Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett

Peter Chiarelli talks season failure

With the Oilers being as bad as they are, Peter Chiarelli was forced to make the rounds to talk about his failures today. Over at 630 CHED, Chiarelli jumped on Oilers Now for a quick Q&A with Bob Stauffer to talk about what’s going on with the hell is going on, and Ryan Rishaug posted a similar interview with the GM over at TSN shortly after. Here, we’ll cover both. 

Needless to say, this season has been an absolute disaster for the Edmonton Oilers and their fans and we’ve reached a point where people are demanding answers. When it comes to getting those answers, we probably shouldn’t hold our breath if we’re expecting them to come from the GM. The last time Chiarelli spoke to the media, he didn’t really say much apart from dropping quotes like “general disappointment” and “death by 1000 cuts.”

As a quick note, I combined both interviews into topics of discussion with the embedded Tweets coming from Oilers Now, and the quoted text from TSN. Let’s do the thing.


As you’d expect from a Peter Chiarelli interview, he tap-danced around question like a master of spin. When it came to the frustration associated with this horrible season, Chiarelli said:

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Period of evaluation? Tambellini is that you? On the bright side, a period evaluation hopefully means that he won’t be doing anything stupid, right? Please tell me what that means. Dare to dream?

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Wait which area got fixed? Can we start there before moving onto the ever growing list of problems? I don’t have all day, Pete.


I think one thing that is interesting about this season is that there are a lot of people angry about the GM and Assistant Coaches, but necessarily with Todd McLellan. For me personally, I don’t think Todd McLellan forgot how to coach since the end of last season, but I can objectively point to bets that Chiarelli made that were completely useless and/or harmful.

When it comes to firing the coach, Chiarelli was consistent in both interviews.

To Rishaug, Chiarelli said more of the same:

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“I know there’s been clamouring for a change, and I can understand those concerns, but I believe there’s an element of continuity and stability that’s required here.”

I agree with that, Pete. It’s you that a bunch of us want to go. Sorry for cutting you off. Go ahead.

“We identified someone like Todd and his staff. We hired them and we put them in place. We want to do everything we can to allow these people to succeed.”

So trading away all your skill for lesser players is helping them succeed? Got it.


“I look at the whole staff, and to me, it’s a collective group.”

All for one, one for all. Okay, I get it.

“The deficiencies that we’re seeing in the special teams, for example the penalty kill, is Jim Johnson’s unit but there is a collective interaction on it.”

From there, Chiarelli goes on about how the whole staff, management included, are involved in some of these decisions and then he rambled on for a minute or so before finally landing on saying he won’t single out any specific coach. There were a lot of words that meant nothing and I’m not going to spend time transcribing them. TL;DR – Coaches aren’t getting fired. NEXT!

With the No. 14 pick, the Oilers select... Seth Jarvis?


I thought Rishaug asked an interesting question about how much blame should be heaped on the players.

“It’s not on the players entirely. When there’s a large group of them, it’s natural to look at the coach and the coaches, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes a lot of things happen at once for really no reason. I’ve seen it happen before.”

So… Kinda like when he traded away a bunch of skill and the Bruins were left in shambles. Same same. Am I salty? No, why?

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“You look at coming of injuries. You look at certain pressures for whatever reasons, whether they’re contract reasons, whether they’re expectation reasons. You look at youth. You look at a number of things, but you know what, they all happened at the same time.”

So basically you’re talking about Sekera, Caggiula/Slepyshev, and Leon Draisaitl without saying their names? Gotcha. Clearly, Rishaug picked up on that too as his next question was about Draisaitl’s first year into his new contract:

“I think certainly the contract has weighed on him. Without question. I see it in his game, I see it in his body language. I think it has. He’s showing fits and flashes but it’s certainly a weight on him.”

Well, hopefully, Leon can figure it out soon because that contract isn’t getting any cheaper and it goes on for a while. Here’s hoping.


One of the questions I was waiting for somebody to ask (thank you, Rishaug) was whether or not Chiarelli himself was feeling the heat… which he should be.

“I do feel the heat and justifiably. Our fans deserve better.”

FINALLY SOME OWNERSHIP OF WHAT’S GOING WRONG! Did he throw himself under the bus as I imagined in my wonderful daydreaming sessions about a brighter Oilers future? No. It’s a small win but I’ll take it. What else?

“I have the big picture job and I have to be careful about reacting rationally. I have to be careful about tunnel vision on certain things and it’s. Your instinct based on when it’s going like this is that you have to make a change. There has to be a level of resistance to that.”

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to hear that a GM may not make any major moves. I don’t trust Chiarelli’s ability to win a trade outside of a minor deal, and so the idea of him being patient is music to my ears. Here’s hoping that patience lasts long enough for him to be served his walking papers. Dare to dream?


