PLAYERS NEED TO TAKE CHARGE

Jason Gregor
March 17 2014 10:16AM

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It is interesting how winning changes people's perception. Jonathan Toews is applauded as a great leader and is credited with leading the Hawks to two Stanley Cups in four years. It is hard to argue that, however, I notice he gets much more credit for the Hawks than his head coach, Joel Quenneville. I don't have a problem with that, because I believe the players impact the game more than a coach, but if you coach a losing team much more of the blame falls on the coach. Why?

The saying and thought process is you can't fire 23 players, so it is easier to fire the coach when things aren't going well. That is true, but bad hockey teams remain bad regardless of who coaches them. There are cases where firing a coach makes sense, especially if your team has the talent to play better. Quenneville is a perfect example. He replaced Denis Savard and quickly added a bit more structure to a highly talented Chicago team and they succeeded.

Coaching can help, but ultimately no coach wins unless they have good players, and then the good players need to be willing to listen and follow the system he puts in place.

If you are an average team and you replace the coach, usually we see an early spike in success, but then reality sets in and the team goes back to being average. Look at the Winnipeg Jets. They won 9 of the first 11 games Paul Maurice coached. Many suggested he was the difference.

They have won 3 of their next 11 games. I doubt he suddenly became less intelligent during the last 11 games, instead we started to see the real Jets. The better question would be why has Maurice, just like his predecessor Claude Noel, used Andrej Pavelec more than Al Montoya? 

Coaching is important, but if you don't have a skilled, committed group of players it is very difficult to win. We have seen great coaches go to bad teams, and they never had the same success they did when they coached a good group of players. Look at Ken Hitchcock's career.

In eight of the ten years that he began the season as head coach of Dallas and Philadelphia they finished with 100+ points. He was fired during the other two seasons. He was fired 50 games into the 2001/2002 season after a 23-17-6-4 start. Rick Wilson took over and the Stars went 13-11-7-1 the rest of the way. Under Hitchcock the Stars were on pace for 91 points. Wilson had them on an 87-point pace.

In Philly he was fired only 8 games, 1-6-1, into the 2006/2007 season. John Stevens took over and led them to the worst record in the NHL. In the off-season the Flyers added Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and Jason Smith while Braydon Coburn and Mike Richards emerged as key pieces. Coburn was acquired at the traded deadline in 2007 and was a top-three D-man the next year. Richards went from 32 points in 2007 to 75 in 2008. Stevens was behind the bench when the Flyers got back to 100-points, but changing out that many key players made a bigger impact.

Hitchcock wasn't out of work very long as the Blue Jackets hired him a month later. The Jackets went 28-29-5 under Hitchcock that year, then they made the playoffs in 2008, but he was fired 58 games into the next season with a losing record. The Jackets had one good year under Hitchcock, but they didn't improve much after he left, because the players weren't that good.

My point is you need players to win, and those players need to take charge of the team.

BECOMING LEADERS...

Mel Gibson as William Wallace in the film Braveheart-1782041

Are Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov ready and prepared to lead this team? If they are, they will need to show more leadership moving forward than we've seen thus far, and they will also need some quality veterans supporting them in their quest to climb out of the basement of the NHL standings.

Pittsburgh drafted Chris Joseph 5th overall in 1987. He was one of the pieces sent to Edmonton in the Paul Coffey trade and he spent parts of 16 seasons in the NHL. I asked Joseph his thoughts on leadership, coaching and more. (My thoughts are in italics.)

Gregor: How much of a difference does it make having veterans at the position that you excel at? Do you need a guy who is similar to your style to learn more about the game in the NHL, or is learning from a veteran of any position beneficial?

Joseph:  I’m not sure that you need a guy that’s your style. Leadership is valuable obviously, but you can have a leader that plays a different style of game. For me, when I first came into the league there were guys like Kevin Lowe, Steve Smith, I’m just talking defencemen, Craig Muni, Charlie Huddy. I don’t know if you would say any of those guys played the same style that I did, but they gave me a lot of valuable insight and made it clear what’s expected of me daily in practice, what’s expected of me in preparation wise, and how my role sort of complemented their role on the ice. So I’m not so sure that you need that exact type of player. I think that it can be beneficial, but good quality leadership is of the utmost importance and whatever form that comes in is, you take what you can get.

***Ference has helped Schultz a lot in this way, especially when they were paired together. He spoke to Schultz after every shift, but who is helping the skilled forwards, and are they listening? I wonder if having a veteran in the top-six would help them, but they need to be willing to take the advice and implement it into their game.***

Gregor: Did you have the veteran players tell you what was expected of you in practice and the games more than the coaching staff?

Joseph: Ah… yes. The coaches would tell you what’s expected and then the players would tell you how to get that done. Sometimes there was a bit of a communication gap between players and coaches and if you had a veteran leader there with you, they sort of fill in the gaps if there is something that you’re not comprehending from what the coaches are saying. But mostly the veteran leaders I found led by example. They didn’t have to talk. Mark Messier rarely had to talk, Kevin Lowe for me rarely had to talk, it was what they did day in and day out that really led the way for me.

When I first came in at 18 years old, I thought that I was a hard worker, I thought that I was doing things well and working well and I thought that I gave it my all, but then I came to the Oilers and I saw what Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier and Kevin Lowe and Jari Kurri did every single day, and I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to start working harder.’

So that’s the sort of leadership that is invaluable to a young player because there is a big jump skill wise moving up to that level, but in your preparation and in your everyday activity there is a huge jump as well.

Gregor: I do think that a lot of players will believe, ‘hey I’m a hard worker, I’m working hard’ but you get to that next level and it’s not just about skill. The best players on the team usually are the hardest workers. How did you suddenly improve your work ethic?

Joseph: Well I don’t think that it suddenly happens. I think you sort of grow into it over time. As a young player you think that you can get away with a lot of stuff, but you realize you can’t. I was the type of player that needed a lot of… ah, I took a lot of chances; offensively I would try to jump in and I pinched lots and I got burnt, but I had the speed to get back at a young age. Now I jump up to the NHL and I don’t have the speed anymore. I still have the speed but everyone else is faster. So you have to learn how to play your position properly and then of course as you get older, you become the veteran and then you actually start losing your speed. Now you’re much wiser, but your body just doesn’t do what it used to do, but your smarts allow you to stay in the game a few more years.

I think that it takes a while and during the progression of a career you learn different roles, but it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s the beauty of good leadership, those guys that I mentioned, and there was a lot more guys that just those guys, but the guys that I mentioned they did it every day.

I remember one time in Philadelphia.  I come off the ice after practice and I’m bagged. I played with Paul Coffey, the guy that I got traded for here, so you come off of the ice in Philly and Paul would look at me and say ‘let’s go jump on the bike’ and the last thing in the world that I want to do is jump on the bike, but I thought, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Paul Coffey ride the bike without me.’

