SCORCHED EARTH

Lowetide
April 20 2014 06:37AM

parkatti tweet

I believe this sentiment drives much of the discontent in Oilers Nation these days. Why can't we have nice things? Colorado sucked for LESS time and are in the playoffs looking like the Oilers team we were promised!!!! What the hell? Where are the answers? After the break.

souray1

Steve Tambellini authored a devastating period in Oilers history and left a roster filled with forgettable. Tambellini never met an NHL player he couldn't rid himself of, he was quite impressive at the discipline.

  • Sheldon Souray said a few things? OFF to Chocolate City with him!!!
  • Dustin Penner has size, but won't use it? Kick him down the road for a pick that might turn out years from now.
  • His ‘stand and deliver’ July 1st 2011 series of transactions (bought out Souray, signs Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Eric Belanger, Corey Potter and trades for Andy Sutton) serves as his nadir.

It's easy to forget just how many useful people were sent away after Steve Tambellini arrived in late summer 2008.

  • Erik Cole, Edmonton gets Patrick O'Sullivan
  • Kyle Brodziak, Edmonton gets two picks (Bigos and Roy). Minnesota also gets a late pick they turn into Darcy Kuemper—who played for them last night.
  • Denis Grebeshkov.  Edmonton gets the pick that turned into Curtis Hamilton.
  • Lubomir Visnovsky. Edmonton gets Ryan Whitney and the Brandon Davidson pick.
  • Steve Staios. Edmonton gets Aaron Johnson and the pick that turns into Travis Ewanyk.
  • Riley Nash. Edmonton gets the Martin Marincin pick.
  • Dustin Penner. Edmonton acquires Colten Teubert and the Oscar Klefbom pick.
  • Andrew Cogliano. Edmonton acquires the Marco Roy pick.
  • Tom Gilbert. Edmonton acquires Nick Schultz.
  • Tobias Rieder. Edmonton acquires Kale Kessy.

RECOVERY

When Craig MacTavish took over this hockey team, they were very weak up the middle. Improvements last summer (Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference) added to mid-season fixes (Scrivens, Fasth) have Edmonton looking a little better at C, D and G.

There's a long way to go.

However, the scorched earth policy—which involved things like sending a capable defenseman to the minors as punishment for a moment of frustration—delivered an empty cupboard and made certain the early years of Taylor Hall were bleak. 

Steve Tambellini dealt Dustin Penner at the 2010-11 deadline, and the Oilers did not replace him until summer 2013 (David Perron).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

beer

When looking at a picture, it's vital to identify the real tragedy.

I understand the frustration that Michael Parkatti and all Oiler fans have today. This is draining, especially when Colorado makes it look so easy. But if you look at where they were in 2010 (they had 95 points and made the playoffs) and since then (seasons of 68, 88, lockout 39 and now 112 points), it doesn't compare with the scorched earth Oilers.

The one season that showed promise (2011-12 under Renney) Tambellini fired the coach and brought back Lennart Petrell. !!!!!!.

I know this is a difficult period, but if we're laying blame here let's have the conversation. It's hard to rebuild an empire from rubble overnight.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#102 Spydyr
April 20 2014, 03:46PM
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Lowetide wrote:

One would hope that Lowe would be looking to improve the team in other areas. The hiring of Bob Green last summer might be an example, and of course overseeing what is a pretty damn big hockey ops department must take all day.

Howson is MacT's right hand man, Olzcyk does the cap stuff, Carriere, Sillinger, there's a lot to oversee.

He may also be involved in recruiting new coaches and scouts, as an example.

And of course, MacT and Lowe are tight so discussions about hockey players, trades, etc no doubt take place.

I don't have any evidence Kevin Lowe is in charge. And I haven't seen any. Until then, I think we're just running around in circles about things that really don't matter.

It's a mess. EVERYONE involved has to take some blame, including Katz, Lowe, MacT, and really going back all the way to EIG if you want to begin at the beginning.

Going back to when Slat's left.The EIG promoted a person not ready and with no experience to GM.He failed and got promoted again.The Peter Principle at it's finest.

What a mess.

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#104 Reggie
April 20 2014, 04:01PM
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C'mon man,

These people are suppose to be professionals and getting paid for it. 8 years of this . This must be a comedy because no one would believe this is non-fiction

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#105 Spydyr
April 20 2014, 04:04PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I remember that period well, it seemed like Sather was signing Michael Henrich one day and gone the next. A couple of weeks later, Kevin Lowe is sending Roman Hamrlik to the Island.

That was 2000 summer. My son was six. He is now 20.

Man, time flies.

At the time it looked like Slats had enough of having to answer to the EIG. Like having twenty some bosses.

Lowe was hired as an NHL assistant coach with no experience as one.Then a NHL head coach once again with no experience then GM again no experience and finally POHO you guessed it no experience.

I sense a pattern.

