April 26 2012 03:04PM
As Oiler fans patiently wait to see which direction their beloved hockey team is going in, I wonder why the delay in announcing plans for the management and coaches? All the arrows are pointing to Steve Tambellini staying on as GM. He represented the Oilers at the draft lottery, he flew to Sweden to chat with Oscar Klefbom, he stopped in and watched the Under-18 Championships and he was in OKC earlier this week watching the Barons dispatch of the Houston Aeros in four games, but still no official announcement of a contract extension.
Wouldn't it be better to have an announcement sooner, rather than later. Is there any benefit in waiting? Is it fair to keep Tom Renney wondering about his future?
Many have stated the Oilers should wait and see if Alain Vigneault and other come available, and I understand that, but if Renney isn't you guy then they should let him know, and if he is, then make it public.
During his end-of-the-season address, Tambellini essentially said he wanted Renney to get away for a few weeks and then present him his plan for the future. I'd like to think those two are meeting sometime soon to discuss Renney's plan. And if those meetings take place this week, then the Oilers should have a presser next week to announce their plans.
I suspect they will have one presser announcing Tambellini's extension, and at the same time he will announce whether Renney has been re-signed or if they are going in another direction.
The only issue is that President of Hockey Operations, Kevin Lowe, has already left to Europe for the World Championships. Lowe, along with the first wave of players left today to get ready for the tournament from May 4th to 20th. Will the Oilers have a press conference announcing Tambellini's extension without him? If not, will they wait until the tournament is over before making any announcements?
I don't think it is fair to Renney to make him wait that long, unless they've agreed to an extension and won't announce it until then. I doubt that is the case. I suspect the longer we go without an announcement regarding Renney the less likely it is he'll return for his 3rd season as head coach.
I've stated it many times, whether it is Renney or a new coach they will have more success next season, strictly because the players are better.
I spoke with three coaches this week, two former NHL coaches and one AHL coach, and all three of them said the Oilers would be a very attractive spot for any coach. They have some great top-end talent in Hall, RNH, Eberle and the 1st pick this June, and all three of them talked highly of Devan Dubnyk. They felt he was ready to be a reliable starter.
The Oilers are in a good position, but they need to make a decision with Renney. I know they won't announce the coach before Tambellini's extension is official, but the optics look worse the longer they let Renney twist in the wind.
- I wonder if all those who felt Dennis Wideman would be a great signing for the Oilers feel the same way after watching the Capitals. He brings offence, but he was a disaster at times in his own zone. The Oilers need to upgrade their D, but I wouldn't be offering a big contract to Wideman.
- I've heard many wondering if Matt Moulson will be in the running for team Canada in 2014. He's got good hands, but on the big ice surface his footspeed will be a major concern. Spoke to two managers who said, "Big ice, but he can't skate well enough. Won't be a candidate."
- The goalie position will be wide open. It's so open that some have thrown Mike Smith's name in the ring, despite one decent NHL season. Prior to this year he'd never won more than 14 games. He's had an incredible season, but he'll need to continue playing like this for the next 18 months if he wants to be a serious contender. Many goalies have had one or even two great years, but then disappeared.
- Tyler Pitlick had two goals and four points in OKC's first round series victory over Houston. He's looked much more comfortable on the wing, than at centre, and he's getting stronger. He'll push for a spot in camp, but another half, or full, season in the AHL might be the best thing for him long term. No need to rush him onto the roster.
- Tambellini recently stated he thinks there are 6 or 7 guys in the AHL who could play in the NHL. Paajarvi, Lander and Hartikainen are the closest. Colten Teubert will get a look, and I think Pitlick will play, but won't be a regular until 2013/2014. Who are the other two? Alex Plante and Phillippe Cornet/Curtis Hamilton maybe? In three years who do you think will have the biggest impact in Edmonton?
- It is disgusting and sad that some fans resorted to racist comments on twitter (warning not easy to read) after Joel Ward's OT goal last night. I still think many of us are naive in thinking that racism doesn't exist. It is still there, unfortunately, and hopefully these types of incidents will make more people realize we need keep educating people about the ignorance of racism. It is easy to say it was just Bruins fans, but the reality is that racism exists in many places, and hopefully people have the courage to continue to stand up against it.