No text from Tambellini

Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009 12:46PM

tambotext

Seeing as Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has neglected to text me his list of head coaching candidates for comment and approval -- Steve, where's the trust? -- I can only guess who he's considering.

While it might not be stop-the-presses stuff, I see the list of candidates to take over from Craig MacTavish falling into two categories: the been-there-done-that group and the if-I-only-got-the-chance bunch.

The first group includes obvious names that have been tossed out countless times already. In my mind, the leaders in the established bench boss group are: Brent Sutter, Marc Crawford and Pat Quinn.

The second group, and the one I hope Tambellini takes a long, hard look at, is made up of Brent Petersen, Todd Richards, Geoff Ward, Rob Daum, and Scott Arniel.

The old guys

SUTTER: if the New Jersey Devils release him from his deal, he'd be the clear-cut favourite. It's tough to argue with Sutter's track record in the WHL and what's he done in The Swamp. Question is, if the Devils let him go and don't make him sit out a year, who says he doesn't end up in Calgary?

CRAWFORD: Even if he calls the Oilers best player Alex Hemsky and thinks media guys are dough heads -- until he's out of coaching work and becomes one himself -- he's got a Stanley Cup ring, a Jack Adams Award and history with Tambellini dating back to their days as players in Vancouver.

QUINN: The big man is interested in getting back behind the bench in the NHL and, while he's no spring chicken, there's no question he's got both the experience and credibility to take hold of a dressing room that was divided much of this season. Like Crow, he's got history with Tambellini.

Outside the box

PETERSEN: If Petersen is ready to leave the comfort zone of Nashville and his relationship with Barry Trotz, he's one of those long-time assistants -- like a Paul MacLean or Todd McClellan -- who could easily run his own show. Again, history with Tambellini.

RICHARDS: Had 98 wins in two seasons as an AHL head coach in Scranton after four years as an assistant in Milwaukee. Just one season as an NHL assistant with San Jose on his resume, but he's thought of as an up-and-comer, and with good reason.

WARD: Critics point to his so-so record in some seasons in the Oilers farm system, but take a closer look at what he had to work with. After two seasons as an assistant to Claude Julien in Boston, he's ready to move up. Has lots of experience as a head coach in the OHL and AHL and he's very well thought of within the organization.

DAUM: After nothing but success with the Alberta Golden Bears, he went 50-24-0 with Houston in 2005/06, then was cut loose by Minnesota following the 2006-07 AHL season after a 27-43-0 campaign. How'd that happen?

Daum lost his top three scorers from the previous year, Kirby Law, Erik Westrum and Patrick O'Sullivan, during the off-season and then Minnesota took Josh Harding midway through the next. Daum deserves a Purple Heart, and an interview with Tambellini, after trying to clean up a mess not of his making in Springfield this season.

ARNIEL: Yes, he's had a first-rate organization to work with in Manitoba, but his record at the AHL level has been outstanding. Has history with Tambellini. There's nothing not to like about Arniel.

One more year?

It's just fine with me if Rod Phillips returns for a 37th season as the Oilers radio play-by-play man.

Jim Matheson suggested that might be the case in The Journal this week, calling it "60-40" that he returns, and when Senior suggests something it's usually because he knows it to be the case.

That's especially true when it comes to Phillips because he and Rod have been running buddies on the road since the 1970s, when they tore it up big time before morphing into Stattler and Waldorf after bell-bottom pants went out of style.

In this particular case, Senior got the dope first-hand because he and Phillips just spent a week golfing on the road while driving down to The Skipper's palatial estate in Buckeye, just outside Phoenix. Nothing like 30 straight hours of Frank Sinatra on the drive down.

I'd like to listen to another season of Phillips and Bob Stauffer. I find them a more dynamic tandem than Rod and Morley Scott, who didn't bring anything to the mix resembling the analysis and eye for details Stauffer has. Rod has earned the right to go when he decides it's time.

Coach's corner

If Kelly Buchberger survives the purge of assistant coaches -- I believe he will because of his relationship with owner Daryl Katz -- bet the house he'll be pulling for Ward.

Buchberger and Ward have been tight since they coached the forgettable, inept and overwhelmed Roadrunners.

And, while the Roadrunners were abysmal, I've got to admit I've never had more fun on the road than when Ward, Buchberger and Joe Paterson were behind the bench. There was one night in Houston and another in Rochester when... Enough said.

Eric Thurston has competition for the head coaching posting at the U of A with the Golden Bears.

Dean Clark, a former WHL and CHL coach of the year with the Calgary Hitmen, has applied. Clark has been out of hockey since being let go after the 2007/08 season.

