Sometimes a bad defence just gets exposed

Jonathan Willis
January 07 2014 10:48PM

Edmonton's defence has been bleeding all season, and the St. Louis Blues aren't the kind of team that lets its opponents get away with that kind of weakness. There's a lot that went into the Oilers' 5-2 loss on Tuesday night, but that was a big part of it. 

Scoring Chances

The Rest of It

  • The scoring chance numbers aren't kind to him, but I think they lie a little about Justin Schultz tonight. Edmonton's top pairing featured two players on the evening, and the veteran couldn't seem to make a pass or win a foot race or for that matter catch a break. Schultz was smart all over the ice - he made a gorgeous pinch on the Arcobello goal, but he was economical in his own end and didn't get carried away looking for points - and the coaches rewarded him with almost 30:00 of ice-time. 
  • Brad Hunt, on the other hand, looked like a guy who should get demoted tonight. He's been a nice story for the Oilers and Barons; an undrafted, pint-sized defender who worked his way into an NHL contract, forced his way up the Oklahoma depth chart (and proved capable on his off-side when roster need pushed him there) and was thus in position to take advantage of an NHL opportunity. He's an enthusiastic guy, a heavy underdog and impossible to dislike. He also isn't as good as Taylor Fedun is today (again it's worth mentioning that Hunt is on his off-side, while Fedun would not be) and now that Fedun's healthy the Oilers ought to swap the two.
  • Martin Marincin got exposed a little, particularly by Chris Stewart on the penalty kill in the leadup to Stewart's goal, but he also showed some creativity offensively and there's a lot to like there. On a real NHL team he wouldn't be in the majors, but it's nice to see he's not as far away as we might have thought. 
  • Nail Yakupov might have been the Oilers' best forward. He's looked like a different player since his latest scratch, a much better, more committed player all over the ice. It's too early to say he's turned a corner, but his play of late is fantastic news for a team that could use it. 
  • For a guy with no footspeed, it's amazing how much havoc Ryan Smyth can create on the forecheck. 
  • Twice Jeff Petry, who has an undeserved reputation for not hitting, laid the body in the defensive zone and caused St. Louis turnovers. It was nice to see.
  • Jordan Eberle had an awful first shift, but he certainly recovered nicely as the game went on. That steal off David Backes in the Blues' zone is something very, very few players can do.
  • The Oilers didn't quit when the going got tough, but they did get thoroughly outplayed by a better team. There's not much to say about that; St. Louis is arguably the best team in the NHL today and the Oilers aren't clearly better than anybody. It's the kind of loss that just reinforces how far the team has to go.

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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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#51 DT
January 08 2014, 09:36AM
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@Harry

If you're going to criticise, be impartial. What about the consistency before the coaching changes? MacT was here since Lowe was the head coach. He lost the ear of the players and had to leave. Lowe's fault? Further coaching changes were under Tambellini's watch. I'm sure K-Lowe had some input, but Steve was running the show. I don't believe he was a puppet or a figure head. He had been assistant GM in Vancouver and in the Olympic Team management team. Why would he come here if he wouldn't be allowed to make his own decisions? Sheldon Souray proved the Oilers wrong with solid bounce back seasons in Dallas and Anaheim. He had a conflict with Pat Quinn and Tambellini. Is that Lowe's fault? Most GMs in the league have a Horcoff contract on their resume (Redden, etc). Lowe hasn't been perfect, but how much day to day management of the roster do you think he does? He's the president, not coach or GM. Man, this town loves scapegoats. Think of the players that were traded after the fanbase turned on them. Then, we have the audacity to boo them when they return. I can understand the frustration after so many years of crap, but be reasonable. I thought we were supposed to be a knowledgeable fan base.

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#52 BPP
January 08 2014, 09:37AM
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rickithebear wrote:

Chicago: 1998 to 2007 10 years of draft affect

Versteeg, Ladd, Sharp, Kieth,Burish,Seabrook, Crawford, Byfuglien, Bolland, Bickell, Brouwer, Hjarlmasson, Toews, Kane 14 players

Edmonton: 1998 to 2007 Hemsky, Dubnyk,Petry, Gagner

2008 to 2013 5 year of draft affect Eberle, MP(perron6' 200lb),Lander, Hall 6'1" 200lb, Marincin, RNH, Yakupov 7 players

Viable prospects: Pitlick 6'2" 190, Hamilton 6'2" 210, Klefbom 6'3" 215, Gernat 6'3" 200, Moroz 6'3'215lb, Khaira 6'3" 215, McCarron 6'3" 225, Nurse 6'4" 195, Yakimov 6'4" 220lb, Slepyshev 6'2" 195, Chase 6'0" 205 11 guys who will see NHL over next 4 years.

St. Loius has 7 guys 215LB+ all but 1 are 26-they have 5 Fwds 205lb or less.

