Nicholson, the biggest issue

It’s safe to say that Bob Nicholson would like to forget Thursday ever happened.

Nicholson was picked apart online after saying that the Oilers would probably be in the playoffs if Tobias Rieder had scored 10 to 12 goals. It was a ridiculous thing to say and Nicholson quickly went into damage control mode.

In case you missed what Nicholson said, here’s the transcript from today’s season ticket holder meeting:

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“Toby Rieder will not be signed by the Edmonton Oilers at the end of this year. Toby Rieder was a player that other teams wanted, but he came here for one year because he wanted to play Leon Draisaitl who he plays with on the German national team. He thought if he wasn’t playing with Leon he’d be playing with Connor and he’d score 15-16 goals, and instead of making $2 million, he’d sign a four-year (extension) at $3.5 million. Toby Rieder hasn’t scored a goal. Toby Rieder has missed so many breakaways. If Toby Rieder would have scored 10 or 12 goals, we’d probably be in the playoffs.” (Source: Bruce McCurdy)

Later on in the day, Darren Dreger tweeted that Nicholson had spoken to Rieder:

If Bob Nicholson wants to continue to try and connect with fans a little bit more he’ll likely need to start choosing his words a little more wisely.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug managed to track down Rieder’s agent on Thursday evening, and needless to say, he wasn’t happy.

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What Nicholson said on Thursday isn’t the most pressing concern I have with him right now.


IIHF President Rene Fasel will be retiring in the spring of 2020. His replacement will be chosen at the 2020 World Hockey Championships, just over 13 months from now.

I’ve heard from a very good source that Bob Nicholson will most certainly be a candidate, if not the front-runner, to replace Fasel at the top of the IIHF.

I don’t think anybody would blame Nicholson for taking that gig because it’s actually the job he’s best suited to do. He will turn 66-years old in May and could easily put in five years, mostly stress-free, as the big boss of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

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Can Oilers owner Darryl Katz afford to have Bob Nicholson hire the next General Manager of the Oilers when there is a decent chance he won’t even be around at the end of the chosen candidate’s first year with the organization?

If Nicholson had loads of experience hiring general managers in the past I wouldn’t have an issue with it, but he doesn’t.

Maybe Nicholson stays with the Oilers and everything works out just fine but if he does leave for the IIHF and the Oilers next GM is a failure it will be very easy to look back on this moment and realize that absolutely none of it made sense, like usual.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Armchair Owner

    Ok, serious question. Let’s take Bob out of the hiring process. I do not think that there is a talent placement company for this kind’ve thing.

    We know the names swirling around out there, but there is no one to properly assess that level of management as a GM position, because there is no one in the organization that is qualified.

    The OBC surely cannot do it, that as mentioned already in this thread would be, well typical Oilers. This off season will be the most interesting in a long time.

    • The Whispererer

      If you look at the Detroit roster and see that 9 players have some form of NTC and Detroit is arguably in worse Cap situation than Edmonton, will you still be so anxious to have Holland as the Oilers GM ?

  • Rick Stroppel

    The Oilers are a truly unique organization. They have one President, and at least four Vice Presidents in Charge of Everything (or Nothing): Katz, Nicholson, Lowe, McTavish and Wayne Gretzky. All of these five people are literally so stupid, they cannot be trusted to talk about the hockey team in public.

    • Rick Stroppel

      PS: Where were these five people when Chiarelli was driving the semi over the cliff? Asleep? Out to lunch? Does anybody think that an intelligent candidate for the GM job would be happy to step into this situation?

      • Kool-Aid Man

        The next GM will be a lap-dog to the OBC (that is how intelligent they will be), and will be perfectly fine with ending their career here as well… because it WILL end here, guaranteed.

    • polarcap

      I don’t get the negative feelings for some of the obc. In their time, they served the city and the club with dedication and loyalty. Having more input to decisions is usually better than less. Gretzky is a Canadian icon, MacT was a good coach taking the oil to the finals, and Lowe was a decent GM and has dedicated himself to City causes and continues to be an ambassador for the katz empire. If it wasn’t for Katz and lowe, the Oil would probably be in the US somewhere, Rogers Place would only be a pipe dream. C’mon give them their do

  • jesse says yep

    Bob was right in what he said but wrong in that he said it in public. If either Looch or Reider managed to score 10-15 goals then the Oilers suddenly have a second line, which is where Reider was signed to play with Draisaityl. Both Looch and Reider have failed to live up to their contracts and it has been a massive reason why this season was sunk. Whether that is on the player or the pro scouts, probably both, is a separate story all together.
    I would love to hear the actual question that was asked to go along with the Nicholson quotes. If he is asked point blank by a season ticket what they are doing about Reider, should he have blown smoke or answered honestly?

    • Randomfan

      Are you serious? Are you saying if TR scores 10 goals we make the playoffs ? With all the top draft picks we have had over last 10 years we are pinning our hopes on TR?

      Even if he does score 10 to 12 goals and looch score 20 goals its gives you roughly 32 goals. It still doesnt get you into the playoffs based on the goals differential. Atleast TR is going out there everyday and working hard. What is the OBC doing? Making merry and living it up! This organization is a mess. Lets admit it. If they could have drafted and developed properly we wouldn’t even need TB today.

