Is the Edmonton market’s focus on prospects contributing to Oilers losses?

Darnell Nurse

On Monday, the managing editor of SBNation’s Oilers website wrote a piece in which he explained that he would no longer be writing prospect profiles because doing so was perpetuating a “prospectophile” culture that excused the failings of the NHL team.

Is he right?

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The argument goes something like this: the Edmonton Oilers have sacrificed the present because of their all-consuming focus on the future. The club loses, but gets away with it because it has shiny prospects to distract the fans. The media covering the team shift to talking about prospects rather than blast the organization. The organization points to the prospects, and gets distracted from the things that matter in the here-and-now.

Derek Zona put it this way:

All of this serves as a giant distraction to the issues at hand, except rather than “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”, it’s “Pay no attention to the lack of player development, inability to acquire and keep NHL players, inability to successfully negotiate contracts, lack of defense, lack of centers and our mismanagement!” “Look over there at the shiny young players!” has become a way of life in Edmonton, so much so that there is a popular radio show and blog devoted solely on the next big thing.

I don’t see it as a theory that holds up to scrutiny.

The Silliness


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Let’s start by acknowledging how ridiculous it is to draw a line between the kind of fan attention to a team that is right and proper and beneficial and the kind that is wrong and damaging. Hockey is a professional sport; grown men swatting at a rubber disc with sticks. Like all sports, it’s capable of capturing imagination and showing human characters and abilities that transcend its inherent silliness, but like all sports it’s still inherently silly.

So to say, ‘I’m so serious about my NHL team winning and losing that I won’t deign to indulge in the process of tracking which prospects make it and how they do it and where they are now and you shouldn’t either’ is to forget that it’s all goofy. There’s nothing inherently more virtuous in cheering for the success or failure of a team than in cheering for the success or failure of an individual.

Personally, I can’t separate the two. It’s enjoyable for me to track the career progression of some pint-sized forward with incredible skill or some big, plodding defenceman trying to eke enough out of his limited abilities to make the show. It’s enjoyable for me to watch teams good, bad and mediocre improve their lot or win it all. All those individual stories, from the lowliest prospect all the way up to the greatest superstar are intertwined.

Others may disagree; they may feel that keeping track of that goalie playing 20 games in the AHL is totally irrelevant but that following the wins and losses of an NHL club is paramount. That’s their right; one of the great things about sport is that people can appreciate it in different ways. But it’s an arbitrary distinction, and I struggle to understand why anyone would attempt to enforce their view on others.

The Substance


Is Zona right, though? Is the willingness of Oilers fans to busy themselves with prospects a key reason why the team keeps struggling? I don’t see it; I think he’s confused cause and effect.

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There is a legitimate argument to be made that teams in real hockey markets don’t have the same incentives to win as teams in lesser ones. Those clubs can afford to be more patient with an underperforming coach or G.M. because their fans will tune out less readily and they can afford for more of them to become apathetic. For a team in a smaller market, any stretch of ineffectiveness could erode a fragile fanbase, so they have more incentive to act quickly to right the ship.

So far, so good. But here’s the thing: once one of those extremely popular teams starts struggling, its legion of fans don’t stop consuming hockey news. Prospects and the draft are the most relevant to a team with the assurance of a high pick, but if prospects didn’t exist fans would seek out something else – news on pending free agents, trade rumours, or even just more information on the team in the here-and-now (and as a guy who has written his share of pieces on the Oilers’ No. 5 defenceman in March of a ruined season, let me say that those pieces continue to bafflingly draw traffic). Do some people talk about the draft instead of moaning for the nth year in a row about the state of the team? Sure. Does it matter? I doubt it; teams respond to money well before they respond to moaning, and a guy not buying tickets because he’s watching Oklahoma City on the internet hurts more than a guy buying NHL tickets and booing loudly.

