A SHORT, STIFF SHOT OF WTF? JUICE

Dumpster-Fire-1

On many levels, preaching patience and telling people to step away from the ledge in the first days of the NHL season until they have the benefit of a longer look makes all the sense in the world. That’s exactly what Jonathan Willis wrote in his A Big Tall Glass of Calmdown Juice piece yesterday.

Here in Oil Country, the land of Fooled You Again, however, that’s a pretty tough sell for fans of the Edmonton Oilers – I say understandably so after eight seasons out of the playoffs, a stretch in which the team has been selling hope and progress without providing results as a payoff.

Fans were in an ugly mood after just two games, losses to the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, and a 6-1 waxing at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Tuesday has done nothing but stoke the discontent as the Oilers stagger into the desert to face the Arizona Coyotes.

It’ll be a full-on frenzy of frustration – all of four games into an 82-game season – if the Oilers get drubbed in the Valley of the Sun tonight. That’s to be expected when you remove calm and reason from the equation, as if both hadn’t hopped a bus south long ago.

NOT GETTING IT

IdontGetIt

  • From where I sit, the frustration fans are venting about isn’t just a product of that the Oilers are losing games, it’s about why they’re losing games and the decisions that contribute to those losses along the way – many of which have been questioned for months, not just weeks or days. In other words, a whole bunch of “we saw this coming.”
  • Lack of depth in the middle. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the line-up, the Oilers faced the Kings with Mark Arcobello, rookie Leon Draisaitl, Boyd Gordon and Will Acton as their pivots. That’s a mismatch no matter which way you slice it and one fans have been questioning the entire off-season. What were the options last night?
  • The decision by coach Dallas Eakins to scratch Jeff Petry against the Kings. Petry, for all the criticism he gets, remains one of the Oilers best couple of defensemen. Whether you feel the need to get Darnell Nurse into the line-up or not, healthy scratching Petry against the defending Stanley Cup champions made no sense.
  • Edmonton has been dismal in its own end. The fact the team has allowed 15 regulation time goals through three games is as much the result of breakdowns, blown coverages and turnovers by the D-men as it is sieve-like play by Viktor Fasth and Ben Scrivens. Who thought the GAA so far this season would be worse than a year ago, when Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera couldn’t stop a beach ball?

THE BOTTOM LINE

RealTalk

The Oilers could well win tonight against the Coyotes to salvage something from the trip, but the overriding sentiment seems to be that if that happens it’ll be in spite of, not because of, the decisions that are being made and the way Eakins has deployed his personnel.

I find it difficult to disagree with that – I’m not a huge Petry fan but his forced sit-down in Los Angeles stands out for me – because, again, it’s not the record that troubles me with 79 games remaining, it’s the decisions that have gone into the first three games.

Winless is bad. Clueless is worse.

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

  • Bucknuck

    Everyone here needs to take a tall drink of calm down juice. After all, this is all Tambellini’s fault and MacTavish is still working to clean up his mess. MacTavish made some good moves, just like he did the previous year. If the corsi numbers are any indication, things are looking up.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    I’ll say the same thing that I said prior to the LA game when the Oilers were 0-2: Breathe, everyone. Breathe. And if a three-game losing streak is enough to drive you off the rails, then you need to pick another hobby.

    The reality is, this season isn’t close to lost. Not by any measure or stretch. Teams rebound from this – all the time, especially in the NHL. I know we all like to think that every game of the NHL season is “big” … but they’re not. They’re really not. This isn’t the NFL. Heck, the NFL isn’t always the NFL. You can go 0-3 in the NFL and make the playoffs.

    And no, before you all freak out, I’m not saying the Oilers are going to make the playoffs … or even come close. What I am saying is that someone needs to start passing out valiums to the fandom, stat, because wowsers … some of you are really starting to get cray-cray.

    • DoubleDIon

      Might be a cogent argument if this wasn’t the 9th year of suck. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

      Look at the Flames. The roster is hot garbage with the exception of the top D pairing and 3rd line center. Gordon does fine as the shutdown center, but Schultz is a 5/6 for most teams and is playing #1 minutes in Edmonton.