      • jesse says yep

        Yes that is exactly what I am saying. He was brought in to play on the 2nd line and that is where he played for a majority of his minutes. If he had even modestly met his expected production the Oiler roster would have looked dramatically different. How many games were lost because there was ZERO production outside of the first line? Either Nuge or Drai were sunk with anchors on either wing.
        What happened in the past is beside the point when evaluating the current season. Do you not think the Oilers could have picked up 3-5 more wins with a productive 2nd line? Your goal differential breakdown would make more sense if you look at in terms of which lines were bleeding goals.

      • TKB2677

        Nicholson got caught up in the being hammered on day after day and made a dumb ass comment by singling out Toby Rieder.

        If Toby Rieder scored 10 goals, would the Oilers be in the playoffs? NO but he is one example of a common problem on the Oilers. Way, way too many guys mailing it in, not giving a crap or under performing.

        If Rieder does his job and score 10. If Lucic does his freaking job and not have 5 goals. If Talbot wasn’t putting up AHL numbers, if Kassian didn’t take 3/4 of the year to do anything. If Benning wasn’t a pile of crap for 3/4 of the year. And so on.

        Way, way, way too many guys on this team come here and just cash checks. So was it Rieders fault? NO it wasn’t his fault by himself but he is just exhibit A of a whole crap load of guys not pulling their weight.

    • Dallylamma

      A little tact on Burger Bobby’s part would have gone a long way.
      Q: ‘Reider sucks so bad, you’re not signing him again are you?’
      A: ‘Look, Toby will be the first to tell you he’s had a disappointing season. He’s been working hard, but the results aren’t there and this is a results based business. We’ll be evaluating everyone at the end of the season and making our decisions from there.’

      • jesse says yep

        Yes BN should have had some tact when answering the question but I would still like to hear what it was. I have read his responses numerous times yet never the question. My curiosity is all

        • Randomfan

          And by the same token what if TR scores goals in the games we are losing 6-3 or 7-2 his 10 to 15 goals production doesn’t help us win those. Noone is defending TR here. Of course he sucks and i am sure he knows it himself. The problem is this organization has so many terrible moves that its hard to sweep it under the rug while him going on a rant about one player. He should have ranted about how OBC have been screwing up for years and that is the real reason we have been missing the playoffs for decades. Now that would be a good start.

  • Oilers70

    I think all of these guys in management of the Oilers are the dumbest most incompetent bunch in the NHL, probably all professional sports. 15 years…..

    FIRE THEM ALL. Including Nicholson, look, any 12 year old could pick an Olympic hockey gold medal team from Canada and a Junior team. There is absolutely no skill in that except having a keyboard.

    He has shown in his audit of the Oilers… that he completely missed the problem, which is management.

    By the way, the media in Edmonton are incompetent too.

    • Randomfan

      Media can only do so much. Noone wants to ask the tough questions and get fired. We live in a snowflake generation.

      With these clowns running the show nothing is going to change. Who throws a young kid under the bus in front of public like that. Just say the team we built is not good enough and we screwed up. Just man up for once. Bunch of loosers. This organization has no respect for anyone.

  • Total Points

    It is up to Katz to solve this.

    If he is smart he would hire a advisory group to help right the ship and deal with the management structure – POHO and GM – 1 person or 2, what to do with the OBC, etc.

    A group of seasoned hockey people like Cliff Fletcher, Scotty Bowman, etc and younger hockey people like Ron Hex. Ron Francis, Dale Hunter, Brian Burke, etc

  • CityofWhat

    Nicholson is the Chiarelli of Presidents. In 2 to 3 years from now when he resigns or gets fired we will say he made this mistake or that mistake just like Chiarelli, why can’t this organization get ahead of the mistakes before they happen, most fans can see it why can’t the organization but I digress they are the smartest they know a thing or two about winning.

    • hagar

      It really seems to come down to smarts. They have been trying for so long but are simply too stupid to figure it out. They always have taken forever to fix problems, I just don’t think they actually see things like most do.
      They are ex hockey players that somehow amassed a lifes worth of genius based on their passed success playing the sport.
      Not sure the best floor sweeper in the world is qualified to run the largest broom company in the world.

  • _Bubba

    Toronto is about to go “Full Leafs” next month (when they choke again) and threaten to fire Babcock. I say let’s hire a competent GM, bring in Babcock and don’t look back.

  • Stallions #35

    To be honest, I think Reider is a better player than what is shown this year. I don’t recall his career path but I always remembered that he played well against the oilers wherever he was. I remember thinking I can’t believe we lost him for nothing cause he was actually a decent player… anyways, still can’t believe our top management doesn’t filter their thoughts before they speak…

  • A-co

    This is the worst franchise in North American professional sports hands down…the owner uses it as a means of self satisfaction and has lost touch with the fan base…the so called management group is an absolute joke and if it’s true that Bobby nickels is in line for another job why is he in a position to hire someone that will have his say on how this team is made up going forward…this fan base deserves better and a complete gut job needs to happen before the fans tune out…on a positive note it looks like spring is here

  • Grumpy OM

    Bob IS OUT OF HIS LEAGE . These are not amateur kids he is dealing with , that will do anything he wants . He is dealing with a business, and if you listen to him and some of the things he says and does , he would have a hard time running a gas station!!!!!