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Rock bottom?

“Some times for some reason we don’t get up for games,” said Connor McDavid last night.

He’s bang on. Last night was another game they weren’t ready for.

Last night’s 5-0 loss was the worst display of execution I have seen from an Oilers team in 20 years. During the Decade of Darkness, the Oilers didn’t have a lot of talent. They were overmatched most nights. This edition of the Oilers, while far from perfect, has talent, but last night they were outclassed in every aspect of hockey.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the management and coaching wondering what the CEO of Oilers Entertainment Group Bob Nicholson would do. I’m not giving the management and coaches a free pass, far from it, but last night’s performance by the players was so uninspired it must be discussed.

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They lost 5-0 to the 30th place Buffalo Sabres who had played the previous night. The Sabres dominated the game from start to finish. How does that happen?

It is very concerning how this group of players can play that poorly so often on home ice.

In their last ten home games, they have been shutout four times.

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They lost 4-0 to Nashville and 5-0 to Winnipeg, Los Angeles and Buffalo. In 40% of their last ten home games they didn’t show up. I don’t care who is coaching or GMing, this group’s inability to play consistently needs to be addressed.

Their attention to detail and execution at home compared to on the road is night and day.

We can all question the PK system, which is worthy of being questioned, but how can they have the best road penalty kill in the NHL at 86.6%, and the worst in NHL history on home ice at 54.2%?

It can’t just be the system. It is the same system at home and on the road, but the results are vastly different.

In 24 road games, the Oilers have been shorthanded 82 times and allowed 11 goals.
In 24 home games, the Oilers have been shorthanded 72 times and allowed 33 goals.
That’s three times more goals allowed on ten fewer penalties. There is something wrong. It isn’t just an anomaly.

It is the same group of players on the road and at home, but their mental focus and attention to detail is not remotely close to how they perform on the road.

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Why is that? Their top-six defenders are the same six as last year. Their top-two lines are virtually the same, except for Jordan Eberle. Last year the Oilers had 103 points. They didn’t wilt in games as often as they have this year. If they got down early they battled back.

The Oilers have played with much more determination on the road. Their PP to PK chances on the road is -24 (58-82), but they remain competitive and battle.

Too often on home ice this group hasn’t shown the same resiliency.

I’ve questioned the coaching staff for the last month, and I thought fairly so. Their powerplay has shown no creativity or urgency for months, and I haven’t seen many systematic adjustments from the coaches. But I think is unfair to just give the players a free pass.

This group isn’t a Stanley Cup contender, but they have enough talent to be better than 26th overall in the NHL. I’ve seen bad hockey teams up close for a decade and this team isn’t that bad.

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LAST NIGHT

Jan 23, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel (15) wins a face-off against Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Strome (18) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Every team will have an off night, and if last night was the first time I’d seen the Oilers play uninspired I wouldn’t be concerned. Even the elite teams have off nights, but last night wasn’t a one-off. It was just the worst of what has become a trend for this year’s team.

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At Todd McLellan’s opening press conference in May of 2015 he said the Oilers were a mentally fragile team. Their strategy in San Jose was if you got up on them early they wouldn’t recover. It was an accurate assessment. Last season the Oilers shed that label. Players around the league noticed a distinct difference in the Oilers. They didn’t fold easily. The battled. Yes, they had more skill, but they were no longer a push over.

And this is virtually the same group as last season. Confidence is a factor, no question, but they don’t have the same swagger as last year. Last year they seemed to feed off the notion they were sick of losing and wanted to end the drought. They were rarely out of games. But this year they have been a fragile team, especially on home ice.

Last season over 82 games the Oilers lost seven games by 3+ goals. They had two four-goal losses and five three-goal defeats. They were rarely out of games.

This year, in only 48 games, they’ve lost by 3+ goals 14 times already.

Six times by three goals.
Three times by four goals.
Five times by five goals.

In 30% of their games, they have been dominated. I understand coaching and management is a factor, but you can’t overlook the players on the ice. Virtually the same group is struggling to match the competitiveness of their opposition.