Clark, a former Golden Bear, got caught up in the ownership change with the Blazers and was let go after a 27-41-0 season in Kamloops. With two 50-win seasons with Calgary, including a ridiculous .833 winning percentage (58-10-2) in 1999-2000, Clark belongs behind the bench.

If you ask me...

As Jason Gregor has already pointed out, it doesn't matter who Tambellini hires behind the bench if the Oilers roster doesn't change significantly. The second-coming of Toe Blake couldn't make the roster, as it sits, a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

And, while I agree with Tambellini the Oilers need to get bigger and grittier, I'm also of the mind, as the old saying goes, that's it's not always the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog that matters.

If I'm looking to move soft players, as opposed to just small guys, who have some cachet around the NHL, then my list of trade candidates includes Tom Gilbert, Dustin Penner, O'Sullivan and Andrew Cogliano.

I'm not saying changes begin and end with these four, but if Tambellini really is interested in shaping this team into a group that takes losing personally, I'm starting with them.

The complicating factor with Gilbert is a herniated disc in his back might do more than take him out of the mix as potential trade bait. If Gilbert and the Oilers medical staff don't stay on top of things they could be looking at a repeat of the ordeal JF Jacques just went through.

I can live with another year of Dwayne Roloson, at, say, $2.5 million or so, in tandem with Jeff Deslauriers, but there's zero chance I'm giving him two more years if I'm Tambellini. If Roloson coaxes a two-year stint out of another team, and he might, then Tambellini should target Scott Clemmensen.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor 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.
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#1 Jonathan Willis
April 23 2009, 12:54PM
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@RobinB:

Two things:

- Lorne Molleken's name was floated the other day on HNIC; have you heard anything about that, Robin? - Based on his public quotes, it seems like Pat Quinn is much more interested in the GM job in Minnesota; do you have any thoughts on that?

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#2 baggedmilk
April 23 2009, 01:00PM
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Here, here to you Robin for staying aboard for until 2010. Your analysis is always great, and you're fun to rip on have you rip us back.

Kudos.

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#3 Archaeologuy
April 23 2009, 01:12PM
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Robin, I'm lookin forward to reading your take on all things Oiler and Hockey for a while longer.

PS. Is anyone else having a problem with their posts. I try to post and then it disappears for a while before it eventually shows up. Right now if there are 36 comments only 27 of them show up. Did i break my internet or was it Wanye and Jeanshorts rough-housing near the post-machine?

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#4 Tod
April 23 2009, 01:16PM
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You could live with Deslauriers as a full time back up? I think the Oilers need to pursue a veteran back up. Deslauriers is like Mike Morrison. He's still living off a couple good games. His numbers in the NHL aren't good and his numbers in the AHL are unimpressive for someone who is supposed to be a legitimate goalie prospect.

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#5 Big Deal
April 23 2009, 01:16PM
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Robin, please tell me that the Oilers don’t hire another retread??? Quinn, Crawford please. The Oilers have the opportunity to bring in a young coach that is willing prove himself and his system with the Oilers. I agree the 2nd coming of Toe Blake won’t make the team good enough to win the Stanley Cup, so let’s move in another direction in the coaching position.

As for the bite of the dog, I agree Gilbert, Penner and Cogliano are soft but was that the system or the player? Penner and Gilbert will always be soft but Cogliano should be in a system that stresses forchecking and aggression. You don’t have to be big to forcheck or to be aggressive. The same would go for Gagne and O’Sullivan.

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#6 The Towel Boy
April 23 2009, 01:35PM
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You know...I could just about imagine that a text message from Tambo would read exactly like that one in the picture up there. "lolz"...haha...classic.

Robin,

Do you think Penner has much trade value anymore? I mean, I have to think his street value dropped considerably this season after the rippings MacT gave him in the media. Do you think there's any dance partners that would take on the big guy? What sort of return would be good for him?

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#7 kyle
April 23 2009, 01:41PM
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What about Jonas Gustavsson? Isnt he going to be the next Lundqvist?

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#8 Boris
April 23 2009, 02:14PM
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There is another name for coach that has not been mentioned and that is McGill, also after last night Price may be available....

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#9 I'm a Scientist!
April 23 2009, 02:20PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

PS. Is anyone else having a problem with their posts. I try to post and then it disappears for a while before it eventually shows up

After the big signing of Robin, the site could no longer afford to pay it's internet bills. Expect more malfunctions in the future...at least until the cheque from Zender goes through!

I wonder if Brownlee has a no trade clause?

