LAST DAYS OF MAY . . .

Robin Brownlee
May 29 2013 09:13PM

There's been a positive vibe around the hiring of Craig MacTavish as new GM of the Edmonton Oilers and that continued today when former Oiler assistant coach Rob Daum offered his two cents.

Daum, the former Alberta Golden Bear head coach who was an assistant coach under MacTavish, is now coaching in Austria and will be an assistant with that country's entry in the Sochi Olympics. He offered the following on MacTavish on Bob Stauffer's Oilers Now show.

"I'm a big fan of Craig MacTavish," Daum said. "I think he's a real sharp hockey guy. Not just a sharp hockey guy, but a sharp person as well. I think he's going to do well.

"The reason I say that is I think he has a confidence and he's willing to make moves. All he's going to worry about is, does it make his team better? Sometimes when you get into situations, you always worry – gee, if I make this move, if this player goes over there and plays really well, I'm going to look like an idiot.

"I don't think Craig cares about that. I think he's going to make moves based on what he thinks is going to make his team better. He's not going to be concerned about whether somebody goes someplace else and plays really well. You always take that chance in a trade that someone is going to go someplace and do well.

"I don't think that'll bother Craig. If he feels what he gets back in return is going to make his team better here in Edmonton, he'll be prepared to do that."

MEDIA MUSINGS

Oilers fans won't be able to read Jim Matheson's insights from the Entry Draft this season because he's on long-term IR with a badly broken right elbow after taking a tumble on his bicycle back on May 19.

Matheson, inducted into the writer's wing of the HHOF as an Elmer Ferguson Award winner, will be laid up for at least three months after having surgery to insert plates and screws into the elbow – he took a bad fall when he hit a rabbit, of all things. That'll not only throw a wrench into his golf game this summer, but it'll put a big dent in The Journal's hockey coverage.

Get well soon, pal.

. . . Matheson's absence will open a window of opportunity for Evan Daum (yes, he's Rob Daum's son), who has been covering the Oil Kings for the broadsheet and will now take on some coverage of the Oilers this off-season.

If Daum plays his cards the right way and does a bang-up job in Matheson's absence, he could position himself to take over the Oiler beat when Matty eventually calls it a career. Matheson's in his 60s and Joanne Ireland is in her mid-50s, so there's an opportunity there.

Daum's a talented young writer

RADIO GA-GA

. . . Still with Daum, what's this I hear about him getting his own radio slot on TEAM 1260 to focus on college sports?

. . . Speaking of water cooler talk, I'm wondering if Dan Tencer might move away from his spot as host of 630 CHED's Oiler broadcasts on game nights and his night-time sports talk show to the 9 a.m. to noon slot now occupied by Dave Rutherford.

Tencer's been filling in with Rutherford on vacation and, if he retires, would likely get consideration for the gig. I'm hearing Corus Alberta might split the Rutherford Show into two different regional shows – Edmonton and Calgary.

. . . If Tencer moves over, I'd have to think somebody like Reid Wilkins, who has paid his dues on Stauffer's Oilers Now show, would be a candidate for the host's gig on Oiler game nights.

THE NATION IS EVERYWHERE

Being tucked away in my auto glass shop in west Edmonton since last October is worlds away from hanging out at Rexall Place for morning skates and on game nights -- a gig I had from 1989 until last October -- even though I keep my hand in the media biz on Jason Gregor's Show.

Some of you might have even noticed (and applauded) that I'm writing here less while I get the shop up and running. That's my focus right now. Still, I get a kick out of it when customers come by to shoot the hockey breeze or talk cars while they get some work done.

Oiler fan Brad Lea provided a first today, and I didn’t even know it until he turned his back and walked out the door after paying his bill. Thought I'd take a picture and pass it along.

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 oilfaninvic
May 30 2013, 11:17AM
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Brownlee I will gladly put up with your shameless plugs of your new Biz provided you keep contributing columns more often.

DB

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#52 Serious Gord
May 30 2013, 11:33AM
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Supernova wrote:

You could say the same thing about any degree Gord.

I know many, many successful and very smart people that have no degrees. Heck its alberta we have multi-millionaires that have no high school grad.

The MBA is a very interesting designation and can be used for a variety of things. One of the major benefits is the network you establish. (which is of no consequence in MacT's case)

Mike Gillis is very qualified but it doesn't mean that he will have more success than any other GM.

Many of the most successful GM's are people with absolutely zero school.

First: Reread what I said: correspondence MBAs are the worst of the group. Absolutely other degrees and designations don't necessarily mean the holder is capable. But correspondence MBAs are the least well-regarded.

