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Lowe behind him. I wonder where MacT was? Some things never change.

I’ve read alot about our new GM Ken Holland. This quote really stood out to me:

Ken Holland arrived on a late-night flight back into Canada Saturday, having been in Europe the last while for the U18’s source

The reason it stood out to me is because it confirms that Ken Holland hasn’t even been on the continent. Yet, somehow, he got a 25 million dollar contract from the Oilers to be our new GM?

‘Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it

Let’s rewind to our last GM quickly. Peter Chiarelli was fired by the Boston Bruins after putting them in cap hell and consistently overpaying veterans with crippling contracts. The fan base was thrilled to lose him. Within a very short time, Bob Nicholson hired him without an inteview. They even got a draft pick from us because we hired him so quickly. Of course, the presser didn’t focus on the cap issues but how Chiarelli had won a cup with the Boston Bruins. The rest is part of a dark, dark time in Oiler’s history.

Recently, Chiarelli was fired after a historically awful run as an NHL GM. One of the first things Nicholson said was that he made a mistake by not practicing due diligence and hiring a new GM without an interview. He would ‘learn from his mistake’ and conduct an ‘extensive search’. How Nicholson wasn’t fired was beyond me. He hired Chia, that’s on him. Somehow, he got a ‘do over’.

When I picture an ‘interview’ I picture something like this:

You know: Sweaty palms, some easy questions, some hard ones, tell us about yourself, lots of nerves, putting on your best tie and knowing that several candidates are going through the exact same process.

Did he even interview?

Did Ken Holland even interview for this job? If so, does that mean Nicholson flew himself to Europe and had an interview? Who else did he ‘interview’? Who was part of the interview(s)?

The last time I saw a search this ‘extensive’ was this guy searching for the ‘real killer’:

I would love to know if Mark Hunter left London to meet these guys? Did McCrimmon? What about Verbeek? Amazingly, it would appear that the final 2 candidates were internal hire Keith Gretzky and a guy they didn’t interview, Ken Holland.

Ken Holland also comes here with a tremendous history of success with several Cups and President’s Trophy. The ‘Detroit Model’ was revolutionary at the time and he barely missed a beat for over a decade. His introductory presser will be amazing (even better than Chia’s). It is certainly not hard to talk up the career accomplishments of Ken Holland.

Then I saw this amazing tweet from our very own Twitter:

Stop me if this sounds familiar: Bob Nicholson just hired a GM who was replaced as GM by his current club. The new GM put his former club into cap hell. He was hired without an interview.

I’m hearing that the Oiler’s fanbase is part of the problem and negative people (like myself) are part of the problem. Here’s my reply to that:

Ken Holland was ‘replaced’ by Steve Yzerman. He was no longer the GM of the Detroit Red Wings and wasn’t going to be. What if Holland had stayed and Nicholson announced he had hired Steve Yzerman as the new Oiler GM? Does everyone think the Oilers fanbase would be this livid?

Give it a chance

This is the Hall trade, the Chia signing, the Eberle trade and the Lucic signing all over again. I didn’t need to ‘wait and see how it goes’ with those big mistakes. I don’t need to wait and see with this one either. We just hired a guy like Chia to replace Chia. I was more than happy to wait and see what Mark Hunter was going to do. I was willing to give Hextall a chance too!

To add to this misery. Yzerman also brought in Pat Verbeek (who was a candidate for our GM job apparently) to be part of Detroit’s management. So there were 3 guys - Yzerman, Verbeek and Holland. Detroit got Yzerman and Verbeek and we got Holland and, most likely, Gretzky. Who won?

Now imagine his situation. Holland in his early 60’s. Hall of fame legacy. Well respected. Several Cups. Ready to retire and then he’s offered 25 million dollars. Who would turn that down? Even if he’s awful here. He can blame the ‘water’ and take his 25 million and go home. He’ll always be, rightfully, remembered as a legendary NHL GM. He has nothing to lose. He also has nothing to prove.

He spent a good chunk of his presser this morning talking about how he’s from the same Province as a few guys, how the wives all get along and how far back everyone goes. We didn’t hire a new guy, we hired a neighbor!