That’s the type of leadership that goes a long way, and that’s the type of thing that you need from the veteran guys for the younger guys.

***I think a main issue in Edmonton is the overall work ethic. The top-six along with Petry and Schultz need to battle harder and more consistently than we've seen thus far. Their consistency hasn't changed whether Renney, Krueger or Eakins was the head coach. This is on the players. They need to work harder away from the puck, and many of them need to be more consistent. Right now Hall is the most consistent, as far as being in the game. Yes, he makes mistakes, but of all the young forwards and D-men he is consistently the most engaged in games.***

Gregor: Chris, do you think that’s a concern in Edmonton where the young skilled guys haven’t had enough veteran leadership in Edmonton?

Joseph: Oh absolutely. Any time that you have a team that’s packed with young guys like they are, you have to go out of your way as an organization to bring in those leaders. Now are those leaders going to be around for the good days ahead? Probably not, but you have to bring them around. And you know, a good example that I see is Ryan Smyth with the Oilers. He’s a hard working guy and you watch him day in and day out, he gives it his all. So for me that’s a good example and the young guys can learn from him. Now you probably need more than just him. I think that Shawn Horcoff was a good leader as well, but you need to bring those guys in.

 I think MacT has tried to do this year, but you have to bring them in now and if that means that they’re not going to be around for the good times, so be it, but you have to teach the young guys the importance of preparation and work ethic and what’s expected on a daily basis. It wouldn’t hurt if they had a veteran skilled forward to show the kids some tips about attacking D-men and such, but having guys who know how to compete and succeed in the league is the most important.

In junior, kids have good games and they have bad games. Sometimes we watch some of these guys and they go lights out for one or two games and then they go in the tank for ten. In the NHL you have to get to that level where you go lights out for ten and you’re maybe off for one or two, so you’ve got to change it up. That’s all preparation and the way that you prepare for games and your daily routines and your work ethic.

**Joseph's assessment was 100% correct. The young, skilled guys have shown glimpses of what they can do, but it isn't often enough. It takes time to learn how to play at the NHL level, but their consistency, more than any other factor surrounding the organization, will play the biggest factor in them improving as a team. Until they learn to be consistent in every aspect of their game, I don't see this team improving.**

Gregor: At what point does having the leadership change over to having the internal drive and how much is it on the young players themselves to become better players regardless of who else is in the room?

Joseph: Well, you know the old saying ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?’ So, you know, we have talked, you and I just now about the value of good leadership, but honestly I believe that it still comes down to the player more than the leader.

So you take some of the young guys in the Oilers dressing room, [Nail] Yakupov for example. He's got to want it bad enough that he sees those veterans doing it, but eventually he’s going to have to want to do it for himself. He’s going to have to want to do that extra stuff for himself. I’d have to say that it has to be 95% on the individual young player and maybe 5% on the leader. They can only do so much and they can show them what is expected, but if a player won’t do it, then it’s a moot point, it doesn’t really matter. And I’ve seen lots of that as well too. We’ve all seen it, you ask Struddy [Jason Strudwick]. We’ve all seen guys with loads of talent that don’t want to do it and then their careers sizzle out. Then on the opposite end of the spectrum you see players that maybe don’t have the skills that other ones have, but they work their guts out every day and they make it happen, and they end up carving out a nice long career. The best players work the hardest, and the fringe players who last a long time stay in the game due to their work ethic more than their skill.

WRAP UP

  • Leadership is important for sure, but each player must be better prepared to play and battle. You can't keep expecting the coach or a veteran player to magically instill this into them. It has to come from the players. The reason I said Ference should be captain was because I felt none of the players are ready to be the main leader. They still have to work on motivating themselves to be prepared for the games. It isn't easy, and I still feel this team needs a few more veteran leaders, ideally one who is a top-six forward and one who plays amongst your top-four defenders. It will be difficult to acquire those types of players, but even if MacTavish does, I still think the young players need to do more on a game-by-game basis.

  • He has very good skills, but the thing I like most about Yakupov is when he is engaged in the game he doesn't show fear or hesitation. He isn't afraid to shoot, or stick a guy or jump in a scrum like he did yesterday. As Joseph said earlier, Yakupov, as well as the other young players, needs to be engaged for 8 out of 10 games, not 2 out of 10. Learning how hard you have to compete to succeed in the NHL is the biggest learning curve for most skilled players. The game was easy for them at lower levels, because they were so much better than everyone, but the NHL is filled with players just as good as them, and often they are older, stronger and more experienced. It is a tough lesson, but I'd like to believe the kids are sick of losing and will realize that they have to help themselves become winners. They can't wait for a new coach or a veteran to magically instill a winning attitude inside the dressing room. They need to take charge and do it.

  • The streak is over. Prior to yesterday's 2-1 win the Oilers hadn't won a game where they out shot the opponents since January 10th, when they defeated Pittsburgh in OT. The Oilers out shot the Hurricanes 33-30 yesterday. It was only the 4th time in 2014 that the Oilers had more shots.

  • Last year the Oilers were out shot 32.8 to 26.8 and this year they have improved slightly to 32.4 to 27. Getting more shots won't guarantee you success. Ottawa, Carolina, Islanders, Phoenix, Detroit and New Jersey are out shooting their opponents but none of them are a playoff team.

    Meanwhile, Toronto (6.0), Dallas (4.7), Tampa Bay (2.6), Columbus (2.2), and Colorado (1.9) all give up more shots, but they are poised to make the playoffs.

  • The Oilers are 9-4-3 in their last 16 games and they've been out shot in 14 of the games. Some believe they can't keep winning if they get out shot, but that isn't completely true. The Oilers likely can't keep getting out shot by an average of 9.2 (34.8 to 25.6 during the 16 games) every game, but teams have proven you can win by being out shot by a smaller margin.

  • It was only two games, but Anton Lander looks like a much different player than last year. He is stronger on the puck, looks a bit quicker and most importantly he has confidence with the puck. It is amazing what confidence can do for a player.

  • I'm not saying Eakins gets a free pass, but I'm pointing out it is foolish to believe he is the only reason this team is losing. If you want him fired, fine, but then you better want many of the important players traded, because they are failing in their roles just as much as he is. If your excuse for the players is that they are young and inexperienced, then wouldn't the same theory apply to Eakins? Both the coaching and the players need to be better. Not one or the other.

  • The Edmonton Rush have won 10 straight games. The Trappers and Eskimos won 10 straight, and the Oilers record is 9. The Rush could become the first to win 11 this Friday. It is crazy how big of a role one day played in allowing Derek Keenan to build such a dominant team.