Our prospect list is a colection of effective forwards rolling in the next 3 years.

The Oil could get Forward McLaren and Dman Fraser from the Leafs for Gagner easily right now! Both very tough guys who can play a little bit. Do it before the Flames do.

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#53 smiliegirl15
January 08 2014, 09:42AM
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I was at the game last night. Although they played pretty good for the second period, there were a lot of times when they looked like they were watching the game instead of playing. Eberle made quite a few really good plays. Ryan Smyth did everything he could. He was great to watch. Gagner was atrocious.

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#54 Rod from Viking
January 08 2014, 09:55AM
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Harry wrote:

You cant be serious. Have you been living under a rock for the past 8 years? There are countless reasons and I know theyll all come out in this comment section so ill start with a couple. 1 Grosly over evaluates Horcoff and gives him a massive contract

2 Hires a rookie GM to head up year 4 of a rebuild who inturn hires a rookie coach to teach rookie players

3 Publicly insults Oiler fans everywhere diring his arrogant assinine press conference during the MacT hiring

4 Sheldon Souray

5 5 coaches 6 years

ok now someone else take ball and run with it

6 Not trading Comrie for Cory Perry.

7 Trading Brodziak, keeping Pouliot

8 Letting Glencross go for FA.

9 Signing Horcoft and Pisani for horrible contracts.

10 Drafting Plante, Schremp, Pouliot and others in first round.

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#55 DT
January 08 2014, 10:07AM
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@Rod from Viking

Give me a break. Now you're going to blame him for who he didn't trade for? You're going to blame him for things that didn't happen? Brodziak was on pace for slightly more than 20 points last year, and is on pace for the same total this year. Lowe traded a franchise player? If that's all you can drum up, keep whining.

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#56 He Who Knows
January 08 2014, 10:09AM
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More empty seats and Lowe must go signs. I'm pretty sure Lowe and his Mrs. order in under an alias. Otherwise they would get the "house" special.

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#57 DT
January 08 2014, 10:10AM
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@Rod from Viking

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

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#58 Rob from Edmonton
January 08 2014, 10:19AM
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I did enjoy the game last night. It was definitely better. Some bad errors, but over all better work effort overall.

One thing I am starting to wonder is are there too many teams currently playing within the NHL. Ie 30 teams with 23 players . Is there really 690 players who have the skill, work ethics and game intelligence to legitimately play hockey at the highest level? Is the real reason there are thirty teams in the NHL is to increase the number of games played a season thereby increasing potential revenue? Would we see more consistency if there were only 20 teams in the league instead of 30?

In all North American sports there is no system of relegation and promotion. There is currently no level between Major Junior and the NHL (Major Professional). Team with poor performance are rewarded with higher draft picks. With current player salary levels a one division lower league would likely not be profitable for those teams which would be relegated down to a lower division.

Is the current system destroying some players before they have the chance to properly develop to their full potential by rushing them too soon into NHL and expecting too much from them?

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#59 Rod from Viking
January 08 2014, 10:25AM
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DT wrote:

Give me a break. Now you're going to blame him for who he didn't trade for? You're going to blame him for things that didn't happen? Brodziak was on pace for slightly more than 20 points last year, and is on pace for the same total this year. Lowe traded a franchise player? If that's all you can drum up, keep whining.

The trade for Perry straight up was a done deal and then Lowe let his temper get the best of him and told Comrie he would have to pay back part of his salary to get it done and that is a fact, is Pouliot in the NHL? All of the things I listed were heavily criticized at the time and is not in hindsite. By the way I don't whine and can't stand tough guys (or girls) who go by initials and then throw insults around on the internet.

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#61 camdog
January 08 2014, 10:44AM
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DT wrote:

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

Considering free agency starts July 1 and Tambelini was hired July 31, Glencross not resigning was Kevin Lowe's call.

Tambelini had little power over free agent moves in the summer of 2008 as he was signed to GM a month after free agency even began, that's 6 week's too late.

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#62 Harry
January 08 2014, 10:47AM
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DT wrote:

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

Your pointing to.Tambellini for.making all there poor moves so let me ask you this. WHO HIRED TENTATIVE TAMBY!! Thats right Kevin Lowe hired a rookie GM to head up a massive over haul and suprise suprise he failed miserably. Then he fires him and hires another rookie GM. Wake up buddy Lowes record of incompetance speaks for itself

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#63 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 08 2014, 10:50AM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

JT...you look like Helen Green!

Hey idiot! We're talking about the Oilers defence here. Cut the crap Mr. irrelevant! But today's another day, isn't it Pelhem.

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#64 Tikkanese
January 08 2014, 11:50AM
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Ryan Smyth gets a lot of undeserved hatred.

