FINALLY SOME LEADERSHIP

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.

BEHOLD

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.

Ahhhhh.

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. 

LET’S REWIND

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?

  • Harlie

    all this talk of retiring Lowe's number 4 jersey should end right now. We should in fact be retiring the 44 jersey. It is the Judas Jersey. We should hang it in the rafters with bullet holes and skid marks on it. The hockey gods may like us for our offering.

  • 44 is garbage. I used to really like him notwithstanding his one dimensional game because I thought he was a classy guy. This whole situation reeks of duplicity. I've already chronicled my thoughts in an epic comment battle with Arch so I won't re-invent the wheel here.

    BUT . . .

    If 44's comments are the catalyst that results in getting K-Lowe and Tambo punted I will once again bow down at the altar of Big Sexy. I don't care if they would be fired for the wrong reasons as long as they don't let the door hit their asses on the way out.

  • Poo Czar

    I hereby nominate Dr. Randy Gregg as Oilers Hockey Overlord / Vice-Kingpin to the Throne of remembering The 80's.

    Super smart? Check. Boy on the Bus? Check. Non-threatening Ginger? Check. Non-douche? Check. Medical Doctor who won't jeopardize the health of the Players? Check.

    EDIT: Formatting fail? Check!

  • Chaz

    I suppose we could chalk this up as another whiney overpaid NHLer stabbing backs on his way out of town, but Big Sexy just doesn't seem to be that type. He plays with a lot of honor, and I imagine in this case if he says there's smoke, there must be fire.

    Instead of being jilted and focusing our ire on the player leaving town like we in Oil Nation always do, I hope this issue puts an even more glaring light on the management of this team. We'll be watching you Tambo, et al. Tread softly my friends, softly, or we will visit the Interwebs and write about you…

    • JohnQPublic

      So you know Souray, and this just "doesn't seem like him"? We should just agree with a player who has now joined the ranks of Lindros, Heatley, Yashin, and any gun – toting NFL'er who cries publicly about the wrongs mgmt. have pulled on his $5 Million earning self – because he "plays with honor"?

      Laughable. Souray shoots himself in the foot echoing what we all knew anyway. BTW this is the same player who didn't show up to his exit interview last season crying about nobody calling him THIS year.

      For $5 mill / year, you are expected to: 1. Play great. 2. Show decorum and class in the community. 3. Tow the company line, and work through problems with mgmt.

      Yes our mgmt. are buffoons in many ways, but I have a tough time believing Souray doesn't know how to dial a phone, or that he needs that kind of babying.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    I hope management will now recognize and take accountability for their role in preventing UFA's , etc. from coming here . I also hope they revamp their present modus operandi to accommodate that goal as well ! This is an eye opener for management and a blessing in disguise – i hope they recognize as such and mend fences to keep Souray and others here before we start losing players young and old thru another mass exodus of players . Sourays value will go down no more than Prongers did , but goes a long ways to show how management must do and change in order to prevent these things from happening in the future . If we cannot get rid of management by firing let us hope they make corrections to their odus operandi to address problems like these going into what might be a turn around yet for next season .

  • Lofty

    My worry now is that instead of trading his $5.4 cap hit for something more managable and younger the Oil are going to have to bring in another expensive liability. Not that the team would have gotten off with anything outstanding before the trade demand but now its going to be a liability for a liability.

    Unless the oil sign a leader in July I think Whitney's got the C locked up.

  • I don't know what else there is to say about this guy. He had his ticket out of town this past trade deadline, but busted his hand. Playing the rushed back from injury card is weak. As a 'professional' it should kill him not to be on the ice. I would think that the competitive nature of the pro athlete drives these people to come back from injury early. It happens in the 29 other NHL markets. He has probably done as much damage to himself as the MGMT has.

  • Reagan

    Everyone says "no other team will take a guy like Souray because of his attitude." I call BS

    oilers fans have seen this kind of player behavior before, so rather than chalk it up to a bad attitude it's time to take a step back and accept that there may be something to this pattern.

