Suck It Northlands

2016 is coming soon and with it, a sense of guarded optimism for Edmonton Oiler fans. 2016-new-year

Connor McDavid, Nail Yakupov, Oskar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson will return to the lineup, and with them, the faint hope of meaningful hockey being played into March by an Oilers team that hasn’t done that in many years.

Taylor Hall might be involved in his first ever NHL playoff push, fans might have a real rallying point for next season other than a high draft pick in June, the coaching staff might have something to hang their collective hats on when they say the team is showing progress. (Statistically rather than visually).

Oh, but for the dreams of the resilient Oiler fan, reality is a real bitch with exceptionally pointy heels hovering precariously over their collective nether regions.hqdefault (1)

The Oilers have been akin to the Mindbender Rollercoaster for fans this year, up, up, up the hill only to free fall back down to earth time and again until your ready to vomit repeatedly. (Should have laid off the corn dogs)

The most recent plunge downward is a skid through the Christmas season, which saw that old defensive posture & sub-par goaltending we all know and hate, rear it’s ugly head again.

Blame management for not providing better players, blame the coach for not utilizing what he has properly, blame the players for not performing up to their abilities and not giving the appropriate effort consistently. Whatever makes you feel better, and what ever it takes to keep looking down the road to better days right?

If Oiler fans really want to find the secret to the Oilers woes they must only ‘look in the mirror’ (Jim Prentice 2015)

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Standing idly by while their beloved team is relegated to the rank of perpetual basement dweller and top 3 draft picker.

You want a competitive NHL team? Do you really?

Than voice your concerns in a manner which all businesses understand, not via social media rants or billboard rentals calling for heads, not via MSM articles about your upset at the current situation, or tossing ridiculously overpriced sweaters on the ice from your overpriced seat, all while spending hundreds of thousands of your oil recession dollars during the holiday season on Oiler related merchandise, tickets and future promises of good hockey.

Quit the shit. Stop paying for a terrible product. Turn off the TV set.


Support your team, but not the business behind it.

Put Darryl Katz on notice that all Oiler fans demand to be treated with respect and dignity, not next year, not next month but RFN.

Tell them with your money. Tell them to get busy, make a trade, waive some players, fire someone, anyone, hell get rid of the damn useless Octane team and blame them for the collapse, but do something to win back the respect of the league, and give your fans some dignity.

Connor McDavid & the ICE District may save this organization but at what cost, the pride and dignity of loyal Oiler fans, lost forever.

Bob Nicholson & Darryl Katz don’t give a rats ass about putting a competitive product on the ice this year, they want to give Northlands a big middle finger on the way out, by denying them any chance at a playoff game in the old barn.(And the revenue it creates)

The conspiracy is simple and has been perpetrated since 2010 when Darryl saw the first light of day for his plan for a downtown arena district.

Now we are in the final phase, which would keep the team in a state of suckage until the late spring of 2016, denying the old Northlands regime from hosting any successful hockey in the old barn in its’ final season and punishing them all for daring to fight against Darryl.

So rest easy Oiler fans, do nothing, say nothing and allow the GREAT PLAN to be completed as Darryl envisioned it.

All the while, making this city and loyal fans of the Edmonton Oilers look like a bunch of sad sack pathetic losers in order to make a billionaire businessman even more dough and realize his dreams at our expense.

The Oilers will be competitive in 2016 but it won’t be until October 2016, when they no longer have to play in the old, run down, Northlands controlled, arena.

Enjoy the rest of the year of terrible hockey brought to you by Darryl Katz, Peter Chiarelli, Bob Nicholson, and the rest of the Oilers evil empire of greed.






















McInjury Reality Check

Connor McDavid Out Long Term

Although Oiler Fans seem to think this is some sort of death sentence or a disaster for the teams season, I take a different view on it.

The McDavid injury puts a certain reality back into the Oilers season, the phenom is out for an extended period and the other players will now have to focus on progression as if he doesn’t exist.

It is no longer Connor’s season, it has fallen back unto the shoulders of the players that were here last season, to improve and progress with their new coach. That is not a bad thing, because without growth from those players, without progression of the other young guys both in the top 6 and on defence, this team is not ready to utilize a star like McDavid anyway.

