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Kevin Lowe is at the crossroads of his GM career

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Old
01-27-2007, 01:14 PM
  #1
Digger12
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Kevin Lowe is at the crossroads of his GM career

First off, I want to preface this by saying that I have the upmost respect for the man. I truly believe he cares more than is probably healthy for this franchise, and that he's not as stupid man. He's had to deal with some debilitating budget constraints leading up to the lockout, and he worked around them about as well as could be expected.

However, I believe he's swiftly coming to a point where he will have to reassess how much longer he wants to do this gig.

He is in his 7th year as Oilers GM (man, where has the time gone?), and for all the off ice success his tenure has brought this team, and that shouldn't be discounted or made light of...on the ice, he must feel like a kid that just got his carefully created sand castle kicked in by the local beach bully, and is faced with the task of having to rebuild it.

I remember an interview of his a few years back, and one part of it that always stuck with me was him saying that as much as he enjoyed the job of a general manager, it was extremely stressful and he couldn't see himself as a career GM, like a Glen Sather.

Right now, his creation is springing leaks all over the place, and as stubborn as he can be, even he must be seeing that giving up a king's ransom in picks and prospects for a visnovsky or Stuart will amount to giving a starving man a snickers bar...it's not that they're losing, it's that they're getting dominated to the point of embarrassment, and his coaching staff seem to be powerless to stop it.

With each loss, this team comes ever closer to the idea of being a seller...and, as was pointed out by the 1260 guys last night, would be the first time in maybe its storied history. Seriously, look back on this team - even during the ugly 90's, did they ever do a full out sell leading up to the trading deadline? I honestly can't remember. Sure they'd do little deals here and there, and every year would seemingly bring another Dynasty holdover leaving the team during the offseason or early in the regular season...but have they ever pulled the chute and held an auction in February?

With that in mind, I have to wonder if Lowe is thinking that maybe it's time for him to step aside and let somebody else take a run at this thing and bang their head against the wall for a few years.

According to the Oilers website, his contract with the Oilers runs until the end of next season. If this team goes into 'sell' mode within the next couple of weeks, I'll predict that next year will be his last as Oilers GM, and he'll spend that year grooming his successor, whomever that may be.

I wouldn't rule out the next GM being Craig MacTavish, and laugh all you like but I think he'd be better than Lowe at the job.

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01-27-2007, 01:24 PM
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Kevin is doing a fine job. Nobody can complain that he has made some bad trades. A couple of overpaid contracts did happen this summer but he didn't have a choice, cave in or the team crumbles.

The talent is there, we just need Messier as an assistant coach screaming at the underachievers. As much as we like MacT perhaps that is the postion we need a change in.

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01-27-2007, 01:36 PM
  #3
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Good post!

The one consistent error Lowe has made in his tenure is the timing of his seller mode trades. Hamrlik was on draft day, Weight happened in July and now the same thing with Pronger. A little more patience and we likely would have filled our needs a lot better in the past.

Maybe that fits in with his stress threshold that you described above.

I do like the pride that Lowe has maintained with the Oilers, that's what makes Edmonton a special hockey team, and it's something you lose when you hire outside of the network.

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01-27-2007, 01:49 PM
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger12 View Post
First off, I want to preface this by saying that I have the upmost respect for the man. I truly believe he cares more than is probably healthy for this franchise, and that he's not as stupid man. He's had to deal with some debilitating budget constraints leading up to the lockout, and he worked around them about as well as could be expected.

However, I believe he's swiftly coming to a point where he will have to reassess how much longer he wants to do this gig.

He is in his 7th year as Oilers GM (man, where has the time gone?), and for all the off ice success his tenure has brought this team, and that shouldn't be discounted or made light of...on the ice, he must feel like a kid that just got his carefully created sand castle kicked in by the local beach bully, and is faced with the task of having to rebuild it.

I remember an interview of his a few years back, and one part of it that always stuck with me was him saying that as much as he enjoyed the job of a general manager, it was extremely stressful and he couldn't see himself as a career GM, like a Glen Sather.

Right now, his creation is springing leaks all over the place, and as stubborn as he can be, even he must be seeing that giving up a king's ransom in picks and prospects for a visnovsky or Stuart will amount to giving a starving man a snickers bar...it's not that they're losing, it's that they're getting dominated to the point of embarrassment, and his coaching staff seem to be powerless to stop it.

With each loss, this team comes ever closer to the idea of being a seller...and, as was pointed out by the 1260 guys last night, would be the first time in maybe its storied history. Seriously, look back on this team - even during the ugly 90's, did they ever do a full out sell leading up to the trading deadline? I honestly can't remember. Sure they'd do little deals here and there, and every year would seemingly bring another Dynasty holdover leaving the team during the offseason or early in the regular season...but have they ever pulled the chute and held an auction in February?

