ARMCHAIR GM XVI: BLOWING SMOKE

Robin Brownlee
April 18 2014 06:30PM

Craig MAcTavish5

Having known Craig MacTavish as a player, coach and manager in the NHL these past 25 years, many of them spent travelling around the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers until 2007, I have a lot of respect for him.

Of MacTavish's many virtues, gamesmanship – on and off the ice – sits high on my list of his attributes. It was no surprise, then, to hear him spin The World According to MacT the other day when he met with local media, specifically as it pertained to head coach Dallas Eakins and how he'll handle his coaching staff. Will Eakins retain Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger? Will he add another coach?

MacTavish insisted the call on the coaching staff moving forward – as it was to keep Smith and Buchberger in the first place -- belongs to Eakins, but with the following caveat: "But my sense is we have the right people. We have the right coaches in place."

I characterized what MacTavish had to say about the coaching situation as "spin" and "blowing smoke" and "ass-covering" on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 Wednesday. The more I think about it, I was likely selling MacT short. Yes, it was spin, but my take today is it was far more calculated than that. Gamesmanship at its finest.

In simple terms, over to you, Dallas.

BETWEEN THE LINES

Buchberger, Kelly Buchberger, Kelly

Added to the coaching staff in 2008-09 by MacTavish in his final season as head coach, Buchberger is now on his fifth coach – MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and Eakins. It's unheard of that an assistant coach in the NHL survive that much changeover. Smith, by the way, is on his third head coach, having arrived in 2010-11.

My take on the situation is straightforward: Buchberger remains employed today because president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe is his friend and has his back. The same can be said on both counts for MacTavish. The ties that bind them are strong and go back many years. Loyalty, cronyism, the Old Boys Club – call it what you will.

Owner Daryl Katz, who grew up cheering for the Oilers, is happy to defer to Lowe and MacTavish. He damn sure isn’t going to fire Lowe, at or near the top of hockey ops as GM or POHO since 2000. He's not going to insist Lowe or MacTavish fire Buchberger or Smith. So, here were are, with the Oilers eight straight years out of the playoffs and fans demanding changes at every level of hockey ops. Rightfully so.

Dallas Eakins 13

Like others who've been moved along – coaches Quinn, Renney, Krueger, Bill Moores and Rob Daum and former GM Steve Tambellini – Eakins isn’t a former Oiler. Now, we're told Eakins will make the call on the coaching staff. He gets to be the heavy, if there is to be one.

Does Eakins value Buchberger as an assistant coach? Are they on the same page philosophically? Will he keep Bucky on? I don't know for sure. Might Eakins move Buchberger or Smith along despite MacTavish's suggestion the right people are in place? That would take some brass, no?

I think it's time for Buchberger to go. You think it's time for Buchberger to go. MacTavish is an intelligent and perceptive man. Is it a reach, given the discontent of the fan base, to wonder if the GM has reluctantly come to the same conclusion but that he doesn't want to be the person to pull the trigger, loyalty being what it is?

Over to you, Dallas.

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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#1 Soccer Steve
April 18 2014, 06:39PM
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If it's loyalty alone that is keeping Buchberger in a job then I don't want MacT steering this sinking ship. Grow a pair man.

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#2 Herbert
April 18 2014, 07:22PM
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Hi Robin. Nice writing, but my only question is that when MacT is on the Gregor show, why don't you make an appearance as well and call him on his bs right then and there and see what he has to say. A press conference like he had the other day puts him in the drivers seat and lets him say whatever pro-oilers with not much back lash. In a radio appearance on 1260 puts you guys in the drivers seat. Why not say hes just blowing smoke up our asses when youre face to face?

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#3 Retsinnab5
April 18 2014, 06:58PM
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Fire Bucky and Smith, bring in Todd Nelson as assistant coach

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#4 RexHolez
April 19 2014, 03:23AM
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Why would you change anything? This group is doing a fantastic job! Keep up the good work guys! Glad the oilers are so "accountable"

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#5 vetinari
April 18 2014, 06:37PM
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If I was an assistant coach this off-season, I don't know if I would want to take any calls via Skype from either MacT or Eakins.

But yes, my guess is that if Eakins does let one or both of Smith or Buckberger go, MacT and Lowe can come out smelling like roses with their buddies. "Hey, I publicly said that you guys were assets to the team. Darn Eakins. So what time do you want to tee off?"

