APRIL FOOLS: SEVEN TO GO

If there’s a silver-lining to the 5-0 speed-bagging the Edmonton Oilers took from the New York Rangers at Rexall Place Sunday, it’s that coach Dallas Eakins and his team have just seven games remaining in their dumpster fire of a season and only four of those are at home.

While there’s very little new to report in terms of the overall ineptitude and futility that’s been fodder for discussion most of this season, the particulars from this no-show included another feeble night by Edmonton’s power play, which went 0-for-5 and allowed not one but two shorthanded goals, and failure to score a goal of any kind for the ninth time in 2013-14.

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Save for the lucky stiff who won $53,250 in the 50-50 draw, the faithful who hung in long enough to see who won the dough headed for the parking lot sour as the Oilers lost their 20th home game and hit 40 losses overall, dropping to 26-40-9, in the final game of a six-game homestand.

With road games in San Jose, Anaheim and Phoenix before they return home to close out the campaign against the Ducks, Colorado, Los Angeles and the Vancouver Canucks, I can’t remember a season – I got to Edmonton in 1989 – in which the fans have been pummeled numb to this degree.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I listened to 630 CHED analyst Rob Brown say he thinks all the changes this off-season will be with players, not with management. All the changes? How many people veered off the road on the drive home when they heard that?

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THE WAY I SEE IT . . .

Dallas Eakins 17

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  • I don’t know about you, but I feel my stomach contents rushing up my throat every time somebody refers to the Oilers as this young, exciting club loaded with offensive talent (I’ve been guilty of that myself a time or two). The Oilers have scored 184 goals in 75 games. Only three teams, Florida, New Jersey and Buffalo, have scored fewer.
  • Eakins, at least, seems to recognize characterizing the Oilers high-powered on the attack is bogus. He addressed it tonight in his post-game availability with media. Addressing it on the ice in the style the team chooses to play is a different matter. Nine shutouts, six of those at home.
  • If the Oilers had a power play that ranked in the top five or six in the league, you could at least make an argument that 13 shorthanded goals against isn’t a big deal. When the Oilers are sitting in the bottom third – they’re listed 23rd at 16.2 per cent – all those shorties are a big deal. The Oilers need to get back to the drawing board next season and they need somebody new drawing it up when they do.

WHILE I’M AT IT

Nail Yakupov

  • After scoring 17 goals in 48 games last season, Nail Yakupov has 11 in 63 games this year and is out with an ankle fracture. I laughed at people who suggested he’d score 35 this season. I had him pegged for 25, which puts me in the ranks of the over-optimistic as well.
  • Speaking of over-optimistic, I wrote after the 41st game that the Oilers would be better in the second half and that I could see them playing at or near .500 (in terms of available points) even with a tough schedule. They’ll need one more to match the 62 they got in 2010-11 under Tom Renney and they hit the road 13 off the 74 they had in 2011-12.

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


  • Spydyr

    13 SH goals, wow, that really IS something to be proud of. If this is not enough to get rid of Eakins/Smith/Bucky/Cabot/McGregor/Lowe, then I don’t know what is. I am SICK of the Oilers, sick of the empty promises and SICK of the losing. Most of all I am SICK of being an Oilers’ fan, and sick of the disrespect the team and management show us.

    • toprightcorner

      Wow you cant be that sick if your still reading the blogs about the Oilers.

      Trading every management member will make less than a 10% difference on this team at the most.

      Fire Jones, Joensuu, Lander, Smyth, Pitlick, Gagner, Fraser, Belov and Larsen and replace them, with vets approx 26-29 years of age and toss i a big top 6 winger as well. That will make the biggest difference to improving the team.

      • camdog

        The Oilers are for once concerned about next year renewals, phone calls, surveys and luncheons have told them fans have had enough, I gave my tickets to the fellow that buys my grain tonight, I’m sure he had a great time. I still have all my “Oiler Bucks” and I am going to spend them all on booze at the game against the Ducks next Sunday.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    MacTavish has mentioned on a number of occasions, he’s satisfied with the progress the team has made under Eakins. Nobody on this staff is going anywhere.

    No matter how bad it gets, they just keep backing each other up so nobody loses their job. Their entitlement to the piece of the Oiler revenue pie in this market remains unchallenged. You can’t fix stupid when he signs all the cheques.

      • 15w40

        1. Oilers fire Chabot in the offseason because he is not part of the old boys club to show the fans they are serious about winning.
        2. After starting next year 5-15 they fire Eakins because he is also not part of the Old boys club.
        3. Buchberger is named head coach.
        4. Buchburger hires Ted Green to fill his old role to run the offence and PP.
        5. Fans in an outrage stop going to the games.
        6. Oilers finish the year 15-55-12.
        7. Katz moves the team to Seattle closer to his home in Vancouver where he, Lowe and the rest of the old boys club live for the next 30 years.
        8. Oilers get new team and finally make the playoffs under a fresh team of management.

