Slow but steady

When Craig Mactavish took over as Oilers GM he said the Oilers needed to be harder to play against. Move by move he is slowly grinding this Oiler team in that direction.

Since taking over he has added Andrew Ference, Boyd Gordon, David Perron, Luke Gazdic and most recently Matt Hendricks.

This is a group of players that should make playing against the Oilers less enjoyable than it has been. Nearly every game this year, teams play against the Oilers and their teams trainers don’t even bother turning on the ice machine. There is no need for ice bags. These games are not physical.

That had to change. The Oilers inability to challenge teams physically or even match it has been a big issue. Take a look at the Pacific Division! These are big heavy teams, with skill, that most nights push the Oilers around. I don’t even want to think about the oilers matching up in a seven-game playoff series against the Kings or Blues! They would lose in three.

Hendricks is a player I thought the Oilers needed to bring in last summer. I have no issue with his cap hit per year. The cap will continue to go up and the Oilers are not in a cap crunch. The issue is the term. I wonder what Hendricks will bring in year four.

He is a physical player that should, I hope, help the oilers connect emotionally with their games. You can’t win or have success in the NHL without passion and emotion in your game. This Oilers squad is vanilla basically to a man. There are a few exceptions but not enough. I hope Hendricks comes into the dressing room and stirs up the pot. On the ice, I expect him to chirp and drag other guys into getting pissed off!

Think back to when Yakupov got into it with basically the whole Winnipeg Jets team. It was beautiful! That is one of the few times I saw the Oilers bench on their feet and passion on the guys faces. There is no stat to measure the value of passion but I know it is so important to team moral and confidence. Without it, a team sleep walks through games.

There is still work to be done for MacT. He needs to find a way to bring in edgy players to the top six forwards. These players are hard to get. Sorting out the bottom six is the easier job but slowly the team is starting to get some heart.

Old Goalie out, New Goalie in

Does this even matter? NO. It doesn’t.

The overall team defence hasn’t changed for the Oilers. Why should we expect Ben Scrivens to come in and have more success? This isn’t me saying Scrivens can’t be a decent goalie. The facts are that any goalie with an Oilers jersey will see shots and chances against that he will not believe.

Scrivens has been playing behind the Los Angeles Kings and that group controls shots against as good as any team in the NHL. Scrivens is in for rude wakeup call here. He will need to be on his toes the whole sixty minutes.

I like the test drive that the rest of the season brings for the oilers to watch Scrivens up close. I am not convinced he is an upgrade on Dubnyk but we can all watch him close up and form an opinion. Keep an eye on his glove had. He holds it to high which makes most saves a downward motion instead of up. That is the harder way.

I see no reason why Scrivens shouldn’t start the bulk of the games the rest of this season. I would expect that Bryz will not be back with the oilers next year. So far he has done nothing to suggest he is the man for the Oilers. I think the team will look to a potential UFA like Jaroslav Halak or Jonas Hiller or make a trade for a guy like Cam Ward. The backup will most likely by Scrivens. In other words: two new goalies to start next season.

I believe Dubnyk is a good goalie. He is the luckiest person in Edmonton right now. He probably skipped all the way to Nashville. The Predators have a history of building goalies. The Preds play a pretty good defensive game. Dubnyk will get a chance to work with Mitch Corn, the Preds goalie coach. He has had success with tall goalies.

Public Breakups

I witnessed a breakup at Starbucks this morning. In fact I had a front row seat and decided to live tweet it! Surrounded by 20 or so people this lady gave her man an outright release.

I don’t normally get into other peoples nightmares but I was literally sitting right beside them. Once it started I couldn’t stop listening.

This poor guy was dropped like he was hot over a double chai latte. I will give him credit he did fight for it but she wasn’t buying his "I will change" or "You deserve better from me" lines.

She shut him down and was convinced a breakup was the right way to go. This is where it got painful to watch.

Judging by their conversation I would guess they hadn’t been together long. But this guy was determined not to lose her! It was embarrassing to say the least. At some point shouldn’t you just take your lumps and move on? Not this guy! It wasn’t like Jen Aniston was breaking up with him.

In the end they both got up and gave the most awkward hug I have ever seen. she says "We will be in touch soon". From what I saw there is no chance that will happen.

What is the right way to break up with someone these days? I know for sure doing it at Starbucks at 9:30 AM is a very cold way to do it.

I guess it is better than by text.

  • wiseguy

    “What is the right way to break up with someone these days? I know for sure doing it at Starbucks at 9:30 AM is a very cold way to do it.

    I guess it is better than by text.”

