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.

This, That and the Other Thing

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?

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

  • Derian Hatcher

    You, me, and everyone else who are regular posters here may get trashes and cheers for all of our comments but the common denominator here is that we care deeply about the players and the team and want them to do well. I can see the Oiler passion in most comments and it is truly sad that this organization is so bad. It’s not a bad thing that so many fans are upset and frustrated…it shows they have passion. When that turns to apathy…sigh, just so damn disappointing.

  • Johnny Zylon

    I hope the fans give the guy a Standing Ovation next game. Nobody deserves to be blamed for the mess on the ice except for the most arrogant, pathetic management in the history of the NHL.

  • Shaun Doe

    I think Bob’s onto something here. I mean think about it. If Tobias Rieder had cured cancer this season we wouldn’t have cancer to worry about anymore. Fact…

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    This quote from Dreger on TSN ” Nicolson says he talked to Reider and said his comments were out of bounds and he apologized to Reider about it and they had a laugh about it according to Nicolson” Yeah sure they did, give me a break! This is Bob trying to tame the fire that is burning behind him,

    Nicolson shouldnt be talking to the ticket holders if he is going to say something stupid, and that was stupid! Yeah this ought o do wonders for the Oilers in trying to attract Players to the city. Please someone put Bobnn on Holiday for a while, if he is going to say things like that because he is folding under questioning from season ticket holders, he needs to go

  • Odanada

    Wait everybody… Bob regrets what he said and has apologized. Just like he apologized for not vetting Chiarelli.
    How about apologizing for impersonating a real NHL hockey man, eh Bob?
    And as actions speak louder than words, resigning would say it loud enough so that everyone got the message.
    For Gord’s sake Katz! This is embarrassing. Clean house!

  • Kr55

    Seems old BObby has a scapegoating reflex. Last summer he kept going on about Talbot being bad and needing to be better next season. Now it’s Rieder. Any fan paying attention knows the issues if this team go back over a decade though, and can’t be reduced to 1 or 2 guys under-performing like Bobby seems to want to sell.

  • Frustrated Fan in Calgary

    If that statement is accurate it is total crap. The Oilers are not in the playoffs because they have made a series of poor to terrible trades, their big free agent signings have worked out poorly to horribly, they have not developed players well, and they can’t manage the salary cap. Period. They have consistently missed the playoffs because they are not a quality NHL organization. What a joke!!

  • hockeyartist

    History repeats its self over and over again. Same thing every year at this time. Management refuses to take any responsibility and chooses one or two players to throw under the bus. If i was a fee agent no way in hell am I signing with the Oilers and ruining my career.

    • hagar

      It is well known throughout the league that the managment upper levels is the problem. The team is instantly made worse by these guys being around not only because they are stupid, but because the entire league knows they are, and that screws our chances at a rebuild beyond dumb moves alone. If you have people in place that nobody good wants to play for, that means you have dumb people that are with their own being causing a solid 50 percent reduction in available options.

  • OilerFanExiledinCalgary

    Gotta say, it’s really disappointing to hear comments like this. This was classless. Why would anyone want to come to an organization with leadership who would make comments about its players (employees) like this? Connor is not just the best player in the world but carries himself with a sense of class and professionalism I wish I had when I was in my early 20s. He gives me hope that this franchise can turn it around, but a comment like this flies in the face of all of that. Someone in Nicholson’s position and with his experience should know better.

  • Heschultzhescores

    Bob puts the ASS in Class. That exact mentality is what keeps these delusional people in their jobs. Always deflecting blame away from themselves, who happen to be the common denominator in all the sucking years

  • Dark Knight Returns

    Well…. I don’t see Bob Nicholson lacing them up….. he is not COMPLETELY wrong; which other players have 0 goals in the Oiler roster? Even Russell and other D’s have goals

  • tkfisher

    This is everything that is wrong with the oilers in one stupid moment.

    1) Publically blaming a 3rd player for not making the playoffs is [email protected]&ing insane. Thinking this tire fire is only 12-15 goals (to be expected from a guy like Rieder) away from a playoff appearance is even more insane. This team is hot garbage and is nowhere close to being good enough.

    2) Not acknowledging the actual problem is bloody next level insane. Did Tobias lose trade after trade. Did Tobias give up Hall for Larsson. Did he trade Eberle for what became a Waiver wire guy. Did Tobias trade for Reinheart? How about sign Lucic? How about give up an actual NHL player who can play in the top 9 for a guy being sat in the AHL (making over $2mill per Season for this year AND NEXT). Did Tobias force guys who are not NHL ready into the line up and butcher their development? Did he commit to an unproven goalie at a time when there was no need to? How about overpay on Kassian? Russel? Benning? And the unproven goalie? Was Tobias responsible for any of that?

    This team is where they are because of idiots like BOB. Who hired idiots like Peter. Bob needs to look in the mirror.

  • JuniorSplash

    Am I crazy, or is it reasonable to suggest, this bone head shouldn’t be making ANY MANAGERIAL DECISIONS??
    Who in their right minds is gonna come to this train wreck of a franchise when we have a CEO already making public decisions on a roster he’s not suppose to be managing come spring? He already completely screwed the team giving Koskinen a ridiculous contract at mid season without any reason to do so at that time. He’s also decided he’s good with keeping Keith Gretzky on staff as assistant GM….is this not all managers discretion?? They traditionally build their staff, their coaches…everything but executive positions. The sooner this moron fires himself, the better off this organization will be, cause we all know that dummy who owns this team doesn’t have the balls or the fortitude to make any better decisions than Nick himself.

    • MrBung

      Bobbi Nicks is useless and his burger tastes like sh*t. I don’t know what the f*ck this loser does for the Oilers aside from fluff Katz before watching games.

  • KootenayDan

    Let’s not forget where the blame lies it is Chiarelli, that was a bad hire he single handedly set this club back a few steps. BN needs to take full responsibility for that hire. Horrible thing Bob did with his comments a big game changer under his tenure.

  • MrBung

    What a Mickey Mouse organization. Tobias Rider? No It is Chia and Bob Burger that are the problem. Chia built this mess and Bobbi Hired Chia. So how is that forensic audit going that got kicked off 3 plus years ago? This club is screwed. #FreeConnor

  • MrBung

    Why is MacTard still part of this org. He was removed.from the GM pos because he sucked. This outfit is a loser because they retain losers and keep.them around.

  • Mr.Snrub

    Why are ANY decisions about player personnel being made right now anyway? Ignore the stupid statement and focus on the fact that the Oilers braintrust is apparently already making decisions on next season ranging from the HUGE aka we need a top pairing D-Man to deciding to cut a bottom 6 forward who has underperformed.

    Shouldn’t these decisions be made by the next general manager? Oh right it’s just that pesky OBC again! But remember they don’t make any decisions…, the mainstream media keeps telling us so after all!


    Happens to other organizations too not just Oilers. I seem to remember the Dallas owner ripping Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguins asses for playing like crap.

  • polarcap

    PC plan was endorsed by BN. We heard about forensic audits, comprehensive top down reviews. Just words. Didn’t consult that last time, sorry, this time lots of consult. BN’s should talk to professional headhunters on how to set up a process for choosing the GM. Also, he needs some outside advice on how to structure the organization that provides for critical input from diverse sources in setting realistic goals and provides ongoing continuous oversight and evaluation. The Lucic contract reflected PC plans and priorities. Had BN as PC’s boss should have asked for a framework for making these decisions. BN is bush league.