Can a new coach be a savior to the Oil?

While the Oiler faithful waits patiently to see who will be their next head coach, the question that should be asked is how much will it matter?

Since Craig MacTavish was relieved of his duties/fired/resigned/time for a change, there is a sense that a new head coach will be the spark this organization needs to get back on track.

Will he be the savior?

No.

He will make a difference, but unless he’s a miracle worker most of the changes will come from the players themselves.

The new boss won’t make Cogliano better in the faceoff dot, nor will he get Penner in better shape. That commitment and dedication will come from the players. The coach might communicate and interact with them better, which might help with their confidence, but the inner drive to succeed and improve will manifest from the players.

Case in point: Todd McLellan.

All season long he has been heralded as a great coach. He was the new voice that would finally make the Sharks live up to their potential. Yet, once again it is Groundhog Day in San Jose.

The Sharks are halfway to another big-time gag job. Have they suddenly tuned out Mclellan? Did he get stupid in the last week?

Of course not, but unless he can transplant some desire and will into Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau the Sharks aren’t going anywhere. Cheechoo, who struggled all year, has been their most effective player. He has battled hard v. the Human Rake all series, and yesterday scored a beautiful goal. He is in the game, going to the tough areas and has shown the competitive level that is necessary to thrive in the playoffs.

To date Thornton has not, but if you’re McLellan your only choice is too keep going with Thornton and hope that if he gets a bounce that will spark his game.

McLellan and his staff will be watching tape to figure out what has gone wrong on special teams. The Sharks were top five on PP and PK in the regular season, but they have been brutal in both against the Ducks.

The Sharks are 0-12 on the PP, while the Ducks are two for six. The Sharks’ lack of success on the PP has killed them so far. We’ll see if McLellan can come up with a few wrinkles that can get the Sharks back in the series, but if he doesn’t then once again the Sharks will remain regular season stalwarts and post-season weaklings.

Will a new coach help the Oilers?

Yes, but he won’t be a miracle worker. I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive.

But like McLellan is learning, if your best players get outplayed by the other team’s best players your chances of winning in the playoffs are minimal.

Other playoff tidbits

What a great game three in Philadelphia yesterday. That series has been the most entertaining by far. Hits, fights, goals and a true hatred amongst the teams. And how sweet is Scott Hartnell’s/Side Show Bob hair right now. That’s the best salad in the league hands down.

I just can’t get into the Canes/Devils series. I tried watching game three yesterday, and that series does nothing for me. Although watching Bill Cowher get that excited to wind up the horn was comedy. I thought he was going to start spitting he was so fired up. You gotta think he will be back coaching in the NFL very soon.
I don’t like to rip on broadcasters, but listening to Mark Lee is painful.

The atmosphere at the United Center is great, but it still doesn’t come close to Chicago Stadium. I remember when the Oilers and Hawks used to battle it out in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and the noise before the game even started made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The acoustics in that building were the best ever.

It sure sucks not having playoffs in Edmonton again. The city just isn’t the same.

Things that make you go ‘hmmmmm’

Will Darryl Sutter get the axe if the Flamers go out in five? Or does he tie the can to Mike Keenan to save his own behind?

Is Malkin better than Crosby? He definitely is a better goal scorer.

Will there be a better hit during the playoffs than the one Chris Kunitz had on Kimmo Timonen? Kunitz has been a great addition for the Pens since coming over from Anaheim.

I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?

And will any coach use this as a motivational tool to show his players anything is possible? I rarely check out YouTube, but I will admit this one was pretty got my attention. I always wanted to be a rockstar more than an athlete. I doubt she will live the rockstar life, but being able to sing like that might be better than sports.

I’m just saying.

This one kinda chokes a guy up… weird.

  • Ogden Brother

    Great blog, I've been thinking alot about the topic… I think Oiler fans are in for a bit of a let down.

    Also:

    "Yes, but he won’t be a miracle worker. I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive."

    Another good point that unfortunatly the cronic MacT bashers will skip over when the team does hit it's stride.

  • I think the new coach comes in at the right time. Gagner, Cogliano, Gilbert will be better just because of age and strength. And he will have a new message, system and personality that will automatically make all the players be more attentive.

    I think there's a lot of truth in that statement.

  • That Kunitz hit was epic. Oh man, was that a beauty.

    Crosby isn't a goal scorer, he's a passer. I don't even know how comparing him to Malkin is the same. They're two different types of players.

    Side note… Malkin's visor looks like a windshield.

  • shakey

    Jason,
    When the new coach rolls into town lets say he leads us to the division title and they go into the playoffs and pull a 'Dirty San Jose'. Is the season considered a failure at that point?

  • JustAName

    @ Archaeologuy:
    The contracts are about 300k different .. put Flyers about 37k under the cap … it was enough to get the job done 🙂 Flyers were hosed.

  • JustAName wrote:

    [quote]I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?[/quote]
    He was thinking “I need cap space… oh lord I need cap space!”

    Carcillo was a $893,000 cap hit and Upshall was $1.225 million. At the deadline you basically were paying 1/5th of the salary…Carcillo cost the Flyers around $178,000 while Upshall was $245,000…A savings of $67,000…not to mention the Coyotes got a 2nd rounder as well…Awful trade any way you slice it…Alan wrote:

    What is up with the Sharks? Is Thornton that much of a non-factor? And Gregor don’t worry you weren’t the only guy to get a bit choked up over that video. My wife made me watch it and I had the fast blinks going…

    Fast blinks for the wife…she must have loved that. As for Thornton during the playoffs everyone raises their game a level, yet it seems his stays the same. He is a strange player to figure out.

  • Slurve

    I feel MacT's coaching style and game strategies fits mainly seasoned and older players that have been through tough seasons with their former teams. They know what it is like to continually not make the playoffs. When we got the Human rake, Peca,Spacek and perhaps Samsonov, we had a better team to complement Hemsky and Smyth that plays to MacT's game plans. These younger Oilers do not yet have of what it takes such as will and intestinal fortitude. Our older leaders Moreau and Staios are just 2 out of many younger players and therefore, cannot sustain a common goal. A coach who is tougher perhaps like Pat Quinn or a a players coach who have shown results that he can handle younger players and get their respect which is Brent Sutter.

    Another thought. What about trading for Pittsburg's Malkin or Crosby. Given the NHl economy in the US is in a sorry state and the upcoming signing challenge of Malkin, I cannot see them keeping both players in the next 2-3 years. The Oilers should try to go for one of them. We have enough young forwards and defensemen to trade up for.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    A few things,
    1) I demand nothing less than miracles from the next head coach. If he cant a) turn water into a 40 goal scorer or b) fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, then I dont want him.

    Lasers from the eyes eh? And Harvey the Hound thought he had it bad before…

  • Archaeologuy

    A few things,

    1) I demand nothing less than miracles from the next head coach. If he cant a) turn water into a 40 goal scorer or b) fly and shoot lasers from his eyes, then I dont want him.

    2) That Kunitz hit made yell "OH SH*T" at the top of my lungs while everyone in my house was sleeping (late night highlights). Wicked hit.

  • JustAName

    [quote]I said it at the deadline and I’ll say it again. The worst trade hands down was Daniel Carcillo for Scottie Upshall and a 2nd rounder. What was Paul Holmgren thinking?[/quote]

    He was thinking "I need cap space… oh lord I need cap space!"

  • Alan

    What is up with the Sharks? Is Thornton that much of a non-factor? And Gregor don't worry you weren't the only guy to get a bit choked up over that video. My wife made me watch it and I had the fast blinks going…