A Winning Culture

The Edmonton Oilers have a losing culture. They didn’t set out to create one, especially after going to game seven of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, but since then this organization has been defined by losing. In 1,032 games played since October, 2006, to now, the Oilers have only won 416. Over 13 years they have won 40% of their games, the worst winning percentage in the NHL.

They desperately want and need that to change, so owner Daryl Katz and CEO Bob Nicholson hired Ken Holland to be the President of Hockey Operations and General Manager and have entrusted him to hopefully return the Oilers to their winning ways.

Becoming a consistent winner isn’t easy, but once you put together the formula you can stay competitive for a decade, sometimes longer. Holland did that with Detroit and I asked him to define a winning culture and how he can he build one here.

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He had a long, thorough response.

“That is a great question,” said Holland.

“Ultimately, winning is going to make everything good. Now, how do you start to win? What’s culture? To me, culture is people. It’s the people you bring in on the ice and off the ice.

“They care about the logo, and one of the things I tried to sell as the general manager of the Detroit Red Wings, was that you earn the jersey. You don’t just get to put the jersey on because you were a high draft pick. You have to go to work every day, and respect the jersey and play hard. We (Red Wings) didn’t have a very good year this year, but I think we were involved in almost 50 one goal games, we lost a lot of close games. The team played hard, the young kids were starting to take over the team and we were heading in the right direction.

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“At the end of the day, what is culture? It is work ethic, its competing every day. The league is so hard to win you have to compete, your scouts have to compete, your managers have to compete, your coaches have to compete. You’re competing with 30 other organizations which are the best in the world, and you need to grind.

“I guess that is who I am. I love to grind. I love to play golf. I love to get up and down. I don’t want to hit it on the green. I like to get up and down, you know what I mean? I like to get up and down from a bunker. Life is tough, you got to grind, and you have to dig in.

“Right now, times are tough. The team has made the playoffs once in 13 years, and Daryl (Katz) and Bob (Nicholson) have made a decision to bring me in. I have to come in and change the culture and they have given me complete authority to do so.

“I’ve got to provide stability and find the right people, some of them are in this organization, but I may have to go outside and bring some people from outside the organization. That’s the process that I have to go through here and that’s ongoing, so that is what my experience has told me.

“And obviously, you need great players. I had the privilege of working with Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. They were great players, and really cared, and I saw when Scotty Bowman came in and how Yzerman became more determined, and he was okay with blocking shots and scoring less points, and winning more draws.

“Young players don’t know that. They want to come in and do what they have always done. There is a process with young players, and you need veterans to show them the way. I’d like to think that’s what I can bring as a veteran manager, hire a coach who I believe is also going to bring that.

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“Find the right mix of players to support the core, and create some excitement. We’ve got to get the fans to believe that I’m the right guy, that I can put a plan in place to get them excited.

“There are lots of pieces here. It’s up to me to add to those pieces, to try and figure out the right chemistry, how to support the key pieces that are here through the decisions that we make with players on the ice, and the decisions that I make with the staff,” said Holland.

There was a lot in that response.

I love how he said his scouts, managers and coaches need to compete just as hard as the players. Everyone in the organization needs to have a winning attitude or you won’t win. And earning the jersey is something that has been lacking in Edmonton for a long time.

A few weeks ago at the Alzheimers Faceoff charity tournament I hosted a Hot Stove with Ethan Moreau, Jason Smith and Raffi Torres. Moreau had an interesting take on leadership. He raved about Jason Smith and what he did, but it was more than him.

“Usually you have your main leadership group, but you also have a secondary one, usually the younger players and that was Raffi, Jarrett Stoll and Matt Greene. Looking back, I think the organization undervalued their importance when they traded all of them away. It left a void in the middle of the team. We had older guys and then really young guys. Leadership comes in many forms. When I was young I was more in a lower tier, because I didn’t have enough experience to say things, but being there and showing up every day is important and you bonded with the other young guys because of it. Then as I got older I could be more vocal and take on more of a leadership role. Looking back I think it hurt or organization to lose that second tier group of leaders,” Moreau said.

