GDB: 38.0: OILERS WANTED THIS…

 

The Oilers asked for this.

During the past few seasons members of the Oilers management have made references to wanting to build their team in the same vain as Chicago and Pittsburgh. I have no idea if they will ever have the same success as those two franchises, but right now they are emulating the struggles and lack of success that both those franchises endured before becoming two of the best teams in the NHL.

I’ve cautioned people who only looked at the rebuilds of Chicago and Pittsburgh as blueprints for the Oilers, because the harsh reality is that for every Chicago there are two franchises like Columbus or Atlanta/Winnipeg, and for every Pittsburgh there is a Florida and the New York Islanders.

It was great for the Oilers to aspire to be like the Blackhawks and Penguins, but that was always the "best case scenario."

Many readers won’t want to read this, but the truth remains this is only year four of the Oilers rebuild. The previous four seasons were not part of the rebuild. They were four seasons of bad management. That doesn’t excuse the Oilers, specifically Kevin Lowe who has been here for all eight years, but if you are someone who was in favour of the rebuild in 2010 then you have to accept the harsh reality of the current timeline.

It is rare for teams to rebuild in a short period of time. The problem is i’m not sure the Oilers truly understood how hard the journey would be. Did they expect this much losing? If so, why did they change coaches every year? It is fair to question if they truly had a plan, and it is more than fair to question whether they have the fortitude or smarts to follow it through and make the correct decisions to become a winner.

When the Oilers management suggested they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Hawks and Penguins, I wonder if they knew exactly what that entailed? Did they know that the Blackhawks made the playoffs once in ten seasons between 1998 and 2008?

The Hawks didn’t have a few years of losing; they had a decade of it.

1998: 9th worst record. Drafted 8th (Mark Bell) after a deal with Toronto
1999: 7th worst record. Won lottery, moved up to 4th spot, then traded that pick for Bryan McCabe and the 11th pick in 2000. McCabe played one season in Chicago before being dealt to Toronto for Alex Karpotvsev and a pick.
2000: 8th worst record. Picked 10th, due to Minnesota and Columbus entering league, and selected Mikhail Yakubov 10th and used the 11th pick on Pavel Vorobiev. 
2001: 9th worst record and they selected Tuomo Ruutu 9th.
2002: Made the playoffs. Finished 5th in the west, four points ahead of 9th. Their top six scoring forward were there in 2001 and Jocelyn Thibault was the starter both years, but they added Phil Housley and Jon Klemm on the blueline. They were #2 and #3 in TOI behind Boris Mironov. They made a very smart pick in the 2nd round selecting Duncan Keith 45th overall.
2003: 14th worst record. They selected Brent Seabrook. They took Corey Crawford in the 2nd round and Dustin Byfuglien in the 9th.
2004: 2nd worst record. Washington won the lottery so the Hawks dropped to 3rd and picked Cam Barker after missing out on Ovechkin and Malkin. The Hawks had 17 draft picks that year and took Dave Bolland 32nd, Bryan Bickell 41st and Troy Brouwer 214th. 
2005: No season, but they picked 7th after the lottery and took Jack Skille. They chose Niklas Hjalmarsson 108th overall.
2006: 3rd worst record. They happily took Jonathan Toews at #3.
2007: 5th worst record. They won the lottery and took Patrick Kane first overall. (Sidenote, the Oilers never would have gotten Kane. Had they lost their final game of the season to the Flames they would have finished with the 4th worst record not the fifth.)
2008: 11th worst record. Took Kyle Beach with the 11th pick.

During the first half of that decade of losing none of the Hawks top picks made an impact in Chicago, however, between 2002-2007 the foundation of their team was built through the draft. Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith, Hjalmarsson, Crawford, Bickell, Bolland, Brouwer and Byfuglien were all key players in one or both of their Stanley Cup victories.

However, it wasn’t like they planned to go from being a playoff team in 2002, to missing out by one point in 2003 to being a bottom three team in 2004, 2006 and 2007. You can make a strong argument that their most important decision came from a stroke of luck; winning the draft lottery.

Toews is the heart and soul of that team, but Kane is his deadly sidekick, and I don’t see them winning the Cup without Kane. You need some luck and good fortune along the way to win a Cup, but to become a consistent contender you need to build the majority of the key pieces via the draft.

The Oilers have an excellent chance of mirroring the Hawks decade of losing, but they will be hard pressed to go from being a bottom feeder to a Cup contender like the Hawks, because no two paths to Cup success are the same.

The Oilers don’t have a Keith or Seabrook right now. You can argue that Petry could be their Hjalmarsson and Eberle was an outstanding pick at #22, but other than a long stretch of losing, I’ve never made the direct comparison between the two organizations.

