Friday, November 28, 2008

Blood In The Water

This article confirms what some of us have been saying for a few weeks now and what I talked about yesterday. Craig MacTavish is in trouble and barring a miraculous turnaround he is done as coach of the Edmonton Oilers and it will likely be quite soon.

The team sits a couple of points out of last place today. The good news, of course, is that they sit a couple of points out of the playoffs as well so its not like we're talking about the deficit that last year's club faced by Christmas. The bad news remains, however, that this team is underachieving and that the guy who is going to take the fall for it is the coach.

When a source within the organization says that a coaching change may be considered then make no mistake, the day is coming.

Over at Lowetide's a crazy thread that included the best and worst of the Oilogosphere - slipper's "confessions" from the anonymous player (Ales Hemsky's is below the title of this blog), genius, a troll who arrived out of nowhere to begin insulting everyone, traktor taking his ball home, again, Jonathan Willis being outed as a closet Stars' fan (as well as having his choice of pajamas discussed) and much speculation and parsing of speech patterns as to who this unnamed player is. Good fun.

Actual journalist David Staples pointed out, interestingly enough, that looking to the only player actually quoted in the article would be a good place to start. Journalism 101.

Whoever the player is matters although it would matter more if someone in the organization wasn't throwing MacT under the bus at the same time. It would also matter if it was not so glaringly obvious that there is more then one player who would likely be happy to see MacTavish go.

I remarked yesterday and Bruce picked up on it that one of the notable events Wednesday night was Liam Reddox blocking a shot. It was notable in that it, once a signature of this club, doesn't happen anymore. Ethan Moreau broke a bone blocking a shot last preseason for Christ sakes. This team always has blocked shots and now it rarely does. While it takes some technique and care or you'll end up like Patrick Thoresen, blocking a shot is a simple exercise and speaks more to commitment then to ability.

The commitment is not there from this team.

Five days of coaching and meetings ended up in Wednesday night's debacle.

What does that say about this club? The same as all of the poor starts and abortive efforts mentioned yesterday.

I expect that Saturday afternoon will see MacT's last hoorah. Horcoff and Moreau and Staios and Hemsky will lead the charge and show what they think of their coach and the team will have a concerted effort. And then Sunday we will see disaster once again.

And that will be it. Hell, Saturday may be it. And if Saturday is another half hearted effort then Lowe, oh sorry, Tambellini will have no choice. Anonymous sources cutting up the coach, management's defence of said coach and then a poor effort in response will say it all.

As for the talk of a trade turning this thing around here we are with more smoke and mirrors. Who are they going to trade to shake the team up? Everyone's value is depressed except Hemsky, Souray, Lubo, Gilbert and Moreau. Moving any of the first four would be foolish and moving Moreau when he is one of the few guys who can play tough minutes and play LW would be making the team weaker.

Moving a kid when you are rebuilding would be just plain stupid unless you can get a good piece in return.

And this team is not good enough to begin moving veteran players without receiving sure things in return. What sure thing are you going to get for Cole or Penner?

So who is left? Garon? Pouliot? Spare parts? None of these is going to send shivers through the room.

Meanwhile while Curtis Glencross tears it up down the highway, scoring and playing tougher minutes then he did last year, Kevin Lowe escapes censure once again.

Nice job if you can get it.
This is post # 500 here at BDHS in what will be nearly three years of writing about these Oilers and one thing is for certain. There is never a dull moment. Jesus.


Traktor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swabbubba said...

That was a priceless post over a Lowetide. Took an hour to get through all of it. I am not a fan of a player dumping on the coach and that speaks volumes about the disarray that the team is in.
I am all for getting rid of Penner and Cole. So long see ya later but who would take these primadonnas at this point. They have played themselves into nobody wants that crap. Market for Power Forwards that play like Pussies is slim.
If the player becomes known he should be shipped out of town too as that is just not the way this organization ever did anything.

Mac T gets the axe what do they do? Lowe guide the ship for a bit while they look for a A one coach.