I work on almost a daily basis with executive-level people both in business and in my political activities from tiny companies run by brilliant individuals to some of the very largest in AB, Canada and the world for that matter.

I have advised and been involved in hiring such executives and recruiting them and helped those looking to get those positions, including helping some aquire their MBA because in some hidebound companies an MBA was a prerequisite (this was very much In Vogue 10-20 years ago but many companies have gotten away from the practice due to the tendency to hire dullards who have better than average course writing abilities) .

And i can say from numerous experiences that the correspondence MBA is eyed very warily. Queens et al schools make huge money selling their branded correspondence MBAs. Their standards are sometimes much more lax than programs where the student actually attend the school (where costs of provision are much much higher).

These kinds of programs are tailored to Older potential students who need the designation/tattoo to advance in the executive ranks but who are too busy with the rest of their lives to you know actually go to school. Sound familiar?

Most people I know who hire executives put a lot more trust in programs that require actual school attendance and that are completed at a young age. A CA designation or even a simple Four year BComm or BBA degree is held in higher regard than a correspondence MBA.

To the typical layperson the designation "queens MBA" often generates Ooh and ahhs, but to those who deal executives and pro motion on a regular basis the response is more often a "ya, so what?"

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#53 DSF
May 30 2013, 11:44AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:
Gillis played in the AHL and NHL. He coached the the Queen's University hockey team, earned a law degree and was a player agent for close to 10 years with several high profile clients.

So let me get this straight, Gillis played in NHL and AHL and coached at Queens, has a degree and was a player agent.

MacTavish played in NHL, coached in NHL and AHL, has a degree, but because he wasn't a player agent he is way over his head.

Gillis had no NHL management experience when he was hired, yet he was magically more experienced?

Okay.

And Gillis inherited Luongo, Sedins, Bieksa, Edler, Kesler and Burrows. Six of his seven top scorers his first year were there before he arrived. The Canucks had three 100-point seasons in the previous 5 years before he took over. He's done a good job, but don't fool yourself into believing he built that team. The core was there when he arrived. There is no guarantee MacTavish will be great, or good, but suggesting Gillis was more experienced in April of 2008 when he was hired is incorrect.

Really?

How many contracts has MacT negotiated?

I would imagine the answer is zero.

You seem to think Gillis' time as a player agent has no value but I'd suggest it does since one of his best attributes has been getting players to sign below market value to play for his team.

Any GM taking over a team will likely have a "core" in place just like MacT does with Hall, Eberle, Hopkins, Gagner, Schultz and Yakupov.

So, MacT also is inheriting the team's top 6 scorers (7 if you include Hemsky).

But it's what happens next that counts.

The Canucks missed the playoffs the season before Gillis took over just like the Oilers did this past season but they haven't since.

Players that Gillis has added to that "core" include Hamhuis, Garrison, Tanev, Higgins, Booth, Ballard, Malhotra, Ehrhoff, Lapierre, Weise etc.

While it appears there are a couple of questionable acquisitions in there, there are certainly some great ones.

I would think if MacT is able to add two top pairing defensemen, some solid veteran wingers and a viable bottom 6 forward group over the next couple of seasons and, at the same time, sign his existing players to team friendly contracts, you would have to think he's been equally successful too as long as the Oilers make the playoffs every season he is GM.

We'll see.

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#54 Big Papi
May 30 2013, 11:47AM
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What everyone is missing here is the first confirmed Bradford Lea sighting since a Monday meeting at the DEKE House in 1988!

Looking good Mr Lea. ITB Delta Phi 765.

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#55 Supernova
May 30 2013, 12:04PM
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@Serious Gord

We may be splitting hairs here.

you stated

"The MBA may be the least reliable education metric for determining actual business acumen extant."

I stated

"The MBA is a very interesting designation and can be used for a variety of things. One of the major benefits is the network you establish. (which is of no consequence in MacT's case)"

I agree completely with this statement;

"To the typical layperson the designation "queens MBA" often generates Ooh and ahhs, but to those who deal executives and pro motion on a regular basis the response is more often a "ya, so what?"

My whole point was that the correspondence MBA does not make MacT any worse of a hire. I agree completely that it also doesn't enhance his qualifications, but to say he isn't qualified to be a GM or to knock the man for having a correspondence MBA is ridiculous. As you know working in the business world then, alot of the hires by major companies are very much like the MacT hire. In that they either hire the individual who on paper has the qualifications (even if they are meaningless) or the hire the people that they know. I too converse daily with very successful executives and brilliant people. They quite often state to me that "the best man to captain most ships, is the one who knows and understands all aspects of the ship" this quite often means that these executive and brilliant people would or do prefer to hire a very well rounded and established "sales" person as this person is most likely to comprehend all aspects of the business. These sales people also generally have the least in designations.