The Hawks stunk for a decade, and if Bill Wirtz hadn’t passed away in the fall of 2007, I wonder if the Hawks would have had the same success. Wirtz was a very generous man who donated millions of dollars to the Boys and Girls Clubs and other charities, but he was incredibly frugal when it came to the Blackhawks. For years he wouldn’t show Blackhawks’ home games on television. He alienated his fans to the point that when the Blackhawks held a moment of silence in his honour prior to a game in October of 2007 some fans booed.

The Hawks success was a combination of good drafting, some lottery luck and a change in leadership.

Will the Oilers do the same?

WHAT ABOUT PITTSBURGH?

Most people know that the Penguins had five consecutive top-five picks between 2002-2006, but prior to those five lean years the Penguins were a great organization.

The Penguins made the playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons before missing them in 2002. Jaromir Jagr entered the NHL in 1990/1991 and that is when the Penguins 11-year streak began. They also had some guy named Mario Lemieux who was also pretty good.

Jagr came in when their run started, and when he was traded on July 11th, 2001that marked the beginning of their five years in suckville.

The Penguins made it to the conference finals in 2001, losing 4-1 to New Jersey, but Jagr was traded that summer and Lemieux only played 26 games in 2002.

2002: 5th worst record. They drafted Ryan Whitney. They also selected Max Talbot 234th overall.
2003: 2nd worst record. Florida won the lottery and had the first pick. The Penguins had the 3rd choicel, and they moved that pick along with the 55th pick (Stefan Meyer) and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida for the 1st and 73rd pick (Daniel Carcillo).The Penguins took Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.
2004: Worst record in the NHL. Washington won the lottery and picked first, (Ovechkin) and the Penguins grabbed Evgeni Malkin at #2. They took Alex Goligoski 61st and Tyler Kennedy 99th.
2005: No season. The history of the Penguins changed due to luck. They won the lottery and had the pleasure of selecting Sidney Crosby. They chose Kris Letang 62nd that year as well.
2006: 2nd worst record. They selected Jordan Staal 2nd overall.

There is no Crosby in Edmonton, and on any other team for that matter, so it is very difficult for the Oilers to follow the Penguins’ path to success. The Penguins drafted three centres, one goalie and a D-man who they used in a trade to acquire Chris Kunitz.

The Penguins went from being very good to terrible in the span of 10 months.

Their five-year drought was painful, but they got Crosby and Malkin; two of the top-five players in the NHL. It is impossible to match that blueprint. The Penguins also got an elite D-man in the 3rd round, similar to the Blackhawks landing Keith.

The Oilers are on pace to grab their 5th consecutive pick in the top-seven, and while that will put them on par with the draft positioning of the Penguins, it doesn’t mean their five picks will be as impactful as the Penguins. Just like the Hawks, the Penguins caught a huge break by winning the lottery and selecting a dynamic and dominant player.

The Oilers have also won the lottery, but Nail Yakupov hasn’t come close to matching the early success of Kane or Crosby. He likely will produce more in the future, but I don’t ever see him being in the same category as those two players.

The one similarity that I do see unfolding with the Oilers, that we also saw in Pittsburgh and Chicago, will be trading away one of their top-five picks.

The Hawks moved Cam Barker for Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy, while the Pens moved Whitney for Kunitz and after winning a Cup, they had to move (pending UFA) Staal for Brandon Sutter and Derrick Pouliot.

The Oilers are similar to the Penguins in their draft position, and are on the verge of being on par with the Blackhawks when it comes to a decade of losing. Now, it is up to MacTavish to see if he can build this team into a contender. They still have a lot of work to do.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

  • It is great to have a goal to strive for, but the I’ve always felt it was a bit of pipedream to believe you could emulate the road to success of the Penguins or Blackhawks. The fact is there is no guarantee of success in the NHL.
     
  • Having consecutive top-five picks should give you a good base, but only if you use the picks properly. Either you pick the best combination of players, or you pick the ones that you will be able to move for assets in the future. The Oilers aren’t in a position to trade one of those picks today, but they will need to in the future.
     
  • The other difference between the Oilers and the Hawks and Penguins thus far is drafting depth outside of a top-ten pick. The Blackhawks built the depth of their team through the draft, and many of them were a bit more mature by the time Kane and Toews burst on the scene.
     
  • The Penguins surrounded their young players with productive and experienced players. In 2008 when they lost in the Cup final, they added Hal Gill, Pascal Dupuis and Marian Hossa. The next year when they won the Cup they acquired Kunitz, Bill Guerin and Craig Adams. The Oilers will need to make smart moves and acquire some veterans to support their young stars.
     
  • The Penguins Cup winning blueline consisted of draft picks, Letang, Rod Scuderi (134th pick, 1998) and Brooks Orpik (18th, 2000), acquired Gill and two free agent signings in Sergie Gonchar (2005) and Mark Eaton (2006).
     
