OPTIONS

Let me start by saying that I don’t think it’s wise to replace the coach again. A young man like Sam Gagner is on his 4th head coach as it is, adding a 5th so soon would once again push the re-set button. Sooner or later, you need to choose your commander and take the hill.

And yet, we saw so many things that made us wonder. Line matching (or lack of–even at home), zone starts, inability to figure out that 2line–there’s some things. When Craig MacTavish took over from Steve Tambellini, he made sure not to blame the coaching staff. However, it’s MacT’s job to improve the team in any way possible.

I think Krueger has a lot of good things, I’m not suggesting MacT should fire him. However, I do miss the logical, reasonable coaching of the MacT days (and don’t tell me about the Petersen usage–he didn’t have the horses) and do hope that the roster gets more balance and we see some really good decisions about roster makeup, lines, line matching, zone starts and a 23-man roster with 23 useful pieces.

If you’re advising MacT, and he asks you which of the available free agent forwards you’d pursue, would it be Nathan Horton? Viktor Stalberg? Brian Bickell? Clarke MacArthur? Ryan Clowe? Raffi Torres? I don’t know the order, but do feel there are enough solid options in free agency the Oilers should be able to grab one of them. Make the list, pursue the top option and then check down from there.

If I had to bet  money today, it would be on Stalberg.

  • Nuge-Hall-Eberle
  • Gagner-Stalberg-Yakupov

Now, about that bottom 6F.

I don’t think the club will be able to find a free agent defenseman at reasonable dollars. There’s simply too much demand for what will be available. We’ll see, but I’d bet a trade is more likely for the blue this summer. Fedor Tyutin level  will cost a pretty penny, but they can’t go to war with that back end again, it just doesn’t work.

Sweet, sweet balance is on the way. A three-for-one is in the wind, I can feel it.

The Lowdown with Lowetide hits the air at 10 this morning on Team 1260. Guests scheduled to appear:

 

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65 Responses to "OPTIONS"

  1. Rondo says:

    I just saw the picture of AV when I went to your site. I must confess I got excited I thought they hired AV without reading the article.

  2. j says:

    Hey Lowetide – I don’t know too much about Tyutin apart from him being mentioned numerous times across these blogs. Can you tell us a bit more about him (or his type of player)? Cheers.

  3. Lowetide says:

    j:
    Hey Lowetide – I don’t know too much about Tyutin apart from him being mentioned numerous times across these blogs.Can you tell us a bit more about him (or his type of player)?Cheers.

    This is a year old but still applies imo

    http://oilersnation.com/2012/3/28/the-perfect-jacket

  4. SK Oiler Fan says:

    There are at least 3 coaches available that are clear upgrades on Krueger. Offer Krugs an assistant position and hire one of these guys now. When you have an obvious opportunity to improve the team you do it. Taylor Hall won’t mind if it helps win more games.

  5. nelson88 says:

    Late from yesterday’s discussion.

    If the Oilers are looking to trade back from #7 (I hope they aren’t) and if Nichuskin falls to #7 I’m betting a Philly deal might be the play made. Hemsky and #7 for Hartnell and #11?

    - Fairly certain I read somewhere the player’s choice was to play for an East coast team like the Flyers (HF article?),
    - Flyers management aren’t afraid to deal and there is a history between the teams.
    - Does not help 13-14 cap flexibility for Flyers but gives them breathing space for havnig to re-up giroux, couterier and schenn in subsequent years.
    - Flyers would still have plenty of size in their top 6 and it gives them a shot at their own Malkin/Ovechkin.
    - Oilers add grit/size in the top 6 and still likely get a player they covet like Horvat or Lazar.

    Not a deal I would like but could see it happening.

  6. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the general idea that coaching wasn’t “the” problem this year or for the Renney years either…

    However, it certainly looks like it may have been “a” problem this year.

    The whole “too many coaches” = bad for development makes a lot of sense to me… but there is a huge caveat…

    The kids have a lot of experience now of not having a stable coach. They’ve only had 48 games under RK. Switching now I don’t think is going to be a huge concern. yea, it speaks to systemic failure on a team level… but I think if your option is upgrade, or stay the course because you’ve made too many changes already… you take the upgrade.

    On AV.. I’d really have to question how he’d coach the team. His extreme zone starts/line matching with his lines might not work on the Oil… Taylor Hall doesn’t need shelter. And we don’t have Malholtra in his prime… and Belanger can’t hack it at his best.

    Also, RK’s system looks a bit like AV’s anyway… looking for zone starts (though not nearly to the same degree).

    anyway it’s an interesting question.

    Also, AV’s firing was stupid IMO.

