Oilers To Add Another Coach?

Boucher and Desjardins

Pipeline Show hosts Guy Flaming and Dean Millard have been doing some tremendous work on the show’s blog lately, but of particular interest was their run-down of possible candidates for the open assistant coaching spot in Edmonton.

Flaming tosses out four possible names; let’s take a brief look at each of them in turn.

Guy Boucher

Boucher (pictured, centre right) has been rumored as a possible head coach for Montreal’s farm team in Hamilton, and he’s got a remarkable background, even for a hockey coach. Only 37 years old, Boucher has a master’s degree in sports psychology, as well as arts and engineering degrees from McGill University.

He’s coached in France (leading junior team Viry Chatillon to a national championship) and has experience as an assistant coach in the QMJHL and also with various Canadian junior teams. He ran the powerplay on last year’s gold medal-winning team, which was coached by (obviously) Pat Quinn.

This past season he was the head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs; his team went 54-10-4 in the regular season (with a rather remarkable powerplay – 31.9% efficient) and won the QMJHL title this past year.

Willie Desjardins

Desjardins (pictured, far right) has been extremely successful as the head coach and general manager of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who he’s coached since 2002-03 (he became G.M. as well in 2005-06). He already has some experience with Quinn – Flaming mentions that he ran the defenseman for Team Canada at last year’s World Junior Championship so perhaps he could fill a similar role with the Oilers.

Desjardins has coached college hockey at the University of Calgary, like Bill Moores he’s spent a few seasons coaching in Japan, and he’s also worked with the Canadian National team before it was disbanded. With his current team, he’s already won two championships. Perhaps most interesting is this quote from the Tigers’ website:

In twenty one years of coaching, Willie has missed the play-offs only once and has taken his teams to league finals a total of thirteen times.

Don Hay

Long-time WHL coach Don Hay has had his share of success as a head coach (two Memorial Cup wins, gold medal with Canada’s 1995 World Junior team) but very little of it has come in the professional ranks. He’s been an NHL head coach twice; spending 1996-97 in Phoenix (the Coyotes lost in the first round) and starting 2000-01 with Calgary before getting booted midseason in favour of Greg Gilbert. In fairness, on both occasions he did as well as could be expected with a poor team.

He’s been successful all over the WHL, currently with the Vancouver Giants (he was Gilbert Brule’s junior coach); Flaming points out that Quinn owns a part of that team so there’s an established connection there, and also that in his early WHL days in Kamloops he workedwith Tom Renney.

Perry Pearn

Perry Pearn has coached in the NHL every season since 1995-96, but he needs to find a new home if he doesn’t want that streak to end. Pearn was the special teams coach in New York but he was also fired when Glen Sather decided to replace Tom Renney with John Tortorella. Before Jacques Martin hired Peter DeBoer he asked the Rangers for permission to speak to Pearn about his vacant head coaching job (Pearn was an assistant to Martin in Ottawa) but strangely Pearn never got an interview.

Pearn’s no stranger to the Edmonton area; he coached NAIT’s team for 15 years, and while doing so was involved in many of Canada’s world junior entries. In 1993 he was the head coach of the gold-medal winning team. He then spent one season coaching in Switzerland, and one more as head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers before getting his first NHL job in Winnipeg.

My Choice

There isn’t a bad option on this list, but for my money the best candidate is Boucher. I like the notion of hiring a coach with a degree in sports psychology, and I love the notion of hiring a coach who has a great track record running a powerplay; the Oilers’ unit has long been unimaginative and predictable, and it would be great if that were to change.

  • Hippy

    I'd also be inclined to hire Boucher given the PP sucess. With exception to this year how did his teams stack up on the PP?

    Knowing our luck it'll be Bucky runnin the PP and we hire Al Pacino to complement Quinns speaches in the LR.

  • Hippy

    Another great post, Jonathon. Agreed, there really appears to be no poor choice from that list. But I think the real question that has to be answered first is what roles will the current coaching staff be behind the bench?

    Something I found interesting from the media scrum with Quinn on the Oilers website was how he discussed prior make-up of coaching whereby he use to have a coach handle teh forwards and one teh defensemen. Then he said that he switched from that to having a coach handle the team system when they had puck possession, and had the other coach handle the team system and play when they didn't have the puck. I wonder what system he will implement here with that regard.

    I suppose it also really depends on what Renney's role will be, as well, what the do with bucky exactly. Maybe they bring in another guy and have Bucky more-or-less just watching and learning everything he can from all of the 3 other coaches (along with a lighter role, like being the players confident and go-between?

    But I have to agree with you that the thought of bringing in someone with a great track record for the PP would be a very nice addition. Mind you, after last season perhaps more importantly is someone to handle the PK system?

  • Hippy

    Like the idea of a PP guy who actually had had success and coached it before. As for the PK, Renney's teams have always been strong in that area and I expect he'll be in charge of that aspect. Seems like it may be stacking up for the roles to be:
    Quinn: overall coach, motivator
    Renney; defensive system coach including PK
    Boucher: offensive systems coach (with Quinn) but mostly PP
    Bucky: motivator/token old Oiler who will tell stories of the glory years. And in his world the glory years were losing to Dallas and Colorado in the 1st round.

  • Hippy

    I would take any guy on that list, we need all the help we can get with our special teams. I don't think "pass it Souray" will work at all anymore for our PP as the whole league was onto that play after the first two months of last season. And our PK is mostly just stick swinging and Pisani intercepts. If we can get our special teams on track we should be fit for at least a first round exit!

  • Hippy

    Crossword Puzzle Book wrote:

    This is a very interesting website. I wish I had found it earlier. This information will definitely come in handy.

    Was 11 Across "Obscure QMJHL coach with best power play" or "The year Pat Quinn invented fire"?

