Comparing Coaches

Jonathan Willis
January 22 2014 10:32AM

Coaching has been an oft-discussed potential reason for the Edmonton Oilers’ collapse this season. While nobody claims that it is coaching and coaching alone that has the Oilers where they are, some wonder whether general manager Craig MacTavish didn’t make a mistake when he chose Dallas Eakins to replace Ralph Krueger.

How does Eakins’ team compare with that of Krueger, and of Tom Renney at five-on-five?

The Comparison

What is needed for a fair comparison between coaches? A level playing field. Because Ralph Krueger’s Oilers only played against Western Conference teams, we will only consider Oilers games played against Western opponents in 2011-12 and this season.

That introduces another problem. Eakins’ Oilers have played 19 games on the road against Western teams, but only 11 at home. To compensate for that, we will be weighting his home and road games equally so out analysis isn’t impacted by an unbalanced schedule.

What should we compare? We’ll run the gamut of five-on-five statistics: shots, Fenwick (shots + missed shots), Corsi (all shot attempts) and good old goals. All numbers will be expressed as a percentage of total events – in other words, 50 percent represents the break-even mark and a higher number is better. We will also include shooting percentage and save percentage.

Tom Renney

Ralph Krueger

Dallas Eakins

Head-To-Head-To-Head

Tom Renney comes out looking awfully good here. Steve Tambellini never offered an actual explanation of what he thought Renney was doing wrong behind the bench when he fired the veteran coach, but it is abundantly clear in hindsight that canning Renney was the wrong move. The Oilers did a better job at getting shot attempts, and getting shot attempts through without them being blocked, of getting shots on net, and of scoring goals under Renney than they would under either of his successors. If one believes (as I do) that Renney had the weakest roster of the three coaches, it’s impossible to look at this without thinking he did an awfully good job.

Ralph Krueger vs. Dallas Eakins is where it gets interesting. Eakins’ team did a better job of generating shot attempts, but Krueger’s did better work getting them through to the opposition net. Krueger’s teams also did a better job of winning the goals battle, in large part because the team shooting and save percentages were better.

Eakins’ home/road splits are compelling. At home, Eakins’ team is pretty competitive with Renney’s in the shot metrics, but on the road the numbers fall apart to a degree not seen under previous coaches. I don’t have an explanation for that; it’s something I’m going to watch for in future games but the difference suggests that whatever Eakins is doing on the road isn’t working at all.

The other item to note here is the save percentage splits – that the goalies’ terrible play isolated to home games suggests to me that the bad goaltending this year isn’t necessarily driven by team defence. By that, I mean that while the Oilers allow way more shots than the league average, there seems to be little reason to believe that they’re consistently allowing higher quality chances than other teams. Certainly they weren’t under Renney or Krueger; it’s possible that Eakins is doing something bizarre but I don’t think it’s likely.

Would Edmonton be better off with Tom Renney behind the bench? I think so, yes, potentially much better off (particularly given the benefits of continuity). Would they be better off with Krueger than Eakins? I don’t know, but I believe there’s a strong learning curve for any rookie NHL head coach, and Krueger already had a year under his belt. That has to be balanced against MacTavish getting a guy suited to his style of managing, so I’m not sure there’s a definite answer here.

Both Eakins and Krueger strike me as intelligent, motivated coaches; I think Krueger would have figured things out eventually and I believe Eakins still will, but the big mistake here was making Renney a scapegoat for problems that weren’t of his creation.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 philip
January 22 2014, 11:59AM
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This is the dumbest article i have ever read.

your conclusion to all the work you did was "i dont know."

You damn pointdexters will be the fall of hockey.

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#2 Wonger
January 23 2014, 08:52AM
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Ten years ahead Dallas Eakins will be regarded as an elite,very successful NHL coach like his mentor Roger Nielson. I hope and pray it is here with the Oilers. MacT and Eakins will fix this mess! They are both WINNERS with CHARACTER second to none. You can't teach that. You are born with it! I am as frustrated as any Oiler fan, but I believe in these men and see many positive changes coming at this years trade deadline and over the summer! I think some of the moves, or the number of moves, will shock us and amaze us! Go Oilers! I am staying the course! I believe in the Oiler's future because I believe in MACT and EAKINS!!!