      You win in the NHL with a strong blueline and center ice position. Not with flashy wingers. This team is built completely backwards.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        Oh yes, absolutely true. Listen – I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m making any particular assertions about the quality of this team or what it lacks. All I’m saying is, this team has only played 185 minutes of hockey so far. If you’re pushing panic buttons, right now, then you’re closer to the edge than you really need to be, nine-year-drought or not.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        I have been saying this for years!

        Start in goal, and work your way out. Has been the recipe for years. Not in Oil Country.

        As I said before. I would take Seguin over Hall. Taylor has been crushed, not hit, crushed no less than 4 times already this year. If he doesn’t see the hits coming by this point in his hockey career, he never will. One will be career ending.

        Galchenyuk over Yakupov. He is more talented. Better hands. Oh, and Montreal has him playing center.

        Landeskog over RNH. He’s a man. Nuge is a kid still. Gabriel has grit to match his talent. He is the captain of his team.

        Just imagine the Oilers having Seguin centering the top line, with Landeskog on his wing? Galchenyuk on the second line with Eberle?

        • PlayDirty

          Who should we Draft this year? (Or last year?) Your obviously way smarter than the majority of the PRO scouts.

          Please let us know, how you do it.

          Maybe the writers here can pass your preferred picks onto the Oilers. Heck, from the sounds of it, Bob MacKenzie has nothing on your abilities.

          • Cowbell_Feva

            You know how I do it? I spend less time marking sarcastic remarks on my moms computer, and watch potential draft eligible players, and form an opinion on who I like better as a player.
            I said at the individual draft years that the Oilers should have taken Seguin, Landeskog, and Galchenyuk. I stand by those choices.
            I like the Nurse pick. Not a fan of Drysaddles skating ability. I would have went with Bennett if I couldnt have got Ekblad.

            I think the Oilers PRO scouting speaks for itself doesn’t it?? Next your going to tell me Lowe knows a thing or two about winning because hes paid??

            Sorry, but I feel this team has been built incorrectly. I agree with going via the draft, but don’t agree with their picks. Goalie/Defense then Centers and then wingers. The whole “Best Player Available” has got them 8 years without a sniff of the post season and looking to be 9.

            Keep drinking the Kool Aid bro!!

    • “What I am saying is that someone needs to start passing out valiums to the fandom, stat, because wowsers … some of you are really starting to get cray-cray.”

      Stat, wowsers and cray-cray in the same paragraph? Cray-cray? You’re trying to make people insane, right?

      When you say “quote” during a conversation, do you make that little hook motion with your fingers? I thought so.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        Hmm. Let me see. Give me a second.

        Nope – no hook motion. Sorry.

        (You’re right, though – “stat,” “wowsers” and “cray-cray” sound like something that the annoying yuppie TV producer from the 1980s Newhart show would have said).

  • It’s tiring listening to the negativity. We get some of you wanted a second line center, we all did and so did the GM, but an idiot trades away assets when their stock/value is at a low point. We are a team that’s significantly better than Calgary and Vancouver’s equal. Petry has to be hurt and the rest of the league doesn’t need to know he has a bum shoulder. No way Hunt should be playing and a healthy Petry sitting. LA got lucky with 2 perfectly placed shots out on the first and third goals, I think. Three nothing…with the Oiler’s fragile psyche it was over and the fact it was LA… it was over.

    • DoubleDIon

      Ummm, how are you significantly better than the Flames and the Canucks equal? You finished behind both last year and are behind them this year. Calgary just beat you 5-2 when they weren’t playing very well. Vancouver’s bottom pairing is better than your top. Until this team recognizes the importance of a top pairing that can win you almost half the game and the importance of strength down the middle they’ll continue to be the worst team in the West. My Flames suck, but we win the 25 minutes that Giordano and Brodie play each night. It makes us a better team than you, because you only win the 15 minutes Gordon plays.

    • Listen up KLowe. Would you rather we all throw our jerseys on the ice, stop buying tickets, and refuse to watch? Or go somewhere to vent and continue supporting this undeserving organization?

