Somebody's Getting Moved: Oilers Have to Do the Dirty Stuff to Win.

The Oilers were terrible on Saturday. We posted in a recent article that Saturdays this season haven't been kind to Edmonton; but what was a brutal loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, was not only embarrassing and more than a streak of bad luck Saturday games, but the foreshadowing of something big coming.

You don't have to watch very closely to see that all evidence or body language seems to point to a team that has given up hope. Yes, I said it and only 20 plus games into the season. The fact that I feel I have to is sad.

On their way to shattering NHL records for man games missed in a single season, it's as if the Oilers have decided that no amount of hustle or hard unskilled work to make up for the losses of key working-man's type players will make a difference, so why try?

It's a common theme in the "City of Champions". "We need to wait until the team is healthy before we assess what we really have." or "This team is more capable than it's showing." The problem is, this team will never be fully healthy and they are not as good as many fans might like to think.

Take a look at players like Patrick O'Sullivan. On more than one instance, but one in particular that caught the ire of CBC analysts Kelly Hrudey and Mike Millbury, O'Sullivan completely bailed on plays that would have resulted in more than a little extra effort to turn the tide of a sequence.

Unwilling to take the hit or block the shot, O'Sullivan and others on the Oilers roster simply aren't putting forth the type of effort that will win them hockey games with a depleted lineup. Even with a healthy roster, it's the style of play they want, but just not bad enough.

This fact, is something the coaching staff has noticed.

A coach and personality known to speak his mind, Pat Quinn laid into the team in a post-game presser calling the effort unintelligent. The kind of thinking that makes a team play like lambs instead of lions. "We can go out on the street and get lambs", Quinn added.

One has to wonder, if the same voices (Quinn and Renney) that press on players like Ales Hemsky and Mike Comrie, for their skilled but idiotic plays in important game situations and practices, let their opinions be known to the folks that can make decisions within the Oilers organization -- namely Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe, if something will get done.

Tamebellini has a great amount of respect for what Pat Quinn brings in terms of hockey smarts. So much so, that if a choice has to be made between the players or the coach, Tambellini may side with the coach. Something rare in todays game of superstars and egos.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the Oilers don't really have any superstars, so anyone is fair game.

Sure, fans will be quick to suggest that an article like this is just evidence of a "sky is falling" mentality after a bad loss, but look closely into the comments Quinn made before season began and the team he chose to ice when the season started.

Would you have expected JF Jacques and Ryan Stone to be in the starting lineup playing significant minutes? Nope. No one did, except Pat Quinn who seemed to know his team wasn't nearly gritty enough.

Perhaps the sheer amount of losses that are piling up along side a team that has abandoned the style of play that got them their terrific start is enough to suggest that Tambellini needs to start shipping players down, up, or out.

The fast and skilled approach of the Oilers past isn't enough. Especially in a league where injuries and concussions seem to be more relevant. Perhaps the players feel it too and O'Sullivan's reaction is not something we're going to see for the last time.


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