IF THERE'S EVER A CONCERN: HANDS ON

Robin Brownlee
January 08 2014 02:18PM

 

 

Frustration within the passionate and loyal fan base of the Edmonton Oilers is growing by the day and by the loss with the Oilers destined to miss the playoffs for an eighth straight season. Rightfully so.

Much of that frustration -- again, rightfully so -- is being directed at Kevin Lowe, the team's former GM who is now owner Daryl Katz's president of hockey operations. There was a sign of that, literally, at Rexall Place during Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. A fan sitting front row displayed a cardboard sign that read: "Fire Kevin Lowe."

The frustration directed toward Lowe is, in large part, because of the perception that, while he's been bumped out of the hot seat and into the background publicly in his position by Katz, he's still had his fingerprints all over player personnel decisions – trades and free agent signings -- made by former GM Steve Tambellini and now Craig MacTavish.

Actually, perception is the wrong word. Lowe confirmed his participation in the decision-making process Tuesday during a wide-ranging interview on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260. While Lowe didn't get specific about how much influence he has, it's obvious he's hands-on – we're not talking about the façade of the "senior advisor" position Pat Quinn was dumped in.

Lowe has been, as has been noted before, the one constant in Edmonton's front office through these eight years of ineptitude and losing dating back to the 2006 Stanley Cup final, and beyond.

WHAT HE SAID

Gregor asked Lowe what role he played as POHO in the decision-making process with Tambellini and now MacTavish.

"I would say that uh, that uh . . . really, it's a tough, tough question," Lowe said. "Craig is the general manager, as was Steve Tambellini. They go about their business and shop around the NHL with the scouting staff and collectively throughout the organization try to come up with ways to make the hockey club better, whether it's signing a player or trading a player or what have you.

"At the end of the way, when those recommendations or when those ideas come up, Craig will talk to me and get my feelings on it and you know . . . we talk enough over the course of the season that I generally know where he's going on things and, you know, there's an owner that has to make a call in terms of whether you're going to spend the money for a free agent or trade an asset that's been part of the organization for a while, so there's a collective decision being made.

"I mean, if there's any concern that our people can't make decisions without me endorsing them, then that's not accurate. We've always had a, taken the approach from the day that I took over as general manager that we're collectively going to make decisions – not that it's a purely democratic process, but it's wise of you to involve as many people in your organization when you are making decisions.

"It's not a fiefdom where one person says, 'No, this is what we're going to do.' It's a collective group decision on any strategy that the hockey team is going to make. It's not easy. We've been in this rebuild and it's incredibly frustrating for everyone. The fans should know that, for the people that are running the show they are probably, I don't even know if you can compare it, but in terms of frustration, it's incredibly frustrating, but we're in it. We are where we are.

"The only thing we can do is continue to work hard and believe that, in time, if we've done the drafting we hope we've done and we are patient with the young players that they're going to become the players we expect them to be and it'll result in a, you know, positive and exciting hockey team."

(Photo via @quickone1 on Twitter)

STARTS AT THE TOP

Lowe was at the top of Edmonton's management food chain as GM for eight seasons – he had nobody to answer to in hockey operations decisions, except ownership, until he was moved to POHO in July 2008. Essentially, anybody Lowe huddled with when making decisions as the GM was an underling – an assistant GM, members of his scouting staff or coaches. It stands to reason Lowe's opinion carried more weight than anybody else's did.

Was that the case during Tambellini's troubled and indecisive tenure in Lowe's former position? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it. Is that the case now with MacTavish? No way. Still, you'd have to be a fool to think Lowe doesn't carry considerable swing in every hockey decision made now.

Simply put, Lowe had more say than anybody else in the organization in building the Oilers from 2000 to 2008 as GM. At the very least, he has had considerable influence in hockey decisions made since then. That's a span of command and influence approaching 14 seasons.

Draw your own conclusions.

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.
Avatar
#201 Vinny
January 09 2014, 10:58AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
13
props

@Anton

Most businesses want repeat customers. If your customers are not happy with the product, they won't come back. Particularly if it's a luxury product, which is what Oiler games are.

Any revenue projections that the Oilers are making today that have all seats being sold over the next few years, are out to lunch. Hope of a winning team has kept the seats full thus far, but I don't think hope will keep the seats full over the next few years. Only winning will do that.

Although Katz could try to hold the team hostage, Edmontonians could do the same to his pharmacy business.

Avatar
#202 morgie
January 09 2014, 10:59AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
23
props
Anton wrote:

6lings behind the whole decision making is one of the worst kept secret in the league. Gregor merely confirm the suspicion that most of the fans have. Ask Lombardi about when he called out the entire Oilers organization about the whole Fraser/Smyth mess that who he has in mind?

Hiring rookie GMs was not meant to fix the team but to give himself a comfortable position to make the decisions behind close doors. When things aren't working out that he can just blame someone else for those mistakes with plausible deniability.

I just don't understand why there's still some peoples naive enough to believe that this mess is not created by 6lings but someone else? Of course, you can blame Mr. Rexall for still keeping 6lings around. However, from top to bottom that the only constant for the past 15 years is 6lings. Other than the miracle run during 2005~06 season that Oilers were a mediocre team for the most of the 90s and early 2000s. That miracle run is more of the beginning of this giant mess, 6lings did not realize the reason behind that run was simply because of solid blueliners mixed with veteran leadership. Which most of them left right after that run. Failed to keep the team together that 6lings went for the other extreme by offering bunch of big contracts to players that weren't really deserve to have it. Dreaming about luring big name FAs without even confirming if those players are interested to join the organization. If he is believing the GMs that he hired to do the job properly then why that he needs to get himself involved in the "decision making" process?

