The big story in Edmonton Monday was the exit of Steve Tambellini, fired after five years of running the ship in Edmonton. In his place came new General Manager Craig MacTavish, four years to the day after Tambellini fired him as head coach.
But that wasn't the only story. Up at the podium to announce the changes, President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe starred in one of the worst press conferences in recent memory, bickering with the local media and even somehow managing to insult the majority of the Oilers' fanbase.
Asked how fans were going to be reassured by a changing of the guard that really just involved a shuffling of hats, Lowe put his foot directly into his mouth, differentiating between the fans that attend games and those losers who sit on their duffs and watch the game on television for free.
"We have two types of fans," he said. "We have paying customers and we have people that watch the game that we still care about, but certainly the people who go to the games and support, we spend a lot of time talking to them, delivering our message."
On Wednesday, Lowe and co. apologized.
The pertinent quote, for the video-impaired:
”Yesterday was a day full of excitement and passion and emotion, and I must admit my emotion ran a little high, and I have a few things to say to our fans in particular to clarify. First of all, we are appreciative and are grateful to every one of our fans who cheer for us through good times and bad. We understand that we see many of our fans at Rexall Place, but we have hundreds of thousands of fans that never get to Rexall Place, and we appreciate each and every fan. I did not make that clear yesterday and if I offended anyone, I apologize.”
I don't think there's any doubt that this apology was warranted. Safe to say suggesting the majority of your fan base is of lesser value to you than the relatively small percentage of them at Rexall Place on any given night is the sort of thing that merits a mea culpa.
Still, it does nothing to answer for the rest of that debacle of a press conference. Heck, the fact that a simple introductory presser called for an apology two days later can't do much to give Oilers fans confidence in the leadership behind their team.
Neither does the fact that the apology wasn't even that good. You'd think he was drawing his cues on placating the group he just created and alienated from Mitt Romney. If I offended anybody? If you're going to apologize, commit to it.
Lowe looked as hard for the right words to say as he did for a new General Manager.
And frankly, we don't want to seem shallow, but no flowers and no candy? You couldn't swing by Chocolate Exquisite on your way to the office, Kevin? It's like you don't even want this relationship to work out.