  • We sold out the 3rd annual Gregor Charity WSOP tourney in 27 hours last week, so we have added a 2nd day. Rules and entry fee details are here. Winner gets entry to WSOP main event ($11,200 CDN), hotel, flights and spending money. Entries for day two will go on sale this Wednesday at 10 a.m. You can call 780.643.4060. Good luck.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Shifty203
March 17 2014, 04:07PM
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Ed in Edmonton wrote:

Thanks for the interesting article.

I don't think there is any question that in hockey, and in most professional sports, the players make a coach.

My biggest concern about Eakins in the lack of growth from virtually all of the Oil's young players this year. Looking at Oilers 25 and under who were here both last year and this year:

Eberle - regressed Gagner - big regression but there are extenuating circumstances Hall - about the same, maybe a bit less prone to the big give away. RNH - regressed Yak - regressed Schultz - marginal improvement.

Does this tell us something?

Hall has gotten worse too. His shooting percentage is the same(ish), but he's shooting less.

He's also ranked #2 in the league for giveaways, compared to #85 last year. 90 giveaways in 62 games this year, 29 in 45 games last year.

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#52 Will
March 17 2014, 04:12PM
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** wrote:

I think their first priority should be to try and flip that pick in a package for a top 2 established dman. The team getting the pick could draft Ekblad and have a replacement in 3 years. If they can't, then try to get the 2nd line center. If they can't, then draft Ekblad. Those who know say he is NHL ready. IT would be easier to get a 2nd line center than a top d man down the road.

I too agree that Ekblad is a more elusive type of player, but I also think it takes him the longest to develop into a player that actually helps the team. I can't wait for the days of Ekblad and Nurse. But that's not gonna be for a loooong time.

Who knows, if they keep playing like this, getting Ekblad and the need to get him are kind of moot points. The real test of the new found team success will be in the last month of games. They get Anaheim 3 times, San Jose twice, New York, LA, and Van all once.

I think even if we end up drafting 3rd, we still get Ekblad. Buffalo has lots of D, and Florida needs something to sell the fans, which is never a D man. It's also looking like Buffalo is going to get two of the top four or five picks. What a way to start a rebuild.

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#53 Dog Train
March 17 2014, 04:37PM
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This is why I hope the Oilers don't plan on entering next season with any rookies on D except for Marincin. Marincin has shown he can play. Klefbom has looked alright but more seasoning would do him well. A veteran left D for the top pairing, a veteran right D and at least one veteran top-6 forward would be a pretty good haul in the off-season. The hard part will be finding those players without creating too many holes elsewhere. Mactavish has shored up the goaltending but there is still lots of work to do elsewhere.

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#54 Will
March 17 2014, 04:47PM
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Dog Train wrote:

This is why I hope the Oilers don't plan on entering next season with any rookies on D except for Marincin. Marincin has shown he can play. Klefbom has looked alright but more seasoning would do him well. A veteran left D for the top pairing, a veteran right D and at least one veteran top-6 forward would be a pretty good haul in the off-season. The hard part will be finding those players without creating too many holes elsewhere. Mactavish has shored up the goaltending but there is still lots of work to do elsewhere.

Markov, Orpick, Legwand/Stasny, and I would say Downie for 3rd line LW. All it will cost is money. Bring up Lander and Pitlick:

Markov, Petry

Ferrence, J Schultz

Orpick, Marincin

Klefbomb

Hall, Nuge, Yak

Perron, Legwand/Stasny, Ebs

Hendricks, Gordon, Downie

Pitlick, Länder, Gazdic

Scrivens, Fasth

I could live with that. Trade Gagner for.... Cap space?, no Jones or Smyth. Fedune first call up on D. Horack first call up at forward.

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#55 zoolander
March 17 2014, 04:49PM
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"I'm not saying Eakins gets a free pass, but I'm pointing out it is foolish to believe he is the only reason this team is losing. If you want him fired, fine, but then you better want many of the important players traded, because they are failing in their roles just as much as he is. If your excuse for the players is that they are young and inexperienced, then wouldn't the same theory apply to Eakins? Both the coaching and the players need to be better. Not one or the other."

I sure hope Eakins is not getting a free pass....I would hope the oilers fire him and and make some trades to get a better mixture in there top six and dfence. That would be the safest route as it addresses both issues. I don't really understand your young and experienced comment as it is usually the less experienced athlete that needs more and better coaching and thusly the more experienced coach. Ultimately you said Eakins needs to be better...I think that comment itself says he should be fired.

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#56 **
March 17 2014, 05:00PM
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Will wrote:

I too agree that Ekblad is a more elusive type of player, but I also think it takes him the longest to develop into a player that actually helps the team. I can't wait for the days of Ekblad and Nurse. But that's not gonna be for a loooong time.

Who knows, if they keep playing like this, getting Ekblad and the need to get him are kind of moot points. The real test of the new found team success will be in the last month of games. They get Anaheim 3 times, San Jose twice, New York, LA, and Van all once.

I think even if we end up drafting 3rd, we still get Ekblad. Buffalo has lots of D, and Florida needs something to sell the fans, which is never a D man. It's also looking like Buffalo is going to get two of the top four or five picks. What a way to start a rebuild.

Buffalo will have an embarrassment of riches prospect wise, they already have Grigorenko and others in the system plus all the first rounders they are getting this year.

Last year everyone thought Seth Jones was going 1st overall and he ended up slipping all the way to fourth. This year the quality is not as good, but who know.

I agree the d men will take longer to develop, but we've seen how important strong d men are down the road. It will actually be exciting to see what happens at the draft.

I have the Oilers winning between 4 and 6 of their last 13. They will end up no better than 28th overall.

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#57 **
March 17 2014, 05:14PM
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Will wrote:

Markov, Orpick, Legwand/Stasny, and I would say Downie for 3rd line LW. All it will cost is money. Bring up Lander and Pitlick:

Markov, Petry

Ferrence, J Schultz

Orpick, Marincin

Klefbomb

Hall, Nuge, Yak

Perron, Legwand/Stasny, Ebs

Hendricks, Gordon, Downie

Pitlick, Länder, Gazdic

Scrivens, Fasth

I could live with that. Trade Gagner for.... Cap space?, no Jones or Smyth. Fedune first call up on D. Horack first call up at forward.

If Marincin ends up the season on a strong note, I would jettison Petry and replace him with a stop gap veteran. Petry will be asking for a raise, imo that money should be used on a veteran with more games and better track record.

This way when Marincin's entry level contract expires next season, he can get a raise without crunching the cap too much, and the following year that veteran will be gone, allowing for more money for Klefbom when his entry level is up.

Hopefully bu then the Oilers will be a playoff team.

