KRUEGER FIRED

Craig MacTavish told us at his opening press conference he was impatient, but I don’t know many Oiler fans and observers saw this coming. Ralph Krueger is out.

During the press conference, MacTavish discussed the reasons behind the decision involved the vision of the team moving forward, but offered little in the way of specifics. Perhaps some of the things (line matching, deployment of personnel) that we’ve talked about were also concerns for MacT.

It also appears that Dallas Eakins is the new man, but we do not have confirmation on it.

I will do a “Dallas Eakins in a box” item in the next day or so, but there’s a lot of great reading we can do right now:

It sounds like this happened on the fly, with MacT so impressed with Dallas Eakins and felt Eakins matched his vision for the team.

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131 Responses to "KRUEGER FIRED"

  1. dessert1111 says:

    Wow. I personally thought Krueger deserved another season but what MacT knows that I don’t is enormous. MacT is keeping things interesting this off-season which a part of me loves, even if I don’t understand at this point. Maybe just a case of a guy they thought was better being available?

    Poor Krueger, seems like a really good guy and a decent coach. Wonder what’s up next for him.

  2. "Steve Smith" says:

    This kind of strikes me as a tacit admission that the only parts of the rebuild to yield any value thus far are the accumulation of draft picks and, presumably, the restructuring of the minor league system. The organization appears to be undoing virtually everything else Tambellini did (besides Justin Schultz, who I’m just going to slot into the same category as the high draft picks). Other than that (and it’s an admittedly big “that”), they’re starting the rebuild over.

  3. Pajamah says:

    I’m sure it’ll be a divisive topic, but I am certainly not in favor of disposing of Krueger so quickly.

    Sure, he had some failings, be it line matching, who to scratch etc. but short of Eberle and Nuge’s injuries, he got the most out of his best horses

    If it is Eakins, how is he guaranteed to be any better

  4. wordbird says:

    I guess with half the roster expected to be turned over, yet another new voice behind the bench isn’t the end of the world. if it IS Eakins, he comes highly recommended as a motivator. still sucks for Ralph though.

  5. Rondo says:

    LT,

    Assuming it is Eakins, how do you think he will effect the draft 2013 for the Oilers

  6. cabbiesmacker says:

    I think this is a good move. What Kreuger was trying to do seemed a little on the complicated side.

    If they really want to make this a great day Buchberger should be adios with Todd Nelson coming up. Nobody can argue about the job he’s done the past couple.

  7. Lowetide says:

    I think we’re now at the point (and I mentioned this a day or so ago) that this team is going to get flushed. We can assume Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Gagner, Yak, Schultz the younger are returning but beyond that it’s not set.

    This is officially a thriller.

  8. FastOil says:

    I was hoping for Eakins or Cooper before they hired Ralph. To bad for him, although the only thing I thought he might be good at (as he hadn’t yet shown any strengths yet) was handling the young Europeans.

    Man what a reversal from the Tambellini days. MacT doesn’t seem to be into recycled people as much.

  9. Bar_Qu says:

    Well ….. I guess we have to wait and see if the new guy has something the last four old guys did not.

    Maybe a balanced roster? No, that couldn’t be it.

    (not a fan of this move, even if Eakins walks on water)

  10. OilClog says:

    I’m so confused.. I hope the assistants follow. Clear the building! lolol.

  11. Oiler_Kiwi says:

    If MacT is going to do this right, Buchberger and Smith should be gone as well.

    If they stay then the old boy’s network is well and truly still in action.

    I would love Huddy to be back to coach the D however.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    LT,

    Assuming it is Eakins, how do youthink he will effect the draft 2013 for the Oilers

    I don’t think there would be anything specific, but the chances of dealing #7 overall may have increased.

  13. fifthcartel says:

    I was happy to hear it will be up to the new coach (Eakins) to choose his assistants. Also happy to have MacT living up to his bold move talk.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Oiler_Kiwi:
    If MacT is going to do this right, Buchberger and Smith should be gone as well.

    If they stay then the old boy’s network is well and truly still in action.

    I would love Huddy to be back to coach the D however.

    MacT gave them no cover. They’re gone. There will be blood.

  15. oilersfan says:

    Watching the Oilers this year their system seemed easy to beat. Krueger kept talking about how the Oilers would set the pace…and the other teams line up at the Blue Line waiting for the OIlers to turn it over, and over and over and over. The first game in Calgary this year it seemed like the Flames just sat back and waited for the Oilers to give them the puck then go back on a 3 on 2 or 2 on1. I dont entirely understand hockey systems but it became apparent to me that other teams who do quickly figured out how to beat the Oilers’ system.

    In some ways, it seems the system was built for Hall RNH and Eberle, and since the rest of the team didnt have their ability to push the pace, the puck was always turned over to the other team and back in the Oilers’ zone.

    Despite the higher standings, it really seemed to me that the Oilers took a step back this year. IN terms of goal and shot differential it seems this is what happened, and much of this to me is system centric.

    So while at first Mact said the players weren’t good enough, I suspect upon further review he determined systems and structure werent either.

  16. Lowetide says:

    And there you go

    Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 6m

    For example, EDM’s No. 7 overall pick, as well as players, are available. While it’s possible EDM drafts at 7, my guess is it gets dealt.
    Expand

  17. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    “I guess we have to wait and see if the new guy has something the last four old guys did not”

    His own assistants! Last 4 were coaches in waiting or had a coach in waiting or did a year in each slot. So the new guy gets to start with no years on his odometer.

  18. Racki says:

    MacT clearly has a vision for what he wants this team to be. Can anyone tell me what Tambellini’s plan was (I know, I know.. many Tambo lovers will chastize me for digging that wound up)?

    Anyways, I really liked Krueger. But it’s clear he had some faults as a coach. The team struggled quite frequently at the worst times with the defensive system in place. Line matching was not in Krueger’s vocabulary (HUGE fault). Krueger clearly wasn’t the X’s and O’s guy, as he did not employ a multitude of strategies, such as MacTavish. MacT wants a guy with solid, concrete defensive systems, and that is something that Eakins is reported to be good at (it’s how the Marlies did so well). Word is Eakins is not only a good X’s and O’s guy.. but he also is already a good motivator. So he’s Krueger with proper NA hockey skills, portentially. I won’t believe it until I see it though, but sounds good to me.

    MacTavish said he let Krueger go based on philosophical differences, there they are in that paragraph above. MacTavish also said that he spent some time trying to find a guy to support Krueger and then decided the guy he was looking for was less in line with Krueger’s strategy and more in line with what he himself wanted.

    Now I wonder if a new coach here will set us back temporarily while his systems are put in place, or if it will be instant chemistry, like Bylsma with the Pens (who, granted, were much further along and already a Stanley Cup finalist the year before).

  19. LostBoy says:

    And MacTavish promises a “tumultuous” summer. This is awesome. Awesome good or awesome bad I’m not sure, but awesome.

    I think if you step back from the obvious feeling that Krueger wasn’t given enough rope, this is the right decision. And like MacTavish said, it’s not about being fair to Ralph Krueger. Krueger had one clear win from a coaching perspective – he ran a high end PP, though one that when it went cold didn’t seem to have a plan B. Beyond that, the pluses mostly seem to be the personal magnetism/charisma/hucksterism/whater-you-want-to-call-it. And it certainly seems real – Justin Schultz credited it as the main reason he chose Edmonton. But it didn’t seem to make any perceptible difference to the Oilers’ readiness to play consistently, to their professionalism and attention to detail, etc. Yes, he needed more time, but when your selling point apart from coaching stifling defense to Swiss is your personality, there has to be some sign it’s changing things on the ice. Something more than the players’ verbal.

