Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

REPORT: It’s Tobias Rieder’s fault that the Oilers aren’t a playoff team

The Oilers, who are trudging to the finish of yet another incredibly disappointing season, are hosting a week’s worth of season ticket holder meetings which in order to convince fans that the organization isn’t a complete disaster.

Bob Nicholson has been heading these meetings, discussing major issues like the future direction of the organization, the search for the next general manager, and, of course, the culture. At today’s meeting, Nicholson concluded that Tobias Rieder was a key reason why the Oilers made the playoffs. According to Twitter’s Mental Gas (who was at the event), the difference between the Oilers making the playoffs and not was Rieder failing to score 15 or 16 goals.

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It’s official. We are no longer blaming the water. We are now blaming Tobias Reider.

But jokes aside, this is a wildly inaccurate statement that’s frustrating on multiple levels. I mean, there’s no doubt Rieder didn’t live up to expectations this season and he’s ultimately responsible for his own poor play, but adding 15 goals from him would have put the Oilers in the middle of the pack for goals for and still deep in the red in terms of goal differential.

The really frustrating thing here, though, is how it so clearly indicates that the organization is completely lost. Year after year, it comes down to blame the players. No, not the general manager who put the flawed roster together or the guy at the top who hired that general manager and gave him the green light to make terrible decisions, but the marginal depth players. Man, if this place wasn’t already a tough sell for potential free agents, this comment certainly cemented it.

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Rather than looking at this roster and thinking damn, we’re really devoid of the skill and speed to compete in the new NHL, Nicholson is pinpointing the difference between success and failure on one player not living up to expectations. Forget the lack of depth, shaky goaltending, and a blueline without good passers, this comes down to Tobias Rieder. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m thinking the issue is at the top with the guy who has no actual experience putting together a successful NHL team. And no, running an NHL team is much, much more difficult than having to choose which All-Stars are going to make Team Canada’s taxi squad.

We’re supposed to trust this guy to lead the ship? This is who’s selecting the next general manager? This is who’s going to surround that general manager with the best staff possible to drag the Oilers out of the mess his last hire created? This is supposed to invoke enough faith in season ticket holders to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to support the Oilers?


Bruce McCurdy tweeted out a transcript of Nicholson’s comments:

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    This is why Mr. Nicholson has to go as well. Oilers management has absolutely no clue. Anyone who thinks that things are going to magically change with Bob still employed with the Oilers is mistaken.

    • Drinking my Oilers problems away...

      LMFAO, this is so Oilers to say something so stupid. This is right up there with all the other stupid crap they’ve spewed the past 10 years.

      Bobby needs to kick rocks.

    • TruthHurts98

      I don’t like calling anyone a moron or idiot, but how inept and clueless is Nicholson, Katz and the OBC? And for that matter anyone that renews? Next year will be even worse with these stooges running the Oiler titanic. What a joke.

      • Bingo, used to feel the same way, just like K Lowe should have been skidded right after the “Lord Of The Rings” conference, Bobby should have been shown the door yesterday after uttering stupid statements, and should definitely be out the door today. Pinning the season on a fourth liner (not defending his stats) is just par for the course. Probably a good reminder to Tobias as to why he refused to sign here in the first place, in fact the same idiots are still in charge, just added another idiot to the pile. Other side of that would be I am sure he would rather play anywhere but here next year before this drive by mugging. They truly do think the fans are just a bunch of idiots. They are morons and do not even posses a modicum of common sense.

  • Blueliner44

    Nicholson’s rotting corpse is the reason there is something wrong with the water. He is in charge of hockey operation and accountability starts at the top.

  • VK63

    Don’t worry people. This guy sets organizational “culture”. Clearly, blaming a serf for the failings of the King is leadership at its finest. Level 5+ in the Jim Collins scale (at least).

    To be fair, his resume does include…. Hung a Garth Banner.

  • Gravis82

    The reason we didn’t make the playoffs is that the person making the decision to sign Reider failed to accurately predict that it was very unlikely that Reider would score 15 goals this season

  • Spydyr

    It’s an oilers tradition to throw the departed or soon to be departed under the bus. Meanwhile the people that hired the said person excapes unscathed or even promoted.

  • CMG30

    There’s so much wrong here. Season ticket holders, merchandise buyers it’s up to you. The only way these clowns and their precious ‘culture’ are expunged from this organization is if the profits crash and Katz has to fire everyone to save his bank accounts.

  • hagar

    I don’t want tobias around, but I will stand in his corner anyday in a fight between the management and him for cause of this failure.
    14 years Bob, not one year of a player not playing well.

