Showing posts with label Associate Coach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Associate Coach. Show all posts

Monday, May 12, 2014

What possible changes exist in the Oilers coaching staff?

According to MacT Eakins is going nowhere. I have been very open about my thoughts on Eakins and what this team needs to do. Problem is? It doesn't matter what I think, it matters what MacT thinks and right now he has backed his coach 100%. MacT is going to run with Eakins, if he turns out to be incapable of bringing this team up to par in the playoff race next season, Eakins will be gone and MacT likely will only have one last coaching choice to make the team a success. For that to happen would mean another season (Year 5 of the rebuild) will have been wasted and this whole team will be blown up.

I know lots of fans and media alike think Lowe and others are totally safe and this team's ownership is a old boys club but he is still a businessmen. MacT is only 1 year and a bit on the job and has replaced only 1 coach. He will get 2 swings at it if he has too. However saying all that, it is very unlikely that will happen unless Eakins starts next season like he did last. Eakins came across last off-season like the 'Lone Ranger' riding his white horse and how he was the 'man' who would be better then the previous regime of head coaches. He came across to many of us as smug, arrogant and self-righteous. He made claims that you play bad, you watch from the press box. Did he follow through with that equally among all his players? Nope! Not at all.

He said no favouritism yet he showed it by scratching Yakupov for his poor play on the ice but not other elite players who were constantly causing Oilers games with poor defensive play. Who else was scratched for bad play last year other then Yakupov? Petry! Yup, that's it! No others. Granted, Hall and even Eberle while struggling earlier on, at least they were putting pucks in the net and contributing to goals for the team. What about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who I do believe in and believe is a excellent player) and Sam Gagner? What about Andrew Ference? Oh, yes, Andrew while a awesome guy and person made so many blunders out there at bad times but he's the captain and Eakins was not going to bench him. Some thing went wrong between Eakins and Yakupov and for Nail's part, after the debacle with his agent Larionov, Yakupov showed great character and said the right things on and off the ice. When it comes to putting in the work, Nail is no slacker. Enough with Nail as this is not about him but more about the way Eakins coached and taught him and used him and others.

No matter if I like it or not, Eakins is here to stay. I predict he has till the trade deadline next year to keep his job secure. If the Oilers are already out of the playoff race by trade deadline, Eakins will go (it happens, see what happened in Vancouver?). What will happen with the start of next year? Well, it's all speculation anyway but some things simple deduction will make it easier to read into the 'hockey leaves'.

Keith Action;
Not sure what Keith really brought to the table last year that really helped Eakins and if he did, we would never know what. There are many coaches who could do a much better job then Keith especially since there are so many technical coaches who can add to what this team needs. Action was a good soldier but we all know what happens to good soldiers. They are expendable! I can't see Action going anywhere this off-season as Eakins selected him but really IMO he needs replaced with more experience and a coach with a better resume. Keith likely stays.

Steve Smith;
This is a choice that many people behind the scenes believe was MacTavish's decision. MacT loves Smith and believes he has brought good success to the development of the defence. MacT likely chalks up the poor defensive play early in the season to Eakins running with his 'swarm' philosophy in the NHL. MacT stated Eakins was learning on the job and likely believes it was a mistake learned. Unless all the coaches are cleared out under Eakins, Steve is in Edmonton at least one more year working with the defence.

Kelly Buchberger;
This is the most puzzling of all the coaches decisions. Ever since his selection to coach the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, Kelly has not proven anything he adds to anyone other then someone above him I suppose. He did not look good as a head coach in the AHL and certainly not showed anything to us fans or the players that his coaching ability is better then others out there. The fact that he keeps lasting through head coaches is what scares me of the legitimacy of his coaching ability. It really makes no sense. While I see the other two coaches maybe staying on to start the year, I really question if Kelly is back to start the year as a assistant coach. Possibly let go and moved into a scouting area or player development or some fancy named position? Call it a hunch but I think we won't see Buchberger in the same role starting next season.

Fred Chabot;
Things really went wrong for Chabot when Barry Trotz let out his concerns with Devan Dubynk upon a couple games playing in Nashville. Those words resonated around the NHL, so you have to believe they were heard and examined closely within the Oilers management. I have seen a lot of Chabot's work with development of the Goalies over the years. He works hard and seems to train well on the technical tools they need to practice and work on. Some may just say the players given to him are not good enough. Goalies are a different breed and a Goalie coach is actually much more like a head coach when it comes to the goaltending position. The coach himself does little for the Goalie but the Goaltending coach is the one who prepares, teaches and trains and gets into the psychology of a goalies mind. Saying that,, there are not many great goaltending coaches and when you find one, you run with him. Rumours persist Fuhr one day returning to Edmonton but for now that is still speculation. I tend to see Chabot on his way out.

Next article we will discuss and look into what possibly is going to happen with the forwards on the Edmonton Oilers hockey team.

In the meantime, and in between time, that's it for another edition of Oilers hockey!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dallas Eakins and Todd Nelson to trade positions?

