ORGANIZATION NEEDS FIXING

OilersBroken

On January 27th, 2009 the Oilers got crushed at home 10-2 by Buffalo. It was considered the lowest of low points for the Oilers. But then the 2010 season happened, followed by the 2011 campaign, the 2012 season and then this past Saturday the 29th place Oilers got humiliated 8-1 by the 26th place Calgary Flames. Many said it was the low point for a once proud and successful franchise.

We’ve learned that things can get better, however, they can also get worse.

The Oilers organization is broken, on and off the ice, and it needs fixing.

For the past eight seasons, specifically the past five, we’ve discussed the woes of the Oilers. It is my job to analyze and discuss the pros and cons of the Oilers. I, and all of the Nation, have offered up various different scenarios over the years, but most of the glaring weaknesses seemed obvious.

The team is too small, not gritty enough, not skilled enough on the backend and not experienced enough throughout the lineup. Steve Tambellini didn’t solve any of those issues and was fired last April. He was the only GM who didn’t feel the need to stabilize his blueline. Since taking over Craig MacTavish has done a better job of recognizing the weaknesses and trying to improve them, but he too has made some mistakes.

Signing Sam Gagner to a three-year extension at almost $5 million, based mainly on a lockout-shortened season was ill-advised, especially when it meant the Oilers would use two small, skilled centres moving forward.

The best teams have strength down the middle, on the blueline and in goal. Of course having an elite winger like Taylor Hall helps, but an elite centre and defenceman are a necessity for championship teams. The Oilers drafted a winger with their first pick in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Jordan Eberle and Hall were great picks, but drafting Nail Yakupov gave them more of the same.

However, I can’t blame one or two picks for the downfall of the organization. There are much larger issues within the organization, and while some might suggest some of these have nothing to do with winning, I’d argue that leadership comes in many forms, and without strong, secure leadership an organization will struggle to succeed.

WORK IN THE NOW…

  • The Oilers are either focused on the past or the future, but they don’t spend enough time in the now. I understand having some connection to the past successes. Most organizations do, but winning organizations also bring in people in key positions who have no connection to past glories. You need a mix, and the Oilers have struggled with that. If something goes wrong it is the new “outside” guy who takes the fall. Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Ralph Krueger, yet the assistant coaches who are former Oilers, Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith always escape the ax. It is great to have loyalty within an organization, but it can’t be blind. You can’t continually handcuff a head coach and not allow him to pick his assistants. It doesn’t work.
  • For the past four seasons the Oilers have marketed and pushed “the future.” They will be great in the future. The kids will be the core moving forward, but you need to concentrate on the entire process not just the end goal. The team gave the young players every opportunity to succeed, and felt they’d lead the team to the playoffs, but they handed them icetime, often when they weren’t ready to handle it, and they didn’t insulate them with enough quality players to support them when their inevitable inexperience would surface. You can’t win in the future, if you aren’t taught or shown what it takes to win today.

    When the Oilers were winning 30 years ago with a young group of players, they had veterans like Lee Fogolin who kept them in line. Glen Sather also didn’t coddle them. He banished Mark Messier to the minors when he showed up late, and he didn’t give them massive contract extensions after only two seasons.

    The Oilers have been in a constant struggle of how to handle their young stars. Just because Taylor Hall was ready to dominate at 20 doesn’t mean Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov were. And that is okay, because like children in your home, they all mature at different rates and you can’t raise them in the exact same fashion. But the Oilers seemingly wanted them all happy, so they gave them icetime and opportunity regardless of how they played.

  • In 2009/2010 they had Sheldon Souray, Lubomir Visnovsky, Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and Ladislav Smid on their blueline. It wasn’t an elite D corps, but it had a solid combination of size, experience, skill, puck moving abilities and nastiness. But before Hall played one NHL game that group was dismantled. How do you expect your skilled forwards to produce if they don’t have experience and skill on the blueline? Instead of insulating their skilled forwards with a veteran, skilled blueline they downgraded the most important position on a young team. That decision has hampered this organization for the past five seasons.