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#58 Rod from Viking
March 17 2014, 05:33PM
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Boy Jason the way you are beating this horse, the SPCA is going to come after you(lol). The high draft picks are regressing under Eakins but is it more to do with them not wanting to change rather than being poorly coached. There has been many growing pains all the way around this year, I think they are trying to get buy in on everyone in the 200ft game and once that is being done then the offensive players will have more confidence and will be gripping the stick less. It looks like they are doing a better job as of late but they are going to have to change out one of the top six with a bigger grittier player that still has skill,a minimum of one preferably two veteran upgrades to the defense and one with a bomb from the point, two changes to the bottom six that I think can be filled from the farm. I think they have to at least make a change or two with the assistant coaches but not holding my breath.

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#59 Oiler Al
March 17 2014, 05:40PM
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Ok its not Eakins fault, the team is playing lousy hockey. Its up to the players. Ok, lets fast forward to Sept 2014, the boys show up for training camp.. You expect through summer there will be some magical inducement and they all show up for camp bigger and better players... not likely. The team has not changed or improved in 70 games, why expect something to change over a few months of summer.

If its not on the coach but on the players, then you got a bigger problem... .. when the core is not that good or good enough to take you into the play offs you would have to start your rebuild over again. Maybe the core is not really that good.

In the meantime check out the Colorado rebuild, rookie coach, limited defense and a bunch of youngster getting it done. They live by what they do on the ice and not stories spun by managment, owner and the coach.

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#60 The Swarm
March 17 2014, 06:05PM
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The argument about whether the star talent has regressed under Eakins is irrelevant.

There is no denying that THE TEAM as regressed this year under Eakins with a better roster.

Fasth and Scrivens are now simply masking the terrible defensive mistakes that plagued the team earlier in the season. Nothing has changed.

Waiting until they go 2 - 10 to start the year and THEN firing Eakins?? That's ridiculous. You don't come back from a start like that and then a new coach has to come in mid-season, etc…

Fire him now and start training camp with a proven NHL coach.

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#61 Gk1980
March 17 2014, 06:16PM
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***Ference has helped Schultz a lot in this way, especially when they were paired together. He spoke to Schultz after every shift, but who is helping the skilled forwards, and are they listening? I wonder if having a veteran in the top-six would help them, but they need to be willing to take the advice and implement it into their game.***

In my opinion this is the oilers Achilles heal. Tambo just assumed a bunch of 18 year olds could lead an NHL team. He never got the proper players to mentor these kids to play in a top six role in the nhl. The kids should never have been put in that position. It has temporarily if not permanently damaged their progress.

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#62 Woogie63
March 17 2014, 06:23PM
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Eakins owns some very strange line combinations.

It feels like you are either a top 6 forward OR a bottom 6 forward.

Why not play Hendrick with Gagner and Yak ... To add toughness and some defensive responsibility?

Why not play Lander with Hall and Eberle? Then you have a responsibile centre.

Put Gazdyk on the Wing with RNH and Perron to create some space.

Would Gagner help a third or fourth line.

You get the idea, to me this coach seem to tie the idea of top and bottom six?

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#63 Serious Gord
March 17 2014, 06:43PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

Exactly why Eakins needs to stay. No more letting the players think a coaching change will help. Five coaches later this team is still terrible, it's time the players looked in the mirror for the problem.

That said MacT does need to hold Eakins accountable for the terrible power play.

Those are two mutual exclusive things - as Jason is in In part arguing in his column.

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#64 Serious Gord
March 17 2014, 06:44PM
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T__Bone88 wrote:

Right now it would be very short sighted to think that this team would magically become better if the Oilers fired Eakins and brought in a few more veteren players. The problem doesn't lie with Eakins, he was dealt this team and trying to work with it. The drive to become better does need come from the players especially the higher end players. The problem is when you have all your high end players are under the age of 25 and have not had good consistent years it adds up to being a bottom end team. There are only a few players on this team that from game to game you can expect the same results and that needs to change in order to succeed.

Eakins is PART of the problem.

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#65 Serious Gord
March 17 2014, 06:46PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

Going into the season, we would have had the pick of the coaching world lining up to work with this collection of talented players.

Coming out of the season, people are wondering if we have the right collection of players to even be an average team.

I can't think of two players that improved with this coaching staff. THAT is the shame of a wasted year.

Missing the play-off but showing progress is one thing, BUT this is different... the team is lost, the coaching is not adding value AND I think we have seen the BEST the coaches can provide this young team.

More significantly any coaching prospects are wondering if the current management is up to the tAsk.

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#66 Oilerbiy1112
March 17 2014, 06:47PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Ok its not Eakins fault, the team is playing lousy hockey. Its up to the players. Ok, lets fast forward to Sept 2014, the boys show up for training camp.. You expect through summer there will be some magical inducement and they all show up for camp bigger and better players... not likely. The team has not changed or improved in 70 games, why expect something to change over a few months of summer.

If its not on the coach but on the players, then you got a bigger problem... .. when the core is not that good or good enough to take you into the play offs you would have to start your rebuild over again. Maybe the core is not really that good.

In the meantime check out the Colorado rebuild, rookie coach, limited defense and a bunch of youngster getting it done. They live by what they do on the ice and not stories spun by managment, owner and the coach.

I think Colorado has some veterans to help there young stars

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#67 Oilerbiy1112
March 17 2014, 06:47PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Ok its not Eakins fault, the team is playing lousy hockey. Its up to the players. Ok, lets fast forward to Sept 2014, the boys show up for training camp.. You expect through summer there will be some magical inducement and they all show up for camp bigger and better players... not likely. The team has not changed or improved in 70 games, why expect something to change over a few months of summer.

If its not on the coach but on the players, then you got a bigger problem... .. when the core is not that good or good enough to take you into the play offs you would have to start your rebuild over again. Maybe the core is not really that good.

In the meantime check out the Colorado rebuild, rookie coach, limited defense and a bunch of youngster getting it done. They live by what they do on the ice and not stories spun by managment, owner and the coach.

I think Colorado has some veterans to help there young stars

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#68 mesa
March 17 2014, 06:55PM
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i think colorado will fall on their face hard next year .watch and see.

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#69 Oilerboy1112
March 17 2014, 07:04PM
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mesa wrote:

i think colorado will fall on their face hard next year .watch and see.

Just for McDavid??

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#70 dougtheslug
March 17 2014, 07:16PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:
I can't believe that all these players, who have excelled at every stage of their careers, have honed their skills by being ultra-competetive, have all, by some coincidence, gone backward in their development at exactly the same time.

Excelled at every stage except this one. You know, the one where you have to play a 200' game or you're hooped before you begin. The one where the skill level is so high you can't glide by on your skill alone.

Also, you do well to not believe that they have all regressed since it is simply not true. Below is a list of players followed by their average points per 60 minutes up until this year, followed by their points per 60 minutes this year. All values are for 5v5 close.