I remember before the season started and Chiarelli said that he was pretty satisfied with his roster. I was concerned that there were a lot of guys that couldn’t take a step backwards for this thing to work, and, unfortunately, taking a step back was exactly what happened. To his credit, I understand why Chia would want to see what he has with his internal options, but those failed bets were made worse by not having any other options. Even more horrifying was the fact that the Oilers still have plenty of cap space to spend and did absolutely nothing with it. He could have helped himself our a lot by using some of that cap space but he refused to do so. Why? The answer got strange:

“That’s tough. I know we have cap room, but that’s tough to look back and say should we I have done anything differently. Are there guys maybe underperform that we projected otherwise? Maybe a little bit. That’s a tough question. It’s hard to load up just on one year and not have that trickle into subsequent years.”

Okay, so you’re going to throw Caggiula and Slepyshev under the bus without naming them. I get that. But what about the cap space? What’s going on with that? That’s when Rishaug asked whether or not he regretted the Eberle trade:

“Again, you look back… umm… I think what happens is… well I know what happened a bit of that deal was fending off a potential offersheet. We had to be in a position of strength to fend off an offer sheet.”

Are you being serious right now? How much do you think someone was going to offer Draisaitl that you didn’t go ahead and do yourself? Not to mention, when was the last time someone dropped an OS on anyone of significance? Shea Weber? Maybe? Are you happy with Strome, at least?

“Ryan (Strome) certainly hasn’t performed as we had expected, but in retrospect I don’t know if I would have done anything different there.”

HASN’T PERFORMED AS YOU EXPECTED? Do you not know about HockeyDB? Did you not look at his career numbers? Good Gord, that’s a bad answer. I don’t blame Strome here, but I certainly do blame Chiarelli for apparently not knowing what he was getting. C’MON!

Looking for bargains among the list of players who didn't receive a qualifying offer


One of the things I complained a lot about during the summer was that Peter Chiarelli seemed to think his players would develop in a straight line. Guys like Caggiula, Slepyshev, and Benning have all struggled and those were some of the young players that Chiarelli bet on having huge years. In fact, he needed them to have big years.

I agree that the team probably isn’t as bad as the standings say they are, but moral victories don’t pay the bills anymore. Something needs to happen here, and I think it starts at the top. When asked about changes, Chiarelli said there would be changes but didn’t know how many changes or what kind of changes – it was weird.

“Well… I don’t know about significant changes. We didn’t make significant changes and look where we are now.”

Eberle for Strome. No experienced defender to fill in Sekera’s void. The pointless buyout of Pouliot. Lost Hendricks. Lost Pitlick. But yeah, aside from those five guys there wasn’t much change at all. Only, 21% of the roster.

“There has to be a lot more assessment and evaluation.”

Ahhh the Tambellini approach. Ol’ Dithers 2.0. I don’t mind that. And just like Tambellini I hope that a different GM gets to make the decisions based on the assessment. Anyway… Are guys going to get moved or not?

“There’s going to be change, without question. But significant change? I’m not in a position to tell you that.”

Oh good. I can’t wait to see how you punch yourself in the face this time around. Happy day. Having the Oilers be sellers again should be fun.


“I’m going to wait a little bit (before deciding on that). We’ve got our pro meetings coming up next week, so we have a few games coming up here before that. We’ll see where we are going into the break and then we’ll have to make a decision.”

Cool. I look forward to finding out what you’ll learn after a few more losses. Maybe, it’s that you’ll be starting the break with a whole bunch of free time on your hands.


When I found out that Chiarelli was going to be answering questions again today, I was really curious to see what the tone of the interviews would be like and how Chiarelli would respond. As per tradition, Peter Chiarelli is a Jedi in terms of sidestepping any question like he’s Neo in the Matrix so I didn’t really expect to learn much. Needless to say, today’s round of press was another chapter where Chiarelli said a lot of words without really giving up much information. Not that we should have expected much else.

Source: Oilers Now, 630 CHED Radio, 1/08/2017, 12:15pm MST

  • Name

    How quickly we forget last year’s success and playoff run and revert back to wanting everyone’s head on a platter. Just as we have been served through the decade of darkness.

    Perhaps continuity in the GM/Coach position will be for the best, even if it isn’t always a straight line?

  • Connor McFly

    I’m even more convinced that Chiarella has to go. His answers are as lame as I’ve ever heard. Chiarelli has no plan and seems indeed to be the second coming of Tambellini.
    What the heck is Nicholson thinking. I don’t trust Chia with this roster. He stinks of desperation and failure. No wonder the Bruins canned him.

