Lowe and Crow have a chat

Robin Brownlee
May 02 2009 07:30PM

The Edmonton Oilers say they won't rush the process of finding the best replacement for Craig MacTavish, but they aren't wasting any time lining up the people they intend to look at for the job.

Somebody I trust out in Vancouver tells me that Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and Marc Crawford, slumming these days as a colour analyst for CBC, got together for a chat Wednesday before the Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks opened their second-round series at GM Place.

And there's also a report out of Vancouver, by Greg Douglas of the Vancouver Sun, that GM Steve Tambellini met with Pat Quinn on the Left Coast the same day, although I haven't been able to confirm that.

On the heels of news the Oilers have already asked for permission from the New York Rangers to speak with Tom Renney, I'm guessing Lowe and Crow didn't hook up to talk hair products or simply shoot the breeze.

While I can't say if Tambellini was also in on the talks -- he wasn't spotted with Lowe and Crawford and he hasn't yet sent me a copy of his off-season itinerary -- I'd be surprised if both he and Lowe didn't tag-team Crawford and Quinn.

I don't know if Wednesday's meetings were full-blown "interviews" or just a preliminary discussion, but it stands to reason Crawford, a former Jack Adams Award and Stanley Cup winner, and Quinn have the inside track.

Crawford has made it known he wants to get back behind the bench and he's pitched publicly that he'd like to be considered for the job.

Ties that bind

I've made it clear I think Crow is an A-hole when it comes to dealing with reporters -- which isn't necessarily a negative on a coaching resume -- but he's known Tambellini a long time and is destined to be shortlisted, as are Renney and Quinn.

Crawford, Quinn and Renney all have long-standing relationships with Tambellini. Crawford was a teammate with the Canucks, Quinn was running the show in Vancouver when Tambellini got into management. Renney coached during Tambellini's long tenure as assistant GM with the Canucks.

This trio aside, you can bet the Oilers will be keeping a close eye on what happens with Brent Sutter and the New Jersey Devils. Even if the Devils let Sutter out of the remainder of his contract, the Oilers will need permission from Lou Lamoriello to talk to him before July 1.

As for candidates from the assistant coaching ranks, I suspect the Oilers have already asked for permission to talk to San Jose's Todd Richards, although I don't know that for certain, and Nashville's Brent Petersen. They'll have to wait on Boston's Geoff Ward.

While I'm at it

I had a brief chat with Todd Bertuzzi today. He's a car guy, which scores points with me, and I ran into him out a custom car joint, the Little Lot, out in the west end near Winterburn Road and Highway 16A. His son is playing in a hockey tournament here.

Bertuzzi's already got at least one sweet ride, a black Range Rover HSE rolling on custom wheels and low-profile meat, but what would you expect with a bankroll like his? Bert was eye-balling an old Ford ragtop and a super-charged Nova.

Unrestricted free agents (players who aren't as old or as expensive as Jaromir Jagr) the Oilers should be looking at this summer: Manny Malhotra, Sammy Pahlsson, Taylor Pyatt, Mike Komisarek, Scott Clemmensen and Yann Danis.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. 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 Jack Bauer
May 02 2009, 07:44PM
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Marc Crawford is a piece of scum. He should be given the keys to a car that will drive him off a cliff, not the keys to the Oilers.

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#2 Robin Brownlee
May 02 2009, 07:47PM
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Jack Bauer wrote:

Marc Crawford is a piece of scum. He should be given the keys to a car that will drive him off a cliff, not the keys to the Oilers.

I know why I think Crawford is a butthole, but you've run at him a couple of times as well. Any particular reason or first-hand experience why you think he's a dick?

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#3 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 07:52PM
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I agree with you way too often Robin. My FA shopping list would, for the most part, include the 32 and under list. Mike Komisarek will be an excellent signing for whomever lands him (unless they're way overspending which is possible). Him and Souray looked good together in Montreal, and he's exactly the type I'd add if I were the Oil. To me, him and Bouwmeester are at the top of the class regarding UFA defensemen (sorry Willis, but Sergei Zubov a) isn't likely to move IMO, and b) is not the same player he once was (one of the most overlooked defensemen of his day).

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#4 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 08:01PM
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Robin, any insight on what's gonna happen in Calgary? IMO, if they go another route (than Keenan), and Darryl isn't forced in by upper management/ownership, aside from the obvious (Brent Sutter), I'm warming up to Tom Renney - someone completely different than what the Flames have had since God know when (dating back before Greg Gilbert & Brian Sutter). Personally, I like the style of coach they've employed for so long, but the way I see it, the Flames could use a completely different type of coach. Tom Renney may be at the head of the class when looking for something different than the Sutter/Keenan style. Thoughts?

