Reverse Mailbag – My Questions for OilersNation

YourTurn

Every week I answer five questions from all of you. The good, bad and dumb questions are all answered. It is now your turn to answer mine. I only have three questions. I couldn’t compete with your ability to produce five.

Here you go!

Podium

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

1 – Why do you want Katz, MacT or Lowe to come out and speak? 

This makes no sense to me. What do you want to hear? An apology? A plan? Are you looking to be inspired? Talk is just that…talk. It’s not going to change anything. 

As a player, I was always about results. If a teammate or a coach told me they were going to do something I would think it’s great, they are talking a good game, lets see how this goes.  If a guy said he wanted to get stronger, would I see him in the gym the next morning? If he was concerned about his weight, would I see him putting back bagels dripping in cream cheese the next morning? He wanted to kill penalties, so would he flamingo all over the ice when shots were coming at him?

Talk is easy and cheap. Results are all that matters. Anyone can say they want to change or improve, but putting a plan into action is much harder.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Personally, I don’t need to hear from anyone in the organization. This won’t do anything for me. I suppose, if it is an action press conference, where a change is happening with the staff or a trade, then I would be interested. I am not interested, however, in a state of the union. Quite frankly you shouldn’t be either.

ShooterTutor

2 – Why are the goalies blamed for so much of the lack of success for the Oilers?

Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth have yet to prove they are NHL starters. That day may never come, however, since they are both fighting for their lives in the net every night.  Right now, they’re getting very little consistent support around them from their teammates. The lack of an overall team defensive structure, and consistent ability to play it, has got to be frustrating for these two. These goalies face five bell chances every single period. Breakaways, two on ones, three on twos, and top NHL snipers being left in the slot alone happens far too frequently. 

These two have let in some bad goals, and they have owned up to it. But why do you all let the skaters off the hook with their defensive play? I can’t understand it. Yes, the goalies are easy targets to pin a failed season on, but there’s plenty of blame to spread around. 

Shoot

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

3 – Why is it just assumed that Oilers scorers that are struggling to score will simply rebound to their “previous” shooting percentage of years past?

This may be the most baffling of my three questions. This question is the one I would really want some clear answers for. 

I get that players go through tough times, and that their previously set benchmarks are what becomes expected for them. But if a player is struggling to score is it just luck that turns around for them? Can it be that easy? LUCK? In a game that players work out, and practice all year to prepare for, success comes down to the worst phrase in hockey: “PUCK LUCK?” No, it doesn’t.

Goals are earned the hard way. You don’t score goals by shooting from the perimeter, or trying to tip pucks in with a long stick so you don’t get roughed up in front of the goalie. Scoring goals hurts, and it should because it is so much fun to do. 

An example is Yakupov. His shooting percentage is 5.5%. Down from 9.0% last season. He is playing too much on the perimeter. He needs to get to the net, and battle for position and goals. That will get him on track and open up for the further out shots he likes to shoot. That is what will increase his goal total and shooting percentage. It won’t just go up on it on because that is what has happened in the past. He needs to change his playing habits, not pray to the hockey gods for the words phrase in hockey, “PUCK LUCK”

I now leave it to you, OilersNation. Answer my three questions like I answer your five every week. You owe me, and I am genuinely interested in your answers.

  • Young Oil

    1. For me, just to show accountability, own up to their failure, and show that there is a pulse at the top of the organization.

    2. I don’t think people who are watching the games are doing this. The team’s defensive play is clearly horrible, and they are hanging the goalie out to dry multiple times every game. Sure, the goalies haven’t been great, but they’ve been no worse than the rest of the team.

    3. Statistics dictates regression to the mean over large sample sizes. However, the way that the Oilers have been playing this season, it is hard to believe that things are going to improve much, and this form may be their new mean, unless changes are made.

  • Prongers Promises

    1.) It shows the fan base they are human, on the same level even. Instead of hiding behind 10000000 thread count egyptian cotton sheets “We understand your frustration and we are doing everything we can (HAHA) to come up with a solution. Stick with us. WE LOVE YOU”

    2.)I agree with you. Its hard to swim with concrete blocks tied to your feet.

    3.)Puck luck doesnt exist. You have to be good to be lucky. Eliminate the luck portion and what do you have left? You have to be good. Getting to the greasy areas and battling. Its not going to change if you dont make change. Stop making excuses.