Traktor said...

"Meanwhile while Curtis Glencross tears it up down the highway, scoring and playing tougher minutes then he did last year, Kevin Lowe escapes censure once again."

Maybe Lowe listened to the stat crunchers who said Glenx's numbers weren't sustainable - Glenx was nothing more than a by-proudct of a team that caught fire after all. According to them anyways.

Mr DeBakey said...

Congratulations on your Quintacentennial post.

Remember - begs the question is different from begs the answer.

That fuckin Tractor had already promised weeks ago to quit posting on Lowetide – promises & $2 will get you downtown on the bus.

All these Fire MacTavish! guys are going to be shitting bricks when the Oilers announce Kelly Buchberger as the replacement.

Tradeables? One Goalie, Magic Jr, Grebeshkov, Penner, Chorney, Schremp

I like Cole, the guy has to learn how to play in the NHL after all those seasons in the SE division. He just needs some time.

That Glencross thing pisses me off - $1.3 - Damn!.

Have a nice Day

[There is no Spell-check suggestion for Quintacentennial]

Anonymous said...

Just my two cents.
One, I didn't read veteran Oiler player as neccessarily one of the old core; could be a present Oiler who is also a vet. I think it was Spector's writing attempt to 'protect' his source however within those Rexhall walls they probably have a good idea right? I didn't disregard the possibilities before his piece (personally I think MacT would step away in frustration rather than be fired) so I think Spector made a bad call just to get his story.
Two, the player who first came to my mind was Cole. Only because he seems to speak his mind without any filters. Does he have a good handle on the room after 3 months?
He seems bright but it's hard to say.
Like I said, two cents worth of pondering :-)

Black Dog said...

Traktor - well the rumoured number he was asking for originally (1.8-2.00) was a little high for my liking considering his role and the fact that he was successful for such a short time

Having said that if he did come back to the Oilers, as rumoured, to see if they would match the Flames' offer then things get a lot more dicey.

You never know how a guy is going to project and I can't say that anyone expected him to leap up a notch and barely miss a beat. Except the Flames I guess.

I can accept mistakes in management, hell no GM is perfect. Ken Holland traded for Bertuzzi, remember.

But Lowe just had such a poor track record over the past few summers that you can't just say well, so what, who would have guessed? Just like he let a nice low cost option in Jan Hejda go the previous summer, here's another one that got away.

And he took Brodziak and Stortini with him apparently.

swabubba - yeah there's no market for Penner for sure. Cole would bring something but for his poor numbers they still need the guy right now. They have nobody better.

Anonymous said...

Also, agree on the shot blocking/PKing, I've noticed that too. They seem to be missing that grit and determination that in the past lead to decent PKs. I'm off to go do more pondering.

Black Dog said...

Mr D. - thanks! Yeah, Christ if its Buchberger oh my Jesus what a disaster.

And as you point out the problem when things are going badly is that people are lining up to pick up your guys for cheap - they'll get no return on the dollar and I wouldn't trade any of the youth, including Nilsson right now.

anon - oh I'm sure its Cole - he's the guy quoted in the article and Staples said that's a tell right there

I don't believe this idea that some are putting forth that this anon. guy is speaking for the club but I do believe that he's not the only one who feels that way - does that make sense?

And I agree with you - I think the player is a veteran player not a veteran Oiler.

Roloson has nothing to do with the press and he knows where his bread is buttered.

Pisani is hurt and anyhow he's not the type.

Moreau is an oldschool loyalist and Staios is his best friend. Its neither of them.

Horcoff is a MacT guy as well. He speaks pretty reasonably and calmly about their relationship. The other day he spoke about how MacT had been hard on him in the past and that was ok.

Hemsky is not a big talker.

We went over this at LT's and it was beaten to death - still I would say its Cole or Garon.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Lowe listened to the stat crunchers who said Glenx's numbers weren't sustainable - Glenx was nothing more than a by-proudct of a team that caught fire after all. According to them anyways.

