Dare to Dream

There are lots of things I’d like to see happen, but they seldom do because the world doesn’t work exactly the way I think it should. They are sort of “if-I-was-king-of-the-world” moments. Maybe you have them too from time to time. Sort of a dare to dream bit. Wishful thinking. Some are goofy. Some are more serious.

Just once, I’d like to see a cashier in the 15-item limit express line at the supermarket dress-down the self-absorbed oaf who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. You know, the shoulder-shrugging buffoon who thinks it’s OK to try to shove 33 items through while everybody waits. “Sorry, sir . . .” before they are sent to the next till (the one with 11 people in line).

I’d like politicians to shut up about how inept or crooked, or both, their opponents are and sell me on what they can do for me if I cast my vote for them. I want able-bodied folks – maybe the same guy from the express line – who park in stalls designated for the handicapped to have their cars not only ticketed, but towed and impounded every damn time when they don’t display a placard, even if they’re only going to be there “a few seconds.”

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And when Bob Nicholson begins interviewing candidates in the running to become the next GM of the Edmonton Oilers, I want Connor McDavid in the room – not only to provide feedback based on what he sees and hears, but to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down to each and every hopeful. After that, I want McDavid to take the best three candidates, interview them on his own and then decide who gets the job. Sure.


Oct 16, 2018; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates past Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (44) in the third period at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

That’s not going to happen, but I think it should after watching the Oilers get eliminated from playoff contention for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons and listening to an obviously frustrated McDavid after a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights Monday. It’s the third time in his four seasons with the Oilers McDavid has been on the outside looking in at the post-season, and he’s obviously not impressed. Nor should he be. The entire post-game interview is here.

The snippet that stuck out for me was this: “We don’t even have a GM, so I don’t think we’re in any position to comment on next season. We have a lot of crap to figure out. I hope we can put the right man in the spot and we can put together a good team.” Of course, McDavid’s remarks will prompt those so inclined to grace us yet again with their lame takes that it’s only a matter of time until he asks for his ticket out of Edmonton – and why that’s a good thing. His comments took me elsewhere, to the GM search.

When GM candidates spell out their vision for this franchise and how they intend to clean up the mess left by Peter Chiarelli — a task that has to include revamping hockey ops from top to bottom, notably the pro scouting staff — do you trust Nicholson, who hired Chiarelli in the first place with zero due diligence, to make the call on the new boss by himself? You want owner Daryl Katz in his ear offering his ideas? 

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If you don’t want Nicholson deciding who assumes duties from interim-GM Keith Gretzky on his own, who should he be listening to and taking advice from within the organization? Is it Craig MacTavish? Scott Howson? Kevin Lowe? Wayne Gretzky? Is there anybody here right now you trust to provide Nicholson with better advice than McDavid could? If you go all the way with my dare to dream scenario, is there any one of them you trust more to make the final call on who gets the job? I didn’t think so.


The Oilers have invested over $100 million in McDavid. For my money, he’s the best player in the game. That aside, he knows the room and the players in it better than anybody else employed here right now – the managers, the coaches, the scouts. Might McDavid have an educated idea about who would best fit this team’s many needs after spending a few hours listening to what the people who want to be the GM have to say? I think so. Could it possibly turn out as badly as what we’ve seen unfold here until now? I think not.

Like seeing the jackass in the express lane get bounced, the reality is wishing it would happen isn’t going to make it happen, even if it should. Too bad.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

  • Hemmertime83

    Connor has already stated he does not want to be the person deciding or have input. He says he just wants to play hockey. Connor will pick the new GM… in 25 years at Katz sons red wine summits

  • Drexel

    The idea that because someone is a good hockey player they would make a good manager or coach is ridiculous. Isn’t that the thing that got the Oilers into this tire fire in the first place?

    • puckle-head

      I tend to agree with you, but I think Robin’s point was: from within the Oilers organization, who would you trust MORE than McDavid to make the call, if he hypothetically could be the one to make it? At the very least he could ask potential GMs “Hey, would you trade our 5th best scorer and a close personal friend of mine for a middling AHL defense man who cost me the calder?”

  • DraiCup

    I’m beginning to think that at this point you can as well let Gretzky stay for another year if no bonafide candidate can be hired. Next year we will see more of the same anyways. Just don’t do any more stupid moves that downgrade the talent of the team and no overpayments. That’s all he has to do. Well finding a second goalie who can challenge Koskinen would be nice. Apart from that you can only do very small moves right now regardless of who sits in the GM seat. Sekera, Lucic, Russell and Koskinen all have NMCs, unfathomable. I don’t think even the brightest GM will solve this. The players you wanna move can’t be moved and are all grossly overpaid. I’d view next year as a transition year. Sell it to Connor. Give some of the prospects a real chance to showcase themselves at the NHL level. In the summer of 2020 Benning, Brodziak, Kassian (although I like him), Gagner come off the books and Sekera and Russell will go into their final year. Maybe they can be moved by then. Klefbom and Larsson have good contracts and are still young. I would not trade them.

  • Derzie

    I understand the sentiment, and I’m really onboard with the examples, but Connor is just as unqualified to pick a leader as the OBC is. Connor is generational, in that he is this generation’s Gretzky. The one who enabled the whole OBC to exist in the first place. Connor is OBC In Waiting. His resume: Great hockey player. The end.

    There is only one path out of this quagmire (giggity). When the OBC hire someone that we KNOW they are handing the reigns to. Someone with no ties to the OBC. None. Someone who is known for being relentless and making things happen. Someone that’s no one’s puppet. Someone like Yzerman. I can’t see a scenario where he would take the job but he is the model for what is required. If they hire a first time GM, plan the lottery party for next year. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Full measures. No short cuts.

