GDB 26.0: Time for action…

In the past week, Taylor Hall, David Perron and Andrew Ference have all publicly stated Dallas Eakins isn’t the problem. Hall took it a step further and went to general manager Craig MacTavish to defend his coach.

After Monday’s 5-2 uninspired loss to Arizona, Ference said what we’ve been saying for weeks. The Oilers play “is a joke.”

Is this just more talk from a team mired in a 10-game losing streak, or we will the players display the emotion, passion, determination and smarts necessary to win an NHL game tonight vs. the Jets?

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By saying the coach isn’t the issue, the players have put the responsibility squarely on their shoulders. It’s about time. Blaming the coach has become the motto in Edmonton.

Allow a goal from centre. Blame the coach.

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Turn the puck over at the blueline. Blame the coach.

Don’t go to the net. Blame the coach.

Don’t hit the net. Blame the coach.

Don’t cover your man in front of the goal. Blame the coach.

It is accurate to suggest Eakins needs to be better. He hasn’t shown enough coaching creativity during this losing streak, or injected enough fear or accountability into his players, because they continue to make bad plays. 

My one fear when I hear players defending their coach, is that they are doing so because they are too comfortable with him. Their on-ice play suggests they are comfortable losing. They haven’t shown a willingness to do the little things necessary to win games.

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If the players want Eakins to remain their coach they must play better. It is that simple.

Actions speak louder than words, and if they don’t want him canned by the end of the month they have to start winning. Not playing well and losing, but actually WINNING games.

They have to start taking responsibility for their atrocious start. They are not playing better than their record. They aren’t. Stop trotting out meaningless statistics to try and suggest otherwise.

They give up too many goals. They don’t score enough goals.

They don’t defend well. They rarely produce second and third scoring chances.

They don’t work hard enough on the powerplay, which has them 26th in PP efficiency and 1st in shorthanded goals allowed.

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If they actually believe Eakins is a good coach, then go out and show. Play better. Play smarter. Play with determination.

If they don’t, then their words mean nothing.

If Eakins is as good as they say, then he will start holding players accountable. If he doesn’t then his words will be equally as hollow as his players.


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Some line juggling, which is to be expected when you lose 10 games in a row. Give Pitlick more than one or two periods to get comfortable. I’d have mixed in Gazdic or Pinizzotto on the “2nd and 3rd” line.

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I’d play Fayne more than Schultz.

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Oilers will need Scrivens to play like he did vs. St.Louis.

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Who will they be matching up against? Check out the Jets lineup at



  • “Everything I achieved throughout my career, and all the rewards that followed, came as the results of team effort. If they say anything about me when I’m gone, let them say that I was a team man.” Jean Beliveau wrote in his autobiography. I strongly recommend reading it. I never met Beliveau, but reading and watching all of the tributes in his honour, it was obvious he was a great man first, hockey player second. RIP.
  • Vinny Lecavalier has hinted he will retire after this season. He could retire and there would be no salary cap penalty to the team. He is owed $3 million/year in the two remaining years of his deal, but he is a $4.5 million cap hit. The Flyers sit in 28th place and he was a healthy scratch last night in San Jose.

    He does have a NMC, so that could limit trade possibilities, but I wonder if a Brayden Schenn deal to the Oilers could happen if Edmonton agrees to take Lecavalier?

  • I thought Luke Gazdic played well when he averaged 10 min/game vs. Nashville and St.Louis, but wasn’t much of a factor when he averaged 5 min/game vs. Arizona and Dallas. The stats guys should love him because his shots for/60 is 12. The Oilers need some guys in their top nine who aren’t satisfied playing on the perimeter. Eakins needs to recognize this and sprinkle in Pinizzotto and Gazdic up there for a few shifts. What they are doing now isn’t’ working. Try something different, rather than hoping that eventually the outside shots will start going in.
  • I hope Eakins had dinner with his good friend Paul Maurice and asked him what he did to finally get the Jets to play better team defence. Based on ice time, it looks like Maurice simply said, “If you don’t play good defence, you won’t play.” And he stuck to that. If Eakins doesn’t recognize he needs to do this, and should have done it from the start of last season, then he simply can’t remain the coach in Edmonton. This team needs tough love from a head coach.
  • I still smile at those who ripped me for saying Draisaitl should have been sent to junior, because he wasn’t ready, especially his skating. The part that makes me chuckle the most is that some of them stated sending Draisaitl to Prince Albert was a bad idea because THAT organization was unstable… 