      • The Last Big Bear

        the least significant pieces…. big surprise. And KLowe will remain comfortable in the corner office. How does he face people at work and in the industry. He’s got to know they are snickering the minute he turns his back.

        top 5 pick in 2015 in the bag.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        They’re atleast two years away from seeing a significant amount of unsold seats. Till this happens, the entitlement remains. The fans will continue to be taken for granted.

        • Spydyr

          The sad part that Katz is missing is that as long as it takes to trend to the negative, it can also take a long time to trend back positive again. He needs to stop the bleeding right away, or else it will be an up hill battle once/if the team ever finally turns around.
          Katz is too stupid to see that he is running this franchise into the ground, and he is a f’ing moron to wait until the place stops selling out to change it.

          You don’t run any company with a desired product, and a huge waiting list, under the assumption that those customers waiting will always be there to replace the pissed off ones. That only works for so long before the line is empty.

      • #ThereGoesTheOilers

        There is no way in hell that the entire coaching staff doesn’t get axed. This team has regressed so badly under Eakins it is a shame. MacTavish should be embarrassed by Eakins inability to coach.
        As one of the others put it “you can’t fix stupid” and unfortunately that is what is in charge of this team.

      • camdog

        Isn’t Buchy good friends with Katz? He likely gets a promotion if anything. Smith is one of the old boys club too. MacT was dumping on dubs for the longest time so not sure if Chabot really takes any heat.

        I think we should all be patient and see what Eakins has up his sleve next year. He said himself that he knows exactly what to do next season to turn things around, so it must be true.

  • Big Cap

    I would give MacT a slight passing grade for the season. Some good moves and some not so hot moves.

    However he must realize and acknowledge that his decision to fire Krueger and hire this AHL Blowhard has demolished this team and their confidence and really set everyone’s development backwards. There is not one stat we are better in than last year, or one facet of our game that is even slightly improved.

    If MacT gave Mr. Fitness his walking papers as well as ALL the assistants and even mumbled out a half apology for hiring Eakins, I for one would forgive him and look forward to a new coach and team system.

    We hired an AHL coach and have an AHL team.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Todd Nelson is an AHL coach I wouldn’t mind.

      Jon Cooper was an AHL coach.

      Patrick Roy was a QMJHL coach and they’re doing well.

      You can’t coach around crappy defense and drifting forwards.

      If Gagner or Eberle were as committed to defense and understanding systems and where to be, who to cover, and what to do as any other forward on a successful team we might be somewhere.

      The Canucks have a very good D but helpless forwards, we have a poor D with helpless forwards.

      • Seems to my Roy did a fine job of coaching around crappy defense and drifting forwards. Eakins is plain and simply way over his head. The players can’t stand his arrogance. Not sure where he gets his ego from he has not accomplished anything in his life other than to fool the moronic management of the Oiler’s into hiring him. When is it going to be warm enough to golf?

  • Kr55

    Lots of excuses from Eakins lately. He said the teams mix is wrong and he has to fix it with MacT. Not sure I’ve ever heard a coach talk that way about his players with 9 games left in a season. Then he’s in a nhl.com article saying the team would be better if they played in the East. Then more junk about how the players are still learning the system and how he knows EXACTLY what he needs to do next year. Like Oiler fans need to hear more people from the Oilers org promising better times next year.

    Sucks that MacT probably knows he is a dud but doesn’t want to embarrass himself by firing him after all the hype he created around him.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Kevin will put eakins in the spotlight more and more as the season comes to an end. He will encourage him to make enough comments on the state of the team, that the inevitable contradictions in the direction of the team will show like you are quoting.
      This is a very simple mis-direction he has been employing since his first year as an F’up..
      He can’t promote himself any higher than president, so he now needs to throw his underlings out for the dogs.
      I am in no way an eakins fan, but where the hell is kevin when the screams for his head are at an all time high?
      He is hiding like the coward he is, hoping that the oilers win another 2 games in a row, or until he can fire another coach to make us all “happy campers” again.

  • Spydyr

    Its funny how many people in this town enjoy continually gobbling up the crap this team dishes out. Katz is a business man and won’t do the right thing until he sees a drop in his profit.

    People need to wake up and realize THEY are ultimately the ones responsible for the possibility of changes for the better or more of this horse crap called Oiler hockey.

    My God, the Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot and they still start their back-up goaltender.