Lowe is the very reason the oilers are what they are here's just a few examples:

- Mike comrie trade for Corey Freaking Perry, which got nixed at last minute because lowe asked comrie for 2.5 mill in return

- pursuing Danny Heatly and consequently missing out on signing Glencross

- Drafting Marc Pouliot instead of Zach Parise

- Getting nothing for Sheldon Souray

- Letting Brodziak go for nothing

- etc.etc

Avatar
#203 Spydyr
January 09 2014, 11:01AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
8
props

On the business end of things Katz has done well for himself with the Oilers. He paid 200 million for them in 2007.They are now worth 400 million. That is one nice return on his investment. He has a new taxpayer funded arena going up. Now there is word he has his hand in an office tower to be built to house City employees. Pretty sweet deal.

The problem with the Oilers is the on ice product and that buck stops at The President of Hockey Operations (POHO).

Full STOP.

Avatar
#204 Victor
January 09 2014, 11:09AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
13
props

The way I see it, Lowe has the final say (excluding areas where Katz is involved) on everything. Therefore, he is responsible for what ails the team now. He's also the reason why this team will always have GM's like Tambellini and MacT, because no GM with a track record or highly sought after executive who's ready to take the next step will ever come here as long as he knows that the job includes having Lowe looking over his shoulder.

Avatar
#205 Ben Dover
January 09 2014, 11:09AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
17
props
Consultant wrote:

A bunch of candy ass, cry babies here. We're a coaching change away from the switch, this has got to be the bottom and since we have spent so long here, when we do finally start winning again it will be beautiful and even more beautiful for those who stuck around. But no, year four of the rebuild destroyed us. So go ahead bandwagoners, pick a NFL team to cheer for. But go quietly cause if I see someone throw or deface an Oiler jersey I will defend the club.

"..this has got to be the bottom.."???

Actually, this organization hit bottom a few years back. Instead of climbing their way out, they just grabbed their shovels, kept digging and, lo and behold, their bottom had a basement. And then another, and another, and another...

When 6-Rings says "We are where we are.", it's simply another way of saying 'It is what it is.' Which is what people say when things are not as they should be, but they don't know why it happened or how to fix it. (Per Urban Dictionary, also see: f#!* it, screw it, i don't care, this is ridiculous, whatever, nothing we can do now, oh well, deal with it, tough sh!t, TFB.)

Regardless of the loonies getting fast-stacked at Oilers HQ, Lowe has not delivered the desired results as POHO, where the primary goal is to win, or at least contend for, the Stanley Cup. Thus, it's unfair to characterize loyal fans as 'bandwagon jumpers' because they feel Lowe should be fired or step down.

As a 'consultant', surely you can recognize a solution. Implement one, likely not; but at least recognize the problem and a possible fix.

Does Lowe want to right the ship? Of course he does. Can he? Well, he hasn't proven much so far, and admits he's been hands-on all along.

Avatar
#206 #ThereGoesTheOilers
January 09 2014, 11:11AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
24
props
Anton wrote:

Correction, he won 6 rings NOT as a player, he won his 6 rings by being Moose's posse.

That's reaching - Kevin Lowe was a very good hockey player. Try and separate the two men.

He's just not cut out for managment. His track record speaks for itself.

I really hope he does resign. I would rather be reminded of him for his contributions to the team than by the embittered sentiments of fans sick of losing.

Avatar
#207 Derian Hatcher
January 09 2014, 11:26AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
17
props

@Spydyr

You know those TV shows where a "consultant" of "expert" goes into a business (bar, restaurant etc.) and assesses what is wrong and/or why the businnes is floundering? Now I realize, there is always a flair for the drama on TV, but maybe the team needs a "makeover" starting at the top by someone WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND HAS BUILT SUCCESSFUL ON-ICE PRODUCT IN THE PAST.

Problem is, when the consultant asks "so how are things going?" the response would be - "Great - we are making boatloads of money and are moving into a new building that is mostly paid for by the citizens of this fair land"

"So what's the problem?"

"Oh there's no problem, some of our customers say they are unhappy with our product but they keep paying for it, so things must be good"

"Ok then, I guess I'm not needed here, where is my next assignment...oh here it is, can you tell me where I could find somthing called Alberta Health, or Alberta Education?

Avatar
#208 Sold Tickets
January 09 2014, 11:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
18
props
Vinny wrote:

Most businesses want repeat customers. If your customers are not happy with the product, they won't come back. Particularly if it's a luxury product, which is what Oiler games are.

Any revenue projections that the Oilers are making today that have all seats being sold over the next few years, are out to lunch. Hope of a winning team has kept the seats full thus far, but I don't think hope will keep the seats full over the next few years. Only winning will do that.

Although Katz could try to hold the team hostage, Edmontonians could do the same to his pharmacy business.

Agreed - also the tickets to games may be sold, but there are quite a few empty seats. At the St Louis game, there were more empty seats than I have seen in a very long time. And I went after I wasn't able to give away my tickets. I am sure the Pens game will be a full building, but now fans seem to show up to see the OTHER team, not the oilers.

