THE ARCHITECTS: LOWE AND TAMBELLINI

Robin Brownlee
March 06 2013 09:44PM

While it's up to debate exactly how long the Edmonton Oilers have been in a full-on rebuild and it makes for interesting speculation what the 2012-13 edition of the Oilers might become, there's no question the team fans see here and now has been built by Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini.

For the last 12 NHL seasons (counting 2012-13), including the previous six in which the Oilers failed to qualify the playoffs, Lowe and Tambellini have been at the helm as GM – Tambellini is entering his fifth season in the big chair after taking over for the 2008-09 season from Lowe, who was GM from 2000-01 to 2007-08.

Simply put, for better or worse, the team Edmonton fans see today is the team Lowe and Tambellini have assembled. Every player on the roster now, save for Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff, who were drafted by Glen Sather in 1994 and 1998, respectively, has been drafted or otherwise acquired (via trade or free agency) by Lowe and Tambellini. This is their team.

With Horcoff and Smyth the only remnants from the Sather era, an ownership change from the EIG to Rexall billionaire Daryl Katz and Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and, now, Ralph Krueger having served as head coaches since 2000-01, what you see now and what this team becomes in the next three or four years has Lowe's and Tambellini's fingerprints all over it.

So, here we are.

BY THE NUMBERS

Lowe's seven-year tenure as GM produced a thrill ride to Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup final and playoff appearances in 2001 and 2003 (both first-round exits). Lowe's teams made the playoffs three times. In a span of 574 regular season games, the Oilers recorded 263 wins. Here's a look at the numbers season by season:

SEASON RECORD PTS OVERALL

2000-01: 39-28-12-3 93 12th

2001-02: 38-28-12-4 92 15th

2002-03: 36-26-11-9 92 14th

2003-04: 36-29-12-5 89 17th

2005-06: 41-28-13 95   14th

2006-07: 32-43-7 71      25th

2007-08: 41-35-6 88     19th

TAMBELLINI'S TENURE

With Lowe promoted to president of hockey operations, Tambellini was named GM of the Oilers July 31, 2008. In four full seasons since then, a span of 350 regular season games, the Oilers have won 130 of those games, missing the playoffs for four straight years. The Oilers are 8-9-5 through 22 games so far this season. By the numbers:

SEASON  RECORD  PTS  OVERALL

2008-09  38-35-9    85     21st

2009-10  27-47-8    62    30th

2010-11  25-45-12   62    30th

2011-12  32-40-10   74    29th

2012-13  8-9-5          21    23rd

NEXT ACT?

So, after six straight years out of the post-season, what constitutes adequate progress in the rebuild? Do the Oilers need to make the playoffs? That's a feat many prognosticators thought possible. Just as many pundits expected the Oilers to be in contention for a post-season berth this year with an abbreviated 48-game schedule, but to come up short.

How close is close enough? What if the Oilers are out of the post-season running for all intents and purposes by the end of this nine-game road trip? What if they finish in the bottom five yet again? Should Lowe lose his job? Does Tambellini have to go? I'm guessing there is, and will continue to be, plenty of debate on both fronts.

Given the record over the previous 11 seasons and what I'm seeing play out so far this season, I know what I'd do if I was signing the cheques in Edmonton and I didn't have a playoff race on my hands right down to the wire – Lowe and Tambellini would be relieved of their duties.

That call, of course, belongs to Katz, and, given his relationship with Lowe, I don't see that happening. Tambellini, coming off an underwhelming two-year extension as a mandate, will be the fall guy if there is one. That could open the door for MacTavish, now the senior vice-president of hockey operations, but that's an item for another day.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Hemipower
March 07 2013, 08:11AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

It's not a matter of blockbuster moves. It's a matter of addressing needs, which time and time again Tambellini has proven he isn't capable of.

I agree on the blockbuster part. But what move should Tambo be doing? What trade in the last two years did he "miss" on. And how does anyone know he didn't try to make a trade and other teams didn't simply say " No thanks - we don't want what you are offering"

The oilers are dealing from a point of weakness right now. The vultures are circling right now and no one is going to trade our garbage for a shotgun to fix the problem.. This is still a work in progress and no one could do a bang up job with what we have at this point.( unless you trade our young guys' - which I am not willing to do yet )

The problem seem's alot of people ( not everyone ) have passed judgement on Tambo and Lowe and just spew out insult's and negativity and have completely lost touch with reality. It is getting old for some of us.

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#53 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 08:48AM
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jay wong wrote:

Reading all of your comments here, really? Stop blaming managements, it's the players have to play hard as a group and win games. Oilers need a good coach to get the players play hard as a team. Look at the Habs, they are leading the East with no big stars on the team. Look at the stats, only 3 players with -1, everyone else are +. They play hard all 4 lines, scoring at even strength. Forget about power plays and penalty kills, if the team cannot score even strength they are not going to win games. The team is small, they need to drive to the net, shoot the pucks and go for rebounds. Dump the puck in and chase after it, pass it in front and somebody there shoot it on net. Why are they so afraid to shoot the puck? Team defense reduce the shot against on net, no goalie in the world can stop 30-50 shots a game. Bottom line it's the players who are accountable to win games.

Actually we can blame management. Why? Because they are the ones that slapped together this team of underachievers. We've gone through 4 coaches through the entirety of Tambellini's tenure. There comes a point where you stop firing the coach.

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#54 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 08:55AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not so sure people questioning the ability of Lowe and Tambellini to take this franchise forward have lost touch with reality.

The record over the previous 11 years is there for all to see in black and white. That's pretty real, no?

As you point out, it's foolish to think (or to want) Tambellini to try to make sweeping changes in the span of a few weeks or months because the team is struggling -- that truly is a position of weakness.

But why is the team in that position? And who has built the team that's in this position over the past 11 seasons? Lowe and Tambellini. This is their baby from top to bottom. Period.