Player      Previous      Current

Hall            2.25            3.59

Nuge         1.45            1.99

Ebs            2.27           1.82

Yakupov    1.55            1.85

Gags          1.48            1.30

So. All players are generating more points THIS YEAR per unit time than they have on average in their careers. All except Gags and Ebs. Gags was injured and is snakebitten with a 6% shooting percent compared to his career 12%. Ebs, I am not sure of.

I didn't put Schultz in here since he is a defenseman.

Are you still clamouring for Eakins head? Fire the coach because Eberle has regressed?

Yes, the PP sucks, but the fact remains that in 5 on 5 hockey most of the core has gotten better (by this metric) under Eakins. Sorry, there will be NO refunds on pitchforks.

"5v5close: 5v5close is defined as 5v5 play when the game is tied or within 1 goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third period."

Um, so using one somewhat obscure metric which measures essentially how a player is performing when the game is close is meant to demonstrate that the Oilers are flourishing, not languishing under Eakins brilliant management?

Actually all these players have excelled at this level. RNH was runner up for rookie of the year, Yak led all rookies in points and goals last year. Taylor Hall should have made the all-star team last year, and Eberle had a monumental 76 point season in his sophomore year.So how do you explain their regression in point totals and plus minus?

RNH was a plus player last year, at +4, despite a serious slump in point totals from his rookie year, due to an abysmal shot %, and an injured shoulder. In 62 games as a rookie he had 52 points and a -2. This year he has 44 points and is -17.

Eberle has gone from a 34 goal 76 points, -4, 78 game season in 2011-12 to a 21 goal 50 points -15 so far this year. Did he all of a sudden forget about a 200 foot game. If so when? Under whose watch?

Yak has gone from 17 goals 31 points -4 in his 48 game rookie campaign, to an atrocious 24 points, -33, in 63 games under Eakins expert tutelage.

Even the mighty Taylor Hall has experienced a drop-off, from 50 points in 45 games and a +5 last year to 63 points in 62 games this year, and a -13.

If Eakins is schooling his boys in defensive play, why are they now minus players when last year they were plus or near even players? And last year they were driving the play against high quality opposition. Eakins is definitely leading them down the ladder of success.He and he alone is the only one of this group that hasn't experienced success at this level. I can't think of one thing he has done this year that made me think, "Well, that was a good coaching move."

Besides, I don't need your fancy schmancy stats to read the one statistic that matters most to Oiler fans.

Twenty-ninth place.

Thanks, Dallas.

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#71 Thumby
March 17 2014, 07:17PM
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A-Mc wrote:

At this rate, we're going to play ourselves right out of Aaron Ekblad territory.

I'm starting to think the Oilers will be acquiring a fresh centerman at this years draft.

Perhaps we can look at the silver lining. If we draft a good 2c then it's more likely they likely play and help us sooner than a D. Even if its Ekblad.

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#72 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
March 17 2014, 07:40PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

"5v5close: 5v5close is defined as 5v5 play when the game is tied or within 1 goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third period."

Um, so using one somewhat obscure metric which measures essentially how a player is performing when the game is close is meant to demonstrate that the Oilers are flourishing, not languishing under Eakins brilliant management?

Actually all these players have excelled at this level. RNH was runner up for rookie of the year, Yak led all rookies in points and goals last year. Taylor Hall should have made the all-star team last year, and Eberle had a monumental 76 point season in his sophomore year.So how do you explain their regression in point totals and plus minus?

RNH was a plus player last year, at +4, despite a serious slump in point totals from his rookie year, due to an abysmal shot %, and an injured shoulder. In 62 games as a rookie he had 52 points and a -2. This year he has 44 points and is -17.

Eberle has gone from a 34 goal 76 points, -4, 78 game season in 2011-12 to a 21 goal 50 points -15 so far this year. Did he all of a sudden forget about a 200 foot game. If so when? Under whose watch?

Yak has gone from 17 goals 31 points -4 in his 48 game rookie campaign, to an atrocious 24 points, -33, in 63 games under Eakins expert tutelage.

Even the mighty Taylor Hall has experienced a drop-off, from 50 points in 45 games and a +5 last year to 63 points in 62 games this year, and a -13.

If Eakins is schooling his boys in defensive play, why are they now minus players when last year they were plus or near even players? And last year they were driving the play against high quality opposition. Eakins is definitely leading them down the ladder of success.He and he alone is the only one of this group that hasn't experienced success at this level. I can't think of one thing he has done this year that made me think, "Well, that was a good coaching move."

Besides, I don't need your fancy schmancy stats to read the one statistic that matters most to Oiler fans.

Twenty-ninth place.

Thanks, Dallas.

It is funny about those Eakins supporters will pull out some fancy number to excuse him. They generally ignore the more vivid numbers and digging out some numbers that to sound either intelligent or completely irrelevant.

You are right about the more telling numbers, only one person on this Oilers roster is at + with only 6 players that has played for more than 30 games are above -10. 12 players are under -10, even the last place team Sabres has fewer players (8) worst than -10...this is not a sign of good even strength play at all. Oilers also sitting the league worst SHA, second last GA, third last in 5-5F/A and GAA, 26th place in S/G, and bunch of other really far below average stats...

Play defense is important, but the team has also to learn how to score sometimes. Sabres and Preds lousy season are largely due to no offensive punch whatsoever. It makes you wonder about where are all the offense?

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#73 Rama Lama
March 17 2014, 08:04PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Too bad I can only prop this once, #25 comment excellent.

I really wish I was wrong. I don't for one second let the players off the hook.........but for the life of me I can't understand why Eakins would play Gagner over Arcobello?

Too many great stories down on the farm team with massive player turnover, suspect goaltending, and injuries.........but their coach has them in the playoffs.......most impressive!

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#74 CMG30
March 17 2014, 08:47PM
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I truly don't believe that the Oilers are as bad as their record states. I believe that their low standing is a product of a terrible start largely caused by goal tending (or lack thereof) and luck so bad for so long there was open talk of a curse.

I believe a secondary problem then occurred with the entire team changing their playing style to compensate for the suspect goal tending. Now that we seem to have reasonable tending it's time to climb back on the horse and start playing Oilers hockey again.

Having said that, I do think that management has work to do. We need to fix the defense and we cannot rely on rookies to fill the gaps. Leave Nurse down next year to let him develop properly. Let Klefbom play a few in the NHL but unless he proves to be a superstar, let him season more in the minors. What we really need is to sign some veteran top D men this off season.

I don't think Eakins bears all the responsibility for the low standing, although his inexperience can't have helped. I do think that we need to support him with some assistants that can take over the PP. If we had not gone through 4 coaches in as many years I would not be upset if Eakins was handed walking papers this summer but you cannot discount the history of coaching turnover here. Firing Eakins this summer will do damage to this team.

