Without superhuman goaltending from Ben Scrivens (and he was just fine in today’s loss) the Edmonton Oilers were on the wrong end of a 4-0 score against Boston. They were outshot, outchanced, somehow outhit despite never having the puck and flat-out out-played.

The Last Two Games


Edmonton has allowed 100 shots over its last two contests. They have matched up against the NHL’s powers and been found not just wanting but humiliatingly, embarassingly unable to even put in a respectable showing. Team Switzerland has been more competitive in Olympic matches against Team Canada.

The scoring chances today paint an ugly picture of an outsmarted, outskilled and outworked team:

The Problems

The problems are myriad. Let’s take a quick walk-through:
  • The powerplay. A strength as recently as a year ago – with much the same cast of players – it has devolved into a terrible weakness. Boston outchanced Edmonton 2-0 during Oilers powerplays today, and after a decent start to the night a first period power play sucked whatever energy the team had out of them. This one is on the coaching staff.
  • The Oilers had a top-10 penalty kill a year ago. This year, they sit 17th in the NHL, and they allowed two goals on five opportunities against the Bruins. The cast may even be improved from last season – this one too is on the coaches.
  • The top line. A year ago, the top line was an undisciplined run-and-gun trio that outshot and outchanced the opposition. This year, it’s an undisciplined run-and-gun trio that gets badly outshot and outchanced by the opposition.
  • Sam Gagner. Just that.
  • The defence. This one is on the current general manager to some degree, and on the one before him to a much larger degree. A year ago, Nick Schultz and Justin Schultz were in over their heads as the Oilers’ second pair. Currently, they’re in over their heads as the Oilers’ top pair. Andrew Ference and Jeff Petry have good points, but they’re being asked to play at levels well beyond their ability to handle. Rookie Martin Marincin is in the top-four on merit. Mark Fraser is just the latest addition to a forgetable group of bottom-pairing blue liners that have demonstrated little beyond an ability to get lit up in the NHL.

Today’s loss is yet another in a long series of humiliating low points for the Oilers. There is no excuse. It cannot be allowed to continue. This team desperately needs to turn things around, and soon. Maybe that means reworking the coaching staff so that new assistants can add some outside insight during an Olympic break reworking of team strategy – and provide better support for a rookie head coach. Maybe it means replacing Dallas Eakins with a veteran NHL bench boss.

Maybe it means more than that, or that and more than that. But this team cannot continue as-is. 

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • When a team is this rotten there really is no way of knowing what the problems really are?

    Obviously the Oilers thought it was the coaching, we found out after 3 coaches that while each coach was good & bad the team always showed some signs of progress.

    Except this year.

    Mac-T came in & to my astonishment has mastered the complex art of acquiring 5-6-7 defensemen & to a lesser extent been able to procure the Oilers those ever tough 4th line position players & even the rare but awesome father son tandem.

    Kevin…..well, the POHO…does anybody know exactly what this guy does?
    According to Katz he doesn’t do anything, according to Mac-T he kind of helps him from time to time, and according to the POHO he does stuff but just doesn’t get credit for it anymore.

    What does AGM do? I haven’t seen that guy all year!!

    Howson is suppose to help in what way? The GM or the AGM, the POHO?

    When it’s this bad the ONLY thing left to do is burn the whole organizational structure down.

    When in doubt get rid of everyone

  • beloch

    The 2014 pick is looking pretty sweet right about now. What they heck. Cash it in.

    The 2015 1st round pick? Trade it.
    The 2016 1st round pick? Trade it.
    The 2017 1st round pick? Trade it.

    Burn the ships to show the troops that retreat is not an option. Use those picks to bring back some hard-working defensively responsible players with good work-ethics and decent contracts. To get all that, these guys may not be as offensively flashy as you’d hope to get for 1st rounders, but the goal is to make those crap first rounders.


