NHL’s Most Poorly Managed Team Must Fire Everyone

EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 30: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers is pursued by Mitch Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place on November 30, 2017 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - NOVEMBER 30: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers is pursued by Mitch Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place on November 30, 2017 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs feel the Oilers pain.

We know only too well how much it sucks to lose a close series where you played well in every game.  And even though the Edmonton Oilers loss makes the Toronto Maple Leafs path to the semis much easier, it is still a bummer to have Connor McDavid out of the playoffs.

The Oilers, however much bad luck they had in the series (they lost three overtime games, they faced a hot goalie) still don’t have an excuse for failing to ice a solid team behind Connor McDavid.,

The Oilers problem lies in their management.  After Peter Chiarelli crashed and burned spectacularly, the Oilers (like the Leafs) could have gone outside the incestuous circle of 200 Hockey Men and hired someone with new ideas that would be useful to the changing landscape of the NHL.

They didn’t.  While the Leafs hired Kyle Dubas and have made out like bandits, the Oilers went with the former glory of Ken Holland and it has been a complete and unmitigated disaster.

The Oilers Must Fire the President, GM and Coach

Don’t accuse me of being ageist.  If the Oilers hired a 1000 year-old Mummy, I would be fine with it as long as that person had never been hired and fired by another NHL organization.  When I speak of the dinosaurs of the NHL, I am not talking about physical age.

Success is a double-edged sword.  Once you get it, you naturally get confident. You trust yourself.  You stop learning.  At least potentially.  Ken Holland is probably going to the Hockey Hall of Fame one day for his work in Detroit.

But as a 65 year old potential hall of famer, where is his motivation to be on the cutting edge of the changes in the game? Isn’t it likely, natural even, that he just assumes he knows what he is doing?

The NHL is a league that hates ideas.  This is not just the league – it’s their fans too.  Don’t believe me, try blogging about hockey for a living.  It’s a conservative (small “C”)  game with a conservative fanbase that considers change not only disgusting, but insulting to their previously held beliefs.

And in that lies the Oilers  problem.  No fresh ideas.  Roster building by rote.

If you watched last night’s game, you saw a one line team icing a host of players who don’t belong in today’s NHL and coach whose old-school approach is embarrassing.

From failing to distribute talent up and down the lineup, to the ice time of Darnell Nurse (a player as overrated as Seth Jones himself), to the benching of one of their best players in a triple overtime game it is clear that Dave Tippett has no respect for advanced analytics, if he even has someone telling them to him.

Dave Tippett has to go.  Ken Holland really has to go. But the rot starts at the top. Bob Nicholson has been the President of the Oilers since 2015.  He should never have gotten the job in the first place, and he’s been objectively horrible in his role.

The four game sweep at the hands of the Jets is just an excuse to make moves they should have been making regardless. The sweep is not the reason these moves should happen.  The Oilers should never have hired Holland, and even at the time it was decried by many as a legacy hire that would backfire.

The Oilers (and the rest of the NHL) should look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and the fact that their 35 year-old GM is without a doubt, the best GM in the NHL.  They should look into hiring a President like Brenden Shanahan (or Joe Sakic, or Steve Yzerman) who, despite being an old-school NHL player, broke the mold by being the kind of guy who actively seeks out new ideas, and people who know things he does not

That’s the crux right there.  The Bob Nicholsons, the Dave Tippets, the Peter Chiarelli’s and the Ken Hollands of the world are not interested in learning things they don’t know. Brendan Shanahan is, and that makes all the difference.

Shanahan is older than a lot of people I’d consider to be dinosaurs.  Because, again, this isn’t about age, it’s about being insulated in a system that recycles the same people and ideas over and over again, while trying to make life difficult for anyone who goes against the grain.

The Oilers need an outsider to run their team. They need someone who is interested in every possible idea and in brining together the people who are expert in them.  I don’t know who this person is- I just know that it’s someone who has never worked in the NHL before.

Oilers Perform Believable Leafs Impression. dark. Next

They were gifted with Connor McDavid and have already wasted an unconscionable amount of his prime using old ideas by guys who should have long since been forced into retirement.   It’s time to fire everybody.