We are here. This poor fellow represents the Edmonton Oilers fan today. Edmonton’s hockey owner (Daryl Katz) sent off a message to the fanbase that said:
- we hear you but aren’t going to try a quick fix for cheap applause
- we have a vision about how to win with this team
- we are not going to alter course
- we believe in Craig MacTavish, who is the General Manager of the team
- we will win this way
Incredibly, I agree with all of the points above. The problem is this: people don’t believe the Oilers anymore. For those not buying, the idea that Craig MacTavish needs time is impossible to embrace for many reasons, the major one being this exchange.
Lowe: ”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 (voice rising) you’re talking about the group that had the team one period away from winning the Stanley Cup.”
- MacKinnon: “Seven years ago.”
Lowe: “And you know the cycle of that. You know we chased the dream a few year for our fanbase. Like a lot of teams do. And then at some point in that time frame we realized that’s a bad plan and we made a change. We’re finishing year three of that plan. Now you say to me you’re getting impatient after three years?”
- MacKinnon: “It’s not me. It’s the fans that are getting impatient.”
Lowe: “And lastly (talking loudly now) I’ll say that there’s one other guy 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 there’s ever a concern.”
Oiler fans are unhappy today because:
- Kevin Lowe remains
- the assistant coaches remain
- the losing remains
- the immediate future is not promising
- Losing is exhausting
- tickets are expensive
- the organization is arrogant
Daryl Katz is not going to sacrifice his friend Kevin Lowe, he is not going to make changes in areas that would please the fanbase. He is gambling that “I hear you” will be enough to sway the public during a very trying time for the organization.
I believe Craig MacTavish, Dallas Eakins and the Oilers are going to improve this team and build a winner, given time and opportunity. They have been on the job for less than a year. On the other hand, I believe the fans have every right to say enough and walk away.
Will Oiler fans storm the palace gates? Will they find new forms of entertainment? Will the Oilers do something demonstrative like address the coaching and management nepotism? Will the arrogance remain?
For me, the young team that shows so much promise on the ice is worth following on their journey, and I’m interested to see if Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins get a full chance to figure out the riddle. Either way, I’m genuinely happy the longest movie since The Godfather is reaching climax. Let’s get this done so we can move on. Either way. The next thing you’ll hear is from the fanbase.