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) People dont want to hear empty words frok management, they want to hear that changes are being made. That something positive is being done, rather than just staying this same disastrous course.

    2) The goalies are catching flak because they were sold by management and the Edmonton media as being a major part of the solution. Virtually every article on this site pointed to these guys as being a major source of improvement over previous seasons. The fans were promised starters, and they’re mad now that they don’t have starters.

    3) Because *most* of the time, big variations outside of league average shooting % are not long- term. People are assuming that Yakupov hasn’t suddenly forgotten how to shoot, or how to get into a scoring position. A dramatic drop in shooting percentage from what he has already demonstrated at the NHL level is pretty unlikely. He may be playing differently at the moment, but there’s no reason to expect that he *wont* rebound.

  • Cletus Spuckler

    1. I agree completely there is no need to hear anything and furthermore I would rather that they do nothing at this point as well, as hard as it is to accept for a fan this “rebuild” is continuing. Results in my mind right now are strictly on the players and their execution of the game plan. Recently the game plan has not been letting the team down it has been individual actions (read mistakes) of the players that has been the downfall of the team.

    2. I agree again, the goalies have owned their mistakes, see above for team execution of the game plan.

    3. This however I disagree with, the players will rebound if they choose to. The fact is that they have found the success previously and therefore are capable.

  • Joe Mamma

    1. I don’t. If I wanted to hear from an A-hole, I’d let one rip.

    2. I don’t blame them. The testtube love child of Brodeur, Hasek, and Roy couldn’t excel on this no-defence, no-grit “team.”

    3. I don’t. I’d love to add something to your point here Struds, but you nailed it on the head. Here’s some nice hyperbole that Ol’ MetaphorMouth Eakins would love… No guts, no glory. Chop some wood and haul that water bub.

  • Kevwan

    All right Struds – The generic answer is because we’re fans and we care about our team. Good starts by the Flames, Canucks and Jets haven’t helped our mood.

    1. I’d rather have seen some action – acquiring talent that would help this team moving forward. Since that didn’t happen, maybe an explanation of why changes couldn’t be made or knowing what the plan is going forward would be OK. I’m not a big fan of pressers at any time, but think about it when you were a player. Did you talk to the press only after wins or did you make yourself available after losses also?

    2. It’s been this way since I can remember. Goalies (and coaches) usually get to much credit for wins and to much blame for losses. Both Fasth and Scrivens have had some really good games this year -it just seems like they let in goals at the worst possible times. It also doesn’t help that Calgary and Vancouver upgraded successfully through free agency while MacT gave up picks for these 2.

    3. I think this talk is the stats related crowd and is more media driven than from the average fan. Your inference in this question is that the Oilers aren’t playing tough enough and none of us will argue that. I’d prefer regression to mean over regression to the mean any day.

  • vetinari

    1. You want our money, you want our support and you want our loyalty, show some reciprocity and show us your plan. Almost all major pundits agree that changes would have happened by now in other organizations so explain to us your logic and why you have such faith in the guy below you in the organizational ladder.

    2. The goalies are the most visible sign of a team’s struggles. Let in a knuckleball from outside the redline and that is what everyone remembers. The defence and the forwards need to own up for their share of this mess but a goalie has no other job than to stop pucks. At least players at other positions can offer something if the scoring or defence isn’t there (it may be points, toughness or checking) but a goalie has little else to offer.

    3. I hate the “return to average” stats guys because an exceptionally good or bad season skews everything. Also, it doesn’t account for aging, diminishment of abilities or a change in style or technique that changes his production levels.

  • vetinari

    1) I’d like to hear from Katz at the end of the season when he can interview from a position of strength not weakness like the Oilers do during the season. Keep the course this season draft McDavid and get rid of Lowe, MacT, and Eakins in the off season.

    2)I don’t think much of OilersNation blames the goalies, its evident that Dubnyk is thriving when he has NHL defence and structure playing in front of him. I feel bad for Scrivens and Fasth they are being thrown to the wolves out there.

    3)I don’t believe players shooting % will rebound if their having a tough season but that it’s up to the player to compete. If he isn’t going to score us goals he better play a solid 2 way game and lay out some players. Be effective in some way. Have heart.

