ORGANIZATION NEEDS FIXING

Jason Gregor
March 24 2014 01:56PM

OilersBroken

On January 27th, 2009 the Oilers got crushed at home 10-2 by Buffalo. It was considered the lowest of low points for the Oilers. But then the 2010 season happened, followed by the 2011 campaign, the 2012 season and then this past Saturday the 29th place Oilers got humiliated 8-1 by the 26th place Calgary Flames. Many said it was the low point for a once proud and successful franchise.

We've learned that things can get better, however, they can also get worse.

The Oilers organization is broken, on and off the ice, and it needs fixing.

For the past eight seasons, specifically the past five, we've discussed the woes of the Oilers. It is my job to analyze and discuss the pros and cons of the Oilers. I, and all of the Nation, have offered up various different scenarios over the years, but most of the glaring weaknesses seemed obvious.

The team is too small, not gritty enough, not skilled enough on the backend and not experienced enough throughout the lineup. Steve Tambellini didn't solve any of those issues and was fired last April. He was the only GM who didn't feel the need to stabilize his blueline. Since taking over Craig MacTavish has done a better job of recognizing the weaknesses and trying to improve them, but he too has made some mistakes.

Signing Sam Gagner to a three-year extension at almost $5 million, based mainly on a lockout-shortened season was ill-advised, especially when it meant the Oilers would use two small, skilled centres moving forward.

The best teams have strength down the middle, on the blueline and in goal. Of course having an elite winger like Taylor Hall helps, but an elite centre and defenceman are a necessity for championship teams. The Oilers drafted a winger with their first pick in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Jordan Eberle and Hall were great picks, but drafting Nail Yakupov gave them more of the same.

However, I can't blame one or two picks for the downfall of the organization. There are much larger issues within the organization, and while some might suggest some of these have nothing to do with winning, I'd argue that leadership comes in many forms, and without strong, secure leadership an organization will struggle to succeed.

WORK IN THE NOW...

  • The Oilers are either focused on the past or the future, but they don't spend enough time in the now. I understand having some connection to the past successes. Most organizations do, but winning organizations also bring in people in key positions who have no connection to past glories. You need a mix, and the Oilers have struggled with that. If something goes wrong it is the new "outside" guy who takes the fall. Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Ralph Krueger, yet the assistant coaches who are former Oilers, Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith always escape the ax. It is great to have loyalty within an organization, but it can't be blind. You can't continually handcuff a head coach and not allow him to pick his assistants. It doesn't work.

  • For the past four seasons the Oilers have marketed and pushed "the future." They will be great in the future. The kids will be the core moving forward, but you need to concentrate on the entire process not just the end goal. The team gave the young players every opportunity to succeed, and felt they'd lead the team to the playoffs, but they handed them icetime, often when they weren't ready to handle it, and they didn't insulate them with enough quality players to support them when their inevitable inexperience would surface. You can't win in the future, if you aren't taught or shown what it takes to win today.

    When the Oilers were winning 30 years ago with a young group of players, they had veterans like Lee Fogolin who kept them in line. Glen Sather also didn't coddle them. He banished Mark Messier to the minors when he showed up late, and he didn't give them massive contract extensions after only two seasons.

    The Oilers have been in a constant struggle of how to handle their young stars. Just because Taylor Hall was ready to dominate at 20 doesn't mean Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov were. And that is okay, because like children in your home, they all mature at different rates and you can't raise them in the exact same fashion. But the Oilers seemingly wanted them all happy, so they gave them icetime and opportunity regardless of how they played.

  • In 2009/2010 they had Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and Ladislav Smid on their blueline. It wasn't an elite D corps, but it had a solid combination of size, experience, skill, puck moving abilities and nastiness. But before Hall played one NHL game that group was dismantled. How do you expect your skilled forwards to produce if they don't have experience and skill on the blueline? Instead of insulating their skilled forwards with a veteran, skilled blueline they downgraded the most important position on a young team. That decision has hampered this organization for the past five seasons.

MADE IT PERSONAL...

