has an opinion about why the Edmonton Oilers have struggled mightily to show
significant signs of progress four years into their rebuild, and former Oiler
Ales Hemsky added to that lengthy list today. Let’s see if we’ve about got it
covered . . .

Oilers stink because:

  • A.  
    They have too many small forwards who are too much alike.
  • B.  
    Dallas Eakins is a lousy coach (and should be fired).
  • C.  
    They don’t have a legitimate first pairing on defense and don’t have
    nearly enough proven NHL defensemen.
  • D.  
    They don’t have enough grit and size throughout the roster.
  • E.   
    Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger remain employed as assistant coaches.
  • F.   
    Eakins is in over his head and needs another associate coach, preferably
    with experience as an NHL head coach, to bolster his staff.
  • G.  
    GM Craig MacTavish, like predecessor Steve Tambellini, has the wrong mix
    of players.
  • H.  
    MacTavish and Tambellini have tinkered too much with the bottom six
    forwards and third-pairing defensemen without making enough changes with
    players who get the most ice time.
  • I.      
    Owner Daryl Katz refuses to fire friend Kevin Lowe, who still has a
    significant say in player personnel decisions.
  • J.     
    The team’s pro scouting staff couldn’t find a clue with a map and a
  • K.  
    Eakins has butchered a power play that looked to be on its way under
    Ralph Krueger and has spent far too much time re-inventing the hockey wheel for
    a rookie NHL head coach.
  • L.   
    Young core players like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan
    Eberle haven’t yet stepped up and shown the leadership needed to guide the team
    back to contention.

The latest tidbit is courtesy of Hemsky, who added
another item to the pile in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen today. So,
does the Dirty Dozen above about cover it or have I missed a reason or two?


Dallas Eakins 16

through the archives of sites like Oilersnation and you’ll find volumes of
loser’s lament, venom, fear and loathing and reasons why the Oilers are about
to miss the playoffs, by a lot, for an eighth straight season.

the writers who contribute here, people who stop by to have their say and fans
in general have pointed a finger in the blame game, and with the amount of
ineptitude we’ve seen, there’s plenty to go around.

I lean most heavily on items A, C, D, E, F, G and H – I must admit the Hemsky
comments today do cause one to take pause – it’s safe to say there’s a
multitude of issues facing this edition of the Oilers. Pointing at just one or
two areas isn’t going to solve much.

seeing that already with changes made in goal. Ben Scrivens has been superb
since arriving, but better goaltending by itself – it couldn’t have been worse
than what Devan Dubnyk and Jason LaBarbera provided – isn’t going to lift this
team back into contention.

all guilty, to some degree, of over-simplifying the work that remains.
“Get bigger and tougher. It’ll be fine.” “Trade for a legit No.
1 defenseman (and a playing partner) and we’ll be on the way.” “Fire
Eakins . . .”


Craig MacTavish2

starting to sink in is the flaws in the roster and the organization as they are
structured now are many and multi-layered. The Oilers aren’t just one or two or
three players away from contention. They aren’t (another) new head coach away
from turning the corner. The Oilers aren’t a Shea Weber short of being a

Oilers aren’t just a busy of summer of work by MacTavish away from getting this
sorted out. When it’s been this bad this long, everything from the top down has
to be looked at. That will take time. I’m not offering up that observation as a
free pass for MacTavish. I’m just coming to grips with how broken this
organization is. The closer I look, the more profound it seems.

after much fiddling with the fringes of the roster over recent seasons by
Tambellini and MacTavish, comes Hemsky on the kids, the core. They are the one
component so many fans out there have considered the one sure thing that so
much of the hope being sold is hung on.

that to the list.

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

  • That is one very long list! I used to make fun of the leaf fans for always supporting that “never win anything franchise”. Mind you, I grew with a hate for that team (still do) that may have jaded a proper perspective on what fans really are. With my own fan base support of the Oil that I have given to this team since day one, I must be a hypocrite. I am no better than a leaf fan…..depressing!

    So, with the blind support that the Oil have received by many a person in this fair city and from other areas of the country and elsewhere, does that make us part of the problem or are we part of the solution? I just wish that we didn’t suck this much for so damn long. Dare I say, Go Oil Go?

    • bazmagoo

      I agree with that. The Oil still have a winning streak going, they threaten the net a lot more, the roster changes are good ones and I believe management has heard the voice of the faithful in one discarded jersey. I like watching the team this year. Continually saying the Oilers Suck drains fan enthusiasm and perhaps fosters a losing culture. This blog would do itself a favour by being less dour. It’s hockey! Be happy. Jebus.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Just a simple question if I may. Paul Maurice record is 11-5 (I stand to be corrected on this) since taking over the jets. by all accounts the team is playing better. It is safe to assume he has made adjustments in practice, games, preparation, culture etc. he has a ton of experience and it shows. Conversely, in my opinion Eakins’ inexperience also shows on a regular basis. Nothing against the man, but he is learning on the job is he not? So my question…was he the right fit for what this team needs? Is he the right fit going forward?

    • Czar

      I think it was Brownlee that suggested bringing in Maurice after a night on “the panel” where he wasn’t roasting the Oilers like the rest of them. Another missed opportunity to get some experience behind the bench, NHL experience.

    • Rick Stroppel


      I am almost certain that Eakins WAS offered the associate coach position and turned it down and said it was HC or nothing. He probably told MacTavish that he was being hotly pursued as HC by Vancouver (which may or may not have been true).

      One of the many infuriating things about Eakins is his arrogance. Taking down the 1980’s memorabilia…WOW! I really think he thought he was going to make Edmonton forget about the team that won 5 Stanley Cups.

      Eakins should have been fired faster than you can say “George Burnett”. Instead he will stick around until about 20-30 games into next season. If the team is not in a playoff position (or really contending) Lowe and MacTavish will fire him…just in time to make another inexperienced, impulsive hire as HC.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s hard to have any level of success when losing has the annual luster of a Hall, Hopkins, Yakupov or an Ekblad. This is clearly managements goal from day 1. Let this club hit the ice without the important pieces in place every fall to insure Kevin Lowes goal is carried out.

    Firing coaches and GM’s is all the fanbase will get till these kids mature on their own without supervision it seems. It’s clearly been proven, Kevin knows as much about losing, than he does about winning.

  • ShakyDS

    When I clicked on the link for this article on twitter, I fully expected it to be the longest article in ON history.
    Thanks for summing up years of reasons and excuses so briefly Robin.

  • J.R.

    Maybe we should add to the list the fact that Hemsky had 7 goals by the trade deadline. Funny how Hemsky doesnt talk about his own terrible play. Once a loser always a loser I guess. So glad that pylon is off the team

    • Agreed, Hemsky has been mailing it in for a while and I’d also like to point out the most selfish play in hockey, the offside caused, I swear to God, Hemsky caused at least 2 offsides a game which just kills momentum and it was even worse when the Oilers couldn’t win faceoffs!

      Hemsky… rhymes with Gretzky so give him $5 Mil per (at least that how I think how Tambo and Lowe came up with that contract).

      • bazmagoo

        Hemsky was in his prime years when all this rebuild talk started. Lets face it he wasnt part of the solution and was part of the problem.

        Look at his production when he was the #1 offensive guy on this team. Two words jump out to me, inconsistent and disappointing. Furthermore it was no secret that he was lazy during games and practices.

        For him to dump on Hall Nuge Ebs and Yak is the definition of a hypocrit and in itself is LAZY!!!