Ok, before i am crucified for starting a ridiculous rumour and everybody starts freaking out, let me explain. Is it even possible that the Oilers organization could actually flip these two coaches? I have searched the Internet and tried to find if this rumour has been swirling anywhere. I did not come up with this idea on my own. In fact, last night after speaking with someone who is a little more in the know, I started to examine the thought of this as a potential possibility. This is someone that has been involved in hockey for sometime (including the coaching fraternity). There is a lot of reasons why this makes no sense at all and lots of reasons why this could be a really good idea. I am not stating this as a legitimate rumour but wanting to at least examine this closer.

Let's examine the pros and cons and the information that has occurred over the last couple years before just tossing this possibility aside.

Jonathan Willis has a interesting read on OKC Barons bench Boss Todd Nelson

While I agree with Jonathan that adding Nelson to the current staff could be a good thing, Todd Nelson himself in a article written by Ryan Dittrick would prefer Head Coaching in the AHL to being a assistant in the NHL as he has already been a assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers.

To further add to Ryan's interview with Todd Nelson. Robert TychKowski also quoted Todd nelson but only after he was not selected for the Oilers Head Job. In this interview he speaks about opportunity and it does not sound like a coach who wants to take a couple years as a assistant coach in the NHL for only a maybe position.

Where does that leave us since MacT has gone on record as saying Dallas Eakins is not going away? Terry Jones reports on this.

Mike Baldwin, a reporter in OKC when interviewing Todd Nelson himself, quoted much of the same as our local guys except does mention the possibility in a couple years as working as a assistant coach.

Enough on the articles written. What are some common threads we are hearing or seeing on this team and around the city of Edmonton and in behind closed doors that leaks still seem to come out from?

What do we know? Dallas Eakins has seen this team's Powerplay drop significantly with a even better team this season then the previous. The team has dropped significantly in the standings looking to have taken a step backwards once again. We also know Barons head coach Nelson has continually had to deal with his best players being called up to Edmonton and at crucial times in the season. With the Oilers it seems just when their is a push for the AHL playoffs each year, they end up with a string of injuries or Nelson contends with those injuries on his AHL team. Bottom line? Nelson has an established track record with 50% of the Oilers NHL team and is known to be well respected and liked among them all.

You always hear rumours that can not really be substantiated. The young players party too much! The players have tuned out Dallas Eakins and do not respect him to get the best out of their game. The argument you hear to that is the NHL player is a professional and needs to be self motivated and shouldn't need a coach to pull the best out of him.

My take? I am sure Dallas is a wonderful person and even a really good coach. I just don't think that he is the right coach. From the moment he walked into this job, we heard how he was going to change this team. Their fitness level was too be intensified and their compete level was to be through the roof. In fact he really did IMO come off as arrogant and rude and his comments insinuated to me he was saying the last couple coach's did not demand that or couldn't teach that. Also he didn't really seem to know the players well enough of who has brought what to this organization with their gifts and talents. Even his systems play were truly flawed that he insisted would work and gave the reasons why.

Has Dallas learned on the fly? Absolutely and while I do think it's time we just quit firing coaches, I really did disagree we should have fired Ralph at all. Renney before him was a firing that happened to save Tambo's job for the following season. Tamby made Renney his scapegoat!

My take now? It's a tough decision to make and a tough pill for MacT to swallow if he were to replace his head coach but IMO if we are to bring in a young up and coming coach from the AHL, it should be from within the organization not from another one. At least we know what we have from within and it does look good.

Could Nelson accept a Assistant job? It's possible, anything is possible. If Todd does come in as assistant, you know at least a couple assistants are on their way out. What is most likely? I think Chabot and Bucky are on their way out.

However, what if Todd nelson were to take the Head Coaching job of the Edmonton Oilers should it be offered by MacT? What would happen with Dallas Eakins and the remaining part of his contract? The scoop I was told is Dallas gets sent to OKC to take on the Barons. I can hear some people right now saying 'no way!' Dallas didn't come to Edmonton to return back to the AHL. Maybe not but he also didn't perform and to me doesn't sound like a guy who is very accountable for his many mistakes as a rookie head coach. What happens to a player who under performs? He loses his job outright or gets demoted. They are paying Dallas so sending him to hone his skills within their AHL team isn't the end of the world. Eakins benches players when they under perform maybe it's time to do the same?

Not for a minute do I claim to know what WILL happen but this rumour could have some validity to it but only time will tell. In the meantime and in between time, that's it…for another edition of 'Oilers Jambalaya"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Edmonton Oilers 'Moves or Non-Moves'?

Today being just another day in the life of Oiler fans, it was a good day for a blog that raised some thoughts and or questions for some of the greatest hockey fans the world has seen or heard.

The hockey world does not always make sense. Sure, eventually what goes around, comes around, but that does not stop the pain suffered by Edmonton Oiler fans since the devastating Game 7 loss in the 2006 Stanley Cup. It's like the pain never stops. Just when there looks to be hope at the end of the tunnel, WHAM! Right in the gut once again. Kind of reminds me of growing up in elementary school and facing the big bully each day that wants your 'yummy' lunch your mom sent.