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#6 Cameron
April 18 2014, 08:19PM
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I am just so tired of hearing MacT talk about how he sees progression....and his comments on the assistant coaches are an insult to Oiler fans.

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#7 Derian Hatcher
April 18 2014, 08:00PM
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@Herbert

An interesting question for RB. Correct me if I'm wrong, and I have definitely not observed every presser, but other than John Mackinnon's hardball questioning when MacT was introduced as GM (when kLowe had his little tantrum) I cannot recall many tough questions of oiler personnel. Why doesn't MSM ask some tough questions? Maybe we need to bring in some of the journalists who cover the legislature.

The yard sale continues....sigh.

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#8 Seanjohn667
April 18 2014, 07:35PM
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If MacT is afraid to fire his buddies, then he is in over his head. I sure hope that isn't what he is up to.

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#9 Kr55
April 18 2014, 07:02PM
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People need to stop buying tickets if we ever want this to end. As long as the Oilers sell every ticket (doesn't matter what happens with the tickets after the sale), they will keep treating this organization like a boys club where no one in the special circle ever has to be accountable for being terrible at their job.

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#10 The Swarm
April 18 2014, 10:41PM
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Blowing smoke or delusional drivel?

MacT supports Eakins due to his "relentless messaging"? What message is that exactly?

How to have a lousy PP with some of the most talented players in the NHL?

How to give up multiple 2 on 1's every PP?

How to get out shot 2 to 1 most games?

How to espouse "compete level" and "accountability" with no discernable evidence of either attribute, especially when compared to the far less talented Flames.

If anyone has any idea what this mysterious "messaging" refers to please let me know.

MacT, get over your man crush and get rid of this egomaniac.

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#11 SmythforMayor
April 18 2014, 08:31PM
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OKC just clinched

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#12 2004Z06
April 19 2014, 09:18AM
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Kr55 wrote:

People need to stop buying tickets if we ever want this to end. As long as the Oilers sell every ticket (doesn't matter what happens with the tickets after the sale), they will keep treating this organization like a boys club where no one in the special circle ever has to be accountable for being terrible at their job.

But why? Every time the Tier 1 fans begin to get a little restless, the top brass put on a dog and pony show at 100 bucks a plate and invite the Great One and Mess to come and reassure everyone that things are going according to plan.

The sheep in Edmonton are easily distracted.

Bahhhhhh Bahhhhhh

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#13 admiralmark
April 18 2014, 07:28PM
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If this is true? Meaning MacT knows they are going but doesn't want to pull the trigger? Then it is a crap move on his part. Why put the pressure on his coach to retain his buddies? Why couldn't he simply say all aspects of the team will be evaluated this off season and Eakins will decide who he chooses to be on his staff? I get the loyalty thing but 5 Coaches and he's still there?! Thats enough Loyalty no?? I lost some respect for MacT in the way he responded big time.

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#14 Taylor Lineham
April 18 2014, 08:51PM
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Just watched OKC score in overtime to propel them to a playoff spot. Todd Nelson should be considered for a N.H.L. job. I hope the Oilers do the right thing and offer the assist coach position to someone who has paid his dues. Not to mention the success of bringing a team that had 153 roster moves to the playoffs. Well done I say

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#15 Red Headed Stranger
April 19 2014, 09:05AM
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There is no objective defense for the job the coaches did this year. I have supported MacT through a lot this year but that press conference left me depressed. To paraphrase "he is more impressed with Eakins than ever". I assume that means he was hoping for coaching room "chaos and dysfunction early in the year and systemic confusion the entire year. Eakins hit it out of the park on those metrics. MacT lost a lot of personal cred with those statements.

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#16 Young Oil
April 18 2014, 08:28PM
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I don't know if it's funny or sad that Buchberger, who I'm assuming was hired partly to teach the forwards how to play defensively, has the worst +/- in franchise history.

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#17 Caligator
April 19 2014, 01:11AM
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We are the worst run team in all of professional sports starting from the owner Katz. What do you expect to happen. MacT was passed over by every organization in the league already at head coach so he goes back to school and gets his degree so the old boys could hire him as gm. What a pathetic franchise. Eakins has to fire his own staff with a loaded gun to his head. I took my name off of the season seat registry. The 5 grand I spent in 2013/14 in mini packs will go to better use.

