RE 13-14 KEVIN LOWE: SAINT DOMINIC’S PREVIEW

Kevin Lowe’s life is connected to Edmonton and the Oilers more closely than any of the other Boys on the Bus. It makes sense, he was the first to write a book about the era, he was the most involved in the community, and he was able to sustain through three ownership groups. The years 2006-14 have taken a major toll on the man and the team, and the promise of a new day seems like a distant view.

  1. Finally! I guess we haven’t discussed Kevin Lowe in awhile.
  2. I’m looking forward to hearing you rip him to shreds. That won’t be happening, but I would direct you to the comments section.
  3. How can you possibly defend him? I believe there are things to criticize—and I have—but the general tone in the fanbase is wildly acidic and for me that’s just not what the reasonable expectations series is trying to accomplish.
  4. Oh right, take all the passion out of things and evaluate the player/manager. Yes.
  5. Right. He sucks. Again, we’re not really going to get very far here.
  6. Will you at least admit he’s made errors? God yes. When Kevin Lowe took over as GM, he spent several years in a “caretaker” role, adding pieces as needed, sending away contracts as free agency dictated, and keeping the ship afloat. I don’t recall a major shift from the Sather era from 2000-04.
  7. He made some good trades. Sure, but they were the Sather template. Roman Hamrlik for Eric Brewer and Brad Winchester, or Bill Guerin for Anson Carter and a flip of picks that got the team Ales Hemsky. That’s pretty much Sather-era trading, although lacking the creativity Slats displayed so often.
  8. Still, good. I thought so. Lowe arrived at the 2004 lockout with a roster full of value contracts. Horcoff, Stoll, Hemsky, Torres, Bergeron, Pisani, they were all underpaid based on the cap of 2005. It was a key element to the 2005-06 success.
  9. And then came 2006 and the highlight of his GM career. Yes. Acquiring Chris Pronger changed the story in a heartbeat. The Oilers, who had been a middling team, suddenly became a legitimate contender, not just for the playoffs, but beyond them.
  10. He made great decisions. Well, he acquired Peca and that was brilliant, but we knew in October 2005 that the goaltending was poor. Lowe waited until the deadline to trade for Roloson, and an earlier deal might have made things easier.
  11. Still, what a ride! Sure. I’d say the only real quibble during that season was dealing Reasoner to Boston at the deadline. The Oilers ended up having very little at center once Pouliot developed mono. Ended up signing Rem the Gem.
  12. Was the highlight the trade deadline 2006? No, I’d say his highest high was the Pronger trade. You have to understand that Chris Pronger is the best defenseman to play for this team. Ever. He changed the equation.
  13. If that was the highlight, then trading Pronger was surely the lowest point. I don’t agree, but it wasn’t a shining moment in the sun. The return for Pronger—Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Jordan Eberle, Travis Hamonic and Nick Ross—was substantial. The problem is you’re trading Pronger, who changed the equation, and allowed Oilers nation to run at the front of the pack, breathing clean air and yelling things like ‘blow it our your ass’ because there was a reasonable expectation that the team could back it up.
  14. So, it plunged the Oilers into the depths? Yes, and I believe, at some level, Kevin Lowe decided he had to make it right. Which led to countless decisions involving big dollars and free agents and offer sheets. I mean, if you go back and look at the transactions from 2007 summer through Steve Tambellini’s hiring, that is some major league tap dancing.
  15. It was a train in vain, though. Yes, because when you trade Pronger for more youth, it’s a setback even if you made a good call on asset return. Now, Lupul didn’t play well here and Smid wasn’t ready, so the trade became even more stark.
  16. You should have used T.B. Sheets for the Van song here. I considered it.
  17. What was the darkest day? Hiring Steve Tambellini. If Kevin Lowe lacked Sather’s vision, he at least had some of it and the ability to sell ideas to the other GMs (Pronger trade being the example). The Tambellini hire is the kind of transaction that can set organizations back for a long time. And it did.
  18. Was Tambellini all bad? No. He structured the minor league system, and it was dead at the time, and I will argue he presided over a golden era of amateur procurement, although we have yet to see the results of that era take root in the NHL.
  19. Golden era? Come on! Do me a favor, have a look through the Oilers past and list all of the five year procurement clusters that can boast Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and the others. I’ll tell you so you don’t have to look. There’s one that’s better: 1979-1983.
  20. A lot of people think Lowe was running the show during the Tambellini era. I don’t agree, mostly because the era showed such a distinct lack of imagination. This was an era that looks like it was run by an accountant.
  21. You’re being most unkind here to Steve Tambellini. I think he’s likely a very good hockey man, but being a GM of an NHL team requires imagination, and creative selling. I don’t think he had either, and because of it nothing rhymed, nothing got done. It is perhaps harsh, but for me the Tambellini era with the Oilers was the most difficult because it was hopeless.
  22. Ultimately, Lowe is responsible because he hired Tambellini. Agreed. The idea that Kevin Lowe is somehow blameless because Tambellini sent Souray to Hershey is a non-starter. I completely agree with you, Kevin Lowe was the overseer during the era.
  23. And you believe Lowe saved the day by hiring Craig MacTavish. No, I think he improved the position. We’re still in the process of seeing if this thing gets fixed, and it’s an open question about how much time the current administration has to fix it.
  24. But you believe it’s going in a good direction. I believe that the procurement department has a better vision and someone who can execute the plan.
  25. What else is there? Tons of things. I like MacT as a trader and a judge of talent, but also remember he can get damn stubborn on a guy. That’s a negative.
  26. Are there signs of MacT getting stubborn now? Sure. Keeping all of the coaches would be an example, and I do think there are leaks again—something that did not happen in the Tambellini era. When you’ve got Jim Matheson telling the world that the Oilers like Leon Draisaitl, that’s information that, if true, puts the club in a position of weakness. That’s a thing. A really bad thing.
  27. What should MacT do? Find the leak and shoot it between the eyes.
  28. Oh. Yes.
  29. Back to Lowe. Why do you stick up for him? Plenty of reasons. First, the noxious verbal about him is beyond the pale. There’s more than enough we can talk about being wrong without getting personal. I refuse to be any part of that behavior.
  30. Why? Because it’s wrong, mean-spirited and forgets the good deeds done.
  31. Like what? Like playing outstanding defense for a long time in orange and blue. Like being a big part of the community pretty much the day he arrived in our city.
  32. That’s the past. Sure. That’s all we have to go on with anybody.
  33. Let me ask you: do you think Kevin Lowe should be replaced in his current job? I honestly don’t know what he does, so it would be unfair to comment.
  34. Do you think he made the right move in stepping down as GM? Yes.
  35. Do you think he made an error in hiring Steve Tambellini? Yes.
  36. Do you think he should have been fired for it? Yes.
  37. Do you think Daryl Katz is the problem? Yes.
  38. Do you think the current management group, as is, will find the solution? I am less confident now than I was a year ago.
  39. Do you think he has direct input on trades and procurement? Yes.
  40. Do you think he has the final say? No.
  41. Who does? Daryl Katz.
  42. Do you think there is any urgency in Oilers management to turn the corner? Yes.
  43. Do you think they are finding the right answers? I’m not sure they are asking the right questions.
  44. When was the last time you spoke to Kevin Lowe. Sometime in the 1980s.
  45. Do you have any connection to the Edmonton Oilers? None.
  46. Have you ever accepted anything from them? No.
  47. Media pass? No.
  48. Tickets? No.
  49. Have you been influenced in any way? Only by alcohol.
  50. What is your pin number? Take the gaspipe.
  51. If you were given truth serum, and asked if Kevin Lowe will be part of the organization when this team wins their next Stanley, what would be your answer? Yes.
  52. In what capacity? Non-hockey ops admin.
  53. Will the Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup in the next five years? No.
  54. Will the Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup in the next ten years? Unknown, doesn’t look promising.
  55. If you could spend one hour with anyone in the organization, who would it be with? Katz.
  56. Why? He’s going the wrong way.
  57. When do we talk about him? Next.