  • Leaking5w-30

    I love this article. But more realistically… the oilers should hire a team of external consultants to conduct the search. A couple of semi-retired hockey people as well as (maybe) a person or two who have had success building teams in another sport (Bill Polian comes to mind). We can’t trust anyone inside so let’s go outside. Maybe even way outside

      • Leaking5w-30

        I wouldn’t be surprised if he had never herd of the oilers. Perfect right! I was kinda joking at first…. but an NFL, NBA or Premiere Leauge person might be ideal to chair the search. Our problems go so much deeper than just hockey…

    • WHH

      @Leakin Would that be the same Bill Polian that just helped form the AAF football league that played eight weeks and then went broke and folded today? If so sounds like the perfect guy to help BN.

      • Leaking5w-30

        Polian did take the bills to 4 straight superbowls as GM and the colts to about 10 straight playoff years…. he might not be the guy to run a league. But he knows how to build a willing culture for a franchise.

        But that’s not really the point… just that we might be better off with external consultants hiring our next GM than the OBC.

  • Towers-of-dub

    considering that there is no one in professional hockey that wants to see the Oilers succeed, I think this is just how things will be forever. We had Gretzky. We won 5 Stanley Cups. that’s all we get.

  • usetobewise

    Fire ’em all!!!!!! Now!!!!! Bobby Nic’ is a simple man and the fact that he was the architect of this [email protected] castle should worry the heck out every single red blooded Oilers fan. How in the Hell does this googly eyed owner think that letting the proliferation of ineptitude to continue will be followed by success? WOW! My wish is for everyone would finally quit enabling these idiots with your monetary contributions.

  • Mr.Snrub

    What we really need is for the mainstream media from the Sun & Journal to TSN & Sportsnet to stop being professional fart catchers and really start hammering home how unbelievably poor this franchise is run. This 13 year long hell isn’t a cold streak it’s legitimately the worst stretch of hockey from one franchise in the over 100 year long history of the National Hockey League and anyone associated with it should be thrown into the deepest and darkest pit possible or it’ll only continue to get worse.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The real question is did connor’s words resonate at all with Katz? Did Katz even get wind of Connors comments? Katz seems to have a large disconnect of what is going on with the team from my view point and most of the fans I would think. It’s great he is a hands off owner, but it needs to be to a point not to never be seen again. There needs to be a serious house cleaning and that includes his buddies MacT and KLowe along witb a lot of other people including Nicolson Howson The scouting staff Schwartz the coaching staff and on. This organistaion is in seruious serious trouble, and Bobby Nicks idea to wait forever to get a GM is idiotic… soon as they can start interviewing the guys they can talk to ,then start talking…. as soon as they can get permission to talk to guys from other NHL teams…then talk to them start whittling down your list of candidates to serious contenders. the 2 guys at the top of my list would be Kelly McCrimmon and Mark Hunter. The Oilers need a GM who can wheel and deal and who can get a sense of the league, who can keep his finger on the pulse and knows and watches whats going on with other because that is where there is always a potential to make a deal… and chia was not smart enough to do that, he did know when to strike and when to sit back and he seemed to always sell low in my eyes and we always seemed to get very little back in return, and we just cant keep doing that. the Oilers need a GM who can do some wheeling and dealing because there is a lot of crap to get rid of and whoever it is is going to really have a lot of crap to get rid of and have to find some hungry players and get some value contracts in a tight contract cap year coming up for the oil.

  • KevCantDance

    There are so many holes and needs on this team, it doesn’t matter who get’s hired as GM, because he’ll be missing the playoffs. Between Lucic, Sekera and Russell, they’re paying 15.5 million in cap space for zero value. They’re unmovable without giving away prospects and/picks. So they would have to get even worse, just to be rid of any of the anchors. Meanwhile, McDavid misses another playoffs by a mile, and sees no playoffs in the Oiler’s future.
    He will ask to go. It’s coming. Nothing can stop it at this point, unless they are near-contenders next year. Nuge will not resign here either. The domino effect will be devasting. Oiler fans need to start preparing for it. If Oiler fans are what any of you choose to stay.

    • McHitch

      If Oilers throw in picks to remove themselves of Lucic, Russell and Sekera they do not get worse.

      They free up 16 mil in cap space to use now, making them better.

      The picks who may or may not turn out n 4 years is what we give up. Worth it considering our draft and development history, and to make a run while we have Connor.

      • nijames

        Unfortunately no team would take the Lucic contract he’s an Oiler for 4 more years. He no longer has the speed physically and mentally to play at the NHL level. He was a very effective player in the slower heavy NHL. Just doesn’t think the game at a fast level,

  • Billsbills

    Having input from Connor is fine. Especially when it comes to who he thinks needs to stay on this team. He should supply a no trade list to the new manager. I am sure there are only a handful of guys he wants to build this team around.

    But he should not be making decisions like who the GM should be. Unless of course he has experience in doing so previously.

    Personally, if there is anyone Katz should bring back to the organization to assist in revamping the top of the organization, it would be Slats.

    Dare to dream.

  • DoubleDIon

    Honestly this is one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. You want a 22 year old who is really good at playing hockey to decide the future of a franchise? I get the folks in the current chairs haven’t made great decisions. That’s why you hire someone other franchises consider a really good hockey man and let him do his job. Connor is going to make decisions short term, because that’s what he cares about.