Earlier this week we began our three part series on the futility of the Edmonton Oilers. With only six wins in the first quarter of the season and no wins against Western Conference teams, we are examining the sad state affairs of the NHL’s northernmost team. There are a lot of changes that need to happen with this team and as the team is amidst a seven game losing streak we do expect some changes. This week they finally fired their goaltending coach, but really that is not going turn things around. Their goaltending has been horrendous. There is no scoring and not much grit on the team. The Oilers have lost seven straight and have been outscored 26-11 in the first period this year, and that’s just the recent woes of this beleaguered franchise. So where do the Oilers go from here? The news on the team has not been great in recent years.
Edmonton Oilers Stats from the Past 8 Seasons
Here are some numbers that do not hide just how poorly this team has played.
- Edmonton Oilers have averaged 30 wins per season in the 8 years that they have missed the playoffs.
- Oilers have averaged 39 losses per season (41 if you prorate the lockout shortened season) more than the league average of 30.
- The Oilers have averaged a mere 73 points over the past 8 seasons (proarated for lockout shortened season). This is 21% below the League average.
- The Oilers havre averaged 2.52 Goals per Game over the past 8 years. The avergage team in the NHL scores 9% more than the Oilers.
- The Oilers have averaged 2.94 goals against per game over the past 8 season. The NHL average is 2.74. This season they are giving up a staggering 3.48 goals per game. Nearly a goal per game more than the league average of 2.68.
|Season||# of Oilers Wins||League Avg.|
|Season||# of Oiler Losses||League Avg.|
|Season||Points by Oilers||League Avg.|
The Western Conference is a beast to play in. You need nearly 100 points to qualify for the playoffs in this season. The Oilers simply are not good enough to even come close to qualifying for the playoffs.
|Season||Oilers Goals For||League Avg.|
|Season||Oilers Goals Against||League Avg.|
Last week on TSN’s The Reporters, the Panel chimed in with their thoughts. Here is a quick synopsis of that conversation:
“Michael Farber: I think what we have in Edmonton is all the Chicken Littles saying ‘the sky is falling’. I’m not sure if that’s true, but you can see the ozone layer, and things are truly bad there. Given the make-up of the team I don’t see it getting better, certainly with the problems in goal.
Steve Simmons: I feel sick for Dallas Eakins, frankly. I believed when he went to Edmonton that he would be able to fix some of these problems, that he would be the answer, and I watched last night and I saw a team that just doesn’t care. The players should be embarrassed with their efforts. This is rock bottom for the Edmonton Oilers, of all the rock bottoms that we’ve seen, this is Rock Bottom.
Bruce Arthur: Whoa, whoa, whoa. One of the silliest things that people ever say in this world, not just in sports, is well at least things can’t get any worse. Of course it can get worse.
Dave Hodge: I don’t think it can, honestly I don’t. It gets better, I don’t know how, but it has to get better than that.
Bruce Arthur: How many times have we said this in the last five years?
Hodge: Well it’ll get different, how about that?
Arthur: That I can agree with. The funny thing is, this team has played better this season, but the goaltending hasn’t been up to it. Ben Scrivens is a wonderful guy, but he has not been the answer there, and either has Viktor Fasth. They have trouble in goal, and what happens is … they were playing better, but if you watched last night from some of those goals, that was a team that knew it was going to lose and didn’t much care about it. It just entered that cycle of the same old thing, again and again. I don’t know what it’s going to take to break this, but I’m not sure if the young players in Edmonton aren’t being damaged beyond repair in terms of their habits, and in terms of what they expect from the NHL.
Hodge: After they lost to New Jersey they said ‘we have to try harder, we’re not trying hard enough’. And then, 7-1 against Chicago.”
One thing is for certain frustration is at an all-time high. Here is what some of the fans are saying on sites like the Edmonton Journal, TSN and other hockey sites. This is straight from the fans:
“Good point about over playing the kids. Management is STILL pushing this philosophy even today, when the vast majority of successful teams have been rolling 4 lines for years already. Eakins plays the stuffing out of the top line because he is told to play them all the time. Yet another failed philosophy from Lowe and his days in the 80’s.”
“I voted for “Senior Management should be replaced”. Not sure if that sure include MacT or if he deserves a little more time. Kevin Lowe has been at the helm of this rebuild from day one and imho his time is done. I can’t believe I’m even going to say what I’m about to given that up until this year agreeing with, or even quoting Brian Burke would cause me a coronary episode but…here it goes anyways. I now agree with what Burke said during the Burke vs Lowe feud…(paraphrasing)…”K
Love Burke or hate him ( I actually lean towards the later) but all one has to do is look a few hours south and see what he’s done with that team. A team that shows up every night, plays hard, wins some games and does so with what some might suggest is limited talent.
Ok…that said, I’m off to get myself hooked up to an EKG monitor…I feel heart palpitations coming on.”