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#18 jonny94
April 18 2014, 06:46PM
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It's in Dallas best interest to rid himself of Buchberger and Smith, after all he's the one that's treading water. Do yourself a favor and bring in who you think will help support your philosophy best. The Oilers fans have your back if you do.

Best of luck Dallas you may start the season with the Oilers but will you finish it.

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#19 etownman
April 18 2014, 08:34PM
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Herbert wrote:

Hi Robin. Nice writing, but my only question is that when MacT is on the Gregor show, why don't you make an appearance as well and call him on his bs right then and there and see what he has to say. A press conference like he had the other day puts him in the drivers seat and lets him say whatever pro-oilers with not much back lash. In a radio appearance on 1260 puts you guys in the drivers seat. Why not say hes just blowing smoke up our asses when youre face to face?

Good post.....my thoughts exactly!

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#20 Oiler Al
April 18 2014, 09:37PM
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No sugar coating here Robin... one of the few scribes around that has the ya yas to call it like it is.

I'll go to my grave with the notion that Eakins did not have a say in retaining these two clowns, when he was first hired.

It was a good news/bad news situation: Good news is you have the job, the bad news is so do SMith and Bucky.

Eakins, get on with it, and do the dirty work for Lowe and MacT.

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#21 Woogie63
April 18 2014, 09:27PM
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I continue to be shocked for what a passes for journalism in sports.

These sports reporters travel with the team, stay in the same hotels talk to the players on a causal bases ALL YEARS LONG. Then we get a blog where they ask the question does Dallas value Buchberger? Shouldn't a reporter know this question and inform the reader?

I know Brownlee is not as active with the team as prior years ... But ....

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#22 Naky
April 18 2014, 06:41PM
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-Buchberger +Huddy

* Owner fanboi stays happy. * Ratio of old boys to non-old boys in organization remains the same. * Oilers get an honest to god capable coach that could actually teach something. * Defense may actually improve.

It just saddens me to think that it simply won't happen though.

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#23 Quicksilver ballet
April 19 2014, 01:56PM
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Confirming these bozos only confirms Connor McDavid is the goal next season.

MacTavish is free to do business with 13 other NHL teams right now. Obviously he must still be in that "assessing" mode. Lowe has replaced 2 GM's, 5 coaches and well over 60 players in his time here. Perhaps it's time to look in the mirror.

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#24 Robin Brownlee
April 18 2014, 09:49PM
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Woogie63 wrote:

I continue to be shocked for what a passes for journalism in sports.

These sports reporters travel with the team, stay in the same hotels talk to the players on a causal bases ALL YEARS LONG. Then we get a blog where they ask the question does Dallas value Buchberger? Shouldn't a reporter know this question and inform the reader?

I know Brownlee is not as active with the team as prior years ... But ....

Passes for journalism?

I have not travelled with the Oilers since 2007. I don't get to see Eakins and Buchberger, or any of the coaches for that matter, interact like I used to.

I don't see the coaching staff interact with the players like I used to. I don't talk to the coaches or the players like I used to. The guys writing for the dailies, on the other hand, do, so your question is probably better directed at them.

Or would you prefer it if I pretended to know something when I don't?

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#25 pelhem grenville
April 19 2014, 07:51AM
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Ambassador humantorch wrote:

Counterpoint: didn't Eakins bring in Keith Acton as an assistant, which then led to Will Acton "anchoring" our 4th line for way too long this season?

...Keith Acton as a Marlies assistant coach begets his spawn Will, a former Marlboro, because the later couldn't have played in the NHL for one game without his Dad on staff...I have said this before but Smith and Buchberger need to be given the heave-hoski BY Eakins...leaving Kevin and MacT off the hook for giving their life long buddies the hook...the head coach should hire his own two more assistants and leave Acton at one end of the bench to open and close the gate...

EDIT ...and Bucky should stay outta the tanning beds

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#26 Sammy27
April 18 2014, 08:39PM
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If only we could trade coaches, Bucky and Smith for Charlie Huddy. Is one Oiler alumni for two enough?

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#27 max
April 18 2014, 09:33PM
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Not only do Lowe, Bucky and Smith have to go, so do Cabot, MacGregor and the rest of the pro and amateur scouting staff. Seems like all the #2's are doing great, the BPA's aren't so hot. Funny how Potter was slammed - he played a damned good playoff game today with Boston - something most of our guys will never get to do. Go figure.

