Disaster

The Edmonton Oilers had a chance on Saturday to pick up two points from one of the league’s worst teams. They had healthy bodies back, the Flyers had lost two straight, and this game represented a real opportunity to start things turning around after a strong effort in a win over Florida and a stronger one in a loss to Tampa Bay.

It didn’t happen.

Losing Badly

It’s not just that the Oilers lost, or who they lost against, but how they lost. Some fans will want to place the blame on Devan Dubnyk – who was actually reasonably solid until that fourth goal – or on the referees for mistakenly assessing a major penalty against an innocent Anton Belov.

But the real problem was the skaters. The following chart shows on-ice scoring chances at even-strength for the Oilers forwards against Philadelphia, as counted by me.

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Luke Gazdic 0 1 0.0%
Jordan Eberle 1 7 12.5%
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1 6 14.3%
Boyd Gordon 1 4 20.0%
Ryan Smyth 1 4 20.0%
Taylor Hall 4 8 33.3%
Jesse Joensuu 1 2 33.3%
Mark Arcobello 2 4 33.3%
Sam Gagner 4 6 40.0%
Ales Hemsky 5 7 41.7%
David Perron 3 3 50.0%
Nail Yakupov 2 1 66.7%

And for the defence:

Player EV+ EV- Percentage
Nick Schultz 1 6 14.3%
Taylor Fedun 1 5 16.7%
Andrew Ference 2 9 18.2%
Jeff Petry 2 7 22.2%
Philip Larsen 6 6 50.0%
Anton Belov 6 5 54.5%

For the most part, it was the Oilers’ best players getting killed against the Flyers. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall all had among the worst marks on the team in this regard. These are the guys that typically push results – and did last year, even as the rest of the team gave everything back and then some. On defence, the Oilers top pairing of Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry were lit up, too.

The Oilers play in Chicago tomorrow. It seems unlikely to go well.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    It’s only a matter of time before one of these high-potential first round draft picks simply refuses to sign here. I don’t think I could blame any kid who’d wait to go back into the draft rather than waste an entry level contract “developing” in this organization.

    • Slapshot

      Dillon Simpson will be the first player that does not sign with the Oiler’s, He will not be the last, until there is significant changes at the top of this organization and I wouldn’t blame him either for not signing .His dad Craig knows a thing or two about hockey and the Oilers organization and I bet he wouldn’t want his kid playing for the Oiler’s.

    • Alsker

      And everyone questioned the length of 4,14,93 contracts…by the time these are up maybe this a competitive team…but honestly the bus is on cruise control and no one at the wheel.

  • Spydyr

    The optimist in me tells me there are only two problems with this team:

    1. We can’t keep the puck out of our net (dead last in goals against in the league).

    2. We can’t score goals with any consistency (13th out of 14 teams in our conference in goals scored).

    Other than that, the Oilers are on the pathway to greatness!!

  • Hair bag

    JW, I think it’s time for you start telling us about Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl. Please divert our attention to something other than the on-ice product we have right now.

  • Hair bag

    Tyler who? Sick of these bloggers. LoweTide and his band of wannabe typists wear me out. No insight, nothing new, and where does their so called expertise come from.

    Give me legitimate journalists like Spector.

    • I’ve always found it extremely irritating when I click on the Oilers Nation blog, and there’s another one of those darn bloggers giving me his opinion!

      I say: ENOUGH. It’s time to run these thrice cursed bloggers off the blogs and back to… well wherever! The important thing is to get rid of them!

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        Dubnyk will probably play better when people aren’t trying to figure out if his putrid play has a historical precedent on blogs.

        It works that way, right?

        • D-Unit

          and it will start around game 62 when loosey goosey Oilers will be wheeling around the the NHL scoring 5 Goals vs 1 against and the Oilers will go 14-4-2 to finish the season 26-44-12

          AND then what??

          Rinse and repeat for 2014-15

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            I hope Rom can take a joke….I have this picture in my mind…it’s like that guy in Philly years ago used to sit in row one behind the net and hold up signs throughout the game….the guy had a sign for EVERY occasion……I picture Rom doing this….only instead of signs with words…..it’s CHARTS….lots and lots of charts….team has a poor shift….Rom holds a up a CORSI chart…we get scored on … It’s a + – Save % chart……pie charts, bar graphs….THE CROWD LOVES THIS GUY.

            Seriously …the Philly guy was a legend with Fans around the league!