Robin, I am so glad that you have come forward to say something about this. It takes takes the stones that some within the Edmonton sports media don't have in order to call out this management team. From the bottom of the heart of an absolutely frustrated Oilers fan, THANK YOU.

As for the comment about people questioning Tambi/KLowe's ability to take this team forward having lost touch with reality, I would argue that it seems in many cases management has been the one who has lost touch with it.

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#55 vetinari
March 07 2013, 08:56AM
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In business and the law, you look at evidence. The evidence, in this case, is Lowe and Tambellini's records expressed in the form of wins, losses, points and standings since 2000. This is a reflection of team composition including ownership structure; competitveness relative to other teams in the league; and, the economic structure of the league.

Under a different economic regime and ownership structure, Lowe kept the boat afloat but it took on some water from time to time. We could field a competitve team but not a dominant one, and save for one cup run (which, could be a statistical anomaly), we didn't have a lot of successes even when we made the post-season.

Tambellini came in under a different ownership regime and benefitted from the salary cap system which was suppose to even the playing field for all 30 of the NHL's teams (at least from a spending standpoint). Under his guidance and stewardship, we plummeted even further down the standings until we hit rock bottom-- for three solid years in a row-- a rare feat given that there are 30 teams in the league, and we could only surpass Columbus in points, once, in three years. This is little comfort when they actually averaged better than us in the standings, points and wins over that period.

The evidence speaks for itself and no one can spin the conclusion other than what it is: Tambellini is the worst General Manager in the league and proudly owns the title. How much longer does Katz want to give "The Worst GM in the NHL" time to run his team?

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#56 Phixieus666
March 07 2013, 09:03AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not so sure people questioning the ability of Lowe and Tambellini to take this franchise forward have lost touch with reality.

The record over the previous 11 years is there for all to see in black and white. That's pretty real, no?

As you point out, it's foolish to think (or to want) Tambellini to try to make sweeping changes in the span of a few weeks or months because the team is struggling -- that truly is a position of weakness.

But why is the team in that position? And who has built the team that's in this position over the past 11 seasons? Lowe and Tambellini. This is their baby from top to bottom. Period.

Regardless of their records as GMs, which is aweful, the fact remains that they even did the rebuild wrong. I would have to put a little more blame on Lowe than Tambo because Tambo was told to tear it down and build it slow. So his wins-losses really don't matter too much up until now.

The Fact is if they were doing a full scale rebuild. All the Vets should have been removed from the equation right off the bat. Then you bring the young guys in to take over the team. Then you find the appropriate Vets to create a supporting cast. Stauffer has touched on it a number of times and I fully agree with him. The only person that seems to do things right is Stu but at the same time, is it really that hard to pick the first overall in the draft.

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#57 Woogie
March 07 2013, 09:08AM
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One thing everyone is forgetting. The last 3 years we are losing hockey games on purpose. We are rebuilding through the draft. This year is the first year were management said they need to compete for the playoffs.

Personally, I say we judge management with the moves they have made from the start of last off season.

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#58 Ducey
March 07 2013, 09:09AM
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Wow. Talk about some weak journalism: the Oilers have sucked so their managers should be fired. You stay up all night to dream that up?

How about some actual thought or nuance Robin?

Here I'll provide some for ya:

1. They were trying to tank for at least three of those years 2. This would not even be a discussion if the team was in the playoffs this year 3. It may or may not be realistic for a team to go from three years of last place to 16th in one year 4. The media's expectations of playoffs may have been off (or not) 5. Tambo/ Lowe have succeeded in building a good farm system (or not) 6. Tambo/Lowe have shown the ability to build a team including showing patience and making shrewd moves to obtain secondary players (or not)

7. Based on the above Tambo/ Lowe should (or should not) be fired.

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#59 GVBlackhawk
March 07 2013, 09:10AM
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Hemipower wrote:

This management team keeps missing the boat. We should've traded some young guys for Shea Weber - then we would be way up in the standings like Nashville. I mean they are a full 2 points ahead of us ~

Missing out on Parise and Suter was a bonehead move too. What a difference 14 mil a year is making for them. They are way up in the standings compared to us ~

What moves is everyone so upset that Tambo hasn't done? I mean, can we please move on from Khabby and Horcoff? ( neither are in the lineup )

Overpaid Khabby in dollars and term.

Overpaid Dubnyk in dollars.

Signed Cam Barker.

Overpaid Sutton in dollars.

Overpaid Potter in term.

Overpaid Ben Eager in term.

Overpaid Gilbert Brule in dollars and term.

Prematurely rushed prospects like Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, Paajarvi, etc.

Did not recognize Whitney's inability to skate and kept him on the roster.

Traded N.Schultz for Gilbert even up, when it is obvious that puck moving Dmen are worth more.

Traded Eric Cole for Patrick O'Sullivan.

The Sheldon Souray debacle.

That's just off the top of my head. If I took 10 minutes, I could create a more comprehensive list of the bungling that has occurred.

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#60 Hemipower
March 07 2013, 09:12AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I'm not so sure people questioning the ability of Lowe and Tambellini to take this franchise forward have lost touch with reality.

The record over the previous 11 years is there for all to see in black and white. That's pretty real, no?

As you point out, it's foolish to think (or to want) Tambellini to try to make sweeping changes in the span of a few weeks or months because the team is struggling -- that truly is a position of weakness.

But why is the team in that position? And who has built the team that's in this position over the past 11 seasons? Lowe and Tambellini. This is their baby from top to bottom. Period.

I am not saying everything smells like peach's and rose's so I understand the frustation.

But what Lowe and Tambo did in the past isn't really the problem now. we can debate until the cows come home - what if " we traded for Perry or drafted Doan " . We don't own the oilers so if Katz doesn't want to hold Lowe responsible for the past, there is nothing we can do. I am more worried about " what have you done for me lately ? "

Right now my main concern is the lack of heart and drive among our player's, not what kind of name I can call Tambellini.

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#61 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 09:14AM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Overpaid Khabby in dollars and term.