    • That's My Point

      Also why would they play Yamamoto for 9 games to start the season. What were the Oilers during that experiment, 2-7? Not a good way to start and playing catch up from that point on; I don’t think Yamamoto will EVER make the NHL so that’s also on Chiarelli.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Well, the upside is if PC does get fired, and then hired by another team, we get another draft pick!!!….wait, nope, Oilers get screwed by the NHL, AGAIN!!!

    Seriously though, if BN does fires the GM and coach and bring in new guys, wasn’t that half the problem year after year, before PC and TMac came in. Stay the course til Christmas next year with the coaches and management. Trade players or whatever if you have to but let’s see what happens between now and September. I know for a fact, Oiler fans would not be happy with another Eakins or Tambellini at the helm.

    • camdog

      The thing is I don’t see PC getting another opportunity as an NHL GM. He’ll go back to scouting or player development but I’m just about 100% certain that no owner will ever trust him at the trade table again. His trade resume speaks for itself.

    • Gravis82

      The problem is we don’t have enough good players…end of story.

      Change is good. Constant improvement is good.

      The important thing is to ensure that your change is actually an improvement, which first requires you to identify the problem.

      In the past the oilers have changed coaches when it was impossible for that to improve the team…because it was the team that was the problem…and honestly if the team would have been better I am not sure if the coaches they picked were upgrades.

      So yes, lots of change in coaching but no change in outcome…because they needed more good players…which they never addressed.

      New GM is the fastest way to get better players. Get it done yesterday.

    • tkfisher

      Tambellini was terrible. But truth be told we’d be a better team today if he was still in charge. We would have been too busy sitting on his hands evaluating players and thinking about doing something to actually make terrible trades. Tambo would have done nothing and this team naturally would have improved. Instead, the current staff makes moves, loses nearly every trade they make, signs terrible players and seems to be making the team worst by bleeding talent. Could you imagine, Dubnyk in goal, Line 1: LW XXX, McDavid, Drai, Line 2: Hall, RNH, Eberle, PLUS (Barzal/Boeser/Ek) and Jesse Puljujärvi and Kailer Yamamoto. On the back LD Klef, Nurse, as a base RD XXX (free agent), and Shultz (to actually run a powerplay from the right side while playing second pair minutes). Doing nothing would have been an improvement over the MacTavish/Chiaclown reign of terror.

  • madjam

    Who in upper management was not on board with Chia’s moves over the summer , if any ? Seems to me they were all on board and thus probably still are , despite less than admirable results so far by team . Chia seems to recognize the team , and not the coaches are more the problem , and still has faith club can turn things around without drastic changes . Now , how long before regression of many players starts turning in a positive direction ? Could a coaching, minor or otherwise adjustment ,change that direction ? Execution of players seems to be the biggest bone of contention here , or lack thereof .

    • WillyWonka

      the coach isnt the problem – goaltending and poor defense is the problem. Chia needed to get a true stud defenseman. instead he got a “solid” #3/4 stay at home guy. this team is a couple players away from being scary, but too many of you seem “too close” to the problem to see it.

    • camdog

      I have also thought that, but as time has gone by I don’t see an organization that has changed much since 2006. It’s still the same type of thinking, the same type of operating, it’s a lot of the same. Is PC much different than Kevin Lowe?

      • tealyn

        Well, the old guys on the bus are still upstairs pulling strings, which makes me think that any GM/coach could have walked in here and had their hands tied. I wouldn’t put anything past this Oilers ownership and management. Daryl Katz doesn’t strike me as a social winner and seems to be the kind to buy his friends.

    • Klef abs

      Green if anyone influenced PC but at the time of the trade PC said in his interview that he had personally scouted Grif at both Memorial Cups and said he was nhl ready. So stop trying to pin crap on others that PC is obviously responsible for.

      • madjam

        Is Chia not representative of same philosophy of prior management retaining MacT. , Howson , Green , etc .? Seems to me he is a team player like rest of management , not one independent of that influence . Even MacLellan was most likely a group decision .

  • Disappointed

    From Lowetides website;
    Beware the future created when men who know not what they are doing are given great responsibility. With that in mind, I believe Kevin Lowe is the best available from the front office but I think the next general manager is going to be the most famous former hockey player on the planet. I expect it comes in the next seven days, or mid-April.

  • The only oiler coach

    If the Oilers were going to wait and hope the players in question continued to improve, one has to ask what the timeline for that was? We have waited so long to realize they are failing that the season is now over. That’s bad management folks. I am not going to run my business until it closes, hoping it will fix its self! I react quickly make my best moves before its to late. That is not Chia and the Oiler way. Shame on them, shame on me, i’ve already paid for my tickets until the end of the year and that doesn’t resonate with them!

