Can the Oilers improve?

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We have been asking the exact same question for the past four years, and the Oilers have yet to find the answer.

Will they this off-season?

Craig MacTavish is on record as saying he plans to build around Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, who signed a two-year, $2.5 million AAV extension today and vowed he will support them, which I assume meant by adding better players around them.

How will he go about this? I will ask him exactly that at his 2 p.m. press conference today.

MacTavish recently said he feels this group is improving, and that’s what concerns me. They have shown no signs of actual improvement as a team.

They just set a franchise record for fewest wins in a season, 24, and since MacTavish took over the Oilers have won 53 of 164 games, which is only 32.7% of their games.

In the previous three seasons, the Oilers won 76 of 212 games, meaning they won 35.8% of the time.

This team has not improved at all.

Stop telling us they have.

Stop saying that visually they are better, because the most important statistic, winning, clearly states that is not the case.

The Oilers need to be better defensively. Not just the defence, but the forwards and the goalies. Over the past five seasons, the Oilers are a league-worst -264 in goal differential.

They have been outscored 1195-931.

Buffalo sits at -218 and Florida is -206. Toronto is 4th worst and -130. The goal differential gap between the Oilers and the 27th worst team is a whopping 134.

This year alone the Oilers were -90 in goal differential, scoring 193 goals and allowing a league-worst 283.

MacTavish and everyone in the organization must realize they have not improved. They must stop lying to themselves. You can’t blame Dallas Eakins for all of the woes of the organization.

The Oilers won 17 of 46 games after he was fired, which is only 36.9%. Eakins obviously wasn’t the solution for the team, but their winning % before and after him wasn’t much different, so he can’t be the only one taking blame.

The Oilers must improve every aspect of their team.

They need more consistent goaltending.

They need more experienced defencemen.

They need more productive forwards.

The entire team needs a more consistent and determined work ethic.

And management has to stop pretending the team has improved, because they haven’t.

The most important question should be coming from Daryl Katz and Bob Nicholson.

Will their team improve with the current management group?

QUICK HITS…

  • A huge shout out to the organizing committee of the Alzheimers Faceoff tournament. It was another excellent event and the 23 teams who participated on the ice raised over $1.2 million for Alzheimers. A fantastic job by the committee and all the players who solicited donations. Well done.
  • Due to popular demand we have added a 2nd day for our MS Bike Tour charity poker event. The winner will get a seat at the WSOP main event in July. The 1st day sold out in three days, so if you are interested I suggest you sign up fast. You can register at jasongregor.com. Good luck.
  • We had some lively debates over the weekend on who should win the Norris Trophy? Who would you vote for and why? Based on this season, not what a player has done in the past.

Recently by Jason Gregor:       

  • Serious Gord

    Did MacT say at the start of the press conference that he still thought hiring Eakins was a good thing or did he mess up and was he referring to Nelson? I am a little confused…..

  • Spiel

    Dear D. Katz,

    Please review B. Shanahan’s comments on his view regarding the results of the Leafs management and leadership this season, then the deserved outcome for each of them.
    As opposed to us the Leafs have a MAN in charge over there, not a pouty self-inflated wannabe as their Pres. Must be nice!
    Every time Lowe is behind a mic it reminds me that: “Self Praise is no recommendation”
    Especially if you are the ONLY one giving yourself compliments!
    It is well past time that he comes out of his BIG self-importance bubble that only he (and Katz I guess) still believe in! More importantly it’s time ownership mans up and brings in leadership. As we obviously have NONE right now.

    Done with this stupidity, I thought only government could run things this poorly for THIS LONG!!

  • hagar

    “We have accepted mediocrity and thus we are what we are….mediocre”
    (Andrew Ference)

    Sums up everything about the Oilers including the MacT presser, the questions, the answers …. Everything.

    Wake up!

  • hagar

    Well we have been visually better.Mac has this team on track.Next year will be developmental year.I thought the Oiler excuse machine dried up.Apparently I am very wrong.This is groundhog day part 10.Also a little charlie brown wah wah wah wah.Daryl wakey wakey.

  • hagar

    Mac fondled that mic stand so often I’m sure I saw it get longer and bigger around. The sound man had one contented smile at the end of that pisser er…I mean presser.

    Why must he do that?

  • Oilfaninvan

    I just watched 6-1/2 minutes of MacTavish. Then I threw up. If he believes what is coming out of his mouth, he’s a complete idiot. I think he believes he’s doing good. That is scary. Complete denial. There is absolutely no accountability in that organization.

