Win and you're in: or not

Robin Brownlee
March 22 2010 05:29PM

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers

With 117 seasons of coaching experience on his resume, Edmonton Oilers bench boss Pat Quinn probably doesn't need any advice from somebody like me, but he's going to get it anyway.

By wavering on the win-and-you're-in edict he issued to goaltenders Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk a few weeks ago, as he did after Sunday's 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, Quinn is not only mixing his messages, he's doing so at the worst possible time.

After watching Dubnyk grind his way through an 0-8-2 stretch in the first 13 appearances of his rookie season before beating Detroit 3-2 in a shootout Friday, then coming within three minutes of a shutout against the Sharks, Quinn is now re-thinking his approach after a conversation with goaltending coach Frederic Chabot.

Apparently, Chabot is concerned that win-and-you're-in might leave either Deslauriers or Dubnyk on the outside looking in for too long if the team gets on a roll. Fat chance of that, but that's his argument.

I get the thinking behind that, but the way I see it, the benefits of letting Dubnyk build confidence as a reward for outstanding efforts in back-to-back games should trump any concerns about Deslauriers having to sit too long at this point in the season.

JDD has had his chance to shine. Dubnyk deserves the same.

STAY THE COURSE

As much as I respect Quinn, I've had some difficulties with some of the decisions he's made this season. You can add abandoning the win-and-you're-in approach to the list if he listens to Chabot and gives Deslauriers the start against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday.

We asked Quinn about that possibility again today after it came to light in his availability after the win over San Jose. Nothing in his answer made me think it's a good idea.

"We're going to talk about that a little bit," Quinn said. "There's a decision time coming for this organization in the sense of one of these two young guys.

"While we thought the idea of win and you play is a good one, and could still be a good one, we also don't want to get anybody isolated in case we run the table out, that sort of thing.

"Whatever our decision is as to how we're going forward, when we tell our young goaltenders this is what we're deciding on right now, it has to make some sense and has to have a sense of fairness to it."

Yes, it does. And after Deslauriers, who has made 42 appearances, was given the chance on more than one occasion to stake his claim to the crease with some fine performances, fairness dictates Dubnyk should get the same opportunity, no?

Of course, I suggested months ago that Deslauriers and Dubnyk rotate no matter what the result so that each could stake a claim as back-up to Nikolai Khabibulin going into next season. I liked the idea.

Then again, I can't say I minded when Quinn suggested he'd stick with the hot hand, either. That was, frankly, because I didn't see either one of Deslauriers or Dubnyk getting on enough of a roll to keep the other on the bench for any extended period of time.

To change it now, to flip-flop, after Dubnyk hung in and took his lumps behind a thinly disguised AHL defence to put together two outstanding efforts, would be a bad call. It's one Quinn has to rethink.

THE WAY I SEE IT

-- I'm told president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini are in Portland taking a look at Nino Niedereiter of the Winterhawks.

I wouldn't read too much into that because Lowe and Tambellini will look at every player ranked in the first round, and Neidereiter, a right winger ranked 14th among North American skaters, will certainly go in the top 30. The Winterhawks also have a centre, Ryan Johansen, ranked 16th and a defenceman, Troy Rutkowski, ranked 43rd.

-- Ales Hemsky skated with the Oilers for the first time since having shoulder surgery today and, NO, he will not return this season.

That said, one good arm and all -- he still isn't healed enough to take any contact -- Hemsky looked better shooting and handling the puck while taking a twirl than anybody else on the ice.

-- Too bad Theo Peckham is out for the final 10 games with a separated shoulder after ending up on the hurting end of a hit by behemoth Doug Murray because he was coming along nicely.

Peckham will be a younger and cheaper version of Steve Staios for seasons to come, as long as he stays on top of his conditioning. He's mean as hell, and that's an element this defensive corps is lacking.

-- There's still no official word from the Oilers medical staff, but as I suggested March 5, expect Ryan Whitney to have off-season surgery on his right foot to correct a defect he's already had repaired in his left foot.