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#3 TayLordBalls
January 22 2014, 03:17PM
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This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

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#4 I AM KEVIN L.
January 23 2014, 04:39AM
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So what? Comparing coaches now? Really? What does it accomplish? Oh my! Eakins is not the better coach of the last 5 head coaches? Wanna bring back someone? Rubbish!!! You have the team you all deserve!!! Suck it up oilers fans! Maybe we will get better by 2017-18.......

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#5 godot10
January 22 2014, 10:47AM
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Renney was fired because he finished 30th and 29th in a 30 team league over two full seasons.

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#6 admiralmark
January 22 2014, 07:01PM
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So what you are is Renney and Krueger likely would of done as well or better then the Coaches they were fired for.

I'd like every single poster on here that screams "yearly" for the coach to be fired to possibly give your head a shake.

ITS NOT THE COACH! its the lack of NHL talent on the Oilers roster. Especially on D.

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#7 fasteddy
January 22 2014, 12:11PM
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If in fact its accurate that the kids dont like him, Eakins needs to go. I don't care if hes the 58th coach in the last five years. I would rather see them grow into a style they enjoy playing. ....which seemed to be the case under Krueger. Having your best players not excited to come to the rink is a recipe for disaster. You think Guy Lafleur or Mike Bossy were required to play like checkers? You work with what you've got......not everyone needs to be defense first, let the horses go!

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#8 northof51
January 22 2014, 10:55AM
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I question the way the Oilers play under Eakins, and numbers show that he isn't carrying the mail. However, there are 2 reasons I am not hopping on the "Fire Eakins" bandwagon, and that's because:

1) I am tied to the Lowe Must Go bandwagon; and

2) Eakins track record with the Marlies suggests that he vastly improved his team over time. Maybe it's gonna take a while for the players to figure him out, and to get the right players in place. But maybe, just maybe, Eakins is the guy to float this ship back up from the depths of the NHL standings.

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#9 Gordie Wayne
January 22 2014, 03:37PM
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I really do hate the so-called "Old Boys Club" excuse people use when talking about firing Lowe (there are better reasons to fire him). There are Old Boys Clubs everywhere in sports and business. If done properly, it works tremendously well. The problem with the Oilers old boys club is that the wrong old boys are in positions of power. It is all about COMPETENCY.

If I own a multi-million dollar business, I would certainly bring on my friends but I would only bring the ones that could effectively do the job, not the ones that were just there to stroke my ego.

If done properly, the Oilers org would look something like this:

Wayne Gretzky - POHO

Craig MacTavish - General Manager

Jari Kurri - Assistant GM

Shawn Horcoff - Head Coach

Mark Messier - Associate Coach

Doug Weight - Assistant Coach

Charlie Huddy - Assistant Coach

Bill Ranford - Goalie Coach

Georges Laraque - Fighting Coach

Kevin Lowe - Stick Boy / Katz' ego stroker

Ok...Shawn Horcoff may be a stretch, but c'mon, I don't think we have a coach in the Oilers history, unless we can take 20 years off of Slat's age...lol. Or maybe we can pretend Katz used to hang out with Scotty Bowman...

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#10 junior
January 22 2014, 07:51PM
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Max wrote:

Firing Eakins will send the message that it's not the team's fault. He should stay and give continuity. In some ways it's not ENTIRELY their fault. The fault lies with the goalie coach, the special teams' coach and the defense coach. Read as KB, SS and FC. THEY have been around for the losing seasons, they are the ones who can't seem to develop the younger players (read as Gagner x 7 years) and others. I think Eakins is on the right track, but the assistants are NOT his choice, and need to be replaced, along with the amateur AND pro scouting teams. Truth be known - it broke my heart when Tom was fired - he did nothing wrong - I think it was Bumbellini's call, if HE had been fired first, probably Tom would still be with us, and we'd be a damned sight higher in the standings this year.

Broke your heart? Two coaches ago? Are you okay now? Should we hold a vigil for ya? Maybe a fun-run with profits going to your re-hab sessions?

Nut up buttercup, next you'll be regaling us with your thoughts on love story vampire movies...tissue?

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#11 Wonger Again
January 23 2014, 10:31AM
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Wonger wrote:

By next year at this time you will know I was right on the money!!!! P.S. I don't drink koolaid - I prefer Heineken or expensive scotch like Bushmills!