    Because on the downside…the downside is pretty ugly. When you play 48 games and are outshot in more than three quarters of them and you finish with the shot differential the Oilers did, your system isn’t working, and when it’s this epically bad it’s fair to question whether more time is wise. An up-ice puck pressure system that just didn’t work and a bizarre aversion to line matching (I think our fourth line was out at home against the visiting top line more times this season than I can remember prior to this season combined), and he wasn’t MacTavish’s guy to begin with. It’s the right call. I feel bad for Krueger, but it’s the right call.

  20. Rondo says:

    Bob Mackenzie is drafting off Lowetide.

  21. Gerta Rauss says:

    Well, for years we’ve been screaming for the org to do something.

    This is something.

    Wow.

    Mac T presser

    http://video.oilers.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=4&id=258306

  22. "Steve Smith" says:

    Rondo,

    I’ll believe it when Bob starts predicting a quantity for quality trade, and extolling the virtues of Marc-Antoine Pouliot.

  23. prairieschooner says:

    I wonder if this is Mac T s way of clearing out the perennial coaching staff.
    I suppose he could not clear out the assistants himself without making Krueger look like a lame duck

  24. sliderule says:

    RK will go on to motivational speaking.He will be ok.

    MacT did the right thing.

    He just has to make sure they don’t saddle new coach with deadwood.

    I think everyone knows who that is.

  25. vishcosity says:

    I thought 2007, aka best summer ever, was a one-off. Now I have to wonder, are summers like that and potentially this one coming, are they more fun than playoffs? I gotta say that I’ve really grown into following the draft and am increasingly interested in the surrounding ramifications of DFL hockey.

    What’s the over/under on # of offer sheets this summer?

  26. Racki says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    This kind of strikes me as a tacit admission that the only parts of the rebuild to yield any value thus far are the accumulation of draft picks and, presumably, the restructuring of the minor league system. The organization appears to be undoing virtually everything else Tambellini did (besides Justin Schultz, who I’m just going to slot into the same category as the high draft picks). Other than that (and it’s an admittedly big “that”), they’re starting the rebuild over.

    I think MacTavish already “bussed” the last management’s decisions in a previous interview (see the impatient man stuff). He disagreed with Krueger’s coaching philosophy, respectfully, but I’m pretty sure he would uppercut the shit out of Tambellini’s management philosophy if given the opportunity.

  27. dessert1111 says:

    Just watched the press conference…MacT looks rattled. Nervous even. Very strange.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Rondo:
    Bob Mackenzie is drafting off Lowetide.

    If only it were true.

  29. jake70 says:

    RK will end up coaching the Belgian national team, beating Canada next year in Sochi.

  30. Rondo says:

    Maybe Oilers are looking at Sean Couturier with their 7th pick plus ?

  31. Oiler_Kiwi says:

    Lowetide,

    Good to hear Lowetide. Would still love Huddy to be back. as an assistant.

    He is a MacT guy no?

  32. Henry says:

    Is it too early to speculate on new coaching candidates for 2014-15?

  33. Henry says:

    Sam Gagner is 24 and will be playing for his fifth head coach with a new philosophy and system. This is how you become a journeyman player without actually moving. Maybe he is running in place with his defensive responsibilities because the system never gets to be second nature before it changes.

    Nugent Hopkins is 20 with his fourth coach in four years. Third at the NHL level.

    Sure the next guy is a water walker, but damn.

    Feel very bad for Krueger.

  34. oilfaninvan says:

    LT,
    Does Eakins come with any helpful connections? Eg. Can we assume Streit is out as a possibility with Ralph gone? Can Eakins help attract anyone?

  35. Rondo says:

    Rondo,

    According to Bob Mackenzie

    ” PHI is in market for D and may be willing to move one of their young centres – B Schenn or Couturier – for the right deal.”

    What would it take to get Couturier ? the 7th pick + ? = Couturier

  36. Racki says:

    dessert1111:
    Just watched the press conference…MacT looks rattled. Nervous even. Very strange.

    I think towards the end when being asked questions he did, but I think that had more to do with media questions than anything. I think they were asking him some questions that maybe were getting under his skin or stuff he felt was perhaps questioning his judgement, or ability to make decisions without interference from other folks (Lowe. Katz) or something. That’s just what I guessed it was. Or perhaps he’s still sour about the questions being asked towards the end of his coaching career… lol

  37. bookje says:

    I won’t consider it ‘bold’ until the dressing room staff is fired.

  38. "Steve Smith" says:

    Rondo,

    They’re in the market for D, so they might do it for Justin Schultz. Not at all sure that helps us. Otherwise, if you’re looking to package the 7th overall pick, it plus Smid or Petry might work, but then who’s going to play defence for us? I don’t think picks and prospects alone gets it done, because I see no indication that Philly’s looking to blow itself up.

    I’d be happy to move Nick Schultz, but at his contract I suspect he has zero or negative value.

  39. Racki says:

    Rondo:
    Rondo,

    According to Bob Mackenzie

    ” PHI is in market for D and may be willing to move one of their young centres – B Schenn or Couturier – for the right deal.”

    What would it take to getCouturier ?the 7th pick+? =Couturier

    My first thought when I saw that tweet was.. would they do Petry for Couturier (perhaps with us adding a pick not in the first round)? That leaves a hole on D.. but I think we are stronger in the system on D than we are at C (in fact we are completely fucked at C ).

  40. "Steve Smith" says:

    Racki,

    I’d be stunned if Petry alone (or Petry plus a late pick) got it done, but if it did I’d be all over that. And I like Petry quite a bit.

  41. bookje says:

    I hope this is not a goldilocks kind of thing where we first had an underly- bold GM, now we have an overly-bold GM, but our next GM will be just right…

  42. Thiru says:

    I don’t think this is all that surprising.

    RK was employing a system in which:

    1) Wingers broke the zone VERY early, perhaps exacerbating the Oiler’s D inability to make a breakout pass.
    2) He did not match lines.
    3) Hemsky and Gagner, two players with a history of good Corsi performance, became largely ineffective by that metric.
    4) 4th liners (and bad ones at that) were fed far too many minutes.

    I think he deserves credit for “maintaing morale” as MacT alluded to in the PC, for developing players (all the kids played well for him), and I think that is a strength of his.

    But the weaknesses were essentially the antithesis of how MacT once coached this team.

    Good on Mac for recognizing that and making what had to have been an extremely difficult decision.

  43. russ99 says:

    Disappointing move, but right or wrong, Krueger was Tambellini’s hire.
    Can’t help but think this was due to Krueger wanting more say on the associate coach hire.

    I just hope that whoever they hire gets to pick their assistants.

    Enough with this boys on the bus crap

  44. Rondo says:

    "Steve Smith",

    That would be nice, then we could pick Nurse at #7 .

  45. Racki says:

    "Steve Smith":
    Racki,

    I’d be stunned if Petry alone (or Petry plus a late pick) got it done, but if it did I’d be all over that.And I like Petry quite a bit.

    Yah it’s hard to say, although I would tend to agree with you that it isn’t enough.

    On one hand I say “Petry looks like he’s going to be a hell of a player” and “Couturier hasn’t shown just yet that he is going to be a star”. But on the other hand, my brain says that Couturier should be one heck of a two-way center for the future and this could be the best opportunity to acquire him.. before his stock sky rockets (so my hope was that because he didn’t light it up in year one and two, his stock was lower still).