  • The Hawks also had three drafted D-men on their blueline in Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson.
     
  • The only drafted D-man the Oilers curently have on the roster is Petry. We expect Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse and possibly Martin Marincin to play in the future, but if the Oilers are going to succeed then one of those three will need to be an impact player within three seasons. That is a lot to ask of a young D-man.
     
  • If I had to pick, I’d say the Oilers have a better chance of following the Penguins path than the Blackhawks, strictly because the Hawks D-men were more mature than their forwards when they won. The Penguins went out and signed a veteran top-pairing D-man in Gonchar, which is a more realistic option for the Oilers. They either trade for one this summer or try and sign one via free agency this summer.
     
  • Trading or signing an elite D-man is going to be extremely difficult. If they don’t go that route, I don’t see how this team can take the steps needed to becoming a competitive team.
     
  • I understand the frustration amongst Oilers fans. You are sick of watching a losing product, and you should be. However, the Oilers haven’t been rebuilding for eight years. From 2007-2010 they tried being competitive, but they failed. They made some questionable trades and free agent signings, and the only reason they actually went into a rebuild was due to numerous injuries to key players during the 2009/2010 season. They didn’t plan to rebuild, it just unfolded that way.
     
  • That doesn’t excuse Kevin Lowe, far from it, but the biggest mistake the Oilers could make today is to try and speed up the rebuild. If they need to fire someone within the organization to appease their fans, then they have to do it, but if they try to deviate from their original plan, or try and speed up the process, then there is a very good chance they will end up driving this team into an even longer cycle of losing. They have to see the process through, and accept that there might be some empty seats in the process. If they try to change the plan now, they likely will screw it up even worse.
     
  • Eakins was pretty fired up about the fan who threw his jersey on the ice. "That’s a bunch of bull crap. Whoever through that jersey on the ice is a quitter and they’re out. I never want our players to quit," said Eakins. Every sports team values the jersey, it is very symbolic and I see why the coach didn’t like it. He was okay with fans booing, said his team deserved it, but the jersey was offside. I’m guessing this will be a hot topic amongst Oiler fans. Some I spoke to loved it, while others felt it was disrespectful to the jersey.
     
  • My personal opinion on it is this. Eakins is in a no win situation. They didn’t need another distraction, although I’m guessing that was his plan. Have fans hate him, not the team.

    Also…If the fan who threw it is officially done with the Oilers, then he went out with a bang. If he threw it on the ice, but will be back watching them tonight then it was just a moment of dumb frustration and rather bushleague. You can be upset at the Oilers, yell at them because they haven’t improved, demand that Lowe be fired. That is fair game. Tossing a jersey, or anything else on the ice, other than a hat after a hat trick, should not be applauded.

    I do believe many fans are fed up and likely won’t go to any games or watch any until the Oilers improve, and if you are strong enough to stay away I tip my hat to you. I’m a diehard Dolphins fan, and my team has stunk for the most part of the past two decades, yet everytime I think I’m done with them they win a few games and I get sucked back in. It is very hard to stop cheering for a team, and if you are able to do it then you are stronger than me. Good on ya.

 LINEUP

It shouldn’t matter who they play with, the entire team’s focus should be about working hard and competing. If they don’t instill that into their foundation this team will never improve. Eakins juggled his lines and came up with these new combos at practice yesterday.

Hall-RNH-Perron
Joensuu-Gagner-Eberle
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Gazdic-Lander-Yakupov

Ference-J Schultz
Belov-Petry
N Schultz-Potter

Bryzgalov

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers worst game of the year was the 5-0 loss to Detroit. They rebounded three days later and beat Florida on the road. Tonight is different. They are at home and their fans are frothing at the mouth in frustration. If they have any pride they will put forth a good effort. If they don’t, the fans won’t hold back their displeasure. The Oilers avoid a raucous round of boos with a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers announce a sell out, but there will be some empty seats. Whether they are paid for or not, the message should be clear to the Oilers; patience is wearing thin amongst Oiler fans.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The powerplay doesn’t give up a good scoring chance.
 

DAY 16: MONTH OF GIVING…

Today is our final day, so if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping you could do it during the show and help out Santas Anonymous and The Christmas Bureau at the same time.

Package #1: Update your wardrobe.

 

  • A $1,000 shopping spree at Derk’s Mens Wear
  • One Derk’s Black Label Suit.
  • $300 in tailoring to help with your new wardrobe.
  • A wardrobe consultation. Derks will come to your house, go through your closet and asses what you need or what pieces need to go.

Package #2: Tee It Up.

  • 10 rounds of golf at the Ranch Golf and Country Club (hole 14 above)  with a power cart with each round and use of driving range before every round.

