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We Should Be Hearing Less About Character, More About Talent

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Yeah yeah yeah. Character. We got it.

2016 NHL Draft - Round One
Bob Nicholson
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Like a bandage being ripped from a hairy arm, the Edmonton Oilers relieved General Manager Peter Chiarelli from his position on Tuesday night. It didn’t happen a moment too soon. Since his installation way back in April of 2015, Chiarelli’s time in Edmonton has been a near disaster around every turn.

But we’re done with that. We’re not going to beat on Peter Chiarelli anymore, even though his absolute farcical trades will help cripple the organization for the years ahead. No, we’re done with that.

It’s time to start searching for a new general manager. And, it sounds like Bob Nicholson is in no hurry to snap one up. That’s good. This is a critical period in this club’s timeline, they ought to get it right.

For once.

THE C-WORD

There’s a word that was tossed around by Bob Nicholson during media availability on Wednesday. It’s a word that sounds impressive on the surface, but means far too little when the wins need to start rolling in.

That word is ‘character’.

Bob Nicholson loves to talk about character, as if it’s some magic bullet that doesn’t exist in the locker room. Our players need character, or so I’m told. And, I’ll meet him in the middle a tiny bit, as ‘character’ can be important, but it’s not even on the same continent as getting good players to play with each other.

Listening to Bob Nicholson’s diatribe on the absence of ‘character’ seemed to place more of the blame on the players instead of placing the blame on the man who cobbled the roster together. Character is great, but what about having a competent roster? The Oilers have been without their top defenceman for some time, maybe the other options shouldn’t consist of two mid pair guys and five bottom six defenders?

Maybe the guy who didn’t score in 45 games can get moved around the lineup a little more (or be scratched) in favour of a better option at that time?

Maybe having a solid option other than Ty Rattie on the top line will help?

Maybe figuring out how you’re going to handle Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi involves a better idea than bringing them up, sending them down, waiting for the coach to get fired only to pull them up again?

Character is great. I’m glad that it’s the opinion of the brass that the room needs more character. Maybe while you’re busy searching for all of that character you’ll be able to find a GM who doesn’t ship top talent to the Eastern Conference while receiving the dog’s breakfast in return.

Take your time, there’s no rush.