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93 Responses to "RE 13-14 KEVIN LOWE: SAINT DOMINIC’S PREVIEW"

  1. Marcus Oilerius says:

    I like your take, LT. You’re more balanced than I could be. I wonder if you’re going to comment on Lowe’s severe case of foot-in-mouth disease in the Katz article.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Lowdown at 10, TSN 1260

    10:05 Andrew Bucholtz. 55 yard line (CFL draft)
    10:25 Nathan Dempsey, ask the coach
    11:00 Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey
    11:25 Andrew Berkshire, Habs Eyes on the Prize

    @lowetide_ and 10-1260 text. Gonna be fun!!

  3. borisnikov says:

    Questions 34 through 56 are the type of brutally honest questions that Katz and Co should have been asking themselves a loooong time ago. This piece has surprisingly, and in a welcoming fashion, taken all the wind out of my sails.

    It’s funny… As the distance from the crash (last season) grows, the gory details become less clear. Over the last few days I’ve found the ole off season optimism creeping back in and I think that is probably a sentiment most can share. Are you doing a RE on fans? If you do you should break away from Mr. Morrison and assign Needle and the Damage Done by Mr Young.

    What a frigging mess this organization is. Thanks for pulling the car back around to have another drive by the crash.

  4. nqmt says:

    LT, do you think what’s saving Kevin Lowe is he’s responsible for all the hockey entities for Rexall Sports and the Oil Kings, Barons, and the Condors are doing well?

  5. Halfwise says:

    LT you have a generous soul. And your decision to interpret KL’s behaviours after the forced-looking and hasty Pronger trade as an attempt to make up for not getting full value seems sound.

    Let me take the amateur psychology thing one step further.

    Let’s say you made a decision in haste and regretted it every subsequent day that Gord brought, and tried and failed for two years to make up for it then finally decided to step aside from your job.

    What kind of replacement might you favour? An impulsive guy who loved to wheel and deal? Or a methodical guy who weighed all the information and wouldn’t pull the trigger unless everything aligned perfectly?

    The ST era (sorry Will Acton) is the stink in the room that won’t go away. And that era might be said to have started with all the emotions of the summer of 2006, highs and lows and disbelief and panic, not July 2008.

  6. book¡je says:

    Lowetide: He’s going the wrong way.

    That’s ridiculous, how would you know where he is going?

    -2 points for anyone who doesn’t get the reference.

  7. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    “I believe, at some level, Kevin Lowe decided he had to make it right. Which led to countless decisions involving big dollars and free agents and offer sheets. I mean, if you go back and look at the transactions from 2007 summer through Steve Tambellini’s hiring, that is some major league tap dancing”.

    LT, The 2007 swinging for the fences transactions were also about the EIG divisions that tripped Lowe and sent Nichols to Katz.

    June 2007 Laforge pushes 4 year extension for Lowe, reduced to 2 years and deferred for evaluation of summer 2007 work
    July 2007 VANEK and PENNER offer sheets.
    Sept 20, 2007 EIG board defers any extension 6-4.
    Oct. 6, 2007 After Nichols threatens to walk, Lowe extended for 4 years.
    Oct. 16, 2007 Nichols loses share pricing vote.
    Dec 5, 2007 Nichols gives notice to resign.

