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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  • 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?

  • 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.

  • nuge2drai

    #saddesttimeinhistorytobeanoilersfan

    Hall is not the problem. Kids all heart.

    Shultz, Scrivens, Fasth, Nikitin, Purcell, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Eberle…are the problem….. Eakins, Acton, Howson, Lowe are the problem….

    Hall had the worst week of his career, countless giveaways that ended up in the net…. That being said 9/10 games he’s the best player on the team…

    Hate to see oiler fans turn on the heart and soul of this team…

    • Andy7190

      Smytty was the heart and soul of this team – Hall is the prima dona. Hopefully Pitlick will keep going to the net and become a “heart” player, he sure is proud to wear an Oilers’ jersey.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I have read a lot of thoughts & rants here. The last game I watched was the Vancouver game. (I’ve been hoping for some time now that someone in the oilers franchise would notice the “breakdown” when the opposition crosses their blue line with the puck). A Canuck crossed his blue line with the puck, petry had good position on him. Another oiler was beside the Canuck making it a one on two. By the time the Canuck was closing in on centre ice, I and probably most others were ready to see one of the 2 oilers near the puck knock the Canuck off the puck and the other oiler grab the puck and start the other way! What actually happened was the Canuck was not touched crossing his blue line, nor centre then he dumped the puck behind our net where he chased down petry, knocked him off the puck and centred it to a trailer who scored! I’ve seen this type of oiler hockey for decades now! It looks like the harder they try the bigger the mistakes! Frustrating! It’s on the players! It’s on the management! Need help with motivation do the oilers?

  • nuge2drai

    #saddesttimeinhistorytobeanoilersfan

    Hall is not the problem. Kids all heart.

    Shultz, Scrivens, Fasth, Nikitin, Purcell, Draisaitl, Yakupov, Eberle…are the problem….. Eakins, Acton, Howson, Lowe are the problem….

    Hall had the worst week of his career, countless giveaways that ended up in the net…. That being said 9/10 games he’s the best player on the team…

    Hate to see oiler fans turn on the heart and soul of this team…

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    This game is up-tempo because so many possesions are not being chased down nd competed for,once these teams get their first shot at breaking through the n-zone with structure if it isnt good then they just dump it in and give it up,then both defenses have lots of time to exit their zone because there is no hard forechecking just lot of n-zone congestion,everyone looking for those short give and goes entering the o-zones.

    Might be a good idea to look for more of a direct route to the net coming out of the n-zone after those n-zone battles,the Peggers are looking to use some passing once they cross the blueline coming in,maybe when the Oilers win those n-zone battles they should blitz it straight to the net,trying to get it into the middle so they can draw penaltys from both sides on the way in.

    If the game is being boiled down to n-zone chess with no serious forechecking or backchecking deep then you have little time coming out of the n-zone from those scrambles,you make short ten foot passes quickly or you blitz it to the net in a sprint up the middle.

  • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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

    • 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.

  • ubermiguel

    Eakins was the “it” coach and was being courted by more that just the Oilers. He has done some odd things as coach, but how many coaches have been run out of town by some variation of these sad sacks? Most of the players need an attitude adjustment.

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      The funny thing about him being the “IT” coach is that the stories were coming from him and his agent.

      From what I hear through my legitimate, though admittedly limited, connections is that many of the teams that were on the cusp of signing him (Vancouver for example) were actually not interested at all. Moreover, with the Vancouver interview his agent called them to request a meeting, not the other way around.

      Kind of like telling your high school crush that you have a date with someone else to see if it will get them to respond…

  • Zarny

    Very nice job of the Oilers to begin sending lots of forechecking pressure in late in the period,not high speed reckless pressure,but structured patient pressure looking for the Peggers to make mistakes.

    They have brought numbers up out of the n-zone now to push the river on the Peggers,but the best part is it is patient and looking to trap them on mistakes as they try to make their own transition out of their zone into the n-zone….ha ha ha…that is what they were trying to do to us in a more conservative way since the beginning of the period.They were just stcking everyone in the n-zone then slowly coming in to pressure high on our blueline with numbers as we tried to exit the zone.

    I like that we are bringing the pressure into their zone quickly but are not over-comitting and going to deep at break-neck speed,we are just taking their process away from them by interfering with their defensive zone exits,the patience is perfect letting them hang themselves and trying to tag them on a mistake high in their zone on the blueline or in the n-zone without being overcommitted is good tactic.Keeping our d-men back 2 steps when doing this is also a good idea.The 3rd mn in on the forecheck needs to remember to drive any looses pucks to the net hard because his deeper support is keeping good body position and not getting caught on the wrong side of the pucks so anything squirting out will catch their d-men picked out of the plays,so dont hesitate,hang up pretty high but when you see it take it to the bucket up the middle knowing you have teammates bodies picking their defense out already.Nice high quick release shots,their tender will be worried about the action behind him and be screened by your patient teammate positioned in front of the net.

