Oklahoma City Barons coach Todd Nelson still in the running for NHL job in Carolina

Jonathan Willis
June 17 2014 12:26PM

Todd Nelson

It’s been known for a week that Oilers farm coach Todd Nelson was being considered for the vacant NHL head coaching position in Carolina. On Tuesday, TSN’s Darren Dreger revealed that he was still in the running for that job.

The Process in Carolina

The Hurricanes seem to be leaving no stone unturned in their search for Kirk Muller’s replacement. John Stevens is highly-regarded and has a history as an NHL head coach, Jacques Martin has a *long* history as an NHL head coach, Ulf Samuelsson has worked under Dave Tippett and Alain Vigneault in the NHL and had two years as a head coach in Sweden.

That’s pretty significant competition, and we haven’t even mentioned Dan Bylsma, recently let go by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

If Nelson is still in the running a week after being interviewed, it suggests he’s a serious candidate for the job as opposed to being talked to as part of that team’s due diligence; one wonders whether the Hurricanes might offer him an associate coaching position if he doesn’t end up as their primary candidate, much the way Edmonton did with Tom Renney in 2009-10.

Nelson has done excellent work in Oklahoma City, and it would be a significant loss for the Oilers if he ends up in Carolina.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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 Will
June 17 2014, 12:28PM
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Well, if Nelson leaves Oklahoma, perhaps head coach of the Oil Kings could step in to fill his shoes? Is that a worthy promotion?

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#2 Retsinnab5
June 17 2014, 12:34PM
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Really hope Nelson stays

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#3 D
June 17 2014, 12:35PM
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From a pure business perspective, you know an organization is doing something right when others actively try to get its personnel. It seems like it's been a long time since another team asked to speak to a member of the Oilers' management or coaching staff for possible employment.

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#4 Buke
June 17 2014, 12:40PM
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This would be a massive loss for the organization. Todd Nelson is one of the best development coaches out there. For purely selfish reasons I hope he doesn't get it. MacT should seriously consider moving him up into at a minimum of Associate Coach if we are lucky enough to keep him next year.

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#5 pelhem grenville
June 17 2014, 12:41PM
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...a monumental FAIL if Todd Nelson gets head hunted by any other team...it only says he's not being treated right by this oiler parent club **********EDIT~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ and new hire Bob Nicholson is the only one who gets blamed for THAT!...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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#6 YakCity1024
June 17 2014, 12:46PM
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When guys like Pitlick, Gernat, Lander, Musil, etc all become important pieces for the Oilers, either as a member of the team or trade bait to land a player who will help us win the cup, we can thank Todd Nelson. REALLY hope he stays as well. It would really suck to see us lose him to the team that we lost the cup to.

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#7 OF17
June 17 2014, 12:50PM
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This would be excellent for Nelson. I really hope that he gets the job, even though it would hurt the Oilers. He's stated before that his goal is to become an NHL head coach, and for a guy as hardworking and effective as he seems to be, I hope for all the best for him. Laxdal would have to be a candidate if Nelson leaves.

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#8 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
June 17 2014, 01:00PM
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Really hope he stays, he's worked some minor miracles in OKC.

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#9 Rama Lama
June 17 2014, 01:13PM
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We probably have one of the best development coaches is the AHL..........instead we got the best dressed coach in the NHL.

Mac T would be an absolute fool to let this guy walk..........please MacT in the offchance you might read this...........for the love of God and all things hockey, please fire that clown we have and replace him with TN.

Okay maybe firing him is over the top, please send him to run all the donut operations for the new arena.

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#10 2004Z06
June 17 2014, 01:24PM
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Nelson should have been offered an assistant/associate role in Edmonton. (Maybe he was but wants a HC job?) Laxdal then backfills in OKC and the Oil kings assistant takes over here with the WHL club.

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#11 vetinari
June 17 2014, 01:29PM
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Nelson's been doing everything that he can to earn an NHL job, and I have to be happy for him-- even if it's not with the Oilers.

