Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
If you looked at the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday morning and assessed that — new coaches or not — they are not a Stanley Cup contender, you’d get no argument here.
But if you ever thought that this was a team vulnerable to being outcoached, or you wondered whether a new set of opinions was required to raise the compete level of a soft and easy-to-play-against club, then you can put those opinions to bed as of this morning.
The Edmonton Oilers are holding a 2:00pm ET press conference and will be streaming it live if you want to watch.
added 12:45pm, NHL Live reporting we could see a Pat Quinn as coach and Tom Renney as asst. coach scenario.
added 12:55pm, TSN confirms the above scenario.
added 2:16pm, from the Edmonton Oilers,
General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have hired Pat Quinn as the club’s new Head Coach. In addition to Quinn, Tambellini also announced Tom Renney has been named Associate Coach and current Oilers Assistant Coach, Kelly Buchberger, will also be on the coaching staff.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Here’s the dilemma facing Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.
Does he hire an older, experienced NHL head coach like Pat Quinn, Marc Crawford or Tom Renney? And if he does go for an older coach, he likely has to get a young gun as an assistant to take over behind the bench a few years down the road.
Or should he go with a fresh new face such as Kevin Dineen or Scott Arniel—both on the Oilers’ short list—but have an older right-hand man to help him learn the NHL coaching ropes?
Tambellini has interviewed Quinn, Crawford, and Renney, along with Todd Richards, the San Jose Sharks assistant coach, who might be at the top of the list with the Minnesota Wild now that Chuck Fletcher has taken over as GM.
But Tambellini is methodical and probably a little anxious. A general manager’s most important hire is his first head coach.
from Jim Matheson of he Edmonton Journal,
Would you trade Ales Hemsky?
I know, I know. His Edmonton Oilers contract is user-friendly in today’s salary cap world. His cap hit for the next three seasons is a very agreeable $4.1 million, less than Dustin Penner’s number, although Hemsky’s salaries are $4.4 million, $4.5 million and $5 million during the last season in 2011-12. On the other hand, his contract is also attractive to other teams that might want to trade for him.
If the Oilers could get two front-line players for him, at least one a bigger, stronger body like winger Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and retrieve hard-nosed defenceman Matt Greene, too, would they consider it?
Is it that far-fetched? I don’t think so.
Sportsnet has learned that Craig MacTavish is done after eight years as the Edmonton Oilers head coach.
At a noon (mdt) press conference, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini will announce that the coaching search is on in Edmonton, after the Oilers missed the playoffs this spring for the fifth time in MacTavish’s eight-year tenure.
It is believed that MacTavish stepped down from his post, and was not fired by the Oilers.
added 2:06pm, Watching the video stream of the press conference, Tambellini confirms, “Time to move forward.”
from John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal,
Fire some players; keep the coach.
In a world where some believe firing the coach is a mission statement, not a cliche, that surely would be a refreshing approach for the Oilers to adopt following a failed season.
And since head coach Craig MacTavish would not discuss his future at his media briefing on Monday, it may be the decision about his tenure has not yet been taken.
If so, it would certainly be a gutsy move by GM Steve Tambellini—who has yet to assert himself in that role in this city—to demonstrate publicly he not only has his head coach’s back, he wants him back next season.
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
“Some guys came in here this year thinking this is an easy game,” said defenceman Sheldon Souray, who shot straighter after practice on Wednesday than he has in the last 10 games.
” ‘The crowd loves me. I got points in junior, I got points in the minors, I got points here last year, I’m going to be great this year.’ Well, any professional will tell you, when people know about you, now there is expectation. Opponents know you and pay attention to you. The organization puts more expectation on you.
“Look, last year was a totally different situation. You hope that some of this experience lends itself to making you better next year.” If the sharpest of those accusations sound like a shot across the bow of the sophomore set, Souray said his focus was not that narrow. Young and old have to take responsibility for this debacle, he stressed, and he made it clear by missing only goalie Dwayne Roloson with the broad brush of blame.
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
As Textgate proves, Daryl Katz can be all thumbs.
The hardwired Edmonton Oilers owner whose heartfelt but clumsy text vote of confidence in head coach Craig MacTavish poured digital fuel on a raging bonfire in the middle of this hockey-mad community, has been in cyber-contact with other members of his team this season. He sent Andrew Cogliano a text after the diminutive centre scored the winner against Tampa Bay on Feb. 24.
“He just said ‘inspiring game, keep it up, you’re playing well.’ It goes a long way to showing what kind of guy he is. I thought it was pretty cool to have your owner text you,” said Cogliano. “It’s not like you’re talking to an owner, just a regular guy.” Katz also sent Sam Gagner a text on the road on March 17.
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
So the owner has said Craig MacTavish isn’t going anywhere.
That’s not exactly the way to quiet the growing Oilers crisis, it’s the underlying problem. He’s not likely going to the NHL playoffs. Neither is his team. Again. Many Oilers fans knew it even before their local heroes fought hard and lost 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place on Thursday night, they don’t like it and they aren’t afraid to say as much during home games, on call-in radio shows and Internet message boards.
So far, they have not put their money where their mouths are rather than into Oilers tickets, and chances are the joint will be sold out again next year, with or without MacTavish behind the bench, with or without a playoff afterglow.
But the growing cacophony of discontent in fandom and the Edmonton media grew rather more hostile and centred on MacTavish Thursday afternoon and it prompted owner Daryl Katz to issue a cryptic, pre-game vote of confidence for his head coach, via text message to the team’s radio rights holder.
Update 2:46pm ET: From Mark Spector at Sportsnet.ca, more on Katz—
Well, the first full season under Katz is in the books in Oilerville, and some disturbing signs are beginning to emerge. Missing the playoffs is the least of the problems in Edmonton, as signs of a dysfunctional Oakland Raiders-like organization creep to the fore.
Moves like signing second-line centres to $7-million deals and backing coaches with cryptic text messages, all from a Howard Hughes-like owner who likes to manage his asset, but leaves others to speak to the fans who sell out his building every night.
The guy on the white horse is famously playing favourites, rumoured to be getting waaaay to close to a select few of his players, and has now left the impression that Craig MacTavish will continue as his head coach only because the two families like to spend time together.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Real or imagined, the belief this NHL season in the City of Champions was that Craig MacTavish’s future as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers depended upon his team making the playoffs.
The theory went something like this: The Oilers prize loyalty more than most organizations and MacTavish has, through thick and thin, been a loyal company man.
Bright, funny and schooled in the defensive aspects of hockey, he was the right man for most of his time on the job as the Oilers dealt with the challenges of operating in a financially-challenged small market. MacTavish’s tenure with the Oilers is one of the longest in the NHL, surpassed only by the Buffalo Sabres’ Lindy Ruff and the Nashville Predators’ Barry Trotz, two other NHL organizations that put stability first.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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