If the goal is the playoffs and beyond, if the intent is to surround McDavid with a competitive team of players and competent defence, then this team needs a little more time to get there before a full on injection if McDavid. It will be a positive for him and the team, not to mention, he will face adversity, get to watch from the press box and have more training time with video, and workouts.

A stronger, more informed, rested Connor McDavid, is a scary good hockey player. When the Edmonton Oilers receive that gift they must be more prepared throughout the lineup.

Time will be their friend, progress from Yakupov, Nurse, Klefbom, Draisaitl, and Reinhart will only be a more positive competitive group for McDavid to join.

This group of players must improve statistically and progress without McDavid in order to prove they deserve to play with him. Coach McClennan will have more time to get this group playing the right way too.

So, as far as this guy is concerned, the best timing for an unfortunate injury is now. McDavid will return to a much improved team, that is a huge positive for him and the organization.

Connor McDavid & The Edmonton Oilers March Forward to Respectability


Marching Forward – They are ALIVE !

After a Jekyll and Hyde performance vs the league leading Montreal Canadiens, the Edmonton Oilers must build off of the two solid periods they played, and leave to history a first period that looked like last season’s team played it.

Connor McDavid is doing what he has done since he was 13 years old, play hockey brilliantly. The only difference is, he is now doing it in the worlds best hockey league at the highest possible level, in the regular season.

Oiler fans really are blessed to witness his career start with their team, and Connor may just be the saviour he has been anointed as by those fans.

With the rest of the high level cast riding shotgun, the Oilers finally look to be on the verge of a breakout season. Nail Yakupov may be the biggest winner of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, because as his RW, Nail has progressed beyond last season’s step forward with Derek Roy, to the level he was drafted at and the Oilers hoped he would have reached a bit sooner.

RNH, Taylor Hall, Leon Draisital and Jordan Eberle (when he returns), can only benefit from McDavid’s spark and draw of attention from opponents as well.

Those players, (except Eberle) have had 10 regular season NHL games to see, feel and respond to the McDavid factor which effects the game and how they have to play it. The culmination of which manifested itself last night after period 1, into the dramatic, team wide comeback and solid NHL level effort to win a hockey game.

Now, easier said than done, but all they have to do is maintain a consistent level of that effort going forward.

March Forward Oilers, March Forward.

BROKEBACK JUSTIN(My ill attempt at photoshop)

Schultz out 2-4 weeks.

Maybe his minutes will be better served to clarify the defensive ranks in Edmonton.

The defense as seen from game 1 to game 10 has changed, for the better?

I’m not so sure, the Oilers have a lot of youth on the back end and not much NHL experience to cover for that youth.

Sekera, Ference & Fayne are the veterans, that in itself is not a good situation. Todd McClellan’s lucky seven defensemen strategy against Montreal was hit and miss.

It did show him who belongs and who doesn’t and also who needs more seasoning and where they should play to get that seasoning.

After two NHL games Darnell Nurse sure looks NHL capable but only time (and about 20 more games) will tell.

Oskar Klefbom is just managing at this level considering the minutes he is having to play, but he belongs in the NHL.

Eric Gryba is not playing up to the level PC hoped when he was aquired, but as a 6-7 option he isn’t terrible, anything more than that and he easily gets into trouble.

The jury is still out on Griffin Reinhart due to the small sample size.

Brandon Davidson looked pretty good against Montreal overall, but again he requires a suitable amount of ice time (10-14 mins/game) and at least 20 more games to be sure he’s NHL ready.

So, still plenty of questions but at least a few answers – Ference is an okay 7th Dman, so is Gryba but not more than that.

Fayne is not a solid top 4 guy and should not be trusted to play those minutes. Sekera is more of a 3-4 guy but right now is the best option to play top 2 type minutes along with Nurse/Klefbom in a rotating role. (I know not ideal but better than either of them playing 20 mins + per game)

By eye the defensive arrangement looks like this:

  1. Sekera – Nurse/Klefbom
  2. Davidson – Reinhart/(Fayne temporarily)
  3. Gryba – Ference – Fayne

Bring up Brad Hunt to play in that 3rd pairing and send Gryba & Fayne packing via waivers. When/if Justin Schultz returns, I would put him on the third pairing with Reinhart/Ference and have Nurse and Davidson the 2nd pairing, which leaves Sekera and Klefbom as the 1st pairing.

