A less politically correct response to Daryl's letter

Writing responses to Daryl's rather sad letter is somehow cathartic. Here's another take.

To Oilers Fans Everywhere:

Woah, you are speaking to us Tier Two fans as well? I feel so special.

We all thought this was going to be the year the Oilers turned the corner.

Who is this "we" you speak of? The old boys club you call a management team? The one where the only real qualification is being part of the "Boys on the Bus" or a friend of Kevin Lowe? Any fan that looked at this team with any kind of objectivity in September would not be part of this "we", that's for damn sure.

Obviously, that hasn't happened, and it hurts. It's frustrating - for all of us. For our fans, for our players and staff, and for everyone in our community who shares a common bond around a game, a team and a city that we love.

No shit Dick Tracy. Nice try on the "common bond" crap. When you start inviting me over to your house for drinks with the ex-Oiler greats we can start talking about "common bonds". Where was my invite to Messier's 50th birthday party, anyway? It's very clear that hanging out with Lowe and his compatriots is your top priority, whereas mine is watching a competitive hockey team. That's not to say you don't want your team to win, it's just obvious to anyone who doesn't have their head up your butt that hanging with the boys takes precedent for you. Let's call a spade a spade here.

I know this will almost certainly be the eighth consecutive year since we made the playoffs. I hate that fact as much as anyone, but the reality is that this is only year four of the rebuild that started when we drafted Taylor Hall.

So, you want us to ignore the rebuild that Kevin Lowe started in 2007 (

The good news, if you can call it that, is that other teams that committed to fundamental rebuilds went through the same kind of droughts over the same kind of time frames, or longer.

And those with poor management never got out of theirs. Given this is, at best, Rebuild 2.0, it's pretty obvious Kevin Lowe is more Don Waddell than he is Ray Shero. Perhaps if you took off your rose colour glasses, you would see that.

That doesn't make it fun for anyone; it just means we have to stay the course.

No, we don't. Currently "staying the course" appears to mean ignoring major holes in the roster make up, playing around with the fourth line and bottom pairing, and ignoring free agent opportunities to shore up weakness in the team. We don't have to accept a flawed roster and be afraid to make trades from areas of depth to address areas of need.

Yes, we hoped and expected to be better this year - there's no question about that.

And this hasn't got you questioning your management team? Last year, you management said you expected to make the playoffs. You didn't and so you fired Steve Tambellini. Then, this past summer, the new General Manager told fans he was satisfied with his work and the team would be competitive. Your team not only isn't competing for a playoff spot, but they are actually trending to the worst record in franchise history. If your management group mis-reads their talent level that badly, why the hell should we trust them?

But we've also been more active than any team I can think of in rebuilding our organization from bottom to top by supporting player development in OKC and Bakersfield, revamping our scouting organization, naming a new GM and a new coach, signing free agents like Justin Schultz, Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference, Anton Belov and Ilya Bryzgalov, and trading for players like David Perron, and now Ben Scrivens and Matt Hendricks. And we're not done.

Dude, let's review - Acton, Hamilton, Gazdic, MacIntyre, Grebeshkov, Belov, Hendricks, Larsen, Joensuu, Hunt. That's 10 players acquired by MacT. A full 20% of the contract limit. We have three AHLers (Acton, Hamilton, Hunt), two face punchers who can't make or take a pass (Gazdic, MacIntyre), two tweeners (Larsen, Joensuu), a washed up Russian who was on his way out of the KHL (Grebeshkov), a complete wildcard who had never played an NHL game (Belov) and a grossly overpaid fourth liner on a long term contract (Hendricks). Let's not confuse activity with improvement, shall we?

But I can also tell you that we are not going to sacrifice the future by doing something short-term. Those days are over and they're not coming back. If we're going to rebuild, we want to do it right and we only want to do it once.

You're on Rebuild version 2.0, so I think you are kind of fucked on this one already. But, what the hell do you mean "we are not going to sacrifice the future by doing something short-term"? Why does doing something short term have to mean you are sacrificing the future? Teams do make trades that help now and in the future. Maybe you remember a little trade between the Blues and Avalanche? You can debate who won the trade, but at least both GMs were trying to improve their team for the short term and long term. What has your group of management clowns been selling you?

I hear a lot from fans about accountability, so let's be clear. We are all accountable. That includes me, Kevin, Craig, Dallas, every player who wears our jersey, and every member of our staff.

Perhaps you are not clear on the definition of accountability? Let me help you. The business dictionary defines accountability as "The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and disclose results in a transparent manner." I think we are a long, long way away from the day when we see Kevin Lowe account for his activities, and accepts responsibility for them rather than blathering on about "knowing a thing to two about winning". I am puzzled by your reluctance to actually hold him accountable. I am hoping it is just a lack of understanding what accountability means. The only other logical alternative is Kevin has photos of you in a compromising position with some sort of farm animal.

I know Kevin is the target of a lot of personal attacks right now, and that's really unfortunate. Kevin is a big part of our organization, and it's not just the Oilers that value his knowledge and perspective. He is consistently chosen, year after year, to play a leadership role with Hockey Canada. But when it comes down to it, this is Craig MacTavish's team. He is the GM. He makes the calls, and he is accountable for building a team that can compete for the Stanley Cup -- year in and year out for years to come.

You are, of course, begging the question, "what the hell does Kevin do?" You seem to be contradicting yourself. Is Kevin accountable or not? If he is, how can he be both accountable but not involved in "making the calls"? If he's not, what is he accountable for? Scheduling tea parties? Public relations?

On MacTavish, can you let us know when he can be expected to deliver this team that competes year after year? It's not that I don't trust him, but he was brutally wrong this year, and he lied to David Staples when he said Will Acton was signed before Keith Acton was (unless, of course, Craig was tampering with a player under contract to the Leafs). So, I kinda want to know when, and I want to hear it from someone higher up the food chain than old MacT. And I am kinda hoping its sometime in the near future, because I have pretty much had enough of the obscenely bad hockey your team has been putting me through.

That's our vision. We are committed to it -- and we're confident that we are on the right track.

That's really nice for you. But, seriously, that track you are on has a train on it, and it's headed straight at you.

Our fans have been incredibly patient and supportive. At the same time, we know there's a lot of frustration and we are asking you to hang in there while we fight through this and put the next few pieces of the team in place.

When? Don't you think if you are going to ask us to hang in there, you should tell us for how long? We don't have faith in your management team anymore. Put a stake in the ground or don't waste my time.

I'll tell you this, despite everything, we all wear our Oilers colours with the same pride now as we ever have, and as we will when we're back on top. We hope you'll do the same.

Good for you. I leave mine hidden in the back of my closet. I don't like it when everyone looks at me with pity in their eyes. Even the Leaf fans don't tease me anymore. That's how pathetic your franchise has become.

We value our fans, we hear you, and we appreciate your support.

We value our fans wallets, we want you to think we hear you, and we do appreciate your money provided you are a season ticket holder. Fixed it for ya. Where do I send the bill?

Daryl Katz

Another angry fan.

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