Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Heedless of the wind and weather

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Twelve Basement Dwellers, Eleven Loverboy Tunes, Ten Brilliant Nights, Nine Final Papers, Eight World Juniors, Seven Aching Bodies, Six Fucking Douchebags, Five ... Straight ... Road ... Wins ........ Four Pints of Beer, Three Frenchmen, Two Sausages and Lubomir Visnovsky

Oh its bad, really bad. The Oilers are a deserved last place in the Western Conference right now.

Last place.

Their big free agent signing from the summer, an aging goaltender with health issues signed to a four year deal that is a cap killer, is on the shelf with back problems as it comes out that the total amount of due diligence the Oilers, a multimillion dollar business, did before signing him was to ask his agent how he was feeling. The contract is completely unmovable and now one of the few strengths of the Oilers from the past few years, their goaltending, always pretty reasonable with Roloson and Markannen or Roloson and Garon, is in the hands of two unproven rookies who have no track record of success.

Their D, supposedly their strength, looks overmatched.

Their corpse of forwards consists of three quality NHLers now that Hemsky is on the shelf (Thank God that happened!) and one of those has a bad shoulder and another is twenty years old.

A generation of kids are dying on the vine. Where Ales Hemsky got to play with Ryan Smyth opposite him and Raffi Torres played with Mike Peca and Fernando Pisani in the spring of 2006 and Torres and Stoll got Pisani to shepherd them the following year, now guys like Nilsson and Cogliano and Brule and O'Sullivan get fucked. One gets to play with two NHL players, one gets to play with Horcoff and an AHLer and the other two get the dregs.

And we wonder why the kids regress.

For the fourth straight year the club is seriously unbalanced with almost nobody up front who can kill penalties, check their hat, play their position properly, win faceoffs, hit somebody, the list goes on an on. Basically beyond Horcoff, Hemsky and Penner and by the looks of it, Gagner, they have nobody who can play top nine minutes and come out on top.

And even better, we get to do this all again next year unless Lowe and Tambellini's replacement (oh please Santa make it so!) can find someone dumber than them to take the long list of big contracts that they have handed out like candy at Halloween.

Four years ago this was a terrific club filled with young veterans that came within a break of winning it all. Within a year the heart and soul of the club was torn out of it and all that remains is four years of shitty hockey, four years to match the longest stretch of futility in club history.

The fish stinks from the head and so the front office needs gutting for starters, Lowe and Tambellini have to go and probably immediately.

This squad is going to be awful next year too. May as well bring someone in who knows what they are doing before these guys give Brule a massive extension and pry Jason Blake from the Leafs the next time he has a nice week. I exaggerate but only so slightly. They are that terrible. The proof is on the ice.

Which is also crappy, by the way. It hasn't been quality in years.


Swabbubba said...

Ah I see that last game got to u too. It was just freakin awful. Ok putting it out there are any of these contracts insured? Habbie & Horcoff? Souray has gone into a funk. Give him the C maybe that will pick up his game some leadership the current captain should be parking cars.

David S said...

Man. What a bang-on post. I never thought about the current crop of kids like that. Imagine a guy like Nilsson with a couple of proper NHL mentors who were bonafide players. I know we'll probably end up trading him away, but it makes me sick to my stomach to see what he's going to do in a properly structured organization.

And that's just Nilsson. Ditto for the other poor rubbydubs too I suppose.

eggie said...

-Jettison shitty veterans (Staios & Moreau) for anything that doesn't count towards the cap next year (i.e. expiring contracts, prospects, or picks).
-Trade 1 of Souray/Vish (preferably Souray..) for something good.
-Test the market for Grebs/Gilbert; trade if the return is good; don't if it's not.
-**Take a close look at our young forwards (POS, Cogs, Brule, Stone, Nilsson, Potulny, JFJ, Pouliot) and pick which ones we want to keep. We need to make room for Eberle and co.
-Don't trade Gagner or Smid.
-Keep Stortini.
-Don't throw money at Brule, but try to resign him.
-Don't touch Hemmer. In fact, do anything you can to keep him and fattie happy.
-Pick 1 of JDD or DD. I don't care who. I don't want a 3-headed monster next year.
-Secretly hope that Khabi is done and comes off the books.

Of course, this is mostly common sense so I wouldn't expect "Cowboy" Lowe or "Hmmm... let me think about this for a sec" Tambellini to listen. Hence, here's my advice to Katz:

-Find a new GM asap. Maybe even Quinn at least in the interim as the most important tasks is probably picking which young forwards we want to keep and nobody would know better than him.

PDO said...

At least all of those people that wanted a team where Ryan Smyth wasn't the best player got their wish.


I wonder if there's a deal out there would see Carter heading to Edmonton, Souray to ??? and futures from the other two teams to Philly?


Anonymous said...

Dear God
Thank you for the WJCs at Christmas time.
Big XOXO for Eberle.
Merry Christmas

YKOil said...