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#106 Spydyr
April 20 2014, 04:11PM
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Reggie wrote:

C'mon man,

These people are suppose to be professionals and getting paid for it. 8 years of this . This must be a comedy because no one would believe this is non-fiction

It is a farce of Shakespearean proportions.

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#107 RexHolez
April 20 2014, 04:12PM
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Lowetide wrote:

I remember that period well, it seemed like Sather was signing Michael Henrich one day and gone the next. A couple of weeks later, Kevin Lowe is sending Roman Hamrlik to the Island.

That was 2000 summer. My son was six. He is now 20.

So hasn't Lowe been given enough chances then? Does it even matter what he does anymore? it's been proven that no matter what his role is he can't preform it to a high level

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#108 BURROWSHASCRABS
April 20 2014, 04:35PM
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Please are you kidding!! Colorado had good goaltender and was out shot almost every game. Luckiest bastards in the NHL. What a joke that the hockey Gods completely helped those f#$ks all damn year. Ya ok I'm a bit jealous we never get that lucky fine I admit it!

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#109 Turnbull
April 20 2014, 04:49PM
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RexHolez wrote:

So hasn't Lowe been given enough chances then? Does it even matter what he does anymore? it's been proven that no matter what his role is he can't preform it to a high level

He can't even preform to a mediocre level, nevermind high level. There is no argument to be made that Kevin Lowe should remain in the organization

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#110 RexHolez
April 20 2014, 04:55PM
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I've been to enough draft parties, can't wait to go to a "Lowe is finally gone party"

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#111 Lando
April 20 2014, 05:01PM
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The negativity here is getting a little melodramatic. Whoever said that Taylor Hall doesn't compare to any of the Ave's young talent needs to give their head a shake. The dude is one of the best players in the league and he's proving it on the most pathetic team in the NHL. Imagine what he could do with a real centre. Patience is running thin with the fans that is clear but it's going to take at least another 5 years for the Oilers to be a contender. There's a huge chance the Oil will draft Macdavid next year. If the hype is true he'll step into the league and be a force like Crosby. The sucking has got to stop eventually doesn't it? Yes it does and it will..... Have faith Oilers fans!

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#112 Pinder
April 20 2014, 05:11PM
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Someone tweeted the hope that Mact could be a ' magician ' at the draft and presumably after the start of free agency. All Mact and his man on the job, Eakins have done that is magician-like is to make talent and established success ' vanish '.

Even after the Oil started to give up man advantage 2 & 3 on 1 chances Eakins refused to adapt and the Oil started setting records for short-handed goals against. THAT is magical. To coach at the NHL level and be that inept is amazing.

When coaching is the weakest link in your oganization you are destined to ape the Oiler's performance this season and probably for several seasons to come or until changes are made. Based on Mact end'o disaster message I hold out little hope of that happening.

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#113 tileguy
April 20 2014, 05:14PM
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Nice job by the Canadians for a little pre game entertainment.

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#114 Dog Train
April 20 2014, 05:54PM
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This team has been mismanaged ever since the great purge of the post-cup run summer. It started with Lowe and continued with Tambellini. We've traded away/let go of so many valuable players over the years. Stoll, Glencross, Brodziak, Cogliano, etc. We sure couldn't use any of those useful players.

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#115 RexHolez
April 20 2014, 06:12PM
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@Dog Train

This team wasn't very good before the cup run either. Pronger fell into KLowe's lap and they went on 1 miracle run. These guys have been living off that ever since

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#116 Shredder
April 20 2014, 06:19PM
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Any idea while a bunch of the Oilers declined to play at the worlds'?

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#117 Pat
April 20 2014, 06:25PM
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Lowetide wrote:

One would hope that Lowe would be looking to improve the team in other areas. The hiring of Bob Green last summer might be an example, and of course overseeing what is a pretty damn big hockey ops department must take all day.

Howson is MacT's right hand man, Olzcyk does the cap stuff, Carriere, Sillinger, there's a lot to oversee.

He may also be involved in recruiting new coaches and scouts, as an example.

And of course, MacT and Lowe are tight so discussions about hockey players, trades, etc no doubt take place.

I don't have any evidence Kevin Lowe is in charge. And I haven't seen any. Until then, I think we're just running around in circles about things that really don't matter.

It's a mess. EVERYONE involved has to take some blame, including Katz, Lowe, MacT, and really going back all the way to EIG if you want to begin at the beginning.

LT,

Forgive the short essay. I've long been a big fan of your work, but I think that your article here re: Tambellini weaves a narrative that is in no small part fictitious. At the same time, it's a narrative that loyal fans HAVE to bring themselves to believe, because the alternatives are too repugnant for many dedicated fans to swallow.