Whitney had what's called on osteotomy on his left foot in August 2008 to re-align bones in his foot. Whitney has extremely high arches that lead to chronic pain.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show 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 MattL
March 22 2010, 07:01PM
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Brownlee, I'm with you.

With 10 games left, Quinn says he doesn't want to risk running the table in case only one of the goalies plays. Uh, isn't winning every game supposed to be the goal of this hockey team? It's 10 freaking games. JDD played 10 consecutive games this season, didn't he? And he didn't even have to win EACH PRECEDING GAME to do it!

Saying he doesn't want to keep playing a goalie if he's winning is admitting that you don't want to win EVERY GAME.

Is it just me? Is that not the logic of the situation? "Uh oh, we can't keep playing a winning goalie, because WHAT IF HE WINS EVERY GAME HE PLAYS IN?! THAT WOULD BE A DISASTER!"

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#2 jeanshorts
March 22 2010, 05:49PM
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It makes sense that JDD would get the start, I mean it's not like he's gotten 75% of them since old man Bulin went down. They've done an excellent job at keeping the games even so they could get a better idea at who to keep next year.

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#3 Travis Dakin
March 22 2010, 09:28PM
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Has anybody noticed that the top team in the league (Caps) now has DOUBLE the points the Oilers have?

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#5 Arby
March 22 2010, 05:39PM
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How was the mood around the rink RB? I know it was one of the better Monday mornings I've had in a while?

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#6 Arby
March 22 2010, 05:45PM
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I actually was fooled into thinking every member of the third line still enjoyed the game of hockey last night. My wife even mentioned that it was the first time in a long time she saw her hockey boyfriend (moreau) smile.

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#7 Arby
March 22 2010, 05:51PM
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You ever get the feeling a couple of chicks took their tops off and started making out in another thread, and you're going to be the only one out of all your freinds that doesn't have a picture of it on your phone?

Hello?

Et' tu Brownlee?

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#8 Cory Dakin
March 22 2010, 05:51PM
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@ Robin

Obviously on pure speculation, do you think there is a different motivation behind wavering from his plan to play the hot hand? Is this possibly a sign that they may figure that Dubnyk has a better chance of clearing waivers next year? So maybe they've already made up their minds that Deslauriers and Khabibulin will be their 1-2?

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#9 Cory Dakin
March 22 2010, 05:55PM
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After my usual proof reading after I've already posted the message, I realize that should have said Khabibulin and Deslauriers will be the 1-2. Although with this team I may have been right the first time.

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#10 michael clarke
March 22 2010, 06:19PM
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I fully believe that the Oilers are going to explore every avenue they can to rid themselves of Khabibulin. He is damaged goods. The DUI is not an issue.We won't know how his back is going to hold up do we? I see Tambo looking to dump his contract on a team that needs a goalie next season. Philly, LA, and yes even Chicago where he has a history. Chicago's goaltending is a huge concern. I will stunned if they get past the 2cd round. Waive Dubnyk and you lose him. Waive J.D and you lose him. Bury Bulin in the minors for 20 games and evaluate him down there in OKC. This team needs a 3-5 year rebuild. It doesn't need a 37 year old goalie with a wonky back in between the pipes leading the way. This wouldn't even be an issue if the OIlers hadn't wasted 2 years without thier own farm team.

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#11 Robin Brownlee
March 22 2010, 06:25PM
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Arby wrote:

You ever get the feeling a couple of chicks took their tops off and started making out in another thread, and you're going to be the only one out of all your freinds that doesn't have a picture of it on your phone?

Hello?

Et' tu Brownlee?

What language are you speaking?

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#12 craigero
March 22 2010, 06:34PM
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The Oilers have to make a decision and they have had ample time to choose either JDD or Dubnyk. I think they should trade JDD along with Cogs for a mid first rounder.

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#13 Archaeologuy
March 22 2010, 07:17PM
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@craigero

Dubnyk has had two good games and now you forget the .880 save percentage he's sporting? Gotta think the kid could use another season in the AHL to try and solidify his game.

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#14 Nate Full of Hate
March 22 2010, 07:21PM
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US American goalie Jack Campbell anyone???