  • At times the Oilers don't seem to take criticism very well, even when it comes from within. Most of us hate hearing criticism, but if you ignore, try to control it or banish those who speak out then you won't learn from it. When Sheldon Souray questioned the organization's leadership, communication skills and medical standards he was banished to the minors. Tambellini and the Oilers choose to make an example of him, bury a good asset in the minors and ice an inferior lineup, just because he spoke publicly about issues he saw within the organization. To make matters worse, most of the things he said seemed accurate. The Oilers changed their training and medical staff later that off-season, and two years later they realized Tambellini was not a good communicator. Souray might not have gone about it the best way, but his words were true. Clearly, Tambellini didn't like what Souray said, but he let it get personal and cloud his judgement. What was worse is that the organization allowed it to happen. Someone needed to make the tough decision and tell Tambellini to get over it. You can't be thin-skinned in professional sports.

  • Even today amid all of the losing, if someone questions the Oilers on how they do things on or off the ice they are instantly defensive. Kevin Lowe got fired up when John MacKinnon asked him at Craig MacTavish's press conference why this hire would be any different. Tell them their music playlist on game days is the worst in the league -- even visiting writers point out how awful it is -- and the Oilers will tell you it is fine. Music won't make players bigger, stronger, faster or more mature, but anyone who thinks Adele is going to pump up your players or fans on opening night is living in a fantasy world. They should be striving to improve every aspect of their game day experience, regardless of how big or small of a factor it has on the game.

TODAY

1322205873061_ORIGINAL

  • One loss or one victory in an 82-game season won't make or break the year, however, when you lose as bad as the Oilers did on Saturday you can understand why many aspects of the Oilers are being questioned. This is bigger than one or two people. MacTavish is in charge of fixing it, but he can't do it alone. The coaches need to be better, and more composed. The players have to be better. The scouts, pro and amateur, need to be better. The owner needs to be better. Everyone in the organization needs to be better, but the main decision makers need to have thick skin and expect some vitriol from the fans. You can't expect your fans to pay huge dollars to watch the team lose year after year and just accept it with a smile on their face.

  • I don't agree with fans throwing jerseys on the ice. I understand being sick and tired of losing, but the jersey toss isn't the way to go. However, I received an email from a fan who said he turned his jersey inside out during Saturday's game as a protest to how they are playing. Later in the game he was asked to leave and was told that his "jersey turn" was embarrassing. I tried to get confirmation if that was indeed true, and I couldn't, although I have no reason to believe the fan fabricated the story. I can understand not allowing jerseys to be tossed, but if the organization can't handle fans showing their disgust by turning a jersey inside out, then they are the ones who should be embarrassed. I believe that is the best type of protest. It shows the Oilers you respect the jersey/logo, but that you aren't proud to wear it right now. Do that, but stop throwing jerseys on the ice.

  • I don't think "water-bottle-gate" was a big deal. Coaches and players disagreeing with each other is not new. It has happened for years, but when your team is in 29th and you are getting destroyed on home ice it becomes a bigger deal than it really is. Whether the Oilers like it or not the optics of Dallas Eakins blasting Hall for tossing his water bottle and soaking the coach will add fuel to an already out-of-control fire.

    Had Eakins showed as much disgust or anger to his players for constantly tossing pizzas up the middle of ice ice, turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, or not battling hard enough in the D-zone then I doubt anyone cares about the water bottle incident. But in a losing season, when a tossed water bottle garners that much ire from a coach, it gives people a negative perception of the organization. 

    A tossed water bottle and subsequent spraying of the coach has zero impact on the standings, but it gives people reason to question how the organization will react when something significant goes awry. When you are constantly losing every action will be scrutinized. It doesn't mean it is right, but it will happen. I don't think it was a big deal. Hall is emotional and he admitted he lets his emotions get the better of him at times, but Eakins has no issues with Hall and Hall has no issues with Eakins. Like two brothers squabbling they said their piece and moved on. Eakins wouldn't say it during his press conference today, but you know he would love more guys who play with the same passion as Hall, and would rather have to calm guys down than try to fire them up.

PARTING SHOTS...

On Friday I pondered why Jimmy Quinlan's retired Edmonton Rush banner can only hang from Rexall Place's rafters on game nights, and why the Oil Kings' eastern championship and regular season banners as well as the Rush's 2010 western conference banner are never visible. I went looking for an answer.

I asked Stew Macdonald, chief revenue officer of the Oilers, what was the reasoning behind these decisions.

"Outside of the Oilers retired players banners, we communicated this to the Rush and Oil Kings in their infancy, that the only other pieces that would hang full time in the building were championship banners and that is why the Oil Kings just have league championships and Memorial Cup banners," explained MacDonald.

