I felt incredible relief with this morning’s news; we can return to talking about the importance of what you accomplish with the puck and about the importance of what you leave. We can discuss the possibility of getting full value in trade, about dealing draft picks for NHL players, about defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense.
Balance. Miles and miles of balance. I googled “unusual takeoffs and landings” 1,000 times since 2006 summer to describe this organization and look forward to the day when I can google “perfect takeoffs and landings” to ready a positive blog post.
As a fan, watching your team lose is exhausting. It really is.
I can say that this is the first hire in quite some time at the pro level that makes sense emotionally and intellectually. Craig MacTavish has a fine brain, and when he speaks to the fans through the media I sense he believes he is talking to someone who can understand the salient and the subtle.
I think it is dangerous to read too much into today’s PC, except for the fact that MacT is so good at communicating that, for me, he’s elevated the organization already. I’m a fan, and I want to believe in this organization’s ability to complete this painful process. The talent now in-house (Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Yak, Schultz the younger) will thrive and sustain the Edmonton Oilers for a decade rolling out if handled properly, and I’m hopeful that MacT has all success in his new role.
This blog endorses the hiring, and will cheer like mad for the Edmonton Oilers.
YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME?
Kevin Lowe’s press conference was alternately hilarious and disappointing. I know that the comments section will fill up with rage when I post this, but it’s over. Kevin Lowe is out of range, impervious, home and dry . If Daryl Katz didn’t make that move today, it will not happen. He’s Sinden in Boston, Clancy in Toronto.
Not penetrable is an outstanding job to have, there are very few anywhere in life.
Kevin Lowe has one. Fin.
As for my personal feeling about Lowe, my respect for him going back many years for his good works remains today. However, I can’t let this day pass without pointing out a couple of quotes:
- “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 that go to the games and support we spend a lot of time talking to them, delivering our message.”
The Oilers clearly do value the paying customer highly, it’s obvious in everything they do. The NHL is a gate business, and Kevin Lowe told us what he thought. In Edmonton, there are two types of people: those who can afford to go to games, and those who can’t afford to go to games. No doubt it wasn’t meant that way, but an organization about to build an arena with taxpayers help should probably choose their words carefully in these moments.
- “And lastly I’ll say, there’s one other guy I believe in hockey today, that is still working in the game, that has won more Stanley Cups than me, so I think I know a little bit about winning if that’s ever a concern.”
You have to have the balls of a pirate, the feeling of being invincible and no awareness of the moment to make that statement on the eve of a 7th season outside the playoffs.
As theatre, today was brilliant. I don’t know if the brand did well, though.
BRAND NEW DAY
A couple of MacT notes:
- “grit without skill is not something that will move the dial of our team forward.”
- “we have to do some bold things, we have to expose ourselves to risk.”
There’s iron in those words, and we should both take heart and be wary–MacT could send away the proverbial mountain in return for a molehill and we could be looking back on July 1, 2011 longingly. I don’t think so, though. This is a smart bet on a smart man.
Listening to the words today and applying them to the roster is dangerous, but Oiler fans are a smart bunch, and I think we know what needs to happen:
- add a #1 defenseman
- add two legit NHL 2-way wingers
- improve depth across the roster
In terms of players “in danger”, it’s much too soon to say. If anyone is asking, I would never trade Hall, Nuge, Ebs, Yak City or Justin Schultz. I would be very, very careful in trading Samwise, Magnus Paajrvi, Jeff Petry, Devan Dubnyk, Ales Hemsky or this year’s first round selection.
In saying that, you absolutely know one or more of those assets are heading out of town this spring or summer.
Success comes from ownership, goaltending, and I’ve always been thinking that you can have a fire-wagon type of hockey but your ability to play good defence has got to surface. The thread that ran through all of my success was undoubtedly ownership’s commitment to win. I’ve been quite close to some of the owners, and the Bronfmans’ passion for the game as owners in Montreal and the Ilitches’ commitment to create a winning team in Detroit contributed greatly to our success.