I think in an organization, every manager needs four or five real key people that allow you to be successful. A head coach and an assistant manager, one or two people running your amateur draft, somebody in player development and your head coach at the American League level. Now, much like you build a team, you’ve got that foundation in place in your front office. Now you can fill. Then, if you can have the stability, then these fill people will learn. They’re going to learn from the people that are the foundation. -Ken Holland (BEHIND THE MOVES)
HEAD COACH: DALLAS EAKINS
MacT hired him this summer, Eakins has been on the job for 14 NHL games. The won-loss record is a disaster, but this team would have to go 3-9-2 again for talk of replacement to grab some traction. There’s just not enough elapsed time to seriously consider replacing the guy–especially considering this organization’s recent history at the position. I’m exhausted just talking about it. The outer marker on the Eakins story might be airlifting in an assistant with NHL experience. Who were the other names that were discussed as possibles before Eakins got the job? I don’t remember.
ASSISTANT MANAGER: SCOTT HOWSON/RICKY OLCZYK
Howson is newly returned to the organization and to my eye probably improved his reputation based on the overall Jacket in Columbus. He made some bold moves and traded the franchise, so he’s certainly a guy who can endure stormy weather. Olczyk is getting a lot of play for his hard work in the Arcobello acquistion.
Elliotte Friedman: Arcobello was a college free agent, but assistant GM Rick Olczyk had to fight to get it done because the Oilers were concerned about his size. Another team said after it was filed, they saw it was a two-way AHL/ECHL deal, which, at the time, was worth less than $60,000 — combined. That one worked out nicely.
I think that’s a helluva story, and should bode well for Olczyk. The downside? He is not a MacT hire. Doesn’t mean a damn thing if Arcobello’s keep showing up.
DRAFT: STU MACGREGOR
Much of MacGregor’s work is yet to be graded, but the 2008 edition (Eberle) along with 2009′s Perron lure (Paajarvi) are nice touches. I imagine Craig MacTavish is more concerned with recent draft picks and their progress, and there are some nice late picks, a quality run in the first round, and some trouble in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. It’ll be interesting to see how MacT grades this group (he was certainly complimentary on hiring).
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT: RICK CARRIERE/MIKE SILLINGER
I guess you’d judge this role by (partly) how many players develop beyond their draft number and quality of NHL players. Among the men who have played in OKC and then become Oilers for a time are Jeff Petry, Teemu Hartikainen, Linus Omark and Mark Arcobello.
AHL COACH: TODD NELSON
Nelson has been excellent if you believe winning at the AHL level is important, but he’s been sent three 2nd rounders from the 2010 draft and only one (Tyler Pitlick) has made the NHL. That’s not a terribly fair criticism though, as Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton have been bogged down by injury and Martin Marincin seems to be developing in an efficient manner.
MacT says he thinks Corey Potter might get claimed. I say MacT hopes Potter gets claimed. Too much of the same thing, although they’ll find a role for him should he clear. Grebeshkov I’m not as sure of, MacT says he needs conditioning to get up to NHL speed, but I think this is probably the beginning of the KHL flight.
On yesterday’s blog I wrote “stay the course, build on what works, turn this thing around and get buy-in from those who want to move forward, flushing those who do not. The Oilers right now are a collection of talents being ground into a useful hockey team. We’ve been singing show me the way to go home for years now, and Dallas Eakins is the man chosen to do it. Let it bleed.”
- MacT: “I don’t see how making a bad trade helps anybody. Are we trying to do something to shore up the deficient areas? Absolutely. But I’m not doing something at all costs. We’ve got significant pieces. Does the record really reflect the first 13 (14 games actually)? Everybody can draw their own conclusions there. And I’m drawing mine. I don’t think it’s reflective. We’re improving.”
Music! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I understand the fanbase being upset, it’s tough to watch them get rolled over by Toronto and behind Calgary (4 enormous points with 2 games in hand) and this team today is 8 points out of the playoffs and the team holding the final spot has 4 games in hand. Lordy.
Losing teams make stupid moves at this point in time. Darren Dreger reported yesterday that other teams are asking after the Klefbom and the Oilers are going to stay the course. That’s the play here.
I think this club can do some minor tweaking (twerking?) and help themselves immediately:
- The 4line needs another penalty killer. Three sets of two among the forwards, a centerman on all three units. That 4line has Gazdic-Eager with Acton, hell man find a PK guy and put him there. Call up Fedun and have him play that role, I don’t care. The Eberle-Hemsky experiment isn’t working, try it again when things are well.
- Get Hall back in the lineup. Any word? Haven’t seen anything in awhile.
- Smyth and Joensuu are apparently on their way back, they’ll be road trip possibles (early and late) and that’ll help. LW has been a mine field for injury this season (as Bruce McCurdy noted yesterday).
- Put Dubnyk back in and leave him there.
- Whatever the instructions re: pinching, stop it. Stop it right damn now.
- The penalty kill is killing this team. Fix it, or find a coach who can.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
THIS is going to be an interesting show! Scheduled to appear:
- Dennis King. Anyone who reads the Oilogosphere knows Dennis and his unique view on all things Oiler. It’s been too long since we had a chat, so we’ll look deep into the Oil world with emphasis on Eakins, MacT and the PK.
- Anthony Cozenza, Cincy Jungle. The Bengals are winning for the first time since Kenny Anderson. What’s going on?
- Ryan Batty, Copper and Blue. I never know where we’re going to go, but I promise we’ll talk Oilers at least 70% of the time.
- Sean Donovan, The Phinsider. It started so well for the Dolphins, but they’ve stepped into an elevator shaft and it’s been a month.
- Paul Almeida, Azorcan Global. We’ll talk WJ’s and soccer.
Text 10-1260 or twitter @Lowetide_. See you on the radio!