Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

Edmonton is a city of 1.8+ million (CMA) but it’s really a series of neighbourhoods and towns that have been building in all directions since about 1795 when Fort Edmonton was built. That was about 40 years after Anthony Henday mapped out his freeway, but he didn’t get to hang around for another 220 years to see how it turned out.

I’m not sure how much of Edmonton, the real Edmonton, Peter Chiarelli saw in his time with the Oilers. I hope he can see our city up close and personal in the decades that will roll out from this one.

For the city itself, which houses most of the Oilers fanbase, today comes as a relief. This is the day when the club can renew itself, to bring hope back to the conversation. Me? I am once again thinking of the Star Trek episodes entitled “Year of Hell” when Voyager tangles with the Krenim whose ultimate weapon-ship manipulates time to erase their enemies. Over and over again.

THE ATHLETIC

The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Outstanding offer is here.

  • New Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli’s inability adjust, poor trades and free-agent misses at the centre of his firing.
  • New Jonathan Willis: Rushed Mikko Koskinen deal was one Peter Chiarelli should not have been allowed to make.
  • Lowetide: Oilers sign Mikko Koskinen long term, signalling the end of the line for Cam Talbot in Edmonton.
  • Jonathan Willis: Waiving of Ryan Spooner is another black mark on Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers resume.
  • Lowetide: If the Oilers are sellers at the deadline, expect a Condo of Condors heading north.
  • Lowetide: Jay Woodcroft’s usage of Tyler Benson and other young forwards in Bakersfield is both welcome and encouraging for Edmonton Oilers fans.
  • Tyler Dellow: After 47 games, the Oilers’ 5-on-5 scoring woes stand out.
  • Lowetide: The Oilers’ way forward and the smartest route to finding an impact winger this summer.
  • Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Goalless Tobias Rieder hopes to follow Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic and end his offensive funk.
  • Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers should make a decision on Peter Chiarelli this week.
  • Lowetide: Complete Oilers top 20 prospects, Winter 2018

OILERS AFTER 50

  • Oilers in 2015: 19-26-5, 43 points; goal differential -26
  • Oilers in 2016: 27-15-8, 62 points; goal differential +15
  • Oilers in 2017: 22-24-4, 48 points; goal differential -30
  • Oilers in 2018: 23-24-3, 49 points; goal differential -13

OILERS IN JANUARY

  • Oilers in January 2016: 4-5-2, 10 points; goal differential -4
  • Oilers in January 2017: 7-3-1, 15 points; goal differential +4
  • Oilers in January 2018: 5-5-0, 10 points; goal differential -13
  • Oilers in January 2019: 5-6-0, 10 points; goal differential -7

WHAT TO EXPECT IN JANUARY

  • On the road to: Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Jose (Expected 2-2-0) (Actual 2-2-0)
  • At home to: Florida, Arizona, Buffalo (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 2-1-0)
  • On the road to: Vancouver (Expected 0-1-0) (Actual 1-0-0)
  • At home to: Calgary, Carolina, Detroit (Expected 1-1-1) (Actual 0-3-0)
  • Overall expected result: 4-5-2, 10 points in 11 games
  • Current results: 5-6-0, 10 points in 11 games

I promise not to brag, but that’s pretty close to a direct hit. Edmonton is exhausted now, the last three games saw a group of great players unable to pull the big part of the roster over the line.

DEFENSE, LAST NIGHT

FORWARDS, LAST NIGHT

CHIARELLI’S FIRED

My piece at The Athletic this morning gives you an idea about Chiarelli’s time in Edmonton and the reasons for his firing. Stay tuned for more all day at The Athletic from Jon, Daniel and our national writers. We’re going to cover this story from all angles.

One thing I couldn’t find room for in my piece was the noxious trivia item involving the Oilers having to give up a draft pick (represented in human form by Jack Studnicka) for the right to hire a guy who had been fired. The mind boggles.

In the days to come, we’re all going to have a lash at what can be done to improve this team, and about what should be saved and built on from the current club.

I would like to see this team get it right, but am unsure of what that might look like. For me, the wish was always hire a general manager with experience and that didn’t work. They can’t go back, but the way forward must be unique compared to the past.

We can say “hire an analytics team” but you also need a general manager and coaching staff who are willing to apply those things to real life day to day.

We can say “do it like Detroit” or “Winnipeg has the best plan” and I absolutely agree. Question, though: Do fans have the patience? Does Nuge? Does McDavid?

