead, pull my finger.

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

  • ghostofberanek

    My list of personnel who need to be given their walking papers includes ( but is not limited to)

    -Hemsky
    -Horcoff
    -Smyth
    -Buchberger
    -Steve Smith

    These guys have been the constant through all these god-awful seasons, and definitely need to go. Lowes not on the list only because I know it’s not going to happen, same with Krueger. I honestly believe replacing these individuals will give the team a new energy and attitude. We’ll see what MacT thinks…

  • Rob...

    I have been going to Oiler games since the WHA days. The game last night was the worst one ever.

    RK talks a good game but he doesn’t deliver. I would like to replace ALL of the coaching staff in addition to Smyth, Horcoff, Belanger, Whitney , Potter etc etc. The only guy I like that the Oilers have semi- soured on is Jones.

  • 2004Z06

    I could not agree with RB more on Belenger and Smithson. I never thought in my wildest dreams that the Oilers could find two players less talented than Horcoff………but Tamby found a way.

    We are getting close to being able to draft Barkov who has the ability to step in right away……we should not under any circumstances trade this pick as some have suggested. Everyone is talking about Clarkson as being the player we most need……..there are better options than Clarkson that can be obtained through a trade.

    NO surprise with all the frustration, but we must remind ourselves we have Klowe running things.

    Nothing will change until this clown gets fired.

  • Aitch

    Blah. As much as some of us are optimists, I don’t know why we thought adding two absolute rookies to this line-up was going to move them from 29th up into a playoff team. Let’s face it… the team plan wasn’t to win this year. It was another year of maturation for the young kids. Otherwise, why do you bring back the exact bunch of losers who couldn’t win a coin flip the year before?

  • 2004Z06

    I’m trying to keep things in perspective by comparing the Oiler’s to some other teams around the league. Teams like the Rangers who are clinging to a playoff spot, or teams like Detroit who kick the crap out of us, yet might be on the outside looking in. And finally Colorardo. Colorado has these big top six, two way forwards in Landeskog, and O’Reily, and look how well they are doing. I mean, we look at our team and say we need to flush the bottom six, get two top 2 d men, a back up goalie and size in our top six. But if that’s the case for us, what the hell would a team like Colorado need to turn it around, and why is a team like the Rangers, arguably the exact make up everyone is crying for, just barely making the play offs?

    I don’t really know what the answer is. I kind of hate to say it cause I like the guy but I think the issue this year may have been Krueger. I’m no coach so commenting like I know what I’m talking about would be stupid, but I am just finding it hard to come up with another explanation for the team’s performance, when you look around the league at the make up of other teams and how they are doing.

    • 2004Z06

      I’d go with the New York Islanders method, let the kids sink or swim. Dump your vets, I think you buy out Belanger and Horcoff, and play the kids. I’d love to see an Arcobello, Rajala, Pitlick 4th line, they would be no worse then what we got. Bring in hungry players, sign waiver wire pick ups and castoffs for peanuts. Bring in a coach from OKC and let the kids play.

  • The Soup Fascist

    This team needs a heart transplant. For 5 years they got in the habit of pulling the chute down the stretch and not only did the organization allow it, they outright endorsed it all in the name of the greater good.

    So with all that history to draw on, how can any of us be surprised that they can’t break the habit of taking the easy out?

    Thanks to Tambellini’s passive approach to team building, this organization is in much deeper trouble than anyone seems willing to recognize.

    They need to move out at least half of their roster including the common denominators like Hemsky and Horcoff, just to get the needed change in culture. And some of those changes will have to come in true hockey type deals where fans may cringe at the guys heading out the door.

    They need to demand that their coaches take a real hard look inwards and challenge them to hold this team accountable instead of framing everything as if it’s alright and part of what’s expected. Their is a time for motivation AND a time for a kick in the ass. If they are not convinced these guys can make the adjustment then they need to move them out as well. Even as outrageous as 4 coaches in 5 years sounds, a lot of nights this group needs a whip more than a pat on the back.

    Finally they need to stop looking at their prospects as the answers to all their woes. They have a lot of kids that show promise but if guys like Hartikainen, Lander and even PRV have shown anything, it’s that even the most promising prospects take time to ripen. You can’t plan for those guys to be a part of the solution you need them to kick the door down and prove they will be before they ever pull on an Oiler jersey.