Avatar
#209 bdiddy18
January 09 2014, 11:38AM
Trash it!
11
trashes
+1
9
props

While Kevin Lowe is undeniably a central figure and the most influential of the management team, if you think Craig Mactavish, Dallas Eakins and Stu McGregor and the owner Darryl Katz are a bunch of YES men, well you clearly dont hold any of these men in high regard.

in the personalities and interviews of all these indiviudals, there is no way you can conlude that any of the rest of the centrepieces are a bunch of pushovers.

yes there assistants as well (Olyck, Howson, Acton, Buchberger and Smith) but when the chips fall, its Katz, Lowe, MacT, Eakins and McGregor that would form the final call on a player or draft pick

AND I highly doubt a discussion at that table is a bunch of robots dancing the same tune. AND it should be a group deciding...provides more perspective and more debate to the decision.

People love to make complexity out of everything. I go back to the first ever press conference (actually the only one - LOL) Katz has ever had... We he took on the ownership of the team he stated - he wasn't interest in a playoff team he was interested in a team that could dominate the league again. He wants MULTIPLE CUPS not 8th/9th place finishes.

The stark reality is the Oilers were not even close to being a multiple cup threat when he took over and really no potential in its system to become one. Basically starting again like a 1979 expansion team with one MAJOR difference - this time they didn't have a teenager that was going to be the greatest of all time already under contract and begin his career with the Oilers.

For the first part of Katz "multiple cup" agenda they did try to purchase it (Hossa, Heatley, Vanek) etc when the finally realized it was a useless endevaour - they braced for the build within format which they UNDERESTIMATED the length of time it would take.

But they are in it thick now. There is no point of return other than sludge on through. Outside of the draft picks which are demonstrating the potential of what is to come...the rest is a mess.

perhaps by design though...remember the Multiple Cup agenda.... you need a cupboard full of promising prospects not just one or two to complete the feat.

Doubt the leadership all you want that they can't finish the job. But they are not changing any time soon so I'm hoping they can - I got nothing left but hope, everything else has been drained out of me over these 8 years.

Avatar
#210 **
January 09 2014, 11:45AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
31
props

I think that if the rebuild was going acording to plan, Renney, Krueger and Tambellini would still be here. The moment Renney was fired Klowe conceded that his master plan was going nowhere. Some may argue that it was part of the plan to have a new coach after the 3rd high draft pick, but what about signing Tambellini to an extension and then firing him just a year later?.

Klowe is not only lying to the public, but to himself, and it seems that he is willing to roll over anyone in order to keep his job.

Avatar
#211 Eric
January 09 2014, 11:48AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
4
props
Spydyr wrote:

Logan Couture is out he just had surgery.

Yes but Logan stated he was told it was not the injury that kept him off the team.

Avatar
#212 tileguy
January 09 2014, 12:10PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
17
props

What I would do to fix this broken wagon.

Katz... finf Klowe a nice cerimonial position within Rexall.

Tell MacT you have until the end of the 2015 season to turn things around, Make a bold move, we understand you have to give up value to receive value, do it when it is right to do it.

MacT... decide on Eakins now, if he is a failure lets move on, if you think he is on to something he gets to the end of the 2015 season as well.

New assistants, lets shed the boys on the bus image now. I would also explore the idea of bringing back Krueger to co-coach.

Avatar
#213 Spydyr
January 09 2014, 12:10PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
3
props
Eric wrote:

Yes but Logan stated he was told it was not the injury that kept him off the team.

Oh, sorry missed that.

Avatar
#214 camdog
January 09 2014, 12:21PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
13
props
Consultant wrote:

You still don't get it. Lowe is not the coach, and he is not the GM either... If someone skate is not shape enough that also is not Lowe's fault.

Many of those in the Edmonton media say the same thing as you in respect to Lowe. However where I get lost is when they said heads were going to role when Brian Burke was hired to more or less the same position in Calgary.

In Calgary Burke is responsible for the operations of the hockey club, but in Edmonton Lowe is not. I really have trouble understanding the double standard?

Avatar
#215 Tikkanese
January 09 2014, 12:26PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
24
props

Hate Lowe in the management positions as much as you want and that may be warranted.

But this Oilers' blue line desperately could use a couple of Kevin Lowe the player.

Avatar
#216 Ed in Edmonton
January 09 2014, 12:28PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
20
props
camdog wrote:

Many of those in the Edmonton media say the same thing as you in respect to Lowe. However where I get lost is when they said heads were going to role when Brian Burke was hired to more or less the same position in Calgary.

In Calgary Burke is responsible for the operations of the hockey club, but in Edmonton Lowe is not. I really have trouble understanding the double standard?

If the POHO is not responsible for the operation of the hockey club who is? In my world the president of an operation is responsible for everything that happens within the organization.

Avatar
#217 Rob...
January 09 2014, 12:37PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
6
props

I wonder if this isn't a Katz strategy, similar to the war movie where the one guy fires off a bunch of rounds and tries to draw off the majority of the enemy while the majority of his comrades escape unscathed. Perhaps Lowe was ordered to 'fall on his sword' and state to the media that he has been in control all along, just before Katz lets him go from the PoHO position. He'll of course be hired to another position within the Katz empire for his faithful service.

Avatar
#218 S cottV
January 09 2014, 01:21PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
9
props
tileguy wrote:

What I would do to fix this broken wagon.

Katz... finf Klowe a nice cerimonial position within Rexall.

Tell MacT you have until the end of the 2015 season to turn things around, Make a bold move, we understand you have to give up value to receive value, do it when it is right to do it.