Over at JetsNation, Kevin McCartney breaks down tonight’s game:

I have to begin with a confession I’ve made before – I was born in Edmonton, and I grew up an Oilers fan. Regardless of that fact, I think the misery of the Oiler predicament has moved past funny and into the territory usually reserved for when your friend is in a bad relationship and can’t seem to get out – it’s awkward and uncomfortable and comes with equal parts sympathy and fatigue. “Have you tried changing your opinion on corsi and analytics? You have? I mean… maybe you have to get a new goalie? You were saying your goalies have been bad. You have to do something. You can’t keep going like this. I know, I know it’s hard.”  

So, any Oiler fans or sympathizers, I promise not to pile on in this preview. Edmonton has a better hockey club than their record states, and it’s just a matter of time before they finally beat a Western conference opponent. It could even be the Jets tonight, with injuries to Tobias Enstrom and Grant Clitsome forcing Ben Chiarot into this second NHL game in front of Ondrej Pavelec. (But, I mean, probably not…)

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GAME DAY PREDICTION: Oilers play okay for long stretches, but make two soft plays and lose 3-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Pavelec is able to see most shots. He doesn’t face much traffic in front of him and rarely has to make a 2nd or 3rd save in one sequence.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Pitlick scores, but unlike when he scored his first NHL goal he finishes the game. Pitlick’s success makes the Oilers wonder if they might be better off calling up Lander and loaning Draisaitl to Germany for the WJC and then back to the WHL. A thought directly related to help the long-term development of a player…hmmm…


Thank you go Jared for bidding $2,100 on our Fireplace package from Dinette & Patio Furniture yesterday.

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Today’s item…

A CHEF’s dinner courtesy of Von’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar. It will include all your beverages as well.

You and three friends will dine with Eskimos GM Ed Hervey, quarterback Mike Reilly, Eskimos Wall of Honour inductee, current head coach of the U of A Golden Bears Chris Morris and a special guest. I‘ll also be there, but mainly to fill up your wine glasses.

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or text 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today.

Thanks in advance. All proceeds go to Santas Anonymous.

Recently by Jason Gregor:     


  • Doctor Smashy

    I like the tone of this GDB. I hope it is the same tone in the dressing room today. I hope the Oilers are short with each other, irritable, and try, for the first time in what seems like ages, even if it is out of spite. Ference and Perron need to stay on this team for what I hope they are saying in the dressing room. None of our young players are beyond hope…our season is over but they can turn themselves around.

    Try Oilers. Just try…that is all we can ask for at this point. Play smart and play like you care.

    In other news…I have railed against Spec on this site but this is a fine article…

  • R U Kidding Me!

    This article is missing the point……..Dallas created this problem on the team by creating two camps. Those who get benched and those who don’t.

    The veterans on this team have long figured out that only the “kids are allowed to make mistakes”, all others are benched or play reduced minutes. You can’t all of a sudden change and decide now that you are going to bench the kids……..they are the ones that have come out vocally in support of the coach, not surprising.

    If you want to see what good coaching looks like look south……….Calgary’s top six is so weak but yet they just keep on winning.

    It’s the coaching, even if you desperately want to think otherwise Jason.

    • GlennH

      While I largely agree that coaching in Edmonton should be taking more of the blame, there are two things in Calgary that make them 1000% more competitive every game. TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano. They are among the league’s best defensive pairings – we simply don’t have anything close to that in Edmonton.

      • Andy7190

        Two years ago no one knew who these guys were…… everyone knows who the are.

        Guess what they were developed. The Oilers cannot seem to develop anyone, not even first round draft choices. This all comes back to Management and Coaching.

        We had a good coach, and instead Mac T brought in a pretty hair doll……kind of sums things up!

    • MorningOwl

      Calgary’s top six are weak?

      what would you base that on… feelings? “on paper”? because Calgary’s current top six are killing it, even though they are missing (I think) four of their original top 6.

      So, I’d love to know what you mean by weak:They are all back-checking like hell, going every shift, scoring goals more then anyone else in the west and winning games.

