The Pot and the Kettle

Robin Brownlee
April 24 2008 04:10PM

Being a man of principle, Edmonton Oilers boss Kevin Lowe made it clear this week he doesn't hold former player agent Mike Gillis, now the GM of the Vancouver Canucks, in high regard. Lowe remains rightfully unhappy about being shunned by Michael Nylander, who backed out of a deal with the Oilers last summer when his wife tugged on the trousers and pulled out the hammer, informing hubby there was no way she was coming to Edmonton. Nylander's agent was none other than Gillis, and Lowe doesn't think he handled the situation as ethically as he should have. Suffice to say, Lowe won't be picking up the phone to talk trade with Gillis in his new capacity any time soon. "We haven't done many deals with Vancouver, although Dave Nonis and I had many conversations,” Lowe told Darren Dreger of TSN. "I suspect we won't be doing any in the future." Lowe went on to say: "A lot of deals are done based on honesty and trust. He (Gillis) is going to be in tough earning trust. To orchestrate a trade, you have to have that trust going in." Pardon? Putting aside the fact Nylander stiffed in Washington after spurning the Oilers for an $18.5-million deal with the Capitals, is this the same Lowe who asked Mike Comrie to pay $2.5 million to complete a trade to the Anaheim Ducks? The same Lowe who, according to agent Ritch Winter, never said a word to Anaheim GM Bryan Murray about the money component as a requirement to get the trade completed? The same Lowe who told Murray and Winter they could begin working on a new contract, then made the $2.5 million stipulation at the 11th hour? That Lowe? Hmm.

Family Matters

The Oilers have always looked after their own, and that's unlikely to change under incoming owner Daryl Katz, who was a hardcore fan long before making his billions with Rexall. As tight as Katz is with Lowe and other Oilers he cheered for and became friends with in the 1980s, nepotism—the unconditional embrace of those who've worn the Oil Drop—might get cranked up a notch.

  • Talk persists Craig Simpson will leave the TV booth again, this time for a front office job with the Oilers—likely in the capacity of an assistant GM to Lowe. What, exactly, qualifies Simpson? The answer escapes me. Oh, wait, 20 years ago, he scored 56 goals one season.
I'm wondering if some of the players who didn't enjoy Simpson acting as the vocal hammer for pal Craig MacTavish as an assistant coach will like him any better if he's kicked upstairs.

  • Still on the Once-An-Oiler-Always-An-Oiler front, I keep hearing former captain and devout company man Kelly Buchberger will be promoted to MacTavish's staff after spending this season running the AHL show in Springfield.
If that move comes at the expense of Rob Daum, as opposed to being an addition to the existing staff, it's a mistake. Daum brought new ideas and a new perspective to the strategic mix. Daum complements assistants Bill Moores and Charlie Huddy. Daum can coach talent. Bucky?

Another thing...

  • Nobody asked, but the first three names that come to mind ahead of Simpson if the Oilers really are looking to add to the front office are Doug Armstrong (he's still getting a cheque from Dallas), Winter (when hell freezes over) and Nonis (he'll end up in Anaheim with Burke).
  • So, Joni Pitkanen will play for Finland at the World Championships. I'd have thought he'd need time to rest and let all those bumps and bruises that had him in and out of the Oilers line-up. The same could be said for Mathieu Garon, who'll be Canada's third stopper.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
Avatar
#51 fyvmvv
April 26 2008, 12:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

R.B. - Maybe the Oil management should stop looking at the old fashioned model of one size fits all as far as coaching is concerned. Could there be room for both styles in dealing with skill players and third and fourth line guys who may bring a little of both to the table. Coaching is seemingly more specialized with each passing season and team preparedness is critical expecially with players entering league play at younger ages and earlier stages of development. You can't really push the younger players into high pressure competition without the support behind them and get the kind of results you want. The speed of teams pursuing the D on the forecheck has seemingly altered forever the required skill-set of D-men.

Avatar
#52 RobinB
April 26 2008, 12:33PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

fyvmvv: Absolutely. Coaching staffs need the right mix. You need the "work hard" and "c'mon boys" menntality, but you also need tactical expertise. It's nice if you can get both in the same guy, but that's rare. The right mix, the riht chemistry -- whatever you want to call it -- is very important.

Avatar
#53 MikeP
April 27 2008, 08:14AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin, being a hypocrite doesn't mean you're wrong. Lowe can perfectly well talk about Gillis' record in dealing with the Oil while he also was (and I'm not conceding the point) less than ethical with Anaheim. I'm not clouding the issue, I'm saying that everybody in the biz has pulled BS at some point or another. That doesn't mean none of them are allowed to point it out when it happens. And yeah, Winter can point fingers at Lowe all he wants, in the same vein - but using his own logic, wow, it's weird that a guy with a 20 or so year history of manipulation and shady dealings is pointing out somebody else's couple of dealings, eh? So, using his own logic, he should just sit in the corner and be quiet, especially since it doesn't really concern him at all.

Avatar
#54 Hockey Addict 101
April 27 2008, 09:28AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Robin.

Thanks again for the responses. I want to say how refreshing it for a person to give well thought out responses to questions.

Appreciate it. You have created a fan!

These are some questions that came to mind, not sure if you can answer or have any insight.

I completely agree on the Buchberger angle I wouldn't want him hired at the expense of Daum but could it possibly be a switch of portfolios. Would Daum coach in Springfield?

Also do we know that Armstrong (pulling up that name because I know it was mentioned on the show) would be interested in an Assistant GM job?

Lastly if you had to put a percentage change on Simpson being Assistant GM here. What odds would you lay?

Avatar
#55 RobinB
April 27 2008, 03:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Hockey Addict 101: I haven't asked Daum, but I can't see him turning down an offer to coach in the AHL for the sake of returning to the U of A because it keeps him in the organization.

Armstrong can do as he pleases because he's drawing cheques from Dallas for two more years and doesn't need the money. I suspect he'd prefer to remain at the GM level as opposed to being an asst. GM, but, as always, specifics of each situation will dictate.

As for Simpson -- keeping in mind I haven't talked to him and he probably wouldn't tell me anything if we did talk -- I'd put it at 50-50. If the Oilers decide to fill the position of asst. GM, even with Rick Olczyk in place as the "cap-olgist," my hunch is the job is Simpson's if he wants it.

Comments are closed for this article.