In defiance of all odds and probabilities the Edmonton Oilers somehow managed to win the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. In between the unlikely win, Tim Murray’s antics, MacT’s hallway dances, and pure, delicious, hatred from almost every other hockey team, this weekend was chock-full of things to talk about.
On Dumb Luck
Somehow they did it. They flippin’ won again. Although most other responses from around the league would have been more along the lines of: “Holy f***, f*** those dumbf***ing, lucky motherf***ers, always f***ing, making a f***ing joke of the f***ing game and completely f***ing young f***ing stars”. But guess what, the win came down to nothing except luck. Luck and 4 little ping-pong balls.
The Oilers didn’t purposely try to tank, they didn’t reside all hope of next seasons success on the shoulders of an ODDS BASED LOTTERY SYSTEM, instead they played hard down the line and actually played some of their best hockey in between the time they were eliminated from the playoffs until the season ended.
The Oilers had an 11.5% chance of winning and they did and while other teams had reason to be upset, the Oilers did nothing different than any other team in the lottery except having some plain, dumb luck. In fact they had only a 0.5% chance of winning the 4 draft lotteries they have won in the last 6 years and again it comes down to luck… So there’s no reason to be mad right, wrong. Lots of people are mad.
MacTavish said he and Scott Howson were up at 2 am (they are at the U18s in Europe) celebrating in the hotel hallways. I am sure MacT knows his summer just got a whole lot more interesting, but he is undoubtedly excited to have such an excellent asset to work with.
Hopefully he has a productive summer and is still dancing come October.
On Pure Hatred
If you make the mistake of using Twitter and expecting people to be happy for your team or to say “Awe, shucks”, and offer their support, you are not smart. Twitter was plastered with hate towards the Oilers with messages ranging from questioning the lottery to calling conspiracy and accusing Katz of paying the league to hoping the Oilers ruin McDavid (because that is what they do to prospects, apparently.) It was actually quite rough to see the hate the Oilers were getting, but it is understandable.
If the Buffalo Sabres had 4 of the last 6 first-overall picks you’re damned right I’d voice my contempt. I’d accuse Tim Murray of being a horrible GM (we’ll get to that) and I would question the fairness of the lottery system. The other teams in the league are hating on a team that has missed 9 straight years of playoffs and has 4 first-overall picks in that time and still can’t get it right. Perhaps hating on a team so bad isn’t even worth it, but people always find a way. The Oilers still aren’t good, but they now have something to take them that way.
Sure the Oilers myriad of young stars now has its most brightly lit leading the way, but if you assume that means instant success you’re probably wrong. They are WAY ahead of where they were on Saturday at 5:58pm MST (2 minutes before they were announced winners), but they are not good enough. The Oilers have a lot of work to do and it started today.
On Immediate Changes
Whether or not it came as a reaction to the lottery win, the Oilers made a significant organizational change today one that will have a large impact on the roles of which the members of the Oilers brass play and who they report to.
Bob Nicholson has been appointed the CEO of the Oilers Entertainment Group. While the group has a broader focus than just the on-ice product, a large portion of Nicholsons work will be ensuring the improvement of the team. In an afternoon press conference, Nicholson basically said everyone reports to him and he calls the shots. Looking at the success he had with Hockey Canada I think this is a great step for the Oilers. It will call into question the work being done and perhaps will result in further organizational change that is desperately needed.
Nicholson stated that a “forensic audit” would be done to see where things were at and where they are going, the results of that audit are not ready for the public but will hopefully provide further insight and transparency into the inner workings of the Oilers organization and where things are going wrong.
On Todd McLellan
Another big news story today was the parting ways of Todd McLellan and the San Jose Sharks, the team he coached for 7 seasons.
McLellan is from Saskatchewan and working in Edmonton would likely be ideal, geographically. With McDavid’s number likely to be called first on June 26th, the NHL Entry Draft, there will probably be a domino effect resulting in some big trades and some skilled players moving in. This might be enough to coerce McLellan into a job, he will probably want a say in how things are run and if the Oilers are smart they will give him that opportunity.
I expect his name to be in the mix with serious candidates, likely including the Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson. TODDS!
On Tim Murray
Tim Murray sure seemed upset that his team didn’t take home first prize and apparently wasn’t too pumped about his consolation prize either (BTW, that’s Jack Eichel). He called the lottery into question and pretty much made it seem like he did all he could to lose and still wasn’t even good enough at that.
He apologized yesterday and tried to save face but after that incident (and his behaviour at the lottery as a whole) as well as the way he handled firing Ted Nolan, I am sure glad that he is not the GM in Edmonton. The Sabres had a rough year and probably “deserved” McDavid, but it is a lottery (see paragraph number one) and they still will get an incredible talent, a 1B if you will, in Jack Eichel.
I understand his anger, but he could’ve handled the situation much better and hopefully he can restore some public confidence because the last thing the Sabres need is organizational distress. Trust an Oiler fan, it doesn’t do much good.
On Mr. McDavid
The young star seemed less than thrilled as he sat next to Strombo immediately following the lottery announcement. Some have said this reaction is due to the fact that the Oilers won, while he was probably upset his hometown Leafs didn’t win, I don’t think he is going to pull a Lindros.
He went to a bad team in Erie, despite many thinking he may not go. And the OHL is easier to manipulate than the NHL, if you’re a star.
He is a teenager finding out his destiny. Where he will live, sleep, eat, work, play, and spend the next 7 (at least) years of his life. That is a lot of a young person to comprehend and I am confident that he will be welcome with open hearts and lots of love when he makes his inevitable Oilers debut next season.