Cam Talbot needs to be better.

Their defencemen need to play smarter.

Their forwards need to be more consistent.

Compare this lineup to the teams of 2010-2015. You’ve seen overmatched rosters. This edition of the Oilers should not be overwhelmed by their opponents as often as they have this season.

The 2011/2012 Oilers lost by 3+ goals 15 times. Their blueline consisted of the following players.

Ladislav Smid: 78 games played, 20:54/game.
Jeff Petry: 73 games played, 21:45/game.
Corey Potter: 62 GP, 19:56/game.
Theo Peckham: 54 GP, 16:52/game.
Andy Sutton: 53 GP, 16:41.game.
Ryan Whitney: 51 GP, 20:57/game.
Tom Gilbert: 47 GP, 22:48/game.
Cam Barker: 25 GP, 18:21/game.
Colten Tuebert: 24 GP, 12:38/game.
Nick Schultz: 20 GP, 20:03/game.

Do you think the aforementioned group is as skilled as this year’s group?

The entire team’s defensive zone coverage has been well below how they played last year. From the goalie to the D-men to the forwards, they have allowed far too many “easy” goals this year with essentially the same group.

Something is amiss. To lose 30% of your games by 3+ goals suggests their determination level isn’t where it needs to be.

We’ve discussed the bad moves by management, and the questionable coaching decisions, but I think last night showed this group needs to look in the mirror, be honest with themselves and realize they are not playing up to their potential.

Nine times in 24 homes games they have lost by 3+ goals.

Why are they more competitive on the road? Why is their mental preparation better?

If they don’t want to answer publicly, they at least need to answer to one another.

The best teams hold their teammates accountable. They need to rediscover the pride and determination they displayed last year.

This year is essentially over, if the playoffs was the goal, but I don’t believe you can just flip a switch and find a winning attitude in the summer.

The truth is, whether there is a change in management or coaching in the off-season, the majority of this roster will return next year.

If last night had been a one-off, there wouldn’t be much concern, but it wasn’t. It has been a season long issue, and since December 14th that type of performance has been on display far too often on home ice for the Edmonton Oilers.

The players need to figure out why they are a much different team on home ice compared to the road.

I’ve watched many bad games over the years, but last night was the worst I’ve seen, when you consider the talent level of this year’s team.

They have to find a way to be consistent. We’ve seen them play well this season. Their focus, execution and desire in divisional games is much better.

Consistency wins in the NHL and the Oilers need to find theirs again.

Regardless of who is the GM or on the coaching staff next year, the majority of this roster will return and they need to rediscover their mental focus.

As McDavid said, they need to get up for more games.

Recently by Jason Gregor:


  • Gravis82

    Uninspired performances happen more often on teams that have been poorly constructed by their GM because they are… a bad team… They have no hope for the playoffs or cup. Losing sucks the life out of you, so this kind of performance is expected. I’m not even upset.

    Want this not to happen? Hire a GM who makes better decisions and can build a better team.

    Blaming the players shifts focus from the real problem…the group that put this team together.

    • Dapper Dan 3099

      I have the same concern as Gregor, as in the roster will be almost the same next year (there are some contracts that are next to impossible to get rid of now)…so we change GM, coach, assistants, Joey Moss, whatever else, will that really fix this?

      We’ve tried a coaching revolving door and it was the same crap over and over….to be clear, I am in no way defending the coaching (especially whoever is responsible for the embarrassing special teams this year)….but if the problem is with the players, then u could have the best coach, best GM in history and you will still get nothing but losing…

      you can tell that they don’t play for each other and with the same “swagger” as last year, so what changed in the offseason to get a complete 180?

      At this stage I think you have to hire a new GM, and at the very least get rid of the assistants to show some form of accountability….

      • Gravis82

        Change is not bad. Changing the wrong thing is bad. We kept changing coaches when in reality we just needed better players.

        The only way to improve is to identify what change will actually result in improvement, which first requires you to identify the problem.

