Regular Lowetide poster WHEATNOIL has suggested the Oilers should hire Alan Mitchell (Laine Babcock, Lowetide…it’s a radio thing!) in some capacity.
It’s an interesting idea.
Most recently, the Oilers hired their second most vociferous critic (hehe) to help out with the analytics department.
Tyler Dellow, of course, is a very polarizing figure in that he is aways right, at least in his own mind.
Nothing wrong with that except reality.
On the other hand, Lowetide has become the most respected voice among Oiler fans through a long standing regimen of analysis and undying optimism which has helped thousands of Oiler fans through a decade of watching bumblers and fools drive their beloved franchise into the ditch.
If the Oilers were to hire Lowetide tomorrow, their credibility with their fans would soar overnight since he has been holding many fans’ hands while the patient struggled to draw a breath.
While that process has unfolded, the Oilers have employed a phalanx of paid media shills to present their woeful performance in the best possible light…ranging from a broadcast crew with nice haircuts to a crew of young Turks who try and polish a turd on the teams’ website.
No problem with that…it’s what they were hired to do as transparent as their “performance” is to the thinking fan.
I would think the Oilers could certainly use an employee with enhanced credibility but at what cost to the hundreds of fans who don’t always buy what the team is selling.
The real issue becomes how the team would co-opt even the softest criticism that Lowetide offers…I would guess the message would quickly become corporate and, thus, stale.
Now, Lowetide is not without fanboy characteristics.
Last year, at this time, his Reasonable Expectations series had the Oilers finishing in the playoffs with a positive goal differential while a last place divisional finish and -67 were much more in line with the expectations of those of us who could see the holes at C, on D, in goal and among the coaching and executive ranks that the fall 2013 roster presented.
Mitchell has also pumped the tires of marginal Oiler players, Pouliot, Gagner, Paajarvi et al, while an objective observer could see something entirely different.
More recently he has fallen in love with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, calling him a “sublime” talent even though there is compelling evidence that the young man is a PP specialist and gets killed at ES.
And, of course, he is on record as believing Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins are very smart men while there is close to zero evidence to support that view. (watch what they do, not what they say).
But what Lowetide is good at is storytelling and selling hope:
Lowetide’s dogged tracking of prospects, his thoughtful analysis of past and future, albeit often flawed, and his ability to present a warm, friendly and (mostly) welcoming persona to Oilers fans of almost any degree of interest and religious fervour have become perhaps the most compelling reasons to remain a fan of a team that lost its way long ago and is showing precious little aptitude to get back in the fast lane of the NHL.
A visit to Lowetide’s site is always an adventure in optimism and, if that message were to be paid for by the Oilers, it would lose it’s lustre almost overnight since the organization has pretty much cashed every credibility cheque it had in its wallet.
As an example, Bob Stauffer, when an outside observer, who could at least be counted on for a modicum of objectivity, has become an irrelevant voice in the ongoing discussion of a team wandering endlessly in the wilderness.
Lowetide is selling “Hope” and through his engaging personality, wit and writing skill, has the credibility among fans that they will at least listen to to the pitch.
One would hope the Oilers can find a way to reward their #1 fan (free season tickets?) without co-opting a message that their paid shills could only hope to emulate.