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 The Oilers Management Expose [message #737387]
Wed, 08 May 2019 22:16 Go to previous message
Adam  is currently offline Adam
Messages: 11249
Registered: August 2005
Location: Edmonton, AB

6 Cups

With Souray's contribution to the dialogue today, and some of the comments in the other thread about it, most specifically this one:

mightyreasoner wrote on Wed, 08 May 2019 20:42


There really does need to an in-depth sunshine report on the last decade of the Edmonton Oilers. There's been too many burned bridges - O'Sullivan, Souray, Comrie, Brule, on and on. And that's only what has bubbled into the public.

It will never happen. The media in Edmonton are spineless and completely enjoying lobbing softballs (Matheson to Holland: "Is it easier to start building a team with McDavid and Draisiatl?" Yes, he actually asked that). And outside of the market, Edmonton and the NHL just aren't a big enough fish to devote the resources. Maybe TSN could do something, but then it would just be branded Toronto garbage. I don't know. I think there's a lot of things that need to come into the light; the Oilers would look bad, fans may not like it, but it kind of will be allowed to fester there until it isn't allowed anymore.


It's maybe a good time to post something that I've shared with a couple of sportswriters in the hopes that someone might do something with it. Interestingly, most of those guys will write back if you email them politely, but this is one thing that they don't seem to want to touch. You don't get so much as a note thanking you for writing them on this one:

Quote:


Here's an article written this year about the dysfunction within the Cleveland Browns Organization: http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/25797430/inside-cleveland -browns-front-office-where-hope-history-collide

The Oilers are a story just waiting for a similar expose. Someone who knows many of the participants could potentially write a really good story if they were able to get the quotes from the right people and make sure that people know that they'll be fairly treated in the article. It might be harder in hockey than football, where the culture is to avoid talking about anything bad, but now so many of the participants are out of the game, so maybe they could be convinced to talk.

There's so much source info to talk about the incompetence and culture problems. Just off the top of my head:

- So many players happy to leave, or happy to cast shade after they leave here. There's the more famous twitter stuff from Belanger, O'Sullivan, Nick Schultz, but then there's all the other sideways comments from guys like Gilbert, Smid, Bryzgalov, Hemsky, etc. on their exit. Most of those players are retired so way more likely to give on the record quotes.
- There's all the drama around coaches and other departed staff - Renney being asked to write an essay to keep his job, Krueger getting fired over Skype, Quinn's "promotion" out of the coaching ranks. Renney also had the line about the Oilers trying to force him to "sell hope" in who he played and how much. For that matter, Quinn was unable to keep Schremp in the lineup when he wanted to...leading to his exit via waiver wire.
- There's guys back-biting on those who left - I believe all of Eager, Hordichuk and Ryan Jones threw stones at former coaches.
- There's stories like Ryan Whitney's where the team told him ahead of his last season here that he'd lost the first pairing and first powerplay job and wouldn't get them back no matter what happened. He was declining at that time so it was unlikely he would have been able to claim those back, but why tell a player that? It's simply demotivating. I don't think he was the only one - we heard Lowe and company talk several times about veterans not accepting their roles on the team...
- The whole saga around Eakins would be interesting to hear - it sounds like the team was pretty much miserable for his entire tenure. Paul Bissonette recently talked about that on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast - suggested that the fitness regime he tried to push on the team was misguided at best and that players were unhappy with him.
- All the bit part players brought in to provide leadership for youngsters who were then immediately marginalized by a management team that repeatedly segmented their team in to the untouchable core and the guys who probably won't be here when we're good again.
- Kevin Lowe proclaiming success when the Oilers finished at the bottom of the league - saying that the Oilers WANTED to be bad and draft high - which, if true, meant he was flushing seasons of players' short careers down the drain.
- Lowe also blaming veteran players for failure at the same conference where he claimed the team planned to be bad...
- The real story behind Sheldon Souray's exit.
- The story behind all the leaks about Chiarelli over the last year ahead of his dismissal - someone wanted him to look bad and started blabbing about the attempt to trade Hall for Ceci, and the blunders that cost him over a million a year in the Draisaitl signing.
- What was the story around the Yakupov pick? Did Katz really intervene - and if so, who was the scouting staff pushing for - I've heard a rumour it was Griffin Reinhart they wanted, which would have been so much worse.
- Why can't the team keep any secrets? I know it's good for you as a reporter, but you must see that a lot of those leaks just hurt the team. The Oilers have leaked about so many items that have been a shot in the foot later - the Heatley trade, the attempts to get Bernier and Schneider in MacT's first summer, etc. etc. It's not done strategically, it's mostly done to tell fans that the management is trying things - which is a hallmark sign of a management that doesn't know what they're doing.
- The ridiculously poor trade record over the last decade. Ultimately, Tambellini is looking better in the rearview for his refusal to make trades, because his successors have been eager to do so - but only managed to lose trade after trade after trade. Is that poor negotiators in management? Or ridiculously bad pro scouting that could believe that Hall = Ceci = Larsson?
- Red wine summits?
- Paul Coffey as an assistant coach?
- What does Mark Messier do? What does Wayne Gretzky do? If Kevin Lowe isn't in Hockey Ops - and no one can actually believe that since he's at every draft, he tours around free agents, he's always on the periphery of everything - then what exactly does he do? It's not like he's got any experience or expertise in the business side of things?
- Did Nicholson ever produce any kind of forensic audit either of the times he proposed it?
- Was there actually a plan from Chiarelli?
- Does the team really believe that competitors are going to give them the blueprints for finding a really good GM? Or for that matter, that it mattered that other GMs thought Chia was a great guy?

The entire Katz/Lowe era is a treasure trove for someone who's looking to write an epic behind-the-scenes story. The current management would be deeply offended, I'm sure by such a story and they would despise whoever wrote it, but the team would probably be better for it - and a good reporter doesn't really need access to the team's management to create good content on the team. It's not a reporter's job to be their friends. The team's culture is rotten and dying and it's the upper management's fault. Someone needs to report on that, to throw back the curtains and expose the rot.

Hopefully it happens some day....



The crazy thing is that I'm pretty sure I've missed a lot of the crazy here over Lowe's tenure. I didn't mention anything before the decade of darkness for example - but looking back further, you've got the Comrie saga, which is peak insanity. You've got players leaving on bad terms even back then (Comrie, Marchant, Chimera, etc.).

There are people who know a lot of these stories just waiting to tell them if there were ever anyone brave enough to compile them. The sad thing is that it'll probably never happen because no one with access will do it, and it would likely be hard to get the connections necessary otherwise.

If anyone wants to start connecting me to former Oilers players and coaches though, I'll happily write my first and only expose...



"This team needs an enema!"
#FireLowe #FireMacT #FireHowson #FireBuchberger #FireHowsonAgain #FireChiarelli #FireMcLellan #FireBobbyNicks and...SIGH...#FireTheGretzkys

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