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#12 Will
June 17 2014, 01:35PM
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Coaching staff on the big club, as has been recently reported is up to the head coach. Doubtful Eakins would want to hire the guy who has all the kids ears who are coming up through the system. And I doubt there is much Mac T can do to stop teams from head hunting short of offering up the Oilers head coaching spot, which won't happen. This is how these guys get promoted. Yes it will be a huge loss, but then again, I hate to say it, but it does seem like someone in the front office did well in re-organizing our development system. Because right underneath Nelson is potentially an even better coach in Derek Laxdal. In a very short time the guy has created quite the Dub franchise. And sure they have some good players in the likes of Reinhert, Lazar, Moroz, and Samuelson, but other than Griffin who went fourth overall, none of these guys are in the top ten selections. So really, you gotta give it to the coach.

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#13 Anonymous
June 17 2014, 01:37PM
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY HENDY!!!!! The Wonger!

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#14 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
June 17 2014, 01:46PM
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Wonger sighting! Where's my camera...

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#15 SmythsMullet
June 17 2014, 01:48PM
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Let's just put it this way, the mighty Oil should be flattered. With these vacancies and he didn't get any calls that would be worse.

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#16 A-Mc
June 17 2014, 01:49PM
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If Nelson wants a head coaching job in the NHL and nothing less, there isn't much the Oilers can do.

Firing Eakins is not going to happen right now. By March of next year if we're at the bottom still, it's more likely we change coaches again. But until then, the oilers can only hope Nelson decides to stick around.

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#17 pkam
June 17 2014, 02:08PM
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Did I get this right? Todd Nelson is the only AHL head coach being invited to interview for the Canes HC job?

Doesn't this say something positive about the Oilers management? Is Nelson hired by Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini? Let's give credit to those who deserve.

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#18 vetinari
June 17 2014, 02:39PM
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pkam wrote:

Did I get this right? Todd Nelson is the only AHL head coach being invited to interview for the Canes HC job?

Doesn't this say something positive about the Oilers management? Is Nelson hired by Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini? Let's give credit to those who deserve.

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

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#19 pkam
June 17 2014, 02:43PM
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vetinari wrote:

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

I believe it is not the management, but the previous owners group. They don't want to spend the money. A reason why Lowe push for the sales of the team to Katz. And I believe it is Lowe who convinced Katz to set up the farm team again.

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#20 vetinari
June 17 2014, 02:48PM
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pkam wrote:

I believe it is not the management, but the previous owners group. They don't want to spend the money. A reason why Lowe push for the sales of the team to Katz. And I believe it is Lowe who convinced Katz to set up the farm team again.

Source?

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#21 WhattaMike
June 17 2014, 02:48PM
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The Oilers should promote Nelson now and let him re-adjust as an asst coach in the NHL...the guy flat out deserves it.

Derek Laxdal deserves being brought up to the Barons as well as he also truly deserves a big promotion as well. Both guys intimately know many of the kids in the system, even moreso with Laxdal coaching a quite a few such as Broisoitt, Ewanyk, Moroz, Marancin, Gernat, etc.

Steve Hamilton is more than capable and is excellent with of running the Oil Kings this coming season as well.

That being said, Nelson does deserve recognition from the other teams as well for the hard successful work he has done.

Nelson would love working in a hockey city like Edmonton instead of 1500 fans a game in OKC and I say the Barons should move to a hockey city like say...Saskatoon... where they would bring in good sized crowds of probably nine thousand a game plus...instead...which is on par with what Laxdal coaches in front of.

If Nelson does get a job in Carolina or somewhere else in the NHL...it's the Oilers next biggest stupid loss once again...and I will wish Todd Nelson best of luck bud cause ya did great!!! There is no reason the Oilers should be letting guys go of this kind of hockey stature.

Perfect example of the Oilers wrongly letting go/losing a very good coach....Claude Julien who won a cup as head coach with the Bruins not long ago.

