NELSON WANT TO STAY IN OKC

Jason Gregor
May 29 2012 08:18PM

It sounds like you can cross one name off the list of potential candidates to replace Tom Renney. I spoke with OKC Barons head coach Todd Nelson on my show this afternoon, and his response to my question about his current coaching situation made it sound like he really wants to be back in OKC next year.

Nelson's contract is up, and I asked him about the vacancy in Edmonton and if he expects to speak with Steve Tambellini about the job.

"I expect them to talk to me about the future of the Oklahoma City Barons, but if something else comes up then we'll talk about that. It's been so busy here lately for everybody in the organization. Tambi and Kevin have been jet setting everywhere to watch different games, and we just finished up our exit meetings so everybody's been very busy. I'd like to talk to them about the future of the Oklahoma City Barons and go on from there," said Nelson.

The easiest decision Steve Tambellini will make this off-season is re-signing Nelson. Nelson coached the Barons to a 45-22-9 regular season record and got them to the 3rd round of the playoffs. If Nelson wants to come back, Tambellini will gladly give him a new contract.

What if another NHL team is looking for an assistant coach. Nelson made it sound like he's looking to be a head coach, not an assistant, at this point.

"I was already an assistant in the NHL. I've been there and saw what it was like. Right now I really like my role with this team. I love being a head coach, and if I had the opportunity to be an assistant elsewhere I might entertain it, but it would have to be a pretty decent offer. I'd like to stay here (OKC) as a head coach and eventually try to make it in the NHL as a head coach."

Nelson was pretty blunt in saying where he wants to be. He's happy in OKC. I suspect that in a few more years, with a more few solid seasons under his belt, he'll be a candidate for some NHL coaching gigs. But for now he made it clear that he wants to be in OKC, and that has to be great news for Tambellini.

Next season Nelson will be able to lean more on guys like Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander and he'll have either Olivier Roy or Tyler Bunz to develop in goal. He won this season by relying on AHL veterans like Josh Green, Ryan Keller, Yann Danis and Bryan Helmer, but next year he'll be able to use Pitlick and others more often.

The other interesting side note is that Nelson might get to work with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. If there is another lockout those two would be playing in OKC. It might only be for a few months, but that would be a great opportunity for Nelson and the kids to get familiar with each other.

Continuity is a key component for successful organizations, and the Oilers would be wise to re-sign Nelson and have him behind the OKC bench for the next few seasons.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Chris.
May 29 2012, 08:22PM
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I like Todd Nelson. (You can't argue with results)

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#2 15w40
May 29 2012, 08:32PM
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The other interesting side note is that Nelson might get to work with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. If there is another lockout those two would be playing in OKC. It might only be for a few months, but that would be a great opportunity for Nelson and the kids to get familiar with each other.

What about RNH?????? Does he go back to junior - or to europe or what?

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#3 Maverick39
May 29 2012, 08:40PM
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Looks like Gregor just gave Tambo the draft for his "we're not bringing you back" speech

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#4 jonny94
May 29 2012, 08:56PM
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Jason: I keep hearing about this possible lockout; what are the issues exactly and what are the odds of this lockout being a reality?

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#5 Robin Brownlee
May 29 2012, 09:04PM
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Good to see Nelson has a grasp (or has been told) that he's not in the running for the head coachng job here.

As good a year as the OKC Barons had, he needs more seasoning as a head coach, even if it's just 2-3 years, before having the best chance to make the jump.

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#6 book¡e
May 29 2012, 09:06PM
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From what you wrote here, it sounds like you can cross him off as a possible assistant coach for the Oilers, but he seemed to suggest he was on the market for an NHL head coaching job. Sure he emphasizes OKC, but it is kind of standard to downplay one's hopes in this kind of situation.

NHL coaching jobs are rare, you don't not take them if they are offered.

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#7 MJM
May 29 2012, 09:15PM
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15w40 wrote:

The other interesting side note is that Nelson might get to work with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. If there is another lockout those two would be playing in OKC. It might only be for a few months, but that would be a great opportunity for Nelson and the kids to get familiar with each other.

What about RNH?????? Does he go back to junior - or to europe or what?

Technically RNH would have to go back to Red Deer if he wasn't in the NHL next year, although there is wiggle room for some sort of exceptional player (I already played in the NHL!!) clause, ala Patrice Bergeron in 2004/05.

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#8 15w40
May 29 2012, 09:24PM
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Could RNH refuse to report to Junior and go play in Switzerland or something like that?? It would be crazy to go back to the Rebels now

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#9 Wax Man Riley
May 29 2012, 09:24PM
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book¡e wrote:

From what you wrote here, it sounds like you can cross him off as a possible assistant coach for the Oilers, but he seemed to suggest he was on the market for an NHL head coaching job. Sure he emphasizes OKC, but it is kind of standard to downplay one's hopes in this kind of situation.

NHL coaching jobs are rare, you don't not take them if they are offered.

Well, unless you are Dale Hunter, anyway.

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#10 book¡e
May 29 2012, 09:39PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Well, unless you are Dale Hunter, anyway.

Ok, well if you want to be an NHL coach and the opportunity arises, then you don't turn that down.

Only 344 guys have been head coaches in the NHL since it was formed, its a pretty small group really.

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#11 gongshow
May 29 2012, 09:47PM
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Gregor - While that's a mighty nice logo and score clock, could you ask Lowetide if he'll loan you the picture of the blond beauty in the Oklahoma top next time?

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#12 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 29 2012, 11:43PM
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Memo to Todd Nelson

When you lose the last game of the year.....nobody gives a ship.

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#13 Reg Dunlop
May 30 2012, 12:33AM
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Questions of the day: If the NHL faces a work stoppage in the fall is there any chance the Oil Barons play some or all home games at Rexall? Would anyone in Oklahoma miss them? Would Edmonton sports fans be spoiled watching a team win, and then have to go back to watching the oil? Are the voices in my head real? Is DSF actually the guy from Monty Python selling contradictions disguised as arguments?

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#14 Rocknrolla
May 30 2012, 01:02AM
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Great comments. This guy just keeps saying, and doing the right things. Lock him up for 3 years Tambi!

Only one thing I would have to say negative of the guy is when you hear him interviewed, he says the word "like" about 100 times. It makes him sound unintelligent, which he obviously is not. Hopefully someone will give him that little hint and he can start to take it out of the vocabulary.

Great to have a guy like this in our organization! Its so refreshing to have a successful farm franchise and some great things to be proud of down there. Makes you wonder how many of those draft picks from 02-09 that we squandered with just not the right development....

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#17 Dman09
May 30 2012, 09:18AM
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Nail rocking a Hawaiian shirt while everyone else is in suits. I'm sold, pick him and don't look back.

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#18 DLS
May 30 2012, 10:22AM
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Well isn't the escape clause the fact that Nuge turned 19 in April. Aren't the qualifications to play in the AHL to be 19 years of age or to have completed four years of junior hockey. Either one of those.

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