As for the Oil, not that my opinion counts for much, but I'd go the Geoff Ward/Scott Arniel route if I were them. (Anyone else think that maybe the Flames & Oilers need the exact opposite style of coaches that they've employed over the past decade, not that I'm a MacT fan at all)

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#5 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 08:07PM
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^^ I'll add Marc Habschied's name to both the Flames & Oilers lists (although that's just personal opinion).

Tom Renney with Perry Pearn & Ryan McGll would be a nice look in Calgary (although I wouldn't be at all opposed to Brent Sutter - anyone familiar with my posts knows what I've said about him & the Flames)

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#6 Jack Bauer
May 02 2009, 08:15PM
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-The sytle of players he coached. He encourages scum to act like it. -Hes named in a lawsuit involving an incident that nearly paralysed another player. -He benched Wayne Gretzky in the most important shootout in Canadian history, all over a jealous grudge stemming from Junior. -Hes an awful announcer, and thus wont be as entertaining in the media.

From this fans perspective, he has no business coaching this team.

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#7 Garett
May 02 2009, 08:59PM
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Does not look to me Robin that any of those UFA's you mentioned would fill that top six forward role or more so the hole that's needs filling to compliment Hemmer.

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#8 Dan
May 02 2009, 09:04PM
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RossCreek wrote:

^^ I’ll add Marc Habschied’s name to both the Flames & Oilers lists (although that’s just personal opinion). Tom Renney with Perry Pearn & Ryan McGll would be a nice look in Calgary (although I wouldn’t be at all opposed to Brent Sutter - anyone familiar with my posts knows what I’ve said about him & the Flames)

If the Oilers are looking for someone to coach the D, Ryan mcGill was the first person that came to mind for me as well. I'm more partial to Pat Quinn, Rob Daum and Ryan McGill.

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#9 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
May 02 2009, 09:14PM
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The only Crawford I would like to see behind the Oilers bench is Cindy Crawford in a bikini!The oposition would have a hard time concentrating on the game and our record would improve gauranteed.

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#10 Robin Brownlee
May 02 2009, 10:02PM
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RossCreek wrote:

^^ I’ll add Marc Habschied’s name to both the Flames & Oilers lists (although that’s just personal opinion). Tom Renney with Perry Pearn & Ryan McGll would be a nice look in Calgary (although I wouldn’t be at all opposed to Brent Sutter - anyone familiar with my posts knows what I’ve said about him & the Flames)

I'm not hearing Habscheid's name come up. That doesn't mean he isn't in the running, but there's been a lack of chatter and speculation about him so far. Must mean he's the favourite.

RossCreek wrote:

Tom Renney with Perry Pearn & Ryan McGll would be a nice look in Calgary (although I wouldn’t be at all opposed to Brent Sutter - anyone familiar with my posts knows what I’ve said about him & the Flames)

It'll have to be one or the other because the Canucks and Bruins aren't going to let one of their coaches make a lateral move to another team as an assistant.

Garett wrote:

Does not look to me Robin that any of those UFA’s you mentioned would fill that top six forward role or more so the hole that’s needs filling to compliment Hemmer.

I'm not trying to fill a hole alongside Hemsky with one of those names, but if I land one or two of them I've got some assets on the roster I can move to get what I need.

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#11 GSC
May 02 2009, 10:04PM
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@ Jack Bauer:

If he wins, he can be as much of a dick as he wants. I could care less about amiability, just win F'ing hockey games.

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#12 Garett
May 02 2009, 10:12PM
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I see, I like Malholtra then for 3rd line cebter and PK, Pahlsson is great too, great shutdown player, the likes which we have not had since the departure of guys like Dowd and Marchant.

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#13 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 10:18PM
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RossCreek wrote:

As for the Oil, not that my opinion counts for much, but I’d go the Geoff Ward/Scott Arniel route if I were them.

Robin Brownlee wrote:

It’ll have to be one or the other because the Canucks and Bruins aren’t going to let one of their coaches make a lateral move to another team as an assistant.

Ya, I didn't mean both of them, one or the other. However, Arniel becoming an assistant at the NHL level wouldn't exactly be a lateral move, would it? Nontheless, I favour Geoff Ward OR Scott Arniel at this point (given the names that have been mentioned to be in the running at this point).

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#14 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 10:27PM
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Would Jim Playfair get any play in Edmonton? I know the past few years may have "soiled" his name, but was he not considered to be an up-and-comer when he landed the Flames gig a few years back?

