Laissez-faire Or Lazy?
The Oilers were one of the final two teams on Spacek's short list and yesterday at about 4:30 p.m. he went the other way. "We were willing to meet the price he was asking for, the money was similar on both sides, but he wanted to go to the other team for one reason or the other. It wasn't a case of he didn't like it here, but when you get to unrestricted and you get to choose your team, a lot of things can come into play. I didn't get the reason why he chose and, to be honest, I'm not very interested in it at this point." -- Oilers Assistant GM Scott Howson in the Edmonton Sun, July 4, 2006Now I'm really worried.
On one side of the ledger: Pronger, Spacek, Samsonov, Peca. Players with skills and choices, who all made or will make the same decision: to leave the Edmonton Oilers.
On the other side: a 36-year-old goaltender, a hometown playoff hero with minimal regular season record, and an aging enforcer who asked to stay even though he's unwanted. Each was happy to stay, and even happier to collect silly money.
It sure doesn't leave the impression that this is an organization that can attract and retain first-class talent.
When speaking of Spacek's departure last night, Howson was blunt, saying management had been reduced to "Plan F." The deeper we go into the summer signings, the stronger is my impression that no one was back in the home office during the Oilers playoff run getting ready for the negotiations and deadlines.
In a BoA post, Andy tried to calm the Oilogosphere's nerves with a reminder: "A year ago, Oilers fans were freaked that Lowe hadn't made any big moves...Well, Lowe came through. We got more than our fair share of trades and signings this year. I am going to try and keep reminding myself of this fact over the next few days."
Andy's right. But it doesn't answer the question 'Why do none of these guys want to re-sign here, even when the dollars are comparable?'
And what's with the "I'm not very interested" attitude? It's Scott Howson's job to be interested in the players and what will help retain key talent. The Oilers can't afford to not be interested in the reasons players are signing elsewhere.
A week ago we had to listen to Kevin Lowe revealing that he was told by Pronger of his issue(s) mid-year, and that his response was to hope the issues would get sorted out. It's the same story: a laissez-faire approach to people management that risks leaving the Oilers losers in hockey's musical-chairs talentfest.
If one or more of your people have issues that are affecting their work for you, or that will cause them to seek work elsewhere, management should be trying to help them solve their problems, and make the workplace more desirable.
Absent that, let's at least hope the Oil are conducting exit interviews to find out what went wrong: and then doing something to fix it.