Do you think, for one second, that Bob Nicholson and the OBC would hire a guy who would immediately fire them? It is not in their interest to find ‘new blood’. ‘Oiler’s Culture’ is a cash for life club. It’s a group of star crossed people sitting around talking about all those cups in the 80s and all those Gold’s that Canada has won. This is the classic ‘B students hire other B students’ so they’re the smartest ones in the room. Succesful organizations have A students hiring other A’s and sharing ideas and growing. That has not been a part of Oiler’s Culture for at least 25 years.

He will probably also groom Keith Gretzky. So if he fails in 3 years, Keith will takeover! This way we never get new blood and we can start to work on ‘2 decades of darkness’.

How close does everyone think Kelly McCrimmon was to coming here? He was also an exceptional candidate. Something tells me he was never leaving Vegas.

It bears repeating. I wanted Ron Hextall for a few major reasons.

  1. He doesn’t care about the OBC and, if he got autonomy, would’ve probably fired them
  2. He didn't leave his last team in cap hell.
  3. Excellent assessor of talent and built up a great group of prospects
  4. The former fan base doesn’t hate him.

Hextall’s flyers ended the season with 9 Million in space and one albatross contract. Andrew MacDonald at 5 million would be their worst contract. Then Giroux or Voracek who are still Top 20 NHL players and have shown no signs of declining.

For contrast, here is the Red Wings Cap after Holland left. Do the ‘NTC’ and ‘M/NTC’ look familar? How about the over 30 guys with no movement clauses, big salaries and lots of years left?

35 year old Nielsen (M-NTC) and 3 more years at $5 mil

32 year old Abdelkader (NTC) with 4 more years at $ 4.2 mil

32 year old Helm (NTC) and 2 more years at almost $3.8 mil

35 year old Jonathon Erikson (M-NTC) at 2 more years for $4.2 mil

29 year old Dekeyser (NTC) at 3 more years for $5 mil

Let me put it in the simplest possible terms. The ONLY team that finished WORSE than the OIL in the standings with a HIGHER cap hit was Ken Holland’s Red Wing’s. He might actually be inheriting a better cap situation than the one he just left behind.

Here is another interesting stat. No one paid more per standings point in the NHL than the Red Wing’s the last 4 years (right around the same time the last Blockbuster closed):


My understanding is that he’s dealing with a life threatening ailment of some sort. Hence his appearance. Secondly, not every NHL team has an owner that is willing to keep throwing money at it. He allows the GM to go right up to the cap, he pays 25 million for a new GM. His wallet is in the right place. I think his heart is too. It’s just that he either has horrible decision making abilities when it comes to hockey OR he’s surrounded himself with people who are horrible at this (Howson, Lowe, MacT, Nicholson).

No NHL right away for me?

I couldn’t help but wonder what guys like Bouchard, Bensen, Jones, Person, Bear, Jesse, Kailer and Marody were thinking? Those guys chances of being in the NHL in October just took a drastic hit. Same with our number 8 pick as we might actually buck a (failing) trend this year. It’s almost as though the Oil can’t find balance. They’re going to go from being the worst organization in hockey at rushing prospects to the hardest organization in hockey to make as a young player.

Some of our future stars might end up in the Minors in their ELC and then lost on waivers in year 4. Frk, Nestrasil and Pulkinen come to mind as Detroit examples of this.

Any good?

I don’t hate Holland.

I do hate the way he was hired and the OBC/Hockey Canada ‘cash for life’ club.

What does he bring to us that is good:

Patience with prospects which is sorely lacking here

Good drafting history (Veleno/Zadina were both awesome picks in last draft)

Decent trade history

He loves overpaid Swedes and look! Lucic likes Vancouver and Loui doesn’t like his coach anymore.

He’s been much more open to Czech people than most. Is Frk coming here for LW? How about Libor Sulak? Jesse for Zadina? Hronek for Bear/Jones? Francouz as 1B?

I am positive Bakersfield just got better for the next 5 years. From what I can tell, it is the vets carrying our playoff run and, not so much, the young hotshots that everyone wants in the NHL yesterday.

He might hire Burke to be an AGM (and goalie coach) to help. Keep Gretzky as the other AGM. One does Pro side and one does Amateur side.

He might fire the old Pro Scouts and revamp that entire department. Something tells me he knows a few guys that are good at that sort of thing.

New coach on the way. By new I mean someone that is probably over 55.