MADE IT PERSONAL…

  • At times the Oilers don’t seem to take criticism very well, even when it comes from within. Most of us hate hearing criticism, but if you ignore, try to control it or banish those who speak out then you won’t learn from it. When Sheldon Souray questioned the organization’s leadership, communication skills and medical standards he was banished to the minors. Tambellini and the Oilers choose to make an example of him, bury a good asset in the minors and ice an inferior lineup, just because he spoke publicly about issues he saw within the organization. To make matters worse, most of the things he said seemed accurate. The Oilers changed their training and medical staff later that off-season, and two years later they realized Tambellini was not a good communicator. Souray might not have gone about it the best way, but his words were true. Clearly, Tambellini didn’t like what Souray said, but he let it get personal and cloud his judgement. What was worse is that the organization allowed it to happen. Someone needed to make the tough decision and tell Tambellini to get over it. You can’t be thin-skinned in professional sports.
  • Even today amid all of the losing, if someone questions the Oilers on how they do things on or off the ice they are instantly defensive. Kevin Lowe got fired up when John MacKinnon asked him at Craig MacTavish’s press conference why this hire would be any different. Tell them their music playlist on game days is the worst in the league — even visiting writers point out how awful it is — and the Oilers will tell you it is fine. Music won’t make players bigger, stronger, faster or more mature, but anyone who thinks Adele is going to pump up your players or fans on opening night is living in a fantasy world. They should be striving to improve every aspect of their game day experience, regardless of how big or small of a factor it has on the game.

TODAY

1322205873061_ORIGINAL

  • One loss or one victory in an 82-game season won’t make or break the year, however, when you lose as bad as the Oilers did on Saturday you can understand why many aspects of the Oilers are being questioned. This is bigger than one or two people. MacTavish is in charge of fixing it, but he can’t do it alone. The coaches need to be better, and more composed. The players have to be better. The scouts, pro and amateur, need to be better. The owner needs to be better. Everyone in the organization needs to be better, but the main decision makers need to have thick skin and expect some vitriol from the fans. You can’t expect your fans to pay huge dollars to watch the team lose year after year and just accept it with a smile on their face.
  • I don’t agree with fans throwing jerseys on the ice. I understand being sick and tired of losing, but the jersey toss isn’t the way to go. However, I received an email from a fan who said he turned his jersey inside out during Saturday’s game as a protest to how they are playing. Later in the game he was asked to leave and was told that his “jersey turn” was embarrassing. I tried to get confirmation if that was indeed true, and I couldn’t, although I have no reason to believe the fan fabricated the story. I can understand not allowing jerseys to be tossed, but if the organization can’t handle fans showing their disgust by turning a jersey inside out, then they are the ones who should be embarrassed. I believe that is the best type of protest. It shows the Oilers you respect the jersey/logo, but that you aren’t proud to wear it right now. Do that, but stop throwing jerseys on the ice.
  • I don’t think “water-bottle-gate” was a big deal. Coaches and players disagreeing with each other is not new. It has happened for years, but when your team is in 29th and you are getting destroyed on home ice it becomes a bigger deal than it really is. Whether the Oilers like it or not the optics of Dallas Eakins blasting Hall for tossing his water bottle and soaking the coach will add fuel to an already out-of-control fire.

    Had Eakins showed as much disgust or anger to his players for constantly tossing pizzas up the middle of ice ice, turning the puck over at the offensive blueline, or not battling hard enough in the D-zone then I doubt anyone cares about the water bottle incident. But in a losing season, when a tossed water bottle garners that much ire from a coach, it gives people a negative perception of the organization. 

