Friday, March 31, 2006

That's more like it!

Edmonton 4
Los Angeles 0

You know you're drunk when you come home with a 7-11 coffee and Smartfood popcorn. The Oilers, it seems, feel more comfortable winning when I don't set aside time to watch their games. So be it. Reviewing the tape, Los Angeles looked like total ass, with only Sean Avery really making much of a fuss.

They never should have fired Andy Murray: when you lose so many man games to injury, mostly from Frolov and super +/- machine Pavol Demitra, you're not going to make the playoffs. Remember when they were rocking the West in October? Oh well.

So many positives from this game, which takes a bit of the sting off from the Minnesota loss: 1) Hemsky and Bergeron are both back much sooner than I ever expected, and both played well 2) the defence played with some panache, a difference maker it seems; and 3) we won decisively and by 4 goals, something an under-confident team always needs.

It's 3:30 am and I have to work in 8 hours, so please don't hate me for leaving it at that. I'm addicted to your hits, unique visitors, and wish I had more time to "crunch numbers" a la Mudcrutch. Either way, Oilers fans are happy tonight, and can there be any better setup for Saturday's nation-wide Battle of Alberta? I hear both Sacamano and Matt at BoA will be wearing tuxedos for the occasion. (I also hear that Calgary sucks and can't score goals). See you Saturday.

MEGA BONUS: San Jose loses to Phoenix? A tip of the foam finger to the Great Gretz!


Garnet said...

This isn't the ideal moment or place to bring it up, Mike, but let me throw out an open question to your readers: if the Oil don't make the playoffs, should MacT be fired? I don't see many games, but this is a year where the team added Pronger and was essentially injury free the entire season. And they're STILL just fighting for eighth. This team is underachieving, and if they don't make it to the party I'd like to see someone with the club acknowledge that.

sacamano said...

Underachieving? Do we need to bring up the goaltending numbers again?

If anything, they overachieved given the albatross around their necks.

Seriously, punch the numbers with even average goaltending and the Oil are running away with the division.

mike w said...

I'm hesitant to fire a coach until it seems obvious that he's not effective anymore at getting his players to work hard. For the Oil, I can count on one hand the losses in which they truly stunk and didn't try, which is on par for most teams all season (also, most of these losses came early in October).

There's little things that bug me, like MacT's insistence on using Mike "Stone Cold Hands" Peca like its 1999, but he's got a defensive corps that's willing to drop face first to block shots, which can't be taken for granted. That and I like his poise: everyone on the team knew losing to Minnesota hurt their chances, so having an asshole coach call out the team would have killed morale. He holds back on an even keel, although he's also willing to bag skate a team if they suck.

Anyway, firing the guy for bad goaltending seems rash, although we'll probably have to let the HF Boarders and Oilfans guys eviserate something if we lose out. Um, Barry Stafford? Joey Moss?

PS: On the topic of coaches, what does Craig Simpson DO? I never see him doing anything.

PSS: Pat Quinn, now there's a coach that should go. A team that's mediocre can't ignore defence, and I'm not sure if he has any sort of system in the Leafs end. That or there isn't much you can do with Aki Berg.

bigleaguer said...

Garnet: If the Oilers don't make the playoffs, then both MacTeetime and Lowe Tide II should be both sent packing. Their second-rate decision-making, and not the team's mediocre goaltending, has held the Oilers back these past few seasons. And just imagine this nightmare scenario: the Oilers miss the playoffs, then win the NHL playoff lottery — handing the first pick overall to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Rolloverson. That trade would almost be as pathetic as Satan for Barrie Moore and Craig Miller during the flagging days of the Sather junta.

Colby Cosh said...

Boy, that's a good basis for decision-making--assuming that if the Oilers miss the playoffs, their number is going to come up first in the lottery. It's a 5-in-1,001 chance, though I will certainly be as choked as anybody if it comes about. (Although practically all the potential top draft picks are kind of lame this year anyway--the #1 pick in '06 isn't worth 30% of what it was in '05.)

How many years in a row are the Kings supposed to be allowed to use the injury excuse? This would be, what, the 3rd year running? Sorry, I don't see this team as a victim of fate. This year the Kings have gotten lucky with their weird goaltending situation, they've seen Joe Corvo turn his game around completely, they picked up Craig Conroy, and they've seen Visnovsky emerge as an outside Norris candidate (or at least get recognized as one). When that much breaks right and you still stink, someone's going to get fired. It probably shouldn't have been Murray but there you are.

Anonymous said...

On a normal team MacT would not be around next year. He DOES make bad decisions and is often out witted by other coaches r.e. line match ups. Please do not dispute this. He is also WAY too loyal to underachievers, see Tommy Salo.

