Many things need to change

It is December 2nd, and once again the Oilers’ hope of a playoff spot is officially over. The Oilers have accumulated a paltry 16 points in their first 25 games. They would need 76 points over their final 57 games to reach 92 points, the current pace for 8th place in the west.

It isn’t happening, but what should the Oilers do now?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Before we discuss what needs to change, I want to share a few observations from my recent trip to Los Angeles. My wife and I spent four days in LA. We went to the Lakers/Timberwolves game on Friday and then watched the Kings/Hawks on Saturday. My wife isn’t a diehard sports fan, but Kobe Bryant is her favourite basketball player and she really enjoys going to live sporting events, so she was pumped we spent two of our four nights going to the Staples Centre.


Bryant is in his 19th season and watching him live gives you an even greater appreciation of how insanely competitive he is. You don’t become great by being passive. Sitting that close you get to see more of the game within the game. We sat row six at centre court, and the tickets were cheaper than row five centre ice for an Oilers game, and I focused much of my time on Bryant.

He isn’t the player he was when they were winning, age does that to you, but he still had 26 points, on 10 of 18 shooting, but he competed for every inch on the court. On the offensive sets he didn’t have the ball, he worked over Andrew Wiggins. He set hard picks and was constantly challenging Wiggins, who guarded him the most, for every inch of space. The Lakers are not a good team, and it clearly frustrated Kobe, but that didn’t stop him from battling. He doesn’t come across as a great team player, but there is no denying why he is a Hall of Famer. Yes, he is very talented, but he works his ass off, and it is the one thing the young Oilers have yet to realize. Until they start working as hard as the other team, they won’t win. Simple.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The Hawks/Kings game was electric. The atmosphere in the building was awesome, even though the Kings lost. It is obvious the Oilers aren’t close to either team, but watching them play one another it was apparent what separates these teams from the Oilers.

  • Both teams are accountable. They don’t make glaring mistakes, and if they do, it happens once.
    They get pucks deep when necessary.
    All the players go to the net.
    The support one another.
    The third forward into the zone rarely attacks the defender, unless they are certain they will keep the puck in.
    They rarely went offside.
    Darryl Sutter switched lines regularly to get things going and the players all knew how to play with new linemates.
    When the D-man pinched the forwards covered.
    Duncan Keith spent 30 seconds down low in the offensive zone, and it wasn’t considered a negative. His wingers gladly manned the point and didn’t make dumb decisions to try and get in the play.
    Players stood up for each other, but also themselves. Patrick Kane didn’t like McNabb running at him and he got in his face and gave him a few crosschecks. Both teams have a pack mentality, and both groups battled hard all night.
    It was refreshing to watch two teams compete that hard for an entire game.


The Oilers can’t stay on the tracks long enough to even see the tunnel, never mind witnessing the light at the end of it. The entire organization is in disarray, but what should they do know?

Many of you might not agree with me, and before you read the next sentence please don’t have any fluid in your mouth. ( I warned you)

The Oilers shouldn’t make any changes right now.

Okay, I hope you listened and didn’t spit out your coffee, tea, water or alcoholic beverage if you felt you needed one to read anything relating to the Oilers, after reading that. Stay with me…

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The season is over.

We all know it.

I agree that changes need to be made, but why not wait until the New Year in the hope the Oilers fall farther behind Columbus, Buffalo, Carolina and Philadelphia. Due to the changes to the draft lottery in 2016, this is the final time that finishing 30th guarantees you a top-two pick, and with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel touted as generational talents, why make a move now that could jeopardize that?

Honestly, if a new coach can make the Oilers win 4-5 more games that could cost them McDavid. I know it sounds like a loser mentality, but finishing 24th or 25th will not help this organization. I fully realize that finishing 30th won’t guarantee this team improves, especially if the decision makers at the top aren’t changed, but if I’m Daryl Katz I’m not rushing to make a major change right now.

It pains me to write that, but now is not the time to make any major moves.