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#75 BURROWSHASCRABS
March 17 2014, 08:51PM
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Jespatient.t people, lay off Eakins it's his first year he's coaching one of the youngest teams in the league. Why so much hate it's ridiculous. You sound like canuck fans it's embarrising just shut your stupid mouths and Be patient.Sooner or later the bastard hockey gods have to have mercy.

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#76 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 08:52PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

"5v5close: 5v5close is defined as 5v5 play when the game is tied or within 1 goal in the first and second periods or tied in the third period."

Um, so using one somewhat obscure metric which measures essentially how a player is performing when the game is close is meant to demonstrate that the Oilers are flourishing, not languishing under Eakins brilliant management?

Actually all these players have excelled at this level. RNH was runner up for rookie of the year, Yak led all rookies in points and goals last year. Taylor Hall should have made the all-star team last year, and Eberle had a monumental 76 point season in his sophomore year.So how do you explain their regression in point totals and plus minus?

RNH was a plus player last year, at +4, despite a serious slump in point totals from his rookie year, due to an abysmal shot %, and an injured shoulder. In 62 games as a rookie he had 52 points and a -2. This year he has 44 points and is -17.

Eberle has gone from a 34 goal 76 points, -4, 78 game season in 2011-12 to a 21 goal 50 points -15 so far this year. Did he all of a sudden forget about a 200 foot game. If so when? Under whose watch?

Yak has gone from 17 goals 31 points -4 in his 48 game rookie campaign, to an atrocious 24 points, -33, in 63 games under Eakins expert tutelage.

Even the mighty Taylor Hall has experienced a drop-off, from 50 points in 45 games and a +5 last year to 63 points in 62 games this year, and a -13.

If Eakins is schooling his boys in defensive play, why are they now minus players when last year they were plus or near even players? And last year they were driving the play against high quality opposition. Eakins is definitely leading them down the ladder of success.He and he alone is the only one of this group that hasn't experienced success at this level. I can't think of one thing he has done this year that made me think, "Well, that was a good coaching move."

Besides, I don't need your fancy schmancy stats to read the one statistic that matters most to Oiler fans.

Twenty-ninth place.

Thanks, Dallas.

It's not some obscure metric. It eliminates silly things like effects that arise when a team is ahead by 4 goals and they ease off the gas pedal, or dumb things like counting an empty net goal as the same thing as one with the goalie in the net.

You seem to be taking a player's career best stretch of games, pointing to it, then arguing that because they cannot maintain it that it is Dallas Eakins' fault.

I am taking an average of their performance in their entire career, removing silly score effects mentioned above, and zooming in to look specifically at their 5 on 5 play, you know, 5v5, the way most of the game is actually played.

I presented my findings which suggest that there is, in very important areas, some progress being made. It's not magic.

If you want to ignore this, and instead point out that the team is in 29th place, that's fine. I'm not arguing that.

I'm just saying that if you have that rare and valuable personality quirk which permits your reasoning process to be influenced by evidence from outside it, then my words might be of use to you in your search for someone to blame.

If you've already made up your mind then there's really nothing more to say is there?

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#77 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 09:00PM
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Anton (still waiting for playoffs) wrote:

It is funny about those Eakins supporters will pull out some fancy number to excuse him. They generally ignore the more vivid numbers and digging out some numbers that to sound either intelligent or completely irrelevant.

You are right about the more telling numbers, only one person on this Oilers roster is at + with only 6 players that has played for more than 30 games are above -10. 12 players are under -10, even the last place team Sabres has fewer players (8) worst than -10...this is not a sign of good even strength play at all. Oilers also sitting the league worst SHA, second last GA, third last in 5-5F/A and GAA, 26th place in S/G, and bunch of other really far below average stats...

Play defense is important, but the team has also to learn how to score sometimes. Sabres and Preds lousy season are largely due to no offensive punch whatsoever. It makes you wonder about where are all the offense?

You really should inquire about employment in Spain. I hear that the Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición is hiring again.

I am not a witch. I admit our PP sucks. If you look at our 5v5 play the numbers suggest that there is something to build on.

I do not weigh as much as a DUCK, I assure you.

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#78 Oiler Al
March 17 2014, 09:11PM
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Oilerbiy1112 wrote:

I think Colorado has some veterans to help there young stars

I think Colorado has some veterans...... I think Edmonton had some veterans ...Smyth, Hemsky,Gordon, Ference, Gagner, Schultz Nick, Jones. I know a couple have changed here in the last week or so.

Also; Colorado didnt let McKenzie and Button pick there drafts... they had a plan.Edmonton would have taken Seth Jones. Not that it would have been bad, but the point is Colorado are marching to their own band.

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#79 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 09:14PM
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Oops sorry everyone I forgot where I was.

MOOOAAAAARRR GRIT!!!!! MOOOOOARRRRR SIZE!!!! FIRE SUMBUDYYYYY!!!!!

*drools down front of shirt*

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#80 Saytalk
March 17 2014, 09:15PM
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I'll be the first one to point out how bad the young players are and how they lack effort, consistency, willingness to stick up for teammates, grit, commitment to backcheck or even a basic understanding of how to play a team game, and I'm certainly tired of how many posters here still judge them by what they could be rather than what they are (selfish, albeit very talented, junior-level players).

But you can't blame the kids for this mess and expect them to take charge when they've been set up to fail from the very beginning. We've seen a revolving door of mediocre coaches, lazy veterans (the kids probably followed a highly skilled veteran like Hemsky more than anyone else) and talentless role players, coupled with a losing atmosphere that has made every practice, game and workout session after December 1 a meaningless exercise.

The broader framework to develop a young core has failed and that falls on management and the coaching staff. Until this team stops handing out assistant captaincies and $6M paycheques to every young gun for simply going through the motions, and until this team starts handing out more benchings and scratches for lackadaisical play, then I have no confidence in the clowns running this gong show.

The players suck because the coaches suck.

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#81 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
March 17 2014, 09:25PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

You really should inquire about employment in Spain. I hear that the Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición is hiring again.

I am not a witch. I admit our PP sucks. If you look at our 5v5 play the numbers suggest that there is something to build on.

I do not weigh as much as a DUCK, I assure you.

Thank you Dreger. At least that you have demonstrated about what type of people would support Eakins employment.

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#82 dougtheslug
March 17 2014, 09:35PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

It's not some obscure metric. It eliminates silly things like effects that arise when a team is ahead by 4 goals and they ease off the gas pedal, or dumb things like counting an empty net goal as the same thing as one with the goalie in the net.

You seem to be taking a player's career best stretch of games, pointing to it, then arguing that because they cannot maintain it that it is Dallas Eakins' fault.

I am taking an average of their performance in their entire career, removing silly score effects mentioned above, and zooming in to look specifically at their 5 on 5 play, you know, 5v5, the way most of the game is actually played.

