Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
Kevin Lowe has probably been a good hockey mind. Once or twice. He was also a good hockey player, like, a million years ago.
But, hockey is a What have you done for me lately? kind of game. And, by lately, I don’t mean “25 years ago”.
Here are some snippets from Kevin Lowe’s tirade at Monday’s press conference, when he announced that another former Oiler — Craig MacTavish — will replace Steve Tambellini as general manager of the Edmonton Oilers:
John MacKinnon (Reporter): “When you talked about Steve coming in under difficult circumstances when he took over the job, part of that, with respect, was he had to clean up the mess that was left already. This group was largely responsible for that mess. How are fans going to be re-assured that the group that left the mess that Tambellini couldn’t quite clean up is now going to be cleaned up by the guys who left the mess to begin with?”
(In case you don’t know, that group he keeps alluding to has been led by Kevin Lowe in-part since 1999, when he became the head coach.)
Kevin Lowe: “I’ll just add a piece to that, John. You know, fair question…”
(Yes, and one that everyone but you is asking…)
Kevin Lowe: “We have two types of fans. 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.”
(Really? Because, right now, it just sounds like you’re stalling…)
“I would, uh, I think it’s safe to say that half the general manager’s in the National Hockey League would trade their roster for our roster right now.”
(Unfortunately, your relationship with other general managers is a little bit choppy — since you went through that phase with offer sheets — but it’s nice that you’re proud of how well you were able to spend three No. 1 picks, anyway…)
“And in terms of the group that messed things up (voice rising) you’re talking about the group that had the team one period away from winning the Stanley Cup.”
(Seven years ago…)
MacKinnon: “Seven years ago.”
Lowe: “And, you know the cycle of that. You know we chased the dream a few years for our fanbase. Like a lot of teams do.”
(This actually took Lowe about 45 seconds to say… seriously, he stuttered the whole thing… it was hard to know where he was going with this… until…)
“And then at some point in that time frame we realized that’s a bad plan and we made a change. We’re finishing year three of that plan. Now you say to me you’re getting impatient after three years?”
(Uh. Yeah. It’s fu*kin’ hockey, you dumbass. Weren’t you a player? When you were a player, how did you like spending three years — make that four — in the tank of the NHL’s toilet?)
MacKinnon: “It’s not me. It’s the fans that are getting impatient.”
(Kudos to MacKinnon for rephrasing that, and for not taking 30 minutes to do so like Lowe. Because, if it was MacKinnon who was getting impatient, I really couldn’t blame him.)
Lowe: “And, lastly (talking loudly now), I’ll say that there’s one other guy in hockey today that is still working in the game that has won more Stanley Cups than me. So I think I know a little bit about winning, if there’s ever a concern.”
(Wow… Of course, you had to hang off Gretzky’s and Messier’s coat tails for every one of your Stanley Cups. You were a defenceman, and far from ever the best on your own team, thanks to Paul Coffey and Brian Leetch. You were a good player, but about as common as they come. Even your Gold Medal as an executive on that 2002 Team Canada squad as as a pawn in Gretzky’s larger plan. So, do you know about winning?)
(Seriously, how full of yourself can you get?)
New GM Craig MacTavish then added, “Things are dynamic in the business, they change quickly.”
Apparently, the two of them don’t understand the irony of that last sentence.
So, how long until Kevin Lowe runs out of people to fire and ends up knocking the stool out from beneath his feet?