The business and the brand are suffering.
That cold truth, more than any trade gone wrong, draft-day mistake or free agent frenzy overpay, should be enough to spark change near the top of the Oilers’ organization.
It’s gotten to the point with general manager Peter Chiarelli where everyone outside the organization is openly wondering what they’re waiting for.
Bob Nicholson, Daryl Katz and company must surely be asking themselves if Chiarelli can be trusted with his hands on the wheel for another trade deadline. They must know the fan base absolutely doesn’t think he should be. With season ticket and suite leases up for renewal, the promise of a brighter future can’t possibly be made with a straight face as things currently sit.
Lower bowl tickets are regularly available at well below face value. Season ticket holders’ complaints about not being able to offload tickets have become a familiar refrain. “I’m not renewing,” is a frustrated rallying cry on Facebook pages everywhere.
Yet as the Oilers sat Sunday night, thoroughly defeated in their stalls following one of the most embarrassing performances of the season, the group was just three points out of a playoff spot.
Just three points…
By the grace of the hockey gods, the Oilers’ recent failures have been matched by the likes of Minnesota, Anaheim and St. Louis, three other underachievers in the mix for the final wild-card berth.
But you wouldn’t know it from the fans, who seem disconnected with the possibility of a playoff berth and far more focused on what has gone wrong instead of what may go right.