 Package #3: For your special lady.

  • A pair of white gold diamond earrings. Beautiful floral type deign with micro pavee set diamonds on lever backs, they are a stunning dangling style with .30 carats of diamonds. Courtesy of Michael Anthony Jewellers. 

Package #4:

  • Two pairs of seats to watch the Flyers/Oilers on Saturday.
    Row 23 seats 1,2 and seats 5.6  with club access courtesy of Nation reader VK63!

You can bid between 2-6 p.m today by calling 780.444.1260 or 1.800.243.1945.

Thanks in advance…

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

  • Bucknuck

    YAY!!!

    Here is Oilers management apologist in chief Jason Gregor looking for his chance to get hired on with CHED.
    Its all part of the plan people !! Stay patient.
    Man up Gregor, Terry Jones and Robin B. are both saying the tough hard facts today while you continue to make excuses and say the easy things that Edmonton media has done for far too long.

    • Jason Gregor

      I said Oilers asked for this, but likely didn’t think it would be this hard. They made the mistake of comparing themselves to the best possible scenario, and likely didn’t focus enough on how it could easily go the other way.

      Try reading it again. Never apologized once.

      It is rare for teams to rebuild in a short period of time. The problem is i’m not sure the Oilers truly understood how hard the journey would be. Did they expect this much losing? If so, why did they change coaches every year? It is fair to question if they truly had a plan, and it is more than fair to question whether they have the fortitude or smarts to follow it through and make the correct decisions to become a winner.

      Is that apologizing for them? If so, then I believe we have a different understanding of the word.

      • reaperfunkss

        Jason, firstly I dont know why someone went and edited out my comments about how great Stauffer used to be.
        Second:
        Has you (or anyone else in the Edmonton Main Stream Media (aka Fox News Oilers)) questioned how Kevin Lowe was able to get his buddy a GM job a few years after firing him from being the Head Coach… we know MacT couldnt get a half decent job with any other organization in this league and they walk him into a GM job here… WOW!!!!

        • Jason Gregor

          For accuracy MacT quit. And since he has the Oilers have been even worse so maybe he wasnt as bad a coach as some said. He had crap teams mainly.

          Lowe was asked about MacT credentials at time he was hired. Do you think he should be asked about it every day?

          Mact had been on job for 8 months… you can hate the hire, buy you or I can’t say if it was good or bad at this point. Too early to tell. Questioning Lowe is fair and it had been done but owner is tight with him. I doubt that changes when he keeps making millions.

          • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

            Wow Gregor, 8 month….. Isn’t that a longer time on the job than Kruger had? He wasn’t given ” a chance”. What a load of crap.

          • reaperfunkss

            Yes Mac T quit…after the pressure from fans and media had driven Katz to publicly state that his job was safe.

            Seems to me maybe he quit so katz wouldnt have to fire him. ( I hear Mact and Katz may have been or are friends ouside of the Oilers) Maybe Lowe and Katz say to him. You resign.

            Go bum around for a couple years and we of course will bring you back.

            Explains why he never stayed anywhere else (except for the incompetence part) You come back when the heat is off and the fans will love it.

            Lowe thinks to himself that is gonna be an awesome presser. “Ladies and gentlemen of the world. I now announce what you have demanded for so long…The return of one of the greatest Oilers (well he was pretty good and won some cups with me) MacT!!! ” Easiest sell i will ever make. hehe

            Just sayin

      • vetinari

        Entirely possible, though one would imagine that a “winner” like Kevin wouldn’t require deals from Gregor to score stylish Menswear, pretty much anything he puts on would attain the level of high style due to clothings association with a true “winner” like Kevin.

  • Chris.

    Just listened to Stauffer on the radio and I’m so furious I’m vibrating… His take: Eakins and MacTavish haven’t even had a full year yet so we need to be patient.

    Remember when we missed the playoffs in 2007 and we needed to be patient because we were re-tooling after Pronger left..?..

    And then we missed the playoffs in 2008 and we needed to be patient because we had to let our exciting young core of Nilsson, Cogliano and Gagner grow and mature..??..

    And then we missed the playoffs in 2009 but we had to be patient because Tambellini had only been general manager for one season..????..

    And then in 2010 we finished last and missed the playoffs but we were going to need to be patient because we were just now starting a rebuild for the very first time with the Hall pick…?????..

    And then in 2011 we finished last and missed the playoffs but still needed to be more patient because we were still by Stauffer’s math in the first year of a rebuild..??????..

    And then in 2012 we finished second last and missed the playoffs but needed to be patient because we were in the second year of a rebuild… and we had a brand new coach..???????..

    And in 2013 we finished 24th and missed the playoffs but we no longer had to be to patient because our brand new General Manager is an “impatient guy” who predicted “some pretty immediate growth and change”..????????..

