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 

  • Does anyone remember the movie The Toy starring Richard Pryor? A billionaire buys him – similar to another certain billionaire buying living hockey cards. He appears to not care a lick about what is going on with the team on the ice, only the one from the 80’s. I think that most people can agree that as long as he is making money, he won’t change a thing. The issue is that most of the seats are seasons ticket holders and most of those are corporate owned and they also don’t really care about what goes on with the team. I’m a Tier 1 fan and would have gotten rid of my tickets had my wife not convinced me to hold on to them for our kids on the hope that one day the team will deserve the respect they seem to think we fans (Tier 2 and 3 too) owe them.

  • Begin Rant:

    Regarding all the sacred jersey nonsense, the respect is with the jersey that is worn by a team and its players; not the extremely expensive knock-offs sold to further pad the millionaires pockets. What someone chooses to do with their own clothing is their choice.

    Jason Gregor’s comments “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” is in my opinion crap. This fans gesture has spoken volumes already so no matter if he goes to the next game or not, the statement was made and a lot of people, including me, agree with it.

    This team has appeared to quit day in and day out and Eakin’s comments is just to deflect attention from these spoiled millionaires who are slowly losing touch with reality as do most sports stars and entertainers. I’m not a big win/loss guy, but rather appreciate effort. This team neither puts in an effort nor many wins and they should start looking closer at the work ethic of that other crappy Albertan team.

    End Rant

  • I reject any argument/statement that uses the ‘rebuild’ as a premise.

    Wake up folks. The rebuild is nothing but marketing. All teams are trying to get better all the time.

    The rebuild doctrine is seductive because it enables a sense of justice and equilibrium: “If we suck long enough, it can only be balanced with winning later.”

    No such thing. Look at Detroit. They’ve been competitive for years. Now look at Florida. They’ve been in the doldrums for years. A team’s long-term success is built on having able, competent people in the right positions through out the organization. The Oilers do not have that. Instead of filling posiitons through merit, they’ve been filled through patronage. Once the ex-Oiler cabal is kicked out, only then can the Oilers begin the slow heeling process.

    In short. Next time someone discusses the ‘rebuild’, pour some cold water on their head.

  • 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.

  • Spydyr

    OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION:If the team has any and I do mean any “balls” they show up like a playoff game.That being said they don’t. Please prove me wrong.

  • Bryzarro World

    For those of you are suggesting who Jason Gregor is being influenced by Mr.Katz on what to say – please get a life! You sound paranoid and stupid!

  • 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!!!!

  • Bryzarro World

    I remember the George Burnett days as the darkest times as a season ticket holder. I was curious so I looked up his record.
    When he was canned his record was
    35 games 12 wins 20 losses 3 ties
    He was selling basically the same bill of goods as Eakins is, new captain (corson,ference), youth movement, hard work every night, blah blah blah.
    At no point since then have I looked back and thought, man if we had just gave Burnett more time.

    • arsenaloilerbarca

      Props on that comment. I was thinking the same.

      You are right, and I don’t think we will ever say the same about Eakins unless the correct thing happens and we rid ourselves of him…looks like we are stuck with him though.

      Does anyone ever notice how eakins sounds like a complete idiot when he speaks? I like a coach that speaks with passion, and don’t mind if a he gets fired up and lets out some steam every now and then (torts, roy, laviolette as examples), but eakins fits right into the oilers mold:
      an arrogant guy who doesn’t think before he speaks (similar to lowe with the 6 rings/2 tier fans comments)

  • arsenaloilerbarca

    Gregor

    You are so far put of touch with the Oil fan base it’s scary. Tossing a jersey after the game is over is completely different than concerns about tossing things on the ice during the game. If you can’t understand this difference you are an idiot, and I don’t think you are an idiot. Far from being “bush league” it was a profound expression.

    As for Eakins calling the guy a quitter. A coach shouldn’t pick a fight with the fans, he will always lose.

    If the Oil lose again tonight I think we will see more than one jersey. If they lose badly we will see many.

    If I were a suspicious type I might be concerned that TSN has told it’s employees to go easy on the Oil as they would like to unseat CHED as the rights holder next time around and don’t want to piss off the empire.

    • Jason Gregor

      I am actually more in touch with fans than you think. I had over 500 texts into the show today, and it was about 50/50 with those who liked the jersey toss and others who didn’t.

      I’ve learned people who post on the Nation are very passionate, but they don’t speak for every fan. There are many types.