It’s also problematic to assert that people are willing to excuse n years of failure because someone like me writes about Ben Betker. Fans hope; if there aren’t prospects to hope in, people will hope that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins emerges or that Luke Gazdic steps up or that Andrew Ference rebounds. There’s always something to hope for if someone is willing to look hard enough for it. 

The nature of media has changed, and everything – not just hockey, not just sports – is covered in greater depth and with greater frequency than it was even 10 years ago. It’s tempting to conflate that increased coverage with the state of the Oilers, to claim that somehow the former impacted the latter. But this is correlation, not causation; the Oilers happened to go into a tailspin at the same time as the nature of hockey coverage changed dramatically. There’s no reason to believe those dramatic changes caused the Oilers’ failings any more than they caused the success of the Bruins or improved my performance at Diplomacy.

The team and media isn’t creating a market by talking about prospects. The market exists and it demands information about everything and if the team and the established media don’t provide it people will look elsewhere for it.


    • Serious Gord

      Exactly. Blaming fans and media for the Oilers woes is wrong. I’m a season ticket holder and while I read about guys like Nurse etc, I don’t believe they will solve the issue.

      Gregor wrote an article a year or so ago outlining the % a draft pick has to make the NHL. After the 1st round it was about 12%. So I don’t believe that Lowetide, Willis, Flaming or others who write a lot about prospects are making me dream of the future and blindly support the Oilers.

      The Oilers stink because they draft wingers in the first round. I’ve seen Gregor, Rishaug, Spector and others rip them about this and other things, but once the drafting is done, there is nothing fans or media can do. The Oilers always believe they are right.

      I go to games because it is a fun night out, and I hope for the return of a competitive team, but don’t insult me by saying my reading of an article about Nurse or other kids is why I support them. Zona and his site has zero impact on pro sports or how I spend my money. I don’t know why Willis would even mention them, unless he’s trying to get them some attention.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        ^i think the scouting staff, led by Stu “the not so magnificent *astard” MacGregor is part of the problem when it comes to drafting players. while i think he has done a good job with the 1st round picks, where he and his staff have seemingly failed is from the 2nd round on, with a few exceptions like Marincin, a lot of their picks haven’t yet made any sort of impact and may never do so.

      • Rob...

        “The Oilers stink because they draft wingers in the first round.”

        If that was a problem it appears to have been fixed. I don’t think you can argue strongly that Hall was the wrong choice in 2010. That leaves you with Yakupov as the only winger chosen in the last 5 years where another option could have been considered.

        2014: Draisaitl (C)
        2013: Nurse (D)
        2012: Yakupov (WINGER)
        2011: Hopkins (C)
        2010: Taylor Hall (WINGER)

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    SB Nation is one of my least favorite hockey sites and, although some of it is justified, i find that Zona is a chronic complainer, and that no matter what the Oiler try to do to improve, it’s never enough. for this reason, i have never commented there and i no longer read much from that site.

  • camdog

    Two more years of no more playoffs and the Oilers will share the record for longest run out of the playoffs in NHL history. How long before the Edmonton media starts discussing the real issues is anybodies guess???

    • A-Mc

      At that point fans will attend games to cheer on the timbits hockey games during intermission, and use NHL playtime to go to the pisser and grab another beer.


  • Leef O'Golin

    I don’t see sweaters thrown on the ice in any other rink.

    We Oilers fans realize that poor drafting and a crappy development system caused our current problems. Of course we’re going to be fixated on the solution. If we pay no attention to the prospects how does that make the team better?

    • Serious Gord

      Were it 9000 sweaters i would agree. The fanbase in edm is much more tolerant of failure than many other markets. And were a team like the habs as bad for as long as the oil have been the fan reaction would have been far, far worse.

    • Fans don’t throw sweaters on the ice in other rinks because if the team has been as bad as the oilers have been, for as long, the fans simply stop going. There really are only 3 teams in the league that could continually sell out their arenas, regardless of how the team performs. Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton. Realistically, though, i wouldn’t be surprised if Oilers sweaters are thrown on the ice in other rinks this season, considering how many Oilers fans go to games in Anaheim & Phoenix.

