Rob Daum: Oilers housecleaning continues

The Edmonton Oilers have decided Rob Daum isn’t the head coach they want behind the bench when they open up their AHL shop in Oklahoma City next season.

After three years in the organization as a coach, including a one-year stint as an assistant to Craig MacTavish with the Oilers and parts of two seasons as coach of the Springfield Falcons, Daum has been told he’s not in the plans.

While Daum, 52, enjoyed nothing but success in a decade with the Alberta Golden Bears before joining the Oilers, he couldn’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse in Springfield.

That inability to get results — with what was essentially an injury riddled ECHL defensive corps last season and a team without a legit AHL starter in goal this season — in Springfield has cost him his job.

Or maybe Daum didn’t have enough pizzazz or marquee value to sell tickets in Oklahoma City — I don’t know the Oilers thinking behind the move because they have yet to comment or even announce they gave Daum the bad news last week.

Perhaps they’ll get around to it this week.


The Falcons were 25-39-0-16 under Daum this season after going 8-17-0-5 with the former two-time CIS coach of the year behind the bench in 2008-09, a campaign in which he took over from Jeff Truitt as a late-season replacement.

In an off-season of change, one that has already seen the Oilers sack assistant GM Kevin Prendergast, long-time equipment manager Barrie Stafford, assistant Lyle Kulchisky and athletic therapist Ken Lowe, Daum becomes the latest to be shown the door.

While it’s difficult to put a positive spin on Daum’s record in Springfield, player development, generally speaking, carries as much weight as wins and losses do at the minor league level. There’s no question in my mind that Daum is a proven teacher of the game.

The truth is, Daum, who compiled one of the most successful records in CIS history with an overall slate of 345-79-32 (.792) on the way to three CIS championships and six conference titles, didn’t have much to work with in the mire that has been the Oilers farm system.

If the Oilers really want a fresh start in Oklahoma City, they had better address the lack of depth of talented prospects and time-tested minor league veterans that’s plagued this organization since they got back into the business of actually operating an AHL team. So far, they haven’t been very good at it.

Daum wasn’t the problem.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I don’t think Daum was the problem at the sametime did he get more out of anyone? I’m not exactly shocked that he was let go, kinda curious who is brought in to replace him.

    Stauffer did say by the 16th or so we should find out the coaching situation, he doesn’t seem that far out.

  • What?

    I feel bad for Rob. Looks like he got caught up in a situation where senior management had to prove to the public they were “doing things”.

    ~By firing Daum, they’re showing that everybody is accountable for winning at the Oilers organization.~

  • This is Daum paying the price for the crap job Prendergast did for years. I dont like it, and I dont like the months it took for Tambellini to let the guy know. Tambellini has shown me nothing to suggest he acts with any degree of class.

    • Ender

      Class aside, I’m not sure it’s a very smart hockey move. There are only so many qualified hockey people that can do the job Daum did. Cutting a qualified guy loose makes no sense unless you’ve already got someone better lined up.

      I’m going to give Tambi the benefit of the doubt here (crosses fingers) and say he hasn’t lost his mind and that he’s already quietly lined up a very good replacement before giving Daum the news.

      [come on, Tambi; don’t be the completely-lost ass everyone says you are . . .]

      • VMR

        I think your off when you say there are only so many qualified hockey people, there are tons of guys just looking for a chance. Daum had some good points but it’s hard to say they’ll have trouble finding at least as good a replacement.

        Now if Kelly Buchberger ends up behind the bench then it’s time to form a lynch mob with pitch forks, tar and feather, burning torches and the whole deal because his continued career as a coach despite his failures shows signs of some form of insanity in the Oilers upper management.

        • I like Bucky as a coach, and maybe he is going back to AHL as part of Daum deal . Interesting choice on Daum following a similiar path of varsity personnel . Drake and Moores never really panned out either as i recall , despite stellar records at varsity levels .

