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.

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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 TigerUnderGlass
May 30 2013, 12:22PM
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Serious Gord wrote:

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?"

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

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#52 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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#53 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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#54 Jason Gregor
May 30 2013, 01:09PM
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@DSF

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 knew you'd go with the "they missed the year before, which is why I said they had three 100-point seasons in previous five years. They were a good team that had a bad season in 2008.

Ehrhoff was a solid trade, but Hamhuis and Garrison were big tickets and both the usual UFA overpays.

Rest were either bit players or guys who didn't perform.

And don't compare the Oilers core to the Canucks. The Oilers core hasn't made the playoffs in 7 years.

We both know you don't believe MacT can add only three players (basically two since Garrison and Ehrhoff were never teammates)and this team will be a division champion.

MacTavish has much more work to do than Gillis did, and don't cherry pick and suggest because 2008 Canucks missed playoffs that Gillis and MacTavish are starting at the same point.

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#55 The Beaker
May 30 2013, 01:49PM
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@Jason Gregor

Why even bother?

(and by that I mean responding to DSF)

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#56 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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#57 Eddie Shore
May 30 2013, 02:07PM
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@DSF

Garrison makes $5.5 and had 16 points. Cool discount.

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#58 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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#59 OilClog
May 30 2013, 03:25PM
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@DSF

Garrison is in no way a discount contract, fact

Sedins signing for 6 years when they wanted 12 isn't a discount. Only 3 or 4 gm's in hockey go over 6 years.. and every star player in the game wants 10yrs plus when they come up for contract.. so again.. because they wanted 12 years and only got 6 isn't a discount or a super duper win.

Gillis has had a few good signings.. but can you call what he's done since game 7 against Boston successful? No, it hasn't been. He's iced the same regular season, beating up on a weak division team, that chokes in the playoffs year after year. Good way to use those 6 years on the Sedins eh.

How about that beautiful Goaltending situation, a good to fairly great GM would of had Cory signed and shipped out of town for some team depth in the playoffs. Allowing world class Roberto to keep on playing and shelter another up and coming goalie behind him. Thus maximizing Cory's value for the franchise and giving his team the best possible chance to win it all.. but he pulled a Dithers and now he has no coach, two goalies, and a grade A dung show.

SUCCESS!

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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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