Jason Strudwick and I discussed this on my radio show on Friday, and he said he loved going to rinks and seeing the banners hanging, regardless of if it was hockey, basketball, lacrosse or any other sports. It allowed you to know the history of the BUILDING, not just the main tenant. I completely agree, and I think it is very unfortunate that Quinlan's retired jersey isn't hanging from the rafters every day.

I asked MacDonald if they have looked at re-adjusting this decision now the Oil Kings have won three consecutive eastern conference titles and Quinlan has his number retired. "The decision at the time was based on the volume of banners that could go in the building. The Oil Kings had many banners from previous years in Edmonton, and so we addressed that policy at the time and what is fair for the Oil King is fair for others," MacDonald explained.

I don't understand how buildings in Boston, Philadelphia and other places can hang so many banners, but in Edmonton having too many is a concern. It does not look good on the Oilers and Northlands in my opinion. 

So what will happen in the new rink? "We haven't discussed that yet, we are focusing on the design first," said MacDonald.

Will the Oilers decide not to hang the Smythe division and regular season championship banners in the new rink? Will they only have retired jerseys and championship banners? It might happen.

I'd be just as disappointed if they went that route as I am with the decision to currently not showcase the Oil Kings successes and Quinlan's jerseys. Winning is hard. Who knows when the next Oilers banner or jersey will be raised to the rafters? The Oil Kings won't always be a dominant team, and the Rush might not have another retired jersey for two decades. You should honour those teams and individuals and remind fans, players and new comers to the city about some of the great teams that played in the building.

I think our city should celebrate winning, not just championships, because those are extremely rare. If the Oilers, Oil Kings and Rush start winning so much that there is no space for all the division, conference and championship banners, then we'd could look at taking some down, but for now I'd much rather see all the accomplishments of those teams hanging proudly from the rafters.

What do you think? 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR:

    Ddf3e2ba09069c465299f3c416e43eae
    One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
    Avatar
    #101 kgo
    March 24 2014, 09:27PM
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    Oilerboy1112 wrote:

    Who ruined the Oilers?

    a) Steve Tambellini b) Daryl Katz c) Dallas Eakins d) the assistant coaches and the goal-tending coach e) all of the above f) a and b g) a, b, and d

    g)

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    #102 Count
    March 24 2014, 09:27PM
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    Dave wrote:

    This is a very interesting post. So the owner has his hands on hockey decisions. I would suggest that the Krueger firing may have also have directed by the owner. No hard evidence, it just seems that MacT's change of course was just too sudden.

    Uhm no the Kruger firing was all on mct.katz keeps his mouth shut.

    Leave Katz alone,he will eventually get rid of the management.but he wants to keep them until klowe plan finishes.

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    #103 Count
    March 24 2014, 09:29PM
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    @kgo

    I)the idiots fans on the internet.

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    #104 Danger Pay
    March 24 2014, 09:45PM
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    The consistent losing is one thing but I do not want to hear any of the young core talking about playoffs over this up-coming off season. I bought into the pre-season hype of a push for a playoff spot this year hook line and sinker and the team was literally out of it by November! The message from Hall, Ebs, Nuge better be an honest effort every night! Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice and I will wear my Sweater Inside Out every time until they make the damn post-season!

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    #105 BigE91
    March 24 2014, 09:49PM
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    By my own stupidity, I made a bet that the Oilers would be ahead of the Flames in the standings on January 1st. Not only did I lose the bet the agreed upon payment was for the loser to purchase tickets to a game later in the season.

    As such I am going to the game Friday against Anaheim. I will not be tossing any jerseys on the ice regardless of the outcome. What I think would be great is if at some point on the game the crowd stood up and turned their backs to the ice, as has been done in some football/soccer stadiums over the years.

    I'd be more than willing to stand up in protest of what's the organization has done to this team. Personally, though they could play better i don't blame the players or the coach. They're just playing the hand they've been dealt.

    Anyone else willing?

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    #106 TheresAlwaysNextYear
    March 24 2014, 09:56PM
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    BigE91 wrote:

    By my own stupidity, I made a bet that the Oilers would be ahead of the Flames in the standings on January 1st. Not only did I lose the bet the agreed upon payment was for the loser to purchase tickets to a game later in the season.