  • Hippy

    Where's Doug Gilmour at? Isn't he coaching a junior A team or something in Ont? He might be a good add?

    TSN or Sportsnet unintentionally showed a side profile view of T. Jones during the Pat Quinn press conference…..whoa. You should ask him where the best donairs in Edmonton are….betcha he knows.

  • Hippy

    This is actually starting to give me confidence that the team is looking at some good hockey minds with successful track records. Not just great buddy guys with recent NHL playing experience.

  • Hippy

    The Menace wrote:

    This is actually starting to give me confidence that the team is looking at some good hockey minds with successful track records. Not just great buddy guys with recent NHL playing experience.

    I think we turned that page the minute Tambo said Mact was out, you had to know he wouldn't hire someone who didn't have a good track record.

  • Hippy

    I think you'd have a hard time selling Desjardins or Hay on an assistant's job right now. Desjardins has to be thinking that a good showing at this upcoming World Juniors will get him on somebody's list the next time a head coaching job comes open. It happened to Sutter, Hartsburg and Quinn, after all. Hay's been there and done that as an NHL head coach and assistant, the WHL is his comfort zone. I could've seen him maybe in the role Renney's got under Quinn, with the unofficial promise that he'll be elevated to the head job when Quinn retires, but with that job already taken I don't think he'd sign up.

    Boucher and Pearn would both be great choices, though. I'm with the other guys who are saying Boucher based on his power play success last season alone.

  • Hippy

    scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

    I think we turned that page the minute Tambo said Mact was out, you had to know he wouldn’t hire someone who didn’t have a good track record.

    Won't matter none if we don't make some SERIOUS on ice personnel changes as well. If we make no or insignificant player moves….I can see it now (cue crystal ball). We win 15 of our first 20 Tambo, Quinn and company are hailed as heros, by the time March rolls around we're on the outside looking in at the top 8. Don't get me wrong, I like who we hired, but they're not magicians.

  • Hippy

    @ Brian:

    I don't disagree; aside from Pearn I think an NHL team would need to do a serious recruitment job to get any of the other three guys. Which just goes to show how desirable they are as coaching candidates.

  • Hippy

    sittingatmydesk wrote:

    im still wondering why buchberger is on the bench., what kind of credentials does he have?
    what about huddy? our d-men really improved over the years….

    I like Huddy quite a bit.

    It's just a thought, but I'm guessing that the Oilers wanted to retain someone with firsthand knowledge of both the prospects and the current team; Bucky's intimately acquainted with both from the past few years and allows the team to leave Rob Daum in the AHL job.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    RE: Terry Jones
    Could we knock off the fat jokes? There’s no shortage of other ammunition to use against him.

    Very noble gesture….consider it done (on my part anyway, I can't speak for the rest of the ON bloggers). Maybe we should offer Mr. Penner the same?

    Let's get Mr. Miyagi to help out on the bench. Wax on Wax off, Brush up Brush Down……He worked wonders for Danielson.

  • Hippy

    dyckster wrote:

    scorcoff hemmercules wrote:
    I think we turned that page the minute Tambo said Mact was out, you had to know he wouldn’t hire someone who didn’t have a good track record.
    Won’t matter none if we don’t make some SERIOUS on ice personnel changes as well. If we make no or insignificant player moves….I can see it now (cue crystal ball). We win 15 of our first 20 Tambo, Quinn and company are hailed as heros, by the time March rolls around we’re on the outside looking in at the top 8. Don’t get me wrong, I like who we hired, but they’re not magicians.

    I think you got me wrong. All I mean to say is that when Tambo had the presser to announce that MacT was gone, all the things he said were pretty encouraging and showed a change in direction for the better. Hiring Quinn, Renney and possibly another experienced assitant just backs up what Tambo said he would do. Like you said though, they aren't magicians. We need some player changes. We need to be hard to play against.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    RE: Terry Jones
    Could we knock off the fat jokes? There’s no shortage of other ammunition to use against him.

    Agreed – the fat jokes are really the low-hanging fruit on TJ, so to speak.

  • Hippy

    But speaking of eating…..I went to the place recomended for great Donairs and Smoked Meat sandwiches for lunch today…I had been druling all weekend thinking about a great true Montreal Smoked Meat but alas they are gone. The only thing on Bugsy"s menu hanging in the window was "For Lease"

  • Hippy

    I fully expect Quinn to be seen at Ceilies for some solid irish pub fare c/w a properly poured guinness delivered by a perky and bountiful lass in an uber sexy kilt.

    I luvs that place.

    so minus the attempted levity… we are of the opinion that it wont be rick lee.

    Perry Pearn is back in town for a coaching clinic in a couple weeks (again).

    How bout a younger version of Huddy… like James Patrick from buffalo?

  • Hippy

    I would think the guy running the PP and PK would be Renney, since its something that he has had success in the past with. If this coaching staff is lacking anything right now, its someone to run the D.

  • Hippy

    Engineering Degree, Arts Degree, and a MA in Sports Psychology?! This dude is an over achiever of the highest magnitude. Perfect for the position of Asst coach, and when the Quinn/Renney train comes to a stop he might be a candidate for promotion.

  • Hippy

    dyckster wrote:

    Jonathan Willis wrote:
    RE: Terry Jones
    Could we knock off the fat jokes? There’s no shortage of other ammunition to use against him.
    Very noble gesture….consider it done (on my part anyway, I can’t speak for the rest of the ON bloggers). Maybe we should offer Mr. Penner the same?
    Let’s get Mr. Miyagi to help out on the bench. Wax on Wax off, Brush up Brush Down……He worked wonders for Danielson.

    Daniel-san 🙂

    I'm all for a power play specialist – oh what it would be like to have an imaginative power play….