So, Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins has already warned against taking the Buffalo Sabres lightly when the teams meet Monday. If that’s not a "no-shit, Sherlock" moment, I don’t know what is.

With the NHL equivalent of Milhouse van Houten taking on Steve Urkel in a WWE cage match, the 29th-place Oilers, fresh from having their heads held in the toilet by the Boston Bruins 4-0 in a Beantown matinee Saturday, face the 30th-place Sabres in a showdown of pencil necks.

Facing the Sabres, dead-last in NHL standings at 15-31-8 for 38 points in the first of two meetings of the teams this season, Eakins was quoted on the team’s Twitter feed today: 

Fight in their game? One is tempted to add execution in their game, consistency in their game and attention to detail in their game, but that might be piling too much on the plate as the Oilers, 18-33-6 for 42 points, guard against taking the Sabres lightly.

I haven’t heard the interview/question that prompted Eakins to offer the quote, but it is mind-boggling to think the Oilers might take any team lightly 57 games into what’s been a dumpster fire of a season.


If this was a fist fight, the Oilers and Sabres would have to be told to keep their thumbs on the outside before flailing away. If nothing else, the Oilers, headed for an eighth straight year out of the playoffs, and the Sabres, who’ll need a ticket to get in for a third straight season, are evenly matched.

Buffalo is dead-last in the NHL with just 105 goals-for. The good news for Ted Nolan’s outfit is the Oilers rank 30th in goals-against with 194. Nobody throws the welcome mat at the feet of their goaltenders like Edmonton. The Oilers rank 18th in goals-for with 147, while the Sabres are middling, 19th, with 161 goals-against.

All told, the Sabres rank 30th in goal differential at minus-56. The Oilers are right behind them in 29th at minus-47. It’s straight-up even in terms of how the teams rank at home and on the road. The Sabres have treated their fans to a 9-15-5 record, which is 29th. The Oilers are 8-19-14 on the road. Buffalo is 2-5-3 in its last 10 games, while the Oilers are 3-6-1.

Of course, both teams are lottery locks, but if you’re keeping score at home, the Sabres have three games in hand in the race for the No. 1 overall seed going into the Entry Draft lottery.


. . . To understate, Ben Scrivens, who has faced 100 shots and given up just four goals in his last two games, has been impressive in his five appearances in the goal crease with the Oilers. Thanks in large part to his 59-save shutout against San Jose, he has a gaudy .944 save-percentage with Edmonton.

I don’t for a second doubt that Scrivens has already shown the Oilers enough to warrant a contract offer as he approaches UFA status, but unless the team in front of him shows something the rest of the way, I wonder if he’ll want to sign on here for another two or three years.

Yes, Alberta is home for Scrivens and this opportunity in Edmonton represents his first real chance to grab a job as starter and run with it, but if he’s anywhere near as impressive the rest of the way as he has been, he will have options if the Oilers wait until the end of the season to get ink done.

If I’m GM Craig MacTavish, I’m picking up the phone and talking contract with agent Jay Fee right now.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • beloch

    All Mac – T has done is trade 4 liners and nobody’s for 4th liners or nobodies. You could put the 4th line of the Oilers on any NHL team and their record and standings would not change.

    It is the first 3 lines and the top 4 D, that make the difference.

    It is called ICE Time.

    The reason no free agent will come here is because the Oilers have the worst management team and record to show for that in the league. The players know this, the agents (who know more inside information than the players) also know this. If I were an agent, would I give advice for any of my players to go to the worst team in the league over the past 14 years who have the same management or choose another team for the same salary.

    People, use your heads. This is Lowe’s team. He has been in charge of everything since he took over as GM and has been involved in every decision with the GM who he has hired since. The Oilers are going nowhere until Lowe, Mac-T, et. all are gone.

    • Sevenseven

      So true. Why is edmonton on every top players no trade clause. The weather has something to do with it, horrible management the other. Did you hear how pumped a low level defencemen like fistric was to not have to sign here with his interview on team 1260? Getting rid of Kevin Lowe would help perception around the league, and maybe convince others that edmonton is a decent place to play.

      • Slapshot

        Give me one good reason why any decent free agent would want to come to play for Edmonton?
        Here are some reasons why they would not,1 the team hasn’t made the play offs in 8 years,2 they have had 5 head coaches in 7 years,3 The Kevin Lowe factor 4 the old boys club mentality that comes with this organization 5 the previous players who played for this organization and were alienated by management 6 with the exception of 2006 when they went all the way to the final what have the Oilers done in the past 20 years? 7 there are easily 16 other NHL teams that would be on a players list before Edmonton due to weather and location.

        • Sevenseven

          I, like you fine sir, want to make this a top destination for the best talent in the league. Management and ownership has made a mess of things. I like discuss how we can change it, and hopefully influence some change.

      • BobbyCanuck

        No, it’s Magnus for Perron plus our second round pick, given the Blues scouting ability, that pick could easily turn into the next Getzlaf or Lucic.