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#22 NJ
June 17 2014, 02:55PM
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I like Nelson and it's a huge loss if he leaves...

But the very LAST thing we need is another rookie coach learning the ropes with our youngsters who are learning the ropes. Shoot me now. You really want Nelson behind the bench with Eakins? A combined one year of NHL coaching experience? We need proven NHL coaching to prop up Eakins... No more rookies Please God!

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#23 Lloyd B.
June 17 2014, 03:02PM
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@NJ

Nelson was an NHL assistant for two years. 2008-9, 2009-10 with Atlanta.

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#24 WhattaMike
June 17 2014, 03:09PM
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@NJ

I see your concern for Nelson being only with one year of NHL experience...but...he is a technical development coach and the Oilers are basically still a young team.

His coaching knowledge of the kids getting ready for the NHL like Marancin, Pitlick, Lander, Fedun, Gernat, Khaira, Ewanyk, Kelssy, Arcobello, Broisoitt, etc, is essential and is most excellent to give Eakins better insight on who can do what and do it well or not... and that is best for the team.

Next is that he won games and then got his AHL teams into the playoffs continuously despite injury re-calls and no names mainly on the Barons.

As for experience, the Oilers just hired Ramsay who has mega years and experience of very good and successful coaching to meld with Eakins and a guy like Nelson. Promoting Nelson for as to be the fourth coach is a win win situation ....

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#25 Zarny
June 17 2014, 03:13PM
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From a selfish POV I'd love to see Nelson in OKC next year and eventually in Edmonton.

However, if he can get a shot as an NHL head coach good for him. Wish him all the best!

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#26 ubermiguel
June 17 2014, 03:16PM
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vetinari wrote:

Source?

Katz bought the team in July 2008. Tambo got hired shortly after. The Barons were announced in February 2010. If Tambo and Lowe did one thing right it was creating a proper farm system again.

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#27 Jasmine
June 17 2014, 03:55PM
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vetinari wrote:

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

It was EIG that said Oilers didn't need an AHL team. Lowe said they needed one but as usual Oilers fans blame Lowe for it and once again give the idiot EIG a free ride.

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#28 Jasmine
June 17 2014, 04:00PM
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ubermiguel wrote:

Katz bought the team in July 2008. Tambo got hired shortly after. The Barons were announced in February 2010. If Tambo and Lowe did one thing right it was creating a proper farm system again.

The AHL team was in Springfield prior to going to OKC. The didn't have an AHL team for 2 years and Lowe had to convince EIG they needed an AHL team. EIG ran Slats out of town and they nearly ran Lowe out of town.

Yes EIG saved the team but they nearly destroyed it as well if Katz hadn't bought the team.

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#29 pkam
June 17 2014, 04:03PM
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vetinari wrote:

Source?

No source, just speculation and rumors.

It is no secret that the previous owners group was not willing to spend, which lead me to believe that Lowe didn't have the financial support from the owners to run the farm team.

I heard rumor that Lowe and Katz are good friends and Lowe is the person who talked Katz into buying the Oilers so he can implement his vision of building a champion team.

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#30 Rama Lama
June 17 2014, 04:04PM
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Jasmine wrote:

It was EIG that said Oilers didn't need an AHL team. Lowe said they needed one but as usual Oilers fans blame Lowe for it and once again give the idiot EIG a free ride.

Hey Kevin..........glad to see you trolling again!!

Now please go back to that rock you crawled out from........and never show yourself, you pathetic reason for a President!

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#31 DonDon
June 17 2014, 04:04PM
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A-Mc wrote:

If Nelson wants a head coaching job in the NHL and nothing less, there isn't much the Oilers can do.

Firing Eakins is not going to happen right now. By March of next year if we're at the bottom still, it's more likely we change coaches again. But until then, the oilers can only hope Nelson decides to stick around.

If the Oilers are still at the bottom by March of next year both Eakins and MacTavish should be fired. MacT put his job on the line at the end of the year in retaining the status quo and if it does work he should be gone too.