  • Herm

    1. That’s actually a really easy answer. They’ve made some tremendous mistakes and those are attributable to what is now, after a decade-long pattern, a sense of arrogance.

    If they want to keep their jobs, they must come out and apologize. Apologize for hiring exclusively from within. Apologize for leaving blatant holes in the roster, even as the lowest blogger can spot them from a mile away. Apologize for creating a fostering a culture of favoritism for Hall, Nuge, Eberle, and Schultz. Those 4 get away with murder on the ice without a single second taken off their ice time. Marincin or Yakupov (who I admit are far from perfect) make the same mistakes and are demoted or stapled to the bench. No wonder Yak has regressed. He played hard, played smart, and saw his ice time cut after every mistake. He watches Hall and Ebs make the same mistakes without consequences.

    2. I don’t blame the goalies at all. Hasek and maybe Roy could backstop this team to a playoff berth, if they were having a career season.

    3. I’m not assuming that and I disagree with it. PDO is a stupid stat.

    • Herm

      Good point on #1. I would add: PLAY YAK MORE! Play him more on the power play. Get him 20 minutes a game. Play him on the 1st line. They have to find out what they have with this number 1 pick. Whats the worst that can happen? They can’t go any lower in the standings.

  • Concur

    1. To show that they accept responsibity and that there’s a reasonable course of action in place or soon to be in place to turn it around.
    I didn’t expect this unless Eakins is let go.

    2. I don’t buy that. The underlying reason as to why our goalies’ save percentage is down is the horrific play in front of them. Until we play our 6 best defensemen in roles with icetime that suits their strengths and minimizes their weaknesses, the goalies are off the hook in my book. If Eakins is making the calls on our defensemen, that’s ineptitude. If MacT is over reaching his bounds, that’s meddling.

    3. As with #2, coaching is to blame here. Our offensive system is some twisted hybrid of a Eakins dump offense from last year and Tyler Dellow’s stat-driven possession play. We’re not shooting from good scoring areas, and our offense consists of ringing the puck around the outside along the boards, more playing keep-away than trying to score goals. We need to attack off the rush and once gaining the zone, keep the puck without the crutch of the cycle and get it to high scoring areas with speed and puck movement. You know, like we did under Krueger.

  • BlazingSaitls

    1. “Hi. Im Katz. I love hockey, I love the Oilers, my vision has been clouded.

    It hasn’t worked.

    I have fired Kevin Lowe and replaced him with Bob Nicholson. Bob has been offered the position of POHO but has declined. He has agreed to fulfill the role of POHO on a temporary basis and will begin an exhaustive search to hire a POHO that will bring a winning culture to the Oilers franchise.

    Once a new POHO is in place he will begin to truly rebuild this organization. Thank you for your unmatchable patience Oilers fans”

    2. Refer to answer #1. It will be addressed with a new POHO.

    3. Refer to answer #1. It will be addressed with a new POHO.

  • vetinari

    Hey Oiler fans…come on over to the RED side….

    1) Stamps Grey cup Champs..likely will repeat!

    2) Flames 2 year rebuild almost over. Play-offs this season and Lord Stanley very shortly!

    3) Committed ownership and management that holds themselves, players, coaches and everyone else in the organization accountable to each other for winning!

    4) See you soon…….

  • Igor Ulanov 55

    1. Accountability begins at the top. There has been little accountability for a decade of spectacular failures.

    2. There is no shortage of goats on this team. People on ON are starting to blame Hall.

    3. Please interview Tyler Dellow (RIP) for perspective on this.

  • Andy7190

    1. To fire Lowe. I’d say MacT too, but the Lowe’s replacement should get to make that call.

    2. The same reason quarterbacks catch the most flack in the NFL. Goalies are in the spotlight, and the only ones on the ice the entire game. With a team with confidence as fragile as the Oilers have shown this year one softy seems to be able to open the floodgates (of hell).

    3. Absolutely players need to crash the net, and get to areas that have higher odds of resulting in goals. At the end of the day though relying on getting to those areas to score is also relying on statistics. All of that is to say you’re right, but so are the analytics folks. Putting too many eggs in one basket is how this team wound up full of small, fast, skilled wingers.