  7. nelson88 says:

    Rondo: Valeri Nichushkin interview today.http://en.rsport.ru/interview/20130523/663802581.html

    Not that it means much from an 18 year old but that article confirms he is a Flyers fan that I had read elsewhere. thanks. good read

  8. regwald says:

    Stauffer spit balling here I think:

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 7m

    For the #Oilers I would be looking at a Center and assuming Mackinnon is gone IMO the order should be Barkov/Monahan/Hovat/Lazar/Lindholm

    Horvat is ranked 15th among N/A skaters by Central scouting, 14th overall by Corey Pronman.

    Does he know Stu’s thoughts or did he just fall in love with Horvat at the Mem Cup ?

  9. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rondo: http://en.rsport.ru/interview/20130523/663802581.html

    The lines about not wanting to play on the 4th line and not working out in the offseason are a bit troubling.

    He’s looking to walk into a top 6 role it seems.

    Still though… he comes off as having a sense of humor and dedicated to NHL play. If he wins the media battle this summer, he’ll be very valuable.

  10. Hall Awaits says:

    If there was somehow we could get Horton, I would take a run at him. LT what do you think is a reasonable price point for Horton? I was thinking 4.75 over 3 years. I can see someone blowing their brains out on him and signing him to a 5+ mil a year. That’s what scares the hell out of me.

    My top 3:
    Horton
    Stalberg
    Torres

    A far as defence get a Yandle, Shattenkirk, Tyutin or Bouwmeester. Streit ain’t the answer.

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    regwald:
    Stauffer spit balling here I think:

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 7m

    For the #Oilers I would be looking at a Center and assuming Mackinnon is gone IMO the order should be Barkov/Monahan/Hovat/Lazar/Lindholm

    Horvat is ranked 15th among N/A skaters by Central scouting, 14th overall by Corey Pronman.

    Does he know Stu’s thoughts or did he just fall in love with Horvat at the Mem Cup ?

    That list looks like “spur of the moment” mixed with “homerism”

  12. regwald says:

    I said it when the ditched Renney and I will repeat. Changing the coaches as often as the Oilers have is characteristic of an organization in churn/turmoil. It reflects badly on the management for two reasons. Either they are making bad hiring decisions or that no coach will ever satisfy what they are looking for to coach through the short comings of the team.

    Each coach will come with warts and shortcomings. It is time to move forward and make a commitment here, not bring in another coach. No matter how appealing the next shiny bauble looks.

  13. regwald says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Agreed. A strange grouping of players to consider at 7th.

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    regwald:
    I said it when the ditched Renney and I will repeat. Changing the coaches as often as the Oilers have is characteristic of an organization in churn/turmoil. It reflects badly on the management for two reasons. Either they are making bad hiring decisions or that no coach will ever satisfy what they are looking for to coach through the short comings of the team.

    Each coach will come with warts and shortcomings. It is time to move forward and make a commitment here, not bring in another coach. No matter how appealing the next shiny bauble looks.

    I completely agree with this… yet, the sheer number of coaching changes already also suggests that getting it solved for 4-5 years is essential.

    If RK is the guy, great. but if there are better options? I can’t see one more change at this point — if it means solidifying the problem for 4-5 years — doing anymore damage.

  15. regwald says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I completely agree with this… yet, the sheer number of coaching changes already also suggests that getting it solved for 4-5 years is essential.

    If RK is the guy, great. but if there are better options? I can’t see one more change at this point — if it means solidifying the problem for 4-5 years — doing anymore damage.

    I dread one more change because it makes me feel like next year or 2 years from now they will be open to another change.

    I think two mistakes were made with Kreuger hiring – forcing him to keep the assistants and then also having one less coach on the bench.

    In addition, no training camp and the compressed schedule with less practise time all conspired to hurt the results.

    As a rookie head coach, I am sure we can all list numerous other mistakes, but it was a perfect storm. In addition, Bowman as head coach wouldn’t have gotten the team into the playoffs.

  16. misfit says:

    My list would be:

    MacArthur
    Torres
    Clowe
    Stalberg
    Horton
    Bickell

    I haven’t been a big fan of Horton’s for a while, and Bickell is a 4th liner (which is great if you pay him accordingly and already have a top 6 in place). Clowe seems to have slowed, but I’d still take him ahead of most depending on the dollars. He’s only 30, but the regression on this type of player can be quick and sudden. Torres is a great mix of cost and effectiveness, and Stalberg is fine, but his success seems to be a result of a very sheltered role in Chicago. I’m not sure we need more players who have to be sheltered. MacArthur would be at the top of my list, but I don’t want to say too many good things about him because I fully intend to mock the Flames when they sign him this offseason to an obscene contract.

