Nicholson talks Oilers season of disappointment and making changes

Over at NHL.com, they posted a quick interview with Bob Nicholson where he was asked again about the season and how disappointed the organization is with not being able to repeat last year’s success.

This isn’t the first time that Bob Nicholson has been asked for his thoughts after this, for lack of a better word, shitsational season for the Edmonton Oilers. We all knew that the expectations were high coming in, but the Oilers, as a franchise, handled them about as well as a house of cards in a hurricane. In case you were wondering, yes that was a Backstreet Boys lyric that I slipped in there and I’m happy that I finally found a place to use it. Save your applause.

Back to Bobby Nicks, he didn’t have much new to say and he basically said the same spiel as last time we heard from him.

“We’re disappointed where we are this year and we have to make some changes to get better. And I look at the teams that were in the playoffs last year and the teams that are in the playoffs this year, and it doesn’t stay consistent.”

This is basically, “Hey, guys, look other teams missed the playoffs too so it’s not that bad. The bridge collapsed and half of us died but at least we weren’t the only ones, alright?” This all sounds like an excuse I would have to used to make myself feel better when I was striking out with every girl I ever spoke to. “Other guys suck at chicks too so I’m doin’ alright. It’s all good. Minor tweaks and I’ll get in the game, no worries.” Sweet.

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“Good for the teams moving up. They did the right things in the offseason to get there, so it shows you how competitive it is and you have to make sure you’re making a change.”

If the teams that made the playoffs did the right things in the offseason then what does that say about the Oilers? On a tee here, Bob.

“For us, it’s not making huge changes, it’s making the right changes.”

Like winning a trade, for one. That would be cool. Maybe finding a GM that can make that happen on a regular basis? Anybody? Hello? Ahhhhh, what does it matter? Nobody asks for my opinion even though they should. Anyway, this is where Bob gets down to explaining exactly what went wrong…

Monday Mailbag - What went wrong?

…you didn’t believe that did you?

“Expectations certainly were extremely high and rightly so. This organization hadn’t been in the playoffs for many, many years and we got into the playoffs and played very well, one goal, one game away from going to the conference final.”

Ah, huh. Where is this going?

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“So that expectation came and it came not just from within the city of Edmonton, it came worldwide about where the Edmonton Oilers were.”

As per Oilers tradition, when asked about what went wrong they go back to the old bag of tricks that’s given them free passes so many times before — they look to the past for something that went right to show where they could be again. That’s why we have banner celebrations every other weekend. Things CAN get better. Belee dat. Sorry, Bob, I keep interrupting.

“We talked a lot about it but it’s very difficult to get your hands around that and maneuver that expectation when it’s coming at you in so many ways.”

I mean, I can see how this would affect the players, I really can, but what about the management team that you’re supposed to be in charge of? Why did you think it was OK to make a needless cap-dump trade and do absolutely nothing with the added space? Why did you think that adding literally no one to the defensive core was going to make the team better? I don’t think expectations had anything to do with that stuff.

“We absorbed that and you’ve got to talk to the players about how it really affected them.”

Well, that’s good then. I’m glad that the team that can’t seem to tell the difference between its ass and a truck stop glory hole is going to explain all the finer points of getting the job done. Reassuring. Okay, that was gross, and I apologize. Go ahead.

“Here, we’re worried about it and there wasn’t any way to get right in front of that and control all of that. It (began) in Vegas (at the NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft last June) about where this team was supposed to be.”

Damn, everybody else. Always ruining things for us. I hate when they do that. I’m with you, accountability is for suckers and surgeons.

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Wouldn’t it have been nice if Bob Nicholson had come out and said, “You know what, we messed up on some stuff and that’s our fault” rather than blaming the season on anything else? I mean, that’s what “extremely high” expectations are, aren’t they? Just other people thinking you’d be a good hockey team when you and your boys had other ideas in mind. How dare they think that. As far as deflection goes, this one is top notch.

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What I want to see is some accountability from the management team before the ship known as the 2017-18 season hits the bottom of the ocean. We’ve heard the players say countless times that they have to be better but we’ve yet to hear it from any of the hockey men that steered this thing into the iceberg in the first place. When does the “I’m sorry” card get sent out for that? While I do agree that the team certainly did not perform how everyone thought they would, I can’t help but hate that we’re talking about expectations from June adding losses to the column in March. It’s a cheap excuse.

It’s like these guys are Neo in the Matrix and there’s no way they’re going to let even one bullet hit them. Take one for the team? Hell no, son. Not on my watch. I’m going to tap dance until the sun comes up. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I can’t wait to see who else gets blamed for this season apart from the guys that actually put the team on the ice. Global warming? Too hot for hockey. Brexit? Who knows what it will do to the EU. Tom Petty died? The boys just wanted to see him play American Girl one last time. Whatever takes the heat off the seat they’re currently sitting on, I guess.

Then again, I’m not one to blame the furniture when the roof caves in.

  • CMG30

    For about 2 decades now Oilers management has made short-sighted/boneheaded decisions. Those poor decisions continue to haunt the team on the ice yet we’re told that there’s no point in rehashing those decisions since it’s already done and nothing can change it now. Well, how about we start learning from past failures?
    1. Break up the brain trust. Nobody get fired in this organization unless you are a coach or a fall guy. Time for fresh thinking, bringing in more boys on the bus won’t help. They all see the game the same way, but the game has changed. This organization continually overvalues the wrong kinds of players and dumps the useful players for spare parts.
    2. Poor drafting. Stop taking flyers on random players. This club would be farther ahead if it simply used the central NHL scouting report.
    3. Poor development. Can we stop throwing kids to the wolves in the NHL? Can we give our prospects we’re trying to develop playing time in the AHL? The NHL is not a developmental league. Why is this so hard?
    4. This ties back to bringing players into the NHL too soon. This club sours on players too soon. Forwards tend to reach their prime around age 25. When you put up with the learning curve on your NHL club, why are you trading that player just when he should be entering his productive years? If you’ve soured on the kid because he’s had 3 tough years after entering the league at 19, well maybe management should bare some responsibility for putting that kid in a position to fail.

    • MrBung

      It is a vicious cycle. They keep bringing in players so soon because
      the “NHL” ones they do bring suck the hind banana and create more holes to be plugged.

  • Homer

    Great read Mr Milk!! I 100% feel the same way this franchise has never accepted responsibility for its actions it’s always someone else’s fault. Lowe and his ridiculous comment to us commoners “ I know a few things about winning” f him and the glory gang. If I have to sit through one more damn ceremony celebrating these idiots I’m buying a Bruins jersey

  • Snoop Scottie Dogg

    I’ve been an Oilers fan since the glory days. But lately I’ve been following the Jets. I almost bought a jersey but i bailed at the last minute. It felt like I was cheating on my wife. I’m discussed with my self but I can’t stop. The Oilers will always be the mother of my children but it’s time to stop be miserable. It may be time to move in with mistress.