THE PLAN IS ON FIRE

The Edmonton Oilers (MacT as GM edition) are 3-10-2 fifteen games in, and OilersNation has gone from anger to real disillusionment. Up next for the fanbase is indifference, but before they get there is there anything the GM can do?

 

  • Darcy Regier: "These GM jobs, they’re good jobs. But waiting for a GM opportunity that’s structured for success? I’m not sure it exists. When I was assessing the problems in Buffalo before I joined, Al Arbour said to me "Darcy, do you think there would be an opportunity there if there weren’t problems? Go in there and do something about it.’" (from the book Behind the Moves).

I’m sure Craig MacTavish knew there were problems (he was part of the organization before agreeing to the job in spring) but there are elements out of the control of the GM that have (at least to this point) conspired against him. His new coach has gone from being seen as confident, fresh and relentless to another in a ever lengthening line of failed coaching hires in Edmonton.

His club has been rocked by injuries (two more last night, and as Robin Brownlee tweeted that Belov injury looked bad) goaltending maladies and confidence issues. I haven’t seen locusts, but haven’t been looking either.

It’s a team in a bad way.

WHAT CAN THEY DO?

As the playoff hopes unhook and release (November 3rd!!!!) there’s a sense that the club should do something–anything–to improve things. There are options:

  1. FIRE SOMEONE! Age old solution, find some poor schmuck who was in the room at the time. Candidates often include assistant coaches, pro scouts, the guy who brings the towels and people with one eyebrow. It usually doesn’t help.
  2. HIRE SOMEONE! Oilers have already hired Messier, we just don’t know what he’s going to be doing.
  3. TRADE SOMEONE! Good idea, but you can go from ‘we can’t trade that guy’ to ‘no one wants our crap’ in a heartbeat and the reality is that it’s really early for a significant deal. Besides, the Oilers have traded Mike Brown which means they’ve used their "Steve Tambellini trade chips mid-season" allotment.
  4. CALL SOMEONE UP! They could call Omark, but I suspect he’s broken his phone.

THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY

Probably. However, there’s very little that can be done about things as they stand today. Firing the coach would be crazy, trading players when you haven’t actually seen your entire team healthy is equally addled and despite being 3-10-2 after fifteen games you could make a case that with goaltending and better luck they could be 6-7-2.

That may sound like sunshine, and hell maybe it is, but from here there’s not a lot going on here that some timely goaltending, a better penalty kill and better health can’t fix.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The plan is on fire, the season is gone, but there’s still a chance to get something out of it. Fix the PK, find useful 6’s and 7’s and 9’s for the 3line with Gordon and the 4line overall. Get Yakupov scoring, get everyone else healthy, find a way to finish above Calgary and then work like buggers next summer to make certain that 2014-15 is the year we see a second season.

Sound horrible? It is. It’s also the truth.

Or the owner can fire everyone again.

  • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

    Hi. First time poster here at ON. I’ve been coming here regularly for a couple years to read insightful thoughts about my favorite team. So far, you good people have never let me down!

    What I took away from Andrew Ference’s interview last night on Hot Stove was that DE has lost a significant part of the locker room, and that it’s largely the “young guns” that he’s lost. I think Ference was also suggesting he believes Eakins’ system would work if the team would actually buy in.

    There’s little doubt in my mind that MacT needs to trade one of the so-called untouchables, and he needs to do it now. Given the potential return, and (in my opinion) his complete lack of commitment to the game when the puck isn’t on his stick, Eberle would be my first choice.

    This team has become too much of a sh** show to fix with one trade, but trading one of the young guns at this point would bring back something else in return that the team does need, and it would send a message to the locker room that the coach, not the players, run the team.

    I’m definitely not sold on Eakins myself, but it does appear to me that a large segment of this team will not commit to defense, and this hasn’t been a problem just since Eakins came along.

      • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

        I think i’d rather fire Eakins then trade one of the kids. You’ll be getting pennies on the dollars. I was reading Rick Patino’s book very interesting comments he said he had a lack of hubris when he took the celtics job because of his success at the NCAA level. I think Eakins is similar he needs to fail and lose a job to gain some hubris. MacT fired Krueger and brought in Eakins, he said when he did it it either will be judged as a success or failure. I think he should cut his losses and fire the coach rather than double down and trade a player. I think Lowetide and people who defend Eakins are being stubborn (I’m not trying to be argumentative) however a new coach costs you nothing but dollars, losing a young player in a trade on pennies on a dollar can set you back years. It’s time to cut the losses and fire the coach

        • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

          “he needs to fail and lose a job to gain some hubris”

          Hubris: an excess of ambition, pride, etc., ultimately causing the transgressor’s ruin.

          I think what you mean is that in your opinion, Eakins is already full of hubris and he needs to lose his job to gain some humility?

    • PutzStew

      The problem with the Eakins'”system” was on display last night – how many point blank shots from the high slot did the Wings have by just moving the puck quickly? That is the difference between the NHL vs. Juniors/AHL – at this level good teams will exploit the high slot that is always open with the Eakins’ SWARM “system”. Someone should have asked Ference if the Bruins would have ever implemented that system.

      A good coach will adapt and implement a system that plays to the strength of the roster, not try to implement something that has no chance of working. The players can smell BS and we are seeing the result. Eakins needs to go or things will continue to slide.

      My guess is that the kids are getting fed up with the losing, just like any sane player would. If MacT were smart he would look at changing things up with the entire coaching staff (how much worse are the special teams this season?) before the young talent starts to ask for a trade and the rebuild drags on for “5 more years”……..

      Like I have said before, bringing in Ference on that contract is a boat anchor going forward. He is not a top pairing d-man and is on the downside of his career. Mind you, the team likely had to overpay to lure him here, but bringing in a depth d-man at the end of his career is not what the team needed. Most of the fans drank the kool-aid with this signing, but the only way it could have worked is if the team had a solid blue line to start with and this signing was a depth move. As we can see now, plugging in one depth d-man (bottom pairing on the Bruins likely this year) does not do anything. Hopefully MacT realizes this by now as well, but I am not certain. Remember, the only season he did anything as a coach was due to a hot goalie – before the Roloson trade the Oilers were out of a playoff spot even with Pronger in the fold.

      • hankthetank

        I’m not sure why the professional hockey writers are so easy on Eakins?

        I still believe that Mac T is a a good man but bold is making decisions based on results that counter your first decision……..admitting that hiring DE was a mistake.

        The players have tuned him out………plain and simple. He has lost the respect of the players but continuously throwing them under the bus. If he had any coaching abilities he would abandon what is clearly not working, and establish a new system that the players agree with.

        Except for one player ( Andrew Ference) not one player has come out and said, man is this system excellent, and we all believe in it and support it. In stead we have AF pathetically trying to explain it on After Hours.

        Mac T do the right thing, agree that you made a mistake and hire a real coach……….more of the same will change NOTHING!

    • **

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Eberle has been pulling the puck hog BS for ten games now. Several instances he could have dished off nice passes to Yakupov but choose to dangle and lose the puck. To much young and not enough veterans to work. It would appear the majority of the younger players carry a cop on their shoulder.

  • Dan 1919

    Blow it all up. We need to start fresh, that means we need to fire everyone all the way up to the owner. Have we ever had a successful oilers team since Katz took over? No, we have missed the playoffs every year that he has been owner. The old boys club is ruining everything, no more hiring of ex-oilers! We will also need to trade all our young guns are restart because they all lack that character that you need in order for a team to win. If none of this happens we will be forever a losing team that is consistently at the bottom of the league in standings.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I’ve been following the Oilers closely ever since they captured my heart again the night Marchant silenced that Texas crowd on a warm spring night. This is by far the worst team I’ve ever seen assembled, they play with zero passion and zero accountability. There isn’t any fire throughout the whole lineup, I think the first mistake was giving up too early on Krueger. Then giving an outsider the captaincy, Taylor Hall was poised to lead this team. Before all of you naysayers come in with your catty remarks. Look at Colorado and their young captain, I’m sure Landeskog has some growing up to do but his team goes as he goes. With Hall in the lineup this team looks different, this is becoming a huge joke in itself and the fans are the real losers in the whole situation. I’m just frustrated beyond belief, I just wanna see some effing results. As a fan don’t I deserve that much?