MacT... decide on Eakins now, if he is a failure lets move on, if you think he is on to something he gets to the end of the 2015 season as well.

New assistants, lets shed the boys on the bus image now. I would also explore the idea of bringing back Krueger to co-coach.

Katz will have to make Lowe an offer to retire that he cant refuse.

MacT given until the end of 2015 to show tangible progress, including a strong challenge for a playoff spot. The team will probably not make the playoffs next year, but should play meaningful games until the end of the season.

MacT makes the playoffs in 2016 or is gone.

Two key time frames to decide on Eakins. The Olympic break and the end of the season. The team needs a Coach that can get this player group to somewhat over achieve, rather than under achieve. .500 hockey between now and the Olympic break would be an over achievement. Less than .300 hockey and cut Eakins loose. If he survives the Olympic break, give him similar targets to close out the season. If he over achieves, then keep him - as long as other intangibles are truly positive.

I have my doubts that he is the right man for the job. The player group looks the farthest thing from being willing to run thru a wall for this guy.

They need a kick ass Coach with enough charisma to not lose the player group in the process.

Avatar
#219 Tikkanese
January 09 2014, 01:39PM
Trash it!
12
trashes
+1
12
props

Eakins isn't going anywhere. 5 coaches in 6 years, will not become 6 in 6 or 6 in 7 for that matter. That's just ridiculous. The fact that Eakins AHL squad easily adapted his Swarm and was very succesful with it is further proof that the players are the biggest problem with the Oilers. Not to mention that OKC has adapted the Swarm this season with no problems.

The assistant coaches could and quite possibly should be on the move.

Some of the players will be on the move first. It's just a matter of time. MacT doesn't want to make losing trades just for the sake of a shakeup and why should he? The season is lost already anyways.

Avatar
#220 S cottV
January 09 2014, 02:03PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
11
props
Tikkanese wrote:

Eakins isn't going anywhere. 5 coaches in 6 years, will not become 6 in 6 or 6 in 7 for that matter. That's just ridiculous. The fact that Eakins AHL squad easily adapted his Swarm and was very succesful with it is further proof that the players are the biggest problem with the Oilers. Not to mention that OKC has adapted the Swarm this season with no problems.

The assistant coaches could and quite possibly should be on the move.

Some of the players will be on the move first. It's just a matter of time. MacT doesn't want to make losing trades just for the sake of a shakeup and why should he? The season is lost already anyways.

Well - I think he is on the cusp of losing the room and it won't take much more adversity before it's gone. Once you lose the room - you're done.

He has had long enough to ingrain his systems and philosophies, to the point that we should be seeing some improvements. Indications of a player group buy in that gives a sense of things coming together. After a reasonable time a coach is only as good as his ability to influence his players to buy in.

Avatar
#221 steelymac
January 09 2014, 02:56PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
+1
11
props
Tikkanese wrote:

Eakins isn't going anywhere. 5 coaches in 6 years, will not become 6 in 6 or 6 in 7 for that matter. That's just ridiculous. The fact that Eakins AHL squad easily adapted his Swarm and was very succesful with it is further proof that the players are the biggest problem with the Oilers. Not to mention that OKC has adapted the Swarm this season with no problems.

The assistant coaches could and quite possibly should be on the move.

Some of the players will be on the move first. It's just a matter of time. MacT doesn't want to make losing trades just for the sake of a shakeup and why should he? The season is lost already anyways.

The NHL and AHL are two different things.The AHL is made up of players that 95% are not capable of playing at the NHL speed where the "SWARM" may work.Eakins never had the Halls,Yaks or any other world class prospects to develop and its showing with the way they are developing.Thoroughbreds don't pull plows they race.Eakins has to adapt his systems to the players on the roster and the way they are used.The thing standing in the way of that is his EGO or inexperience with those types of players.I am all for him teaching Yak the 200 foot game but the personality he portrays I am not.I would hope he praises Yak after the last game cause in my eyes he was great.The AHL can be a scrambley game comparedes to the NHL and that's been well documented,so in my opinion the "SWARM" may work better in the AHL then the NHL.If there is a successful team in the NHL employing that system I would like to see it,if not Eakins has to adapt to one that works for the OIL.

Avatar
#222 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 09 2014, 03:08PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
24
props

Something painful just occurred to me.........watch Brian Burke trade Smid at the deadline to the Bruins for a late first round draft pick......just to rub it in MacT 's face!

Now that would hurt!

Avatar
#223 Tikkanese
January 09 2014, 03:12PM
Trash it!
7
trashes
+1
4
props
steelymac wrote:

The NHL and AHL are two different things.The AHL is made up of players that 95% are not capable of playing at the NHL speed where the "SWARM" may work.Eakins never had the Halls,Yaks or any other world class prospects to develop and its showing with the way they are developing.Thoroughbreds don't pull plows they race.Eakins has to adapt his systems to the players on the roster and the way they are used.The thing standing in the way of that is his EGO or inexperience with those types of players.I am all for him teaching Yak the 200 foot game but the personality he portrays I am not.I would hope he praises Yak after the last game cause in my eyes he was great.The AHL can be a scrambley game comparedes to the NHL and that's been well documented,so in my opinion the "SWARM" may work better in the AHL then the NHL.If there is a successful team in the NHL employing that system I would like to see it,if not Eakins has to adapt to one that works for the OIL.

