Oilers name Keith Gretzky interim GM, CEO assesses what needs to change


Hired only days after the Edmonton Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, Peter Chiarelli was sacked Tuesday evening after losing their ninth home game of the last 11.

Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson held a press conference as said, "I want to emphasize again, we got some real good players".

"We've gone through a head coach, we've gone through a general manager now, the responsibility goes back to them in the room", Nicholson said.

The shakeup comes hours after the club stumbled into the All-Star break with a third consecutive defeat on home ice. The Oilers are 14-14-2 since firing coach Todd McLellan and replacing him with Ken Hitchcock.

He said the organizational decision was made this week to fire Chiarelli, who was told at the second intermission of a loss Tuesday night to Detroit so he could quietly leave the arena. Spooner was placed on waivers by Chiarelli this week after he notched just three points in 24 games.

FILE - In this November 4, 2015, file photo, Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli gives an update on injured Oilers hockey player Connor McDavid in Edmonton, Alberta.

Chiarelli looked to be well on his way to succeeding two years ago when the Oilers finished with 103 points and went to Game 7 in the Pacific Division final in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Oilers have missed the playoffs in all but one season since 2006, failing to put together a decent team despite winning the draft lottery four times.

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Chiarelli traded 2010 top pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils one-for-one for defenseman Adam Larsson. In fact, Chiarelli was sacked mid-game so that he could leave Rogers Place quietly.

If somebody in the organization figured that signing Mikko Koskinen to a $13.5 million United States three-year extension Monday would stop the latest skid or change the conversation, it didn't happen.

Zuccarello, 31, is having a nice season for NY, and through 35 games he has 24 points, including eight goals and 16 assists.

"We're not going to trade any of our assets away for a quick fix".

Last summer, Chiarelli did little to improve the roster around McDavid.

"There's something in the water here in Edmonton that we don't have right, and we gotta get that figured out", Nicholson said. It was understood by most that the Oilers' brass would be on a short leash this season, and 49 points in January simply wasn't good enough to keep Chiarelli around. Beyond the Strome for Spooner deal, Chiarelli sent 24-year-old forward Drake Caggiula to Chicago for bottom-pairing defenseman Brandon Manning.

Incredibly he remained and signed Koskinen to a $13.5 million three-year extension Monday.