    In 2014 we are trending towards our worst season in franchise history and Stauffer has the nerve to trot out the excuse that MacTavish and Eakins deserve MORE TIME??????????

    More time for a coach that is stupid enough to call a frustrated fan a quitter and then quote a never quit the fight mantra one day after his team folded the tent after going down by only 2 goals in the second period of a nationally televised game?

    More time for a GM who fired the last coach after only 48 games… a GM who is such a good evaluator of talent that he said his 2008/2009 team was the most skilled group he ever worked with and figured they would challenge for the division… and when that didn’t happen; he quit? After years of high picks this team is a poorer functioning mirror of the 2008/2009 team that was filled with too many small, soft, perimeter type players to seriously compete for anything meaningful in the Western Conference… We are going in circles!

    • YAKCITY64

      Are you sure you were listening to Bobby Stauffer or his new clone and sellout Jason Gregor. Looks like Katz is spending money on buying the podium of the media guys in this town and not spending it on the team. I respect gregor and what he has done for this town but just listen to his show now and tell me he isnt a clone of Stauffer. This organization is ARROGANT towards the paying fans in this town and to have to hear these media guys making excuses for this arrogance is honestly too much to handle and we as fans vote with our time and attention and I for one will not support either of these Oiler Apologists.

      • Chris.

        I listened to all 2 minutes and the meat of what he said remains the same. The comments were incredibly ill advised.

        a) It is galactically stupid for Eakins to pretend he is calling out “one fan” when so many people are in support of what that fellow did, or at least really understand why he did it and hope this can become a rallying point for change…

        b) It’s naive to imagine there won’t be more jerseys on the ice after the next Oiler loss… What’s your move then Eakins? War with the fanbase?

        c) It’s pathetic he didn’t see the irony of his comments when it was his team that had so clearly quit.

        • Dallylamma

          I just… I dunno. I have a hard time dumping on the guy and the team when things have so clearly gone sideways and the criticism is now constant. I have a hard time blaming him for trying to create something positive out of a negative event – however justified that negative event is.

  • DoubleTap

    Sorry Gregor but you’re wrong. If a fan who paid money to purchase a jersey decides to throw it away and onto the ice, that is their choice.

    Just because you’re not willing to give up on Klowe after years of his incompetence doesn’t deny a fans right to protest.

    I think this fan should be appllauded for doing what he wanted with his property. Same as Kattz gets to do with his team; keeping his buddies in management positions far beyond what is rationale.

    • Jason Gregor

      Your ticket says you can’t throw things on the ice. Paying for a product doesn’t give you freedom to act how ever you want. Sorry it doesn’t.

      Where did I say Lowe should stay on? I have no personal gain if he stays or goes, and I’ve said many times he is the only constant so it is safe to assume he is more part of the problem than the solution.

      However, I don’t think one person will make that drastic of a change. The organization has many areas it needs to improve on. Start with Lowe, sure, but understand more needs to happen than firing one man for this team to win.

      • Connor Snipes

        “Your ticket says you can’t throw things on the ice. Paying for a product doesn’t give you freedom to act how ever you want. Sorry it doesn’t.”

        “…other than a hat after a hat trick…”

        We can nitpick as we please too, you know.

        Don’t be ridiculous. I know it’s tough, but try. It’s christmas, after all.

      • reaperfunkss

        Do you believe that the fans in Detroit should be thrown out for the Octupus on the ice? During the fluke cup run here were you horrified that the steak was thrown on the ice? Did you immediatly call the cops?

        When a hat trick gets scored do you get nervous that a riot squad will appear to deal with all the miscreants and vandals who are not living up to the obligation of what their ticket says?

        Good Grief

      • DoubleTap

        But your argument wasn’t that it is wrong because the ticket says not to. It was based on the premise that throwing a jersey is disrespectful and I disagree with that. I’m sure the fan was escorted out by security for his actions.

        My point is, what the action symbolizes and the protest behind it is valid. You didn’t directly state that you wanted Lowe to stay, and I agree much more needs to be done, but you obviously don’t think that the incompetence shown by the management and ownership warrants this form of protest. I believe it does, regardless what the fine print on a ticket might say. This is where I disagree with you.

      • reaperfunkss

        Firing Lowe may have an effect right away in that it will show that there is actual accountability in this organization. Won’t make the players better but it may show them that tjhere are actual consequences to failure. But they see that the head guy who loses keeps his job. They even bring back people who didn’t help win before.

        you are correct that it wont change the steaming pile we have for a team but maybe it will pick up the motivation.

        Lowe needs to go because he is an abominable hockey man and so all players coaches and management types know that if they don’t perform there will no longer be a free pass.