MacT is very qualified when you look at all the roles that he has held in hockey. He has a established network that clearly think very highly of him, and people that value his opinion all over the hockey world. His biggest detractors say he has no management or negotiating experience in regards to contracts. This is why teams hire "cap and contract experts" which is akin to a CEO hiring a CFO. Smart managers hire smart people around them so that they don't have to be the smartest man in the room. They are the leaders and the final decision makers.

Whether MacT was hired for the right reasons (tenure with Lowe) or has the right Designations (correspondence MBA), he is not lacking in qualifications for the position. His success will be determined at how he manages his team of experts and then executes. He has a capable team behind him in Rick Olczyk, Scott Howson, Stu Macgregor and many other consultants and staff.

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#56 Word
May 30 2013, 12:49PM
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DSF wrote:

Really?

How many contracts has MacT negotiated?

I would imagine the answer is zero.

You seem to think Gillis' time as a player agent has no value but I'd suggest it does since one of his best attributes has been getting players to sign below market value to play for his team.

Any GM taking over a team will likely have a "core" in place just like MacT does with Hall, Eberle, Hopkins, Gagner, Schultz and Yakupov.

So, MacT also is inheriting the team's top 6 scorers (7 if you include Hemsky).

But it's what happens next that counts.

The Canucks missed the playoffs the season before Gillis took over just like the Oilers did this past season but they haven't since.

Players that Gillis has added to that "core" include Hamhuis, Garrison, Tanev, Higgins, Booth, Ballard, Malhotra, Ehrhoff, Lapierre, Weise etc.

While it appears there are a couple of questionable acquisitions in there, there are certainly some great ones.

I would think if MacT is able to add two top pairing defensemen, some solid veteran wingers and a viable bottom 6 forward group over the next couple of seasons and, at the same time, sign his existing players to team friendly contracts, you would have to think he's been equally successful too as long as the Oilers make the playoffs every season he is GM.

We'll see.

"So, MacT is inheriting the team's top 6 scorers (7 if you include Hemsky)."

I think he's technically inheriting all of the team's top scorers. I think Gillis did too. Expansion team GM's though, now there's a real pioneer!

(And please don't point out that Whitney was 8th on the team and isn't going to come back - because that's not the same thing.)

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#57 DSF
May 30 2013, 12:56PM
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@Word

As I mentioned above:

"I would think if MacT is able to add two top pairing defensemen, some solid veteran wingers and a viable bottom 6 forward group over the next couple of seasons and, at the same time, sign his existing players to team friendly contracts, you would have to think he's been equally successful too as long as the Oilers make the playoffs every season he is GM."

We'll see.

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#58 DSF
May 30 2013, 01:56PM
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@Jason Gregor

Hamhuis and Garrison both took discounts to play in Vancouver...suggesting they were "overpays' is not accurate.

Gillis signed the Sedins to 6 year contracts below market value. They wanted 12 year deals and Gillis flew to Sweden to persuade them to take less than they wanted.

Gillis signed Burrows to WAY less than market value.

He found and signed Tanev, an undrafted free agent.

Suggesting players like Malhotra (before injury) was a bit player is also not accurate.

Gillis can be faulted for the Ballard trade and, perhaps Booth but both of those may be coaching issues and that remains to be seen.

To my eye, MacT is very much in the same situation as Gillis was since he has a very strong core of young players, although it lacks balance, and what he does in the near future will be critical to the future of the franchise.

With so many top 10 picks and the possibility of free agent acquisitions this summer because of the cap drop, he has a great opportunity to take the team to the next level very quickly.

If he can't.....

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#59 Serious Gord
May 30 2013, 02:09PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Thant's funny, because my response to your comments here is "so what?"

My comment(s) are Germaine to the topic at hand.

You comment(s) are...

Frivolous snark?

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#60 treevojo
May 30 2013, 05:58PM
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DSF wrote:

I think MacT is a very smart guy...much smarter than his predecessor but you have to ask, given his utter lack of experience in hockey operations, is there another team in the league that would have hired him to be GM?

I expect the answer is no.

Islanders hired Garth snow.... Just saying!!

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#61 Clyde Frog
May 31 2013, 07:52AM
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Gillis signed Luongo to forever, can't trade him and went into last season with 9.33 million worth of cap-space tied up in a position where he can't actually field both players at the same time...

Then proceeded to wash out in the first round...

Yup nothing but amazing moves.

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#62 crobar
June 02 2013, 11:42PM
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get anyone on there but tencer!! he is the biggest jock sniffer on edmonton radio and nothing but a perpetrator of propaganda. journalism is supposed to be objective to a certain extent!!

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