If you talk to high level NHL insiders, like I do on a regular basis, you would know that no GM outworks MACT - he is relentless, on a daily basis ,trying to pursue trades to make this team better. He regularly puts in 16-18 hour days! Eakins is also a tireless worker - trying to better himself, and a a result, benefit the Oilers! THESE MEN WILL NOT GIVE UP TRYING TO MAKE THIS TEAM BETTER!!!! I have all of the RESPECT in the world for both of them - like many ppeople in the hockey world do and more Oiler Nation Bloggers should! THEY WILL NOT QUIT and THEY WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!!!!

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#12 Wonger
January 23 2014, 10:56AM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

Well Wonger, Patience has run thin to nil with good reason. The tone of these threads and posts are greatly warranted. I just feel that your post was something that a Carebear would say, and that it was way too late and the wrong place. What kind of response did you hope to illicit? Go to Leafs Nation, they probably have a good glee club.

Ask Ken Hitchcock what he thinks of MACT and EAKINS! He feels exactly like I do! ....and there are dozens more in the hockey world who agree 100% with me as well. YOU CAN GO TO LEAFS NATION and take all of your NEGATIVITY with you!!!!

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#13 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:18PM
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A direct statistical comparison isn't valid because you can't adjust for the most important thing...the players on the ice. Which includes both the Oilers roster and their opposition.

Renney had and relied much more heavily on veteran players like Horcoff and Whitney. The kids played less.

Krueger had a healthy Gagner for his entire 48 games and Dubnyk wasn't letting in beach balls.

With Eakins, half the roster had zero NHL experience to start the season and no 2nd line C. When they went into Pit in Oct Eakins had to play Arcobello for 21 min against the two best C in the world.

"Western Conference teams" haven't been static. Renney coached against an Anaheim team that finished at the bottom of their division.

If the Oilers roster and that of their opposition had remained consistent the comparisons would be valid. They haven't. Half the roster is different and that's just on the Oilers.

Apples to apples this is not.

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#14 pkam
January 22 2014, 07:08PM
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I never want to fire Renney nor Kureger. But we can't change what has happened.

If we fire Eakins at the end of this season, my bet is we will be comparing 4 coaches this time next year, and wonder why we fire Eakins for another new coach.

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#15 ubermiguel
January 22 2014, 11:15AM
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Hind-sight tells us Renney was a good coach, but we can't go back in time and fix that firing. At this point I feel continuity in coaching is the more important than the relative quality of the coach. Keep Eakins. Keep MacT. Fire Lowe.

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#16 pkam
January 22 2014, 06:51PM
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Mack Strong wrote:

My implication is that Detroit had a philosophy and model. They follow this philosophy and model in everything they do. Including bringing in Renney who we let go…Renny and Ralph were good for the young guys. He was patient with them. How is Eakins punitive mentality working with Yak?? He's 20 and thinks his $hit don't stink…maybe not the best mentality but Ralph brought a better side out of Yak.

You are 100 % correct that Detroit made a decision to scout European and and European style players because they broke away from the chip and chase philosophy and utilized the puck possession philosophy in the mid 90's.

MANAGEMENT implemented a philosophy and followed up by getting the personnel to follow it. They traded I believe 8 1st round picks:

Primeau plus 1st for Paul Coffey

Eriksson plus 2 more 1st picks for Chelios

Kozlov (1st rd) for Hasek

1st and Fleischman for Lang

1st and roster player for Schneider.

Those are BOLD MOVES!

Point is they had a philosophy implemented by MANAGEMENT, made moves for players that would fit the philosophy, moves made by MANAGEMENT, and brought in Babcock a possession minded coach. They also have a philosophy that players that enter that organization from draft will "Do time in the AHL to learn the game" and patience and mentoring is exercised with them.

What philosophy do you see here in Edmonton? Are they picking players that fit a philosophy? Are they making trades that fit a philosophy? Many of us in the Nation would argue that there seem to be a lack of direction or T. fortitude to make the type of moves Detroit did in the mid 90's. This organization rushes players then slows others, says they'll trade players then keeps them, etc…

Lack of direction from the top bring what we have…Leadership, mentorship, and direction is what brings what they have. Renney is right there with them and so is Ralph just with Team Canada - which by the way is essentially the brain trust of the Red Wings.

Love the OIL Love the Nation

How do you know the Wings drafted player according to their philosophy and Oilers don't?

If the Wings had any philosophy that is reflected by their drafting, then it is icing European players. If you look at late 90s, 80% of the draft were European.