    I would never give up Smid. Especially considering the value contract he just signed.I also wouldn’t give up the #7 pick. And I also really like Petry, but I’d be willing to move him for something like this. So maybe we include 2nd rounder, and another prospect whom may never break into the team? Toni Rajala? Or is this becoming an NHL 13 trade now… I guess what I’m hoping is we can do Petry, the 2nd, and one of the prospects we aren’t completely attached to just yet, but still has quite good value. Not sure who that would be.

  46. theres oil in virginia says:

    dessert1111,

    Yeah, I’ve never seen MacT nervous before, but he clearly was. His breathing at first was even hitched. I’m guessing this was a very tough decision to make.

    I don’t like the decision, but I agree with it, based on his rationale.

  47. gogliano says:

    “DE: Well, what’s interesting is you bring up Roger Neilson’s name, and Roger was like a second father to me. I grew up with Roger Neilson. I spent a lot of time with him. We spent almost all of our summers together. He was not only a great friend, somebody I looked up to, and like I said, a second father. I learned a ton off of Roger.”

    I have some sympathy for Krueger here but if you’re going to make changes then make them quick and be decisive about it. People will forget it with time and it sounds like it was a matter of time given the disjunct between RK and MacT.

    MacT is off to a great start–Belov, gem of a new coach, a willingness to give his coach the freedom to pick his hired hands, and a cost/benefit approach to the #7 by all accounts.

  48. Racki says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    dessert1111,

    Yeah, I’ve never seen MacT nervous before, but he clearly was.His breathing at first was even hitched.I’m guessing this was a very tough decision to make.

    I don’t like the decision, but I agree with it, based on his rationale.

    Yah, I picked up on the breathing too. I was a fan/supporter of Krueger, but I think MacTavish’s point was strong too. And I will add that I think that Krueger was lacking some of the technical aspects to his coaching game… stuff that MacT was really good at. They definitely aren’t coaches of the same ilk. MacTavish lays strong systems in place, line matches, etc…. Krueger works by motivation. I think if Eakins is hired, he brings a bit of a mix, from the way it sounds. Maybe Krueger and MacT can be his assistants. lol

  49. theres oil in virginia says:

    Racki,

    Yeah, I like Krueger too, and I don’t like seeing him dismissed. You know he was looking forward to coaching the team this year, and I’m sure he’s disappointed.

    However, if the coach doesn’t fit the team that the GM is building, it’s not going to work. It seems that MacT came around to realizing that during the process and made the tough decision. I don’t think very many people would have had the guts to do that; especially after some of the statements he made before, which were (at least somewhat) supportive of the coaching. It looks to me like he didn’t want to do it, but he knew it was the right thing to do, so he did it.

  50. cabbiesmacker says:

    Rondo:
    Rondo,

    According to Bob Mackenzie

    ” PHI is in market for D and may be willing to move one of their young centres – B Schenn or Couturier – for the right deal.”

    What would it take to getCouturier ?the 7th pick+? =Couturier

    If you have a shot at Schenn you don’t even look Couturier’s way. I love all the follow the leader stuff in here sometimes.

    Mark Streit..yayyy

    Sean Couturier…yayyy

    Personally I don’t much care as long as some of the flotsam players, by decree coaches + Gagner are down the road. And as much as I dislike what Gagner brings to the table I wouldn’t move him straight up for Couturier.

  51. cabbiesmacker says:

    gogliano:
    “DE: Well, what’s interesting is you bring up Roger Neilson’s name, and Roger was like a second father to me. I grew up with Roger Neilson. I spent a lot of time with him. We spent almost all of our summers together. He was not only a great friend, somebody I looked up to, and like I said, a second father. I learned a ton off of Roger.”

    I hope the players enjoy watching video tape then

  52. Racki says:

    theres oil in virginia,

    Yup, bang on with your last sentence. Probably one of those hard things to do. Krueger’s a pretty likable guy.. so it would be like telling Mr. Rogers he’s been fired and can’t do kids TV shows anymore (back when he was alive). :P

    But as MacT put it… it wasn’t about being fair to Krueger. It sucks to make those decisions.. but it was a “best for the team” decision. Hopefully he can consider those same things when looking around at the rest of the team, such as the assistant coaching staff if need be (if Eakins.. I mean.. the new head coach.. wants his own guys).

  53. Lowetide says:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Petry contract–signed by Tambellini–is the key to getting Couturier and solving C for a decade? After all the trouble at C?

  54. dawgtoy says:

    A quote from the article linked above on the Canuck Army page.

    “Eakins believes in a strong forecheck and plenty of offensive contribution from his blue line. He believes in mental toughness, and constant pressure – regardless of the score.”

    I like the sound of that. Music to my ears in fact.

  55. theres oil in virginia says:

    Racki,

    I can see it now:
    Producer: “I’m sorry Fred, we’re going to have to let you go.”
    Mr. Rogers: “WHAAT! You son of a bitch! I’ll kill you!”

    Hehe. Definitely not how that would go! I couldn’t stand Mr Rogers when I was a teenager. Now (20 years later) I nearly cry every time I see the guy on TV. Stupidity of youth.

    Sounds like MacT gave his vote of support for the assistants, but said it was completely up to the new coach to decide their fate.

  56. dawgtoy says:

    Lowetide,

    An irony that would put one hell of a smile on my face.

  57. dawgtoy says:

    As for MacT being nervous, I had the misfortune of having to fire a friend. When you admire a person, but realize the best thing professionally going forward is having to replace that person, the decision alone is difficult. Actually having to do it is brutal, but I didn’t have to speak to a room full of rabid media afterwards.

  58. Rondo says:

    Lowetide,

    What do you really think would be fair to offer for Couturier ?

    Petry + ? ?

  59. thebiggestmanintheworld says:

    huh…..MacT has been the GM for how many months and is now on his second head coach? :)

    Sam Gagner- 6 NHL seasons, 5 NHL head coaches. I wonder why he can’t figure out the defensive sysytems????

  60. theres oil in virginia says:

    dawgtoy,

    Yeah, I certainly wasn’t intending to be critical about his nervousness. I just thought it was a good indicator of how difficult it was for him to make the move. Contrast that demeanor with his demeanor at his introduction, when Kevin Lowe had blood in his eyes and the sharks were circling. MacT was calm and firm and very relaxed.

    My respect for him grew immensely after watching both press conferences. First, to hold his level when the media were attacking him and Lowe (mostly to appease the vocal part of the fan base – I think); and second, to make that decision, not really liking it, and knowing you’re going to come under fire for it. It may turn out that he’s not a good GM (I doubt it will), but I think it’s obvious that he’s a hell of a man.

  61. bookje says:

    So, here is how I suspect it all went down. MacT likes Ralph and wanted to be fair. They were I Ted keeping guys to be an associate coach for RK to address some of his coaching shortcomings. Part way through the interview with Eakens he realized that this was the guy to coach the team and that RK was not at the same level of Eakens.

    I do like MacT having the guts to do this, but I hope his insights and intuition on this are correct.

  62. BlacqueJacque says:

    I can’t say with confidence that MacT just made a mistake in firing Krueger (who I thought needed a full training camp and a season to show if his system works, but realistically did not show enough last season to secure himself that chance), but he may be making a mistake by trying to change too much, too fast.

    I’m nervous as a fan.

    I can’t imagine what the feelings will be like in the locker room. And how long it’ll take to build a team. You can’t tell me next season will be a success with a new coach, a new roster, new assistants, everything… Especially since the only one they got rid of is the one coach who ISN’T an ex-Oiler.

    Also, I really don’t like the idea of dealing any first round pick. I’d much prefer the team to be built long-term to compete, with steady pressure from the minors for roster spots by players capable of demanding NHL placement. Players who’d fetch as much if not more value than the value of the draft pick itself.