Dan wrote:

RossCreek wrote: I’ll add Marc Habschied’s name to both the Flames & Oilers lists (although that’s just personal opinion). Tom Renney with Perry Pearn & Ryan McGll would be a nice look in Calgary (although I wouldn’t be at all opposed to Brent Sutter - anyone familiar with my posts knows what I’ve said about him & the Flames) If the Oilers are looking for someone to coach the D, Ryan mcGill was the first person that came to mind for me as well. I’m more partial to Pat Quinn, Rob Daum and Ryan McGill.

Not sure if you caught what I was saying or if you just put your own spin on things, but I was mentioning McGill for a Flames assistant position (as he's currently the Flames minor league coach). Whether Keenan stays or not, I'm thinking he's looking at replacing a few (or all) of his assistants - I believe Jim Playfair's contract is actually up, and Rich Preston has been a Darryl Sutter guy dating back to the Hawks & Sharks if I'm not mistaken. Both could be replaced IMO regardless of what happens to Keenan. Ryan McGill would likely be a good fit for 1 of those positions (perhaps Preston could make the move to Abbotsford).

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#15 Smokin' Ray - NNC
May 02 2009, 10:30PM
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GSC wrote:

@ Jack Bauer: If he wins, he can be as much of a dick as he wants. I could care less about amiability, just win F’ing hockey games.

Problem is... when he has a solid lineup he golden. Then he gets a not so solid lineup like the Kings and he can't do squat. Coach of the year awards are overrated. How many of those are handed out for average teams? Not many.

He looked great with a stacked (Avs) team. Looked average with a better than average team (Canucks). And sucked the big one in LA. Is he really the best guy for the average Oilers? I would say no. But WTF do I know?

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#16 442Junkie
May 02 2009, 10:36PM
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Hey Brownlee is that '65 442 still out there? My wife won't let me sell my '87 to get a start at buying that one. She really liked the tubbed Nova if that's the one you're talking about. Although she figures she'd lose her license with that. I love the Lil' Lot. We go out there sometimes when the kids have fallen asleep in the van.

Oh yeah, if the Oilers hire Crawford I will be driving the Fire Crawford Bandwagon. He comes off as a real A-hole when he's a coach. As a colour guy he's terrible. I just don't like him. I think his teams have always been a bit too dirty for my liking. I've never met the man but, he just seems like a jerk.

Mmmmm 442's.

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#17 Travis Dakin
May 02 2009, 10:56PM
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@ Smokin' Ray - NNC: Exactly

@ Jack Bauer:

Ex-f*cking-actly!!! No Wayne, you and those 894 goals can sit... we'll let Bourque try it.... Idiot.

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#18 Archaeologuy
May 02 2009, 10:58PM
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Komisarek would be a great addition to the Oiler back end!

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#19 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 11:43PM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

No Wayne, you and those 894 goals can sit… we’ll let Bourque try it…. Idiot.

I'm not going to defend the decision to sit Wayne (although he wasn't exactly $ on breakaway's toward the end of his career, it would've been a much safer approach to send Wayne in and if he missed-oh well, no 2nd guessing for that decision).

But I will defend the Bourque decision. I watched a lot of Bruins games on NESN growing up, and I remember them showing footage of Bourque in practice telling the goalie what move he was going to do, and then skating in and doing the exact move and scoring. If I'm not mistaken, they showed this in the same game that Ray had a penalty shot and scored on the exact same move(I was disappointed when Bourque didn't use that move for Canada though). Plus given the bad ice, having a "shooter" come in wasn't exactly idiotic. The decision to sit Wayne however, was.

It was a no-win for Crawford to sit him because as I said, if you send him in and he doesn't score its not like everyone would have been saying they shouldn't have sent him.

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#20 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 11:48PM
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@ RossCreek: ^^ The Bourque thing in practice wasn't a 1 time thing either. He'd often do it, and the goalie always knew he was going to, but could never make the save as he bit every time Ray faked the 1st move (I believe he faked a shot, got the goalie to make the 1st move and then faked forehand and went backhand shelf - worked every time - I remember using it myself, although with not as much grace obviously). Anyways, enough about that.

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#21 RossCreek
May 02 2009, 11:50PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Komisarek would be a great addition to the Oiler back end!

Agreed! Komisarek would be a great addition to any team's backend!

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#22 Travis Dakin
May 03 2009, 12:16AM
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RossCreek wrote:

It was a no-win for Crawford

Here's how you win....

Let God shoot. He would have scored. He is WAYNE GRETZKY!!!! you crazy. haha.