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The Oilers had to give young players bigger roles due to those trades, but they weren’t prepared for it.

We have seen that repeat itself over the past decade, but I suspect that will change under Holland.

He watched the Oilers AHL affiliate Bakersfield Condors win a thrilling 7-6 game in OT last night. He will watch games four and five this weekend as well. Three games are not enough time to make a fair or accurate assessment of a player, but Holland’s track record tells us the Oilers won’t be rushing young players anymore. The young players might not like being demoted to the AHL, but they will be better off for it in the long run and it will make them appreciate being an Oiler more when they make it.

Winning more games will help improve the culture, but in order to win consistently, you need a strong foundation of principles and ideals. Teams who win consistently don’t just stumble into it. They create a stable environment, with strong internal competition and the manager demands a lot of himself, his management team, scouts, coaches, trainers, analytics staff and of course the players.

When one area isn’t held accountable the rest of your organization sees it, and everyone starts to cut corners. It might only be small cuts, but they add up and then you are a losing organization and as the Oilers have proven, it can take a long time to recover.

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After last night’s victory, the San Jose Sharks are in the Conference Finals for the fifth time since Doug Wilson took over as GM in May of 2003. In his 15 seasons, the Sharks have had nine 100+ point seasons, 99 twice, and 98 and 96 once. In the lockout season, they had 57 (prorated to 97). They’ve only missed the playoffs once, in 2015.

Their five Conference Finals appearances are tied with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Chicago for the most. Anaheim has had four in the past 15 seasons, while Boston, Detroit, Carolina, Philadelphia and Los Angeles have made three appearances and the New York Rangers, St.Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens did it twice.

Teams like Buffalo and Carolina had a few good years, but look at total playoff games played since 2004 and the teams who have regularly been competitive standout.

Pittsburgh 173.
San Jose 168 (and counting).
Detroit 140 (They have had more success in the cap era than many claim).
Boston 135 (and counting).
New York Rangers 129
Chicago and Washington 128
Anaheim 126
Tampa Bay 120.

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The Sharks are the only team who haven’t won a Cup, but they have been in the mix consistently, and to me that is a winning culture. Sometimes the difference between winning a series and losing is an unlucky bounce. The Washington Capitals were very good for many years, but they couldn’t get out of the second round. They finally did last year and won the Cup.

Is this the Sharks’ year? We’ll see. Wilson has done an amazing job keeping the Sharks competitive for 15 years. Maybe their window will close, but he has done a remarkable job of re-tooling his roster as his top players get older. He hasn’t been afraid to make bold moves. He’s acquired Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Martin Jones and Evander Kane as well as other top players, while also drafting and developing Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun.

He has maintained a top team by developing later round draft picks, and making astute trades.

Holland did that in Detroit and now will try in Edmonton.

Winning is the end result of a good culture, but the philosophy to get there is vital and I’m curious to watch how Holland re-shapes the Oilers culture.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • Kr55_

    Holland may be the first guy in Oilers management to actually explain what winning culture is and how you get it. I believe the general idea was, to get great people, ensure they are giving their all (likely requires a culture of accountability), and then win hockey games. And the winning maintains the culture you want to have.

    Pretty straightforward, and makes perfect sense. I guess the issue we’ve had all this time was the whole getting the best people and holding them accountable. This simply hasn’t occurred in the management ranks of this org for a very long time. Friendships and comfort trumped getting the best and brightest, and even the will to hold people accountable. And if you don’t have good people making good decisions at the top, what hope do you have to consistently get good results on the ice? Oilers fans know well what that results in.