  • Andy7190

    1) Completely agree, it will accomplish nothing. It will only fuel the fan base to twist, regurgitate and analyze each word. Ie. “know something about winning” etc. I want to hear from them only if something is done. Otherwise it is pointless.

    2) I blame both, easy/soft goals, and few if any games that I can recall this year where our goalie was better than the visiting goalie furthermore from the cooler talk most people I believe blame the power play appears to give more chances then it generates. This is something know one I talk to can figure out. Do you have any ideas.

    3) I think with all the b..s..t focused advanced stats people go crazy on stats. There is general view that past performance is directly correlated to future, obviously not always true.

  • Herm

    1. We don’t want them to come and speak we want some action. Lowe gone, MacT gone, Howson gone, Eakins gone. After another season in the damn toilet and doing worse in the standings while doing better “STATISTICALLY” does not mean anything. 10 game losing skid, any other team in the league would have had heads rolling already.

    2. Goalies, You don’t let some rookie come and score two short handed break away goals. Those were weak goals easily stopped. They don’t even show emotion I want to see some “Giveadamnittude”. Ship them out.

    3. Shooting percentage, the whole team has regressed in shooting and point production, that is not on the players thats on this bush league coaching group we have.

    Let me also add Jason, that if any player in that room has checked out, any GM worth his salt would have punched his ticket out of here. Its obvious from the play from Gazdic, Pinizotto, Pitlick that there are some hungry players in OKC and they want to play.

    After 12831828381 seasons out of the play offs and this being season 5 of the “Official” rebuild. Fans have had it and spoken with their wallets when it is cheaper for me to see a Oilers game than a Rush game that is HUGE red flag and if I was the owner I would have been on a jet the moment the fifth goal was scored on us last night.

    My first act would be to fire the whole works in that office and leave Howson on as interim GM, I would hire Dan Bylsma as head coach of the Oilers.

    I would then spend some time with my players after all I am paying their salary and get a feel for where they are at and reassure them that this will no longer be acceptable, I will provide them with the support system to make them great they in turn have to do their part and go out there and play like they may never play again.

    During the transition period I would hold a genuine interview process with all candidates so that come June 2015 I have a competent staff in place to handle the team.

    Also during this time I would be hiring and investing heavily in our scouting department, we live in the northern most city in North America that houses a professional hockey team, we either over pay and pray to be competitive or we build within and develop prospects properly and efficiently. Anyone can draft a Hall or Nugent-Hopkins. Great teams draft Datsyuk’s, Zetterberg’s or your Mark Streit’s to name a few.

    Hockey is a cut throat results based business and has no room for nepotism or living in the shadow of greats, live in the now not the past.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    1) Because the entire league is watching this situation now. They’re looking/searching for any proven trinket of progress in that so called plan they implemented over 5 yrs ago. Speak and prove you haven’t just lied till they turned blue in the face. For the tier 1 fans sake, since they know so, so much about winning.

    2)That is just part of playing that position. These guys would be fine if they had properly guided d’men and system in front of them. Eakins is still forcing the players to fit his mold instead of making the most with what he has. He’s in way over his head trying to sell a plan these players want nothing to do with. Leadership is everything, and Edmonton has zero of that from Katz on down.

    3)You can’t measure shooting percentage when the games mean nothing. When is the last time this franchise played games that matter. There’s nothing at stake every evening and half the team would welcome a fresh new start on a new team. Progress shouldn’t be measured while the building is engulfed in flames. Nobody trusts anybody on this team. They all want out from under this toxic management group.

    Only 60 pre season games to go in this season.

  • 1. They need to speak cuz we love to watch em squirm

    2. The goalies were questionable before the season, and haven’t played well, they deserve some venom

    3. Ask the stats geeks this one. My eyeballs see too many wannabe heros putting up zeros not playing as a team

  • Why is it just assumed that Oilers scorers that are struggling to score will simply rebound to their “previous” shooting percentage of years past?

    Uhhhh…maybe because every FancyStats guy on every FancyStats blog post and every FancyStats comment posting zealot on said blog posts has been saying so?

    Just a guess.

  • Lumley

    1. The only speaking I want to hear is that Hairdo Dallas has been fired
    2. I just want the goalies to stop the puck, steal some games, make the saves they should make.
    3. I don’t think any of the stars will be any good.

