GDB 26.0: Time for action…

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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.

LINE UP

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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.

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

QUICK HITS…

KaneMoney

  • “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… 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

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…)

WHAT WILL WE SEE…

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…

DAY 2…MONTH OF GIVING…

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

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.

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  • Andy7190

    Talk is cheap.

    The action should be Fire Eakins, and if MacT won’t do that, he can go too. He should anyway.

    As for Lowe, just remove him from the Oilers part of the Katz empire.

    Yeah, Fire Eakins. Quality is job 1.

  • Andy7190

    Sorry, but I’m going to say it.
    Taylor Hall needs to shut the [email protected]%k up about the coaching as well as every other player who seems to have an opinion regarding the coach.
    Captain, best player or anyone else on the worst team in the league for 5 years don’t get a say in the matter. They all need to take a long look in the mirror.

    • i’d like to see some puke on the ice at the next oilers home game. none of the jersey tossing, no one leaving early. I want to see severely drunk people vomiting on an NHL ice surface. I want the oilers to understand that they’re ineptitude is causing people to willfully poison themselves in public.

  • S cottV

    Not for one moment do I think coaching this team would be easy for anyone.

    Managing the young gun egos and pulling the team together with all that is involved (some good / most bad) with the organization and player group – would be all that even the most seasoned veteran coach could handle.

    The strongest of leadership will be required of the coach staff and player group, if this thing is ever to be turned around.

    The fact that player group leadership is comparatively weak, as compared to most successful hockey clubs – makes highly effective coach leadership, all the more important.

    The strongest of coach leaders would have a lot more control over what his player leaders are yacking about, including any kind of side show circus involved in saving his @ss when the going was tough. A real coach leader would have clamped it down, advising anyone with those thoughts to show it on the ice – as an example to the others.

    What we are seeing in the actions of player leaders, the actions of the coach leader, the lack of player group execution, the lack of player group passion, and in general – the poor record, is coach and player leaders that are in over their heads for the very tough task at hand.

    Eakins – is no where near a top end NHL leader coach.

    MacT – thinking Eakins would work, has grossly underestimated the difficult task at hand.

  • The Last Big Bear

    “Winning is a process.”

    Yep, and sucking really REALLY bad for a really long time is a process too.

    And I’m pretty certain which process we’re looking at.

  • Clareman

    I remember watching Mac T when he was a commentator on TSN, he was commenting on the Olympic Team selection. He stated to the panel that Horcoff should have been included because he was the best 5 on 3 player in the game. Another commentator responded to him, and asked how often does a 5 on 3 happen in the Olympics. Again this summer he mentioned to the media that J Schultz could be a Norris trophy candidate. This is the guy that now decides who they draft, and trade for. Pretty easy to see why we are in the place we are.

  • WTF2

    In my opinion it’s management:

    No second line Center? Nashville has tonnes.

    Need top four D? Boychuk and Leddy were available and scooped up by the Islanders.

    Need a Goalie? Lindback and Harding on waivers. Halak, Broduer and Niemi were all available. Not to mention drafting Nurse instead of acquiring Cory Schneider.

    Need a coach? Dan Bylsma is available.

    They’ve made their bed.

    • SSB1963

      But nobody knows what the asking price is? You know every other GM is going to try and fleece MacT because of the situation he is in. Maybe standing pat for now is not that bad.

  • taz115

    Alot of things add up in the Oilers management approach over the past few years but I was likely too blinded by hope to see it at the time. Hopefully I get the order of events correct…

    Oilers hire Tom Renney the year after management declares a ‘rift’ in the dressing room and they trade Moreau, demote Souray and fire the training staff. I recall the media speculating that the older Oilers did not get along with the younger players.

    So instead of making the younger players conform the management deems that a culture change is required. Tom Renney later states that he was fired for his views not alinging with Oilers management desire to sell hope and play the younger players more despite merit not being there.

    So it appears to me, very early on that Oilers management sided/went with with their young superstars, and if you spoke out or got in the way, you were shipped out of town.

    This clearly aligns with what appears to be going on now. Clearly Hall, RNH, Eberle, Shultz are given very long leashes, ‘forgiven’ for their mistakes and put back out the next shift. Some players not so much, Yak, Maricin, Smid seem to have a much, much shorter leash. No benefit of the doubt for them.

    Now Ference speaks out saying some of the younger guys are moping around. It sounds to me like special treatment may have bred poor attitudes in the room and I think it easy to guess and see who this may apply to.

    If you spoil your kids all thier life, its tough to expect them act like adults when they hit 18. And it appears we are still doing it. I’d like to read Dallas’ auto-biography once he is done with this mess. I’d guess he may not be happy with some of the management meddling going on.

    • S cottV

      That’s funny. I was thinking yesterday about what Eakins is gonna do when MacT finally fesses up and has to let him go.

      The severance package is pretty good with a couple of years left on his deal.

      NHL Head Coach is probably out of his deal after this, but I too – thought that he could always write a tell all book about this ordeal and make a bunch of money that way.

      I would buy it…

  • Hemmercules

    Mr. Katz,

    If you are reading. I didn’t receive my $25 food and drink voucher for each of my season seats that I have for December. I heard you gave them away to people buying game by game tickets but there must be a mistake because I am a Tier 1 fan. Maybe lost in the mail? Please re-send.

    Your pal,
    LOIL99

  • Andy7190

    If the Oiler lose tonight the only thing changing amongst Oiler management will be their underwear. Does Winnipeg have any ex-Oilers that are going to score short handed tonight?

  • Anton CP

    Very nice job of Perron to DRIVE IT TO THE MIDDLE coming out of that turnover.
    Nice job,now rinse and repeat.

    Keep doing that and you will be rewarded with goals or PPs.

  • vetinari

    Normally I wouldn’t want to jinx a possible win but if somehow, somehow, they do win, it will be the first against a western conference team. Two months. Two long, bloody, frustrating, months.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    I found myself cheering for the Jets in this game. They remind me of the late 90s Oilers. When they were down by 1 I was never truly worried about the Jets’ chances.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Ah, I eagerly await the next 700 posts being sucked into a vortex known as NewAgeSys.

    Please, Oilers, hire this guy, and keep him so busy he will never post here again.