Dumb and Daumer

Robin Brownlee
May 08 2008 01:19PM

Good job, Daumer. Thanks for coming. All indications are Rob Daum did a fine job as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers this past season, but he won't retain his job on Craig MacTavish's staff in 2008–09. What I suggested here April 10, that Daum would lose his position so the team could bring in former Oiler captain Kelly Buchberger from Springfield of the AHL as an assistant, is unfolding. GM Kevin Lowe confirmed today Daum won't be back in an interview he did with Rob Tychkowski of The Sun, although he stopped short of saying Buchberger will be the man to take his place. "Rob is not coming back as a coach with the big club," Lowe said. "He's earned my respect in the organization, all of our respect. He's a good hockey guy. I'm just pondering what we're going to get him to do. He's also thinking about his options, too. "There's things in the organization we can get him to do, lots of stuff I've been wanting to expand on when the right guy came along." Wanting to keep Daum in the organization is fine and good, but Daum is a coach, and getting bounced from a coaching position for the inexperienced Buchberger isn't much of a reward for a job well done. Fact is it has to feel like a swift kick in the groin. With Jeff Truitt, an assistant to Buchberger in Springfield this season, said to have the inside track as head coach when Bucky bolts, what coaching job can the Oilers offer Daum? That's easy: probably one he'll refuse. Meaning he might have to exercise his option to return to the University of Alberta as the coach of the Golden Bears. That also puts the pinch on Eric Thurston, who guided the Bears to a national title in Daum's absence. Sounds like a bum deal.

No Simmer

I'm batting .500 on coaching and front office moves as Lowe made it clear in the same interview former assistant coach and current TV analyst Craig Simpson won't be re-joining the team in a front office capacity next season. Lowe characterized a return by Simpson this way: "No, that's craziness, total craziness." Given where the talk about interest in Simpson's potential as a front office type came from, I can assure fans it wasn't "total craziness." It simply isn't going to happen next season. Let's see just how nuts the idea of Simpson rejoining the Oilers is down the road.

Talks stalled?

The Oilers haven't spoken with agent David Kaye, who represents unrestricted free agent Curtis Glencross, since April 22, and there are no talks scheduled. Having talked to Kaye today, there's every possibility Glencross may test the market after July 1, if he and the Oilers can't close what appears to be a significant financial gap. "We might have to wait until July 1 to have the market dictate what Curtis is worth," Kaye said. "I think the best fit for Curtis is Edmonton. Does he need to go anywhere else? No. Will we entertain something? Obviously, if they don't step up to the plate, we have to." In Monday's Edmonton Metro, I wrote that Glencross and Kaye want "close to $2 million a season." What I was told, to be specific, was that Kaye was looking for "Robert Nilsson money," which is a cap hit of $1.83 million per season ($5.5 million over three seasons). While Kaye won't confirm or deny that, and insists he hasn't yet negotiated off a hard number, Nilsson's name did, indeed, come up. "I've given them comparables out there," Kaye said. "My exact words were, 'Hey, you just signed Nilsson.' That's all I said. I have never given him a number." —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

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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.
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#1 OregonStateFan
May 08 2008, 01:32PM
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It's a real shame Daum isn't going to be with the big club this season. With so much young talent, you would think that his presence really helped with their development this season.

Thinking back, his role when he was brought on was a little wishy-washy on the details. Robin, can you maybe give some insight on what he might have been doing with the Oil as an assistant coach this season? I know he's invaluable, but maybe there's more to this than meets the eye?

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#2 Rick
May 08 2008, 01:51PM
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Clearly you're the guy with the inside scoop but Lowe just said Daum wouldn't be back with the big club as a coach so doesn't that leave the door open for Springfield? I know you said Truit has the inside track but surely if Daum is more qualified, Truit's track can be adjusted for the good of the organization. Or what about Daum as Truit's assistant? It still puts Daum closer to an NHL coaching gig than the U of A.

Just a thought here, but just like you point out Daum is a coach. Despite the title was he really doing any coaching last year? The way it was presented in the media he was pre-scouting and breaking down the other teams game plans.

And on what level is Glencross comparable to Nilsson? can you find two guys who's game style is more diametrically opposite...outside of Hemsky and Stortini.

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#3 RobinB
May 08 2008, 02:10PM
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Rick: Taking a job as an AHL assistant after being in the NHL and already being a head coach in the AHL (Houston) is real a step down. I'm not sure if Daum would do it just to stay in the organization.

On Glencross, I don't think Kaye is comparing him to Nilsson. In fact Kaye told me he was having a difficult time coming up with somebody exactly like Glencross to compare to. The way the quote runs together -- I asked Kaye about Nilsson after he started to take about comparables -- it might give that impression, but that's not the case.

FYI: One name that was tossed out (from the Oilers end) as a comparable player was Scotty Upshall.

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#4 Tim S
May 08 2008, 02:33PM
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At what point do we consider that Daum might not be a great coach?? Minny let him go after 1 great season and 1 bad season. What happened there??