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#28 Bryzarro World
April 19 2014, 10:56AM
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NJ wrote:

Did Scrivens and Fasth fall in his lap as well. Hendricks? I suppose Dubnyk also "fell off his lap"? Horcoff gone? Gordon?

I understand MacT has made mistakes, and some moves haven't worked out... but the ones that matter, have been good. We await the summer.

Fact is that MacT, with all his moves, managed to put together a bigger loser than Tambo....

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#29 Vincheese
April 18 2014, 06:39PM
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If Eakins next season goes like his first, it won't matter what he does with his assistants. Similarity, if he generates a decent improvement, it will not matter what he did with his coaches as well. If I were him, I would bring my own people in if I thought it would make a difference.

6-Rings, while cemented in his position, mist still feel heat. If improvements come, he's not going to fire the coach. Right now it the best opportunity Dallas will ever get to make changes. Does he have the guts to do so?

I wait and see.

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#30 Herbert
April 18 2014, 09:59PM
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Robin, you are on Gregors show every week. He's around the team a lot. A lot. Have you never asked him whats going on or is he that tight lipped around you?

Im sure his @Woogie63's comment wasn't directed solely at you because there are others who write on this blog that IS around the team daily.

Easy now.

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#31 Herbert
April 18 2014, 10:27PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Fair question.

I don't book guests on the show. I co-host Wednesday and Thursday. I don't get to just "make an appearance" when I want to.

As for the face-to-face part, it's not difficult to ask tough questions, but if you're expecting somebody to say things like "I don't believe you" or "you're blowing smoke" or "that sounds like BS to me," after they answer a question, then the interview is going to be very brief.

You let them answer, digest it and then you give your take on what was said. I don't know how you can be more up front than doing that on a show as popular as Jason's.

Understandable. But instead of a reporter or interviewer asking, "do you have confidence in the assistant coaches?" Which we know what the GM of this organization is going to answer with. Why not ask the man directly something like you said in your article? "How does a groups of assistant coaches survive this long and not a head coach?" Possibly even phrase a question where you already address previous answers? "You've stated your confidence in the assistants before. Could you explain how those two individuals have out lasted that many head coaches? Because at what point can you consider them a part of the problem?" This is what some dailies should ask IMO.

My reference to you being on Gregor was in reply to you saying you're not around the team and know insider things. I was trying to say that you are on gregors show 2/5 days a week and find it hard to believe that you don't have an interaction with them like you used to. I would assume that you still have a good idea of what is actually happening just by getting info from Gregor.

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#32 MacTastic
April 19 2014, 12:32AM
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This is perhaps the most clearly articulated counter-argument I have ever read to the notion that Lowe's continued presence as POHO is irrelevant to the day-to-day goings-on of the Oilers hockey operations. To those who would argue that Lowe's dismissal would be purely symbolic and have no real impact upon organizational mechanics, we have exhibit A.

We have a GM who, by all accounts, is or seems to be a pretty sharp guy. However, for him to state in public that the head coach's decision about coaching staff is his alone while simultaneously praising the same staff's sacred link to past glories seems, to me at least, unprecedented in professional sports. Like Buchberger's tenure itself: survival of 5 head coach turnovers while remaining in place throughout.

Mr Lowe's friendship with Mr Katz is the foundation upon which the Oilers culture of clinging to past glory and stale loyalties is playing itself out in a tangible way on the ice and behind the scenes.

The fish rots from the head. Well done Mr Bronte.

*Sheepishly steps off soapbox*

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#33 Casey
April 19 2014, 05:45PM
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"3 years and you are telling me you are impatient?" Hell yeah!!! Colorado drafts first, makes the playoffs,Columbus drafts second in 2012, makes playoffs. Tampa drafts 3rd overall, considered a contender, Aneheim, and Montreal draft top 5, both powerhouse teams in their conferences, Edmonton drafts 1st 3 years In a row and 7th pick, 3rd overall pick. Let that sink in

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#34 ThatButthurtOilersFan
April 18 2014, 07:18PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

Fire Bucky and Smith, bring in Todd Nelson as assistant coach

If that happens, then #1, who is going to be the coach in OKC and #2 who's going to develop our prospects? Besides, what we need right now is NHL experience behind the bench, not another rookie coach.

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#35 Bryzarro World
April 19 2014, 11:00AM
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nunyour wrote:

Katz has the power to do anything he wants to make this team successful,but he choses not too.How many nhl owners would put up with the oilers dismal record?

