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Friedman: “I don’t think there’s a person in that organization who feels secure”

Sportsnet super insider, Elliotte Friedman, was making his radio rounds this morning and the tour led him to Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 where he was asked about what the hell is going on with the Edmonton Oilers. Considering the Oilers universe is on fire right now, I was definitely interested in what he had to say.

After dropping their first two games by a combined score of nine to three, it’s not overly surprising that the Nation is fired up about the way the Oilers have started their season. The team hasn’t looked very good and fans are raging, the rest of the league is laughing at us, and it’s almost mindblowing to think that this is all happening only a week into the regular season. So when Friedman was asked about Edmonton and what is going on here, he didn’t exactly pull any punches.

“I honestly think guys, and they play tomorrow afternoon in New York, but I really do believe that one of the real tough places right now in the NHL is in Edmonton.”

Oh good. Just what I wanted to hear first thing in the morning, especially this early in the season.

“They’re 0-2. McDavid has looked great and done spectacular things in both games and they can’t sustain it.”

Remember when the Oilers had a bunch of skilled wingers but needed to upgrade the defence? Good times. Nice work to everyone involved. Anyway…

“I just think the heat internally in that organization… I was just told this morning it’s a really tense place.”

Tense? But it’s only two games into the season! *looks at the schedule* Ohhhhhhh. I get it. Anyone, in particular, that has more kindling under their chair than others?

“I think everybody there is feeling it.”

I won’t lie to you, Elliotte, I find this kinda funny in that Chiarelli basically brought back the same team from last year and we all expected different results. Oilers fans are masochists at the deepest level and I respect it. That said, I’m not close to throwing in the towel after only two games either — that’s crazy to me. I legitimately think it’s too early to write this whole season off, but, with that said, this start has been a nightmare and the Oilers need to find a way to kill Freddy ASAP.

“I think that is clearly going to be one of the hot areas in the league, and not in a good way. I think everybody there is really feeling the pressure.”

I should hope they’re all feeling the pressure. We’re in year four of Connor McDavid’s career and they’re completely disrespecting it, people are talking about when he’s going to want out, and it drives me nuts. Bob Nicholson told us they had a plan, but I’m starting to think that he cared more about jacking prices up on everything than actually icing a winning hockey club.

“I would just say this… I don’t think there’s a person in that organization who feels secure.”

No one?

“Maybe Gretzky because, I mean, he’s Gretzky.”

*sigh* Poor Gretz. Dude just wants to get a playoff party going and the team is not doing him any favours. Remember playoff reaction Gretzky? *remembers*

“But I don’t think there’s anybody in that organization who feels secure about what’s going on right now.”

Again, I’m not even close to being ready to throw in the towel on this season, but I’m super annoyed that every single person responsible for creating this mess is still in a spot to contribute to it further. I don’t know what it will take for the Oilers to make changes at the highest levels, but after following this team for my whole life, I’ll have to see it before I believe it.

“So I wouldn’t say one guy, I would say it’s probably just about everybody.”

?Happy days are here again. ?

THE WRAP…

When it comes to insider info, I put a lot of stock in what Elliotte Friedman says. He’s not one of those guys that throws darts in the dark and hopes for something to stick, he breaks news and he does it often. So if Elliotte Friedman tells me that the seats are hot in Edmonton I will tend to believe him. That said, this is also the Edmonton Oilers we’re talking about. This is a team that has missed the playoffs 11 of the past 12 seasons and made virtually zero changes in upper management. A lot of coaches have come and gone, but the turds tasked with building the team are all still around in one capacity or another.

If anything, I can definitely see another coaching swap coming if the ship doesn’t get righted but you can colour me skeptical that any meaningful changes would occur. I mean, let’s be honest here, the Oilers don’t exactly have a reputation for making the hard choices when it comes to evaluating their own performance. Let me ask you this: What’s more likely to happen? Sweeping changes at the levels that matter, or the Oilers go and bring in Jari Kurri as a skillz god and make Petr Klima the team’s Jofa historian? Think about it and tell me I’m wrong. As much as I believe Friedman, and I really and truly do, I don’t trust the organization to do what it takes to improve.

The thing that upsets me most is the fact that we’re in year four of Connor McDavid’s career and talking about this crap so early in the season. If you had told me on McDraft day that we’d be four years in and the Oilers would still look completely lost then I wouldn’t have believed you. Impossible, I’d probably have said. And if that’s not an indictment on management, and a spotlight on the failures of the organization as a whole then I don’t know what is. Then again, what else should we expect from a team run by a crew of buddies that seem to treat it like a plaything without any fear of repercussions?

I know we’re only two games in, and I’m certainly not giving up on our boys yet, but we’re already wading into dangerous waters and that scares me. Needless to say, the Oilers desperately need a win tomorrow to help calm things down. Gord willing we get one.



    • Heschultzhescores

      There was a time when Katz was the saviour of hockey in Etown. I do not blame him. He puts out the money for supposed hockey geniuses to make a winner. He believes the guys who won in the 80’s are those guys, despite their off ice record telling a different story.

      • Spydyr

        Okay lets take this apart. Katz was not the savior Garry Gregg also was ready to purchase the team but Katz had deeper pockets. Katz does not put out the money the fact is the Oilers have turned millions in profit every season. How long do you have to believe in something that is wrong to figure out it is wrong and fix it?