With that in mind, I have to wonder if Lowe is thinking that maybe it's time for him to step aside and let somebody else take a run at this thing and bang their head against the wall for a few years.

According to the Oilers website, his contract with the Oilers runs until the end of next season. If this team goes into 'sell' mode within the next couple of weeks, I'll predict that next year will be his last as Oilers GM, and he'll spend that year grooming his successor, whomever that may be.

I wouldn't rule out the next GM being Craig MacTavish, and laugh all you like but I think he'd be better than Lowe at the job.
Good post Digger and I've bolded my biggest issue with this team. I've been a fan since the beginning and during the lean years where some of my friends who were Oiler fans jumped ship to cheer for an even crappier Ottawa Senators team (home town team I guess). I can take them losing but my biggest issue is that on most nights, it looks like the Oilers are not even an NHL team, but an AHL team.

Take last night for instance. I know the sharks are a good team, but the Thornton line isn't on the ice for the whole game. The Oilers so-called #1 and #2 line (in terms of icetime) were being dominated by the Sharks lesser players. The defense is always scambly and I am not just talking about the d-men (why the f@%k is the other team's 2 d-men always open, even at 5X5).

This team, IMO, is worst that last reg season's team. But what concerns me the most is the fact that I don't see anyone in the system that can help this team. Schremp is still learning but he's not tearing up the A, Pouliot IMO has been given more than enough chances, but keeps getting sent back to SWB. Sma ewith Jacques. Brodziak must have leprosy because he's not getting a sniff.

Lowetide made a great point a while back. Why would Lowe pay Roloson what he paid him, and for the term of the contract if he was going to go into the season with the defense he had? It just seems like he had a master plan and ran out of time to execute it or things he was planning on fell through.

Anyways, I like Lowe, he's a great GM, I do agree with the title of the thread. He's a crossroads. In my opinion, you don't blow up this team. You do what you have to do to get into the playoffs. The Oilers ain't the Penguins where the team is built by being mediocre for years and years. I want a playoff team every year because you have alot more chances at winning the cup if your in the playoffs than being out of the playoffs for 3 years straight.

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01-27-2007, 01:54 PM
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I think he's doing fine. If he wants to leave, that will be his decision.

I also don't think they'll have an auction. They might turf UFAs, but I don't think there will be a firesale either. Though I agree the prices will be crazy this deadline, and if he thinks he can sell high for the future, then he might just do that. High prices are the reason he hasn't done much yet - not like it's an easy decision to make.

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01-27-2007, 01:56 PM
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the oiler management team is as good as any in proffessional sports. Lowe is considered one of the best gm in hockey. Yeah, our forwards have not panned out this year but that is beyond Lowe's control. He put together one of the best sets of forwards in hockey and they just have not performed.

Lowe is not dumb. He correctly figured out which would be able to get to the next level ( ethan, horcoff, stoll, hemsky) and those which may have reached their ultimate potential (semenov, lynch, woywitka) and move them. Funny how not a lot of Lowe cast-offs have gone on to bigger and better things.

Lowe will be here for a long time. He bleeds Oiler blue.

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01-27-2007, 02:06 PM
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Lowe is a good GM and I feel better about the future of this team with him as the GM. Rather then taking our chances on a cast off GM or breaking in a new one.


There are problems with this team but it is not like Lowe can go out and force a trade or give up the future of the team to get a dman for one year.

Worst case scenario is we miss the playoffs for one year. It isn't that big of a deal.

Other then the defensive issue Lowe put together a good team. The main problem is that the market under the cap has not stabilized yet. For many players getting new contracts the price is skyrocketing at the moment. But in the next few years there will have to be a drop because there will be so many Free Agents hitting the market.

I care more about not being a perennial loser and a team with no hope to improve then I do about a season where the team doesn't become a Stanley Cup contender


The team is young, and it is full of potential.

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01-27-2007, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grego View Post
Lowe is a good GM and I feel better about the future of this team with him as the GM. Rather then taking our chances on a cast off GM or breaking in a new one.


There are problems with this team but it is not like Lowe can go out and force a trade or give up the future of the team to get a dman for one year.

Worst case scenario is we miss the playoffs for one year. It isn't that big of a deal.

Other then the defensive issue Lowe put together a good team. The main problem is that the market under the cap has not stabilized yet. For many players getting new contracts the price is skyrocketing at the moment. But in the next few years there will have to be a drop because there will be so many Free Agents hitting the market.