    • james_dean

      Since that warm spring night in Texas a few friends and I have recorded a version of tom pettys free fallin

      With the following lyrics change:

      “and hes tood, hes Todd marchant”

      • DimebagDave

        Im a fan who wants to see some f***in’ results!!! I’m a fan who has paid hard earned dollars on merchandise and tickets. I’m a fan who still dedicates at least three hundred hours of tv time watching this team try to win. I’m just a frustrated fan, I dont know what tier that puts me in.

  • Dan 1919

    Remember when Oiler fans laughed at trading Eberle for Suban… Suban would be nice right now.

    I do wonder what would have happened if the Oilers started the season with a goalie like Schneider had the Canucks traded him here. Would getting Miller right now be enough to spark the team, maybe compete down the stretch, still highly unlikely to make the post season obviously.

  • PutzStew

    “The Edmonton Oilers (MacT as GM edition) are 3-10-2 fifteen games in, and OilersNation has gone from anger to real disillusionment. Up next for the fanbase is indifference, but before they get there is there anything the GM can do?”

    LMAO

    Disillisionment = Lowetide

    1) MacT is in over his head and was not the right man for the job. If he was then he would have made sure that he had enough NHL player to start the season with, never mind injuries. Never mind all the other crap he said, He started the season with One NHL caliber center. That was the beginning of the end right there. And a smart Hockey man would have never said Horcoff should be on the 2010 olympic team. That was one of the stupidest hockey moments ever.

    2) Klowe should have been fired as soon as his comments about “stanley cup rings” and “2 tiered fans”. Seriously could you image Scotty Bowman saying something so pathetic?

    3) Katz is going to make Pocklington look like an angel. You folks got screwed badly with the arena deal.

    4) Hall, RNH, Yak, Gagner, ETC are all good hockey players and should be in the NHL. But as Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock made clear last spring, none of them know how to play as a team. This is an organizational issue. It isn’t knew either. As I asked a couple blogs ago, How good would Hemsky actually have been if he was brought up in a good system.

    5) No successful team would start the season with Smyth on the first line. In fact no good team would even have Smyth on the rosters. Why? BECAUSE HE CAN”T PLAY ANYMORE. Enough said.

    So to you Mr. Allen. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You want to choose to support a pathetic team like the Oilers, then I will enjoy laughing my arse off at you and the other like you. You want to waste you time and money supporting a organization that doesn’t deserve it then I will enjoy making fun of your misery. So again to you sir……BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! SUCKER!!!!

    PS are you ready to give up yet and start demanding change from these losers or are you going to continue with your false hope.

    PPS BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. shut out in 2 games straight. I love it. Lossers.

    • Lowetide

      1. I think MacT will be a good GM. The opening PC had a misstep and he should have addressed C more (said it at the time) but he did some very nice things this summer.

      2. That was a poor choice of words by Kevin Lowe, agreed.

      3. I can’t argue with that.

      4. I think new coaches every year had an enormous impact on this group. Hemsky learned under MacT, I don’t have any issues with player or MacT’s handling.

      5. Smyth played pretty well before injury, so can’t agree.

  • So our entire left wing position is gone.
    Hall,Perron,Joensuu,Smyth

    Macintyre and Pitlick being out doesn’t help either.

    Justin Schultz and Belov are out.

    Dubnyk is out.

    Before that, Nuge, Gags, Grebs, Potter, and Hamilton were all injured.

    Grebs, Potter, Hamilton, and Macintyre are the only injuries that aren’t significant.

    Not only are we leading the league in man games lost due to injury, almost all of ours have been to significant pieces. This is far from our only problem, but is almost certainly the biggest one this year.