        So whats the causal problem with the Oilers? Where along the decision-making pathway, from Katz to ‘player on the PK deciding who to cover’ did it first go wrong.

      • Odanada

        One can only think that the coaches in charge of the special teams have “coached” their way out of the NHL. Who would hire these guys after this train wreck?

    • BringitbacklikeSlats

      Just as Gregor took pains to mention more than once. It’s essentially the same team as last year minus Eberle (who did zilch in the playoffs) and had 103 points. One could argue with the addition of JP they should be even better.
      So were you a fan last year cheering the team on through the season all the way to game 7? Or were you merely a bandwagon jumper! You can’t have it both ways buddy

      • Dapper Dan 3099

        been a fan for a long time, and endured some painful years…yet here I am. I’m not sure what throwing out some observations of things that ive noticed with this team has with being a fan? So ill try and explain it again, with less words for you…. IF there is a problem with the players, I don’t see much changing next year….. again “IF”

        …and I’ve mentioned in other threads that I’m really hoping this is an off year, like Colorado or Winnipeg had last year, and that they can recover with minimal change just like those teams did….

        …also I’m convinced that having Eberle on this team, this year, would have done sweet f.a. for where we are in the standings considering he obviously checked out on Edmonton last year

          • Dapper Dan 3099

            I’m not trying to sound like an dink, but I’m also kind of getting tired of some people throwing the bandwagon fan remark to anyone who criticises this team this year…

            there are some pretty pathetic suggestions being thrown around, I agree…..”fire everyone”, “bring back ex-oilers that didn’t work out here”, hindsight drafting and trading…..etc….but I think you also have a lot of passionate fans on here that are just beyond frustrated (especially after all of us getting our hopes up after last year)…..

      • nijames

        Last year they had Maroon, Klefbom, Sekera, Talbot, Letestu, Draisaitl, Kassian and a few other who had career years. McDavid had a great year and of the group listed above he is the only one that will get better, the others will not play that well again. They are not a consistant 100+ point team, no way, to many holes. They down graded skill a huge amount with the Eberle/Strome trade and lost speed with Pouliot and some grit with Pitlick. Lucic is way to slow to play this game effectively any more and he has a monster contract for 5 more years after this, imagine him in 3 years wowza very scary. JP has a good game one in every 10 games, not better than Eberle not even close. You were blinded by a career year team wise so hang opnto that band wagon you can have it your way.

      • champski

        Eberle helped the Oilers get to the playoffs in the first place. Teams come in here and would circle him as a player to watch regardless of playoffs. Who do they circle now.. Caggiula?? Strome?? If you say pool party you’re obviously still drunk off his one good game.

  • Oda Phi

    its those dam orange jerseys and Peter Chiarelli, of course. I had high hopes when he was hired but just like tradition the Oilers disappoint. Everyday with him at the helm is a scary day indeed!

    • corky

      Yup. Get his hands off the wheel before the bus goes further into the ditch. As for accountabilty in the dressing room. How did that work out for Jets when they tried to hold Kane accountable? I think its a different breed of player today. More snowflakes now and not as much truth. Because sometimes the truth hurts.

      • BringitbacklikeSlats

        There’s no shortage of snowflakes out there. In fact a lot show up on here.
        Eschewing skill at all costs over hard work, dedication, and not giving up. If it were up to most of the pundits on here we’d have a team of Rob Shremps

        • Dapper Dan 3099

          so Bringitback, since you’re a real fan and clearly know a lot, what would you say is wrong with this team? or does just admitting something is wrong make you less of a fan?

          • BringitbacklikeSlats

            Just a second tier fan Dapper Dan. Hell no…we all have a right to an opinion. I wanted Kevin Lowe gone in the summer of 2006, but he’s still around. But as the man said, I don’t buy tickets so. Being at the game last night however, had me thankful I wasn’t a ticket holder. Writers on here like BM, Henderson, and others like Willis and Lowetide perpetuate it. They have plenty of criticism but no real answers besides sitting on their thumbs

            My issue is with perception that Hall & Eberle should have been sacred cows and never traded.

