• CHED Host To Fans Of Perpetually Sold Out Terrible Team: Start Supporting Oilers Better

    by  • March 24, 2013 • Hockey • 12 Comments

    If you listened to the CHED post-game coverage last night, there was an interesting series of questions and answers in the post-game interviews, leading up to Dan Tencer suggesting that the fans need to support the team better. It started with Taylor Hall, answering a question about the booing that wasn’t asked by Tencer, although it seems like he was present:

    I mean, I think we had a pretty good homestand. It’s tough to hear boos in your own building any time but like I said, I thought we played pretty well at home this year but they paid big money to cheer how they want to cheer. It’s always tough hearing that from your own fans and people that support you and we’re not going to change what we do in here because the fans boo us. We know what we have to do and it’s got to change next game.

    Tencer then had this exchange with Hall:

    “You leave the homestand with just one victory, I mean the results have to be frustrating.”

    “I think we got four points, four games – that’s decent. We left some points on the table for sure, that last period in San Jose and tonight – it’s tough to leave those points out there especially against teams that we’re fighting against in the playoff race.”

    Hall’s answer to the question is so ridiculous that you wonder if he just doesn’t like Tencer or something – it sounds like a classic “This guy’s a jerk and I’m not going to agree with any premise that he offers” answer because four points in four games at home with two blown two goal leads in the third period during a playoff race is ridiculous.

    Tencer then moved on to speak to Shawn Horcoff. The exchange ended with this:

    “Just lastly, obviously the fans pay big money, they can act however they so choose and tonight they chose to voice displeasure pretty loudly at the end of the game. Just your thoughts on what’s that like as a room to hear that from the home town crowd.”

    “It’s frustrating because we’re playing some pretty good hockey as of late and we’re making a push for the playoffs here and it’s not like this team’s given up at all. You know, we’re gonna need their support coming down the stretch, plain and simple. We have a lot of games at home and we feel like if we can put together a good homestand here – we have 18 games left and two thirds or something like that are at home – we can get into the playoffs, it’s going to be enough for us to get into the playoffs.

    In order to do that, our fans are going – you know, I’ve been here for the playoffs and I’ve witnessed what that’s like and they’re as loud as they come in this league, as supportive as they come. So, tonight was disappointing with the effort that we gave as players and we’re going to need to give them better and we’re going to need to give them excuses to cheer for. When we do, we’d appreciate the support.”

    An aside: I don’t claim to know the ins and outs of captaining an NHL team but it strikes me that one of the big things is dealing with the media, being a face of the organization. I know that there are a lot of people in Edmonton who want to know why someone like Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle isn’t the captain right now. I like Taylor Hall a lot as a hockey player but it seems to me that dealing with people with whom he disagrees isn’t exactly a strength of his. There’s probably a lot of that when you’re the captain of a team – dumb media questions, for example – and a guy who knows how to talk to the media can probably do a lot to just sort of prevent the media (and fan) outrage machines from ramping up.

    If you compare what Horcoff and Hall said, they actually said pretty much the same thing. The Oilers did play reasonably well during the homestand and had taken eight points out of ten entering tonight. If you’re a pro athlete there’s no profit in agonizing over games that are in the past and if they take eight points out of twelve the rest of the way, they’re probably in the playoffs.

    That said, Hall manages to add a claim that four points from four games is decent just frame his response to the whole booing thing a little differently – Horcoff talks about how great the Edmonton fans are when they’re loud, Hall talks about how the booing isn’t going to change how they play, which is kind of infuriating. It’s a small difference but I just get the sense that, over an 82 game season, you’d get a much higher number of media fires started by an irritated captain with Hall wearing the C than with Horcoff wearing it.

    Which brings me to what Tencer went on to say:

    I would suggest to you, just off the top, and I’m sure this will be a bone of contention because a large portion of you will likely say, “We need something to cheer for,” I think – and we’ll talk to Rob Brown about this in a moment – I think it should go noted how much the fans support should help go urge on the team. In a game like tonight where there’s not a lot of energy, where St. Louis is coming strong, where the Oilers are trying to weather the storm a little bit, a little bit of boost from the fans could go a huge way from the team. This building has been fairly quiet over the course of the season and tonight was some negative energy and I think, I sensed from some of the players inside the room tonight that maybe some frustration with the way the building went tonight, given that they have played some pretty good hockey here of late and given that, unlike in past years, the effort of the team is not in question and they are trying to push forward and are trying to forge forward. So, I think the suggestion might have been that the negativity from the fan base tonight wasn’t overly appreciated.

