Peter Chiarelli: “Everyone has a five-year plan and so did we. It’s not like it fell exactly into place, but we were adding certain elements to get to this point.” (After SC win, via Behind the Moves)
I thought it might be a good idea to go back to PC’s PC and see what we can see, now that the first blush excitement is gone. We’re looking for blues clues and anything about the F & G. All of the quotes are via Bruce McCurdy unless otherwise indicated.
- Chiarelli: “The way I manage there’s nothing really flashy about it, although in the past I’ve made some trades and I’m not afraid to do that, it’s about getting to know the players, instilling an attitude and a philosophy about winning, the sacrifices it takes to win, sacrifices on … and off the ice, the mentality that we all have to embrace. There’s really nothing magical about it, there’s nothing magical about me. It’s about hard work, connecting, communicating, and that’s what I plan to do.”
Todd McLellan is at .566 combined Win% coaching in the NHL reg season and PO
— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) May 12, 2015
We have no evidence about on or off ice issues, but there’s always a chance to improve habits in a new regime. This is an area Todd McLellan can help in my opinion, and that two weeks with Hall and Eberle may be key to this first season. There’s already a buzz I’m sure amongst Oilers players and a sense of change for the better.
- Chiarelli: “[I was] part of seven, eight years in Ottawa where we had a real fast, skilled team, and part of nine years in Boston where we had a skilled, heavy team. The game’s changing, so it’s finding the balance between the two. I’ve been an Eastern Conference guy for a while, so I know this team but I don’t know it great. I know the players, but there’s a lot of work to be done from my perspective. There are some of areas that have been well-chronicled that we’re going to have to look at, the goaltending, the back end, the style of play. There’s a lot of them I probably don’t have enough time to tell you them all. [But] there’s also a lot of good things here, young legs, complementary players that can really build an exciting foundation. They play fast, I’d like to see them play a little harder, and that’ll be a challenge.”
I think the Oilers play hard, but not smart. There are all kinds of things we can see the final four teams doing—puck support, better passing, giving the defenseman a good target, using good judgement to reduce risk—those aren’t hard work items, they are discipline and intelligence items (imo). I think Edmonton’s best kids are completely capable of playing a more responsible game, hell Nuge already does it, but that’s going to require listening, executing and discipline.
- Chiarelli: “In Boston we had to add a lot of pieces, I don’t think that’s the case here. Here it’s about the next stage of their development, there are some young kids that need to be put in their proper places, either here or in other leagues. I talk about a measured apporoach, it’s not like we have to get here in a year, I think there needs to be a, not methodical but measured, we have to go through the right steps.”
This speaks to our discussion yesterday, where Krejci (BOS) and Demers (SJS) were both kept in the AHL for a full season by Chiarelli and McLellan (well, by their organizations). What does that mean for the Oilers? It could mean Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl are in Bakersfield for the whole year and guys like Klefbom may play in a less feature role. That’s my read anyway.
- Chiarelli: “You have to come from a bunch of different angles, whether it’s player personnel — and players are hard to find — be that the attitude, or the ‘heaviness’ for lack of a better word, whether it’s a heavy stick or a heavy player. There are teams that don’t have hard, heavy players but they play heavy, they’re strong on their sticks. That’s something you have to instil. I’ve seen the progression here in past years, in talking to MacT they’ve been trying to get bigger and heavier, and that’s certainly an area I want to improve… There are teams that aren’t necessarily hard and heavy but they strip pucks. They’re hard on battles, they win more than their share of battles … they [can be] heavy but they’re not huge. A lot of that has to do with the coach, the philosophy of the organization, that’s part of what I hope to instil.“
I think this quote has been misunderstood, or at least blown out of proportion. This is about doing the small things, or perceived small things, correctly time after time. Justin Schultz has developed this bizarre habit of sending outlet passes into an area as opposed to tape-to-tape. It’s undisciplined, maybe lazy, and hard work is part of the issue because he’s going to need improving in that area.
Maybe, because they’re young, it’s about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of things.
