WE SALUTE YOU

When is no salute a salute unto itself? I’d say tonight’s display, or the distinct absence of one, by the Edmonton Oilers after a 3-2 overtime to the Anaheim Ducks at Rexall Place probably qualifies.

After treating the 277th consecutive sell-out crowd of 16,839, a streak that began on Nov. 29, 2005, to yet another defeat, the Oilers recognized the people who fill the seats and help pay the bills for owner Daryl Katz by . . . doing nothing and then filing off the ice to the dressing room.

Perhaps the Oilers figure finishing up the home portion of their season with an 18-17-6 record was enough thanks. Maybe they were just upset at another loss, although you think they’d be used to that by now. No centre ice wave of the sticks in unison. No "Thanks for coming." Zippo. Nada.

And be sure to renew those season tickets, folks.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • “It wasn’t Tambellini at all. And I’d hate to see Ricky take a hit on this. He is impeccable when it comes to dealing with all of this.”

    Yeah. TOTALLY sounds like Kevin Lowe is “throwing Olczyk under the bus” there……..

    WHAT A MONSTER!!

  • neojanus

    I think what this alludes to is the possibility that this team has some maturity problems.

    It doesn’t matter that there are several “key” veterans, not saluting the fans after yet another mostly miserable season lacks professionalism, respect, and maturity.

    I didn’t lose sleep over it, but it does tell me that there is serious disconnect between this team and its fans.

    The Oilers aren’t actually accountable to their fans, but they also seem to take advantage of us from ownership down. There is little accountability in this team across the board.

    It’s a shame because the Oilers haven’t earned much respect since the lockout.

  • TheGunnShow

    So the players didn’t half-assingly skate to centre ice after being embarrassed yet again to half-heartedly raise their sticks to the crowd? Before playing one more game (to cap off yet another downer of a season) then leaving to go to their off-season beach homes up in cottage country all while leaving Edmonton in the back of their minds until August?

    Who cares?

    • If you don’t care, that’s fine, although it sounds like you might have some other issues with the references to beach homes etc.

      The salute says: “Thanks for supporting the team, we appreciate it.” It doesn’t change the fact the team had another miserable season or any of the other negatives that go with it. Making the gesture is good business, not doing it is an oversight.

      Most consumers, whether they’re thrilled with a product or disappointed with it, at least appreciate a “Thanks for your business, we hope you come back again” from the people accepting their money.

      • TheGunnShow

        My only issue with beach homes is that I do not have one of my own. Green with envy, I am.

        I know what the salute is supposed to mean, but every time I see it, even after a solid hard fought win, the players just seem completely disinterested and bored while doing it. It just seems to be “another part of the job” so to speak.

        A real thank you to the fans would be making the right off-season moves and putting together a solid 2012-13 campaign. I, along with many others I presume, would take that over a stick wave any day of the week.

        • “A real thank you to the fans would be making the right off-season moves and putting together a solid 2012-13 campaign. I, along with many others I presume, would take that over a stick wave any day of the week.”

          I can’t think of anybody who would disagree with you on this point.

          • Slapshot

            Speaking of off season moves….the elephant in the room that needs addressing is the D. The challenge is how to secure a puck moving 1st pairing D man. One of the 3F’s will need to be moved plus a draft pick and with Hall’s injury fears coming to fruition his value will be decreasing (relative to Nuge and Ebs). I don’t see the Suter’s of the world coming here when they can pretty much pick their destination.

      • Slapshot

        I think your absolutely right, it was the middle finger held at themselves
        on the season and all the no effort and half assed hockey they played this year. I’m not sure why people/society likes to reward or celebrate failure so much.

      • Bryzarro World

        Spot on Robin. I’ve been a season tix guy for about 12 yrs. Took over my parents seats cause they were tired of the crap. I told them they gonna be sorry cause a new cba is coming. My dad laughed at me and said someday I will listen to him. Ya dad… I was wrong!

        I keep saying “one more year” , “next year is the year”, yadda yadda and with the lack of appreciation from the top down to the players is pathetic!! If org has their heads up a backside then WTF is the captain doing?! Doesn’t have enough sense to say to his team.. Guys we better show the ppl who pay our wages some love. Shows you from top down we need a house cleaning!! Management has to go, some coaches and strip the friggin C from Horc. He is an all around fail.

        Others want to give their money to a bunch of douches then fine but I think I am gonna be done. Last night really got to me.

    • PutzStew

      It was trite enough that Tencer opened up the Open Line portion after the game speaking about the no salute. He also said he addressed that because of an overload of tweets to him mentioning it. Then Rob Brown chimed in and sad that it was pretty sad too.

      It’s the lead in on the team’s rights holder radio show? Not trite in my books. Good for RB to mention it and article it.

  • Mulli35

    I, like everyone else have no idea why there was no salute but I like to dream that someone (owner, GM, coach, players ANYONE) said something along the lines of “we don’t really deserve a standing O after the season we gave our fans”. While this team was never a playoff team and improvements have been made they still did not play to their potential (for about a jillion reasons).