I don't know what it is exactly. Some seem bitter still about when his agent and Lowe battled over $100,000 per year on that contract and Lowe played hardball and traded him. $100,000 per year. Are you really taking Lowe's side on that? Kevin Lowe's side?!? He traded the one player that no Oiler fan would have been upset about being overpaid over a measly $100,000. Unbelievable. Others seem to think he still makes $5 million per season, I saw a post saying that the other day. He's making only 2.25 million. That's hardly an issue.

He is arguably the greatest of all time in front of the net. He still is fantastic at that. He does a lot of great veteran type plays that don't show up in the stats like picks and getting under the opponents skin, that you wouldn't notice unless you watch the games in person in the lower bowl. Sure his foot speed isn't the best, but it never was. It doesn't need to be either, that has never been his game. If your a true Oiler fan you should be celebrating the possible last season of the player who has arguably bled more copper and blue than anyone else.

Captain Canada will make the IIHF Hall of Fame some day as well. Before you thumbs down just for that, maybe look up his international record and what the IIHF is. But no, let's hate on him because we'd rather see even more rookies in this lineup that desperately needs more veterans. Ryan Smyth is hardly a problem on this team.

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#65 bumblebpete
January 08 2014, 12:06PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Jonathon

Can you please fix your videos. As soon as I open ON your video starts up, so I have to find it and put it on pause.

When I open your blog it starts up again.

Every time I change pages on your blog the dang video starts up again.

Please, please fix it.

It's only your videos on the ON site that start up on their own.

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#66 pkam
January 08 2014, 12:09PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

If that deal were made it wouldn't quite be the worst deal in Oilers history (hi, Gretzky) but man would it be close.

Gagner's going to get bumped to RW and have a nice little career in another city. McLaren and Fraser are both AHL-level players.

If Calgary wants to make that deal, Oilers fans should cheer.

I just read 2 trade suggestions in the other articles.

1st, Hall + Perron for Seth Jones.

2nd, Gagner + Klefbom for Gallagher.

Seems like the site lately is filled with calls for KLowe's head and stupid trade suggestions.

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#67 Posti
January 08 2014, 12:10PM
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I don't think this was strictly the defense's fault. St. Louis let us get as close to them as they were comfortable with. They completely cruised through this game and during a stretch of about 6 minutes of game play in the second they let the boys know who were the men in this fight. They killed a few players, scored a couple goals and stared down the Oilers. End of the show.

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#68 EHH Team
January 08 2014, 12:12PM
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DT wrote:

If you're going to criticise, be impartial. What about the consistency before the coaching changes? MacT was here since Lowe was the head coach. He lost the ear of the players and had to leave. Lowe's fault? Further coaching changes were under Tambellini's watch. I'm sure K-Lowe had some input, but Steve was running the show. I don't believe he was a puppet or a figure head. He had been assistant GM in Vancouver and in the Olympic Team management team. Why would he come here if he wouldn't be allowed to make his own decisions? Sheldon Souray proved the Oilers wrong with solid bounce back seasons in Dallas and Anaheim. He had a conflict with Pat Quinn and Tambellini. Is that Lowe's fault? Most GMs in the league have a Horcoff contract on their resume (Redden, etc). Lowe hasn't been perfect, but how much day to day management of the roster do you think he does? He's the president, not coach or GM. Man, this town loves scapegoats. Think of the players that were traded after the fanbase turned on them. Then, we have the audacity to boo them when they return. I can understand the frustration after so many years of crap, but be reasonable. I thought we were supposed to be a knowledgeable fan base.

I agree.

The hatred on this site has become unbearable.

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#69 pkam
January 08 2014, 12:13PM
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bumblebpete wrote:

Jonathon

Can you please fix your videos. As soon as I open ON your video starts up, so I have to find it and put it on pause.

When I open your blog it starts up again.

Every time I change pages on your blog the dang video starts up again.

Please, please fix it.

It's only your videos on the ON site that start up on their own.

What OS and browser do you use?

It doesn't happen to me. Firefox 10 in WinXP or IE11 in Win7.

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#70 camdog
January 08 2014, 12:23PM
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@EHH Team

Hatred is better than indiffence. I was at the game last night. THe fans that were there were very energenetic and positive. However the building was not full, many people came to the game very late and mnay left early.

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#71 2004Z06
January 08 2014, 12:35PM
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@Harry

Lowe doesn't hire the coaches, that is the GM's job.

Horcoff was not grossly overpaid when the contract was signed, based on his numbers and what other players of his equivalent were garnering at the time.

Keep in mind Edmonton has always had to pay more for less as no one wants to come here/play here.

Horcoff failed to live up to the expectations of the contract partly due to the supporting cast jumping ship shortly thereafter

Bad contract in todays market, absolutely! But the contract at the time and Horcoffs failure to live up to said contract are two very different things.

On Souray and Lowes assinine insults to Oiler fans everywhere, I couldn't agree more.

