We were in the midst of peppering Gregor and Brownlee’s articles with commentary about Sheldon Souray demanding a trade when we remembered that we could actually write an article of our own and force everyone to listen to our opinion too. We gave ‘er a day to calm down, but calm down we have NOT.
Although we generally agree with most everything Brownlee and Gregor have to say, we dispute with the idea that Souray has done the team a disservice by opening his mouth about his disdain for Oilers management. The timing wasn’t great we will grant you that, but it pulls back the curtain and reveals the Wizard for all to see.
One of the things that has pissed us off the most this season was the complete lack of accountability on the part of Players, Coaches and the 7,382 Managers of the team. The arrogance displayed by virtually every single member of this organization has been hilariously disconnected with the performance on the ice. Contenders for the Cup are entitled to a certain level of arrogant swagger.
30th place Crap Squads? Not so much.
With the exception of Ryan Whitney – who has been awesomely honest in the papers and on the air – the Oilers have to a man remained silent all season and have been content to give the usual platitudes as to why things are going poorly.
Finally someone has had the stones to shed light on an area many here on the Nation have long suspected and secretly hoped has been the case – players don’t like it here in Edmonton in large part because of team management.
Not because of the pot holes in our roads, not because of the Northernly weather patterns or the lack of night life. Instead it is the people running the team and their attitudes towards the players, which seems to eerily echo their attitude towards the rest of us fans.
For years now we Oilers fans have been subjected to numerous slights and insults from the other 29 Cities in the League. First CFP left town in a hail storm of rumour and innuendo. Then Hossa spurned us, then Heatley. Jagr burned us too somewhere in there, as did Bouwmeester and countless other free agents that have told Edmonton to eff off behind closed doors.
All the while media types have been quick to suggest that the reason players didn’t want to sign here had more to do with things we could not control. Weather, quality of living in the City, ugly ass buildings and uglier citizens. Every insult imaginable was hurled in our direction and resulted in a dark cloud of emotion unfairly hanging over our City since 2006.
Thanks to Sheldon Souray, plans to pick up and move the entire City of Edmonton 500 miles in a warmer direction can be put on hold. The problem instead is actually quite solveable: get new people to run this squadron.
"You talk about Prongs (Chris Pronger) and guys like that, and it should raise an eyebrow when players who leave town are skipping out with a smile on their face."
Our eyebrow is so raised it popped clean off our head and ran down the street. We hear you loud and clear Big Sexy.
You have to wonder how many players (both here and long since gone) have echoed these sentiments behind closed doors but lacked the nuts to say it aloud, letting the City of Edmonton take the brunt of the blame for the reason why players seek to ply their trade elsewhere.
PRIMA DONNA BS?
The counterpoint to all of this of course is the idea that it is Souray that is the problem and not Tambellini, not Kevin Lowe and not anyone else associated with the team.
This is certainly possible and we wouldn’t put it past Souray to be embellishing the issues he has had with the team as part of a larger "get me the hell out of here" type strategy. Some of the other quotes in the article make no sense, at least if you have been paying attention for the past year or two.
QUOTE 1: I WAS OFFERED MORE MONEY ELSEWHERE
"People will question me, that they overpaid me … that it was a bad decision to sign me. But I can tell you this: I turned down more money in other places" Souray was quoted as saying.
Er, wasn’t the story going around that the Oilers came out of nowhere to offer him substantially more money than any other team in the running? Didn’t the Oil open up the same vault that they have creaked open from time to time with disastrious results with the likes of Horcoff, Khabibulin et al?
QUOTE 2: I HAVEN’T TALKED TO ANYONE
"The Oilers always prided themselves in being a family. Whatever happened to that? I haven’t talked to (Tambellini) since mid-January."
Er, didn’t Souray give the Oilers a list of teams he wanted to go to just prior to the trade deadline? How do you provide a list of teams without speaking to anyone directly? This is shady too, but perhaps one can do all of one’s talking via an agent. We don’t have an agent, so we don’t know.
If we DID have an agent we would be all "what the business Agent? How come you ain’t got me no deodorant endorsements? You know I gots them pheremones people wanna emulate!"
AT LEAST KAY-Z NOW KNOWS THE SCORE
Much has been said about Daryl Katz’s ownership and management style of the team. An admittedly non massive hockey fan, Katz has been content to rule the team from afar, staying out of day to day matters and making the occasional comment or interview to Stauffer.
As is the case with most power ballers, Katz gets the bulk of his performance reporting on the company from a handful of his top level executives and in the instance of the Oilers, Katz gets all his information from Lowe. It’s easy to see how Katz could be led down the proverbial primrose path by eventual Hockey Hall of Famer Lowe and Company.
"Things are working their way through Daryl," they would nervously explain. "We have had some ill timed injuries and some players depart. But once we get through the draft and start winning again people will sign. Don’t you worry."
With the revelations courtesy of Big Sexy, a new problem has been brought to the surface. Management seems to be the issue here in Edmonton and now this is all out in the open.
For a guy like Katz, he really just wants to ice a winner and finally receive some good PR for paying close to thrice what this team was actually worth. Comments like these by Souray won’t lead to the immediate dismissal of anyone, but it certainly provides some weighty insight as to what is wrong with this team.
FINAL TEETH GNASHING
Is Souray right or wrong? Is he part of the solution to righting this Titanician hockey team? Or instead is the best looking Oiler since Igor Ulanov part of the very same problem that has led to the considerable decline of the quality of Ice Hockey around these parts?
When #44 looks in the mirror this morning is he gazing longingly at his sexy good looks – content to look out for number one – or is he staring smack dab into the tender eyes of the man who has blown the lid off the real problem with the Oilers?