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/oilers/story.html?id=d560dcc5-9c68-4544-aa9a-2be363a4eb12
    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/oilers/story.html?id=2e3a8447-7fe6-4c7b-85dd-8ea839d67717

  8. borisnikov says:

    book¡je,

    An internal conversation when MacT arrived:

    MacT: What the hell are you guys doing here?
    Lowe and Katz: We had a small fire, but we caught it in the nick of time.
    MacT: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?
    Lowe and Katz: Funny enough, we were just talking to Tambo about that. Our judge-o-meter has melted and as a result it’s very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.

  9. book¡je says:

    borisnikov:
    book¡je,

    An internal conversation when MacT arrived:

    MacT: What the hell are you are you guys doing here?
    Lowe and Katz: We had a small fire, but we caught it in the nick of time.
    MacT: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?
    Lowe and Katz: Funny enough, we were just talking to Tambo about that. Our judge-o-meter has melted and as a result it’s very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.

    but the radio is still working…

  10. borisnikov says:

    book¡je: but the radio is still working…

    lol Oilerz

  11. frjohnk says:

    LT, I love these RE series.

  12. nycoil says:

    LT, one of your best posts ever, and that’s saying something because so many are so good. At the same time, very sobering about the state of the team. I just hope Hall doesn’t read this, a light bulb comes on, and he picks up the phone to his agent.

  13. Racki says:

    Agree with most of this. I will say I typically don’t like the villifying of Kevin Lowe by this city. I think he’s made some bad moves (completely agree that the Tambellini hiring tops it), but I just can’t get on this hate wagon for a guy who clearly loves this team and does what he can to make it a winner. Note: that isn’t to say I’m delusional in thinking he’s anywhere close to succeeding. I also have no problems with suggestions Lowe should be fired, but I’m not going to go buy a billboard and park it outside rexall, or create/sign a petition to do it like he’s the most evil think to happen to Edmonton since the weiner man sold Gretzky.

    I also never believed that he (or even Katz) used Tambellini as a puppet. There definitely was some final say by those guys, but I think Tambi made his own piss poor decisions.

    Lastly, I have a bit better feeling about MacTavish. The thing I hated most about Tambellini is you never knew what he was up to. Ya, it’s good to keep your cards close to your chest, but he took it to a whole other level..plus, he folded every single hand. With MacTavish I feel like he’s a guy who sees the problems on this team similarly to what most of us do. You also can tell that he will do what is possible to make the moves to fill needs. With him, it seems the only thing holding him back is the market. With Tambellini, it just seemed like he was in way over his head. I didn’t really get the feeling that he was ever trying to put a winner together past November. If it didn’t work out in the first couple/few weeks, he’d sit back and see if it would fix itself. Of course it wouldn’t, so he’d sit and wait more.. Still no improvement.. OK it’s December, no point doing anything now… January? Might as well burn the season and draft high. Not interested in that anymore after missing the playoffs 8 years in a row.

  14. RexLibris says:

    Missed one:

    Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

  15. RexLibris says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴:
    “I believe, at some level, Kevin Lowe decided he had to make it right. Which led to countless decisions involving big dollars and free agents and offer sheets. I mean, if you go back and look at the transactions from 2007 summer through Steve Tambellini’s hiring, that is some major league tap dancing”.

    LT, The 2007 swinging for the fences transactions were also about the EIG divisions that tripped Lowe and sent Nichols to Katz.

    June 2007 Laforge pushes 4 year extension for Lowe, reduced to 2 years and deferred for evaluation of summer 2007 work
    July 2007 VANEK and PENNER offer sheets.
    Sept 20, 2007 EIG board defers any extension 6-4.
    Oct. 6, 2007 After Nichols threatens to walk, Lowe extended for 4 years.
    Oct. 16, 2007 Nichols loses share pricing vote.
    Dec 5, 2007 Nichols gives notice to resign.

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/oilers/story.html?id=d560dcc5-9c68-4544-aa9a-2be363a4eb12
    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/sports/oilers/story.html?id=2e3a8447-7fe6-4c7b-85dd-8ea839d67717

    Agreed.

    The EIG saved NHL hockey in this town, but at the same time the cost of that was the involvement of egos and influences that destroyed a generation’s worth of hockey development and management in the organization.

    The Maple Leafs were roundly criticized after the lockout for being run by a committee with less interest on the on-ice product than market share and merchandise sales. The Oilers were being run by a similar committee who, though acting out of sincere interest for the welfare of the team, were cash-strapped and on occasion made short-sighted decisions clouded by emotion.

    Tambellini should have been hired as an Assistant GM to overhaul the Player Development department while someone else oversaw the team’s GM moves and Lowe moved up to President to oversee the expansion of what would become Rexall Sports.

    Alas, the vicissitudes of fate have landed us where we are today. Pray we can find landfall before another fortnight (read: decade) passes.

  16. rubbertrout says:

    The answer to question 53 and 54 just broke my heart. I’ve always felt LT was a “glass is half-full” kind of guy that looked at things with cautious optimism. I am very very very worried about this team.

  17. sliderule says:

    Staples has a blog up on Hockey news rating of oiler drafting record that pretty much agrees with my view of the Stu era..
    The lack of success hat the oilers have had after the first round is the biggest failure in Lowes management record..The teams like Ducks Avs Kings Wild and jackets who have between 4 and 6 later round picks contributing in their playoff run shows why the oilers are still floundering..
    I notice the oilers now have 15 scouts working for them so I think Mact recognizes that there is a problem..
    IStu has not had a good record at least fro 2008 -10 later rounds and some of the prospects from recent drafts are tracking poorly.I think it’s time for them to bite the bullet and change the leader and have him operate out of Edmonton rather than BC interior.

  18. rubbertrout says:

    book¡je,

    Well played good sir.

    * makes drinky drinky motion

  19. Jordan says:

    book¡je: That’s ridiculous, how would you know where he is going?

    Well, I lose two points, and can’t find the reference.