At least until PC can supply Todd McClellan a couple of high caliber top 2 NHL defenseman via trade.

Here hoping that deal gets done sooner than later.

McDefense Not Living Up to MacT’s Vision of the Future


Conner McDavid. I figure all Oilers related stories written in 2015-2016 must have at least one McDavid reference in them, so there it is.

(As Per the NHL McDavid Regulation 75.432.01, regarding Oiler Stories)

Now that I have taken care of that, and won’t mention him again in this article, we can move along.

If anyone cares to notice, you will see that this is the first Hockey Heart article in the year 2015. This may be because I found no interesting topics since Christmas of last year, or it could be because the Oilers haven’t been competitive since before even that time.

I studied the 2015 Draft and the free agency period, and did not comment or write but rather took it all in, observed the changes in management, in the approach to development, training camp and everything that has brought us to this point.

Game 10 of the 2015-2016 NHL regular season.

A turning point, a grading point, an assessment point for the Edmonton Oilers hockey club.

Now I feel I have witnessed enough, gauged the situation and will weigh in on the situation as it currently sits.

So, Justin Schultz is playing for the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club, kind of.

The defense is different than in years past, different names, different systems, different attitude, different coaches, and not surprisingly Schultz is different too.

He was showing that he could be a little harder on the puck, a little more determined on the wall, and even a little more physically engaged. I say was, because for some reason known only to him, that type of play lasted 4-5 games and then retreated back to the mysterious depths of his abilities from which it once came.

Regression to the norm of last season including bad pass decisions, bad pinch decisions, and lack of urgency anywhere on the ice, returned with a resounding smack in the forehead of all Oiler fans watching the last 3-4 games.

That being said, all of the issues facing the defense of the Edmonton Oilers cannot and should not be put upon Justin Schultz. There are many factors which result in defensive breakdowns around the Oiler net, in the defensive zone and give-aways in the neutral zone.

One would think that the future Norris Trophy winner, (As per MacT circa 2014) would be able to elevate his game in a ‘prove it’ year for himself and his team.

Yet we see time and again, number 19, making the same mistakes and showing the same lack of compete. He is one of the fastest skaters on the team, easily the fastest defenseman, yet we only see brief glimpses of it when he occasionally rushes the puck from the neutral zone to the offensive zone. He regularly gets beat on the back check when he has overcommitted to a pinch and has no urgency or quickness when moving the puck out of his own end. His decisions with and without the puck are not good and the lack of urgency to get the puck back compounds the issue because he cannot recover from those errors, and often times neither can his linemates.


Last game versus the mighty LA Kings, he exited the game in the second period and amazingly Klefbom, his regular partner (we feel for you Oskar), had a complete reversal of fortunes in the shot matrix from +1/-10 with Schultz to +5/-4 with anybody but Schultz. Now, regardless if you are a fan of the advanced stats or not, that says something about how much time #19 spends chasing the other team around and around the rink.

But enough calling Justin out, all this has been said and said again about the 210 game defenseman. The real problem here is the Oilers Brass insisting that a Mike Green-esque defenseman, should be the Oilers go to guy and biggest minute muncher on the back end. I say, he has been a rusty crutch for this team, sometimes shakily holding them up but often times failing and allowing them to slam hard into the dirt. It is way past due that Justin Schultz be handled in one of two reasonable ways.

Either cut his minutes to second pairing level minutes and allow him to play PP minutes sparingly, or cut the poor guy loose so he may be properly utilized as an offensive PP specialist type defensemen on a deeper team with real solid veteran NHL defensemen to do the heavy lifting.

I hope the realization of who and what Justin Schultz is, and is not, has settled with this coaching and management staff after 10 NHL games.


When Justin recovers from his ‘not feeling good’, the men in charge should do number two or move along, for the sake of the team and the player.


(And no this is not a Petry situation here, Petry was a proven guy who had enough of the losing culture in Edmonton, Justin maybe the same but he will never amount to his potential here in Edmonton if he continues to be misutilized.)

Trade Alert

For those that say, “What are you going to get for a pending RFA defenseman who struggles?”