      WEAK????? explain….

      • Andy7190

        Our top six are pretty well all first round draft choices……..with three of them being number 1 overall.

        Most of Calgary’s top six are a rag-tag bunch but make no mistakes……….I love the way they play and admire their work ethic. No slight on them, I wish we had them over here.

        Curtis Glencross on the first line?? We threw him away…….just saying.

        • MorningOwl

          So their weakness is draft pedigree? I don’t think Geordano or Brodie, either of them, were even drafted, were they?

          Strong in 1st overalls, weak in execution. I just would use a different term to describe the flames then weak.

          As for Glencross; anyone ever wish he wasn’t discarded? he’s been a good soldier down south for a while, but he looks slow this year.

          • Andy7190

            Brodie was drafted in the 4th round 114th overall, by the Flames.

            Giordano was undrafted and signed by Darryl Sutter right from Owen Sound.

            The main problem for the Oilers is, and I didn’t know it until last night as I listened to Ray Ferraro among others, that only 2 players on the Oilers were drafted by the Oilers 2nd round or lower.

            That is simply and starkly not good enough.

            Nothing is good enough. The General Managing isn’t good enough, the coaching isn’t good enough and the scouting is most certainly not good enough.

          • Lumley

            Here’s an interesting illustration of Oiler drafting futility since 2009, courtesy of Bruce McCurdy at Cult of Hockey:

            Oilers have drafted 38 players outside of the first round in that time. They have scored a grand total of 7 goals in the NHL.

            Tobias Rieder has scored 4 of those goals.

            Stu has gone from MSB, a few years ago, to plain old B.

          • Andy7190

            That is a damning indictment of the Oiler scouting department and the General Manager(s) in that time.

            Lowe may not run the day to day operations (or so we are told), but he’s responsible for whom he employs.

            Insult to injury…. 2 of the 4 and indeed 2 of the 7 goals scored are against the Oilers…

          • everton fc

            This above says a lot. Maybe it says it all. None of the first round picks would have been passed by with most organizations. So there’s no skill in picking the #1 picks the Oilers have.

            Why don’t they punt Eakins and scoop Bylsma while he’s still available. If he’ll move to Edmonton, that is. And Lowe has to go. Really.

            Krueger should have been given another season. Maybe. And I like what Ference did. Some may not. I do.

        • Slapshot

          OK thanks for the explanation. I guess draft pedigree equals top quality players? Explains alot about the Oilers. Although most people would agree with that at the Junior hockey level, that often doesn’t translate to the NHL. I’d much rather have top NHL-level players…

    • WTF2

      Calgary keeps winning because the coach has implemented a system and the players play that system. Any player that decides to take a shortcut, will be sitting for a while. Any player that decides to not put in the effort required, will be sitting a while. When Baertschi was playing well a few games ago, he was on the powerplay. His play dropped, he was on the fourth line last night.

      If Eakins implemented that system and sat out some of the core forwards for a period or two, it would get their attention. Most likely, he would be fired in short order too, but that is a different conversation.

    • Andy7190

      Exactly. The Oilers should not be this bad. Nor should the Flames be this good.

      I expect the Flames to end up in the top 16, but if Eakins remains, the Oilers will end up 30th.

  • bwar

    While there are a lot of things you can’t blame the coach for, there are a lot of things you can.

    Personnel decisions fall on the coach. Inability to correct Powerplay issues fall on the coach. Mismanagement of players falls on the coach. Faulty systems and overall lack of preparation fall on the coach.

    Eakins is not the answer and you could take an average Canadian hockey fan off the street and he would be doing as good or better a job as Eakins at coaching this club.

    The Oilers are slowly losing fans and the complete lack of action from management won’t be tolerated forever. There is a hockey club down the road that is doing a lot more with a lot less and are very entertaining to watch.

  • Andy7190

    “He has a NMC” is about all you have to say before continuing “so it doesn’t matter anyways.”

    No player with a NMC/NTC is going to willingly come here. I dont care if you’re retiring in a month or in 6 years. No one who has a choice to avoid it, will come here. Not Vinny, or any other number of veterans who we could maybe, possibly afford to trade for with our few, ever-decreasing in value trade pieces.