    As such I am going to the game Friday against Anaheim. I will not be tossing any jerseys on the ice regardless of the outcome. What I think would be great is if at some point on the game the crowd stood up and turned their backs to the ice, as has been done in some football/soccer stadiums over the years.

    I'd be more than willing to stand up in protest of what's the organization has done to this team. Personally, though they could play better i don't blame the players or the coach. They're just playing the hand they've been dealt.

    Anyone else willing?

    I had free tickets to the games vs the flames but I decided not to go. Oh boy, did I make the right decision. You're on your own. I don't want to see another slaugther.

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    #107 Count
    March 24 2014, 10:03PM
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    Count wrote:

    I)the idiots fans on the internet.

    Or w) for the whores NHL free agent marry.

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    #108 Rob F
    March 24 2014, 11:48PM
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    The banner thing ticks me off just thinking about it

    thats another example of this organizations hubris

    so they want to act like they are part of the fabric of the community as we pay our hard earned dollars to watch CRAP, but do not want to share the spotlight with other teams that are part of the community........this is the equivalent of a selfish, self absorbed entitled a-hole

    Oilers, if you're gonna be losers, at least be loveable losers......nothing loveable about this organization right now

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    #109 LoweBlow
    March 25 2014, 12:16AM
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    Count wrote:

    I)the idiots fans on the internet.

    Are you a PR firm paid to troll this site?

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    #110 RexHolez
    March 25 2014, 12:36AM
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    Hey look... people are still commenting on oiler blogs...??? hallelujah someone still does give a f***!

    don't worry guys, eventually this team will be slighty better then pathetic. when you get so many high draft picks that the league changes the draft rules to make it fair for everyone else, it really doesn't matter how bad your coaching or management is, they'll eventually have no choice but to be better then the worst team in the league.

    so, to sum up... all the kids have to do is be slightly better then pathetic, inspite of coaching or management, and then let lowe sit back and tell everyone how good he is for a year or 2. then he'll retire and we can get serious about winning again! I say 10-15 years more, tops!!

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    #111 Count
    March 25 2014, 12:40AM
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    LoweBlow wrote:

    Are you a PR firm paid to troll this site?

    No,i am the smart guy on here,who reads stupidity from moron also go to hf boards.

    Idiots are many on here

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    #112 Count
    March 25 2014, 12:40AM
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    LoweBlow wrote:

    Are you a PR firm paid to troll this site?

    No,i am the smart guy on here,who reads stupidity from moron also go to hf boards.

    Idiots are many on here

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    #113 RexHolez
    March 25 2014, 12:50AM
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    can oilernation help me out? i'm looking for a kevin lowe supporter that owns their own business. you see, i'm looking for a new job and I don't want to get fired just because i'm the worst person at doing my job. I want a boss who will be patient with me

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    #114 RexHolez
    March 25 2014, 12:51AM
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    Count wrote:

    No,i am the smart guy on here,who reads stupidity from moron also go to hf boards.

    Idiots are many on here

    smart people don't double post... just saying

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    #115 Count
    March 25 2014, 12:56AM
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    RexHolez wrote:

    smart people don't double post... just saying

    Hey less than smart double posting happened because of an accident with the server. Did not mean to double post

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    #116 RexHolez
    March 25 2014, 01:03AM
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    i'm gonna take offense of you calling me _____, just because im bored and a petty argument with a primitive blow hard is always entertaining for a few minutes.

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    #117 Count
    March 25 2014, 01:51AM
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    RexHolez wrote:

    i'm gonna take offense of you calling me _____, just because im bored and a petty argument with a primitive blow hard is always entertaining for a few minutes.

    Blowhard is you,dip.... .bye the name of hellhammer and muzrub I punish to helvette

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    #118 Andrew
    March 25 2014, 02:18AM
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    Your remarks in 'Parting Shots' is as much of an insight as I can stand. What a bunch of selfish, thin-skinned boneheads. The Oil are a reflection of Katz and Lowe's real feelings about even the other parts of their own sports properties let alone their attitude about the city and the fans.

    In my opinion there is a massive disconnect between ownership, management and everyone else. Sometimes not knowing about the Oilers organization and the nature of the personalities involved is preferable to seeing a rotten inner core.

    Thanks for asking the questions though. MacDonald's comments and the attitude behind them are hard to stomach.

