Do The Oilers Matter?

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 13: Cory Schneider #35 of the Vancouver Canucks looks on during Game Six against the Boston Bruins in the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

"Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them."
--Cory Schneider, when asked about the Canucks' status as Canada's most-hated team.

Ed Willes asked the question, Cory Schneider provided an honest answer. Edmonton fans are outraged at Schneider, who as late as yesterday afternoon, was their primary trade target to shore up the goaltending issue created by Nikolai Khabibulin's sub-par performance.

But here's the thing: Schneider isn't wrong. Edmonton hasn't been competitive in six years - a lifetime in a league where 53% of teams make the playoffs. If your favorite team isn't a hurdle to winning the division, making the playoffs, winning a playoff series, winning a conference title or a Stanley Cup, no one is going to care. If your favorite team isn't good enough to make a rivalry exciting, no one is going to care. Like the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates, like the Buffalo Bills, and like the Tom Renney-coached Vancouver Canucks, teams that stink are irrelevant.

If you, as a fan, want players or other fans to hate your team, hold your favorite team's management accountable to the minimum standard of creating a team good enough to matter.

Media Day - mc79hockey
Steve Tambellini’s year ending press conference was another instant classic. I kind of enjoy them because the local press don’t push too hard but you still always feel like Tambo’s on the edge of losing control. His trade deadline press conference was fantastic – the media started asking about specific guys who didn’t get traded. He answered them on Khabibulin and then they asked about Barker, he realized that this wasn’t going to end well and refused to answer questions about specific players. Funny stuff.

via @limpanomark: thanks to you guys for all the support, and also a big thanks to those of you who hate me and gives me something to read :)

The Edmonton Oilers and "Character" - Cult of Hockey
No. Huffcutt states that there’s a long history of research supporting the fact that job interviews typically don’t identify the best-suited candidates. As Sway’s authors, Ori and Rom Brafman explain, "[t]he marks managers give job candidates have very little to do with how well those candidates actually perform their jobs." People know how to answer questions like ‘Why should I hire [or draft] you?’ and ‘How would you describe yourself?’ People come back with nice-sounding answers when asked what they want to do in five years – or what they need to do over the summer to improve for next season. Their ability to answer the question gives little insight into what they’ll actually do.

Home/Road Shot Splits 2011-12 - mc79hockey
I speculated in a post earlier this year that you’re going to have a hard time hiding guys who play a lot of minutes. Basically, if you intend to play them a lot, they’re going to run up against the other team’s best a lot. I wonder if that’s what happens with the guys like Horcoff and Smyth – there’s no effort being made to shelter them anywhere, indeed, it’s the opposite, so they just run up against the buzz saw wherever they go. I’ve made this point more than a few times but even if you don’t think much of Smyth and Horcoff, you have to acknowledge that they do get fed into the chipper shredder a bit. You can’t replace them with the kids without the kids taking on more difficult minutes and, as I’ve shown previously, guys like Horcoff/Smyth/Hemsky have held their own in chances with the kids when you look at them up against comparable competition (Hall aside, who’s a bit of a special case in that he seems ahead of Eberle/RNH/MPS).

Yakupov or Trade? - Oil Acumen
Now that the order is set and the Oilers lucked into their third straight first overall pick, the question becomes whether they should use it or trade it for help. Let's see who might be interested in the pick, what they might be willing to part with, or if keeping the pick is the best course.

WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO... - Oil On Whyte
Personally I want the Oilers to keep the pick and draft Nail Yakupov. I like the idea of having four or five young stud forwards on this team growing together for years to come. I also am not confident in managements ability to trade the pick effectively. And by this, I am referring to the recent moves (last two years) that Steve Tambellini has made that have not worked out.

In Nikolai Khabibulin, He Trusts - OilersNation
Nikolai Khabibulin ranks 53rd on that list, tied with Jeff Deslauriers and Curtis McElhinney. Only four guys with a minimum of 50 games have posted a worse save percentage. Omit his strong part-season in 2009-10 with the Oilers (18GP, 0.909 SV%) and his save percentage drops to 0.899, ahead of only Alex Auld and just behind Ty Conklin and Jonas Gustavsson.

Winterhawks' dynamic duo as tight off the ice as they are on it - OregonLive
Eventually, Sven Bartschi and Ty Rattie will have to decide what to do with the snow cone machine they picked up this season when they weren't busy playing hockey for the Portland Winterhawks.

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