ROCK BOTTOM: WAITING ON THE BOUNCE

When a team hits rock bottom in the standings like the Edmonton Oilers have twice since the NHL lockout of 2004-05, the silver lining for fans is the expectation short-term pain will result in long-term gain and that the team will eventually pick itself up off the floor.

After seven straight years out of the playoffs, soon to be eight, the Oilers, as everybody is acutely aware, have been selling that hope to the faithful folks who buy their tickets and jerseys for years now – the bounce off the bottom, a rise back to respectability and playoff contention.

If you look at teams that have hit the bottom of that elevator shaft in the eight seasons since the lockout – I’m leaving out the Florida Panthers, who finished 30th overall in 2012-13 because we don’t know where they’ll finish this season — the expectation better times are ahead isn’t unfounded.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Except for fans of the Oilers, of course, who’ve looked on as their team has gone from being Stanley Cup finalists in 2006 to finishing 2009-10 and 2011-12 dead-last, where they have pretty much stayed.

Where’s the bounce?

LONG WAY DOWN

Here’s a look at the teams that have finished 30th since the lockout and where they’ve finished in NHL overall standings in subsequent seasons.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2005-06: ST. LOUIS BLUES 21-46-15 for 57 points

  • 2006-07: 34-35-13 for 79 points – 22nd
  • 2007-08: 33-36-13 for 79 points – 27th
  • 2008-09: 41-31-10 for 92 points – 15th
  • 2009-10: 40-32-10 for 90 points – 15th
  • 2010-11: 38-33-11 for 87 points – 20th
  • 2011-12: 49-22-11 for 109 points – 3rd
  • 2012-13: 29-17-2 for 60 points – 6th

2006-07: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS 22-48-12 for 56 points

  • 2007-08: 42-29-11 for 95 points – 11th
  • 2008-09: 44-27-11 for 99 points – 9th
  • 2009-10: 41-35-6 for 88 points – 18th
  • 2010-11: 47-23-12 for 106 points – 3rd
  • 2011-12: 47-26-9 for 103 points – 6th
  • 2012-13: 23-22-3 for 49 points – 20th

2007-08: TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING 31-42-9 for 71 points

  • 2008-09: 24-40-18 for 66 points – 29th
  • 2009-10: 34-36-12 for 80 points – 25th
  • 2010-11: 46-25-11 for 103 points – 8th
  • 2011-12: 38-36-8 for 84 points – 21st
  • 2012-13: 18-26-4 for 40 points – 28th

2008-09: NEW YORK ISLANDERS 26-47-9 for 61 points

  • 2009-10: 34-37-11 for 79 points – 26th
  • 2010-11: 30-39-13 for 73 points – 27th
  • 2011-12: 34-37-11 for 79 points – 27th
  • 2012-13: 24-17-7 for 55 points – 16th

2009-10: EDMONTON OILERS 27-47-8 for 62 points

  • 2010-11: 25-45-12 for 62 points – 30th
  • 2011-12: 32-40-10 for 74 points – 29th
  • 2012-13: 19-22-7 for 45 points – 24th

2011-12: COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS 29-46-7 for 65 points

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • 2012-13: 24-17-7 for 55 points – 17th

THIS ABOUT THAT . . .

Philadelphia’s last-place finish was a blip on the radar as they enjoyed the biggest bounce in a season after finishing 30th when they improved by 39 points. St. Louis is next with a 24-point improvement. The Blues best season since finishing last is 109 points, an improvement of 52 points. Philly is next with a 50-point jump in 2010-11.

Coming into this season, the Flyers have made the playoffs in four of six seasons since finishing 30th. The Blues have made it in three of seven seasons. Even Tampa Bay and the Islanders, who have floundered almost as badly as the Oilers, have made the playoffs once each, and the Bolts are poised to get in again this season.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.