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#10 I'm a Scientist!
April 23 2009, 02:21PM
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Boris wrote:

after last night Price may be available….

Blah. No thanks. I am tired of inconsistent players.

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#11 Rice
April 23 2009, 02:35PM
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@ Boris: So after last night, why would we want Price?? Clemmenson is a much better option and kind of got screwed around because of contracts in Jersey. If he has his head on straight he would probably want to prove to every one that he should have stayed with the team after Brodeur came back. He probably want a shot at being number 1.

After all of that I am looking forward to next season just to see what Tambo has under his hat. a few moves this summer will definitely keep the off season interesting.

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#12 baggedmilk
April 23 2009, 02:41PM
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Rice wrote:

@ Boris: So after last night, why would we want Price?? Clemmenson is a much better option and kind of got screwed around because of contracts in Jersey. If he has his head on straight he would probably want to prove to every one that he should have stayed with the team after Brodeur came back. He probably want a shot at being number 1. After all of that I am looking forward to next season just to see what Tambo has under his hat. a few moves this summer will definitely keep the off season interesting.

We would we want Price? How about because he's 20 years old and is getting booed by his own fans. After last night? Which goal was all that questionable? The Kessel breakaway maybe? Give your head a shake. Price is a great goalie, it's Gainey's fault for putting so much pressure on a kid that young.

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#13 Rick
April 23 2009, 02:56PM
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We are seeing alot of the same names floating around for head coach and there is an easy track record to follow for the "been there" crowd but does anyone know what kind of coaches the up and comers are?

Not just levels of success but style of play and keeping players in line...that kind of stuff.

It's tough to narrow down who to prefer if you can't get a read on how they would fit with what the Oilers need.

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#14 Wanye Gretz
April 23 2009, 03:09PM
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@ Archaeologuy:

There are some weird things going on with comments today on the site. We made some updates to some things last night and they are having strange side effects.

*cocks head confusedly at interweb dispenser in the corner*

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#15 Ogden Brother
April 23 2009, 03:16PM
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I'm a Scientist! wrote:

Boris wrote: after last night Price may be available…. Blah. No thanks. I am tired of inconsistent players.

Wow, I'd take Price in a heart beat. I'd try to do it without Gagner but I think even he would be in play.

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#16 Ogden Brother
April 23 2009, 03:17PM
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Rice wrote:

@ Boris: So after last night, why would we want Price?? Clemmenson is a much better option and kind of got screwed around because of contracts in Jersey. If he has his head on straight he would probably want to prove to every one that he should have stayed with the team after Brodeur came back. He probably want a shot at being number 1. After all of that I am looking forward to next season just to see what Tambo has under his hat. a few moves this summer will definitely keep the off season interesting.

That's like saying you'd rather have Marty Reasoner over Sam Gagner.

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#17 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 03:42PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@RobinB: Two things: - Lorne Molleken’s name was floated the other day on HNIC; have you heard anything about that, Robin? - Based on his public quotes, it seems like Pat Quinn is much more interested in the GM job in Minnesota; do you have any thoughts on that?

Molleken, like Ward, is well respected within the Oiler ranks. He did a good job on the farm for the Oilers before going to the Chicago Blackhawks. He's also a helluva good guy, not that that'll be a factor.

You're right on Quinn. If he could be GM and help shape the Wild as the boss, he'd jump at it. Pat just wants back in the game -- he's a hockey guy and nowhere near ready to retire.

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#18 The Menace
April 23 2009, 03:44PM
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There's been a real shift in the NFL to hire young coaches with good backgrounds (a la Mike Tomlin), as opposed to experienced guys who've been to the dance before (see Mike Shanahan).

I would be happy to see the Oil go this direction too. Arniel seems like a great fit for the direction Tambo wants to go, he knows how to win, he would bust his a$$ to prove himself at the NHL level, and would be able to connect with the players.

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#19 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 03:45PM
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@ Rick: Ward fits in the "Do it my way or you'll be gone" category. He's fair, but he knows what he expects and sticks to it.

That's been muted as an assistant and even as a head coach at the AHL level because a lot of the marching orders come from above, but he takes no crap. Keep an eye on him.

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#20 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 03:56PM
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baggedmilk wrote:

Here, here to you Robin for staying aboard for until 2010. Your analysis is always great, and you’re fun to rip on have you rip us back. Kudos.

Who said that? The site really must be acting up because when Wanye asked me if I'd like to stick around and write more often, I told him to put it in his bum and get lost.

Fun to rip? I got your fun right here . . .

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#21 442Junkie
April 23 2009, 04:02PM
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Boris wrote:

after last night Price may be available….

