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The Good, the Bad and Fire them all to be Safe - Part 1

Edmonton Oilers v New York Islanders
Welcome back! Nothing has changed since you left!
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Welcome back!

I thought I’d start with this little gem from 5 years ago.

Let’s be blunt here. Firing Chia and McLellan did absolutely nothing to make us better. Our record under Hitchcock is now worse than our record under McLellan. Nicholson made a pointed comment about the ‘water’ but I want to be as clear as I can. He is part of the water! The ‘water’ is MacT, Lowe, Nicholson, Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Dustin Schwartz (our goalie coach) and Bob Nicholson. There are probably more but these guys hold the Oiler’s organization completely by the balls. Until they are gone you will not see real change.

Let’s pretend that we hire a new GM like Mark Hunter (the name of this new GM is irrelevant, feel free to call him anything you want). There will be a beautiful press conference saying he has full autonomy of everything. They will reaffirm that there is no such thing as an Oiler’s Old Boys Club. Hunter will be shown his beautiful new office. He will sit down, take a selfie and send it to his wife. Eventually, Mark has to pee. He leaves his beautiful new office and hits the urinal. Beside him is

Howson, in casual conversation, mentions that Jack Johnson and Dion Phaneuf would solve the problem. Mark ignores it and goes in the elevator. There he is standing beside:

MacT, in casual conversation, suggests that we really need Jack Johnson and Dion Phaneuff to solve this problem. Also mentions that RNH lacks character. Mark continues to grab a coffee where he runs into:

Kevin mentions what a snake RNH is and how we need Jack Johnson and Dion Phaneuf to solve this problem. He hands Mark his coffee and offers cream. Mark walks down the hallway to grab a bagel. There, spreading cream cheese on it for him, is:

Bob reminisces about how good Dion Phaneuf was for Canada at the World Juniors. He also mentions how good Jack Johnson was for the US at the World Juniors. You know who wasn’t that good? Ryan Nugent Hopkins!

Mark, befuddled by all this, walks back to his office. Amazingly, in his chair, is this guy:

Wayne has Mario on line 1. Mark’s first trade is RNH for Jack Johnson. The Pens go onto win the Cup. Later that day, Wayne gets his old buddy Rob Blake on the phone for Mark. Hunter’s second trade is Darnell Nurse for Dion Phaneuff. We now have a Top 4 and everything will be fine. This is the price you pay.

The one consistent thing in the last decade is these guys. We fired all the assistants last year and that did NOTHING. We fired McLellan and that did NOTHING. We fired Chia and that did NOTHING. The main reason I want Ron Hextall is because I picture him telling all those guys to piss off and kicking Wayne out of his office. I can’t think of a single GM that would reflect more of a culture shock to our old boys club than Ron Hextall.

Okay, back to hockey. Last time, we were 3 points out of a playoff spot. We are now 7 points out. We won 1 game out of 8 in the most crucial time of the season. We also had our full roster playing for us for most of this stretch.

Here are the standings:

Hughes and Kakko are really becoming a reality.

Here is the Pacific:

I wonder if LA passes us? I wonder if we’ll even hit 77 points this season? Here is the Wildcard ‘race’:

Here are the scoring leaders for the last 8 games:

It’s ‘classic oilers’ to me that people are really mad at Leon for his SJ game. He had 8 goals and we scored 19 goals (22nd in the league) in those 8 games. We also allowed the most goals of any team (32) in this segment. Yeah, let’s trade him for someone with character!

Here are our goalies:

Pretty much identical (and awful). I have no idea what Mikko did to earn that contract. Cam Talbot was Vezina calibre 2 short seasons ago and nearing his prime. 2 years later and he is a salary dump. Currently the plan is for Koskinen to get the lion’s share of games with Stolarz/Starrett backing him up. For fun, name me a weaker starting combo next October?

Here is the year to date scoring:

I honestly wonder. If we sat Connor, Leon and RNH and played our farm team. Who would win?

Jesse on a worse pace than last year, he is also playing under 10 minutes a night. Anyone that thought Hitchcock would help his game can’t still be thinking that, can they? His agent is now in town making it clear this is bad. Here’s the thing. We don’t need to do the right thing and do Jesse a ‘solid’. We should keep him and develop him. The only way you trade Jesse is for a Top 5 pick. Can’t get it then for a very similar player. I’ve suggest Pavel Zacha. But not for a 5th round pick or a player in the ECHL. We cannot sell low on a guy with so much potential. He has the speed, size and skill to be a great NHL player. Imagine how good he’d be if we had kept him in Finland the year after we drafted him, then the AHL last season and this was his rookie year?

I hear a lot of comments during this streak about why can’t we play like we did in Minnesota all the time. I want to give you an analogy from my own life about this. I play pickup hocky 3x a week. Something I am good at is crossing the blue line and taking a slapshot high. Sometimes it hits the net, sometimes it hits the glass, sometime it even goes in. If I did this 10 times, 9 of those times it would be high and hard. The other time I might whiff, fall over or heel it. That 1 out of 10 is my misfire. That is not the kind of shooter I am. Now, about once a year, I hit the driving range. I don’t golf. I hit a mix of normal drives (with awful form) and running ‘Happy Gilmore’s’. If I hit 10 balls there. 1 of them goes dead straight for about 250 yards. It is a thing of beauty. However, about 5 I completely miss. 2 more just sputter into the grass. The remaining 2 usually hit the dividers between me and the other real golfers. That one beautiful, dead straight 250 yard shot is my misfire. Going back to the Oil. That Minnesota game where we played so well, that was our misfire. That is not who we are. We are the team that has lost the other 7 games by every means possible. In short, the Oiler’s are me at a driving range.

For next time:

We need to trade Manning, Brodziak, Reider and Petrovic.

Anyone asking Lucic about his NMC? He must want out of this? Is there a deal that won’t completely sink us? How about Andrew MacDonald for Lucic and our 3rd pick?

Until we get a 4th Top 4D these problems, all of them, will persist.

It does not matter who the new GM will be. We need to clear house. That video I started with could’ve literally been recorded this morning. The only consistent thing between then and now are the Old Boys.

Do NOT trade Jesse. It’s a mistake. Same with Nurse, Benning, Khaira, Drai, RNH, Larsson, Klefbom and McDavid. They are not perfect but they are all part of the solution. Send Jesse to Bakersfield. Let him get some chemistry with those guys because at least a few of them will be in the lineup in October.