Sitting Down with Ryan Robinson

Right now, you may be asking yourself who the hell is Ryan Robinson?  Well… Ryan is the guy behind the emotional “Life As An Oilers Fan” video that has been making the rounds of the Oilogosphere in the past few days.  If you haven’t watched Ryan’s video, take a few minutes to do that today.  After posting this to YouTube on Wednesday, Ryan’s video has already racked up more than 23,000 views.  Ryan took a few minutes to sit down with me, and explain what inspired him to speak out via his YouTube page.  Here is part of our conversation.

Who is your favourite Oiler (both current and all time)? 

My favourite Oiler of all time is (obviously) Ryan Smyth. There are just so many things to like about him. First of all, he has a great name. He is Canadian. He personified hard work and determination. And he is a family man. Just an excellent role model. My favourite player on the current roster would probably be Perron? It’s really difficult to even pick one because I have very little emotional attachment to any of them. It’s not that they are bad players, it’s just that there are no big goals or memorable plays to associate with any of them in an Oilers uniform.

If you could change one thing about the team, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the team, it would be to instill accountability in the organization from top to bottom. As I said in the video, you can’t fire Katz, so he would have to fire everyone under him and begin replacing them with knowledgeable, experienced hockey people. I’m not saying this out of anger or because I want to see heads roll. I’m saying it because the people who are currently in place are incompetent. And they are also unable to admit when they make a mistake. Bringing in people who are more concerned with their responsibility to the fans than their right to hold a position is the first step in my opinion.

What inspired you to make this video?

I’ve got a group of about five or six people that I usually text with during and after Oilers games. But the last two years, with the Oilers being out of the playoff race by December, the texts become fewer and farther between. I actually had a buddy text me last night and say the Oilers have ruined our relationship because we barely talk without the frequent Oiler discussions anymore. So I’ve basically used my wife as a sound board for my frustrations. My wife doesn’t particularly care about the a Oilers, but she does care about me so she listens to my rants. She’s awesome by the way. So after about 15 months of this I realized that I needed to find a different way to vent. So after some prodding from a coworker, I decided I’d share my feelings through a visual medium since I work in the audio/visual field. I figured it would be a good idea to share a bit of my background so that people could relate to where I was coming from and understand why I see things the way I do. Plus, watching and discussing the classic Oiler moments was kind of therapeutic! I also felt that it would be wise to give my take in a calm, rational manner in order to contrast the insanity that is taking place in and around the Oilers.

What has the response been like?

The response to the video has been overwhelming. I knew I was taking a risk throwing my opinions out into the public forum of social media because there are people who will respond negatively to anything. But it’s been reassuring hearing that so many other fans are feeling the same way as me. The most common response I’ve gotten from people is that it was “Well said,” which was the way I wanted it to come across.

Were you surprised by how quickly it took off?

Robin Brownlee was the first person that I sent the video to. I read OilersNation material quite often and I thought you would all appreciate my point of view. So I give OilersNation most of the credit for how quickly the video has spread. I’m sure you get plenty of people tweeting and emailing you, so I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my opinions.

As someone (like myself) that missed the glory years, what keeps you watching this team even though nothing seems to be going right?

Good question. I guess the Oilers got under my skin at a young age and they’ve stayed there. As I alluded to in the video, I had to do a lot of soul searching when Smyth was dealt. I eventually came to the realization that I was an Oilers fan for life and there was no point in fighting it. They are just too much a part of me. There is no reasonable arguing point to use when trying to defend the Oilers. What makes it most difficult to stick with them is that they go against all my values and principles. I value hard work, integrity and having a solid foundation in life. And the Oilers represents laziness, pride and entitlement. So yeah, it’s tough right now.

I think your video says it all, but if you could describe being an Oilers fan with 1 word what would it be?

Being an Oilers fan right now is torture.