As you suggest, I suppose that there is no evidence that KL is technically "in charge." But you know it's not that simple. In fact, that suggestion seems to be a pretty common trope for alleviating Lowe of significant responsibility for this mess. In fact, going back to his 2008 'promotion', I think that this is precisely one of the things that Katz had in mind: put him in a role where he still has influence, but where he can be much more immune from responsibility. In other words, get him out of the line of fire. This of course is hardly an original suggestion -- I believe you've recognized it in your own work, LT. Regardless, the gambit has worked brilliantly. When Lowe is criticized, we routinely hear the defence of "Kevin Lowe isn't in charge, he's not making the decisions anymore." I think that your comment is a species of that type of defence. I also think it's an oversimplification.

As others have pointed out here, it's pretty clear that Lowe is still a significant player in managerial decisions. That's not to say that MacT has to clear all player personnel decisions with Lowe. But I think it's difficult to deny Lowe's ubiquity in this organization -- look at episodes of Oil Change, he always seems to be on the front lines of management discussions. Look even at his official profile on the Oilers site, which describes him as "an integral part of the management and scouting team that selected Taylor Hall with Edmonton’s first ever number one overall draft pick in 2010, as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and Nail Yakupov in 2012." (http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33071 ). He's not just a figurehead.

You clearly realize this, given your concluding comment above, namely that 'everyone involved has to take some blame'. Indeed, the problem is systemic, as most of us recognize. But it seems to me that 'taking blame' isn't really synonymous with truly being accountable when it comes to this organization. For the Oilers, taking blame means writing a letter and promising that the future is bright (a promise that has now become strikingly similar to the predictions of apocalyptic groups concerning the return of Jesus and/or the end of the world).

If the organization was truly devoted to accountability , I simply don't see how so many of the same old faces would be around (Lowe, Buchberger,and to a lesser degree Smith), or get recycled (MacT, Howson), after so many years of abysmal failure. On top of that, I genuinely wonder where these guys would ultimately land if they were suddenly let go. I just can't see them being serious candidates for high-ranking positions in other NHL organizations. What this reflects of course is something that people have pointed out repeatedly: many key players in management/coaching have not earned (and *retained*) their positions on merit, but rather on account of the systemic cronyism in this organization.

Ultimately, I think it's right to lay this at the feet of Katz. When he bought the team, I naively thought that he would not only infuse more money into the team, but also ensure that management didn't get a free pass. I was obviously wrong. It's a toy for him -- he gets to work with his heroes from the past, and maybe he'll eventually even win with them ("even a squirrel finds a blind nut..."). That's his prerogative to take that approach -- it's his team. But I can't bring myself to support it anymore. Not that it matters. Until recently, I would only take my son to a few games a year anyhow, and I know there's a waiting list for season tickets (I also doubt that more losing will have much of an impact on attendance, as we're all ecstatic about the very existence of a new arena).

But make no mistake, our franchise has become a joke. Just think about it. If we transplanted our set of circumstances to the Canucks, the Leafs, or the Flames, for example, we would rightfully have a hayday ridiculing them. It's tragic, but when we look at ourselves honestly in the mirror, this franchise has, in terms of respectability, been at its nadir for some time. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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#118 Pat
April 20 2014, 06:31PM
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@Pat

Ha. Sorry, I meant "even a blind squirrel finds a nut..."!!

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#119 Karma
April 20 2014, 06:36PM
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Shredder wrote:

Any idea while a bunch of the Oilers declined to play at the worlds'?

Cuz they don't play for less than 74grand a game. Plus they don't like playing in spring

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#120 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2014, 07:06PM
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David S wrote:
Anyone who doesn't feel the 18 yr old in process, and players who don't compete out, may want to rethink their position this team is only a second line center and a top pairing blueliner away from competing again. This team needs impact players no matter how old they are. Edmontons only shot at this is by selecting half a dozen more entry level players who can step right in. Overcome the stupidity of this management group.

This is the freakin' NHL. The best league in the world. There's no such thing as "half a dozen entry level players who can step right in". Just because a kid is knocking it out of the park with the Oil Kings doesn't mean he's ready for prime time in the big show. That's high school lunch talk.

You keep hanging onto the dream that 3 or 4 actual NHL players are going to come in and save us.

Hold onto that fantasy there David, just like management hoped you would. You know what I mean when I say half a dozen more (over the next 3 yrs, in the system/yet to be drafted)

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#121 Bringbackslats
April 20 2014, 07:20PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Thanks for your kinds word, appreciated. I can't write those words, because I don't believe them to be true.

Craig MacTavish is, in my opinion, the de facto GM of the Edmonton Oilers. I don't believe he would have come back if the job involved being a glorified assistant.

I also believe the transactions have improved since MacT arrived (Perron, etc) so would suggest he'd had a positive (although not perfect) impact.

In regard to Tambellini's time as GM, we don't have any proof to show Kevin Lowe was piloting the ship during Tambellini's time here.

If we go back and look at the final moves by Tambellini (acquiring Smithson for a good pick, trading Tobias Rieder for Kale Kessy) the lack of creativity in those deals screams Tambellini.

