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.”
“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. 🎶
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.