      • “Eakins, at least, seems to recognize characterizing the Oilers high-powered on the attack is bogus. He addressed it tonight in his post-game availability with media”

        So, I usually never disagree with you but a couple things here.

        If Eakins is telling you the Oilers don’t have offensive players, the first thing you should do is completely ignore what Eakins thinks.

        The other thing you should be questioning is how can the Oilers score goals when they can’t get out of their own defensive zone? I’m not even sure how he can even assess the full potential of the offensive players?

        It doesn’t take an astrophysicist to realize that when you have a team like the Oilers the young skilled guys can’t use their full potential for obvious reasons, in order to use their offense they actually have to be in the other team’s offensive zone.

        To make matters worse Eakins is so defensive minded he had Taylor Hall and the rest dumping and chasing for half the year.

        On top of all that, the Oilers don’t have the right mix of players to complement the high skilled players.

        The Oilers have plenty of offensive skill just waiting to be released, it’s on this Oilers group to actually surround this team with a capable supporting cast.

        Good read Robin, but tonight, I’m afraid Eakins has confirmed more in his presser then he has all season about the state of the team and what type of players he wants this team to have…………

      • a lg dubl dubl

        this should be placed on Katz front door!! lol

        Im curious, if you had the choice who whould you bring in to replace Bucky and Smith and Chabot?

        Thanks.

    • Chongler

      A huge Knee-Jerk reaction in an attempt to 1-up Vancouver? I think MacT neglected to see the skilled coach he already had when word was out that a new hotshot rookie coach was looking at making his jump to the NHL. Who better to lead this young team than a young coach? Looks good on paper, but on the Ice? Well….

    • BlueMile

      Because despite the revisionist canonization of Saint Ralph by ON readers, he consistently made glaring tactical decisions and the results were poor.

      Remember the usual suspects here derisively referring to Ralph as “the motivational speaker” in their annual Fire The Coach campaign?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Sell the farm…

    Ekblad and Draisitl or bust! Haven’t made the post season in 8 yrs, and it looks as though the Oilers are still 8 yrs from making the playoffs.

    • toprightcorner

      ~Yeah cause Eklad or Draisitl will make this team infinitly better next year~

      Use the first pick in a package to trade for a vet that will impact this club positively. Then add 4 more vets right after that.

      That is the only chance at making the playoffs next year unless every other teams set NHL records for all of their top line players missing 50+ games each and every starting goalie requires knee surgery.

      Add vets or fail!

      • Quicksilver ballet

        What part of rebuild from within don’t you understand? You don’t think they tried to do the same thing last summer? Their so called “progress” landed them squarely in 29th place this season.

        Who are your 4 vets you want to bring in? I hear Danny Heatley is available now. Anybody who can help has already said, thanks, but no thanks to the Oilers.

  • BlueMile

    Need to fire someone significant from the organization, or;

    1) Face not attracting a good free agent,

    2) Risk the our first rounder asking to be traded,

    3) Yak pulling up stakes and going to KHL,

    4) One of the core player requesting/demanding a trade.

    Katz needs to fire

    Lowe, Dallas or MacT …. Getting rid of the training staff will not cut it this time.

    • 15w40

      Point #1 – Horse is already out of the barn on this one – they could fire everybody and bring in Scotty Bowman and Jack Adams and there is no UFA worth anything that is signing here.

      Point #2 – The risk is real for the undrafted player in 2014 and the risk is also real for many of the so-called franchise players on the roster

      Point #3 – Can’t see it hampering his development

      Point #4 – See Point #2 – although the core would appear to have a worm or be rotten at this point.

      This team looks like a comedy sketch from SCTV.

      Sooooooooooo BAAAAAD………..

      Watching is not even a passing thought any more. Just check TSN for the laugh track AKA “hilights” and come here to bask in the glow of the red hot embers of fans that are looking for the nearest bridge.

      I used to care – now its just comic relief.

  • toprightcorner

    Hello Mr. Katz, is there a light bulb on in that brain of yours? For someone who is such an astute businessman, you sure don’t know how to manage a hockey team do you. Wake up, open up, and admit the the f**k up….. AKA Oilers.

  • Bloodsweatandoil

    @Brownlee

    Would you want to have a teacher tell you all of your classmates are stupid, they have been stupid the last 5 years?

    Or do you want a teacher make you better and believe in yourselves? Instead of degrading the whole class?

    Eakins comment after the game was unacceptable, he said the team has been near the bottom in goals scored last 5 years. It’s his job to get them better and score goals. The power play allowed 2 more shorthanded goals tonight, who has the power play here? It’s a joke and the fans has to put up with this?

    Time to fire this clown Eakins.

    Patrick Roy get the Avs the chance win 50 games this season after they finished 2nd worst last year with same young team and unproven Dmen.