I presented my findings which suggest that there is, in very important areas, some progress being made. It's not magic.

If you want to ignore this, and instead point out that the team is in 29th place, that's fine. I'm not arguing that.

I'm just saying that if you have that rare and valuable personality quirk which permits your reasoning process to be influenced by evidence from outside it, then my words might be of use to you in your search for someone to blame.

If you've already made up your mind then there's really nothing more to say is there?

I believe you started this when you stated the Oilers young stars have"...excelled at every stage except this one. You know, the one where you have to play a 200' game or you're hooped before you begin. The one where the skill level is so high you can't glide by on your skill alone."

Thus, you misrepresent the historical record. ALL the players in question have excelled at this level, achieving nominations for major awards (Lady Byng, Calder), appearing in NHL all-star games, and appearing to make progress in development.

Until this year.

My mind is wide open to evidence, by the way. But, as Mark Twain noted, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Your statistics may convince you that the players are flourishing under the watchful eye of Mr. Eakins. My eyes tell me a different story.

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#83 Slats
March 17 2014, 09:41PM
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@Woogie63

Some interesting thoughts from the "Armchair"

Put Gazdyk on the Wing with RNH and Perron to create some space.

Really? You are stuck in the 80's when Semenko and the instigator rule was not a rule as it is today. People have no fear now there is "no retribution" so your plan is flawed. You need a big body who can score eg Todd Bertuzzi or Lucic.

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#84 Slats
March 17 2014, 09:52PM
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From the Button article this is exactly it!

"This is a group of strong attacking players who grew up with the puck on their stick, but who lack knowledge and awareness of what to do when they don’t have the puck. They’re constantly failing to shoulder check, failing to backcheck hard enough, getting caught too low in the offensive zone, over-aggressively over committing to the d-zone corners and not protecting the slot, making lazy turns instead of stops and starts in the defensive zone, failing to stay on the right side of the man in the d-zone, and being slow to cover their man on defence because they’re puck-watching."

This is your Edmonton Oilers from 2006 to present. Period.

If you can change this with better coaching then yes do it. I think you can do this with Eakins and Nelson. Is it a veteran who can lead by example yes -you can't do this with Ryan Smyth sorry - and this is only a part of the solution as Gregor states. Is it from within - agreed yes it is.

It is all of these. So make the changes/tweaks to get it done and if you are not committed no matter what your pay grade then please let's move on.

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#85 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 09:53PM
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Anton (still waiting for playoffs) wrote:

Thank you Dreger. At least that you have demonstrated about what type of people would support Eakins employment.

I'm not Dreger so I'm not sure what you're on about there. I'm also neither for nor against Eakins. I presented 5v5close facts. But still, why don't you tell me what type of people I am?

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#86 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 10:10PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I believe you started this when you stated the Oilers young stars have"...excelled at every stage except this one. You know, the one where you have to play a 200' game or you're hooped before you begin. The one where the skill level is so high you can't glide by on your skill alone."

Thus, you misrepresent the historical record. ALL the players in question have excelled at this level, achieving nominations for major awards (Lady Byng, Calder), appearing in NHL all-star games, and appearing to make progress in development.

Until this year.

My mind is wide open to evidence, by the way. But, as Mark Twain noted, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Your statistics may convince you that the players are flourishing under the watchful eye of Mr. Eakins. My eyes tell me a different story.

It is strange how when I present 5v5close stats, you tell me that the only stat that matters is 29th place. However, when you argue that our core has 'excelled', you ignore that they soared to such lofty heights of 30th, 29th, 24th places.

Is it the only thing that matters or not? Which is it? Or do you want to blame Eakins for seasons where he wasn't even in the organization?

I never once said the core is flourishing, those are your words.

It remains a FACT that their 5v5close pts/60 is getting better in comparison to their career average.

Don't shoot the messenger.

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#87 dougtheslug
March 17 2014, 10:23PM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

It is strange how when I present 5v5close stats, you tell me that the only stat that matters is 29th place. However, when you argue that our core has 'excelled', you ignore that they soared to such lofty heights of 30th, 29th, 24th places.

Is it the only thing that matters or not? Which is it? Or do you want to blame Eakins for seasons where he wasn't even in the organization?

I never once said the core is flourishing, those are your words.

It remains a FACT that their 5v5close pts/60 is getting better in comparison to their career average.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Let's ask Taylor Hall, shall we?

Hey Taylor, how would you say the 2013-14 season went?

Taylor Hall: "Well, we missed the playoffs for the eighth season in a row. We regressed to 29th place. We didn't play a meaningful game after November. My individual stats took a beating. But, on the other hand, my 5v5close pts/60 was up a full 1.34! So all things considered, a mighty successful season!"

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#88 @Oilanderp
March 17 2014, 10:26PM
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@dougtheslug

Is that what you think I am saying? That the Oilers are a success?

Never mind man. That's enough of this.

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#89 Woogie63
March 17 2014, 10:40PM
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Slats wrote:

Some interesting thoughts from the "Armchair"

Put Gazdyk on the Wing with RNH and Perron to create some space.

Really? You are stuck in the 80's when Semenko and the instigator rule was not a rule as it is today. People have no fear now there is "no retribution" so your plan is flawed. You need a big body who can score eg Todd Bertuzzi or Lucic.

If the plan is flaw why dress Gazdyk? Since we don't have a big body that can score kicking around, should we not dress 20?

BTW Semenko played very little on the left wing of 99. Tikkanen and before that Callighen and Messier were the main wingers.

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#90 Serious Gord
March 17 2014, 10:53PM
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dougtheslug wrote:

Let's ask Taylor Hall, shall we?

Hey Taylor, how would you say the 2013-14 season went?

Taylor Hall: "Well, we missed the playoffs for the eighth season in a row. We regressed to 29th place. We didn't play a meaningful game after November. My individual stats took a beating. But, on the other hand, my 5v5close pts/60 was up a full 1.34! So all things considered, a mighty successful season!"

Lol. I wonder what he really thinks of management and coaching?

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#91 6 ring circus
March 17 2014, 11:01PM
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Eakins road into town on his high horse before even coaching one game in the NHL,the way he was talking you would think he was the second coming of Scotty Bowman,Mactavish made a big mistake,Kruger should have been given an opportunity to coach this team and he should of been able to hire his own assistant coaches,instead Lowe and Mactavish back stabbed Kruger and the team regressed under Eakins.Karma always has a way of working things out.

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#92 Zarny
March 17 2014, 11:59PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I really wish I was wrong. I don't for one second let the players off the hook.........but for the life of me I can't understand why Eakins would play Gagner over Arcobello?

Too many great stories down on the farm team with massive player turnover, suspect goaltending, and injuries.........but their coach has them in the playoffs.......most impressive!