  • Leef O'Golin

    coppernblue is the first blog I paid attention to, it was my introduction to alternative media and a different way of appreciating the game. Part of that was the top 25 under 25, which introduced me to younger players on the fringe of the team, or prospects I hadn’t heard of to that point. It was fascinating.

    I stopped spending much time on coppernblue after a while. When I tried to join the discussion I found it unnecessarily harsh, Mr. Zona being amongst the worst of the group. Once he took over the site I found the negativity to be simply overwhelming.

    I can handle a certain amount of negativity, heck I’m an Oilers fan. I get it, the team is bad. But if I hated it as much as the folks on that site seem to, I wouldn’t write about it on the internet; I’d stop watching. Life is too short to be that negative.

    That site used to generate a lot of traffic, lots of comments. Recently whenever I go there it seems like a ghost town, which suggests there are people out there that share my view.

    • WHH

      I agree with this and #8 Ca$h-Money. I thought I was the only one that thought that way about the site. I found it to be perhaps the most negative sports blog on the planet. Obviously, I don’t go there any more. I enjoy reading positive articles about the Oilers. We get enough negativity with their results.

  • ubermiguel

    As a fan I’m constantly drawn to the future because the present sucks………’s not the other way around.

    When the Oilers were winning back in the Gretzky years, nobody talked about the prospects!

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Do any of their writers even live in Edmonton?? Yep I’m ok not reading filler material by people who are less plugged into the team then I am. JW however please keep it coming

  • ubermiguel

    Count me in as a guy that started following development leagues in part because the Oilers sucked. Five years ago I couldn’t tell you the difference between the AHL or WHL. Now I’m more excited I’m going to the Oil King’s home opener than any Oilers game this year.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      it’s to the point for me that i just watch all the Oil’s games on TV and spend my hard earned cash on Oil Kings tix, and not just because they are winning….i was in the stands a lot when they weren’t too, but i find the kids give me great value for the money and really put out hard each game. can’t say i have always felt the same with the Oilers.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      I’m with ya. I’ve gone many Oiler rookies vs Golden Bears games, but this time I will be going to see the bears moreso than to so the Oiler rookies.

      And I’m all over the Oilkings. they are now ‘my’ team, moreso than the Oilers and it will remain that will until the Oilers win me back.

      the Oilers are like the Bluejays and Raptors to me now. My team that I only moderataly follow. I just can’t take them seriously, because they are not a serious organization.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    When the team a fan is cheering for is not competitive it is hard on that fan. Instead of relishing the achievements of his chosen team he is relegated to thinking about and hoping for the future of the club.

    Prospects and draft choices are the embodiment of that hope. To not follow the development of the prospects and the draft picks is to give up hope. Based on Zona’s schtick, it is obvious he has given up hope. For that, I am truly sympathetic but certainly not in agreement with him. Hope springs eternal.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Zona’s “article” was pointless, as has anything he has posted in the last year over at Copper n’ Blue. I have no idea why he is still the managing editor. I clicked on his article by mistake not noticing Zona was the one who penned it. I go over to Copper n’ Blue for Scott Reynolds (although he rarely writes any more), I don’t mind Batty & Hull they although have become almost too negative & I go there because of the Top 25 Under 25.

    I enjoy the Top 25 Under 25, I think it’s one of the best series of articles out there. Good organizations and sports markets (football, baseball, hockey) focus on prospects and the draft. If the Oilers win the Stanley Cup, I will still follow the prospects just like I did back in the 80’s although information was harder to find.

    It’s too bad that we are actually talking about an irrelevant post by, in my opinion, an irrelevant contributor to the Oilogosphere.