  • Dallylamma

    The sweater that got tossed should be framed and put up in the Oilers locker room…use it as a rally point.

    Eakins is bush league for calling out the fan. Throwing the sweater was a sign of passion, not quitting.

  • Bleak Winter

    The jersey on the ice was awesome.

    It’s a symbol of oiler fan frustration with the oiler management.

    It’s a final blowout against the arrogance of Lowe and the nepotism in their scouting and coaching.

    The problem is at the very top.

    Deal with that and it will work out.

    • I agree, all this stuff about how fans need to respect the jersey and crap, boourns to that. Official sell out streak during the course of the worst years in franchise history, clearly the organization stopped respecting the fans a long time ago. It was a great symbol of someone saying I am not purchasing your product anymore until you start making a better quality product. I wish we could do this with all consumer products against all companies who begin to just crank out lower quality products while maintaining high prices.

      Good for whoever did that.

  • oildawg99

    I know I don’t speak for everyone but I I know my personal beef with this team is the effort they put in every night. I expected them to lose quite a bit this season. I think most people did. However, when players can’t seem to put in a 60 minute effort is when I get frustrated. I don’t know if Eakins is shell shocked but he looks seriously confused. Even Perron made a comment about how he can’t believe Eakins did not lay into this team after last game? There is no passion in this organization. From Lowe pissing around on his phone to Eakins calmly taking another beating on the bench the team has lost its mojo. This lack of passion seems to transition right through to the players who in turn stop giving a rats a$$. I want to see some water bottles thrown, some ejections, players stopping at the crease and standing up for each other. This team is missing heart and that is why I am frustrated. I don’t see frustration out on the ice I see indifference and that’s what gets the fans ticked off. It goes beyond simply losing.

  • Mjolnir

    How is throwing a jersey bush league?? I’m sure if the oilers could show up for more than ten minutes a game people would keep their clothes on. It’s time for the players to start showing more respect to the team than the fans do.

  • reaperfunkss

    Couldn’t disagree with Gregor more on this one. If fans can throw $30 hats on the ice in celebration of a great night from a player, and sometimes even underwear, with no complaints at all, then that same fan can throw his jersey on the ice when he has finally had enough. Arguing what fine print on a ticket says as your argument is just pathetic.

    As far as that guy not coming to any more games, or its bush league if he does, Id still go to most, but I would not spend ONE nickel on drinks, food, merchandise or even at Rex drugs. Id still go because unfortunately Ive already paid for my seat.

    The only thing bush league about this are Eakins comments. He should’ve taken the high road, like a professional, and said something along the lines of “this his opinion and I disagree we work hard blah blah blah”. Not rip into the fan.

    Its not just the mounting losses in the rebuild, its the flat out lack of compete from too many of the players. Some fans put in more effort getting to and from the game on a cold night than some of the players do on the ice. Shameful.

  • Tychxxx

    Rebuild, or whatever it is – fine.

    I don’t believe the fans are expecting wins as much as they are hoping for effort. Or apparent effort anyway.

    Maybe they’re trying and they’re just terrible but it looks to me the other team puts in much more effort.

  • outdoorzguy

    I just watched the Eakins jersey comments. If I didn’t see his lips moving, I’d have said Kevin Lowe made that statement. Can you imaging a professional coach throwing a fan under the bus because his team is playing like crap? Lowe alienated the fans before the season started. Eakins just downright pissed them all away. Every jersey should be thrown on the bench tonight, at Eakins so he can see how many quitters are actually in the stands. I can’t believe the arrogance of these guys. The seats have stayed relatively full night in and night out for the 29th place team in the NHL and he throws the only person with some balls under the bus. This guy should be buried in jerseys tonight, then marched right out of town!

  • arsenaloilerbarca

    I grew up watching the Dougie Weight Oilers and boy were those Oilers hardworking and always played with pride and respect to the crest. They were a tight knit group who always stood up for each other. I miss those guys so much, can’t believe what we have become. Screw you Kevin Lowe!! Screw you!

  • YAKCITY64

    Gregor,

    I have listened to you since 790 I think and have always respected your opinion. I think you have had a level headed approach to most things but really are you even wasting your words comparing this sad sack bunch to anything that closely resembles the Pens or the Hawks. This sounds to me like Katz and the boys have bought you too. Sad Sad Day.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I watch a lot of porn. This year to cope with the Oilers, I started watching porn during the games. Last game it hit me: there is no difference between the Oiler games and porn. They both involve a bunch of pu$$ies getting f*#&ed! There might be a little more sucking in the Oiler games though…maybe..

    WOW! I think I needs me some professional help.

    PS: Go OIlers!