The answer is in history:

Erik Johnson from STL. (Who was a #1 Draft pick) but put up similar number to Schultz in his first few years in the league on a much better STL team was traded for – Chris Stewart & Kevin Shattenkirk – with picks and etc. on both sides being exchanged

Jack Johnson & a 1st Rd pick from LA to CBJ for Jeff Carter

Francois Beauchimin (25yrs old) from CBJ to ANA for Sergei Fedorov

Francois Beauchimin (30yrs old) from TOR to ANA for Lupul, Gardiner & 4th RD

Jay Bouwmeester (26 yrs old RFA) from FLA to CGY for Leopold(UFA) & 3rd RD

Based on those comparables one could say Justin Schultz is worth approximately:

One decent top six player & 2nd or 3rd RD pick or One very good top six player.

So for my value I would pitch him and a 2nd RD pick to the Flyers for Wayne Simmonds(26 yrs old), straight up.

That deal or one like it, would give the Oilers the ‘Hendricks type’ guy with better offensive skills, for the top line, which in turn frees up either Eberle or Yakupov for bait to land a real physical top pairing defenseman later down the line.


I shall sit back until next week and see where the chips fall. Discuss.


Edmonton Oiler Fans Migrating to Better Hockey

Maybe Rexall will look like this soon!

Maybe Rexall will look like this soon!

Edmonton Oiler hockey fans are losing patience with a losing team and have begun to branch out to other more competitive teams or leagues to follow to quench the thirst for meaningful hockey.

The WJC will undoubtedly draw all Canadian hockey fans this holiday season, both in the east live and everywhere else on TV, but after that tournament ends will Oiler fans return to watching painful, losing, noncompetitive hockey?

There are many options for the distressed hockey fan in Alberta, the NHL teams are not the only show in town.

Major junior teams in RedDeer, Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Saskatchewan, not to mention all the great AJHL hockey in small communities throughout the province have been and will continue to reap the rewards of fans migration from the sub par NHL teams in Calgary and Edmonton.

Before I’m set straight, I will clarify, the Calgary Flames are doing better than expected this season and are playing competitive, exciting hockey. Although, they may fall off before seasons end, they are not losing fans this season to lack of interest like the Edmonton Oilers. They are not selling out their building however, and the market seems flooded with junior teams, each taking a piece of the pie. A total of 3 junior teams, 2 college teams, 1 university squad and the Flames all share Calgary’s hockey market, making the big money NHL club seem less enticing value wise.

The Edmonton Oilers are in a tough place with fans of the game, their lack of success is one thing but their failure to captivate by showing the required effort, toughness, push back or just plain competitive drive that keeps fans coming back is something fans cannot respect or forgive. This gives way to apathy, which is a franchise killer for most sports teams, especially south of the border. Now, here in Canada this is not the case, but it can lead to dismal attendance, lower merchandise sales and a generational gap in the fan base.

This last digression is already happening in the Edmonton region, kids do not want to follow or be associated with losers.

Kids as young as 5 know the Oilers stink and have stunk for a long time, they don’t want to cheer for losers, they want heroes and supermen to give them hope. The Edmotnon Oilers have had none in many years, a 7-8 year old child, who is getting into hockey and looking for pros to cheer on or emulate doesn’t have a local playoff hero in their lifetime to support.

Kids are looking to other teams in American markets such as the Red Wings, Bruins, Kings, Blackhawks, Penguins or even Tampa Bay. As well as other Canadian teams, the Canucks, Canadiens or (heaven help them) the Flames, because they have never seen any Oiler win anything in their lives. Following mom or dad into the painful sea of Oiler fandom doesn’t seem very appealing to them and kids make their own choices now more than ever.

The Edmonton Oilers are losing an entire generation of kids as fans, that is the real tragedy in all of their recent failures.

Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Andrew Ference

These players have to realize that they are not playing the game for themselves, the adult paying fans, Mr.Katz, Mr. MacTavish or the crest on the front of the jersey.

They should be playing for these kids:

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The next generation of hockey fans in Oil Country !!!!!

Yet, these players seem to ignore this or are blissfully unaware that the very reason they are in the NHL now is because someone inspired them to play the game, love the game and cheer for their heroes.

Not this:
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Unless this team, it’s players and the management come to the realization that it’s not about them and their whining or their selfish garbage or their egotism (I’m looking at you MacT), then maybe they can get back to winning hockey games with heart.

