The Edmonton Oilers are in the middle of yet another rough season, and this one is arguably their worst yet.
To that end, and since the team on the ice isn't particularly equipped to placate the angry fanbase on the ice, owner Daryl Katz has reached out to his team's supporters in the form of a letter. The central message of this letter: "Hang in there, my babies."
Of course, this letter, like anything that comes from an owner's office, features plenty of double-talk. So we here at Puck Daddy would like to present a proper translation:
To Oilers Fans Everywhere:
"To our first and second-tier fans:"
We all thought this was going to be the year the Oilers turned the corner.
"Here we thought once Khabibulin left, we could turn a corner without hitting a tree..."
Obviously, that hasn’t happened, and it hurts. It’s frustrating – for all of us.
"Except for Nail, he doesn't really care, being Russian and all."
For our fans, for our players and staff, and for everyone in our community who shares a common bond around a game, a team and a city that we love.
"For the people we pay and who pay us, especially for new arenas."
I know this will almost certainly be the eighth consecutive year since we made the playoffs.
"I measure how many years we've missed the playoffs by counting Kevin Lowe's rings. Not the ones on his hands but around his eyes."
I hate that fact as much as anyone, but the reality is that this is only year four of the rebuild that started when we drafted Taylor Hall.
"I think we can all agree that you never want to cut corners with a rebuild. So we're rebuilding our rebuilt rebuild, starting.......... now. Nothing else counts. Judge us only on what's to come."
The good news, if you can call it that, is that other teams that committed to fundamental rebuilds went through the same kind of droughts over the same kind of time frames, or longer. That doesn’t make it fun for anyone; it just means we have to stay the course.
"KEEP. BUYING. TICKETS. PLEASE."
Yes, we hoped and expected to be better this year – there’s no question about that. But we’ve also been more active than any team I can think of in rebuilding our organization from bottom to top
"I believe it was that proud Canadian Drake who once said: 'Started from the bottom now we here/Started from the bottom now my whole team [expletive] here.' Alas, 'here' in this case being 'the bottom.' And our whole team plays hockey like a junior team, according to Lars Eller."
by supporting player development in OKC and Bakersfield, revamping our scouting organization,
"By dangling Linus Omark like a yo-yo until he snapped ..."
naming a new GM and a new coach,
"By hiring No Helmet and Veggie Boy ..."
signing free agents like Justin Schultz, Boyd Gordon, Andrew Ference, Anton Belov and Ilya Bryzgalov,
"Signing several free agents, a few who are here for the money and one that possibly got lost on the way back to Calgary ..."
and trading for players like David Perron, and now Ben Scrivens and Matt Hendricks. And we’re not done.
"Sure, we've been bad for awhile now, but that was before we got Matt Hendricks. Do you see how much he makes? No one who makes that much money can be bad."
But I can also tell you that we are not going to sacrifice the future by doing something short-term.
"We will lose for as long as it takes, by gum. Every loss is a win for the process!"
Those days are over and they’re not coming back. If we’re going to rebuild, we want to do it right and we only want to do it once.
"Again, now that we have established how seriously we take rebuilding our rebuilt rebuild, it starts now. Hi. My name is Daryl. How are you?"
I hear a lot from fans about accountability, so let’s be clear. We are all accountable. That includes me, Kevin, Craig, Dallas
"We're all accountable. But not you Scott Howson. You've been nothing but exemplary in not doing anything. At all. Keep calm and carry on."
every player who wears our jersey
"Every Russian forward whose name sounds like something you'd find in a hardware store."
and every member of our staff.
"Not, like, 'fireable' accountable though. We don't fire in Edmonton. We merely reorganize. But we are committed to aggressive reorganizing. So help me, if Dallas doesn't turn things around, I've got a mind to make him team president."
I know Kevin is the target of a lot of personal attacks right now, and that’s really unfortunate.
"Stop calling him Kevin Load, jerks."
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.
"There's immense value in this. If you aren't chosen to play a major role in Hockey Canada, you are bad. Sorry, Taylor. You're bad. If you don't get better, I've got half a mind to make you Team President."
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.
"I'm going to fire Craig MacTavish one day, it's just a question of when Messier has a hole in his schedule to GM a little."
That’s our vision. We are committed to it -- and we’re confident that we are on the right track.
"We are confident we have tried every wrong track. This has to be the one."
Our fans have been incredibly patient and supportive.
"Please ignore this ever happened..."
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.
"PLEASE KEEP GIVING US MONEY."
I’ll tell you this, despite everything, we all wear our Oilers colours with the same pride now as we ever have, and as we will when we’re back on top. We hope you’ll do the same.
"Seriously, next guy that throws a jersey on the ice will be taken to the dungeon below Rexall Arena. That dungeon is real. Where do you think Sheldon Souray went?"
We value our fans, we hear you, and we appreciate your support.
"Please don't keep this letter. I may send it again in four years."
"Your loving owner, Daryl Katz. Rhymes with 'Hates.'"
(Written by your pals Harrison Mooney and Greg Wyshynski)