  • ubermiguel

    As with any media, the focal point is ‘anything of interest’. At the moment, the only thing of interest with the Oilers are the prospects. In the 80’s, all you would read about was Gretzky and his incredible records, Fuhr and his ability to limit the goals against to 6 when needed, and how tough Semenko was. There was no need to discuss the pipeline. Hopefully, in 2-3 years we are talking about Hall’s amazing 98 point year, Nuge’s ninja ability to back check, Nurse’s mean streak, and Yak’s 43 goals. And as a footnote, the Oilers are drafting in 23 position…

  • Serious Gord

    My thoughts… in Edmonton, the Oilers are a hot topic, win or lose. Either way, watercooler discussion… “Did you see that game/hit/snipe/etc last night?!” Once that discussion wanes, the demand for access to the games will as well. The Oilers have a waiting list of people or companies hoping to buy season tickets. As long as there is hope for the future, people are reluctant to give up their season seats. Once that happens, and the waiting list is gone, that perceived shortage of supply in the supply/demand equation is eliminated. Naturally, our interest will falter. Classic situation of everybody wanting the same thing. If nobody else wants it, you don’t want it either. If the team isn’t successful now, then the “prospect” of success will ensure reluctance to give up. Bottom line, keep telling the fans how bright the future is and demand for seats to existing games will remain high. IF the cupboard was bare, how many Oiler season ticket holders would walk away?

  • Serious Gord

    The oilers a selling the future right now because the present is so wretched and the past was even worse. They got burned last year and the year prior building up expectations of a great bounce back season that turned out to be basically as bad as the one before it.

    I seem to recall the rookie Eakins saying that the core players were no longer young – that they were ready to play. I haven’t heard that kind of talk lately.

    The reportage in this market has largely followed suit. Sure the amount of coverage available has mushroomed in the last few years making it necessary for the discussions to broaden into untapped areas like prospects but I think that the oilers market is far and away the market leader in this regard.

    And I think this is both a conscious and unconscious act. Fans want to hear good news (the reception of my posts on this site a prime exhibit). The present situation is anything but. So the talk turns to the glorious future.

    Contrast that to the Montreal hockey market – edmontons only rival in hockey fan intensity. In that market which has entire radio stations call-ins (3 hours long if I recall) devoted to Habs talk 24/7 365 the fans and the reporters talk almost exclusively about the present. And any slump by the team or a player is pounced on and torn at like jackals. Polite oilers fans would be shocked to hear such attacks so used are they to the moderation and polite criticism that they hear and read in this market.

    Perhaps the difference is the size of the market – the Habs have had their team for over a century and are at no risk of losing it and, besides some noise from the former owner mr Gillette, have never been at risk in living memory. Thus it is safe to criticize and there is enough of a fan base that is prepared to criticize to support those in the media who do. Also montrealers are reputed to be fickle – only supporting winners. That certainly can’t be Said of oilers fans.

    Perhaps too it is the attitude of management. Klowe has lashed out at fans and media who criticize. And most of those fans and media cowered and took it. Meanwhile the HOFer bob gainey gets run out of Montreal on a rail for results that were much better than Klowes. (It’s not too difficult to imagine how Klowe would have been treated if he was the Habs GM when he made those comments).

    Lacking enough critical fans to support them in such a small media market as edmonton’s those who are paid to cover the team needing uncritical content and bereft of real good news on the ice turn to the prospects and there certainly seems to be ample evidence of that.

    • Dan 1919

      Well said, I often think one of the main reasons this fiasco continues year after year is because a large portion of the fans accept it.

      This debacle would never fly in a city like Montreal. In the last 15 years they’ve missed the playoffs 4 times, and never twice in a row. They’ve managed to do that all while the rest of the league often expected them to tank or miss the playoffs. They do this because they are well managed and are committed to winning.

      As long as the Oilers are committed to winning “eventually” and the fans buy it, they will never win.

      I’ve been a MacT fan so far, but for them to go into the season with this C group hoping for the best is just reckless. Hopefully he proves me wrong and they light it up, or maybe the market has dried up and he’ll look to make a deal early on in the season. If that’s not the case though and they’re just gambling on this group to cut it and if they fail, I will think it’s time for Katz to cut loose the entire Lowe administration and start with completely fresh management to try and salvage this rebuild before it’s too late.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Between July 15th and September 15th, what else are we really going to talk about if we want to focus on hockey year round? I don’t know how many blogs were written about Draisatl, and how many comments were put in each one, but I believe there’s a lot of discussion that’s gone on.