Now, you say it's Lowe, and I say there's no proof.

Bottom line: it doesn't matter. Kevin Lowe's job was to find a suitable GM to replace him and he did not deliver.

After that, we're just arguing specifics. If you're asking me 'did Kevin Lowe fail in his role after 2005 trade deadline'? the answer is a clear yes.

I don't have evidence to stick his name on the Tambellini moves. If I did, or anyone can provide proof, I'd be delighted to write that story.

Same goes for MacTavish. If he's a puppet, that's one of the saddest stories in sports history. A guy survives the Oilers post-Pronger, leaves, overcomes Cancer, gets his degree, and cashes all of that for the right to run down the hall and ask for permission to take a leak.

THAT would be a story.

LT,

Well all I can say is your humility is admirable. You manage to connect me (As an Edmonton man born in'73) to events and names that I can only recall in broken and vague mumbles of from the Dads of my youth. So you provide an hommage to a history that I cherish hearing about. And often told with humour and insight... So thank you. And I admire that without proof, you won't castigate a guy willy nilly. You're definitley not a knee jerk reactionary. I felt MacT was the man for the job, precisely because I could think of nowhone else that could come in and do things exactly as he wanted. I guess it just bothers me that Lowe seems to be at the scene of the crime year in and year out. I pointedly asked one of the reporters on the "inside" about the issue, and it was confirmed to me that Tambo was merely a puppet. It's hearsay coming from a guy on a blog chat, but I do believe there's much truth to it. Keep it up LT...We're all more insightful hockey fans for it!

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#122 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2014, 07:23PM
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Pat wrote:

LT,

Forgive the short essay. I've long been a big fan of your work, but I think that your article here re: Tambellini weaves a narrative that is in no small part fictitious. At the same time, it's a narrative that loyal fans HAVE to bring themselves to believe, because the alternatives are too repugnant for many dedicated fans to swallow.

As you suggest, I suppose that there is no evidence that KL is technically "in charge." But you know it's not that simple. In fact, that suggestion seems to be a pretty common trope for alleviating Lowe of significant responsibility for this mess. In fact, going back to his 2008 'promotion', I think that this is precisely one of the things that Katz had in mind: put him in a role where he still has influence, but where he can be much more immune from responsibility. In other words, get him out of the line of fire. This of course is hardly an original suggestion -- I believe you've recognized it in your own work, LT. Regardless, the gambit has worked brilliantly. When Lowe is criticized, we routinely hear the defence of "Kevin Lowe isn't in charge, he's not making the decisions anymore." I think that your comment is a species of that type of defence. I also think it's an oversimplification.

As others have pointed out here, it's pretty clear that Lowe is still a significant player in managerial decisions. That's not to say that MacT has to clear all player personnel decisions with Lowe. But I think it's difficult to deny Lowe's ubiquity in this organization -- look at episodes of Oil Change, he always seems to be on the front lines of management discussions. Look even at his official profile on the Oilers site, which describes him as "an integral part of the management and scouting team that selected Taylor Hall with Edmonton’s first ever number one overall draft pick in 2010, as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and Nail Yakupov in 2012." (http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33071 ). He's not just a figurehead.

You clearly realize this, given your concluding comment above, namely that 'everyone involved has to take some blame'. Indeed, the problem is systemic, as most of us recognize. But it seems to me that 'taking blame' isn't really synonymous with truly being accountable when it comes to this organization. For the Oilers, taking blame means writing a letter and promising that the future is bright (a promise that has now become strikingly similar to the predictions of apocalyptic groups concerning the return of Jesus and/or the end of the world).

If the organization was truly devoted to accountability , I simply don't see how so many of the same old faces would be around (Lowe, Buchberger,and to a lesser degree Smith), or get recycled (MacT, Howson), after so many years of abysmal failure. On top of that, I genuinely wonder where these guys would ultimately land if they were suddenly let go. I just can't see them being serious candidates for high-ranking positions in other NHL organizations. What this reflects of course is something that people have pointed out repeatedly: many key players in management/coaching have not earned (and *retained*) their positions on merit, but rather on account of the systemic cronyism in this organization.

Ultimately, I think it's right to lay this at the feet of Katz. When he bought the team, I naively thought that he would not only infuse more money into the team, but also ensure that management didn't get a free pass. I was obviously wrong. It's a toy for him -- he gets to work with his heroes from the past, and maybe he'll eventually even win with them ("even a squirrel finds a blind nut..."). That's his prerogative to take that approach -- it's his team. But I can't bring myself to support it anymore. Not that it matters. Until recently, I would only take my son to a few games a year anyhow, and I know there's a waiting list for season tickets (I also doubt that more losing will have much of an impact on attendance, as we're all ecstatic about the very existence of a new arena).

