Jeff Truitt is in as head coach of the Springfield Falcons and that means it will be made official shortly that Kelly Buchberger is joining the Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach.
My sources tell me that Truitt was informed Friday he’ll be taking over as bench boss with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, meaning it’s likely only a matter of days until the Oilers come clean on Bucky’s impending return.
As a close friend and former teammate of head coach Craig MacTavish, Buchberger has had the position earmarked for him from the moment he signed a two-year contract and took over behind the bench with Springfield after Geoff Ward left for the Boston Bruins.
Bucky took the out-of-town gig because the plan all along was to bring him to Edmonton after the first year of his deal. Likewise, Truitt was told by the Oilers after he left Kelowna of the WHL he would become the head man in Springfield when Buchberger was bumped up.
Well, as of the last 48 hours, that dime’s been dropped on Truitt, so I’m assuming the Oilers will let the local media and fans in on the goings-on soon enough.
MacTavish hinted something might be up in terms of an announcement in conversation with Just A Game host Jason Gregor on Team 1260 late this past week.
MacTavish: “I’ve got a plan in place here that I don’t want to divulge right now. Any further discussion of that would put the cart ahead of the horse right now. It’ll become clearer for everybody with time.”
Gregor: “Fair to say Kelly Buchberger is in the mix in that future, possibly?”
MacTavish: “Yes, that’s fair to say, but that’s as far as I want to go on it.”
Didn’t I say that?
Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, Buchberger being fast-tracked to MacTavish’s staff is a shot I called here at OilersNation at the end of this season and a formality Total Sports host Bob Stauffer and I have talked about repeatedly in recent weeks.
I think the term I used just last Tuesday when Stauffer asked about the likelihood of Bucky drawing NHL per diem this season as an assistant coach was “Bet the farm.”
Maybe that’s why Gregor referred to Buchberger’s pending promotion after his interview with MacT as one of those “worst-kept secrets.” Of course, it would have been appreciated if Gregor had mentioned that. I mean, it’s not like “BUCKY WILL BE HIRED” became public because it was scrawled on a shathouse wall at Overtime. Anyway, I whine. I whine.
The guy taking the pipe in all of this is Rob Daum, even if the Oilers are spinning it differently.
“I thought Rob, firstly and foremost, did a very good job for us in the time he was there,” MacTavish told Gregor. “But I was very clear to Rob at the start when we brought him in at the start of the year it was going to be a one-year position.
“That’s the way I felt about the job. It certainly wasn’t a reflection of the job Rob did because I thought he brought in a lot of really good, positive things for the club. In a lot of ways, he did some real good work for us.”
Not good enough, though, to get the head coaching job in Springfield—a position Daum has said he’d happily take—because that was promised, and has been delivered, to Truitt.
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.