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#23 DBO
May 03 2009, 12:19AM
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If you were to put komisarek in the top 2, add Malhotra at 3C and move a dman for a top 1LW, then this team suddenly has more balance and scoring. I also like Clemenson, especially since for a chance to start we might get him for $2 mill or less.

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#24 Jamie
May 03 2009, 12:22AM
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Taylor Pyatt? Uh, I was under the impression he's both soft and pretty useless. Am I wrong?

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#25 RossCreek
May 03 2009, 12:33AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

RossCreek wrote: It was a no-win for Crawford Here’s how you win…. Let God shoot. He would have scored. He is WAYNE GRETZKY!!!! you crazy. haha.

Use the whole quote there bud

RossCreek wrote:

It was a no-win for Crawford to sit him

RossCreek wrote:

It was a no-win for Crawford to sit him because as I said, if you send him in and he doesn’t score its not like everyone would have been saying they shouldn’t have sent him.

We basically agree. There is no guarentee Gretz pots it though.

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#26 yo
May 03 2009, 12:35AM
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I suppose the new coaching staff is anybody's guess at this point. What I do expect is that the next coach will be expected to have a plan to get the most out of the team individually and collectively. If I were the GM I would want to know for a certainty if the Oilers problems were coaching, player related or systemic. I think whoever it is will be expected to address Tambelini's rather emotional post-mortem of this last season. I expect to see someone who may be around 40yrs of age with a certain level of success with winning teams, a demonstrated record of strong communication skills and somewhat of an iron fist in a silk glove. If I had to guess I think he might go for someone like Todd Richards or Jeff Ward. I inexplicably like Sutter but he looks like he needs about 5 lbs of Metamucil orsomething. He just doesn't look like he is having any fun. That might be a concern.

The next coaching staff won't have 9 yrs to sort the bullshit from the buckwheat. They will have to show improvement from the git-go. I'm not expecting to see Crawford or Quinn here for 'auld lang sine'. I don't see Tambo putting himself in the position of having to fire a friend. I think Tambelini wants answers from all the candidates to see what they think is wrong or right with this team and organization. I would not only be looking for a coach but I would be looking for answers. He's got a hell of a mess on his hands not of his making and I for one wouldn't even know where to start.

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#27 Shaun Doe
May 03 2009, 06:10AM
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Jamie wrote:

Taylor Pyatt? Uh, I was under the impression he’s both soft and pretty useless. Am I wrong?

Yes but what he lacks in grit and jam, he more than makes up for in long lushes lashes. Oh an am I the only one who feels dirty after reading, "I’d be surprised if both he and Lowe didn’t tag-team Crawford and Quinn"...

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#28 Robin Brownlee
May 03 2009, 08:03AM
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442Junkie wrote:

Hey Brownlee is that ‘65 442 still out there? My wife won’t let me sell my ‘87 to get a start at buying that one. She really liked the tubbed Nova if that’s the one you’re talking about. Although she figures she’d lose her license with that. I love the Lil’ Lot. We go out there sometimes when the kids have fallen asleep in the van.

The blue one? Then, yes. Something's wrong with that ride, though, it's been there since last summer. The silver Nova is barely streetable, but it looks like fun. Better be put together right with that 471 sitting there.

Jamie wrote:

Taylor Pyatt? Uh, I was under the impression he’s both soft and pretty useless. Am I wrong?

He seems headed the wrong way right now in terms of his production the past three seasons, but this year was a write-off after his fiance was killed in that car accident. Anytime a guy is six-foot-four and 225 pounds and shows he's capable of scoring 20 goals, then I'm of the mind it might be worth looking to see if there's something there -- which is a far cry from offering a 10-fold raise and draft picks. For me, Pyatt's likely a third-liner, but I've seen stretches from him that I liked.

Garett wrote:

I see, I like Malholtra then for 3rd line cebter and PK, Pahlsson is great too, great shutdown player, the likes which we have not had since the departure of guys like Dowd and Marchant.

One of Pahlsson or Malhotra, but not both.

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#29 Rice
May 03 2009, 08:16AM
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@ Shaun Doe: Baaaahahahaha I don't know if we want any of that going on behind the bench.

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#30 Dan
May 03 2009, 08:38AM
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@ RossCreek:

Sorry, I was just putting my own spin on things. I saw McGill and I saw Oilers, and figured that would be a good fit if we're putting Huddy out to pasture, which I'm guessing is what is about to happen.

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#31 RossCreek
May 03 2009, 09:52AM
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SIDENOTE: It looks as though NYR forward Markus Naslund is set to announce his retirement. TSN's Darren Dreger reported this during the 2nd intermission of the oh-so-exciting Canada V. Norway game this morning.