  • PlayDirty

    Personally I have been the big defender of coaches and management through out but I am getting tired of turning the TV off 15 minutes into a game. I feel bad for my brethren who have to actually drive to that dump coliseum, pay big money and have to stay to watch this caliber of hockey. Time to pull back and play some Jacque Lemaire type hockey like Calgary does because we all know we do not have the team that can compete against the better teams in the league. I understand that we have hit rock bottom but how long do we have to stay there?

  • camdog

    Robin, the writing was on the wall for Petry when the GM refused to give him more than a year on his contract. It’s not just the coach involved in these questionable decisions.

  • Rdubb

    The bright management that runs the Edmonton Oilers fired the best coach we have had in Edmonton since the late 80’s or early 90’s when they decided to give Tom Renney his walking papers, & where did he end up as soon as that happened, the Detroit Red Wings, perhaps the best coaching staff in the NHL.
    Has the Oilers record improved since Lowe & Tambilinni decided to get of him? NOPE!
    Have we seen big improvements from the young stars like we did under him? NOPE! Even though Hall has had two good seasons back to back, Eberle hasn’t got back to where he was…
    What about the Oilers defence which was a lot less experienced and talented then as they are now and they didn’t give up nearly as many goals or nearly as many “easy” goals.
    Did the defence have as many breakdowns as they do now? NOPE!
    Did the entire team (man for man) have as many “bone headed” mistakes then as they do? NOPE!
    So, all-in-all, i’d go on record and say that the management made a HUGE mistake in “letting him go”. Renney was a players coach, he was a teaching coach (which is exactly what this team needed with all the rookies they were playing night in and night out), he was good @ understanding these guys and helping them (the player) become a better well rounded player.
    All i’ve seen since he was fired was a bunch of young guys who seem to have taken a step backwards.
    And if you do not believe me, ask the ex-players who played under all those different coaches in those five or six years; players like Smid, Gagner, Dubynk, Hemsky & many of the current players like Hall, Eberle, RNH, Petry & whomever else played under all those different coaches?
    Just my thought & my opinions

  • Pritchard

    I believe these guys don’t like playing for Eakins. And I questioned the hire last season. It was almost as if no other coach was even serious ly considered for the job.I have a suspicion that the players don’t respect the man.Is it just me or does Eakins come off as arrogant. Humorless(not that theirs much to laugh about) ,and narcissistic.Im not saying he’s all to blame. But he certainly strikes me as a big part of the problem.Im just spitballing when I say a guy behind the bench with either more experience and success either coaching or playing in this league would get more respect and likely better results from this group of players.Their r enough good players on this team to be a .500 club. If the oilers aren’t at that mark by the end of November….Eakins should b gone.

  • Pritchard

    Michael Peca was quoted as saying that Craig Mactavish was the best coach he ever played for. As I said in my previous post, if Eakins can’t turn this around by the end of next Month, perhaps MacT takes the helm while an extensive search begins for the right man for the job. Maybe until the ship is righted and we become a serious contender for the post season, MacT stays on. And somebody comes in and helps out with the GM role. Or obviously someone within ( messier) picks up the slack

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What happens to goalies when they join the Oilers, perceived as capable NHL goalies when joining the Oilers their performance falls sub par, this suggests to me the Oilers goalie coach is not competent. Every Oiler fan can see that Scrivens should avoid going behind the net because his stick handling needs attention, yet this error is consistently happening in every game. Dubnyk of Arizona gets a shut out against the Kings. Calgary keeps on winning due to superior net minding. I don’t remember a time when the Oilers had a great goalie and that is due to lack of coaching.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What happens to goalies when they join the Oilers, perceived as capable NHL goalies when joining the Oilers their performance falls sub par, this suggests to me the Oilers goalie coach is not competent. Every Oiler fan can see that Scrivens should avoid going behind the net because his stick handling needs attention, yet this error is consistently happening in every game. Dubnyk of Arizona gets a shut out against the Kings. Calgary keeps on winning due to superior net minding. I don’t remember a time when the Oilers had a great goalie and that is due to lack of coaching.