    -Bench any forward who cherry-picks while the opposing team has possession.
    -If Gagner wasn’t cherry-picking, bench him anyways for having the most ironic name in the NHL.
    -Bag skate. Bag skate. Bag skate.
    -Blast off and nuke Lowe from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
    -Tell the kids that they’re no longer kids with great potential. They’re adults who are failing because they’re slacking off.
    -Ask the players to donate half their salary to charity and apologize to all of Edmonton for not doing more to earn it. Maybe class and accountability can start off the ice.
    -If the team doesn’t have a sports psychologist, hire one.
    -If the team does have a sports psychologist, fire him.
    -Terminate Eakins’ command with extreme prejudice.
    -Pay the ice girls to follow Hall, Nuge, Eberle, etc. around during commercial breaks while saying things like, “Gee you guys are slacking off tonight!” or “Poor baby. Want me to beat him up for you?”
    -Save every sweater fans throw on the ice and hang them up in the dressing room. Let the team burn one each time they win four games in a row.
    -Instruct hotels used by the team that alcohol is off the room-service menu and send the whole damned team to AA.
    -Borrow a hard-hat from the Flames. Leave it hanging on the wall unless somebody earns it.
    -Take the ‘C’ away from Ference. It goes on the wall next to the hard-hat until somebody starts earning the hard-hat on a regular basis.
    -Have the video room guys splice scenes from “Rocky” into the review tapes.
    -Put the damned Gretzky pictures back in the dressing room.

    • Spydyr

      Don’t you know you cannot discipline kids anymore and everyone gets a participation trophy.

      No responsibility for your actions. Thanks for coming here is a trophy.

      It shows.

    • Serious Gord

      Your “burn the ships to show that there is no retreat” comment is your best one of this post, for sure. No point hanging on losses and playing for a draft pick….who does that?!

      Oilers fans are paying money not for a promise of tomorrow, but for today….perhaps as fans we could go to a game and if the Oilers win, we will pay a certain percentage of the ticket value at the final buzzer, if they lose, another percentage, if they suck, no cost for the fan (and get refund on parking, and food vouchers for the snack shop for next time).

      Fire Lowe! Change the manners and the message from the top down. Oh wait, Katz is at the top and he is pushing the same, “Be patient” mantra. Crap! Guess he doesn’t see a problem!

  • outdoorzguy

    My earlier post was edited. Points were added in that I did not write. Does JW do this? Any of the other writers? Perhaps an editor? This is unacceptable. I have now lost confidence in this site as I now must question the authenticity of any posting placed here. Like the Oilers, this site has now become a sham!

    • Batfink

      dude, I tried to log on one day under my previous user name and was denied. Then posts started appearing under my previous user name always the opposite of what ever the blogger was saying. I don’t know if some jerk hacked the site, or this IS the site.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Hmm. Maybe New Age Sys posts were in actuality only one or two paragraphs long, but JW added on the final 237 paragraphs each post to cover up the genius of Momma2.

      Or perhaps DSF used to write posts that were actually positive and uplifting but the conspirators at ON twisted them around to make him seem trollish. Note: I miss DSF, a little – turns out he was more right than wrong in terms of management.

      Seriously, I am sure you are sincere that something happened to your post but I can’t see anyone intentionally editing it. Weird stuff happens on the internet sometimes. But other than ” Fist ” posts that were pre warned they were going to get edited by certain authors or removal of inappropriate posts – again after warnings, I have not seen or heard of anything as you described. Hopefully a rare glitch.

  • Thumby

    I wonder where we’d be if we had done this:

    Galchenyuk (or Murray)
    AND don’t win 2 or 3 meaningless games last year and get Seth Jones instead of Nurse.

    Go for Centers and D and decent sized players.

    Not that I think Sequin is better than Hall but I do think he’s less prone to the bone head play and he’s a center.

    And IF we let them have that extra year to mature before bringing them in, we’d have been so far ahead of where we are now.

    Surely we’d be somewhere better than we are now…wouldn’t we?

    • D-Unit

      What games did the Oilers win that were meaningless last year?

      They were showing progress. There is never ever any reason not to win. No win is meaningless.

      A team needs to progress and win more than they lose. You can’t be either 30th place or Cup winner.

      Please don’t ever post here again if you think the Oilers need to lose more or should have lost more last year or the year before or whenever.

  • Thumby

    How about those FLAMES!!
    Zero talent yet they have a 5 games win streak the longest in the NHL this season. They play with big heart and desire and work there ass off every shift.

