So the Oilers decided to cut loose patsy Steve Tambellini yesterday. In turn, the Oilers pushed Craig MacTavish into the hot seat as General Manager, and moved Scott Howson into MacT’s old position, which I call the “hanging out until I’m promoted” spot. I believe the correct title is Sr. VP of Hockey Operations, however. This came with a wave of emotions. Was it warranted? I definitely think so. But was it the complete “solution”? Definitely not. Kevin Lowe is still here, and a lot of people aren’t happy about it.
In yestereday’s presser, Edmonton Journal reporter John MacKinnon asked MacTavish how he can reassure things will be different when the people that created the mess are still here. Ouch. I think mostly that was directed at Lowe, but Howson and MacTavish also had a part of “the mess”, albeit a lesser one (especially Howson, who wandered off before shit really got bad). Anywho, MacTavish didn’t take this too well and ended up defending his time here saying basically that he didn’t think he did anything wrong with his time here, to which I agree. At that point, Lowe jumped in and went on a rant that will forever be remembered. He was clearly pissed off. He commented on how the group got the Oilers to 1 win away from a Stanley Cup… warranted. MacKinnon (or someone) then piped in “7 years ago”. Lowe’s response was that the reporter and everyone knew the “cycle of that” and that the Oilers “chased the dream” for fans, trying to get that team back to cup form, but failed. I think that’s fair, and puts a little more perspective on why they claim the rebuild started in 2010. I’m still not so sure about that, but it’s feasible. Lowe then went on to mention his place in Oilers history, with a Patrick-Royesque “I can’t hear you with my 6 cup rings in my ear” speech. That’s not what he said, but that was pretty much the gist of it.
Worse yet, later in the presser, Lowe segregated fans by saying there were two types: the paying fans that support the team, and the people that watch the game (who he noted were important, but not on the same level). As weird as it sounds, a guy that sits at home and watches the games now and then isn’t at all helping the Oilers as much as someone that shells out $14,000 a year… he just shouldn’t have said it. I’m not completely sure he was attempting to say “you non-paying fans are worthless to us”, but the non-paying fans sure got their panties in a bunch. And really, on the brink of building a new arena likely requiring tax payer money, it was a stupid thing to say, even if that wasn’t what he meant.
Kevin Lowe’s half of the presser was a sharp contrast to Craig MacTavish’s. MacTavish was full of promise, positivity, and a “looking ahead” sentiment, whereas Lowe’s was very much about the past. In fairness to Lowe, he was really backed into a corner. But you have to know how to deflect questions properly.
So let’s actually talk about the game finally. Anton Lander and Teemu Hartikainen have been recalled. Jack Michaels suspected that they will both play alongside Shawn Horcoff. EDIT: Oddly enough, it sounds like Horcoff will be the left winger on this line, and Lander will center the unit. Interesting. I don’t mind this so much. Really, our 4th line is as useless as an ashtray on a motorcycle. I would like to think that they are going to see almost no action tonight.. sub-5 mins. I don’t think that will happen, but really, they shouldn’t see much ice, save for PK time for Smyth and Petrell, and potentially even a litte for Brown, although unlikely. Mark Fistric will also draw in, and Ryan Whitney will sit out with Theo Peckham. I still hate that Peckham is pretty much done. I think he has a good head on his shoulders, even though he had issues early in the season. But the team won’t need him.. but it just sucks though to see a player you had really liked dumped on the curb side for trash. When Don Cherry and others talk about the Oilers needing to make teams fear coming into their building (toughness), I think Peckham is a guy who was once capable of that. Is he now? I don’t know. But we won’t find out here… he’s gone at the end of the year, and for nothing.. not even a late pick. Nada.
Dubnyk gets the start between the pipes.
OILERS LINES (UNCONFIRMED)
Hall – Gagner – Yakupov
Paajarvi – Nuge – Eberle
Horcoff – Lander – Hartikainen
Petrell – Smyth – Brown
Smid – Petry
N. Schultz – J.Schultz
Fistric – Potter