Have you thought about why Gagner only got a 3 year contract and the NMC doesn't kick in until next year?

Have you considered that Eakins has a boss?

Could Eakins' boss, given said contract, benefit in any way from Gagner playing?

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#93 Chainsawz
March 18 2014, 12:30AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:
I can't believe that all these players, who have excelled at every stage of their careers, have honed their skills by being ultra-competetive, have all, by some coincidence, gone backward in their development at exactly the same time.

Excelled at every stage except this one. You know, the one where you have to play a 200' game or you're hooped before you begin. The one where the skill level is so high you can't glide by on your skill alone.

Also, you do well to not believe that they have all regressed since it is simply not true. Below is a list of players followed by their average points per 60 minutes up until this year, followed by their points per 60 minutes this year. All values are for 5v5 close.

Player      Previous      Current

Hall            2.25            3.59

Nuge         1.45            1.99

Ebs            2.27           1.82

Yakupov    1.55            1.85

Gags          1.48            1.30

So. All players are generating more points THIS YEAR per unit time than they have on average in their careers. All except Gags and Ebs. Gags was injured and is snakebitten with a 6% shooting percent compared to his career 12%. Ebs, I am not sure of.

I didn't put Schultz in here since he is a defenseman.

Are you still clamouring for Eakins head? Fire the coach because Eberle has regressed?

Yes, the PP sucks, but the fact remains that in 5 on 5 hockey most of the core has gotten better (by this metric) under Eakins. Sorry, there will be NO refunds on pitchforks.

This is such a skewing of numbers to support ones own stance, it hurts the mind.

Why would Gags and Ebs numbers be the only ones down?

Gags - it may be because he is in his 7th fricking season. His rookie season is no longer a factor in your stats.

Ebs - he has an outlier season due to shooting percentage.

Why would the other numbers be up?

The players are young enough that their rookie seasons would bring their average seasons prior down.

You do not take into account that there should be expected growth in these numbers, what this growth should expected to be, and whether or not the players are reaching those growth numbers.

Face it. Much like Gregor today on the radio with the Oilers PP, you took a set of correct but flawed numbers that support your argument. You left out enough just to appear right.

This is why I have a distrust in advanced stats in hockey. So easy to punch holes in these arguments, too hard to dig up the information to correct them.

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#94 @Oilanderp
March 18 2014, 01:49AM
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@Chainsawz

Even though this is a complete waste of time, let me reiterate:

The core's point production in 5 on 5 hockey while the score is close is up this year in comparison to their average such output previously in their careers.

YOU talk of expected growth, not I. If you think you can precisely quantify expected growth in players in different areas, be my guest, but don't demand it from me out of the blue. I was looking for positive increase in any single area, and it turned out to be in 5v5close. Old numbers smaller. New numbers larger. Good.

Perhaps it would help if you focused less on the name and more what it means. You say 'advanced stats' and suddenly burly men are unsheathing swords and even burlier women's eyes are rolling back in their heads and many fall to the ground in epileptic fits. Children run screaming as it is well known that talking about even strength hockey might eat them alive!

You are 'punching holes' in nothing. These numbers are facts. Now you can either say my numbers are incorrect, as in I made an addition error or division error, which is possible. But you aren't saying that.

You could also question the importance of 5v5close hockey in the overall scheme of the game. That too would be fair. You could say, 'Sure the 5v5close might be up but when you add in the rest of the time including the PP then the numbers are way down and so in general the core is regressing.'

But noone seems to say things like this. The objection seems to be:

1. AvgPts/60 is fancy stats. (dividing any number by 60 is pretty fancy)

2. Fancy stats r bad.

3. Boooo to @Oilanderp you want to make the Oilers smaller and less tough and less gritty and you love Lowe and love being out of the playoffs forever and we hate you for ruining our hockey team you bastard. We hope you die you terrorist.

And so I suppose I am left to wander elsewhere and abandon this conversation with myself which started when i noticed a single one good thing about this season, and decided to share it. What a F$#%#$^* mistake. Next time I will be sure to not interrupt the hivemind's incessant drone of negativity. I will be sure to present no facts as they merely get in the way. I will instead be more productive and punch myself in the testicles with a rusty crowbar. GFY.

*bows*

*flies away on his witch broom made of dividing things by 60*

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#95 Rod from Viking
March 18 2014, 06:53AM
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Lots of animosity, @Oilerlamp, I have noticed that the Oilers have played better in close games by not giving up a couple quick goals except for the St.Louis game, I just call this sticking to the game plan, playing with structure and getting a lot better goal tending. @Doug the Slug- Your posts are easily the ones I enjoy the best on this site,I agree that playing this style has stymied the offense of the more skilled players and has not been at all exciting to watch, my hopes are that between the maturation of the young d-men and the addition of a few players this could be a team that will be a lot closer to the play-offs next year.It would be great if the style of play and game would be more like Anaheim or Chicago than LA or Nashville but more than anything I just want them to have each others back, put in a complete effort and look like a team having some fun, then they will win more than they lose.

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#96 Derian Hatcher
March 18 2014, 08:32AM
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So for the sake of argument...let's say that an experienced assistant coach is brought in to help with Eakins workload and add another persepective, to help the special teams, etc. Does Dallas seem like the type of guy to say, "what do you think". Unless his public persona is a put-on, with hubris and arrogance mixed with ego and cleverness, I am not sure that Dallas would be open to another coach saying "you know why don't we try something else, cause what we are doing is not working, and most of the players certainly are not working hard (when compared to the players say....in Calgary)" Like another poster said, what happened to "players will compete or they wont play" Ummm...no. It's dangerous when the boss doesn't know what he doesn't know. It is more than obvious that Eakins is not a fit for this team....but lets keep him because we've fired too many coaches. "players will compete or they wont play" OK thanks.

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#97 Tikkanese
March 18 2014, 10:06AM
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** wrote:

Nevertheless, he was in the thick of things, which is more than Gregor can say, or you or I for that matter. And you shoudl know that the Flames who went all the way to game 7 of the Stanley cup finals against tampa was built by Button. His successor, Daryl Sutter was hired by him. Kiprussof was aquired after Craig Button had left. So get your facts straight before you go on trolling.

You care and know to much about the Flames to be allowed to post on here.

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#98 Rama Lama
March 18 2014, 02:38PM
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Zarny wrote:

Have you thought about why Gagner only got a 3 year contract and the NMC doesn't kick in until next year?

Have you considered that Eakins has a boss?

Could Eakins' boss, given said contract, benefit in any way from Gagner playing?

Zarney you cannot have rules within rules. If you do that's called double talk.

Early in the season Eakins said all players would have to earn their ice time...........we all know this is a lie.

Hardly a good foundation to build your MO on?????

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