    • Newj

      Holy moly. Mark “Grrrrriiiiittttt” Spector. The same Mark Spector who wanted to run Ben Eager on the top line.

      As much as the oilers’ management makes it hard to be a fan, the amount of pure, unbridled stupidity within the fanbase makes it even harder.

      JW – I would cry myself to sleep every night if put in the work that you do, only to find out that a large portion of my audience was “special”. You must have skin as thick as a rhino.

      • Oh no, I’m quite easily baited 🙂

        Besides, it’s not really that bad. I’ve had some poor experiences with individuals, but by and large the readers here and on Twitter and elsewhere have been awfully good to me.

        To borrow from Joe Walsh, I can’t complain though sometimes I still do.

        • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

          JW, I enjoy what you bring…the advanced stats etc…..on the other hand I think the advanced stats crowd is in its early stages in hockey and draw too many conclusions based on numbers that paint only a small part of the picture that is hockey.

          Having said that, any blogger/ analyst who quotes Joe Walsh is OK by me!

          “And we don’t need the ladies cryin cause the stories sad”

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    My better half and I were doing the BANFF shopping extravaganza this weekend and silly old me, I decided to show my Edmonton pride by wearing my Mighty Oil hat. I actually had some other hockey fans poke a wee bit at me due to my attire……I almost felt like a leaf’s fan at times. Being laughed at and or smirked at was and still is a favorite pastime of mine whenever I spot some fool with a Maple Leaf hat and or etc. Sadly, who’s laughing now!

    All my years as a loyal Edmonton Citizen, I have never been embarrassed to heap the praises of my fair city but the dismal display of the Oil has really made it hard for me to be boastful these days.

    What the heck has gone wrong with our sport teams? Is there any way out of this black hole that has become the Edmonton Sports scene?

    A very disappointing year!

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    When you go out in public and mention the Oilers, people laugh. It’s actually better to be ignored than laughed at.

    Everybody seems to have an opinion |

  • reaperfunkss

    Wasting of a good fan base is the goal apparently.

    Trading players fixes nothing. the problem is systemic. Attitude reflects leadership in sport. Lowe is the leader and look at the on ice result.

    What a complete waste.

    • Slapshot

      The bigger problem than Lowe is Katz,He does not hold his hockey management team accountable,he does not care about his fan base, if he did he would’ve made made changes by now,his only concern is that he gets to hang out with the glory day Oilers and the end result is this sorry excuse of a hockey team we have left after Kevin Lowe has screwed it up so bad.Good luck attracting any free agents here,it wont be much longer before the stars on the team ask for a ticket out of town,as a fan base we are all frustrated and have pretty much given up all hope with Lowe running this team,how do you think the players feel and why would they want to continue to play for such a MICKEY MOUSE ORGANIZATION!!!!

        • Hockey Problems 101

          We can’t call it that… The Coyotes win once in a while. Mickey Mouse sums it up. Mickey, Mini, Goofy, Pluto… and don’t forget the young guns Hewey, Lewey, and Dewey !!!

        • Slapshot

          I will no longer buy season tickets or Oiler’s merchandise,I will gladly take the family on a nice winter holiday instead of supporting the Oiler’s by buying seasons tickets,after 14 years. I have had enough of this,It’s sad to say, but I bought into the rebuild and believed all the hype that the Oilers propaganda machine puts out in the off season and pre season every year, but no more,I am tired of wasting my hard earned money on Katz and Kevin Lowe and this so called hockey team,I have lost my patience and will not wait another 5-7 years before they get it right.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A disclaimer should accompany this article. *** 5 beer minimum recommended consumed before partaking in this article***

    Red Solo cup, I fill you up….lets have a party!

  • Hair bag

    If we started the season with Ralph, Smith, Bucky, and Action as the co-coach Ralph was looking for… And we got off to this start …. Would they be fired by now?

    I know we have gone through a lot of coaches in five years, but lets not show patience with the worst coaching group.

    I think we need a coach with more experience to get most out of this team.

    This year is done. We have 60 games to learn a new system.

    • Hair bag

      I agree. Frankly watching how bad this team is coached, watching the same mistakes over and over again, I could care less if theirs a new coach.

      Find a coach who knows defence, and can instill confidence, and who has track record. Give him 60 games to implement his system for next year.

      I was so anti Sutter when they hired Krueger, but I have changed my mind, because this team needs “Hitchcockian” transformation. Sutter the guy I want, cause Sutter’s get things done. I want boring winning hockey, proper systems, coaches who scare you into being a better team, who don’t take crap from anyone.