Does that make Katz the biggest idiot in hockey?

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#36 CMG30
April 19 2014, 08:44AM
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People have hopped on board the 'Klowe nepotism bus' hard here because one of the assistants has survived 5 head coaches...

Allow me to throw an alternate explanation out:

5 head coaches in 5 years. Those 5 years contained events like lockouts, shortened seasons, and rookie head coaches. Ask yourselves if it's reasonable for a brand new head coach to want to keep some key people around to help in the transition? Remember the coach can only tell so much from an interview and needs time to evaluate how well they actually do their jobs. Also, mid season is not really a great time to fire your assistants and conduct a replacement search.

In this case I think that there is an argument to be made that having these guys stick around for so long is actually another symptom of the head coaching circus in Edmonton.

*Note, I'm not defending the job the assistants have done and I'm firmly of the opinion that they need to move on. That time is now and if Eakins doesn't tackle this in the off season then that would be strong evidence to me that they are 'protected'.

I think Eakins has had some growing pains this season but the key word is growing. Still he needs to recognize his limitations and bring in assistants with experience and abilities in areas where he's lacking, such as running a PP.

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#37 Spydyr
April 19 2014, 10:24AM
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Derian Hatcher wrote:

@Herbert

An interesting question for RB. Correct me if I'm wrong, and I have definitely not observed every presser, but other than John Mackinnon's hardball questioning when MacT was introduced as GM (when kLowe had his little tantrum) I cannot recall many tough questions of oiler personnel. Why doesn't MSM ask some tough questions? Maybe we need to bring in some of the journalists who cover the legislature.

The yard sale continues....sigh.

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”

― George Orwell

Lots of public relations people in Edmonton's MSM.

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#38 Time Travelling Sean
April 18 2014, 08:12PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

Fire Bucky and Smith, bring in Todd Nelson as assistant coach

I'm pretty sure Nelson being an AHL HC and not an assistant for whichever team is enough of a sign to tell you that he's preparing himself to be a HC, and showing other teams that he's a pretty good coach coaching in the 2nd toughest league in N.America.

Just make Bucky a scout or Sr.Adviser or something, if you're so worried about his feelings.

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#39 CMG30
April 18 2014, 09:16PM
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I've been on record saying that keeping Eakins this year was the right move. I don't extend that to the assistants.

Eakins has to at least let Bucky go. His comment earlier in the season about the team not knowing basic defense has to seal his fate.

If both assistants survive this year then it's a message throughout the NHL that coaches in Edmonton don't have the freedom to hire their own staff.

In fact, with the whistle-stop head coach position in Edmonton I would make the case that the real coaches of the Oilers for the past number of years are the assistants and thus they bear more responsibility for the state of the Oilers than the current and past head coaches.

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#40 Herbert
April 18 2014, 09:37PM
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@Derian Hatcher & @etownman

Thanks guys. I really wonder what the case is with Edmonton's "journalists". This season has been a whole lot of accusations, assumptions and rhetoric by the media.

You could say him hiding behind the internet right now, but a lot of people would say that "journalists" are hiding too. Whenever a writer gets a one on one interview,(if they even get one) they seem to cower from calling management on their bs.

Its nice to rant an rave on a blog, but take the chance, get the gm(or someone) one on one, and say exactly whats being said on these blogs.

Any regular fan could ask the simple questions.

Just wonder if the media has been warned of being blacklisted...

(I had to use a different IP address to post this because for some reason I was blocked)

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#41 Ambassador humantorch
April 18 2014, 11:14PM
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Counterpoint: didn't Eakins bring in Keith Acton as an assistant, which then led to Will Acton "anchoring" our 4th line for way too long this season?

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#42 DonDon
April 18 2014, 11:45PM
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I don't know if MacT realizes it or not, but his statements in the media conference firmly put his job on the line, or should anywhere else in the world of professional sports.

As others have remarked, some of MacT's comments sounded delusional. The SCP have started and once again we witness what real hockey is all about. The Oilers are still so far removed from being a Stanley Cup contender it's ridiculous.

It is sad when one thinks that the Oilers could have had a veteran GM and veteran head coach at the start of this past season, but selected rookies for both positions! Priceless. Next season they won't be rookies, but will they be better? If you think so, I've got a bridge for sale that you would really like.

