We’re really just guessing but it does appear a changing of the guard is happening in Hockey Ops for the Edmonton Oilers. The actual hiring and firing may not happen until spring or later but speculation about the power struggle on Kingsway will be an interesting follow.
In the days that have followed since the Craig MacTavish media avail, more questions than answers have come to the fore. “If the problem is the scouts, why haven’t they been replaced?” is asked most often but there are others.
Elliotte Friedman: When Bob Nicholson cancelled his appearance at
Hockey Canada’s 100th anniversary last week it was taken as a sign that
his influence in the Oilers’ organization is growing. He was part of the
“forensic audit,” as the team’s brain trust assessed its disappointing
performance. The unanswered question is: what will be Nicholson’s role
when the dust settles? We might not learn until the spring. Source
More things we can watch for over the next few months:
- Who speaks to the media and what area they are addressing? Nicholson appeared on a Toronto radio station but hasn’t made himself available in the Edmonton market. Does that change in the spring?
- Craig MacTavish is absolutely frozen in terms of improving the team. Obvious recalls aren’t happening, open auditions of entry-level players are on hold while minor league veterans like Steve Pinizzotto play with the big club.At some point, will the Oilers act?
- When they do, will MacT make himself available?
- Or is this Eakins show through to the trade deadline?
- If Craig MacTavish wanted to sign Jeff Petry on the morning of January 1, 2015, would he need approval from Bob Nicholson?
- How does the organization say “the goal is to being the highest quality
player through the door” while also saying “we’re acutely aware of the
former inadequacies of our draft after the first round” AND continue to
retain its amateur scouts who made those picks?
- Will Stu MacGregor be at the draft, and if so, why? There has been no cover for MacGregor, surely he is being set up for a fall. Why wait?
- Is the reason MacGregor and the scouts remain is that they were overruled by management at important points in the draft (Musil, Yakupov, perhaps Perhonen) and the forensics have proven such?
There may not be answers but there are implications to all of these things as time rolls along. I do find it somewhat fantastic at this point that the Oilers are so bad on the ice AND so fundamentally frozen in the procurement department WHILE ALSO being absolutely certain this is not the time for change.
If you’re going to rip Stu MacGregor and Morey Gare with public words and give the impression they are not to be trusted, what on earth are you waiting for? We all know it’s coming. Find your new amateur scouts and proceed with gathering a 2015 draft list you can trust and get the bad eggs out of the basket.
Unless. UNLESS the problem wasn’t with the scouts themselves, but rather with the marching orders given them. Is that it? Is THAT the problem? Is the problem the decisions made above the scouting director?
If it is, it sure would be nice to know. I have a feeling the biggest problem facing this Oilers management group is that they can’t fire Steve Tambellini again.