  63. Kris11 says:

    This just in: Dallas Eakins fired as head coach.

    Oilers to hire new coaches at a rate of 1 per minute from here on out, and that rate will accelerate exponentially.

  64. Kris11 says:

    I really like hiring Eakins.

    I feel really bad for Krueger. He was a very likeable guy in interviews, but the evidence suggests (suggests weakly, anyway) that Eakins is the better option.

  65. BlacqueJacque says:

    Hmm, watching MacT’s presser, I’m wondering if either:

    1. He was nervous/rattled/scared.
    2. He has some sort of breathing problem/nervous disease (Parkinson’s?) or some residual effects from his cancer treatment.

    His breathing trembled, his voice tremored a few times… and given his reluctance to give more comment on anything outside his opening statement, I’m leaning towards #1.

  66. Rondo says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    Maybe it was not his decision.

  67. Henry says:

    Rondo:
    Lowetide,

    What do you really think would be fair to offer for Couturier ?

    Petry+ ? ?

    How many NHL defensemen that don’t need sheltering will the Oilers have if Petry is traded to Philly? I count two, maybe 1 if N. Shultz takes a step down at 31.

  68. jonrmcleod says:

    BlacqueJacque,

    First of all, he’s never had this level of responsibility before. Also, I think he genuinely likes Krueger and didn’t enjoy having to announce his dismissal.

  69. BlacqueJacque says:

    Rondo:
    BlacqueJacque,

    Maybe it was not his decision.

    Yeah I was really thinking that, too, but his reasoning was consistent. Krueger really doesn’t coach MacT hockey and I think MacT has enough coach left in him (perhaps too much) that he wants to build a team for his style. Eakins is probably a very MacT-like coach and Mac wants to give him the team that Mac himself wanted, or at least he feels he understands Eakins enough to give him what he wants and feels comfortable building that kind of team.

    I dunno, maybe I’m reading into shit too much.

  70. striatic says:

    BlacqueJacque: Yeah I was really thinking that, too, but his reasoning was consistent. Krueger really doesn’t coach MacT hockey and I think MacT has enough coach left in him (perhaps too much) that he wants to build a team for his style.

    what are the odds MacT appoints himself head coach after an exhaustive search?

  71. bookje says:

    Ok, just heard the press conference.

    I am willing to bet that there was a moment in the discussions with Krueger where Craig MacTavish said “What do you mean you don’t believe in line matching?”

  72. BlacqueJacque says:

    jonrmcleod,

    That’s probably it.

    I really feel for Krueger and I hope he gets a chance again. He did amazing things for the Swiss team and I think, given a full season or two, he could do translate that into the NHL.

  73. dawgtoy says:

    Given that Maurice and Eakins have coached together in the past and worked together with the Marlies and the Leafs, perhaps he’s the perfect person to take the reigns as an associate coach. It might help to have an experienced associate coach that is on the same page as Eakins and MacT. A match made in heaven, make it happen.

  74. Racki says:

    Rondo:
    BlacqueJacque,

    Maybe it was not his decision.

    That’s a good theory, but with the reason he gave re: philosophical differences, among other things, it is without any doubt that this was MacTavish’s decision.

    It is possible it was either a bit of tension or nerves, or possibly some health issues. I noticed the stuttered breathing like others too. Hopefully it’s not a health thing. If it’s nerves/tension, no big deal. Firing a coach that you no doubt sat down and had some good chats with, and gave reassurances to, was probably far from the easiest thing he’s done.

  75. Racki says:

    dawgtoy:
    Given that Maurice and Eakins have coached together in the past and worked together with the Marlies and the Leafs, perhaps he’s the perfect person to take the reigns as an associate coach. It might help to have an experienced associate coach that is on the same page as Eakins and MacT. A match made in heaven, make it happen.

    I’d love to see that. It would be a solid pairing, plus, Canucks fans would be pissssssssseedd.

  76. asiaoil says:

    A complete debacle that I didn’t think even the Oilers could manage. Fire a a very smart coach – could be the brightest in the NHL – and only after a 42 game season with no training camp, cardboard cutouts for assistants, and a GM who did nothing to help at all. Yeah that looks good around the league. All Ralph lacked was a bit of time to adapt his systems to the realities of the NHL and the players he was given. The players like and respect him and he got a several of the young guys settled into the league very well (Yak, Schulz) and rehabbed another guy (MSP). He’s exceptionally bright and people like that do not stay with what doesn’t work – they adapt – fast.

    This stinks of Lowe to the heavens – MacT was nervous because he just got his first BS orders from Lowe and like a good little soldier he went out and organized the firing squad. Kruger was fired because he was the one guy in the organization smarter than all of them and not by a little. This bunch of jokers are in this to survive as long as possible in mgmt positions that are way above their level of capability – MacT included. Who the hell in the NHL would hire him as a GM? That would be no one except the loser homeboy Oilers. Just watch – useless Bucky is going nowhere and it would not surprise me if another old boy was wheeled into the coaching position. These clowns wanted to hire Messier for gods sake. Simple question – if you had any talent or options (or pride) at all would you work for these guys?

    I’m done with Asiaoil – I am now Dark Asia – teller of hard truths about the joke that my Edmonton Oilers have become because of Katz, Lowe and all the rest of the parasites living off the history of this proud franchise and their fans.

  77. art vandelay says:

    M-I-C
    K-E-Y

  78. Racki says:

    While Lowe and Katz likely have their faults and have made stupid decisions, people need to realize that MacT put on his big boy pants and fired Krueger, himself. This was all MacT. The way people talk, Kevin Lowe has had his hand up more asses (puppeteering) than Jim Henson.

  79. Racki says:

    Elliott Friedman said “Dallas Eakins will be named head coach of the Edmonton Oilers as soon as Monday”. Like, not “he might be…”… he will be.

  80. Woodguy says:

    I wrote this in a thread here on May 23rd

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/05/options.html

    WOODGUY says:
    May 23, 2013 at 10:47 am
    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.

    I guess I should have said before the draft.

    Some said I was dumb because RK didn’t finish 30th like Renney did.

    I was referring to one of the best predictive stats of winning, fenclose.

    The goal differential did improve under RK, and that is a better predictor of position in the standings, so its not all bad.

    Here’s the % of shot attempts the Oilers took this past year when the score was within 2 goals.

    12/33 – 44.48 28th
    11/12 – 48.08 24th

    That 3.6% is a pretty massive drop when you consider the spread from the 2nd best CHI (55.8%) was ahead of 9th place SJS (52.41) by 1.64% . LA lead the league with 57.35

    Small sample size an all, but that’s a drop from an up and coming team to a below replacement team with mostly the same team.

    Also,

    I don’t know anything about Eakins other than he is highly regarded by many who usually have
    disparate opinions.

    I also know that the mathy Leaf bloggers have been pinning for Eakins to take over from Carlyle so if Eakins in announced as Oilers coach there will be much weeping, knashing of teeth, sack cloth wearing and face smudging with ash going on with smart Leaf fans.

    That will be fun to read for a while.

  81. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    H-I
    A-R-T

  82. jp says:

    Henry:
    Sam Gagner is 24 and will be playing for his fifth head coach with a new philosophy and system.This is how you become a journeyman player without actually moving.Maybe he is running in place with his defensive responsibilities because the system never gets to be second nature before it changes.

    Gagner’s 1st 2 years were under MacT as coach, so maybe this represents continuity of some sort…

    oilfaninvan:
    LT,
    Does Eakins come with any helpful connections?Eg. Can we assume Streit is out as a possibility with Ralph gone?Can Eakins help attract anyone?