      • I also hope Tambi has lined up a quality replacement, but Class will go a long way in attracting potential employees down the road. It’ll be hard to poach scouts and coaches when the word is out that they will be treated poorly. There are always going to be people that will jump at the chance to have the open jobs, but those guys wont be at the top of the wish list.

          • Daum and various scouts and other people in the coaching staff have been waiting in limbo for several weeks now, not sure of their status going forward. The hiring window for these guys is relatively short, if Tambellini knew he wasnt going with these guys he could have let them know so they could get involved in the competitions for other jobs. There’s no sense in keeping them on the hook this long if they know they arent in the plans down the road.

            I dont like the rumblings that there are a whole bunch of guys who have no idea how they will be making a living in a month because Tambellini has refused to act quickly. I have no doubts that the more Tambellini strings guys along, the more word will spread across the hockey community about how business is done here.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            Guess what if they don’t like it speak up and tell Tambo that they won’t be back. Odds are if your contract is up in a couple weeks or a month and your employer hasn’t contacted you about an extension that you probably aren’t in the long-term plans.

          • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

            It’s all about results and when your organization has sucked as long as the Oilers have who is going to question the new GM for looking and fixing the team anyway that he sees it making sense?

    • I am the Liquor

      How so? There is zero parallel to draw there. None. I bet Daum gets a job first. This move has no foundation or just cause. The real architect of this disaster remains unscathed.

      • Zero parallel?

        1. Good coach gets fired because team does poorly.

        2. Poor showing of both teams has more to do with roster make-up than coaching.

        Seems like fairly obvious parallels to me.

        You’re absolutely right and add further to my point when you say the “architect of this disaster remains unscathed.”…which I assume is a statement pointed towards John in Accounting.

  • Milli

    Ya, how do you sack a coach when most of his roster was in edmonton? I am really enjoying the “lack of class” Tambo seems to be bringing to the organization!

  • Dan the Man

    Scotty Bowman couldn’t have won with the team in Springfield last year.

    Poor choice by the organization and it sounds like it’s being handled poorly as well.

  • misfit

    He didn’t have much to work with last year between his own injuries and losing players as Oilers injury replacements, but he’s been with the Oilers in a few different roles and it’s hard to find (at least with the access I have) evidence of how he’s made a positive impact on the Oilers during his time here.

    He seems like a pretty decent guy from what I understand, so I hope he lands on his feet, but I don’t really have a problem with this move from an Oiler perspective. But a lot of that depends on how they end up replacing him.

  • Dan the Man

    Not sure why everyone thinks this is a bad move. Rob is a great guy, but that doesn’t mean he is a great coach.

    Sure he was great in the CIS, where the Bears have a massive recruiting advantage. They normally get most of the top 20 year WHL grads.

    As a head coach in the AHL he has missed the playoffs three out of four years. I know at that level the talent you have is a big factor in winning.

    But which players had he developed that are ready for the NHL. That is true evaluation of an AHL coach.

    This is just my thought process. Rob is a great guy, by all accounts, but this is a business based on winning and developing and his track record isn’t great. Doesn’t mean it is all his fault, but those are the facts.

  • misfit

    so after letting Daum twist in the wind for weeks and weeks while his contract expired they finally tell him that they don’t want him? Man, this org is getting embarrassing with the way they treat employees. Tambellini is turning into a real jack ass the way he has handled his personnel.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Is it possible that maybe they wanted someone from Chicago or Philadelphia or even someone who just finished in the AHL finals? Why jump the gun in firing Daum and then end up with no one?

      • VMR

        I fail to see how letting Daum go a few weeks or even a month ago would make the Oielr’s position worse to land a new Coach from where you are thinking. How could that affect them?

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          What I’m saying is maybe they have their eye on only a few guys and if they can’t get those guys then they stay with Daum. Also Daum’s contract expires at the end of this month when should Daum have been let go?

