DAY OF MOURNING

The Oilers won’t be making the playoffs, again, but watching them fall apart during the most meaningful stretch of the season has been painful, and a bit surprising.

I doubt anyone expected them to score a measly four goals in five games when battling for the 8th and final playoff spot.

I suspect Oiler fans have never been more frustrated and disappointed as you are right now.

The past few years you accepted losing because it was part of the "process," and you expected it to get better. But this year was supposed to be about progress, but after a five-game win streak gave you hope the Oilers have wilted under the pressure of push-for-the-playoffs hockey.

Last night’s game was pathetic. You can’t even state they put forth a great effort, but didn’t get any bounces. Calgary, a team with six AHLers in the lineup, worked harder, worked smarter and showed more skill.

The players knew it was an awful performance, but I’m not sure they know how to change it, or if they have enough good players to do it.

Many thought last season was the lowest of the low, but last night the Oilers might have reached a new depth of despair. This organization needs to take a long look at every person involved. From upper management, to the coaches, to the players and weed out those who don’t have the drive, smarts, will or desire necessary to improve moving forward.

Mr. Katz you might need an outside evaluator to look at all aspects of your team, because it is obvious that those in charge aren’t making the right decisions.

It is Suggestion Sunday in Oilersnation.

What are your best, and most realistic suggestions that should occur for the Oilers. Because it is clear something is lacking.

Is it leadership from Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini?

Is it a losing culture?

Is there a lack of desire?

Is it a lack of experience?

Is it all of the above?

 

 

  • Starving Student

    1.Accountability: Has only applied to players and coaches, not upper management . 2. Drafting wingers while doing a bad job of not filing from backend and center , as is normal procedure in rebuild . 3. Not drafting for new NHL – size apparently they underestimated . 4. Over assessing their talent and under assessing others . 5. Overpaying talent because of location excuse .6. Slow at dealing with problems and sticking them under a rug so to speak . 7. Remember what Tams said about those who speak out around gutting years – gonzo(gag order?) . 8. Management has lost the trust of the fans in most aspects. 9. Even when they find a problem they almost always never find a way to adequately fix it and that’s why we are still a bottom feeder.10. The fans are to patient and fill building despite a poor team .

  • Starving Student

    They have lost their faith. Bringing in a new coach gave them some hope.
    Eventually that hope faded and they were back to where they started.

    If you don’t believe in the organization, it is hard to perform. They are learning how to lose. A really bad environment for young players.

    They didn’t get all those #1 picks because the GM was good, quite the opposite.

    If Lowe and Tambellini stay with this team it will be deja vu all over again.

    This team has a cancer and that cancer needs to be removed if they want to compete.

  • vetinari

    A question I’d like to pose to the others in the room would be… Is Katz even capable of removing the management group as whole, even if he knew it might be needed?

    My point being, this is a man who is extremely successful in his other business ventures, buys this team for a multitude of reasons, then turns the keys over to his buddy Kevin. I don’t really believe he has the time, inclination or contacts to really make such a bold move. This is Lowe’s team to do with how he pleases, which makes it even more sad based on the results over the last number of years.

    • outdoorzguy

      That’s a good question, I’m not so sure he can fire his friend, he loves to be one of the glory day oilers. If and only if, people decide to quit going to games and quit buying oiler merchandise, if Katz is hit in the pocket book I’m guessing things will change.

  • vetinari

    Start at the top with the managers– Lowe and Tambellini– because they’ve somehow got free passes while MacT, Quinn, and Renney have all been thrown under the bus by them in the name of being ‘held accountable.’ This management team should NOT be running another draft or free agent season based on their past inability to acquire appropriate depth players.

    Katz really needs to get an outside assessment of these clowns if he can’t read the standings section of the sports page. At this point, all I can assume is that Katz prizes rubbing shoulders with old Oilers more than getting results from his current team.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I know you were a big supporter of getting Hemmer signed at the last minute last year Jason. Do you now feel this was a step in the wrong direction?

    Having someone in the dressing room who’s constantly handled with kid gloves (treated differently than the rest of his teammates) him and his “i’m doing my part” attitude may be doing more harm than good. Having standards for every player sends the wrong message, I feel.