    The advantage to the patient forecheck is that your first men in dont over-commit and end up on the wrong side of the puck on the boards,keeping the forecheckers always on the right side of the puck picks out their d-men by proxy.You get a different type of structured pressure than from a berserker style focus,one looking for mistakes they can bury quickly without worrying to much about pssing,quick-strike.

    With everything developing in the n-zone getting inside position on them in front of their net by using a patient controlled forecheck with staggered N/S support is critical.

    On these quick turnaround type of offensive situations being produced by this type of battle shooting high corners from high in their zone near the blueline from the middle straight on is perfect .Same ways they used to burn Devan,just let it go from high on the blueline in the middle straight on top corners or elbows whenever you pick up loose pucks there..

    • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

      Are you applying for a job as the next coach for the Oilers or do you just have this masochistic tendency to write stuff no one likes?

  • 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

  • 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.”

  • Lumley

    Oilers 6 Jets 2. I just got the good feeling about this one, they worked out the kinks in these last 10 games and are ready to make a big push.

    EDIT – SARCASM FONT –

  • YFC Prez

    I am not complining but the dam Refs sure are keeping those whistles dry,the oilers deserve a call or two now they are driving the puck up the middle and drawing pressure and not getting penaltys called.

    Sooner thn later one of these will be so blatant they will have to call it,keep taking it to them up the gut to the middle fellas.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Did I just see that player laughing at us in the post game?Saying he”does enjoy” playing us?

    Oh well,back on track to break the record I guess.

    I did like the lines however,they looked great and played very well together tonight.

    I guess the Team will have to take one for Andrew tonight,and leave it at that.I guess Captains need mulligans to,good thing Leon is playing so well he has some to share with the vets.

  • HockeyYoda

    They have been looking for that late man all game long,that was the exact same playaction Scrivens made a great sve on earlier,that lte man coming out of the n-zone should have been red flagged already,dammit.Watch for the picks in the n-zone.

    I would start taking possesions to the net with speed out of the n-zone,bursts of speed when you pick up the pucks there.

    Or get forechecking and pressure them,but if you keep with the n-zone chess you need to begin getting shots on net,they are prepared for this chess match,they are picking you out of the playactions in the n-zone,they are also redy to defend those short passing playctions coming out of the n-zone at them,so sprinting it in on them is the best option.

    Or just ditch the n-zone game and start using the fast-break and dump-nd-chase.

    They ARE prepared better for this n-zone style,the Oilers are better prepared to use all 200 feet of the ice,if they pop another one in on the Oil the volume better go up.

    Personally I would refuse to play this n-zone chess,they are in their comfort zone,I would force them to play a 200 foot game.Make them skate,wear them down.

    Get harder on their d-men to wear them down.

    Nice job Nuge!!!!

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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……..now 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.

        • 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…

        • 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.

    • 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.

  • Con-Air McDavid

    I posted this a while ago somewhere else, thought it was relevant again w/ the above conversation.

    Ever since Hall was drafted, we’ve been led to believe that the Oil had a true, offensively elite NHL top line of Hall-Nuge-Ebs. But on how many competitive teams would these three really be the top line?

    Nuge would be a third line centre in Chicago, well behind Toews and even Richards in terms of reliability, aggression, and other intangibles. Is he better than Getzlaf? Kessler? Probably not. He’s third line in Anaheim too. In LA, yikes. I’d have to think hard about giving him more minutes than Richards.

    Same story with Hall. Do you feel more confident in winning the game with him on the ice, or with Marchand and Lucic? The toe-drag is old, its not an advantage anymore. In LA, rookie Tanner Pearson has shown more offensive flair. Hall might be the one of the three closest to elite in his position, but honestly, thats just because the NHL as a whole is pretty shallow in LW (CHI, ANA).

    And Ebs? He’s third line in Anaheim, LA, St. Louis….

    Now I know part of this isn’t all about skill, just that they’re all so one dimensional. Pass, wrist shot, repeat. Not fast, heavy, strong or aggressive enough to play in the top 6 on more teams than we’d care to admit. That’s a big reason why trading Ebs and Hall in particular for a centre is so tough. No team is going to see them as legit top line players, because they lack so many other areas of their game. If I’m GM, I keep Nuge around as a second line centre, but those other two can’t be out the door quick enough. Get some defense and start building up a team, realizing that top draft picks do not guarantee top players.

    • ubermiguel

      I think it was a big mistake declaring Hall the future of the franchise so early. He may turn into an elite player someday, but today it’s debateable. I am also strongly doubting his leadership skills. If Ference takes him under his wing, and those two form a united front that holds everyone accountable (including themselves) we might be able to salvage an actual team from this mess of players.

    • Clarkopolo

      I tend to agree with you on Eberle…he is a very one dimensional player and if he isn’t scoring, then he doesn’t give you much. I think he could be a 2nd line scoring winger IF the rest of your top 6 was very good.

      However, while I agree that Nuge might be a 3rd line center on Chicago, I think saying he is a 3rd line guy on the best team in the league is a little unfair. Toews had 191 points in his 222 games (first 3 seasons), while Nuge has 148 points in his first 205 games. While Toews had a higher average, keep in mind there are two other factors – Chicago sent Toews back to Junior when he was 18 and Chicago was good enough to win the Cup in his 3rd season…meaning he was playing for a much better team.

