Thursday, March 1, 2007

Big surprise: Oilers organization a bunch of dicks

Our pal Dwayne sent us a fascinating little story in today's Edmonton Sun that seems to have somehow slipped through the cracks. Check it:

Robert Vaughan used orange duct tape to spell out “Trade Lowe” on the back of his jersey when he attended the Oilers-Phoenix Coyotes game Tuesday night at Rexall Place.

He says he was stopped and taken to a small room in the bowels of the arena where two men, identifying themselves as representatives of the Oilers, told him the sign was offensive to management. “They want all the fans to be like rabbits and sheep,” said Vaughan, who’s owned season tickets for six years and is considering whether to renew them. “I feel violated.”

Moments after he and his nephew walked into the main concourse, he says he was tapped on the shoulder by two men in suits. They identified themselves as representatives of the Oilers and asked Vaughan and his nephew to accompany them.

Vaughan says they were taken to a room where the men told him to rip off the duct tape.
Sure, dude could be making this up, feeding the paper a "management is evil" story for the hell of it. But somehow, given their track record from the Pronger game, I doubt it.



Alex said...

Sure it violates "freedom of speech" or whatever, but can you really blame them?

After Ryan Smyth, no one probably feels worse about the trade than Kevin Lowe. He had to make a REALLY tough decision, and really set a dangerous precedent for fellow GMs and other UFAs when it comes to contracts and the trade deadline. Lowe knew he was going to be unpopular, so much that he stayed off the ice on Messier night... is there any real reason to flaunt it in his face that he sacrificed his best player, maybe even his career, for what he believed was a good hockey decision?

Eh, from now on, GMs will have their balls-iness evaluated on the "Lowe Scale." Let's see if Sutter can match Lowe next summer when he has to choose between Kipper and Iginla :o

LittleFury said...

On the one hand, the story smacks of bullshit: the two burly guys in suits, the secret room deep in the "bowels" of Rexall...

On the other hand, I'm willing to believe just about anything negative about this team's managment right now. And the fact they couldn't get anyone to deny it lends it a touch of credibility.

Anonymous said...

In response to Alex's comment, if true, you can really blame them. If a couple of guys detained Vaughan for no other reason than a seemingly innocuous message taped to the back of his jersey, Vaughan could have a claim against these guys in court - and if they are agents of the Oilers, maybe against the entire club. You can't falsely imprison someone for something as frivolous as this. It remains to be seen if the story, as reported, is true, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone took this to court.

Andy Grabia said...

I really hope Alex was joking. If not, that's one of the craziest defences of a violation of liberties I've ever heard. Read the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Alex. "Having a bady day" is not a justifiable defence for unlawful seizure or detainment.

This story just can't be true, can it?

Matt said...

[crackle] "Eagle to nest, we have a situation here, a patron has the words 'TRADE LOWE' taped to his back. I'm going in, request backup." [crackle]

Pleasure Motors said...

Jesus. Is Lowe's next move to release anthrax into the city's water supply?

LittleFury said...

Anyone else find it odd that the Oilers brass has henchmen.

Pleasure Motors said...

Also, more sentences really need to start with the words "Sure it violates 'freedom of speech' or whatever..."

Stuey said...

Apropos of nothing, am I right in thinking that the Sabres' trade of Marty Biron means they go into the playoffs as one the Cup favorites, and their backup goalie is...Ty Conklin?

suz said...

Hey, they were ripping up anti-Pronger signs in November. I saw it with my very own eyes.

How is this so different? (Except that Lowe is one of their own).

Rexall on Tuesday was a building steeped in grief. There was much weeping and a rousing chant of 'We want Smytty' in the third period. Talk about a contrast from the playoff run last spring.

young d said...

Yeah. Everyone's a victim.
Poor Mr. Vaughan.
Blah, blah, blah.
The Oilers, or any business for that matter, are free to choose what conduct their guests, paying guests or not, can exhibit.

If Mr. Vaughan chooses to never pay for another Oiler game after this, he is free to do that.