    And Rob I want your take on this because the one thing that I said to the guys in there is that you’ve got a fan that’s paying, some of them $300 a ticket, and they can obviously do whatever they like to do, but you know, there are some players saying “Look a little bit of a boost can go a long way for us. It’s a lot that we can feed off of. If the building is energetic, then that’s going to help us out a ton and conversely, when the boos come down at the end of the game, that’s incredibly disheartening on your home ice when you’ve got a game that didn’t go great but the group feels like they’ve put together some good hockey lately and they certainly feel like the effort’s not in question.”

    Look, I would think that the reason for the negativity from the fanbase is pretty clear: this sure looks like seven years out of the playoffs, with holes that were obvious from the moment the 2011-12 season ended and with no effort made to fix them by management. I don’t actually think that what Tencer said was that bad but at the same time, I wouldn’t be carrying water for this organization when the fans boo the team right now. It’s all fine and well to talk about how they’ve played better and the effort level’s been good but the Oilers have a history here: six years of ranging from not good enough to brutal. They’ve just taken a homestand that could have vaulted them into the heart of the playoff race and given it away, with two blown third period leads. It is infuriating and I’m not even a guy paying hundreds of dollars a night to be there.

    Oiler players and media guys might find it easier to stay out of trouble if they adopt the mental mindset that this team is owed nothing by the fans right now. They’ve been horrible for seven years and they’ve used up their goodwill. If they’d like to be able to say that they expect the fans not to boo them off the ice, maybe they should prove that they aren’t one of the league’s worst teams. Again and again and again and again and again and again and again.

    Email Tyler Dellow at tyler@mc79hockey.com

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    12 Responses to CHED Host To Fans Of Perpetually Sold Out Terrible Team: Start Supporting Oilers Better

    1. ckord
      March 24, 2013 at

      I was at the game last night, with tickets that I bought with my own money. I don’t care that I paid to sit and watch that game, I think that’s irrelevant. Fans in the building, at a bar or at home are all entitled to be tired of what we’ve put up with. I don’t boo, but I absolutely believe last night’s game was a boo-able spectacle. It’s not Hall, PRV, Yak or J. Schultz they were booing, it was the state of the franchise. It’s hard for anybody to expect any better and it’s godddamned frustrating.

    2. mattwatt
      March 24, 2013 at

      Watch out, @blackdogpat is on a binge of firing a bunch of Oiler fans. A negative post like this will put you directly in his crosshairs.

      My question Tyler is what compels someone like Tencer to never question management decisions? I understand that he is paid by the team, that they provide funds for his mortgage payments, but wouldn’t there come a time when the least bit of you wanted to address holes management has left open in this roster? Doesn’t he realize that by carrying the water of an organization that has been inept for so long, he comes across as the dumbest of us all? Or is he doing only what one in his position can do?

      In the business world (and I am not saying I am the most-versed individual in this sector, still working towards my CA designation so have a ways to go yet), this continued viewpoint of Tencer’s where the course of action is never questioned would not be rewarded. From my experience, it seems those who both carry out the duties expected of them yet question what they see, these are the ones who seem to go further. Why can’t Tencer see how his conduct is really limiting his future opportunities? (Then again, I could be completely wrong in holding this viewpoint. Let me know if you disagree).

      Just hope Tencer knows this; my dad always said, “you are judge by the company in which you keep.”

      • Tyler Dellow
        March 24, 2013 at

        Tencer’s job isn’t to criticize management; it’s to defend management and keep people onside. Even if he has to go after the people paying to be in the rink, it would seem.

    3. Rhett H
      March 24, 2013 at

      The boos don’t reek of hate but of disappointment. We’ve talked about the gaping holes in this organization far too long and it’s quite bewildering that management is so bloody stupid. We want this team to be good because we know they can but aren’t given the right tools to do so. Look at the signings by Tambo two summers ago, they seemed like okay signings but even still, this team hasn’t done anything substantial as far as the roster goes since Pronger. Any idiot could have drafted who they did. Simply, I think Tambo is the softest GMs in the NHL, and I’m pretty sure everyone else in the sport sees it as well. His soft Uncle just isn’t ready to let him go yet.

