I was half-expecting Rob Daum to dump all over the Edmonton Oilers today over how they handled showing him the door, but I should have known better.
Despite being left to twist in the wind for weeks over his future with an organization he’s been a part of since joining the Oilers as an assistant coach for the 2007-08 season — Daum was informed Friday his contract won’t be renewed and he won’t be coaching the team’s AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City — he took the high road.
"I really enjoyed the three years I spent in the organization," Daum said today. "They gave me the opportunity to be a coach in the NHL and I’m grateful for that. I’m not going to say anything bad about a team that gave me that chance."
Daum, 52, must be biting his lip because the way the Oilers handled his sacking leaves a lot to be desired. Coaches are hired to be fired, but the manner in which GM Steve Tambellini fumbled kicking Daum to the curb looks like a management version of a bunch of ham-handed fourth-line pluggers chopping the puck square.
Timing? Like a Zack Stortini one-timer.
Daum knows his numbers in terms of wins and losses in parts of two seasons in Springfield weren’t good enough. He gets it that results are part of the deal, even at the minor league level, and even with an AHL roster that was, to understate, sadly lacking.
But Daum never saw this coming. And why would he? Since the AHL season ended in Springfield over two months ago, he’d been given no reason to believe his future was in jeopardy.
"Despite our record, I enjoyed my time there," Daum said. "I was anticipating carrying on with the organization. I had heard nothing but positive reports.
"Steve (Tambellini) himself mentioned at the end of the year that the coaches in Springfield had done a good job. When I was finally told, I was surprised and disappointed. I didn’t see it coming.
"I know the record (in Springfield) wasn’t good, but I can honestly say that we got every ounce out of that team that we could."
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I’d like to know how long ago Tambellini made the decision not to renew Daum’s contract and how long, exactly, the lag was between that call and when Daum was told.
What’s the big deal, you ask? What’s a couple of weeks or a month? Well, in the coaching business, it can be everything. Even a couple of weeks, a couple of days, can make a difference.
Any jobs that do come open are filled quickly. At the very least, short-lists are drawn up. Late entrants in the hiring game, no matter how qualified, often don’t get a sniff.
"This is a kick in the nuts," Daum said. "But it’s not going to change my love of coaching or my desire to be a coach. The timing is not good. It’s just not good at all. Every day can make a difference.
"I haven’t been out there since our season ended looking for a job because I didn’t think I had to. You have to be loyal to your team and I was. I wasn’t talking to anybody."
Late start or not, Daum will knock on doors and press the flesh in the hope a landing a new gig — it might be in the NHL, the minors, even the WHL. Somebody will need a coach, and Daum is certainly that. But it shouldn’t have come to this, at least not this way.
"There’s not a better coach or a person for Oklahoma City than me, but that’s not going to happen," Daum said. "Like I said, though, I’m thankful for the chance I was given by the Oilers. Now, I’ve got to move on."
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.