Oilers in 60: Heads explode as Oilers fire Peter Chiarelli

Oilers in 60: Heads explode as Oilers fire Peter Chiarelli

Assistant GM Keith Gretzky will inherit many of Chiarelli's duties, the club said. Prior to joining Boston, Gretzky served on the scouting staff of the Arizona Coyotes.

Bob Nicholson, the team's CEO, will oversee hockey operations in the interim.

It will be a critical decision, given that one of the new general manager's first duties could be to hire a coach.

"There's something in the water here in Edmonton, we don't have it right, and we gotta get that figured out", Nicholson told the media on Wednesday morning.

When Todd McLellan was sacked earlier this season, the Oilers went on a bit of a heater which has since cooled. That's not good enough especially since they have one of the best players in the sport, center Connor McDavid. The NHL trade deadline is February 25, so it's poor timing for the team, but Tuesday's loss to the bottom-feeding Red Wings was apparently the final straw.

The Oilers reached the playoffs once in Chiarelli's tenure, making the second round in 2017. The thinking behind trading Talbot out of town comes from the team recently re-signing goalie Mikko Koskinen to a three-year extension.

"We thought we had really turned the page and then we fell back", Nicholson said.

"He felt he let the organization down by not getting the team into the playoffs".

"We're not going to trade any of our assets away for a quick fix". "We know we have to bring in some other pieces but we're going to put the onus on the group inside the dressing room because they have shown they can do it".

"We have a lot of work to do, but we have good leaders and good players", Nicholson said. The team he built went on to lose 3-2, falling to 23-24-3 heading into the All-Star break. "We'll make some trades at the deadline (Feb. 25) if they're the right trades to get us in the playoffs but (we're) not giving away the future". Ken Hitchcock was hired November 20, 2018, to replace Todd McLellan, but is under contract only for the rest of this season.

But Oilers have faltered since then, missing the post-season previous year and now sitting outside a playoff spot.

Crowds at Rogers Place have been unusually sparse, and Nicholson said season-ticket holders are frustrated by the perpetually sad state of the team.

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