Do the Oilers have a philosophy? From the drafting, I can see they want to get more skill with the first round pick, and bigger with the remaining picks. You don't see it doesn't mean they don't have a philosophy.

Is the Wings draft much better than us? Yes, I give them credit for picking Datsyuk 6th rounder and Zetterberg 7th rounder. It looks very good. But what happen to the other picks in those 2 years, especially the early rounder? In 1998, they had 10 picks and only Fischer and Datsyuk becomes NHLer. In 1999, the Wings had 6 picks, only Zetterberg.

Only the Wings are developing their young prospect in AHL? Do you know we have a farm team OKC and our young players are developing there? You know we sent Nurse back to junior and Klefbom, Marincin etc to OKC before bring them up to Edmonton? You can argue we shouldn't bring Gagner up so fast, but it was 7 years ago.

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#17 Zarny
January 22 2014, 08:32PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

Sheep - You're following the crowd.

The Oiler's management need to be trend setters.

Perhaps the coach can consider shaping the players with:

1) More practice on increasing their passing skills at faster speed.

2) Learning how to get in the open.

3) Learning how to hit the net in pressure situations.

4) Mobilize the defense as rear forwards.

5) Own the puck = don't give it away.

6)Keep the puck off the boards in the offense zone.

7) Keep it on the boards in the defense zone.

baaaaaa

So basically you've just never played hockey before.

FYI...the crowd is the 26 teams that haven't won the Cup in the last half decade.

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#19 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 11:07AM
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Sorry, I don't buy all these fancy statistics.

For me it's wins versus losses...plain and simple!!

By the way, I notice in the picture at the top of the article, all three coaches have the same stunned look on their faces. Coincidence??

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#20 XL Lebowski
January 22 2014, 08:41PM
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Not really Eakin's fault that Dubnyk and Labarbera crapped the bed early in the year and put us out of the playoffs by Mid October. I heard Trotz threw DD under the bus after just one game in Nashville. This game is all about confidence and our goaltending let us down far too often with soft goals that were devastating to our team's fragile psyche. I think Eakin's gets a mulligan. If we don't improve next year, then we can justifiably let him go.

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#21 OilClog
January 22 2014, 11:05AM
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Renney was fired because the Kids fired him.

Kruger was hired cause the kids loved him.

Eakins is failing cause the kids can't stand him.

It's pretty simple.

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#22 Keri Kettle
January 22 2014, 11:39AM
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Rookie NHL coaches have a very steep learning curve, which is why it is not fair to contrast Krueger vs. Eakins at this point. Krueger was on the Oilers' bench as Associate Coach under Renney for two full seasons before he took the reigns, which gives him both (1) greater NHL experience and (2) greater knowledge of the Oilers' roster.

Although I definitely agree with your assertion that firing Renney was not the right move, and I think that firing Krueger was an even worse more (if for no other reason than a need for continuity), I think that Eakins needs more time before we can assert that he is a worse/better coach than either of those two gentlemen.

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#23 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 12:35PM
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And I we speak of the coaches….

Nashville picks up Michael Del Zotto for Kevin Klien…Calvin's cousin!

WTF!!!!???

So Mac T we don't have anyone in the Oilers roster or in the system that is a better fit for NYC that Kevin Klein for Del Zotto???

Oh thats right…were not making moves that would be mortgaging our future or set our team back "cuz those days are gone" …

INEPT MANAGEMENT!!! Borderline RETARDED.

I know the comments are moderated but my mom reading over my shoulder told me to say that!

Love the OIL love the NATION…..Dont Love the Management!

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#24 Max
January 22 2014, 07:38PM
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Firing Eakins will send the message that it's not the team's fault. He should stay and give continuity. In some ways it's not ENTIRELY their fault. The fault lies with the goalie coach, the special teams' coach and the defense coach. Read as KB, SS and FC. THEY have been around for the losing seasons, they are the ones who can't seem to develop the younger players (read as Gagner x 7 years) and others. I think Eakins is on the right track, but the assistants are NOT his choice, and need to be replaced, along with the amateur AND pro scouting teams. Truth be known - it broke my heart when Tom was fired - he did nothing wrong - I think it was Bumbellini's call, if HE had been fired first, probably Tom would still be with us, and we'd be a damned sight higher in the standings this year.

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#25 Wonger
January 23 2014, 10:21AM
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Bloodsweatandoil wrote:

Are you kidding me? You are drowning in your koolaid that you just puked up....