    • Oscar

      I’ve never understood how a “winning culture” is derived from losing a lot of one goal games … this guy may fit in perfectly with the likes of Oil Nation … 🙂

      • Ken Holland

        Making playoffs 20 straight seasons isnt a streak created by luck or good fortune.

        Hard working accountable culture creates long term success.

        You may need to read the article again.

      • OilerForLife

        Trying to create discord, won’t work this time. Consider creating culture in Calgary and fix the, ” I’d like to play in Philly someday crowd “. Softy playoff players who slam sticks at the bench, and shake the wrong hand is not a winning culture.

  • chezzychez

    ‘You don’t just get to put the jersey on because you were a high draft pick’.

    It’ll be really nice to see some guys really earn their place on the team. How many players have we seen just get a spot on the oilers over the last 10 years. Even watching guys like Currie and Gambo come in and work harder than most players on the roster was so satisfying. If the Oilers can get that out of our higher end prospects, this ‘winning culture’ you speak of might actually start happening in YEG.


    • You don’t get to be in management, just because you were a good player from the 80’s. Biggest problem the franchise has. Hopefully Holland can change that and soon, do not need any more advise from idiots just before the draft or we will be giving up the 8th overall to reacquire Griffin.

      • Hemmercules

        I still wonder to this day if Chia actually even did a shred of research on Griffin before making that trade or if he just immediately trusted MacT and Howson on the move? You would think if the two guys that fed Nikitin 4 mil a season for 4 years were giving you player advice you better double check yourself before dumping two solid draft picks. Maybe Chia was just that bad and actually knew what he was getting.

  • toprightcorner

    While I don’t think Holland was the best choice if you are strictly looking for on-ice improvement, he is easily the best person to improve the terrible culture that the Oilers have had for the past 15-20 years. He will put together a management team and supporting staff that is positive, hard-working and team players that all have the same goal in mind. There won’t be any groups of people trying to push an agenda.

    Holland will also add the type of coaching staff that can communicate with the players, yet set the accountability too work hard and compete for every shift. He will add the right depth pieces that will help improve the culture and build the ethos of a winning culture and playing for each other.

    Regards to coaching, Tippet and Nelson seem to be leading candidates. I think Nelson would be a better coach for the players, but I can’t help but remember that every team that Tippet has coached, they were always very hard working teams that never took a night off. If the Oilers could get that type of commitment from their players that Tippet seemed to always get, that is the culture the team needs to succeed.

  • Clayton

    ” I love to play golf. I love to get up and down. I don’t want to hit it on the green. I like to get up and down, you know what I mean? I like to get up and down from a bunker. “- Ken Holland

    Yep…came to the right place! We golf early here in Edmonton! You may want to consider hiding in the bunker a little more often too. Lots of shots coming at ya!

    • Ratt McNuge

      I have a feeling this will be the Sharks’ year to finally get Jumbo Joe his ring. It’s the two Norris trophy winners on their blueline that will get them there. Just a hunch.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I just think that St. Louis is just too strong. And they seem to kick it up a notch when they need to, just when you think they are down & out… The way they are playing since January (they were last-ish in the league before then) is exactly the culture of work that Holland is describing…
        I think they’ll have San Jose’s number by the way… I don’t care if I’m wrong, when it comes down to it, it’s just a great time to be a hockey fan. And, with all this talk about culture, I’m excited that the Oilers may be part of it in the coming years…. I feel great about the Oil… “Earn the Jersey” that did it for me…

        • Glencontrolurstik

          How about an Oilersnation “Earn the Jersey” Tee-shirt for the Off-season… I’d wear that at Kalamalka Lake here in BC & take the flak all day… (think there are more Calgarians here than BCers in the summer?) Maybe I can even get Ken Holland to sign it?

  • SailorD81

    Being an Oilers fan has been no joy in the last 10 plus years. If we didn’t have McJesus to watch the last couple of years what would we be watching? Being told to be patient is past wearing thin. But here we are, having to be patient once again. I, like most of us are hopeful but skeptical of any Oilers improvements coming soon. Holland could not possibly be worse than PC so there’s that to look forward to. On a side note. Who’s a worse GM? Millbury or PC?