    The healthiest team in the league, Colorado, seems to be fine.

    Pitt, Detroit, and Anaheim are up there in man games lost, but haven’t lost any significant time from major players.

    • Spoils

      then add the goalie slump, the heavy road schedule to start, and the new systems.

      oh and the curse.

      there is a curse right? there’s no curse on the team?

      hmmm…

      OK I’ll admit it, I am at a total loss.

      Looking forward to an out of the blue turnaround beginning next game without reason.

      • pkam

        I wasn’t too worry until last night.

        The team has been competitive even we didn’t get the result, but we were completely dominated by the Wings last night. Not to mention we were well rested and they played the night before.

        I was thinking that we can recoup some points from the home games down the road. But so far home game doesn’t seem to give us any advantage.

  • Firing the coach would be carzy? I’m not so sure. From what I see since the beginning of the regular season, I would say the players have no faith in Dallas Eakins. But I’m no sport psychologist, so I could be mistaking.

    What I’m sure of, is that:

    1- The special teams are a total mess. Man advantage in particular, has no structure at all.

    2- The swamp defense is not working. At all. It’s chaos on ice.

    The Eakins hiring was done too hastily and it turned into an epic fail. The entire coaching staff needs to be changed. Again.

    That, plus we need goaltending. And depth at center. And grit. And a no.1 defenseman…

    • DSF

      Have to bite the bullet and fire Eakins now. He is not a good coach and he has lost the team already with his arrogance. Watching the Red Wing game after the Wings scored the second goal they showed Eakins on TV not trying to change the momentum some way just standing there starring into space swearing . Who would play for a guy like that. He gave up after the second goal so why would the team not!!

  • Dan 1919

    It’s been going on too long to accredit the downfalls to injuries and bad goalies (even though they’re both true). As mentioned many times by many people, the NYR couldn’t get a skilled team working together with a group of elites in their prime, the Oilers clearly are not going to do it with a group of skilled guys under 23. It’s time to build a team. Who should be safe… no one. So where to start.

    Hall is clearly the catalyst for sparking all the Hemskys on the team (Hemsky, Eberle, Gagner, RNH, Arco… yes too many Hemskys), so he should stay for now.

    RNH is/will be the best centre, so let’s not start with him either. Gordon and Perron seem to be self motivated, keep them, do not trade Nurse.

    With Eberle, Gagner, Yakupov, 2014 1stRound, Arco, Hemsky, J.Shultz, Klefbom, Petry and more on this team being expendable, you would think there is some sort of package deal that could bring a stellar defenceman to this town, maybe management deems goaltending to be the main culprit, get a goalie first then reassess… Do something……………………….

    • nuge2drai

      This is a list cause but, here goes. The above listed players have stopped trying, 15 games into the season. We work hard in this city. I would trade away them all for a team that gives us everything they’ve got on a nightly basis. The so called Young Guns have listened to the soft media in this town hype them up to a status not even closely deserved. You could play post game comments from one of any of the games played in the last 5 years. It all the same. How about that Yakupov ?!? Can we but out a guy still on an ELC ? When did Nuge start playing with a wet noodle instead of a stick… Finish a Bloody check !!! Somebody!!! Anybody !!!

  • JonSwift

    I am now indifferent.

    While I still consider myself a fan, it now doesn’t bother me to miss games. If I have something else to do, I do it without regret.

    The only thing making me keep my share of season’s tickets is that I don’t want to lose my seat at the new arena. I am not sure this is enough to hold on to them for 3 or 4 more years though. Still thinking about this…

  • I am sure there is a perfectly reasonable solution that only an Ex-Oiler with not Hockey Business or Administration skills can fix.

    Start bringing merit based positions into the origination and things will change in time.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Man, four years ago the Oilers looked to be on the verge of something special. We’ve gone beyond embarrassing, we have achieved carney status. We are circus folk.