By next year at this time you will know I was right on the money!!!! P.S. I don't drink koolaid - I prefer Heineken or expensive scotch like Bushmills!

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#26 Lowe Expectations
January 22 2014, 11:02AM
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Comparing these coaches is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. This team hasn't got the right balance of players (too many players with the same skill set, size etc) and doesn't bring the effort on a consistent basis.

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#27 Serious Gord
January 22 2014, 11:02AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I recognize this.

But if the guy managing the team can't point to the reasons why coaching led to those finishes, the logical conclusion is that managing played a much bigger role.

For fans, it can be as simple as 'the team finished here, therefore the coach needs to go.' For the manager, who has to replace said coach, the explanation needs to be deeper: what did the coach do wrong that his replacement will correct? If he can't answer that question - and Tambellini couldn't - then he has no business firing the coach (and the team has every reason to fire the manager).

He was fired because he wasn't a FOK and thus could be thrown overboard as a gesture of "accountability".

Tambo was dumped for the same reason.

And If the team starts miserably next year another non-FOK - Eakins - will be tossed overboard.

CORSI et al has nothing to do with it.

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#28 Drowning in Oil
January 22 2014, 08:44PM
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THE LAUGHABLE THING IN THIS ENTIRE SITUATION IS HOW IT SEEMS THAT ONLY NOW, WE NEED CONTINUITY. WHY NOT WITH RENNEY, OR PERHAPS WITH KRUGER. IT IS ONLY WHEN CRAIG MACTAVISH GETS HIS HOLD ON THE REINS AND MAKES A MESS OF THE WHOLE THING, THAT CONTINUITY BECOMES AN ISSUE.

IT IS ALL JUST A SMOKE SCREEN BY MANAGEMENT TO COVER THIS COACHING STAFF'S FLAWS FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!

THIS ORGANIZATION IS THE BIGGEST JOKE AROUND. NO OTHER ORGANIZATION IN PRO SPORTS WOULD PUT UP WITH THIS MEDIOCRITY!!

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#29 Zarny
January 22 2014, 08:46PM
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BRHLBryce wrote:

Man am I glad I moved 3 years ago and gave up my season tickets (or better yet, stuck my brothers with them).

In Denver I am actually able to go watch a product that is a development of a rebuild done right.

Even though the PLAYERS on the Avalanche blueline aren't better than what Edmonton has (save EJ, who has been a beast this year), they play a team defensive structure, which is foreign to the Oilers (and was here under Sacco).

Goes to show that getting the right coach, and right personel people (whether they are ex players or not) is really important. Whodathunk it?

If Eberle did his defensive zone tap to the middle that gets picked off every time, Roy would stick his ass to the bench.

The only real difference between the Avs and the Oilers is the top pairing D.

Just in case anyone was curious what a real top pairing D can do for a young team.

Erik Johnson is a beast. A 6'4" 232 lb beast who can skate.

Jan Hejda isn't a sexy name, but he's better than any D in Edm. He also happens to be 6'4" 237 lbs.

Roy isn't the difference. Roy's ability to throw Hejda-Johnson out for half the game is.

Eakins gets to counter with Ference-Petry.

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#30 Bloodsweatandoil
January 23 2014, 09:26AM
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Wonger wrote:

Ten years ahead Dallas Eakins will be regarded as an elite,very successful NHL coach like his mentor Roger Nielson. I hope and pray it is here with the Oilers. MacT and Eakins will fix this mess! They are both WINNERS with CHARACTER second to none. You can't teach that. You are born with it! I am as frustrated as any Oiler fan, but I believe in these men and see many positive changes coming at this years trade deadline and over the summer! I think some of the moves, or the number of moves, will shock us and amaze us! Go Oilers! I am staying the course! I believe in the Oiler's future because I believe in MACT and EAKINS!!!

Are you kidding me? You are drowning in your koolaid that you just puked up....

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#31 pkam
January 23 2014, 09:43AM
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Mack Strong wrote:

Pkam

Do you read the posts or do you just get defensive as soon as you see that people reply to you?

All I was trying to say was Renney went to a team that sees his knowledge and patience and it fit their philosophy.

I never implied that the Oilers don't have a philosophy…i only said that the one they have is very confusing and seems to lack direction.

I don't even know how to address the rest of the vomit you spewed onto that post. So i won't…..