    A tossed water bottle and subsequent spraying of the coach has zero impact on the standings, but it gives people reason to question how the organization will react when something significant goes awry. When you are constantly losing every action will be scrutinized. It doesn’t mean it is right, but it will happen. I don’t think it was a big deal. Hall is emotional and he admitted he lets his emotions get the better of him at times, but Eakins has no issues with Hall and Hall has no issues with Eakins. Like two brothers squabbling they said their piece and moved on. Eakins wouldn’t say it during his press conference today, but you know he would love more guys who play with the same passion as Hall, and would rather have to calm guys down than try to fire them up.

PARTING SHOTS…

On Friday I pondered why Jimmy Quinlan’s retired Edmonton Rush banner can only hang from Rexall Place’s rafters on game
nights, and why the Oil Kings’ eastern championship and regular
season banners as well as the Rush’s 2010 western conference banner are never visible. I went looking for an answer.

I asked Stew Macdonald, chief revenue officer of the Oilers, what was the reasoning behind these decisions.

“Outside of the Oilers retired players banners, we communicated this to the Rush and Oil Kings in their infancy, that the only other pieces that would hang full time in the building were championship banners and that is why the Oil Kings just have league championships and Memorial Cup banners,” explained MacDonald.

Jason Strudwick and I discussed this on my radio show on Friday, and he said he loved going to rinks and seeing the banners hanging, regardless of if it was hockey, basketball, lacrosse or any other sports. It allowed you to know the history of the BUILDING, not just the main tenant. I completely agree, and I think it is very unfortunate that Quinlan’s retired jersey isn’t hanging from the rafters every day.

I asked MacDonald if they have looked at re-adjusting this decision now the Oil Kings have won three consecutive eastern conference titles and Quinlan has his number retired. “The decision at the time was based on the volume of banners that could go in the building. The Oil Kings had many banners from previous years in Edmonton, and so we addressed that policy at the time and what is fair for the Oil King is fair for others,” MacDonald explained.

I don’t understand how buildings in Boston, Philadelphia and other places can hang so many banners, but in Edmonton having too many is a concern. It does not look good on the Oilers and Northlands in my opinion. 

So what will happen in the new rink? “We haven’t discussed that yet, we are focusing on the design first,” said MacDonald.

Will the Oilers decide not to hang the Smythe division and regular season championship banners in the new rink? Will they only have retired jerseys and championship banners? It might happen.

I’d be just as disappointed if they went that route as I am with the decision to currently not showcase the Oil Kings successes and Quinlan’s jerseys. Winning is hard. Who knows when the next Oilers banner or jersey will be raised to the rafters? The Oil Kings won’t always be a dominant team, and the Rush might not have another retired jersey for two decades. You should honour those teams and individuals and remind fans, players and new comers to the city about some of the great teams that played in the building.

I think our city should celebrate winning, not just championships, because those are extremely rare. If the Oilers, Oil Kings and Rush start winning so much that there is no space for all the division, conference and championship banners, then we’d could look at taking some down, but for now I’d much rather see all the accomplishments of those teams hanging proudly from the rafters.

What do you think? 

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR:

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      I don’t agree with throwing a jersey on the ice, but I do agree with the freedom of expression. The Oilers management are complete control freaks. Imagine having their staff now acting like fashion police. If a guy dresses for the game wearing his jersey inside out, that should be his business. Mgt is forbidding the fans from their freedom to express. They are in no way allowed to express displeasure in the team, but at the same time they want the fans to buy season tickets and fill those seats. As far as the water bottle incident goes, Hall was frustrated and expressed his frustration in a manner common to many other athletes. Getting the coach wet was unintentional. Eakins, on the other hand was a lunatic. His job is to be a leader and professional. Having a fit, swearing at the player waving his arms like a mad man and throwing a towel at Hall, because his bangs and coat got wet, how is this professional? Once again all across the nation, CBC captures the moment. Good show Eakins!!!

    • The Soup Fascist

      Jason talks about the organization!

      Our problems are from a history of poor drafting under pocklington and EIG!

      Chicago proved it takes 13 year sfrom the point of good drafting to be in a position to chase UFa’as like Hossa, Campbell, Sopel, Niemi to win achampionship.

