ONLY 61 MORE TO GO!

The Oilers lost again last night, to San Jose, in a game that saw the home side play well once the game was no longer in the balance. There are 61 nights just like that one straight ahead, and how the Oilers use them is going to set the stage for the 2014-15 season–which will hopefully be the first playoff season since 2005-06.

WHAT CAN THEY GET OUT OF THE SEASON?

The Oilers (according to MacT) have ‘8 or 9’ pieces to the puzzle already in the fold, and based on his own past the names I’d chose for those 9 are Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Perron, Petry, Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse. You can probably add Oscar Klefbom to that list, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

AUDITIONS

The Oilers have Ilya Bryzgalov in Oklahoma City, and he’ll no doubt get a long look in the NHL when he’s ready. Devan Dubnyk is playing a stronger game now, and it’s possible the big man will play well enough to earn a contract with the club next season (although it’s a long shot).

On defense, Oscar Klefbom was called up yesterday and Taylor Fedun has already made his NHL debut. Brandon Davidson, Martin Marincin and others are waiting in the wings and several of the Barons blue could see playing time during this lost season.

The acquisition of Roman Horak gives the Oilers another 4line option and the former Flame actually has a solid resume. Other players who may be recalled include Linus Omark and Anton Lander (who have already played this season) as well as Tyler Pitlick (who finally made it to the NHL only to be injured).

TRADES

To borrow a phrase from this man, you won’t have Ales Hemsky to kick around anymore! The chances of the Oilers signing the Czech winger have been reduced because of the lack of success this season. All free agent veterans are in danger of being traded any time now, and those who do stay are very unlikely to be re-signed. Nick Schultz, Ryan Jones, at this point even Ryan Smyth might be a deadline rental. We’re going to see a lot more roster turnover (Edmonton has already employed 33 players and that number is going to climb).

LEARNING CURVE

The GM is going to have to learn to under promise and over deliver, and the coach is going to have to learn about line matching and finding a useful 4th line he’s willing to play. In hindsight, a rookie coach was probably not a wise decision for this group, but the club has turned over the position so often there must be great hesitancy to replace him.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers will turn north soon or these men are going to end up in the infirmary. In a very real way, tonight’s game is important to this 4-15-2 hockey club. Win, and there is something to build on. Lose, and people begin to talk about historically bad hockey teams.

I sincerely believe this team is much better than they’ve shown, but they have to prove it. Tonight.

  • Batfink

    LT, why do you hate the Oilers? Soooo, the Nixon pic. Should we read into this, lol? 6 rings saying “I am not a crook.” has the dressing room been bugged?

    What do you take from Hall’s presser. I liked it better than MacT’s ‘everything is not ok, but that’s ok’ presser the other day. Everyone where I worked, 20+ people to a person, thought a big announcement, not the waste of time it turned out to be. Tell the players you’re behind them to their FACES. Not through the media ringer. There was actually a slump in the rest of the day as you could feel the collective disappointment of yet another GM telling us his plan is to actually do nothing. Did Lowe watch Field of Dreams stoned and think it was real? He just hears ‘if you build it, they will come’? A55-hat-clownery refined, perfected and brought to your door.

    • Lowetide

      I think Hall’s presser was good because it’s genuine. You can’t say those words unless you’ve hit rock bottom and for me this might have been it.

      The schedule makers have thrown this team a life line. Will they take it? I bet #4 grabs on and doesn’t let go.

      • “The schedule makers have thrown this team a life line.”

        Jesus, besides the rest of November, take a hard look at the upcoming months schedule…… with the way the Oilers have played thus far do you honestly think there is even a chance this team turns north?

        I don’t, I think it continues its epic ride south.

        The ONLY players worth keeping on this roster are Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Yakupov, Perron with a cavet I would still trade Perron & Eberle.

        Until MacTavish figures out that we need a Dubinsky instead of a Gagner a Weber over a Petry, a Lander or Arcobello over an Acton, a Simmons over a Smyth or Jones , then expect this team to be exactly where it is.

      • Batfink

        As he’s tried to do every shift, poor bugger. He actually went to do the toe drag last night, thought better of it, put it in the corner but the Dman had bitten! Would have got away with it if it wasn’t because those pesky Oilers!

  • Oilers Coffey

    Please please pretty please beat the Flames tonight!!!!
    If there’s one must win game in this stretch its tonight. Time to pull out ask the lucky charms.
    Klefbom playing in for Belov tonight?

  • LT,

    Watching the game last night, it was the first time I’ve felt genuinely bad for the players.

    I’ve never thought that this fiasco was due to coaching (well…maybe P.Quinn – but you know what I mean). I always figured that the outcomes were due to the effort put forth by the players.

    Last night I saw a team trying hard in the second half of the game, and still there’s nothing to show for it. This team doesn’t have it, and MacT is quickly assuming buffoonery-levels equal to Lowe.

    Attempted diversion or not, the words that came out of MacT’s mouth at his availability earlier this week underscore that he is stunned and in over his head. A deer in the headlights who overvalues his group and is too shell-shocked to make a move to improve the team.

    I live my life choosing to take the positive outlook, and have kept my chin up when watching this team since day one of the rebuild, but the sad reality: this team is terrible, management who built it are a pale imitation of actual NHL-calibre management, and this thing is off the rails.

    *drops mic and walks out.

  • Also soon to be fist time sharks fan – been watching more sharks than oilers lately (local tv) – think its time for a break from the oilers – it’s too hard to keep this broken relationship going long distance with such an attractive mistress nearby

  • Except you could take that description and go “he found a promising center who just turned 25 and had success at the AHL level for free”

    You just dont count that because that center needs a phonebook to see over the steering wheel.

  • DSF

    No, they got a very promising 22 year old centre who has had significant success in the AHL in return for a D prospect who was expendable because they Leafs are loaded with D prospects. (sound familiar?)

    In his most recent move, MacT traded away an actual NHL player for a goalie prospect who might be a useful player in 3-4 years.

    I would think the chances of Holland having a impact in the NHL in the next 2-3 seasons are much, much higher than that of a 20 year old goalie.

    Don’t you?

  • to be perfectly honest im sick and tired of “trying to grab a guy who is nhl ready” id rather them hold out for the right trade to get guys who are legit nhl players now. We have enough “nhl ready” guys who may or may not end up being nhl players

  • and they got a legit top 2 center back? i know you have a thing for holland but we’ll see if that move amounts to anything. Pretty sure you would have said “wow look at that incompetent guy bring in a ahl C to cover his top two spots, what a hack” if they did something similar.

  • Never said he was perfect but if he knew RNH wasnt going to be out long and the Gagner thing was a bit of a last minute debacle. Its not perfect but if youre down your top two centers who the hell is going to trade you one and not rob you blind anyways? MacT would have been held by the nuts by every GM in the league trying to get a center to fill a gap for a situation that happened for a couple of weeks.

    To me i still want him to find a way to get a guy like couturier and then send out gags/hemsky/1st round pick/even yak or eberle if they are still around to go fix the defense but i dont know the realistic price of something like that.

    Seriously though man, what GM would be expected to completely reverse a legit basement dweller team in less than 12 months? Dont spout to me your usual drivel giving specific teams with certain optics. Sure Colorado looks stellar but they were never as unbalanced and problematic as the tambellini Oilers.

    edit…. and that comment disappears. i feel like i should remove mine to save myself the headache of actually having this discussion.