Oilers Development Coach Bob Mancini Leaves for USA Hockey

Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009 11:02AM

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Bob Mancini, who has served as the Oilers’ development coach for the past two years and was previously a scout for four seasons with the team, has left the organization to become a regional manager with USA Hockey’s American Development Model.

Manicin played college hockey and worked his way up the NCAA coaching ranks before initially joining USA Hockey in 1997. In 2000, he left to become a scout with the Oilers, after which he became the coach and general manager of the Saginaw Spirit. During his tenure in Saginaw he was named the Rogers Sportsnet OHL Coach of the Year. In his final season with Saginaw, the Spirit went 44-21-3. Mancini was hired as the Oilers’ development coach the following year, and he’s held that position for two seasons, helping to guide Oilers’ prospects in North America – from AHL’ers to junior players. Mancini was also one of the founders of the U.S. National Team Development Program, and had previously scouted for the Quebec Nordiques.

Kelly Buchberger was the Oilers’ previous development coach before being promoted to the Springfield coaching staff.

Ken Martel, the director of USA Hockey’s American Development Model, said the following about the hire:

"We're very excited to have Bob back with USA Hockey. His invaluable experience at all levels of hockey and passion for the development of the game will have a lasting effect on youth hockey in the United States."

It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Oilers’ prospects, but I get the feeling that Mancini’s decision comes as a surprise to the Oilers organization – in other words, Mancini quit rather than being fired. I say that because a) Mancini is still listed on the team website and it was USA Hockey, rather than the Oilers, who broke this news, and b) as of Friday, Mancini was expected to be helping prospects at the Oilers’ summer development camp.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Archaeologuy
July 06 2009, 11:15AM
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Do you think this is entirely a case of a guy just wanting to serve his country, or has all the changes in Oil Country rubbed him the wrong way?

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#2 Antony Ta
July 06 2009, 12:00PM
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Could be some unknown internal strife. Could just be the opportunity came up and he took it.

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#3 godot10
July 06 2009, 12:53PM
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When have the Oilers ever stood in the way of somebody taking a better job? Summer is when these jobs come free.

Claude Julien. Geoff Ward. Scott Howson. And now Mancini.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009, 01:13PM
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The internal dynamics are obviously not something I'm privy to, but the bottom line is that the Oilers have lost a coach with a) knowledge of the current group of prospects and b) with a very decent resume.

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#5 PaperDesigner
July 06 2009, 01:14PM
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Good for Mancini, but could he have not taken the job next week, and worked with the Oilers prospects this week?

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#6 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 01:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The internal dynamics are obviously not something I’m privy to, but the bottom line is that the Oilers have lost a coach with a) knowledge of the current group of prospects and b) with a very decent resume.

Shouldn't we be happy he's fired? Everyone seems to want the scouts fired, what % of failure do you put on scouting/drafting vs development?

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#7 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 01:38PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: The internal dynamics are obviously not something I’m privy to, but the bottom line is that the Oilers have lost a coach with a) knowledge of the current group of prospects and b) with a very decent resume. Shouldn’t we be happy he’s fired? Everyone seems to want the scouts fired, what % of failure do you put on scouting/drafting vs development?

Oops: Happy he left

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#8 Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009, 01:46PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

He's only been in the job two years; if people want to blame Mancini for the Oilers prospect problems it just proves that people are stupid.

He's got a) knowledge of the prospects and b) a damn fine resume with success all over. The US NTDP probably wouldn't have come about without his efforts, and it's a fine program.

Mancini was a solid hire, at least based on what we know about him, and it's a shame he's gone - particularly at the same time as other guys with some institutional memory get the axe. Somebody outside of Buchberger should have coaching knowledge of all these young guys.

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#9 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 02:19PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: He’s only been in the job two years; if people want to blame Mancini for the Oilers prospect problems it just proves that people are stupid. He’s got a) knowledge of the prospects and b) a damn fine resume with success all over. The US NTDP probably wouldn’t have come about without his efforts, and it’s a fine program. Mancini was a solid hire, at least based on what we know about him, and it’s a shame he’s gone - particularly at the same time as other guys with some institutional memory get the axe. Somebody outside of Buchberger should have coaching knowledge of all these young guys.

He was also a scout when the team was churning out some weak drafts.

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#10 Jonathan Willis
July 06 2009, 02:32PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

Part of a group of what - a dozen or so guys? It's impossible to know which scouts recommended what. Besides, those weren't bad drafts; 2001 was excellent, 2002 featured Bustimaki and a bunch of good picks, and 2003 would have been decent too if not for the Pouliot selection. All it really takes is a bad first round pick for fans to write off a decent draft.

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#11 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 02:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: Part of a group of what - a dozen or so guys? It’s impossible to know which scouts recommended what. Besides, those weren’t bad drafts; 2001 was excellent, 2002 featured Bustimaki and a bunch of good picks, and 2003 would have been decent too if not for the Pouliot selection. All it really takes is a bad first round pick for fans to write off a decent draft.

My comments are (somewhat) tongue in cheak due to the fan bases obsession with seeing as many public figures as possible fired.

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#12 Average Oilers Fan
July 06 2009, 02:36PM
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Obviously KLowe's fault. Or maybe MacT. Or... uh... Heatley's agent. Tambo, get it done!! Er... c'mon Katz!!!

Uh...

Erm... scapegoats, I need scapegoats... I need to blame someone for everything bad!!! Meltdown!!!!

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#13 Ogden Brother
July 06 2009, 02:51PM
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Average Oilers Fan wrote:

Obviously KLowe’s fault. Or maybe MacT. Or… uh… Heatley’s agent. Tambo, get it done!! Er… c’mon Katz!!! Uh… Erm… scapegoats, I need scapegoats… I need to blame someone for everything bad!!! Meltdown!!!!

:)

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#14 alphah
July 06 2009, 03:29PM
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I think Bob Mancini was doing a good job. Honestly. A real good job. Maybe we can poach Dave Gagner off of the Canucks? Would be kind of sweet. (who knows how effective he really is though... lots of good tasks on his resume)

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