    • D

      Got to give it to Milbury as much as I despise the hatchet job PC did to the Oilers. PC still has a Stanley Cup to his name. Or to compromise, we could label them 1A and 1B as the worst of all time.

      • SailorD81

        As for PC having a cup, even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. It’s moreso a problem that we can actually argue who’s worse between MM and PC and not have a clear “winner”

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Who cares,.. Look forward, think positive. Laugh about PC in 5 years, but until then, let’s not mention his name anymore. It makes the hair on my arms stand up… Look forward.

    • RJ

      I’m reading the fan commentaries in Detroit, they think Chia was the worst.

      But if you google Mike Milbury trades, there’s one where he traded Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and the #1 (Jason Spezza) for Alexei Yashin. And that’s not even considered his worst trade.

      I’d say that’s arguably worse than #16 & 33 for the immortal Griffin Reinhart but then again, at least Yashin was an NHL regular whereas Reinhart has all of 37 games to his credit. (Remember PC fans in the media kept talking about how he was more NHL ready than the 16 or 33 would be?)

      • abbeef

        If the pink slips came from Nicholson before the GM was hired I agree. Now that Holland is here he should interview them all, make a plan of who he wants and who would be good where than start axing people. I would say a good timeline is the end of May so the new management team will have time to discuss the draft and free agency while allowing Holland to have a plan in place.

        • Ken Holland

          I am going to complete the forensics audit that Oiler fans were promised.

          I will determine who was responsible for what and make the necessary moves accordingly.

  • Spydyr

    To win in the NHL you have to want it more than the other team. Most nights the team that plays harder wins. It is about the little things. Winning puck battles, getting the puck deep, getting the puck out, good line changes , not taking stupid selfish penalties and taking a hit to make a play.

    Play for your teammates not with them

    If you do the little things and want it more than the other team that is how you win. Most teams have skill it is the desire to win that sets teams apart. You cannot accept losing, that’s what losers do.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Perfect, Thanks Coach… And I mean that in a good way. It’s simple really & I know it’s just talk at this point but Holland is saying all the right things. The exciting part for me is that he has the history to back up his words… It’s almost like he has a little competition going with Yserman…

      • Ken Holland

        Im going to make Yzerman look like a school boy.

        Look what I did with George and Kelly on the Tatar trade.

        I have a long history of success as GM, not as a player. Oiler fans rest assured, your in good hands.

  • CMG30

    I agree Holland has said a lot of the right things but the one area that went mostly unaddressed is how he’s going to handle a rogue management culture. I say this because rightly or wrongly because a majority of fans have come to the conclusion that the major problem with the organization is the ‘old boys’ who have outmoded beliefs and also the ear of the owner.

    Nicholson did nothing to help this impression when he mentioned that Holland was going to have total autonomy when it came to hockey ops but then went on to specifically carve out the non-hockey/business side of the operation from Holland’s reach. This is troublesome to me as it creates massive cover for the organization to move endangered ‘old boys’ away from Holland’s reach. But they will still be able to exert soft power/influence over the Hockey side through back office chatter/red wine summits/texting the owner directly.

    Maybe this is a totally off base impression but after so many years of observing this organization, simple assurances or denials of this dynamic no longer cut it with this fan and I would wager a goon number of season ticket holders.

    • Schmidt Head

      Your concerns are valid ones and widely held. It’s entirely possible that Holland will fail but it’s just as possible he succeeds.

      The “Old Boys Club” is a problem for sure but their malign effects are often, I believe, overstated. (Including by me, on occasion!) And short of putting them all in manacles and frog-marching them out the front door of Rogers Place, they’re not going anywhere any time soon so any new guy is going to have to learn to deal with them and tell them to pound sand when required.

