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Do the Oilers need a heart transplant?

Last night, Georges Laraque spoke to Gene Principe in the second intermission and did not pull his punches when it came to assessing the Edmonton Oilers. 

Normally when you get quotes from former players they like to talk about the good old days without making waves about the current team. That is not what happened with Georges Laraque when he was interviewed during last night’s game against the Golden Knights. In fact, Georges even took shots at specific players, something you don’t see all that often. He later clarified the comments (we’ll get to that in a bit) but a lot of what he said rings true to me.

“If I was playing today I think there are many things I’d be doing in the room to get a heart transplant.”

Heart transplant, eh? Maybe that’s the problem!? The Oilers aren’t getting enough oxygen pumped through their bodies because of a weak heart! It all makes sense now. Science!

“Because look at the Golden Knights tonight… On paper, the Oilers have a way better team but (the Golden Knights) play with more heart.”

Ohhhh he meant that the Oilers are playing like they don’t care. Damn. I was hoping we had found something that was medically wrong with them, something that could be explained with science. I pictured some kind of ‘House’ arrangement where a specialist came in to diagnose them, ultimately solving the issue. So close. Dare to dream, I guess.

“As much as Connor is more protected, obviously he is with Darnell Nurse.”

Okay… Where is this going?

“But with Lucic, there’s a lot of guys on that team that actually need to do a hospital visit and get hearts transplanted because there is not enough heart out there.”

Uh oh… Maybe, kinda, sorta calling out Sargeant Swagger for a lack of heart. That’s not a good assessment of a guy that was brought in specifically to be a veteran presence that was able to not only protect Connor McDavid but also, by his own words, bring some swagger back to the organization. I mean, it’s nice that Lucic throws a hit every now and then but apart from those couple of shifts per night, what else is he doing? Certainly not scoring.

“It does not make sense to me.”

Me neither, Georges. Me neither.

THE WRAP…

Like I said at the top of this piece, it’s unusual for a former player to take shots at the team on an Oilers game broadcast like Georges did last night. I mean, we’ve had plenty of guys take shots at the organization for all kinds of different things but the Laraque comments were different. He specifically called out players on the team and didn’t exactly pull his punches when he did. Over at the Cult of Hockey, David Staples wrote that he heard from Georges and that his comments weren’t specifically calling out Lucic and that it’s how the quote came out in Frenglish.

Now, did Georges mean that or did someone talk to him about sewering the team on a national broadcast? Regardless of what he meant, for me, it was refreshing to hear someone with ties to the organization tell it like it is and call guys out for not being good enough. Now, it’s not like I think anything will happen because Laraque called the Oilers out, but it does make me happy to know that I’m not the only salty curmudgeon around here.

What did you guys think? Was anyone else surprised to hear this kind of talk on an Oilers broadcast?


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    • TruthHurts98

      Good for him, everyone outside of the city does too. And rightly so. This organization doesn’t take winning seriously or building a contender. As long as the seats are full who cares?!? The money pours in and the same old same old continues. Are you ready for Gretzky and Coffey to run the team now? Good ole boys club won’t die until they all pass on from this life. Hockey Guy on YouTube is right, this roster stinks and they’ll be shooting for the first overall next year too at this rate. DOD #2

  • OilersGM

    The way the team played through the first 2 periods in Vagas George had every right to say what he said.
    George is a proud guy and like all of us feels embarrassed by this team and he voiced his displeasure and good on him for doing so.
    He spoke for many of us.

  • ubermiguel

    Yeah, as if I’m actually watching the broadcasts anymore. I check the score on-line midway through the 2nd period to see if it’s worth my time. Glad I didn’t waste my time last night. God bless Georges, tell ’em like it is!

    • SourGrapes

      I check the score 5 minutes in to see a)if the opponent scored on their 1st shot, and b)how many PP goals they’ve given up. At that point I do a facepalm, shake my head, and get on with my day.

  • Beer

    Guaranteed roster spots for college players doesn’t seem to send the right message.

    Scouting cool- lege players hasn’t been any better than scouting JR. players either.

  • ed from edmonton

    I would say, that the Oil have had a similar lack of interest in perhaps 1 out of every 4 or so games this year. The team leadership group whether it be captains, veterans or whomever have been a complete failure.

