There is talk of some potentially major shake ups in the Edmonton Oilers organization and on Saturday we got even more signs of that potential reality.
Earlier today I reported on comments made by Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman during a radio interview on Sportsnet's 960 radio in Calgary. The comments from Friedman made it crystal clear that there is now tremendous pressure within the Oilers organization to reverse the course of failure they have been on, and that several people may be on the hot seat as a result.
“I honestly think guys - and they play tomorrow afternoon in New York - but I really do believe that one of the real tough places right now in the NHL is in Edmonton,” began Friedman as per Chris Nichols. “They’re 0-2. McDavid has looked great and done spectacular things in both games and they can’t sustain it.
“I just think the heat internally in that organization - I was just told this morning it’s a really tense place. I think everybody there is feeling it. I think that is clearly one of the - it’s going to be one of the hot areas in the league, and not in a good way. I think everybody there is really feeling the pressure.”
Well it certainly didn't take long to get confirmation of the fact that Friedman appears to be entirely correct in his perception of things within the Oilers organization. A breaking news report from Sportsnet's Mark Spector has just revealed that Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz is personally on hand to watch the Oilers take on the New York Rangers in Saturday afternoon action, and that he has come with none other than The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, by his side as well. There were reports dating back to last season that suggested that Gretzky was making a power play within the organization and given their recent string of failures he may have a golden opportunity to greatly increase his influence on the direction of the team.
The Oilers would of course deny this if pressed but there is no way that you can convince me that this is not a terrible look for both head coach Todd McLellan as well as general manager Peter Chiarelli. It's only the third game of the season and two of the most influential people in the organization have just placed tremendous pressure on everyone within that team to win today, whether or not they do could have a major impact on the Oilers future.
It's worth noting that there were also two members of the Oilers line up who were pulled out of the line up today and that may be an indication of the fact that McLellan is feeling the pressure and needs to make something happen for his team as soon as humanly possible. Stepping into the line up will be veteran defensemen Jason Garrison as well as veteran forward Kyle Brodziak and they will be replacing veteran enforcer Zack Kassian as well as 24 year old defensmean Matt Benning in the line up this afternoon.
Lots of reasons to tune in to this one.