    Nut for the blind squirrel please?

  20. Henry says:

    What should MacT do? Find the leak and shoot it between the eyes.

    What if his boss is the leak?

  21. Racki says:

    Jordan: Well, I lose two points, and can’t find the reference.

    Nut for the blind squirrel please?

    Planes, Trains and Automobiles… Classic!

  22. Racki says:

    Henry:
    What should MacT do? Find the leak and shoot it between the eyes.

    What if his boss is the leak?

    Double tap, just in case? *predictable fanbase answer*

  23. Jordan says:

    sliderule,

    I strongly disagree. I’m not going to suggest that Stu’s record is amaizing, because it’s not. But, I will say it’s good, and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Oilers drafting record has been prior to his arrival. Now, I could see part of that being due to the improvements in prospect development, but I also think that some of the picks that we were really hoping wouild be good or impact have been hampered by injuries, some of them major and impacting development.

    I think they’ve done a solid job of picking up players. I think there’s been a fair amount of discussion here about decisions made on the podium, and how the scouts’ work doesn’t necessarily reflect on who is selected. Maybe that’s a poor argument to make to keep someone in their position, but… from my perspective, the Oilers’ drafting has been a least average in the NHL. I remember when it was a lot worse, and I’m risk-averse on this front. There’s a lot of risk in changing your scouting staff & head scout. It’s not broke so…

  24. Henry says:

    nycoil:
    LT, one of your best posts ever, and that’s saying something because so many are so good. At the same time, very sobering about the state of the team. I just hope Hall doesn’t read this, a light bulb comes on, and he picks up the phone to his agent.

    I agree. This is LT at his finest.

    I don’t know what to think about Kevin Lowe currently, I’ve been a big fan of his for 30 of the past 35 years. I don’t know how responsible he is for the team’s inability to get out of the ditch (other than the Tambi hire), but I do know that he was entirely responsible for building a great team.

  25. justDOit says:

    Jordan,

    Good point. It’s also worth remembering that Stu’s picks were probably influenced by mgmt’s desire for a Lucic, although we’ll never know for sure.

  26. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    RexLibris: Tambellini should have been hired as an Assistant GM to overhaul the Player Development department while someone else oversaw the team’s GM moves and Lowe moved up to President to oversee the expansion of what would become Rexall Sports.

    Katz bumped Lowe up, which was a better call than leaving him as GM after the turmoil and swinging for the fences the previous 12 months. Tambellini as GM is completely on Katz and/or Lowe.

  27. jake70 says:

    20. A lot of people think Lowe was running the show during the Tambellini era. I don’t agree, mostly because the era showed such a distinct lack of imagination. This was an era that looks like it was run by an accountant.

    Nitpicking here but what about the Hemsky extension 2012 – 5M x 2, not chump change. Was that not Lowe? (referring to Oil Change episode…I haven’t seen it myself but many posts here on it).

  28. Henry says:

    Will the Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup in the next ten years? Unknown, doesn’t look promising.

    Maybe I’m Pollyanna, but I think yes. Too much talent and MacT is not a dummy.

  29. Racki says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: Katz bumped Lowe up, which was a better call than leaving him as GM after the turmoil and swinging for the fences the previous 12 months. Tambellini as GM is completely on Katz and/or Lowe.

    Only on the Edmonton Oilers can you get promotionfired. Lol

  30. D says:

    Man LT, Comment 12 – those them are fighting words! :)

    I’ll still rather have my cup of Coffey in the morning and let the kids Rake the leaves.

  31. Jordan says:

    D,

    Well of course you’d rather have Coffey – if you have to deal with the Rake-ing, you’ve also gotta worry about the Gator…

  32. sliderule says:

    Jordan,

    The teams I mentioned plus a couple more all have had 4 to 6 players play at least 20 games in this season.
    The oilers have had two.Lander and Marcinin .
    The oil while they are not dead last in drafting after first round they are not anywhere near the top or middle.
    In a cap world the only way for teams to improve is by drafting.The oilers are failing in the most important area of management which is amateur drafting.

  33. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Racki: Only on the Edmonton Oilers can you get promotionfired. Lol

    If Lowe was in fact promoted to tell Tambi what to do, it’s uniquely bad. If Katz was happy with Lowe’s overall record, but saw the last year with EIG as compromising his GM role (see Vanek, Thomas) then a fresh start in a different role was a valid option. I think leaving him as GM was the bad choice for Katz. Up or out were both possible. An inside look at that last year and at Lowe’s understanding of it were probably factors in picking the direction.

  34. Woodguy says:

    book¡je:
    Lowetide: He’s going the wrong way.

    That’s ridiculous, how would you know where he is going?

    -2 points for anyone who doesn’t get the reference.

    That’s exactly what I though when I read it too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_akwHYMdbsM

  35. D says:

    True. The Gator would definitely ruin the morning Coffey.

    Jordan:

    Well of course you’d rather have Coffey – if you have to deal with the Rake-ing, you’ve also gotta worry about the Gator…

  36. Woodguy says:

    LT,

    I can’t believe you did a RE: for Lowe and didn’t mentioning his “I know about winning” rant from the MacT presser.

    It was a seminal moment.

    Your line about it was one of the best you had ever written:

    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.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/04/brand-new-day-5.html

    If was at that moment that you knew about the depth of his intellect.

    It fits well with him leaving Tambellini alone (for the most part) and not watching him like a hawk. He didn’t know how bad Tembellini was, and it was very clear from the moment he signed Khabby.

    I don’t wish Lowe any ill will or send him negative karma.

    I just don’t want him anywhere near a position of decision making for the hockey team I cheer for.