    Oh well Oiller fans enjoy watching 17 year old Ekblad develop and the Flamers instead will play for winning culture rather than draft position.

    • camdog

      Yes the Flames have a 5 game win streak, however they don’t have the longest win streak in the NHL this season.

      As to Ekblad I expect the Flames to win the draft lottery and jump E-town in draft order. I then expect Burke to draft Ekblad just to piss Lowe off.

      • beloch

        Just going by the win streak facts provided by HNIC. I like your optimism about the Flames drafting Ekblad which is actually my preference as the next 2 years of drafting are critical for Flames.

        Unfortunately the trend in Calgary shows winning and 2 teams going in opposite directions. I’ll let you decide which team is which.

        As far as the Burke and Lowe feud is concerned I will rely on Burkes managerial hockey knowledge (no 6 rings as a player) and trade savvy to rebuild the Flames quickly without any vision of the Oiler disaster of the last 7 years.

  • camdog

    It just seems to me that Gagner wants to be traded. He has totally checked out with this team and doesn’t really care what happens so let’s move him out fast. I don’t care what we get for him. His attitude is hurting the team.
    It also seems like maybe the coach wouldn’t mind getting fired too. He has never connected with this team and just can’t get these players inspired. There is just no way this team should be worse than last year. MacT has provided a better base of players so how could we be so much worse? It has got to be the coaching because the talent is better and our young players are more experienced. Hiring
    Eakins was MacT’s biggest mistake, but for him to fix this, he will need to eat a extra large helping of crow and I’m not sure he is ready for diner yet.

  • Thumby

    Fire Lowe and everyone else in the org is reviewed by the new experienced President or Hockey Operations (hired by exhaustive search and interview process, not if he played with Gretzky) i

    Then the new guy does an exhaustive review of the staff and each person keeps or loses his job on merit.

    That would clean out 75% of the slackers out.

    At this point MacT may keep his job.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    The Oilers can only beat teams above them that are in a slump,if they get terrific goal tending or the other teams goalie has an off night or is the back up.
    I think it is all on the coaching no formula for bigger more veteran teams and get out coached every night.
    They only have average speed except for Hall,Yakapov and Hemsky and the only player’s that use their skill in both ends of the rink are Nuge and Perron.
    The powerplay is brutal and they keep doing the same thing, I believe this is insanity, why not try to have a presence in front of the net that both the goaltender and defense have to worry about like a Hendricks, Ryan Smyth is no longer effective in that role.
    The entire coaching staff and management is made up of 3rd or 4th liners or stay at home d-men, no offensive genius’s or a goal tending coach that has been there or won anything.
    It is easy for the players to tell themselves that what do these coaches know they were just spare parts when they played.
    What really pisses me off is I park in the Mount Lawn parking lot and now it is $15.00 as well.

  • beloch

    Overheard during the last practice: Eakins: OK guys we are going to work on the power play today. See the X not covering O. X has to swarm the O. O should slide over to X. This X should move to this O. Rookie: Coach am I the X or the O. Eakins: Let me check. Hey Kelly are we the X or the O. Kelly: We’ll last year Kreuger drew us as the O. Eakins: We’ll that explains it. All along I thought we were the X. I’ve got a great idea. Let’s make us a Z that way there will be no confusion. MacT: This man is a genius!

  • Reg Dunlop

    Under Ralph they had a better power play and penalty kill… they had 45 points in 48 games… we are at what 55 games and 42 points. I originally thought Mac T made some good moves in the off season. IE: Perron, Ference, Gordon, But for a team that has this kind of talent, and to add some positives… to get that much worse makes me wonder. Ralph wanted and associate coach… not to be fired! What the hell are Smith and Buchberger still doing there? Did Eakins want to retain them? The Oil go 3 and 0 without Ference… who the hell named this guy captain? He is as much of a leader as Jesse Juensuu is! Hell Luc Gadzic would have make a better Captain. There bottom six doesn’t seem to bring alot of life to games to support the top six. Do the names Cogliano, Glencross, and Brodziak sound familiar? Not one person in the bottom 6 comes close to those 3. Those are on Lowe’s head. There is definitely a bad apple or two in that dressing room and I don’t know who they are… but they need to go. I for one would start with Andrew Ference! I think there are some young bucks in there that felt dissed when he was made captain, and rightly so.