  • 15w40

    No more Laraque on Stauffer’s show. This team needs a heart transplant and a lobotomy. The fish rots from the head and the head stinks. The entire organisation is in disrepair. Farm system is in horrible shape. PC has had 3 years and really no improvement anywhere in the org and the salary cap situation is worse than when he got here. Coaches are not making any appreciable improvements. Looks like last season was a shot in the dark.

  • Rama Lama

    I’m not sure but I suspect GL does not like Milan…….maybe Milan beat him up badly before his career ended? For me Georges is always an interesting interview but not exactly a hockey guru.

    I have never bought the argument that players do not try or give up…….for me once you are on the ice you just play the game and think of nothing else. The bigger issue is coaching and management. The coaches were not prepared at the start of the season, and did not have their roster sorted out till game 15 of the season. Management failed to improve the roster at both the back end and winger positions. Management traded two of our top three players and replaced them with third and fourth line pluggers.

    What I’m totally amazed at is that no one seemed to question the GM about his vision for the team, in spite of being surrounded by 10 hall of famers. Exactly what did they expect to happen………PATHETIC!!

    • EVILTED

      1. George has played exactly 100% more NHL games than you so his word about heart is valid. Your take is invalid.
      2. When has firing a GM in-season improved the performance of a current roster?
      3. How would you pay Hall, Eberle, McDavid and Draisaitl?
      4. Please give a clear description of what the defense looks like and plays like without Adam Larsson.

    • crabman

      I believe the GM didn’t give the coaching staff the best team possible. I also believe the coaching staff hasn’t put the team in a position to succeed night in and night out. But to say you don’t believe the players give up and don’t try their hardest sounds like a comment from someone who doesn’t actually watch the game. When you see how well they can play when they move the puck quickly, attack as a team, forecheck as a unit and support the puck in both ends you see a team capable of beating anyone in the league. Then you have a game like last night when most of the team just coasts around and doesn’t skate hard you see a team that isn’t putting in an honest effort. Those games the team is giving up and not trying hard enough. That falls on both the players and the coaching staff.

  • crabman

    Surprised it was on an Oiler broadcast sure. But Laraque is usually an honest guy who speaks from the heart so it didn’t surprise me that he was the person to do it.
    I don’t understand why he was back peddling today because he named Lucic by name. He most definitely singled him out and was right in his assessment. Most of the team seems to play without heart on many nights. Something needs to change and I don’t think swapping out a couple of wingers is going to do it. time for a coaching change if you ask me.

  • OilCan2

    George is right on the money. Lucic signed XL and is milking it. It’s not his fault for having a good agent and a marshmallow GM. The Oilers are SOL this season because of injuries. Even for XL$ @ Rogers McDavid is worth the money. At least we are on pace for 18.3% of Dahlin.

  • Gary

    Kinda off subject, but Calgary just resisned Backlund at a ver good cost. When grading Chareli plese consider this…

    Just gonna leave this here

    Next season:
    McDavid + Draisaitl = 21 million

    Gaudreau, Monahan, Backlund & Ferland = 20.2 million

  • Finnaggled

    ….a bit of a stretch of a story here…
    he called out one player by name, which is good he needs to be held accountable, but we shouldnt keep saying in the article that “he called many guys out”, that simply didnt happen.

  • percy

    We need a goalie who can push Talbot #1. Next a #1D man. This will get us into the playoffs. Our big boys will earn their wages in the playoffs. Don’t start making a bunch of changes up front. This team is famous for taking one step forward and two steps back.

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    I’m back to PVRing the games. Then when they don’t show up I can watch it in fast forward. It’s kinda like ripping off a bandaid fast instead of slow. It saves about and hour and a half of suffering/yelling at the TV.

  • CMG30

    High time we hear some unvarnished truth. Forget the BOTB, Nicholson would do well to bring Laraque on board for an honest opinion.

    In order to deal with this heart situation, Nicholson should call a players meeting and just lay it out for them. Don’t sugar coat it, simply let them in on the reality that while they can’t always control the wins and losses but they can control effort. When they continue to drop turds on home ice by failure to show up for large parts of the game many of them are throwing their NHL careers away. If you can’t at least be hard to play against, young players and even vets may find themselves banished to the Russian or European leagues watching your prime earning years float away.