  37. Jordan says:

    sliderule,

    Justifying your drafting by saying you played at least 4-6 players for 20 games a year is what the Oilers were doing in 2010. No one wanted to see that again ever – it was horrendous – and not because the prospects were bad, but many clearly were not ready. That’s not just about drafting, its also about development. Saying that because their drafted players are taking longer to develop, or perhaps that other teams are more comfortable putting their players in this year doesn’t mean the drafting is bad.

    Now, for the first time in forever, we had a prospect show up who was not drafted in the top 40, and came in and out-performed expectations. That speaks to a combination of good drafting and good development (my opinion). Lander seems to be playing well, and many of the prospects the Oilers have seem to be turning into better players, which is also a good change. Pitlick likely would have been around more if he hadn’t been injured mid-season. Klefbom could be in that camp as well. Harski likely would have been there too, if he hadn’t decided to KHL it. Omark’s name should also be considered, shouldn’t it?

    Now, I’m not going to tell you all of them are future 1000 game NHLers, but they’re players who could have spent more time here, in support roles.

    You say they’re not near the top or middle even outside the 1st round. I disagree, but until you show me some evidence, we’re just going to keep playing nuh-uh / yuh-huh. I’d also suggest that I’d rather the Oilers have their 1st round picks always succeed and none of their lower round picks pan out than vice versa – sounds a lot like 1995-2005 to me, and that was horrific.

    I agree that drafting is an incredibly important part of management in the NHL – I don’t agree they’re failing.

    The one other item that I’ve got to bring up here is the challenge of playing rookies in Edmonton. The team is already so young, with so many players lacking meaningful NHL experience, that putting in more young players is really dangerous. The more of this anyone leader does, whether it’s in hockey, or in a welding shop, or in a sales office, the bigger the risk that if something goes wrong, there aren’t enough people with the experience to get things back on track. I think this is one of the greatest challenges that the Oilers have to address – not just size throughout their lineup, but also a blend of experience, so there are mentorship opportunities for all players – not just the 3rd & 4th liners or 3rd pairing players.

  38. justDOit says:

    @LT: Just like to say that this RE brought a tier to my eye, but it wasn’t even a 2nd tier (no cable – hockeystreams and off-air feeds only).

  39. commonfan14 says:

    “50. What is your pin number? ”

    I think we all know that it’s BOSCO.

  40. Bulging Twine says:

    Look at those gloves! Those are HUGE!

  41. VanOil says:

    D:
    Man LT, Comment 12 – those them are fighting words!

    I’ll still rather have my cup of Coffey in the morning and let the kids Rake the leaves.

    I could make a case that Kevin Lowe is the greatest Oiler defender of all time. Unfortunately Mr. Lowe himself has kind of tainted some of the language and stats I would have to use. That is what you get when you have the Balls of a Pirate.

  42. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Carrying on a conversation from the other day and on twitter this morning:

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/05/speakin-piece-evaluating-scouting-isolation/

  43. Bulging Twine says:

    Hockey Canada President job is open. Lowe is very involved with hockey Canada.

  44. Racki says:

    Woodguy,

    To me it was a heat of the moment comment in reaction to something he wasn’t used to.. Not having the media spit shine his balls in a presser. I want to say it was John MacKinnon that ruffled his feathers? Anyways kudos to him for having the brass ones to put Lowe and MacT on the spot. I think they both expected the mood to be fairly positive with a “guess who’s back!” vibe. I am not trying to forgive what was said at all, but I think he’d been backed into a corner quite a bit recently, to the point where fans are painting him as an evil villain. I think the guy loves the team, and he just had enough of being beat up on.

    That said, I think he’s past his expiry date too and should be moved on. So I am not completely defending the guy. Just I tend to put myself in someone’s else’s shoes when this stuff happens. I don’t think he was very smart in saying what he did though either.

  45. Bulging Twine says:

    And lastly I’ll say that there is no other guy in hockey today that is still working in the game that has missed the playoffs more times in a row than me. So I think I know a little about losing, if there’s ever a concern.

  46. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Hockey Canada President job is open.Lowe is very involved with hockey Canada.

    Would not be surprised to see Lowe move on, but the over/under is probably around the new arena opening date.

  47. justDOit says:

    Bulging Twine,

    This might help kill the pain a little, although I doubt any of those other teams were headed by one person throughout their seasons of suckatude.

  48. justDOit says:

    According to this link, it seems another Finn has shaken loose from the KHL.

    Note to MacT: Bring Over Leo, Dammit!

  49. sliderule says:

    Jordan,

    I named five teams that have between 4and 6 players playing a meaningfull amount of games in this season.You will have to go to hockey Db to verify it but it’s true.

    Here are some of the better known names from just these five teams.
    Anderson Etem Smith-Polly O’reilly Barrie Jenner Atkinson Zucker Kuemper Scandella Toffoli Clifford Nolan and Voynov.
    I think that every oiler fan would love to have even two of those names on our team.

  50. Bag of Pucks says:

    The one thing I’ve always liked about Kevin Lowe is his focus with this team has always been on, the only thing I care about as well, winning the Cup.

    He’s not one of those execs in it purely for personal gain or the spotlight or for consoling himself with other meaningful but less important metrics (the team’s entertaining, we sell a lot of merch, etc.).

    He truly cares about this team, this org, and this city. He’s done a LOT of charity work, for kids especially, since day 1. He’s a good person.

    I think the worst thing you can say about him is he’s ultra-competitive, he lacks diplomacy at times, and he has a temper. As someone who shares those qualities and finds himself getting into hot water on occasion because of it, I can sympathize.

    This young team WILL win a Cup eventually and when someone hands him the Cup to hoist for a 7th time, I for one will be happy that he’s stuck with this team and with us.

