Monday September 01, 2014

Edmonton Oilers: A futile, fruitless failure


Nothing has gone right since the Edmonton Oilers shocked the hockey world by making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006, coming just one win away from winning it all despite just squeaking into the playoffs as an eighth seed.

To put it bluntly the Oilers have been, quite possibly, the worst professional sports franchise in the world since then (yes, even worse than the Houston Astros).

But if you consider their rebuild to begin after their last “winning season” then they are currently in Year Five of a rebuild that has yet to show any signs of success.

Pretty soon the Oilers will need to rebuild their rebuild as they’ve only managed to muck things up more over the last few years.

Sure, drafting Jordan Eberle was a solid move.  He’s a kid who grew up bleeding Oiler blue and continues to do so now as a member of the Oilers. Trading for David Perron was a great idea and acquiring Ben Scrivens for a third-round pick looks, for the most part, like a success.

But after that it seems like nothing the Oilers do works (or makes sense).

Taylor Hall, for all his offensive ability, seems to be a bit of a band-aid who makes a few huge defensive blunders each game that tend to end up in the back of the Oilers net.

While it’s still very early in his career I am going to go out on a limb (which happens to be the biggest one on the tree) and say Nail Yakupov is a bust. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. Yakupov has so far been the biggest number one overall bust since Alexandre Daigle in the sense that Yakupov’s attitude is worse than a spoiled little child and his compete and effort level rival that of a fainting goat.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, meanwhile, has been a solid addition to the team. Does he warrant a number one overall draft spot?  Probably not, but he’s still a decent talent on a sub-par team.

Now let’s take a look at the most recent season, the one currently nearing its end, the 2013-14 season.

Edmonton has been horrible right from the get-go. Their coach, if you can call him that, is Dallas Eakins.  Here’s a guy with zero NHL coaching experience trying to take charge of a losing NHL team and turn it around.

Here’s a guy who has zero ability to coach at an NHL level (sure he was decent in the AHL, just like his playing career) or show emotion behind the bench.

It doesn’t matter if his team is up big or down badly, his expression never changes.  Heck, he was “accidently” sprayed by a water bottle during Edmonton’s completely embarrassing 8-1 loss to Calgary on Saturday, March 22 and calmly wiped the water off of himself.

However, instead of saying anything to the water bottle culprit, Taylor Hall, or making his anger known, Emotionless Eakins simply tossed the towel at Hall without so much as a “what were you thinking?” before continuing to wander aimlessly about the bench.

But why is Eakins behind the bench in the first place?  After all Ralph Krueger had done well in his first season behind the bench in the strike-shortened season before being unceremoniously canned.

To be honest, no one besides the trio of owner Daryl Katz, General Manager Craig MacTavish and President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe know why Eakins is there (I expect Eakins doesn’t know why either).

While MacTavish was a decent coach, he did coach the Oilers to seven winning seasons from 2000-01 to 2008-09, he has proven to be average at best as a general manager yet is still worthy of one year due to the Perron and Scrivens deals as well as the Luke Gazdic waiver claim.

Lowe, meanwhile, has proven to be so inept at his job that he has caused many Oiler fans to join a Facebook group titled “Kevin Lowe has to go” that, so far, has 14,192 likes.

And then there is the owner, Daryl Katz. A man who claims to be an Oilers fan, yet has done nothing but hurt the team since he purchased it.

The ‘Old Boys Club’ continues to dominate the Edmonton Oilers and Katz is the only man who can put a stop to it, yet all he does is sit in his extremely expensive house and count his millions and millions of dollars like C. Montgomery Burns, with no remorse or thought of all the Oilers fans who work (that is, fund) at his nuclear power plant (the Edmonton Oilers).

But rest assured, the fans are getting angry. There was a silent volcano brewing for years and it’s about to spew up. It’s started already with the ‘Kevin Lowe has to go’ Facebook page and has since reared its ugly head with two separate jersey throwing altercations where fans tossed their Oilers jerseys on the ice during games.

In short Katz needs open his eyes and make some changes.

And it better happen soon or else the fan base might just turn on the team they’ve loved and suffered with for years.



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