Overpaid Dubnyk in dollars.

Signed Cam Barker.

Overpaid Sutton in dollars.

Overpaid Potter in term.

Overpaid Ben Eager in term.

Overpaid Gilbert Brule in dollars and term.

Prematurely rushed prospects like Gagner, Nilsson, Cogliano, Paajarvi, etc.

Did not recognize Whitney's inability to skate and kept him on the roster.

Traded N.Schultz for Gilbert even up, when it is obvious that puck moving Dmen are worth more.

Traded Eric Cole for Patrick O'Sullivan.

The Sheldon Souray debacle.

That's just off the top of my head. If I took 10 minutes, I could create a more comprehensive list of the bungling that has occurred.

Some of those are Lowe decisions ie) Gagner, Nilsson, and Cogliano. But your point still stands.

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#62 Wendy01
March 07 2013, 09:15AM
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Well written as usual Robin. The evidence has been laid out for all to see. I wonder that Mr. Katz was able to build a multi-billion dollar enterprise given his lack of interest in his failing hockey franchise. Make no mistake, Edmonton Oiler hockey fans are loyal to a fault but if you kick a dog enough times, it will eventually bite you! The bite is coming Katz. Your fan base has had enough from this bumbling duo. Time to do something to show the home town crowd that you actually do have a plan because what is happening now is akin to paddling on one side of the boat..... oh wait, I think we've been here before!

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#63 VK63
March 07 2013, 09:15AM
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Oh hey! The inbox finds the Oilers Season Seat Holder survey.

How positively ironic.

AND!!!

In there... "what would be an acceptable increase on your season seat prices".

bwahahahahahaha! FML.

What a gig!. Katz slams 16 million into the coffers last year. Must be going for 20 plus next year. Then again....... top quality minions like Tencer must cost veritable fortunes to retain.

*wow*

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#64 geoilersgist
March 07 2013, 09:23AM
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@Woogie

I mostly agree with you except I am pretty sure thats what they said at the start of last year as well and we all know how that turned out.

This season has pretty well turned me away from watching any games. Its too bad the lockout ended.

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#65 The Beaker
March 07 2013, 09:32AM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

Regardless of their records as GMs, which is aweful, the fact remains that they even did the rebuild wrong. I would have to put a little more blame on Lowe than Tambo because Tambo was told to tear it down and build it slow. So his wins-losses really don't matter too much up until now.

The Fact is if they were doing a full scale rebuild. All the Vets should have been removed from the equation right off the bat. Then you bring the young guys in to take over the team. Then you find the appropriate Vets to create a supporting cast. Stauffer has touched on it a number of times and I fully agree with him. The only person that seems to do things right is Stu but at the same time, is it really that hard to pick the first overall in the draft.

If i remember correctly Tambellini wasnt "told to tear it down" it was him who suggested it.

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#66 Woodguy
March 07 2013, 09:37AM
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Given the record over the previous 11 seasons and what I'm seeing play out so far this season, I know what I'd do if I was signing the cheques in Edmonton and I didn't have a playoff race on my hands right down to the wire – Lowe and Tambellini would be relieved of their duties.

*slow clap*

*standing ovation*

Thank you for putting that out there.

Hopefully others in the MSM will start asking why progress isn't happening as well and who is responsible.

Stauffer said on his show the other day that Horcoff (didn't name him, but it was clear) is holding the kids back and contributing to a culture of losing.

I think that's total horsesh*t.

The culture of losing (if there is one) starts at the top.

They rifle through players and coaches, but the name at the top, and their results, haven't changed.

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#67 nunyour
March 07 2013, 09:43AM
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Lowe's record speaks for it's self doesn't it? Time to go Lowe.

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#68 Walter Sobchak
March 07 2013, 09:45AM
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Hemipower wrote:

I agree on the blockbuster part. But what move should Tambo be doing? What trade in the last two years did he "miss" on. And how does anyone know he didn't try to make a trade and other teams didn't simply say " No thanks - we don't want what you are offering"

The oilers are dealing from a point of weakness right now. The vultures are circling right now and no one is going to trade our garbage for a shotgun to fix the problem.. This is still a work in progress and no one could do a bang up job with what we have at this point.( unless you trade our young guys' - which I am not willing to do yet )

The problem seem's alot of people ( not everyone ) have passed judgement on Tambo and Lowe and just spew out insult's and negativity and have completely lost touch with reality. It is getting old for some of us.

He missed out on Jordan Tootoo, why Tootoo? If you look at Tootoo's numbers they are almost a mirror image of Ryan Jones.

He hits more, fights more, is a huge pest, will make less then what Jones will ask for, and players know when he's on the ice, will play on the forth line.

Ryan Jones plays on our second line and gets significantly more ice time......Nuff said there.

Steve Ott, could have had him as well, need these type of players badly.

Picking up Brown for a draft pick when other players were available for free.

This is not the first instance of this, there was Barker and Sutton both of whom were given inflated deals.

This is called orginizational incompetence, for instance it would be ok if things happen once, but this is a repeated offense ether the GM isn't listening to his scouting staff, or the scouting staff isn't giving the right information.

Passing on a R handed defensmen when your carrying Potter, Whitney, Peckham, screams tanking! Hamrlik is a clear upgrade, so when the Oilers talk bout pushing for a playoff spot you have to think its lip service or they really have zero idea.

I choose the later.

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#69 Fred
March 07 2013, 09:49AM
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Good piece Robin. My concern is Tambo. He spent 14 years in the front office with the Canucks. Starting as a gopher and ending up as a GM. In those 14 years we all know the staggering number of Stanley's the Canucks won. This Oiler team has Tambo's mark all over it. Also.... People will say that Lowe is the problem That the Oilers cater to the "old boys club." The "old boys club" model looks pretty darn good in Montreal. They honour their retired players with jobs within their organization. The Oilers need to continue to do the same.

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#70 Flynn
March 07 2013, 09:54AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

Ah a rant about management, my time to shine!