        And the trade bait rumors around Perron, cause he is one of the few forwards we have that could actually garner some kind of decent return. Givin our trading acum, this could easily go side ways for MacT

  • Oiler63

    Unless Scrivens wants to play for his hometown and his girl friend has a change of heart or there’s a massive overpay from the Oilers, he won’t be an oil next season.

    If he plays well rest of the season, his best option would be to wait to test FA, because the Oilers WILL give him a good offer and he will use that offer as a cushion to fish for better offers/teams. And there WILL be offers from other teams. Since nobody wants to have any business to do with the mess the Klown created here in Edmonton without a massive overpay, it’s more likely than not he is a goner.

    If Scrivens plays the Dubnyk way, the Oilers probably won’t even give him an offer. So good or bad, he’s gone.

    Unfortunately the only way for the Oilers to sign a good Scrivens is to over pay him by a good margin compared to other teams. Like the Godfather used to say “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    As time goes by, I’m less and less for keeping Eakins, which is a real shame because I really want to like him and I feel continuity is a good thing for this team. Goes to show what a disappointment this season has been.

    What’s laughable is the suggestion that if MacT canned Dallas mid-season then maybe we would see some change in our team’s game. That’s an awfully big maybe. I disagree.

    The Jets, Canadiens, Flyers, and Avs all have key pieces of the puzzle in their roster we haven’t had in our puzzlebox since day one. It’s not a fair comparison.

    Besides, the Sabres have canned two coaches in two years. Obviously it’s not as simple as changing coaches.

  • "Frank the dog"

    Hello Robin,
    I’d appreciate your thoughts on a couple of things relative to this team, as a sanity check, for a person that makes no pretense of expertise regarding the Oilers or Hockey. As a result I tend to look at things from a business management perspective.

    1) Is Eakins this bad? or does the fact that Eakins was preceded, annually, by Quinn, Renney, and Krueger, indicates that the problem may be coaching, but not necessarily Eakins – i.e. the Assistants, from Steve Smith to Chabot. After all, the only constants left in this mess are the core players and the assistants.

    2) Is there any significance link between the inability of all but Nuge on the core to play defence, and the fact that they all skipped the AHL on their way from Junior or College to the NHL?

    Much appreciated.

    • The Last Big Bear

      That is hilarious, I just sat down to ask if Katz had bought the Broncos.
      He would not want the Seahawks because they are a young team that knows how to play team defense.

    • vetinari

      Take that back! At least Denver made it to the championship before collapsing horribly… we can’t even beat six other teams in our conference to make it into the playoffs, let alone making it to the finals!

      • The Last Big Bear

        you’re right of course. I just thought that perhaps Katz had bought the team in the past week and installed the Lord of the Rings as CEO.

        Maybe Eakins just gave Manning a motivational phone call last night.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    I think the problem with the oilers is that the team sucks.

    I think the problem with Eakins is he only seems to think Yakupov sucks.

    I can’t seem to understand why only Yaks gets benched and no other Oilers. How does Eakins approach help preach accountability?

    Not like Yaks was on the ice for all 100 shots or something… Love to see Eberle benched once in a while for a behind the back pass on the tape of the opposing team.

  • BurningSensation

    The Oil have a bit of a dilemma. Based on Scrivenator’s play of late, they will likely overpay him – if he chooses to stay. That will leave less cap space to pursue a starter like Hiller in the offseason.

    • Randaman

      Based on what we have experienced over the last 7 years or so, what makes you think that any UFA would consider Edmonton? I mean really, athletes want to WIN for the most part. Would you want to come to this team even with an overpayment? Clarkson said NO (thank-you), Heatly said NO, Nylander said NO, Hossa said NO (huge money offered by the way). Get your heads out of the clouds people. This organization is at the bottom of the list for 95% of NHL players. Can you blame them with what is happening even today, never mind 2 or 4 years ago. Laughing stock of the NHL!! Thanks Kevin

        • Randaman

          Whoa there!! I grew up in Edmonton and was there for the glory years. No need to trash where people live. Yes, winter is a drawback, but that is usually for players wives and families more than the players themselves I think. I hope so anyway. Wanting to win is more of a drawing card I think and that won’t happen here without major changes in management. That is where I was going with my post.

  • toprightcorner

    Personally I don’t see many teams out there that would give Scrivens as much of a chance to be a starter as Edmonton.

    There are a number of decent UFA’s that could be considered starters like Khudbin, Peters, Johnson, Greiss and Hutton who are all in that 27-28 age with only back up expirience but high save% that could be considered similar to Scrivens.

    Then you have UFA’s Elliot and Halak, two starters on 1 team so one will be leaving to start elsewhere.

    RFA’s that may get traded as too pricy for a back up and have high value like Reimer, Lindbach and Rannta who al have the possibility to be starters

    I am sure, like every year, there are some older European goalies that teams are also eyeing.

    The Flyers will want to make a splash with a proven goalie, they have never had success with up and comers in the past.

    History tells us that career backups that have a breakout season don’t get alot of money cause there are many similar options available.