  17. Bad Seed says:

    I wouldn’t touch Torres with a ten foot pole. He’s had six suspensions, right? How effective can he be when he knows the next borderline hit may cost him half a season?

    As for Stalberg, wasn’t there rumblings that he was pissed that he wasn’t on the powerplay & that’s why he was benched? Not sure if it’s true but I heard it somewhere, maybe on cbc telecast. If he has these prima donna issues, not sure I’d want him but maybe it’s all bs too.

    Also, as far as AV goes, I’d be all for it if it meant that Bucky would be down the road. You can be sure that he’d be picking his own assistants although that would mean that Bucky would be moved up to assistant to President 6 Rings Mcgee.

  18. BlacqueJacque says:

    I can see reasons to move Kreuger to the side, but I don’t want Vigneault in his place.

    Vigneault spoils his top offensive players. The Sedins enjoyed ridiculous zone starts to put up big numbers for a few seasons.

    I don’t want the kids learning bad habits and getting spoiled. Sooner or later they’re going to be called upon to kill penalties or cover the defensive zone when it’s critical. The Sedins never seem to have mastered the requisite skills.

  19. Melman says:

    If they were to make a coaching change I’d rather see Tippett here than AV. However, constant turmoil at the head coach position is the sign of a poor manager (that, we hope, has been rectified) and the players here very much seemed to support Ralph and were happy when he took over. What could be very helpful is to bring in an experienced assistant with playoff experience who doesn’t have his eyes on the #1 job but could help RK. Larry Robinson has had a HUGE impact on the Sharks this season and that kind of addition, if available, could be a significant and shrewd move.

  20. wordbird says:

    RK, AV, doesn’t matter who the coach is until they address the roster.

    would prefer to see Ralph get a crack at a proper BALANCED lineup.

  21. godot10 says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    I agree wholeheartedly with the general idea that coaching wasn’t “the” problem this year or for the Renney years either…

    Renney was destroying a top 10 prospect via gross incompetence in Paajarvi. Renney was destroying Lander’s future by keeping him on the roster (instead of OKC) and playing him between Eager and Petrell. And Renney tried running Sam Gagner out of town.

    He was a complete dufus. I think as an assistant coach he is fine. X’s and O’s. But don’t let him anywhere near deciding which players to play.

  22. Woodguy says:

    For the record, the roster is a much bigger problem than the coach.

    That being said, if you want to be a team that strives for excellence, you must do so in all areas, and that includes coaching.

    This summer seems to be a “reset button” moment for the Oilers anyhow, and I don’t think that changing the coach would be too drastic a measure.

    If they do inquire into AV or Tippett, I would welcome it as long as they are convinced the coach would fit the roster well AND they allow the coach to pick his own assistants. (I think AV’s style is perfect for the OIlers. I don’t think Tippett’s style would mesh well with the roster)

    Striving for excellence, but bogging down a Head Coach with “house assistants” is not striving for excellence.

    Tyler has another post up on this past year’s corsi collapse and he’s getting to a really interesting spot: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=6109#comments

    When we talk about RK, let’s remember that he got much, much less out of this roster than Renney did.

    If I’m MacT I want to know why and if RK doesn’t have the answers that suit me, he’s gone.

    I would not be surprised if the Oilers announce a coaching change right after the draft or right after July 1.

  23. rickithebear says:

    Hall Awaits: A far as defence get a Yandle, Shattenkirk, Tyutin or Bouwmeester. Streit ain’t the answer.

    Yandle ! throws up in mouth!
    the guy is a 3rd Comp 55-60% zone start Dman. with barely league average in GA.
    His PP production is Below JS and Petry.
    He does not PK.
    You want a 5.25M dman
    Who will play 3rd Comp , need zone protection and not get time on our PP and PK.
    5.25 million.

  24. RMGS says:

    Is it just me, or have too many people given coach Krueger a free pass this past season? He may not have been “the” problem, but there were too many odd decisions by the coach to let him off the hook. Granted, he was handed the Oilers’ patented unbalanced line-up, but I can’t agree that he made the best of what he had on a consistent basis (putting out your pitiful 4th line in the DZ after a TV time-out more than once in a game, never mind in a season?!). If the Oilers have decided that the so-called ‘rebuild’ is over and that winning is now the objective, giving the coach a break because he was a rookie or because of too much turnover is contradictory. I don’t know that Vigneault’s the answer, but should the team forgo better options MacT would be toying with that ‘neglect-style’ of management we all want to forget.

  25. godot10 says:

    Alain Vigneault is NOT a good coach. He did not realize that you have to change tactics once you have a contending team. How one coaches a contending team is different than how you coach a rebuilding team or coaching a team competing for the last playoff spot.