I must say, the Oilers organization should be credited with some good work being 'spin doctors'. Seriously, think about it. Ever since the 2006 Stanley Cup run, the Oilers have found a way to spoon feed us some good hope that this team will eventually return to make a solid run at Lord Stanley's Cup. A feat few teams ever get close to , let alone actually accomplish.

Having said all that, there is the newest Sheriff in town and his Name is 'Sheriff MacT' and he is ready with guns loaded to run the bad guys out of town! Ok, if I am going to make that analogy, I better describe who the bad guys are right? Wrong! I am going to leave that up to you incredible and knowledgable fans. What I am going to do is walk through some possibilities moving forward and what I think is going to happen. I have mentioned this before and will reiterate it again, you can read between the lines if you pay close attention to the subtle things being said. There is always the local gossip rumour mill and of course there is occasionally some insights learned from things said by the Oilers brass that gets passed on through those 'casual get togethers' in the community. So having said all that here are some of the 'Moves or Non-Moves' that could possibly be on the horizon in Oil Country in the coming weeks and months.

1) Horcoff; Will be moved out but a trade will be the way MacT tries to move him out. I know he still has a couple years left on his contract but to the right team this could make sense. There are likely about 5-7 teams who may have interest , while maybe 2 or 3 have more interest. The possibilities? A team on the verge of making a run at the playoffs and/or a team who needs to reach the cap floor. I do not believe Horcoff moves via a buyout as that likely will be used on Belanger if he can not be traded which most believe he can not be moved any other way. The Oilers will not use both their compliance buyouts this year so expect a trade or Shawn will have one more year playing Center in Edmonton.

2) Smyth; I know many fans who want him gone but Ryan has lots to prove. He will have extra motivation this year to make up for the worst year of his career. Ryan will be settling for 4th line duty this year, maybe 3rd line in the case of injuries once again but 10-12 minutes a night of TOI could make him a valuable asset in played in right circumstances.

3) Belanger; See comments under Horcoff

4) 2nd Goaltender; Yes, fans wanted the latest and greatest finish Goalie but there are a couple other options lying out there. Don't write off a move for a top notch Goalie. The Oilers making a play for Luongo is still not out of the question (like it or hate it). In addition, Miller could be in play from Buffalo. Like him or not, Miller even with a bad season in Buffalo still makes the clutch saves, his SP remains close to the same year after year as does his GAA. (Something to be noted of what is a indicator of a consistent and good goaltender is that his SP and his GAA remains much alike year after year) There are exceptions when playing behind a terrible defence that changes year after year but it's a good mark of a great goalie. Unfortunately a terrible playoff record year after year falls into that same category. It may be neither goalie but look for a move along those lines as a possibility if not this year absolutely next year.

5) #7 OV Draft pick 2013; The greatest likelyhood is keeping the pick. I would think the likeliest pick will be Monahan and or Darnell Nurse if they keep the pick and with who may be available. If they can, MacT will make a push to get MacKinnon but that would be a absolute gift if he can pull that off. It's not happening but we can dream. There is a possibility they do press to move up a few and get Barkov. Some talk suggests to move up to the 4 or 5 spot to get Barkov will mean giving up this years #7, 2014 1st OV selection and a roster player of significance. What I can say is I do not believe the Oilers will take Lindholm and/or Zadorov as some suggest they can. Nurse is a much better skater then Zadorov, is more mobile, has a better 1st pass out of his zone and is still close to 200 lbs already. I do believe if they can not land MacKinnon (Highly unlikely) Barkov (slim chance) or Monahan (50% chance) then they will try to trade down with Columbus and land Lazar and/or Horvat. Lazar is underrated IMO and if they can not land those earlier three centres I mentioned I do believe Lazar is next on their list. NOTE: I do believe the Oilers like Pulock as well should they have a opportunity to trade with Columbus for their two higher picks for their #7 slot. Would Ryan Pulock (Captain, over 200 lbs, has a slapshot already over 104 mph) with Lazar be acceptable? It's a chance there is a possibility there. Should be a much more interesting draft for us then previous years.

6) New associate coach; It will happen, they need someone with NHL experience who can help with technical skills. MacT has indicated with subtle hints that coaching needs to be more rounded and after hearing rumours circling Oil Country, I am prett certain we will see such a thing happen.

7) Klefbom; Contrary to some people's opinions if he is healthy, he will make the Oilers out of training camp I believe. I understand why people say he needs time in OKC but how do they know? Until you see him play in training camp and a few per-season games you can not make that judgement unless as fans we know better then coaches. Rushing him to the NHL means he was not ready, him playing cause he is better then the other players in camp does not mean rushing at all. I have high expectations of Klefbom and believe he will make believers out of alot of fans this coming season. Only question will be. 'is he fully healed up'? I expect our defence to be Smid/Petry/J.Schultz/N.Schultz/Klefbom/UFA or TRADE

Thats a few random thoughts for today. Next blog we will continue with some more Moves or Non-Moves in Oil Country.

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