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#32 Zarny
June 17 2014, 04:16PM
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vetinari wrote:

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

That's revisionist history.

No one, including Lowe, said the Oilers didn't need a dedicated AHL team.

The EIG ownership group simply said they didn't have the money for one. On a few occasions, EIG needed a cash call just to pay the Oilers' bills.

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#33 NJ
June 17 2014, 04:31PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

@NJ

I see your concern for Nelson being only with one year of NHL experience...but...he is a technical development coach and the Oilers are basically still a young team.

His coaching knowledge of the kids getting ready for the NHL like Marancin, Pitlick, Lander, Fedun, Gernat, Khaira, Ewanyk, Kelssy, Arcobello, Broisoitt, etc, is essential and is most excellent to give Eakins better insight on who can do what and do it well or not... and that is best for the team.

Next is that he won games and then got his AHL teams into the playoffs continuously despite injury re-calls and no names mainly on the Barons.

As for experience, the Oilers just hired Ramsay who has mega years and experience of very good and successful coaching to meld with Eakins and a guy like Nelson. Promoting Nelson for as to be the fourth coach is a win win situation ....

My only question for you then is what part of Nelson's resume is not on Eakin's resume?

I can stand corrected on him not having minor experience in the NHL. I can also see your point, I just feel that Dallas has all of that and the only thing he (Nelson) brings to the table is that he knows all of our farm team players. There's no experience from him in turning borderline NHL players into bonafide NHL players. Frankly I'd love to see a Dan Byslma here or someone with that pedigree in the organization if for some reason he doesn't get hired somewhere else. I have my doubts though that he's long without a job. :/

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#34 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 17 2014, 04:33PM
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I see a parallel between Archobello and Nelson.

Oilers never expected measureable progress from either, yet both have made significant strides in their positions that management must not have anticipated.

Both could soon be working outside of that circle of trust/loyalty.

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#35 KSC10032
June 17 2014, 04:44PM
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On a separate, yet not unrelated note -- Jonathan, what are your plans for the 2014-2015 hockey season? Will you be staying on in OKC? Or was that just a one-of?

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#36 WhattaMike
June 17 2014, 04:46PM
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@NJ

Hey bud, if the Oilers could bring in a Dan Bylsma, Ron Wilson, or another teacher coach like Renney then I'm for that without disrespect to Nelson.

But, the guys like Bylsma are long term head coaches and hose guys would probably want something vewry significant in order to become an asst coach again...with any team.

However, the game is hockey and Nelson has coached quite awhile at various levels..and he wins/gets his team into the playoffs...and this is what is important for the team and the fans. The best most important thing is to win the championship of course.

Nelson deserves a shot with the Oilers and the thing that proves this also in addition to, is that he is still being considered a good shot at coaching another NHL team..the Hurricanes. That recogniotion proves he may do excellently with the Oilers

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#37 pkam
June 17 2014, 05:08PM
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WhattaMike wrote:

@NJ

Hey bud, if the Oilers could bring in a Dan Bylsma, Ron Wilson, or another teacher coach like Renney then I'm for that without disrespect to Nelson.

But, the guys like Bylsma are long term head coaches and hose guys would probably want something vewry significant in order to become an asst coach again...with any team.

However, the game is hockey and Nelson has coached quite awhile at various levels..and he wins/gets his team into the playoffs...and this is what is important for the team and the fans. The best most important thing is to win the championship of course.

Nelson deserves a shot with the Oilers and the thing that proves this also in addition to, is that he is still being considered a good shot at coaching another NHL team..the Hurricanes. That recogniotion proves he may do excellently with the Oilers

Both Eakins and Nelson have excellent achievement as AHL head coach but neither have NHL head coach experience before this season, so it is hard to tell who is really better.

I was shocked when MacT announced the appointment of Eakins this offseason without even giving Nelson an opportunity to compete for the job. The funny thing is I got tons of trashes when I wrote then that Nelson should at least got an interview.

