When half of the National Hockey League teams are battling for a ticket for the Stanley Cup finals, the other half of the clubs are cleaning out dressing rooms and lockers and facing the media to answer dreaded questions about potential trades, draft picks and who will return next year. And we are not just talking about players and free agents, coaches and general managers also face the same questions. On Thursday afternoon, it was time for the Edmonton Oilers to face the music.
Oilers CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson met up with media members and had to answer one important question when it came down to the future of general manager Peter Chiarelli with the team. The GM has been blamed several times in the past seasons for previous trades he pulled off that haven't paid off yet... Now that Taylor Hall is taking part in the first postseason of his career and that Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson, who was acquired in return for Hall, did not have a tremendous season, the spotlight is even more on Chiarelli for his bad decisions (not to mention the Jordan Eberle trade and the massive contract extension offered to Milan Lucic.)
However, Nicholson offered his vote of confidence to Chiarelli on Thursday, announcing he would return next season and that he believes in his plan.
"We will have a plan coming out in the near future about how we're going forward. We have one goal and that is to make sure we're back in the playoffs next year."
Nicholson had previously announced that the Oilers fans should brace for significant changes next season, but it seems it won't take place in the front office. There was no mention at the moment on the future of head coach Todd McLellan, who was also heavily criticized for his role behind the bench this season.
Some media members have criticize the move made by the Oilers and Nicholson - already! The media was reportedly invited to the news conference with a two-hour notice, expecting an important announcement and change for the future, only to be told for now that everything remains the same...