If he did such a bang up job the Oilers would retain him, it is really that simple. He obviously did not fit, somehow and maybe through no fault of his own something did not work out.

Maybe he was over qualified for the role they used him in, or maybe they knew he would bolt if he ever got a job offer above being his current role of a glorified scout.

Or I guess the more likely conclussion is that Lowe's only motivation is to get his friends jobs.

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#5 Rick
May 08 2008, 02:34PM
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I guess the point I was driving at is what is a bigger step down, the AHL (even as an assistant) or the U of A?

I wasn't suggesting it with the reasoning that Daum would do it just to stay with the organization but instead with the reasoning that he would still be closer to the NHL than the alternative and in more of a direct view to the parent clubs that may be looking for their next assistant coach.

Not every step back leads to obscurity, look at Geoff Ward. He took a step back by going to Germany and ended up in the NHL through a contact he made as an assistant in the AHL.

I meant to ask, when you pass along your inside info/rumours how much of it is you reading between the lines and interpreting and how much is relaying what is said outright?

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#6 RobinB
May 08 2008, 03:46PM
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Rick: If I suggest something without attributing it or playing it straight --this or that will definitely happen -- I'm giving my take on things based on information that's been passed along.

Put it this way, there's an awful lot of "You didn't hear this from me, but . . ." sort of thing.

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#7 fyvmvv
May 08 2008, 04:13PM
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Oh brother! Lowe and Mactavish strike again. Employ only ex-Oilers and the hell with someone who isn't in the ex-Oilers club. I hope Katz treats Lowe/MacT the same when they finally run out of rope. Kelly Buchberger an NHL coach? He hasn't proved anything except he has little experience to offer. Lowe is despised by G.M.'s and agents and they won't recommend Edmonton to their players. What a mess this organization is becoming.

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#8 Rev
May 08 2008, 07:27PM
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I am wondering what Oiler alumni player has the oldest kid from the early 80's squad. Best hurry up and get him on the bench to start transitioning...clearly that is where the Oilers future coaching staff and GMs are going to come from.

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#9 RobinB
May 08 2008, 08:57PM
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Me, disgruntled? That's the opinion of one poster over at Oilfans.com. Somebody named spOILer points out I whiffed on my prediction Craig Simpson would leave the TV booth to re-join the team in a front office position. It reads:

"Contrary to one disgruntled blogger's opinion, Craig Simpson blah blah blah." Priceless.

Shouldn't that have read, "Just as one disgruntled blogger wrote a month ago, Rob Daum has been blown out as the Oilers prepare to add Kelly Buchberger to the coaching staff?"

Just asking.

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#10 Hockey Addict 101
May 08 2008, 11:22PM
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Robin.

I agree on the face it looks like a mistake but I think before I come to that conclusion I would need to know more about why the Oilers do not want Daum back.

It just seems like there is more to this story than meets the eye.

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#11 RobinB
May 08 2008, 11:38PM
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101: I don't think it's as much a case of not wanting Daum back as it is of wanting Buchberger here.

There's no way Buchberger took the job in Springfield without assurance he'd have the option of coming up after the first year of his two-year deal. This was whispered about all season and the inevitability of him joining the Oilers had nothing to do with how well Daum did or didn't do in his role. Likewise, the inevitability of Bucky getting the promotion had little to do with his success, or lack of same, with Springfield.

At the very least, why not have Bucky learn the ropes in the minors for both years of his contract? That Buchberger will be promoted despite not enjoying much success in Springfield while Daum gets bounced despite no shortcomings, at least any I've heard of, with the Oilers leads me to believe it's as simple as that -- Bucky was going to be the guy no matter what.

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#12 Hockey Addict 101
May 08 2008, 11:45PM
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Thanks Robin.

That is too bad.

I believe he is on sabbatical from the U of A and will probably go back there.

They seem to be grooming Buchberger but if that is the case why not have him spend one more year in Springfield?

Doesn't seem like the right decision.

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#13 Hockey Addict 101
May 08 2008, 11:58PM
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Glencross is asking for too much.

If he can get that on the open market more power to him.

It's been a slice Mr. Glencross, thanks for coming out.

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#14 MikeP
May 09 2008, 09:30AM
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I don't see how the team or agent has to look much further than a few stalls down in the dressing room to find a Glencross comp: Ethan Moreau. 10-20 goal guys with grit. If the agent is thinking Glencross has the potential to be a 30 goal guy, I think he's kidding himself (although I'd obviously be delighted if he did that as an Oiler). Nilsson's a pretty poor comp.

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#15 Chaz
May 09 2008, 10:47AM
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Perhaps they're not bringing back Daum because of personality differences. Remember, he's still a part of the team, as all coaches are, and if he doesn't have the right personality to gel with the players and/or coaches, then perhaps that is why he is being cut loose. From what I heard through several of his ex-players at the U, he definitly is not a players coach, and has never been very popular with his players. Not that all good coaches have to be, I'm just saying this could be part of the story.

