Ok, so AMC has a lawsuit on their hands. All freaking week they had an ad running that had Don Draper and Roger Sterling’s first conversation on Mad Men, and we were to witness their last on the Mad Men finale. Well guess who didn’t have ONE FREAKING CONVERSATION SUNDAY NIGHT!?!?!?! I never knew where Mad Men was going, and really the show was going nowhere, and didn’t really seem to go anywhere in the end. Much like the Oilers for the last 9 years. But that looks like it’s about to change.
I didn’t write anything the day Bob Nicholson was appointed to oversee the Oilers. I didn’t write anything the day Peter Chiarelli was hired as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Today however I’m writing, because it is official that the Oilers FINALLY have their shit together, their ducks in a row, and the future is back to being bright as can be with McDavid, Chiarelli and now new head coach Todd McLellan all in the fold.
As of writing this we still don’t know OFFICIALLY that McLellan is the new head coach but it is expected to be announced later today. Back in November I wrote a pretty popular piece. Well, I wrote my most popular piece. It wasn’t popular in terms of actual popularity, but more people read it than will read this. And it was telling fans to basically boycott the team. And here I am today, telling fans to end the boycott.
31 days ago everything for the Oilers changed. 31 days ago Oiler fans woke up hoping/praying that they would catch a huge break and land the golden ticket which would give them the chance to select Connor McDavid in the draft. It happened.
Now what followed is anyone’s guess. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I believe that either someone from the league, Bettman himself, or McDavid’s agent Jeff Jackson placed a phone call to Daryl Katz congratulating him on winning the pick. In fact, here is how I believe it would have gone: “Hey Daryl I just want to say congratulations man….now clean up your act because you’re the worst owner in the league and you aren’t about to f*ck up the best prospect to come along since Crosby”.
Something like that.
That Monday Bob Nicholson is announced as the…well I can’t keep up with all the titles these days but basically he is running the show which meant that Kevin Lowe was out. And Kevin Lowe isn’t out, but he no longer had any power. People such as myself were pumped about the move, others didn’t think it was a big deal, but just 4 days later it proved to be huge.
Enter Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations AND GM. Nobody thought he was coming in with the title of GM as well. Why was MacTavish not just simply shown the door? I don’t know. But whatever, we all know Chiarelli wouldn’t take the job if he had anyone in his way like he did in Boston, so Oiler fans are safe and the circus has left town.
You can’t get a guy with a much better resume than Chiarelli has. Pretty much did all the building in Boston to get them a Cup and get them to another final, he’s unafraid to pull the trigger on a big deal, and he’s widely respected around the league which is the most important factor. MacTavish and Lowe from all accounts had no respect around the league, where Chiarelli is legit. He has a great eye for talent, understands the intricacies of scouting, and knows how you need to build a team.
And Todd McLellan is his guy. Now some might be disappointed it isn’t Mike Babcock, I was hopeful it would be Babcock, but remember this: Todd McLellan with a slightly worse roster was 2-0 against Babcock in the playoffs.
I know McLellan hasn’t won a Cup, but he is where Joel Quennville was when the Blackhawks hired him. Respected coach, hadn’t won and some questioned whether or not he could win the big games. McLellan inherited that group of choking dogs, that wasn’t on him.
The job he did in Prauge was impressive. I know that roster was loaded up front, but they were shaky on the blueline and in net, and it’s never easy to get Canadian players to care about that tournament. He had them buying in from day 1 and they absolutely destroyed the competition. Some of that was having Sid on that team and probably made the other guys a little more driven to win. But to dominate like that? That was McLellan getting his guys to buy in.
We all know that Peter Chiarelli will be busy this summer trying to plug the Oilers massive holes on D and in net. But McLellan has never had much in net and just an average blueline to work with. The Sharks over the years have been known for being a real good puck possession team and having an elite PP, 2 things that the Oilers roster is set up for. He has had players come up from the farm like Joe Pavelski, Tommy Wingels and Ryane Clowe who were role players when they arrived, only to be transformed into top 6 guys under McLellan’s watch.
The guy is a high end coach, and he might be the perfect fit for the Oilers. He won’t be in awe of Connor McDavid, he’ll command respect and get the kids already on the team to buy in.
Rejoice Oiler fans. It just keeps getting better. The Oilers are starting to look like an NHL organization again, and there for it is time to get behind them again. As long as Katz kid isn’t up on stage with McDavid on June 26th…
Follow me on Twitter @TJ_Soups