      The OBC has been problematic in the past but it’s also a convenient excuse to cover for plain old incompetence. Was Chiarelli “under the sway” of the OBC? Or was he just a boob all on his own?

      Another thing to remember;… Katz’s brand is starting to take a hit, his name is becoming synonymous with failure and he’s being embarrassed by those he employs. Rich and powerful men don’t like that sort of thing and won’t tolerate it for long; even from those they consider friends. It’s just possible that Katz himself has had enough and will keep the old negative influences well clear of Holland and let him do his job.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        His involvement and what he said at the Presser told us that you were right. I don’t think he’s going to take it anymore? Gawd, I hope so anyway. But it was weird, that whole way he presented himself. It’s like he had an epiphany,… “They were always right & I have to humbly apologize”. Yeah right, what am I thinking? Sheesh.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I don’t disagree, but it has more to do with TV markets & revenue. Reffing is the control. Subtle things like icings called or not, offsides, interference etc. you know what I mean. But San Jose, with San Fransisco, Oakland is a much bigger TV market than Vegas (who already have a rabid following) and Colorado.
      That Vegas penalty was inexcusable if they weren’t trying to fix something… And waterskiing all night behind McKinnon, not to mention that offside debacle… (we won’t get into that, it could have gone either way)
      Canadian Teams just happen to already give the league so much in TV Revenue & we’ll always watch hockey, so they don’t have to win us over. I just want a team so darn good that they can’t help but call it right. Maybe “Earning the Jersey” will do that for us. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve noticed this for many years, & made a bit of money on betting NHL based on TV markets.

    • Derzie

      Take home and spending power for players on US teams is massively higher than Canadian teams. Introducing a cap took away the ability of the richer Canadian teams to keep pace. My main hope for the cap in the next contract is that it is regionally adjusted. Taxes, cost of living, weather. Alternatively they could widen the cap range, but that would favor only the richest teams.

      • camdog

        Taxes are low in Florida, Texas, Tennessee and Nevada. Otherwise not a big difference when you factor the Canadian teams are paying players in American dollars.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          And it goes a long way to play or coach a Canadian Team that actually cares about what you do on the ice & recognizes you as a player… Except for the few at the rink every night, nobody knows who you are, if you play for one of the “Beach Teams.”
          Ask Drew Doughty what it’s like to play in California. These guys are supposed to be stars, and while it’s cool being able to go out incognito, it’s even cooler when you play a visiting game in Canada & your hounded for autographs away from the rink… That’s really what these guys have worked all their life for, the money gets old after a while. The fame keeps the juices flowing.

  • Schmidt Head

    It really is amazing what motivated, positive minded people can do and how well people can perform when they genuinely believe they are part of a team and that everyone is pulling their weight and working towards the same goal. It’s also amazing just how fast things can turn from bad to great with only a few alterations.

    I recall a time at work when there was a change of managers in our department. It was like someone opened a curtain to bright sunlight and removed a weight from everyone’s shoulders. The place went from misery to joy in literally a matter of days! And the thing was, no one had any real dislike for the old guy; he was just in the wrong job.

    That’s just how quick things CAN turn around with a new (right) guy in charge! Will they with Holland? Is he THAT guy? Too soon to say but I’ll be curious to see what he does and what effect it’ll have.

  • TKB2677

    What I would like to see is of course more winning but I would also like to see a culture where players come here, give a more consistent effort and who can put their ego aside and buy into the team concept. That is what I have seen the Wings do especially when they were making the playoffs all those years and being a powerhouse. Guys would get drafted as high end guys but would end up on the 3rd/4th line, put their ego aside, accept the role and excel in it. Guys would be traded or signed from another team, maybe they weren’t in as big of a role but they accepted it, excelled at it and the team was better for it. That doesn’t happen in Edmonton. Guys who come to Edmonton complain about their role and don’t do anything. Guys who get drafted complain when they don’t get they role they think they should. Think about Yak. He just came off the lock out shortened season so he had 48 games under his belt and he did OK. Eakins came in and wasn’t good for him but he was in year 2 of his career, with not even a full 82 games under his belt and he had his agent complaining publicly about opportunity and playing time. Think about Cogliano. He was an offensive player, didn’t want to play wing with the Oilers because he though he was a top 6 center. Got traded. When to the Ducks, they made him a 3rd line winger just like the Oilers wanted to do, he excelled at it. There are lots of more guys you could list.