    I would like to se Scrivens signed for no more than 2 years at around $2-$2.5 per and sign another goalie like the ones listed above for 1 year at about the same and have them fight it out. If Scrivens earns it, sign him to an extension the following year, if the other guy wins is, resign him and Scrivens is a very capable back up at not a horrible price or he can bring back a decent return in a trade. The other option would be to give Scrivens a 1 year deal at about $3.5 and extend him mid season if he proves he can be a solid starter.

    I just don’t think the Oilers will lose out on him if they beleive he can be a starter the demand is not so high for him that it is risky and to overpay him by $500-$750k at the numbers he will be looking for is not the end of the world on a short term deal either.

    I just pray that MacT doesn’t sign him to a 3+ yr contract as Scrivens is still unproven as a starter, even if he ends the season with a .925 sv% for the Oilers the rest of the season. Dubey is proof that numbers can be decieving.

  • Rick Stroppel

    Avs, new season, new coach – fantastic season

    Flyers, 3 games in, new coach, doing great

    Jets, well into season, new coach, amazing turn around

    Hmmmm, am I missing something here? The youngsters seemed to really try for Tom and Ralph, perhaps is because DE is a preacher and not a teacher?

    • Batfink

      Hey now Max, some people on here believe that even if we had hired a coach from a place that only has ice in it’s drinks and the coach had never even heard of ice hockey, as long as we’d fired the five previous coaches after poor records he should be safe.

      I need to find a job where the previous incumbents were prematurely let go and do a 5h1tty job. When they want to fire me, i’ll just say that I should be safe because they fired the other guys way too quick, no matter how incompetent or corrupt I am.

      • "Frank the dog"

        you’ve hit it right there. If Eakins is incompetent (lots of evidence to support this), if he has lost the players (again, lots of evidence) then MacT can’t keep him just because he fired Kruger too soon and Tambo fired Renney too soon.

        but wait, they gave him a 4 year contract!!!

        Can you believe they are stuck with a bad coach for at least another year because Mact bet the farm on this guy?

        it’s just so sad isn’t even funny. The decision to hire fire Kruger and hire Eakins may be the second biggest mistake of this rebuild.

  • Anyone else sick of flamers spouting off about their rebuild? Yeah, they traded Iggy, but other than that, all they are doing is what they’ve done for the last 7 years… run in place. They’ve blown nothing up, but perhaps that is coming this year…

    • beloch

      The biggest change occured when Darryl Suter was canned. Under Sutter, the future was consistently traded away for just one more push. The Flames farm system was ranked at the very bottom of the league. There would be no notable prospects graduating to the NHL for several years, and people started to notice. The team was also loaded with expensive UFA signings and other bad contracts to boot, making futher progression via whale-hunting impossible.

      Feaster didn’t burn anything down, but he quietly shipped out bad contracts and prioritized picks and prospects as the returns. Arguably, he could have gotten better value for some players, but at least he jump-started the farm system. It now ranks highly in the league. Feaster also made some nearly disastrous blinders, such as the Ryan O’Reilly offer sheet fiasco and said some stupid things (especially about Jankowski) that futher sabotaged his credibility. Burke was probably brought in as a result. However, it’s too soon to really see Burke’s stamp on the club, although the advance notices do feature “Truculence” rather prominently.

      If you believe the Flames rebuild hasn’t started yet, compare the Flames prospect system now to what it was a few years ago. There are quality players in the pipeline that will be arriving in the NHL year after year for quite some time. Obviously there aren’t any 1st overall picks in there, but a steady supply of competent rookies is immensely important to building a quality team. The Flames are transitioning from a club that primarily consumes talent developed by other clubs to one that builds talent.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I’m not really sick of it, but like you, I don’t see anything really improving. Yeah it’s great they don’t finish in the bottom, but finishing 20th is nothing as well. I don’t know about anyone else here, but the one thing I kindof fear is that the Oil become one of those “middle” teams, the teams that have a decent enough year, but never win a cup. I don’t feel any joy in teams that make it to the playoffs and get knocked out of the first round. Teams like St Louis, who are great in ways, but they never win anything, they win the Presidents trophy once in a while, but I can’t imagine them parading it down the street.

      Again it’s just me, but if you’re gonna poop the bed, do it properly and get it out. If you’re gonna make a cup run, make sure you’re ready as the only goal is Stanley, not much else really matters.

      I’m not gonna trash them (or at least really) but their rebuild hasn’t brought anyone that will win them games all season and win them a Cup. Wool they are the better team in the Battle of Alberta, but that’s not something to be proud of nowadays.

      I’m probably delusional or apathetic, but I think that if the Oil can get their defence sorted out and keep relatively stable goaltending, they will have a dominant team. I just hope that MacT can pull the triggers.

      • toprightcorner

        I’m not going to trash Calgary but they haven’t really done anything yet in regards to a rebuild! They waited too long to trade Iginla, Bouwmeester & got nothing for Kipper! This is still a veteran team that’s 3rd last in the entire league, they have lot’s of work to do! The next 1 to 3 years are going to produce many quality NHLers out of the Oilers system to add to what they have! Relax people, we’re seeing the fruits of the 2010 draft with Hall & Marincin! I see 2 to 3 NHLers at least coming out of the 11, 12 & 13 drafts! Pieces are there folks, just gonna take a little more time, guaranteed!!