The "NHL" players on the Oilers couldn't even grasp the concept, nor employ it in the games. AHL players on two different teams from two different coaches, one of which was Eakins, grasped it easily. It has nothing to do with speed. In fact, speed would help immensely with the "SWARM".

Besides, Eakins scrapped the Swarm early in the season. I only brought it up because people keep using it as a crutch to lean on for firing him.

Avatar
#224 Tikkanese
January 09 2014, 03:18PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
+1
6
props
S cottV wrote:

Well - I think he is on the cusp of losing the room and it won't take much more adversity before it's gone. Once you lose the room - you're done.

He has had long enough to ingrain his systems and philosophies, to the point that we should be seeing some improvements. Indications of a player group buy in that gives a sense of things coming together. After a reasonable time a coach is only as good as his ability to influence his players to buy in.

Have you, or even your 5th cousin been in the room? No.

A coach is only as good as the players given to him. Gagner, Yakupov, Dubnyk, Acton, the entire defense just to name a few have not been playing like NHL players for 95% of the season so far. Scotty Bowman couldn't coach this effort anywhere near the playoffs either.

Avatar
#225 oilerjed
January 09 2014, 03:26PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
4
props

YO ON! Where is todays daily fix?? Its getting late and ill be leaving work soon. Who has time at home to sit on the computer and read? Lets get on with it.

Avatar
#226 Hauk15
January 09 2014, 03:30PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
6
props
Tikkanese wrote:

Have you, or even your 5th cousin been in the room? No.

A coach is only as good as the players given to him. Gagner, Yakupov, Dubnyk, Acton, the entire defense just to name a few have not been playing like NHL players for 95% of the season so far. Scotty Bowman couldn't coach this effort anywhere near the playoffs either.

The entire team is worse under Eakins. This team was out of the playoffs in October. Fire him and get someone who is a legitimate NHL proven coach. MacT should be coach and gm. The players that don't buy in will than easily be singled out and gone. Next fan to get in a yelling match with MacT, please put this idea into his head. Fire Eakins. Coach the team yourself.

Avatar
#227 outdoorzguy
January 09 2014, 03:36PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
5
props
Rob... wrote:

I wonder if this isn't a Katz strategy, similar to the war movie where the one guy fires off a bunch of rounds and tries to draw off the majority of the enemy while the majority of his comrades escape unscathed. Perhaps Lowe was ordered to 'fall on his sword' and state to the media that he has been in control all along, just before Katz lets him go from the PoHO position. He'll of course be hired to another position within the Katz empire for his faithful service.

What else could Loser Lowe do? Be the flu vaccinator at a Rexall pharmacy?

Avatar
#228 camdog
January 09 2014, 03:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
16
props

The Barons record last season (during the lockout) on the road with Eberle, Hall, RNH and Shultz was below 500 in the minors last season. Even in the AHL our young guns had trouble winning hockey games when checked by the other teams top line; even under the direction of Todd Nelson. If they can't lead a team to wins in the AHL, how can we honestly expect them to lead the team to wins in the NHL?

Avatar
#229 Chris.
January 09 2014, 03:48PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
8
props

I also don't think Craig MacTavish automatically deserves more time as GM.

During his long tenure as coach both Craig and Kevin publicly acknowledged that MacTavish had considerable input and influence on many managerial player personnel type decisions. Klowe, Howsen and MacTavish rebuilt the roster after Pronger left in a manner they belived would be competitive in the "New NHL"...

Now that the whole band is back together there are already similar patterns emerging from both eras: the inflated expectations, flip flops, knee jerk reactions, drama, and lack of general due diligence. All of this seems to illustrate that these guys have no real plan and are kind of just winging it.

. Are we building through the draft... or is this years first overall pick in play? (depends on the day I guess) Do we "change gears" and begin to really stockpile NHL players... or ship guys out for futures... (Smid?)

The MacIntyre thing is most disturbing. Would that be a flip flop or a knee jerk? How about basic poor due diligence? Maybe the fellas at Kingsway didn't really know what they had in Gadzdic... but there is no excuse to not have a bead on Smac's ability. Certainly the plan could not have been to push up tight against the contract limit with guys like McIntyre and Grebeshkov so that guys like Smid need to be dumped to make room to replace a useless goalie recommended by pro scouting.....

Avatar
#230 outdoorzguy
January 09 2014, 03:48PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
3
props
Spydyr wrote:

On the business end of things Katz has done well for himself with the Oilers. He paid 200 million for them in 2007.They are now worth 400 million. That is one nice return on his investment. He has a new taxpayer funded arena going up. Now there is word he has his hand in an office tower to be built to house City employees. Pretty sweet deal.

The problem with the Oilers is the on ice product and that buck stops at The President of Hockey Operations (POHO).

Full STOP.

And this is where former Mayor Mandel comes into play. He will probably become President of Office Tower Operations. All as part of his reward for seeing the very bad for taxpayers new arena being built.

Avatar
#231 Rob...
January 09 2014, 03:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
12
props
outdoorzguy wrote:

What else could Loser Lowe do? Be the flu vaccinator at a Rexall pharmacy?

Sounds good. That way he can stick it to Oiler fans for years to come.

Avatar
#232 hall the time
January 09 2014, 04:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props
Derian Hatcher wrote:

You know those TV shows where a "consultant" of "expert" goes into a business (bar, restaurant etc.) and assesses what is wrong and/or why the businnes is floundering? Now I realize, there is always a flair for the drama on TV, but maybe the team needs a "makeover" starting at the top by someone WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND HAS BUILT SUCCESSFUL ON-ICE PRODUCT IN THE PAST.