Hockey Heart


The ‘Real Plan’ of The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club & Daryl Katz

The Brain Trust & The Great One

The Brain Trust & The Great One

I have delayed the writing of this piece until today, on the presumption that the information contained within should probably never be brought into the light of day. Mostly due to the potential damage to the process it may cause.

Taking that into consideration, I have decided that it must be written and published for the mental stability of the fanbase of the Edmonton Oilers.

The day has finally come for all followers, former players, former coaches,media members and fans of the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club to be enlightened with ‘the real plan‘ for the organization.

This plan was first formulated back in January 2009, when owner Daryl Katz and President Kevin Lowe, in consultation with a very select secret group of hockey and business people, decided to build another dynasty team.

That day they became ‘the men‘ with ‘the real plan‘, for the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.

The real plan‘ is the creation of a dream team, if you will, based on the Oilers Dynasty teams of the 1980’s, and built of comparable players from the draft.

The idea was considered sound if it could be done in a period of 6-8 years, (by 2016-17) with drafting high as the main focus to acquire the talent to match the dream concocted by ‘the men‘. A false plan was created to throw off fans, and all of those not in the inner circle of knowledge, this false plan was to obscure ‘the real plan‘.

The men‘ made the decision, in early 2010, that creating and executing ‘the real plan‘ was possible, and they would create a lineup through the draft based on high talent young players which struck them as comparable to the players they had chosen for the Dream Team.

The original map of Dream Team players was pulled from their favorite players to play during the dynasty era.

Goaltenders – Grant Fuhr & Andy Moog

Defensemen – Lowe, Huddy, Coffey, Gregg, Foglin, Smith, and Muni

Centremen – Gretzky, Messier, MacTavish, and Acton

Wingers – Kurri, Anderson, Buchberger, Tikkanen, Simpson, Hunter, McClelland, and McSorley

Now, while this does make quite the fantasy team, it would be very difficult to re-create in a cap era with different yet equal talents. ‘The men‘ took on the challenge anyway, and began the very long process of slight shifts in personnel, timely failures and media manipulation to put ‘the real plan‘ into action.

We all know the story between then and now, it is a terrible tale of losses, talented players development delayed and woeful decisions which make little sense to the hockey community or the fans, but it all part of ‘the real plan‘.

The moves and media releases during this time are all a smoke show, invented and pulled off to prevent anyone from seeing ‘the real plan‘. ‘The real plan‘ is coming into form nicely in year 6 for ‘the men‘ and they have confidence that it will be a great success, (see below).

Now they need the center piece to ‘the real plan‘, a generational superstar centreman to lead their dream team to the promised land, enter one Conner McDavid, who they saw coming along 3 years ago.

Goaltenders – Scrivens & Fasth (One or both could still be moved by 2016-17 season)

Defensemen – Petry = Lowe, Schultz = Coffey, Fayne = Gregg, Marincin = Fogolin, Nurse = Huddy, Klefbom = Muni, Dillion Simpson = Steve Smith

Wingers – Hall = Messier(I know he’s a centre but the comparable is obvious), Eberle = Anderson, Yakupov = Kurri, Pitlick = Buchberger, Gazdic/Pinizotto = Hunter/McSorley, fill in the rest with who ever is available for the bottom 6. Still missing a McClelland type.

Centremen – McDavid = Gretzky, RNH = MacT, Draisaitl = Tikkanen (again a change but it’s relative), 4 line centre is not relevant at this time.

Looking at this comparing situation, one can see that ‘the men‘ hold lofty expectations for some of the players they have acquired, but the comparisons are valid in their minds.

We, as outsiders, can look at this with great skepticism, because we don’t understand ‘the real plan‘ and how some of these players have been underdeveloped to allow ‘the men‘ time to acquire other pieces that they need. That’s the idea anyway, slow development in some players to allow others to emerge, which will allow the team to explode into success at the same time.

Now that the biggest piece is on the horizon, right in line with the time frame for the new arena to open, and ‘the men‘ are sitting back deflecting the cries of those without their genius.

In the end, they believe, they will be celebrated as the smartest men ever to take a seat in the hockey room.