“been on this sinking ship before. kevin and darryl; thanks for ruining pro hockey in edmonton. taylor, jordan, nuge, hope you can get off this floating ark asap. for the rest of you, run, don’t walk, to get out of here; it’s dead man walking. fans, maybe someday somebody who doesn’t have 6 rings but knows hockey will build us a team. no rush darryl, hockey should be the money loser in your portfolio but isn’t, but it could be if you continue to let 6 rings piss on the crops.”
“Only one solution left to effect REAL change because this situation has gone beyond a joke – class action lawsuit against ownership and management by season ticket holders for breach of contract. A ticket to an NHL hockey game is a contract with a promise that you will deliver an NHL calibre team. It’s obvious that this owner and management team has adopted the Harold Ballard approach – ice a mediocre team, charge as much as you can get away with for tickets, and pocket the profits, because they know Edmonton fans will show up to watch 20 chimpanzees on roller skates wearing Edmonton Oiler jerseys. It is quite obvious to me that this management team has consciously taken steps not to improve this team — hiring Dallas Eakins, an inexperienced, OHL calibre coach when there were several experienced coaches available (Maurice, Laviolette, etc.), failing every season for the past eight years to secure an NHL calibre starting goalie when they were available (Cory Sneider, Bernier, Bishop, etc.), drafting small, one-dimensional players every year, and then running a hockey school every year for both the coach and players, on the season ticket holder’s dime, to try to teach millionaires how to pass the puck, stick handle the puck, shoot the puck, and then skate back and defend. This concept seems beyond this group. Until this group of country club management buffoons start to realize that the ticket-paying Edmonton fans have had it, they won’t change – guaranteed, and this team will continue to be done by American Thanksgiving because there is no financial motivation to do otherwise. Yeah, I’m partly to blame. Maybe I would pay to see those chimps.”
“When you look for the one thing that has not changed in Edmonton,The one thing consistent with it,s losing record is Management! Not the players and not the coaching.The big brass has been responsible for the team period.Kevin Lowe and his cronies.Scouting,what a terrible job they have done!What makes a team special is heart and this team needs a transplant.How many of these players would play on a team coached by a Sutter?If you don,t have what it takes to play for one of them you can not be a successful NHL player.Heart equals talent!”
“If Katz fired Lowe, It would be like the playoffs for me. I got respect for Kevin, but he needs to realize that the team needs a new start and direction and thats not coming from within. Sure he can land a job scouting or with Hockey Canada.”
“Eakins and Chabot should be fired. One ruins the players the other the goalies. Players and goalies come here and get worse.”
“Looking back, taking Hall was the beginning of one mistake after another. Taking a winger over a center when then we’re so close only made sense to Oiler management. That along with giving Horcroft a crazy contract. Since then things have gone from bad to worst. This team is crying out for real leadership, Eakings talks a good game and of course Mac T is busy making bold moves. The end result is this team has become the poster team of how not to run a hockey team. Clearly the mix of this team is wrong and trading Perron is merely a drop in the ocean. A total re-build is needed by different management. This is the painful truth.”
“No one has mentioned Sheldon Souray lately. When he spoke out against the direction the Oilers were going they completely humiliated him and it had some effect on the players. Paying him an NHL salary and keeping him in the minors for a full year was total mis management I guess that is why Perron is being shoped.Oh, don’t say anything about KL or MT or your ass will be out of here. Hope more Oiler players speak out.”
“As much as I hate to admit it – I think we saw the best approach for repairing a broken franchise in Vancouver where they started at the top and rebuilt the organization with fresh faces and a fresh outlook. Although I believe Kevin Lowe needs to go – it’s not out of spite or anger – one could actually argue that if it wasn’t for Lowes guidance through the community ownership years – Edmonton might not even have a team anymore.
What we do need is a proven hockey man – who then hires a proven GM – who then hires a proven coach – and then and only then – a well thought out strategy of player trades and acquisitions that fit into a sound strategy of competing in the western conference. No point in building a team to compete in the East when it takes giants to even get into the playoffs in the west.”
“When management doesn’t do the right thing and move Chabot out during the Summer then of course they are behind the 8 ball and can’t get anyone with NHL bonafides to take over. This is how one mistake leads to the next and how teams remain in the basement for years and years despite trying to fix things.”
“Now, the team is grossly underachieving relative to its ability. That’s the coach clearly not doing his job. A great coach will maximize his roster, and get the team to overachieve (see, e.g., Dave Tippett, Mike Babcock). A terrible coach will have a good roster and fail to get that team to its potential. That sums up Eakins’ coaching this year.”
“MacT and Eakins are joined at the hip right now… If MacT cuts him loose the subsequent pressor will BBQ MacT… Both he an KL dread the thought of repeating that disaster of a press conference- disaster for them off course – upon Kruger’s Skype firing… Although for the media KL is the gift that keeps on giving as they can always count on a gaffe and at least one foot in his mouth…”
Even Chris Chelios chimed in saying that the Oilers can’t hide their lack of work ethic.
The “Decade of Debacle” is upon us. As an Edmonton Oilers fan there appears to be no way out of this abyss. With that the Oilers just lost their eighth game in a row with a 1-0 OT loss in Nashville. Can management please step down now? Or at lest make another coaching change?