In 5+ years as coach he has had some bad teams, I will not argue this. But the Oil constantly come out flat in big games, have laid down WAY too much to Calgary (see Sutter's attitude in this regard) and do not ever seem to display the killer instinct they need to get to the next level (see our record against -500 teams)

MacT is probably a good man and a good coach, I'd love to pick his brain over beers some time. But honstly does anyone, anyone, honestly see the Coil contesting for the Cup with MacT as coach? When you look around the NHL do you place him even in the top 10 of coaches?

The same reason that Bucky is a "coach" on this team is the same reason MacT will be back next year.


Colby Cosh said...

But honstly does anyone, anyone, honestly see the Coil contesting for the Cup with MacT as coach?

Did anybody see them contending for the Cup in 1990? Once they get in the door, all bets are off. The West is deeper in talent than the East, but do you see any superteams around you?

mike w said...

>But honstly does anyone, anyone, honestly see the Coil contesting for the Cup with MacT as coach?

Well, the short answer is no, only because we haven't seen a MacT Oiler team go to the finals. That said, not many predicted a Anaheim/Calgary Finals appearance but once it happened all of the players and coaches involved got instant credibility. (remember when Criag Conroy was a luaghing stock first centre?)

The reason Peca/Salo got played past their sell-date is simply because Lowe signed them to around $4 million each. Great coaching? Perhaps not, but any coach with self preservation in mind would be kind of dumb not to follow GM/Ownwerhsip's lead. As I say, his faults are out measured by his strengths. For the most part, Oilers play hard and often beyond their abilities (well, specifically the Rem Murray, Pisani types) and the bigger weaknesses rest with upper management (elite scoring and great goaltending are all but uncoachable).

IF the Oilers play relatively well over the next 9 gmaes but fail to make the playoffs, I'll simply say nice try and better luck next year in a competitive division of 15 teams.

mike w said...

Excuse the typos: it was Covered In Oil's Chris!'s birthday tonight. All I can say is that in Ontario there's no replacement for good ol' Grasshopper beer (Creeemore is okay, I guess).

bigleaguer said...

If the Oilers somehow fail to make the playoffs, MacTeetime will have to go. He will have an established history of not taking the team to the playoffs. The Oilers budget depends on making the playoffs. He'll have to go because the Oilers ownership can no longer afford him being behind the bench. They probably should say the same to Lowe Tide II because he also has a proven track record of mediocrity as a GM. Yes, they're only a couple wins behind Calgary, but if you don't make the NHL playoffs, you might as well be 100 wins behind. How close you get to the playoffs is irrelevant if you don't make them.
It's a matter of accountability. Compare the Oilers to the Eskimos. The Eskimos have a winning record virtually every year, but if they lose a couple in a row, it's not just the usual rabble-rousers on CHED who want the coach gassed. Almost everyone in town's handing out pink slips. They sacked Higgins the year after he won the Grey Cup and Ma-choke-a was a great final drive and OT performance by Ricky Ray to being the Renegades' waterboy. How come the same heat can't be put to MacTeetime? How many times must the Oilers fail to make the playoffs with him in charge before everyone's patience has run out?
It's a relatively even economic playing field in the NHL now, so that should mean no more excuses for mediocrity. They've added talent, changed the goalie and the results remain the same... what's the next logical step? Clean house.

mudcrutch79 said...

the Kings have gotten lucky with their weird goaltending situation

I beg to differ. Their goaltending moves made a lot of sense. I know it sucks blaming things on injuries but...really, injuries. Fire the trainers maybe. Fire Taylor for signing Demitra (although I wanted him too, so what can I say?). The Roenick move was stupid but other than that I have a hard time criticizing LA-I think that they know what they're doing.

It's a relatively even economic playing field in the NHL now, so that should mean no more excuses for mediocrity.

Cool. When the Oilers were blaming years of lousy performance on the economic system, as opposed to failing to draft anyone who could play for fifteen years, I said that there'd be a pendulum effect at some point. Glad to see that's right.

Of Lowe and MacT, Lowe's made the worse decisions this year-Peca has been an utter fiasco. I've got my issues about what MacT has done with Peca, but with the exception of that shift late against Minny and the PP time in January, it's been generally defensible.

I wouldn't fire anyone, myself. Of course, I still figure they make the playoffs, but still.

Colby Cosh said...

If it's purely a question of money, the Jarome Iginla contract looks worse right now than the Peca deal. At his current cost I bet Iggy could be waived through the league successfully like Manny Ramirez.

mudcrutch79 said...

I'd take that bet. Someone would snap him up.

Dennis said...

I agree with MC here. I think there's enough teams hanging around in the 20 mill bracket that wouldn't blink at taking on Iginla's contract.

What was Manny making, 18 mill?

mudcrutch79 said...

Something like that, plus he's got a shitload of deferred money.

Oh and Jarome doesn't do the hockey equivalent of missing pitches while taking a piss or eating a piece of fruit in the Green Monster.