          • Dapper Dan 3099

            Since I cant reply to you Bringitback….I agree with you 100% with the hall and eberle stuff…..I’ve said myself that having those guys would not have made all our problems go away, I’m also sick of the bring back hall, eberle, (any other former oiler doing well now on another team)….those guys were already here, with McDavid, and it didn’t work.

            also hall was the price for an upgrade on d that year we desperately needed, and every gm knew it…..if Larsson was traded to any other team, it would have cost less in my opinion, because our D was atrocious, Shero squeezed Chia’s nuts and said if you want D its gonna cost you……but I don’t think just giving everyone a free pass after this debacle this year is the answer either

    • BringitbacklikeSlats

      I don’t know how old you are but the pain you feel is nothing compared to the previous decade…that was soul sucking. We made it to the second round last year and were jobbed by the refs ( can’t convince me otherwise) and should have been in the Conference Finals where we’d have put up a fight but lost to the Preds. Kilometres better than the 26th-30th place finishes we saw previously

      • BringitbacklikeSlats

        That’s to Oda.

        Dapper once again I am in full agreement with your position. And you’re right… accountability is necessary. But sometimes so too is patience. I just see all these guys calling for Chiarellis head because he traded Hall and Eberle…when as you said our defence was in a state of shambles.
        The more I think about it the more I’m inclined to think this is not the time to wholesale change it all. We saw how that worked before. I’m sure Nuge could provide some testimony to that.

        I believe that the special teams play has sewered them and Maroon basically said it last night. So if the coaches won’t change then yes I’d fire them but not without finding out who it comes down to making the calls

        • Dapper Dan 3099

          Fair enough, and I also agree with you about the officiating essentially beating us last year…man that had me fired up for a while after…apparently hugging Talbots pad isn’t goalie interference…we’re all so silly thinking it was….?

    • hockeyartist

      Yep they are a curse as is Chiarelli. Can you imagine the Leafs changing to purple jerseys, or the canadiens to pink. Fire Chia, get back to blue, and begin another freakin’ rebuild.

    • nijames

      I agree with the orange jersey comment, they are the second ugliest uniforms in the league next to Nashville’s. I can’t believe people buy those ugly jerseys, they look like a clown outfit. Go back to the blue ones and our luck will change, guaranteed

  • PleaseWinOilers

    If there’s one thing I learned from this team, it’s that there is no rock bottom and the game against Calgary could actually be worse than this one.

  • ubermiguel

    I never understood this need to “get up” for games. Just show up and do your job. I’m also a fan of the Patriots (hey, I’m an Oilers fan, I need to cheer for a winner on occasion) and the contrast between the two organizations and their records is astronomical. Kraft and Belichick have crafted a culture of excellence, but Belichick’s methods are dead simple: prepare and do your job. It’s not rocket science, everyone knows how to do it, but executing it game in and game out it the hard part. And spare me your quips about cheating; no one is that good for that long simply by cheating. Back to the Oilers: they are a culture of losing, and that needs to change and it comes from the top. New players, coaches and GMs over the last decade plus and what’s the constant? Losing and Katz. I thought Nicholson could fix it, but there’s something too deeply rotten at the core of this team.

    • HockeySense

      this is Exactly the difference between winners and losers. How many franchise forwards do the Vegas knights have vs the Oilers?? They show up to work ready to kick arse where as the Oilers find themselves coasting. There is no room for coasting the best hockey league in the world otherwise u get exactly what we saw last night. I wish this city had a team like the Patriots we deserve it.

  • camdog

    Adding penalty kill and powerplay Oilers are 102.1% on road and 68.5% at home. Oilers have given up 11 short handed goals on road and scored 5. At -6 the Oilers are by far and away the best road penalty killing team in the league. I know I’ve been called out on the acomment by Gregor and others in the past for my stance, but there is evidently something else wrong with this team than just the penalty kill. They have only had one stretch of good games at home this season lasting 3 games is December against St.Louis SAN Jose and Montreal.

  • Jordan88

    I agree with Gregor.

