October 05 2011 05:00PM
Kevin Lowe has been a major part of the Edmonton Oilers organization for most of the last 32 years. Since being drafted in 1979, Lowe has been player, coach, GM and currently president of Hockey Ops. Last night--via twitter--speculation about Lowe's future kicked into overdrive. It's been a major story in Edmonton sports today and from the sounds of things caused a ripple in the Oilers management team (based on reaction time).
The major parts of the story (as I understand it) are documented by Robin Brownlee here. The media person in question appears to have very good credentials and from what I can tell has not backed down from his story. From a distance, it looks like a case of "loose lips sink ships" and the denials from Oilers camp are the kinds of things one would expect from an organization trying to control a story.
SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON
If a curious person wanted to compile a list of people who may have let slip a juicy item at a cocktail party, one would start by checking out Greg Brady and the people he knows. Brady has no reason to make stuff up--while interesting it's a pretty quick way to ruin credibility--so a list of people he talks to regularly on his radio show would be a good place to start. If he has access to the local NHL team--and it appears he does--then you need to mutiply the possible leaks by a bunch. Brady's source could be media, but might also be an NHL executive or hanger on. The number of people who might have sensitive information could number in the hundreds--hockey guys aren't exactly good at keeping secrets.
One thing that hasn't happened today--no one is claiming their twitter account was hacked. Both sides appear to be locked and loaded with their version of the story.
WHY BOTHER GETTING WORKED UP?
Hell if I know. Either it's true or it isn't, and Mr. Brady's track record will record either a win or a loss down the line. I imagine that is his reason for tweeting it--improved credibility and more followers. The two things I find interesting are:
- The reaction to the item. Is this really a huge deal? Kevin Lowe is already part of the decision making process, that has never changed. Steve Tambellini is charged with pulling this team--poor defense and all--from the wreckage and should he fail there will be a change at that position. That changing of the guard would probably take place in the next year or so, when the arena is decided and the Oilers have an arena in Edmonton or somewhere else in the area. Brady's tweet--"Would I bet it happens, yes? Could it take upwards of 24 months? Oh yeah. Lowe's only 52. He'll be back" contains nothing we wouldn't mull over in this town any day of the week. It barely qualifies for one raised eyebrow.
- The surprise in Edmonton at the mere idea an organization might discuss replacing someone while that individual is their employ. We can all agree this is business, right? Mr. Katz can hire Walt Disney to run the team if he wishes (and can figure out a way to get him out of stasis), but he's a man with a track record of success in business. So, should he decide that someone in his organization is better suited to taking on the day to day management of the team (and that's what we're talking about) why in h-e-double-hockey-sticks should we be surprised at the idea? Allow the man to do his business, and if someone in Toronto gets a whiff well then that's life. The Detroit Red Wings--THE model organization in the NHL--have had their share of hiring snafu's (if you have the time google "Ilitch-Bryan Murray-Mike Keenan" and have a good laugh). This is a business, if Mr. Katz has figured out Steve Tambellini isn't his guy then he owes it to himself and the fans to make the move.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Greg Brady made it up. But if you're going to say he made it up, then you have to give him his due and research his career, find out if he has a history of such goings-on.
OR Daryl Katz is finding his way as an owner. He's figuring things out, and we predicted this would happen. Mr. Katz is mapping the future, doing his due diligence just as he's asked Stu MacGregor and Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini to do it. It doesn't mean he'll turf Tambellini, hell Ilitch employs a hundred GMs (well, not quite) for the Red Wings.
If Brady's history suggests a creative mind and a tendency to stretch the truth, then you have your anwer. If not, you need to allow for the possibility that this is a case of what your Dad told you about smoke.
Speaking of Smoke.....
This is an attempt to make up for the Kevin Bacon photos above. So sorry.