The Edmonton Oilers fired embattled general manager Peter Chiarelli late Tuesday night after the team lost at home to the Detroit Red Wings, who had the fewest standings points in the National Hockey League heading into the game. "We have the best player in the world; we have other real great players in the dressing room".
The NHL club made the announcement on Wednesday. And I also wrote that it was no longer a hockey decision, that with an inordinate number of people sitting in the stands on significantly discounted secondary market tickets in the $40-to-$60 range - and a third of the long-term premier seating season subscribers deals up at the end of this year - a message must be delivered to them.
There were "Fire Chiarelli" chants in the middle of the second period and again at the end of the 3-2 loss to 31st place Detroit Red Wings Tuesday and Chiarelli was sacked just prior to midnight with the Oilers record having dropped to 23-24-3 with sudden separation from the teams they were battling in the Great Race to Save Face in the Western Conference.
Right now they are three points back of the final wild-card spot in the western conference.
One player that still believes that the Oilers can make a playoff run is superstar Connor McDavid, who addressed reporters on Monday following the team's decision to place Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers.
This was a year the Oilers were expected to rebound back to the playoff form of two seasons ago.
But it was Chiarelli who called in and offered the blindfold and cigarette as the fan base asked the question.
"He was very professional about it", said Nicholson.
"I thought it was right that Peter would have the chance to leave the building in the way that he saw fit". He previously worked with Chiarelli for the Bruins as the director of amateur scouting.
The Oilers fired head coach Todd McLellan earlier this season just 20 games in and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock, but still felt the need to make further changes.
There is no immediate replacement in line for Chiarelli, so Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish and Scott Howson will fill in for Chiarelli, according to ESPN.
Nicholson stressed that the firing does not signal the season is lost, that the team is launching a full-scale rebuild, or that the Oilers will pull the trigger on a panic trade for short-term benefit. Nicholson said that while they will have Asst.
"We're not going to trade any of our assets away for a quick fix".
Chiarelli traded away Hart Trophy victor Taylor Hall for struggling Adam Larsson.
He signed Milan Lucic to a $42 million, six-year contract that now appears to be unmovable.
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