    And guaranteed every other coach, manager, and player in the league is aware that the Oilers are run by idiots.

    If souray has trouble finding a new team, it'll be because of his age and the fact that he's injury prone, not because of the things he said the other day.

  • As Wanye and I pondered these points over a blackberry message or two last night, I couldn't help but agree with Sir Gretz. Sexy Sheldon may have said the things that other departing players should have. The fact that our beloved Oilers have failed as often as Steven Seagal loves prostitutes is hard on the psyche. Ahh Big Sexy, what have you done?

  • Jeff

    So far what I get out of this collective PR disaster is:
    1) #44 shows why other teams have not kept him around
    2) The likelihood is revealed that emotional elements dominated management decision making, eg post-Pronger panic deals, signing #44 and getting him onto the ice ASAP whether or not his injury was healed, shabby treatment of #94, panic signing of Khabibulin, dumping of Brodziak, shunning of Glencross, futile pursuits of free agent silver bullets and premature elevation of Gagner and Cogliano.
    3) Management gets confirmation from the vocal fan base that we would prefer to build a real team from drafts for the top half of the roster and trades of players only in the bottom half.
    4) Katz is reminded that loyalties to the brand forged in the first half of his life might blind him to his duties to the brand in the second half of his life.

  • Petr's Jofa

    In one corner we have an injury-prone NHL D-man who hasn't lived up tp his contract, is on the downside of his career, and has a cap hit of $5.4 mil for the next 2 years.

    In the other corner we have a managment team who has missed the playoffs 4 years in a row.

    As a fan of this team, it's hard to chose sides in this epic battle of failure. Who should the fans believe? Who do I side with?

    I think there's only one answer and it's fairly obvious…. Punt them all.

    Step 1) New managment team – how many chances do these guys get? If re-build was truely the plan, why did they sign Khabibulin? Lowe and Tambellini are lucky all the injuries hit and they can take the #1 draft pick and talk re-build like it was the plan all along. With a healthy team, Edmonton would be drafting in the same 6-10th spot of it has been for the past 4 years.

    Step 2) Trade Souray. Whether or not he is right or wrong in his evaluation of EDmonton's managment, he doesn't fit into this team's future plans and right now that's all this team has.

  • Jeff

    My only hope now is the Tambo holds out for a somewhat decent return, and doesn't panic and repeat the mistakes Lowe made in the Pronger fiasco.

    Also, I agree with your take on Quote 1. Souray didn't sign with the Oilers until July 12. Free agents who have teams beating down their doors, offering them huge deals, are typically signed in the first few days of free agency, not at the end of the second week. I'd love to know what these other deals are that he turned down.

    Regardless, I cannot wait to hear what management says in response. How can Tambellini/Lowe possibly spin this? I think I'm looking forward to it more than the lottery.

  • Hemmertime

    Fire em all. Hire pee-wee sensation Gordon Bombay. Led the Detroit Public District 5 Team to the championships. Has some national experience (So does MacT, Spengler cup baby – comparable – till WHC at least)

  • OilCrazy

    We'll never know the whole story, however one has to wonder how much of this is personal due to the fact that he originally had a limited no trade clause and had control of his destination via trade, and now will be available to any team Tambi wants to trade him to.

    The ironic thing is that he actually hurt his options for potential trade destinations by coming forward with his whining about why daddy doesn't talk to him enough BEFORE he was traded.

    He still has some power as no team will trade for him if they don't think he wants to be there, however you have to wonder how many GMs right now are reading his story and thinking he might not be a team player and that he might throw them under the bus in a few years if they don't give him the TLC he wants either?

    They were arrogant comments without foresight and he'll end up paying for them in the long run. Karma sucks. Worst thing about the whole thing is that it is a lose/lose scenario with no one gaining from his rant.

    So much for his big speech a few months ago where he gave a list of teams he would be willing to go to in order to *HELP* the team… Doesn't make any sense if he has been choked since day 1 when they asked him to play with an injury… and then he chose to fight shortly after…

    Shoulda kept his yap shut.