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.

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.

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

  • 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.

  • John Chambers

    Oh – and GO OILERS GO ! i am still with you, why i have no idea
    but i am with ya. Most of us still are.

    Just play hard all out – win or lose, i am happy with that for now.

    Note: FOR NOW.

  • John Chambers

    Hey if you’re not going to make it to the dance you may as well add another elite player.

    The Sedins were drafted in 99 and yet didn’t register their first 50 pt season until their draft +5 year. That would be next season for Hall, and the year after for Nuge.

    This team is going to b very good at some point – they’re amassing the talent. This season is a real test of our patience, but if we can trade Gagner and the pick fr help on defense an a 2nd line C who can check, they’ll turn it around eventually.

    At some point this is going to pay off and when it does we can look back at these days and roll our eyes.

      • John Chambers

        The Islanders got impatient halfway through their re-build and traded Chara and a 2nd overall pick that became Jason Spezza for Yashin. Whoops!

        They also traded away Roberto Luongo for Oleg Kvasha, and selected Rick DiPietro instead of Dany Heatley.

        So in fact the Oilers are nothing like the Islanders because they’re not wasting the draft picks they paid so dearly to acquire for enigmatic Russians and hunches with the first pic.

    • Zamboni Driver

      I bet you $1000 you said the exact same thing last year.

      It’s unacceptable, yet we keep guzzling the koolaid and shelling out thousands of dollars ever year.

      At some point Einstein’s oft-misquoted ‘insanity’ definition does come to mind.

      • John Chambers

        Ha! I have been saying the same thing for years.

        You have to bear in mind of course that 15 years of terrible drafting led us here in the first place. I mean, the Oilers front office are still slapping each other on th back for the ’80s.

        I’m just realistic about time frames – the team wasn’t a playoff team at the outset of the season, so at least the current pain will force them to address the bigger problems.

        I am optimistic about he team from 2015 and beyond though – just hope it won’t include Kevin Lowe.

        • Zamboni Driver

          You know, other than the first rounders (who were all no-brainers…though Yak was probably a mistake in retrospect…anyway…)

          The Oilers have been terrible drafters FOREVER.

          Sather road on the coat-tails of accidentally getting Anderson and Kurri in the 2nd round (or whatever), so thought (and still thinks) he’s just a little smarter than everyone else.

          This ‘braintrust’ thinks the exact same thing. Based on ‘knowing a little about winning’, I guess.

          Like the useless D-man they took first round a couple of years back (don’t know his name, don’t care) – Jesse Bustamakki – the might-have-been-dead Russian guy.

  • **

    Guess we get a post game day blog instead.

    I have read 6 too many of the same kind of blogs. Of course what
    else is there to talk about. Same crap over and over and over.

    Ice a nasty up just for the f–k of it. Mac – Abney – Gazdic , just to piss
    other teams off and beat the sheet out of a few teams just for the
    hell of it. The losses really dont matter anymore. Toss SMAC on the
    first line and park his big a$$ in front of the net, see what happens.
    Even on the PP. Who is going to move him ? no one.

    Nothing to lose.

  • A-Mc

    I’m curious to know what exactly changed for these teams that took decent jumps in the following year. Was it the return of a key piece, acquisition if a top end player, new coach or simply addressing the needs of team composition.

    When I’m not at my phone I’d like to look into the trades made during certain years for certain teams.

    What other teams have done to improve respectably the next year, may point to what the Oilers need to do next. Obviously what we are doing isn’t working. Our 30th place wasn’t followed by an improvement of any kind. We are likely to finish 30th yet again 3 years later.

  • **

    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?

        • The mid-90s was bad.

          Lots of nights with 7,000-9,000 people in the rink. Not sure if fans were as “agitated,” but they certainly were more indifferent to the team, as the attendance indicates.

          Fans won’t be ignored for long if they stop showing up. That speaks louder than any ranting and raving on fans boards and call-in shows does.