      Dary katz and Stu Macgregor 2008 on!

      2008 Eberle
      In a #22 pick there is 36% chance of getting an NHL player!
      2009 MP, Lander
      2010 Hall, Pitlick, Marincin
      2011 RNH, Klefbom, Gernat
      2012 Yqakupov, moroz, Khaira, McCarron
      2013 Nurse, Yakimov, Chase.

      I would take our U27 players over calgary
      HallPerron, Eberle, RNh, Gagner, Yak,Gazdic,

      versus

      Monohan, Backlund, Colburne, Byron, Galliardi, Bouma.

      our 27 and older

      Smyth, Gordon, Hendricks, Jones

      versus

      Camalerri, Glencross, Stajan, Hudler, D. Jones

      CBC, TSN and EDM MSM blaiming the youth is an idiots game!

      • Jason Gregor

        You are using Chicago as the example of how to draft?

        They screwed up many draft picks prior to 2002 when they took Keith and Burish.

        In 2003 they took Seabrook, Byfuglien and Crawford.

        In 2004 they took Bolland, Brouwer, Bickell and missed on Barker (3rd overall).

        Then they had Hjalmarsson in 2005, Toews in 2006 and Kane in 2007.

        They signed Hossa in summer of 2009. So that would be 7 years from drafting Keith to signing Hossa. Not sure who you came up with 13.

        The previous years they blew 1st round picks with Steve McCarthy, Yakubov, Vorobiev and Munro. But that wasn’t part of the rebuild. Those were bad decisions. Yakubov was the only top-ten pick and he was #10.

        Who blamed the youth? I blamed management for not surrounding them with veterans and for drafting too many of the same style of players and too many wingers.

    • mesa

      This is mostly Katz fault. He gave all these ex Oilers entitlement and a ego boost. Lowe and company have made this a shady organization that have basically waged a war against its own fan base. This type of organization running would not have happened under EIG. Daryl Katz is the real problem. The Oilers have been destroyed. Lowe is scum of the Earth.

    • 27Ginge

      Whoever the Oilers draft this year can take one of the two following courses of action:

      1) Say all the right things, work hard and become a proud Oiler.

      2) Refuse to wear the jersey at the draft and demand a trade immediately channeling their inner Lindros.

      I know which course of action the Oilers deserve but I am not sure which one I am hoping for.

    • Serious Gord

      Good article Jason, and I harken back to the interview you did with Paul Coffey last week. We know that the system here is seriously broken and I know that you don’t believe that Eakins will be gone as the carousel of coaches must stop. However, Coffey from about the 27 minute onwards point of the podcast (online at TSN1260) he talks about the player and the coach (in his case, Sather) showing patience. He was encouraged by Glen, and was drafted in doing the things that he did well when it came to the game (hee hee not shot blocking). When Paul entered the league he was focusing on the things to please the coach, not on the things he did well. Paul stated guys that get drafted gotta do what they do best. Teams need to understand this. My point is that the Oil are befuddled when it comes to Yak. He was drafted by the Oilers as the player he was in junior, to change him to playing a defensive system has got to be tough on the 20 year old when he’s used to playing a certain way. Were Oilers management directed to choose Yaks (possibly), should they be coaching him to be something that he’s not, nope. From the way he’s been used it appears that the management of the Oilers don’t know how to use Yaks, and just how deep does this go. Yes Hall has progressed this year, but how far have Nuge and Eberle dropped in their progression as players. Was Eakins the right selection? From the record they currently have – probably not. If the management team of Lowe and MacT can’t right the ship then maybe…will that happen? Well according to Robins article, probably not. And that’s a worry.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The players have 10 games to try and send MacTavish a clear message they can’t stand, and will no longer play for this coach.

      Craig better start thinking about cutting his losses. Will he continue to stand behind this All hat no cattle coach, or stand by as a couple players ask to be traded if this gong show continues?

    • 24% body fat

      Jason, why do you ruin a perfectly fine article by talking about a pseudo-“sport” like Lacrosse?