  • Serious Gord

    Talk is cheap.

    I’ve posted repeatedly over the years that the Org lacks hunger. From the top down far too many people who have been to the top in the game are in management.

    Holland has nothing to prove. The translucent plaque with his image on it is all ready to be mounted in the HHOF. He can say that he wants to compete every day etc. etc. but IMO there are lots of guys who will do that and do it a level of effort that a guy like Holland simply can’t won’t anymore.

    If he really means what he says then there are probably a dozen guys – including KLowe who need to be gone from the org by draft day. Otherwise he’s not 100% all in on his demand that all levels compete every day.

    (and does anyone think BN competes every day? Does he even live in YEG?)

    • Redbird62

      Highly successful people tend to stay driven. Jimmy Rutherford continued to have a passion for the game after Francis replaced him in Carolina and he went to Pittsburgh and has won 2 more cups. Nobody works harder than Lou Lamoriello has in Toronto or New York who didn’t rest on his hall of fame career in New Jersey. Scotty Bowman was already a hall of famer when he left the Canadiens in 1979. His later coaching career in Pittsburgh and Detroit alone would be hall of fame worthy. I am not saying Holland will succeed, but it won’t be because of lack of effort or drive. He might be thinking if he can turn the Oilers around and win some cups, he could go from Hall of Famer to being considered one of the all time great GMs.

    • SnowMan8

      You don’t think he might have something to prove to the red wings? Who are these guys who will work at a higher effort level than Holland and how do you know that? Have you heard what Holland schedule has been since he started,?

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Ted Nolan, Marc Habscheid, wasn’t Woodcroft an Assistant in Detroit with McLellan under Babcock?
      Before you trash me on Ted Nolan, he was coach of the year with Buffalo. It was basically racism that had him fired the following year… Well, times have changed. He coached Latvia & Poland and improved their records immensely. he is well known to be one of the most innovative player based coaches around. (I guess you’d have to be to convince Poland that they could compete with the likes of Russia & Sweden?
      Anyway, I’d like to see him take another stab at the NHL. He came out of nowhere when he first came on the scene & unfortunately racism made him disappear.

      • Just facts

        Nolan’s coach of the year was over 20 years ago, and his subsequent stints with the Islanders and Sabres weren’t successful. And I heard first hand from an individual who was a head coach of another NHL team at the time that Nolan was in Buffalo about why Nolan couldn’t get a job in the league for a long time after is that he was known to be deliberately trying to undermine Muckler (who was the GM) with the owner.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          I know, I am in complete knowledge of Ted Nolan. First hand. It was more of a tongue in cheek than anything. In fact, I didn’t think anyone would remember him.
          A weird fact though, he could motivate & when he put his mind and effort to something he was passionate. … All those Mem Cup challenges though I don’t think he ever won one. Most every team he coached was crap before he got their. And his success in such a very short time with most teams he coached, but yes, way past his prime that everyone forgot him, I never will… Muckler by the way referred to him as “chief” and undermined him in front of his players. Hasek ran with this for the season and really hated his coach thought he was above him, all based on Muckler’s “Chief” comments. Which IS why he was dubbed the “GM Killer”. Funny thing, Muckler was GM of the year & Nolan Coach of the Year, & they both got fired the year following…

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Why’d you guys choose that picture? In Studio 99 there is a picture of Gretzky and Tiger Woods with MacT and Kevin Lowe. Think that picture alone sums up the Oilers culture.