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    #119 Count
    March 25 2014, 02:27AM
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    Andrew wrote:

    Your remarks in 'Parting Shots' is as much of an insight as I can stand. What a bunch of selfish, thin-skinned boneheads. The Oil are a reflection of Katz and Lowe's real feelings about even the other parts of their own sports properties let alone their attitude about the city and the fans.

    In my opinion there is a massive disconnect between ownership, management and everyone else. Sometimes not knowing about the Oilers organization and the nature of the personalities involved is preferable to seeing a rotten inner core.

    Thanks for asking the questions though. MacDonald's comments and the attitude behind them are hard to stomach.

    God you are dumb.

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    #120 Dalg
    March 25 2014, 02:43AM
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    Reid Wilkins said otherwise on the "Fan kicked out for turning his jersey inside out. He was overly apologetic, but also made a decent case.

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    #121 Fresh Mess
    March 25 2014, 06:31AM
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    Rick Stroppel wrote:

    AMATEUR SHOW

    People forget what a valuable commodity Souray was when all this went down. In his last full season with Edmonton, 2008-09, he was 32 years old his numbers were 23-30-53, plus one, in 81 games. Tambellini buried him in the minors to satisfy a grudge. Lowe backed up Tambellini.

    I wouldn't trust these JACKASSES to run a Midget AAA team.

    It's really hopeless. The Little Billionaire is determined to give jobs to his Glory Boy idols. Time to find another Canadian NHL team to root for.

    Souray was so valuable that 29 other teams passed on taking him for free off waivers. Let's not revise history.

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    #122 Fresh Mess
    March 25 2014, 06:46AM
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    There are problems with Oilers business operations too. I have heard of several serious issues.

    The continual ticket sellouts are the legacy of the copper jackets and a testament to the dedicated customer base in northern Alberta.

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    #123 Brian
    March 25 2014, 08:43AM
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    Coming off a shoot out loss against Calgary last night , the Sharks are looking forward to a light skate/scrimmage tonight to hone their skills.

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    #124 Oiler Al
    March 25 2014, 09:05AM
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    Count wrote:

    No,i am the smart guy on here,who reads stupidity from moron also go to hf boards.

    Idiots are many on here

    Count, without the O, you must be an idiot you appear on this board several times. If you dont loke it .... get lost.

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    #125 Count
    March 25 2014, 09:25AM
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    Oiler Al wrote:

    Count, without the O, you must be an idiot you appear on this board several times. If you dont loke it .... get lost.

    Excuse me no I am not an idiot . You and the anti oilers fans should get lost.

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    #126 Gored 1970
    March 25 2014, 09:45AM
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    So what happens if they announce Eakins will return next year and a number of players subsequently request to be traded? The top 5 players in the draft can go anywhere - what if they think the Oiler organization is so dysfunctional they tell the Oil not to draft them because they won't be reporting? Yes, the Oilers' rock bottom may still be lower.

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    #127 Oiler Al
    March 25 2014, 09:49AM
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    Jason Gregor wrote:

    I never liked Gagner contract. I felt they rushed after one decent 48-game season. Yes, going to arbitration or a one-year deal would have been a risk, but so was signing a three-year deal. The broken jaw has changed things, but Gagner still hasn't improved his defensive game.

    As for off-ice. You can't fire anyone in business side. They are selling out. Hard to argue when making money.

    I wouldn't fire someone over the DJ, but I'd look at improving it. Just like I'd change the rule on banners. It makes them look like bullies. I'd look at how we can win over fans with actions in the community, because the on-ice product is not winning over fans.

    The owner needs to stay out of player personnel decisions, other than giving MacTavish a budget. I have mentioned often that the owner telling his scouts he wanted Yakupov when they wanted to take Murray is not the way to do business.

    That is how bad organizations stay or become bad. Let his scouts and MacTavish decide who to draft. If he tells MacT he can spend $68 mill then trust him that he will spend it correctly, and don't start telling your amateur scouts who to draft.

    One can only deduce that Katz is involved with hockey Ops through Lowe and MacT, perhaps in a dictatorial manner to achieve his vision of a winning team,otherwise he would or should have made changes based on the chaotic results of this franchise since his ownership.

    In other words if a lot of these ideas come from Katz, how can he fire Lowe or MacT, who essentially are his messengers.