    The talent has always been there, when this team plays well it doesn’t matter if its the Golden Knights or the Coyotes. They clean house, or they play a lights out defensive game.

    Something at home is not right, I am ready to pay for some voodoo witch doctor at this point.

    You watch I am calling it now. Edmonton will WIN by 5 goals Thursday.

  • Derzie

    Losing starts with Katz. Since he isn’t leaving, the boys on the bus are reason #2. Until that is addressed, lather, rinse, repeat, lose. Changing coaches, GMs & players is window dressing.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    JG, do you think McLellan has lost the room? If so, when/why/how? It wouldn’t make sense, imo, but there’s gotta be an explanation for this.

    • Jason Gregor

      If he has, then that is a big issue. Why would players tune out a coach so quickly after a successful season. If they have, then I’d question their character. I have a hard time believing they have tuned out him after a rough start. If they have, then the organization has much bigger issues.

      • corky

        Would some of todays Oilers roll their eyes when guys like Coffey and Messier are hanging around, decades from past successes. Another set of eyes also means another opinion. These young guys may be ODing on all this past star perspective. It might not even be the coach they are tuning out. It may be the whole atmosphere.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        McL keeps calling out the stars publicly,… Most of them are under 25 years old… They are developing their character… Their character should be questioned as it’s developing… They need mentors, a parent consultant figure. Heck, all of a sudden they are multi-millionaires with no one giving them any direction… Why would you respect anyone that calls you out publicly when you are in that state of adult development?

  • The Future Never Comes

    You know what they should do, maybe have the entire team spend a week working a 9-5 doing such jobs as drywalling, sales, carpentry, fast food, etc… Show them what the average person does to earn a modest 5 figure number annually. Show these privileged individuals what people are spending their hard earned money on players making 8.5 million dollars a year, not to even show up. These players make more in one month most people do in a year. They can’t even show up to play a GAME for 20 minutes average each. As the tail goes, no accountability anywhere in this organization. I wish we had a Torterella type right now to implement real fear and sit a big ticket player like Looch for not showing up.

    • NHL players are well paid. get over it. They got to where they are because they’re good enough to play NHL level hockey, not because they don’t understand that other people don’t earn as much. Maybe the drywallers, and fast food servers should be better at hockey?

    • oilerjed

      Your obviously forgetting the immense amount of hardwork they put in to get as far as they have. While drywallers etc went home to drink beer these guys go for a second workout or watch video for a couple of hours.
      I get the frustration but no more hyperbole.

      • corky

        I’ll watch videos of driving bus after my shift. Maybe ride a stationary bike too. Then I get a few mill? I get your point though. These guys work their tails off. If Oil were in first then we would all be saying money well spent on players salaries. Nature of the beast.

  • gordo

    i’m not going to pretend to understand why all 20 guys are “not up for a game” on any given night. these guys earn a hell of a lot of money to do something they love and have fun at. they get all kinds of perks in the community, free this, free that, and are welcome guests wherever they go. it’s a culture, and i for one do not understand why 18000 plus, including myself from time to time, pay 200 or more bucks to watch this crap. something is wrong. the other day somebody mentioned that colorado is better because duchense has left the club. maybe there are 1 or 2 guys in the oiler room who are cancers, “not into it tonite”, as jason arnott once infamously said. the buck stops with the management; 20 players can’t be changed but a gm with a vision of the future can make a difference

  • dsanchez1973

    I have long held that this management team (Chia/McLellan) is extremely inflexible in their player evaluation. They judge Fayne and Lander and Pouliot to not be NHL players and they are buried. They believe Benning or Caggiulia to be NHL players and they are plugged into the lineup no matter what. They believe Lucic to be a top line winger and he gets those minutes no matter how poorly he’s performing. The effect of this is that once you’re in “the good books”, you stay there no matter whether you play well or not. The management team needs to take a look at a few guys and give them some serious wakeup calls in the form of healthy scratches or even stints in the minors to make it clear – if you aren’t buying in and giving us the correct effort, you’re going to be out of here. Conversely, the people who are giving it their all should be the ones getting the sweet minutes. If management isn’t holding players accountable, guess what – they won’t perform as if someone is holding them accountable.

