Now that the playoff roster deadline has passed, the focus, unfortunately for Oilers fans, once again turns to the draft lottery.

The Oilers are virtually guaranteed to finish in the bottom five, and unless one of the teams finishing 17th-25th wins the lottery, the Oilers will have another top-five pick.

24  Carolina M 62 27 26 9 63 26 154 175 -21 15-12-5 12-14-4 1-3 3-7-0 Won 1
25  Nashville C 62 26 26 10 62 25 151 188 -37 15-14-4 11-12-6 1-7 3-4-3 Lost 2
26  NY Islanders M 64 24 32 8 56 18 176 217 -41 9-16-8 15-16-0 6-4 3-7-0 Won 1
27  Calgary P 62 24 31 7 55 20 145 186 -41 13-15-3 11-16-4 4-3 6-4-0 Won 1
28  Florida A 62 23 32 7 53 16 152 201 -49 11-13-4 12-19-3 7-5 2-8-0 Lost 1
29  Edmonton P 63 21 34 8 50 19 157 206 -49 11-15-3 10-19-5 2-2 6-2-2 Won 1
30  Buffalo A 61 18 35 8 44 12 124 183 -59 12-17-5 6-18-3 6-4 4-5-1 Lost 1

Tonight’s game is critical, if you believe a higher draft spot guarantees the Oilers a better player, because a win puts the Oilers within four points of the Islanders, while a loss puts them eight points back.

Let the race begin.

The Oilers are 6-2-2 in their last ten games, with only Minnesota and Philadelphia picking up more points during that stretch. They’ve been out shot in 9 of those games, and were tied in the other one, a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.

Ben Scrivens and Ilya Bryzgalov have been exceptional in goal, and during the two regulation losses the Oilers were shutout out both times. They are winning due to goaltending which hasn’t happened regularly in quite some time.

The offence has only scored 10 goals in the last seven games, and their top-six forwards need to play better.

Hall, Eberle, Perron and Yakupov have one goal each over the last seven games, while Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner have none. These six need to start producing goals.





I like the decision to play Gagner with Hall. The Oilers need Gagner to play well down the stretch for various reasons. If they don’t trade him they him need to regain some confidence, and if MacTavish is looking to move him then he needs 89 to play much better. It will be difficult to trade him for anything of value if he keeps struggling, so play him with Hall the rest of the year and hope he gets going.

I thought they might start Fasth. Usually coaches play players against their former team, and with the Kings coming in on Sunday I thought Scrivens would play then, but Eakins said he told Fasth to prepare that he is playing Sunday.

Fasth’s last NHL game was November 18th. He missed 37 games with a muscle inflammation/lower body issue, but he did play four games in the AHL in February and told me on Tuesday that he is 100% healthy and ready to play.

It is hard to argue against playing Scrivens because he has been outstanding, so it does make sense to stick with the hot goalie.

Fasth is looking forward to battling for the starting job. “It is good to have two goalies competing for the job. I think it helps a team to have two guys who want to start and are capable of it,” he told me Tuesday.

I love his attitude. This team needs more competition. The second line should be competing with the first line for PP and ES time. Same thing on the blueline, and it would refreshing if Fasth’s attitude towards competition was embraced by all the players and the organization. 

The management, coaching and the players have to show they don’t accept losing. It is easy to say you don’t, but actions speak louder than words and it is time that everyone in the franchise displayed a winning attitude.


  • The NHL’s decision to lower the Devil’s punishment regarding cap circumvention looks awful. Did Lou Lamoriello think this was possible at the 2012 draft, when he elected to keep the 29th overall pick instead of forfeiting it? Maybe, but today that decision still looks foolish. Currently the Devils own the 11th overall pick, and depending how the final 19 games unfold they could forfeit a top-ten pick.
  • Hemsky played junior in Hull, just outside Ottawa, but I don’t think that will be enough of a reason for him to not test free agency. This year’s crop of free agents forwards isn’t very deep, so he could fetch a good contract in July.
  • I wrote above that yesterday was the playoff roster deadline and not the trade deadline. NHL teams can still make trades today, but the players traded aren’t eligible for the postseason. If the Oilers and Sabres wanted to make a trade today or next week they could.
  • I don’t understand why the NHL only allows four callups from now until the end of the season. The lottery eliminates teams from guaranteeing themselves the first overall pick, but even if they put in a rule that said you could only have three call ups on an NHL roster at one time, baring injury, after the deadline would make more sense.