    I also think the Oilers suck and will continue to suck for another 5 years. As much as I love the team that’s what I think.

    Mactavish told Darren Dregor the other day Eakins is a “10 year guy”

  • Herm

    Jason,

    1) They don’t have to speak to us but I compare it to being at a restaurant- If you order and you see others getting food delivered to them (Who ordered after you) and you are left wondering “what is going on” where is my order or in this case gameplan (Re-build)
    If the waiter comes out and explains to you what is going on and how much longer your order may take you are somewhat O.K. but if you hear nothing then you are left to your own imagination. If we hear from the powers that be and the responses to questions from the media then we are allowed to make an informed decision that there are people who, A) care about the fan and B) have a plan of attack to help move this forward

    2) The goalies are not the only reason for the teams lack of success but the optics of letting a goal in from centre or a give away by a goalie that ends up in the back of our net is a lot different than a 10 bell save made by smith on Yak in the slot and those are the saves we haven’t seen this year

    3) I think will change when the players decide to put the effort in and go to the greasy area’s and just shoot the puck and go to the net.

    • Herm

      The real greasy area seems to be in ownership and management. It will take a tremendous amount of
      DAWN to clean up this mess.Call a plumber to snake the clogging!!!!

  • PeterTZ

    1) I could care less about the management coming to the microphone. I want to hear D. Katz and B. Nicholson clearly state they’ve found a transition team to replace the current front office. Particularly a new GM that has a free reign to replace the scouting staff as needed and the coaching staff. Do it now, so we are ready for the off-season. Enough from MacT ad Lowe, empty and hollow blah blah.

    2) The point of the spear so to speak. They are the last defence and as a result are the ones most keenly focused on. I believe that is incorrect. 1) the defence allows far too many odd man rushes (as a team) and excellent scoring chances. 2) Very poor clearing in front of the net and the D zone. All goalies let in the occasional soft one. You can find hall of famers with examples of that. This is about the team in front of the goalie not doing the jobs they should to help the goalie succeed.

    3) Current style of play is shot totals. Doesn’t matter if they are GOOD shots, just shots. No one drives the net, no one screens, when did you last see a tip in goal? Until #1 happens with a new coaching staff to teach these guys, scoring will continue to drop.

    • Gezer

      Exceptionally fine answer which I would agree with completely.

      1. Enough with the excuses. We’re going to start accountability at the top, with these changes….

      2. These goalies were “great” last year before the Oilers because they played for great teams. Once the Oilers start doing their jobs effectively and consistently these goalies will ‘suddenly’ be playing much better. …and if an occasional softie or blunder gets by them, GET OVER IT! Go out and score another to support your goalie and play as a team rather than accept that as an excuse for your own crap play.

      3. The biggest and most important stat of all-time is WINS. Wins consist of scoring more than the opponent, which has two components: TEAM SCORING, and secondly TEAM DEFENCE. Perimeter low % shots, very poor defence, individualistic play and accepting poor results by pointing the finger at everybody else’s deficiencies doesn’t cut it.

  • Herm

    1. Personally I don’t want to hear from the boys because any explanation or discussion would have zero effect on what is happening on the ice. They have the money and the power to do as they wish and too bad for us fans, if you don’t like it go buy your own team.

    2. I do not like ever blaming goaltending but the psyche and confidence of a team starts in goal. Our goalies are not as bad as they are made out to be but they also need to play better.

    3. Percentages don’t mean too much to me, its all about a legit scoring chances not some perimeter shot. If you don’t go to the paint your percentages are down it’s that simple.

    4. If this is all getting too much to handle for some fans they need to stop watching and take up knitting.

  • Herm

    I am a Jets fan but I do feel sorry for you Oiler fans. We had to put up with a mediocre team for 2 years before finally fan pressure forced the management to do something. Now we have a coach with a “plan” and “expectations” and a few players acquired and have reasonable team.
    IMO your defensive coaching staff should be replaced. The forwards have to come back to back check and support the defense.

    • Randaman

      First of all thanks for your support. Did you happen to have a fire extinguisher to put out this unbearable tire fire?

      Secondly, consider yourselves very fortunate to have Maurice. That is who I suggested two years ago when he was still available. We all know how that worked out.

