The circus set up shop in the capital of Alberta at the beginning of the NHL season and hasn’t left since.
With the team’s poor play, firings throughout the organization, and negative comments from a former captain (among many other things), the 2018-19 campaign hasn’t been one to remember for the Edmonton Oilers.
Seven points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with nine games remaining, you’d expect everyone associated with the team to just put their heads down and try to draw as little attention as possible to the tire fire they’re a part of.
Bob Nicholson, the team’s CEO, clearly didn’t get that memo based on some of his comments at Thursday morning’s season tickets holders breakfast.
In his prepared statement he opened by stating that he wouldn’t be throwing anyone under the bus for how things have gone, according to Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal who was in attendance.
If throwing people under the bus wasn’t on his agenda, then what Nicholson went on to do later in his address was the equivalent of tying Tobias Rieder to the tracks as a train without brakes headed in his direction.
Plain and simple, the German forward was blatantly singled out for his disappointing showing so far this season.
Here's a transcript of Bob Nicholson's comments on Toby Rieder at this morning's STH breakfast. pic.twitter.com/jfb8mujNUB
— Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) March 21, 2019
So, you’re telling me that a free agent acquisition that’s averaged fewer than 13 minutes a night and is making $2 million this season is the reason your team is likely to miss the postseason once again?
While it’s true that Rieder has only picked up 11 assists in 59 games, you can’t seriously pin this on one poor guy.
The 26-year-old would probably be the first person to say that his play hasn’t been up to snuff, though. He netted 12 or more goals in the first four NHL seasons of his career, but connecting his lack of twine tickling to where the team currently sits in the standings is just absurd.
As for the “many breakaways” he’s missed, Rieder has only had three this season, as reported by Mike Kelly of TSN StatsCentre and the NHL Network.
So, I guess he’s missed precisely, um, three breakaways.
Since Nicholson’s comments emerged online, he has reached out to the target of his strong words to apologize.
Bob Nicholson just spoke with Toby Rieder. He apologized for his comments criticizing Rieder at a season ticket event. Nicholson said he “stepped out of bounds”. Hoping they can all move on.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 21, 2019
I can only imagine how uncomfortable that discussion was.
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