Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fans are rightfully pissed but let's not get carried away

Edmonton Oilers fans can certainly be a funny bunch. No one would ever question their passion for their hockey team but at times, some of those fans have been known to take on a bit of a pack mentality. Be it with certain players or management personnel, they can certainly make life fairly uncomfortable for whoever their target might be.

Since their run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, the Oilers have been unable to qualify for the post season but this season was supposed to be the year. Many believed they were either going to end that playoff drought or at the very least, be in the mix for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Unfortunately that hasn’t happened and not surprisingly, the masses are angry and have started to pull their torches and pitchforks out of the closet. With this club on the verge of missing the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season, Oilers fans are pissed and rightfully so.

The focus for much of that anger has been targeted at Kevin Lowe. The organization’s President of Hockey Operations is certainly a polarizing figure when it comes to fans and many feel he should be the one to pay the ultimate price. Hence the newly formed “Kevin Lowe has to go”
group, which is currently playing a starring role on Facebook and Twitter pages everywhere.

The page was launched on January 4th and has already accumulated over 9,000 likes in ten days and gaining momentum. Frustrated Oilers fans everywhere are jumping on board with their support and it’s a story that has started to make waves in the mainstream media.

You could argue whether or not Lowe truly has as great an impact on the day-to-day running of this club, as some believe he does, but no one really wants to hear that. In my mind, Craig MacTavish is the general manager of this team and has to be given time to try and find those missing pieces on what has been a rather painful rebuilding process.

Some will say this process has been going on for eight years with no end in sight but to be completely fair, this is actually year number four. That said, Oilers fans have been hearing the same sort of thing for so long and they simply have no interest in hearing it any longer…even if it is the reality of the situation

They may have reached their boiling point but for it to get to the point that it has, is frankly embarrassing, Make no mistake, this organization has enough trouble trying to convince players to want to come to Edmonton. It is hard enough for MacT and company to get players to overlook the club’s current struggles and focus on the future.

However, when you add a passionate fan base into the mix, which has been known for jumping all over certain players and playing a role in running their fair share out of town or overreact to how some ultimately left the Alberta Capital, see Chris Pronger, it can be completely counterproductive.

Believe me, the frustration level amongst the fans is understandable but it’s no greater than the frustration which is undoubtedly felt within that dressing room and amongst the management group. Changes may need to be made and it will get done in due time…should this group not turn the corner and show improvement starting next season.

Understandably, fans want their pound of flesh but it isn’t going to be coming anytime soon. This organization decided to go the way of a full out rebuild in 2010 and there has been a lot of pain that has come along with that decision. At the end of the day, tanking it may or may not have been the way to go but we are not yet at the point where that question can be answered.

Until that day comes, Kevin Lowe will remain as the President of Hockey Operations for the Edmonton Oilers. Again, it may not be what some fans want to hear but it is the reality of the situation. If you don’t like it, stop giving them your money.

None of us are being forced to go to games or watch this team on TV or buy Oilers merchandise. If you take issue with how Daryl Katz is running his organization, then don’t give him your hard earned dollar.

All I know, is using this mob mentality to try and force some sort of move out an owner isn’t the way to go. Again, if you want Mr. Katz to hear your message, then take your money and go do something else with it.

Too many people tend to forget that sport is nothing more than entertainment. If you don’t like music that a certain musician releases or a movie a particular actor or director makes, you stay away, Hockey is no different. If you don’t like it, stay away. It is really that simple.


  1. The "if you don't like it, stay away" argument is BS. A 90 minute movie isn't a comparable. This is a sports franchise. It represents the city and the people in it. People like myself who have invested lots of time and emotion devoting themselves to this franchise. When they win, I win. When they lose, I lose. And they've done a lot of losing. They've turned the franchise, and by extension, the city, into a laughing stock.

    The way they've run the franchise is deserving of criticism. The way they've handled themselves and the fans throughout this "rebuild" is deserving of derision.
    The official "rebuild" is four years old, but the losing and incompetence and arrogance goes back much farther than that. The way that players have been treated, while they are on the team and the way out is largely Lowe's doing. The handling of Pronger and Souray among others. I think he is the main reason players don't want to sign here. Cold weather be damned. Detriot is the worst city in North America, but players can't wait to sign there because they get treated well, and they get to win. They will get neither with the Oilers. And that comes from the top. If those guys aren't held accountable, who should be?

  2. They should be held accountable but to be fair, it is not up to fans to decide when that time for change is. The frustration with how things have unfolded is more than fair but these players aren't ready yet, The roster is flawed but the kids are still not ready to lead the way. It's the reality of the situation.

    As far as Souray goes, that situation was on both the player and organization. Not sure what you mean by the "handling" of the Pronger situation, so you would have to elaborate.

    While I agree a sports franchise can represent a city, it is your choice if you want to support it or not. The city doesn't own the team and frankly fans have to learn to accept that. If you honestly believe people view the city as a "laughing stock" because the Oilers haven't made the playoffs for what will soon be 8 consecutive years, I don't know what to tell you.