March 09 2013 09:27AM
It's a strange morning for Oilers Nation. The things we might like to do--bag skate the management team, for instance--are not available to us. The team has not delivered entertainment for two games now, the coach is running out of positives (and baby that's saying something) and we are here. Again. What can we do?
The job that has to be done now belongs to a higher power. No,no not him--Daryl Katz! Robin Brownlee wrote a terrific article this week that put things in perspective:
- Brownlee: 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.
Robin framed the issue nicely, and I do think this would happen in the spring (after the season) if it happens at all. I know there's hot and cold running anger in all Edmonton and area homes this morning over the town team, but a hot streak (and we know they're capable) changes the mood in a heartbeat and the job of an owner is to look at the long term.
Robin's thoughts above do seem to have a strong logic to them, though. How long do you allow a rebuild to turn the corner? Is this Chicago or is this Columbus?
HOW BAD IS IT?
For Oiler fans this is all too familiar. We're reaching a point where the lockout is a sweet memory, where other fanbases no longer use their "A" material against us, where someone considers suing someone else for "cruel and unusual punishment."
Collectively, we're here:
And there's not much we can do about it. The Edmonton Oilers are telling us there is no help available--no center to shore up that position, no defenseman to help there--so we're just going to have to endure another season of losing, another night of Steve Tambellini at the lottery show, another spring of knowing more about the draft's first two rounds than we should without drawing a paycheque.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The road trip to hell lived up to its reputation. The Oilers have been outmatched in the last two games and will head into Chicago facing a Hawks team newly motivated. The major stories for Edmonton were supposed to be Hall going supernova, Yak-Schultz fighting it out for the Calder and much merriment over passing Calgary in the standings.
The actual stories have been 5x5 scoring disappearing, Whitney's foot and Horcoff's knuckle. The rebuild began in 2010 and we should expect results in 2015. That's the message here.
I don't see much evidence the Oilers ownership and management feel any kind of pressure to improve. Do you?
Maybe they really like lotteries?
All is not lost. There is a tremendous amount of talent here, but adding an enforcer isn't going to help this team. They need actual NHL players, and the management team to find them. I expect Craig MacTavish will be playing a more prominent role in the organization soon. He'll have to trade in his NCAA scouting pass for a bigger office and no sleep.
Lowetide at High Noon hits Team 1260 today noon to 2 Edmonton time. Our guests:
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. We'll talk brier and the Oilers, specifically this painful road trip. We'll also discuss implications of another lost season on players and management.
- Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey. We'll discuss his zone exits and what they are telling us about the Oilers, the current state of the team and who gets a passing grade through the season's first half.
- Kirk Luedeke from Redline Report. Kirk has been a friend of Team 1260's since the John Short days, and is a splendid resource for the draft. We'll talk about some of the impressive NY/New England kids this year and get an idea about the depth of this year's draft compared to a year ago.
- Darcy "Woodguy" McLeod from all parts Oilogosphere. Darcy has posted guest articles at Copper and Bue and at Lowetide, the latest being an exceptional defense of Magnus Paajarvi this week. We'll talk about Paajarvi, measuring success via shots on goal and what the numbers say about fixing the Oilers.
- Neal Livingston, from Tend the Farm. One of the brilliant people we've had a chance to encounter since the Oilers moved their farm team to OKC, Neal's site is a joy and a valuable resource. We'll talk about the season for Barons fans, and I'll ask if any of the current Barons looks like they are matriculating toward an NHL job.
Hope you tune in.