    • Gravis82

      I agree. They, in their ultimate wisdom, decide they know best what a player is and then force them into that spot. When really, the game is too complex to be truely understood and predicted and the best approach is to just get as many draft picks as possible and see who works out.

      There is also a disconnect between the characteristics they think make a good hockey player vs. who the data shows is actually a good hockey player.

      • The Future Never Comes

        Yes exactly, this is a losing organization that already handed them their big overpay. -Chia ” If you don’t work harder, we are going to ship you out of this incompetent hell-bound franchise”! -Player “cool I already got my huge overpay, thanks for the insane contract, now could you ship me somewhere not in the north freezing flatlands, like maybe L.A or Anaheim where they are actually good, thanks Pete”!

    • oilerjed

      Tell me again how Fayne, Lander and Pouliot are doing in the NHL again? Fayne is stuck in the minors becuse he was horrible in the NHL, Lander couldnt produce and Pouliot is a healthy scratch most nights on the 30th place team. The problem isn’t with who left it is with who is here and what they are prepared to do about it.

    • Hemmercules

      Sadly, they are stuck with him until the end of that contract unless they retain salary on a trade. RNH will likely be the cap casualty which sucks. If they could be rid of Looch and keep Nuge they would probably be happy but this is the real world. I dont even think they could trade Drai if they wanted to either. No one is paying 8.5 for that unless the Oilers are taking some major garbage back.

      • The Future Never Comes

        The average well informed fan knew Klefbom was worth 7 mill tops, that’s a minimum 1.5 mill overpay. Russell I don’t hate as much as the next guy, because he actually tries every game (yeah I know it’s sad that trying is my rating metric for a professional sports team) was over payed by 1 mill. Looch plays like a 2 million dollar player at this stage in his career. McD is making 12.5, and I don’t want to start demonizing a star of the league, but he has 15 goals for that price tag. That’s a 40 goal 100+ plus points price tag. You make that much, I don’t want to here any single excuse why your are not producing at that rate. Yearly.

      • MrBung

        Lots of McDavid inflation going on with this team. Drai included. At best a 6 million per year player. 2.5 overpay on him. Those kind of deals will kill the Oil.

  • Mcjesus97

    Also as bad as the team has played In Front of talbot you’re goalie is the most important penalty killer imo he has lost us the majority of games also last year he has won us majority of games incredible to see such a dip in production for cam.

    • Gravis82

      What is the difference between home and away in Talbots performance sv%? Then we need to know if they are structurally using a different ok at home and/or deploying different players differently. Then we can more accurately identify what is exactly the problem, and how to change it. Maybe the lights suck at Rogers in the oilers defend twice zone or something, and it’s mesinf with Talbot?? Who knows. But the home and away is too great to ignore, there is something there that when identified should be able to be fixed.

      Or is the diffrernve in home/away P.K. only because they randomly scored some shorties away? Not sure why someone hasn’t done this yet.

  • Fire Woodcroft!

    I actually thought during the first half of the first last night that the team was starting to build momentum.

    Then they had a power play that literally sucked the life from the building and energized the Sabres.

    Then quickly after that Buffalo scored on their own power play. The rest was just the Oilers skating around making fart noises.

    Last night’s loss stemmed from their first power-play. It was so bad I thought the league was going to go back and start taking away goals the Oil had scored during the Vancouver game on Saturday night. That’s how bad our PP is – its going to start retroactively losing games for us.

    There are no words to express the damage that Jay Woodcroft and his smarmy know-it-all smirk have done to this tram.

    • 99CupsofCoffey

      And if an NHL team totally goes off of the rails because of a PP goal, and it’s own PP not performing early in a game, then there are some MAJOR coaching problems.

    • geoilersgist

      This is exactly what I thought last night too. They were controlling play until they didn’t score on that powerplay. Larsson takes a penalty, Sabres score and that was it.
      All I know is if I were to fold like that at my job at the first sign of adversity I would probably be living in a van down by the river.