The more I think about this team, the more I think the way forward might be trading the first-round selection this summer. I don’t view this year as a ‘must’ to make the playoffs, but next year must rhyme.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

We will carry today’s media avail live at 10 on TSN1260 and then it’s going to be a moving target in terms of guests. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey will be on, I expect we’ll reach out to Ryan Rishaug who is always generous with his time. It’s what we call ‘all hands on deck’ and I hope you make us your destination this morning. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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436 Responses to "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

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  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Keegan Lowe does it again – shot from inside the left point deflects off a Condor (Joe G.) and in.

    Patrick Russell with the 2nd assist.

    3-1 Condors early in the second.

    ————————-

    Ooop, Ethan Bear walks in from the blue line and roofs one from the slot second after the puck is dropped.

    4-1 Condors.

    Day and Benson with the assists.

    Benson with two assists takes over the team lead in scoring from Marody.

  2. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Dustylegnd: Its called the law of unintended consequences, also, how convenient that this diversionary information magically gets released the day after Chia’s firing…..seriously

    Get good players keep good players

    Attitudes can be changed, you can not undo stupidity or lack of talent

    Now apparently we have a new problem attitude in the dressing room, maybe thoroughbreds get sick of perennial losing real quickly

    Meanwhile the executive suite continues to tolerate abject incompetence at almost every level within hockey operations….same as it ever was

    Check check and check

    Guess what????? THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES

    I’m sure Hall was a handful, maybe still is.

    Thing is if you are getting pushback from a player and that player is getting things done you suck it up, and if you can’t take it at least wait until you can get an appropriate return.

    Same with Eberle, after another start to a 20 goal season he’d have brought more.

    Timing is important.

  3. JimmyV1965 says:

    We hear a lot of people gnash their teeth about McDavid asking for a trade, but I would be much more worried about RNH. No one has suffered this crap show more than him and he’s also a UFA in two years. Not only that, he spends most of his time playing with kids who should be in the AHL or fourth liners. I would see no reason why he would stay here beyond blind loyalty.

  4. Pescador says:

    Dustylegnd:
    Man, the more I think about it the more Ralph Kruger is the perfect hire for this position

    a) highly intelligent

    b) Experience as CEO of a Premiership Football Club

    c) Sought after speaker at Elite Economic gatherings Speaks annually at Davos World Economic Summit

    d) Very good hockey coach

    e) Knows what is rotten inside this dysfunctional Organization

    f) can assure Nickle Bob its not the Fluoride in the water preventing Edmonton from making the playoffs

    g) Completely outside the box perspective on who to hire to build out the ultimate management team required to be best in class…… amateur scouting, player development, pro scouting etc etc etc

    h) Would be MacT’s boss,
    “Sorry Craig I need you to clean the executive washroom again.”

  5. OriginalPouzar says:

    Although they scored a couple of goals early in the 2nd, as we’ve seen many times this year from the Condors, after a dominating first, they’ve lagged in the 2nd. Eagles just scored with 4 left in the 2nd to cut the lead to 4-2 and have been the better team this period.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Condors get a late PP, their first of the game, and Bear is indeed on PP1 (Jones was PP1 prior to his recall).

    Actually, both Bear and Jones are out there.

  7. Biggus Dickus says:

    I don’t follow mark spector usually because, well, I think we all know, but saw this and giggled like a schoolgirl.

    “Can report that the Koskinen deal was negotiated between Chiarelli and the agent, Markus Lehto. No one else from Oilers end.”

  8. npanciroli says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Ty for updates!

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    npanciroli:
    OriginalPouzar,

    Ty for updates!

    My pleasure (although I get derided for doing it on another platform).

    With that said, bedtime for me, 2:05 am comes quick!

  10. godot10 says:

    Biggus Dickus:
    I don’t follow mark spector usually because, well, I think we all know, but saw this and giggled like a schoolgirl.

    “Can report that the Koskinen deal was negotiated between Chiarelli and the agent, Markus Lehto. No one else from Oilers end.”

    Nicholson debunked that OBC leak to Spector in the presser. It was a group decision long in the planning.

  11. Glass says:

    As I’m doing other stuff, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Condor’s twitter. Currently up 6-2 in the 3rd period, Benson with a 3 point night so far, Bear with another nice goal.

  12. Glovjuice says:

    Rondo:
    The same people who decided today to fire Chiarelli are still running the team.This organization is rotten. There will be a new shiny toy whoever they hire, and the results will be the same. Can’t go 12 yrs like this without huge problems.

    My take; which is probably not needed in this smart group, is this: Katz is a coward.