      I’m going to go read draft previews.

        • Batfink

          So, I want to sell you my ’91 dodge 1500 2wd V6. It’d be a good vehicle, if you’d only by it. Come onnnnnn. Please buy my hunk of crap! No? You can tell it’s a P.O.S just by looking at it? Maybe you should just buy it. It’ll be fine.

          It if looks like a duck….

  • Spydyr

    Disaster is this past week. This week title is Clusterfudge once our cosmonaut shows up.

    Frankly don’t get why you don’t run Nuge, Ebs and Hall. The line works and is effective even if the puck does not go in the net. You gotta get this team going, and this line has historically been effective. I’d then do some combo of Gordon, Arco, Perron as their going. They can be your toughs line.

    Disappointing loss. Bad team, poor line combos, bad goaltending. That’s on Eakins.

      • Admiral Ackbar

        If your argument is oh we can’t have another coach, so we have stick with a guy who has this team outta the playoffs by November. Are you serious.

        Its more then just the coach, I admit. The team has quit, can you not see that? So lets watch them quit for the remainder of the year, lets watch them quit next year. Confidence is gone, and you have to start looking forward to next year cause common sense says its over.

        I say get a coach with track record, revamp this team starting now, and build a group for next year. They make same mistakes every game. One offensive player is playing with confidence. You got three goalies with no confidence. Your defence is suspect outside of Petry and maybe Larson. So ya you got three players playing well, lets continue this trend. And lets throw in a media darling who hates winters, and has a fear of bears, and can’t stop pucks. And your argument is we can’t have another coach. Brilliant. Any other intelligent comment.

        • DSF

          Gotta agree here, I don’t think this has ever been the right team for a coach without experience. Maybe MacT was smoking what was given to him, but I would not be afraid to ditch this coach for someone who knows how to introduce system play at an NHL level. Your reason can’t be ‘not again’ or ‘we did that too much already’. No offense, Eakins, because you didn’t know what you were going into. And maybe Mac didn’t either, I can stomach that. I think you are doing Eakins and the Oilers a favour by finding someone with experience, otherwise you might wreck the coach, the team and the organization even more. Stop the bleeding.

  • Spydyr

    How much longer are you going to defend Dubnyk?

    Everyone knows he is not an NHL starter now.Maybe he gets it back in a few years like Tim Thomas but now he is just crap.

    • Hair bag

      Duby has been brutal most of the year but today wasn’t his fault – he kept them in the game. Every goal Philly scored was from a good quality chance or a snipe by a skilled shooter.

      • Randaman

        I don’t get this obvious trend of Dubnyk being on his knees ALL the f$&@! Time. That has to have something to do with coaching in my mind. Chabot should be shown the door with Lowe, Bucky & Smith. You can’t stop high shots from your knees. Huff said. What a sad team we have. Mac T can’t fix it all at once and Eakins should be given at least a full season so I give them a pass on the firing parade that should take place. Come on Katz, get off your throne and do SOMETHING!!

          • Admiral Ackbar

            How about the Eddie Shore method where he tied a rope around his goalies neck and tied it to the cross bar b/c he thought his goalie was going down too soon. With Dubnyk you’d have to hang it from the rafters as he’s so tall, and with today’s CBA the NHLPA would have a field day but we can dream right?

      • O.C.

        Meh.

        A good (not outstanding… GOOD) goalie keeps you in the game. He makes that save on the third goal, instead of leaving the post early.

        The right (his left) post was not in need of protection until after Giroux began to cross past Ference.

        In order to have a bad run, you have to have a good run. What if this run is his best? Do we wait for the worst?

        And don’t run off on past year’s performances. This is now or otherwise we may as well start talking about dressing Andy Moog or Grant Fuhr based on their past performances.

        This happy go lucky, it’ll get better attitude is no good either. I’d like to see Dubey get mad, break sticks, throw equipment, SHOW SOME DAMN EMOTION AND FRUSTRATION!

        Hope Bunz has a solid start tonight for OKC.

      • Spydyr

        Someone scored from the goal line in the corner.A back breaker goal after the team battled back into the game.Not sure what game you were watching but the one I watched Dubnyk let in two very questionable goals.

      • DSF

        Dellow posted a “rolling average save percentage” chart which looks at averages.

        While that approach has some validity, it doesn’t mean Dubnyk WILL return to his career average.

        Some goalies have certainly done that…many haven’t.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          The chart doesn’t say Dubnyk hasn’t been horrible.