    Gardiner isn’t a FA, but there’s a connection there.

    "Steve Smith":
    Racki,

    I’d be stunned if Petry alone (or Petry plus a late pick) got it done, but if it did I’d be all over that.And I like Petry quite a bit.

    I’m thinking some sort of package centering around Omark, Arcobell and Rajala :)

  83. Traktor says:

    Love MacT as the GM.

  84. Woodguy says:

    art vandelay:
    M-I-C
    K-E-Y

    Actually I think now that RK is gone that’s the last of the stink of Tambellini.

    Might need to leave the window open at night for a while to be sure.

  85. Captain Happy says:

    Racki: I’d love to see that. It would be a solid pairing, plus, Canucks fans would be pissssssssseedd.

    Why would they be pissed?

    It’s common knowledge that the Canucks have already interviewed Eakins twice and did not offer him a job.

    There must be a reason for that ranging anywhere from Gillis being wrong, slow or recognizing that Eakins wouldn’t be a good fit for his team.

    Eakins has been hyped tremendously, mainly by the hyperactive media in the Centre of the Universe.

    To be honest, the track record of highly hyped young tigers being promoted from the AHL to the NHL has been pretty dismal.

    Scott Arniel, John Stevens, Guy Boucher, Cory Clouston, Davis Payne and others were all highly regarded AHL coaches who soon floundered in the NHL.

    While there are also some recent success stories, it appears the smarter and safer route is to find a head coach who has significant experience as an NHL assistant.

  86. danny says:

    Personally, I can’t get behind a coach that doesn’t line match. If you put your 4th line out against Thornton/Marleau or the Sedin sisters, at home, without a medically confirmed stroke to justify your actions, then I don’t trust you.

    I’m old and wise enough to know that Ralph is very smart, knows more than I do, and will forget more about hockey than the collective of this blog ever understands, but theres things i cant get past… Mike Brown vs Henrik Sedin is one of them.

    Therefore, Im not upset by today’s news. I will be though, if Eakins is forced to keep Bucky and the rest of them.

    ** The above is not why I wanted to post. The reason is below:

    1) We can FINALLY put to rest the notion that the rebuild isnt OVER yet.
    2) We can finally kill the voice in the back of our heads asking ‘did lowe do that?’

    Progress folks.

  87. Rebilled says:

    Trade Fury-eh for Couturier?

    The 7th is gone for Sean?

    Could be an Oiler line in Sochi.

    This summer is gonna be bonkers.

  88. Bar_Qu says:

    Нинтендо⁶⁴:
    H-I
    A-R-T

    Well played. Made me laugh.

    Woodguy,

    I recall you saying that, and I recall thinking you were off your nut. Axe to grind and all that.

    Good call; I was wrong.

  89. fuzzy muppet says:

    WHAT A GAME

    oh and boo to the Kreuger firing

  90. Captain Happy says:

    The LAK/CHI game is a classic.

  91. Lois Lowe says:

    I really hope that this means Eakins is actually free to pick his staff. I am sure that Bucky and Smith will be able to find other work in the organization.

  92. Woodguy says:

    danny,

    1) We can FINALLY put to rest the notion that the rebuild isnt OVER yet.

    Its over.

    Other than if he trades up to 5 or 2, MacT will trade younger players for older players.

    Also, other than trading 10 and 83 as those two probably bring back younger players, but not 21 or younger type of young players, more like 23+.

    Its over.

  93. dessert1111 says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    dessert1111,

    Yeah, I’ve never seen MacT nervous before, but he clearly was.His breathing at first was even hitched.I’m guessing this was a very tough decision to make.

    I don’t like the decision, but I agree with it, based on his rationale.

    I came away with the same impression. Good for him for making the decision. I was thinking that he could be nervous because it’s his first big move as a GM and he knows he’s going to be judged like mad for it by fans and by the whole industry, really. When it’s a decision like this that’s so polarizing and, on the surface, easy to criticize, no wonder he looks a little less assertive than I’m used to.

  94. Woodguy says:

    Lois Lowe:
    I really hope that this means Eakins is actually free to pick his staff. I am sure that Bucky and Smith will be able to find other work in the organization.

    If MacT didn’t gas Bucky and Smith at today’s presser then probably not.

    Perhaps one or both become pro scouts for the Oilers.

    Maybe they both stay.

    LT has mentioned Mark Lamb a couple times.

    I hope Eakin has some say, its important for his implied authority.

  95. Lois Lowe says:

    Woodguy: If MacT didn’t gas Bucky and Smith at today’s presser then probably not.

    Perhaps one or both become pro scouts for the Oilers.

    Maybe they both stay.

    LT has mentioned Mark Lamb a couple times.

    I hope Eakin has some say, its important for his implied authority.

    In the presser MacT said that Eakins was going to have to authority to pick his own staff, but that he ‘hoped’ that Bucky and Smith would remain. I think that’s likely a tell that Lowe’s going to have to transition them into other roles because Eakins may want someone from the Toronto organization or maybe Maurice comes in with him. It’s the last part of a wholesale culture change.

    edit – You know, as wholesale as possible given the GM used to be the coach.

  96. dessert1111 says:

    I’m also hoping this means Bob Stauffer will be relieved of his duties.

  97. G Money says:

    I respected Bucky and Smith as players – they were warriors.

    But they’ve been the assistant coaches during every year of the last four years of stinkage.

    If Renney deserved to go, if RK deserved to go – Smith and Bucky gots ta go too.

    No disrespect to Bucky or Smith, but I hope Eakins or whoever is smart enough to pick his own assistant coaches. No excuses.

  98. Dark Asia says:

    Woodguy: Actually I think now that RK is gone that’s the last of the stink of Tambellini.

    Might need to leave the window open at night for a while to be sure.

    Oiler management is like a guy at a party who shit his pants and keeps changing his shirt to try make the stink go away – issue is – it’s not going away until the stench that is Keven Lowe is gone and that’s not happening while young Harrold Ballard is the owner. That turned out well for the Leafs didn’t it. But anyway – good for Kruger to get the hell away from this joke of an organization. Totally classless to be recruiting for an “associate” as cover to hire a new coach while keeping the other guy “just in case”. The useless assistants are going nowhere and MacT is Sock Puppet 2.0. Countdown to the Taylor Hall trade request has started – he’s probably gone next summer and rebuild 2.0 can start up.

    Hands down the most inept and classless organization in the NHL – nobody with an ounce of self-respect or dignity is going anywhere near these guys.

  99. Lowetide says:

    Dark Asia: What kind of parties are you frequenting?

  100. fuzzy muppet says:

    Wonderful game ,and it should be a spectacular Cup finals

  101. G Money says:

    Dark Asia: Oiler management is like a guy at a party who shit his pants and keeps changing his shirt to try make the stink go away

    Lowetide:
    DarkAsia: What kind of parties are you frequenting?

    Seriously – the first name that popped into my head for the guy who shits his pants at a party and keeps changing his shirt: Bettman.

  102. Scotty LaDouche says:

    First ever Boston-Chicago finals

  103. Smarmy says:

    Well for all the talk of line matching in here people do realize there were probably 7 or 8 players on this roster that you couldn’t play against anybody right?

  104. Dark Asia says:

    Lowetide:
    DarkAsia: What kind of parties are you frequenting?

    Ones where people watch real hockey teams led by qualified mgmt that are playing serious hockey.