Where can we find you on social media? (Twitter/Instagram)

I’m on twitter and Instagram @ryandlace

THE WRAP

Wrap

I applaud Ryan for using the resources at his disposal to make a video which says what we’re all thinking.  The video hit home with me because Ryan and I are relatively close in age, and I also missed the glory years.  I have faint memories of the Oilers winning the Cup in 1990, but that’s it.  Outside of the Cup run in 2006, I don’t really have many memories of Oilers success.  I think Ryan did a great job of pulling the strings of Oilers fans everywhere, and I think he did a great job.  Big thanks to Ryan for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

      • hitchikerforajax

        What’s to conclude…I think it was pretty clear. More of the same coming down the pipe…be patient, we’re on the right track…we believe in our core and our coach.
        Again, no accountability to realize that certain players from the core are NOT the right fit and the coach is NOT the right fit!
        Plus MacT’s analysis of his team brings to question his ability to assess talent at the NHL level. He is decent at the AHL level but this is NOT the AHL. The fact that he constantly overvalues the current players and rewards them with more ice time rings true of the ignorance/arrogance at the helm of this organization.

        I find myself wanting to cheer for the other team now just to show these pompous a$$es at the helm that they are wrong and results have proven it time and time again (for the past 9 seasons to be exact)!!! How can they claim to explore every possible solution when you ignore what the data is telling you, THAT YOU ARE WRONG!!! Numbers don’t lie, people do.

        I’m done here

    • Positive Ray of Sunshine

      “Take no evasive maneuvers, I repeat, do not tun the ship. I’m sure that iceberg will jump out of our way any moment now.”

      I’m paraphrasing a bit.

  • He Nailed It.

    Entitlement and Arrogance is he summation. Summed up how I feel.

    MacT added to it today by statements like I was only of the job for 18 months its not my fault. He had just said talked bout contract negotiations with Horcoff? He went on to talk bout changing out 14 players. But obviously its not his team now?

    Before today their were 3 observable facts. Entitlement, No Accountability, and Arrogance. Today you can add delusion. Delusion is not admitting a mistake in one sentance while in another giving anedoctal evidence of complicity in the outcome.

    As one who routinely ignores the pawns from the major newspapers, and TV it refreshing to hear these paid journalists finally say the things the blogosphere say for years. They need to continue, and for once I am starting to have respect for the old Mathesons and Jones.

      • MorningOwl

        Oh I completely agree with you…but what I’m saying is when we see the Oilers make a play like this then we will know that they are actually progress to becoming a team and standing up for each other. Showing that yeah in a lost game you will be FRUSTRATED and ANGRY and not just bend over and take the loss.

  • bwar

    Was it me or did MacTavish actually say the word “compete” this morning?

    This team has maybe competed in about 2 or 3 games this year. UNACCEPTABLE

    Maybe he got lost on highway 2 and watched a Calgary game by accident.

  • CaptainLander

    The funny thing to me about this whole situation is there is a maybe not so simple fix that can repair the damage and discontent. What if the Oilers just maybe won some games, worked hard. Played like they care. Win a few, then maybe a few more. The fans will cheer, the hope can return. Just win, we are talking about a group of people (players) that beat a lot of odds to make it where they are. Blessed with ability and opportunity. Won at different levels of hockey. If you as a small group of people can beat out the odds and make it all the way to the top league in the world then you can probably beat a few more. Play like care, play like you deserve it because you earned it. Win and this termoil will stop. Win and you will find your venom spitting, jersey tossing fans act like your fans again. Just win.

  • Hemmercules

    so he gambled on Nikitin and lost. no biggee, he tried, it didn’t work. I am fine with that…I am not fine with giving Nikitin top line minutes when it is obvious to everyone the gamble failed.

    Someone needs to photoshop rose coloured glasses on cm.