    Accountability will have to be huge next year if the culture/narrative of this team is going to change and maybe this was the first shot back at the players saying losing will no longer be celebrated.

    OR maybe they just wanted to screw the fans, which would have never happened if Josh Green were captain.

  • The salute would have been nice, but in the end this team needs to start making some serious changes with the management group (coahes included) to show the fans they care.

    I’m not saying Tambellini hasn’t made any good moves (the Penner trade will look really good in 2-3 seasons I think), but the fact that the Oilers were handed three top-35 players in terms of PPG that all played at least 3/4 of the season and still finished 29th is completely unacceptable. It should be embarassing to the organization and it is an embarassment to the city.

    This team hasn’t played a meaningful game from January on for several seasons now. Any improvement this team has shown is directly due to those top-3 guys and in spite of the veterans, coaching, and management. Time for a change from the top-down.

  • Ticket prices for next season should be dependant on a team’s place in the standings at the end of last season. Establish a tier system, then watch them compete like there’s no tomorrow.

      • It could be, but that’s up to the fans to be honest.

        They aren’t going to drop ticket prices when they can charge the 9th (IIRC) highest ticket prices in the league and sell out while putting the 2nd worst team out on the ice (after putting out the worst out the previous 2 years).

        The problem in Edmonton, much like in Toronto, is that if you decide not to go, there’s a line of thousands ready to scoop up your seat.

        Right now you are paying to keep your place in line for when the team eventually becomes good.

  • Slapshot

    Disappointing game by both squads . We lost as usual , lately . Here is the final standings with all clubs having only 1 game left – except for St.Louis and Phoenix which have 2 games left . These standings are based without loser points , and tie breakers are by differential of goals for and against .

    WEST: Van-100 ,ST.Louis-96 ,Det.-96 ,Nas.-94 ,Chi.-88 , S.Jose-84 , Dallas-84 ,Colorado-82 , Los Angeles-80 , Phoenix-80 ,Calgary-72 , Minn.-70 ,Ana.-68 , Edm.-64 , Columbus-56 .

    East: N.Y.Rangers-102 ,Pitt.-100, Bost.-96 , Phil.-94 ,N.Jersey-94 ,Ott.-82 , Wash.-82 ,Buff.-76 , Winn.-74 ,Florida -74 ,T.Bay-74 , Tor.-70 ,N.Y.Islanders-68 , Carolina-66 , Mont.60 .

    Why do we not do away with loser points ?

  • Slapshot

    who cares what they did at the end of this season. players are human too, must be tough to be enthusiastic about losing. let’s see what they do to make the team better this summer because next year they really have no excuse other than what would appear to be fairly major incompetence at most levels.

  • O.C.

    How about a “We are sorry we sucked so bad and we won’t charge for pre season games to the season ticket holders” campaign.

    #ohwaitthatwouldbeclassy

    #traditionofbadmarketing

  • Slapshot

    i’m surprised that a bunch of men standing in a circle waving bent sticks in the air would gratify spectators to any extent. personally, i wouldn’t wait around to see it.

  • Love that photo. One of my all time faves!

    As for the arrogance and capacity to take the fan base for granted. It seems a Katz era mandate. Arrogance extends to the minions that have become some of the vocal apologists for the franchises “rebuild”. Pat LaForge, Tencer, Stauffer amongst others regularly throw out the “waiting list” as some sort of mythical example of how great a job the franchise is doing.

    Ironically, Ken King and the “plan” that exists in Calgary have a long sellout streak as well as a waiting list. Thank god for the Oil patch, expense accounts and corporate tickets.

    Welcome to Alberta hockey… the arrogance is a given…. the players efforts….. not so much.

  • Slapshot

    Pretty reflective of the org as a whole. If you think Katz, Lowe and Tambo care about the fans you’re crazy. As long as the games are sold out and people buy the merchandise, there’s no incentive to put a good product on the ice. The owner, management team and players would start caring as soon as people stop buying tickets and all the associated crap that goes with it.

  • BigE91

    Wasn’t at the game but wouldn’t have been upset about the lack of a salute. When I attend I pay to see good hockey and the occasisonal win. I think most fans would tend to agree, the post game salute is window dressing and it’s pretty tough to dress up a broken window.

    Fan appreciation is best shown by the product on the ice, I don’t even lay this on the players as much as management. This team is improved over last year but there is a ton of work to do to keep up the momentum.

    The name Ryan Murray at the podium on draftday will be a big step in the right direction.

  • Slapshot

    Until there are empty seats,no season ticket holder waiting list and the team starts losing money, then maybe this Oilers organization will care about the fan base.If I didnt renew my tickets, there are 3500 people waiting to take my spot.There is no urgency for Katz to improve upper management and upper management has no urgency to improve the coaching and on ice product.The Oilers are following the Maple Leafs model of how to run a professional hockey team,Its worked well for them for how many years?

  • book¡e

    It’s one of those meaningless gestures that has meaning.

    In one sense it is no big deal – nobody really cares about the little wave itself.