    Scotty Bowman made Steve Yzerman change his game and forced him to figuratively “run-up-hill” all season so he would be ready in the playoffs. No more scoring titles for you. If you want to win the Stanley Cup, you have to be a two-way player than has to push the toughest minutes.

    Vigneault, even once he had a contending team, let the Sedin’s party all year, instead of preparing them for the brutal hard minutes of a playoff series.

    I much prefer Krueger. He exposed everyone. He challenged everyone. Nobody was protected. If you are on the roster, you are expected to play, and you are expected to be able to do your job in the role assigned to you.

    I’m sure MacT will talk to him a lot, about shorter term tactical considerations, and hopefully add a veteran assistent coach who is used to all the NHL short term coaching “games”.

    But Krueger is coaching from a much more honest place. And one could see the separation of the wheat from the chaff, so much so, that he knocked the sleeping Lowe out of his easy chair, and made him do something.

    Vigneault coached to protect his own ass, not to win Stanley Cups.

    He was handed his jock strap by Julien in the finals, Sutter last year, and McClellan this year.

  26. godot10 says:

    The value in the offseason defensemen market this year, with the reduced cap, is in the RFA/offersheet market. The adventures of PK Subban demonstrated that this market is where the value is right now.

    The UFA market is always over priced. Too much salary and too much term.

    The value in this market will likely close after this summer. This summer is the time to take advantage of it.

    Offer sheet Alzner. That fails. Offer sheet Voynov. That fails. Offer sheet Leddy. That fails. Offer sheet Gunnarsson. That fails. Offer sheet Tanev.

  27. godot10 says:

    I’d offer Hemsky to Phoenix for David Rundblad. Hemsky’s cap space can then be used to the rugged two-way forward.

  28. Rondo says:

    godot10,

    I would disagree, Vancouver was built to win the cup they came up against a Chicago team that had too much talent, they nearly beat Boston with an injured Kesler.

    The team had very mobile D-men skilled #1 center and a Selke type center as their #2.
    AV was a good coach and where ever he lands you will see this.

  29. RMGS says:

    godot10: I much prefer Krueger. He exposed everyone. He challenged everyone. Nobody was protected. If you are on the roster, you are expected to play, and you are expected to be able to do your job in the role assigned to you.

    I’m sure MacT will talk to him a lot, about shorter term tactical considerations, and hopefully add a veteran assistent coach who is used to all the NHL short term coaching “games”.

    But Krueger is coaching from a much more honest place. And one could see the separation of the wheat from the chaff, so much so, that he knocked the sleeping Lowe out of his easy chair, and made him do something.

    Given Dellow’s recent outstanding work, are you suggesting that every forward beyond Hall (and to a lesser extent RNH and Eberle) is chaff – even if this was not the case the previous season with almost the same line-up?

  30. Alpine says:

    Rondo,

    Doesn’t the way their roster was built reflect the work of Nonis/Gillis rather than Vigneault?

  31. leadfarmer says:

    godot10,

    Sadly I dont think Hemsky has that much value, and if they trade him they will pretty much have to give him away. Probably 2nd rounder and 3rd rounder or equivalent prospect. Probably worth just to hang on to him and hope he recovers.

    Rondo,

    There is a reason that 5 out of the 8 teams left are the lower seed. Those teams have been playing playoff hockey for a while now. If your best players are given soft minutes all season long and those soft minutes disappear in the playoffs you cant be suprised if they cant carry the load.

    As for Krueger I would be ok with letting him go, but you cant blame him for not sheltering people when he didnt have anyone to shelter them with.

  32. rickithebear says:

    misfit: MacArthur
    Torres
    Clowe
    Stalberg
    Horton
    Bickell

    Our future cap structure dictates the dollars we can use on UFA.
    The cap may move up to this years range.
    18M for first 3; 15.5 m for next 4; 1.575 per player on last 7 FWD
    Hall 6.0 LW
    Eberle 6.0 RW
    Yakupov 6.0 RW 18 M

    RNH 5.5 C
    Gagner 5.0 Wing/ 3C
    5M for the next two
    Torres fits bottom 7 contracts.
    Clowe to Expensive
    Horton Too expensive
    Stahlberg great 3rd comp winger in Reg season. Pulls a Sedin in Playoffs.
    Bickell fits one of the 6-7 contracts .
    Strong 1st /2nd comp outshooter in Reg season with no sheltering needed.
    Averaged a rank of 34th for LW EVen points.
    His .55PPG pace in playoffs is Top 15 for LW.
    4 year contract in 2.25 -2.75M is not wrong.

  33. bookje says:

    Woodguy,

    Much much less out of the Roster, such as finishing 5 positions above Renney’s last year and 6 positions above the previous year?