          It simply says it is not uncommon for average goaltenders to have terrible stretches outside of their historical average.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            No one implied that was a necessary eventuality.

            However, it is a great deal more probable than his historical play suddenly and forever cratering.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Of a level of play regressing to the mean?

            Pretty high I gather…

            The only factors we know about for Gs for sharp and sustained drops in performance (injury and age) don’t appear to be in play.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            That’s correct…not enough fights aren’t helping him either. Soft defensemen are not helping him either. Centres who don’t back check are not helping him either. And a team still learning a rookie coaches systems are not helping either. And small players who lose puck possession battles are not helping either. And centres who can’t win face offs aren’t helping him either………….and NONE of these things are intangible. What’s truly intangible is your misuse and abuse of statistics.

            And I’m not defending Dubnyk…I think he’s missed his window of opportunity….but what I am defending is people who talk about non numerical tangible events against people like you who condescendingly speak about these events as if they have no consequence. In my opinion, you need to be more disciplined. And I’m not ramming this down your throat, I’m open to discussing it.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            That’s correct…not enough fights aren’t helping him either. Soft defensemen are not helping him either. Centres who don’t back check are not helping him either. And a team still learning a rookie coaches systems are not helping either. And small players who lose puck possession battles are not helping either. And centres who can’t win face offs aren’t helping him either………….and NONE of these things are intangible. What’s truly intangible is your misuse and abuse of statistics.

            And I’m not defending Dubnyk…I think he’s missed his window of opportunity….but what I am defending is people who talk about non numerical tangible events against people like you who condescendingly speak about these events as if they have no consequence. In my opinion, you need to be more disciplined. And I’m not ramming this down your throat, I’m open to discussing it.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Well, I’m not defending Dubnyk either.

            And, I’m not saying something like “confidence” shouldn’t be open to discussion…

            I’m just saying we should be more modest about assuming a casual relationship about something we can know very little about, i.e., another person’s psychological state and it’s affect on performance.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            Fair enough……and I think we should be more modest about the value statistics have and the assumptions we make based on them. Respectfully, I find the advanced stats to be helpful in many ways. For instance, they can give us a snap shot of a players performance in several specific areas of endeavour, or a snap shot or assessment of a teams standing or progress in similar specific ways.

            But the are more things that aren’t measured and compared, that have, in my opinion, more importance than the things we do measure and compare in hockey today.

            You call them intangible,I say they are not. The fighting spirit of a Theron Fluery is not measurable and yet the effects of that spirit are not intangible, and had great value and great causal effect. The effect that Dave Semenko fighting had on the overall success of the 80’s Oilers and there overall performance, can’t be measured…but it is not intangible…and it’s effects were tremendous…and that’s not just my opinion, that’s Wayne Gretzky’s opinion.

            While statistics can be useful, they typically measure a specific event type, and seldom measure the relationship between specific events, or the causal relationships between multiple simultaneous events. Further to this…..most of these simple statistics do not account for second and third order event consequences. For example, a smaller skilled team may suffer more injuries because of physical size…second order event…more AHL players on roster, or younger players on roster…leads to decreased performance in other areas.

            Finally there’s cause and effect….team “abc” leads the league in blocked shots….is that because they’re well coached and play good positional hockey? Or because they suck and the puck is always in there end?

            I think we all need to be more disciplined when drawing conclusions, whether stats based or otherwise.

            Unless of course were on Oilersnation….where’s it’s no holds barred and anything goes!

            Sincerely
            New Age Sys

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            I think suggesting it is more likely a goaltender in a long slump (with no evident injury and not at the age one usually sees performance falter) will regress to the mean is a pretty modest and qualified statement.

            No one is making some bold, radical suggestion here.

            And, I don’t see anyone discounting “fighting spirit.” I would however, challenge the bias that is ever prevalent when such things are doled out at the lunch counter.

          • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

            Hey Rom, I have no issue with regression to the mean……I’m just asking that you and others in the Stats Pack, and I use the term respectfully, would give a little more consideration to qualifying the conclusions you draw from statistics, or perhaps more importantly, the conclusions you draw regarding events that are typically viewed as non statistical or unmeasurable. While these events may not fall in your bailiwick, they are real, and of sincere importance to others, like me.

            I highly value the role age, experience, size, character, desire, courage, aggression, toughness, emotion, selflessness, coaching, player development, coordinated team play, etc have to play in the game. And to be summarily dismissive of these factors because we can’t easily measure them is both closed minded and irritating.