    The Oilers would like to see Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Taylor Fedun, Oscar Klefbom and maybe even Marc Arcobello, but based on the rules only three of them can be recalled, unless the Oilers get into serious injury troubles. (If I read CBA correctly, I think Larsen counts as one — can anyone confirm? — which leaves only three recalls left.) If there are only three recalls remaining, then Klefbom, Lander and Pitlick would be the three I’d want to see.

    Playing one or two NHL games can be a great learning tool for young players. It gives them a taste of the league, but more importantly they can find out how challenging the league is and what they need to work on in the off season. Players always tell themselves what they need to work on, but when they actually get to play in a game, they have a better sense of how hard it actually is and what they need to improve on to stay in the NHL.

  • The goalie situation in Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton is very even. Today the Oilers’ goalies have 79 career NHL starts, the Flames’ duo has 68 career starts while the Canucks tandem has started 59 NHL games.

    Out of those six goalies: Scrivens (51), Fasth (28), Ramo (66), Ortio (2),Markstrom (38) and Lack (21) which one do you think emerges as the best goalie?

  • The Edmonton Oilers need to change their practice habits. Earlier this year Ladislav Smid said he was surprised at how intense the Flames’ practices were. Today, after his first practice in Minnesota, Ilya Brzygalov said Minnesota’s practices have “a way faster pace.” Compile that with Barry Trotz ripping Devan Dubynk’s techniques, and Ken Hitchcock saying Magnus Paajarvi needed to learn the game, I’d say this is an organizational issue. Paajarvi, Dubnyk and Smid were all here before Eakins, so the lack of intense practices and attention to detail has been an issue this year and in previous seasons.

    The Oilers, specifically MacTavish and Eakins,  need to listen to these comments from former players, take them to heart and improve the situation. If they don’t improve how they practice, it will be hard to improve on game day.



GAME DAY PREDICTION: Both of these teams would love to eventually jump into the big boys fish bowl and compete for the playoffs, and tonight the Oilers show they are at least closer to getting there than the Islanders with a 6-1 victory (they have to score at some point).

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: ~The Islanders won’t be very competitive.~ Tavares is injured while Vanek and McDonald were traded in the past 48 hours. That is three of their top-six scorers.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers sell out streak ends tonight. Of all the remaining home games none are less attractive to hockey fans than tonight. The surprise is that the Oilers announce that it isn’t a sell out.


  • Oiler63

    Love the way Rishaug is defending the practices and knocking the players that have spoken on Gregor’s radio show a few minutes ago.

    Talk about being aware of which side his bread is buttered.

    Hmm, when even Barry Trotz says something is wrong with regards to Dubnyk, don’t things start to add up?

  • Oiler63

    Current core players are not bad players. Hall, RNH, Eberle and Yaks are not bad players. They are all very talented but also very raw. They need proper guidance to reach their potential and be the players they can be. That’s why you don’t hire rookie coach to guide roockie players. Someone in there has to have a clue on what they are doing.

    • **

      Would agree, some excellent raw talent but very questionably developed, not having a team with the right atmosphere/veteran players to provide a good example/shelter. Multiple coaches doesn’t help, just part of the merry-go-round.

      Although I think yesterday’s purging for draft picks may be helpful down the road, you’ve got to scratch your head on why Edmonton’s so set on dumping vets with no replacements. Just leads to bestowing spot to kids and a sense of entitlement rather than forcing new kids to beat out vets and earn their spots. Seems backwards.

