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?

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.

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.

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.

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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  • vetinari

    What do you expect when you turn the team over to teenagers and then reward them with $6M/year contracts while playing a feature role and letting your teammates worry about things like defence, back checking and shot blocking? The team is what it is because of how they let the kids do what they want rather than what they needed to do to win games.

    • vetinari

      Yup!! It’s winter time, we got a foot of snow on the ground, and all our Porches are stuck in the snow AGAIN!!

      Let’s trade some of these Porches for some Hummers, and get this gong show back on the road please.

      I have no doubt we can be a better team by clearing out this group of “stars”.

      Yeah, nobody wants current management doing the deals, but it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere, so screw it. Do something, and pleeeeease do it before the off-season.

      • vetinari

        You missed the point. I’m not necessarily saying “trade everyone”, I’m saying do a better job “training everyone.” The kids should have been learning the ropes from quality veterans and mixed in with them in a supporting capacity learning teamwork, defensive responsibility and accountability. Instead they learned to be selfish and play in one mode: freewheeling hockey where everyone else was responsible for the defence while they tried to go CHL mode.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Remember when all we had was H.O.P.E. and all was good, well now all we do is suck the H.Y.N.E. 11 is a good number, Messier, months till we get to do this all over again!!!!

  • 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.

  • Sean17

    Another Eakins mistake is he should of had an early morning practice after the Arizona game. First up – battle drills. Let the captain’s word still be fresh and maybe have the guys it was directed to take a few pops from teammates to wake them up or even those players in question prove to their teammates they are ready to battle. Turn down the suck boys!

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Can’t wait to hear more unique ways for this trio of gutless apologists to positively spin the utter lack of an NHL organization this city holds. You three make me want to puke. Your constant grovelling and protection of this abomination is enough to make me attempt to rip the car stereo out of my car so no one can ever find 630 Ched on the AM dial.

    All Stauffer looks forward to is sitting on the plane and watching Taylor Hall as he sleeps. Rob Brown can’t even distinguish reality from fantasy anymore, and because Mario Lemieux earned him a few pay cheques by bouncing the puck off his skull and into the net he believes one single player will turn this sleazy old dime bag motel into a Hyatt. Then we have Reid Wilkins, c’mon man form your own identity. Rob Brown is a moron who plugged out a lackluster career into a radio gig with an awful organization. Note to you Reid don’t be like him. Stand up for yourself and form your own opinions you spineless twit.

    630 Ched, you have outdone yourselves with your embarrassing shills you call radio personalities. The Team 1260 outclasses you in every facet imaginable. Better talent period.

    P.S you 3 freaks should all get on horses, ride into the mountains and never bother anyone again.

    • mlachockeycoach

      Don’t get me started with Stauffer that guys picture is front and centre when it comes to the word coward. Katz shows up with a wheelbarrow of money to shut up bob and he pulls the steak out of his mouth and stuffs in a wad of cash. What a sellout this guy has absolutely no credibility don’t even listen to him.

      • Stauff and Rich Winter were both actively campaigning for Katz to own the team 1-2 years before it happened. Stauff, presumably because he knew he would get to be a pitch man for the team, and Winter because agents know that nobody hands out crazier contracts than individual owners who treat teams like toys.

        And it’s cost us a million losses, and hundreds of millions in taxes that Katz will profit from. Thanks guys!

  • 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.

  • Oilfaninvan

    A couple of things were reinforced for me tonight: the Oilers have a shot at winning a game if only one of Schultz or Nikitin are playing, and – even if the rest of the Oilers decide to throw some hits, Schultz still doesn’t, and Eberle still falls down all over the place.

  • 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

  • “The Oilers need some guys in their top nine aren’t satisfied playing on the perimeter. ”

    I agree, why not throw Pinizotto or Gazdic up on the top two lines, have them rush towards the net and have Hall/ Nuge work the edges. The guy in front of the net will draw an opposing defensemen leaving a little more room for the two guys to work their magic and let the guy in front pound in a rebound. works for 29 other teams!

    At this point in the game it’s about experimenting, nothing to lose now.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Go Jets! I’m on the Jets bandwagon for the rest of the season…and possibly longer if the Oilers don’t show up on my lawn in the rain with a ghetto blaster over their head.

  • Andy7190

    Gregor you know less than I thought if your position is Eakins is the answer.

    Of course ferrence likes him, they are buddies and he gets tons more ice time than deserved. Hall loves him as well, he doesn’t have to change, improve,or be accountable…no wonder these guys like Eakins.

    If the oilers want to show any sustainable improvement they need an NHL caliber coach.

    As everyone knows as well many problems exist with the oilers other than the coach but the organization is not serious or intelligent enough if they don’t punt Eakins immediately.

    Gregor I will assume you actually are smarter than this garbage and you write crap to get the nation reading…..

    FFS fire Eakins, without that step no one is serious about any improvements.

      • SSB1963

        One question if it was a mistake to go hard after Eakins, then there were several other teams willing to make the same mistake. If he was having a winning season we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we.

        • Andy7190

          Other teams are more established in their leadership groups and their “evolution” as a group.

          For instance, Vancouver was interested. Eakins may have had better results with some elite players, if they bought in and gave it a chance.

          But I’m not sure he’s turned out to be an NHL coach.

          Don Hay wasn’t an NHL coach either in his two stints.

          Sometimes it doesn’t translate between AHL and NHL.

          Perhaps Eakins should have spent time in Toronto as an assistant with Wilson or Carlyle after becoming the next hot thing in the AHL.

          Because it sure looks like he got thrown into the deep end of the pool without swimming lessons. And he certainly isn’t having a winning season.

          If. If I had a million dollars. If I were king of the world. If Dallas Eakins was having a winning season. If.

    • Clarkopolo

      “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.

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

      Where exactly in the article does Gregor state that “Eakins is the answer”. I think the point of the article is that the players need to be better and take accountability for their crappy play rather than blaming everyone else…including the coach.

      And I agree that the coach and management has been brutal and needs to be changed, but the players have to play better too.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.