Now, can I just say, you really get the sense that management has this "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours" mentality. Nobody will get fired because collectively they protect each other's job security.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this is not the year to make the big trade. A 48 game season is a throwaway (in management's mind) in order to draft well in what looks to be a 2003/2008 style draft class. That being said, somebody has to go. Tambellini has looked at our roster, told the fans what we want to hear, and sits on the roster, hoping somebody will emerge into our savior. The fact is, our roster is incompetent. Our veterans underachieve every year, and our defense simply lacks the skill to be formidable. 5 and 2 should not be a top pairing and we all know it. 19 seems to be our blue chip, future top 2 defenseman, and unfortunately is the reason we haven't acquired a big time d man yet. Personally, trading Hemsky in a package for a stud will do wonders for this team. Yet Tambellini lacks the confidence to do so. Instead he keeps our poster boys from 2006. He couldn't be more indecisive as a GM. Do we need another year? Is this the year we make the playoffs? We never know because of his questionable moves. The only way our team moves forward is if we have a team that actually has interest in us winning.

couldn't have said it better myself

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#71 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 09:57AM
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He's a little fact about the pro-scouting staff: they've been in place since 2001.

Let that sink in...

How many trades and signings have the Oilers made over the last 11-12 years, especially the last 4 years, where they've come out on the losing end? I would argue that there should be some organizational house cleaning there as well.

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#72 Will
March 07 2013, 09:59AM
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Ah yes, it's true this management squad can not compare to the might Glen Sather, who this year has built an impenetrable juggernaught of a team who is currently demolishing all who stand in their way.

Crucial and insightful moves such as hiring Ray Emery, drafting Toews and Kane, and what's that? Oh Glen Sather isn't the GM of the Chicago Black Hawks? Well surely the team he has built this year must be some kind of standings leading powerhouse? They are barely in 8th place? And the have Rick Nash, a Vezna goalie, Brad Richards, and a host of other super stars all through their line up. Basically the team everyone is saying the Oilers should be.

Huh?

No excuses as the Oilers are playing like crap over the last few, but come one. I think anyone would say this is not the season to judge how the team was built.

I know this article looks at the past decade, but it's also reactionary based on where the team is sitting in the standings right now, 3 points out of a play off spot. Can someone please tell me why sitting 3 points out of a play off spot means we are on the verge of finishing in last place?

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#73 Neil
March 07 2013, 10:02AM
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Lowe and Tambo are suppose to be professionals at their respective jobs, and should be held to a higher level. they certainly get paid for it.

Given their record these "professionals" should be fired.

Something is not working, this isn't their first year at it.

What they have accomplished so far, I'm sure over 50% of the posters here could have done just as bad of a job.

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#74 geoilersgist
March 07 2013, 10:02AM
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Will wrote:

Ah yes, it's true this management squad can not compare to the might Glen Sather, who this year has built an impenetrable juggernaught of a team who is currently demolishing all who stand in their way.

Crucial and insightful moves such as hiring Ray Emery, drafting Toews and Kane, and what's that? Oh Glen Sather isn't the GM of the Chicago Black Hawks? Well surely the team he has built this year must be some kind of standings leading powerhouse? They are barely in 8th place? And the have Rick Nash, a Vezna goalie, Brad Richards, and a host of other super stars all through their line up. Basically the team everyone is saying the Oilers should be.

Huh?

No excuses as the Oilers are playing like crap over the last few, but come one. I think anyone would say this is not the season to judge how the team was built.

I know this article looks at the past decade, but it's also reactionary based on where the team is sitting in the standings right now, 3 points out of a play off spot. Can someone please tell me why sitting 3 points out of a play off spot means we are on the verge of finishing in last place?

Because we are also 3 points out of last.

As a side note, people always say you can't expect to jump in the standings from last into the playoffs. What about Montreal this year? Tampa Bay a few years ago? Why are we so complacent with "losing this year is ok" or "if we get 10 more points than last year". It is complete BS the losing is too acceptable and someone needs to pay for it. Without some changes at the top this culture isn't going to change. The more time passes by the more I think maybe The Big Sexy wasn't so wrong after all. Perhaps Tambellini is at fault.

/Rant

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#75 bleedingoil
March 07 2013, 10:07AM
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simple. they need to go. 3#1 picks all playing their first year when none of them....NONE were clear cut #1 overall picks. Look at Huberdeau and Seguin....they were not rushed into top 6 minutes and are performing above where we are today. Injuries....too many to count, especially for the new kids. You cant rush an 18/19year old body into grueling physical play like this right away. Whitney, injured and playing. Souray, Injured and playing. Smyth was never supposed to come back as a player and I assume he is too old/injured right now. Paajarvi should be getting more minutes but they insist on over developing him. Scouting is terrible. You cannot claim you are doing a good job when you draft 1st overall 3 years in a row. Any monkey can do that. Who do we pick AFTER our first pick? 2007 - Plante, Nash and Gistedt. 2008 - never even had a 2nd or 3rd round because of the Penner debaucle and he isnt even here now...Who did we get for him? Oh, Never mind. 2009 - Lander, Hesketh and Abney. 2010 - Pitlick, Marincin and Hamilton. 2011 - Klefbom and Musil. Lets hope Lander and Klefbom are not perpetually injured. You may see one or two players here have a career. If you cant draft, trade the picks. Next....Coaching. If you cant put the puck in the net, then change it up. Give Yak top line minutes to see what he can do. He is already up here and fast tracked so put him in the game. We need to hit more and crash the net. Until Lowe, Tambo and Kreuger change, we are in for the same lazy losing hockey.

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#76 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 10:08AM
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Will wrote:

Ah yes, it's true this management squad can not compare to the might Glen Sather, who this year has built an impenetrable juggernaught of a team who is currently demolishing all who stand in their way.