    We’ll be lucky to find anyone to take Jultz off our hands. Yak will be bolting for the KHL very quickly at this rate. Ebs isn’t worth nearly as much as we want him to be/wish he were.

    And loathe though I am to say it, even our beloved Hallsy isn’t actually the golden boy we believe him to be. He’s not bad, mind you. But his play, on a real NHL team, wouldn’t look nearly as good as it does here with these losers around him. We could find a trade partner for him, but I think folks would be miffed to see what his market value really is to other GM’s. Add in that we would be dealing from a position of weakness (then again, we have been and will be in this position for YEARS). Point is, even Hallsy isn’t worth as much as the average Oil fan wants to think he is.

    • moosewacker

      Hall was the highest scoring LW in the NHL last year (from on a bottom feeder. I agree that we fans can overvalue our players but you are wrong about Hall. For all his negatives, he is a BEAST. Many teams would give up A LOT to get Hall on their team. He is a franchise type player.

      • WTF2

        There’s a lot to like about Hall, but there were 8+ wingers deemed better than him last year for the Canadian Olympic team. Let alone Russian, American, Swedish, Finish, Czechs etc.

        There’s a lot more to being a franchise player than putting up points. Watch how many times the puck dies on Halls stick compared to elite players in the league. Yikes

      • Con-Air McDavid

        I completely disagree. Would you rather have Hall on your team, or any of Benn, Steen, Sharp, Paccioretty, Parise, Schwartz, Kunitz, Sedin….etc. I don’t think Hall is in the top 8 LW in the league based on overall gameplay. He’s so one dimensional its not even funny. If this team can get a steal of defensemen in exchange for Hall, the improvement will be way better than firing the coach, getting a new goalie, or someone’s leftover centreman.


        • Hemmercules

          The old saying goes. You can teach defense, but you cant teach offense and skill. The Oilers will not trade Hall. If they do it will be a defining moment in this franchise in a negative way second only the the Gretzky deal.

    • HockeyYoda

      I agree with most of what you say except on Hallsy. I think if he were on a team like Nashville, the kickass defence would allow him to have the puck a lot more in the offensive zone to do his thing. The defence and goaltending would also save his bacon a lot when he turns it over. Finally, the culture of responsible play would slowly but eventually spill into Hall’s game.

  • bwar

    Jean Béliveau won 10 Stanley cups as a player, in a 20 year carreer. That is insane! The Oilers would need a team player like that! Farewell Gentleman Jean.

  • bwar

    “when I hear players defending their coach, is that they are doing so because they are too comfortable with him”.

    Good point you always want a certain “edginess” and people not too comfortable with their situations. Especially with the Oil which means they are comfortable with losing.

    Players don’t need to like their coach to play for him, in fact it might be detrimental. I have never heard a player have anything warm or fuzzy to say about Hitchcock. I recall seeing Kane crying when the Hawks replaced Savard with Quenville. Good thing the Hawks didn’t ask Kane’s opinion before they made the move.

    • bwar

      Absolutely correct, of course the players will defend Eakins because he runs a nice soft practice and doesn’t really hold anyone accountable. I would defend a boss like that forever. Not going to fire 20 players so may as well get the biggest piece of deadwood out now and fire Eakins. Not sure why Gregor defends him so much, must get invited to family dinners becuase I can think of no other reason.
      The guy was a joke from the beginning coming in with his change the dressing room tactic and chop wood, carry water bullsh*t story. Huge mistake and he continues to solidify that theory with every game he coaches in the NHL. Must be fired if this team has any chance of turning this year into only a semi disaster from a total disaster.

      • Andy7190

        Everybody relax. The National and International media is picking up the ball that no media member in Edmonton wants to pick up.They are being exposed for the frauds that they are by pretty much everyone except MSM in Edmonton. Gregor , I think the people on here want more stories like “Weak Kneed Wimps”. This is one serious clusterf*** and will take years to repair this damage. I live in a 2400 sq ft house 1200 sq ft of hardwood upstairs and 1200 sq ft of cement in the basement and where does my cat puke? On a 2′ X 3 ‘ Oilers Carpet. Even a feline can tell this franchise is broken.Not sure if I should clean the carpet or Email a pic to the Oilers website.

