“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

As rants go, they don’t get much more epic than the beauty actor Peter Finch delivered here in the film Network. While that’s a little old school for fans of the Edmonton Oilers who weren’t even born when the movie was released in 1976, it’s obvious reading the comments section of the website this morning more than a few of you can relate. With good reason.

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The problem for fans, assuming those of you grinding your teeth yet again after a 4-3 loss the Arizona Coyotes choose to keep leaving the porch light on waiting for the team to contend again, is you are going to take this some more as the Oilers stagger toward a 10th straight season out of the playoffs and wait-until-next-year time approaches.

I’m damn sure not going to sit back and tell fans they shouldn’t vent after paying to watch what they’ve seen for the last decade – the swear filters here are getting a workout and I’m guessing some of the moms reading over your shoulders are nodding in approval. Not surprising.

What did catch my attention, though, was head coach Todd McLellan’s post-game interview after watching the Oilers cough up a two-goal lead against the Coyotes. McLellan was clearly frustrated – more candid than going Full Finch – and he’s been watching this team for just 44 games.



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“It’s so friggin’ frustrating right now because we leave without points and yet there’s positives,” McLellan said. “You know, at some point you get concerned about the belief system. We talked earlier in the year. You get concerned about that.

“The frustration level was up a little bit, I thought, near the end of the game tonight. We’re fighting that, but as long as we keep the belief system where it should be, we’ll keep working.” You can listen to the full interview here.

We saw what unfolded in Phoenix. On a night the power play finally got something done, the penalty killing hit the ditch. With the Oilers in a stretch that will go a long way in amping up or silencing talk about playing meaningful games into the New Year for the first time in what seems like forever, they are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. If that doesn’t turn significantly, even a soft Pacific Division won’t matter. They’ll be right back in the also-ran category they’ve occupied before Connor McDavid returns.

That’s not the fault of McLellan or GM Pete Chiarelli, because nobody can be expected to clean up this mess in 44 games, but it is their problem. When McLellan mentions concern about the belief system, he knows that what he’s pitching becomes a tougher sell without some success to lean on, especially for the players who’ve been here for years and have done nothing but lose.

With so many holes till to fill and flaws to remedy – let’s start with an overmatched blue line group just for the hell of it — finding that success, even when McDavid and Oscar Klefbom return, is going to take time, and that’s something fans, understandably, don’t want to hear.

On one hand, there’s a rightfully pissed off fan base and probably a few players who’d tell you they’re sick as hell of losing and aren’t going to take it much longer if you gave them a shot of truth serum. On the other, there’s McLellan and Chiarelli, both smart enough to know significant changes are months away. That’s an uncomfortable juxtaposition if ever there was one.

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Until Chiarelli can pull the trigger on a trade, his only options come from within the organization and we saw that option exercised this morning with the recall of reclamation project Zack Kassian from Bakersfield of the AHL. Didn’t see this coming so quickly.

Kassian, who turns 25 on Jan. 24, has been summoned after playing just four games (1-0-1) with the Condors. Most people thought Kassian, acquired from Montreal for Ben Scrivens and not far removed from completing a three-month stint as part of the NHL’s substance abuse program, would need at least a month to knock off the rust. Apparently not.

Kassian’s calling card has always been that he brings size and nastiness, and the Oilers certainly don’t have an abundance of that. That said, the timing of the move seems to fall into the desperate-time-desperate-measures category based on everything we heard from the team about having Kassian earn his shot at a return to the NHL.

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

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  • Spoils

    FIX our D

    1) go after a player that could become a #1D and is on a team with excess D, cap trouble, a desire to WIN NOW etc.

    2)offer a mix of picks and good players they could use now.

    e.g. Ebs + our 1st pick in 2016 + we take some of their cap squeeze back somehow.
    e.g. Purcell + YAK (especially if he lights it up with McD going into the trade deadline) + our 1st pick in 2016 + our 1st pick in 2017

    question is – who is this player?

    Josh Morrissey
    Noah Hanifin
    Jacob Trouba
    Olli Maatta

    • Spoils

      Answer -> Kevin Shattenkirk. Those other guys are too young to be sure of what you have, and you don’t trade Eberle for a lottery ticket.