Looks like Slats caught a break. He's got some RFA's that were looking ripe for the picking (Brandon Dubinsky, Nikolai Zherdev, Ryan Callahan).

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#32 DonDon
May 03 2009, 10:28AM
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We should know about the Flames' coaching situation on Monday or Tuesday when Darryl Sutter gives his annual post-season wrap-up. It is not only Keenan that is on thin ice; Sutter has not managed this club very well over the past three seasons and it should be problematic for the owners as the fans are restless. Word is that Playfair is gone, which apparently is his own choice. Being part of the Flames isn't a lot of fun, for players and coaches alike, due to Darryl's sparkling personality. As for Brent Sutter, I can't see him coaching for brother Darryl. Besides, Duane and one of the twins are already working for Darryl. I believe Brent is smart and tough enough to handle the Oilers' coaching problems, but would he want it, given the mess? Now that Tambellini has had a full season to evaluate the pitiful Oilers, he is probably wondering why he took on the job. We fans may have our favourites for coach, but it isn't a desirable place to coach at this time, even for coaches looking for jobs.

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#33 Rice
May 03 2009, 10:41AM
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@ DonDon: I would imagine this team would be a treat for any GM. It is a bit of a mess which makes any success a good indication of how good they are as a GM. Also, The Oil aren't quite at rock bottom so there is still room to fall. I don't think that many GM's want to go to a team that is super successful, they didn't do anything to get them there and when the team takes a step backwards all of the blame falls directly on that GM's shoulders.

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#34 Milli
May 03 2009, 10:53AM
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As much as I hate Crow, I do think he is a good coach. I like the idea of accountability. If that means we become tougher and play for each other, wow, that'd be great.

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#35 Dennis
May 03 2009, 11:15AM
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I don't have fan buyer's remorse on the can being tied to MacT but there's something that's oh so wrong about Mac being out of work while Lowe continues to hawk his snake oil.

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#36 Hemmertime
May 03 2009, 11:37AM
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Next Coach of the Edmonton Oilers: Mike Keenan - sure he failed in Cowtown, but even I'd ask "How high" when that bastard says jump. Would be funny, still would be ahead of Crawford on my list. Though I'd only interview Crawford for the whole "forgot my wallet" trick after a Steak and Lobster dinner talk.

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#37 Hemmertime
May 03 2009, 11:46AM
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I really wish we got Malhotra for Torres, Brule has potential but if Reasoner is a poor mans Sakic then Malhotra must = Sakic?

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#38 Robin Brownlee
May 03 2009, 02:43PM
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@ Hemmertime: We have the benefit of hindsight, but I was nervous right from pre-season about holes down the middle with Stoll and Reasoner gone. Face-offs and the PK were in the tank right from the first pre-season game.

To be honest, Malhotra wasn't the first name that came to mind in September, but I think I was mentioning him by late October or November as a piece the Oilers could use.

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#39 Hemmertime
May 03 2009, 02:52PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: Ya, hes always in the top 10 in faceoffs, and the cost to get him back then would have been great. Now that they saw fit to use him first line it should boost his value. Though now we got the benefit of the chance at getting him off FA and having Brule to replace Nilsson. I was always hoping for Yelle in Sept.

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#40 Brian O'Neill
May 03 2009, 05:11PM
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If I was choosing between Quinn, Crawford and Renney I would take Quinn hands down. He's a coaching legend, and he's gotten a new perspective from all his coaching with Hockey Canada.

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#41 duane
May 03 2009, 10:20PM
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@ Jack Bauer: I agree and also he has way too much baggage.......and still involved in a big lawsuit.He also had Joel Quenville as his asst coach when he had success in this league......

Duane in Edmonton

Scott Arniel or Rob Daum is the right man for the job

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#42 Westcoastoil
May 04 2009, 01:04PM
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Crawford is totally overrated as a coach. He managed to win one Cup which quite frankly is poor considering how stacked his Avs teams were and won a single playoff round with a very good Vancouver team (and mostly b/c St. Louis got the flu). It would be a very bad hire.

Pyatt is big, slow doesn't really hit much with mediocre hands. He got 20 goals with a ton of prime playing time - think Penner, Isbister, Winchester, Kilger...

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#43 JS
May 04 2009, 03:43PM
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Just a thought but what about a coach like Ted Nolan?

I am not sold on getting cast offs from Canuck island...

It would be nice to see a comparison chart of the would be coaches stregnths/weaknesses, their styles and a brief description of what they would bring to the Oilers.

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