  • reaperfunkss

    Are people seriously saying throwing the jersey on the ice is bush league and disrespectful? This organization is bush league and disrespectful for their god awful performances night in and out. I as a fan am done for the year. I go to Oilernation a fraction of what I used to, I walk right by oilers gear in sports stores, I have retired my oilers ball caps and have switched to baseball and nfl teams. I have an old Oilers knock off jersey that I bought from China for $20 and if I was going tonight and they put up another performance like the last one, god damn right would I throw it on the ice. I would aim for the Oilers bench.

  • vetinari

    As for Eakins commenting on the jersey… if his players didn’t quit on the season, starting with the blowout against Detroit, then fans wouldn’t be throwing jerseys onto the ice.

    Now let’s take this one step further– which guy in the organization is responsible for motivating and teaching the players? Oh yeah, that’s right, the coach!

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    The Oilers TV Radio and Internet talent are turning into Fox News. They’re starting to spin it as good as O’reily and Hannitty do. Please fire someone Mr. Katz to show the fans that there efforts and money are valued by the string pulling puppeteers that control this mess.

    DO SOMETHING

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

    @JasonGregor

    Jason,

    I know I have called you an Oilers apologist in the past over some of your articles and your rebuttle every time is that you need to focus on other aspects because slamming this franchise every week is too neanderthal like and short sided. I think that this market has wore on you and like any other person in sport it’s time for a change of scenery. Like the Joe Thorntons and Jeff Carters of the world a change of pace may do wonders for your career. Maybe you should venture a resume the way of the Blackhawks or Penguins you seem to be so knowledgable about. Your campy pitches of patience and belief in the bigger picture are too much to handle anymore.

    You are the one with the voice to the fans of this team, albeit not usually the voice of reason, but you can help spread the word that without fans staying away nothing will change. Katz has doubled his profits with this club in pure futility so do you think he’s stressed? He will gladly continue making bank and it will become someone elses problem in a few years.

    The Oilers haven’t been rebuilding according to you longer than 4 seasons and your entitled to your belief with that one. The Hawks were miserable for 10 years and I’m okay with that too. But the once mighty Oil have been disgraceful for too many years to count. Since 2000-2001 the Oilers have made the playoffs 3 of those 12 seasons and have finished better than 8th once when they finished 6th. The claim to fame being one miracle run the the finals from a magical 8th seed. 8th turns into a winner once and about never so K Lowe and the rest of the Oiler apologists need to stop hanging onto the idea that they “built” a winner because what they built is a disaster with no end in sight.

    …..

  • Mjolnir

    Why is everyone so pissy about Ralph getting fired over Skype? Would it be better if he flew back to Edmonton from Switzerland to get fired?? I’d be more pissed some idiot made me spend 15 hrs on an airplane just to piss in my mouth.

  • Jason Gregor

    Good on Yakupov for standing up for himself. Oilers need to do more of that. Can’t let teams think you will back down. Yakupov played with an edge last year at times, and when he does he plays better. Good on him for contributing in limited minutes tonight…

  • outdoorzguy

    “Tossing a jersey, or anything else on the ice, other than a hat after a hat trick, should not be applauded”. Whats the difference, hat or jersey, octopus or piece of steak (remember that)? 70% of the people who throw their hat on the ice after a hat trick always ask an usher if they can get their hat back. Trust me I know. I moved to Edmonton in 1998. Every year…every year since then the Oilers have fought to make the playoffs or they have been eliminated early. I know, I was in the building for a lot of those years. The year we went to the final, we made the playoffs on the last night of the season, then we went on a roll. An abomination yes, but a nice one. So telling us that a rebuild has been going on for only four years is pure crap. This rebuild has been going on for 12 to 15 years. The only difference is everyone accepted it. Mediocrity is what this city has become. “The City Formerly Known As the City of Champions” is what the signs should read. I’m sick and tired of media sucking up to “pro athletes”. Many even call them continuously by their first names. As people in the position you are in you SHOULD be asking tougher questions. But you don’t, because heaven forbid you lose your privilege to the pre game feast in the media room, or some “pro” athlete stops talking to you. You might even get barred from the dressing room. If that happens your world would be shattered. Getting barred from the dressing room would be a badge of honour, it would show the true face of this organization! Not only has the Edmonton Oiler organization, management and ownership let this city down, it has alienated and ignored its fan base. As media, you should be pursuing the story and asking the questions fans want answered. These are big boys. They make lots of money for what they do. You won’t hurt their feelings, and if you do, then maybe they should seek other employment. Stop bending over to always find excuses and start being journalists instead of fans. They’re just hockey players, not cancer researchers, who do their jobs very poorly and the organization as a whole needs to be made accountable to the fans and the city for the crap they parade out on a nightly basis year after year.