Outside of losing out on Eichel and McDavid, the other reality about making a change now is that the list of potential coaches, general managers and presidents is much smaller today than it would be at the end of the season.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I realize the last statement only makes sense if the Oilers elect to change their ways. That is a major IF.

The on-ice product is what we witness every day, but many of the off-ice decisions are why the on-ice product is so terrible.

The biggest flaw within the Oilers is their unwillingness to interview people for job openings. How can they say this guy was the best candidate when they never actually interview any.

Kevin Lowe hired MacTavish without interviewing anyone else for the job. Why not take that opportunity to interview some people and hear four or five different perspectives about your team?

They promoted Scott Howson without looking at anyone else for the senior VP of hockey operations.

Craig MacTavish fired Ralph Krueger and hired Dallas Eakins. He didn’t fire Krueger and then go on an extensive search for a head coach. Nope, as he was looking for an assistant, he met Eakins and decided he’d be the best head coaching candidate.

The didn’t fire Freddy Chabot in the summer when they could have interviewed multiple candidates, instead they waited until the season was 20-games old, and already wasted, before canning him and hiring Dustin Schwartz.

To me that is a habit, and a terrible one when you trying to build a winning franchise. Maybe those men were the best people for the job, but the organization never conducted a proper and thorough interview process to determine that. Losing companies do that, not winners.

The other glaring mistake about all of those hires, excluding Howson, was that MacTavish, Eakins and Schwartz were all rookies in their role at the NHL level. You can’t have that much inexperience in one organization and expect to win.

My advice to D. Katz is not to make any major moves today and risk losing your grasp of Eichel and McDavid, but when you finally make a move, please, for the sake of your fansbase, conduct a thorough and professional interview process.

Changes need to be made.

Bring in people from other organizations and listen intently as they tell you what they see wrong with your hockey club, because the people currently running it have been unable to solve the problems, many which they themselves created.


  • Andrew Ference didn’t mince his words last night.

    “We’re talking about things that work, the base of winning hockey. Guys
    who come from different organizations know the difference,” he said when stressing it isn’t the system, but rather the player’s unwillingness to play it.

    He then referred to certain players needing to be convinced to be happy about being in the NHL and not mopping around feeling sorry for themselves. Ouch. There are bigger issues here than just coaching.

  • Please stop saying the Oilers are playing better at even strength this season because the shot metrics and Corsi numbers say they are. You could make an argument about that after 10 games, but it is game 25 now and they have given up the most EV goals in the league. They are 22nd in EV goals scored. Making glaring mistakes every game at EV does not equate to playing well. I’m sorry, but any suggestion that their low (unlucky) SH% will suddenly even out is strictly wishful thinking.

    This team does not compete hard enough. They don’t play smart enough for long enough stretches of the games. IMO, until those two things change, the underlying numbers mean very little.


Let’s end on a positive.

Our 4th annual Month of Giving begins today on TSN 1260 during my show.. During the past three
years we’ve raised over $183,200, including an outstanding $77,150 last year, with all the proceeds going to various Christmas charities to help those
in need.

We have some great packages again this year…

  • A
    high efficiency furnace or Central air conditioning system including
    permits and installation and removal of old furnace from G&H
    Heating and Cooling. Value $7,000.
  • Michelle Derk from Remax Elite has donated her “seller’s commission” on a house.
  • I have some dinner packages with the Eskimos and Oilers…
  • Rush VIP package…Eskimos VIP package
  • Golf packages, jewellery, Wine package
  • Performance assessment and Training package at 4322
  • Oil Kings VIP…
  • Shopping spree at Derks clothing and dinner….
  • And more…



Homecrest Outdoor fire
pit courtesy of Dinette & Patio Furniture.

  • 65000 BTUs
  • 20lb tank and metal cover protecting
  • 42 inches wide, 19 inches
  • Can be switched to natural

You can bid by calling 780.444.1260 or texting 101260 between 2-6 p.m. today during the Jason Gregor Show.