    Much respect to you man but this was the last straw. You know I’ve been a fan of this team forever – saw Gretzky’s first goal as an Oiler in the WHA live – but at some point you see too much bullshit to stomach anymore. Not that Kruger was a savior – but he’s dead smart and not an old boy so that gave one a bit of hope that something different might happen. But he’s probably too smart for the clowns on Kingsway. I’m surrounded by big brains every day and let me tell you – MacT is profoundly ordinary – and he will slowly but surely be ground down into a whimpering little puppy by Lowe because success means that Mr 6 Rings is out of a job. He’s sock puppet 2.0 irrespective of his verbals in the first few weeks and this press conference was his debut.

    Anyway – rinse,repeat, same old, same old and I’m done. I’ll drop by occasionally to taunt the sheep who keep on thinking that Ballard jr. cares about anything beside the bank accounts and that Lowe is anything but massively out of his depth. If I have to adopt a new team – what the hell – probably the Sharks since it’s a direct flight to see a game and I like what they showed this year taking LA to 7. Logan Couture also rocks and will torment the Oilers for a long time. But I’ll be back occasionally to mock the 3rd rate old boys that destroyed this franchise. Ciao baby.

  105. godot10 says:

    It is the GM’s prerogative to choose the coach.

    I like Krueger. I think he would have grown into the job. Life isn’t fair. I hope he gets another shot. He might have to take an AHL job and get some more North American coaching experience.

  106. Captain Happy says:

    Dark Asia: Ones where people watch real hockey teams led by qualified mgmt that are playing serious hockey.

    Much respect to you man but this was the last straw. You know I’ve been a fan of this team forever – saw Gretzky’s first goal as an Oiler in the WHA live – but at some point you see too much bullshit to stomach anymore. Not that Kruger was some sort of a savior – but he’s dead smart and not an old boy so that gave one a bit of hope that something different may happen. But he’s probably too smart for the clowns on Kingsway. I’m surrounded by big brains every day and let me tell you – MacT is is profoundly ordinary – and he will slowly but surely ground down into a whimpering little puppy by Lowe because success means that Mr 6 Rings is out of a job. He’s sock puppet 2.0 irrespective of his verbals in the first few weeks and this press conference was his debut.

    Anyway – rinse,repeat, sam old same old and I’m done. I’ll drop by occasionally to taunt the sheep who keep on thinking that Ballard jr. cares about anything beside the bank accounts and that Lowe is anything but massively out of his depth. If I have to adopt a new team – what the hell – probably the Sharks since it’s a direct flight to see a game and I like what they showed this year taking LA to 7. Logan Couture also rocks and will torment the Oilers for a long time. But I’ll be back occasionally to mock the 3rd rate old boys that destroyed this franchise. Ciao baby.

    It’s really, really difficult not to agree with all of this.

    Like Dark Asia, I was there for the Oilers first game in the WHA and hundreds thereafter.

    As he says, this is still all about ” Is it me?” Lowe.

    No competent “VP of Hockey Operations” would have chosen MacT to be a GM when other far more viable options (like Jim Nill) were available.

    MacT is Sock Puppet v 2.0 IMO and I expect he’ll have until the new arena opens to turn things around and then, hopefully, Katz will realize you can’t keep changing GM’s and coaches without finding the BEST people for the job.

    Unless he doesn’t care.

  107. G Money says:

    Smarmy:
    Well for all the talk of line matching in here people do realize there were probably 7 or 8 players on this roster that you couldn’t play against anybody right?

    Indeed. This was one of the frustrations with RK. He would allow 3 (sometimes 5) of those 7 or 8 players to be out against the other teams first line for a defensive zone faceoff late in the game with the game on the line.

    Even if you don’t line match in the strategic sense of having set matchups that you roll over the course of the game – situations like the one above (and it was not unique in type or singular in occurrence) is tactically just plain dumb.

    Dark Asia – you stayed a fan through the Tambo years, and *this* (the firing of an inexperienced coach with lots of statistical evidence suggesting he was at least part of the problem) is what pushes you over the edge?

  108. Lowetide says:

    My feelings on this issue are here.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/05/options.html

    I didn’t think this was the right plan, but there were issues. I don’t think anyone can deny it.

  109. PunjabiOil says:

    Dark Asia – why are you so quick to discount the possibility that the Oilers upgraded in the coaching department today? Eakins highly sought be a couple of solid organizations. We do have some evidence that the team regressed a bit under wreck-it-Ralph.

    Furthermore, what head coach out there will win anything meaningful without line matching on home ice?

    I agree that Tambellini/Lowe should take the lion-share of the blame – but I’m not convinced Krueger extracted maximum value out of his team. Ralph was an assistant for 2 years, and head coach as one. No sense waiting for him to develop into a desirable head coach, when you have the resources to acquire a front-line candidate.

    This is a move that suggests an expedition of the rebuild.

    We wait.

  110. Dark Asia says:

    PunjabiOil,

    1) pretty obvious that Krueger is exceptionally bright

    2) Kruger did some things that were odd or unexpected WRT line matching

    3) Kruger is then labelled or dumb for not making obvious match-ups

    So which is he? – very bright or a fool? How can a bright guy make moves that do not seem to make sense even to novices? Ever think he was doing it for a reason instead of being stupid? I seem to remember a certain new GM doing similar “strange things in his last coaching seasons. Maybe sending a message about the quality of players provided? Ya think maybe?

    But anyway – I’m not leader of the Krueger fan club – just calling BS when I see it. The Oilers are a classless trash organization. Going on a coach search under the guise of hiring an associate while the incumbent is still in his position – classless. Leaking the Messier coaching offer to the press a couple of days ago to undercut Krueger – classless. Refusing to even try to justify why they fired him – classless. MacT’s BS about “you know me and you know him so figure it out” was insulting. If he’s so bloody good at communicating you think he could spell out even broadly what the differences were. The guy was almost incoherent sputtering on about the decision, the decision, the decision. Basically said it’s not fair to Ralph but we don’t give a frack. Add to that how he “hopes the new coach keeps the staff” and you can guess who will not be changing jobs.

    Anyone who thinks Lowe’s fingerprints are not all over this only need listen to how hard MacT was trying to convince everyone that this was his decision, and how little actual evidence he gave to support that position. He’s sock puppet 2.0 and a rather tawdry one at that. At least Tambo had that endearing buffoon look on his face while he was try to convince everyone that he mattered.

  111. Dark Asia says:

    Lois Lowe: In the presser MacT said that Eakins was going to have to authority to pick his own staff, but that he ‘hoped’ that Bucky and Smith would remain. I think that’s likely a tell that Lowe’s going to have to transition them into other roles because Eakins may want someone from the Toronto organization or maybe Maurice comes in with him. It’s the last part of a wholesale culture change.

    edit – You know, as wholesale as possible given the GM used to be the coach

    …..and the President of Hockey Ops used to be the GM, and the VP Hockey Ops used to be the Asst GM, and the new GM used to be the coach, and the Asst coaches used to be players, and the pro scouts used to be………inbred does not even come close to describing it. Culture change is laughable when they fired the only guy not directly related to the old boys club.

  112. jfry says:

    Wow. I feel like Burnett would have found fans here had a blog existed back then. Who cares about the past.

  113. Woodguy says:

    Dark Asia:
    PunjabiOil,

    1) pretty obvious that Krueger is exceptionally bright

    2) Kruger did some things that were odd or unexpected WRT line matching

    3) Kruger is then labelled or dumb for not making obvious match-ups

    So which is he? – very bright or a fool? How can a bright guy make moves that do not seem to make sense even to novices? Ever think he was doing it for a reason instead of being stupid? I seem to remember a certain new GM doing similar “strange things in his last coaching seasons. Maybe sending a message about the quality of players provided? Ya think maybe?