If, indeed, two henchmen cornered him in a room (I'm a little iffy on that. I've seen the way the staff handle guests in the building and it is usually with care and respect) and this behaviour is widespread, the Oilers can deal with the effects.

Anonymous said...

Of all the times that I have seats in a private box, it would have to be tonight, probably the most depressing game in Oilers history. At least the Gretzky trade happened in August. Fuck fuck shit fuck.


Seriously, how much did they pay Peter Nedved to do SHIT FUCKING ALL for 30 games this season? MORE THAN 100 GRAND? FUCK EVERYTHING.

Scott H said...

Is it wrong that I've now muted the Oil/Minn game to listen to the Islanders game on

Anonymous said...

If you're an Oiler fan, are you tired of this endless parade of quality players out of Edmonton? Tired of promises of "investing in the future" and "building through the draft"? Sick to death of your favorite players being scooped up by teams actually willing to dish out the cash to get players of high quality? I f-ing am. Let me count the guys who left, either via trade since we wouldn't be able to afford them, or since Edm management has always been cheap ass, or via free agency we're we were unable/unwilling to match.

-Wayne Gretzky
-Mark Messier
-Bill Geurin
-Doug Weight
-Curtis Joseph
and so forth.....

I'll be an Oiler fan no matter how much they suck in the future, but come on. Edmonton had the 8th highest gate revenue in the league. I hope this doesn't revert to the '94 era Oilers where they sucked and were rebuilding. I look at the lineup tonight, and I wanna cry. No offense to the young guys, but you could mistake our team for an AHL lineup.

I just saw a highlight (if you can call it that) of Smyth in an Oilers uniform. It's like seeing an ex with another person, seeing Smyth in that Islander jersey.

I either hope we win the frickin cup or finish last to get the number 2 (can't be worse than philly) draft pick. Maybe then Lowe will get fired. Or the EIG will stop being so damn tight.

Alex said...

To clarify my previous comment... I'm not arguing that it was ok for those guys to do that, so much as I'm arguing that it was unnecessary for the fan to have "trade Lowe" taped to his back or whatever.

But yes, I realize it is unfair for the fan.

Anonymous said...

Those who opine that the Oilers were well within there rights to boot this guy are correct; as a private business they can do pretty much whatever they want in putting together their show at Rexall every night. As a matter of fact, take a look at the fine print on those tickets we buy and you'll probably find legal language to that effect.

How they actually dealt with this guy and his nephew, however, is a very big deal. And even if it wasn't as bad as it has been described (in which case the Oilers and/or its henchmen should consider suing the Sun for libel), one has to question the wisdom of such Stalinist censorship. So what if someone wears a message that shows some degree of opposition to the moves of the Oiler management. Are the Oilers' owners so paranoid as to prevent some dude at a game from wearing a jersey or carrying a sign that suggests that the team would be better off with different management? Come on. What's next: booting fans out because they moan for Smyth's return? If Smyth returns in an opponent's uniform, are the Oilers' managers going to make us cheer vehemently against Smyth, in solidarity with K-Lowe and the Blue and Copper machine?

We can understand when the Oilers remove drunken fans, or when people who carry signs which are offensive on a variety of levels to a variety of people at the game. But when what is being reacted to is only really offensive to the powers that be, one has to shake one's head a bit. After all, don't the Oilers pride themselves on being something of a "community" organization? If there's any truth to these allegations, I hope the team is exposed publicly and that there is some public pressure to restore a bit of that "community".

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought. The first guy who is gonna become a start to finish Oiler for his entire career is probably going to be Fernando Pisani. Think about it.

Zellow Yebra said...

Go here:

Anonymous said...

It's a sad sight seeing Smyth as an Islander, zellow yebra. You won't get two really good players for 5 Mill. If you're Lowe you waste 2.5 on Pisani.

Mike W. put it right that the Oil signed everyone else to largely inflated contracts, but put Ryan last.

Zellow Yebra said...

I won't argue about the wasted money. Don't get me wrong, Smyth was a good Oiler, I just think with the direction this team was headed, it was time to move on. And with Pisani's contract I don't see anyone ever taking him off our hands.

