Many were ecstatic when the Oilers hired Chiarelli as the club's GM and President of Hockey Operations.
Nicholson said Hitchcock's duties won't change and that assistant general manager Keith Gretzky will inherit many of Chiarelli's duties as the search begins for a new GM.
So they head into the all-star break and another five days off as per National Hockey League mandate for all 31 teams at some time in the schedule, the Oilers are still three points out of a wild-card. We've got some real good staff. "But there's something in the water here in Edmonton that we don't have right and we've got to get that figured out".
"He really felt that he had let the organization down in not having this team in the playoffs".
The firing of Chiarelli is the second personnel change the Oilers have made this season. In fact, Chiarelli was sacked mid-game so that he could leave Rogers Place quietly. "We had a down year, but I talked to Peter, and he has a plan to get us back in the playoffs next season", he said. Edmonton has lost 12 of its past 16 games going into the All-Star Break. We're going to try and bolster the offence and the defence, but we're not trading away our first pick.
"We have a lot of work to do here in the organization over this break", Nicholson said.
Chiarelli was originally hired to rebuild the Oilers around superstar Connor McDavid in April of 2015, but has struggled to find the right pieces to play alongside the reigning Art Ross Trophy victor.
Nicholson says Chiarelli was disappointed by the news, but not surprised.
Add in the $6 million a year he signed Milan Lucic to that still has four and a half years to run and several other salaries that have left his successor with handcuffs and even his recent trade for Brandon Manning, the worst player on the ice Tuesday. A trip to the second round of the playoffs in 2017 looked like the start of success, but the Oilers finished 17 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference despite McDavid putting up an NHL-best 108 points to win the Art Ross Trophy. Two players the Oilers placed on waivers on Monday, Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner, both cleared waivers on Tuesday.
Chiarelli was expected to give the woebegone Oilers steady leadership with McDavid.
A replacement for Chiarelli wasn't immediately announced by the team.
"We looked at the depth of the goalies that would be available next year and we really believe in Mikko", Nicholson said.