    Why stop at the coach, perhaps its time to fire the training staff again.

  34. sliderule says:

    If you can upgrade your coach or players you have to do it.

    Just stay away from Tippett as he would bench Hall and Yak and probably want them traded.

    If you want a reference to this call Turris.

    Av did a good job with Canucks and brought along a lot of young players vs burying them like Tippett

  35. RickDeckard says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    The sedins pked in the whc and won gold. And do you really want Hall breaking his foot blocking shots?

  36. godot10 says:

    Krueger finished 5 spots higher than Renney did last year, WITHOUT any easy Eastern Conference games.

    Renney had an awful record in Vancouver. Apart from a brief spurt when he was hired in NY, his team went backwards. Tortorella got more out of the same roster.

    The Oilers now have Ferrari motors powering the team, and some people want to hire Volkswagon Beetle mechanics like Tippett and Vigneault. What was the point of trying to build a Ferrari again?

  37. gcw_rocks says:

    I agree with Woodguy. This team should be pursuing excellence in all positions. If AV is a material upgrade, then I have no issue with a new GM naming a new, and better, head coach.

    I also whole heartily agree the new coach should be allowed to name his assistants (except for Ric Bowness, how this guy keeps getting NHL jobs is beyond me).

    My list of free agents would include Bickell,. Stalberg, MacArthur, Clarkson, Gordon, and Hainsey, with Stalberg and MacArthur being the most likely two. MacT needs to come away with at least 2, if not three from that list to move the needle.

  38. Derek says:

    If you took the team with the highest Fenwick close numbers to win each series blindly without any other consideration in the first round you would’ve gone 6-2.

    If you took into consideration PIT’s rash of injuries bringing down their shot totals and how these players may have bumped their team ranking up 5 places (above the NYI) you could’ve gone 7-1.

    That leaves MTL and OTT who were 2 places apart in the team ranking and where the series outcome probably would’ve been different had Anderson not stood on his head in an attempt to recreate the 2010 Canadiens and balance the scales.

    Cool story right?

    Under RK the 2013 Edmonton Oilers finished 3rd last in Fenwick close % at 44.48.

    The 2012 Edmonton Oilers finished 24th with 48.08.

    RK finished higher in 2013 because of dumb luck in a shortened season, the same kind that saw Anaheim into the second seed in the Western Conference just not the same amount.

    The ship is moving backwards in the Nth number of the rebuild because the captain – despite being a really cool dude and fun to talk to – can’t read his charts.

  39. regwald says:

    gcw_rocks:
    I agree with Woodguy.This team should be pursuing excellence in all positions.If AV is a material upgrade, then I have no issue with a new GM naming a new, and better, head coach.

    I also whole heartily agree the new coach should be allowed to name his assistants (except for Ric Bowness, how this guy keeps getting NHL jobs is beyond me).

    My list of free agents would include Bickell,. Stalberg, MacArthur, Clarkson,Gordon, and Hainsey, with Stalberg and MacArthur being the most likely two.MacT needs to come away with at least 2, if not three from that list to move the needle.

    Except if they are pursuing excellence in all positions, why a patronage appt for a new GM from an internal candidate and not look around in the off-season and do a formal search for all the good candidates. So, that pursuit is only worthy for the Coach and Players ?

    Nothing done with scouting yet ?

  40. gogliano says:

    godot10:
    Krueger finished 5 spots higher than Renney did last year, WITHOUT any easy Eastern Conference games.

    Renney had an awful record in Vancouver.Apart from a brief spurt when he was hired in NY, his team went backwards.Tortorella got more out of the same roster.

    The Oilers now have Ferrari motors powering the team, and some people want to hire Volkswagon Beetle mechanics like Tippett and Vigneault.What was the point of trying to build a Ferrari again?

    The rest of the conference also did not have Eastern Conference games.

  41. godot10 says:

    Derek:

    That leaves MTL and OTT who were 2 places apart in the team ranking and where the series outcome probably would’ve been different had Anderson not stood on his head in an attempt to recreate the 2010 Canadiens and balance the scales.

    Cool story right?

    Under RK the 2013 Edmonton Oilers finished 3rd last inFenwick close % at 44.48.

    The 2012 Edmonton Oilers finished 24th with 48.08.

    RK finished higher in 2013 because of dumb luck in a shortened season, the same kind that saw Anaheim into the second seed in the Western Conference just not the same amount.

    The ship is moving backwards in the Nth number of the rebuild because the captain – despite being a really cool dude and fun to talk to – can’t read his charts.

    Krueger didn’t have any games against the pathetically weak eastern conference, like Renney did.