        • BurningSensation

          Wow. In the order you wrote them;

          “I’m not going to trash Calgary ”

          Actually, I believe that is transparently your intention

          “They waited too long to trade Iginla, Bouwmeester & got nothing for Kipper!”

          Half right. They waited too long on Iginla, but there were a lot of factors at work there, like; Sutter running the show, ownership being tight with Iggy, and his NTC.

          Bouwmeester though, was dealt at exactly the right time, and netted a 1st rnd pick (Poirier – who is going to be very good), and depth players in Cundari and Berra.

          Kipper did indeed leave for nothing, but this again goes back to the contract he signed with Sutter that all but made retirement in the last year a foregone conclusion.

          “This (Calgary) is still a veteran team that’s 3rd last in the entire league, they have lot’s of work to do!”

          If by ‘veteran’ you mean ‘not relying on kids who can’t shave to win every game’, yes, they are still a ‘veteran’ team. But that is the point. Rebuilds don’t have to involve a purge of all players over the age of 24. Indeed, doing that is typically a huge mistake (see: Islanders, Columbus, Florida, and your current and recent editions of the Oilers).

          Sure there is still work to do for the Flames. They will be bad this year (though not as bad as Edmonton), and likely be worse again next year (as Cammalleri moves out with only rookies likely to be coming in), but the light at the end of the tunnel for Calgary is now visible.

          “Relax people, we’re seeing the fruits of the 2010 draft with Hall & Marincin! I see 2 to 3 NHLers at least coming out of the 11, 12 & 13 drafts! Pieces are there folks, just gonna take a little more time, guaranteed!!”

          The fact you are only getting two or three pieces out of three drafts is pretty much the definition of the Oiler’s problems.

        • The Last Big Bear

          Well, for starters, the Flames don’t need to hire paid shills like you, to fluff up their management on Internet discussion boards.

          I am 100% certain you are a paid PR type doing this on the Oilers dime, and have been sure of it from literally the very first post you made here.

          After whole fiasco on HFBoards, I figured you’d keep your heads down for a bit, or at least change your user names.

    • BurningSensation

      The problem is that that not all ‘rebuilds’ involve ‘blowing it all up’.

      Feaster started the sea change when he moved out Regehr and rebuilt the teams scouting department (mostly by brining in John Weisbrod to oversee it).

      Because the additions to the talent pipeline were of players outside the first round (and thus lacking in much hype), it appears they are ‘running in place’.

      Keeping vets around like Wideman, Hudler, and Stajan has meant that the Flames younger players (Monahan) don’t have to do the heavy lifting every night.

      By keeping solid vets like Giordano around, and by adding decent players like Kris Russell to the blue line the Flames have not only avoided ‘blowing it up’, they have refuted it as a rebuilding strategy. In the next two years the Flames could add a number of players from their improved pipeline; Poirier, Klimchuk, Wotherspoon, Seiloff, Gillies, Knight, Arnold, Baertschi, Granlund-the-younger, and Gaudreau, along with this years first and next years first (both likely to be very high picks).

      So, yeah, the rebuild in Calgary is looking pretty good.

      Especially by comparison.

  • Oilerz4life

    This thread is depressing. Oilers wake up and smell the coffee. Plaster Buffalo all over the boards. GDP 5-2 but only because Bryz let in a few softies. NSOGDP Sabres pull their goalie and Fraser plugs in the empty. Book it. Superbowls on.

  • oilersd

    I gotta believe that MacT has a master plan to reposition this organization. I know that things are not right with this team in some very obvious ways (size, grit up front etc.), and others that are not as clear (interpersonal relationships?) What is the master plan and what is being done behind closed doors to trigger the philosophical change we fans have been told top to bottom to expect? We are not privy to that much detail, obviously, so saying that this person is incompetent or that there is some grand conspiracy or whatever is just conjecture. But I have to believe that the shortcomings are recognized. That steps are being taken. I have to. This guy (MacT) has a university level education. He has decades of experience with the game at all levels. He has been exposed to a myriad of other professionals from teammates and coaches to scouts, trainers managers agents league officials on and on. And he has seen success along the way. Lots! Cups as a player on more than one team and an unlikely playoff run as a coach and all the success and failure he would have gone through along the way. I think he recognizes success at this point. When someone says “Hey isn’t that success over there?”, he replies, “yes, we’ve been introduced. ” Garaunteed. So i have to think that all this tinkering with the coaching staff and roster is leading somewhere. And I do recognize the small successes of the players individually. The light has come on for this team intermittently so I believe small steps are happening and that leads me to believe that an educated, experienced, and motivated guy like MacT is working to make a positive influence on this team. So I remain hopeful and try to stay positive because I’ve heard his words and seen his actions along the way and I say he deserves a little more credit for his actions and time to finish what I think he has started this season.

    I really hope I’m not crazy.

      • Serious Gord

        Relax, Gord, oilersd, etownman, and others like them are clearly employees of the Oilers PR Department.