    No excuses, they just keep on winning.

    Eakins can’t coach in NHL level, we have seen it this year.

  • Zamboni Driver

    Why does eakins refuse to change up the power play. Put out 2 defenceman, shooting from the point like every other power play in the league instead of force feeding the same crop over and over again. I am tired of watching the other team get 2on 1s and breakaways on our power play.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    Can we just skip to the end of the regular season? I rather see GOOD teams play GOOD hockey in the playoffs, than watch the oilers play, while being depressed.

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    The story goes like this: When MacT got the GM job, the first thing he did was reassure Ralph Krueger that his job was safe and that he would get an experienced associate coach to help him. As usual, the first idea was the best one.

    But then MacT decides to pull a publicity stunt by hiring the darling of the summer, giving Eakins the head coaching job. With his pals remaining as assistants. That was his way of telling everybody “this his my team!”. Oh, and he fired Krueger – a coach well liked by the players – by skype, at a moment when the organization needed to prove they weren’t run by a bunch of jerks anymore. Remember Souray? Peckham?

    Now MacT didn’t do many mistakes as a GM so far. I love what he has done with the goaltending. But his first mistake was huge and probably will cost the Oil next season two. And the worst part, he probably knows it, but he can’t do anything about it. Not with the entire media world – TSN and The Hockey News included – saying that he must keep Eakins. Continuity will solve everything apparently, even hunger in the third world. After all, people from Toronto can do no wrong… Is it me, or the last thing the Oilers need is continuity, after this season?

    My best guess is that we are stuck with Eakins for at least another half season, when MacT has no choice but to replace him. That sucks.

  • Spydyr

    I see Bruce McCurdy finally included Eakins in his post game review and rated him a 1. So Eakins lovers tell me again why we need him? Tomorrow is April fools but the joke is on us fans every freakin day.

  • It would appear that Eakins has already had his
    year end review with MacT, why else would he be
    spewing all this stuff about how he and MacT will be fixing things this summer moving forward,picking the right players etc etc. Very scary.

    He also takes great measure to point out that the team as not been scoring for the last 4 years..
    well egghead, thats why you were brought in was to change that… you didnt do it.. not even close.

    It will be a tragic if Eakins is not fired at seasons end, along with the other clowns behind the bench.

    He just dumped all his player under the bus, to make himself look good.

    Not only is he a bad coach , he is a coward.

  • Spydyr

    It is difficult for the serious fan to have any faith in the Oiler organization from top to bottom. Senior management, the coaching staff, the players and the scouts all have failed us again and again, yet most escape responsibility. No doubt some sacrificial lambs, say some of the assistant coaches, but not Lowe or Eakins, will pay for the latest disastrous showing and nothing will change.

    A few of the holes may get filled, but it is clear that the ‘brain trust’ has no idea how to build a competitive team, effectively develop the talent we do have or provide them with the kind of structure and motivation that is reviving the Flames. Nothing is more painful than watching the young talent significantly regress under Eakins, as this train keeps backing up.

    I love hockey, and having had the pleasure of being a regular fan haunting the building since the last year of the WHA at least have wonderful memories in the bank, and will hold onto my season tickets despite everything, but under protest.

    • 15w40

      Should of made a deal that once the Oilers made the playoffs, then the shovels hit the ground. But no, we’re spending millions on a new arena for a AHL level team.

      • Chongler

        Too much of our hard earned money to play with..
        I remember when mayor Mandel went to city hall half way through the whitemud bridge re-build and asked for approval after the contractor said the quote was going to double when they were half way through the build.. they had 4 plus companies that all bid normal market value on the job, then they took the unreasonably cheap bid.. when they couldnt stand up to their bid, Mandel went in front of city council and said “what are we supposed to do..not finish the bridge?”
        It’s full on corruption, and nothing less. Katz thinks of us all like ants in an ant farm. He got city hall on board with his end game, and we are all going to pay for it like it or not.
        I love my hockey, but still can’t believe we are on the hook for that rink!! Hell.. don’t even get me started on the museum we are all paying for too with zero input from the taxpayers. Out of the 300 people I can think to know and call, I don’t know one single one that is ever going to that stupid thing when it’s done.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    I hear the Oilers had an optional practice yesterday. Optional?!! There should be no such thing with these players anymore.

    Every practice mandatory until they stop sucking arse.

    • 15w40

      When you have an optional skate, and the only players who participate are (according to this site) “four fringe defensemen, enforcer Luke Gazdig, and an injured Nail Yakupov”, well.. I can’t even finish that sentence. I’m not an Oilers fan, but wow, what a lack of heart. Disappointing doesn’t even describe it.