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10-30-2013, 07:13 PM
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Well the immediate issue for them being as bad as they have been come down to two things:

1) goaltending
2) injuries

If they have average goaltending and don't lose gagner and hall, this is at least a .500 team.

They still have other issues that they would have to fix before they'd be a playoff team, but people wouldn't be panicking about the state of the team and making hilarious posts about how it's all KLowe's fault.

Other issues that stop this from being a playoff team unless they are fixed:
1) learning a new system - we definitely lost a few games because of breakdowns in the early season, but other than a few people (read: yakupov, who gives up a goal a game at least with brainfarts) they seem to be getting it now so I don't see it as a problem long terms. Eakins system seems to be working better than Krueger's when they actually run it properly.

2) too many players who thrive in the same role, and not enough who thrive in other needed roles. We were kinda thrown into it by the BPA in our drafts, but it also doesn't help having players like hemsky still around. I've always hoped that the young guns can balance out their game and become more hard on the puck, and I still think they will - but probably not in time. I think it'll be once they are in their mid twenties before that happens. None of them can go to the net effectively. We get lots of chances but a lot are foiled by our players not being strong enough to get at rebounds, and no one (except perron and for a few games joenseuu) is driving the net and distracting the defensemen so that the little quick guys can jump on pucks and score - instead every chance is a battle for them and they aren't winning. Just watch, every game we get a ton of chances in the crease but just can't get a way a good shot in time.

3) Special teams. Lots of fans seem to be blaming this on Eakins, but I think that is sorely misguided. I think it goes back to #2 again when it comes to the PK - not enough good penalty killers. Gordon is literally the only one the Oilers have had this year. Acton could be, but he's a rookie, and has moments where he has struggled. Hall and Hemsky were disasterous, but I don't blame Eakins for trying: who else did he have? RNH/Eberle/Perron are all okay and getting better, but are average at best at it at this point. People blame Eakins, but the entire personnel on the PK has been different. No horcoff, no petrell, no belanger, no gagner (the one kid who is actually pretty good at it). Those were the top PK'ers last year, and other than Boyd, they are better than anyone on this years team.

The PP hasn't been scoring at the rate you'd like, but I don't see any issues with their 'system'. I see a few games where they were brain dead and couldn't make it into the zone (no coaches system would ever look like that). I see games missing 3 top line PP players in RNH/Gagner/Hall). I see Yak whiffing on every single one timer he's been set up for, or best case scenario shooting it right into the crest. I see a reluctance so far to go to the front of the net, and shoot.

4) not enough players that do the little things right. People point to Pittsburgh and Chicago's rebuilds, but they didn't have anywhere near this many young players in key positions. They had a couple stars, and the rest were good veterans. Too many young kids playing means too many mistakes and not enough little things being done. Only way to get through that is to trade some of them for veterans, or wait it out for however long it takes for them to figure it out. And for some kids, it takes awhile.

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