IN THE KNOW: RALPH IN RUNNING

Robin Brownlee
May 24 2012 10:12AM

If you hang around this game long enough and learn to pay attention, it doesn't take a vast intellect to separate the guessers and coat-tail riders in the media mob from those who are actually in the know.

So, when 630 CHED radio color man Bob Stauffer, who has telegraphed more moves by the Edmonton Oilers than anybody else I can think of over the past three years or so, starts dropping hints about what he thinks should or will happen, I listen – even when what he says conflicts with my take on things.

While that's not a popular stance with people who think Stauffer somehow "sold out" by leaving his popular Inside Sports drive-time show at TEAM 1260 for his gig with the Oilers, anybody who is actually keeping score regarding who gets the story right most often knows how connected he is.

Today, Stauffer is hinting associate coach Ralph Krueger should be or is a strong candidate to take over from Tom Renney as head coach. While I'm of the mind Brent Sutter is and should be the leading candidate for the job – my take is based on circumstance and gut-feel rather than inside information – Bombastic Bob has my attention.

He should have yours, too.

WHAT HE SAYS

Stauffer has been busy on his Twitter account today, offering up the following tidbits about the coaching situation in two separate but connected Tweets:

"The Oilers best players are drafted and developed. Steve Tambellini has hired 2 straight experienced NHL Coaches. Maybe need to look at an . . . Internal coach that the organization has developed, who understands the team and the players. Like, say, Ralph Kreuger."

Stauffer blew Krueger's name in the Tweet – I can attest that he talks better than he spells because I used to edit his copy when he was writing a column at The Sun (I'm guessing the bosses at the tabloid that fired me in 2007 didn't know that) – but the message is what matters.

If Stauffer suggests Krueger is worth looking at, then chances are GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe are already looking at him (Jim Matheson at The Journal has long been a master of framing what he already knows as a "suggestion" for decades). That look will likely amount to more than lip service and a courtesy call for Krueger.

TAKE IT TO THE BANK

While I don't perceive Krueger as a leading candidate, Stauffer knows infinitely more about his relationships with the players, his hockey IQ and how he is regarded by Lowe and the rest of Oiler management than I do here and now because he's around the team year-round, as I used to be.

It's also worth noting that while Lowe and Tambellini were over at the World Championships keeping tabs on Team Canada and Sutter's work behind the bench – a stint I and others have assumed is a pre-cursor to him being named as Renney's replacement -- Krueger was there, too.

The bottom line: while I see Sutter as the leading candidate, you can bet Krueger is on the short list and in the running and that he'll get more serious consideration than most of us thought he would. If Krueger doesn't get the job outright, I can see a scenario where he stays on as an associate in the kind of role Renney had when Pat Quinn was hired.

My guess is the hangers-on and coat-tail riders in town will be parroting the "Krueger is a serious contender" angle and spinning the idea as their own -- without attribution -- soon enough.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 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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#51 NuHope
May 24 2012, 05:07PM
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That

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#52 madjam
May 24 2012, 05:07PM
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Kreuger stands about as good a chance of being the next coach as we have of signing or getting Luongo . Any word if Oilers are in the hunt for Luongo after Vigneault annonuced Luongo wants out of Vancouver ?

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#53 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
May 24 2012, 05:12PM
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@madjam

you have a better chance seeing DSF admitting he was wrong than you do seeing luongo in an oiler jersey

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#54 Mojo
May 24 2012, 05:18PM
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If are into developing coaches then Kelly Buchberger has to be on the short list then, no?

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#56 StHenriOilBomb
May 24 2012, 05:59PM
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I have been hoping for Krueger to get a chance at the big job since he arrived in Edmonton. This guy had unprecedented success with a mediocre Swiss program, and has transformed the Oilers' special teams this year. There was speculation on this site earlier this spring that krueger would be headed back to Europe. I wonder if giving him the head job would be the only way to keep him. Not that it should be the reason to do so, but it would be a shame to lose someone of his experience at this point in the transition to respectability.