      The guy admitted he would wear a jersey to the next game. So what was so profound about his actions? What is he protesting if he shows up the next game and wears a jersey? Pointless.

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

        Why wouldn’t he be protesting if he shows up the next game with a jersey ?

        People protest through hunger strikes, doesn’t mean their never going to eat again.

        Gov’t employees have protested by picketing for a morning, doesn’t mean they didn’t protest because they go back to work in the afternoon.

        There are different forms of protest. This one was overblown for importance, it was a small and harmless protest blown out of porportion by media.

        However to say it wasn’t a protest confuses me.

        • Jason Gregor

          Unless he throws a jersey on the ice tonight, then his protest is not like the suggestions you used. Those people do the same thing day after day. He isn’t.

          It confuses me that you can somehow read my previous post and try to suggest I said it wasn’t a protest. I asked what was he protesting? Major difference.

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

            Hi Jason,

            You asked a question on your show today….I’m paraphrasing…but you asked if we thought the Oilers were on a path that would lead to a competitive team that would contend , or alternatively…are they on the wrong path altogether.

            Upto the beginning of this season I thought they could potentially build a contender…..today, I think they are too far off track….I have lost confidence that they can ever become a contender with this roster. I think they need at least ten changes to this roster to get onto the right path.

            I missed you’re answer to the question……what do you think?

          • Jason Gregor

            I didn’t pick them to be a playoff team for the exact reasons you stated, too much of the same thing.

            They have some very good building blocks up front, but their blueline is so thin it is scary. They have potential in Klefbom, Nurse and Marincin, and potentially Ekblad, but they need some experienced NHl D-men.

            MacTavish will be more proactive than Tambellini, which isn’t hard, but his next moves will be more difficult than his first summer as a GM. He has to realize that while he has some good forwards, he has too many similar pieces.

            The other major concern now is goaltending. You can’t win without consistent goaltending, and the Oilers haven’t had any this year.

            Hiller, Halak, Bryzgalov, Dubnyk, Elliott and Scrivens are UFAs.

            Veterans like Miller, Brodeur and Thomas likely woudn’t come here, so they have to pick from the aforementioned six.

            Hiller is the best option, but he is the starter in Anaheim. I know they have some young goalies in the system, but are they willing to roll the dice on them, or would they prefer to keep Hiller for a few more years. I’m not sure he’d get much more than his current cap hit of $4.5 million, so I’m still not convinced the Ducks will automatically let him walk, but if they do, then the Oilers better be calling his agent.

            I think they are at a fork in the road. If MacTavish can’t improve their D, then I see them going down the playoffless path.

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

            I agree with fork in the road. Good analogy. I will stick to my guns that the required turnover would need to be 10 + boidies…character being the key with the additions.

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

            Ok yes it is different. But same implied meaning. Not protesting vs what he was protesting.

            It’s a 6-0 loss from the Oilers with no compete.. do we have to ask what he was protesting ? He’s not a “free edmonton” protestor is he ?

            I guess what confuses me is how you are turning this issue around. So you are saying if he didn’t wear a jersey this next game it would be more clear what his protest was ?

            Your point just seems about as clear as my first batch of homemade beer. Cloudy.

          • Jason Gregor

            My point is that I don’t believe his actions change anything. They fire fans and Eakins up, but it won’t change anything. He will keep going to games, and the Oilers aren’t going to make changes right away. I understand why some think it was symbolic, but I don’t see it making any impact on anything. Do you? If so, how?

          • ubermiguel

            Gregor, the jersey was a slap across the face the Oilers needed to hopefully wake up and realize the constant lack of effort is disrespectful to the fans. Calling radios shows and posting on websites wasn’t doing it so this was a message “I’m mad as hell about how you played and I’m ashamed to wear this”. We’ll reward good play but we’re sick of paying for garbage.

          • Serious Gord

            As a matter of fact Jason, I think he did change something. What? Well lets start with the 6-2 , the empty seats at the rexall tonight, and guess what? Next time the Oilers don’t show up there will not only one jersey but a few more. BTW still 29th.

          • Jason Gregor

            The Oilers were playing well, 7-3-1, before the six games against elite teams. They aren’t an elite team and those six games proved it.

            The Oilers should be able to compete and beat teams like the Jets. They need to beat middle of the road teams, gain experience and hope that next year they will add some new pieces and be able to at least compete with some of the elite teams.