      And comparing Tanner Pearson (who has a grand total of 20 career points in 50 games) to Hall is a bit ridiculous. Yes…he has some flaws in his game, but point-a-game players don’t grow on trees.

  • Anton CP

    If you want to exit your zone and defeat this pressure they are using,dam simple at that with two slow mover forechecking the middle of the zone and a support man looking to come in out of the n-zone up-speed with momentum catching you all flatfooted,then you need to initiate contact and remove their forecheckers hanging in the middle ,stack your men exiting and drive the puck carrier right into the forechecker high speed full on brutal drive them over taking 100% center body mass and letting the puck fall behind them for their stacked support,once you rush t them and hit one of their forecheckers and catch the puck with your stacked support and speed you will be able to penetrate deep into their zone quickly,their d-men cheat and come way up to support their system so when you bring the puck out of your zone with speed you can ctch them.

    So just surprise them,stack 2 or 3 guys and then drive it AT the first forechecker you see kamikazee and make sure you pick him out of the playaction cleanly,then your stcked support should be getting to those pucks with speed as they exit the zone.

    I love saying this,think Flying-V impacts,just “pick| em off one by one head on and power through.if you do catch them this way you will have good speed if your d-men are greenlit to drive it deep.

    When you stack up to exit the zone send two out with the puck tight together to ehgage the pick play and upspeed penetration of the n-zone and then bring the 3rd one in late fifteen feet behind them,and if anything goes wrong he can again pick up the loose pucks upspeed nd penetrte again.Just stack the men N/S and pick out the forecheck,then use upspeed to penetrate the n-zone and take it deep,they are abbreviating this and executing it out of the n-zone,you can do it coming out of your own zone if you stack em up and pick em out..

  • S cottV

    In a nutshell instead of using a drop pass to engage an up-speed zone transition to catch the opponent flat-footed,you can as you exit your zone drive INTO or EXPLODE into the forechecker head-on center body mass picking his BODY out,then your stacked teammate coming in from behind engages the up-speed action coming off of the LEGAL PICK PLAY.Just remember to keep two tight exiting at high speed looking to engage the 1st forechecker they see,BEFORE they hit the n-zone,the 2nd of them should get the upspeed advantage if not the 3rd man coming out will,the man engaging the forechecker MUST remeber to curly back after the hit and become the deep support.

    • 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?

      .902
      .891
      .861

  • Quicksilver ballet

    This is a n-zone chess match,no deep aggressive forechecking by nyone,you can see the Oilers being patient and crefull when they approach the n-zone,hall is definately adjusting his game and being patient nd cycling the puck into open ice buying time to make the right break-in to the n-zone.

    Nice save by Scrivens on the late shooter there.

  • YFC Prez

    Where did that nice forecheck go?

    Back to the n-zone chess again.

    This is dangerous,it is their Wheelhouse,you are going toe to toe with them in their own Sandbox now,gutsy decision.

    If you dont pressure them on their d-zone exits you are playing their style and the odds lean towards them.

    It is definately a battle attitude,and Dallas and Ramsay are not afraid to go head to head in the n-zone with the Peggers Coaches.

    I would still sprint those pucks coming out of those n-zone duels up the middle right to the net looking to draw some penaltys.Turn this into a special teams game.

    • D'oh-ilers

      Brayden Schenn: 17 points in 24 games and can play a strong defensive game if needed.

      Luke Schenn: Shutdown defender with size, hits everything that moves.

      Nail Yakupov: 7 points in 25 games, sort of pays attention sometimes on defense.

      Justin Schultz: Avoids physical contact like the plague. Waves his stick around defensively like he just dropped E and thinks it’s a glow stick and he’s at a rave concert.

      Neither one are great at this stage in their careers, but they’re better than what the Oilers are playing with right now.

  • Tikkanese

    Gregor predicted a loss, we all know what that means.

    2-1 Oilers OT win in a shoot out. GWG scored by none other than NUGE….

    Which sucks because this team might as well tank for mcdavid at this point.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Why do anything this season , wait till after we draft Connor or Jack then clean house , start the rebuild over see what Hall,Yak City , JUltz and Ebs can fetch us this summe r. Give 5 mill to Babcock and go from there .

    • YFC Prez

      The Oilers are in the unenviable position of having to make wholesale changes to the team before Mc David comes in or risk wasting his talents as clearly as they have wasted their previous 1st round picks, kids don’t develop in isolation, they need support and mentoring, most teams don’t rebuild from scratch, they are always stuck with some older NMC players that provide ‘the kids’ with proper habits, kick a little arse when needed ( like now).
      What they need are some of the easiest things to aquire in the NHL, older players reaching the end of their expensive contracts that bring stability to a younger team for a year or two.
      That the management has taken so long that the team can’t afford the cap room to do this is staggeringly incompetent.