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#57 Mitch
May 24 2012, 06:02PM
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Robin I have looked over the bio of Jon Cooper. What does standout to me is how the teams he coaches continually improve in leaps and bounds. He seems like a driven man has a business degree and also was working on a law degree. I like how he is a young guy, that should fit the mould of this team because they are only gonna get younger. It seems as though he coaches a offensive style which would be considered oilers hockey. This yr he has done very impressive feats 28 game win streak a sweep to go to finals and a 55 win season.

It's about the right fit for me, I'm not caught up on the experience factor at all. I think this guy has a proven track record that shows he is a winner.

If all we can do is get caught up on the NHL experience factor we may miss out on the guy that can lead us for the next 10+ yrs like Sather did. This is a tough call, lets hope they do thier homework and take thier time.

I dont want to see a coach hired till about June 15.

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#58 Stupendous Man
May 24 2012, 06:16PM
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I keep hearing that this will be Tambellini's last coaching hire. Is it possible it won't be? I mean, if the Oilers become a playoff team and then a contender under the new coach's watch -- but can't get over the hump of either becoming a contender or winning a championship -- does that mean Tambellini gets the axe at that point, however many years down the road that is? The reason I ask is the answer should very much affect Tambellini's choice of a new bench boss. I don't see a risk in going with an up-and-comer with an impressive resume (ie. Nelson, Cooper, Eakins), if the goal is simply year-over-year improvement. The Oilers should be able to achieve that just through the expected improvement of their young core over the next couple of seasons -- regardless of what else the team does. I just don't see this as being such a big risk for Tambellini -- especially since he somehow "earned" an extension after "leading" the Oil to last/last/next-to-last-place finishes.

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#59 Smokey
May 24 2012, 07:35PM
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Kruger and Nelson would be a quality tandem. I`d be down with that. Keep Smith and Chabot around...

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#60 Dave Casselman
May 24 2012, 07:43PM
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Harlie wrote:

Krueger = Red Herring

Hope not. I think he'd be an excellent choice for coach.

I like his CV, he did wonders with the Swiss program. I also think he has a harder edge than did Renney and he sure wasn't shy about mixing up line combinations in TR's concussion days.

Although no single person was responsible for the sort of amazing PK and PP turnaround, he certainly contributed.

Hire him. Give him his head with assistants and the mode of hockey he wants to play. The Oil could sure do worse.

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#61 WHAT DO I KNOW
May 24 2012, 09:34PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

I am really hoping they go with Mark Crawford.

None of the other coaches actually know what it takes to win a Stanley Cup!!!!!!

I am hoping just the opposite. The teams he coached missed the playoffs for the last five years . I find his work on TV to be less than stellar.

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#62 Oilcruzer
May 24 2012, 09:36PM
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book¡e wrote:

What do you know about Krueger? Anything? Or are you just talking out of your proverbial ass?

Oh do tell what insight you have then. Please do. Oh... Please do.

(Moron.)

I made the comment (don't remember talking) as an opinion based on my assessment of a coach's style, mannerisms, and his team's response - including analysis of body language and what was or wasnt said.

Right or wrong, it's an opinion.

(Still not convinced, I see)

Try this one then.

Tom Renney still respects the Oilers. He considers himself (as do I) an integral part of the rebuilding process and, has that "I am still an Oiler and will always be a part of this organization" mentality. He also says that K Lowe is the one who is calling the shots.

Analyze the presser from yesterday and you will find that's exactly right. If you can't find it, I will detail the analysis for you.

(If you say please.)

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#63 PeOiler
May 24 2012, 10:26PM
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WHAT DO I KNOW wrote:

I am hoping just the opposite. The teams he coached missed the playoffs for the last five years . I find his work on TV to be less than stellar.