Problem is, when the consultant asks "so how are things going?" the response would be - "Great - we are making boatloads of money and are moving into a new building that is mostly paid for by the citizens of this fair land"

"So what's the problem?"

"Oh there's no problem, some of our customers say they are unhappy with our product but they keep paying for it, so things must be good"

"Ok then, I guess I'm not needed here, where is my next assignment...oh here it is, can you tell me where I could find somthing called Alberta Health, or Alberta Education?

It's called "Bar rescue" and its the best show ever. A lot of the time the managers or owner don't even know that their the problem, then they get yelled at by the host John Tafer.

We need a NHL team rescue big time.

Avatar
#233 Oilerz4life
January 09 2014, 04:11PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
3
props
bdiddy18 wrote:

While Kevin Lowe is undeniably a central figure and the most influential of the management team, if you think Craig Mactavish, Dallas Eakins and Stu McGregor and the owner Darryl Katz are a bunch of YES men, well you clearly dont hold any of these men in high regard.

in the personalities and interviews of all these indiviudals, there is no way you can conlude that any of the rest of the centrepieces are a bunch of pushovers.

yes there assistants as well (Olyck, Howson, Acton, Buchberger and Smith) but when the chips fall, its Katz, Lowe, MacT, Eakins and McGregor that would form the final call on a player or draft pick

AND I highly doubt a discussion at that table is a bunch of robots dancing the same tune. AND it should be a group deciding...provides more perspective and more debate to the decision.

People love to make complexity out of everything. I go back to the first ever press conference (actually the only one - LOL) Katz has ever had... We he took on the ownership of the team he stated - he wasn't interest in a playoff team he was interested in a team that could dominate the league again. He wants MULTIPLE CUPS not 8th/9th place finishes.

The stark reality is the Oilers were not even close to being a multiple cup threat when he took over and really no potential in its system to become one. Basically starting again like a 1979 expansion team with one MAJOR difference - this time they didn't have a teenager that was going to be the greatest of all time already under contract and begin his career with the Oilers.

For the first part of Katz "multiple cup" agenda they did try to purchase it (Hossa, Heatley, Vanek) etc when the finally realized it was a useless endevaour - they braced for the build within format which they UNDERESTIMATED the length of time it would take.

But they are in it thick now. There is no point of return other than sludge on through. Outside of the draft picks which are demonstrating the potential of what is to come...the rest is a mess.

perhaps by design though...remember the Multiple Cup agenda.... you need a cupboard full of promising prospects not just one or two to complete the feat.

Doubt the leadership all you want that they can't finish the job. But they are not changing any time soon so I'm hoping they can - I got nothing left but hope, everything else has been drained out of me over these 8 years.

Hope dies a slow painful death. A full house cleaning is in order. Lowe, MacTavish, Bukky, Smith, Eakins. The works. Experienced proven hockey management should be put in place. Expendable people that have to prove themselves and have no connection to an 80's old boys club. This team is a joke. We need bigger, stronger, tougher. The ownership group iced a way stronger team than this. This Katz era crap is a joke. Clean the f#@%ing house. Players too. Run and gun talented crap. Give me the Boston f#@%ing Bruins in Oilers jerseys. Im sick of this crap. Cant take it anymore.

Avatar
#234 HOFFFF
January 09 2014, 04:11PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
6
props
Tikkanese wrote:

Eakins isn't going anywhere. 5 coaches in 6 years, will not become 6 in 6 or 6 in 7 for that matter. That's just ridiculous. The fact that Eakins AHL squad easily adapted his Swarm and was very succesful with it is further proof that the players are the biggest problem with the Oilers. Not to mention that OKC has adapted the Swarm this season with no problems.

The assistant coaches could and quite possibly should be on the move.

Some of the players will be on the move first. It's just a matter of time. MacT doesn't want to make losing trades just for the sake of a shakeup and why should he? The season is lost already anyways.

Eakins has played for 20 different teams in 15 years. He was either a weak player or knew nothing about how the game is played. Our goalie coach only played 34 games in the NHL. Bucky and Steve Smith? Theres a couple of tacticians. Howson? Bizarre.

Avatar
#235 ubermiguel
January 09 2014, 04:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props
hall the time wrote:

It's called "Bar rescue" and its the best show ever. A lot of the time the managers or owner don't even know that their the problem, then they get yelled at by the host John Tafer.

We need a NHL team rescue big time.

Love that show. Who would be the host and come into yell at KLowe? I would love to see Messier tear him a new one. Bowman would have the experience and expertise.

Avatar
#236 outdoorzguy
January 09 2014, 04:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
9
props
ubermiguel wrote:

Love that show. Who would be the host and come into yell at KLowe? I would love to see Messier tear him a new one. Bowman would have the experience and expertise.

I thought that was what Pat Quinn was supposed to do. Is Pat Quinn still being paid? Or is it Mark Messier's job? What does Mark Messier do? This is a very strange organization.

Avatar
#237 outdoorzguy
January 09 2014, 04:21PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
+1
11
props
HOFFFF wrote:

Eakins has played for 20 different teams in 15 years. He was either a weak player or knew nothing about how the game is played. Our goalie coach only played 34 games in the NHL. Bucky and Steve Smith? Theres a couple of tacticians. Howson? Bizarre.

