First off I would like to take a moment to send out my thoughts and well wishes to the victims, first responders and their families of yesterday’s horrific attack at the Boston Marathon, such senseless violence.
There was news in Oil country yesterday as well. President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe announced to the world that the team had decided to rid themselves of GM Steve Tambellini, something that seems like the majority of Oilers fans have been asking , begging, for some time, and replaced him with rookie GM Craig MacTavish.
MacTavish said all the right things at the press conference, he spoke of being bold, impatient, basically hinted that no one on the roster is safe. In regards to making the moves required to improve this teams on ice performance, he will do what it takes to ice a winner. Kevin Lowe when introducing MacT at the beginning of the presser said that the Oilers need to improve immediately, that things could not continue the way they have in the last seven years. More on KLowes comments later.
So what do I think about the move? Well honestly I really have no idea how the last NHL player to not wear a helmet will perform in the front office, as a coach he wasn’t too bad, managing to get a lot out of guys like Shawn Horcoff and Fernando Pisani. Problem is he is behind a desk now not behind the bench and being a rookie it is hard to tell what we can expect. Whether this move works or not is up in the air and fans like us will have to wait two to three years before we know the answer.
There has been much talk amongst MSM, fans and the blogoshphere surrounding the Old Boys Club that is the Edmonton Oilers front office. Whether the right move would have been to go out and at least interview some other candidates for the position of Oilers front man. Who knows, could Kevin Lowe and Brian Burke bury the hatchet and have found a way to work together? (Imagine that press conference, in a barn somewhere would have been all too fitting) Are there nay up and coming young phenom gm’s around? You know someone more in tuned with the analytic side of the game, a Billy Bean, Theo Epstein, or Alex Anthoupolous type for the hockey world. I don’t know the answer to that question, but my fear is neither does self proclaimed “Chairman” Kevin Lowe. It seems like this decision, while not a swift emotional reaction like some claim was decided previous and that MacT was the only candidate for the job. A successful organization spends time and research, or as it is otherwise known, due diligence when making a decision of this magnitude.
As far as Kevin Lowes antics yesterday during the press conference I will tell you this, it was emotional and reckless. Lowe crossed a line with his comments about the two types of fans. I realize that he started back tracking almost immediately, but the damage was already done. If you look at his comments, Lowe, in about five seconds managed to alienate the majority of the Oilers fan base.
*Note – Transcript taken from Cult of Hockey Blog*
It all starts when Edmonton Journal sports scribe can John MacKinnon asked one hell of a good question;
“When you talked about Steve coming in under difficult circumstances when he took over the job, part of that, with respect, was he had to clean up the mess that was left already. This group was largely responsible for that mess. How are fans going to be re-assured that the group that left the mess that Tambellini couldn’t quite clean up is now going to be cleaned up by the guys who left the mess to begin with? “
The question was directed towards MacTavish, which he answered politically and matter of factly, Kevin Lowe then interjected with the following;
“I’ll just add a piece to that, John. You know, fair question. We have two types of fans. We have paying customers and we have people that watch the game that we still care about, but certainly the people who go to the games and support, we spend a lot of time talking to them, delivering our message. I would, uh, I think it’s safe to say that half the general manager’s in the National Hockey League would trade their roster for our roster right now. And in terms of the group that messed things up you’re talking about the group that had the team one period away from winning the Stanley Cup.”
The Full Presser can be found here
Wow Mr. Lowe, just amazing. I realize you have a temper, I realize you are competitive and passionate about the Oilers, as are your fans. But I also realize that your PR guru JJ Hebert must now also have a heart condition after hearing you utter those words. Words that will not be easily forgiven in Oil Country (Unless of course the team starts winning, because winning changes everything). Kevin Lowe successfully pissed of pretty much all Oilers fans with the exception of the season ticket holders. The Oilers are a global team; there are fans of this team on every continent. Most of said fans either can’t afford to go to games or have no access.
Myself I probably spend a few thousand a year on tickets and merchandise, although I am not a season ticket holder. I have friends that don’t spend a penny on either yet they watch every game on TV. What makes them or I any different from a season ticket holder? We have all suffered from this playoffless plague together Mr. Chairman, how you dare say there are different classes of fans. Oilers nation doesn’t discriminate! But we don’t forget either.