True transparency needed from Katz

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Daryl Katz can't have it both ways.

If the Edmonton Oilers owner is to bring credibility to his franchise and restore confidence in his hockey team, he can't be selective in what media outlet he uses to distribute his message.

Especially when that message is disguised as a legitimate interview devoid of an agenda.

There was nothing journalistic about Katz's statements to his hand-picked employee, hired as the team's radio colour commentator days after taking ownership of the club.

Pure and simple, it was a propaganda ploy to gain public support of his downtown arena vision, while appealing to fans to continue spending their hard-earned dollars to watch a club wallow through the worst year in team history with no immediate relief in sight.

SOUNDS LIKE ...

Katz must not have a high opinion of his fan base if he believes they won't see his first public comments since taking over the club for the charade they were.

He would have been better off putting out a statement on the Oilers website, at least then he would have come across as genuine.

You'd think Katz would have learned his lesson from the text fiasco last season having sent a message to his on-air spokesperson citing Craig MacTavish wasn't going anywhere, inadvertently undermining both his president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and general manager Steve Tambellini.

How quickly did Oilers management rush to try and put out that fire? How are they going to deal with the backlash this fabricated effort to gain public sympathy will create?

What about the media backlash?

How seriously can you be taken when you're paying the guy who is asking the questions? What does that do to the radio guy's credibility and how is he supposed to get away from the stigma that he's simply a spindoctor for your organization?

The biggest peeve the media has when covering the Oilers on a daily basis is players not making themselves available after poor performances to stand up and take responsibility for their play. If leadership starts from the top, what kind of example is Katz setting for his team, his players, his management and the rest of his employees?

Thursday's so-called interview is equivalent to the captain of the hockey team sending out a statement through their director of public relations explaining another loss.

Katz is supposed to be a standup person. So stand up.

Come out of the cave and take responsibility for the current state of the hockey team. How is it that two years into your reign, they've become the worst team in franchise history?

They don't even have the small-market excuse that previous ownership did.

How much input do you have in personnel decisions?

Whose idea was it to throw ridiculous amounts of money at a big-name free agent without consideration to the cap?

Was that really the best approach to developing a winning club or were you just trying to make a big splash?

What possessed you to give Shawn Horcoff a contract that he could not possibly live up to, putting an enormous and unnecessary burden of expectation on him?

INCENTIVES?

Why aren't you devoting more resources to your scouting staff? At what point did you decide to take this rebuilding-through-the-draft approach? How long do you expect that to take? If the team is going to be a basement-dweller for the next three years, are ticket prices going to decrease?

What incentive will you give season-ticket holders for sticking around?

Who exactly are these successful draft picks that have been chosen over the past couple of years?

How can you expect Jordan Eberle to come in and be a dominant player in the league when he only had 75 points in his draft year, while Sam Gagner had 118 and is still developing three years into his NHL career? Rob Schremp had 90 in his first year of junior and didn't pan out.

Who has seen Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson play or Anton Lander, for that matter?

What kind of job do you think the new coaching staff is doing? Does firing Craig MacTavish seem like a bad move now, considering what he was able to get out of this group last season?

Katz has to talk to his customers, not down to them. They deserve better than to be patronized.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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