          • Even if fans don’t show up this is a long road to nowhere.

            There have been 4-6 games this season where my tickets have gone unused. Two weeks ago I got a call from my “Oiler Game Experience Representative” who after noticing the absences from games was concerned that it was because we were having trouble navigating the online ticket system.

            From top to bottom this organization is lost.

          • Gerald R. Ford

            It was different back then. People were worried about their jobs and the economy, more than what the Oilers were doing. Plus, I think fans were really sick of the owner. Not in the “He doesn’t care” fashion, but, in the “I wish he’d get smothered in honey and dropped on an ant hill fashion”. Plus the on-going threat of relocation, combined with Northlands rapidly showing its age, and the general sense of the party being over.

            The crowds back then were a lot older, too, and they started spending their disposal income on more practical things. It was the perfect storm of indifference.

  • D-Unit

    Help is on the way – Lyric from a TSN opening song for an Oilers’ game earlier this year.

    Help would be nice. I think we may have to sacrifice virgins at this point. Always a sad day when virgins get sacrificed….

    For the stats guys:

    Drank three beer in the first period, two in the second and four in the third during the last game. I like to spread the scoring around…

    On the sports deal:

    No more missing the first ten minutes of an Oilers’ game. Priceless! ….well, not priceless. Cost over a billion dollars.

    In regards to the broadcasters talent level? Have Evanka Osmak cover everything. I could watch her read the phone book. Wow!

    “All I got to do is just shoot it.” – Yakupov

    With that “Boom Stick”? Yes…. and play defence, not give the puck away, finish your checks and keep the puck down low in the O-zone. One out of five is not bad, I guess. That said, he’s been doing good things recently.

    Disclaimer: DO NOT TRADE YAKUPOV!

    Gagner needs to own that center ice in front of his own goalie. Needs to. But, he just can’t.

    Wobbly pop armchair time:

    Trade Deadline Chips that require a respectable return:
    F Hemsky, Gagner
    D N. Schultz
    G Dubnyk

    May have to eat some contract, but do what you need to. I’d prefer younger prospects 20 – 23 years old and not picks.

    Trade Deadline Chips, the rest (get what you can, if anything):
    F Jones, Abney, Eager, MacIntyre
    D Potter, Grebeshkov, Larson
    G Backman

    Draft picks, maybe take a chance on a middling prospect, etc.

    TDCs if you can’t get them under a reasonable contact for 14/15:
    F Smyth
    D Belov
    G Bryzgalov

    Bryz? He’s been good in net. Looks like he’s on the verge of bat sh*t crazy, though.

    Disclaimer: He’s a goalie…..

    Trade what you can and play the sh*t out of the youth the rest of the way. See what you got there. Use what picks you get in some of these deals as chips for trades in the off-season for established heavy vets.

    Tough choice: dangle Eberle. But, only for a number one or one B defenceman. It’s not just a need, it would be a game changer.

    Coach is a rook. That’s been on display so far this season. But, I think he warrants another year behind the bench. He’s learning and I believe he can be that guy to bring this team into the playoffs.

    And that’s it. The sky’s not falling. It’s just a season that fell off the rails early. Very early. Maybe even more of a train wreck. But, the main pieces are in place.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      They are following a plan they saw on The Simpsons…..Homer and others have been digging for treasure and now they are stuck at the bottom of a deep deep hole. Homer (AKA Eakins) says, no problem….we’ll dig ourselves out of here! (chop wood carry water) Everybody digs in…..a minute later Police Chief Wiggum (AKA KLowe) yells….Stop that you idiots!…..don’t you know anything about winning! You can’t get out of there by digging deeper……….You need to Dig UP!

  • A-Mc

    LOWE HAS GOT TO GO!
    He keeps drafting identical players! If it wasn’t for his bff owning this sorry sack organization, he’d be out of a job!
    I can only pray to the hockey gods that KLowe isnt around next year to draft another forward we dont need!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?