    There are dozens of examples of ownership meddling ,Leafs,Bills, Cowboys even Flyers..etc., they never turn out pretty.

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    #128 LoweBlow
    March 25 2014, 09:53AM
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    Count wrote:

    Excuse me no I am not an idiot . You and the anti oilers fans should get lost.

    The general ignorance in nearly every word of your posts is baffling. How you somehow convince yourself that you're the smartest clown I'm the room screams of psychiatric disorder, or a seriously bad upbringing.

    You're on a hockey blog. If you can't respect differences in opinion, you have no business being here. Furthermore, you aren't much of a Canadian either if you can't tolerate a fellow hockey fans vitriol. Grow up and take a look at the big picture.

    The people you're calling dumb have been loyal fans of this team for decades. They were selling out their barn for even losing seasons. That patience has worn. You should be happy they're still at least posting their disdain. The next step is apathy. Then you'll just be alone.

    Speaking of apathy. DSF is done, eh? Haven't seen him in weeks. That's too bad.

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    #129 Andrew
    March 25 2014, 10:06AM
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    Count wrote:

    God you are dumb.

    Phoff. Mange-moi.

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    #130 mdiakiw
    March 25 2014, 11:43AM
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    Good article, and yes the last parting shots regarding the banner hanging is definitely disappointing. Edmonton is passionate about their teams, and would like nothing better than to celebrate success regardless of the logo on the banner or jersey.

    The problems with the Oilers run deep, not just on the ice, but off. I can't imagine Katz would run any of his other businesses this way, it seems to be a masturbatory exercise to keep the celebrated boys on the bus in his close circle, to go out and collect the shiniest new toys at the draft, and toss his money around to ensure that the city is forever thankful for 'rescuing' the franchise. I can only imagine that the community group that once owned the team is thanking their lucky stars that they got out when they did.

    I'm living in Calgary now, and every time the Flames win yet another game, a little piece of me dies. But the fact is that they have a solid, non-star-laden team that works hard every game. And they have no bones about sending down a high round draft pick to the minors to refine his game. Their upper management is readily available to the press, and the results are paying off.

    I have a 92 year old grandmother who listens to every game. Then calls me to tell me how awful the game was. She usually has some pretty solid insights - they don't play like a team, and someone needs to school those young players in accountability and responsibility. I believe her words were 'no more partying until you can win a game'. LOL I joke, but there's some legitimacy behind that - maybe a trip to the minors instead of multi-million dollar contracts is in order. They might not learn new hockey skills, but I'm not convinced that hockey skill is what our top players need - they need to learn how to work hard, that a career in the NHL isn't a given regardless of where you're drafted, and that there are loads of young players who would kill for the opportunities that you are currently pissing away.

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    #131 Chris
    March 25 2014, 12:01PM
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    I don't think blowouts are necessarily a sign of problems with a team. Remember when we blew out the Blackhawks 9-2 in 2011? Not too much wrong with their team! For me, the point at which I realized we had some serious problems was when we went on that goalless streak.

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    #132 northof51
    March 25 2014, 01:26PM
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    I'm being too lazy to read through the comments so this might have been beat to death, but I have zero objections to the jersey toss. It's your money, spend it however you want. But, if you have tossed your jersey, don't pretend you stuck it out through the dark ages after this team finally returns to being a cup contender.

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    #133 Zarny
    March 25 2014, 02:40PM
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    Great article. An accurate critique without the overblown rhetoric or revisionist history that plagues so many comments.

    It's unfortunate many forget Colorado finished 29th last year after ascending to 20th the year before. Poor goaltending, lackluster D and down years for Duchene, O'Reilly and Stastny all contributed. It was so bad Giguere had to publicly lecture the young players about focusing on hockey not their Vegas vacations after the end of the season.

    The haters also seem to conveniently forget that Stastny was drafted back in 2005 with Crosby and was criticized for poor two-way play until he was ~ 25 y/o. Or that McKinnon was drafted 4 year after Duchene and 8 years after Stastny. Or that it took 10+ years for LA, Chi and StL to build into contenders. Somehow though fans expected Edmonton's rebuild to only take 3-4 years. Unrealistic expectations to say the least.

    I think Mr. Gregor gets to the crux of the problem with the Oilers' focus on the future instead of the here and now. Katz/Lowe etc deluded themselves into believing they had the luxury of time and let their foot off the gas.