Love the OIL. Love the NATION

Your first reply to my speculation why Tambo didn't renew Renney's contract is

'The implication is that we dropped him and it was not long after that Detroit picked him up.', followed up by how well Detroit manage, draft, trade and develop.

And follow with this: 'Sure you can say its Holland or Babcock or Zetterberg or Datsyuk (both of which were 7th and 6th round picks and developed from within) and the list goes on and on. They add to and develop. WE ARE NOT DOING EITHER!!'

So the implication I get is the Oilers are so clueless that we let go a quality coach that an organization which is excellent in management, drafting , trading and development has no hesitation to recruit.

I disagree with my argument that many teams, including conference finalist and recent SC winners, not just the Oilers did the same. And the coach they let go immediately get a new head coach job, not just an associate coach job. And my point is in most cases the firing of the coach has nothing to do with the quality of the coach, but the fact that the GM is under fire to do something or he is the one canned.

I also disagree with your example of Datsyuk and Zetterberg to prove that the Wings draft well. They did draft exceptionally well in 1989, but not in the two years they draft Datsyuk and Zetterberg. In 1998, they have 10 picks, only their 1st rounder and Datsyuk become NHLer. Datsyuk was 6th rounder so it looks like they did a good job. But Datsyuk was their 8th pick in that draft, and only one of the 7 picks before him makes it to NHL? There were 2 2nd, a 3rd, and I don't care about the picks after the 3rd round, I just don't think it is really that good.

Then you said they develop the 2 players within. Neither of them played one AHL game. They came right from Europe to the big club.

You said they develop and we don't. The fact is Lander and Klefbom are currently in OKC, while Datsyuk and Zetterberg had not spent one game in AHL.

You said they made bold trades and we don't. So Pronger trade is not bold? We even tried to force a trade with an offersheet which gave 4 1st rounder to Sabres for Vanek but Sabres matched it. We tried to get Heatley but stopped by his NTC. The fact is the management did try but it didn't work out for various reasons.

Most of those bold move that you quote, if it is available to the Oilers management, I don't think they will hesitate to make it. For example, Kozlov (1st rd) for Hasek. Kozlov is a small 50 pts forward, right? What would be an equivalent player in our current roster? How about Sam Gagner? The Wings draft pick was a very late 1st rounder, it will be similar to our very early 2nd rounder. Hasek at that time will be today's Lundqvist Or Rinne or Rask. If the Rangers or the Preds or the Bruins are willing to trade their starting goalie to us for Gagner and our 2nd, I doubt our management will hesitate. It will be the steal of the year. Too bad such trade is not available to us. Canucks traded away Schneider for a 9th overall, but asked us a 7th plus the 37th plus a high prospect for the same goalie. I guess it is also the fault of our management for not willing to hugely overpay to make that bold move.

I just disagree with your opinions and with my own reasons. If you to think that is defensive, so be it. I am not going to swallow your vomit.

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#32 bdiddy18
January 22 2014, 11:53AM
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Renny had a defeatest attitude , he accepted the learning that was needed and knew that would come with loses. In many ways thats ok from a teaching perspective but from a compete perspective that was going to get you nowhere.

There were several times and very often that Renney would say " IF im still here it will be great" "IF I'm here to be a part of the success"

He already knew the likelihood of him being able to keep his job for the long haul was slim and accepted that fact rather than being determined to not let it happen.

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#33 Oiler Al
January 22 2014, 03:20PM
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WOW, a lot of garbbgle here on the make up of three coaches who deliver... 30 29, 30, 24, 29. Folks there is very little difference in what took place here in the last 5 years... its all terrible.

Eakins has had what, 50 games now.. nothing has changed... team hasnt changed or players improved thus far. You wont see any improvement in the next 30 games.... more excuses and more stories.

Eakins has to be fired. Coaching changes have improved play in Philly, Colorado, even Winnipeg now, Montreal,Columbus, Anahiem, etc. Cedrtainly not in Edmonton.. Why.? All these other teams didnt have massive personnel changes.

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#34 Rick Stroppel
January 22 2014, 05:00PM
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FREE ADVICE FOR MR. KATZ!

From reading this blog, I have learned that Mr. Katz comes here every day for advice about how to run his hockey team. I did not know that! Anyway, I do not want to be left out, so here is my advice.