    So all that considered, even if by some miracle they make all the right moves, can anyone really imagine that kind of a shake up not taking at least one more season of transition before showing results?

    I have a hard time picturing this season being the last one without playoffs.

    The only saving grace is that the kids they will be counting on tomorrow are also some of the remaining few that haven’t called it in down the stretch.

  • Rob...

    One other thing about yesterday’s game. I saw the Dvorak interview and couldn’t help but notice his dilated pupils. Was the interview actually taped right after the whistle ending the period and shown later on in the intermission or was this guy on something?

  • Rob...

    Can’t wait til we start pruning some of the dead wood around here. Then we are going to pick up I would say a minimun of 4 high end players in the off season, either through trade or ufa’s. Katz cheque book will be wide open with the mandate to acquire the personel to get us competitive. I could care less how MacT does it, if he has to trade talent and or high draft picks so be it. IF the oilers do not attempt to accomplish this, and we find out it is because Katz is having a squabble with the city/province on a new arena, than I will be done with this organization for ever, and will boycott every know business of Katz and his empire.

  • G Money

    Agree with most of your points, and “bowel movement pie in the face” is just brilliant.

    But there are reasons why a Ruff or a Tippet would consider signing on. Here are 5: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz.

    While it’s fun to give in to the bitterness and melancholy of yet another year of suckage, lets remember that this years suckage is a fully reversed mirror image of the last 20 years of suckage.

    For years we had a great supporting cast and no top-end skill.

    Now we have boatloads of top-end skill but no supporting cast.

    It is easier to fix the latter than the former.

    MacT: go.

  • DieHard

    Just plain sad, did anyone read what Matthew Barry said abou the Oiler?

    Here it is:
    They need to look inside, to see what’s missing” – Oilers coach Ralph Krueger

    Way to fold like origami.

    Two games vs the Ducks where they were about as good on their skates as Tonya Harding in the Olympics.

    At least Calgary has some pride.

    Even Colorado is enjoying playing spoiler.

    1 win in 9 games.

    That’s HEART. That’s DEDICATION. That’s LEARNING.

    That’s a locker room that’s smellier than Sidney Crosby’s disgusting jock strap.

    In their last 8 losses, they’ve scored more than 1 goal just ONCE!

    THIS team?

    The Oilers can rack up the high draft picks but when they draft robots instead of players with heart, the result is always going to be the same. With McTavich and Howson on board? Well, lets just say there won’t be any worry about playing the Oilers for the next 5 years.

    I have never witnesses such a lifeless hockey team in my life.

    Oiler fans should be ashamed of the effort your boys put out against the Ducks these last 2 nights

    • StHenriOilBomb

      sorry, who of the high draft picks played like robots this past week? Hall? Yak? Surely not Nuge, as he’s been out… Ebs was a lower pick, Paajarvi has looked pretty good…

      i think it’s the lower picks and middling guys who have been mailing it in. Ebs included.

  • 2004Z06

    The ones I actually feel sorry for are the reporters who have covered this crap for the past 7 years. Must be exhausting rehashing the same story year after year. Follow that up with a forced dose of watching this team and it would be enough to request to cover Canadian Figure skating.

  • vetinari

    Watching the 2007-2013 Oiler teams is a lot like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer… it just feels so good when you stop!

    Seriously, I rarely miss games on tv but I’ve passed on the last four or five and have been spared the carnage of watching NHL teams kick around our blended ECHL/AHL team (you know the one, right? — The one that lost to the Abbottsford Heat a little while back.) Thankfully this mess ends after only 48 games.

    So, who is everyone’s “B” team going into the playoffs? I’m pulling for the Blue Jackets to sneak in and do some damage since they had the common sense to finally turf Howson this year.

    Also, I’d like to see the Islanders make the post-season party as a testament to teams that can insanely bungle their way through mismanagement and still make the post-season (unlike Tambellini’s brand of mismanagement that guarantees absolutely no playoff appearances).