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#43 admiralmark
April 18 2014, 10:16PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Passes for journalism?

I have not travelled with the Oilers since 2007. I don't get to see Eakins and Buchberger, or any of the coaches for that matter, interact like I used to.

I don't see the coaching staff interact with the players like I used to. I don't talk to the coaches or the players like I used to. The guys writing for the dailies, on the other hand, do, so your question is probably better directed at them.

Or would you prefer it if I pretended to know something when I don't?

I can see that since you do not travel with the team you would not be privy to all the inside dealings. And I wouldn't assume you could dig it out somehow. But the issue thats talked about the assistant coaches does ultimately require more information for anyone really to make an assessment. So it would be nice for just one reporter around the team to figure out what the hell these two do or have done?

For example: 1) Who runs PP schemes either of them? ever? 2) Who gives guidance to the D men? either of them? ever? 3) Do either of them have any specific duties at all? ever and if so what?

Is this information that secret? Can it even be kept secret? Robin I am not saying you should know or could dig it up. But I have to admit its kinda weird that these details are so sketchy when this question is so on the forefront of many of the fans.

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#44 Andrew
April 19 2014, 01:29AM
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If Buchberger and Smith are so darned good why have they not been given a kick at the can to be head coach. Because Katz/Lowe/Mact are hiding these two chunks of deadwood in plain sight.

They hire people like Quinn, Renney etc to be the cannon fodder for an incompetent organization. What happens if there is a massive fail in the first 30 games next season? I can tell you Eakins will be fired and Smith and Buchberger will emerge from the smoke.

Mact's nose will grow from this debacle and he will look like a freaking elephant.

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#45 NJ
April 19 2014, 09:42AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

I am begining to think that MacT is a bit of a Snake Oiler Salesman!. Theres more smoke here than fire, and he just keeps blowing that smoke you know where.

If it aint a banger or a fourth liner, MacT seems to be lost. [ Perron fell into his lap, as ST Louis were dumping salary. Didnèt see Oshie coming this way, but I give him credit for Perron deal.

Lets, all remember one thing, who is driving the Boys on the Bus, bus... its Mr, Katz.

When an owner has his paws on the hockey operations big time.... you have CHAOS!!!.

Did Scrivens and Fasth fall in his lap as well. Hendricks? I suppose Dubnyk also "fell off his lap"? Horcoff gone? Gordon?

I understand MacT has made mistakes, and some moves haven't worked out... but the ones that matter, have been good. We await the summer.

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#46 oilers2k10
April 19 2014, 09:50AM
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Oilers management is doin a great job! They got their fans complaining more than the fans of the Leafs yet they still show up every night to watch them.

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#47 Spoilers
April 19 2014, 08:57AM
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Fire the POHO, and hire one that has won as the head of the MGT, not as a player.

Give the new POHO the keys to the kingdom and let them fire whoever they sense is a crony rather than a true pro.

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#48 nunyour
April 19 2014, 10:32AM
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Katz has the power to do anything he wants to make this team successful,but he choses not too.How many nhl owners would put up with the oilers dismal record?

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#49 spliff
April 19 2014, 10:24PM
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How many playoffs appearance for the Oilers since 2000? 3 times I think. F*cking pathetic.

Now, the Avalanche are giving their fans a great dose of playoff hockey, led by their recent top 5 draft picks. How about our Oilers?

The comparison to the Avs situation is very relevant to the Oilers, and shows that the Oilers management (KLowe, MacT, Howson) dropped the ball big time on this rebuild. I used to semi-respect MacT but after his BS press conference I realized he is just another crony - a part of the problem not the solution. Next year will disappoint, and the following year etc. etc. This management group are amateurs, who have had some past success, which makes them stubborn and arrogant.

When the mediocrity ends is anyone's guess. We are the Kansas City Royals of the NHL.

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#50 Robin Brownlee
April 18 2014, 10:13PM
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@Herbert

Fair question.

I don't book guests on the show. I co-host Wednesday and Thursday. I don't get to just "make an appearance" when I want to.

As for the face-to-face part, it's not difficult to ask tough questions, but if you're expecting somebody to say things like "I don't believe you" or "you're blowing smoke" or "that sounds like BS to me," after they answer a question, then the interview is going to be very brief.

You let them answer, digest it and then you give your take on what was said. I don't know how you can be more up front than doing that on a show as popular as Jason's.

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