        • OilerForLife

          All the money in the world can’t buy an successful NHL franchise, because the salary cap dictates that they all have the same money. Any GM we hire will have the same money, and the fact is that the Oilers hands are tied behind their backs for this season and for the next two seasons and many more if Draisaitl doesn’t get it going. We can’t win a major trade from a position of weakness, and no matter what they do we seem royalty screwed. %&@#*!!!!!

        • toprightcorner

          Garry Greg had nowhere near the money to buy the team, it would have been a multiple ownership group and that is terrible for a sports team.Katz allows this team to spend what it needs to. In the first couple years, you could have pointed the fingers at him as he was too involved in decisions and wanting to do things he wanted, but that has not been the case for the past 4 years. The team put, who they felt, was some of the best minds available to turn the team around, and if you say you didn’t think the McLellan and Chiarelli hire was good at the time it happened, you are a bold faced liar, the fans were ecstatic with those hirings. Only a bitter, short-sighted fool would blame Katz for the teams’ lack of success since McDavid was drafted.

    • Oilman99

      Katz has a team that spends to the cap, he doesn’t make the trades or hire the GM coaches ,he brought the city one the primo hockey venues, please find somewhere else to put the blame.

  • Stoner Oil

    Make Gretzky GM/ president and Moose coach. Their hockey experiences speaks for themselves. Few know more about hockey, specifically hockey in Edmonton, than them and they learned, by osmosis, under Sather.

    See Shannahan and Yzerman.

  • CMG30

    As hard as I am on Chirelli (he needs to go immediately, make no mistake), the true issue with this organization is Katz. He has signed off on the moronic trades and has kept incompetent people in positions far outside their capabilities indefinitely. Katz needs to decide if he wants a winning organization or the worlds most expensive clubhouse for his school chums. Whichever it is, he owes it to the season ticket holders to come clean how this ship is run.

    If Katz decides he wants a winning organization then everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, involved in managing this organization needs to be shown the door. A totally clean start is needed. The boys on the bus need to have their tentacles extracted. They were great in the 80’s on the ice but they clearly have not kept pace with the times. Worse their growing incompetence is allowed to inappropriately influence critical decisions through the so called ‘Red wine summits’ after each loss. Yes, these people have a storied past in the organization and I will always be nostalgic for the glory days but any organization needs to be able to move forward or it will die. This cannot happen with them around not just because of their storied past but their position as close personal friends of the owner.

    I won’t claim that I have some magical insight as to how to build a winning hockey team, but I can see a massively dysfunctional, top heavy, zero accountability, organization. As long as this organizational dysfunction remains we are down to praying for another vezna calibre performance from a goaltender if we’re ever to get back to the playoffs.

    • Smuckers

      Couldn’t agree more! Those morons need to be turfed immediately along with Chia when the time comes.

      My question is who is even available to take over? Would Mark Hunter be a good candidate?

  • Part-timer-fan

    I think one poster said it very good. The current GM / staff have drafted well… the cupboards are finally getting stocked with good talent. This stuff takes time though… just try and imagine in 2-3 years what our team will look like… replace Lucic with a in his prime JP, replace Sekara with a just coming into his Prime Bouchard, replace Russel with a coming into his Prime Ethan Bear…. Plus add some of these other talents we have in the cupboard like Yamamoto and other youngsters who impressed at camp…

    McDavid, Drai, Nurse, Klefbom, Bear, PJ, Yam, Bouchard… our team WILL be much better folks… like I said, these things take time… I believe in our GM… the coach I’m not so sure about – replace Tmac sure… but the organization has been trending up for the future… proof is in the pudding.. Er.. I mean cupboards being stocked decent (first time in over a decade)… just my 2 cents.. Or 50 cents…

    • CMG30

      Ya, that’s what we all thought 10 years ago… Sadly, even if all those players work out eventually, McDaivd will be pushing 30. Besides, the history of this club shows time and again that our talent is sent packing for an over the hill, washed out spare part.

  • OnDaWagon

    Under EIG, a budget group, the Oilers made the playoffs 6 out of 10( i think ) years they were owned by EIG,
    Under the man spending to the cap – 1 in 10.
    It comes down to management of any company, as to how that organization performs.

    Under KATZ, this one is a disgrace to the city and the fans.

    But i will say, KATZ has done an enormus amount of good for the facelift of this downtown.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    What the heck is going on with the comments, either Oilers Nation is really heavy on comment moderation or they are just not posting… very very weird

  • _Bubba

    I hope it’s not a new decade…and we’re in year 2 of it. Where to start? *shakes head*. I’ll always be an Oil fan. Sure hope something happens soon. October not looking good.

  • Derzie

    OK, here’s the deal: if you take off the fan-goggles, McDavid is the ONLY positive. Period. Every single solitary person in the organization from Katz to sweeper can and should be replaced. It’s been needed for years and McDavid has served to delay the inevitable. Katz is an idiot. His ex-Oilers are way out of thei league. The team is a joke. Until that is accepted, nothing will materially change. To have a legacy of wasting the career of the best player of this generation is a scar that will never heal. For shame.

  • CofC

    Tough start but enough already with the misguided venom and ridiculous comments; man I’ve watched these guys since the early days and yes there’s been frustration, but wow – I’m much more astonished at the idiocy that has crept through this so-called fan base… Disappointing to say the least.

  • bishop

    Such delusion on here about Katz. We the fans, season ticket holders that continue to fill the building are the ones to blame. I’ve said it here many times the Katz is the best owner in sports. How do you explain producing a turd of a product for 10+years and still fill the arena??

    Simple economics Oilersnation, he makes money, why change. He’s laughing at us lol.