The real plan‘ is expected to come to realization with a Stanley Cup competitive team in the spring of 2017, until ‘the real plan‘ has been exhausted or the time frame elapsed, fans will be in the dark and may never fully realized the how and why of consistent failure.

If ‘the real plan‘ is successful, the fans and media will be so pleased with the victories that the road to get to them will seem like ancient history or necessary evil.

If it fails, the road will continue to be heading down to hockey’s greatest purgatory, the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.

See you all in 2016 !

Legally Required Statement:


Creative Growth Assessment – The Oiler Way

That is NOT the Stanley Cup down there Oilers Brass !

That is NOT the Stanley Cup down there Oilers Brass ! It’s an optical illusion!! 

The Edmonton Oilers have surpassed the 19th game of the season, and as previously stated, that game against the Vancouver Canucks was the tipping point in this season for the Oilers.

The team gave a good effort overall and did show some flashes of competitive play by coming back to make it close.

As usual there is a but, and the but is, the Oilers lost, again, to a western conference opponent, a divisional rival. This is the simplest fact and the most important takeaway of this game. Period.

The Edmonton Oilers Brass have repeatedly stated that they see this team is showing signs of growth, positive growth from previous years.

This is completely false, the team is actually showing negative growth by staying stagnant at best or consistently under performing.  This falls on management, not players or coaches, but solely on management.

The only positive aspect of this entire organization is their AHL affiliate and staff in OKC, beyond that they are a complete mess in every aspect of the organization.

Growth is measured by competitive results against your peers, the Oilers management has had significant advantages over their peers. (See multiple high draft picks and a stable financial situation)

Yet, no results have been forth coming for the Oilers, the management has failed significantly in comparison to every other organization in the NHL. That is negative growth by any definition, in any field, and any aspect of business or life.


So, how to fix it, that is the multi-million dollar question, and the theories from fans, and the media are endless.

The one I like best is, a complete house cleaning of staff and players between now and the start of the 2015-16 season.

Starting in July 2015, the entire top office staff should be replaced, preferable with some of these guys:

(Obviously currently employed individuals would have to be acquired in the off season)

President Of Hockey Operations – Don Maloney or equivalent – Give him the moon, sun and stars and a fancy new title.

GM- Paul Fenton – give him full rein and boatload of money (this guys knows development and trading savvy, a David Poile disciple)

Assistant GM – Brent Sutter – I know, he’s a Sutter, but they do have a knack for drawing defensive minded people to an organization (Pedigree is unquestionable)

Sr. Director of Player Development – Duane Sutter – He needs to be given a higher position with this club and he has the right stuff.

Director of Player Development – Todd Nelson – He deserves this job and can’t do worse than the incumbent

Director of Coaching Development – Don Hay – This guy is a coaching god in the western league and is a student of new coaching philosophy mixed with tried and tested methods.

Head Coach – John Stevens – Best coach out there that isn’t a current NHL head coach, but lots of experience behind an NHL bench along side Stanley Cup winners

Associate Coach – Jacques Martin – Defensive genius and hard nosed old school guy

Assistant Coach – Marc Crawford – Fire in the belly and great motivator

Assistant Coach – Craig Ramsey – The one hold over who deserves another shot

Goalie Coach – Jean-Sebastien Giguere – Out of work and very interested in coaching

Goalie Coach Consultant – Martin Broudeur – Pay him big bucks and let him work with guys everyday on the ice.

All of these guys could all be had for the right price and opportunity.

The rest of the staff could be let go and positions eliminated to simplify the organization except the scouting staff, which would be an area which would have to be addressed by the new guys in coming.

This is a fantasy list of replacements but you get the idea, a clean sweep of the poisin which is evident in this organization.

The 2015 draft will be important but the current brass can’t screw it up much worse than they already have so let them have it, then pull the trigger.

As far as palyers go, it’s very difficult to ‘blow it up’ without spending another 2-3 years at the bottom.

So I would suggest a ‘bold’ strategy, (insert pun here), to keep the following players no matter what:






The rest of the players and prospects in the organization can be traded for roster players or picks, with other roster players signed via free agency.