But make no mistake, our franchise has become a joke. Just think about it. If we transplanted our set of circumstances to the Canucks, the Leafs, or the Flames, for example, we would rightfully have a hayday ridiculing them. It's tragic, but when we look at ourselves honestly in the mirror, this franchise has, in terms of respectability, been at its nadir for some time. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Bravo Pat

Well said.

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#123 David S
April 20 2014, 08:12PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

You keep hanging onto the dream that 3 or 4 actual NHL players are going to come in and save us.

Hold onto that fantasy there David, just like management hoped you would. You know what I mean when I say half a dozen more (over the next 3 yrs, in the system/yet to be drafted)

There are no forwards "in the system" right now or in the foreseeable future that are able to competently fill out our bottom six, which is where the biggest problem lies. We tried every one of the current crop over the last month and to a one they all suck.

Anybody we draft this year might, MIGHT be a worthwhile contributor 2-3 years from now. If anything it's you who has bought into the "grow from within" fallacy the team continually spins. It's the ultimate get out of jail card.

We're going to need some quality NHL players and we'll have to execute a few painful trades and/or overpay to get them. THAT is the truth of the matter.

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#124 Rick Stroppel
April 20 2014, 08:18PM
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Shredder wrote:

Any idea while a bunch of the Oilers declined to play at the worlds'?

In an INCREDIBLE coincidence, Hall, Eberle and RNH all suffered nagging injuries toward the end of the year. These injuries prevented them from playing ZERO games in the last month of the season, but they will not be able to play in the world championships...with two weeks to overcome whatever problems they had.

Perron and Scrivens said yes. If the US team asks Matt Hendricks to play, what do you think he will say?

Is it not telling that a huge part of what little leadership and grit the Oilers had this year came from three players who been with the team for less than eight months?p

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#125 David S
April 20 2014, 08:22PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

@ mr David S ( apparently I forgot how to reply properly ) I had originally planned in tearing you a new one for posting such foolishness. But if you take a look at Lowes body of work in 2005 -06 he acquired Pronger Peca Samsonov Spacek and Roloson. Easily one of the best seasons for acquiring talent in the teams history. He proved that season he could build a winner.

Lowes own time frame for this rebuild was 5 years to be a cup contender if I remember correctly. Counting down from the Taylor hall draft Mac T and Lowe have to move approximately ten spots up the standings in both the upcoming seasons for this goal to be a reality ( like that's going to happen!).

Lowe threw the team in the ditch. No question about that. Do you think he will be able to dig them out. Personally I think someone else is going to have to be up to the task. I can't wait for next season anymore.

There's at least a dozen quality posters just here and over at LT's blog who have laid out any number of plausible solutions. These guys are no more than ardent fans, not people who have spent their entire lives in the game at the highest levels. It seems to me building a competent (mind you - not necessarily contending) team isn't that difficult.

If there was a real desire on behalf of Lowe (and more so Katz) to put together a group of players that could legitimately compete for a playoff spot it would be done.

The real question nobody wants to tackle is - why isn't this happening? This dilemma is in part due to the fact the exploration of that question probably falls out of the context of a hockey blog for fans.

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#126 oilerfaninwinnipeg
April 20 2014, 08:24PM
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stop buying tickets!!! and tell everyone to stop buying tickets. then their will be change.

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#127 Scrivy
April 20 2014, 08:26PM
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Can we stop scorching the earth now? Like can we start making moves that make sense, instead of deliberately falling into the lotto every year?

Is it time to start building?

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#128 Bryzarro World
April 20 2014, 08:33PM
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Why can't we make nice things? 3 words: Katz and Kblowe

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#129 Bryzarro World
April 20 2014, 08:39PM
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Pat wrote:

LT,

Forgive the short essay. I've long been a big fan of your work, but I think that your article here re: Tambellini weaves a narrative that is in no small part fictitious. At the same time, it's a narrative that loyal fans HAVE to bring themselves to believe, because the alternatives are too repugnant for many dedicated fans to swallow.

As you suggest, I suppose that there is no evidence that KL is technically "in charge." But you know it's not that simple. In fact, that suggestion seems to be a pretty common trope for alleviating Lowe of significant responsibility for this mess. In fact, going back to his 2008 'promotion', I think that this is precisely one of the things that Katz had in mind: put him in a role where he still has influence, but where he can be much more immune from responsibility. In other words, get him out of the line of fire. This of course is hardly an original suggestion -- I believe you've recognized it in your own work, LT. Regardless, the gambit has worked brilliantly. When Lowe is criticized, we routinely hear the defence of "Kevin Lowe isn't in charge, he's not making the decisions anymore." I think that your comment is a species of that type of defence. I also think it's an oversimplification.

