Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Closer look into the Edmonton Oilers 'Recruitment'



In light of recent activity both good and bad in many people’s opinions, I have decided to now put my ‘Oilers fan’ hat aside and put on my Oiler Blogger’ hat on. I know, my last blog basically ripped MacT and the Oilers (as have some of my tweets on twitter @revingev) but today it is time to take a different perspective of the Oilers organization.

After years of ‘retooling’ and ‘rebuilding’ or whatever you choose to call it, the fans in Edmonton and Oiler fans around the NHL have grown impatient over the progress the team has made in recent years. Many people felt and still feel that nothing is really going to be much different this year from any other. Will we see progress again this year slightly over last? Maybe, but not much other then the continued maturity of the skill players the Oilers already have.

In all fairness, if MacT had to do it again, would he have proclaimed to make bold moves , say he was an impatient man and/or tell people if he did not return from the draft without some roster players it would be a disappointment? I think he still FEELS that way but being a new GM, he was hoping he could be a mover and shaker and do some things differently. There are a number of reasons other teams seem to make moves and not the Oilers in my view. Are they factual? I have no idea other then just speculating or as some say, just guessing based on what we have seen or heard. IMO these are the possible reasons the Oilers seem to miss out on great trades and or free agents.

LOCATION:











I know, I have continually said that players don’t usually care about the weather cause most the season they are away or have their off season in a warmer climate. Problem is, the more you talk to players these days, location is extremely important. They are looking for a place where they can not be in the limelight and or can get away from all the stress of pressure they feel from the media and or public. Sure some players love the limelight and like that attention but not all. Some players dream of playing and living in warmer weather conditions. Can’t say I can blame them. Some players want the extras that come from playing in a state of the art building with training equipment etc...

My suggestion:
Why not trade for and draft or reach out to UFA’s who like the spotlight? Sure they may be a little cocky or have some attitude, but is that so bad? I know we want character players but do we always need polished boys who say or do the right thing? If they don’t help you win, why does it matter? Just a thought! On the other note, I believe the team is going in the right direction with our new downtown arena complex. Nothing like a good time in a positive environment with state of the art facilities. Great for the players and the fans. 

WINNING CULTURE:











Every player who says winning the Stanley Cup is not important should have their head examined cause that’s why they are paid to play. We don’t pay them to look pretty, provide a nice game here or there and collect there cheque. Every fan, dreams of their team winning or at least competing to win the Stanley Cup. In the end, we should not be upset at a player who does not want to come to a losing team. Sorry Oiler fans but we all know, at this time we are close to being a winning team but not yet. Sure we can convince some we are almost there but in the end, players want to come and play for a winner. Hopefully soon the Oilers will arrive there.

My suggestion:
Allow time for the young core to develop and surround them with the best staff available. Pick a system and stick to it. Also stick to the plan of how you want to build your team. (ie: Big and mean VS Puck possession etc…) Fans will be willing to wait if they see continued success each year. With that, to be a winner you need to take chances in your trades. No complaints really in amateur scouts but there is in the pro scouts. Their success has been terrible and when you keep doing the same, your results stay the same. Let’s find some scouts who know how to find good players once in awhile. (ie: Glencross, Ryan Jones) through small trades and or waivers. We need to have more hits then misses.

PERSONAL PLAYER RECRUITMENT:










Winning teams have players who go out and pursue the UFA’s when they are available. Before a player becomes available they are already talking about possible teams to join in the future. It’s not wrong for a player to recruit early, there just friends, however a team recruiting before UFA time is illegal. Philly players help make attraction better, Boston does the same as does Pittsburgh. Even Calgary in the past worked hard on personal recruitment among the players. It may not be liked by some people but it is happening and if you don't jump on board you will get left behind.

My suggestion:
Recently we saw this with Justin Schultz,  however this seldom is seen. In today's post-modern way of thinking, players who are younger are more interested in being ‘wanted’ or ‘needed’ then in the name on the Jersey in the front. Continue to make this a priority of the players selling the organization rather then the GM’s and such. Sure they want to see the President and the GM but more importantly they want to see ‘friends’ asking them. Key point here is to think of what is most important to ‘people’ NOT to ‘players’. Sometimes we forget that these guys don’t need our city, our city needs them! Should we bend some? Absolutely, it’s a business, do everything we can, and with this young core we have, make them the recruiters.

TEAM UNITY:












I know this may sound like such a small thing but it is important to have a locker room where teams learn to rely on one another and work things out among themselves and even self-motivate each other. We have heard of several rumours over the years of locker room problems. Some is always bound to happen, the question is rooting out the ones who are not team players.

My suggestion:
 It is a new day and age , most the old ways of developing team chemistry is gone. Adapt or be left behind. If a team is run like a hierarchy it can reflect in what kind of team you have on the ice. Giving more responsibility to your team is important to that chemistry of a winning culture. Every team needs to be encouraged to give their input. When a player feels valued it will change their whole attitude and way of thinking.

UNWILLINGNESS TO PROMOTE OR TRADE VALUE:











I know this will be unpopular to Oiler fans but we can not continue to think as a organization that we can win every trade. Someone has to lose and unless your good at it , you will likely lose a few. Sometimes they can work both ways but most times there is a loser in the deal. You cannot get better by trades without trading better players who have value or at least ‘believed’ value.

My suggestion:
When your considering trading someone, don’t tell the world you need to move them. Don’t sit them in the press box. Highlight them in their strengths on the ice and make reasons in the room and with the player as to why your making the changes. (ie: Ryan Whitney value is decreased with the way he was played and even critiqued in the MSM) Find a way to speak positive of players but yet working on improving their challenges at times. I believe Todd Nelson was always good at this. Sure he spoke highly of players (after all, they are humans not robots) but he also talked about area’s to work on. Too often in Edmonton players are ripped apart and that information gets dissected by other teams scouts. A little strategy in how we handle critiquing could go a long ways. In addition how we handle disgruntled players will go a long ways in seeing them traded for at least something rather then rusting in our organization. Have we also forgotten that the way we treat a player can spread like 'wildfire' in the NHL among the NHLPA? Just a thought!

Having said all that, I am not employed by a professional hockey team and never have been, so what do I know? What I do know is how people want to be treated regardless of how much money they make. Team building and training is what I do and that my friends, I believe goes a long way in developing success within any organization.


NEXT POST ON 'DEVELOPMENT CAMP' 2013:

2 comments:

  1. Excellent post. These are things that anyone can work and it doesn't have to be on a hockey team. Just try some of these things at your place of work and I'm sure you will be noticed as a positive asset.

    ReplyDelete
  2. that was exactly my point. As fans or coaches or management in hockey we sometimes think differently. In the end, I truly believe all it takes it excellent leadership and empowerment. Appreciate your comments...let's hope the Oilers feel the same

    ReplyDelete

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