      Studs, I have supported this team since 1978. I don’t want excuses from MacT, I don’t want to hear Lowe speak in his ARROGANT tone either. They are the laughing stock of the league. They have to face their peers not me and I hope they suffer from extreme embarrassment!

      Scrivens & Fasth are not starters so this isn’t their fault. The defence they play in front of is the fault of, you guessed it, MacT & Eakins. Bench Schultz! Remember the word accountability?

      It is quite obvious that Hall, Eberle & Yak are not as good as advertised. Nuge is Datsuyk reborn (not yet).
      The only way Hall stays long term is if we get McDavid. He will bring Hall to elite status.

      Oh ya, stats suck, especially PDO

  • Serious Gord

    Jason you don’t want our answers. You simply asked questions and the proceeded to give your answers/arguments before we have ours.

    That said here are mine:

    1. I don’t really care if they make an appearance at a press conference. The only one I want to see is Nicholson or katz announcing Klowe has been fired. But the future POHO and GM would be wise to do monthly interviews with some of the local press – anthopolous of the jays does a very good job of it and it helps shape the narrative and build rapport with the fans.

    2. I don’t blame the goalies much. They are below average – as their former teams realized and I and others pointed out. I blame MacT for putting them in a position to fail especially with such a defensively awful team.

    3. I don’t know if I have ever posted anything about shooting percentages. It’s just a very focussed stat that needs to always be put in context – as have with yak’s above. It is a very small, sometimes irrelevant indicator of a players value.

    In closing Jason I would note that all of your questions are accusing me/we of having an opinion that I do not hold and I suspect nor do many others.

    • Dear Mr repeat yourself over and over.

      Can you ever and I mean ever make a comment without it ending in firing Kevin Lowe. It is like a broken record and it rings hollow and without merit. Like this organization needs to check in with you for approval get real. Fans like you ruin it for many others. Grow up you old weasel.

  • Herm

    1. I only want to hear from Katz if he is coming to admit the current rebuild has failed, Lowe, Howson, MacT and their entourage are being shown the door.

    2. The goalies are an easy scapegoat. They have not been great, but MacT put them there. I still don’t understand why MacT was made GM. No wait scratch that.

    3. I don’t assume they will rebound.

  • Herm

    @Strudwick

    You cannot go ahead and say its silly for the management to have to own up(publicly) for their mistakes(again and again); and then give the goalies a free pass for poor play because they “owned up to it”.

    Its either the right thing to do to admit when your doing a piss poor job, or its not. If it is the right thing to do, then management should do just that, like their goalies. If its not, then their goalies don’t get to be forgiven just for saying “my bad”.

  • Herm

    Great read again Jason!! Appreciate your time with these articles. Just one question, Would you have kept Tom Renney as coach(if i’m correct he coached you for one season in 2010-11)? Cool hearing a voice that was once from the inside of the team

  • Anton CP

    1. Anything will be fine, they are the managements that got this team into this mess. If they don’t come out and say something and take responsibility of this train wreck, they are just bury the head in sand and pretend everything is going all right. Give fans a straight answer, no more bs about how this is a process. Apology is at least the fan deserve to have, even it means very little but that fans can at least identified that they are aware the mistake and willing to fix it. This is not “everything is according to plan”.

    2. I don’t think that I’ve ever blame the goalies, I was even supporting Dubby with his disastrous plays of last year. However it is easier to use goalie as scapegoat for team’s bad performance. Fans believed if Oilers can get a shutout every night that they can win more games (duh). Another reason could just be that Oilers haven’t had any luck with goalies since Roloson, Salo, and Cujo (maybe lack of “o”s in their name is part of the issue? no wonder some fans want Bobrovsky). Blame one person is much more easier to blame the whole team, but looks like fans are finally realize that how bad the entire Oilers actually are.

    3. Also, that I don’t think that they can bounce back from their percentage as previous. I believed a few weeks ago that I did say the Oilers shot selection were very bad. They are doing a lot lazy shots that just like a gambler to hope some of them can go in. They rarely shoot at top shelf, most of the shots came directly onto goalie’s pads and since it is so low that so many sticks can get in the way. The lack of accuracy of shots were a big concern, so many times that the shots came off goalie’s pad and without anyone play around the crease that it always turn into an odd man rush to the other team. So few of those shots are actually challenged the opposition goalies that even a minor leaguer can probably make those saves.