- Todd McLellan: “As a coach I believe most of us are wired to show the players ‘how’, but I don’t think we take the time to get them to understand ‘why’.” Source
- Taylor Hall: “Whether it was the power play or the penalty kill or whatever, we were so prepared. By the end of the tournament, it wasn’t who we were playing, it was all about the structure and identity we had.” Source
Communication and innovation. I think that’s what McLellan will bring to the Oilers. Reminding ourselves it’s a marathon not a sprint may become the hardest thing for an Oilers fan to do. I find myself wishing away spring and summer which, as you know if you live here, is absolutely insane.
Another one of the many reasons I am excited about the Todd McLellan hire is he will put some muscle in the lineup against big tough teams
— McHockey (@Rod_the_Viking) May 19, 2015
Peter Chiarelli said they want players who are hard on the puck, determined, strong on his stick. Pavel Datsyuk—all 5.11, 194—is hard on the puck, determined, strong on his stick. If you look at the top 9F last season for the Bruins, there are lots of guys who aren’t big men:
- R Loui Eriksson 18:28 a night and 6.02, 196 (size comp: Taylor Hall 6.01, 198)
- C David Krejci 18:10 a night and 6.00, 186 (size comp: RNH 6.00, 190)
- C Patrice Bergeron 18:07 a night and 6.02, 194 (size comp: Benoit Pouliot (6.03, 193)
- L Brad Marchand 16:54 and 5.09, 183 (size comp: Jordan Eberle 5.11, 183)
- C Carl Soderberg 16:48 and 6.03, 216 (size comp: Leon Draisaitl 6.01, 210)
- L Milan Lucic 16:21 and 6.03, 235
- R Reilly Smuth 15:24 and 6.00, 185 (size come: Teddy Purcell 6.02, 198)
- C Chris Kelly 15:08 and 6.00, 198 (size comp: Nail Yakupov 5.11, 197)
- L Ryan Spooner 14:32 and 5.11, 181 (size comp: Anton Lander 6.00, 186)
The Oilers don’t have Lucic but there is size in the group. Some of it is too young (Leon) and frankly some of the size doesn’t win enough battles (tick off your choice of names in the group, there are a lot of size comps that don’t favor the Oilers in terms of puck pursuit and retrieval). This isn’t about size. You know who Chiarelli will love? Nugent-Hopkins. Skinny, unusual sideburns doesn’t shave yet Nugent-Hopkins. And that’s a fact.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM
— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) April 10, 2015
One thing that always happens when a new group comes in: the depth chart goes ass over tea kettle. Hockey men see things as they see things and when there’s no attachment to a specific prospect it’s a big deal. The decision makers in the Oilers organization now include (at the top) Peter Chiarelli, Todd McLellan and Bob Green. That’s miles from Craig MacTavish, Dallas Eakins and Stu MacGregor and even more miles from Steve Tambellini, Tom Renney and Stu MacGregor.
Last fall, Craig MacTavish spoke at length about Bogdan Yakimov and Jujhar Khaira. Will Peter Chiarelli feel the same way? Todd McLellan? Bob Green hasn’t been on the job long but his group of players would have been procured between August 2013 and today. Some of the names? I’ll guess Jordan Oesterle, Josh Winquist, CJ Ludwig and Mitch Holmberg.
On the other end are the (basically) orphaned prospects from previous admins and they are very likely to exit soon. Names might include Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Martin Marincin, Tyler Bunz, Martin Gernat, Travis Ewanyk and Frans Tuohimaa (who has recently signed in Europe). New admin, new outlook. That’s the way it is, no exceptions.
Laurent Brossoit? The coach saw him good, and that’s a foot in the door.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
This morning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. He told me weeks ago Mike Babcock was going to land in Toronto. I’ll be getting the winning lottery numbers from Steve this morning.
- Antony Bent, FC Edmonton. Heartbreak on a beautiful night at Clark Park and a big game this weekend.
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. What’s happening with my Bruins? Plus 2015 draft with New England sending giant talents this year.
- Paul Almeida, Saturday Sports Extra. The free-agent season for this summer? Coaches, and the two big names are off the board.
10-1260 text @Lowetide twitter and we’re going to have a good time. Talk soon!