The following are the free agents, I believe the Oilers should target in July 2015:

Zbynek Michalek

Chris Stewart

Johnny Boychuk

Antoine Vermette

Paul Martin

Nick Schultz

Marc Staal

Robyn Regehr

Josh Harding

Scottie Upshall

Mikkel Boedker

Curtis Glencross

Drew Stafford

Besides these players, the biggest additions must come via trades. Those are wide open but of course should include some harder nosed players and defensive minded Top 9 forwards.

Not purely possession players such as Beniot Pouliot but hard hitting, go to the net guys to compliment the skilled forwards.

That is my best case scenario for the Oilers future. It’s a pipe dream, a fantasy, and not likely to happen.

We all must have hopes and dreams as Oiler Fans, otherwise we will allow this organization to drive the passion and happiness, which hockey brings us, completely from our souls.

Another, Not Good Enough Effort from the Edmonton Oilers

Ugly sweater is better than Oilers first periods.

Ugly sweater is better than Oilers first periods.

First periods, they can be a good indicator of how well prepared a team is for a game. They can be a good indicator of how much energy a team has.

They can even indicate how comfortable a team is playing another team.

If this is all true, we can then extrapolate that the Edmonton Oilers 2014-15 Edition, are ill prepared, have no energy, are not ready to play games regardless of rest time, and are uncomfortable playing any team, anytime, anywhere.

This may seem like a broad critique of the team but let us evaluate the Oilers first period woes.

20 GA in 1st periods this season total, that stat, in itself is not a true tell of the horrors the Oilers have inflicted upon themselves in first periods. The real story comes from the amount of shots and shot attempts they give up in the 1st period.

The Oilers are averaging 19.3 shot attempts against in the 1st and 11.6 shots against, those are the highest totals in the league. Yes, higher than Buffalo.

The real trouble is the turnovers, accurate stats for turnovers per period are not available or (I couldn’t find them), but watching the games lately, it’s clear to see.

The Oilers defensemen turn the puck over more often in the 1st then throughout the rest of the game. The forwards are not off the hook here either, they have a bad habit of weak back checking in the 1st and then ramping it up to a reasonable level after 20 mins is in the books and they are behind by 2-3 goals.

The offense seems to feed off of the defense, (imagine that!), so the first period GF are not where they should be either.

To take a lead in the game in the first is a recipe for success, to trail after the first is a recipe for failure.

Some teams seem to be riding a lucky streak, (I’m looking at you Detroit, Ottawa, and Montreal) by bucking the trend but this is false success. Truly successful teams do not trail by 2-3 goals every game and win with any consistency.

The Oilers have lead exactly 1 game after the first period this year, and that ended with an OT loss.

Close to Competitive!

Close to Competitive!

So where does the problem lie?

Is it the coaching preparations?

Are the players not energized to start games?

Do the Oilers need a kick in the backside to get going every single game?

Maybe they enjoy playing from behind because they feel they need a challenge in this easy league? (See Standings?!?!)

No, I believe it’s a confidence issue. From the goaltender on out, every player, isn’t sure if tonight is going to be okay or how they will play until a fire is lit under their feet. (Except maybe Nail Yakupov & Iiro Pakarinen)

Now, confidence is a tricky thing, but when a whole team doesn’t have it, it’s a major thing. The confidence to go out at the start of every game and play their game regardless of what day it is, who the opponent is or where they are playing. That is what is missing here and the only way for these players to have it is to simply grab it and run.


Simply tell them they can play hockey the way they have since most of them were 3-4 years old. Let them run and play like kids in a candy store, because that fun factor will ignite a renewed sense of confidence in their abilities and will lead to more energy to start every game.

The AJHL Season rolls on

The current standings do not lie, Spruce Grove and Camrose are good hockey clubs, but there are some signs of good parity in the league this season.

The Camrose Kodiaks are rolling lately, riding a 5 game win streak and have risen to the top of the South Division as a result.

Meanwhile, in the North Division, it’s business as usual for the Spruce Grove Saints, but they are being pressed for top spot this season by the Lloydminster Bobcats.

Other than the basement teams, the Whitecourt Wolverines in the North and the Calgary Mustangs in the South, all the teams in the league have a chance to beat any other team on any given night.

This makes for entertaining and exciting hockey action all season long, and gives teams and fans hope for playoff berths until very late in the season.

Good things are happening in this league and the hope is, more Albertans will spend some of their hard earned dollars supporting their local AJHL teams.