            So all I’m really asking is for a little awareness that this is how some people perceive the game and derive their enjoyment of the game.

            Please and thank you,
            ORG

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Once more.

            1. I don’t think anyone has drawn unqualified conclusions using stats here. I’m sure it has been done and I’m happy to tell you those people are overstepping what the evidence allows.

            2. I don’t discount “intangibles” or whathaveyou. I do however caution against over-stating variables highly prone to bias, i.e., interpreting a players’ “body language” or “confidence.” These are real things that actually affect performance. They are also narratives people often default into.

          • DSF

            Not all things that can be counted matter.

            Not all things that matter can be counted.

            – A. Einstein.

            (although I’m pretty sure you think you’re smarter.)

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Not smart enough to presume I can gauge another man’s level of confidence and its affect on his play.

            Also, not smart enough to presume I can interpret body language and many other things.

            I take a modest view of what someone can know.

          • DSF

            There are many adjectives I would use to describe you.

            Modest is very, very far down the list.

            If there are many things that you can’t know, what you can know is very much diminished in its import.

            Anyone who has played competitive sports will be able to tell you that confidence is a major factor in performance…but I’m sure you will slough it off because you can’t measure it.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Actually, it is the opposite.

            The ability to bracket off noise and other unknowable things, greatly increases your knowledge.

            Again, I haven’t discounted “confidence.” I’m discounting your ability to know how confident an individual player or team is at any given time and to know how that confidence will affect performance.

            These are different things.

          • O.C.

            “Anyone who has played competitive sports will be able to tell you that confidence is a major factor in performance…”

            100% agreed DSF.

            I would go so far as to say “…confidence is the leading factor in performance in professional sports…”

          • DSF

            Yep.

            But there are some folks who will tell you that, since it can’t be measured, it isn’t important.

            You would think they would take the time to ask some athletes about that before proclaiming it a non factor.

  • Hair bag

    Has/is the window closed to be a team that will attract a top free agent, college player, or a player from the KHL. Would we rank up there with Buffalo as team that players with no or limited trade contracts have select as the will not accept a trade to?

    With 49 players under contract, at the cap, we seem to have very few options but draft well and develop player. Ebs and RNH way over paid for way too long.

    I think we are going to watch this group of players for a long time.

    Yikes, how are Eskies doing?

    • Johnnydapunk

      There are options, but it don’t think much can be done except damage limitation as there are a lot of contracts that expire at the end of the season.

      This won’t make any difference in making anything better but here is the contract situation for the Oilers .

      Oilers under contract and cap hit

      Unfortunately Edmonton is not an easy sell for players, as much as we can deny it and everything, players nowadays would rather live and play somewhere with milder temperatures and perhaps a place where they can be a bit more anonymous. Irrelevant on their performance, I don’t agree that players or staff are fair game to be yelled at when they are not at the rink. I am aware than a lot of people are super pissed off that the Oil are crap right now, but screaming at the players or coaches on the street will not solve anything, it will only make it harder and harder to attract players here.

      Regarding players wanting to play elsewhere, there are players who of course want to play here because of the history of the club, but sadly the Oilers are on a lot of players list of no trade teams.

      Apologies for any rambling, my dental surgery and painkillers have turned me into a gibbering mess 🙂

  • Newj

    Formula for diaster

    – spot opposition a couple goals within first 10-15 mins, partly claw way back only to give up a softy and then lose. They have the formula down pat!

    Maybe Eakins will quit before they fire him, if I were coach, I would. This team is dreadful.

    • Spydyr

      Formula for disaster

      Have a new owner hire his buddy to run his NHL team.Then hire a rookie GM who hires a rookie coach because he gets a man crush.The rookie coach is then saddled with the owners buddy, buddies as assistant coaches.

      How could that ever go wrong?

      • Newj

        True, it started at the top – this formula for disaster.

        Its been stated repeatedly, this organization has regressed. Very difficult to remain optimistic unless meaningful changes in management are made.

        Also as stated before, the dismissal of Kevin Lowe or MacTavish will not likely alter results this year, but changes are needed in management to move forward in the long run. Why wait until next year to implement those changes?

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    Can you imagine this Kevin Lowe’s job based on good results. A novel approach.

    What is his record with the Oilers since he retired as a player?

  • Batfink

    Why should I try? Katz doesn’t . Management won’t . Pay me. Then get me the F out of here. Seriously, this team is an embarrassing exhibition of total incompetence. Sickening.