    • Reg Dunlop

      I know the feeling. Perhaps it has something to do with “experts’ lecturing Oiler fans about has unacceptable it is throw jerseys on the ice etc. As the Oil continue to flounder “the experts” refuse to call a spade a shovel and preach patience and that KLowe is a good hockey man. If the Oil implode even more severely in the last 25 games the “experts” may be forced to give the Oiler’s long suffering fans their due and agree that tossing jerseys and putting up billboards are well justified.

  • Rick Stroppel

    Oh my. The axe’s are out today after a loss. Who’d have thunk that? The Bus is once again a little lighter today.

    As a note L.A Kings losers of 8/9. Can’t score for the life of them. Couldn’t score into an ocean. And its right there.

    JW when was the last time the Oilers won a game in Boston? 10 years ago/ Its been a long time with many players passing through since then. It is the same in MINNY. Dallas same thing.

    So if your going to rant about our play in Boston wrap some perspective around it.

    The Oilers wish they had 3 centers of Bergeron Kriji and Kelly.I wish I had a 6’9 defenceman who annually is a Norris Trophy candidate. Yup we have a Milan Lucic.Not. Were so far away from competing with the big boys its not even close.

    SJ,ANA,CHI and St Louis are in another league as far as were concerned.Its not even close. Sure we needed superhuman goaltending this week to win against SJ. But often has that been the case.

    MacT needs time to repair this trainwreck. You gave Mr Dithers 4 years. Heck can you give MacT even one?MacT isn’t the Wizard of Oz. Abracadabra! Look over there at the blinky lights. 4 years of dithering and wallowing in self pity cost this team.MacT is atleast trying to find the pieces needed for this team. Sure some have not fit. But some you can argue have done well.As of today would you rather have MP or DP. EB or BG?

    Eakins is not my choice. I won’t be standing up for him anytime soon. He has made a whack of mistakes. I would be happy with someone with experience. PaulMaurice. Too bad. Duane Sutter.Oh well. We got Eakins.ts like the kid who sold the cow for 3 magic beans. But in our case the beans are beans.We were sold a story regarding Eakin’s. And well, beans are beans.

  • Serious Gord

    Well, I thought I would check in and see if all the Kool-Aid drinkers had sobered up from the big 2 game win streak. I would think watching your team get totally dominated and manhandled back/back should sober up even the most delusional Oiler fan who thinks this team is built to win.

    This team has problems….so many problems. This whole organization is rotten from the top down and things wont change much around here until they clean house and the entire management is changed. A couple of good games here and there will not change that. Sure the team will eventually improve as it piles up first overall draft picks left, right and centre, but you seriously have to question the people who have built this team and orchestrated this rebuild.

    This is why no matter how many games the Oilers win, some of us will continue to demand that Lowe is fired and for real change to take place. Every time the Oilers win a game or two everybody jumps back on the “things are going as planned train” and Kevin Lowe lives another day.

    When will Oiler fans stand up and say “Enough is Enough”?. If you want real change, it starts at the top of this “Scrotum Pole”. If you want what you have got for the past 8 years +, then stick with what you have.

  • vetinari

    Spanked. In every facet of the game. The 2013-14 Oilers are a step back in almost every area. The kids were suppose to get another year of maturity and strength under their belts and they look more lost than ever before. The defence, on a good night looks slightly better than AHL quality and on a bad night, looks ECHL level. And the offence was suppose to be to our meal ticket this year and we get shut out more than ever.

    And good luck in convincing Scrivens to sign here because he’s going to get shelled EVERY night and with how he’s been playing, he can punch his ticket anywhere come July. I hate to raise this but if we can’t get Scrivens signed to an extension by the trade deadline, would it be worth putting him back on the market to recoup a pick or a player?