He will be the steal of the 2010 draft.

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#15 CurtisS
March 22 2010, 07:58PM
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Surely with the weekend Eberle had there must of been a little chatter?

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#16 Travis Dakin
March 22 2010, 07:59PM
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Cory Dakin wrote:

After my usual proof reading after I've already posted the message, I realize that should have said Khabibulin and Deslauriers will be the 1-2. Although with this team I may have been right the first time.

You know, if you were logged in as a member of the Nation, (check me out... number 23 baby!!!) you would be able to go back and edit your posts. Just sayin'

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#17 Travis Dakin
March 22 2010, 08:00PM
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MattL wrote:

Brownlee, I'm with you.

With 10 games left, Quinn says he doesn't want to risk running the table in case only one of the goalies plays. Uh, isn't winning every game supposed to be the goal of this hockey team? It's 10 freaking games. JDD played 10 consecutive games this season, didn't he? And he didn't even have to win EACH PRECEDING GAME to do it!

Saying he doesn't want to keep playing a goalie if he's winning is admitting that you don't want to win EVERY GAME.

Is it just me? Is that not the logic of the situation? "Uh oh, we can't keep playing a winning goalie, because WHAT IF HE WINS EVERY GAME HE PLAYS IN?! THAT WOULD BE A DISASTER!"

I thought it was pretty clear to everyone already that they don't want to win every game...

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#18 Pajamah
March 22 2010, 08:01PM
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Nate Full of Hate wrote:

US American goalie Jack Campbell anyone???

He will be the steal of the 2010 draft.

And Ryan O'Marra was great for Canada in his world juniors too

I hear this all the time. "Lets take Benjamin Conz, Jack Campbell (insert generic goalie who has 7 good games)"

We already have a goalie who will battle for Canada's starting job next season in Olivier Roy.

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#19 craigero
March 22 2010, 08:05PM
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@Archaeologuy

To tell you the truth I have not much faith in either Duby or JDD... they are basically even steven, almost like picking between Hall and Sequin. I think Tambellini deserves a raise, he has the most difficult job in the NHL. What would Brownlee do?

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#20 Archaeologuy
March 22 2010, 08:21PM
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@craigero

Cant say I agree that Tambi deserves a raise.

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#21 Cory Dakin
March 22 2010, 08:22PM
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Let's face it. The oilers don't have an NHL goalie. IF, Khabibulin can stay healthy for an entire season, he's only good for 55 games at best. At 37 years old and with his injury history, you couldn't really expect much more from him. Unfortunately, i can't see Tambo being able to move his contract, and sending him to the minors would be admitting that he screwed up his one signing as GM. I don't know much about him, but he doesn't come off as the type who likes to admit when he's wrong. If only he had come to terms with a rebuild last year, then we could advance with JDD and Dubie and be content with them growing with the rest of the team. Ah, the benefits of hindsight.

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#22 VK63
March 22 2010, 08:27PM
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Ah well, old Quinn will escape unscathed as if he starts JDD its under advisement from Chabot. If he goes with DD (my choice as well) hes sticking to his word.

Has JDD ever been replaced after a win?

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#23 Nate Full of Hate
March 22 2010, 08:58PM
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Pajamah wrote:

And Ryan O'Marra was great for Canada in his world juniors too

I hear this all the time. "Lets take Benjamin Conz, Jack Campbell (insert generic goalie who has 7 good games)"

We already have a goalie who will battle for Canada's starting job next season in Olivier Roy.

So your saying Jordan Eberle will be John Slaney? check yourself....

I understand some players who thrive at the WJHC don't in the NHL, fact is Campbell's a winner at U-18,U-19, and will play for the best program in the CHL.

"I want winners"

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#24 KenL
March 22 2010, 09:02PM
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I agree with you Robin - Dubnyk should play. If Quinn goes back on his word, then I'll start believing in the Weasel Al Strachan - who claims Quinn was the source of the Leafs problems.

I've had some big question marks about Quinn's line combos this year. Fans used to give McT grief the way he used the blender for lines. Yet Quinn has pretty much done the same thing.