  • Bishai in the Benches

    “The stat guys should love him” – Gregor in reference to Gazdic. LOLOLOLOL according to #fancystats (and even to the eye test) he is probably in the worst 2% of NHL players to suit up for a game last year. Absolute anchor

  • smith

    The Oilers have been the worst team in the league for a while now. There is more than one problem. Bad management, bad players, bad drafting, bad scouting AND bad coaching. Fire Lowe and Mactavish and bring someone in from the outside to begin cleaning up and trying to fix ALL of the issues. No more little fixes. They are not working.

    I personally think that every manager, scout and coach should be relieved over the next 6 months as well as a few CORE players. Fix the problems already!

    • This is probably the best post I have read with regards to fixing this team. Must start with the biggest egos that seem to think they know more about hockey than anyone else in the world.
      Well stated, goodbye to the old boys club

    • moosewacker

      I remember a story from Ron Low about his Washington Capital days in the 70’s. They paraded a garbage can around the ice after breaking a very long losing streak. Wonder how that would go over now days ?

  • moosewacker

    Ryan Smyth comeback as player coach, old time hockey, like Eddie Shore, Toe Blake. Or hire those guys even if they are dead.

    Eakins replaced by deceased Hall of Famer, I can see the headline now, and do not disapprove. Anything at this point is an improvement, my liver can’t take no more.

  • moosewacker

    Interesting offensively focused lines.These dont look like Dellows stats based handi-work,this looks like Rammers work.

    I think the Oilers might have a Tidbit of an advantage tonight hidden somewhere in their back-pockets .

    Tonight if they follow their processes full circle I bet you Dellow to Donuts the Death-March ends

    • Hemmercules

      I was quasi-jaw-dropped seeing how many peeps trash this post! Thought it would have been opposite. ..forward lines look good to me, just flip yak and ebs….make eb no flow play off wing for once!

      If oil win eight straight what record would they need to make 93 points?

  • Prongers Promises

    You can tell that things have gone from bad, to worse, to really worse, to unbelievably bad, as more and more fans are now starting to pick on Hallsy.

    Are you trying to drive him out of town faster?! Stop for a minute and think about this team if he were to demand a trade publicly tmr after this loss. Think about it. Is that what you want?

    Because he’s been awfully tolerant of this tire-fire of a team–but he’s human. Ask him to put up with this city, this weather, this team, these fools of coaches/mgmt, and then the fans start screaming that its HIS fault? He’ll have his agent on the phone in a heartbeat, asking for an out

    • Joe Mamma

      To be perfectly honest, and I hate to say it, but I think this would be the best thing that could happen to this team. A nice quiet trade request from Hall. That would be the rude awakening for Katz that this gongshow has gone on long enough, and finally might spell the end of Lowe and Co. It would also force them to make a move that might actually help this team.

      Say Hall, Jultz, and prospect or pick (s) to philly for say Schenn/Couturier, Simmonds and maybe a Colbourn. Throw in Eberle too if we have to to get all three. Instantly a better mix for the west. Draft McDavid or Eichel. Nurse and Marincin move up the depth chart by subtracting El Jultzo. Try to improve the goaltending in the summer (or sooner). Buy out Nikitin and look for an upgrade (bar isn’t exactly set real high). Re-sign Petry (or find a replacement). Suddenly this roster doesn’t look so pathetic:

      C – McDavid/Eichel, Nuge, Schenn/Couturier, Draisatl, Gordon, Arco (Could be moved to wing or sent down).

      RW/LW – Simmonds, Yakupov, Perron, Purcell, Hendricks, Pitlick, Pinizzoto, Joensuu, Pakarinen, Gazdic

      D – Nurse, Colbourn, Marincin, Fayne, Klefbom, Ference, Petry (?)

      This is all assuming Hall keeps his request on the DL to preserve his value, and who knows if Philly makes this deal. But it sure looks better to me on paper. Add some depth at LW and/or D via FA or trade in the summer and this team looks miles better than today. Could even look for vet FA center in the summer to further improve a now impressive C depth chart if the new kid and/or Drai need some more time.

      I dunno, just spitballing though. Damn I need a drink.

    • Visually McDavid

      I am so tired of the constant “what if Hall asks for a trade” refrains. Maybe he will. Maybe he already wrote the text message and he’s just trying to decide how many frowny faces to include. Please tell me how this is the worst thing that can happen?