          If it was right after the season people would b#tch that it’s a knee jerk reaction. If it would’ve been a few weeks ago people would b$tch that Tambo should be focusing on Hall/Seguin. If he waits til 2 weeks left in his contract it’s too late and not honorable.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I see your points.

            But I’m not sure if you heard Daum on the radio the past few weeks and how uncomfortable it sounded whenever Bob or whoever else asked him what his status was and he would say that he hadn’t heard anything yet, that he was still thinking positive and that as far as he was concerned he was looking forward to getting back to work as soon as he got the word. It was tough to listen to on the radio and I’m sure it was tough to take the news for him.

            Either way we will move on as an organization but I believe that people should be let go more gracefully and with enough time to get a headstart on other options especially if the leaving was not due to anything negative.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      I have a feeling if the changes Tambo made makes this team better that maybe you see Lowe stepping down and taking on a role with Hockey Canada. Until then there is nothing saying that Tambo is doing any better.

  • I don’t know what they can expect from this guy when damn near all of his top performers are playing with the Oilers (Pouliot, Stone, Potulny, JFJ, Dubnyk, Chorney, Peckham…etc)

    You can’t win in the NHL with an AHL roster AND you can’t win in the AHL with a bloody ECHL/AA roster.

    I feel for Daum and I hope he is offered a job somewhere else in the near future because that guy is gold.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Daum wasn’t the problem but that doesn’t mean he is the right man for the job either.

    My guess is Tambellini will go with a younger coach from the Junior ranks.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Nepotism at its finest…how long till they name Ron Delorme as the next head coach of this AHL team? Tambo must be clearing out all the U of A alumni….is Bum Stauffer next?

    I thought Buchberger would be the next one to go…. the mess he left in Springfield three years ago must have eliminated him as a possible candidate for Oklahoma. Could be a ploy to bring in a greenhorn coach and force the locals/media to give him a year or two before they pounce on him, could take a few more years to even have a competitive team in Oklahoma .

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      I always find it interesting the slant people will put on situations like this because of their bias.

      So big bad Buchberger left Springfield in a mess (after finishing with a .500 record)

      While poor little Daum was mistreated dispite his 33-56-0-21 record.

      • By slant do you mean an opinion based on something other than the raw numbers?

        I know Rob Daum and I like and respect him. That said, I don’t muddy the lines between who I respect as a person with the job they do professionally. Daum is a damn fine coach. If he was middling or lousy, I’d say so and I could still look him in the eye because he’d know I was offering an honest opinion.

        I ragged on the hiring/promotion of Buchberger to MacT’s staff despite the fact I know him and like him as well — I just thought he got every break possible and was pushed to the front of the line because of his relationship with MacT. Daum got the opposite treatment because he isn’t one of the “boys.”

        Daum’s record was not good in Springfield and there’s no getting around that. The way I see it, though, that failure record-wise is directly tied to the Oilers mishandling of the farm system in terms of player procurement. The AHL roster was lousy in terms of top-end prospects, paper-thin in terms of depth and almost devoid of quality career minor-leaguers to help the kids along. Those shortcomings fell at the feet of KP, who has paid the price.

        Tying the can to Daum, in my opinion, is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          I wasn’t replying to your article, it was a reply to the statement that Buchburger left Springfield in a mess (and the implication that Daum did a far better job) dispite the differences between their records.

  • Homie

    Its too bad he didn’t get a chance to work with a better roster in Oklahoma City, but I don’t think that his Golden Bear record is proof that he is an excellent coach. Who hasn’t done well with that team in the last 20 years other than Peter Esdale? Otherwise, it seems that Daum has bounced around since he left the campus.

    It’ll be interesting to see who the Oilers bring in to run that team and hopefully put together a farm system that helps rather than hurts the Oiler prospects.

  • Woogie

    We are also under the impression Daum just found out last week. I could bet, at least I hope, Tambo has talked with Daum and he know it was going to be coming down to this. Or someone talked to Daum on Tambo’s behalf. I can’t imagine such a big disconnect. He’s the GM of a multi million dollar organisation. Us fans just assume things when we aren’t in the “know” and fill in the blanks with the worst case scenarios

    Just like when Sourray was crying that Tambo never talked to him. I would bet you the training staff talked to Sourray who then talk to Tambo to report everything.