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    5. Oiler fan for life
      March 24, 2013 at

      Excellent insight. If you see what Hervey is doing with the Eskimos by letting anyone and everyone go who hints they would rather be somewhere else than in Edmonton playing “Eskimo Football”, the problem with the Oilers become apparent. Eskimos will rise, Oilers will have to learn the hard way that they need to change the “loser’s mentality”, a “culture of losing” that infests the dressing room.

    6. path
      March 24, 2013 at

      Admittedly, I’m affected by confirmation bias seeing an article like this.

      In any event, I agree with ckord. I was also at the game on my own dime, though I didn’t boo (it’s not really my thing). At the same time, I completely concur with the sentiment that “last night’s game was a boo-able spectacle,” at least insofar as the booing was intended as an indictment on the state of the franchise.

      Still, one thing I kind of struggle with is why we as fans should feel entitled to any change at the level of management. I know it sounds defeatist, but we really shouldn’t. We haven’t demonstrated to the franchise (where it counts: $) that we’re averse to losing (unlike Chicago, for example). We continue to sell out Rexall. Sure, playoff games would be nice, but is Katz really under the gun to make a change in management when we contentedly (or even malcontentedly) continue to feed money into the franchise? It doesn’t seem so. And though I only go to a few games a year, I admit that I’m not innocent. I’m part of the problem.

      Our continued devotion to this franchise over the last half-decade is not part of being a ‘fan’. It’s not loyalty. It’s not sticking with a team through the tough times because the future is bright. No, given the mess that a single* management team has made of this franchise, our loyalty is a tad pathetic. We are the (new) Maple Leafs.

      *I am an adherent to the school of thought that identifies Lowe as the de facto GM of this team. At the very least, I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that Tambellini acts without first consulting Lowe. And it’s frightening to me that the faces we’ve seen return recently are just more of the same old (MacTavish and Howson).

    7. Dave
      March 24, 2013 at

      I was at this game.
      There were several bouts of “Lets go Oilers” to try and get them going.
      They were booed, and deservedly, I don’t know who told the Oilers they were playing a peewee team last night, but they were they kept turning the puck over at the blue line trying to do pretty one two’s was ridiculous and they need to know that stuff won’t work against legitimate NHL teams.

    8. chartleys
      March 24, 2013 at

      I was more upset at the classless fans that boo’d Horc in the opener than the boos last night…It does suck that some of these people are the same kind booing at UFC fights where two guys are fighting a very technical battle that can lead to death at the instant they make a wrong turn but I it has to start somewhere. People are finally reaching the breaking point a lot of us have been for a very long while. The whole ‘operation false hope, whomever is on the current version of the kid line is going to hit it out of the park this year and all those holes we had coming into the year we’ve scotched tape around them good enough to be better’….followed by “these things take time and this is all part of the plan” only runs for so long. Even in a town with Communist style control over the major media channels. This team continues to be mismanaged to a level that is unacceptable.

      While rewarded for their ineptitude by “proudly selecting” first every year and assembling a defence that was so weak the college UFA saw the opportunity to immediately step to the NHL. These are as much embarrassing riches than they are points of pride.

      As for Tencer biting the hand that feeds him:
      I wouldn’t expect this to be a smart long term employment move this thing has been run pretty draconian for a long time. Look at the last employee that spoke against his overlords (souray)…they cut off the nose to spite the face on that one. Be a lot cleaner and easier to dispose of a talking head like Tencer if he started barking.

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    10. Mike
      March 24, 2013 at

      I have seasons up in the nosebleeds right now. The last couple of seasons I’ve sold at least 30 of the games and given away a couple more. I’m treating the $300 per seat per season as an annual reservation fee to hold a spot if/when the product on the ice is actually worth watching. Filling out the annual season seat holder survey is fun, at least.

    11. @dantencerblows
      March 26, 2013 at

      Tencer can defend his comment all he wants and play the “that’s not what I said” card till he’s blue in the face, but the underlying message was clear. Fans pay the bills, buy the jerseys, endure lockouts of rich players and owners fighting over our money, and try to remain positive year in and year out with a poor to mediocre on ice product. Tencer and those in the Oilers organization should be happy there are fans passionate enough to keep watching and spending money rather than the alternative: empty seats and silent call in shows. In fact, they rely on our loyalty to stay the course. How soon they forget the thank you they gave fans for enduring another lockout and apology for the same.

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