    • Slapshot

      Even if we did convince Scrivens to sign here he is not a legitimate Number 1. He is a good back up or a 2nd half of a 1/2 goalie tandem. He has played well for 2 games but don’t forget that he is playing for a contract next year (see Ryan Jones play of late). I hope he continues to play well but am I alone in thinking that we have not seen the real Ben Scrivens yet?

      Going into next year all the Oilers need is a true Number 1 goalie, at LEAST 1 top pairing defensemen, a big/legitimate #2 centre, and some more size/grit in the top 6. I don’t see a problem with us acquiring that at all. Remember, we got “6 rings” and “Bold Moves” at the helm………..we will be fine.

      • vetinari

        On Scrivens, I know that we only have a “small sample size”, but he’s definitely better with his positioning than Dubnyk and fights harder to get back in a scramble than Bryzgalov.

        I don’t see a lot of potential true #1 goalies coming here without a substantial overpay so we either have to take a chance on someone up-and-coming (like Scrivens) or someone else’s damaged goods (like Bryzgalov). Maybe go with the guy we know and may have another 10 years in him…

  • **

    The BIG Plan that has “backfired” on the meddling, jock sniffing owner , along with his Fokkers figured that they would build a winning team, like the Penguins, and Hawks,by turtling seasons to draft top picks.[Let Bob McKenzie and boys make the picks for us].

    Aided by a stuthering and smiling GM and 4 coaches later , and not seeing the light beyond the 24th basement floor, two rehashed Fokkers are hired to manage the team, and two deadbeat Fokkers are retained to assist the new coach.

    With 30 th place in the sights yet again this year, Katz’s says everyting is going according to plan.Fourth year on a five year plan, and this is the result.?

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    The problem with this team is more obscure than people think.

    It’s not about winning at this stage. It’s about getting the first round draft choice, plain and simple. Our best strategy for this is Dallas Eakins. Now that he has learned who plays where, maybe he can start really teaching and coaching? In any regard all the players are now able to carry water, and chop wood better than any one in the league. Who knew that this was a requirement in the NHL but Eakins did, and now if our players get lost in the woods somewhere, we have the assurance of knowing that they can at least survive.

    I for one would start benching players that when presented with a shot, instead elect to pass or overplay the puck. I’m tired of watching cute little plays like toe-drags that lead to nothing. It seems that our top six players feel the need to dangle and put on a show in stead of just shooting the bloody puck. Start by benching players that refuse to shoot or teach players like Eberle to stop relying on a wrist shot each and every time. He has become so predictable in what he does…….this is where coaching comes in.

    I highly doubt that our NHL team could beat our AHL team!

  • emonkee

    Get rid of Smith and Bucky. Make Eakins an Assistant water boy. Bring in a real NHL coach (like anyone would want to come here in this mess).

    Eakins, KActon, Scrivens and now Fraser… how long until they change the name to Edmonton Marlies?

    No vision, thanks to KBlowe.

  • emonkee

    After Buffalo beats us on Tuesday I wonder if that will be enough to get rid of this clown Eakins. Ever since the swarm debacle I have been posting every day that Eakins is a disaster. The longer he stays the deeper the damage.

  • bazmagoo

    Well as depressing as it is to admit, having Eakins behind the bench will likely lead to getting Ekblad who is undoubtedly the best defence prospect in this years draft. If the Oilers wait until next season to get rid of this dummy it’s going to be too late though and we will end up missing the playoffs for 9 straight seasons, if not more. As many other posters have pointed out, it doesn’t take a legitimate NHL coach years to right a sinking ship, it only takes days/weeks. Fire Eakins MacT, or dig your own grave. Carry water, chop wood!

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    why has it taken this long for the media/fans to be out on Sam Gagner? they should have got rid of him 2-3 seasons ago when it was obvious that he cannot create his own offense until chaos by other players gives him space/broken plays/loose pucks. the dude is an absolute passenger in it’s purest form and everyone was sold on some Little Boy Named Sam, doe eyes and a super series run against uncompetitive teenagers…

    even last season everyone bought into the inflated hype and was cool with giving him way too much money.

    everyone around here eat’s the long overdue/rotten food well beyond it’s due date and then comes around all at once when it’s popular to trash a player. reactive, just like the team – instead of proactive. falling in love with bad/mediocre players for over a decade. applaud!