  13. Scungilli Slushy says:

    godot10: Nicholson debunked that OBC leak to Spector in the presser.It was a group decision long in the planning.

    I am surprised that you would take that as a truth. There is no reason to believe anything from this org in the press, especially regarding something that on the surface is patently incompetent, or any public statement from any profit seeking org.

    To be completely honest would mean getting fired at some point if not immediately. Money needs making. Faces need saving.. I wish the goalies could save their faces more.

  14. Biggus Dickus says:

    godot10: Nicholson debunked that OBC leak to Spector in the presser.It was a group decision long in the planning.

    He said a lot of things. He knew that would be bad optics.

  15. digger50 says:

    Dustylegnd: Read between the lines, players from different teams talk to each other, they are all a brotherhood, especially with their country men….and assistant coaches can be good cops or bad cops, this coach happens to be a good cop and his players confide in him….

    You figure out the rest, I believe you mentioned you were a Lawyer, which makes you eminently qualified to decide on your own whether or not my facts are remotely believable or total Bull Shit….

    Look at the last 11 games and you tell me if this looks like a hockey team that loves their coach and wants to skate through a brick wall for said coach?

    Or is this a team that looks a) fractured b) listlessc) has a give a fuck meter slightly above zero….and then ask yourself if they a) Love Hitch b) Fucking hate him with total disdain

    So after all this, all the discussion of trades and talent drain and roster and years of OBC interference we have the answer to the problem with the Oilers. He was asked what the Oilers problem was and replied “they hate Hitch”

    Right.

    So then replace Hitch tomorrow. Team is good now? Problem solved.

    I may have jumped the gun on you here because I have not read the whole thread, but my judgement tells me a lot of things are wrong, and a Hitchcock dislike would be the most minimal and easily fixable problem.

    Edit: I don’t doubt your info. I don’t doubt that players talk. I just don’t think the source identified the problem

  16. Glovjuice says:

    New Improved Darkness: I believe that either A) Chia had absolute authority, or B) Katz was the problem voice in the room.

    Either Katz gave Chia absolute authority, or did what problem owners often do, and the muddled the chain of command with his own involvement. Possibly he retained a veto in picking up the tab on the longer contract items, and then consulted the OBC before offering up his financial stamp—that’s the only way the OBC could have inserted themselves above Chia in the org chart often enough to completely screw him over.

    If Chia had to politic within the OBC to obtain Katz’s final rubber stamp, then the taint theory holds water.

    But this waterproof glue is Katz himself, and can not be cured by management amputation—not even wholesale management amputation.

    Or perhaps the problem goes right back to the day Chia was first hired. Maybe he came into the interview with his heavy-hockey grand plan, and that plan won him the job, as mainly endorsed by the OBC, but ultimately with Katz himself controlling the final green light.

    ———

    Suppose we do fire them all, with tires on top.

    Who does the hiring now? Arthur Anderson? (Paging Miracle Max. Cleanup on aisle three.)

    No, it would be Katz, and then it would be Katz and his first new hire, and then it would be Katz and the first two new hires, etc., all the way down—with all institutional memory of the past player and past player-agent relationships fired into the sun.

    Ah, to be a fly on the wall of the Fire Court, where I’m sure no tea time was skipped for three gonzo years, and every exhibit was presented to the court in sandwich-sized Ziploc baggy of charred fragments; brittle, flyaway phyllo-pastry jigsaw puzzles of here and there some legible words—the painstaking “restoration” of such exhibits being a flash cottage industry of ink-stained bakers everywhere (handled all the more expeditiously if hastily rebuilt print shops backed directly onto surviving stone bakery’s hot oven firewalls).

    That’s what you get when you decapitate a city en masse leaving much of the population alive.

    No doubt details differ with the sudden flash cleansing of a neutron bomb—where all the old structures survive while the humans perish, instead.

    All but one, in whose vicinity even neutrons take the careful, round-about path, with turn signals fully engaged.

    Best of luck with the flashbulb OBC oncology—you don’t come to radiology, radiology comes to you—while the one true stem cell remains safely clad in depleted uranium foil.

    will osmium or lead stop high-energy photons in a shorter distance?

    Best of luck carving wide, straight streets with traditional bakers and rejuvenated print shops separated by something other than a thick but sizzling stone wall (simple human nature, on arriving in addled urgency at the clean, clean, clean stump scalloped with a gladiatorial whoop by the scythe of Lenin).

    Edit: One word changed, so as to rhyme with “grad”.

    Can I just post this as mine instead?

