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.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    That’s a helluva smoke picture. And you’re right, putting this all into perspective this really doesn’t qualify as earth-shattering. The reaction (or over-reaction) could probably be attributed to ,at least somewhat, the lack of real NHL/Oil news lately. It is the end of summer after all, and people are chomping (sp?) at the bit.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    google image for “tipalet cigarette ad” hilarious results

    also, is that from “The Spirit”? That movie was awful!!! body suits, however are always welcome.

    on a serious note… is there any chance this Lowe talk could pressure Tambi into making some nervous, jittery moves?

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Goddammit, why doesn’t Katz just assume the GM role, it sounds like he’s making a sh*t-ton of decisions up there. Laraque and Khabibulin? Come on man.

    Max Powers is gettin’ upset….

  • O.C.

    Florence had relations with the Mayor of New York (who was married and gave her a… (nevermind – but she went on record about her big mistake))…

    Is this really a big deal?

    Other than Scarlette that is…

  • Travis Dakin

    I think the test will be what happens this season, not with the standings, but the changes Tambellini can make. If he can move some bodies, which has to be done to make room for Lander and Harti at least, shore up the back end and not make a disaster out of it he’s safe.

    It is yet to be seen if he can make good deals of greater significance which is phase two of the rebuild.

    Thing is, I am not sure Lowe has lived down the offer sheets. Would he fare any better? It was under his watch everyone wanted out of dodge as well.

    • Lowetide

      I think Lowe did well during the previous CBA (00-04) and then shot lights out in 05-06. But the decision not to sign Smyth and deal Pronger and not get a veteran defender in return moved back the cluster so far contention was impossible.

      Then he started second guessing himself (is it me?) and then it was an elevator shaft.

      I suspect he’d like another shot at it.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I wonder if he’s put himself on the outside of the loop after all the hullabaloo with the offer sheets. What do you think? I think that may have PO’d more than just Burke.

        Wilson did OS Hjarmallson (rookie) but it seems out of bounds for a team’s better and established players.

        • Lowetide

          That’s a great question, and I have no idea. 🙂 But it’s important to ask, because Lowe did do some things (Penner OS, asking Comrie for the money back) that were beyond business as usual.

          I think what made Lowe an exceptional defenseman (aggressive squared) might have been a weakness in the boardroom.

          Maybe he feels like he’s learned from watching ST assess, assess and reassess.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          Hjarmallson and Penner had almost identical amount of games played when they signed their respective offer sheets, Hjarmallson was also considerd an important cog in Chicagos D.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    does this even make sense right now (i.e., not in 24 months)?

    why would Katz let Tambi ride the ship down to 30th and then man the ship through the draft, shape the team with trades throughout the summer and then a few days before the season starts… he what, gets itchy? why now?

    24 months in the future who knows, but it kinda makes sense, and right after the season ends makes sense, but why now?

    • Lowetide

      Well you have to give the man a chance. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with Katz talking to Lowe about it now as a future venture (save for the big mouth), but if you hire a man to do the job then it’s only fair to let him have a full lash.

      I don’t really know when Tambellini became the de facto GM, or if he ever did. That oilchange episode was pretty damning.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    @Lowetide

    fair enough.

    But, then, let me ask you this: do you think the leak was intentional? Maybe to light a fire under Tambi? or is that too conspiratorial?

    regardless, do you think he might end up making some jittery moves under the pressure of maybe losing his job, or even just the pressure of people talking about him losing his job (which I guess is an everyday reality for NHL GMs)?

    • Lowetide

      Nah, I don’t think it was intentional. I also think there’s a chance (if it is true) that it wasn’t that big a deal for the person who passed it along.

      I mean, good grief they’ve finished 30th twice and ST is on the eve of another season with a defense that might collapse before liftoff. I don’t think one can reasonably argue the Oilers are “Red Wings in waiting” as an organization.

      It will take some time. Katz is still a relatively new owner.

      Jittery moves? No. If he was going to do that he would have done it today. Deep in his heart, he must know this defense could change his job description. But he didn’t pull the trigger today, and I bet the Leafs were dangling a pretty good defenseman.

      • book¡e

        LT – Katz appears to have been pretty supportive of the consecutive 30th place finishes. I am sure Katz and Tambellini have spoken about this year. We really don’t know if they are trying to make the playoffs or not. It could be that Katz, the fan, wants to see some winning. Or it could be that both Katz and Tambellini are fine with a 25th place finish.

        • Lowetide

          Agreed. We don’t know their plan, and certainly don’t know if this rumor is true. Having said that, sometimes a company agrees on strategy and still tweaks a few things along the way in terms of their people.

          Detroit’s Jimmy Devellano was GM, but lost that job to others. But he’s still there.

  • Lowetide

    Lowetide, the Oil Change episode…was it all of them that were damning or a particular episode (particular part of)? I watched them all and can’t remember a “moment” in any one of them. Got me curious now.

  • book¡e

    Scene – Lowe, Tambellini, Katz, and some wannabe executive in a red star trek suit are sitting around having a beer after the draft.

    Tambellini – “Whew, what a crazy week. That Smyth trade just about killed me. I bet I made 300 phone calls this weekend.”

    Lowe – “Yeah, I know what you mean, I remember exactly how that feels.”

    Katz – “Do you ever miss it? You know, the thrill of the trade, the press, and so on?”

    Lowe – “You know, there are days, but I like where I am right now, involved, but I don’t ever look like Steve does anymore having to go three days with no sleep!”

    Tambellini – “Ha”

    Katz – “Yeah, I get what your saying, I sure the heck enjoy being out of the day to day operations of Rexall”

    Minutes later, cut to wannabe executive chatting on his cel phone to his cousin – “Katz wants Lowe to be GM of the Oilers again. It was crazy. He just about fired Tambellini right there. I almost choked on my natcho”

    End Scene.

    The news gets pretty slow in the week between preseason and the season.

    Maybe tomorrow we can talk about how Hemsky is sleeping with Tomy Salo’s wife.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    @Lowetide

    Wanted to write a private email to you rather than start some public conversation and have a lot of other people chime in, but, I couldn’t find a private way to get this to you. So, here goes.
    I love your blog, your posts, but not the pictures of the women. In my opinion, it makes this content more difficult for a lot of people to enjoy. Not just a lot of women, which I’m sure you would know being that you often mention your wife and daughter in your posts, and are careful to only say the best. But also people like myself. I don’t dig it. I think you usually speak sense, and you’ve got a pretty even-handed style of writing. You make it easier for people like myself to enjoy hockey just as much as you do, even though we might not have the lingo or catalogue of experiences such as yourself to understand much. I hope you continue to improve as I think I’ve seen over the last 3 years, and in my own selfish way, I hope you change this aspect of your writing which I would see as an improvement as well.

    Just my two cents.

  • book¡e

    LT – for the record, I think you provide tasteful pictures of beautiful women. My wife sees them and often will stop and say “is that Ginger Lee?”. She has no problem with them and in fact appreciates them. I understand that people who were raised in the 50s and 60s fought unfair gender biases and may hold those sensitivities, but in the 21st century the notions of women being limited to being objects of attraction has passed.

    As per the appropriateness of the forum, I think that the healthiest societal approach to sexuality is to naturally integrate it into daily life at levels of which are appropriate to the age of the audience. I believe that societies that repress the appreciation of the human body and of sexuality in general experience a greater number of problems in terms of gender relations, sexual health, and sexual maturity.

    With that said, I would like to better emphasize with those who find the images offensive, unpleasant, or inappropriate. So, I would encourage J and others to share (explain) their views so that I can better appreciate them.