    – get Eakins out of here. no one needs a prideful macho dork who lives in denial about his own skill. youve been humbled. swallow it. all the assistants need to go. just a bunch of medicore/bad ex-players who are buddies with the hierarchy. get someone in here who fosters Yakupov instead of giving him Bad Dog discipline.

    – get rid of wimps. Eberle is a wimp. send him to the east. Gagner: wimp. RNH is the only wimp worth keeping so far.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I feel like the organization itself is toxic. They need to go total scorched earth: fire everyone. All the coaches, obviously Lowe, completely remove the position of POHO, let the GM have full control.

    I’m willing to give MacT a little more time, he’s shown he’s at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.

    • Reg Dunlop

      You would think a person with plenty of success in the business world would have concluded his hickey organization, as it currently stands, is dysfunctional and must be changed. Katz needs to bring in an “organization doctor” to advise him on how to fix, who goes, who stays etc.

      • Randaman

        So what makes you think this rich glorified groupee would listen to any advice given when the building is sold out night after night? He has his money and gets to keep his former coattail riders as friends! All is good in his eyes, as his letter stated. The man is dilusionall at best so enjoy being in the bottom fifth of the league for the forseeable future. This is sooooooo frustrating! Good thing my mother is looking over my shoulder or I would be banned!!! What a pathetic gong show as tomorrow will show when Buffalo kicks our weak pathetic asses! Gagner and Eberle lead the parade.

    • Serious Gord

      Please see the list of MacT’s errors thusfar futher back in this thread and get back to me on your BOLD assertion that “…he’s shown he’s at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.”

    • Serious Gord

      Please see the list of MacT’s errors thusfar futher back in this thread and get back to me on your BOLD assertion that “…he’s shown he’s at least capable of making moves and recognizing team needs.”

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    What I find most interesting about all the commentary is all the “Fire Eakins” I see. Granted, I am not a fan of his, and don’t believe he’s the right coach for the job.

    That said–I think its time to accept that this isn’t an issue of having the “right” coach. Yes, a different coach might help, but ultimately, this is about our PLAYERS.

    Yes, our POHO and GM have made this roster, but from the top to the bottom, “star” players to AHL call-ups, they just aren’t very good. You can keep changing the coach every season, even get a new POHO or GM. But until 1) the players we have start to play like they actually belong in the NHL EVERY NIGHT, and 2) we get quality supporting cast that doesn’t look like its “bring your AHL players to work” night, this team is going to continue to embarrass itself.

    The coach may not have the room, but its the players who have outright refused to listen to the guy who is trying to make them do some hard learning.

  • Zarny

    Good grief, the hand-wringing over the same thing game after game is comical.

    The problem isn’t the coach. The problem isn’t the systems they are playing.

    The problem is that none of the top 6 F or what the Oilers call top 4 D can play against big, physically strong players.

    There are men in the NHL who are 6’4″ 225+ lbs who can skate and stick-handle like our smaller, skilled F.

    The Oilers have none of them on offense or defense and no one capable of stopping them. End of story. Especially in the top 6/top 4 who are on the ice for 2/3 of a game.

    Until that changes nothing will change.

    Firing Eakins will do nothing. His replacement will still be stuck putting Petry, Ference or Schultz out for 20+ min a night and Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Perron and Yak will still get stopped dead in their tracks against Chara and Lucic.

  • Rdubb

    Shouldn’t the top lines problems this season also be put on the coach and coaching staff? especially since last season they outshot and out chanced their opposition (your words, not mine). Are they not trying to play the “game plan” to the way Eakins wants them to?
    Maybe, just maybe, his teaching will aid these guys NEXT season when they are far more comfortable in the “system”

  • D-Unit

    So, when is it too early to be out of the playoffs and start playing for losses?
    10 games? 15 games? I mean, honestly, you can be out of the playoffs at that time.

    You never did explain which games they won that were meaningless? Was it the first 5 wins or the last 5 they won?

    I never did say they should win 81 or 82 games.

    If you think losing is the answer, maybe you should call Lowe of Katz for a job. Unless of course you already work for them, and you know losing is the answer and are towing the company line.