Do you even think before you post? Glencross had 9 ES goals in 26 games with the Oilers last year. He has 5 in 23 games with Calgary. So his goal production has about fallen in half and he's going through a good shooting percentage run.

His assists number is way up this year, which is why the points are so good. His assists number in Edmonton wasn't that impressive. I'd say that the fact that pucks are going in at an 11.5% clip while he's on the ice explains it.

I don't think any of the stats folk thought he was a bad player. The thinking was that you can't pay a guy huge scratch to be on your third or fourth line and that he wasn't really a Kovalchukian goal scorer. I don't see how either of those things have changed.

Black Dog said...

Ty - do you give credence to the rumour that he came back to Edmonton to see if they would match Calgary's offer and would you have paid him that at the time?

Would you now?

I had no problem with them passing then, based on his alleged salary demands. And hindsight is 20/20 of course.

At 1.2 he'd look damn good on the LW on our third line right now though.

I'm just pissed because Lowe fucked up another one.

Mr DeBakey said...

See this?

I mentioned tradeables
Which Getables?

How about Legwand?
He has a fairly big ticket.
There's only 75% of an owner in Tentasee, and
Hardly enuff revenoos coming in.

I know he'd be too Horcoffian for the Kovalchuk crowd.
But, man, having him & Horcoff one-two would give the Oilers two very tough-to-play-against lines

Traktor said...

"Do you even think before you post"

Do you even read before you reply?

Since when does "numbers" only mean "EV goals"?

"I don't think any of the stats folk thought he was a bad player."

No, you just thought it wasn't "sustainable". Where have I heard that before?

Tyler said...

Since when does "numbers" only mean "EV goals"?

He didn't have any PP or SH points in Edmonton. I (for reasons that seemed good at the time) assumed you would be aware of that before you started talking about him. Obviously, I erred in assuming you might try not to talk about a subject you know nothing about. I don't think anyone was arguing that he couldn't continue to put up a rate of 0.0.

Traktor said...

Since when does "numbers" mean "goals"?

Joe Thornton's numbers aren't that impressive. How stupid does that sound?

Oh didn't you know? "Numbers" obviously means goals!!! Duh!!

Traktor said...

I gotta run so save whatever insult you were about to toss at me for another date.

andy grabia said...

No one else think it's interesting that the article wasn't written by a guy currently with the Sun or Journal? Just saying, is all.

Black Dog said...

Andy - I mentioned that in a thread at LT's - Spector writes this article, then today Brownlee, writing for CP refers to MacT's job being in danger

Except for Staples' blog neither the Journal nor the Sun brings up any of it.


Black Dog said...

Mr D. - yeah I saw that

Killing me.

Black Dog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HBomb said...

It's actually quite the opposite in the local dailies. Matheson today talking about how MacT is "Katz's guy, period".

Bullshit. This team keeps losing, it's going to be flashbacks to the end of the 1999 season, when Glen Sather could simply not ignore the chants of "(Ron) Low must go". That team made the playoffs, but made it a lot harder on themselves than they should have, and were swept in four games by Dallas.

The most memorable thing about that series - Ryan Smyth, healthy scratch.

And who essentially replaced Ryan Smyth on this roster a little over a year ago?

Dustin Penner.

History has this funny way of repeating itself. These ARE the last days.

Black Dog said...

Yeah HB, funny, huh? Nothing yesterday while everywhere else it is being reported on.

Then today its circle the wagons while the story has spread further afield elsewhere.

HBomb said...

The Edmonton media has been conditioned since the Sather days. They're always the last ones to "get it", for fear of reprisal perhaps.

Who broke the Pronger trade request? Al Fucking Strachan, one of the worst sportswriters this side of Mike Brophy. To hear the local print guys tell it, no one had a damn clue that was coming right up until it actually happened.

Drop two this weekend, and the calls for change only get louder and louder. I'm already looking ahead in pure fear to San Jose next Saturday - that could be a butt-raping that would make Ned Beatty blush.