In Edmonton, people aren't fired, they're just promoted. It's been five long years since the team was in the playoffs and they've finished last in each of the last two seasons. Expectations are still extremely low, but they are higher than they were a year ago. The performance of the team still hinges on some extremely unstable parts -- Nikolai Khabibulin, Ryan Whitney's foot, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky's health and the aging Ryan Smyth.
If those parts fail and the Oilers don't meet expectations, it could lead to the first significant management firing Barry Fraser was gassed a decade ago.
Today's question focuses on low expectations and the hot seat.
Our lineup this time includes Pat, from Black Dog Hates Skunks, the blogosphere's version of David Mamet, Jeff Chapman, the big brain behind Oil On Whyte, Shepso and BCB, the philosopher kings from Bringing Back The Glory, Jerconjake, the insightful man behind Oil Acumen, Smokin' Ray, the only man covering the Oilers, Barons and Thunder and he does it all at Oilers Jambalaya, dawgbone98, 'sphere regular and resident lacrosse and hockey tactics expert, and sumoil, Copper & Blue's resident CHL tracker, the only man breaking down the top CHL prospects through detailed statistical tracking.
Today's Roundtable Question: If the team doesn't meet those expectations, is anyone's job in jeopardy?
Jeff Chapman: The purge has already been made. If the Oilers clunk out another sixty point performance in 2011-12, you will again hear statements like "rebuilds take time" from Oiler brass. I don't think this to be the case in 2012-13, but if the Oilers are again very bad this year, I expect Hemsky to get dealt and everyone in management to wash their hands as if they grabbed a big chunk of rosin before hopping the uneven bars.
Jerconjake: For the moment everyone's job is secure. Pretty much everyone who could be fired already has been, and the replacements each deserve some time to make it work. There aren't a lot of expectations wrapped up in this team, and the only way that the Oilers will fall completely flat is if they are overwhelmed by injuries. If that happens, it won't really be the fault of anyone who could lose their job. If things go south after next season, it will be a different story.
Smokin' Ray: No. Unless the Oilers finish last again, nobody will be fired.
BCB: No and that is the main problem.
Shepso: Maybe mine? Every year it gets harder and harder to stay emotionally invested into the state of affairs of the organization. If the team tanks again, I’ll be less inclined to write about the Oilers and maybe shift my blogging priorities towards a broader cultural analysis of hockey as a whole, rather than my more Oiler-centric analysis. The reason being that if the team tanks again and nobody is fired, this organization is no better than the Islanders and will prove to be the real Mickey Mouse franchise.
Dawgbone: It depends on what the expectations are within the organization. If this is just year 3 of the the inifinite rebuild then expectations will be low within the organization. So a 30th place finish with no real improvement in the point total would probably give this crew another year in that scenario.
But if the expectations are that this team will begin to compete and close the gap (and maybe even move up a few spots), and it is another sub 75 point season then I think it would be irresponsible to not remove some of those responsible. Who should be gone depends on where things go wrong. If the defence or goaltending completely sinks this team, someone in management has to go. These were/are obvious holes and it was up to management to fix them. If it's more of a improper usage of players then maybe it's time to overahul the coaching staff again. Though I think the former is more likely to be the downfall than the latter.
SumOil: I don’t think so. Maybe and assistant coach or assistant general manager, but our figureheads will remain on. However my answer will be different if the question was "should anyone’s job be in jeopardy". If the Oilers don’t meet certain reasonable expectations, then someone needs to go. If Tom Renney refuses to match his lines, and our special teams continue to be terrible (not unlucky), then the coaching staff should go. However, if Renney did his best, but the team was terrible anyway, then the person responsible for bringing the team together should be shown the door. I don’t think we need another Don Waddell. For some reason, general managers get far more leeway than the coaches, even though its generally their fault that team is terrible.
BDHS Pat: Well I think expectations are low so Tambellini and Lowe will remain safe. I doubt Renney is in any danger regardless however I will add this caveat. If the kids take a collective step back then he might be in some trouble. I don’t see it happening but you never know.