I agree. Crawford is underwhelming on a good day.

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#64 book¡e
May 24 2012, 10:30PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Oh do tell what insight you have then. Please do. Oh... Please do.

(Moron.)

I made the comment (don't remember talking) as an opinion based on my assessment of a coach's style, mannerisms, and his team's response - including analysis of body language and what was or wasnt said.

Right or wrong, it's an opinion.

(Still not convinced, I see)

Try this one then.

Tom Renney still respects the Oilers. He considers himself (as do I) an integral part of the rebuilding process and, has that "I am still an Oiler and will always be a part of this organization" mentality. He also says that K Lowe is the one who is calling the shots.

Analyze the presser from yesterday and you will find that's exactly right. If you can't find it, I will detail the analysis for you.

(If you say please.)

Ok - Got it - talking out your ass. Thanks for clarifying.

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#65 Biowolf
May 24 2012, 11:13PM
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Maybe these guys are not as dumb as they look after all. Hiring Krueger and drafting Yak would be a big step forward

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#66 Oilcruzer
May 24 2012, 11:33PM
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book¡e wrote:

Ok - Got it - talking out your ass. Thanks for clarifying.

Ok. Whatever floats your boat. Can't say I didn't offer.

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#67 velo
May 25 2012, 12:00AM
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Until he shaves his head and grows a mustache, Krueger is just another chump.

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#68 velo
May 25 2012, 12:03AM
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Or, maybe a goat!?

http://cdn.nhl.com/oilers/images/upload/2008/10/hs-huddy.jpg

Now you're talkin'.

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#69 JB
May 25 2012, 07:10AM
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Can anyone explain why Buchberger is such a sacred cow in the organization?

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#70 Woodguy
May 25 2012, 07:39AM
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I think Krueger would make a fine Head Coach for the Oilers.

I wonder if Lowe/Tambellini are going to take into account the opinion of some of the current (key) players on Krueger?

When Renney went down with the concussion, Krueger ran Renney's lines and match up for 2 games, (lost both), then switched up the lines and match ups (ie. sat Jones).

The Oilers managed to beat CAL and PHI in that time span. I think the 2-0 win over PHI was the best team game they played all year.

I know its micro sample sized, but he deployed the same roster in a different way and got better results. That's significant.

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#71 Woodguy
May 25 2012, 07:40AM
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JB wrote:

Can anyone explain why Buchberger is such a sacred cow in the organization?

You need somebody around to make Moo points.

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#72 book¡e
May 25 2012, 09:39AM
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Woodguy wrote:

I think Krueger would make a fine Head Coach for the Oilers.

I wonder if Lowe/Tambellini are going to take into account the opinion of some of the current (key) players on Krueger?

When Renney went down with the concussion, Krueger ran Renney's lines and match up for 2 games, (lost both), then switched up the lines and match ups (ie. sat Jones).

The Oilers managed to beat CAL and PHI in that time span. I think the 2-0 win over PHI was the best team game they played all year.

I know its micro sample sized, but he deployed the same roster in a different way and got better results. That's significant.

WG - I noticed that as well. I thought it may have been a factor in deciding to fire Renney. Strudwick basically endorsed Ralph today in a post as well. I also think he is at the right stage of experience for the team. Old enough to know what he is doing, but fresh enough to the NHL to bring something new. Don't hire some re-tred coach who has been fired 3 or 4 times.

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#73 The Beaker
May 25 2012, 10:11AM
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You can tell Kruger is from the european leagues... even his collar has advertising on it!

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#74 S
May 25 2012, 10:22PM
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Sell out leaving 1260 lol

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#75 Taylor Smith
May 26 2012, 02:01PM
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I was really excited when Ralph Krueger was first hired by the Oilers. When he was coaching them, those nasty Swiss National teams were some of the hardest working in all of those tournaments and Olympics.

Would LOVE if Ralph could bring that drive and hard work to the Oil.

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