Friday, January 08, 2010

They Took The Last Can Of Who Hash - Stink, Stank, Stunk

After Ryan Smyth was traded the Oilers went on a twenty game death march which netted them Sam Gagner. It was the worst stretch in Oiler history, I would opine. Smyth was gone and with his departure went the Oilers' heart (still MIA all of these years later). The injuries mounted until the blue line consisted of Jason Smith and a brigade of rookies and minor leaguers. So bad was it for the blue that even the replacements, like youngster Tom Gilbert, were knocked out of the lineup almost immediately after entering it. And up front was not much better. The vaunt, down Smyth and Stoll and Moreau, with other players playing hurt (Hemsky iirc), being wildly inconsistent (Torres) or completely useless (Lupul), went down without a whimper.

It was awful. Awful.

You know what? As I get older I realize that you have to enjoy yourself every day because no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. Its true. Trust me. Well, you knew that.

So here we are, almost three years after Smyth hit the highway, with a team against the cap, probably next year as well, and we have a club that is giving us an entire season of joy. Hemsky, a guy who makes this dullard team fun to watch, is long gone. Visnovsky, in the same class, is out. The D, supposedly a strength, has fallen apart. The goaltending is a joke, as many predicted (hey Tyler!) it would be. Their big money keeper is out with a bad back and the kid goalies have been thrown to the wolves, with JDD looking to be found wanting, imo.
And I won't even bother with the rumour about Biron. If true and this comes to pass then Lowe and Tambellini should be fired immediately.

And up front the lack of experienced players, as expected, has been a death knell, just as it has been (the lack of experience) for the past four seasons, four seasons spent out of the playoffs.
All while spending to the cap. Did I mention that?
And the guys who were supposed to lead the next cluster, the guys who have kept this club from being a disaster the past couple of seasons, as opposed to just plain bad, Hemsky and Penner, well their contracts are up in just over two years now. How quickly do you think they will extend with a loser franchise?

Like last season the number of guys having good seasons can pretty well be counted on one hand. Penner. Gagner (maybe). Brule. Stone. Smid.

A once proud franchise, a club that stood for something even in the years we thought were lean (96/97-05/06), has become a joke, irrelevant, porridge, the Panthers or Islanders of the north.

Nobody cares and we are left to 'cheer' for them to bottom out, although its hard to see it getting worse than it is right now.

Oh right, I already addressed that.

The problem is that clubs that they are not chasing, like the Leafs, have guys that they can move in order to get worse. The Oilers cannot even do that.

I am left without words to describe this sack of shit that Lowe and Tambellini have delivered to Oiler fans and the city of Edmonton.


Swabbubba said...

Well said. I watch the 1st period then and then only watched part of the 2nd. Then went and played Halo with the son. I used to watch all the games but now I could care less. I feel sorry for the players as by some strange belief that they are playing for the name on the back of the jersey and not for the logo on the front. They don't care so why should we as fans. I checked after the game to ensure they had delivered another loss. But as they say it is always darkest before the dawn so maybe next year they will have a captain and group fo players that want to show some pride in the team. The only player I see out there doing it every game is Zack and good god if that is the best we can server up then we are screwed. I hope they have fun at the mini camp because maybe they will find what they really want out of it.
I was in Edmonton over the holidays and the talk about the Oilers was about community service and not what they do on the ice.
At this point let's keep on losing and get a good player.

Darren said...

I am at the point where I prefer watching Squeeze play, Commodity Report and Market place on the BNN than watch this sad team. That, and the biggest loser that my wife so adores. How pathetic is that.

Well, not as pathetic as the Oilers at least

doritogrande said...

I'd argue Visnovsky as one guy we can say has had a good season, along with the aforementioned Penner and Smid.

The rest, they're middling.

At least we can accurately say one thing; Ales Hemsky has graduated to the level of a point-per-game player!

Small victories, right?

Got started on Future Greats and Heartbreaks yesterday and for those who haven't read it, this book should be standard issue for every man woman and child who has watched more than 4 games of hockey in their life. I almost decided to skip class today, just couldn't put it down.

spOILer said...

1 more finger: Potulny.


I bought the last can of Who Hash. Well why not, it was the last one.

hunter1909 said...

It's always darkest before the dawn.

It's also high time that a Canadian franchise(Oilers lol) picked the best player in the fucking draft.

You don't win hockey championships with systems you win it with having more talent. This truth has been so long lost in Edmonton, twenty years nearly now, that only now are the fans starting to wake to the fact that unless the team stinks to high heaven, it's just never going to win the cup.

Want to know what really scares me? Lowe trades away the first pick for Kovalchuck - in the vain hope that his butt buddies on the team(eg Horcoff) can win the cup.

PS: There are people who are actually watching the games?

Travis Dakin said...

In fairness, the Leafs don't get their pick so You can bet Burke will be doing everything he can to ensure it isn't a top pick.... I hope.

Black Dog said...

Travis - lets hope that that is the case.

dg - yes on Lubo, absolutely, and spOILer, yes on Potulny too. Can't believe I forgot Lubo.

So two hands.

Hunter - well that is the one possible silver lining. A whack of high picks doesn't guarantee you anything but its a better option than a bunch in the midrange if you haven't the sense to put together a decent club. Swabbubba is right. If we're going to suffer then may as well get someone decent.