    Why don’t you look at just the Western Conference games from Renney’s last season for an apples to apples comparison, instead of an apples to oranges.

    Plus, Krueger, and I keep making this point, wasn’t playing defensively, or trying to protect anybody. He was being far less tactical. He had no training camp to teach the new attacking system, and he was less tactical during the season to foster confidence in the system. If you start micro-tactics before the basic system is ingrained, things will fall apart.

    You can only teach so many things at once.

  42. godot10 says:

    gogliano: The rest of the conference also did not have Eastern Conference games.

    Yes. Exactly my point. If there were intra-conference games this season, all the Western terms would be ranked even higher and Eastern Conference teams lower in the final overall league standings, and Krueger would have finished even better than 5 spots higher than Renney, because most western conference teams would finish one or two spots higher in the 30-team ranking.

  43. Bag of Pucks says:

    My concern with RK is the team started slowly in many games last year and that’s not a trait I would typically associate with a team coached by a supposed ‘motivational expert.’

    Ralph reminds me of the guys that pitched enterprise level software systems in the height of the dot com era. His presentation is very ‘slick’ and commanding and he uses all the right buzzwords. What he’s lacking is the tag team closer they bring in afterwards. You know – the guy with the legitimate product knowledge that actually understands your business requirements? I’m hopeful that’s what MacT is looking for in the associate coach – a systems guru who not only understands the big picture but also the nuts and bolts of effective game planning and bench management.

    The other concern I have with RK (and admittedly it’s through the limited fly on the wall perspective that Oil Change provides) is a perceived emphasis on continual positive reinforcement at what appears to be the expense of accountability. The org claims he does use the stick as well as the carrot, but supposedly that’s kept behind closed doors? I hope that’s the case, because the contrasts between Ralph and Therrien from a player accountability perspective could not have been more drastic to this observer in watching Oil Change v 24ch.

    Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks this team does not need another distracting season of Oil Change next year? Hopefully with the arena deal finalized now, righting the competitive ship can take precedence over external PR?

    For what it’s worth, I think Ralph did do the right thing rolling lines over the 48 game sked as opposed to hard matching. If nothing else, it exposed the deficiencies in the lineup that forced Tambi out. Ralph survived that cull (at least initially) so one could argue he made a pretty smart move particularly if MacT now provides him with a drastically upgraded roster. As well, there are times when coaches can become too enamored with hard matching and it actually stifles the offense. MacT? MacBlender? Oh right, they were one and the same.

  44. russ99 says:

    godot10,

    Spot on. Not to mention Renney’s stiff robotic adherence to a system that killed offense. Krueger was much more flexible, except with the strategy of not giving the kid line easy minutes 5 x 5 – and that will make them better pros in the future.

    Give Krueger another year, he’s a good coach. If he can’t improve along with the players, there would be a ton of experienced coaches that would love to come in here and coach these talented kids next season.

    If anything chop the “boys on the bus” assistants and let Krueger bring in his own coaching team.

  45. Dee Dee says:

    I need a scorecard to keep track of all the changes, lets see now.

    MacTavish was the problem so they got rid of him and replaced him with:

    Pat Quinn, who was the problem and they replaced him with:

    Tom Renney, who was the problem so they replaced him with:

    Ralph Krueger, who is also apparently the problem.

    Oh, and the first problem was brought back as part of the new solution and made the new GM to get rid of the other problem they had in Steve Tambellini.

    The assistant coaches, assorted group of clingons and part of the boys on the bus club with no previous coaching experience are NOT part of the problem.

    The old trainers and various middle level guys WERE part of the problem and are long gone. As well as the various players who got pissed off and told a lot of nasty stuff that actually seemed to be at least partly true, but they are part of the problem too.

    The remaining 3 players from the Cup run (Smyth, Horcoff, and Hemsky) are all old and slow now so they are part of the problem too.

    By my count the only people left in the organization from the cup run who aren’t considered part of the problem are Kevin Lowe and Joey Moss.

    So my candidate for the new coach should come from one of two directions.

    #1 Joey Moss. Longest term employee of the organization who has paid his dues. Plus he has 5 cups AND has a cup named after him, thereby trumping Kevin Lowe’s 6 cups.

    #2 A magician or illusionist. A David Blaine or David Copperfield type, someone who is good with smoke and mirrors. But not Chris Angel, please.