I care more about not being a perennial loser and a team with no hope to improve then I do about a season where the team doesn't become a Stanley Cup contender


The team is young, and it is full of potential.
this is a good post.... and i agree with it all

missing the playoffs this year isnt the end of the world.... we are a very young team and have had some serious injuries to our vets.... some of our young guys didnt perform the way we thought they would.... this happens with young teams

i honestly do believe we'll be better next year *if* roli can stay at the level hes at (thats a big if though, as hes 38 next year)

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01-27-2007, 08:53 PM
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The problem is Lowe has been criticized for a lot of trades but not all. When Lowe traded Hamrlik to the Islanders, he was bashed and fans wanted him fired. There were fans that were upset that Lowe became GM after Slats left. I'm not saying he never makes mistakes but criticizing the first trade Lowe ever made was ridiculous. There was some ugliness at the trading deadline prior to the lockout that I won't mention but it was uncalled for.

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01-27-2007, 09:24 PM
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it is too early to give up on this season

I think Lowe's failing this year was not to address the D

it has been known since the day Pronger left

Spacek--TArnstrom--Pronger

Replaced by

Smid--Tjarnquist---rookies

The oilers had holes on the d, even with Pronger

The situation has been growing for awhile and the hole is so big now that teams know that Lowe is backed into the corner and maybe willing to over pay

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01-27-2007, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Sakich View Post
the oiler management team is as good as any in proffessional sports. Lowe is considered one of the best gm in hockey. Yeah, our forwards have not panned out this year but that is beyond Lowe's control. He put together one of the best sets of forwards in hockey and they just have not performed.

I don't have any big problems with Lowe . I sure don't think he's the God that some of you do , but he's performed his duties at at least a league average level . That said , I remember back before the season started when comments like Mr Sakich's above were the gospel on this board . I saw many posts comparing the Oilers forwards favorably with those of the Sabres and Sharks . I would have thought that most everyone had realized by now that the Oilers in fact have nowhere near " one of the best forward sets in hockey " . But fair enough , the Oilers are a mid level team and we can't expect to have a bunch of stars on the roster . That's not the fault of Lowe . What we can do is make sure we don't overpay for a bunch of mid level players . And this is where Lowe has shown a weakness . In fairness , the whole new CBA thing has totally changed the way a GM has to think and plan - that can't be easy to adapt to . But still .... is there anyone who doesn't think Lowe has given bad contracts to Horcoff , Pisani and Roloson ? All the while Smyth is twisting in the wind .

So yeah , I think the contracts Lowe has handed out have been a little high and the way he seems to prioritize them is puzzling . I'd also say I'm not happy about the fact that we don't have an AHL team and that we never hear anything about how hard they are working to set one up .

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01-27-2007, 09:52 PM
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Hindsight is always 20-20. Lowe has worked his butt off within the constraints of the time. Last year he made many brilliant moves, but as with the law of averages you can't make right decisions all the time or foresee Pronger leaving.

He is trying to upgrade the team but since 26 teams are still in the playoff hunt it is extremely difficult.

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01-27-2007, 10:52 PM
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Lowes only real mistake was resigning MacT and Horc to the big contract......everything else has been great....He has fleeced the other gm's every year and has only had problems with wives of players and getting his scouts to draft right.

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01-27-2007, 10:54 PM
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Regardless of if he lost his job or not. The Oilers would just hire another former player with no business or negotiating experience. Huddy? Ranford?

How about ride out Lowe for the rest of the year and hire Markannen in the off season? Hell, Garth Snow has done better than K-Lowe. Hiring your backup goalie seemed stupid - but so what? Snow was retired for all of 10 minutes, Lowe has the same experience when he was hired.

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01-27-2007, 10:58 PM
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This wasn't meant to be a critique of Lowe's every move as GM.

My main point was at year 7 on the job, the team doesn't look a whole lot different from the one he took over. He managed to bottle lightning in year 6, but that looks like a one 'n done scenario at this point, so now what?

Who's to say the next 6 years are going to be any different?

Put it this way:

If you're the man/woman above Kevin Lowe, and after his contract is up at the end of next season...do you extend his contract?

If you're Kevin Lowe and your contract is up at the end of next season...do you even want to come back?

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01-27-2007, 11:56 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
Regardless of if he lost his job or not. The Oilers would just hire another former player with no business or negotiating experience. Huddy? Ranford?

How about ride out Lowe for the rest of the year and hire Markannen in the off season? Hell, Garth Snow has done better than K-Lowe. Hiring your backup goalie seemed stupid - but so what? Snow was retired for all of 10 minutes, Lowe has the same experience when he was hired.
Just an FYI, Ranford's the Kings goaltending coach now.

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