        Amazing that they think their lame defense of the Oil will pacify the fanbase. …..

        Although, come to think of it, maybe they are saying the same things to KLowe…….

  • Oilerz4life

    One of the best ON articles I have ever read. Both hilarious and bang-on. Nice work, Rubin.

    Unless MacT significantly improves the blue line by the trade deadline there is no reason for Scrivens to sign with the Oilers. The Oilers need to take their medicine, acquire some competent defensemen and get then get The Professor signed.

  • Waking Up this Sunday Morning I Honestly Had A Gut Feeling That Dallas Eakins was fired . I went on to expecting it but so far nothing .
    The Oilers have let the opposition fire 100 + shots on them in the last two games .
    I think Mctavish made a mistake in letting go of Ralf Kruger . The Oilers had a great power play with Kruger and Nail Yakupov was a 60 goal scorer . I think Dallas Eakins is a good coach , but not with the Oilers . They just don’t match .

    Sometimes I wonder if there’s some whole grand skeme to have the oilers suck right up till the 2014-2015 season . Have Edmonton have a chanch at Connar McDavid in the 2015 nhl draft and than go for a playoff run in the 2015-2016 season and every season there after ..
    Wouldn’t it be cool if Slats and Gretzky came back in 2015-2016 to help guide this Oilers Ship ..

  • If I’m Scriven’s I wait.

    I can think of two teams off the top of my head that will be all over Scriven’s this summer.

    Philadelphia & NYI will be all over Jay Fee come July 1.

    I’m not even remotely optimistic Scriven’s stays.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I don’t think it would be Philly as they Signed Mason to an extension at 4 million so I don’t know how much more salary they want to put in their goalies as they are also a bit tight cap space wise.

      The Isles on the other hand, could be not bad, though I don’t know if he wants to get involved in the Wang circus, though Wang is nutty enough that he could offer some stupid long deal for crazy money, it wouldn’t be a shock.

      There is also that weird possibility that NYI could be a to also as he has mentioned an interest in going back to University, and as Cornell is in New York, it could make for an opportunity. He would also be able to escape the bubble that comes with playing for the Oil and be a bit more anonymous.

      St. Louis I think are open to getting a new goalie as both of theirs are UFA so that’s a possibility.

      Whatever happens, I’m curious as to what kindof money Scrivens will get. I don’t think he is Rask territory, but I don’t think he is gonna sign for a 1.5 Mil either.

      I think there it’s 50/50 he will sign here, perhaps with an understanding that there will be defensive reinforcements signed.

      • I think you might be bang on about St.Louis. It depends on how the do come the playoffs if goaltending becomes an issue.

        Now that I’ve had time to think about all the goalies teams would love to upgrade, it gets a little scary for the Oilers.

    • I’m not as pessimistic as you about the chances of Scrivens staying, but I agree with you that if I’m him, I wait.

      If Scrivens is the goods, then he’s in a position to get the Oilers to overpay, which they often do at the best of times.

      His performance so far has been terrific, but I still want to see more — then again, I’m not the GM of a team desperate to find an actual NHL goaltender.

      • Agreed on the Oilers overpaying, but we’ve seen & heard players turn down the Oilers for more money & term.

        I always include family when discussing players, family are a huge influence on where the players end up, this time the players family is here so there is a huge bonus for the Oilers.

        When I start to think of all the teams that are just outside the playoff bubble that need a quality goalie, I start wondering the odds of retaining Scriven’s, I’m not trying to be pessimistic, I’m just not optimistic.

  • fasteddy

    Hindsight is 20/20, but I sure enjoyed our losing seasons a lot more when we had heart…..what id give to have some Ethan Moreau’s, Stevie Staois’, and Jason Smith’s on this roster….Even front line guys like Dougie Weight wore their heart on their sleeves. Where has that “I give a Sh! T” mentality gone?

  • Word to the Bird

    On the topic of Scrivens…

    This is the first time since Roloson that I can say I’m comfortable with our starting goalie. If we had an AVERAGE defensive core I bet we could win hockey games…

    • Rick Stroppel


      You are not the first person to speak wistfully about Roloson. Can I suggest that you go back and look at his career numbers.

      He played in 606 games in the NHL and he won 227 of them.

      In the 06-07 season, the year after the magical Cup run, his record in the regular season was 27-34-10. Those are Devan Dubnyk numbers.

      Roloson was never anything but a journeyman NHL goalie who got white hot ONCE in his 14 year career, the 2006 playoffs. But that is the only thing many people remember about him.

      If Scrivens is the next Roloson, the Oilers are in deep trouble.

      • toprightcorner

        He was a career back up and the Oilers gave up a first round pick for him, the Oilers could easily have not made it to the play offs or been out in the first round that year.
        I will say that run was magical and he was a big part of it and giving him a two year contract instead of the four year for Khabby would have been far better.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Hate to admit it but step back and take an objective look at what is going on in Calagary and in Edmonton.

    The Oilers are suppose to be leaps and bounds ahead of Calgary in our perspective rebuilds and yet it is Calgary that had more points and plays with more heart.