    Glad to here hes watching the Condors game. I watched it as well and lemme tell ya it was as intense as a game can get. To bad Marody and Yammo are still unable to play due to injury. And Curry.damn that’s a lot of skill still missing. Anyone know if any are close to return?

  • RJ

    The inconsistencies by the team has been an issue for over a decade. Given the team turnover, it can’t be placed on one group (outside the OBC). Having players know their roles, and competing every night hasn’t been there.

    But having talked about young players earn their roles, I’m not hearing that about players already on that team. Look at what Big Rig is doing in this year’s playoffs. When he was an Oiler I felt he got screwed over a bit once Lucic was signed. No matter how well he played with McDavid or how well he performed, Lucic was Chia’s guy so he was the priority.

    If you were asked today, Lucic or Big Rig (even without considering cap hits which makes it hands down Big Rig), you’d pick Maroon.

    It isn’t just earning your jersey, it’s earning your spot.

    • TKB2677

      I agree with you that consistency has been a major issue for this team for years. I am not saying this to give the management a free pass because they did some major screw ups but it’s not all on the management. The players need to own up for some.

      Rieder is a perfect example of that. They Oilers needed speed, they needed some depth scoring, they needed some help on the PK. They needed someone to do that who was affordable. When Rieder signed for 2 mill, I don’t think I can remember anyone either in Edmonton or outside who didn’t think it was a great signing. Rieder was coming off a 12 goal, 25 pt season. The years before 16 – 34, 14-37, 13-21 in his 1st year NHL season. So one would think that if all he did was have a nothing special season, he would give you 12 goals, 25 pts. He gave the Oilers ZERO goals in 67 games. Nothing. A bad year for him would be less than 10 but ZERO!!

      Look at Benning. One game he looked great and looked like a for sure real good, 3rd pairing guy at worst. The next game he looked like an AHLer who can’t play. No middle ground. They need to get to a point where the team is full of guys who management knows what they got with a guy. Every guy will have the odd career year but they at least know that player X is a legit bottom 6 guy even in a “bad year”. For the Oilers the peaks and valley are so massive.

  • dsanchez1973

    The only part I didn’t like about his culture comments is a lack of realization that “part of a winning culture is putting people in a position to succeed”. How many players have the Oilers messed up by refusing to acknowledge any responsibility for player development, instead relying on “they just have to somehow earn their chance”. Where is the support for helping new players from foreign countries with settlement and language training? Where is the work to stop bringing in/divest boat anchor players who make it impossible for players to succeed?

    Oiler management loves to talk about how players should build culture. They should do a lot more looking in the mirror.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Ken Holland has the experience to realize that 100%. He doesn’t need to spell it out, it’s a given, with Datsuk, Lidstrom etc… Only here in Edmonton would that happen, cause we are so desperate.

  • Oilers70

    A culture problem is a symptom of bad leadership. End of Story.

    The Oilers have a leadership problem, not a culture problem.

    I know you took the Culture of Losing from a post about 5 years ago, but Come on, get is right and reference the post.

    It is a management/leadership problem.

  • Total Points

    Bobby Burger said when he statred the GM search that the new GM would have to fit in to the Oiler culture. I am sure glad Holland did’nt pay attention to that as he said he is going to change the culture.

    Bobby needs to move back to Hockey Canada. He is simply a bureaucrat.

  • Moneyball

    Talk like having to earn the jersey, not being entitled to play just because your a high draft pick leads me to believe that Puljujarvi is on his way out. He seems to be the exact opposite type of player Holland is looking for.

  • nijames

    I think Ken Holland was good choice but one has to be a bit cautious being an Oiler fan. The Red Wing were near the bottom of the league with more cap problems than Edmonton has. Most of his success came pre cap era and has had some success post cap. Hopefully he gets the ship back on course