Hey if Montreal is hell bend on playing Price we should go after Halak.

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#22 GSC
April 23 2009, 04:08PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Robin,

Are you saying that not only does Stauffer have the extrasensory ability to sniff farts from miles away, but also has the same ability to pick up on visual details that people usually overlook?

Given his mercurial speed (as you described to us in your race with him), I'm convinced that he wears a cape at night.

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#23 Duke
April 23 2009, 04:11PM
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Where is Marc Habsheid?? Wasn't he the next coaching goldenboy a couple of years back, but now i do't hear his name gettine mentioned anywhere.

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#24 yo
April 23 2009, 04:20PM
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RB - I noted your list of softies had O'Sullivan on it. He may well fit on that list over the long term. One thing I appreciated about his play (what little I got to see) was his ability to make plays with the puck. He seemed to me to have the puck on a string at times. Don't you think he may be deserving of a longer look if the Oilers add more grit and have a new coaching regime?

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#25 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 04:24PM
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@ yo: Yes, he does need a longer look. At the same time, you have to look at what's coming back if somebody calls about him.

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#26 Sandra
April 23 2009, 05:13PM
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I take it George Burnett is not a up and comer.

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#27 namflashback
April 23 2009, 05:18PM
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Richards was coaching the WBS Penguins, and did so during a split affliation -- means the team was stocked NHL prospects and fewer AHL scrubs. They did well -- but I'm not sure how much of his success was team or coach.

Peterson's interesting to me, mostly because Nashville clearly seems to be able to make a fairly non-descript and sometimes smaller roster into a fast-attacking team. That relates well to the current roster of the Oilers.

I noticed that Brent Sutter also played with Tambellini during two seasons with the NYI.

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#28 baggedmilk
April 23 2009, 07:12PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Fun to rip? I got your fun right here . . .

Are you coming on to me Brownlee? You old sailor you...

*blush* tee-hee

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#29 Mother Pucker Hockey
April 23 2009, 07:57PM
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Haha that image at the top has to be one of the best I've seen so far. Great work boys!

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#30 Mike
April 23 2009, 08:08PM
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Hold on, Cogs is on the "plays too soft" list? I'd say that for a guy his size, he's pretty much fearless out there.

And what's this about Gilbert having a bad back?

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#31 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:19PM
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@ GSC: No, I'm saying Bob is a better analyst than Morley Scott was because he sees the game better in terms of identifying systems and what the teams are doing and he breaks it down in digestable chunks on the fly.

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#32 DBO
April 23 2009, 09:26PM
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Brownlee: what do you think or Renney? He seems to have had decent success with young guys, and might be the right fit when it comes to systems and the like. Any chance he's on the short list? And please no Crawford. I still can't forgive him for Nagano.

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#33 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:39PM
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@ DBO: He's always been a solid coach. To be honest, I don't know him well character and style-wise because he's spent the last six seasons in the Eastern Conference and was out of the league for five years before that. I'd put him in the category of capable coaches who tend to get recycled.

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#34 Jasmine
April 23 2009, 09:41PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Why was there no mention of Paul MacLean as a possibility in your article. He's assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

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#35 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:45PM
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Jasmine wrote:

@ Robin Brownlee: Why was there no mention of Paul MacLean as a possibility in your article. He’s assistant coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

Read it again. I did mention him. Qualification-wise, he fits right in with the guys I think Tambellini should look at, but I don't see him leaving Detroit to come here.

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#36 Jasmine
April 23 2009, 09:49PM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Sorry missed that. How serious is Tom Gilbert's back injury. When did the injury happen and could there be the possibility he needs surgery like J.F. Jacques?

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#37 Kevin "Lets the shot go!" Quinn
April 23 2009, 09:53PM
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Buchberger is just like a cockroach...just won't die

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#38 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:55PM
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namflashback wrote:

I noticed that Brent Sutter also played with Tambellini during two seasons with the NYI.

Not a real connection there. Tambellini played more with Duane Sutter. Brent was an 18-year-old and played just three games with the Islanders during Tambellini's time and those games came in the year Tambellini was dealt to Colorado.

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#39 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:57PM
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@ Jasmine: I don't know how serious it is -- he played with all year -- and there's no indication from the Oilers that he needs surgery. If he doesn't rest it and it doesn't respond to surgery, it's the kind of condition that can worsen to the point where it could lead to surgery.

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#40 Robin Brownlee
April 23 2009, 09:59PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

respond to surgery,

Should read "respond to treatment."