    • hitchikerforajax

      It would be one thing if that was the only issue. MacTavish gambled on too much and he lost on all accounts:

      1. Goaltending
      2. Nikitin/Defence
      3. Centre Position/ Leon D
      4. Firing Kreuger and replacing him with Eakins

      None of those gambles paid off. This isn’t Sports Select. It’s a professional sport team. This is what happens when you hire a Rookie GM and you don’t do your due diligence and find the best possible person for the job.

      Again, how many people were interviewed by the POHO for the General Manager position? Nobody else.

      That’s on Lowe.

  • Hemmercules

    I see what you mean. These current oilers don’t stick up for each other at all, half the time they don’t even stick up for themselves.

    I fully understand why Mact looked so lost and nervous today. His head is spinning. So many things going wrong, what do you fix first??? and When??
    I dont envy that man, maybe his pay check but thats about it.

  • hitchikerforajax

    I just watched Ryan & he couldn’t have spoken a better reality, that I have tried to speak! I have been as frustrated as he is & until Lowe, MacTavish, Eakins & especially Katz sees, understands, lives the frustrations as I am, they have no idea as to change the joke called the Edmonton Oilers. These millionaires, proved to me, after watching this “press con”, there will be little to no change in this team, because they don’t have to. Katz gets a new arena, Lowe, MacTavish, Eakins, keeps their jobs & players get their fat cheques & have no responceability. The Esks proved that with the right changes, there can be a quick turnaround & may quickly be champs again, unlike the Oilers!!!

    • Con-Air McDavid

      When the Esks were malfunctioning a guy by the name of Hugh Campbell came along and turned things around quickly going on to win several cups and immense respect. That is the kind of leadership the Oilers need badly and QUICKLY!

  • Hemmercules

    “My favourite player on the current roster would probably be Perron? It’s really difficult to even pick one because I have very little emotional attachment to any of them. It’s not that they are bad players, it’s just that there are no big goals or memorable plays to associate with any of them in an Oilers uniform.”

    I really relate to this comment by Ryan Robinson. Eberle has been my favourite since the rebuild started, but it was the goals he scored before he was an oiler that I loved him for. I think the only other goal I really remember him scoring is his first ever NHL goal now that I think about it. I can’t wait for some good memories to look back on again. Almost everything since 2006 is just a blur of negativity, barely able to destinguish one season from the next over that time.

  • Tikkanese

    @bm I applaud you younger guys who are still Oiler fans. I don’t know how you do it.

    It’s basically been one long rebuild since 92/93 with some lunchpail teams in the late 90’s/early 2000’s that squeeked into the playoffs(sometimes with sub .500 records!) and the miracle ’06 run in that long span of pain.

  • hitchikerforajax

    I respect that Mac T finally spoke……..this must have been very hard for him.

    He looked very frustrated and probably does not know what to do next……….I know what most of us would do but that kind of leadership is absent in the owner and his group of friends running the Oilers.

    The best thing is for the Oilers to bring in an outsider with NO affiliation to the current managment group and assess the talent on the ice. Since the GM is fine with his coach learning on the job, there is no point in replacing him now. Eakins is after all our best strategy at landing Connor McDavid.

    What happens late in the year is where I get totally confused. Not one player new in the last two years, has gained any traction to the point where they are progressing……..in fact everyone is regressing. Two Calgary defencemen have more points than our entire first line…….pathetic.

    If there is’nt a housecleaning late in the year, the same group that created this problem will be responsible for fixing this problem?

    Mac T your professional scouts need to be totally replaced, every last one of them. If you can’t judge talent then hire some of the fans, they can do no worse than your current Professional scouts!

  • How is it that everyone can see the issues except for the people that need to make the decision, or is it because the people that have been making the decisions are making the wrong ones. The only way this changes is when people finally decide to turn off the TV or stop buying tickets to go to the game, and before everyone criticizes me or gives me the trash it just know that I am a current season seat holder and have been for 5 years.