            I’m not believing the jersey theory and how it will play out in the future. I don’t think you will see multiple bras thrown on the ice for the next hat trick either, but I could be wrong on both accounts.

          • Serious Gord

            Pollyannish garbage.

            The FACT is this team is on track to have the worst season in oilers history. Individual games are irrelevant.

            The FACT is that this team doesn’t just do poorly against good teams they are 3-20 against the top sixteen teams in the league. They are so bad against heavy opponents that they are the worst team in oilers history.

            Jersey-throwing was a low point in the lowest season to end all seasons thusfar. Let’s see how they do in the second half…

          • Jason Gregor

            You are saying they are the worst when season isn’t half over? You should wait until the end of the season to declare that.

            Also, last I checked 7-3-1, plus a win tonight is 12 games, not an individual game, which is why I included the previous games.

            They were brutal at start of the year, no doubt, but goaltending gave them no favours.

            If you think this team is worse than the teams in the mid-90s you are kidding yourself. They haven’t played as well as they could, but they are a better team than those teams. You will see at the end of the season.

            Also, I find it hilarious you say individual games are irrelevant, (even though I used 12 games, not one) yet you made the bold claim that Friday was the hinge game for the Oilers.

            So, I guess you are calling your own prediction irrelevant. 🙂

          • Serious Gord

            Their record speaks to itself. The worst ever thusfar – they will have the worst halfway record ever. Hardly one game…

            As for the one game meme. I’m pretty sure that had the oil lost tonight you wouldn’t be trumpeting a 7-4-1 record against the oils peers (iow crap teams) but rather you would have found another way to downplay the jersey effect.

          • Jason Gregor

            It is also important to state truths…

            Oilers 1993/1994…first 39 games.. 11-23-5, and they lost their 40th game.

            Through 39 games this year the Oilers are 12-24-3. That is a better record based on wins. And if Oilers win one of their next two games they will be better than two other years at the half way point. They have many issues, but it is important to state the exact truths when comparing previous seasons.

          • Serious Gord

            You want the truth?!!

            You can’t handle the truth.

            There weren’t any overtime losses in the nhl in 93/94.

            Adjusting for that and the fact that the oil thusfar have four overtime wins that would have been ties in 93/94 they would be 8 – 24 – 7.

            That is far behind the 93/94 team.

            Now either you innocently forgot that fact or you deliberately omitted it.

          • Serious Gord

            I bet – as someone who has read many (over a dozen) books by or on Churchill over the years – that he would find the current points system to be an abomination.

            It gives more points in some games than others. It makes it impossible to determine what a .500 team really is and thus how many games ahead or behind a team is and it does not show nor differentiate overtime wins. It makes comparisons with past eras even more difficult.

            And it traps statistically challenged journos from time to time.

            So I think he would count them – but for less than a regulation win. I Favour a 3-2-1 system. I think he would too.

          • wiseguy

            I’m pretty certain Churchill would neither know nor care about hockey, let alone favor a 3-2-1 system. He would be doing more interesting and valuable things than arguing on internet blog sites.

          • Serious Gord

            But if – hypothetically – you could ask him…

            He was very much a fan of horse racing – can’t recall if I ever read that he was or wasn’t a fan of team sports – but he was a connoisseur of pretty much everything he turned his eye to and had an opinion to boot.

            No doubt he would have known of lord Stanley – his grandfather the duke of Marlboro – whose memory Winston Churchill worshipped and he wrote a massive biography of – was in the Conservative party at the same time. And being a big believer in the dominions he no doubt was aware of the cup.

          • Serious Gord

            Well let’s see… Others have alluded to many other big events in history and sacred items during this – edmonton’s version of jersey shore, I’m just following suit.

            That and I’m already in Christmas vacay…

          • **

            Gord, Seriously…you need to be a little more aware of your surroundings. Hypothesizing on what Winston Churchill might think about the points system for hockey…in an Oilers blog? Talk about wrong time, wrong place.

          • Jason Gregor

            You play based on the rule of the year. They have more wins.

            You can twist the numbers however you like, but through 39 games they have more wins.

            There wasn’t 30 teams in 1993/1994, so should we not count games against new teams either?

            The record book of each team when it comes to worst seasons goes by wins and points, not which rules were in place at the time. I’ve never seen one that ranks them based on the rules at the time. NHL official record book doesn’t.

          • Zarny

            No, actually record books simply record wins, losses and ties.

