May 22 2009 10:34AM
For crying out loud, Brownlee, get off your fat ass and tell us who the candidates are to be the next coach of the Edmonton Oilers. Give us something. Names. Times. Places. Anything, already.
I understand the sentiment because nothing drives me nuts like not being able to find out what I want to know. The only "news" I can offer is that the search for Craig MacTavish's successor, and details about that search, is being conducted strictly at the top. Even middle management isn't in on proceedings. I know, stop the presses. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Inside Guy.
I'm told the process is being handled strictly by president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini. Obviously, owner Daryl Katz is being kept abreast of developments, but beyond those three, nobody's getting a sniff, including assistant GMs Kevin Prendergast and Rick Olczyk. The loop is Lowe, Tambellini and Katz.
Short of borrowing Wanye's van and staking out Lowe's place or rummaging through Tambellini's garbage -- old school investigative journalism techniques when bribes, blackmail and subtle cajoling doesn't work -- I'm not sure what or who to lean on next. It's a case of limit the loop and stop any leaks.
If there's been one significant shred of news -- not speculation -- in the past two weeks, I've missed it.
The name game
My understanding is Tambellini interviewed one candidate Monday before heading to pro scouting meetings in Banff Tuesday. My guess is it was San Jose assistant Todd Richards, but a guess is all it is because nobody outside the trio at the top even knows.
If it was Richards, he joins Marc Crawford, Tom Renney and Pat Quinn as people who've been interviewed. Rob Daum has also talked with Tambellini, but not specifically about the job opening.
TSN's Bob McKenzie started sniffing around when a rumour that Crawford had been offered the job began circulating this week, but outside of finding out that's not the case, even McKenzie came away with little else -- at least that he's willing to let us in on.
At this point, we don't even have a firm list of candidates. Will Tambellini interview eight candidates, nine, 10? Then, who gets shortlisted? Will Tambellini have someone in place before the draft? I think so, but I don't know so.
Big fat nothing
So locked down is the process that Joanne Ireland of The Journal and Derek Van Diest of The Sun took in an autograph session before the Capitals home-opener at Telus Field Thursday to squeeze Kyle Brodziak, Steve MacIntyre, Steve Staios and Zack Stortini, who were attending on behalf of the Oilers. They got nothing.
"I couldn't even guess," Brodziak said. "No one has heard anything."
The only item of note comes from The Journal's Jim Matheson, who says Richards might be out of the running because of the hire of Chuck Fletcher as the GM in Minnesota.
Matty writes: "With Chuck Fletcher, the Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager, reportedly getting the job as Minnesota Wild GM, Richards could be joining him.
"Richards, an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, has been interviewed for the vacant Oilers' bench boss post. He is closely associated with Fletcher.
"Fletcher, son of long time NHL executive Cliff Fletcher, hired Richards to coach the Penguins Wilkes-Barre American Hockey League farm team where he was hugely successful for a couple of seasons."
I'm trying to track down Boston assistant coach Geoff Ward to see if or when he'll get an interview, but no luck yet. Likewise, I'm trying to find out the status of Charlie Huddy, Bill Moores and Kelly Buchberger -- specifically if any of them have been told they're free to pursue employment elsewhere -- but I haven't heard one word back.
On the air
Rod Phillips tells me he hasn't decided whether he'll be back for his 37th season as the radio voice of the Oilers or if he'll retire and hand the play-by-play duties over to Bob Stauffer.
I got a hold of The Skipper this week as he was hacking a golf ball all over the joint at Trickle Creek near Kimberley in B.C. as part of a road trip with Matheson and he says he won't make a call until he sits down and talks to management next week.
Like Tambellini, Phillips isn't giving anything up right now. He won't even say which way he's leaning. My guess is he'll be back for one more season.
-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.