Your post pretty much nails it but I have to admit PDO's snark added that little something that made the whole reading seem 'right' somehow.

Again, have a wonderful holidays BD!

Krazy Rick said...

Hey BD....

This season is quickly becoming an albatros around the necks of all loyal Oiler fans!! Someone quickly call Mr. Katz and explain to him that unless he wants an empty Rexall Place, he should make BIG changes before the New Year!!
Hell, he could hire you and i for a fraction of the cost and we would be a better judge of talent than those two buffoons running the show now!!
It would be so nice to see the building empty for a few games in protest of this MESS on the ice every night!! ( end rant)
On a lighter note... all the best of the season to you and yours and may Santa bring us a Team for the New Year!!!

Happy Holidays To All...

Fake Craig McTavish said...

Hey Pat.

Just want to thank you for a year of great reading.

Your blog is the best part of being an Oiler fan.

That's a bit sad I guess.

All the best.

Coach pb9617 said...

Fire Lowe, Fire Tambellini.

Hire Matt Majka as Director of Hockey Ops, move Quinn to GM, hire Kevin Dineen as coach.

This is my Chistmas list, my new years list, my birthday list in three months, easter list, my thanksgiving list...

mrzael said...

I'm not yet ready to jettison Tambellini.
I think the "shooting for the moon" (Heatley et al) directive comes from above unfortunately, so he's starting with not only the albatros like contracts but also an anchor masquerading as a life saver. Khabibuhlin on the other hand he probably has to wear. However, he has put together a solid coaching staff and has stuck to his stated plan of assessing and building from within until we know exactly what we have. It's fair to say we are getting close to the goals previously stated and it aint pretty. I'd like him to stay the course, give the players all the rope they need to succeed or hang themselves and then make changes accordingly. I'm of the opinion that he's neither weak nor foolish but rather patient and focused on his task.

David S said...

To be fair, any move Tambellinin wants to make after this year would be welcomed with open arms by any Oiler fan. Maybe that's the plan. Let the team's weakest links become so apparent that no backlash will happen when old stalwarts are finally discarded. You know where I'm going with this, right?

itchy said...

I wonder if it has ever got to the point yet where Quinn has walked into Tambo's office and "requested" that we do something with the current inept lineup we ice every night. I think a man like Quinn would only be able to take coaching this team we have now for so long before he'd grow tired of players that can't seem to deliver whats needed to win, or at least the effort to play a complete 60 min game. I'd like to be a fly on the wall if that ever happened....would be interesting to hear Quinns opinion on some of his troops.

Black Dog said...

Thanks everyone for the good wishes and kind words. And Fake MacT we don't hear from you as much these days, try and drop by more often if you can, eh?

Swabb - naw, last game didn't do it to me, its been four years of poor management.

PDO - problem at this point is that nearly everyone they move is for ten cents on the dollar, even Souray, Gilbert, Grebs and so on are having off years. Unless you find a club willing to take a vet or three to clear cap space and then another club willing to move guys getting paid for prospects the Oilers are pretty well screwed. Compare them to clubs that have plenty of space come next summer, those teams are going to make out like bandits.

eggie's list is pretty well what they need to do but as he says its common sense. The problem is that they have just wasted four years and if they tear it down its going to be another four. oh well.

Black Dog said...

itchy - Quinn has been pretty clear about his feelings about his lineup since day one, he's not impressed

David - compare these guys to Garth Snow. Every year he brings in a handful of vets on one or two year deals, overpays them a little, sure, but as a result he has a core of guys to groom his kids, the contracts are short so he can move them for futures, and he continues to stockpile kids.

He picked up two goalies, cost him nothing but dough, and he will get picks for both at some point.

Now they suck of ocurse but there is a method to his madness. If luck is on their side they will likely be better than the Oilers pretty soon, they may be already.

mrzael - that's the minority opinion for sure; I'm happy with the coaching moves and his work with the minor league club and his hands are tied to an extent by Lowe's work but the Khabibulin move and total failure to bring in any cheap vets this summer pretty well soured me on him pretty quickly.

Just sick of losing.

kanadienkyle said...

I think your summation is very accurate. I too am just sick of losing and sick of there not being a light at the end of the tunnel. I skipped quite a few of those 1990 SCF games because a girl in my class would take her shirt off and let me touch her cans.

Had I known it would take so long to see games like that again, I would have ignored the cans. Its that serious.

macaotim said...

Black Dog...you're right, you're right...damn nation you're right. Oh why do you have to be so right?

I listened to the game on the radio via the www and Rod Phillips was sure down on Grebs.

What a mess.

Black Dog said...

kyle - Naw man you were a teenager, right? Cans over everything at that point. And now as well for that matter.

Sorry Tim. When it comes to this sad sack club I've been negative for a while now - I'd be happy to be wrong but its a mess.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this might get a laugh

For those so inclined, a hilarious spot on CKNW radio called 'PING' by Local Anxiety, at the Canucks expense. References to Messier and Quinn.


Dec 23 @ the 11:44:44pm mark