            For each year, every team plays by the same rules.

            Regardless, by the end of the season it won’t matter. This team won’t have anywhere near the worst record ever.

          • Serious Gord

            We shall see where they end up. Right now they are on track – adjusting as any sane statistician would – for overtime wins, to be the worst team in oilers history.

            That is undeniable. (And odd that someone would try and obfuscate it).

          • Jason Gregor

            Not true. Go look at a record book and get back to me.

            And when people say the best or worst teams or players they use the entire season, not half of it. That isn’t my rule, it is just how it has been when people compare teams. And most statisticians wait until the end or a season to accurately compare to previous years, otherwise it is just a projection History shows many teams can have vastly different first or second halves of a season, both in improvment or in a decline.

          • Serious Gord

            I have consistently said “on track” at the halfway point to be the worst team in oilers history.

            This is hardly an odd concept. Such projections are made all the time. I am pretty confident that you have made similar extrapolations for the oil and other teams (your beloved dolphins) in the past.

            Forty odd games IS a substantive body of work – a sample size not much smaller than all of last season. And that was long enough for MacT to justify firing kreuger (for example).

          • **

            You’re both using the wrong stat to prove your point. You need the points percentage to make the equivalencies match for both seasons.

            THe PP doesn’t go as far back as 1993-1994 in the NHL website but it’s easy to calculate.

            For 1993/1994 with a record of 11-23-5 in 39 games, the P% is .361.

            For 2013/2014 with a record of 12-24-3 in 39 games, the P% is .361.

            The Oilers are actually exactly where they were back in 1993/1994.

            When you do it this way you make it only about the ability to obtain points and nothing else. This eliminates noise and bias from adding other elements of comparison like number of wins, or overtimes or ties.

            Rules may change,but the ability to get points out of a max total remains the same.

          • Serious Gord

            But with the advent of the extra point for an overtime win (or loss depending on your perspective) some games in today’s era are worth more points than others – an overtime game gives two pts to the winner and one to the loser fir a total of three versus just two for a game that ends in regulation.

            Thus comparing point/game avgs between the two years in question is gibberish.

          • Serious Gord

            I agree. Jersey night did accomplish something The Oilers were in full damage control mode today. Dallas was ticked, but then clarified his comments via twitter. If he wasn’t strongly encouraged to do that by higher-ups, I’d be mighty surprised. The Oilers might be getting a little more concerned about how the fans are feeling these days…

          • camdog

            Well said g bear. As for Gregor it’s hilarious how he splits hairs thinking throwing a hat on the ice for a hat ricks is completely fine but the jersey is offside. What a load of crap

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

            I think the jersey incident was brilliant symbolism.

            Although it wasnt Tommie Smith or John Carlos raising their fists in the air in 1968 Olympics as a human rights salute for equality, its an indelible point in time which is being discussed across Canada.

            Youre right. We wont stop watching games, we will still buy tickets, jerseys tshirt and caps and beer…..

            But how else can our frustrations be heard? I think they have, judging by the reaction of the coach and management.

            What makes it more raw is that it was instinctual and not planned, and reverberated across the country.

            (PS dont compare the jerseys ‘desecration’ in the same vane as a flag that we protect…..its a game…..the jersey is not sacred, and the Oilers of the past are not heroes or saints……its insulting)

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

            Thank goodness the Jerseys are not sacred……cause I spilled nacho cheese and beer all over mine at the last game……….

            Weird part was…when the nacho cheese dried up…..it resembled the face of Jesus……

            Then Jesus came to me in a dream….and he says….hey…Old Retired Guy…..THATS NOCH YO CHEESE! ….IDOLATOR!

            Edit: I wonder if MacT hears my story if he’ll invite me to christen one of the new concessions in the new arena?

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

        Many so called heros are heros by way of accidental circumstance ….not because their intent was heroic but because they’re actions are symbolic. Not saying this guy is a hero….but if his actions inspire others to take up the cause….his actions may turn out to be viewed as heroic…..at the very least his actions have come to represent the feelings of a lot Oilers fans.

      • Jason Gregor

        Jason I love your show and your blogs but you’re wrong. That one jersey throw expressed the frustrations of a huge section of the fans. I would also suggest to you that your point about the over the top passion of Oilersnation fans not representing everybody works for your show as well. If you got a 50/50 response on your show that doesn’t necessarily represent all the fans. I believe far more fans appreciated the gesture than didn’t. How is this “I am sooo tired of this and I can’t take it anymore” gesture pointless. It was heart felt and spoke for many of us. How is it any more pointless than phoning your show to express yourself. This was a fan expressing himself and for you to say it was pointless is pointless.

