My birthday wish

Ah, yes, another year around the sun.

My 24th came yesterday and knowing well I had my weekend columns to write here, I got thinking about what I want most for the Edmonton Oilers.

Growing up a young Oilers fan, I’ve seen some things. Some uh… less than pleasant things at that.

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My first big year of hockey came when the Oilers made their big cup run, all in thanks to my parents finally allowing me to stay up and watch the majority of the games. (Thanks for the big push there, Dad.)

It was a great year, one I’ll never forget. But the Decade of Darkness that came following was excruciating, sans a few meager bright spots here or there. You know, like when Taylor Hall was drafted, the Oilers had H.O.P.E., etc.

I’ve been reflecting on that decade, as many else have, as the Oilers struggle to find their footing despite having the best player in the league on their roster. Why do the Oilers, as a franchise, year in and year out, struggle to remain consistent?

Must be something in the water, I guess.

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The Oilers are on their eighth coach since the start of the 09-10 season and their fifth general manager in the same time frame.

The seven coaches before recent hire Dave Tippett have gotten 112 games on average — a little less than a season and a half — to be able to show what they’re made of as the Oilers coach. Todd McLellan was the longest-tenured bench boss in that time frame, getting 266 games behind the bench plus another baker’s dozen in the playoffs.

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So that brings me to my wish — some damn consistency in the Oilers organization.

I really hope it’s not too much to ask for, but I’m a firm believer in the organizational revolving door being a key factor why the Oilers haven’t had good standings in this league.

Sure, some (very) poor roster management, and outright bad coaching decisions led to the ultimate demise of many of the men in Edmonton.

We’re weeks away from camps and pre-season action, so there’s a whole hell of a lot left to be seen, but I’m inclined to believe that Tippett and GM Ken Holland will be the right men to get Edmonton back to glory.

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Are the Oilers a playoff team this year? More than likely not.

But the year after this, nothing short of a playoff push would be unacceptable. Edmonton has one major signing next year in RFA Darnell Nurse and has roughly $23-million in space to work with. If they can wriggle out of Kris Russel’s final year of his contract, they’d be looking at another $4-million to play with.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

  • CMG30

    The issue with organizational turnover is a result of incompetent people at the top continually firing the underlings as cover for their own nincompoopery. I hope to all the Hockey gods that Holland is indeed the right guy to finally usher this sideshow into the big time.

  • Biomass

    Thanks Zach for writing something during the dog days. Your birthday wish is rational and timely. I share your view that we now have good people at the helm. Patience will be demanded of us this coming season. I’ve got lots of that so long as the on-ice product is competitive.

  • OilCan2

    The icing on the birthday cake is going to be coming for you this season Zach. The D O D was the result of the Ownership Group having a shoestring budget and then D Katz making some rookie mistakes hiring management. The good news is we still have an NHL team with two AMAZING players under contract for a LONG time. Ken has the fire burning to build a winner otherwise he would have taken the cushy upstairs job rubber stamping Stevie Y’s work. He has done an awesome job so far. Tippett could have taken the desk job in Seattle but he has the fire to coach a winner. We finally have some depth in the minors as the Condors showed well in the playoffs. The defence is legit and there are homegrown options for call ups. The bargain signings are a coin toss but I’m calling heads before the silver hits the ice.

  • wiseguy

    Happy birthday! You’re wishing for you already have but just don’t realize it. The Oilers are the most consistent team in the NHL. They consistently miss the playoffs. They consistently finished top 8 in the draft. They consistently win the #1 overall when given a decent chance. They consistently get their coaches fired.
    Consistency is not the problem. Breaking the cycle of consistent failure is the challenge and hope.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I have been critical of the Oilers management and how they have approached things with scouting and development and the on ice product and have been calling for a good house cleaning for a long while and while not all the people are out of the Oilers organisation yet, seeing some face gone and new ones come in is at least a dang good start because it was way way overdue. There has been for a long time off on ice product being held responsible for things that are wrong, but its not all their fault the people in backround have been culprits for far too long and because they had success as players there seemed to be this aura of how they could do no wrong and there were others in the org that just didnt seem to be able to held for bad decisions either.

    Leaving people in control of things for far too long when the same bad mistakes were being made was beyond maddening and the fans and team suffered for it. The fact that we are starting to see some change has been a major breath of fresh air, there are still things to fix but at least now we see a little progress and some hope.

  • Rama Lama

    How about wishing upon a star…….( Connor McDavid) and asking for a injury free season playing with competent first line wingers?

    But happy birthday ……….24 really? You are very young and have time on your side to see a return to glory for the Oilers.

  • norm

    There has to be a five year plan ; no shortcuts . Every time we turnover managment there has been pressure to turnaround the Oilers instantly but all plans need to start somewhere.
    No trading on the fly just to make the playoffs and wreck the system.
    Short answer: no playoffs this year and probsnly next season but if they build correctly we could be contending after 2 more seasons

  • Bond 0097

    Chirelli was a dodgy hire at best with the condition he left the Bruins in. Mclelland was just as dodgy having had a great team in SJ and never getting anything done in the playoffs. We have as a good a gm now as there is in the NHL, and we have a very good coach. The core of the team is good, question mark is the goal tending but let’s hope Miko can surprise us. The Oil are definitely charting up these days

    • fasteddy

      I agree on Chia, not so much on McLellan…hard to say what he’s like without being around the team, but from the outside seemed like a knowledgeable and respected coach. Chia was literally run out of Boston, there should have been some red flags there. I’m cautiously optimistic on Holland; would have preferred they try a brainiac like Dubas, etc…mainly because Holland hasn’t done anything special in Det since the playing field levelled with salary cap.