Thanks in advance to all who will bid on these packages over the next
few weeks. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the charities, and
please know that you will be making some people’s lives much more enjoyable
during the holiday season.

I’m hoping we can reach $75,000 this year.

Recently by Jason Gregor:   

  • When is it going to occur to most of us all that it is not the player producing the statistics but the process,the player is like the anal orfice he just closes the deal and spits out the stats.

    Tobias didnt majicly evolve and disenfranchise the Oilers scouts Coaches and development System as well as the GM,not at all,Reider was simply closing the deal after specific processes had been executed.Last season Dubby was the recipient of the stats caused system constipation that de-railed his oilers career,this season it is the PP getting lit up,but the causality of those two problems is identical, stats influences.

    During the 1st intermission the Yotes assembled a lethal gameplan to dismantle the Oilers System .They seem to have found that 1st period intermission “something” .

    The Oilers and their System were executed with execution in a very short timespan last night.That was optimal performance by Silent Sam and the Yotes.

    The Oilers need to reposition the “process” to score goals not the shots.They are doing everything right just not moving their impacts around creatively.

  • DoubleDIon

    Man, everyone who complains non stop about the oilers hiring practices (ie most of this article) is out to lunch and obviously hasn’t been in a management position before.

    Interviews are good for deciding people don’t fit, but if you want to find the best candidate, basing it mainly on interviews is madness – all you get there is the best talker. How are you most likely to find the best candidates? Working with them previously, or networking with other people who’s opinion you trust that have worked with them. You find out a million times more info about someone working with them than just talking to them in an interview situation.

    I couldn’t care less if the Oilers never interview more than a couple guys in a formal setting.

    • Wax Man Riley

      You seem like an astute business person. Remind me to never invest in your company if you do not search for the best available employees. I kid, I kid.

      I understand your sentiment about knowing what someone is really like by working with them, but that limits your hiring base. Promoting from within is ideal, and much less expensive, but when you don’t have be horses to begin with, then you’re making sure that you’re never hiring the best person.

      In the case of The Oilers I get thre impression that nobody with experience wants to come here, and the “brain trust” doesn’t want anyone with experience as they might just speak up and tell the smartest guys in the room they are doing it wrong.

    • ubermiguel

      So, if the Oilers hiring practices were so good, why are we not the worst team in the NHL for the last 9 years?

      Hmm.. seems to me that they have followed in inbred hiring process, lead by Mr. Lowe.

  • T&A4Flames

    There would be a major misjustice if the Oilers end up with either of McDavid or Eichel, or even Hannifin for that matter. If that happens, it will only prove that there are either no hockey gods, or that they don’t reward the proper things.

    The Oilers have tanked purposely for years under the guidance of tank guru Steve Tambellini and are now facing the consequences of failing by design. Getting a generational talent at this stage would just not be fair.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I feel especially bad for Hall. This organization is ruining him. No pressure kid, you’re 18, this is your team. It’s your fault if you don’t win a cup.

    Which elite player or even winning player was here to help him (and Nuge)? Eberle at least spent a couple years in Jr. and some time in AHL. Hall has had a revolvong door of poor leadership teaching him. How is he supposed to learn to lead with that?

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    I say we give Lowe and Mac a chance! You can’t turn a team around in just 5 years!! It’s a process that they need to assess and evaluate.

    Mac made a bold move by starting the season with 2 centers, no top pairing D and 2 back up goalies. I think he needs to be less bold. The good news is they can hit the reset button and try again over and over and over again as many times as they want.

  • Agree 100% I know some people say “How are McDavid or Eichel going to help a team this bad?” But one player can change the fortunes of a team if that player is elite.

    In a rebuild it’s important to be bad and get the top picks but it’s just as important to be bad at the right time. Luckily for the Oilers they’re bad all the time. But this draft has two players available that are projected to be the best talents since Crosby. Why be as shamefully awful as we’ve been for this long and pull up out of sadness and into mediocrity right before we have a chance to pick a kid who can singlehandedly change the fortunes of this team?

