Lowedown

Kevin Lowe has been a major part of the Edmonton Oilers organization for most of the last 32 years. Since being drafted in 1979, Lowe has been player, coach, GM and currently president of Hockey Ops. Last night–via twitter–speculation about Lowe’s future kicked into overdrive. It’s been a major story in Edmonton sports today and from the sounds of things caused a ripple in the Oilers management team (based on reaction time).

The major parts of the story (as I understand it) are documented by Robin Brownlee here. The media person in question appears to have very good credentials and from what I can tell has not backed down from his story. From a distance, it looks like a case of "loose lips sink ships" and the denials from Oilers camp are the kinds of things one would expect from an organization trying to control a story.

SIX DEGREES OF KEVIN BACON

If a curious person wanted to compile a list of people who may have let slip a juicy item at a cocktail party, one would start by checking out Greg Brady and the people he knows. Brady has no reason to make stuff up–while interesting it’s a pretty quick way to ruin credibility–so a list of people he talks to regularly on his radio show would be a good place to start. If he has access to the local NHL team–and it appears he does–then you need to mutiply the possible leaks by a bunch. Brady’s source could be media, but might also be an NHL executive or hanger on. The number of people who might have sensitive information could number in the hundreds–hockey guys aren’t exactly good at keeping secrets.

One thing that hasn’t happened today–no one is claiming their twitter account was hacked. Both sides appear to be locked and loaded with their version of the story.

WHY BOTHER GETTING WORKED UP?

Hell if I know. Either it’s true or it isn’t, and Mr. Brady’s track record will record either a win or a loss down the line. I imagine that is his reason for tweeting it–improved credibility and more followers. The two things I find interesting are:

  1. The reaction to the item. Is this really a huge deal? Kevin Lowe is already part of the decision making process, that has never changed. Steve Tambellini is charged with pulling this team–poor defense and all–from the wreckage and should he fail there will be a change at that position. That changing of the guard would probably take place in the next year or so, when the arena is decided and the Oilers have an arena in Edmonton or somewhere else in the area. Brady’s tweet–"Would I bet it happens, yes? Could it take upwards of 24 months? Oh yeah. Lowe’s only 52. He’ll be back" contains nothing we wouldn’t mull over in this town any day of the week. It barely qualifies for one raised eyebrow.
  2. The surprise in Edmonton at the mere idea an organization might discuss replacing someone while that individual is their employ. We can all agree this is business, right? Mr. Katz can hire Walt Disney to run the team if he wishes (and can figure out a way to get him out of stasis), but he’s a man with a track record of success in business. So, should he decide that someone in his organization is better suited to taking on the day to day management of the team (and that’s what we’re talking about) why in h-e-double-hockey-sticks should we be surprised at the idea? Allow the man to do his business, and if someone in Toronto gets a whiff well then that’s life. The Detroit Red Wings–THE model organization in the NHL–have had their share of hiring snafu’s (if you have the time google "Ilitch-Bryan Murray-Mike Keenan" and have a good laugh). This is a business, if Mr. Katz has figured out Steve Tambellini isn’t his guy then he owes it to himself and the fans to make the move.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Greg Brady made it up. But if you’re going to say he made it up, then you have to give him his due and research his career, find out if he has a history of such goings-on.

OR Daryl Katz is finding his way as an owner. He’s figuring things out, and we predicted this would happen. Mr. Katz is mapping the future, doing his due diligence just as he’s asked Stu MacGregor and Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini to do it. It doesn’t mean he’ll turf Tambellini, hell Ilitch employs a hundred GMs (well, not quite) for the Red Wings.

If Brady’s history suggests a creative mind and a tendency to stretch the truth, then you have your anwer. If not, you need to allow for the possibility that this is a case of what your Dad told you about smoke.

Speaking of Smoke…..

This is an attempt to make up for the Kevin Bacon photos above. So sorry.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    I think Lowe is best in an advisory role, where he focuses on evaluating professional talent He is far to emotional and fiery to be a GM in the new NHL. There are just far to many details, from cap management, to running a farm system.

    Tambellini is far more systematic and process oriented in his approach to management.

    Unlike many others, I have had no problem with Lowe as president of hockey operations or whatever his title is when he pushed himself upstairs. I have never thought he should be fired, or anything like that. But I don’t want him as the GM again. After all the whale hunting, and the lousy cap and contract management and the sucky farm system after 2006, I don’t think he is up to the task anymore.

  • Douche Nietzsche

    I think Kevin Lowe as GM again would sink this club PR wise for at least a decade.

    They need a smooth criminal in front of the GM’s office. Not some second guesser or a baggy eyed ditherer.

    At least Slats had style.

    I say go for a player agent like Rich Winter for GM.

    The fans are sheep, but it will take a clever man to pull the wool over some of the players’ and their agents eyes. 🙂

  • Chris.