      Eberle at $6MM would put St. Louis over the cap I believe. But this wouldn’t:

      Eberle ($6MM), Schultz ($3.9MM), Gryba ($1.3MM)


      Shattenkirk ($4.25MM), Brouwer ($3.67MM), Ott ($2.6MM), Fabbri ($1.107)

      It’s part cap dump, part hockey trade. Lines then look like this:

      Hall – Drai – Purcell
      Pou – Nuge – Fabbri
      Yak – McD – Brouwer
      Korp – Letestu – Hendricks – Kassian – Ott (injured)

      Sekeraj – Shattenkirk
      Nurse – Klefbom
      Reinhart – Davidson

      That D is still way too green after the top pair (and is where Petry would have been really, really nice to still have…) but that top pair looks outstanding, and the forward group ain’t bad neither. Ott, Brouwer, Purcell and Klink are all UFA too for some nice flexibility next year.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        If I’m STL I hang up immediately. You’re offering Eberle (really good skill fwd, no issue here), Shultz (one of the worst dman in the league that is being used in a top4 role) and Gryba (a 3/4 dman at best). For a 26 year old elite offensive dman who was in the Norris conversation last year, a good top6 fwd, STLs shinging prospect, and Ott?

        That would be like me suggestion the Flames should offer Hudler, Russell, and Wideman.

  • toprightcorner

    The poor play of late is all part of an elaborate plan by Chairelli for McDavid to still win the Calder.

    – Conner comes back, scores 45 pts in 34 games

    – the Oilers finish with a record of 22-9-3 after the all star break and are in a dogfight for the playoffs to the bitter end.

    – Chairelli won’t admit it but the team was faking the injuries to Yak and Klefbom to hold the Oilers back to aid in McDavids triumphant return

    With McDavid dragging the team to the finish line, Panarin being a 24 year old rookie from the KHL, the Oilers will finally have their Calder Cup winner and the fans will have lots to cheer about.

    • bradleypi

      I’m shocked this got as many thumbs down as it did. Oilersnation usually loves made up stories and conspiracy theories. Like last night with all the “klowe and Mact arent letting Chiarelli make any moves to improve the team!” And “katz is making McLellan play jultz because it has to be coming from above!” Conspiracies abound just to make life hell for oilersnation!

  • Spoils

    it’s going to take a lot more than putting an Oiler jersey on Kassian to get me to cheer for him.

    Here’s hoping he takes advantage of this opportunity.

    what does it say about McDavid that I actually expect him to have success playing with Yak and Zac

  • Randaman

    My favorite play by the oilers is when the forward line hits the blue line in full stride and the one carrying the puck give a drop pass to the defenceman back at their own blue line, then the dman fires the puck in. With forwards at a stand still who do you think going to come up with the puck? They should make them do 100 push ups. I know we would of had too in minor hockey. I think this started with Eakins.

    • bradleypi

      You clearly are new to hockey. Every team uses that entry once in awhile. When it works its a great zone entry. Anybody that’s watched hockey knows the red wings and lidstrom made that play famous. Probably where McLellan got it from. Blaming one play for a putrid powerplay that desperately needs a playmaker to execute it is pretty bush league.

      • bradleypi

        A great zone entry you say. with all three forwards at a complete stand still on the blue line. Are you an idiot. If I was your coach and you pulled that stunt you would be sitting with Ferrence. But thanks anyways rookie.

    • bradleypi

      If you think todays performance has anything at all to do with eakins your sadly mistaken, this would have been the first thing Todd took away from them, but don’t fret I heard he gave them the donuts back.

  • Spoils

    What a load of hooey!McLellan ” keep the belief system”!

    How about concentrating on “system” for the power play ,penalty kill and getting the darn puck out of their zone up the ice.

    A lot of flannel mouth talk from the coach, tells me he isn’t bustin ya ya’s with these sleep walkers posing as NHL players.

    This is a lazy team that thinks they are so talented they just have to show up, waltzs around the ice, the poke check and a whole lot of fly bys.OH, yes let the other guy carry the load.
    Someone else suggested they may not be in condition to play three periods… quite possible… way to many brain cramps in their game.

