has an opinion about why the Edmonton Oilers have struggled mightily to show
significant signs of progress four years into their rebuild, and former Oiler
Ales Hemsky added to that lengthy list today. Let’s see if we’ve about got it
covered . . .

Oilers stink because:

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  • A.  
    They have too many small forwards who are too much alike.
  • B.  
    Dallas Eakins is a lousy coach (and should be fired).
  • C.  
    They don’t have a legitimate first pairing on defense and don’t have
    nearly enough proven NHL defensemen.
  • D.  
    They don’t have enough grit and size throughout the roster.
  • E.   
    Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger remain employed as assistant coaches.
  • F.   
    Eakins is in over his head and needs another associate coach, preferably
    with experience as an NHL head coach, to bolster his staff.
  • G.  
    GM Craig MacTavish, like predecessor Steve Tambellini, has the wrong mix
    of players.
  • H.  
    MacTavish and Tambellini have tinkered too much with the bottom six
    forwards and third-pairing defensemen without making enough changes with
    players who get the most ice time.
  • I.      
    Owner Daryl Katz refuses to fire friend Kevin Lowe, who still has a
    significant say in player personnel decisions.
  • J.     
    The team’s pro scouting staff couldn’t find a clue with a map and a
  • K.  
    Eakins has butchered a power play that looked to be on its way under
    Ralph Krueger and has spent far too much time re-inventing the hockey wheel for
    a rookie NHL head coach.
  • L.   
    Young core players like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan
    Eberle haven’t yet stepped up and shown the leadership needed to guide the team
    back to contention.

The latest tidbit is courtesy of Hemsky, who added
another item to the pile in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen today. So,
does the Dirty Dozen above about cover it or have I missed a reason or two?

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Dallas Eakins 16

through the archives of sites like Oilersnation and you’ll find volumes of
loser’s lament, venom, fear and loathing and reasons why the Oilers are about
to miss the playoffs, by a lot, for an eighth straight season.

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the writers who contribute here, people who stop by to have their say and fans
in general have pointed a finger in the blame game, and with the amount of
ineptitude we’ve seen, there’s plenty to go around.

I lean most heavily on items A, C, D, E, F, G and H – I must admit the Hemsky
comments today do cause one to take pause – it’s safe to say there’s a
multitude of issues facing this edition of the Oilers. Pointing at just one or
two areas isn’t going to solve much.

seeing that already with changes made in goal. Ben Scrivens has been superb
since arriving, but better goaltending by itself – it couldn’t have been worse
than what Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera provided – isn’t going to lift this
team back into contention.

all guilty, to some degree, of over-simplifying the work that remains.
“Get bigger and tougher. It’ll be fine.” “Trade for a legit No.
1 defenseman (and a playing partner) and we’ll be on the way.” “Fire
Eakins . . .”


Craig MacTavish2

starting to sink in is the flaws in the roster and the organization as they are
structured now are many and multi-layered. The Oilers aren’t just one or two or
three players away from contention. They aren’t (another) new head coach away
from turning the corner. The Oilers aren’t a Shea Weber short of being a

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Oilers aren’t just a busy of summer of work by MacTavish away from getting this
sorted out. When it’s been this bad this long, everything from the top down has
to be looked at. That will take time. I’m not offering up that observation as a
free pass for MacTavish. I’m just coming to grips with how broken this
organization is. The closer I look, the more profound it seems.

after much fiddling with the fringes of the roster over recent seasons by
Tambellini and MacTavish, comes Hemsky on the kids, the core. They are the one
component so many fans out there have considered the one sure thing that so
much of the hope being sold is hung on.

that to the list.

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

  • Rdubb

    One thing I am tired off is people who are bashing MacT, and the players whom are on the team, G & H, why? Because he was given this roster. He took over a roster that was assembled by his predecessor, so what has done?
    Well, he has been the most active GM in the NHL this season. He traded away Horc and got something back w/o having to retain salary. He moved Hemmer, all be it a little late. He, & the organization owed it to these two to move them somewhere else, good moves…
    He brought in a capable back-up tender, or at least 95% of us thought so, but it turned out BAD, as did our starter, what did MacT do? He moved them both and brought in 2 solid tenders, signed one and has the other for next yr, while only paying >$6M for the two, and they’ve both proven to be very good thus far…
    He has tried to add some size and grit, bringing in Hendricks, which was a great move in my opinion, and he is now wearing an A. Gordon has been nothing short of spectacular for what he was brought in for, winning draws and playing good defensively, Belov should have worked out, but hasn’t, perhaps next yr he’ll be more comfortable.
    He also traded for perhaps our future tender (5yrs away) and a goalie he and the organization knows very well.
    Yes, a few bad signings, but they were all cheap & inexpensive…
    Edmonton hasn’t has a “pipeline” to the NHL for many yrs, and OKC seems to be helping out our young players as they can learn and play the system in which the organization wishes. Not to mention that it is much easier to get them playing time…
    This summer, and draft, will be a defining time for MacT and the Oilers, as he’ll have to decide whom to move and whom to trade for and sign via FA, what parts CAN he add…
    My prediction is that he’ll continue to tinker with the line-up, but will be able “move” things around in the top 6 and add a Fraser type D-man but with quicker foot speed and more skill.
    A trade with OTT will happen, and Lazar will wear Oiler silks next yr too…
    What we need is a big physical C, maybe a big LW (or RW), and a nasty D-man and a shut down D-man. Maybe Nurse is that “Nasty” guy, and I think he’ll be an Oiler next yr.
    Whomever we draft, we’ll be happy if he can step in and play like CGY’s Monahan…