    By the way, I got NHL 15 in the mail last night, it’s awesome. But Draisatl isn’t on the team (prospects never are) – and boy oh boy is the team weak down the middle. Hall is incredibly fast, but he, and Nuge and Ebs, get knocked off the puck very easily…pretty realistic game! Here’s hoping the team corrects this so I don’t keep getting my butt whooped on the internet.

    • A-Mc

      Hey Shredder,

      I picked it up too. There’s a roster update but it is hard to find you have to go into roster management then download it. After downloading you have to go into roster management roster moves and call him up, arco, nurse, klefbom and lander are in there too.

      Draisatl is rated 72 overall elite potential medium accuracy not sure what that means but saw a youtube that a guy expected hed reach 83-87 overall.

      Biggest error was that Yakupov (83) has low potential to be a top 6 forward terrible! The guy figured wouldn’t get any better in game.

      • vetinari

        Nice! I got mine pre-ordered…then I found out it likely wasn’t going to be delivered until tues-wed next week…I was sad, but then I got a nice surprise when I got home from the gym last night – my girlfriend (yes gamers can have them) had it unwrapped and sitting in the middle of the living room. I was a happy man.

        I’ll definitely check out the roster update. I don’t know that having a guy ranked 72 is worth calling up, I guess I’ll have to look at the stats. I saw Klefbom, etc in there, I didn’t have a ton to time to mess around with it though.

        As for Yak, after 11 goals last year I’m not surprised he was ranked so low. He’s going to have to prove it to bump that up. Low potential seems a bit harsh though. He still has the offensive tools in the game though.

        Hall is ranked quite high, he’s the best skater in the game. Fun to play with.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          Nice I’m married with a baby so all kinda gamers lol.

          I didn’t notice much difference between Draisatl and yak actually in the game other than there shots. I have him playing on 2nd through couple games with perron & yak got a couple assists bad at faceoffs.

          I only notice a big difference in ratings with defenders.

  • hemmertime

    The self-reflective quality of Willis’ article is dangerously perceptive. A person who makes a living reporting on pro sports, who understands the absurdity of the spectacle. That was unexpected.

    I never related to people who get so upset about the desultory state of the Oilers. What difference to their lives will be realized if they iced a winner as opposed to a loser? It’s entertainment.

    To be honest, I find the majority of Oilers’ “news” uninspired. Many articles are written for the sake of “new content” with similar themes fumbling from one site to the next handed off like frozen turkeys.

    It’s not uncommon for articles to be inflammatory in its purpose. Me thinks Zona’s article was in that neighbourhood.

  • A-Mc

    We’re all fans here. If we want to banter back and forth about prospects instead of how bad the team is, then let us. Hockey is an entertainment business, and prospect watch brings us some level of entertainment.

    The article Jonathan is commenting on, is a turd of a piece IMO.

    Fans will do what fans will do.

  • A-Mc

    It is an entertainment industry , and high draft choices create a newness that Oiler fans revel in . Oilers have done a good job of recognizing that newness sells as much or more than results . So in that regard we are the problem and also the solution along with the media . We want to see more new toys until a decent base around those new toys can be formed to have a super competitive club , not just one that might make playoffs . Back in Gretzky days we were not able to fill building as readily as we do today . We like change and seeing youngsters develop here in Edmonton . Results are almost secondary to having the thrill of top draft choices emerge . If it were otherwise the fan base would be eroded by now . Management has failed for many years to get a decent base around all their new talents , more so than the development cycle of the young stars . We still are entertaining just lacking on results which has become secondary for years .