As others have pointed out here, it's pretty clear that Lowe is still a significant player in managerial decisions. That's not to say that MacT has to clear all player personnel decisions with Lowe. But I think it's difficult to deny Lowe's ubiquity in this organization -- look at episodes of Oil Change, he always seems to be on the front lines of management discussions. Look even at his official profile on the Oilers site, which describes him as "an integral part of the management and scouting team that selected Taylor Hall with Edmonton’s first ever number one overall draft pick in 2010, as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011 and Nail Yakupov in 2012." (http://oilers.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=33071 ). He's not just a figurehead.

You clearly realize this, given your concluding comment above, namely that 'everyone involved has to take some blame'. Indeed, the problem is systemic, as most of us recognize. But it seems to me that 'taking blame' isn't really synonymous with truly being accountable when it comes to this organization. For the Oilers, taking blame means writing a letter and promising that the future is bright (a promise that has now become strikingly similar to the predictions of apocalyptic groups concerning the return of Jesus and/or the end of the world).

If the organization was truly devoted to accountability , I simply don't see how so many of the same old faces would be around (Lowe, Buchberger,and to a lesser degree Smith), or get recycled (MacT, Howson), after so many years of abysmal failure. On top of that, I genuinely wonder where these guys would ultimately land if they were suddenly let go. I just can't see them being serious candidates for high-ranking positions in other NHL organizations. What this reflects of course is something that people have pointed out repeatedly: many key players in management/coaching have not earned (and *retained*) their positions on merit, but rather on account of the systemic cronyism in this organization.

Ultimately, I think it's right to lay this at the feet of Katz. When he bought the team, I naively thought that he would not only infuse more money into the team, but also ensure that management didn't get a free pass. I was obviously wrong. It's a toy for him -- he gets to work with his heroes from the past, and maybe he'll eventually even win with them ("even a squirrel finds a blind nut..."). That's his prerogative to take that approach -- it's his team. But I can't bring myself to support it anymore. Not that it matters. Until recently, I would only take my son to a few games a year anyhow, and I know there's a waiting list for season tickets (I also doubt that more losing will have much of an impact on attendance, as we're all ecstatic about the very existence of a new arena).

But make no mistake, our franchise has become a joke. Just think about it. If we transplanted our set of circumstances to the Canucks, the Leafs, or the Flames, for example, we would rightfully have a hayday ridiculing them. It's tragic, but when we look at ourselves honestly in the mirror, this franchise has, in terms of respectability, been at its nadir for some time. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Great read!

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#130 Rick Stroppel
April 20 2014, 08:45PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

In an INCREDIBLE coincidence, Hall, Eberle and RNH all suffered nagging injuries toward the end of the year. These injuries prevented them from playing ZERO games in the last month of the season, but they will not be able to play in the world championships...with two weeks to overcome whatever problems they had.

Perron and Scrivens said yes. If the US team asks Matt Hendricks to play, what do you think he will say?

Is it not telling that a huge part of what little leadership and grit the Oilers had this year came from three players who been with the team for less than eight months?p

PS: THOSE GRAPES ARE PROBABLY SOUR!

At the 2011 IIHF World Championships, these players were in the top five in scoring: Patrik Berglund, Tomas Plekanec, John Tavares.

In 2012, these players were in the top five: Malkin, Zetterberg, Loui Erickson.

In 2013, these players were in the top five: Paul Stasny, Ily Kovalchuk, Steven Stamkos.

Now you really cannot expect Hall, Eberle and RNH to go test themselves against some of the best players in the world. After all, what's in it for them?

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#131 Bryzarro World
April 20 2014, 08:46PM
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David S wrote:

There are no forwards "in the system" right now or in the foreseeable future that are able to competently fill out our bottom six, which is where the biggest problem lies. We tried every one of the current crop over the last month and to a one they all suck.

Anybody we draft this year might, MIGHT be a worthwhile contributor 2-3 years from now. If anything it's you who has bought into the "grow from within" fallacy the team continually spins. It's the ultimate get out of jail card.

We're going to need some quality NHL players and we'll have to execute a few painful trades and/or overpay to get them. THAT is the truth of the matter.

Actually the truth is our top 6 are a joke. Supposed to lead and set an example but fall short. Way short.

What is screwing with the bottom 6, AGAIN, going to do when there is no substance on the top end? Get rid of Eberle, get Yak out of the crapper and if you do that, see which 2 of the remaining 3 you will keep. Trade the one most expendable and get what this team really needs, heart!

Easier said than done when other teams covet the same and we have monkeys steering the ship....

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#132 Bryzarro World
April 20 2014, 08:51PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Thanks for your kinds word, appreciated. I can't write those words, because I don't believe them to be true.

Craig MacTavish is, in my opinion, the de facto GM of the Edmonton Oilers. I don't believe he would have come back if the job involved being a glorified assistant.

I also believe the transactions have improved since MacT arrived (Perron, etc) so would suggest he'd had a positive (although not perfect) impact.

In regard to Tambellini's time as GM, we don't have any proof to show Kevin Lowe was piloting the ship during Tambellini's time here.

