Over on TSN 1260, Craig Button appeared on Dean Millard’s show and did not mince words when it came to what’s wrong with the Oilers. Unlike other media members that are blaming the players, Button shot at the guy that built the team.
Big props to Rob Soria over at the Hockey Writers for being the first to find this beauty of an interview.
While talking about the Oilers being fifteen shades of terrible is nothing new around here, what is new is a media member taking direct shots at Edmonton’s General Manager. When Craig Button was asked about what’s going wrong with the Oilers he didn’t exactly pull any punches.
“To me, (the Oilers) have massive problems.”
Tell me about, Craig. I’m the asshole eating cans of beets after every loss. Anyway, what are you seeing on your end?
“When you are slow, you are always going to be chasing the puck and they are slow. I know Peter Chiarelli has talked about we need to play fast — playing fast is the new buzz phrase in hockey. Well… they can only play at a certain speed and, quite frankly, that speed is not up to the competition.”
BUT PETER CHIARELLI SAID THEY’RE NOT SLOW AND THAT THEY JUST HAVE TO PLAY FAST… whatever that means. I’m guessing you don’t buy that excuse, Craig?
“Until they address their speed problems, they are going to be chasing the puck all night long, giving up grade ‘A’ scoring chances. Outside of Connor McDavid, there is no other player on the Edmonton Oilers who threatens with speed.”
Oh man, this is going to get ugly, isn’t it? Connor is the only fast one on the team? I wrote about this once before and tried to pick out who the good skaters on the team are, but I definitely had more than one guy on my list. What about the rest of the guys?
“That leaves you with eleven forwards and that includes Draisaitl. He is not a fast player, he has quickness and is a solid player, but when we talk about straight up speed (he’s not quite there).”
I guess I never really thought about Leon as being slow — I’m more of a Lucic is slow guy — but I guess I can see what he’s getting at, maybe. Okay, so the team isn’t as fast as they once were but that’s hardly the root cause of what is going wrong around here. It can’t be. Being fast is one thing, but what about the way the team is put together?
“I’ll tell you what, when we are talking about the construction of a team, the composition of a team, and flaws in a team, that relate back to the type of players you have. It doesn’t fall on the equipment manager, it doesn’t fall on the PR guy, it doesn’t fall on the head coach — it falls on the general manager. That’s as simple as it works.”
Wait a minute. This is Chiarelli’s fault? You mean you wouldn’t blame the furniture if the roof of your house caved in? What a concept! I mean, that’s going to ruin a bunch of people’s theories that the coach is somehow to blame for this mess, but what are you gonna do? The dude can only play the guys he has on the roster.
“The manager can say we can play faster but if the level of speed in the league is at a 100 km/h. The Oilers are playing at 95 and guess what? They can’t play higher than that.”
Alright, let’s move past the quickness thing for a minute because I think that excuse is flimsy. We’ve already established that they’re not fast enough but I want to know if there is hope for the Oilers. Give us some good news here, Craig. Tell us everything is going to be fine and that they can turn it around. PLEASE!
“No, I don’t see this roster turning it around. In fact, I don’t see it in any way, shape or form turning it around. It has to come by player personnel (and) not one player, not two players. It’s got to change, you have to get faster players in there.”
What did I just say!? I said I wanted to move away from the team speed. Tell me it’s going to be okay, Craig. I need you here, pal. The sanity of a Nation depends on it.
“Quite frankly, (the Oilers) are going to start looking down the road here at some players they have on long-term contracts and consider what that means for their team as well.”