    I know it would’ve been poor asset management to lose Hemsky, but which is worse, having guys on this team who aren’t held accountable. Seeing Steve let Whitney,Jones and perhaps Fistric leave in a few weeks for nothing in return, must reveal there are problems in the asset management department.

    Had to laugh last night. Horcoff came out for the 3rd period on a mission. He was balls to the walls for his first 2 shifts that period, and then he quit. Much like the rest of the veteran core on this team. On the other hand, with the expected progress this year ending up in a huge pile of ashes, progress can still be made if changes occur from the failures of this season.

  • Alsker

    Since ’06 we have bled character players, pronger,smyth,stoll,glenx, etc. and replaced them with WHO?. All the draft picks and deals came down to not only skill but as Klowe+Tambi said heart and desire..really? You would think with the group of guys Klowe was blessed to play with he would know what those are. This rebuild has gone sideways from the start, yes we have a nice group of young talent but lack of determination from the top down to win at any cost. First it was the coach,then the trainers,then the coach again,and now…only two doors left to kick down GM and Hockey ops, sorry guys its your turn.

  • Starving Student

    Damn phone

    The new GM will have to have the stones to trade them but he can do it, cause he’s not Tambi.. Let all of the UFA’s walk.. Smithson, Jones, Hordichuk, Whitney, Fistric, Sutton, KHABIBULIN..

    Keep the Schultzes, Petry and Smid, do whatever you can with Potter and Peckham but make sure they aren’t top 6 options next year..

    It’s obvious that a losing culture has creeped in and some of the dead weigh needs to go, unfortunately the current management team has shown they don’t have the ability to change things around… I know I can’t keep watching the same things happen year in year out with this group

  • Starving Student

    IMO there are 2 fundamental issues:

    i) Lack of accountability of the Pro Scouting Staff.
    Seems like everybody from amateur scouts (KP) to trainers and equipment managers were held “accountable” and were booted out the door in the effort the “improve” the team. Why are the pro scouts still around? Moves involving players coming into the organization under the ST regiem have been horrendous to okay (at best). Can anyone think of a players that we can go “Wow. That was a steal”? KP was given his pink slips a few years back and it appears (still too early to say) that it has at least paid some dividends. While this a terrible issues, it stems back to the larger one at hand.

    ii) INCOMPETENCE OF MANAGEMENT!
    Nothing makes sense anymore!
    Center was an area of need this year. Top 4 D was an area of need this year. Goaltending has NOT been the issue this year. Secondary scoring was an issue this season. So obviously at the trade deadline, main moves will of course be acquiring another goalie and another body with no scoring. Wanted a 4th line center who can win draws? Passed on many. Instead picked of Smithson for a 4th. and waited about 6 weeks too late to make a minor move. Anton Lander scores 6 points in a night. Obvious move: Recall him and don’t play him. Great player development strategy. I wouldn’t even talk about wasting a roster spot with Peckham. Either flush him now or play him. With each and every passing year, Souray sounds less like a selfish prick and more like a visionary before his time. Boy would Souray look good in copper and blue right now.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    1. one week after the draft lottery fire all mgt. positions, pro. scouting positions and coaching staff. leave only Stu and his team and RK.

    2. hire new people to be rolled out at the draft.

    3. buyout Belanger and Eager if they can’t be traded

    4. don’t re-sign Jones, Petrell, Whitney, Nik, Smithson, Hordi

    5. Sign Gagner, or package him for a top 4 LD

    6. Sign Streit, or similar

    7. Sign 2-way 3rd liner not getting buried by corisrel

    8. sign a reliable 4th C, don’t pay attention to his playoff faceoff %

    9. sign Gernat, give him to Nelson for two years

    10. put Klefbom in OKC for one calendar year, not a day less

    11. leave Lander, Marincin, Fedun, Rajala and Arcobello in OKC for another full year… call up duty only.

    12. dump the Abneys weighing down the 50 man list

    13. send the new pro scouting team to scour US college and Euro leagues for the next Brunner.

    14. sign Omark to a 2-way and start him in the NHL.

    15. pick one of the Finn Gs, dump the other. Give Roy the Mantle in OKC and Bunz in Stockton. Give both reliable support. Find a backup for DD, not Danis.

    16. pick one of Peckham and Fistric. try to trade the other at the draft.