  • oilbaron

    I feel as tho I may be to blame for the oilers losing seasons. I’ve watched basically every game since 2006, I’ve gone to about 6 games a season, I’ve paid for merchandise and autographed pictures and memorabilia. I feel as tho I may be a jinx to the teams success. I think my only option would be to stop watching, stop paying and stop supporting the team. Maybe this will turn things around, all we can do is try our best right?

  • reaperfunkss

    GDP: Yzerman wants Stamkos ready for Olympics. So, Stamkos needs to skate and hone his passing and shooting skills. And he needs a safe environment where there is no danger of being hit or hurt. Stamkos plays tonight.

  • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

    How many of these teams didn’t change leadership (Lowe for us) within 3-4 years of a last place finish? Has there ever been a team to keep their top leader through 8 years of no playoffs? Without a doubt Lowe will become the new record holder of keeping a job through futility when the Oilers break Florida’s 10 year playoff drought record.

    Zero accountability at the top results in no accountability throughout the rest of our organization. The players know by now that the real problem is at the top and all the head coaches and puppet GM firings mean absolutely nothing to the big picture. The Oilers are trying to do something never done before, turn a franchise around from being at the absolute bottom of the barrel without a real change of leadership. It’s not going to work.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    The only member of Team Katz whose employment is directly tied to performance is Mr. Patrick LaForge. Since he performs extremely well, in the only capacity that Mr. Katz seems concerned about, I see no impetus for substantive change, vis-a-vis the old boys club.

    “Rock Bottom” was almost two years ago to the day, when Team Chicken S*** let Sam Gagner get the absolute snot beat out of him by Francois Beauchemin, as they all slid down the bench, whistling aimlessly, pretending like he had walked into a door, or something. The Oilers have dug down several strata below rock since then.

    Paraphrasing Brad Pitt as Billy Beane:

    “There are unlucky organizations, there are poorly run organizations, there are absolute jokes, there’s thirty feet of crud, and then there’s the Oilers.”

    I hate what they’ve done to this team that we love. Losing is one thing. This is bi-weekly obliteration, physically and morale wise.

      • Gerald R. Ford

        He makes money. A LOT of it.

        With respect, you, sir, have no clue, whatsoever, what it takes to run a corporation the size of the Oilers. If built-in fanbases were all it took to be successful, Steve Jobs would never have been fired from Apple in the 80s. Or John Scully in the 90s, for that matter.

        Monopolies, contrary to the disparaging cries of Joe. Q. Public, do NOT succeed without talented human capital.

        LaForge, is VERY good at what he does. If you think the fire MacT rally was a bust, I wish you good luck with the fire LaForge rally. Heh.

        • reaperfunkss

          laforge is a typical lying rich guy. Doesnt take genius to tell us that people dont show up cause of snow. remember a year and a half, 2 years ago he tried to tell us the Oilers were losing money and that why they needed public money for the arena. Yet the Oilers were one of the “Have” franchises when it came to money at the time.

          He was one of the architects behind not having a farm team for 2 years.

          Laforge is atypical greedy bitch. He will kiss Katz ass to the extreme and lie his ass off when told to. No ethics. No morality when it comes to the fans. just another douche in a suit.

          • Gerald R. Ford

            In other words, he’s the perfect guy to run a business.

            Look, don’t mistake my admiration for his money-making skills for me liking the guy, personally. Does he have the personality of a greasy used car salesman? Maybe, I don’t know him. He brings in the Benjamins, and, so long as he does, Daryl Katz doesn’t give a damn what any of us think about the hockey side of the operation. LaForge’s success, whether we like it or not, whether you give him credit for it or not, is the biggest impediment to any widespread organizational change. That’s the salient point.

        • Serious Gord

          You have no idea what i do or don’t know about business operations. I have outlined much of my background here in the past before so I won’t repeat it now.

          That you use jobs as an example shows you certainly know jack. Jobs was fired because the company was on the brink of insolvency and he had hired a complete disaster to be CEO (scully). Apples “monopoly” was down to single digit market share and was saved in part by a loan from Microsoft because they needed apple in the market to avoid being regulated as a monopoly.