If we go back and look at the final moves by Tambellini (acquiring Smithson for a good pick, trading Tobias Rieder for Kale Kessy) the lack of creativity in those deals screams Tambellini.

Now, you say it's Lowe, and I say there's no proof.

Bottom line: it doesn't matter. Kevin Lowe's job was to find a suitable GM to replace him and he did not deliver.

After that, we're just arguing specifics. If you're asking me 'did Kevin Lowe fail in his role after 2005 trade deadline'? the answer is a clear yes.

I don't have evidence to stick his name on the Tambellini moves. If I did, or anyone can provide proof, I'd be delighted to write that story.

Same goes for MacTavish. If he's a puppet, that's one of the saddest stories in sports history. A guy survives the Oilers post-Pronger, leaves, overcomes Cancer, gets his degree, and cashes all of that for the right to run down the hall and ask for permission to take a leak.

THAT would be a story.

He came back because nobody else really wanted him. How many offers did he have? Why was he on tv if he is such a great hockey mind and not snapped up by another franchise? Ya....

How many ahl coaches do you know that got promoted to GM of an nhl franchise after a year? Hmmm... Also proof? Even his bit on gregor's show was proof enough

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#133 Rama Lama
April 20 2014, 09:07PM
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Pinder wrote:

Someone tweeted the hope that Mact could be a ' magician ' at the draft and presumably after the start of free agency. All Mact and his man on the job, Eakins have done that is magician-like is to make talent and established success ' vanish '.

Even after the Oil started to give up man advantage 2 & 3 on 1 chances Eakins refused to adapt and the Oil started setting records for short-handed goals against. THAT is magical. To coach at the NHL level and be that inept is amazing.

When coaching is the weakest link in your oganization you are destined to ape the Oiler's performance this season and probably for several seasons to come or until changes are made. Based on Mact end'o disaster message I hold out little hope of that happening.

Come on man, you are missing the point!

Prior to Eakins coming on board none of our players knew that eating donuts was bad for them.

None of them could chop water and none of them knew how to carry wood.

Eakins taught them how to play positions other than their natural positions.

Eakins taught them to respect the suit, and not spray water.

Eakins taught them to be patient and lose gracefully.

What ever made you think Eakins is at fault here??

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#134 #ThereGoesTheOilers
April 20 2014, 09:31PM
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@Rama Lama

You forgot to bash his slick hair. You've made your point.

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#135 #ThereGoesTheOilers
April 20 2014, 09:35PM
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@Pat

Pat, everything you said is bang on. Thank you for summing up how I and many other fans feel so succinctly.

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#136 andrewmk20
April 20 2014, 09:36PM
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Wow I didn't quite realize just how bad Tambellini was as a GM until you put together his entire body of work. Hope he doesn't have a "Milbury Effect" on the team.

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#137 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2014, 10:06PM
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@David S

We're going to need some quality NHL players and we'll have to execute a few painful trades and/or overpay to get them. THAT is the truth of the matter.

____________________________________________________________________________

You don't believe they've tried already David? Nobody has chased more players and received the proverbial "thanks, but no thanks" than the Oilers. They aren't coming!

New blood in, till there's something to build on is the only option.

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#138 ubermiguel
April 20 2014, 10:11PM
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@Pat

Well said Pat. Under-performance of this scale has to fall at the feet of Katz. I have a feeling he has a hard time firing under-performing employees; I'll bet if we could look at his pharmacy businesses we'd see the same thing. The other thing Katz never dealt with is a zero-sum business. He competed by buying and combining pharmacies. There's no such business model in hockey.

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#139 David S
April 20 2014, 10:28PM
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Bryzarro World wrote:

Actually the truth is our top 6 are a joke. Supposed to lead and set an example but fall short. Way short.

What is screwing with the bottom 6, AGAIN, going to do when there is no substance on the top end? Get rid of Eberle, get Yak out of the crapper and if you do that, see which 2 of the remaining 3 you will keep. Trade the one most expendable and get what this team really needs, heart!

Easier said than done when other teams covet the same and we have monkeys steering the ship....

Our top six consists of 5 of six young men 23 or younger being charged with bringing pretty much all the scoring. Take a look at the playoffs and see how the best teams are able to spread out the load over all four lines (i.e. San Jose tonight).

We're asking young players not fully developed to carry the load night in and night out against the best players in the world. They might be able to do it for a while but it wears them out. ON TOP OF WHICH we're trying to get offensive thoroughbreds - guys who were drafted for goal scoring ability first and foremost - to play defensively oriented Horcoff hockey.

Simply put, if we had balanced scoring throughout the lineup alot of the problems we're seeing today wouldn't exist. That means our bottom six has to be far better than what we currently have.

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#140 Karma
April 20 2014, 10:34PM
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David S wrote:

Our top six consists of 5 of six young men 23 or younger being charged with bringing pretty much all the scoring. Take a look at the playoffs and see how the best teams are able to spread out the load over all four lines (i.e. San Jose tonight).