    Throughout all his hockey life, he’s never seen a player progress like Yak. Will I have. and I only hope Yak can impress the same way John Leclair did after leaving Montreal and going to Philly.

    After watching him tonight, I realize how much of “an idiot” I am. Or was. I actually believed he would do a good job. I have no faith in him anymore.

  • DoubleDIon

    I seriously hope MacT just didn’t want to tip his hand. If he means what he’s said you poor suckers who continue to cheer for this loser organization are in for another long year. So far he’s said he likes the D corps and that the core will remain intact.

    Basically it sounds like he’ll cycle in a new 4th liner and 1B goaltender and rinse and repeat. At some point loyalty to an organization like that become stupidity. Reminds me of cheering for the stamps under the Feterik era.

  • DoubleDIon

    Total, complete, utter clown show. What a crock. People you have to boycott Katz. There is no other way. The only meaningful vote you have in this world is the dollar, and how you choose to spend it. Don’t spend it on him.

  • Andy7190

    I learned two things today: 1- the media in this town are pethetics and useless. When they are on the air or on blog, they pretend to be tough and will represent the funs in honest way however they are there to earn living in a cowered way. In other word they are exactly Bob (oilers kitty cat)!

    2- The Funs are brain washed especially the ones who go to the games who support this undeserving and unappreciable owner and group. This team is unwatchable, unlistenable, and most of all depressing….. They are the raiders of the NHL…. Thank you Kathy… Obviously you are overdose and so is 6 rings and companions!!!!!

    I am glad there are other Canadian NHL teams???

  • Andy7190

    Well macT just guaranteed another season with no playoffs. Looks like I’ll be focusing on another team. Sucks. Maybe if they hired an experienced GM after Tambo they might still be bad but not as atrocious as they are now.

    An experiance GM would properly eviate a new coach, put together a better team and assess talent better. He is learning on the job and it has cost the oilers years of setbacks. Center ice package it is, I’m not investing my time on a team who’s GM truly believes they will miss the playoffs again. What’s the pony anymore.

      • camdog

        After decades of nepotism hire an outsider to fix the mess. When said outsider fails miserably to fix the mess, never, ever hire an outsider again, it’s the Alberta way.

    • SSB1963

      Well let’s see. Last time I looked Glen Sather when he became G.M. had NO nhl experience and he did rather fine. You say Steve Tambellini had NHL experience? How did that work out for us.

      I don’t know the answer but I do know this nobody knows how someone will do without a chance.

  • camdog

    It’s all fine and dandy to tell the truth and say next year will be just as bad but being a player and seeing the bar being set so low for next season, where is the incentive for players? Holy hell! They have already thrown in the towel for next season. What a joke.

    As a fan I expect the oilers to go 82-0 and win the cup. THATS the expectations and the bar should be set there. Everyother team strives for this.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      It astonishes me how little MacT THINKS before he speaks in his official capacity. It’s one thing to SOUND thoughtful. He’s very good at that. But, when you consider the sheer stupidity of some of the things that emerge from his piehole, I am starting to wonder if he is an example of the lights being on, but no one’s home.

      Regardless, I hope no one was surprised by all of that. Arrogant organization + cowering media = that presser. Rinse and repeat.

  • Jordan88

    It would appear that Nicholson likes sniffing the same old jocks that Katz does. What a
    terrible, terrible organization.

    These guys must think the Oiler fans are the biggest idiots around! Peddling all this nonsense about bold moves, Norris canidates,
    rebuilds, corsis, etc etc…happy with the core, etc etc.. FORENSIC AUDITS.. etc etc.

    Its a crying shame what Katz has done to this once storied franchise… drove it into the ground,, all for the almighty dollars that came directly from the fans, into his pockets…

    Where’s your pride Katz, you have none, and to allow your stooges to front your little hobby is probably the worst business move you ever made Mr. Katz.

  • TKB2677

    I listened to Mac T’s presser and it was what I expected to hire. What I find a little laughable is how angry people are about it.

    For most people to be happy, here is what they wanted Mac T to say:
    “Boy I really F-d up on the Eakins hiring.”
    “Boy, I sure misjudged that Schultz kid, I don’t know what I was thinking”.
    “We were desperate for a Dman, we took a gamble on Nikitin and that Nikitin looks to be a stupid move on my part”.
    “I know, things haven’t gone well and I haven’t been able to deliver what I promised, so if I was Mr. Katz, I would fire me”.