        • Jason Gregor

          I ask you this…

          If he threw his jersey, but showed up the next game, bought beer and food and parking…what exactly did his gesture accomplish?

          If the point was to say he was annoyed that is fine, but if he shows up the next game and still buys beer, food etc, it won’t make the Oilers worried that he’ll leave.

          If your girl says you are cut off, cause you came home late, but then the next day you two shag, would it make you think twice about not coming home late. Or if she cut you off for a month, would it have more of an impact?

          I understand why you and others feel it was a gesture of “I’m anoonyed and can’t take it anymore,” but if you go back the very next game doesn’t it suggest you “will continue to take it?”

          We don’t have to agree, but to me that one action won’t change anything. Had he said he was done with the Oilers and started a wave of other fans following him then it would have been significant.

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

            If the Oilers weren’t worried what his actions represent and the affect they could have in motivating other fans….why would MacTavish seek him out to talk to him?

          • Burnward

            There lies the problem, however bad it feels it is so hard to not care. I believe it was a gesture that spoke to the frustrations of so many of us. The consensus out here is that Katz and the front office could care less about the fans and are arrogant beyond belief. My feelings are they are well past the stage where they should act so arrogant. It is time for them to step up, be humble and listen to the frustrations of tier 1 and tier 2 fans.

  • Bleak Winter

    Regardless of context, it’s incredibly foolish of Eakins to label any fan as a quitter. He’s had about three months of being paid to put up with this crap, how many years have the fans been the ones PAYING to put up with it???

    Like the one comment, this is a display of passion, and a bold one. I think you can defile a jersey, kill a sacred cow, even burn a flag, but you damn well better have a point and have the conviction of it. Well, I think the guy has a point and it was past time it was made. Dollar for dollar it was the most effective message sent by anyone this year.

  • 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.

  • Throwing the jersey on the ice was disrespectful And might have caught the oilers managements attention but It also Is a slap to the face of all the Oilers who wore that sweater. Gretztky, Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Dave semenko,Dave hunter on and on all the moments that this team that has brought me so much pride and joy over the years. This current version of the Oilers Is struggling. but don’t think throwing the jersey is the same as booing It just makes me sad

    • Spydyr

      You know what makes me sad?

      That it has come to this.Fans have had enough. This man just spoke up for many of us. For that I thank him.It has been the only “bold move” I have seen this year.

    • papler

      To be honest, I don’ get this thing about respect for the jersey. It’s an overpriced piece of garment. And making a link to the great players of the past and stating that this is disrespectful towards them is quite a stretch imho.

      I find it a lot more disrespectful how some players show a complete indifference to the state the team is in. Do they bust their asses off every night? No. We can see them float around and make fancy plays. THAT is disrespectful.

      that being said, should the team be pissed off about that jersey on the ice? Hell yes. Should they take it personal? Absolutely!
      And then they should take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why that jersey landed on the ice. And maybe, just maybe, they realize that it’s the fans, who pay a lot of money to see them play, that should get some more respect from the players…

    • ubermiguel

      This is crap. What’s more disrespectful to former Oilers? Prima-Donna players making millions of dollars and mailing it in night after night or a fan who probably paid close to $300 for his gold club seat and is sick and tired of 8 years of the same crap?

      If the jersey is so damn sacred then those players putting it on should show some pride. I don’t care if they lose, but compete for crying out loud. If that jersey is so sacred than maybe these past players like Lowe wouldn’t let the team sink this low.

    • Serious Gord

      No disrespect for the former players as they have proven themselfs in the past. What is the basis to show the current players the same? Most of these guys could not carry the equipment of a Hunter or a Lumley let alone skate on the same ice.

  • Serious Gord

    Bottom line is if Lowe & Katz respected the jersey as much as the fans, and more than their egos, the team wouldn’t be in the mess that it is.

    I’ll give Eakins and MacT a pass because you can’t expect them to clean up this debacle in a matter of months.

    • Chris.

      When Tambellini and Quinn were busy crashing the Oilers into last place many fans were saying, “You can’t expect them to clean up Lowe’s mess in just a few months…”

      • reaperfunkss

        Time to stop lowe from making the mess bigger. This will not be an easy fix but Lowe cant fix it. It is proven in his record. So why is he in charge of fixing it still?

