Sunday, February 08, 2009
I don't have any really depressing stories to tell or at least none that come to mind right now so I don't really have anything relevant to our favourite team and their struggles these days.
Of course some might say that today is like every other day then. ;)
I was going to try and write this like Larry King but I haven't the energy to tell you the truth. The kids are mental and its February and we're just trying to get to next weekend now.
This club is where we figured it would be, really, but with the exception of that nice run before the All Star break it has been a wholly unsatisfying year. Management left this team short of veterans again, especially up the middle and while one might figure the idea was to test out a kid as a tough minutes pivot, well, Fernando Pisani got that role instead. Strange coaching decisions have abounded and one wonders if MacTavish is just tired of being given an unbalanced team every year - shoddy goaltending in 2006, poor defence and no replacement for tough minutes wingers in 2007, kids up front and still no tough minutes forwards last season.
MacTavish gets a whole lot of blame for this season and while the running joke every time they win a game is that he has lost the room, the truth is that there is a disconnect between the players and their coach, I would say, probably partially as a result of the long list of odd and counterproductive decisions that have come from behind the bench this season. Add to that the disastrous PK, a lack of compete on many nights, a woeful lack of preparedness on many nights, strange decisions regarding Cole, Penner, Pisani, Brodziak, Reddox, Pouliot, Storini, MacIntyre, Smid, Strudwick, Roloson and Garon (did I miss anybody?) and mark me down as a guy who thinks that its time for MacT to move on, perhaps to the Rangers? And I am a guy who likes MacTavish, I really do, this whole idea that he deserves no credit for the run in 2006 is absurd, but its really time to go. Ted Nolan, a guy I really like as a coach, defines a role for each player on his team, spells it out for them and then does everything he can to get that guy to achieve what he has to to fill that role. The idea that a guy like Pouliot has to find his role is absurd to me - it is up to the coach to point the kid in the direction that he wants him to go into and then help to get him there.
And there are those who would say that its not the coach, that its the players, that they are just not that good and of course then we have to point fingers at the man who put this team together. I look at this club and I do think they are underachieving - look at clubs like LA or Columbus or even St. Louis, wracked by injuries, look at Chicago, these teams are loaded with kids and yet they carry on and outperform what you think they are capable of when you look at them on paper. Chicago is not loaded with wily veterans and yet they are near the top of the league already. Makes you wonder.
But in the end it all comes back to Lowe. He took a quality team and disembowelled it, leaving it to bleed out in the heat. Letting all of the UFAs walk after June 19th was one thing; failing to replace them with cheap veterans so the team could carry on was another. The Pronger deal was a disaster - oh yes it was - and the return for Smyth is looking poor as well (and remember Smyth bashers, please, that Lowe himself admitted he erred in that move just months after).
Thank God Nylander's wife stepped in too, huh?
I could go on and on but I will spare you.
I was driving the kids to gymnastics this morning. Its great, the gymnastics. The boy asked me, amidst a crowd of folks, whether my testicles were still sore.
Not too bad, thanks. Just another day in the life of an Oilers' fan.
Anyways on the radio pn the way to the club they talk about some guy they had to rescue from a chimney. He had passed out in there and woke up, stuck, no idea how he got there. I'm not sure if that's relevant to the Oilers because I think we know how we got here but maybe it is.
Now remember over the break, I talked about what the Oilers should be doing at the deadline, well more and more it sounds like they are going to be buyers which means draft picks and kids out the door for rental players, all to get smoked in the first round.
I have no faith in the current regime, I really do not, and I can just see them moving Nash and Cogliano and Smid and Brodziak for Reasoner and McAmmond and Chris Neil.
Look at the Leafs and what they have done in the last five or six years and you can see why they are where they are now. Three high picks for Toskela. A pick and Rask for Raycroft. Additional picks to move up two spots to get Schenn. Brad Boyes out the door. Prospect and a pick for Yanic Perrault. On and on. Oh man. A pick for Jamal Mayers for Christsakes.
Its no way to run a railroad.
So now you have a regime with an owner who wants to make a splash and a bunch of buddies who stand to take the fall if this Cap team can't make the playoffs and a fanbase that sees teams of youngsters outperforming their club, passing them like they are standing still. What do you think is likely to happen?
Their next six games, without their best defenceman, probably without their only veteran centre and with their best player looking like a guy who may have had his bell rung again (or maybe its the effect of having Moreau on his wing!?) are as follows: home to Montreal, at LA, at Phoenix, at San Jose, at Dallas.
Anyone think they are going to win in San Jose? In Dallas? In LA?
Anyone think they're still going to be in it when they roll back home? This is it folks. They're about to step into the elevator shaft.
Another year out of the playoffs will be hard enough to take but moves made from desperation would make it harder still to believe that this franchise has any plan at all.
And the dummies are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater. As LT would say, book it.
Posted by Black Dog at 8:13 PM