During a breakfast in Edmonton on Thursday for Oilers season-ticket holders, team CEO Bob Nicholson singled out forward Tobias Rieder for the club’s woes this season. He even added that the team wouldn’t be re-signing Rieder, noting he hasn’t scored this season and missed “so many breakaways”, then said if Rieder had scored 10-12 goals, the Oilers would be in the playoffs.
While Nicholson later apologized to Rieder, saying his remarks were out of bounds and claimed that we talked it out with the winger, Darren Ferris couldn’t believe Nicholson’s remarks about his client.
“I am totally astonished and disappointed that the president of an NHL team can make such a callous and reckless statement about a player,” Ferris told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug. “This is unacceptable.”
Now it seems like there is just Ferris who’s got Rieder’s back. The forward is said to have discussed the comments with the rest of his teammates, who can’t believe Rieder was the victim of this.
While Rieder claims he accepts Nicholson’s apology, it seems like the club is ganging up on the CEO.
Even head coach Ken Hitchcock took the defense of his player after last night’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“From our standpoint, you want to see a guy score and have success offensively because it makes him feel good. But if he’s not doing that, he helps us in a number of other areas,” Hitch said of Rieder.
Nicholson therefore felt the need to apologize once again and met with Rieder in person again today to tell how sorry he was.
Rieder has no goals and 11 points in 60 games this season. The Oilers signed him to a one-year, $2-million deal on July 1 and is now set to become a free agent this summer.