    The only thing that should result in MacTavish being fired this year is if this team sits in 30th all year and MacT makes a deadline deal to shake things up and we find a spark and finish 26th, miss out on McDavid and Eichel and then get back to the business of being 30th out of the gate next year. Just sit tight and do nothing.

  • Chongler

    This team doesn’t deserve generational talent. Losing via ignorance and sheer stupidity should not entitle the oilers to any sort of leg up!

    You mean to say that this current core group are supposed to just roll over in Dec, burn the rest of yet another season away hoping to not end up 25th so that they can just hand the spotlight over to saviour McDavid?


    What this organization NEEDS to do, is pull it’s head out of its ass, fix what’s broken NOW, retain its fan base and get on a roll to continue to build on next year!

    Buffalo and Columbus can have their generational talent…We want to proudly watch Oiler games once again.

    • Joe Mamma

      Please fill us in on the marvellous trades you have in mind to make the Oilers a competitive team? The Oilers have no L-E-V-E-R-A-G-E. The Oilers have no P-I-E-C-E-S that anyone wants. And anything they do have, they will get fleeced because they are dealing from a position of W-E-A-K-N-E-S-S. Does it compute, now that I spelled it out for you?

      There is no quick fix for this disaster of a hockey team. Make the changes upstairs. Build around a real talent like McDavid or Eichel. “Deserve” has nothing to do with it, them’s the rules. Trade the pieces with value in the off season (or possibly the deadline) when the standings are not a weight around our neck and get real returns. That is the best we can hope for.

      • Chongler

        Yes, you have dickishly made some very good points, that having been said, it’s not my job to fix this mess..I can only hastily give my biased opinion based on not wanting to see another season prematurely W-A-S-T-E-D, complete with all the incessant B-I-T-C-H-I-N-G that will ensue for another nine months! What good is generational talent if the decision makers learn nothing and do nothing to fix this downward spiral? It’s easy to say that it can be remedied in the off-season, but pardon me for not having much faith in that department…

        • Joe Mamma

          I am sorry to be the harbinger of bad news… but the season is already wasted.

          These clowns got us into this mess, and I for one don’t trust them to get us out of it. Fire the whole lot of them, burn the team down, and start again. This time we have some valuable pieces that might actually get us NHL players in return. But doing it now will only guarantee more sub-par returns and magic beans, and an even longer wait for a return to respectability.

          I don’t think we actually disagree all that much, I think I’m just farther along the grieving process than you are bud. I’m at “acceptance”, you’re still at “anger” or “bargaining.” I’m really not trying to be a prick, just trying to inject some reality to the situation.

  • Matty31

    The funny thing is that the most competitive oiler had to be Kevin Lowe. I can’t fathom how he can be happy with this performance.

    I know everyone is fed up with him but it doesn’t change the fact that 27 year old Kevin Lowe would have taken someone’s head off by now.

    • Old Kenny

      @Deke Rivers

      I too find this most confusing. Lowe was a beast as a player. I remember the 91-92 conference finals vs the Blackhawks. Lowe was the captain and the Oilers were completely outclassed but even hobbling around injured Lowe was a beast. They lost 4 straight but Lowe never quit.

      I know being a player and being a manager are different, but where is he? I guess I have no idea what a POHO is, but ya, he must be going crazy.

      Just sad and confused

      • T&A4Flames

        Katz and Lowe are in too deep to quit now.

        I firmly believe the dream all along has been to raise the Stanley Cup banner the night #4 is retired to join 99,11, 7,17 et al in the rafters of the new Katz Koliseum.

        If Lowe packs it in now, with his decade of suckage at the helm and nothing to show for it, how will he get the support for retiring #4?

        No, Katz and Lowe are all in. Their only hope is McDavid. They are standing together, deep in the pocket, throwing their last Hail Mary. They aren’t quitting now.