    • Hemmercules

      Its really easy to say “do something” from the outside looking in. Specifically early during the season. Other teams aren’t doing the Oilers any trade favours in the first half of the season and Chia can’t afford another loss in a trade. Maybe a coaching change is warranted before christmas but this is the same coach that had them in the second round of the playoffs less than a year ago. Almost the same team too. Summer was the time to make moves and add goaltending and wingers not late November.

      You had to think they would pull out of the funk after that bad first month. I sure did. When they didn’t, Im sure Chia was doing some shopping but big trades just dont really happen at that point in the season unless you wanna get fleeced. Do you fire your coach and trade Nuge for a winger or a DMan at that point?? Tough call. Half the team is sick at that point too.

      Then Sekera comes back in december and the team starts looking like a team again. What do you do then?? Team is on the rise again, albeit kinda late but tough to make any move at that point too. And now they are where they are.

      Im not a major Chia fan. I like some and hate some of what he has done but Im not sure he had a ton of options during this season to flip the ship. We all expected the team to at least be competitive and Im sure he did too. Unfortunately now its evaluation time. The coaching staff is surely on the hot seat with their terrible special teams, Chia is on the hot seat too although he is pretty much in the hot seat since day one.

      All that said. We are Oilers fans and we demand what we want and we want it now not later haha.

  • Consultant

    Peter Chiarelli is the failure.
    How many chances does he get?? I won’t watch a game until he is gone. Not a knee jerk reaction, I was shocked when he traded Hall for Larsson, but like everyone else I tried to accept it as needing a dman… The Eberle for Strome deal stunk from the get-go. Yada yada yada, he is an idiot, and I can’t take it anymore.

    • Right there with you. I cant watch this s*itshow anymore. I have not missed watching a game since the 70’s , tonight will be the first time ever I am tuning them out completely. Even if they can him , the culture still exists at the top, it will make no difference if they keep the architects of the DOD, and we all know they will.

  • Dapper Dan 3099

    I think we can all agree this year is toast already, but im curious what’s done to fix this sh*t show going into 2018/2019 and beyond…what do you guys do (be realistic) going forward? …and if I see any get back hall/eberle/dubnyk, etc… crap, im telling you to piss off in advance

      • Hemmercules

        Sign a free agent RW and a DMan or trade for one or both with a package of picks and players.

        I would have said get another goalie but I guess they have Montoya now. Not sure how thats going to play out??

        Keep RNH.

        Trade Maroon at the deadline unless his contract demands are reasonable.

        If the special teams show no improvement by the end of the season then fire the entire coaching staff. Hire one of the coaches that gets fired in April. Not a ton available as far as I know?? Tippet?? Ruff?? Eakins haha??

        Not much else you can do. No movement clauses and big contracts have a bunch of guys stuck here. Not a lot of goalie talent on the market. Any trade for a top 4 dman will cost major assets if the Larsson trade taught us anything. I dont foresee major changes actually. Probably similar to last summer, add a couple, ditch a couple. The major change will be GM or coaching I think, beyond that they seem to be pretty stuck with the majority of this roster.

          • Dapper Dan 3099

            he is going to get you a draft pick at the deadline, and if you let maroon go (which they should), then for the love of GOD make sure youre going to sign someone to replace those goals, because we know how trading away proven ability for “cheaper maybes” has turned out

        • Dapper Dan 3099

          fair enough…I think even the RW and Dman idea is unlikely, I don’t think much is available on the market this year, and I don’t see anyone just wanting to give away dmen….I think a dman WILL cost RNH, so the question now is do you trade Nuge while his value is high, or do you keep him, probably have less D depth and risk he’s next years regression and returns to Nuge of 2016/17

          • Dapper Dan 3099

            I just pray (that’s all I have left at this point) is that this is an off year, kind of like Winnipeg and tampa last year, and we can bounce back next year…..if last year was the off year, and this is it long term, mcdavid will want out of this sh*t show for sure

          • Hardly what I would call a house cleaning, more like do the main floor but leave the upstairs alone. I mean anyone and everyone that had anything to do with the DOD, and the rotting nepotism that just goes on and on. Tmacs dad and PCs brother are now listed as scouts. BARF!

  • hagar

    I get the revolving door point, but how can you allow a coach to keep his job when there has never been a special teams as bad in the history of the nhl? It’s one thing to have mediocrity and consider it a bump in the road, but to never have anyone worse ever isn’t a bump in the road.

  • Rick Carriere

    I have been an Oiler fan for many years,..and always will be but holy sh__!!!..this management team sucks big time…Peter has no clue whatsoever….when they hired him I thought ….oh no ,here we go again…it started with the draft fiasco ,then the Taylor Hall trade that never made sense…(PK at an all time low with Larsson)…he gave up one of the best wingers for an average D…and the screw ups go on and on….before he does anymore they have to get him out….