Crucial and insightful moves such as hiring Ray Emery, drafting Toews and Kane, and what's that? Oh Glen Sather isn't the GM of the Chicago Black Hawks? Well surely the team he has built this year must be some kind of standings leading powerhouse? They are barely in 8th place? And the have Rick Nash, a Vezna goalie, Brad Richards, and a host of other super stars all through their line up. Basically the team everyone is saying the Oilers should be.

Huh?

No excuses as the Oilers are playing like crap over the last few, but come one. I think anyone would say this is not the season to judge how the team was built.

I know this article looks at the past decade, but it's also reactionary based on where the team is sitting in the standings right now, 3 points out of a play off spot. Can someone please tell me why sitting 3 points out of a play off spot means we are on the verge of finishing in last place?

They are three points out of last place as well, and it is easier to fall in the standings than it is to move up. They basically have to run the table in order to make the playoffs, and considering how they've been playing that isn't going to happen.

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#77 Will
March 07 2013, 10:08AM
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Also, I'm not sure if Tambillini went the rebuild through necessity (what pieces did he really have to trade especially given no big name free agent wold come here?) or if he has stuck to his guns through mounting fan and media pressure. I still think a successful rebuild takes five years, and this would be year three by my count.

If by next year a team that competes for a playoff spot is not in place, and the year after a team that makes at least a significant run in the playoffs has not been achieved, then our rebuild has gone the way of the Islanders.

On another note, I bet the Burke haters out there aren't so haty this year.

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#78 Hemipower
March 07 2013, 10:09AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

He missed out on Jordan Tootoo, why Tootoo? If you look at Tootoo's numbers they are almost a mirror image of Ryan Jones.

He hits more, fights more, is a huge pest, will make less then what Jones will ask for, and players know when he's on the ice, will play on the forth line.

Ryan Jones plays on our second line and gets significantly more ice time......Nuff said there.

Steve Ott, could have had him as well, need these type of players badly.

Picking up Brown for a draft pick when other players were available for free.

This is not the first instance of this, there was Barker and Sutton both of whom were given inflated deals.

This is called orginizational incompetence, for instance it would be ok if things happen once, but this is a repeated offense ether the GM isn't listening to his scouting staff, or the scouting staff isn't giving the right information.

Passing on a R handed defensmen when your carrying Potter, Whitney, Peckham, screams tanking! Hamrlik is a clear upgrade, so when the Oilers talk bout pushing for a playoff spot you have to think its lip service or they really have zero idea.

I choose the later.

steve Ott is one of my favourite players and would love him on the oilers. What do you mean by "he could have been had "? You know that Tambo didn't try to get him, or do you mean he didn't offer them enough? Or in your frustration you are just assuming he didn't try?

You should get your own radio show as you seemed very connected to what happens in the Oilers head office. You could knock Stauffer out of his job.

by the way - Cole was a COMPLETE bust and I was glad to see him go.

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#79 vetinari
March 07 2013, 10:10AM
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Because we are also 3 points out of last.

As a side note, people always say you can't expect to jump in the standings from last into the playoffs. What about Montreal this year? Tampa Bay a few years ago? Why are we so complacent with "losing this year is ok" or "if we get 10 more points than last year". It is complete BS the losing is too acceptable and someone needs to pay for it. Without some changes at the top this culture isn't going to change. The more time passes by the more I think maybe The Big Sexy wasn't so wrong after all. Perhaps Tambellini is at fault.

/Rant

To add to your point, and because all arrows in the team's performance have been pointing down the last few weeks and when management finally makes a move, they fail to address the team's real needs and add a fourth line plug like Mike Brown into the mix. Textbook management... if you are playing NHL97 on Playstation.

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#80 Mark
March 07 2013, 10:12AM
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At his point there is not much point in talking about what signings they have made, contracts they have given or the obvious first overall picks that anyone who knows anything about hockey could have made. Lets look at the positives. 1) the medical staff seem to be better than before as players are not out for as long this season. 2) Our scouting staff seems to be doing a great job. The coaching staff has not had enough time to say if they are doing a good job or not. 3) Our player development is doing a pretty good job as well. It seems that the only question is about the people driving the boat. They have made attempts to improve the leadership and toughness of this team but in my opinion have been inactive way too much. This business is all about continually improving and continuous evaluation. Unfortunately it seems that we do 90% of our evaluation in the off season. It is time to bring someone in that sees the obvious holes that this team has and fills them. I know that is easier said than done but let’s just use one player as an example. Ben Eager, I love this guy but he was bought in to play physical and keep the other teams players in check. There has been way too many nights that he turns away from hits or does not respond to the other team’s guys running around hitting our stars (see Carcillo in the first game of this road trip). As a closing thought it usually takes 2 GM's to put together a Stanley cup team in a rebuild, one that understands that you have to suck to get the good players and then a second one that understands that you have to give some future ( prospects and picks) to get the role players that are key to a Stanley cup championship. It is time for the next guy to take us back to that special place that we visited so much in the 80's.

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#81 Will
March 07 2013, 10:13AM
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@ScottieA

That is not true, they do not have to "run the table", just like LA making the playoffs last year, the last few spots depend just as much on other teams losing as it does one team winning.

Yes we have to win some games, but if the top five teams start taking it out of some other teams ahead of us, and they begin o fall, then the picture is a lot different. With the Bettman point, 12 teams in the west are over .500. Considering there's no Eastern conference match ups, that means there has been a lot of teams heading to overtime. If the stronger teams start closing out the weaker teams in regulation, and the Oilers also start closing teams out in regulation, that will affect things in a big way.

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#82 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 10:15AM
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vetinari wrote:

To add to your point, and because all arrows in the team's performance have been pointing down the last few weeks and when management finally makes a move, they fail to address the team's real needs and add a fourth line plug like Mike Brown into the mix. Textbook management... if you are playing NHL97 on Playstation.

NHL95 on Genesis.

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#83 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 10:22AM
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Will wrote:

That is not true, they do not have to "run the table", just like LA making the playoffs last year, the last few spots depend just as much on other teams losing as it does one team winning.