If Eakins can be considered for a NHL head coach by at least 2 teams (Canucks is the other), I don't see why Nelson wouldn't. Will he be better than Eakins? Only time will tell.

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#38 pelhem grenville
June 17 2014, 05:20PM
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pelhem grenville wrote:

...a monumental FAIL if Todd Nelson gets head hunted by any other team...it only says he's not being treated right by this oiler parent club **********EDIT~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ and new hire Bob Nicholson is the only one who gets blamed for THAT!...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

...that's now 80 trashes on 45 comments?

is that a record?

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#39 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
June 17 2014, 06:08PM
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@pelhem grenville

Darn close to it.

Some guy on Sunday had 190 trashes and 37 props on a 51 postings effort. For the life of me, I can't remember exactly who the guy was just now though. Plenty of passion/bait flyin around in that article.

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#40 BlazingSaitls
June 17 2014, 06:47PM
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@pelhem grenville

I made this post and got 112 trashes. It was a fairly even comment/trash ratio though. Still hurt , hehe

"At this point IDC if its Drysaddle, another Sam, or a lumbering Manbaby.

Just trade the pick."

The closer we get to the draft I think people will open up to the idea more.

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#41 Harlie
June 17 2014, 07:14PM
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I'm sorry, I haven't been enamored with the Barons performance and the call ups have struggled for the most part with maybe Marincin as the exception.

Can't hang the worst attendance record on him but he wears that with the rest of the Org.

He's been an NHL assistant before so if he leaves I understand, but he's certainly not a white knight in the organization that could step in and clean up this mess, so not a big loss IMO.

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#42 Alsker
June 17 2014, 09:28PM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

Darn close to it.

Some guy on Sunday had 190 trashes and 37 props on a 51 postings effort. For the life of me, I can't remember exactly who the guy was just now though. Plenty of passion/bait flyin around in that article.

Some guy????Now, now QSB, you belittle yourself, strangely enough I was one who propped you for your blatant honesty. But back to Nelson, if the Oil can't find a a place for Todd then all the best to him and may Klown and his cronies mark this date on the calendar as one of the major nails in their coffins as NHL management employees. God I hope that Nicholson has the authority and balls to do what needs to be done in our front office and purge us of the undeserving existance of former Oilers....

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#43 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
June 17 2014, 10:03PM
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@Harlie

The fact that the Barons made the playoffs last year is an incredible feat, in my opinion. How many times were players called up and demoted? I believe it was over 100.

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#44 Frank the dog
June 17 2014, 10:41PM
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vetinari wrote:

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

They got their own club when Katz gave them the money. Before that they couldn't even afford the NHL club.

OOPS Sorry everyone that beat me to this.

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#45 DonDon
June 17 2014, 11:04PM
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I share Jason's concern that the Oilers are moving into a very dangerous period and I'm worried. First, if MacT screws up the draft, trades and free agency the team is doomed for another lottery position and worse.

And if Eakins doesn't improve on the coaching side the club is back to a total rebuild and will kill any hope on the part of the skilled players like Hall, RNH, Eberle, Schultz, Perron, Yakupov to ever make the playoffs and waste a year of development for the upcoming players like Klefbom, Nurse, etc.

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#46 The Beaker
June 18 2014, 06:49AM
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vetinari wrote:

Yes. Let's credit them properly. The same management team who for years thought that we did not need our own dedicated AHL team and farmed our players out to other team's affiliates and stunted years of player development and growth got it right with hiring Nelson once they figured out the benefit of having a full AHL affiliate. Kudos to them.

Source?

That works both ways.....

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#47 Mike IA
June 18 2014, 09:33AM
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It would be a shame if Todd Nelson left for an HC job with the 'Canes, but he wants an NHL HC job, and deserves one.

Craig Ramsey will work diligently to repair Eakins rep, and maybe restore some of MacT's.

Laxdall is an obvious choice for OKC, and Hamilton is his obvious replacement with the Oil Kings.

Change is inevitable but this time everybody will be happy, or at least benefit.

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