by Lisa McRitchie on 06/26/12 at 04:15 PM ET
You have to think that an announcement is coming soon. After all, now is when the Oilers’ top prospects are descending upon Edmonton for the the team’s annual development camp. It would be quite the camp without a head coach though, now wouldn’t it?
The other thing of note for this camp has to be that former Oiler defenceman turned media, turned maybe coach Jason Strudwick will also be at the camp. Until they make an announcement, now is the time to start speculating.
Robin Brownlee wrote on Oilers Nation just confirmed for most of us that Ralph Krueger has a strong chance of being named the next head coach. But also added that this was something that has been circulating for quite some time. But most people don’t really concern themselves with who said it first, but instead what that means and when will it become official. After all, anyone could have claimed that the Oilers were going to take Nail Yakupov, but it was more important when the team actually did make that selection.
Ralph Krueger’s promotion would make a lot of sense. The team has a strong sense of familiarity with the coach, and they know his character. Add to that the fact that he has already worked with a large chunk of next year’s team and you have a fairly seamless transition.
Where things get interesting is the possible addition of defenceman Jason Strudwick. Strudwick is also a character guy, and an Edmontonian. Strudwick knows the city, knows the team, the organization and he gets the game. Even if you didn’t think that he should have been on the team in his final year, you got that the got along well with the other players and that he had heart. As soon as he didn’t sign another contract to play with the Oilers, the speculations began that he would one day soon be a member of the Oilers’ coaching staff.
While Strudwick is just at the camp as a special guest, EdmontonOilers.com recapped his address to the players:
“In my mind, there are three things that make an NHLer: skill, attitude and work ethic,” he said. “Everyone in this room has enough skill to play in the NHL. Just look at me! I played 12 years in the league—well, basically 11, because I think Billy robbed me of some ice time. It was my best season, Billy!”
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Strudwick get involved with the Oilers in a coaching capacity. Although I don’t have the inside track or any insider information I still see it as just a matter of time before Strudwick makes further decisions on his future and perhaps steps into a coaching role. If you have any doubts about his ability to get along with the young players on any team, just look for his Rock Band Youtube videos, you’ll easily see that that the man is quite the character.
As I write this, I’m actually quite surprised that a coaching announcement has not yet been made. After all, the on ice portion of the Oilers development camp begins tomorrow morning. Steve Tambellini was very tight lipped on the subject this weekend in Pittsburgh though. On Saturday following the draft he said that there were a few candidates that had not yet been interviewed, but that was as far as we could push him. They have to have coaches that they like more than others, and Brent Sutter is likely still in the running, but the Oilers need to get this next season off on the right foot, and soon. With a third consecutive first overall pick on the roster, the team needs to start gelling and competing now. Even if it’s just in conversations through the summer.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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