Yes we have to win some games, but if the top five teams start taking it out of some other teams ahead of us, and they begin o fall, then the picture is a lot different. With the Bettman point, 12 teams in the west are over .500. Considering there's no Eastern conference match ups, that means there has been a lot of teams heading to overtime. If the stronger teams start closing out the weaker teams in regulation, and the Oilers also start closing teams out in regulation, that will affect things in a big way.

That's IF they start tanking. You expect me to believe that 5 teams above us are all of a sudden all going to start playing poorly? Not going to happen.

The Oilers basically have to go 4-0 to obtain a playoff spot in the next 4 games. 3-1 just to catch up. The numbers follow a similar pattern if you go beyond the next 4 games.

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#84 Eddie Shore
March 07 2013, 10:28AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

He missed out on Jordan Tootoo, why Tootoo? If you look at Tootoo's numbers they are almost a mirror image of Ryan Jones.

He hits more, fights more, is a huge pest, will make less then what Jones will ask for, and players know when he's on the ice, will play on the forth line.

Ryan Jones plays on our second line and gets significantly more ice time......Nuff said there.

Steve Ott, could have had him as well, need these type of players badly.

Picking up Brown for a draft pick when other players were available for free.

This is not the first instance of this, there was Barker and Sutton both of whom were given inflated deals.

This is called orginizational incompetence, for instance it would be ok if things happen once, but this is a repeated offense ether the GM isn't listening to his scouting staff, or the scouting staff isn't giving the right information.

Passing on a R handed defensmen when your carrying Potter, Whitney, Peckham, screams tanking! Hamrlik is a clear upgrade, so when the Oilers talk bout pushing for a playoff spot you have to think its lip service or they really have zero idea.

I choose the later.

Jones had 17 and 18 goals in his last two years while Tootoo had 8 and 6.

Also, Potter is a right handed shot and Hamrlik shoots left.

I question Tambellini as a GM as well but at least use facts in your arguments.

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#85 DSF
March 07 2013, 10:31AM
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Will wrote:

Ah yes, it's true this management squad can not compare to the might Glen Sather, who this year has built an impenetrable juggernaught of a team who is currently demolishing all who stand in their way.

Crucial and insightful moves such as hiring Ray Emery, drafting Toews and Kane, and what's that? Oh Glen Sather isn't the GM of the Chicago Black Hawks? Well surely the team he has built this year must be some kind of standings leading powerhouse? They are barely in 8th place? And the have Rick Nash, a Vezna goalie, Brad Richards, and a host of other super stars all through their line up. Basically the team everyone is saying the Oilers should be.

Huh?

No excuses as the Oilers are playing like crap over the last few, but come one. I think anyone would say this is not the season to judge how the team was built.

I know this article looks at the past decade, but it's also reactionary based on where the team is sitting in the standings right now, 3 points out of a play off spot. Can someone please tell me why sitting 3 points out of a play off spot means we are on the verge of finishing in last place?

Setting up a couple of straw men does absolutely nothing to further the discussion.

But since you have, consider that the Toronto Maple Leafs, who under Brian Burke refused a "burn it to the ground" rebuild and instead decided to make key trade and free agent acquisitions as a path to the playoffs, have made huge leap forward this season.

Also consider that the Montreal Canadiens, who have always thought their fans deserved a winner, punted their entire management and coaching staff after ONE season in the basement and are currently leading the EC.

This "3 points out of the playoffs" mantra is also getting very old.

Take a look at how many teams are between the Oilers and that last playoff spot.

The Oilers would need to have a better record than 5 other teams between them and the last playoff spot.

As of this morning, the Oilers have a 16.9% percent chance of making the playoffs and a loss tonight would out those chances at about 12%.

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#86 BigE91
March 07 2013, 10:37AM
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Sather and Lowe were both the beneficiaries of generational players. Gretzky, Messier, Coffey in the Sather era and Pronger in 2006.

Rather than build teams with strong work ethic and sound systems and positional play, the current regime is still looking for that generational player. Was it Gagner? he's good and getting better but he won't be that guy. Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yak, Schultz. It could be any of these guys but it seems like they are all waiting to grab the ball. I can see Schultz being an Niedermayer type, maybe not as good but close. And I think if they looked past Yakupov's defensive liabilities he could really put up the points playing on the first or second line.

The long and short of it is that management can't or won't do anything until one or two of these guys sets themselves apart from the rest. When that happens one or two of the others become expendable and able to use as chips to bring back the other pieces needed to complete the puzzle.

Mind you 6 years out of the playoffs, rebuild or not does not lead to a ringing endorsement of management. Anyone can stand at a podium and make a first overall pick, it's ALMOST impossible to screw that up. It's what they do with the other 364 days in the year that is the problem.

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#87 BIGDAWG
March 07 2013, 10:44AM
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Toughness, Leadership, Pride, and a willingness to stand up for eachother.

This clip tells you everything wrong with our team...........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhFYcKjChGo

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#88 Will
March 07 2013, 10:46AM
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@ScottieA

First of all, NHL 95 on genesis was simply the best. I can still here the checking sound effect. "Kprghragh!"

And second, I'm not saying the Oilers don't have to win to get into the playoffs, clearly that is the case, nor do I think 5 teams are going to start sucking all of a sudden, But maybe a few start sucking, maybe a few start scoring less, and maybe the Oilers start not only playing better, but getting on the board more meaning we break the ties.

My main point in all of this is that we are three points from a playoff spot. When the year began and everyone wanted the team to be either in the playoffs or close to it, three points is that. Yes, we are also three points from the bottom as the west is very tight, but in no way does three points mean we are out of the playoff picture. In fact we're kind of right where most people expected us to be.

In my opinion we are better for one important reason: goal tending. Does anyone here believe for one second that with the talent we have at some point the Oilers are not going to start scoring a truck load of goals?