    MacT recommends doing it via Skype

  • Visually McDavid

    Just a thought. There seems to be more and more of the “stop screaming, these were small trades, no point in rushing things, wait til the offseason” commentary going around. And I have to say–waiting for the off-season, thinking that we can plug holes with FA’s, is delusional. Given Scrivens less-than-thrilled reaction to coming to EDM, to Hendricks passing on more $ to go someplace other than EDM when he had a choice, should say a lot. FA’s aren’t going to come here. At least the ones who can get an offer from any other team. And the ones who can’t get offers from other teams….do we really want to sign that? We can’t afford to wait until our d prospects are hopefully ready, and we’re not going to get any valuable FA’s

    The ONLY way to improve this team for the foreseeable future is via trades. And not like the Scrivens trade, for a guy who’s here for 3 months then leaving town. These have to be big, bold, LT trades. Yes, we’re going to have to get rid of at least one young stud, possibly two. Get over it. Identify the stud who’s going to have the most trade value to other teams, then make a big trade. I would rather see us trade one of our studs, even if its RNH or Hall, and get back 2 or 3 solid pieces that we need. I refuse to listen to those who say that there are untouchables on this team. If by trading one player you fix 2+ holes at once, I say its a win for the team. Period.

    • A-Mc

      Waiting until the off season doesn’t necessarily mean building via only FA. You’re right in that it’ll be hard for edmonton to attract UFA’s. Also, the UFA crop isn’t very good right now

      Teams that are in a playoff spot and/or are close, are reluctant to move significant pieces. Why fix what ain’t broken, right? Those teams are looking to acquire depth with picks. I think we can both agree that the oilers dont need more picks. So if we want proven talent, the teams we’re able to realistically pull from are other bottom feeders. These trades are more likely to happen at the trade deadline when there is more of a market and the return will be higher. The rest of the teams aren’t willing to move anything until the season is over, ie: The Off Season.

      If you want the doors open for all 29 other teams, the Off season is really the only time.

      This is a timing thing, not a Free Agency thing.

    • Visually McDavid

      UFA’s Ferrence + Boyd signed last off season. No reason not to expect others to sign this off season. Players take time to develop. Why throw away high end talent now before they develop? The type of players we need, top 6 talent with size, skill and attitude along with top pairing dmen are what ever team wants. Hard to come by and who wants to give them up if they have them?

  • Tikkanese

    Wow is there a lot of distraction at the Oiler brain trust. They seem to be busy shuffling the deck chair. In the meantime,

    1) what assets are you going to link together to get a starting goalie/top 2 dman or a 2C

    2) have we signed Simpson yet?

    • camdog

      No word on Simpson. With limited draft picks available to trade and with few high rated prospects in the system, short of trading one of the chosen 4 we have no other option but to wait another 2-3 years.

      Then again we could just fire Eakins and bring in a coach that knows how to coach NHL players. There are many AHL coaches that are good AHL coaches, that never ever make it in the NHL. George Burnett is one of the top coaches in OHL history. Worst coach of all time to ever coach for the Oilers. Sometimes the transition to the big leagues just doesn’t happen. Eakins doesn’t deserve a free pass, because of past Oiler failures.

  • Bryzarro World

    I have more confidence in MacT then I have had in any other gm for this team in years. Feel free to rip me to shreds though. And I will admit that I hated him as a coach. I do not, however, have any confidence in Lowe or any of the other management.

  • Bryzarro World

    I LOVE the mindless trolls that come with the argument “have you ever played?” Like that troglodyte zarny and his pals…

    You do know Lowe and MacT played the game. How’s that working out for them right now?…. Thought so.

  • gus1000

    Quick tidbit on Perron, they said on the broadcast last night he was battling some illness or ailment the past couple of weeks and is finally starting to feel normal again. Although I agree, the ailment could be a back problem from carrying the team around.

    This makes sense for the recent poor play, and he did have a little spark last night. Hopefully he gets back to scoring goals, because we apparently need to average 6 a night to win.

  • Visually McDavid

    I wonder how long it will take for the ‘sheep’ to wake up and stop buying seasons tickets. If the team does mail it in as they have done in the past and the situation gets even worse I can’t imagine anyone plopping down a big wad of cash for this kind of disfunctional product. How can Oiler hockey be considered real entertainment for the dollars being laid out?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oil traded places with OKC and we may not see many wins but I’d bet we would see a better effort night in and night out. I personally think Todd Nelson does a better of getting the most out of the talent he has been given to work with.

    My bet is Eakins sees Yakupov as a young inexperienced player who he has turned into his lightning rod to deflect attention away from his own inexperience and incompetence.

    Surely the ‘Peter Principle’ is still required for MBA candidates. It certainly should be readily available to Katz and all Oiler executives. Can you even read Mac?