Eakins is at best a good car salesman. He sure sold McTavish a bill of goods on his supposed abilities. But then again, McTavish took the bait without any real due diligence.

Avatar
#238 Ryan2
January 09 2014, 04:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
6
props
Tikkanese wrote:

Eakins isn't going anywhere. 5 coaches in 6 years, will not become 6 in 6 or 6 in 7 for that matter. That's just ridiculous. The fact that Eakins AHL squad easily adapted his Swarm and was very succesful with it is further proof that the players are the biggest problem with the Oilers. Not to mention that OKC has adapted the Swarm this season with no problems.

The assistant coaches could and quite possibly should be on the move.

Some of the players will be on the move first. It's just a matter of time. MacT doesn't want to make losing trades just for the sake of a shakeup and why should he? The season is lost already anyways.

The fact that the SWARM does not work in the NHL is an indictment of the coach, not the players, as it is a flawed strategy that only works against less skilled players in the minors or juniors. It was a farce watching how many wide-open chances other teams had because the Oilers would overcommit under the SWARM. All of the ex-coach and player talking heads in the media that I heard commenting on it said the same thing - the SWARM can work in juniors, and maybe the AHL, but in the NHL it means that someone is always open and the players are good enough to find them. All it takes to beat the SWARM is two quick passes and you will find the open man in the high slot.

Eakins came into the big leagues with an AHL system and approach that would not work and the team was burned by it. That shows his inexperience. The question now is whether he is able to adapt and grow. So far, he has not shown that ability.

Avatar
#239 camdog
January 09 2014, 05:05PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
2
props
Ryan2 wrote:

The fact that the SWARM does not work in the NHL is an indictment of the coach, not the players, as it is a flawed strategy that only works against less skilled players in the minors or juniors. It was a farce watching how many wide-open chances other teams had because the Oilers would overcommit under the SWARM. All of the ex-coach and player talking heads in the media that I heard commenting on it said the same thing - the SWARM can work in juniors, and maybe the AHL, but in the NHL it means that someone is always open and the players are good enough to find them. All it takes to beat the SWARM is two quick passes and you will find the open man in the high slot.

Eakins came into the big leagues with an AHL system and approach that would not work and the team was burned by it. That shows his inexperience. The question now is whether he is able to adapt and grow. So far, he has not shown that ability.

I am not an expert on the Swarm, but if what you are saying is correct, it's just as much on Mact as it is on Eakins.

Avatar
#240 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 09 2014, 05:14PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
8
props
Serious Gord wrote:

Not defending Krueger - I think he was a mistake - but take a look at the schedule and the last ten games of this season:

SJ Anh NYR SJ Anh Pho Anh Col La Van

How many of those games is an Eakins-coached team going to win?

Had to trash on the Krueger comment. in that you think he was a mistake

He did a good job considering he had no real training camp.

He asked for help during the season (mact confirmed this after eakins hire) and didn't get it.

He was a rookie head coach who actually got some results (yes on a minor scale but compared to what is going on right now it looks miraculous)

He was building and espirit de cour within the team some guys were liking it (Yak said he loved the atmosphere under krueger) some may not have liked it I have never heard anyone being negative about him that way.

Krueger certainly not perfect but was only gonna get better.

So Detroit brings in Renney and looks like they are gonna bring in krueger. Not saying it will work but i trust the job the wings have done over the last 20 years. they have proven to be faily intelligent. Makes Lowe and MacT look aweful right now

Avatar
#241 S cottV
January 09 2014, 05:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props
Ryan2 wrote:

The fact that the SWARM does not work in the NHL is an indictment of the coach, not the players, as it is a flawed strategy that only works against less skilled players in the minors or juniors. It was a farce watching how many wide-open chances other teams had because the Oilers would overcommit under the SWARM. All of the ex-coach and player talking heads in the media that I heard commenting on it said the same thing - the SWARM can work in juniors, and maybe the AHL, but in the NHL it means that someone is always open and the players are good enough to find them. All it takes to beat the SWARM is two quick passes and you will find the open man in the high slot.

Eakins came into the big leagues with an AHL system and approach that would not work and the team was burned by it. That shows his inexperience. The question now is whether he is able to adapt and grow. So far, he has not shown that ability.

Exactly - his admitted trial and error learning curve cost this team points to the extent that they were out of any kind of playoff contention by mid Nov.

The swarm - for one of several things, was and still is a disaster in its mutated form.

I never thought the team was good enough to make the playoffs from the get go, but thought that they would at least stay in hopeful contention for much of the year. Play some meaningful games based on some even feint hope to go on a run and maybe get some help - to squeeze into an 11th hour playoff spot.

Now - we are in 29th place and could even slip to 30th by the end of the month, with who we are playing and with games that Buffalo has in hand.

The players know that this is worse than it needed to be.

It wont take much more adversity before things go too far and Eakins will lose that room.

If he is adapting and growing it will start to show. Not so much just in wins and losses but how things look to be shaping up for the better.

At this point - I am not sure anything looks better....

Avatar
#242 Byks
January 09 2014, 05:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props

"Who wants to be responsible? Whenever anything goes wrong, the first thing they ask is: who's responsible for this?" - Jerry Seinfeld

If you had a very, very large role in what's gone on over these past several years, and you're still involved (promoted, even, as some others have already mentioned), then you should be gone. Sorry, Mr. Lowe. But you're responsible for a LOT of this mess.