The fact we're three points from the bottom because of our struggles at evens is so much more encouraging than if we were there because of our struggles in net. True, defence isn't great but there is some encouraging things there, and on the way.

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#89 justDOit
March 07 2013, 10:49AM
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Good architects take into consideration what they're being tasked to design, what its intended use is, and where the building will be. They don't just grab a bunch of the shiniest materials, slap it together in the middle of Moose Jaw (sorry MJ people, but I'm making a point here), and hope for the best.

Serious, long-term neglect of support down the middle (center ice), combined with hope that the foundation can support the entire structure (defense), while counting on the decorator (Krueger) to make it all work, is where this team is today.

Oh for a peer-reviewed design and some consultation from a civil planner!

And the fans all go insane... RIP Stompin' Tom!

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#90 PutzStew
March 07 2013, 10:50AM
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What at great topic.

Couple questions to ponder:

Is the lack of prospects that where not chosen in the first round due to poor drafting/scouting (MBS) or poor development (MacT)?

Is Montreal doing so well because they brought in an Old Boys crew or just the right people?

How come players moderately successful veteran, such as Cole, Surray, Belanger, etc, always seem to fail when brought in? Cole and Surray are both still playing at higher levels dispite supposedly being washed up when they where here?

If you had as many opps as Lowe and Tambalini have had in the past 12/5 years, would you still be able to call yourself a perfusion all in your chosen field of work, nevermind having an actual job.

For what it's worth, start with Lowe and Tambi, go in through MacT and finish up with Hemsky, Smyth and Horcoff. Let them all walk... Just find a 3rd line center to replace Horcoff before you cut him loose.

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#91 ScottieA
March 07 2013, 10:50AM
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@Will

I wasn't knocking it. I had it and almost fried the cartridge from overuse. That, and Mutant League Hockey & Football.

All I will say is that it is not a very good bet for them to make the playoffs, and I wouldn't hold out much hope for some sort of turnaround.

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#92 Will
March 07 2013, 10:58AM
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@DSF

I am glad you brought Burke up, because last I checked he was fired for doing exactly what the Oilers management is currently being accused of: not enough.

And yet look where the leafs are. If only ownership, fans and media had the patience to believe in his plan, Burke would be finally riding high this year on a team he built.

And so here we are crucifying our management because why? Because our team is three points out of a playoff spot. However, what if we held that lead in St. Louise and won the skills competition in Columbus? That is literally a game and a skill competition between this article, and another one talking about how the team is right on track.

Now I'm not blind, I've watched the team this year and personally think our record does not reflect how poor the team is. However, I'm also seeing the insane decrease in evens and points from all of our players, especially the key ones. As a stats guy yourself do you think this is where the Oilers are and should be as a team or do you think something else is contributing to a below average performance?

Yes this is the team that couldn't gut out a win in Columbus, but it's also the one where a few nights prior beat our statistically hardest team to beat and played a complete game. It's also the team that set a franchise record for shots, and yet just barely won.

And as for straw men, all I'm trying to allude to here is that fans and media should temper their expectations just a little. Let me ask you this, which would you rather, cheer for a team that is slowly on the upswing which were largely predicted to miss the playoffs but not by much, or cheer for a team who are barely hanging onto a spot, that was expected by all to challenge for the cup this year?

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#93 Will
March 07 2013, 11:02AM
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@ScottieA

No, I realize you weren't knocking it, I am right there with you. Just hoping on the agreement boat in saying that game was freakin great. Possibly to my credit or sadness on of my greatest accomplishments was beating a kid 30 nothing in that game, a perfect ten goals a period.

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#94 DSF
March 07 2013, 11:17AM
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Will wrote:

I am glad you brought Burke up, because last I checked he was fired for doing exactly what the Oilers management is currently being accused of: not enough.

And yet look where the leafs are. If only ownership, fans and media had the patience to believe in his plan, Burke would be finally riding high this year on a team he built.

And so here we are crucifying our management because why? Because our team is three points out of a playoff spot. However, what if we held that lead in St. Louise and won the skills competition in Columbus? That is literally a game and a skill competition between this article, and another one talking about how the team is right on track.

Now I'm not blind, I've watched the team this year and personally think our record does not reflect how poor the team is. However, I'm also seeing the insane decrease in evens and points from all of our players, especially the key ones. As a stats guy yourself do you think this is where the Oilers are and should be as a team or do you think something else is contributing to a below average performance?

Yes this is the team that couldn't gut out a win in Columbus, but it's also the one where a few nights prior beat our statistically hardest team to beat and played a complete game. It's also the team that set a franchise record for shots, and yet just barely won.

And as for straw men, all I'm trying to allude to here is that fans and media should temper their expectations just a little. Let me ask you this, which would you rather, cheer for a team that is slowly on the upswing which were largely predicted to miss the playoffs but not by much, or cheer for a team who are barely hanging onto a spot, that was expected by all to challenge for the cup this year?

Burke was fired for being a pain in the ass.

It was Burke who made all the moves that brought the Leafs back from the dead and he still got fired.

Yet Kevin Lowe, the architect of the mess you see almost every night, has been in charge for nearly 13 years.

Expecting more "patience from ownership, fans and media" is just ludicrous.

And, there is no evidence that the Oilers are "slowly on the upswing"

They have been better on the PK so far this season but:

They are much worse 5V5

Give up the most shots/game

Are second last in shots/game

Have the worst shot differential in the league

Are on pace for a worse goal differential than last season

The PP has gone cold

Being that dreadful after so many top ten draft picks over the years, would be a firing offence in any other city.

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#95 Old Retired Guy
March 07 2013, 11:41AM
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Johnny wrote:

@ David S

I fully agree. A Phoenix Coyote was recently quoted after playing the Oilers that "they do not play a system". We never have. All we play is "Oiler hockey". We all know that is river hockey, and it is an utter JOKE.

Krueger constantly talks about playing the system, but as far as I can tell, it involves "gap control", which to my eye has lead to chasing the puck and getting badly out-chanced.