  • reaperfunkss

    I AM SO, SO, SO SICK OF LISTENING TO BOB STAUFFER FLAP HIS LIPS ABOUT HOW SUPPORTIVE HE IS WITH EVERYTHING THIS MANAGEMENT SAYS OR DOES. HOW CHED KEEPS THAT ONE SIDED, COMMUNIST TRASH ON THE AIR IS UNBELEIEVABLE……. SERIOUS GORD, YOU SHOULD TAKE OVER THAT SHOW!! SECONDLY, EAKINS COMMENTS ABOUT THE JERSEY ON THE ICE WERE APPAULING. HE IS A CLOWN AND THIS MANAGEMENT TEAM IS THE BIGGEST JOKE IN SPRTS TODAY!!!

    • Serious Gord

      Not sure if you got a chance to hear my call this aft but I wholeheartedly agree that Eakins comments were repugnant in the extreme and he should be ordered by MacT to publically apologize. Incredibly insentitive remarks that slag all oilers fans who are frustrated with the depths that this team has fallen to.

      As for bob I greatly admire the job he does. He has managed to become a media franchise – no easy feat. And he bleeds copper and blue as much as anyone – you could hear it in his voice when i was talking to him this aft.

      That said I was very surprised by two things talking to bob:

      1. He did not know that the oilers were solidly on track to finish with the worst record in oilers history. He stumbled around a bit but the facts torpedo had hit below decks – with this unprecedented half season change – very big change – is merited. And he knows that the only move that will get the fans to put down the pitchforks is to fire LOWE.

      2. He also was not aware that the jersey tosser had been found and interviewed by terry jones. Those comments reveal that the fan is at the end of his rope – not a quitter. And bob really seems tone deaf if he doesn’t see that the jersey tossing is far more than the act of one fan – but deeply symbolic of what this teams fanbase is feeling right now.

  • Rheal1 "Ontario Oilers Fan"

    Good on the guy who threw the jersey! How about the entire oilers management put a competitive on ice product then maybe you bunch of idiots will get some respect.

    Nice to see yakupov on the 4th line! They are ruining him. Can’t wait for him to get traded and score 30 a year for the next 10 seasons. Yakupovs skill didn’t disappear overnight, this isn’t looking to be a good environment for the kid.

    Gagner has been the worst oiler. Trade him and maybe bring in some actual help.

    I’ve seen some dumb plays from Schultz hall and ebs. Why aren’t they on the fourth line or bottom pairing?

    Suck bad for ekblad!

    This team is the new maple leafs.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Yakupov should be in the AHL given his maturity and compete levels. He should be thanking his lucky stars (and his agent) that he’s cashing an NHL paycheque right now.

  • arsenaloilerbarca

    Jason the reason why Oilers fans have the right to be angry and why your comparison of “Chicago had an even worse go for a decade” is because the Oilers consistently finish lower than the Blackhawks (26 teams and in the league and all). When your team is the certified last place team for multiple years compared to just a low rank team there is more reason to be upset.

    The record shows if you want to compare the two teams directly by Points after 82 games(including on pace) and finishing spot in the league (by year into losing streak)

    Year 1: 73pts/18th place CHI// 71/25 Oil
    Year 2: 70/21 CHI// 88/19 Oil
    Year 3: 78/21 CHI// 85/21 Oil
    Year 4: 71/22 CHI// 62/30 Oil
    Year 5: 96/9 CHI// 62/30 Oil
    Year 6: 79/17 CHI// 74/29 Oil
    Year 7: 59/29 CHI// 77/24 Oil
    Year 8: 65/28 CHI// 54/29 Oil (Current season for Oiler as on pace for)

    I think it’s pretty clear the Oilers have finished or will finish lower in the ranking more often than the Blackhawks as well as having actually finished last a few more times. They also finish on average 5.25 slots lower than Chicago did in their losing years.

    The fans have endured a bit more terrible play here than other places.

  • Bryzarro World

    I had to stop after your “it’s the 4th year of the rebuild” garbage.

    I won’t listen or even part of anything that is going to toss out that excuse again. I don’t care if this is the freaking article of the decade, it is garbage as soon as I read that line.

    NO EXCUSES FOR LAST PLACE!!!!
    WIN!!!!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Our idiot coach is sticking his foot in his mouth again I see…. Eakins doesn’t see the difference between the fans and the players. He throws that quitter word around like it’s sacred or something. Doesn’t he realize that if these players weren’t being paid millions per yr, everyone of them would have quit on him long ago as well? They are paid to care until the money runs out, and not for a second longer.

    One has to pay to be there, and the other is well paid to be there. The leader of Gong Show Productions needs to be reminded the paying customer is always right. Today was just another example of the many stupid mistakes Eakins will make as his team plays out the string. We can put this quote right up on the shelf next to Kevin Lowes “I think I know a little bit about winning” quote. What a bunch of bozos….