  • hagar

    It is because there is no accountability in the head office of the oilers. Everyone around the league knows if you suck for two years then play well for a few games you get signed for above average money based on a few days of effort.
    The players also go into work at a business that promotes ineptitude in management instead of firing it. It is hard to take their jobs seriously when almost the entire management group is employed despite years of failure.
    The players might try to sound like they don’t know what the problem is, and say they wish they could figure it out, but letting them figure it out is like telling a spoiled rich kid to fix his work ethic.. he would much rather live without accountability and enjoy the good life than work hard for what he has. It’s actually not the fault of the rich kid, almost everyone in the position would do the same. It is why we keep changing the players, and they keep doing the same… it is the environment.

  • Mcjesus97

    Not even lieing I been playing nhl18 online versus the past couple nights Using the oilers i been shutout in 5 straight games. And I am pretty decent I really think nhl18 is so advanced these days that the team you choose will play good or not depending on how the team in real life plays lol no joke

  • lee

    The core of this team needs to be changed, and dealing RNH for some middling player will change nothing.
    McDavid can’t do it all him self, Dria is way too moody for my liking and Lucic is a slug with a huge bank account.
    Personally I would like to see a new GM come in, trade Dria for some top end prospects (at least 3) with maybe two of them playing next season.
    Would also like to see a real captain on the team, McDavid is a fantastic player , he is not a captain.
    The work ethic and commitment on this team is brutal, it comes from an owner who is not connected to the team and a management system that has zero accountability.
    I never thought I would say this but this team really needs a hard ass coach who doesn’t care how much money each player makes.
    TM looks lost, he should take a break and his side kick coaches need to clear waivers and coach in the miners for a year or two.

  • Mcjesus97

    Iee i agree with everything you said but Come on mcdavid not a good captain be real man thats ridiculous he’s a fantastic player one of the best he just needs help goaltending and special teams has been the oilers problem not captain Connor.

    • crabman

      to be fair being a great player doesn’t necessarily make you a great leader or captain. You want your captain to be one of the best players but that dow isn’t always work out. Look at Patrick Kane. Best player in Chicago since the day he was drafted but that doesn’t make him their leader. Toews is a very good player but from all accounts a great leader. On the ice in the locker room everyone at every level said he was a natural leader. Not saying McDavid is or isn’t just saying it isn’t a given just because he is a great player.

  • GK1980

    It was painfully obvious the first 5 minutes of the game these guys where not engaged. I’m sure coach saw this too. In a situation like this why doesn’t he call a time out and give the guys the business?

  • winteriscoming

    Gregor you might have watched too many of these games but obviously the management team has not other wise there would be changes. The milk was spilled in the summer when they made zero changes, Slats always indicated that you need a 20% change ever year but the Oilers only had reductions and zero additions. I stopped watching this year and I am still undecided on next year. I feel for the people that are paying to go to these s$$t shows.

  • bcoil

    If Messier and Coffey and Anderson can be sat by Sather for not turning up ready to play ( he did this a few times ) then Dri and Lawson and Klefboom and others can be sat .I agree with Coffey when he said that players have to be respected but they also “expect ‘ to be held accountable and Todd is NOT holding these guys accountable .I think you have to sit a few of them for a few games like Lucic and Klefboom and who ever else they think needs it
    These guys have a enough nicks and bruises that they could puta few of them on short term injury reserve and bring up some kids for a few games .You will get your message across ,Slats did and they being Gretzky and company learnt that this is not a country club. YES he even sat Gretzky for more than a few periods.

    • crabman

      absolutely. anytime a veteran is put up in the press box they have to face the media and most seem pretty embarrassed. It forces them to answer tough questions about their play and many of them come out of it more determined to play harder.

    • 99CupsofCoffey

      I remember that quote by Coffey as well, and he seemed to have a glint in his eye when he got to the “expect to be held accountable” part during that interview. I wish they would have been smart enough to do something last November, instead of waiting this long.