    But anyway – I’m not leader of the Krueger fan club – just calling BS when I see it. The Oilers are a classless trash organization. Going on a coach search under the guise of hiring an associate while the incumbent is still in his position – classless. Leaking the Messier coaching offer to the press a couple of days ago to undercut Krueger – classless. Refusing to even try to justify why they fired him – classless. MacT’s BS about “you know me and you know him so figure it out” was insulting. If he’s so bloody good at communicating you think he could spell out even broadly what the differences were. The guy was almost incoherent sputtering on about the decision, the decision, the decision. Basically said it’s not fair to Ralph but we don’t give a frack. Add to that how he “hopes the new coach keeps the staff” and you can guess who will not be changing jobs.

    Anyone who thinks Lowe’s fingerprints are not all over this only need listen to how hard MacT was trying to convince everyone that this was his decision, and how little actual evidence he gave to support that position. He’s sock puppet 2.0 and a rather tawdry one at that. At least Tambo had that endearing buffoon look on his face while he was try to convince everyone that he mattered.

    I couldn’t disagree more.

    I’m no fan of Kevin Lowe as a manager since 06, but I don’t think this has his fingerprints.

    This is all MacT.

    He’s GM and if he disagrees with how RK ran the club, its his prerogative to replace him.

    If in his interviews for an associate coach led him to realize that Eakin runs the team the exact way he wants and the exact way he is building the team to be coached, then not making the change is cowardice.

    If other teams are offering Eaking Head Coaching jobs, and he comes back to you and says “I’ll come, but its gotta as Head Coach”, not making the change is inept.

    Trying to find hidden genius or a message in RK starting his 4th line in the ozone against a tired Iginla line after an icing is just dumb.

    What message are you sending?

    “I’m out of my league as an NHL head coach?”

    Only message I see.

  114. Woodguy says:

    jfry:
    Wow. I feel like Burnett would have found fans here had a blog existed back then. Who cares about the past.

    <3

  115. Andropod says:

    I recall that Ralph and Craig were getting on pretty well before Mr. Dithers got the well deserved boot.
    I’m not sure any coach could have succeeded with the roster he was handed. It’s pretty obvious that Craig had come to the same conclusion.

    Nor is it reasonable to judge Ralph on such an abbreviated season. Ralph’s systems require a certain minimum level of intelligence that was lacking in a large part of his roster, hence the defensive breakdowns. Given the kind of roster that Craig has set out to build, I think we would have had a team that played Cup winning hockey.
    .
    I think Craig knew this and accepted it, hence his initial desire to keep Ralph and his early statements about cleaning out the roster. I suspect that the driver for what happened, was the uncompromising drive to get Dallas on board. This could have driven the first talk about getting Ralph an Associate, but the wheels likely fell off with any combination of Ralph refusing to move back to associate coach, or refusing to take on Dallas as an obvious replacement, or Dallas not being interested in being an associate when he had head coach offers to choose from.

    Which left Craig with perhaps one of the tougher decisions of his career, one that would define his tenure either way: Fire a first class coach that he liked, in order to get another coach on board that he thinks he will like even more. I’d love to see Ralph continue to coach in the NHL, if only to use his team as a standard against which we can determine whether Craig’s call, in retrospect, resulted in a hockey team that was better coached that the one he would have had under Ralph.

  116. Lowetide says:

    I think MacTavish concluded one of two things:

    1. We can’t get there from here
    2. It’ll take longer to get there from here

    I go back to line matching and zone starts after tv timeouts and that 2line and their struggles. I know Gagner was royally roasted all year long but whatever system they were running it caused 89 to go the wrong way after several years of small + arrows.

    I think a guy like MacT would recognize that and want to solve the riddle without buying any more vowels. He met with RK and they decided on a plan of action.

    In the early stages of executing that action, he found someone who spoke the same language. I think the circumstances of this event–while certainly distasteful on a personal level–can be understood in this context.

  117. sliderule says:

    I think the thing that sealed the deal for MacT was defensive coverage under RK.

    Wingers that never coveted the slot and seemed to be frozen in limbo between the slot and point baffled everyone that follows defensive systems.

    That to me made me wonder about RK as a technical coach.

  118. bookje says:

    Despite some of the line matchup decisions, I think it’s too early to come to a firm conclusion regarding Ralph, he did some good things as well and had a screwed up roster to deal with.

    That is irrelevant though, a new GM has to have the opportunity to decide who coaches his team. He can’t be bound by decisions made by the previous GM. I wish that had been said at the start – when MacT was hired, but unfortunately it wasn’t. I hope Ralph gets a chance and proves himself elsewhere. I hope MacT takes some time to communicate his reasons with the core players (though given his history, I expect he won’t). I hope our new rookie coach truly feels he can replace his assistants if he would like too.

    I worry that Eakins may be a bit of a MacT puppet. MacT has a tendency to micromanage.

    With all of that said, I am glad MacT was decisive enough to make the change.

  119. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    I think the circumstances of this event–while certainly distasteful on a personal level–can be understood in this context.

    Agreed.

    You could tell it wasn’t a fun decision when MacT said “This isn’t fair to Ralph”

    The GM saw he could improve at the Head Coach position and made a decision which wouldn’t be a slam dunk in popularity and was probably hard to do.

    He also had to move fast to secure the guy he wanted.

    Quality management.

  120. supernova says:

    Woodguy: I couldn’t disagree more.

    I’m no fan of Kevin Lowe as a manager since 06, but I don’t think this has his fingerprints.

    This is all MacT.

    He’s GM and if he disagrees with how RK ran the club, its his prerogative to replace him.

    If in his interviews for an associate coach led him to realize that Eakin runs the team the exact way he wants and the exact way he is building the team to be coached, then not making the change is cowardice.

    If other teams are offering Eaking Head Coaching jobs, and he comes back to you and says “I’ll come, but its gotta as Head Coach”, not making the change is inept.

    Trying to find hidden genius or a message in RK starting his 4th line in the ozone against a tired Iginla line after an icing is just dumb.

    What message are you sending?

    “I’m out of my league as an NHL head coach?”

    Only message I see.

    Dark Asia

    Agree completely with Woodguy on this.

    Every manager needs his “guy” and if Ralph wasn’t his “guy” MacT should be allowed to make the move.

    I think he explained it well enough when he said his first intent was to hire a coach to help Ralph and through that process found that these candidates were more in line with his thinking.

    I think we all understand your frustration at being a Oilers fan, seeing the highs and the lows. Sorry to see that you feel now is the time to depart as a fan, but the great thing of being a oilers fan is the promise of a better future is right in the horizon, and it would be terrible to put up with the last several years and have none of the joy, as they improve, after all it is pretty hard for them to be worse.

  121. sliderule says:

    bookje,

    In the business world micro managers are usually the most successful .

    Steve Jobs is a great example of that.

  122. supernova says:

    dessert1111,

    dessert1111:
    I’m also hoping this means Bob Stauffer will be relieved of his duties.

    Not sure what the heck this has to do with Bob Stauffer!

    Love him or hate him his job is to analyze and give opinions, he seemed to be a Ralph supporter and also said he thought Ralph was going to win a jack Adams award, this should show that this was MacT’s decision, because Bob had no idea it was coming.

  123. theres oil in virginia says:

    Dark Asia,
    Smart people make mistakes; it doesn’t mean they are dumb. Smart people need experience at things before they are good at them; it doesn’t mean they are dumb.

    Woodguy:
    Trying to find hidden genius or a message in RK starting his 4th line in the ozone against a tired Iginla line after an icing is just dumb.