  • Serious Gord

    I wonder how many jerseys get thrown out on the ice……..when does the fire Lowe chant get so loud that Katz can no longer ignore this?

    It’s coming and probably tonight ……..if there is a hockey god, then let Lowe get fired.

    I’m good with that even if nothing else gets accomplished in the next year or so?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Jason, are you delusional?? To quote “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” What was the original plan, to fire the General Manager and the coaches with great regularity? Admit it my friend – there is no plan. This franchise will have missed the playoffs for 8 years – was that the plan? Bill Belichik always drafted on the basis of what the Patriots need and they are winners. The Oilers, under the guidance of “6 rings Lowe”, has drafted the best player available, regardless of team needs, and now have a bunch of players that play a similar style and they are whiners. Jeeze Louise, even a dumb-ass like me knows that every great scorer need someone to go into the corners and dig out the puck for them.

    Also,Eakins’ quote “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,” is laughable. Is that idiot Eakins the only one that realizes that the Oilers have already quit on him, the fans and the rest of the season? After throwing the team under the bus game after game this little bouquet isn’t going to get you back on the players Christmas list – you are dead in the water, Eakins.

  • 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!

  • outdoorzguy

    It’s pretty pathetic when you get more satisfaction and thrills watching a Flames game than our own Oilers . Now , how many of you hockey fans are paying big dollars to basically see the other NHL clubs , rather than your own ? Same could be said for 2nd and 3rd tiered fans here . MacT. is responsible for this mess and only Katz’s can probably pull the trigger .

  • ubermiguel

    Gregor, it’s not about what year of the rebuild we’re in, or draft picks or lottery wins; it’s about watching millionaires not putting in 60 minutes of work game after game after game, year after year after year.

    The stink of losing is hanging over this organization and it’s going to take a mighty effort from someone to get rid of it. Hall needs to flip some tables; Ferrence needs to tear a strip out of guys that aren’t trying; players need to hold themselves accountable for their own bad play and they need to hold each other accountable.

  • Serious Gord

    And my GDP:

    Oilers 5-2. Fans go nuts. No jerseys and other detritus will be tossed.

    But Calgary looms…

    And the worst mid-season record in oilers history is already a fact.

  • ubermiguel

    JG – re: your point on waiting for D to develop, take a quick glance at Victor Hedman in TB. He’s a beast and will be a stud #1 for a decade to come. He has had a veteran team around him up front and on the back end and is now in his 4th year becoming an impact player.

    Nurse, Klefbom aren’t likely in his category of player and as such if they can start impacting the game in 3-4 years that in itself is an optimistic timeline.

  • Serious Gord

    Eakins has tweeted a ‘clarification’ of his comments today. No apology anywhere – very similar to lowes non-apology after his six rings comments. so further evidence/confirmation that the oilers PR dept is just as inept as the team.

  • vetinari

    Let’s see, Oilers fan pack for an evening out at Rexall…

    Pitchfork… Check

    Torches… Check

    Bottle of homemade Christmas cheer… Check

    Poppa’s best ‘throwing jersey’… Check

    Ready to go…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The only thing that would have made this comment better would be replacing “ready to go” with a Cosmo Kramer errrrrr Dallas Eakins “Giddy Up” what an idiot……

  • vetinari

    You guys are taking this way to serious. Its sports. I bet it’s starting to affect your family life and at work. Your wife’s and coworkers are probably getting tired of your temper tantrums and ranting and raving. The Oilers, Eskimos and Blue Jays all suck. Nothing I can do about it but the sun comes up the next day. Suck it up, it can’t get worse so it has to get better. Try laughing about it.

  • Bucknuck

    I keep waiting for them to turn a corner. I keep defending them. I keep hoping, and I keep cheering. I am a fan.

    Now it’s time to have something to cheer for. the turnaround begins tonight, Boys.

    6-4 Oil win.

    • vetinari

      Yeah, but the Jets goal started by a turnover in the neutral zone and then a guy or two missing their reads leaving a clear lane to shoot at Breezer.

      When they pan the camera around the rink, it looks “less sold out” then usual. And I notice a lot less people wearing their jerseys.

  • outdoorzguy

    The guy will be dead before he has a chance to drop the puck at a Oiler playoff game!! Besides McTavish will be long gone and Lowe won’t honor the promise.