      What’s next . . .MMA? WWF?

      It’s called Oilers Nation. Start “Lacrosse Nation” or some garbage like that if you want to waste the bandwidth.

      Thanks.

      V

    • Whether the Oilers like it or not the optics of Dallas Eakins blasting Hall for tossing his water bottle and soaking the coach will add fuel to an already out-of-control garbage fire.

      Fixed.

    • 24% body fat

      “Outside of the Oilers retired players banners, we communicated this to the Rush and Oil Kings in their infancy, that the only other pieces that would hang full time in the building were championship banners”

      No offense, but please explain the Rod Phillips’ banner. And wasn’t Pock’s old mans name etched on the Cup at one time too?

      C’mon Oilers…get over your damn selves.

      Where did you come from

      Where did you go

      Where did you come from

      http://www.conhunley.com/images/cot_1.jpg

    • TheresAlwaysNextYear

      @JasonGregor

      I wasn’t saying that you have changed your views on the situation. I drew attention to that article by saying that Tambellini made Souray to be a cancer and a majority of the media followed suit.

      I quoted Robin Browlee’s article for a few reasons.

      1) When I plugged “Sheldon Souray” in the search bar, the majority articles that came up were from Robin Brownlee so I just used it as a sample as his views at the time were also that of the majority of sports media in the city.

      2)Today, Robin Brownlee wrote a pretty scathing piece on the Oilers management, mainly Lowe. Lowe at the time was on board for making the decision to bury Souray.

      3)I thought by bringing this up on your page I would have less of a chance of getting banned for pointing out a fault of Brownlee, (I’ve seen him delete comments before for one reason or another.) Just a thought though, with him appearing on your show tomorrow, this might be a good discussion point (the Souray fiasco/mishandling of personal attacks on management).

      • Jason Gregor

        That is fair, but if others claimed he was the villain, then I’d still say they are still wrong. Organization needed thicker skin, and in this specific case, Tambellini.

        Lowe should have stepped in and said don’t take it personally, but I guess he didn’t want to neuter his GM. Turned out to be the wrong decision

    • Jason Gregor

      @JasonGregor

      Fair. But that would contradict every reason why people can’t stand Lowe. If Lowe stepped in and told Tambellini to grow a pair, that would just add more fuel to the “Kevin Lowe/puppet master” theory. If Lowe doesn’t step in, he lets his GM really botch a situation.

      I think aside from it all the bigger issue is that almost all involved in the organization (players too) are too prideful or proud to admit that the makeup of the team is not built with the right personalities. Agree?

    • The Soup Fascist

      Instead of benching Hall for spilling water Eakins should bench players for not playing hard and giving it their all. What a joke this team has become.

      MacT should bench or fine or discipline Eakins for this. The Oilers should expect all their personel to act with class. Eakins benching of Hall for the water incident is classless and immature on his part.

    • Serious Gord

      Jason:

      Correct me if I am wrong but I remember that you were in Favour of signing gagner.

      2. You say that the org is broken both on and off the ice yet you do not name names as to who on the off-ice side should be fired? Is it Lowe or MacT or Eakins? Or is it the owner who needs repairing. NAME Some Names.

      • Jason Gregor

        I never liked Gagner contract. I felt they rushed after one decent 48-game season. Yes, going to arbitration or a one-year deal would have been a risk, but so was signing a three-year deal. The broken jaw has changed things, but Gagner still hasn’t improved his defensive game.

        As for off-ice. You can’t fire anyone in business side. They are selling out. Hard to argue when making money.

        I wouldn’t fire someone over the DJ, but I’d look at improving it. Just like I’d change the rule on banners. It makes them look like bullies. I’d look at how we can win over fans with actions in the community, because the on-ice product is not winning over fans.

        The owner needs to stay out of player personnel decisions, other than giving MacTavish a budget. I have mentioned often that the owner telling his scouts he wanted Yakupov when they wanted to take Murray is not the way to do business.