  • vetinari

    I am less concerned about size than I am about the centre position. The Oil need an established 2-way centre that can win draws, play well defensively, yet complement an offensive dynamo like Yakupov or Hall. Don’t need to be an offensive catalyst when you have one of those two on your wing.

    Bozak? Maybe Weiss? Those will be expensive signings for sure.

    Shore up the 5/6 pairings. Or add that #1 Dman and shift everyone else down.

    This is how you control the middle of the ice. The Oilers were terrible in this regard this year and it shows in the standings.

  • Ducey

    I refuse the get pulled down into Brownlee’s world where seldom a positive word is issued.

    Hope will spring anew at the draft and next fall. Players will be stronger and a year wiser and Nuge will be bionic.

    Good news tonight is the Calgary Nashville game. Someone HAS to win that game.

    A Nashville OT win would put Nash in a tie with EDM and put the Flamers up by two (an insurmountable lead).

    Go Preds!

    • Bucknuck

      The lod 3 point ame is what were hoping for here boys. The game of the night is Winnipeg vs Washington. That will be a blood bath of epic proportions. The Ranger game will be a SO also. The playoff implications tonight will be huge.The draft even higher. Other than Colorado and Florida as locks for the 1-2 spot in the draft the rest are of the positions are fluid. The Oil could end anywhere from 24th-28th. With the first pick in this years 2013 entry draft the Oilers choose Seth Jones. MacT has the luck.Bet on it.

      Are the Leas for real? Ottawa? Montreal? Vancouver is one and done. You think we have issues in Oilers Nation.How would you like to be a Flyer fan? Brutal. Capped out. And they get the pleasure of Bryzgalov for another gazillion years. meanwhile in Columbus Bobrovsky is on his way to Vezina win and the playoffs.the Van Riemsdyke deal looks sooo bad. Boston’s last kick at the can before cap issues come to bite them in the ass.They need to get cheaper fast.Chara for a package of picks and prospects? Time to cash out on a depleting asset? hmmm.

  • Bucknuck

    The oilers could get ride of all the vets and no one would notice,habby,whitney,smitty,horcoff,hemsky,belanger,i think they need to change out the losing culture,as it must be hard mentally for all these guys,possibly the assistant choaches too.

  • Bucknuck

    I think I’m done for the 2012-2013 season. I just can’t take any more of this. Besides Yakupov and Hall, I’m not seeing a lot of compete from anyone. (EDIT – I have to give Pajaarvi credit, he’s playing well too.) We deserve more than this.

  • Bucknuck

    The assistant coaches have got to go. We are the absolute worst defensive zone team I have ever seen. How hard is it to play man on man in the d-zone and stick to your guy. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the D lose their man in front of the net, only to see the other team have an open, tap in for birdy shot. Either the message is wrong, or it is not getting through. It’s time this circus gets some new clowns. The old ones are wearing out.

  • Bucknuck

    Can someone please teach Dubnyk rebound control ?
    Why does he consistently kick out the rebounds 10-15 feet, right into the kill zone. Someone should whisper the truth in his ear. ” your D men are weak. You better not give up a rebound or the puck will end up in the back of your net”.

    • Bucknuck

      That was a frustration but can you imagine the pressure on an Oiler goalie?? If they let in a goal, the games is likely lost.

      Katz – I know you read ON. Is this really something you want your name associated with? You can fix it.

  • mr_nihilism

    I knew better than to even bother watching the last two games. Just couldn’t bring myself to care.

    I see no reason to until MacT delivers on changing the DNA of this team.

  • DieHard

    The turn-around begins next year and will be awesome. You can tell because all the negative that exists today can’t get any worse.

    The old boys must be gone. Horcoff must be bought out this June. He simply must. Smyth must retire or be 14th forward only. Hemsky can stay and resign after next year for cheap and play 3rd line (unless traded for something other than a bag of pucks). The usual players everyone is talking about should not be back.

    Big trade should be (hate to say it) Eberle as he would bring back a good young D-man.

  • Milli

    Interesting comments from Gagner as Tencer interviews him. Too bad the Oilers site cut most of this out, hits too close to home I guess. Tencer said Gagner was seething last night about continually losing, and you can certainly hear the frustration in his voice as he tries to measure out his words.

    http://chirb.it/rKhrdz