Pisani is a useful player, just not worth $2.5 million. The same way Smyth is not worth $5.5 million.

Anonymous said...

Sabres fan here. Your situation reminds me of when Mike Peca held out after the Sabres refused to meet his demands. He was the captain and the most popular player in town too. I wonder if his agent, Don Meehan, gave him the same advice.

Sabres fans are mostly happy the team didn't overpay for Peca, after they've seen his game deteriorate, the Cup run with you guys aside.

Maybe in coming years you'll feel the same about Smyth. But it's gotta hurt like hell right now.

Art Vandelay said...

You guys have your priorities all wrong. If Alex has access to Monday March 5 news, I want to know the winning 6/49 numbers from Saturday so I can buy a ticket.

young d said...

Funny how a guy attracts attention to himself with words written on his back.
If he's sitting in his seat enjoying the game, no one would notice or care.
If he's standing up, yelling, swearing or was one of those idiots who made cat-calls during the Messier tribute, maybe the "Trade Lowe" message wasn't the only problem?

Don't know. Wasn't there.
Shame that the Oilers didn't tell their side of the story.

I've worked bars and events and a lot of "innocent" people have needed to be kicked out or settled down.
Then again, I've also seen a lot of "overeager" security before.

Did see a couple security guys during the game scoping out the crowd below during the second period. They were watching something/someone pretty carefully.

mike w said...

Thumbs up on tonight's 5-0 loss!

How low can we go, and more importantly, who will we draft when we get there?

Desdemona said...

Does anyone else find it ironic that it took longer for them to talk him into taking off the duct tape than it did to actually trade Ryan Smyth?

Anonymous said...

Another thing of note that seems Stalinist to me is that on the message boards you're not allowed to badmouth MacT or KLowe. They will remove your post.

Anonymous said...

Now that Edm theoretically will spend possibly in the summer, here's who I think they should chase. Note, we could go after a restricted free agent due to our surplus of draft picks.
Jordan Leopold Colorado 1.25 mill
Zach Parise NJ .703 mill
Paul Martin NJ 2 mill
Cam Ward Car .684 mill
Michael Ryder Mtl 2.2 mill
****** Joni Pitkanen PHI 2 mill ********** wicked
Ryan Whitney Pit .901 mill

UFA Wish List:

Brad Stuart CAL
Joe Sakic COL (would never happen)
Eric Lindros DAL
Daryl Sydor DAL
Bryan Berard CBJ
Pavel Datsuk DET
Robert Lang DET
Kyle Calder DET
Danny Markov DET
Paul Kariya NAS
Peter Forsberg NAS (health questionable)
Kimmo Timmonen NAS
Scott Hannan SJS
Bobby Allen BOS
Daniel Briere BUF
Chris Drury BUF
Jason Blake NYI (revenge for Smytty)
Sheldon Souray MTL
Brendan Shanahan NYR (iffy, due to age)
Chris Phillips OTT

Jorge said...

I'd heard a previous story about Oilers henchmen from Collin Gallant who watched as they threw two Flames fans out of the lower bowl for being "too loud". They had no noise makers, no horns, nothin... just cheering when the Flames scored.

There's some wacky PR decisions being made in that building on the spur of the moment...

... if both stories are true.

Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

The Rexall is private propery right? They can do whatever the hell they like.

But the Rexall was payed for by taxes right?

Next time this (supposedly) happens, lets home someone has the guts to say: "Hey, since I paid for this fucker, I can do whatever I want with while visiting this fucker."

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Hate to throw a blanket on this one, but...
The story is probably a little spicier than reality, most rinks confiscate signs, etc., and in Canada it's not "Freedom of Speech" it's "Freedom of Expression." Read the Charter.

Anonymous said...

Is it "expression" or "speech" to remark that you're a pedantic asshole?

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Well played, anonymous.
Indeed, first they came for the jersey, I said nothing. Then they came for the Trade Lowe crowd, I said nothing.