Well, I’m officially an old man. Dan Barnes has all sorts of quotes from the future of this team as to how much better things are going to be now:
With how young we are as a group, everyone needs to feel comfortable for us to be successful. There can’t be a case where a guy feels like he’s over-stepping his boundary because guys will think it’s the wrong thing to do. He needs to be able to have his voice heard and feel comfortable in the room, to play the way he wants to play and say what he wants to say.
We just found last year, with the amount of older guys and guys who have been here for a long time, it was tough for guys like me, even though three years is quite a bit of time, to step up and say something and have a guy who has been here for 10 years to really listen…
It feels like there is an even playing field. There aren’t guys that you maybe want to be quiet around or you’re shy or not comfortable around because they’re older or you just have nothing in common with them.
I will agree with anyone that Ethan Moreau has a blind spot that’s exactly his size when it comes to breaking down hockey games. With that said, he was right about a lot of stuff. I listened to him after an Oilers-Sens game that I went to talk about how they needed to stop shooting from the corners, something I’d spent the whole game going on about (so obviously he’s right). I don’t know that the Oilers necessarily want Gagner and Cogliano comfortable to play the way that they want to play – Cogliano seems to want to lose faceoffs and puck battles along the boards, for example.
For what it’s worth, this is an email I got from someone in March of 2009 who had spoken with Moreau:
Moreau’s quite fed up actually and has been for most of the year. Says the locker room is full of players that are extremely difficult to motivate and that basically just don’t give a shit. It’s not MacTavish as much as it is a group of them that just don’t give a shit about winning or the much ballyhooed Oiler tradition.
I didn’t ask for specific names but if I had to assign some I’d have Penner, Gilbert, Nilsson, and probably Gagner, Cogliano, blah blah in the hat. Hell it could be Hemsky. I’d have a tough time believing the likes of Staios (his best buddy), Pisani, Horcoff, Strudwick, etc would be guilty. The vets usually get it.
Moreau would have had no problem with a trade either. Says he’s sick and tired of trying to get this bunch going. I think you and I can agree that despite the guys foibles and propensity for inopportune penalties, he is a good leader type and a blood and guts sort that every team would love to have one of.
He likes Edmonton enough. Enjoys having Staios and family close, but you really get the idea that he’d like to choke a few of the younger guys. I guess long and short he’s trying to lead but his audience isn’t tuned in. Take it for what it’s worth.
My email correspondent likes Moreau, I think it’s safe to say but it’s probably worth pointing out that Moreau didn’t think MacT was the problem, a conclusion that I think is now shared by all. Say what you will about Moreau, and I’ve probably said most of it, but the Oilers didn’t suck last year because of him. He’s over the hill, costs too much and seems to have a lousy attitude but nobody thought he was going to score twenty goals. He was a convenient whipping boy, both for his taste for stupid penalties and his habit of saying asinine things to the media.
He’s gone though now. It’ll be awfully interesting to see how Gagner and Cogliano do now that they aren’t in perpetual fear of having their feelings hurt if they open their mouths in the room.