I do not think it is coincidence that there is a long history of bringing in players and having their games go to sh*t. On the current roster I would point to Belanger. The guy is a career 30-40 point guy for crying out loud! He had 40 points the year he joined Edmonton on a team, Phoenix, who I would describe as the exact opposite as Edmonton. They are Plug'n'Play, and until the Oilers swallow their pride, get with the times and start to play defense, they are going to lose!

2006 = TRAP = CUP RUN = BORING HOCKEY??

liked this comment so much that I just wanted to see it again here, further down the chain.

We really do appear to be lacking any kind of system.

Maybe what Krueger likes/wants/is used to is more suited to the bigger european rinks. There are a lot of good teams who are not playing RIVER HOCKEY ( Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit) and are still very exciting to watch.

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#96 Will
March 07 2013, 11:43AM
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Ah comon, how can you even bring in the first half of that before the salary cap?

Not to mention our scouting staff drafting poorly back then did get fired.

That was the time when our good pieces would be lost to UFA, not to mention the ownership crises. Player like Glencross were lost because we couldn't afford to qualify them a new offer.

Even still, the old management was able to get us into the playoffs and make just as deep a run as any other Canadian team has done in that time.

No, the new management should be judged starting three years ago when ownership and management committed to the full rebuild.

Plus you have absolutely no idea why Burke got fired. don't pretend to be a stats guy then throw out speculation like it's fact.

If Oilers finish 10th in the west this year, does that show enough improvement? What is the number they have to reach for us fans to say, good job management?

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#97 justDOit
March 07 2013, 11:50AM
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@Will

From my foggy memory, Glencross wasn't qualified because the Oilers had a $80M dollar offer sitting on Hossa's agent's desk. They were whale hunting while letting a shark get away. It wasn't for lack of money.

If Burkie was going to be fired based on team performance, they would have either fired him after last season, or given him an opportunity in the first 15 games or so to show what his latest moves could do (JVR for one). It's his team, almost exactly, that is performing so wonderfully now.

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#98 justDOit
March 07 2013, 11:57AM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

liked this comment so much that I just wanted to see it again here, further down the chain.

We really do appear to be lacking any kind of system.

Maybe what Krueger likes/wants/is used to is more suited to the bigger european rinks. There are a lot of good teams who are not playing RIVER HOCKEY ( Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit) and are still very exciting to watch.

In case you missed Woodguy posting this on LT's blog the other day, I believe it offers the most concise explanation of what's going on with the Oilers' style of play:

You need speedy D and defensively aware forwards to play RK’s uptempo pressure system where the D often skate up the jam at the blue line or neutral zone.

Having the C, especially the C, and the wingers cover for the D when they do that is critical.

By my eye 93 is good at it and getting better, 89 is meh, 10 was good, 20 is meh and 54 was poor.

We’ve seen many more 2 on1′s against the OIlers this year because of the system.

When you see one, look to see where the C is, then the first winger. 14, 4, 28, and 64 have been bad at drag assing back, 64 got much, much better , still doesn’t know where to go.

83 isn’t bad at it, 94 is slow. 55 hasn’t a clue and 37 is meh. Compound that with immobile 6, slowish 15, rookie 19, struggling 2 (seems better now on making the pinch decision), slow 45 with poor decisions, 44 with poor decisions, and a decent 5 and you have a recipe for a lot of shots against.

Then, Take the fact that only 4-93-14 seem to get multiple shots in the ozone, 64-89-83 seemed to be one and done, (the other lines have almost no offense, but 28 is helping a little there) and you have a recipe to get not a lot of shots for.

The result is getting out shot almost every game.

They have been out attempted 20 of the 22 games.

The system demands everyone do their job to defend against the shot against and they are too young, slow, and dumb as a group to go it.

I think RK’s system will work with more mobile defenders who make better pinch decisions, but it won’t come together this year.

It also needs C’s and wingers who immediately bee-line back as soon as they lose the puck in the ozone and the lollygagging back checking habits have not been driven from these men. Its a work in progress that is missing about 3 D and 2 F’s from making it happen.

Lollygaggers.

Thanks again to Woodguy!

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#99 Oiler Al
March 07 2013, 12:38PM
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ROBIN.... THANK YOU THANK YOU... Great topic.. look at all the responses!

Just yesterday I accused the Edmonton media of not having the ya ya's of addressing this very issues, and here you are by chance you bring up and issue that could be at the heart of the organizations problem.Surely, at the very least need to be exposed and discussed.

They have been hiding behind the " rebuilding blind far too long".

I think coaching is part and parcel of the team play this year. Another Tambelini/Lowe choice.

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#100 Quicksilver ballet
March 07 2013, 12:58PM
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No matter what we choose to do in life. We are all the sole beneficiary of the effort we put forth each and every day.

Oiler management must've chosen to ignore this rule. They don't go to work everyday stiving to build themselves a better hockey club. They appear to go to work everyday, only to take their share of the monies provided them from this rabid hockey market. Effort or no effort, they want their coin, it's owed to them in their agreements/contracts. For the last 6 yrs they've continually put a different shade of lipstick on this pig and trotted them out onto the ice passing them off as an NHL hockey team.

Or, could it be in pro sports the money is always more important than the truth, or what's right. If there's any integrity left in the game today, it certainly isn't visible in this current Oiler management group. That's just the way things are done in the NHL.

The Oilers are hiding the fact that they're intentionally tanking, trying to rebuild what must've been a much worse situation than we all realized. Billing season ticket holders as if they're doing their absolute best in an effort to give the fans their monies worth. They've breached what they've been entrusted to do as caretakers of this hockey market. We trusted them to do what's best for us the fans, and for this blind faith, we're stuck with the current product we are watching.

Never before has it felt like the isles to our seats at Rexall place, are just ramps in disguise to the slaughter house. We've all gotten what we've deserved with our unquestioned support of this careless management group. Where has all the pride gone.....

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