  17. Biggus Dickus says:

    I actually picture the Oilers like South Park views economic policy.

    https://youtu.be/wz-PtEJEaqY

  18. Ice Sage says:

    This whole scene feels like Darryl Katz’ sandbox (as others have hinted over the years).

    For the CEO of a multi-billion dollar business, this Oilers product is the sh!ts. In a pure business sense, I guess there’s still some money to be milked from the enterprise but the brand is tarnished and in danger of devaluation.

    If the owner would apply a few basic business principles: lean corporate design (no hangers-on, I’m looking at most of the OBC here), quality assurance, accountability, deliverables and renewal. Is there any aspect of this organization that is excellent? Scouting? Development? Quality product? Maybe the ability to deliver a ‘public-private partnership’ building (bilking the AB taxpayer!).

    I like what McCrimmon helped do in LV – find undervalued modern players. Yet, why would any self-respecting NHL executive want to be a part of this gong show?

    The weird nostalgic, impatient, intolerant culture has eaten strategy for a decade. New broom!

  19. Bulging Twine says:

    Bob Nicholson: “the next GM will have good player evaluation skills”

    I present to you the premier talent evaluator in the game today:

    Al Murray
    Tampa Bay Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting

  20. maudite says:

    Last year is a long time ago to remember.

    Suppose next you are going to try and tell us that we haven’t always been at war with Eurasia.

    jtblack: Mcrimmon built great Franchise in Brandon.Similiar to Hunter in London.

    Funny. When Vegas’ team was announced everyone laughed and predicted dead last.Now 18 months later it seems clear to some they were destined for tremendous success, at no recognition to their owner, mgmt team or head coach. hmmmmmm……

  21. John Chambers says:

    Colorado, Anaheim, and Vancouver all lose.

    It really ain’t over, folks.

  22. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Bulging Twine:
    Bob Nicholson: “the next GM will have good player evaluation skills”

    I present to you the premier talent evaluator in the game today:

    Al Murray
    Tampa Bay Lightning Director of Amateur Scouting

    Im not sure it’s the same skill set, though he’d be a good hire st what he does.

    Burgers mentioned the GM managing a lot of things. I think this is a mistake.

    What the GM needs to do is firstly make sure the nhl team works, that means cap management, having the right coach for the team and successful trades.

    Of course the farm and other assets need to produce but that can be handled by others. Too many hats in critical positions means greasy hair under all of them, or a greasy scalp.

  23. Admiral Ackbar says:

    John Chambers:
    Colorado, Anaheim, and Vancouver all lose.

    It really ain’t over, folks.

    This is the strangest of years. It may actually drop to 88 pts as cutoff for the wild card. The west truly is a tire fire this year.

  24. 106 and 106 says:

    John Chambers,

    That’s so great but the playoffs are what convinced mgmt we were good in the first place..

    Get in, get swept in 4 by CGY…

    Is that the goal here?

  25. BONE207 says:

    Well Gang…

    The rest of this hockey season can be looked upon as rather a treat for all of us. So many years spent post Halloween looking at future prospects & drafts. Many others bashing management. One where we discussed how far the team can go in the playoffs. Well we are now presented with an in depth look at how the Oilers will search & hire a GM. We’ve never had this process come to us unfolding as the team is folding. Kind of exciting. Ahhh…maybe I’m just too numb to be angry.

  26. OriginalPouzar says:

    OriginalPouzar: My pleasure (although I get derided for doing it on another platform).

    With that said, bedtime for me, 2:05 am comes quick!

    Wow – looks like I missed the Condors put on a show in the third, outshooting the Eagles 18-6 and outscorig them 3-0:

    Callahan from Espositto
    Stanton from Day and Benson on a PP
    Jones from Bear and Callahan on a PP

    Bear with 1G and 1A and his goal was a beauty.

    Benson with 3 apples.

    A sixth straight win for the Condors and a massive win against the team chasing them for a playoff spot.

    Yamamoto and Spooner should add some more offensive punch to the team for this weekend.

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I am surprised that you would take that as a truth. There is no reason to believe anything from this org in the press, especially regarding something that on the surface is patently incompetent, or any public statement from any profit seeking org.

    To be completely honest would mean getting fired at some point if not immediately.Money needs making. Faces need saving.. I wish the goalies could save their faces more.

    Do we believe him when he says the organization has made mistakes developing prospects, has been guilty of bringing up the top guys too quick and an organizational change needs to be made or do we believe that because it was an acknowledgement of error and simply don’t believe the stuff that doesn’t put the organization in a bad light?

    Seems that statement was pretty honest and damning of how the organization has operated in a pretty material area, top prospect development.