  46. B S says:

    The only coach I see as a clear upgrade on Krueger at the moment is Babcock. I can’t think of any other coach that would have done better with the Oilers current roster. As others have said, Krueger had a 6 day training camp and incredibly limited practice time this season and still managed to turn Hall, Ebs, Nuge into a top line in the western conference. Find me a team with a 1st line who’s average age is 21 and still made the playoffs. Everyone wants those kids to be competitive, reliable line against to competition. Krueger did that. Everyone wants Paajarvi to be a top 6 forward. Krueger did that. He also pushed this team to 12th place finish despite a brutal schedule (numerous back-to-backs and a 9 game road-trip), and a depleted center group (how many other teams had to play with only 1 NHL center). I’m disappointed the Oilers didn’t get 10th or higher, but I honestly can’t see how AV or even Tippet could have gotten more out of the team without wrecking our young players.

    If Krueger is as smart as many seem to think he is then he should learn from his mistakes this season.

  47. Gerta Rauss says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Incidentally, am I the only one who thinks this team does not need another distracting season of Oil Change next year? Hopefully with the arena deal finalized now, righting the competitive ship can take precedence over external PR?

    I agree-we don’t need any more Oil Change episodes. I could be wrong, but MacT commented on the room “being a circus in there” and I believe he was referring to the camera crew etc etc. I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of it.

  48. Bag of Pucks says:

    Dee Dee:

    So my candidate for the new coach should come from one of two directions.

    #1 Joey Moss. Longest term employee of the organization who has paid his dues. Plus he has 5 cups AND has a cup named after him, thereby trumping Kevin Lowe’s 6 cups.

    Not down with Joey as the HC, but if I’m the one booking arena entertainment, he sings the anthem EVERY night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNhhJ8FXmBo

  49. B S says:

    Dee Dee,

    I was actually hoping they would move Joey up to GM, especially if cups are a prerequisite as I’m sure he’s had to deal with plenty.

  50. asiaoil says:

    I’ll echo many of the positive comments about Kruger – the guy is so much smarter than the supposed “big brain” MacTavish it’s not funny. He made mistakes this year and he WILL learn – but he put his stamp on the team in terms of accountability by benching guys that needed to be benched or scratched. So some of the clever folks on this blog want to replace a new coach with a young team learning a new system with no training camp, few practices, and empty seats for assistant coaches. Right – I invite you to race Usain Bolt blindfolded and hopping on one leg – and I’ll mock you for losing.

    The BIGGEST tell for me that MacT will be anything more than another old boy hack is whether he let’s Kruger ditch useless Smith/Bucky and hire real coaches. No surprise that our defense has been garbage since Huddy left and what exactly does Bucky do beside pat asses and yell “alright boys”. Give the man some help for crying out loud – he’s good – but nobody succeeds carrying those anchors and there are only so many hours in the day. Same goes for pro scouting – if MacT does not flush the toilet than he’s just another Lowe puppet.

  51. B S says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    Krueger would bench veteran players (Horcoff) or scratch them (Whitney, Smyth) when they weren’t performing, and move players up (Paajarvi) if they were playing well. Calling out players in front of their peers, or bad mouthing them in front of the media doesn’t hold players accountable it just degrades them and eventually gets tuned out as a motivational tool (see the Rangers every year). Krueger seems to use ice time as his main method of holding players accountable.

  52. Bag of Pucks says:

    B S:
    Bag of Pucks,

    Krueger would bench veteran players (Horcoff) or scratch them (Whitney, Smyth) when they weren’t performing, and move players up (Paajarvi) if they were playing well. Calling out players in front of their peers, or bad mouthing them in front of the media doesn’t hold players accountable it just degrades them and eventually gets tuned out as a motivational tool (see the Rangers every year). Krueger seems to use ice time as his main method of holding players accountable.

    Good point. I did like the fact that RK made the tough calls with Whitney and Smyth. Org seemed to go overboard with Pechkam however. Why they didn’t just waive Theo is beyond me.

    With the modern athlete, I don’t think ice time can be the only carrot/stick at the HC’s disposal. It certainly works well for players hungry to succeed. I think other methods have to be found/used for problematic players. For example, would a ‘Radulov’ or ‘Eager’ care if you cut their ice time? Does it change Hemsky’s compete level?

    RK has a lot nice personnel success stories. It does bear mentioning that some players (Petry, Hemsky, Eberle) did regress under his leadership, so sailing on the SS Krueger wasn’t all wine and roses last season. On the whole, I agree with those saying he deserves a shot at running the show for a full season.

  53. Smarmy says:

    I get why people might want to go after one of these more successful name coaches like Tippett or Vig but it just seems so shitty to flush a guy who seems to have the chops before he even got a training camp or a real season to work with this team.

    I do agree with Godot that he didn’t protect anyone and let people succeed on their own merits which this stupid organization probably needed otherwise I wouldn’t advocate it is a good strategy.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Godot that Krueger had this Machiavellian plot to ouster the incompentent Tambellini or knock Lowe from the roost of his ivory tower.