  51. Jasmine says:

    sliderule:
    Staples has a blog up on Hockey news rating of oiler drafting record that pretty much agrees with my view of the Stu era..
    The lack of success hat the oilers have had after the first round is the biggest failure in Lowes management record..The teamslike Ducks Avs Kings Wild and jackets who have between 4 and 6 later round picks contributing in their playoff runshows why the oilers are still floundering..
    I notice the oilers now have 15 scouts working for them so I think Mact recognizes that there is a problem..
    IStu has not had a good record at least fro 2008 -10 later rounds and some of the prospects from recent drafts are trackingpoorly.I think it’s time for them to bite the bullet and change the leader and have him operate out of Edmonton rather than BC interior.

    The Hockey News has a habit of bashing the Oilers every chance they get. T he Hockey News has been thrash since Bob MacKenzie left. The News is a waste of the paper it’s written on.

  52. speeds says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    The one thing I’ve always liked about Kevin Lowe is his focus with this team has always been on, the only thing I care about as well, winning the Cup.

    He’s not one of those execs in it purely for personal gain or the spotlight or for consoling himself with other meaningful but less important metrics (the team’s entertaining, we sell a lot of merch, etc.).

    He truly cares about this team, this org, and this city. He’s done a LOT of charity work, for kids especially, since day 1. He’s a good person.

    Speaking generally, if an executive wants to have to have a top tier team for the fans, not just his own ego, and the team isn’t top notch, does that make you happier as a fan than if the executive couldn’t care less about the fans, but he’s successful in building a top notch organization?

    Do motives matter, in that sense?

  53. Jasmine says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: Would not be surprised to see Lowe move on, but the over/under is probably around the new arena opening date.

    Lowe wanted to resign because of the Oilers fans hatred of Lowe but Katz wouldn’t let him.

  54. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Jasmine: Lowe wanted to resign because of the Oilers fans hatred of Lowe but Katz wouldn’t let him.

    Definitely not before the opening and probably not until MacT gets them to the playoffs or is axed or promoted.

  55. Bag of Pucks says:

    No Speeds, my allegiance is team first and not the GM, prez’s motivation, etc. I can get behind an A-hole GM that leads us back to the promised land!

    But don’t underesimate the damage an arrogant leader can do to an organization when his heart is in the wrong place (Harold Ballard, Al Davis, Donald Sterling, etc.). Granted these are owners not managers, but I think the cautionary tales apply.

    Lowe’s record is what it is and I’m not certainly not going to apologize for it or for him. I’ve probably called for his head myself a time or two. Fortunately time and patience is a healer!

    I’m just saying he has the right vision (winning the Cup) and now that he’s removed from hands on decision making, I think that vision still has value in terms of what it contributes to corporate and team culture. Even though they suck at it, I’m glad the Oilers are still about trying to winning hockey games and not more focused on nefarious corporate goals like the Leafs were as PPPs for instance.

  56. Racki says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    These are my sentiments too. I have my moments where I’d like to see the Oilers turn the page on Lowe but keep it classy, fans (or more appropriately, start being classy). Calling for his head, petitions, billboards, implying he’s an evil dip shit, etc.. That all can go. I’m all for changing things to try something new here finally but not because I think Lowe is a major dick head because we’ve poked the badger too much. Like I said earlier, the heart is in the right place. I’d like to see people be a bit more civil about it. The fans aren’t at all diplomatic either.

  57. regwald says:

    49. Have you been influenced in any way? Only by alcohol.

    Loved this. Isn’t this a definition of the current generation of Oilers fans ? Started in July of ’06 and getting bigger and stronger since ?

    Back to the Reasoner deal. I heard a story, and the name escapes me, but Lowe had one more trade in the hopper for an experienced forward at the deadline, but it didn’t get approved before the trade deadline. Might have been Chimera, but can’t remember for sure. I am sure someone here will remember.

    Also, note that Lowe presided over the EIG decision to save $4M a year (the number I heard quoted at the time) to not have an AHL team. Cost saving, but prospect killing.

  58. Bag of Pucks says:

    Watching the Pens/Rangers game last night, it also occurred to me how important it is that a good GM be an opportunist, and how Slats still retains that quality to this day.

    When he sees things falling apart between a player and a team (Rick Nash, Martin St, Louis), he’s ready to pounce, and decisive in acting to get what he wants. And he’s still absolutely fearless when it comes to cutting bait with a player if he no longer fits with the long range plan (Ryan Callahan).

    Sather always seemed like one of those guys that would’ve done well running a hockey team in 1950, 1980 or 2030.

  59. Jordan says:

    sliderule,

    I agree – those are good players. I’d be happy to see some of them on the Oilers.

    Never suggested otherwise.

    But considering you didn’t address anything else I said, I can’t help but think you might have missed my point. =)

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    I agree with the definition you lay out – makes perfect sense to me. However, it doesn’t provide any means to identify the difference between:
    – a player who is a good draft bet based on information at time of draft who is developed poorly
    – a player who is a poor draft bet based on information at time of draft who is developed well
    And all of the middle ground where reality exists.

    Not sure that’s a part of what you want to identify, but it seems the next logical extension.

  60. commonfan14 says:

    Another question for LT: If it was your call, would you put Lowe’s #4 in the rafters?

  61. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    commonfan14:
    Another question for LT:If it was your call, would you put Lowe’s #4 in the rafters?

    If Hall makes the HOF as a player and Lowe makes the HOF as a builder (a Stanley Cup would not hurt either) I’d expect to see two #4 sweaters in the rafter. Montreal has two #12s (Cournoyer and Moore).

  62. Lowetide says:

    commonfan14:
    Another question for LT:If it was your call, would you put Lowe’s #4 in the rafters?

    I would, and have said so previously. I would put him in as a player.

  63. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    Lowetide,

    His playing record would help him get into the Builders HOF. Builders HOF would help the team retire his sweater as a player. (They could make the exception without it of course).

