Remember the sales pitch about how a new collective bargaining agreement was going to alter the fundamental economic structure of the NHL, level the competitive playing field and, at long last, give the small-market Edmonton Oilers a fair chance to run with the big boys? How’s that working for you?
With the Oilers on their way to missing the playoffs for a sixth straight season after a blip on the success screen that was the unlikely run to the 2006 Stanley Cup final against Carolina, the answer for fans who’ve been footing the bill and biding their time since then is obvious – not very well.
Over at MC79Hockey, a site run by Toronto lawyer Tyler Dellow, the string of dismal failure that’s been the Oilers performance under the new field-leveling CBA everybody was waiting for has been put into numbers for all to see. It’s here if you care to have the grim reality of your existence as an Oiler fan put to math.
A skein of ineptitude that produced Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as first overall picks is no surprise to Oilers fans, but putting numbers to it drives home the point critics of organization and the people at the top of it since the lockout have been making.
Through the 550 games the Oilers had played under the new CBA at the time Dellow ran the numbers, the Oilers were dead-last among the NHL’s 30 teams in terms of points. The Oilers were 226-263-61 for 513 points and a .466 percentage. That left them behind the Columbus Blue Jackets (226-257-68 for 520 points in 551 games) and the New York Islanders (226-256-68 for 520 points in 550 games).
Level playing field? Better days ahead? The cheque’s in the mail . . .
ARE WE THERE YET?
As Terry Jones pointed out over at the Edmonton Sun today, there have been three constants since the ink dried on the new CBA (failure in all but one of those seasons comes close but doesn’t count): former GM and now-president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and two players Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. There’s three polarizing names for you.
Changes have been many since the Oilers shut things down and offered up the AHL and the Edmonton Road Runners as a Plan B during the lost lockout season. Cal Nichols and the EIG, which dragged the small-market Oilers through the last CBA as owners, have given way to Daryl Katz. No more small potatoes. An ability to spend to the salary cap.
Craig MacTavish, who lost the dressing room and the desire to fight to get it back, was replaced by Pat Quinn. Quinn was, ahem, re-assigned to a pivotal position as senior advisor and replaced by Tom Renney. When Lowe was bumped upstairs by Katz, Steven Tambellini took the GM’s hot seat.
The staff of assistant coaches has been turned over. The scouting staff, training staff and equipment people have changed to varying degrees during the course of the new CBA. All part of the plan, or so the pitch has gone, of rebuilding a once-proud franchise and a return to better days.
How’s that working for you?
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.