    • “Us fans” are assuming nothing, we’ve been told by someone who IS in the know:

      “I don’t know the Oilers thinking behind the move because they have yet to comment or even announce they gave Daum the bad news last week.”

      This is what is being reported by a credible member of the media. The blanks have been filled in for me, I dont have to be creative with them.

      • Woogie

        Let me restate…

        I’m sure Daum just found out “officially” however we don’t know what happens behind closed doors and neither does the media. All I’m trying to say is I doubt Daum didn’t know the writting was on the wall after all the interviews and countless meetings after the end of the season.

        Daum was on the radio for an interview prior to the news breaking. What is he suppose to say? “Chances are I’m going to get fired for the crappy job I did or the crappy situation I was put in”. Of course not. He is going to try and be as positive as possible.

    • what do you mean “we are under the impression Daum just found out last week”? Brownlee already confirmed that was true. So there is no impression or otherwise.

      And I think the rest of your post is probably in-accurate on how the chain of communication works but I’d like Robin or Gregor or someone more in the know to confirm or deny that.

    • Jason Gregor

      I can tell you with certainty that Daum never knew this was coming until this past Friday. In fact when I spoke to him ten days ago I got the sense he thought he was coming back.

      The worst part of this decision is the timing. If Tambellini had told Daum this weeks ago at least Daum could have applied for some jobs. Most are now filled or so far along in the hiring process he will be on the outside looking in.

      Daum will be on my show today at 4:20ish for those who want to hear his side of things.

      • I also got the impression that when I heard Daum on your show that he thought he would be back but there was also some desperation in his voice as you could tell that he wanted to know where he stood.

        I just wish Ogden heard some of these interviews and maybe his heart might bleed like some of ours who actually feel for Daum.

        I still think Tambellini strung Daum out for too long and it sounds like you and Robin both think that as well.

      • Ender

        Would it be fair to speculate that Tambi wanted to be sure he had a better candidate locked up for the position before burning his bridges with Daum? If the process of finding a candidate and making sure they were available took longer than expected, then maybe one can at least provide a reasonable rationale why word took so long to get to Daum that he wasn’t being renewed. If the ‘new guy’ hadn’t worked out, maybe Tambi was looking at re-signing Daum as ‘Plan B’.

        I’m not suggesting that letting Daum twist in the wind was a nice thing to do. I’m just pointing out that there may be a valid reason why Tambi was left with no choice but to let Daum in on things later than he would have liked.

        This line of speculation is of course contingent on Tambi actually having recently locked up a superior replacement. If he hasn’t, this excuse along with most others is kind of out the window. (Please don’t let him have been that stupid . . .)

        • Jason Gregor

          It’s normally not a case of whether they can find someone better. It’s more about someone DIFFERENT.

          Most teams fire a coach and then start the process of looking for another. No way Tambellini would be interviewing guys for the job, while letting Daum twist in the wind.

          The coaching fraternity is small, and word gets around when guys are being interviewed.

          Tambellini made a choice that Daum wasn’t his guy. Which is fine. I think the timing, more than the decision, is what stinks here.

          Daum knows hockey, no one debates that, but coaches also know they are hired to be fired. It isn’t fair, but that is the reality. All they expect is to be treated fairly. It will be hard for Daum to get a new job this upcoming season. Minor league coaches don’t have the luxury of having millions/thousands stashed away so they can sit around for a year. Rob needs to work like most of us, and the timing really hurt his coaching chances.

          • well said Jason. I agree with you. Piss poor situation all around. I don’t care that we decided to let Daum go. I really don’t. But I do care on how it was done.

            And I cared in how it was done with the Trainers. And the Scouting staff. And then what Souray said about Management and their lack of communication.