    However, it has become the norm to thank the fans, and one has to wonder what the decision making process was here. I do think its fair to ask ‘What was the team leadership thinking’? Hey guys, normally we salute the fans, but I am in a rush today and its kind of a meaningless thing so lets not bother. More likely they are all disappointed at the season and didn’t want to have to ‘face’ the fans (fear of boos?). However, the phrase ‘suck it up’ comes to mind.

    A tweet from Horcoff saying ‘You know, we are very disappointed in the season. We just wanted to get off the ice as we were embarrassed’ would go a long way to addressing the issue. These are one of those inconsequential things that can take hold in the media. They should have addressed it by now. It would be easy to quash.

    So, strangely enough, a non issue becomes an issue, mostly because it makes fans and the media wonder how the team failed to address this one little thing.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A) The Product: The Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. The only game in town and they know it. Elitism at its finest. Never to be questioned. If you’re going to do business with them, it will be on thier terms.

    B) The Consumer: The sheep, aka, the suckers whom they treat like they’re doing you a favor. When there’s wool (money/renewal) to be harvested from your coat, they may appear to be interested in you. If you’re not providing the wool they anticipate, they’d surely run you off to the butcher shop and drain every drop of blood from your body.

    If you’re part of the A equasion, please be aware of the employee performance reviews starting next week.

    If you are part of the B group, shut the frigg up and know your role sir/madam. How dare you tell them how to run thier business.

    I first started noticing little gestures like this after the lookout ended. The Oilers could’ve shown their appreciation for the fan support after their last home playoff game in 2006. A simple acknowledgement/thanks for your support was already established by the Rangers at the start of that 05/06 season.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    they lost. If they saluted and looked all happy after the lost everyone would be on them for ‘accepting losing’. This is a non issue. They lost. Get over it. I can’t believe this article….

    • OilerLand

      My kid plays minor hockey. No matter how ugly the game was, at the end of it the losers look the winners straight in the eye and shake hands at centre ice. This is based on sportsmanship and respect. Two things that are above the “game.”

      Two things that the Oilers chose not to extend to the fans last night.

      • OilerLand

        I guess everyone has their own opinions on this. I have watched and/or listened to almost every game since 1995. I consider myself a very passionate fan, and I have suffered through alot of terrible teams. But if they went out there an waved their sticks in appreciation after losing the last home game of the season, it would have felt like a slap in the face to me. They lost, they’re angry, as they they should be, I understand.

        Also, sportsmanship and respect applies to the athletes actually playing the game. The only thing the players owe to the fans is to play hard. Just my opinion.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Unless it was a note from management ..not to do the stick salute at the end of the game, it would be up to the captain to take the lead on something like this.It shouldn’t be too hard for Horcoff to swing his stick in mid air., he dose it all game long anyway.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hey Robin, i was watching Parros most of the evening. With him being a UFA, do you think the Oilers would have interest in a guy of his skillset? His footspeed isn’t optimal but it’s acceptable, but he sure does throw first and ask questions later. Like Hordichuk, he doesn’t have to be told what to do.

  • Giant Squid Overlord

    Question: Where did the “after a win” center ice salute begin?

    The end of the season salute (last home game), according to my Swiss cheese memory, has been going on as far back as I can remember, but the “after a win” salute is only a few years old, right?

    So which team started doing it first in the NHL, and where did it originate from before the NHL teams adopted it?

    Anyone know?

    • OilerLand

      IIRC, I believe Jagr and the Rangers made it popular in the NHL a few years back, Not sure if they were the first though.

      I think the non-salute is a huge deal because like a poster said previously, it’s something they already do anyways, so it simply makes the fans wonder why they chose not to. All the more important for a final home game of a lousy season. I think some people are missing the point. It’s not about waving your sticks in the air, it’s about the underlying meaning and message of doing so.

      Ps. If any angry fans want to get rid of their season tickets, message me on twitter, I might take them.

  • OilerLand

    This is pro sports you either win or lose your job . I am sure the Oilers appreciate the loyal fans at Rexal and why would they salute after another season of not making the playoffs?? I think it is normal for them to hang their heads in shame and leave the ice ASAP. I think this discussion is just a bunch of Oiler fans finding something else to complain about. The season wasn’t all bad… RNH, Hall and Ebs will be better next year. Dubie is turning into a bonified starter , Smid and Petry are solid and we have the #2 pick. Oilersnation things will get better.and its baseball season now Go Jays Go!

  • OilerLand

    Good to go. Thats my take. I defer to the season ticket holders. If they are angry then so be it. Me I am indiferent to the whole stick wave thing.

    Is 1260 or 630 going to be streaming or broadcasting any of the barons games live back here to Edmonton?

    Why are the Oil Kings selling Upper bowl tickets for $10 . Fill the seats and make the place loud and hard to play in for the opposition.

  • Cervantes

    That salute at the start of this thread is the one I give Horcoff everytime I see him on the ice. 20 minutes a night and first pp for a no skill bumb. If this team really wants to get better the first step is getting rid of him! I predicted in 2007 that they wouldn’t make the playoffs with him playing top 6 minutes.