    This Oiler management has failed us as fans so badly and it is utterly shameful.

    Love him or hate him, if we had a guy with the no-nonsense attitude of Brian Burke, we would already have seen a coaching change and bolder moves than Mac T has done. Guaranteed.

    • toprightcorner

      Calgary is still a veteran team who is languishing 3rd last in the league! They have brought Monahan into the league this year & he turned 19 early on! Keep everything in perspective & re-visit this observation once Cammalleri, Stempniak etc are dealt, because if they try to build around those guys they will suffer a lot longer than it should take!

    • toprightcorner

      The main difference between Edmonton and Calgary is that Edmonton has, by far, the more talented team but the Flames are made up of players who compete much harder more consistently. If the Oilers played with the same heart as the Flames this year, I think they would be within spitting distance of a playoff spot, not likely in the playoffs but within a great 10 game streak of getting to it.

      Players have to make the choice to compete, I don’t put that on Eakins this year and MacT has just started but is, by far, the most active GM in the league this year so the effort to change the compete level of the team is definitley there.

      If Burke had hired Eakins, there is no chance he would fire him now, look how long he held on to Ron Wilson. Burke also had nothing to do with the players on the Flames that compete hard so i don’t think it is fair to compare the two GM’s at this point.

      • toprightcorner

        Agree on paragraphs 2 & 3 but first is highly debatable. Looks look closer:

        Defence-I’d say Calgary’s top 6 of Giordano, Brodie, Wideman, Russell, Smid and Butler are far and away much more talented than the comparables on the Oilers. I’d even go so far as to say that the first Flames 4 are better than any Oilers defencemen…

        Goalies-at this time about a wash. Still too early to tell over the long-term but I’d say both Scrivens and Ramo look like good potential to have good careers in the NHL.

        Forwards-Overall I’d again say Calgary’s got the more talented group as a whole, but let’s look at some comps:

        Hall vs Monohan: advantage Hall (at this time), faster, drives more play, more experienced. But Monohan probably better hockey sense, a Center vs. wing and better 200′ game, character, also only 19yrs old.

        Eberlie vs Backlund: closer, but advantage Backlund, fast, excellent 200′ game and defence, improving offence, leadership, centre. Eberlie faster, perhaps better offence but worse defense, no grit.

        RNH vs Stajan: Overall a toss-up, advantage RNH for offence, but Stajan better 200′ game and shut-down defense, stronger, leadership, grit.

        Cammaleri vs Yakupov: advantage Cammalleri, similar offense, both fast, much better defense, leadership. Yakupov has youth and MAY develop but certainly not even close at this point.

        Perron vs Hudler: toss-up with both Perron & Hudler good on puck, play all areas, 200′ games, offensively aware, character, leadership, experienced.

        the rest…. Glencross, Jones, Stempniak and etc vs Oilers, advantage Flames. Better secondary offence, grit, defensive play, strength, leadership.

        Oilers so-called “Fab-5 talent” is pure offence, dangling and playing a pretty game, with a FEW exceptions, but the “core” plays a poor 200′ game and team defense, and overall leadership is not up to snuff. If the Oiler core can improve in these areas, or some are moved out for others who are THEN perhaps you’ll measure up to the Flames.

          • S cottV

            Flames fan, and Oilers follower both. Flames fan ’cause I live here but also because I love a team of hard-working players dedicated to all aspects of the game who put in an honest effort game in, game out, always working to improve their game. Oilers follower ’cause I like to think that years upon years of rebuild and bringing in “elite” talent can bear fruit at some point, and hoping that SOME coach, one day will be able to get beyond the hype and potential over players and turn a bunch of kids into real, two-way players…

            Why would I bother? Certainly not to aggravate other Oilers fans, that’s way too easy and your own team seem to be doing just fine at that themselves. No, I firmly believe that when BOTH the Flames AND Oilers are good again will my team be great again. Nothing like a great rivalry to bring out the best in a team, and there’s not much better than a a Edmonton-Calgary rivalry. Also interested on ins and outs of a major rebuild and what to do as well as to avoid to be successful.

            So, if ANYTHING from southern AB makes your blood boil and you can’t stand the thought of even considering comments/thoughts from here then I guess you’ll not like my comments. If on the other hand some perspective from a distance develops interesting discourse (i.e. #82 above) then perhaps we all can provide enjoyment we’re not currently getting from our teams.

          • BobbyCanuck

            Please treat this post as sarcasm…

            Really do not have to do a detailed analysis, lets use the recent San Jose games against Flames and Oilers

            Shots on net(against)
            Oilers 59 shots
            Flames 28 shots
            =87 total shots: Flames 32%, Oilers 67%
            :. Flames D play is more than twice as good as Oilers D play

            Goals for
            Oilers 3 goals
            Flames 4 goals
            =7 total goals: Flames 57%, Oilers 42%
            :. Flames offense is 75% better than the Oilers.

            But, all we need to do is trade Gagner straight up for Weber, and Yakapov, because he has great future upside, we should be able to get Kieth and Seabrook for him. Right Oiler fans? Because ONLY Oil fans know the true value of our players.