Mr. Katz should IMMEDIATELY FIRE these people: Lowe, MacTavish, Howson, Eakins, Buchberger, Steve Smith, Acton, Chabot, the video guy, Laforge, all the professional and amateur scouts, and the guy who picks the music at the games.

Mr. Katz should RETAIN these people: Todd Nelson and his staff, and the Oilers Octane girls.

You are welcome!

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#35 Rick Stroppel
January 22 2014, 07:18PM
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BRING BACK KREUGER. SERIOUSLY.

I was driving around this evening and I heard Ralph Krueger interviewed on the radio. It reminded me of what a smart and classy guy he was. It sounded like he still feels very "connected" to the Oilers players. He said he could not bear to watch oilers games, even hilights.

Anyway, this is my constructive suggestion, moving forward. MacTavish contacts Ralph and BEGS him to come back as HC starting next season. If Katz wants to save money on the contract, offer Eakins a new contract as an assistant coach (not associate, he is not good enough). Tony Granato agreed to this when he realized he just wasn't HC material. George Burnett has a better chance of getting another HC job in the NHL than Eakins.

Or maybe just fire Eakins. Wouldn't that make us all feel a lot better. ADIOS, JACKASS! DON'T LET DOOR HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA!

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#36 The Towel Boy
January 23 2014, 08:17AM
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This article makes me so MAD!!!

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#37 BingBong
January 23 2014, 10:21AM
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Sorry, this is off-topic...but I was reading today about how Pitt should consider trading Letang for a legitimate top line forward.

What do people think of Eberle for Letang? Obviously don't like losing Ebs, but Letang is a legitimate top pairing guy who brings offense and plays lots of minutes.

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#38 Mustangheart
January 23 2014, 10:52AM
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BingBong wrote:

Sorry, this is off-topic...but I was reading today about how Pitt should consider trading Letang for a legitimate top line forward.

What do people think of Eberle for Letang? Obviously don't like losing Ebs, but Letang is a legitimate top pairing guy who brings offense and plays lots of minutes.

I personally would hate to loose Hall, Eberle, Hopkins, Perron, JShultz, but I would use the rest of the team as trade bait to get Letang. He would be an excellent asset.

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#39 john
January 22 2014, 03:02PM
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Blame management all you want, it's the coach and the players are responsible for winning and losing. Skills, talents and big bodies don't win games. It's how hard you want to win as a team, the players play for each other every single minutes on the ice.

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#40 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 03:19PM
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Mustangheart wrote:

But let's say for arrgument sake, Katz terminates KLowes contract. Knowing the fast offensive style the Oilers gave always played, who in your Option would compliment the Oilers organization and assist Mc.T in Transforming the club into a competitive playoff team within a relatively Short period????

Didn't you read the letter from Lowe, I mean Katz?? There is no quick fix for this team so don't expect anything to be resolved shortly. Patience everyone (tongue in cheek), patience.

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#41 Drowning in Oil
January 22 2014, 08:47PM
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XL Lebowski wrote:

Not really Eakin's fault that Dubnyk and Labarbera crapped the bed early in the year and put us out of the playoffs by Mid October. I heard Trotz threw DD under the bus after just one game in Nashville. This game is all about confidence and our goaltending let us down far too often with soft goals that were devastating to our team's fragile psyche. I think Eakin's gets a mulligan. If we don't improve next year, then we can justifiably let him go.

Wow, ok, so how's the team been lately? Now that Dubnyk is gone, are they winning? Bad argument.

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#42 China town man
January 23 2014, 09:23AM
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My buddy from Calgary text me. Hey China town man What is the difference between your Oilers and my flames I replied what is it, he tells me both our team sucks but the only difference is the flames organization has more brains than ours. I haven't replied..

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#43 KSC10032
January 22 2014, 10:44AM
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Interesting comparison.

IMO -- this underlines the issue that is overlooked by everyone who calls for X, Y or Z to be "fired". These folks always ignore the other, more important, half of the equation -- who do you replace them with?

All of Renney, Kreuger and now Eakins have had large percentages of the fan base calling for their scalps. Few of these people are concurrently suggesting replacement alternatives.

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#45 Serious Gord
January 22 2014, 11:06AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Definitely, that might have been a factor.

One thing to note, though - if you split the Oilers results under Krueger, the first half was actually a little better by shot metrics than the last half, which I personally wouldn't have expected to see if lack of training camp was the primary issue.

Possible explanation for that is that all teams had no training camp and that EDM had most of its star players playing in the AHL and thus in game-ready shape right off the hop compared to their opponents.

