When it comes to sports, there is no question that the belief an individual and/or team has in their own abilities to achieve their goal plays a part in how successful they will ultimately be. The Edmonton Oilers have demonstrated how a lack of confidence and self-doubt can result in a team continually spinning their wheels over the course of multiple seasons and in the minds of some, it has led to a “losing culture” apparently becoming an acceptable way of life for players inside their dressing room.
— Paul Tonsaker ⚖ (@PrisonBull) April 10, 2016
While there might be a bit of truth to that statement, this notion of Peter Chiarelli needing to change the core of this team in order to rid this roster of this so-called problem is absolutely absurd. Yes, losing has become a way of life for almost everyone who has pulled on an Oilers jersey over the last six years but if you honestly believe that has anything to do with Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins not caring enough to fix the issue, you are off your rocker.
Unbalanced Roster Remains Oilers Biggest Problem
Now, have Eberle, Hall and RNH had their problems over the years in trying to get this group over that hump and back to respectability? Most certainly and that cannot be ignored but the main issue has always been and still remains the lack of a balanced lineup to compete on a nightly basis at this level. Last time I checked, pretty sure that falls under the responsibility of the general manager and the rest of the front office team.
[Related Article: Time for Chiarelli to Prove His Worth]
Sorry, but it is not the aforementioned trio’s fault that they have yet to play with anything resembling an NHL blue line at any point in their young careers and have also lacked any sort of veteran supporting cast up front to help lighten the load over the years. Believe it or not, that is not on the players and while all of them have their fair share of blame to carry in this mess, let’s not be silly here.
McLellan says RNH, Hall, Eberle "wear the Oilers logo on their hearts."
— 630CHED (@630CHED) April 11, 2016
Even though this organization has gone out and acquired players like Patrick Marron, David Perron, Benoit Pouliot, Andrej Sekera and Cam Talbot in recent years, all who had come from clubs who had enjoyed some form of team success in recent years, the Oilers continue to struggle to find their way. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because of the players who wear the No. 4, 14 and 93. Perhaps management needs to finally step forward and help these guys out.
No More Band-Aid Solutions
Obviously, the idea of continually trying to repair what ills this roster with one Band-Aid solution after another has been a routine that has now failed on an annual basis. With that being the case, should any of us really be surprised to see things play out in the manner they have over the last handful of seasons? In my mind, the answer to that question is obvious but unrealistic expectations from much of this fan base have clouded their collective judgement.
[Related Article: Where Do the Oilers and Yakupov Go From Here?]
In their defence, Edmonton has clearly done a decent enough job of selling their seemingly never-ending roster tweaking to suck the masses in and to this point, many have gladly bought into what they were selling. Thankfully, it appears as though those days are gone and from this point forward, substantial change will be needed in order to keep Oilers Nation happy and all-in on the rebuild.
Trading from hard-earned #Oilers core when undervalued in weak position is like giving away the payment for ALL THOSE YEARS of SUCK.
— Proud #Canadian! (@Wendellb64) March 24, 2016
At the end of the day, if Peter Chiarelli wants to address the “losing culture” that has surrounded the Edmonton Oilers organization for what must feel like an eternity for fans of the Orange and Blue, adding a bunch of NHL players who are capable of impacting this roster in the here and now has to be priority one. Moving a core piece or two may be necessary to help get that done but by no means should that make any of three scapegoats for what has gone on in this neck of the woods for the last number of years….as that distinction belongs to the various individuals who have lived upstairs throughout this entire ordeal.
Rob Soria is the Author of Connor McDavid: Hockey’s Next Great One. He has chronicled the Orange and Blue since creating his Oil Drop blog in 2011 and has also had his writings featured over at HometownHockey.ca and Vavel USA, where he has covered the NHL, MLB and ATP Tour. Rob was born, raised and still resides in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached via twitter @Oil_Drop.