            I dunno what to think about our team, and what could possibly be done to make it better…all-world one day, and pee wee the next day. I can see Ekblad starting to tank his game…just to avoid being drafted by the Oilers.

            “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statestics” Mark Twain (maybe)

          • beloch

            Eberle and Backlund have historically been deployed in very different circumstances. Eberle sees mid-tier QoC and gets cushy offensive zone-starts. He’s played like a scorer, and he does score fairly well. Backlund gets a lot more defensive zone starts and faces tougher QoC. He’s played as a shut-down center. Despite facing tougher circumstances, his possession stats are better than Eberle’s, suggesting Backlund is indeed a better defensive forward. Eberle’s point totals, of course, suggest he’s a much more gifted finisher.

            Flames fans are probably a little high on Backlund right now because he’s on a real tear with 8 points and 5 goals in his last 4 games. He’s also passed the eye-test lately, seemingly popping up wherever the puck is going to be by pure magic and making a large number of takeaways. He has also averaged just 0.50 ppg this season versus Eberle’s 0.80 ppg. This may not reflect Backlund’s true level of talent because he spent a significant chunk of the season in Hartley’s dog-house, getting little playtime and crap linemates. However, Backlund has appeared to be on the verge of breaking out several times in his career, only to be injured or simply run cold. Eberle has proven to be a more consistent and durable player over his career so far, plus it’s worth noting he was drafted a year after Backlund.

            Backlund is the kind of player the Oilers desperately need. Namely, a possession monster. He might have some offensive chops, but he has yet to really prove that. His durability also remains a concern. Eberle is not a two-way forward you can deploy against top competition without the team’s possession suffering, but he’s a proven point producer. Unfortunately, the Oilers have lots of point-producers who don’t produce points because they so rarely have possession in their opponent’s end! The Flames, in spite of Backlund, don’t have great possession stats either, plus they have fewer quality finishers. This suggests that, while they might like a player like Eberle, they can’t really afford to lose a player like Backlund.

            Truly elite forwards are both possession monsters and gifted finishers. By this definition, Eberle is definitely not elite. Based on his career numbers, Backlund isn’t elite either, although there’s a tiny glimmer of possibility that the Nov. 30th epiphany he’s spoken of might have boosted his finishing ability (He has been hanging onto the puck longer and with more confidence since then and has improved to 0.65 ppg since Nov. 30th). Only time will tell. If Backlund can develop a finishing touch he would definitely have the edge over Eberle. However, as things currently stand, I’d give the edge to Eberle because he’s proven to be more consistent and durable. In terms of value though, it’s no contest. Backlund’s contract is way cheaper. I’d take 4 Backlund’s over 1 Eberle any day of the week! If Backlund stays healthy and continues to play well he will no doubt be due for a raise after next season. Hopefully the Flames won’t give him an elite-level salary unless he establishes himself as an elite player. The Oilers made the mistake of paying Eberle an elite salary and expecting him to magically become elite.

          • Zarny

            Eberle’s career high is 76 pts. He has 45 pts in 56 games this year and is tied for 30th in league scoring. Hate to break it to you but that’s elite scoring.

            Backlund is a 1st round bust whose previous career high was 23 pts. He’s having a “breakout” year this year by being on pace for a whopping 41 pts.

            The two don’t even belong in the same conversation.

            Backlund doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as Sam Gagner.

          • Death Metal Nightmare

            Obviously, if the ONLY thing you value is scoring, you’re absolutely correct. But once you realize other things are also important, not so much…

          • Zarny

            No scoring is not the only thing I value.

            Even when you look at other things Backlund still doesn’t deserve to be in the same conversation as Eberle.

            In fact, it’s utterly ridiculous to even try to compare the two.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Not suggesting any trade, just suggesting the type of thing that needs to be addressed by both teams. Backlund for Gagner is a non-starter, wouldn’t even get a second thought from Flames perspective. Backlund for Eberle plus/minus pieces either side probably not because it doesn’t really address the key needs of either team. Would be an upgrade for both teams in different ways, but I think both need this type of upgrade plus size/grit. If you can get that elsewhere then at lest something to consider.

            Don’t get me wrong, I like Eberle, he can be a dynamic-skating offensive threat, which every team needs. He can also disappear for long stretches at a time and has difficulty against larger bodies/defensemen, and his defence is suspect, although i did notice him back checking a couple times in the last two games. Perhaps he’s getting the message and developing his game…

            Comparing the two (or any direct comparison) is difficult because they bring different things to the table and your valuation will largely depend on what aspects you value the most. Apples and Oranges. Most teams require both to be truly successful.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Tell that to the Buffalo Sabres and their 105 goals.

            With a Christian Ehrhoff or even a struggling young defenseman like Tyler Myers on their roster, a trade involving anything representing scoring (Gagner +) going the other way, must interest both parties.

            You have two teams who are a million miles from the playoffs, each with a huge void that the other team can help remedy.

            Mix in the one GM with less experience than MacT. If you can’t make a trade of substance here, then you never will.

