Click here to read a letter from Oilers owner Darryl Katz to frustrated Edmonton fans.
The key quotes:
— “We all thought this was going to be the year the Oilers turned the corner. Obviously, that hasn’t happened, and it hurts.”
— “…we are not going to sacrifice the future by doing something short-term. Those days are over and they’re not coming back.”
— “I know [Kevin Lowe, the Oilers’ president of hockey operations] 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.”
— “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.”
Certainly, Katz’s letter struck a more understanding tone with the fan base than the one rookie coach Dallas Eakins did in December when he chastised a frustrated Oilers supporter who had ripped his jersey off and thrown it on the ice.
Katz’s confidence that the club is “on the right track” is the assertion many will question. On a per-game basis, only the Buffalo Sabres have amassed fewer points than the Oilers have this season.
Related: The Oilers are ‘scouting like we’re going to be picking’ in the first round
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.