Darren - love the Biggest Loser too. What can I say? Fat people suffering = funny shit.

Bruce said...

It was the worst stretch in Oiler history, I would opine.

On face value I would agree wholeheartedly, but it depends on the length of the stretch.

Worst 4-year stretch: 1992-96 with 2006-10 in hot pursuit

Worst season: 1992-93 with 2009-10 as a strong contender

Worst 20-game stretch: 2007 post-Smytty without question

Worst 5-game stretch: 1984 eastern road trip without Gretzky and Kurri: 0-5-0, 9 GF, 33 GA

Worst day: 1990 Entry Draft

Worst 20-minute stretch: Third period at LA Forum, 1982 ("Debacle on Manchester"), although Game One at Carolina comes close

Worst 5-second stretch: Game 7, Battle of Alberta, 1986, Steve Smith own goal

Bruce said...

Hunter: I'm still watching the games. They call people like me die-hards for a reason. Some of the players struggling through this current debacle will be contributors if not core players on the next decent Oiler club. Might as well watch 'em grow.

How does the old saying go? For better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. My team is sick, poor, and could hardly get much worse, but I am in for the long haul. Foolish, I know, but that's the deal.

Darren said...

BD - Ya, I dunno though. Too much crying and feeling sorry for yourself in that show. Makes for good insulting people on TV that you will never meet, I can give props for that.

macaotim said...

Bruce...all sorts of good shit there...nice work. I tend to see some good stuff in the line-up. As The Black Diggity-Dog has noted, we need some filler before the thriller.

A few good rolls of the die (I live in the gambling capital of the world) and things can change.

Chins up, beers down.

Aside: I miss the Smiths' (Smyths') brand of hockey. They made other teams hurt to win.

Black Dog said...

Darren - yeah there's some of that for sure but you get some in there who just come in all business. I've barely been in a gym but they work these folks like animals. They have some serious guts and drive to go through what they do. In terms of 'reality' shows, its my favourite because these people actually are doing something. The prize money is an afterthought.

As for the Oilers, well I don't go looking for games, lets just say that. Whereas before I'd get a feed now I'll just catch them on CBC and TSN when I can. I'm still interested in how the kids are developing and I haven't shut the team out, obviously, but I just have less time for an org. that is so obviously incompetent.

Halfwise said...

Have to make a point here about death spirals and virtuous circles.

Performance comes from the product of Willingness X Ability. Team willingness is contagious. Team ability, when it comes from attracting Free Agents, is affected by past performance.

What we see this year did not start this year; its roots are the entire franchise history, with recent history obviously more important than the 80s. Death spiral.

When your team's reputation is pathetic, you will get pathetic FAs or you will spend waaay over the market to get good FAs.

Drafting well and developing well is the only way to not have to overspend on FAs. Flattening the death spiral and turning it back into a virtuous circle probably takes years.

While it feels as if the death spiral is still steepening, that is probably just our disgust affecting what we notice. Feels to me that it is as bad as it gets.

Prescription: make cap space, aim simply for respectability and balance, begin the virtuous circle.

Scott Reynolds said...

I pine for the Oilers that I remember from junior high. Which was the mid/late-90s team.

Chris said...

Sadly I sort of agree with you Scott, the teams that would almost inevitably lose to the Dallas Stars is they just made the playoffs were at least entertaining to watch and competitive. My interest in this season's incarnation of the Oilers hit the elevator shaft. I don't mind seeing my team lose but the seeming inevitability of it this year is stiffling. I just want the season to be over, changes to be made and perhaps next year they do better.

Black Dog said...

Halfwise - great point, I may riff of that in an upcoming post.

Scott - those were the clubs that made me an Oilers' fan. They were fun to watch, as Chris said, and they nearly always made the playoffs. Plus they actually won a couple of series.

At this point I'd love a team like that. Again, as Chris says, this year is stifling. Loss after loss with no end in sight, three more months to go. And likely more of the same next season.

Anonymous said...

Take away 3 huge point games and Penner statwise is having a shitty season.

Anonymous said...

"What doesn't kill you...screws you up for a long time and you're lucky if you ever get it together again" -Dennis Miller

Ok, seriously though... like Bruce, I'm a bit of diehard as well. I enjoy watching the young fellas, looking for progress, etc.

There had been some comments (here? elsewhere?) about the guys not getting the system yet.
While every team needs a quality number one tender, with Quinn's style it was even more important, no?; all lines going all out with confidence in the goalie when play goes the other way. So with Khabi down, they had to adjust yet again right? So I'm actually looking to Renny right now...
BTW I like JDD, at least we're getting a good look right now, what with DD and the timeline on these guys.
I'm not a sophisticated obsever like Bruce or our host BD, but I will cheer effort and any progress considering we're without our top forward and our number one goalie. My disappointment comes from lack of try, heart, too many brain farts (system?), not winning when they earned it.
I have patience for the process, the cycle of a sports team. The very thing that provides the highs for fans is the very thing that frustrates us; the human element.
JMHO folks
-different anon from above

Black Dog said...

first anon - take away some games where he was shut out or had bad luck and he's having an even better season, can't really pick and choose his good and bad games I think

second anon - I have patience for the process and the cycle, less so when incompetent management is the reason for the bottom part of it

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