          • pkam

            Why do you think the Sabres will be interested in any forwards?

            They have unloaded their top scorer Vanek earlier this year. Rumors are they are shopping Matt Moulson instead of trying to resign him.

            Not to mention they already have a very similar type of player in Hodgson. Why would they want Gagner?

          • The Soup Fascist

            Read the 1st line again. They have scored an AMAZINGLY inept 105 goals this year.

            Vanek and Moulson are both pending UFA’s that Buffalo had / have zero chance to sign next year. They had to get value this year. Expect Steve Ott to meet the same fate. No offence, but that is page 1 of the GM manual.

            Trust me, with 105 GF this year, they would NOT be moving any forward with a contract and the ability to hit water from a boat.

            Fair point on Hodgson, but the Sabres can’t afford to be too picky on offensive guys. And this year notwithstanding – broken jaw – and all, Gagner is a much feistier player than Hodgson. Gagner is what he is. A good offensive player with defensive limitations (to be kind). Sam has value – all this compliance buyout stuff is utter nonsense.

            Let me know the number of Sabres with ANY offensive ability or potential. Short list.

          • pkam

            Does it matter if the Sabres have any number of player with offensive ability?

            Matt Moulson is the best PPG scorer, but they don’t even try to resign him. Looks like they are trying to rebuild from drafts.

            The Sabres already have 2 small 2nd/3rd centers in Hodgson and Ennis, and they have a very good chance to get a 1st center in Sam Reinhart this year, or even McDavid next year, why would they want another similar 2nd center in Gagner?

          • The Soup Fascist

            Matt Moulson will not sign with a team that has no chance of a) winning, b) allowing him to play with other “skill” guys or c) get a suntan more than 2 months of the year. Look for him to end up in Vancouver or L.A.

            The Sabres NEED guys that can generate offence. If it isn’t Gagner it will be some other guy with offensive abilities but other flaws to their game. No one is trading them tier 1 offensive guys unless they throw in a 1st rounder – as they are not apt to do, especially 2015s, given your point that McDavid may well be in play when they draft.

            My point is the Sabres are a team with absolutely NO offense and a couple of decent defensive options and MacT should be ringing the Sabres number like a phone solicitor working on commission.

          • pkam

            Will Vanek stay in NYI? I don’t know, but at least NYI tries to resign him, which mean they are interested in keeping him. Not the Sabres, they didn’t show any interest in resigning their top scorer.

            It wouldn’t hurt to ask, but I don’t think they are that interested in winning now. Kind of like the Oilers 3 years ago.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Report out today that Vanek offered a very nice contract by Islanders. Islanders were told “not interested” and that Vanek will be looking at free agent market over summer. Long gone by trade deadline.

            Just reality my friend.

          • pkam

            Is this exactly what I said? NYI at least tried to resign Vanek.

            Did you hear any rumor or report about the Sabres make any offer to keep Moulson? I haven’t. If they don’t even try, what does it mean? If they are more interested in trading their top scorer than resigning him, what makes you think they will be interested in trading for immediate offensive help?

            Which is exactly my point, the Sabres are not even interested in getting immediate help.

          • Zarny

            Re D comparison – agree CAL much better, including top 4

            Re F comparisons – think the match-ups skew the results. Overall EDM more skilled with higher upside than CAL although experience and defensive support is better by CAL; however not nearly enough to suggest CAL forwards are better than EDM..far from it.

            EDM has great top end talent..but no Boumas, Colbornes, Stempniaks, Westgarths, Galliardi..secondary/support talent with some size, grit, tenacity, work effort. That is obviously what MacT has to focus on improving.

            Also Hockey IQ and skill..watching an Oilers game is like watching golf..whap-fart..the slightest pressure and the D throw the puck out of the zone right to the opposition for them to bring it right back in!

            Flames have a far superior puck possession game which starts with their D.

        • Serious Gord

          Interesting compare of two very bad teams.

          It begs the question:

          If you switched coaches would the position in the standings be switched or would the gap be even greater?

          I think it pretty obvious that Calgary would be a train wreck as bad or worse than the oil is under Eakins.

    • Oilerz4life

      Burke hasn’t done much. Hartley is doing a great job and kudos to Feaster and co for good drafting (Jankowski aside) and good free agent pick ups (Hudler and Wideman). If Feaster knew how to trade (Reghier, Iginla and Boumeester returns were terrible) Calgary would be further along in the rebuild.

      The Oilers need to stop overvaluing assets and have to shake up their young core as the rot of too much losing has set in.

  • vetinari

    I hate to say it, but MacT better be doing everything that he can to get Scrivens signed to an extension and if he can’t get something done by the trade deadline, I would put him on the market to see if another team would give us a real roster player or a first or second round pick to have him in their lineup as insurance for a Cup run. Letting both Brygalov and Scrivens walk in July without getting something back would be a crime…

    UPDATE: Jets beat Montreal this afternoon, 2-1, have won 8 out of 10 since bringing Maurice in, and now sit only a couple of wins out of a possible playoff spot… coaching apparently matters in the NHL, who knew?