  • 916oiler

    Long time reader first time poster. I have been reading OilersNation, CoppernBlue, and a good chunk of the oilogosphere for almost 5 years (my wife teases me about reading my “celebrity gossip sites”) and I have never posted on them before. Jonathan I really appreciate the level of self awareness in your comment “
    I acknowledge the silliness of my obsession in reading articles about the trials of the 20th prospect in our system but like so many others I cannot pull myself away from my belovedly infuriating Oilers. It is part of my daily distraction. However, I cannot seem to understand the animosity displayed by ON towards CnB. This has been going on for a long time (well before Derek Zona was managing editor) since atleast when CnB was removed from the blogroll. Is it the competition of the site or is there a story I am unaware of? Yes, CnB has been extremely negative for the last few years but in their defence our team has been an incompetent joke with finishes of 30th, 30th, 29th, 22nd, and 28th. In each of those seasons the predictions at ON have run from barely making the playoffs to being just outside. CnB has consistently had the clarity to show call out how bad our team really is and this is why I keep reading it despite its intense negativity. I am disappointed that the first article on ON that comments on something from CnB is aimed at what is clearly a venting of frustration from Zona. We should all be venting our frustration! Our team sucks, the management has been nothing but incompetent (Sorry, but I don’t buy that a Tampa castoff, career journeyman, and a Columbus Castoff! will be a huge improvement), and we have been treated like garbage by the organization (proud tier two fan here).
    I love ON, Willis and Lowetide are two of my very favourite writers, Brownlee is perfect as the cranky experienced uncle, Strudwick brings an insider perspective I enjoy and Gregor is wonderfully balanced. However, it seems like there is an unspoken code at ON to not be too harsh or negative when being critical of the Oilers even when calling them out which has hurt its credibility when the team has been bad enough that the NHL has changed its draft rules in response! I especially found it funny this summer when much of ON celebrated the hiring of Tyler Dellow because he was similarly ostracized by this site for being to negative until lowetide came on staff.

  • vetinari

    I cruise by this site daily and CnB only about once every few weeks because I find the quality of writing and diversity of opinions to be greater on this website.

    As for the article in question, I happened to read it yesterday before Willis’ reply and agree with many of Willis’ points although I wish to add one of my own.

    In sports, you can write about a team’s past, a team’s present or a team’s future. For the Oilers, the past (i.e. the Cup years) usually dominates because the present has been bleak and the future is too uncertain.

    However, covering prospects is a big part of a team’s future and by ignoring it, CnB is basically saying that they are restricting themselves to a thin, myopic slice of the team’s timeline (i.e. the here and now) to the exclusion of all others.

    I think it is the wrong approach to take. Part of assessing the “here and now” is assessing a GM’s and scouting department’s draft history and draft record, assessing the franchise’s ability to develop prospects, and assessing the team’s ability to predict future needs and address them in a timely manner.

    Fans are not stupid but they are human. If today is tough, you think of the future. If I break my leg today, I think of tomorrow when it is healed. It doesn’t mean that I am ignorant of today and my current situation, it is just that I prefer to change my perspective and take the long view instead.

    Hockey is very similar. When the Oilers eked out 4 or 5 wins in their first 20 games last season and the writing was on the wall, it was not the media that affected where I placed my focus– it was me that chose to take an interest (again) on the team’s future and their prospect list because that was more satisfying than wallowing in the team’s current misery.

    If Zona would prefer to exclusively celebrate the team’s successes or wallow in the team’s miseries, depending on the progress of the team throughout the season, then so be it, but I think he does so not because of some principled approach but rather from lazy and myopic “journalism”.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Zona’s article is a bit patronizing. He seems to be portraying the Oilers “fan” – or by extension, any fan of a sports team – as an idiot, mezmerized by a shiny object while his wallet is being stolen. I don’t think on a general basis that is true.

    It is possible to rationally believe in keeping the future of the team intact while insisting that a competitive team is put on the ice presently. It is just as it is fair to say that the Oilers have NOT accomplished this goal in recent years.