  • D

    When a patient is in triage, the first step ER doctors take is to stabilize. Figure out what will get the patient through the night and then the week. Once the patient is clear from mortal danger, then follow-on medical personnel can determine how to rehabilitate the patient.

    For the Oilers, it should be no different. We now have talented players that we were unable to retain in the late 90s and early 2000s. Determine this season what is missing in order to stabilize the team (while retaining the top end talent) and at least make it a passable NHL organization.

    Okay, so there’s no playoffs this year, but what could the Oilers do this season to compete at the level of say, Carolina or Nashville. Not elite, but at least passable NHL franchises. Once you get to that point, then worry about jumping to the Chicago-Pittsburgh level.

    • 15w40

      They are still at the point where they are yelling “CLEAR” and seeing if they can get a pulse.

      Sad when your already in to a salvage operation from a smoldering heap of a season on the 1st weekend of November.

      They need a fresh set of eyes – not the coach, (how many coaches has this group skewered), to evaluate the talent without any prior baggage of scouting or drafting them.

      Look what Burke had to say about Sven Baertschi in Calgary. The current management has hitched their wagon to these guys and will ride them on greased rails into a lake of fire because they have painted themselves into a corner.

      The 80’s were great – but they are over. Time for a new perspective.

      IMHO

    • Randaman

      So what you are saying is we are where we were 4 years ago and we should relax and start over. No thanks. Lowe, buchberger & Smith have to go. This circus is a complete and utter failure.

      • D

        Yes we are where we were 4 years ago, but with additional high end talent in the way of Hall, RNH, Yak, and Eberle. Most of this talent would not have been available to the Oilers without major suckitude over the last several years.

        What I am saying is that rather than blowing up the core as some posters here would suggest, recognize instead that this organization has been rotting for two decades and that a blow-up now will yield another generation of bottom dwelling.

        If as DSF pointed out, this team needs a big #2 center, two top pairing defenders, and above average goaltending, try to address those issues and get this team into Nashville territory before aiming for Chicago territory.

        That to me is how you reverse 20 years of ineptitude.

        • Lowetide

          The reality is that the Oilers only need one of those things.

          Top Pairing Defenders. That would calm down things in the D Zone, would mean the forwards had the puck more.

          Dubnyk is roughly equivalent to Crawford (career .914 SvP).

          The forward group except for the fourth line is actually reasonably good but they have been torched by injury.

          As a team the Oilers look really tight right now, afraid to make a mistake.

          They have Florida and Philadelphia two sucky teams on this trip. They need need need to win those games.

  • How about implementing Home Game System Play:

    1) PVR it
    2) Down by 1 – Play and Pray
    3) Down by 2 – Fast Forward to (maybe)Oil goal
    4) Down by 3 – Max Fast Forward
    5) Down by 4 – Turn off. Wonder why you bought the f@#$%^& Mini Pack anyway.

    • Lowetide

      Well I can, but the advance stats aren’t good. There were some nice things early, but this is off the rails now.

      Sad to say, that four game Dubnyk stumble early coincided with some nice things in other areas. Now? Injuries et cetera have the thing in Flames.

      A damn shame, but there you go.

  • LT, you sure they hired messier ? This is now just a tragic joke of a franchise. Utterly pathetic and unconscionable to keep brining in ex -oilers who could play and nothing more.

    LT, say it ain’t so….

  • Lowetide

    Start with firing the coach and all his junior systems.

    Bring in Brent Sutter………a real NHL Coach.

    Start observing players to see who stay and who goes.

    Trade as many players as possible for draft picks.

    Bring in as many AHL players and see what we really have……..I mean could they be worse that what we have?

    Start assembling a team for next year………this year is over.

    Embrace change as it is all we have left………..do not attend a game ( fan revolt) to send a clear message to Katz that Six Rings has to go.

    Drink and drink heavily, this will be a long second rebuild!

  • Not falling for it this year. Infinibuild is right. I’m not jumping off the bandwagon, I’m blowing it up !!! Oh ya… One more thing… M…I…C…K…E…Y, M…O…U…S…E !!!