      Hard to believe but I think the Oilers just got worse yesterday… guess we’ll see…

  • Oiler63

    So Heatley snubbed us, and Pronger got out via requesting a trade…and it’s because Edmonton must suck…

    And now cities like Vancouver and Tampa Bay are having Star players request trades…in fact it seems like every other superstar is trying to dictate where he plays…

    …so maybe as Edmontonians we shouldn’t take it to heart that our city sucks, because I think Edmonton is great, and more look to an organization that sucks and that players want out of…because that seems to be the real reason Luongo/Kesler/St.Louis want off their teams…

    • **

      Hey, Got to admit I like the city of Calgary better than Edmonton for the mountains, but then again Edmonton’s got better lake access, less wind and some other stuff… Regardless, having lived in many US cities and visited most I can guarantee both are better than half the US NHL cities….

      Its NOT the city.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    And who says the losing culture doesn’t start at the top here in Edmonton.

    The arrogance of this organization has been long established. Intensity during practice/games isn’t a concern/job of Lowe and MacTavish, they hired Eakins to oversee the day to day acceptable practice habits. They obviously feel they’re already doing more than their part, being near Hall of Famers I guess.

    I was going to run one of those prop this if you want Ekblad/regulation loss, or trash this post if you want the Oilers to win, but I wouldn’t want to wish this organization upon any kid entering into his NHL dream.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Lowes plan is simple. Keep this team at, or next to last in the league, until they draft a kid who makes them all look like winners.

        They won’t find a Weber type to come to this ship show, so securing Ekblab is their best option. And that starts with another loss tonight to the Islanders. Losing is clearly the intended/acceptable outcome under Kevin Lowes watch.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Who knows, maybe Gillis is trying to pull an all-time heist by tanking the team just in time for the five star prospect McDavid. Either way, the bright spot for this team this year has been not getting many injuries in exchange for a very bad record.

    And, from now on until he is finally gone, I will end every post with:

    Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins! Fire Eakins!

  • toprightcorner

    I would have to guess that they were able to recall Larsen without it counting against those 4 they are limited to, probably since Schultz was traded and he was the most recent dman replacement sent down. Since Larsen was just put on waivers I don’t see him being the first call up unless he was the exception to the rule.

    Pitlick, Lander and Klefbom are the players i most want to see called up to see what they can do.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    Question for Oilers fans: If you jumped ahead let’s say 3 years and had the following line-up, where do you think the Oilers would be re the league/play-offs/Cup potential?



    Scrivens/ Fasth

    ADD-INS: 2014 1st, 2014 2nd, 2015 1st, Nurse, Klefbom/Marincin

    Feel free to substitute in your picks…
    CHALLENGE: Is the current CORE good/strong enough to win?

    • toprightcorner

      The core, yes but not with at least half the defense and all of the bottom six except Gordon.

      Replace them all with NHL veterans of better quality than we’re a playoff team at worst in 3 years, and possibly more depending on how the defense prospects develop.

  • Sevenseven

    I think we did WAY better than the islanders this deadline. I can honestly see this team finish 20th next year, but still in the hunt till close to the end. I think Mac T is slowly, but wisely, changing this team for the better. Eakins will be around next year, but with a whole new coaching staff. The oil are 6-2-2 all you people saying how bad they are. That is a huge improvement If we can keep that up down the stretch it would be better for the team. No Ekblad, but any trade assets will be valued higher on a team crushing it down the stretch.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I find the mention of practice pace being slow in Edmonton believable but I have to ask.. Why don’t guys mention that when they come here? Not everyone comes onto the team via AHL or junior, so we have guys here that are enjoying the cake practices here? You’d think someone would say.. “hey guys, I’m concerned these practices are too slow paced”.

    This would probably explain things a bit too though.

      • I was thinking maybe they’d get the Full Metal Jacket, soap-in-a-sock beatdown by teammates for making practice harder. But really, there has to be a guy that is too proud to sit and take it easy in practice like Gordon, Ference, Smytty etc. So it sounds a little far fetched in a way too unless it just happens that those other two teams have a crazy pace. I don’t know. Just odd this is suddenly news now.

        • justthestatsman

          Yeah, this sounds weird to me too. Maybe Smid and Bryz were just trying to pump the tires of their newest coaching staff. They’d never say it their new team’s practices were easier than where they came from.