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#41 Andrew W
April 23 2009, 11:44PM
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@Robin Brownlee

While on the topic of coaches, have you heard anything about the health of Pat Burns? I haven't come across any news lately (which is hopefully good news), and if he is well, do you have any idea if he might want to coach again in the NHL? I was a fan of his intelligent, hard nosed approach, although not of the teams he coached. Doesn't that describe the kind of candidate we want?

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#42 suntory hanzo
April 24 2009, 12:03AM
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@ DBO: Because of Nagano, Crawford is dead to me. Two negative 99 images in my mind. 1) 99 Tears..journal front page 2) 99 on the bench at Nagano weeping. Glad he got a medal in management.

Plus, I hate hearing Crawford's voice. It's too much like Drederick Tatum

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#43 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 24 2009, 01:42AM
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Crawford is scum, and a terrible coach to boot. The Oilers dont need a coach who deserves to be driven off a cliff.

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#44 Mike Krushelnyski
April 24 2009, 09:03AM
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suntory hanzo wrote:

Plus, I hate hearing Crawford’s voice. It’s too much like Drederick Tatum

Haha classic!

Steve Moore: Please don't have Bertuzzi smash my face through the ice!!

Crawford: You leave me little recourse

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#45 RossCreek
April 24 2009, 09:09AM
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@ Robin Brownlee: I like the idea of Geoff Ward & Scott Arniel getting a significant shot, but as "Duke" said, why hasn't Marc Habschied and Perry Pearn's name come up? (I'm assuming that you're not "hiding" any info from us, but I find it interesting that you've constantly thrown out Ward's name more than anybody else has. I don't know if thats because you personally like him, or if you have any inside info you can't share with us, but you're starting to make me think he'll be "the guy").

Where is Morley Scott and what exactly happened there? (I like Bob, but just wondering where Morley is - I though he was pretty decent too).

What's with the U of A posting (I'm assuming it has to do with Rob Daum officially deciding not return - ??), but why is Thurston in danger of losing his gig? Would he join Daum in Springfield if Daum indeed returns there?

I don't like Roli returning, or JDD much at all. Why is it though that all of the sudden after half a season of stellar play on a Brent Sutter coached team, that Scott Clemmensen (at 34 years of age) seems to get so much play? (Like seriously, thats a legit question that I'm looking for an answer to). No disrespect aimed in his direction, but aside from this (half) season, what other "successes" has he had at the NHL level. He spent a few years as Brodeur's "backup" (playing 10 games a year), and other than that, has been mostly a 3rd string guy. Can he really be trusted to be a legit starter?

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#46 RossCreek
April 24 2009, 09:15AM
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@ DBO: I think Renney is pretty similar to MacT (but I could be mistaken).

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#47 RossCreek
April 24 2009, 09:21AM
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I know it (probably) won't happen, but if everyone's gonna keep throwing out Brent Sutter's name, how about Ken Hitchcokc? Don't you think he'd love to coach the Oilers some day? It's not likely Howson would want to let him get away, but if people are willing to send a draft pick to New Jersey for Sutter, why couldn't the same approach be used with Hitch? What's Howson's relationship with MacT like? (I know its a far-fetched idea, but I just thought I'd throw it out there).

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#48 Archaeologuy
April 24 2009, 09:21AM
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RossCreek wrote:

No disrespect aimed in his direction, but aside from this (half) season, what other “successes” has he had at the NHL level. He spent a few years as Brodeur’s “backup” (playing 10 games a year), and other than that, has been mostly a 3rd string guy. Can he really be trusted to be a legit starter?

That's what people said about Tim Thomas. Clemmensen is 31 not 34. I agree that 1 year of work is hardly enough to prove anyone, but Goalies dont mature as quickly as regular skaters and Clemmensen had even fewer games to develop in than regular backups because his starter is Brodeur. It would still be a gamble, but maybe a cheap one.

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#49 Boris
April 24 2009, 09:26AM
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@ RossCreek: Same guy, just a different hair cut....

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#50 Hemmertime
April 24 2009, 09:30AM
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If they hire Crawford they would be hiring the only coach the fans have more a hate on for than MacT. I couldnt handle Crawford coming out for the press conference and hearing his grating voice speak on behalf of the Oilers for a depressing loss, or watching him stroke his ego after a good win. People say they don't want an "Old Boys Club" member - but I don't want the Vancouver Old boys club here either.

Oh god, Imagine the Assistants Crawford would pick. He seems to be the type to make sure hes the smartest person in the room rather than hire quality people; and with good ol' Marcy Marc that could spell disaster. I could see HMNF acronyms spamming these boards real quickly.

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