  28. hunter1909 says:

    Lowe Howson MacT Nicholson all stay = no difference at all…

    I can’t see Tier 1 teenagers wanting tickets to games suddenly, just because the madman who destroyed the Oilers future is gone. Not with the OBC rotten corrupt to the core remaining.

  29. meanashell11 says:

    Scungilli Slushy: I’m sure Hall was a handful, maybe still is.

    Thing is if you are getting pushback from a player and that player is getting things done you suck it up, and if you can’t take it at least wait until you can get an appropriate return.

    Same with Eberle, after another start to a 20 goal season he’d have brought more.

    Timing is important.

    Mario Tremblay could not handle Roy. Look how that turned out for him and the Canadiens!

  30. Dustylegnd says:

    digger50: So after all this, all the discussion of trades and talent drain and roster and years of OBC interference we have the answer to the problem with the Oilers. He was asked what the Oilers problem was and replied “they hate Hitch”

    Right.

    So then replace Hitch tomorrow. Team is good now? Problem solved.

    I may have jumped the gun on you here because I have not read the wholethread, but my judgement tells me a lot of things are wrong, and a Hitchcock dislike would be the most minimal and easily fixable problem.

    Edit: I don’t doubt your info. I don’t doubt that players talk. I just don’t think the source identified the problem

    The lineup is fatally flawed, that we know…..we changed the coach but nothing changed……my point is they are even worse now than they were under Todd…the question is why?……Hitch does not have a magic wand and as a matter of fact the players hate having him as coach and it is manifesting in very bad performances

  31. frjohnk says:

    Ive never heard this before, anybody else?

    From Jason Botchford

    “Moments before trading picks No. 16 and 33 for Griffin Reinhart, Chiarelli was about to trade those same two picks for Erik Gudbranson.”

  32. jp says:

    frjohnk:
    Ive never heard this before, anybody else?

    From Jason Botchford

    “Moments before trading picks No. 16 and 33 for Griffin Reinhart, Chiarelli was about to trade those same two picks for Erik Gudbranson.”

    He’s an NHLer at least lol

    I wonder what happened (if true)

  33. Chelios is a Dinosaur says:

    Could the back half of this season see some calm – no GM, no panic moves, expectations greatly reduced… and in that lull McDavid gets some consistent linemates, players play for their craft, Hitchcock coaches to teach, and lo and behold the Oilers find an Art Ross and a Wild Card at the end of this turbulent rainbow?

    That would get Connor is well deserved MVP and this season he would become legend regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

  34. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Chelios is a Dinosaur:
    Could the back half of this season see some calm – no GM, no panic moves, expectations greatly reduced… and in that lull McDavid gets some consistent linemates, players play for their craft, Hitchcock coaches to teach, and lo and behold the Oilers find an Art Ross and a Wild Card at the end of this turbulent rainbow?

    That would get Connor is well deserved MVP and this season he would become legend regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

    – I will probably repost this, but I’ve been thinking about what is the best interest long-term for the team in terms of results for rest of year?

    – Ideally, Sek and Klef come back and the team plays a lot better, and gets into the playoffs and shows well.

    – As a fan, this is what we should all want. But what does a playoff berth and good results mean?

    – I don’t want Hitch back as coach next year. I don’t want the org thinking all they need is a new shiny GM who is way better than Chia and we can fix this bad-boy up in a jiffy

    – I fear that a playoff run might actually not be the best for the org, as it might make them think that its all good: is that crazy talk on my part?

  35. HT Joe says:

    frjohnk:
    Ive never heard this before, anybody else?

    From Jason Botchford
    “Moments before trading picks No. 16 and 33 for Griffin Reinhart, Chiarelli was about to trade those same two picks for Erik Gudbranson.”

    I’d never heard that before.

  36. Sierra says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Bob B said that hockey has changed a lot in 3.5 years. A new direction is needed.

    If he believes that and condoned Chiarelli gutting the team to recreate the Bruins, to play a style that was already on the way out due to changes from how the game is called by the NHL, he has no idea what he’s looking for IMO. He’s a day late and a dollar short.

    The whole while Tampa Bay and other teams were looking for speed and ability over size and succeeding, while he had the world’s fastest and best player to build around and went heavy.

    He has to be politically correct publicly of course and say the ‘right’ things, but I now have no faith in him either, had no real issue before today.

    Other than having the gall to allow anything to be named after him after a couple of years in the org. How about a Gretzky burger Mr. Hubris?

    New CEO, POHO, GM and coach please.

    QFT this fine Thursday morning

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