The one pairing that he kept apart for most of the season, yet had chemistry when the Oil set the road record were Penner and Brule. Only now has he decided to pair them again? This totally mystifies me.

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#25 Canadasportsguy
March 22 2010, 09:04PM
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The win and in approach is very flawed from the start. This team is in 30th place and they should be putting all their young guys in different positions to see how they perform, and that goes for their young goalies. Give Quinn a break for recognizing that the win and in philosophy is not the best way to evaluate this team. Give both JDD and Dubnyk equal time from here on out to see who plays better.

TBH

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#26 Pajamah
March 22 2010, 09:17PM
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@Nate Full of Hate

And you're saying Eberle will be Crosby?

Same applies

Jack Campbell can be a Trevor Kidd or Roberto Luongo, no one knows, but despite the lies which will inevitably come, all you've seen, and all anyone here has seen (give or take 1 or 2 people here) is just his WJHC games

I can tell you who I'd want to see of Hall or Seguin, only based off of what I've heard from hockey insiders, but that doesn't make my opinion any more valid

Jack Campbell = treat of the week

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#27 OilCrazy
March 22 2010, 09:19PM
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Maybe the "win and your in" policy should be changed to "win and you're out"

The last thing we need is to get on a roll here and not lock down 30th overall. Do we really want to be in the position of being 29th and then being bumped to 3rd overall in the lottery???

Once we have the guaranteed worst record in the league, which isn't that far away, then they can go back to the "win and you're in" logic.

The way the Oilers' season has gone to date, the last thing we need is a winning streak. I'm all about winning and it was great knocking off Heatley and co., however we need some sort of silver lining for this season, and that's not going to be enough. We NEED a top 2 pick!!!

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#28 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 22 2010, 09:29PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

What language are you speaking?

headinass, it is the native tongue of the Oilers Nation..

**disclaimer** i am in no way attempting to degrade native americans in any way, shape, or form. Jasmine/Narnia please keep it civil...

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#29 Robin Brownlee
March 22 2010, 09:30PM
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@OilCrazy

So, you think the Oilers are going to make up 11 points on Toronto with 10 games to play?

The Oilers can go 8-2 and they still won't catch Toronto if the Maple Leafs go 3-7.

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#30 Biowolf
March 22 2010, 09:32PM
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@michael clarke

Why cant somebody in the front office have an idea like this. Spot on.

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#31 Dave Smith
March 22 2010, 09:49PM
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Robin,

If Khabi is sentenced to 30 day jail term for his stupidity can they Oilers break his contract? Even if its done in the off-season?

Side note, I wonder if thats the ethics thing Gregor has been talking about.

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#32 VK63
March 22 2010, 09:53PM
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@Travis Dakin

yah but a fat draft pick they get this year... losers~

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#33 nullterm
March 22 2010, 09:57PM
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If Quinn is trying to burn up every shred of connection with his players then it's a good idea!

Somehow I see Renney stepping up to be head coach before the 3 year contract is up. And I kind of like the idea.

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#34 OilCrazy
March 22 2010, 10:00PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

So, you think the Oilers are going to make up 11 points on Toronto with 10 games to play?

The Oilers can go 8-2 and they still won't catch Toronto if the Maple Leafs go 3-7.

Thanks for clarifying the run we would have to go on vs the Leafs record in the final 10 games.

Based on that data and my point of switching back to the win and you're in plan, I agree wholeheartedly with your article on questioning not playing Dubnyk next game.

I can now enjoy cheering for Oilers wins again the rest of the season thanks to you Robin!

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#35 Rob...
March 22 2010, 10:26PM
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Hey Robin, you said "As much as I respect Quinn,...". Can you please elaborate a little bit regarding actions you've seen from him this season that garner respect? I'm looking for some hope that he's still the coach we need here for the near future. If your respect for him is still based mostly off of his pre-Oilers accomplishments, after a season running the Oiler's bench, I'll be hoping he steps aside over the summer.

