BLAME GAME

Brian Sutherby
November 14 2013 05:27PM

With each passing day, frustrated fans continue to find new or old reasons as to why this team is where it is. Everyone is searching for answers, with many targeting the “old boys club” that has become the Edmonton Oilers. I don’t know if this is new but many want to focus on the assistant coaches today and blame them for this team’s demise.

I’m not going to sit here and defend the constant re hiring of former Oilers because if it works its great and if it doesn’t then it’s a failure and normally fixed. It’s tough to let go of good people and players that have been great to an organization.

I believe like many of you, more changes on ice and potentially off the ice are likely needed, but I do find it strange the focus is now being directed at assistant coaches Kelly Buchberger and Steve Smith.

HIS PICK

It’s easy to assume Eakins truly didn’t have a choice in picking his assistant coaches but maybe Eakins did decide he wanted to keep Buchberger and Smith? Maybe the players in the room were a vote of confidence for those two and Eakins understood that? That I cannot factually answer and everyone can form their own opinion.

He did however; bring over his buddy Keith Acton from Toronto, so he has someone he is familiar with on his staff. It’s very common for coaches to bring “their” guys to each new job but it is actually not uncommon for teams to retain an assistant coach when a head coach has been relieved of his duties.

HAPPENS ALL THE TIME

I’ve seen it on two of the three teams I played on in the NHL. When Glen Hanlon was fired in Washington and Bruce Boudreau was hired, Dean Evason (my favorite assistant coach of all time) was retained and Bruce kept him for his entire tenure in Washington. Dean had a great relationship with the guys and was very respected by everyone.

In Dallas Stu Barnes survived the Dave Tippett firing and worked under Mark Crawford for his 2 years in Dallas. Not to mention they were both former players for those respective organizations. It’s not just in Edmonton.

Regardless of all that, I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding of what exactly an assistant coach brings to the table. With all due respect to the great assistant coaches around the league, assistant coaches provide value but not near enough to blame them for day to day decisions.

COMMUNICATION

I was always very tight with my assistant coaches. I have played for some fantastic ones. This was because they were tremendous guys. When times are tough and you have a question about how to handle a certain situation, you could go to them. Assistant coaches could get a message to the coach or from a coach to you about what he is thinking or why certain decisions are being made.

The reason former players are often hired to be assistants is because they have played the game, they understand the ups and downs throughout the year and how players want to be treated. Great assistant coaches in my opinion provide a pipeline to the coach, and they provide tips and good stories or techniques of how they would handle certain situations. They watch game tape and do extra work with you on things that need it. Many head coaches don’t want to deal with the day to day of player mentalities or headaches; this is the greatest asset an assistant coach provides.

FINAL SAY

Assistants have certain assignments and often run the power play or penalty kill meetings but many are mistaken if the thought is assistant coaches are calling the final shots on the systems you see. Some assistants are more active than others and handle more of a load but at the end of it all the head coach is taking their advice and providing the players with his message. It’s him who will ultimately land on the sword if things fail.

Be mad all you want at Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini who re-built this team. Be mad at the fact the players themselves haven’t produced winning results since Gregor debated a comb over, but I don’t think for a second if they had two different assistant coaches this team would be dramatically better. I think we’re reaching now.

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A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#101 YFC Prez
November 14 2013, 07:34PM
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@DSF

I don't know about that. But on a second look it definetly appears like I can't count. Oh well. Cheap shots at k Lowe shouldn't require any kind of valid Segway or reason of any kind for that matter

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#102 Wanye
November 15 2013, 12:21AM
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DSF wrote:

They already have that headache....and then some.

They just don't score as much.

LOL EASY THERE HOMIE WE HAVE A LOT MORE NETWORK TRAFFIC AND ITS SLOWIN THINGS DOWN. WE ARE WORKIN ON IT

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#103 Woogie63
November 15 2013, 07:21AM
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Sort of interesting blog

I am still not sure what the role for each coach is.

We have four AC in the bench, what is the role of each coach? Do we have a coach in the pressbox communicating with the bench.

Is there a role of technology on this team. Could ipads be used during the game to show the players there last shift, the last forecheck the other team deployed ect?

It seems standing behind the player saying "ata boy,", "come on boys we have to be committed to defense" is kinda 1950' s.

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#104 Bigee small
November 14 2013, 06:34PM
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In life everyone has a power to change unwanted product. example if you do not like your leader, you do not waste you vote on that individual. Simple! In these case, if you do not support the team by purchasing tickets or merchandises. guarantee will show the owner, who is the boss until then funs will continue to spin their tails....

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#105 RJ
November 14 2013, 07:30PM
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Player development never happens in a straight line, the story goes. If we look at the Sedins as an example. Drafted high, and slow to develop, I remember reading stories of how they were both busts until they both won the scoring title. Will any of the oiler kids do that? I dunno. But I wonder how much has What.... No chocolate, you gotta have chocolate lol...been stifled by changing coaches every year. I don't think that helps anyone.

Likewise, looking objectively, it was clear when MacT took over the team was weak down the middle, lacked elite skill on the back-end, and for all the talk about dubnyk's save percentage, he's never struck me as an elite goalie. And after all MacT's moves, we are still thin down the middle, lacking some elite top 2 dmen and lacking a top-shelf goalie. And do t complain about injuries: they happen every year to every team. That's why gms try to build depth, and the team lacks depth down the middle.

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#106 madjam
November 14 2013, 07:37PM
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When you have had losing as long as our franchise has endured it's time to take callouses off their eyes and bring in a new vision , as old one clouded over so bad they cannot see anymore how to turn things around . Same clouded vision with same cloudy results , and that looks like the only constant we have here as fans . .

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#107 Lloyd B.
November 15 2013, 10:48AM
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@Jay

You are making the assumption that Yak was not invited. What if he was and said no thanks.