      Hall is the one player that can get an incredible return. He is the one player that might even allow MacLowe to do the impossible and fleece someone else for a change.

      In case you haven’t noticed the team isn’t winning anymore games with him than without. This isn’t his fault, but if his attitude is part of the problem then let him go. Nuge and Leon are centers, they are pieces that you build a team around. If Hall is a bad presence in the room then turn him into the best defenseman you possibly can (I’m pretty sure whoever it is won’t have to commit larceny to get a Norris either).

      None of this is ideal, but something has to give. I sincerely doubt that the management team is going anywhere. Lowe will probably end up buried under Rexall and the newly appointed POHO, a now 85 year old Mac T, will continue to get Lowe’s input via Ouija board. Hall would be the most straightforward trade for these bozos to pull off. I would rather see him go than become another one of the wasted, underdeveloped, zombie-eyed players that the Oil factory churns out, especially if he is already succumbing to their infamous “losing culture.”

  • MorningOwl


    I’m getting into a detailed report of how the Oilers breakouts and stand the line defence should be. Its been sent to Winnipeg so Dallas can review it.

    It’s like this all 5 skaters stand still in the defence blue line and have active sticks and knock the luck away. Then use full body torso checks and plant the skater through the boards. This is called the active torso swinger play, Dallas needs to call it from the bench by waving 2 water bottles in the air like an airport runway guy. I’m saying too much here.
    The breakout is a hard pass by whoever has the puck right up the middle to avoid board pressure then skate laterally through the neutral zone and horizontally into the offensive zone and using the back side winger defenceman as an option A with the centre winger as option B. Option C is the trailing puck carrier. He has the option of a swing play or just a routine regroup into the boards by the net. This way we get neutral pressure diverted by the trailing 3rd Dman on the boards by the blue dot. This will initiat all access to the middle left slot for an easy tap in backhand onetimer play. All the big western conference division teams use this play.

    • MorningOwl

      Ference noted a number of weeks ago already that everything that needs to be said has been said, many times. Now he is getting into more detail – he has had enough and this is all he can do that hasn’t been done.

  • After the opening puck drop the first offside winger needs to stop up hard at the blue dots further swinging right. If neutral zone forecheck swig play is an option he can move to the lateral side of centre and get deep, exposing the left defencemans short gap. This will allow for the centre to push the puck into the short zone by the glass, the other winger is an option for a stick exchange with the trailing Dman who should have the puck by now from the neutral winger, after this is established its a simple give and go and a pass and a shot with the rebound. 1-0 Oilers.

    If the face off is lost then the full body torso check is needed immediately for the swing play. Then it’s a D to D pass after the turnover by the stand up lateral play on the blue line. Then an icing is needed for the face off unit to create the turnover which is followed by a simple shot off the glass to the streaking far winger with speed and a drop pass with a neutral lateral regroup to the strong side winger.

    It’s all basic hockey and all the western eastern teams use it as a simple way to break out and forecheck to the strong post but on the weak side. If followed it should be 3-0 Oilers after 4 whistles on the right side.

  • Smobocop

    If you want fear, hire Torterella, at minimum on an interim basis. He’ll scare the crap out of em. And at bare minimum take some of the media attention away.

    • EVERY time a player becomes available — no matter how good or bad he is — somebody asks: Should we take him?

      Look at Lindback’s numbers the last three years since his first two seasons in Nashville (and not playing amid the dumpster fire the Oilers are) and you tell me. Should they?


  • SpaceBacon

    Mac T loved the mic and camera on him when he first became GM (mind you, he was passed up by the other NHL teams for a coaching position) letting the whole hockey world know of his so called master plan. Well he has failed miserably and the fans have spoken of his actions. He isn’t for the job. Where are these cowards hiding now though? Arrogant pieces of bullcrap is what they are.

  • To correct Gregor – The Lecavalier report was that he may retire after NEXT season, not this current one. He is owed 4.5M next season, and then 3M his final two years (which he may be willing to walk away from). Cap hit is 4.5M.

  • WTF2

    Walking the talk is a real challenge for the Oil.

    If you look like a loser, act like a loser, sound like a loser and play like a loser, believe it or not 9 times out of ten, you are a loser.