Remember, as frustrating as the Ol' Boys club seems to be to many of us, it happens all over the league to varying levels of success. IE Montreal. I think one obvious benefit of having ex-players in a coaching role is that players respect them for having been through the battles before, and they can relate better to the players. Interesting debate though.

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#16 fyvmvv
May 09 2008, 11:38AM
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Lowe and MacT couldn't have been any more condescending towards Daum if they tried. Kevin - why didn't you just have a press conference and hand Rob Daum a broom or a toilet brush? Who else but an enept manager of people promotes his friends regardless of a lack of knowledge and unceremoniously elbows aside someone like Rob Daum? Where do MacT and Lowe get off hijacking the team for their own benefit and that of their insider buddies. Would I love to see someone take these bozos on and do it in print.

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#17 Tim S
May 09 2008, 11:53AM
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I really think this is getting out of control. We are taking about a coach with 3 years of pro experience, 1 which was outstanding, one which was terrible and this last one where we have no idea what his duties even were.

I heard it explained last night that he was let go in Houston because they had a poor team, poor goaltending, and a boat load of injuries. There still has to be more to it then that. The Wild have had 1 gm, and 1 coach in there entire history, heck they don't even seem to have a high player turnover. Yet as an organization they were unable to see that after an outstanding 50 win season, followed by a terrible season that the latter might have been the result of circumstances noted above??

Maybe he is a genius and 30 teams just don't realize it, or maybe there is more to the story.

And no I do not endorse the promotion of Buchberger, but the fact is he has a contract, and they need to put him somewhere. Reports from the farm say he was not a good fit so what is the logic of leaving him there??

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#18 Robinb
May 09 2008, 12:25PM
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Tim S: Look, just cut the crap. You're OK with the Oilers letting Daum go, so just come out and say it instead of looking for reasons -- there are none --to justify it.

And you don't endorse the promotion of Buchberger? Again, cut the crap. It's OK to reward him with a promotion to the NHL (and a higher pay scale) because he has a contract and they have to put him somewhere? Good logic.

Here's a thought, tell Bucky he'll be honoring the second year of his contract in the AHL and let him know he'd be well-advised do a better job being a "good fit" or he's gone.

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#19 Tim S
May 09 2008, 01:28PM
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Robinb, I respect the fact that you are in the know on alot of inside info and that you say there is no good reason for letting Daum go that does carry alot of weight. But when 2 organizations give up on the guy I think it raises some questions.

As far as Buchberger goes, he was originally hired to be an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Should he be fired because he failed as a head coach of the Springfeild Falcon?

I don't want this to come across with any sarcasim but would Buchberger's contract really be worth less in the AHL?

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#20 RobinB
May 09 2008, 03:17PM
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Tim S: I'm going to try this one more time.

It wouldn't have mattered if the Oilers went 82-0 and Springfield was 0-72, Daum was going to get the pipe and Bucky was going to get a promotion because of who he is -- Craig MacTavish's pal.

Bucky was not originally hired as an assistant coach with the Oilers, he was hired as a developmental coach -- the hockey equivalent of baseball's roving instructor. He spent almost all of this time in the minors, not with the Oilers.

As far back as four years ago, Bucky was earmarked for this job. I'm not guessing about that. I'm not reading between any lines. That is exactly what I was told. How then, can moving Daum aside to make that happen now constitute somebody "giving up" on Daum, thus casting doubt about his ability?

This is a case where Buchberger was going to "succeed" and be promoted, regardless of results and merit. This has nothing to do with how well or poorly Daum performed. Can I make it any clearer?

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#21 Tim S
May 09 2008, 04:26PM
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No, that was pretty clear.

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#22 Hockeyaddict101
May 09 2008, 05:23PM
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want to confirm what Brownlee is saying (not that he needs it, just providing a second source)

During a season ticket holders luncheon they mentioned at that time that Buchberger was being groomed for the job.

I really have no problem with that but not at the expense of Daum.

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#23 docweb
May 09 2008, 10:33PM
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Chaz...I agree that there are a lot of NHL teams that have the Ol'boys network going (as do lots of non-hockey organizations). I have no problem with that provided that provided the candidates they are hiring are indeed THE best candidate for the job. Clearly this is not the case.

One can only hope/pray that Katz takes off his Oiler's fan hat and puts on his management hat as he takes over. If this happens, and I believe it will, we will see a lot less of this sort of nonsense and a lot more of what makes Detroit a perenial succuss

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#24 docweb
May 09 2008, 10:34PM
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Uh...Success!!

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#25 milli
May 11 2008, 09:31AM
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I hope they can get it done with GlennX. And so what is the deal with Bucky? Big heart, great oiler, but what will his duties be and how does he fit the team? What was the word outta springfield? One thing I hate,is organizations that change just cuz, for no real reason and that's what this sounds like. It's great to show faith in MacT, but shouldn't the other coaches be given the same respect? If Daum stays, do we really want him then? And if he leaves, what does that say? I dunno, I just want OILERS hockey again.

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