    • Alsker

      Helluva a list, not sure about #14 but like the rest unfortuneately the real #1 has to be Katz deciding to proceed and having someone in place to oversee the removal of existing mgt. positions, if he tells Klowe to do it we’re no further ahead IMO. But again I like your ideas.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        1. is a complete house clean by Katz minus those few I mentioned.

        You keep the am. scouting dept at the very least through the draft, or you dislodge them now to give a new team time to work.

        I’d keep Stu and co. anyway. but that would be up to the new GM and Pres.

        14. hopefully new mgt. realizes a player when they see it. Omark is one. He is infinitely better at hockey than half of our roster players and he is in our system.

        he’s not worth anything on the market. at worst you sign him to a cheap deal and if he doesn’t work out after 20 games you waive him.

  • Eddie Shore

    Lowe was a good hockey player but he has no idea how to build a team. I include Tambo in this also. Both of them have failed. These guys are suppose to be professionals. There are only 30 Presidents and 30 GM in the best league in the world.

    You can do all the mental gymnastics you want. Keep looking for that silver lining. They failed.

  • vetinari

    In any failing enterprise, the first place to begin analysis for the reasons for failure is at the top, senior management. I think one can safely state that the body of work conducted by Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini over the past five seasons has been totally unsatisfactory in a business where winning is uppermost, and good entertainment is also part of the package. Oilers fans have receive neither.

    Losing has become part of the culture within this organization, it was on display last night.

    If Darryl Katz put as much time and effort in improving the performance of the Oilers as he has in acquiring a new downtown arena the Oilers would be contenders.

    If nothing else, maybe we can persuade Gary Bettman to have a discussion with Katz and explain his role as an owner.

  • robgilgan

    Well, Oilers, like you, I gave it a good run. Watched when I had other pressing things to do and other places I needed to be, but hey, you’re my team. And I’m taking a cue from that. Just like you, I’m quitting early. See you next year.

  • vetinari

    Everyone must be fired.. Get rid of Lowe, Mctavish, Howson, Tambi.. Bring in someone that wasn’t a former Oiler to head up hockey ops and work your way down.. Let the new regime decide about the coaching staff..

    Clean house in the scouting dept.. Last years draft was enough to fire MBS, and get some pro scouts that know how to evaluate professional talent, cause the people in place now clearly have no idea what they are doing

    This next part is tricky because what team wants a bottom 5 teams garbage?? Trade/release/banish to Siberia any of the following.. Smyth, Eager, Belanger, Brown, Hemsky.. A decision has to be made about who to keep out of Gagner, Eberle, Yak… The new GM will have to have the st

  • Eddie Shore

    How many coaches has this management group gone through now? I think its fairly obvious where the problem lies. Its time for a new GM to turn the corner with this team.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    You can’t honestly say your surprised that they completely fell off the map at the end of the year! That’s just what this team does. Too bad it’s only a 48 game season, it’d be nice to get that 4th straight first overall pick. This team sucks and it’s embarrassing to be a fan of such a pathetic organization

  • WinterNightSky

    I’ll take all of the above except for lack of desire. We have seemed lost on the ice pretty much all year long. The team is accustomed to losing and doesn’t know what to do about it. If they knew, they’d do something about it. We have no experience with success or hope, especially on the blue line. For this, I blame our management for creating the suck of the past few years. We can’t suddenly become good.

    I can’t even tell if that was a sensible paragraph or if it was just a mash of bad words. Either way would be appropriate.

    For those interested in potentially good hockey (and unemployed), game 5 of the Gagarin Cup is on Monday at 9:30.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I know it can be difficult to make a “hockey trade” at the deadline, but when I see the likes of Jagr, Gaborik, etc get traded for prospects and picks, it makes me mad that Dithers wasnt willing to give up said picks and prospects to help get the team into the playoffs.

    I dont buy the hubbub of keeping the team together to show faith, that just shows, to me a die hard fan, that ST is fine with the team fighting it out for the green jacket so he can pick #1 again.

    Shouldnt the GM find any way possible to help the team win.

    ST better get the boot at the end of the year!!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    You’re only as strong as your weakest link. This is true for the Oilers. They have the core, they just need to build around it. This necessitates active managing, not the passive managing thus far seen.

    Put simply: If management does not show some urgency and fill the gaps (which have been identified time and time again), then it is obvious where the problem lies.