  • D

    Right now the Oilers remind me of the old “pay off your Visa bill with your Mastercard” joke. Of course the PK would go in the tank on a night when the PP lit up the lamp.

  • Spoils

    Does he know how to shoot?

    I for one am not going to get too excited about this player…….if he shoots oacssionally, hit’s clean, and does not become a defensive liability, I will support him.

    He has never played TM’s system so there is no point in expecting home to learn this in the short term………hell most of our guys are still learning the system now!

  • Spoils

    It’s frustrating watching other teams drop to our level in the basement then swiftly climb up the standings again while the Oilers remain in the basement.

    Why hasn’t there been any decent improvement? Statistically it’s like getting 0% on a multiple choice exam, that’s damn hard to do. You would think one of the years in the past 10 would have the Oilers just have a “lucky” year or have a hot goalie for a year, stealing game after game (eg. Varlamov, Colorado).

    I’m jealous of Arizona, Florida and other teams that were at one point bottom tiered and now are showing actual progress. 8 regulation wins is not progress and I am frustrated.

    • bradleypi

      The odd thing is there has been measurable improvement in some areas, and complete stasis in other areas.

      Lowetide’s site tracks the goals for/goals against differential, and the Oilers are improved on the differential. They still give up more goals against than they score, but it’s not nearly as bad as last year. But why?

      If you look at the high danger scoring chances, the Oilers have improved on high danger scoring chances for. They are getting more of those chances that statistically lead to goals more often, and they’re scoring more. But in looking at high danger scoring chances against, they haven’t changed at all. They still give up more chances against than they get for.

      When you compare this year to last year, the high danger scoring chances against haven’t really changed, so the goaltending is better than last year. But the defence is still as awful as it ever was under Eakins.

      Which is what many fans have been saying since Pronger left. The defence isn’t good enough. Maybe someday the Oilers brass will care. Would help if there were a few dozen jerseys thrown on the ice, but Oiler fans will come out no matter what so there’s no impetus to actually do anything.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I must take offence to some of the comments made by bradleypi.

    I am no expert on hockey. I am simply an avid Oiler fan. That makes me very similar to most people on this site.

    What gives you the right to attack or insult anybody? Your comments are not particularly astute. They do not shed light on issues. You simply seem to belittle people, players etc.

    I personally would find this site much more enjoyable if you were to go to … say …. the Flames site.

    • bradleypi

      Aw buttercup…. first off, who did I attack or insult that’s got you all emotional? Second, which players do I belittle? And by that, do you mean belittle in the same way that oilersnation belittles schultz, nikitin and ference? And when you say I “attack and insult people”, do you mean that in the same way I get attacked and insulted because I don’t agree with the way oilersnation belittles said players I mentioned before? Not sure what I said today that’s got you all worked up but I know one thing. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. So I’ll wait for your list of “people I’ve attacked” and “players I belittle”. I’m guessing I won’t hear back from you.

        • bradleypi

          Again I’ll ask. Who did I “attack”? And what player did I “belittle”? Tick tock tick tock. Seems you are attacking me…. or to be more up to date should I say trolling me? For no reason other than to gain popularity on oilersnation…..

  • BobbyCanuck

    And, Flames have scored 4 goals against a team in 20 minutes, a team we could only score one goal against in 60 minutes.

    screams ‘I am mad as hell, and not going to take it any more, while throwing tv out the window…

    I take it back, we got meaningful games in January, been a very long time…

    • bradleypi

      To add to that they scored 4 on luongo while the oil could barely crack Montoya. Oilers will see a heavy dose of backups from here on out I’m assuming. Good times!

  • bradleypi

    I think I’m normally mildly optimistic. The Oilers are taking a good shot at changing my outlook.

    Huge job ahead to make this a playoff team, nevermind a cup contender. I’m sure if PC and TM had a do-over, they’d waited for another job to pop up.

    That being said, I do think they’re improving but there has to be many changes before next season. Then we’ll have to deal with another learning curve.

    I expect they’ll go on another useless winning streak after they’re virtually eliminated from playoff contention, just to play with my emotions.

  • bradleypi

    One aspect where the coaching has failed is in getting players to play a simple offensive system to get more goals.