That advantage dissolved as the season wore on.

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#46 ubermiguel
January 22 2014, 11:17AM
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pkam wrote:

Not true.

Kureger has the least man games lost at 118 over 48 games. If you subtract the 48 games by Sutton, we only lost 70 man games over 48 games.

Renney lost 246 man games in 11-12 over 82 games.

So far, Eakins has lost 215 man games over 52 games. At this pace, we will lose 339 man games over 82 games. The worst since the 520 in 09-10.

But none of the top-end players have missed significant time.

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#47 bwar
January 22 2014, 12:15PM
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The problem I have with Eakins is that I honestly feel that the Oilers would not be doing any worse if I was the coach this season.

Krueger had the team in a playoff spot with about a month left in the season before an epic collapse to close out the season. Renney was really given next to nothing to work with and I really don't feel that he was expected to accomplish much of anything. Eakins on the other hand was given a team that was expected to make improvements and at least fight for a playoff spot yet instead we are seeing possibly the most disappointing season in Oilers history.

As a fan I think this season has been very testing. I find it harder and harder to get excited for the games and find myself questioning if things will ever turn around. Really at this point I can't find any reason for this organization to not make drastic changes. The personnel isn't getting the results expected and the management seems like they really just don't care.

The only person I have any degree of faith/confidence in is MacT because at least he seems to be making an effort to make the changes necessary to eradicate this team of its losing culture.

tldr; Oilers suck.

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#48 pkam
January 22 2014, 12:44PM
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@Mack Strong

I stop reading the rest when I read this statement:

"Tom is doing well as an assistant coach in Det (one point out of wild card in the ultra competitive Western Conference)"

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#49 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:34PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

You're nuts.

The Oilers already have more skill and speed than most teams and against bigger, skilled teams like StL, Ana, SJ, LA, Chi the Oilers get absolutely pasted.

The truth is you need everything: speed, skill, size, strength...everything.

The reason is you don't play one type of team. Not over a season. Not in the playoffs. To win the Stanley Cup you have to win four 7 game series against different teams.

If all you have is speed and skill you will meet a team that beats you physically. It's happened to the Penguins against the Flyers and Bruins.

If all you have is size and strength you will get beat by a team with speed and skill.

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#50 pkam
January 22 2014, 04:49PM
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Mack Strong wrote:

The implication is that we dropped him and it was not long after that Detroit picked him up.

Detroit is a well run well managed organization that picks well trades well and develops amazingly!!! Period.

Detroit and Ken Holland "know a little about winning" and would not bring in a person who is A. going to upset the balance that they have achieved B. Is not going to compliment and add to what is already a model system and organization.

Sure you can say its Holland or Babcock or Zetterberg or Datsyuk (both of which were 7th and 6th round picks and developed from within) and the list goes on and on. They add to and develop. WE ARE NOT DOING EITHER!!

There is no doubt that we have some assets here that could be great! but thats where its going to stay - in the "could be" category.

This all comes down to Management…imagine if we had Detroit's organization and management right down to coaching………me thinks you'd keep reading then…. =)

Love the OIL Love the Nation!

What is the implication that Detroit picked him up as their associate coach not long after we dropped him?

The Leafs picked up Randy Carlyle as their head coach not long after the Ducks dropped him. The Ducks picked up Bruce Boudreau as their head coach not long after the Caps drop him. Does it make us better than the Ducks and the Caps because they dropped a coach another team picked up as their head coach, not an associate coach?

Do I have to quote you some more examples? It happens to many teams every year. More often than not it is not the coach problem, but the management or the players.

Tambellini didn't fire Renney, he just didn't renew his contract. So in a way it is slightly better than firing the coach. And it is my speculation that he is doing that to save his job, just like all the other GMs do.

What did BB do to Ron Wilson when his job is in risk? How about Gillis? In both cases, the GM just renewed their coaches not long ago before they fired them. If Ken Holland's job is in risk, do you think he would do any differently?

No disrespect to the Wings, but the players that you listed were Europeans drafted before 2000. Detroit had invested in European scouting before 2000 which gave them the edge ahead of other NHL teams. Now they have lost that edge as the other NHL teams are investing in European scouting too.

Since Katz took over the team, he has invested more money in scouting which our previous owners group refused to do. Not saying the management have no fault but not all problems are the management's faults.

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