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.