I believe that Mac T is the right guy to turn this s&%t show around, but you cannot turn over 60% of a roster in one season.

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#72 Greenlingj
January 08 2014, 01:11PM
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If this team wants to preach accountability they need to practice it.

Lowe the ship has sunk, and like any good captain, you need to go down with it.

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#73 Blucifer Copperballs
January 08 2014, 01:13PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Lowe doesn't hire the coaches, that is the GM's job.

Horcoff was not grossly overpaid when the contract was signed, based on his numbers and what other players of his equivalent were garnering at the time.

Keep in mind Edmonton has always had to pay more for less as no one wants to come here/play here.

Horcoff failed to live up to the expectations of the contract partly due to the supporting cast jumping ship shortly thereafter

Bad contract in todays market, absolutely! But the contract at the time and Horcoffs failure to live up to said contract are two very different things.

On Souray and Lowes assinine insults to Oiler fans everywhere, I couldn't agree more.

I believe that Mac T is the right guy to turn this s&%t show around, but you cannot turn over 60% of a roster in one season.

Stop making sense. This is not the place for that. If you took the time and consideration to read ALL of the comments here, you would know that already.

TRADE KLOWE FOR FEASTER!!!

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#74 woodenshoes
January 08 2014, 02:40PM
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DT wrote:

Also, Tambellini traded Brodziak. Plus, the summer they let Glencross go, was Tambellini's first summer here. Whose decision was it?

And whose decision was it to hire Tambo?? Ultimate responsibility for all of this lands at Klowe's feet. That is all.

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#75 Hockey mom
January 08 2014, 03:00PM
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@Rod from Viking

What kind of management spends years drafting and trading for young skilled offensive talent only to dictate to them that that the goal scoring talent that brought them here is not actually what we want you to play.Instead our management and coaching staff would like you to play a defensive system although we have no stud defensemen nor a starting goaltender . I have to barf in my mouth every time Eakins ,Lowe or MacT go on about making their forwards defensively accountable. How about starting with a couple of big stud d-men and a goalie. However with the horrible track record that this management and coaching staff has displayed in the last 15 years I can't see why any valuable free agents would even consider playing for an organization like the oilers that seems to stall the development of our young players or has become a retirement home for the veterans. It's too bad that such loyal fans in Edmonton have to put up with this incompetence year after year. The players that get traded away from this team seem to go on to have more success . It would be interesting to see how well Hall and Yakupov would do on a real NHL team.

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#76 Rod from Viking
January 08 2014, 03:57PM
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Kr55 wrote:

Major Kudos to people with Fire Lowe signs tonight! Tier 1 fans finally sick of the terrible product created under Lowe's leadership!

Hope "Lowe Must Go!" chants are next and can be heard on TV during the games!

The only way the sign's will get on TV and in the media will be on a TSN or HNIC broadcast, it won't happen on a Rogers broadcast.

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#77 Serious Gord
January 08 2014, 04:40PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

The only way the sign's will get on TV and in the media will be on a TSN or HNIC broadcast, it won't happen on a Rogers broadcast.

True dat.

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#78 Serious Gord
January 08 2014, 04:42PM
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DT wrote:

Give me a break. Now you're going to blame him for who he didn't trade for? You're going to blame him for things that didn't happen? Brodziak was on pace for slightly more than 20 points last year, and is on pace for the same total this year. Lowe traded a franchise player? If that's all you can drum up, keep whining.

It is widely agreed that tambo was fired because of his timidity - what he didn't do. If it's okay to criticize/fire tambo for it it should be okay to do the same to Klowe.

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#79 bumblebpete
January 09 2014, 10:31AM
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pkam wrote:

What OS and browser do you use?

It doesn't happen to me. Firefox 10 in WinXP or IE11 in Win7.

IE11 in Win7.

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#80 Harry
January 09 2014, 11:41AM
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2004Z06 wrote:

Lowe doesn't hire the coaches, that is the GM's job.

Horcoff was not grossly overpaid when the contract was signed, based on his numbers and what other players of his equivalent were garnering at the time.

Keep in mind Edmonton has always had to pay more for less as no one wants to come here/play here.

Horcoff failed to live up to the expectations of the contract partly due to the supporting cast jumping ship shortly thereafter

Bad contract in todays market, absolutely! But the contract at the time and Horcoffs failure to live up to said contract are two very different things.

On Souray and Lowes assinine insults to Oiler fans everywhere, I couldn't agree more.

I believe that Mac T is the right guy to turn this s&%t show around, but you cannot turn over 60% of a roster in one season.

.....sigh!!

Do you seriously believe that Lowe isnt at the very least involved in choosing a coach? Also hes the guy who hires the GM who in tuen hires the coach. So yes it os at least partly his fault weve had 5 coaches in 6 years

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