  64. justDOit says:

    I thought that Hunter would have been here by now.

  65. НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴ says:

    justDOit:
    I thought that Hunter would have been here by now.

    He’s figuring out how to raise Kevin Lowe to the rafters (not just the sweater).

  66. Ducey says:

    НИНТЕНДО⁶⁴: He’s figuring out how to raise Kevin Lowe to the rafters (not just the sweater).

    There is an equally good chance we have not heard from him because he is figuring out how to raise bail money

  67. jb says:

    LT, what do you believe has changed? It wasn’t long ago that it seemed to be decided things were tightened up and leaks were eliminated from the organization? Would it be too hard to believe their true intentions are being masked with opinion pieces or info meant to misdirect?

    Anyways it doesn’t really matter, you could have legit info leaked on this blog and guys like Woodguy would flat out reject it because he didn’t read it on Twitter.

  68. justDOit says:

    Ducey: There is an equally good chance we have not heard from him because he is figuring out how to raise bail money

    It’s difficult to cash in your empties in remand!

  69. D says:

    :) – I had to look that reference up in Urban Dictionary.

    VanOil: I could make a case that Kevin Lowe is the greatest Oiler defender of all time. Unfortunately Mr. Lowe himself has kind of tainted some of the language and stats I would have to use. That is what you get when you have the Balls of a Pirate.

  70. Younger Oil says:

    Marincin with an assist and a +3 today at the Worlds.

  71. Clarkenstein says:

    I can’t believe all the negativity on here about my buddy KLowe! He is one of the brightest people in hockey today. He has a mind like a steel trap and dripping with humility. Personally, I hope he is here for a long, long time.

  72. TheOtherJohn says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Hockey Canada President job is open.Lowe is very involved with hockey Canada.

    What do you have against Hockey Canada?

  73. regwald says:

    jb:
    LT, what do you believe has changed? It wasn’t long ago that it seemed to be decided things were tightened up and leaks were eliminated from the organization? Would it be too hard to believe their true intentions are being masked with opinion pieces or info meant to misdirect?

    Anyways it doesn’t really matter, you could have legit info leaked on this blog and guys like Woodguy would flat out reject it because he didn’t read it on Twitter.

    I speculated on here before that the one of two people could be the leak – Howson or MacT. Only after those two became integral to the mgmt team did Matheson start getting more insight into the organization thoughts. Prior to that, it was Ms. Fancy Britches or nothing.

    Not sure if it was Tambo or Katz, but they had the rumour mill totally shut down.

    The other alternative is it is possible Tambo stole the password to the email tracking tool and now everyone knows they can’t be traced sharing info. A bit of sarcasm, but possible.

  74. Jordan says:

    Clarkenstein,

    How much is he paying you to say nice things about him?

    I want a piece of that action!

  75. Ducey says:

    justDOit: According to this link, it seems another Finn has shaken loose from the KHL. Note to MacT: Bring Over Leo, Dammit!

    Meh,

    5’10″ 185 lbs, 27 yrs old. 9 points in 42 games with the Leaves a year ago. 34 pts in 54 games in the KHL this year.

    He is a C but is he likely to be any better than Arco?

  76. LostBoy says:

    regwald:
    Back to the Reasoner deal. I heard a story, and the name escapes me, but Lowe had one more trade in the hopper for an experienced forward at the deadline, but it didn’t get approved before the trade deadline. Might have been Chimera, but can’t remember for sure. I am sure someone here will remember.

    It was Dean McAmmond from St. Louis.

  77. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein:
    I can’t believe all the negativity on here about my buddy KLowe! He is one of the brightest people in hockey today. He has a mind like a steel trap and dripping with humility. Personally, I hope he is here for a long, long time.

    Henceforth, this will be known as the day opium reached Arizona.

  78. regwald says:

    LostBoy,

    Thanks. I still would have liked Reasoner for the run, but McAmmond would have been better than Rem Murray.

  79. commonfan14 says:

    If the OIlers ever do decide to retire Lowe’s sweater, the Bruins have already provided a template for how to handle it if Hall is game.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi1OCrIyKYI

    Of course, if Hall follows that number selection template, we may as well end the ceremony with him crossing paths with a black cat on his way to break a mirror under a ladder.

  80. Bag of Pucks says:

    Hall wearing Souray’s number?

    Seismic.

  81. gcw_rocks says:

    Jordan,
    ” it’s a hell of a lot better than the Oilers drafting record has been prior to his arrival”

    This line of argument drives me crazy. MacT is good because he is better than Tambo. Stu is good because he is better than Prendergast.

    The bar should always be best in class. If Stu isn’t top quartile at least, then the question should be, who is top quartile and how do we get one of them? If MacT isn’t top quartile then he isn’t good enough.

    Winning is about excellence. Not about being better than incompetent or even mediocre.

  82. gcw_rocks says:

    I agree we should leave personal attacks on Lowe out of the discussion.

    That said, hockey is a business and his track record as a player is irrelevant to his current job performance. His work in the community, while commendable, is also largely irrelevant. He is not president of community relations, he is president of hockey operations. His track record in that role rates among the worst in professional sports.

    If we keep the discussion to his current role, which is what I think a RE series should focus on, there is little good to say, other than improvements in the running of the farm system. That’s not enough to justify his continued employment. The man should be fired or moved into a non hockey operations role, and sooner rather than later.