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#108 Danger Pay
November 15 2013, 11:07AM
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You just gotta blame the thing up!

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#109 Bryzarro World
November 15 2013, 02:41PM
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Maybe maybe maybe... tired of it. Fact is that they were here for several coaching changes. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. Fact is that the players play like pussies with NO heart so who really cares what they think? Listen to players that play like garbage and want to krep fluffers around them? Kick their asses out already. They have proven they can't do the job and can't gey the players to do their job so......

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#110 D-Unit
November 14 2013, 06:50PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

I think that management rushed these young players into the NHL at the cost of development.

I for one would have never let any of the "young players", except maybe RNH into the NHL without learning the professional game in the AHL. The emphasis of our AHL team should be playing as much as possible and really concentrating on the defensive side of the game.

Call it the Detroit model, but if the OIlers management were selling this concept, the rabid fan base would understand this and hold their criticsm in check.

In stead we will be wandering in the desert for quite some time, while this continuous rebuild goes on.

With the position the Oilers were in, you can't really go the "Detroit" model. Detroit hasn't drafted any where near the top in 20 years, and hasn't had a 1 pick since the mid 80s. There is a reason Detroit can develop players in the AHL or Europe. If Junior players could go straight to the AHL, it would be great doing that with high picks, but since most have 2 years left to spend in Junior after their draft year, they would be 3 to 4 years out from draft to NHL. The Oilers aren't the only team to bring high picks right to the NHL.

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#111 Harlie
November 14 2013, 08:44PM
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Hmmm...interesting quote from MacTemba

Reflecting on his coaching style, Craig says, “I don’t think I’m a tough coach, but you have to be demanding to get your players to a certain level of execution.” At the same time, he sees that coaching styles have evolved in the years since he was a player. “Like any business venture, there’s more of a collaborative relationship between players and coaches. That has been a change for the good. You have to sell your tactics, and they have to be backed up by success on the ice, so that you have the credibility to continue to deliver your message.”

http://www.queensu.ca/news/alumnireview/business-hockey

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#112 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 14 2013, 09:24PM
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YFC Prez wrote:

Could have had Torts?

man during the oilers several coaching changes we could have had: Ruff, Jacques Martin, Guy Boucher, Brent Sutter, Paul Maurice, Carlyle, Michel Therrien, Bruce Boudreau, Bob Hartley, Ken Hitchcock..... the list goes on and on and on

the first and last name on that list still really hurts....stubborn oiler bosses

Paul Maurice maybe.......KLowe could control him......

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#113 Oilcruzer
November 14 2013, 09:59PM
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duplicate

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#114 Seriously
November 15 2013, 06:38AM
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@madjam

Ha HAAAAAA ha wishful thinking!!!

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#115 Oiler Al
November 15 2013, 07:45AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

There is no Gretzky, there is no Messier and there is no Coffee on this team....and there never will be. Those comparisons, and I have been guilty of making those comparisons myself, are false.

Time to not only get rid of their pictures in the room, but also the bull crap predictions that these kids will evolve into the aforementioned generational legends. Never gonna happen, acknowledge the fact and move on.

It's a new day, so to speak.

Good point AKA, tell that to King Six Rings.. he is the only guy riding the good old glory train from the 80's. Nothing wrong with recognizing the past, but man you cant keep trying to relive it,Move on! And oh, ya King.. move out..

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#116 pkam
November 15 2013, 10:27AM
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LOIL99 wrote:

I have written a script that goes through and votes "trash" on all DSF posts before it hides them from my screen. Saves me a lot of time. Free to anyone interested!!

I don't even border to trash his comments. Not worth my time.

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#117 Blucifer Copperballs
November 15 2013, 10:28AM
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TKB2677 wrote:

Does anyone know when Sam Gagner is supposed to start playing?

I checked the stats and it says Gagner 7GP, 1pt, -10. So basically since he has come into the line up, he's been completely useless. It's baffling, almost incredible to me how a player going into his 7th NHL season can come in to a line up and be -10 in 7 games. I think you actually have to try pretty hard to be a -10 in 7 games.

I know he is coming off an injury and when it's a jaw you are probably going to feel every little bump so he's probably a little tentative. Plus missing time you are going to "game speed" but holy crap!! If Gagner is going to be that bad, maybe he needs to sit out a few more weeks until everything is 100% and he no longer has any concerns. He's literally doing NOTHING to help the team and one can argue, he's probably hurting the team with his play right now.

I honestly don't think a player can play any worse based on his stats.

Early on, it seemed like he was having trouble finding the puck with that chin gaurd on. It's got to be a distraction, and you would lose the puck in you peripherary really easy, even in the faceoff dot. I thought he would adapt quicker and chip in, but maybe he'll need to get that guard removed before he really starts getting back to playing the way he has before. Remember, he looked pretty strong pre-season before the injury.

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#118 Primo
November 15 2013, 06:36PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

The two Alberta teams are so competitive...."We're the a Worst Team in the league".......NO!......"We Are!"......"Are Not!"......"We Are!".....

You seem a bit confused...let me try to clarify things for you.

I attended the Young Stars tourney in Penticton this summer. The Oilers by far had the worst young talent. It was very obvious the top skilled talent belonged to the Jets and Flames. and that didn't even include the star laden young strs the Flames have in college. It's amazing the accomplishments of fat boy Jay Feaster in 2 short years vs the accomplishment of 6 rings Kevin Lowe in 8 years. As a Flames fan I'm hoping Mr Rexall Drugs gives Kevin a raise and contact extension. That will ensure the next 10 years of excessive losses continue for the Oilers. The only part that hurts is that the Oilers continue to inherit top drafts and shattered dreams.

Go Flames Go!!

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