          The oilers do indeed have a strong regional monopoly in professional hockey in one of the most hockey crazed and well-heeled markets in the world. How well would laforge fare in a tough market like Phoenix or Columbus?

          Neither you nor I know.

          But to say he’s doing a super job here is just as impossible to say.

          As someone who has been to more than few oilers games and can compare it to other markets and sports I would say that much of what the oilers do for entertainment off the ice surface is pretty miserable – I’m assuming that is laforges beat – so if that’s anything to go by I think he is below average at the job.

          • Gerald R. Ford

            Apple HAD a monopoly, and it was eroded. THAT’S the point. It takes the right person, with the right plan, at the right time to make a business successful. You don’t rest on your laurels, and you don’t just make money on a brand. If you’re a successful businessman, you should know that there’s no luck involved. It’s hard work, preparation, and constant learning and adaptation. A legacy only gets you so far.

            Gord, considering how much of your life you waste plaguing us and the Edmonton airwaves with your incessant, epic whining, I have a pretty good idea you’re not running a Fortune 500 company. Or maybe you have a dim-witted lackey running it for you whilst you’re gracing us with your insights?

            Now, THAT would totally validate your theory, in which case, I humbly apologize! A pox upon me for a clumsy lout, sir.

          • Serious Gord

            Apple has never had a monopoly in any of its endeavors. In the halcyon days of the personal computer they maybe got to 20%. The “I”s – pods, phones etc have never had much more than that.

            Meanwhile Edmonton has the contractual monopoly for nhl level hockey in this region and the Katz group owns the only other pro hockey team in the area. Now that’s a monopoly.

          • Gerald R. Ford

            Apple dominated the academic and creative markets for years. If you were a teacher in the late 70s or throughout the 80s, you had an Apple computer. If you were a designer, you had an Apple computer.

            If you don’t buy that one, ever hear of Canada Post? How many years even BEFORE email and UPS did they run massive deficits?

            I don’t know what else to say, Gord. If you really think any random idiot can generate that much revenue simply based on having an allegedly captive audience, we are at an impasse, sir.

          • Serious Gord

            Apple’s dominance of a small slice of the PC market was transitory. And they abused their clients and lost them even faster as a result.

            Canada post is a crown corp and loses money for two reasons – unions and political imperatives like keeping to the door service in place. Its ‘owner’ was prepared to stroke a check to cover the losses rather than let the corp charge the real cost for postage. With the cpc in place that has finally begun to change. Also the monopoly it has – is far less powerful than it once was in no small part because of its marketing incompetence.

            True monopolies are very rare particularly ones that aren’t regulated. The oilers are one. It is telling when a monopoly gets broken – as it did in telecoms – or in a monopsony like the cwb and the sloth and incompetence is exposed. In fact outside of pro sports there are almost no such unregulated situations.

            In sports an example would be the Yankees in the sixties when they lost their monopoly when the mets were created. In a very short time the mets became the bigger draw – so inept were the Yankee owners CBS. That all changed when a new owner group led by Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for 8.3 million.

            One wonders what would happen if a second nhl team moved to EDM…

          • Serious Gord

            And no, I don’t work for a fortune five hundred company, but I do retail products for some of the largest insurance companies in the world and consult to them on marketing initiatives in western Canada and the country as a whole.

            Oh!! And thanks for listening and reading!!

  • **

    Just wondering how far the Oilers have to fall for Eakins to be fired? He currently has the worst winning percentage of any head coach in Oiler’s history. We do have a solid core of young players (Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Perron, Yakupov, Schultz) that have little to no support through our inept management but should we be this bad?

  • vetinari

    The Oilers are an absolute disaster. They drafted too many small forwards before any defencemen or centers. By the time there dmen develop to the point where they will make an impact all the kids will have moved on. They did it all backwards and they missed there opportunity. They will never be good.