  • Retired Secret Agent

    Too bad that all the STH didn’t stand up and stomp out. What an incredibly stupid thing to say to knowledgeable fans. Is Booby Nick really that stunned or does the OBC and him think the fan base is?

  • h8flamesforever

    Conner should go to katz and make an utimatum….either he goes or I want out. Its our only hope to rid this guy. Does anyone have any degree of confidence that this guy knows what he is doing and is in charge of hiring the next GM?OMG! Another playoffs cheering for a team to lose as opposed to cheering for the Oilers to win. Pathetic.

  • HockeyRooster

    It is scary to me that Oilers management sees themselves as the smartest guys in the room…in every room. Yet they are the gold standard for incompetence and failure. BN’s comments are crazy in that he holds the power to hire the next GM and POHO. He’s got to go. Calling Tobi out as the reason for this year’s failure is f’ing delusional.

  • TKB2677

    I guess I would like to know, what was the question he was asked? If someone came out and asked him about the players they either traded for or signed, is he not supposed to answer? So if anyone can clarify that, I would appreciate it.

    I don’t condone mentioning any names. Nor do I think that if Rieder scored 10 goals, would the Oilers make the playoffs.

    I do think though that Rieder is a direct example of what has plagued the Oilers. They bring in guys and they don’t perform. Then they go to another team and bounce back. I am sure some of it is on the team but I think a lot of it is on the player. So what’s the problem?

    • It is the country club culture of no accountability , top to bottom. We have seen this with several veterans that suddenly cant pi*s a drop once they don the Oil Drop. Or they signed here just for that reason, they know they can coast to retirement here.

      • hagar

        The players and personnel that come and go are like vessels for upper managment to poison. Like a reverse vampire, they don’t suck blood, they inject suck. Once the vessel is filled up with their own blame, they discard them and find new ones.

  • camdog

    Wow, thought that was a fake headline, sad it isn’t. I expected about 20 goals between Chiasson and Rieder anybody expecting more shouldn’t be involved is managing an NHL hockey team.

    The bigger story is how many other players will the new GM not be permitted to sign based on Nicholson’s “evaluations”? Is the new GM going to be forced to sign Chiasson because he got the 20 goals? Bunch of dummies…

  • Ratt McNuge

    Daryl Katz is the problem. He can’t let go of his dream of sipping wine out of the cup with his buddies in the OBC. The dream is over, Katz. Time to face reality or risk having your legacy being the owner who ruined McDavid’s career. Your choice.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Yeah, but now the reality of Katz losing this team or giving up on it, is that this team will now be based in Houston (or where-ever) and not here in Edmonton. And that all you Alberta Hockey Fans would eventually be cheering for the Calgary Flames… “spits”…
      Nicholson may be a dork, but I can’t remember a time when the management called out the players that under-perform, can you? They always made excuses for them, so they wouldn’t look bad.
      Maybe this is a turning point, although, I think that more of the under-performances should be called out and dealt with… Players on other teams and anyone in hockey, also know who is a crap player. The Oilers might gain some respect if the management deals with the garbage and replaces it with some quality. To me, although he went about it wrong by singling out Reider. It’s a step in the right direction, and they have to stop fooling themselves about who is good on this team & start holding those that aren’t accountable (just in a more tactful way).

    • ellebee

      I like this strategy though.. if we had more players who scored more goals we’d be a better team.. it’s brilliant really, why didn’t the players think of that?!

  • TKB2677

    The guy Nicholson probably wanted to throw under the bus but because his contract is bullet proof and he might be here for a long time is Lucic. I get the game has gotten faster but what the hell happened to that guy? He still racks up the hits so in order to be able to catch guys to hit them as much as he does, he has to be able to get to spots. Plus the guy seems to get scoring chances every game but he can’t hit the side of a barn anymore. So there’s exhibit A of a guy totally slacking off in Edmonton.

  • Oiler Al

    Its mind bending, in how Katz amassed billions of dollars via the drug store business and yet allows his hockey investment to be run by a fast talking clown and slew of wilted jock straps,with ideas drenched in red wine.

  • Odanada

    Surely Wayne, KLowe, MacT anyone who has ever played the game would see that comments like this poison a room.
    Bob is not an NHL hockey man; he is an empty suit pretending to be one.

  • VK63

    I should note. The one I attended had Stauffer on the panel.
    Like, could an organization be more tone deaf and clueless than the mindless inclusion of a notorious integrity absent shill?

    Simply mind boggling.