    Where did Lowe get the idea he had any skills to become a GM after only a year or two of coaching? That is the dictionary definition of hubris. This team has a long way to go to undo the damage to both the team’s rep and the citie’s image around the league. Maybe a person needs to have the background of someone like Rich Winter to navigate the shark infested waters of pro-aport today. Someone like Winter would probably be much better at getting along with players and being able to attract the occasional free-agent to this city. Hopefully he would have the sense to keep his mouth shut when dealing with sensitive issues and not descend into stupid moves like the Mike Comrie and Souray issues. The Oiler organization will never become ‘Detroit-like’ in a million lifetimes until they get the right people at the top. That has always been the Oil’s problem.

    He might not take on but I would be talking to either Winter or Stu MacGregor.

  • paul wodehouse

    ….if you really really want something bad enough you can usually get it…so said my mother many years ago but this ? this scenario where our Gm gets toasted for Kevin to parachute into the GM job? huh? a demotion? when did we ever want such a thing to happen…? this Brady fellow just tapped into what’s been said for a long time …lose our GM asap!!!no? …this is a big surprise? aside from the want for our GM to be gonzo but in favor of Kevin…that’s not gonna happen until this team finishes up this year again with another lottery pick … as my friend Q has said …swollen buttocks and all…our GM needs & gets a contract extension prior to being shown the door…so based on his unending prowess at predicting the future that’ll happen…all in good time…

    …so close your eyes & keep clicking your heels together and say >>>there’s no GM like any other GM than our GM

    p.s. Kevin (Lowe) looks so hot with hair

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    This would be the biggest mistake Katz could ever make. Nothing against Kevin Lowe but he isn’t a manager. I don’t particularly like Brian Burke but he was right when he said Kevin Lowe ran this team into the sewer. Steve Tambellini is still cleaning up his mess. Doing a great job of it too!! Building up the farm team ,getting rid of ridiculous contracts, bringing back the heart and sole of the team! He still has more work before Stanley is raised but is on a road to success. I wouldn’t let Kevin Lowe manage a hot dog stand on Jasper Avenue!!

    • SurfacetoAirMissile

      I really don’t have an opinion regarding Lowe as GM but believe he has learnt a considerable amount over the past 5-6 years since joining the Oilers brass. There is no doubt he made mistakes as a rookie GM but show me one who hasn’t. I would rather have a executive team/owner that bleeds copper and blue than a bunch of suits who are only interested in their stock portfolios. What is so wrong with having a bit of Oiler inbreeding? This City and the commitment we have to the team far exceeds most others. We should be proud that our hockey heritage is part of the present and future.

    • Zamboni Driver

      I love the

      “Steve is doing a great job” blind faithers most of all.

      The same ones who will admit that the Oilers have finished either “15th” or “30th”.

      Dear blind-faithers,

      LAST
      FRICKIN’
      PLACE.

      Twice.

      Demand better.

  • Two reasons I never, for one second, bought this story.

    1) Who would be in the room with Katz and Lowe when they were having these hypothetical discussions? Nobody is the only common sense answer.

    2) Why the hell would an obscure Toronto based radio guy, with no discernible ties to Edmonton, be the one to break this. The amount of detail he put in their supposed conversations just makes it look worse.

    This reads like someone pseudo-reliable executive spit-balled on the topic to Brady and he took it as an actual story. But I have a hard time believing that the Owner and the President sat around conspiring to supplant the GM behind his back and let anybody else know the gory details of the conversation.

  • Tams falls far to short toward building a contender for this year . What looked promising at first, may in fact may have made us worse by not balancing it out with a decent defence . Once again we go into a season with an unbalanced attack . Although seemingly tougher we may in fact be the worser for it by Tams not doing much for defensive accountability .

    Teams are still going to run our smaller abundance of forwards even though our defence is perhaps tougher than last couple of years . Why ? Because Oilers defence and forwards bought into protect them are just going to put us more into the penalty box . Vancouver showed us in last exhibiton game how to continue beating the Oilers – run them because it still works to other teams advantage to do so !! Our injury situation will continue again into this season .

    We don’t have any 60 pont people to begin with , so little help will come from officials to protect our players . The other 29 teams realize how to beat us, and they’ll all be running us as usual taking advantage of our continued imbalance .

    Hopefully i am wrong on my assessment , but i very much doubt that i am at this stage, and how effective Vancouver was at running us last game .

  • Douche Nietzsche

    Under the original comment #60, I stated that, running with this rumour was very disrespectful to ST, Lowe and Oilers. Why was my comment erased?

    It is OK to suggest and make things up about the Oilers organization and its staff, but, you cant make foul suggestions or comments about the people who do that to the Oilers?

    What was the problem?

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Oh boy. I do a little work and ignore ON for a few hours and all of a sudden I’m Mr. Popular! I really don’t have much to add. Arch said it all really. Thank you BTW.

    Grishnack:
    All I can say is that after every one of your posts about me, I look better and you look much, much worse. I have an 8-year old son, and something tells me you’re closer in age to him than me so I’m not going to continue this.