Oiler fans are going to have to catch up to this–apparently when MacT goes to the world championships it’s for a REASON–folks, the guy is getting after it. After several years of “dull as dish water” the Oilers under new GM Craig MacTavish are newsmakers.
It looks like the Oilers are going to add a veteran NHL coach (Paul Maurice has apparently already been interviewed) and that is a big deal for two reasons: first, it indicates that the new GM feels Ralph’s lack of NHL experience has to be addressed. Pretty much all posters here–even the pro-Krueger folks like myself–fretted over line matchups and PP lineup choices and this that and the other. A veteran NHL coach could certainly help in that area.
The other thing of course is that the “associate coach” often ends up being the next coach, but let’s hope it’s the Sather-Muckler transition and involves Stanley’s for both men during their time as head coach.
THE ‘OVS HAVE IT!
When it comes to Russian defensemen, the Oilers have had a little good fortune over the years. My favorites include Bo Mironov, Igor Ulanov and Denis Grebeshkov and I suspect this fellow is a ‘typical’ Russian in that he plays a 2-way game with a physical element and some chaos. Early comparisons have Elexei Yemelin in the conversation and that’s a very nice neighborhood.
Terry Jones has a great article up (published last night) and the MacT quotes are gold:
- MacT: “I expect him to make the team. We’re planning on starting the season with him with us next season.”
- MacT: “We went over (to the WHC) watched him and very much liked what we saw. We’re excited to have him.”
- MacT: “It’s a move to trying to build more mobility into our back end. He moves the puck well. He makes quick decisions with the puck. He has a high skill level and competes hard. The expectation is that he’s going to come in and help us.”
- MacT: “He’s big. He plays heavy. He’s got some toughness.”
Apparently he can play either side comfortably, so maybe we see a Smid-Petry, Schultz-Schultz, Klefbom-Belov combination, although something tells me there’s more activity on the way. Remember, MacT doesn’t just go places, he does things. The contract is $1.525M including bonuses, this fellow was making more in Russia. It’s a pretty cool signing all around.
The Lowdown with Lowetide this morning at 10 on Team 1260 features a full lineup. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Cullen from tsn. Cullen’s very interesting off-season gameplan for the Oilers is here,
- Patricia Teter from Artful Puck. We’ll set the scene for OKC-Grand Rapids tonight and talk about the tornadoes in OKC and area.
- Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus. Corey will give us a quick profile of Anton Belov.
- Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun. Jonesy wrote an outstanding article on Belov and beat the competition by some margin.
- Andreas Morse from the Eddies will set the scene for this weekend.
- Jungle Jim Hunter will talk to us about testing at the Combine and preparing athletes.