    That’s the one thing I remember being aghast about regarding Krueger. It happened several times. Smart or not, if you are trying to win NHL hockey games, and aren’t taking advantage of the rules (no line change after icing), then you are making a big mistake. If you aren’t thinking: “put out the freshest scoring line I’ve got”, or something similar, then you have officially out-thought yourself.

  124. steveb12344 says:

    supernova: Dark AsiaAgree completely with Woodguy on this.Every manager needs his “guy” and if Ralph wasn’t his “guy” MacT should be allowed to make the move.I think he explained it well enough when he said his first intent was to hire a coach to help Ralph and through that process found that these candidates were more in line with his thinking.I think we all understand your frustration at being a Oilers fan, seeing the highs and the lows. Sorry to see that you feel now is the time to depart as a fan, but the great thing of being a oilers fan is the promise of a better future is right in the horizon, and it would be terrible to put up with the last several years and have none of the joy, as they improve, after all it is pretty hard for them to be worse.

    It’s ok, he’s just stomping his feet. He will be back on board after the first 3 game winning streak!

  125. mc79hockey says:

    I don’t think the “GM as Lowe Puppet” line of thinking really holds water. For me, two things jump out at me from the Tambo reign: a) coaches with ties to the Canucks org and b) the introduction of facepunchers. Neither of those were Lowe things. The first thing seems pretty obviously a Tambellini thing. Do I think Lowe was involved with decisions? Yes. Do I think Tambo got at least a chunk of leeway? Yes.

    As far as this goes, I liked Krueger. He seemed like a smart guy to me and I like smart guys. I expect he would have spent a lot of this summer thinking about what he did that worked and what he did that didn’t work and figuring things out.

    I also think a lot of the criticism of him is overblown. You can find stuff that any coach does to pick apart. It’s not that hard. A hockey game’s kind of like the Bible, in that you can look through it and find something to support any beliefs you have. I went through a lot of the criticisms of Ralph after the blown two goal lead against Detroit; I didn’t think that there was a lot to it. Zona’s raised the issue of the Oilers changing their defensive zone system; I’m not sure that there’s a lot to that either.

    I do think that the Corsi% collapse this year is significant and means something in terms of there having been some serious fuckups that went uncorrected. I tend towards thinking it was more related to what happened in the offensive zone myself – little or bad pressure, making it easy for teams to come out – because that’s what the data seems to suggest but it’s early days on that.

    To me, the most damning thing is that I don’t really think RK had a fair shot. He inherited a coaching staff that may not have been the most technical in the world and didn’t really have a third assistant. I think MacT realizes this – he as much as said it’s not fair to Ralph – but that doing what he thinks is best for the Oilers trumps doing what’s best for Ralph. I have considerable sympathy for Ralph and hope he lands on his feet; at the same time, I’m hard pressed to blame a guy doing what he thought was best for the team.

  126. RMGS says:

    This is largely retrospective, but this decision should come as no surprise:

    1) Krueger was a Tambellini hiring; choosing his coach is the new GM’s prerogative.

    2) Krueger made some bizarre coaching decisions throughout the shortened season (putting out your fourth line after a TV timeout more than once IN A GAME), and there’s evidence (shot differential, FenClose, Hemsky-Gagner black hole) pointing to a systems failure.

    3) The Oilers leak the Messier-as-first-choice story.

    4) MacT wants to (re)build Rome in a day – or at least a summer – and retaining the coach from a losing, disappointing season that led to a change in GM doesn’t fit.

    Like the move or not, I hope at the very least this ends the honeymoon with the silver fox – this and that Bucky and Smith are also gone.

  127. mc79hockey says:

    Why are we so sure that the Oilers leaked the Messier story? The timing of it doesn’t really fit – it came out 10 days ago or so. I thought it served Messier’s needs more than the Oilers anyway.

  128. Woodguy says:

    mc79hockey,

    I tend towards thinking it was more related to what happened in the offensive zone myself – little or bad pressure, making it easy for teams to come out – because that’s what the data seems to suggest but it’s early days on that.

    From Gregor’s interview of Eakins last year:

    Eakins was talking about advice he’d give to a young coach, but the point stands.

    Whether that’s skating, passing, handling the puck, these players need to have pucks on their sticks all the time. If you do want to run system stuff, the game is going where, hey, it’s pressure; it’s attack. I think teams are really falling away from the trap style of game, and you need to go after teams. For me, pressure is best.

    Therein may lie the root of the coaching change.

    Pressure, skating and possession.

    MacT hasn’t stopped talking about puck possession and Kruger resorted to chip and chase a lot.

    Given the make up of the roster, I don’t hammer him for it, but its different than what MacT has talked about.

  129. RMGS says:

    As with a lot of things on the Oilogosphere, the ‘Messier-as-coach’ leak/slip is mere speculation. But in retrospect, it fits preparing the masses for what’s coming next – if that’s your narrative of choice (one could choose the narrative that Oilers senior management is inept). That it may also help Messier is not mutually exclusive.

  130. Dark Asia says:

    RMGS:
    As with a lot of things on the Oilogosphere, the ‘Messier-as-coach’ leak/slip is mere speculation. But in retrospect, it fits preparing the masses for what’s coming next – if that’s your narrative of choice (one could choose the narrative that Oilers senior management is inept). That it may also help Messier is not mutually exclusive.

    RMGS:
    As with a lot of things on the Oilogosphere, the ‘Messier-as-coach’ leak/slip is mere speculation. But in retrospect, it fits preparing the masses for what’s coming next – if that’s your narrative of choice (one could choose the narrative that Oilers senior management is inept). That it may also help Messier is not mutually exclusive.

    That they seek to “help” an old buddy by sullying the reputation of their EXISTING head coach is emblematic of how classless and incestuous the Oilers mgmt group is. Almost every veteran traded is trashed in some way on his way out the door – it will be the same for Hemmer and Horc in due course – and it already started with some of the tripe that the MSM wheels out about Hemmer in particular. Yeah it’s time for those guys to go because they can’t look mgmt in the eye anymore and say how happy they are to work for them. So the leaks about whatever crap they can make up will come out and the sheep will lap it up.

    Eakin is foolish to work for these guys – take a look at how well it’s worked for the other non-old boys – and he should consider whether he will be any different. He won’t. They will throw him out and crap all over him as soon as they can find an old boy to bring back on to the dole. Too bad they are all so useless or one would be there now. I’m not saying Krueger was great but giving a guy 42 games with a crap roster, no TC, no support in terms of player acquisition, useless assistant and then starting a replacement search while telling him your looking for an associate is just par for the course for the OIlers – the NHL’s most classless franchise.

  131. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    On the Options thread, I was in the mushy middle on firing RK:

    “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.”

    I still think that is right. Firing RK because the team tanked would have been the wrong decision and lack of continuity is a real problem… but as MacT said yesterday, the bigger concern is getting the best available person.

    On his nervousness…. I didn’t see it in the press conference. To me he seemed a mix of forlorn and withholding. He was sad to have to let RK go and for the first time since he’s opened the books to the media he held his cards close and was a bit short with questions.

    I liked RK and wish him well. I hope the hockey world doesn’t take this as an indictment of him and he finds work elsewhere.

    On this ridiculous idea that you can’t both be bright and make stupid decisions… I don’t even know where to start… it is a childish way of thinking.

    On the A. Coaches… I hope Eakins either summarily flushes the current staff or retains part of all of them only after extensive interviewing.

    MacT gave Eakins wide latitude, but his “I hope they are retained” was troubling… I’m hoping it was more of a public cover for the inevitable than anything else.

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