BACK AT IT: TRULY FEEBLE

Team-5

As much of a dumpster fire as this season has been for the Edmonton Oilers, there was at least a hint of anticipation as fans dutifully filed into Rexall Place to begin the stretch drive against the Minnesota Wild after three weeks off for the Olympic break. Should have known better.

Rather than come back with some gusto and jump in a stretch that will see the Oilers play 15 of their final 22 games at home, they served up another feeble and indifferent display for the hometown faithful, collectively shrugging their shoulders in a half-hearted, half-assed 3-0 loss to the Wild.

Fans who arrived with at least a hint of hope the Oilers might finish off this mess of 2013-14 with enthusiasm and maybe a win here or there after a tidy roll before the break, were booing by the final buzzer at the Oilers were shut out for the fifth time at home this season, dropping to 10-15-2 at the Rex.

The power play has fallen and it can’t get up. There was next-to-no flow on the attack. Ben Scrivens didn’t look particularly sharp. Worst of all, the give-a-damn meter appeared to be as low as it’s been all season, save for some nastiness from Matt Hendricks and Luke Gazdic.

Played like their heads and hearts were still on the beach somewhere warm, did the Oilers. The only grit was the sand in their shorts.

NOT CLOSE TO GOOD ENOUGH

When a team has been as bad as long as the Oilers have, virtually every angle involving personnel, team chemistry, coaching and the X’s and O’s has been exhausted. The power play, at least this 1-3-1 version of it, is brutal. There are holes throughout the lineup front and back. The defense isn’t good enough. All this we know. More fodder for these last days before the trade deadline.

One ongoing glaring deficiency – far from the only one — that stood out for me in this game was the lack of push-back from the Oilers, the unwillingness to back each other up. The all-for-one, one-for-all mentality most successful teams show consistently. Big problem.

That was illustrated best as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall were getting knocked around near the Minnesota goal by Keith Ballard and Matt Cooke. Out near the blue line stood Jeff Petry and Anton Belov, two of the biggest players on the ice. And that’s where they stayed as Ballard cuffed RNH and Hall had a brief altercation with Cooke. They watched.

I’m not foolish enough to think having Petry and Belov wade in and kick some backside, or at least show up, in that circumstance comes anywhere near close to addressing the many needs of this team, but showing opponents they don’t get a free pass in that situation would solve one of them – the lack of will to play and stand up for each other.

I’m not suggesting GM Craig MacTavish go on a thug hunt at the deadline or over the summer, but while he’s looking for another defenseman or two and some size that can play in the top-six up front, find a player or two who isn’t so ready to turn the other cheek — as too many players on this roster now are.

Culture change? Let’s start with MacTavish getting some players who are as sick of losing as the fans who filed in to watch yet another no-show by a team that keeps talking the talk but refuses to walk the walk.

Enough already.

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

  • oilabroad

    Back to reality, hey?
    Same old Oilers last night….

    can’t wait to read more dumb ass articles about stupid “what ifs” on here. Weber trade wet dreams and other nonsense that only Edmonton fans can spew.
    ————————
    Seriously: PK Subban trade for Perron & our 1st pick. Seriously. Would you do it?

  • SSB1963

    All the GD hype and hope the coach and some players sold us about their practices, working on special teams over the Olympic break. Unfortunately, they won’t be in the playoffs, but they will be playing spoilers for other teams

    MacT tells us he is happy with the consistency of the coaching staff, and the hard work paying off. He is happy that he is seeing huge improvements in the last few months from the players.

    Really???? As far as I’m concerned, everybody in this organization is full of shat. Where in the hell did we see any evidence of what they’re saying? Just a note to the Organization—the fans aren’t idiots and don’t like being lied to.

      • Toro

        Sure you can.

        Every time the Oilers play a team battling for a playoff spot, they spoil the chances of the other teams that are also trying to get in.

        They are the ultimate spoilers. They will cost some team a playoff spot without even playing them.

        You look at the schedule and hope your immediate rivals aren’t playing the Oilers, because it’s Guaranteed 2-Points For The Opposition Night.

      • Bi-Curious Gord

        I agree completely with you. Those were the words of Jordan Eberle yesterday when he was doing an interview. He said that even though they aren’t making the playoffs, they can still play spoilers for the teams still in the hunt. If last nights game was any indication of what we can expect, the other teams have no worry going into the post season. Oilers won’t be a problem.

  • I said this earlier, went to the game and the thing that stood out the most was how much the Oilers were dumping the puck in, I honestly never seen anything like it before.

    What bothered me was every line did it, and more often then not they just gave the possession away.

    How the hell does a team this skilled & small play a dump and chase game.