Avatar
#243 madjam
January 09 2014, 05:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props

Despite the terrible results over last 8 years one thing has remained escalating - the attendance of hockey fans dying to see NHL hockey in Edmonton . They want NHL hockey here and it is almost irrelevant that they have an upper eschalon team themselves . Not even management felt they would support hockey here through many bad years and teams . Yet they still do and come in in droves to support NHL hockey here . It is acceptable and not necessary to run a winning club here any longer . Those that complain or pull out are readily snapped up by others that are happy to watch the rest of NHL play here . At least occasionally we put up the odd good game to fill the stomachs of the avid die hard fan .

If it were necessary to have a winning club here to survive , I am sure Katz would have cleaned house by now .

Avatar
#244 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 09 2014, 05:20PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
7
props
Walter Sobchak wrote:

I'm going to have to defend Krueger here, I just want to clarify that I hate "what if's" so take it as you want.

A few facts as I see them.

Krueger never had the luxury of playing the softer East teams, Krueger had to play the much harder western teams.

Krueger had this team competing for a playoff position right into the trade deadline.

It was Tambellini & Lowe job to give him a team to compete with, when the injuries went down, Tambellini failed to act, causing the Oilers to drop dramatically in the standings.

Krueger got more out of less, his players on that roster were arguable worse then this team, that says a lot!!

With Krueger the "core" players showed huge improvement & his handling of all the kids was great.

Krueger respect around the NHL has been well documented, he wasn't a blow hole & seldom regurgitated the same nonsense that's heard by the present staff.

Krueger had his faults no doubt, but MacTavish fell in love with the Toronto hype & had to have his own shiny toy.

MacTavish could have moved Eakins into a co-coach much like Renney and Babcock, but made an awful decision to fire Krueger without allowing him at least a whole year.

This way MacTavish could have fired Krueger, had his coach in place & take no heat, instead just like everything else Oilers he made a piss poor decision.

F&^KIN A!!!!

Avatar
#245 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 09 2014, 05:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

@Consultant

What position do you hold within the Oilers management? Just curious

Avatar
#246 Anton
January 09 2014, 05:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props

The truth is that in NHL, you don't need fancy strategy because they are NHLers that are the best of the best hockey players in the world. Due to the talents that NHLers have, the simple strategy is good enough for most of the players. What is coach supposed to do? Find your opponents' weaknesses and attack in those fields. Not reviewing the tapes is irresponsible and unacceptable, but apparently that Oilers coaching staffs rarely review the tapes.

The reason I can see about why that team is regressing this year because that they cannot attack as efficiently as last year. If the team can shoot for more than 35 times and still lost then it is just an unlucky night, otherwise a team can shoot for more than 35 times on nightly bases rarely lost. If a puck has to play inside of your own zone then it is a terrible defense. A good forechecking is better than any defensive strategy that any coach can come up with. Simplify the play, let the players to figure the game on their own, let them do what they can do best, we can talk about how bad the defense that Oilers have and how many holes we had at the bluelines but how many of the contenders' D-men weren't came out of their own farms? Developing the players on the right track is much more important than constant wheeling and dealing to try to find the right fit, no smart and capable managers willing to give up those pieces because those players are the reason why that they are winning too.

Avatar
#247 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
January 09 2014, 05:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props
Anton wrote:

That is truly debatable, if you are looking at just the W-L column then yes that Oilers is a poorly run franchise. In business standpoint that considering the team is still making profit and has tons of marketable pieces within the franchise then it is not a "toxic organization".

If a team doesn't need to win and still manage to pull in the profit, then why the ownership need to concern about how the image of the team is representing? We can only assume that if the team kept on this downward spiral that eventually the franchise will see the deficit. However if the team is start losing money that Katz may even reconsider his relocating plan that he has suggested in the past. Sadly, he is holding this team hostage against the fans of Edmonton by not stopping being a vicious malevolent businessman.

may have been said but it does not take a genius to make money on the NHL in Edmonton when the economy is rolling. It is a no brainer only the truly insipid could screw this up.

Avatar
#248 Deke Rivers
January 09 2014, 05:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
4
props

It's not really a question of whether or not Lowe has a say, too much say, a group decision, a love in or whatever. He's the President of Operations and he's the one accountable. End of story. I can't believe that Katz became a billionaire by having executives stay in positions they were no longer effective in. Even the best executives, players, employees run their course with an organization. Scotty Bowman has moved on several times.Lowe is responsible, he's had his chance to make changes. It's time to try something new. Katz is too smart to not make the change while allowing Lowe to save face.

Avatar
#249 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 09 2014, 05:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props
Deke Rivers wrote:

It's not really a question of whether or not Lowe has a say, too much say, a group decision, a love in or whatever. He's the President of Operations and he's the one accountable. End of story. I can't believe that Katz became a billionaire by having executives stay in positions they were no longer effective in. Even the best executives, players, employees run their course with an organization. Scotty Bowman has moved on several times.Lowe is responsible, he's had his chance to make changes. It's time to try something new. Katz is too smart to not make the change while allowing Lowe to save face.

It's been said here before....hockey is a business...as long as the business is making money hand over fist the POHO is probably secure in his position....in business it's called "the bottom line"

Avatar
#250 Rod from Viking
January 09 2014, 05:55PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan) wrote:

What position do you hold within the Oilers management? Just curious

Cold Beeeerr, ice cold beeerr.

Comments are closed for this article.