    Just because I strongly believe the Oilers should not trade a Nail Yakupov or an RNH for a Joe Thornton type, does not mean I can’t be critical of some of the decisions the Oilers management have made and suggest that they need to find a reasonable facsimilie of an NHL 2C defore the season starts.

    Most of us are able to rationalize these issues, discuss the actions of management and realize that there is a balancing act between being competitive now as well as in the future.

  • pkam

    There is no right or wrong, just personal preference. If they like to be more negative, it is their choice. Just like I like to be more positive and Serious Gord likes to be more negative.

    I know it is summer and not much to report or write, but do we really have to pay attention to the opinion of the editor of another site?

    Can we have something else to read and chat?

  • pkam

    Only been blogging for about a year here, I started at OilersNation’s blog and CnB, but found the the latter wasnt updated regularly and too negative for my like. I replaced the latter blog with lowtide’s one and never looked back.

        • Serious Gord

          Whether he did no not speaks to how determined MacT is to leave no stone unturned in creating the best roster possible. And as to how content he is to take the current line-up into the beginning of the season.

          Someone should ask koivu if anyone called and whether he seriously has considered playing one more year. The timing of his announcement would suggest that he was indeed thinking if going one more year.

          So it does matter.

  • I’m with Zona in that the Oilers organization is obsessed with the future to the point that they’ve forgotten that you are supposed to actually compete in the here an now. Its been 5 years since this team actually tried to make the playoffs. And it sounds like Mact is ready to make it 6.

    Furthermore, the organization absolutely promotes their shiney toys to distract, that and hold 80s reunions.

    In short, its all management’s fault.

    • Serious Gord

      I think that the pressure on oil management to get results right now is (amazingly) lower than almost every other franchise in the league. That is a function of the attitude of the fans and media as well as the type of owner.

      Without the right now pressure, management (and fans and media and the owner) has turned a significant portion of its attention to the future. Compare that to a market like philadelphia – where the polar opposite situation exists.

      In short the primary blame does indeed rest on management, but that they aren’t being held accountable by fans, media and ownership is a big reason why they are engaging in such behavior

      • PlayDirty

        I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying here Gord. Using the Flyers’ example you’ve given is interesting because, I agree the two teams are polar opposites. Philly has been banking on the here and now since ’75 and they haven’t been any closer to winning the Cup than the Oilers in the past 20+ years. The Oilers ‘tried’ to win for several years until formally pressing the reset button in ’10 (or whenever you want to define it).

        Oilers management took a gamble and made a pitch to the fans that we’ve hung on to and, right or wrong, they’ve stuck to their plan.

        Realistically, who is more likely to win the Cup next? It won’t happen this year, but I’d argue the Oilers are more likely to bring the Cup to Edmonton within the next 10 years than Philly. 1 Cup victory may be worth years of ineptitude.

        • Nomad787

          One thing about the Flyers is they don’t talk about bold moves, they do bold moves.

          There seems to be one similarity about the organizations. Clarke is a fixture with the Flyers for as long as he wants and the team’s performance does not impact his job security. Much like K Lowe here. Unfortunate for both teams.

          • PlayDirty

            Pardon the delayed response…

            Bold moves? Sure. But did trading Carter, Richards etc. get them any closer to a Cup?

            Making moves simply for the sake of making moves gives people something to talk about but often little else.

            I’m not as adverse to the loyalty shown to these hall of famers as most people, although they may fit more appropriately as general advisors where the value they bring is in more of a PR function.

      • Serious Gord

        We, the fans, did give the organization the green lite to go full rebuild, so we are partly responsible. But, i think many (myself included) thought that meant 2 years, and that they would actually ‘build’ along the way, not just sit on your hads and draft your entire 23 man roster.

        The concept of a rebuild was fine. The way they initiated it couldn’t have been worse.

        And I do agree that the organization is comfortable because they know they will always make money, and if they are in the loop they will never be held accountable.

        Anyone who doubts this is deluding themselves.