Growing the game of hockey is a community effort and the more people who get involved at a grassroots levels the better the game will become for all future generations of player, coaches, fans, and parents.

Oilers vs Canucks Nov.19/2014 – Season deciding game ?

The Deciding Games

The game in question is number 19 on the season and takes place at home for the Oilers, in the middle of a 5 game home stand mid next week.

Now, at this point in the near future I would predict that the Oilers will sit at around 13th in the Western Conference, with a 7 -10- 1 record and about 15 pts. That would put them approx. 10 pts. out of a playoff spot, and 6 points out of respectability.

But not all is lost Oiler Fans, if the team continues to show some fight and can ride out this mid November home stand with a respectable 3-2-0 record, gaining an additional 4 points, they will be on the edge of competitive standing in the west.

I know it is a tall order, but from what we have seen of this club through the last 5 games, I do think it is possible. Their team defense has been much improved and they are getting some secondary scoring, which in the absence of Taylor Hall, is desperately needed, that being said, the 2014-15 season is already all but lost, from a playoff perspective.

The goal now is to give the young players more NHL experience, allow them to perfect the systems under one coach (whether we like him or not), and strive for an identity which they desperately need to be competitive going forward.

Game 19 on the schedule will be the deciding one, if the Oilers can win against Vancouver when their season is on the line, that is the mark of a competitive team vs a lottery team.

A loss to Vancouver in that game will make the statement and be the climax to the season for these Oilers, after that it is sell off, tank and draft lottery.

A win will tell the league, the division and the fans that these Oilers still have a competitive fight which would put them closer to the middle of the pack than to the basement.

Edmonton Oilers Organizational Goals Comparision Chart (Created in jest by JC)

Edmonton Oilers Organizational Goals Comparision Chart
(Created in jest by JC)

The above chart tells the tale of how this organization has different priorities in comparison to the fan base, as if we need a chart to tell us this but it’s nice to see a chart now and then right?

The trade rumors continue to swirl around this and all teams that are struggling at this point in the season, but if Craig MacTavish makes a move, it will be a non-factor this season.

No, we are not getting Shea Weber, Zdeno Chara, or Drew Doughty this year folks!

The assets are there but the rock has not hit the bottom quite yet, in the minds of this management team, so they will stay the course, at least until the next off season.

The new arena (Rogers Place) opens in September 2016, which is the deadline for real progress up the standings, in the minds of ownership and management, not the fan base.

This timeline gives ol’ MacT a whole 144 games until A-Day (New Arena Day), and yes the reference is on purpose.

That is when, it is predicted, the fan base will finally have had enough and storm the beaches of Oilerland, denouncing the team along with it’s owner and finally speaking with the only thing that matters, ticket sales.

If the team is not playoff competitive by the 2016 off season, the season ticket sales for the fancy new arena that Mr.Katz envisioned, will not go as planned.

That is the only thing that will push the Oilers Management into significant improvement and is the only deadline they care about.

So to pick high this coming draft, and rid themselves of players they signed to stop the gap between now and then, is their only consideration, not fan reaction to a season which they had written off before it started.

Examples include: Purcell, Perron, Gordon, Nikitin, Petry, Scrivens, fasth, Joensuu, Arcobello, Gazdic, Hendricks, Aulie and Ference.

Now, whether they trade, buyout or let go to free agency these players will depend on their value but trust, these players will not be in the lineup opening night at Rogers Place Arena.

The following players will either develop to their top billing potential or be traded: Klefbom, Yakupov, Marincin, Schultz, Draisaitl.

The trade return on all of these players is highly dependent on their numbers this season and how much they develop.

Whether they are traded or not will depend on how far they come and what the market looks like come July 2015.

These guys are going no where, mark it, post it, spit handshake on it.

The organization will do whatever it takes to keep these players for the ribbon cutting at Rogers Place Arena: Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Fayne, and Pouliot.

I say this because Fayne and Pouliot are the only long term signings that make sense after the 2014-15 season and the kids are alright, which is exactly why they will hold on to them.

Any high end adds will have to come from the trading of bit players, prospects, 2 or 3 for 1 deals and draft picks.

All will be revealed ???

All will be revealed ???

Come November 19, 2014 after game #19 of the year, all will become clearer, or more depressing depending on how you look at it.