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#36 Tha Legion
March 22 2010, 10:31PM
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Booking some comedy venue's next month, Might see about doing something in Calgary so I have a reason to use one of my ON stickers, I have 3 and I want the reason I take pictures with them to be perfect... lotta pressure

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#37 Canadasportsguy
March 23 2010, 06:24AM
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Of course Quinn, and the entire coaching staff, is the right fit for this club. Quinn and Renney are pefect because they want to teach and have the patience for it. This is Renney's type of work, he is a teacher and an X and O's type of person. He fits in perfect with the Oilers.

Tell me? Who would you rather have instead of Quinn at this point??

TBH

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#38 Rob...
March 23 2010, 07:16AM
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@Canadasportsguy

Many people want to teach, but it doesn't mean that intent translates into improved 'students'. We've got a 30th place finish to judge Quinn by, but given the injuries that's not completely fair. Insiders may have more information though on which players do more than pay the coach lip-service when asked how much they value him. By the same token, coaches may let slip pressure from above to play certain players that they'd rather leave on the bench...

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#39 Nate full of Hate
March 23 2010, 07:17AM
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Pajamah wrote:

And you're saying Eberle will be Crosby?

Same applies

Jack Campbell can be a Trevor Kidd or Roberto Luongo, no one knows, but despite the lies which will inevitably come, all you've seen, and all anyone here has seen (give or take 1 or 2 people here) is just his WJHC games

I can tell you who I'd want to see of Hall or Seguin, only based off of what I've heard from hockey insiders, but that doesn't make my opinion any more valid

Jack Campbell = treat of the week

How many 17 year old goalies have won gold??? And he'll get the chance to win another!

You sound like a Canadian apologist, any relation to Bob Stauffer?

The Oilers "rebuild" will require a goalie.

Edmonton's road to recovery will be expedited if they can draft the best center & best goalie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9AZ7YJrmBc&feature=player_embedded

he's 16 in this and looks like a Ryan Miller clone

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#40 BUCK75
March 23 2010, 07:50AM
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It was mentioned on Gregor's show yesterday that maybe they don't want Dubnyk going on a run, for fear of him not being able to clear waivers. I would guess that would be an 'upstairs' decision & not the coach's.

It definitely would make Quinn look like this - courtesy of Seinfeld.

JERRY: Well, a person that gives something and then they're dissatisfied and they wish they had, had never uh...

WINONA: And?

JERRY: ...give, given it to the person that they originally gave it to.

WINONA: You mean like, an Indian giver?!

JERRY: I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with that term.

It's too bad politics would have to play into a decision like this, especially after Duby appears to be building some confidence.

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Kinda baffled about the goaltending situation as a whole. Why wouldn't they split the games months ago when we knew we were done? And now why bring in a policy and then yank it? Seems to me that trust is being broken here.

Maybe it's nothing, maybe Dubnyk looked worn out at practice?

The one thing I do give Quinn credit for is he isn't quitting and is trying to win as much as possible, while at the sametime giving the younger players a chance to play.

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#42 Rob
March 23 2010, 08:42AM
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I wonder at some of Quinn's tactics this year. It has taken it to this point in the season to put Cogs at the centre position and I don't know about your take but he looked totally at home at that position with those linemates. I'm no coach but what was he trying to accomplish with Brule and Gagner? Bouncing them around has got to be somewhat demoralizing for a young player if the requisite teaching isn't part of the program. I thought the coaching was about developing players and managing their strengths. I don't get the continual scrambling of players who have had success with each other. Is the old man out of patience? Maybe after another year or so Rennie takes over.

This move with the reneging over the goalie rotation is a bad man-management move, in my view. Makes me wonder if there is some lobbying coming from somewhere. JDD has had his chance and not done much with it this year.

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#43 Milli
March 23 2010, 09:22AM
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I was totally sold on Quinn, but as the year turned to disaster, I have to question some of the decisions! This year sure has made MacT not look like the leagues worst coach, and if he isn't working next year, I'll be shocked.

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#44 Zamboni Driver
March 23 2010, 09:46AM
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Just curious.

How many years too long is Quinn signed for?