    The Oilers didn't have to tank to draft Taylor Hall. Last place was what the 2006 roster unraveled to after Pronger left, Lowe spent 2 years chasing the dream with offer sheets and Tambo's first year culminated with Heatley's snub.

    The Oilers had Hall in the bag, Eberle from '09, Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff and a respectable blueline. There was no doubt Edmonton would be a bad team for a few years but there was no need to go scorched earth. It made little sense not to plan around the limited talent the Oilers already had. Or else trade Hemsky and any other asset deemed to be expendable immediately not 4 years later.

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    #134 Veritas
    March 25 2014, 03:03PM
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    Rob F wrote:

    The banner thing ticks me off just thinking about it

    thats another example of this organizations hubris

    so they want to act like they are part of the fabric of the community as we pay our hard earned dollars to watch CRAP, but do not want to share the spotlight with other teams that are part of the community........this is the equivalent of a selfish, self absorbed entitled a-hole

    Oilers, if you're gonna be losers, at least be loveable losers......nothing loveable about this organization right now

    You said it!

    If we're going to have "Rush" banners up, let's have some for other great events at Rexall -

    Oprah Bon Jovi Keith Urban Dr. Oz - that's coming up soon! Billy Graham (quite some time ago) Guns 'n' Roses Kiss

    The list goes on! If you're going to open it up to non-sports like Lacrosse, let's be fair about it and include Oprah.

    V

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    #135 northof51
    March 25 2014, 03:05PM
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    @Zarny

    I think the Colorado example is a great one. But their fall down the standings led to a change in both management and head coaching, and it has paid off in spades.

    I am not a fan of the revolving head coach, but there has been regression under Eakins and I think he should be shown the door. Maybe someone else will resonate with this group, a la Patrick Roy in Denver?

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    #136 Veritas
    March 25 2014, 03:09PM
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    JS95 wrote:

    There is no way I am renewing my Oilers season tickets. I hate to break it to you guys but this team is a lost cause... I have no clue why we continue to waste our time and $ on this team. Things will only change once that support evaporates. Its as simple as that.

    I went to the last Rush game and was blown away by what I saw. This is a very legit sport and an unreal team. To the guy saying its a fake sport, obviously you havent been to a game. The boys and I had a blast at the last game and I couldn't believe that Rexall was half empty for this event. Love the Oilkings but the OilKings are still kids... From here on out I plan to attend every Rush game and help support their perfect season.

    They deserve it whereas the Oil definitely do not.

    And I'm sure you'll line up for season's tickets when we get roller derby and lingerie football. That's the type of market space the Rush occcupies. What a joke - the Rush truly make this city look bush league.

    V

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    #137 Joey jo jo junior shabadoo
    March 25 2014, 04:38PM
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    Read the book MINDSET by Carole Dweck - it is the perfect description of the Oilers leadership or lack thereof. The Oilers management has a "fixed mindset" - trying to protect their EGOs instead of learning how to do things better in the "growth mindset". They are not interested in their own growth as an organization. The banner situation in Gregor's post is a perfect example - if the fans see the Oil Kings doing well they will think we are awful!?! It is backwards thinking and will be the downfall of any business or organization.

    Turn your jerseys inside out - turn your back to the game in progress - whatever will help send a message to this owner.

    I for one will watch Oil Kings and UofA until things change - but I still read OilersNation :)

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    #138 Woogie63
    March 25 2014, 05:33PM
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    Whats broken?

    They are building a state of the art arena , that will be the envy of the league, debt free.

    They have a young billionarie owner, spending his money up to the cap.

    Basically sold out every game.

    One of the strongest economies in North America, and really no competition in town.

    At least 4 players that are worth watching most nights.

    If Dubynk was the goalie he was suppose to be, if Plante, Teubert, Hamilton, PitLick and Lander were contributing in the NHL... How would you feel about you team

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    #139 FireKLowe
    March 25 2014, 07:22PM
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    27Ginge wrote:

    Whoever the Oilers draft this year can take one of the two following courses of action:

    1) Say all the right things, work hard and become a proud Oiler.

    2) Refuse to wear the jersey at the draft and demand a trade immediately channeling their inner Lindros.

    I know which course of action the Oilers deserve but I am not sure which one I am hoping for.

    I hope all the fans at the draft boo the Oilers when they go up to the podium to make their 2nd overall pick.

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