    • oilabroad

      Well a fast team can win a dump and chase game if they are willing to compete for the puck. Sadly it doesn’t matter what type of game we play as there is no one that can compete on this team right now.

  • Muji

    All the GD hype and hope the coach and some players sold us about their practices, working on special teams over the Olympic break. Unfortunately, they won’t be in the playoffs, but they will be playing spoilers for other teams

    MacT tells us he is happy with the consistency of the coaching staff, and the hard work paying off. He is happy that he is seeing huge improvements in the last few months from the players.

    Really???? As far as I’m concerned, everybody in this organization is full of shat. Where in the hell did we see any evidence of what they’re saying? Just a note to the Organization—the fans aren’t idiots and don’t like being lied to.

  • Big Cap

    There are MANY MANY things that bug me about Eakins. He’s not only been a massive bust, but has sent the team and confidence of the young guys back years.

    My BIGGEST question about his coaching methods is: Why do other coaches constantly communicate with their players, leaning over their shoulders, giving instructions and confidence, while our coach leans against the glass with his hands behind his back?? I believe he truly thinks he’s the smartest man in the rink and that his game plan is flawless.

  • NewfoundlandOil

    How about starting boycotting the games. March 1 leg the flames fans fill the building. Heard from a buddy that works for hockey Canada. Krueger played a more important role than did Lowe during Olympics. Lowe and Mac T need to go.

  • PRIDE – results from self-directed satisfaction with meeting the personal or team goals. PRIDE – a group of lions. This Oilers team has no PRIDE or scare any other teams like a group of lions scaring other living things. It start from the coach, he is responsible for his team play, this team is not winning. This team has been shut out 8 games this year, 5 at home, that’s unacceptable. If Ukraine can over throw a president then Edmonton fans can over throw a bad coach. ‘FIRE EAKINS’ chant it at the games and bring signs too. It’s TIME FOR CHANGE FOR the BETTER people!

  • Muji

    They’re so f*cked. They need a new coach. But they can’t afford to have another new coach. I’m a MacT supporter, but the coaching was a HUGE mistake this season.

    Eakins seemed great on paper, but has been a huge letdown. Or maybe it’s the assistant coaches? Or maybe both? Doesn’t really matter. It’s bad.

    Should’ve kept Krueger. Not because he was better than Eakins. But for the same reason that they’ll keep Eakins this summer: because this young group cannot afford to have a revolving door of coaches!

    • Alsker

      So is McGarattan, Westgarth, Breen, Bouma, Glenncross, Trevor Gillies, etc. Watch what happens when somebody fu(kz around with our skill players they way Ballard and Cooke did with RNH and Hallsie last night!!! WATCH and LEARN wise guy!!!

      • Bi-Curious Gord

        I agree completely.

        And your team shows up every night to play,with passion and effort…I don’t see how anyone can disagree with either of those points.

        I wish we had that commitment and drive here. It’s hard for me to criticize a team that lacks talent but shows up every night, and the Calgary Flames definitely do.Like I said, I wish we had that here in Edmonton.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    We need a #2C

    We need a #1D, #2D, #3D

    We need a #1G

    The lottery pick will fill one of the above. Nurse fills another.

    Hopefully MacT uses the 40+ mil in cap space this off season to fill the rest…

    DREAM WORLD:

    Callahan

    Girardi, Markhov, Ekblad, Nurse

    Halak

    OILER WORLD:

    Bolland

    Diaz, Hainsey, Ekblad, Nurse

    Reimer

    • NewfoundlandOil

      Yes, this team needs those things. But beyond filling the positions of weakness this team needs more fire in their belly.

      Will adding any of these players accomplish that or is there a bigger issue here? One would have though that adding Ference, Gordon, Perron, etc. would have upped the compete/care level, but this remains a vanilla team.

      Filling positions of need will not by itself fix what ails this team. It would be a start however.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    Please FIRE EAKINS, this clown can’t coach NHL teams. I can’t stand to see his face any more, can’t stand Patrick Roy and Brian Burke faces too.
    Lost at home 3-0, that’s 5 shut out games lost at home, where people paid to see it? That’s unacceptable, bring signs and chant ‘Fire Eakins’ at all home games. Don’t throw jerseys onto the ice, it’s not the team, it’s the coach that cannot get this team to win.

    • Spydyr

      While I’m not in love with Eakins either, its vital to always remember that a call to fire the coach is only half of the equation.

      I would ask all who want the coach to be canned to also suggest a realistic replacement alternative. Personally, I wanted Kevin Dineen three coaches ago. Now that was before his stint in FLA, so I may have to re-think this. But my point remains — if not Eakins WHO?