Must be multi-years or the speculation that he would say 'screw this noise' after this year. OR the team would set him adrift and let Renney stick around and take the reins.

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#45 Ender
March 23 2010, 10:04AM
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Nate Full of Hate wrote:

US American goalie Jack Campbell anyone??? He will be the steal of the 2010 draft.

Shhhh! Not so loud; Tambi might hear you. Not so much of a steal at first overall.

craigero wrote:

I think Tambellini deserves a raise, he has the most difficult job in the NHL.

You or I could manage the team to 30th place. It would still be the hardest job in hockey, but that doesn't mean we'd deserve a nickel for our efforts if we're not qualified.

Dave Smith wrote:

If Khabi is sentenced to 30 day jail term for his stupidity can they Oilers break his contract? Even if its done in the off-season?
Side note, I wonder if thats the ethics thing Gregor has been talking about.

The ethics issue is dead. Gregor expected someone in the community to cough up some dirt on an issue they should have shut up about. Gregor was going to discuss whether the issue should have remained behind closed doors. As it turns out, the issue did remain behind closed doors so it's a non-issue.

nullterm wrote:

Somehow I see Renney stepping up to be head coach before the 3 year contract is up. And I kind of like the idea.

From day one I assumed that the plan behind hiring the two men the Oilers did meant that one day Renney would be the head coach and Quinn would become the GM. It made sense on a lot of levels, the biggest being that Quinn has previous GM experience and would now have an ice-level knowledge of the players his club was working with. I had originally though it was a plan for 2 or 3 years down the road, but it can't come fast enough for me now.

Rob... wrote:

after a season running the Oiler's bench, I'll be hoping [Quinn] steps aside over the summer.

I hope so too, but as alluded to above it's because I want him to replace Tambellini, not because he's a lousy coach. I would love you to tell me what coach in hockey, past or present, would have had the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs.

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#46 quicksilver ballet
March 23 2010, 10:15AM
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One Blessing for this past year certainly has been Pat Quinns post game pressers. The Oilers have done for post game press conferences what TSN has done for the trade deadline.

Long live Pat Quinn!

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#47 Petr's Jofa
March 23 2010, 10:55AM
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No change in the Fall for Hall last night, tragic number is still 6.

A hot Toronto team plays Florida tonight and Edmonton looks to break it's 2 game winning streak with a game against Vancouver.

Down south, the Sputter Under Sutter moved forwared with a Detroit beating Pittsburgh. Flames are 4 points out with 10 games remaining. Flames take on a the Ducks in a game they need to win.

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Dubnyk sick and Oilers looking for a goalie to backup JDD.

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#49 Pajamah
March 23 2010, 12:05PM
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Nate full of Hate wrote:

How many 17 year old goalies have won gold??? And he'll get the chance to win another!

You sound like a Canadian apologist, any relation to Bob Stauffer?

The Oilers "rebuild" will require a goalie.

Edmonton's road to recovery will be expedited if they can draft the best center & best goalie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9AZ7YJrmBc&feature=player_embedded

he's 16 in this and looks like a Ryan Miller clone

So Jack Campbell might be the next Dustin Tokarsky. Better trade up!

The Oilers have a WJHC caliber goalie. Olivier Roy would start for the USA if he were a citizen.

Ryan Miller is a great goalie, Jack Campbell would be lucky to have half his career. However, there is no guarantee.

And what makes you think the few games you saw him play, make him worthy to become an NHL goalie

Avatar
#50 Rob...
March 23 2010, 01:05PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Ender

"...I would love you to tell me what coach in hockey, past or present, would have had the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers in the playoffs."

I'm not claiming they could have made the playoffs with a different coach, unless there's someone out there who could teach players how to take a borderline dirty hit without dislocating a shoulder, knee,... other random body part.

I do think it's fair to ask whether Quinn has value that isn't showing up in the win column, or is being hindered by upper management in such a way that he hasn't been able to do his job. If the answer is no to both of those things then it's just another Tambi contract that is much too long, especially on a club that has two people filling one position.

Rob...

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