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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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  • 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.

  • Gordie Wayne

    I miss Dougie Weight…the way a captain gets his players going is not by whining to the media.

    Here is a quote from Doug Weight on a period of time which feels so long ago now:

    “It was my second year of being captain. We were struggling maybe five points out of a playoff spot. I held a 10 minute meeting on the ice. I was never the type of leader that was comfortable calling people out and I’m still not. I really challenged about seven or eight guys and I ended by really challenging myself. I’m proud of that moment, looking back, because we had 10 straight wins or something like that. We tied a record with the Oilers of the early 80s and making the playoffs. It was an amazing stretch for me to be a part of, to be a leader. I feel pretty proud about that.”

    I remember this moment distinctly and it is obvious that it affected the players based on the results it produced. This is how a captain leads!!!

    I miss you Dougie!!!

    Can we please get another Dougie Weight?

      • Tikkanese

        Weight has always been nothing but class, has the respect of everyone and is a very intelligent person. Basically the complete opposite of the current braintrust.

        The Islanders turnaround also started pretty much the same time he became a part of their braintrust. Coincidence?

      • Gordie Wayne

        What I am wishing for is another Doug Weight on the ice…not in management (although I wouldn’t care if they did bring him in as POHO if it meant Lowe was shown the door).

        He was pure gold for the Oilers.

        Sigh…it’s pretty bad when I look back and would probably trade the entire 2014-15 roster for the 2001 roster.

        At least we saw major effort on the ice every night.

    • Andy7190

      Just loved this. Can we please get another Doug Weight. Or bring in Doug Weight to do something, he can be the manager maybe? Head coach? Goalie coach? chief of scouting? Just anything. Loved #39 back in the day.

      While we are at, whats Bill Guerin doing these days?

      • Derzie

        No more old boys. How can you get Katz to break the habit if the first thing you do is the same damn line of thinking. The past is the past, never to be repeated.

    • ubermiguel

      I remember that year so clearly, it was 2001 and it was a good time to be an Oilers fan. I respect Dougie so much his Cup win is the only thing that takes the sting out of 2006.

      It’s worth noting that was KLowe and MacT’s first year as GM and coach respectively.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 NHL.com) 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.

        #ToHallWithTaylor

        • 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.

  • a few years back, in the Horcoff/Moreau days, it was said there was a rift in the dressing room between the “old guard”, and the kids. They shipped out the vets, made this the kids team and now – a rift between hard working veterans and the kids. Sounds to me like the prima dona kids may be a big problem.

    • Andy7190

      I recall that too however, that was pre-Hall/Eberle/RNH. I believe Ethan Moreau was one of these commenting on this being the case. He was shipped out the year prior to Rebuild 2.0 starting.

      That said, I’m not sold on all of the current core being the solution, physically or mentally (as in cultural wise). As Ferrence stated, guys are “moping around” (my first guess is J Shultz followed by Eberle, by that’s just me). I don’t care who that is, get them away from/off the team because cancer spreads! It shouldn’t matter what the return is, cancer kills. Period. If they are doing more harm than good you get them out of there and take whatever you can. Something, anything, is better than have a ‘negative’component on the team. Team Building 101.

  • 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…

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/everything-needs-to-change-in-oilers-organization/

  • 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.

  • ubermiguel

    “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…”

    I was hoping the Oil Kings could swing a deal with them to bring Drai to town at least. That part of Katz’s hockey empire is performing well.

  • Hemmercules

    Why is Hall making public statements about the team and/or coach.

    He is the number one problem.

    If the likes of Benn, Pacioretty or Parise played head down, one way, turnover hockey, they would all score 40 goals in 40 games, would be minus 40 and would then be out for the remainder of each season due to concussions.

    This is his 5th season. He’s got 265 games under his belt. If he doesn’t know how to play properly by now, it’s not anyone’s fault but his own.

    • Hemmercules

      Love this comment. I have been saying for almost 4 years now that I would trade Hall in the blink of an eye. He is the cancer that is pivotal to a lot of our woes, and because he feels he is “untouchable” he calls the shots and management and coaching staff kowtow to him. Bench him, trade him but do SOMETHING with him (perhaps a slap around the side of the head?)

  • bradleypi

    “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.”

    Well as of last game, he hasnt done this. Hall should have been benched after the first penalty and DEFINITLY after the second. I dont give a damn if hes our best player. He singlehandely had a hand in 3 Phoenix goals in 10 minutes…..Accountability.

    Eakins has shown no signs of being able to properly manage these clowns. I dont see that changing tonight.

  • rnj

    Nothing is going to change with the Oilers organization because Katz has Lowe’s balls hanging on one side of his face and MacT’s ball’s hanging on the other side of his face.

  • tileguy

    From Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

    My suspicion is that he will be let go after a loss on Wednesday in Winnipeg, and MacTavish will take over behind the bench with assistant Craig Ramsay. Eakins was never ready for this job, and like his predecessors, has let the young players run amok, with leashes so long that the rank and file players simmer every time they suffer another minus on yet another egregious Taylor Hall giveaway.

    • Hemmercules

      Man I hope he’s right but with Eakins getting the vote of confidence from the captain and the golden boy I have a feeling it aint happening. If Mact was in fear for his job he would have fired Eakins 5 games ago.

  • 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

  • Con-Air McDavid

    Eakins has made mistakes, and no doubt deserves much of the scorn being thrown his way by Oilersnation.

    However, he faces the media and always acts like a pro and never throws his players under the bus.

    Where is MacT? Where is Katz and KBlowe?

    Gutless

    • Con-Air McDavid

      I agree100%.They should help shield some of the negativity.You cant hide under a rock forever.On a side note Rock Or Bust the new AC/Dc makes me HappyHappyHappy.
      Hey Mac Six Rings Katz wakey wakey hibernating like a bear doesnt work in this city.Show some gonads please

    • Anton CP

      MacT is still sitting in his box, staring at the tv with that dumb stupid open mouthed stare thinking, how did we manage to get a point outta this one. i thought we had the loss in the bag with 4 minutes left and a 2 1 lead.

      • hankthetank

        Sad but true. Management is probably mad they got a point. They might not win the draft litter if they keep getting points likes this. Better trade Perron quick

    • 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 ?

  • 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.