    That in a nutshell is pretty much what he would have had to say to make people happy.

    I wish people would actually use their brains and think a little before making comments. I’m just as pissed off as anyone with what has happened with the team and all the stupid mistakes they have made. But seriously, what did you honestly expect him to say? How many of you when you make a mistake at work, stand up in front of as many people as you can gather, yell “listen up” then list off all your screw ups. Then walk into the bosses office and say “you know what boss, you better fire me, because I suck”? HANDS UP?

    Or do you do what everyone else in the freaking world does. Somewhat acknowledge the mistake but try as much as you can to deflect away from it, throw as much positives as you can and try to fix it? Mac T has made his mistakes, others in the organization have made their mistakes but they aren’t stupid. They can feel the heat. They know the frustration. The one thing I actually liked about the presser as he actually didn’t just tell the fans what they wanted to hear like he did previously. He actually said they need more time to develop instead of talking up bold moves. Talking about they are on the cusp when most of us didn’t see it. I wish he had of said that off the bat when he started rather then pumping us all up promising the moon. You should always under promise and over deliver. It doesn’t make me any happier or any less frustrated but if he had of down played things a year and a bit ago, most of us wouldn’t have expected as much.

    I’m not sticking up for management. Like I said, I’m as pissed off as anyone else. But I’m smart enough to know that just because this is a sports team, it doesn’t mean the rules of the world and how people do things don’t apply. It baffles me how many people think that a sports team is different. If you are involved in a sports team, all of a sudden you love it when people point out your mistakes? You can’t wait to acknowledge them? You can’t wait to get fired? Come on people!! If you think anyone is going to come out in a presser, rip himself a new one, gut all his players, gut all his staff and call for his firing, then you are fooling yourself and you need to get a grip. Mac T tried that approach with Dubnyk. He said last year that is goaltending wasn’t good enough and unsettled. Dubnyk being as weak as he was mentally, heard that, probably went home and cried about it, then spent the season with the Oilers pouting like a baby and soiled the sheets worse than he ever had before. So of course he’s going to try and throw as much sunshine and rainbows at his players.

    • WTF2

      Appreciate your spin on reality. If you are not sticking up for management then your skill to mislead is through the roof.

      All we can ask is for MacTavish to be bold. Hand in his resignation and retire to Kelowna. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Spiel

    Nothing like setting the bar low.
    After MacT’s comment about “another development year”, a media member should have asked – “Why should the fans buy tickets to support a team that you yourself expect to likely miss the playoffs?”

    • Spiel

      The media members in this town are pathetic. Nobody will ask a tough question. Worse yet is when they refuse to ask tough question then write an article or go on air and bitch and complain about stuff they didnt have the guts to ask when they had the opportunity. Go back and listen to these pressers. Its quite obvious jj hebert and co are screening notonly who asks the questions but what they are asking, its sickening.

      • Spiel

        Too many of the Edmonton Oilers media are fans of the team. That’s a problem. If you have reporters that are not cheering for the team or hoping they win, it tends to make the analysis and questions a little harder hitting.

      • Sean17

        Tell me what is tough question?

        Gregor’s first question to MacT was what has exactly improved, the standings show nothing. He asked MacT for specifics on what improved.

        He also asked him if he had learned from Eakins hiring process.

        MacT sidestepped coaching question and said it was about timing, IE Nelson improving team.

        Rishaug went after MacT about rushing Klefbom…

        I think people want MacT to get mad, like that proves it is a tough question. It doesn’t.

        If I’m not mistaken, it seems one guy can only ask one or two questions. To me, some of the media was fine, but others, Dhariwal, Principe, Stauffer captain question, and others take the steam out the flow of the presser.

        Just my thoughts…

  • Spiel

    I have actually started to look forward to the the twice yearly pressers by mac-dolt. I enjoy watching a grown man pee down his leg with even the softest of questionning by local press.

    On that point most of the local reporters seem afraid to man up and ask the hard questions. Gregor mentioned the fact other irganizations scouts never see an Oiler scout while they are out stumping the hinterland for prospects. He said the Oil only have 3 scouts and the Oil won’t teveal how many or who their scouts are. Lowe/mac etc may be the laziest hockey management group on earth.

    No wonder they don’t make key trades to improve. Did Klinkhammer get more than one or two goals?

    The corporate strategy of media control and secrecy from fans is disturbing to say the least. To hell with Katz and everything he touches.