    Go skating at the local rink or tobogganing with the kids or to dinner and a movie with the whole family because the Oilers are not family entertainment anymore they are a waste of money. I love my team and hope they will get better soon but for me this will be my last season with seasons tickets and I will put my hard earned money that I get for “doing a good job” into other activities for me and my family.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    I’m sorry, but I regard this video by this Ryan Robinson fellow the same way I regard any other video-rant posted on YouTube: I wonder how the hell someone finds the time and effort into the exploits (or lack thereof) of a local sports team.

    Oiler fans have to stop with the ranting and raving and the belly-aching and start treating the Oilers the same way you treat any other consumer-product that you’re disappointed with. Stop buying it. Stop giving it your time and attention. Vote with your feet. Move along to other things. Enjoy your life.

    Stop treating the team like it’s some sort of mythical entity that Daryl Katz “holds in trust on behalf of the community.” The Gretzky Trade should have taught you that notion is out-and-out B.S. The Edmonton Oilers are a franchise in a company with 29 other franchises. They’re like a Burger King or a KFC … and, right now, they stink so bad the health inspector should be closing them down.

    Stop buying tickets. Stop paying for parking at Rexall. Stop buying those $9 beer and awful onion rings that melt through cardboard. Know that when you go to the game, even to boo and jeer at Kevin Lowe up in the pressbox, Katz has you right where he wants you… in a seat you paid him to rent for three hours. And for heaven’s sake, stop throwing your damn jerseys on the ice. When you sober up the next day and realize you now need to replace that $200 Reebok jersey, guess who gets a cut of that?

    Please, please please … for those of us who are lucky enough to be old enough to have lived through the Glory Years, try to show some pride and stop with the videos and the blog posts. If you’re really serious about sending a message to this team, can the YouTube rants. Stop the tweets and the pity Facebook posts. Stop paying $1,000 to rent portable signs with “Lowe’s Gotta Go.”

    The sooner that the Oilers fandom starts treating the team like a product, the better the situation will be. Edmonton’s supposed to be a “sophisticated” hockey market. Act like one.

  • Hemmercules

    That video is bang on.(I wish he had of mentioned the Souray fiasco.)

    Stop attending the games. They’re not worth watching. The Oilers do not deserve Oilers fans.

  • Hemmercules

    He forgot to mention the loss of Souray for nothing and Whitney’s injury. Both were our #1 D-men. It cost us Stoll and Matt Green. That really screwed us we still have never replaced them. I disagree that Lowe is to blame.

    • Spaceman Spiff

      That is not what he said, he said that the two blowout losses, was the moment that he knew there was a problem with the Oilers. It is from there that he goes on to explain his thoughts on what has progressed since, especially in the lack of accountability for the players and their actions. I was at the Chicago game, it was an embarrassment as a fan to have to sit through. As Ryan points out, there was no action taken and the behaviour was accepted.

  • Con-Air McDavid

    Holy smokes, shivers down my spine. What an awesome video. He puts into words what a lot of us haven’t truly accepted, we are cheering for the villains.

    Haven’t felt so much like following another team until now. Maybe I’ll buy a kings jersey.

  • Cheering for the villains. No accountability. Six rings. #winning. Everyone gets to do whatever they want without any worry that there may be repercussions.

    When Ryan Smyth was traded away so many years ago, so was the integrity.

    Ron Low would never have allowed this sort of arrogance and lack of maturity to last, on or off the ice.

    Katz needs to hold Lowe and MacT accountable. They need to hold Stu, Howson, and Eakins accountable… And Eakins needs to hold EVERY SINGLE PLAYER ACCOUNTABLE. If you arent playing properly on any given night it doesn’t matter what your name is, you sit. Nikitin, Ference, Schultz, Hall, Eberle. And if you’re playing well, you deserve more ice time that night *cough* Yakupov*cough* Gordon*Marincin*cough

    Sickens me when Yak goes out and blocks a shot, creates a huge scoring chance, then sits for 10mins. WTF IS THAT?