  83. Factotum says:

    Presented without comment. In the time Kevin Lowe has been an executive with the Edmonton Oilers:

    Seasons: 13
    Division titles: 0
    100 point seasons: 0
    Seasons with 40 wins: 2
    Seasons with 40 regulation wins: 0
    Seasons with more wins than (regulation or overtime) losses: 4. Since 2004: 0
    Playoff appearances: 3
    Playoff series wins: 3
    Championships: 0
    Overall record (W-L-T-OTL): 433-450-47-102, points percentage 0.492
    Overall record (W-ROL-T) 433-552-47, 0.442

    Head coaches: 5
    Goalies: 19
    Skaters: 171

    On the assemblage of talent -

    35-goal scorers: 1 (Ryan Smyth, 2005-2006)
    Added to the team since 2000: 0
    90-point producers: 1 (Doug Weight, 2000-2001)
    Added to the team since 2000: 0

    League awards: 0

    Players with 175 goals, accumulated, 2000-2014: 1 (Ryan Smyth)
    Players with 450 points, accumulated, 2000-2014: 1 (Ales Hemsky)

  84. Clarkenstein says:

    Lowetide: Henceforth, this will be known as the day opium reached Arizona.

    Back North now but brought some good shit with me!

  85. Lowetide says:

    Clarkenstein: Back North now but brought some good shit with me!

    lol. I am still overwhelmed by the gift of the Orr book. What an amazing gesture, and I thank you.

  86. justDOit says:

    Ducey: Meh,

    5’10″ 185 lbs, 27 yrs old.9 points in 42 games with the Leaves a year ago.34 pts in 54 games in the KHL this year.

    He is a C but is he likely to be any better than Arco?

    From memory, he plays an energy game with good skill. He was disappointed with time/linemates in TO, and bolted to the K to improve his Olympic consideration, and won a bronze. He had okay numbers in the KHL, and put up some pims in the agitator role.

    It’s anyone’s guess if he can outplay Arco or Lander, but the more competition for C in camp, the better. His acquisition cost is only money, and if he doesn’t work out, demote him. You may loose him to waivers.

    And he’s a Finn!

  87. Woodguy says:

    jb,

    Anyways it doesn’t really matter, you could have legit info leaked on this blog and guys like Woodguy would flat out reject it because he didn’t read it on Twitter.

    What does this mean?

  88. Jordan says:

    gcw_rocks,

    You’re right – this game is about winning, and management is about putting together a team of people who can work together to build a winner.

    I think Stu MacGreggor is as good a head scout as there is in the NHL. I beleive this because of his team’s ability to find talented players who can fill a role deep into the draft. I also beleive that his drafting record has been hurt by injuries & management/ownership interference. I don’t beleive that the scouts are running the board consistently, and LT has covered addressed this (as have many posters) over the last few weeks.

    I’m not going to suggest that the Oilers’ drafting has been in the top third of the NHL compared to their draft position over Stu’s tenure as head scout. I also don’t beleive he’s been given a free had to select BPA – the emphasis on players with coke machine builds in the 2nd-4th rounds is too consistent to be a coincidence, and matches a philosophy that goes back to the early 2000s. That’s a management dictum. So I will suggest that unless management decides to release transcripts of the discussions that occur before each pick is made, we’ll never know how good or bad he is.

    I will freely admit that there is likely at least one management problem with the Oilers, as they are not good or great at drafting or development, when considering their position… they really should be. But I don’t lay that at Stu’s feet.

  89. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Jordan: I agree with the definition you lay out – makes perfect sense to me. However, it doesn’t provide any means to identify the difference between:
    – a player who is a good draft bet based on information at time of draft who is developed poorly
    – a player who is a poor draft bet based on information at time of draft who is developed well
    And all of the middle ground where reality exists.
    Not sure that’s a part of what you want to identify, but it seems the next logical extension.

    excellent points.

    I gave a list of things that should be considered overall (development, management, injury, etc.) before focusing on what I really wanted to address. Not trying to exclude other lines of thought on the matter.

  90. gcw_rocks says:

    Jordan,

    That’s fair. I look at the same draft record and see a weak record outside the first round. Chase could change that all on his own but until he does, Stu has one draft pick outside the first round playing a material role on the Oilers. Chicago has five players it drafted outside the first round since 2008 on its playoff roster (Kruger, Nordstrom, Saad, Shaw, Smith). If you go further back the number increases significantly (Crawford, Keith, Bickell, Hjalmarsson).

    That’s nine out of 23 roster players. That’s drafting.

  91. dangilitis says:

    I hope you don’t think I am blowing smoke up your ass, but this is without a doubt the most insightful, balanced article I have ever read about Kevin Lowe. And there has been a lot of shit written about this man in the last 8 years. Bravo, sir.

  92. russ99 says:

    As anyone who was a fan during the dynasty years, I’m eternally grateful on how #4 left it all on the ice for us and was such a vital player bringing in all those cups.

    But that doesn’t change the question of his job performance now.

    That he’s still here only can mean one thing: Katz values hanging out with his 80′s drinking buddies and having them play with his team much more than winning hockey.

    I’ll save the rest for the Katz thread…

  93. Jordan says:

    gcw_rocks:
    Jordan,
    Chicago has five players it drafted outside the first round since 2008 on its playoff roster (Kruger, Nordstrom, Saad, Shaw, Smith). If you go further back the number increases significantly (Crawford,Keith, Bickell,Hjalmarsson).

    That’s nine out of 23 roster players.That’s drafting.

    Going past 2008, you leave behind our sample size for Stu. The truth here is that the Oilers drafting AND development pipeline was really bad in the mid 2000s. Horrendous. So even after Stu got here, the Oilers were bound to have a shitte pipeline for a number of years because they had nothing NHL calibre developing OR the players they had (Brodz, Cogs) ended up being traded for futures (at 0.80 cents on the dollar at best). Worse, many of their 2nds & 3rds had been traded in offer sheets or attempts to fill holes, and as such those players who were coming weren’t the same quality as what they needed developed.

    I agree it’s been bad. But it’s also improving across the board. Want to be sure we’re not losing the baby with the bath water. The baby is really important!

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