            All of these examples I think portray Tambellini as a hard ass who doesn’t give two squirts about people. It may or may not be the case, but from the outside looking in it certainly looks that way.

            If I was Taylor or Tyler I know who’d I be hoping to call my name.

          • Ender

            Would the coaching on the Big Club have played any part in the decision whether or not to keep Daum around? No one has said for sure that Quinn will be behind the bench again this fall. If the decision is made to hand the reins to Renney, does this change anything for Daum? What about if Quinn stays on board?

            I’m just trying to reverse-engineer the decision to release Daum so that I can figure out if there is another major coaching decision we haven’t heard about yet that played a part in the timing of this thing.

          • Jason Gregor

            They wouldn’t let Rob go and then hire him with the Oilers. No chance. This decision is based solely on the AHL team. You won’t see Daum surface with the Oilers this coming season.

            Listen in today at 4:25 and you can hear Daum.

      • BBOil

        If I was Daum, and I hadn’t been offered a new contract I would have still been looking at those jobs elsewhere. If something caught my eye, I’d ask management for the opportunity to apply or for them to make some sort of commitment.

        Not saying the Oil are right or wrong in their handling, but at some point when your contract is up and no commitment has been made you have to be proactive.

        • Jason Gregor

          He was under contract until June 30th. He couldn’t look for work unless granted permission, and he thought he was going to OKC so he wouldn’t have been actively looking to get out of Oiler organization.

          • BBOil

            Understand he couldn’t actively look for a new job, but as you said the coaching fraternity is pretty small and jobs limited so he would likely have an idea of what is out there.

            Thus I was more getting at that if June is rolling around and my future is undecided I’d have my ear to the ground. Let management know that you would like to stay with the organization, but if they cannot commit you would like permission to explore other opportunities.

          • Ender

            Sorry, Jason; I may not have made my question clear.

            I realize that the Oilers wouldn’t be bringing Daum in to coach the NHL team. I think it’s clear from what’s been said that unlike the training staff, Daum won’t be getting cheques signed by the Oilers in any form whatsoever once his contract expires.

            I was just curious if perhaps, as a possible scenario, Quinn coming back meant housecleaning and Daum being let go whereas Renney taking the Head Coaching gig instead meant Daum would get a shot in Oklahoma. If something to that effect were in play, then that could be a reason for delaying, could it not?

  • JohnQPublic

    No, Daum wasn’t the problem, but it’s pretty obvious that the Oilers are breaking with the recent past.

    And given their four year non-playoff performance, it’s hard to argue with even if injuries have riddled the team for several years.

    This is a culture shift and the only way to produce that effectively is to blow up the current one.

  • Ducey

    Here we go again.

    The Oilers are not classy, it wasn’t his fault, he is a good guy, its Lowe’s fault.

    Give me a f-ing break.

    So because they did not consult with the media and fans on an weekly basis they are not classy? Do we have any idea what they told Daum? Maybe they talked with him every week.

    Daum had one good season with Houston. The next they sucked and he was fired. He took over Springfield 2 years ago late in the season with no appreciable difference and then last year he finished dead last.

    If you are going to have a bunch of your stud prospects playing in the AHL, you want to have a very good coach. Maybe even a guy who could move up to the big team in a few years.

    Daum doesn’t seem like a guy who fits the mold as a future NHL head coach. He does not have any established record outside of the Bears (who have done nicely without him).

    If you want to turn things around, you need to fire a few people, change the voice in the room, and getting rid of a last place coach seems like a pretty sensible move.

    Lets pretend that Scotty Bowman (or some other great GM) took over as GM, you think Daum would last more than 5 minutes?

    • “Lets pretend that Scotty Bowman (or some other great GM) took over as GM, you think Daum would last more than 5 minutes?”

      Let’s pretend instead of letting Daum know where he stood after 5 minutes, he waited 2 months and not until other vacant coaching positions within NHL organizations have been filled.

      I have issue with guys being strung along.