        That is how bad organizations stay or become bad. Let his scouts and MacTavish decide who to draft. If he tells MacT he can spend $68 mill then trust him that he will spend it correctly, and don’t start telling your amateur scouts who to draft.

        • Serious Gord

          I must have mis-remembered your comments re: gagner. Yet you would have signed him , possibly for more via an arbitrated one-year deal where he would arguably be worth less now than he already is.

          As for Off-ice – I’m not talking about the business-side – i’m referring to the team’s management. If it’s broken – as you say – who do you fire? Unless you think the only thing broken is the owner’s meddling in the draft pick.

        • Lowe But Now High Expectations

          Matheson was asked directly about the ‘did Katz overrule his scouts and pick Yakupov’ during his most recent “ask Matty” article, and his take on it was that while it’s often been rumoured, there’s never been any concrete proof of it.

          It also sounds like, at least according to him, that the scouts couldn’t agree on which dman in that draft was the best one between Griffin Reinhart, Murray and Morgan Reilly, but they did agree that Yakupov was the consensus best forward.

          IMO nobody really knows for sure what happened on draft day except for the people directly involved.

        • Admiral Ackbar

          This is a very interesting post. So the owner has his hands on hockey decisions. I would suggest that the Krueger firing may have also have directed by the owner. No hard evidence, it just seems that MacT’s change of course was just too sudden.

          • Lowe But Now High Expectations

            Uhm no the Kruger firing was all on mct.katz keeps his mouth shut.

            Leave Katz alone,he will eventually get rid of the management.but he wants to keep them until klowe plan finishes.

        • Jason Gregor

          One can only deduce that Katz is involved with hockey Ops through Lowe and MacT, perhaps in a dictatorial manner to achieve his vision of a winning team,otherwise he would or should have made changes based on the chaotic results of this franchise since his ownership.

          In other words if a lot of these ideas come from Katz, how can he fire Lowe or MacT, who essentially are his messengers.

          There are dozens of examples of ownership meddling
          ,Leafs,Bills, Cowboys even Flyers..etc., they never turn out pretty.

    • The Soup Fascist

      There is no way I am renewing my Oilers season tickets. I hate to break it to you guys but this team is a lost cause… I have no clue why we continue to waste our time and $ on this team. Things will only change once that support evaporates. Its as simple as that.

      I went to the last Rush game and was blown away by what I saw. This is a very legit sport and an unreal team. To the guy saying its a fake sport, obviously you havent been to a game. The boys and I had a blast at the last game and I couldn’t believe that Rexall was half empty for this event.
      Love the Oilkings but the OilKings are still kids… From here on out I plan to attend every Rush game and help support their perfect season.

      They deserve it whereas the Oil definitely do not.

      • northof51

        And I’m sure you’ll line up for season’s tickets when we get roller derby and lingerie football. That’s the type of market space the Rush occcupies. What a joke – the Rush truly make this city look bush league.

        V

    • TheresAlwaysNextYear

      Not for nuthin but I’ve always appreciated Gregor’s real world stance on the Souray situation.

      And hat tip to Robin for being open minded and changing as new info comes to light. And IMO RB is pound for pound the best writer that I know of today. That’s sports and everything else.

      And I’ve always had Souray’s back as I knew him before he played for the Oil, and I believed what he said to Spec at the time as 100% on point. If you want the definition of stand up, look in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Sheldon Souray.

      Lastly, I have a HUGE amount of respect for Kevin Lowe and what he has done with volunteering his time and resources to our city and community, his contributions to local charities, his undying dedication to Oilers and heck even his 6 rings. I mean, props dude!!!

      But you know what, it’s time to go. The ship has sailed. You done your part, you did your time. You gave it your all. Time to pass the poho baton on. Leave with your head held high. Or try to anyways..

    • O.C.

      Steve MacIntyre sighting at Lammale’s today! He is still in Edmonton! Any chance the Nation can rally and get him officially recalled and into the line-up tomorrow night!!!

    • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

      Great article Jason.

      I recommend anyone who is frustrated with the Oilers organization or Kevin Lowe read about the “Dunning-Kruger effect”. In short, it states that incompetent people often believe they are much more skilled than they really are. Without proper feedback, reflection and self-awareness, these people continue to under-perform but convince themselves they’re above average.

      “I think it’s safe to say that half the general managers in the National Hockey League would trade their roster for our roster right now.”

      Sound familiar?

      This organization needs to do a better job of being accountable. From top to bottom, everyone needs to understand how to improve their deficiencies and perform honest evaluations on mistakes to learn from them. Understanding how to take constructive criticism is the first step in this process. They can’t bully fans/the media into being afraid to ask tough questions forever.

    • JamesBerry84

      FACT; The Rush are the only pro team in Edmonton with a winning record over the last year AND are undefeated. I don’t blame people if they want to post about a winning team- we’re LONG overdue with some positive sports talk on here.

      I’ll support the Rush for the sole purpose that it would rub salt in the wounds of Katz/Laforge to see a packed arena for a team they don’t control. I can swing a $40 ticket and would rather support Quinlan and the boys in their playoff run over a bunch of lazy, spoiled kids who long ago turned their backs to us blue collar fans.

    • The consistent losing is one thing but I do not want to hear any of the young core talking about playoffs over this up-coming off season. I bought into the pre-season hype of a push for a playoff spot this year hook line and sinker and the team was literally out of it by November! The message from Hall, Ebs, Nuge better be an honest effort every night!

      Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice and I will wear my Sweater Inside Out every time until they make the damn post-season!

    • BigE91

      By my own stupidity, I made a bet that the Oilers would be ahead of the Flames in the standings on January 1st. Not only did I lose the bet the agreed upon payment was for the loser to purchase tickets to a game later in the season.

      As such I am going to the game Friday against Anaheim. I will not be tossing any jerseys on the ice regardless of the outcome. What I think would be great is if at some point on the game the crowd stood up and turned their backs to the ice, as has been done in some football/soccer stadiums over the years.

      I’d be more than willing to stand up in protest of what’s the organization has done to this team. Personally, though they could play better i don’t blame the players or the coach. They’re just playing the hand they’ve been dealt.

      Anyone else willing?

      • TheresAlwaysNextYear

        I had free tickets to the games vs the flames but I decided not to go. Oh boy, did I make the right decision. You’re on your own. I don’t want to see another slaugther.

    • TheresAlwaysNextYear

      The banner thing ticks me off just thinking about it

      thats another example of this organizations hubris

      so they want to act like they are part of the fabric of the community as we pay our hard earned dollars to watch CRAP, but do not want to share the spotlight with other teams that are part of the community……..this is the equivalent of a selfish, self absorbed entitled a-hole

      Oilers, if you’re gonna be losers, at least be loveable losers……nothing loveable about this organization right now

      • northof51

        You said it!

        If we’re going to have “Rush” banners up, let’s have some for other great events at Rexall –

        Oprah
        Bon Jovi
        Keith Urban
        Dr. Oz – that’s coming up soon!
        Billy Graham (quite some time ago)
        Guns ‘n’ Roses
        Kiss

        The list goes on! If you’re going to open it up to non-sports like Lacrosse, let’s be fair about it and include Oprah.

        V

    • Admiral Ackbar

      Hey look… people are still commenting on oiler blogs…??? hallelujah someone still does give a f***!

      don’t worry guys, eventually this team will be slighty better then pathetic. when you get so many high draft picks that the league changes the draft rules to make it fair for everyone else, it really doesn’t matter how bad your coaching or management is, they’ll eventually have no choice but to be better then the worst team in the league.

      so, to sum up… all the kids have to do is be slightly better then pathetic, inspite of coaching or management, and then let lowe sit back and tell everyone how good he is for a year or 2. then he’ll retire and we can get serious about winning again! I say 10-15 years more, tops!!