We're asking young players not fully developed to carry the load night in and night out against the best players in the world. They might be able to do it for a while but it wears them out. ON TOP OF WHICH we're trying to get offensive thoroughbreds - guys who were drafted for goal scoring ability first and foremost - to play defensively oriented Horcoff hockey.

Simply put, if we had balanced scoring throughout the lineup alot of the problems we're seeing today wouldn't exist. That means our bottom six has to be far better than what we currently have.

I can't even count how many times our bottom six has been rebuilt in the last 4 years. Either they're not the problem or management doesn't know how to do it

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#141 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2014, 10:59PM
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Mike Brown 5'11" 195 lbs.

Raffi Torres 6"0" 201 lbs.

Who knew smurfs like these could contribute....

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#142 RexHolez
April 20 2014, 11:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Mike Brown 5'11" 195 lbs.

Raffi Torres 6"0" 201 lbs.

Who knew smurfs like these could contribute....

Bring me Bennet!

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#143 Quicksilver ballet
April 20 2014, 11:20PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Bring me Bennet!

You are a wise man.

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#144 hagargt
April 21 2014, 12:00AM
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It's all Tambos fault still..

Mctavish has given this team an honestly 2 fold improvement in roster strength, but we can still mention Tambo as a fault?

Tambo should be spoken of as a past creature.. I understand he has set this team up with issues, but he has been irrelevant for like 3 years now.

Come on guys? Let's blame me next for not cheering hard enough. These are the most expensive merry go round tickets I have ever imagined or bought.

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#145 Pinder
April 21 2014, 12:09AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

Come on man, you are missing the point!

Prior to Eakins coming on board none of our players knew that eating donuts was bad for them.

None of them could chop water and none of them knew how to carry wood.

Eakins taught them how to play positions other than their natural positions.

Eakins taught them to respect the suit, and not spray water.

Eakins taught them to be patient and lose gracefully.

What ever made you think Eakins is at fault here??

My bad. Silly me.

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#146 -30-
April 21 2014, 07:25AM
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Katz might not be a stupid as he seems when it comes to hockey.

How do you get people to buy tickets to the Oil Kings if everyone is infatuated with a winning Oilers team?

Why of course you tank the Oil. People will still be lining up around the block for seasons tickets no matter how bad the team is.

Don't believe me? Has Katz been a dummy in his business life? How come he's so stupid when running an NHL franchise?

-30-

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#147 madjam
April 21 2014, 07:36AM
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Of course it's always the players , and not the people who bought them in that is at fault ? Such is the nature of C.Y.A. (Cover Your Ass ) managerial practice - pass the buck . Who bought these players in all these years and still is here ? Most of them and some even a second go around , and still having negative results . I'd rather have an entire new group bringing in players than to continue to run with current people bringing in more failed projects , etc.. There assessments are obviously flawed to begin with as past practice shows clearly . They want our faith but have not come close to earning it on merit .

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#148 K_Mart
April 21 2014, 08:51AM
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Lowetide wrote:

One would hope that Lowe would be looking to improve the team in other areas. The hiring of Bob Green last summer might be an example, and of course overseeing what is a pretty damn big hockey ops department must take all day.

Howson is MacT's right hand man, Olzcyk does the cap stuff, Carriere, Sillinger, there's a lot to oversee.

He may also be involved in recruiting new coaches and scouts, as an example.

And of course, MacT and Lowe are tight so discussions about hockey players, trades, etc no doubt take place.

I don't have any evidence Kevin Lowe is in charge. And I haven't seen any. Until then, I think we're just running around in circles about things that really don't matter.

It's a mess. EVERYONE involved has to take some blame, including Katz, Lowe, MacT, and really going back all the way to EIG if you want to begin at the beginning.

"Overseeing a big hockey ops department". What does that even mean?

Really, what is Lowe actually being paid to do?(if he's not pulling any strings)

You can't just invent a position and then do nothing.

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#149 VMR
April 21 2014, 09:07AM
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I dont think it really matters whether Lowe was or is pulling the strings. I think we've reached the point where it's clear that the ideas here arent working. That not only can Lowe not build a decent team but he hasnt built a decent management group. The continued failure shows the ideas are wrong to continue building based on the flawed plans and shoddy foundation is just futile. We need someone with different ideas on what it takes to build a successful team and that means sweeping out all the dead wood.

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#150 Chainsawz
April 21 2014, 09:26AM
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If there's ever a concern...

http://oilersnation.com/2014/1/8/if-theres-ever-a-concern-hands-on

My favorite part...

"...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."

This strongly implies that Katz involves himself in the decision making process of player personnel decisions with these two scenarios at a minimum most likely having been played out.

I'd rather him set out a budget and approve broad season by season objectives. Leave the hockey decisions to hockey minds.

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