          If Oilers practices really are slow compared to other NHL practices I’d say it has more to do with the caliber of players than effort. If our players are slotting in lines or pairings 1 or 2 levels higher than they should be then “slow” might be as fast as it gets for them.

          Get good players, keep good players…

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    This entire organization is out to lunch. My blood boils hearing how pathetic the Oilers are from other teams.

    I was at the Q&A the Oilers had during their meet and greet a couple of weeks ago. Eakins had the balls to ask the fans to get louder and get on the other teams. He wants THE FANS to make it a tougher building to play in. THE FANS!!

    All these guys, as a group, are so delusional it’s hard to point out which ones actually can’t breath and walk at the same time. From Kevin Lowe to Taylor Hall and everyone in between.

    **Meanwhile at Rexall, the boys are running some half speed drills to work up a bit of a sweat.**


  • Positive Ray of Sunshine

    If the Larsen recall does indeed count against our total for the rest of the season then why did we waste it on Larsen? I would have much rather seen Fedun than Larsen at this point.

    These comments on our practice habits are deeply disturbing. We can talk about our lack of grit or our terrible blueline but if you look around the league, there are teams with worse looking rosters than ours. Difference is what they do with what they have and our constant underachieving. We should not be second last in the league but we haven’t earned anything better.

    • vetinari

      Interesting about the four recalls, not including injuries. Best to use them as part of the development process, and perhaps Larsen has improved enough of late to deserve the shot?

      Habits comments definitely interesting. Whether from poor development, abilities or actual reality eventually got to say that “what you see is what we are” (someone else’s quote I heard a while back…). Teams on paper are one thing, teams on ice often something altogether different. That’s why they p[lay the games.

  • Positive Ray of Sunshine

    So the Oilers don’t practice as intensely as other teams?

    That does answer a lot of questions about the direction this team has been going doesn’t it?

    The more things change…

  • vetinari

    Funny. I thought that Eakins was to give us well conditioned supermen hockey players who would be capable of playing at a high level of hockey for at least 40 minutes per night for when we eventually got into quadruple overtime in the playoffs. What are they actually doing out there? A little soccer to loosen up followed by a family skate around the ice?

  • Positive Ray of Sunshine

    Just saw a story that said the Oilers didn’t dress Szabados as backup on Tuesday because she isn’t good enough to play in the NHL. Two questions:

    1) Since when is that the bar you need to hurdle to make the Oilers?

    2) When are they going to apply that criteria to their 4th line and defense?

  • D

    “Currently the Devils own the 11th overall pick, and depending how the final 19 games unfold they could forfeit a top-ten pick.” – They ended up getting the 30th overall pick in the draft…not a top ten pick.

    • Jason Gregor

      Umm…If the Devils miss the playoffs it is good chance they have a top-ten pick or close. They won’t use that pick.

      Had they forfeited their 29th pick in 2012 then they would use this year’s pick, and they wouldn’t be picking 30th. Thus they could forfeit a top-ten pick.

      • Rick Stroppel

        From TSN:

        The Devils will keep the first-round draft pick they were scheduled to forfeit this year, and the league will reduce the $3 million fine assessed against the team for circumventing the NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement

        The league said the Devils will be entitled to the 30th selection overall — the last pick in the first round — in the 2014 draft. They will not be permitted to trade or transfer its right to that pick.

        So they get the last pick of the 1st round and it doesn’t matter where they finish in the standings.

    • justthestatsman

      Yeah..! But still far ahead of the Edmonton Feather-Pillows

      Petry for once had a real good game aganist Ottawa…reason…hoping to get out of here.

      Yakapov…actualy backchecked. Honest, he did….reason…hoping to get out of here.

      Hemsky….flying…making sure someone got him out of here.

      And being a lottery team again? You should be ashamed to accept it.

      Disgrace to this good city and it’s LOYAL stupid paying customers.

      @ -30- and Rishaug…? He’s had that 18 hour girdle on far to long..release it Ry-ann

  • bazmagoo

    Let me be the fist to hide my shock that there are organizational issues affecting day to day practice, facepalm! It’s a never ending string of bad news/press in Oiler land. When will we hit our all time Lowe?