  54. B S says:

    Bag of Pucks,

    I don’t have anything for Petry (he was facing tough comp the previous season too), but Eberle was facing the top competition most nights last season, for the first time really. Assuming he heals up and comes back in top form next season I think he should be able to hold his own in the coming years. Hemsky is an enigma for every coach, the guy is just so hard to read. I’ll admit I’m not sure about his use of Petrell, but in defense of Krueger and his seemingly ignoring Corsi there were times during the season when Ralph took a largely defensive strategy when the team was leading, allowing numerous weak shots on net. I’m not advocating it, but he may have been trying to clamp down on the stupid plays in the neutral zone that kept costing the team leads last season.

  55. godot10 says:

    Eberle didn’t regress last season. He played about 3 or 4 more minutes per game, against the toughest opposition, with far less favourable zone starts, mostly with a centre in a sophomore slump and gimpy shoulder, and who is 19 years old.

    Context is important when interpreting advanced stats.

  56. B S says:

    Speaking of head coaches: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/nhl/story/2013/05/23/sp-nhl-avalanche-patrick-roy.html

    I love how CBC and TSN gloss over the fact Roy is also VP of hockey operations. Either it’s to justify his likely fat salary, or because he wants more control over how he runs his team or most likely both. Maybe the solution for the Oilers isn’t to oust Krueger, but to make him head coach AND GM, kick Craig up to Prez and give Lowe a senior consulting position.

  57. Rondo says:

    LT,

    Do you think Sean Monahan will be a very similar player to Logan Couture.?

  58. spoiler says:

    The. Canucks lost because they didn’t want to play for AV any longer. You can only be a dickhead for so long before you players tune you out (see Keenan, Mike). Not saying that Gillis shouldn’t have been fired too… If I were Orca I would’ve eaten them both. But AV lost the room last year and couldn’t get it back. The whip wasn’t working anymore, he had to go.

    Nor is he the style of coach I want anywhere near our young fractious thoroughbreds.

  59. art vandelay says:

    AV had the Canucks within a single-game Luongo meltdown of winning the Stanley Cup. Lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion twice. And this year migiht make it thrice.
    The Oilers have finished out of the playoffs for, what, 20 years now. Oops, forgot that one year when the stars aligned. Put another penny in the Fernando Pisani jar.
    So I’d say AV’s an upgrade over the resident bozos.
    Even if he “shelters” the Sedins with “soft zone starts” and their relCorsi 5×5 isn’t as impressive as Oskar Klefbom’s, or whoever the flavor du jour is in Oiler-land.
    Oiler fan needs to back away from the “advanced” stats and the Jim Matheson ripped-from-the-AP-wire columns and watch a little hockey now and then.
    And I don’t mean this site’s proprietor. I mean the AM sports radio callers that haunt this place.

  60. Lowetide says:

    Hi ART! Yeah, no doubt AV is bona fide.

  61. Captain Happy says:

    spoiler:
    The. Canucks lost because they didn’t want to play for AV any longer. You can only be a dickhead for so long before you players tune you out (see Keenan, Mike). Not saying that Gillis shouldn’t have been fired too… If I were Orca I would’ve eaten them both. But AV lost the room last year and couldn’t get it back. The whip wasn’t working anymore, he had to go.

    Nor is he the style of coach I want anywhere near our young fractious thoroughbreds.

    You obviously, by referring to “the whip”, have no idea what kind of coach AV is.

    He has actually been criticized for being too hands off…never going into the dressing room and, instead, allowing his veterans to to run the room.

    I don’t disagree that his message became stale and some of his personnel decisions were baffling though.

    But he’s far from a dick head.

  62. leadfarmer says:

    art vandelay,

    But if you take away that one season that the oil lost game 7 in SCF and you do the same to the Canucks you realize that the Canucks have not won anything. Ever. Close one other time, but o/w wondering the desert their whole existence.

    Bye Art

  63. Captain Happy says:

    leadfarmer:
    art vandelay,

    But if you take away that one season that the oil lost game 7 in SCF and you do the same to the Canucks you realize that the Canucks have not won anything.Ever.Close one other time, but o/w wondering the desert their whole existence.

    Bye Art

    AV should have been fired when they Canucks lost a series they should have won.

    Coaching decisions played a large part of that loss especially his handling of his goaltenders.

    The thinking was that the following season would bring more of the same but, obviously, it didn’t.

    Gillis can be faulted for being too loyal.

  64. gcw_rocks says:

    regwald,

    If you go back and look at my comments on this blog and others I have spoken out loudly that hiring MacT would be and was a mistake for that reason and others.

    But just because they fucked up the GM decision does not mean we should give up on pursuit of excellence in other positions.

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