    Defense is one thing, but this roster should be scoring more goals.

    People will hate me for bringing up Bob Hartley, but he and his “12 Monkeys” system (that is, he can dress 12 monkeys as forwards and they’ll still score) is a system so simple that focuses on high percentage plays. Players going top shelf and missing the net are replaced with players who shoot hard at the pads to get a rebound. Rebound shots have a 50% shooting percentage. Skilled players are gravy for him, but he doesn’t need them.

    Perimeter passing, shots from the outside with no traffic, trying to pick a corner but missing the net, these are what frustrate me.

    The Oilers are great off the rush. But need to be more than one dimensional in how they can score.

    Their PP demonstrates these issues perfectly. Again, let’s forget defense, they aren’t the reason why the PP is pitiful. There needs to be a shoot first mentality.

    Coach Nelson drilled this into the players. We also saw Eberle, Nuge, and Yak catch fire. I don’t think that’s a coincidence!

    Forgive the rant nature of this post… But this roster is too offensively talented to be scoring as low as they have, is an issue that needs to be addressed once and for all IMO.

    • Spoils

      Will you promote the proper source please.

      The fLames use philosophical conceptual and tactical data which comes from Moma2s NewAge Hockey System.A philosophy concepts and tactics which were all created in EDMONTON the City of Champions by Moma2.

      Get it right please.

      Moma2s NewAge Hockey System ….do you understand?

      The fLames specificlly use 3 Programs which evolved out of Moma2s NewAge Hockey System.The acronym is NHS.NewAge Hockey System.

      The programs are Intuitive Dynamic Analysis{IDA}…Intuitive Dynamic Management{IDM}
      ….and the Tactical Shooting Program {TSP}which incorporates both aforementioned programs .

      The Oilers were using these exact same programs which were then in their infancy in 2009-2010-2011-2012-2013.

      Pat Quinn was the 1st Pofessional Hockey NHL Head Coach to discover and OFFICIALLY use this data in 2009 followed by Sutter in 2012 then Quenville via Bowmans observations in 2013 …..Burke and Hartley who began in 2014-15 are on the forward edge of the evolution but the Oilers via Sam Gagner and the Kings and Hawks are the CUTTING edge.

      NewageSys or NAS who recently RETIRED and who formerly posted here is the ONLY source of this data….anyone else is a DISTANCE LEARNING student and ANY STORY TO THE CONTRARY IS A LIE.

      If the Oilers wish to use this data they may do as everyone else is doing and try to distance learn from existing online data or they may seek to lure NAS out of retirement WITH A PUBLIC REQUEST lol…..good luck with that…..they kinda poked the Pony and arent on NASs Christmas list because they helped Dellow and the hocus-pocus advanced stats crowd steal the NHSs Thunder when they gave him an NHL job and promoted con-job advanced stats over HOMEGROWN NHS GENIUS …think about that for a moment OK?…. ,but quite obviously anything is possible though seemingly not plausable.

    • bradleypi

      buuut……. how can the Oilers be a “great” rush team when we’re in 29th place yet again, it may be where our stars shine the most but I’d put forth that we’re not that good at it at all.

      Also, Hall is like 3rd in the entire league in shot attempts I’d say he shoots enough.

  • bradleypi

    While I enjoy ON tremendously it is not the focal point of my life and therefore ‘popularity’ on the site is not something I seek.

    With all of the comments and trolling I have seen from you, it becomes apparent you are seeking both attention and notoriety on these sites. Sort of like the bad little boy who misbehaves because any attention is better than no attention.

    • bradleypi

      You and cranky stew should get together. Because all I’m hearing is waa waaa waaaaa. Here’s an idea! Don’t read what I write! Now if you’re done being the oilersnation enforcer can you please leave me alone. I never said a word to you till you “attacked” me. Holy moly. Get a hobby

      • Virtually every single time I scroll through the comments and find a meaningless pissing match of some sort, there is a common denominator — your name is in the middle of it.

        The most sickening part is when you play the victim card, which you do with remarkable regularity, after inciting people. What do you expect when you call somebody “buttercup” or post “waa waaa waaaa?”

        I grow weary of you. Take that to heart.