Exclusive: Daum has his say, takes the high road

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."


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.

  • This is embarrassing. Just low can this management sink? I was happy with the Quinn hire, I thought it was a good idea to let MacT go after he lost the dressing room and Quinn has a pretty good resume (we’ll skip over the TML entry). But what is the point of not renewing Daum? Do we have someone ready to move in there (please please please) that is in Tambo’s opinion a better coach?

    We didn’t even give Daum a real shot at making something down on the farm. This is akin to getting a new car because the road is too rough. It only makes sense when the shocks and struts are completely shot to hell, and that ain’t Daum.

    Methinks Hossa and Heatly weren’t wrong to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks.’

    Totally classless Steve. What’s next? Firing Joey Moss for because we missed the WHL playoffs? Letting Paul Lorieau go because we dropped 5 of 6 to start our OKC season?

  • Hemmertime

    “There’s not a better coach or a person for Oklahoma City than me, but that’s not going to happen,” Daum said.

    I was on his side till this line. There are plenty of better people for OKC. They might not accept the job, but they’re better.

    Plus, we don’t really know. The players Tambo called up throughout the year could have said terrible things about Daum. Though if that was the case I bet RB woulda heard something

    • If Daum didn’t think that way about himself, is he really the type of person you want?

      As for what players have told me about their time with Daum, those I have talked to have been very positive about his ability to teach and help them develop.

      I can also tell you that, while I didn’t include it in the story, several players have called Daum to tell him they’re sorry about what has happened. Daum has their respect. After the seasons Springfield has had lately, that tells me something.

      • This to me is worse than the training staff beeing let go, it is like Tambi is a procrastinator, or that he doesn’t like to give out bad news. The timing of this is just beyond belief, this should have been done the same time as the training staff. Coaching jobs are beeing filled now would it have been hard for Tambi to give this news to Rob 2 months ago so he had a shot at another job. I don’t have a problem with the move just the timing of it, come on Tambi show some respect.

  • Jamie B.

    Well generally a new coach wants new assistants so why string the assistants along.

    I’m on a phone and it’s a pain and the arse to fix.

    And obviously friendship means something to you because yo picked up on it pretty quick.

  • so howson and CBJ classless too. They let everyone go today including non-bench coaches.

    This haapens all the time and maybe its time people forget about their freindships and realize that this is a business.

    If Daum was so sure about his future maybe he shouldn’t have been. And if he really was that good of a coach someone would’ve gave him Tambo a call asking for permission to talk to him.

    Only thing that gets me is that daum was told on friday and today is tuesday.

    • “This haapens all the time and maybe its time people forget about their freindships and realize that this is a business.”

      It’s a business? Really? Thanks for that insight. And what do friendships (it’s spelled this way) have to do with Daum’s situation? If you’re referring to my take it on it, then you need to start paying attention.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Brownlee, reading your article, it almost comes off like you are taking this sacking personally.

        First of all, we all know good coaches get fired all the time. Hitchcock’s been fired. So has Quinn, Ron Wilson, Peter Laviolette, etc., etc.

        Yes, Daum was in tough with a terrible team in Springfield. But how good is Rob Daum? I have to wonder because he didn’t stick in the NHL as an assistant. That makes me curious if he was ever really in any long term plans for the Oilers.

        Conjecture aside, it sucks the timing of his firing is poor. But Brownlee, reading between the lines, you seem to be suggesting Tambellini was sitting in his office with a thumb up his ass going “Should I fire him today? Nope. Tonight’s meatloaf night, I don’t want a firing sullying my night of meat in a loaf.”

        I very much doubt Tambellini was trying to be a deliberate jerk about it. The simplest explanation, in my mind, is that he’s been a busy guy, and he’s getting to things in due course.

        • Personally? Spell it out.
          Tambellini can hire and fire anybody he wants and, eventually, he’ll be judged on the type of team and organization he’s put together.

          How about this concept: I think treating an employee like this — dragging your feet when the decision has already been made — is lame and bush league.

          “It sucks that the timing was poor, but . . . ” BUT nothing. The timing being brutal isn’t an aside, it’s the whole point.

          Sorry, Tambellini’s a busy guy and maybe he didn’t have time to get to it right away . . . put yourself on the losing end of that reasoning, which is where Daum finds himself, and tell me you’d be fine with the mega-lame “due course” excuse you trotted out.

          • Oilchange64

            Okay, “due course” is maybe “mega-lame” as you put it. I just don’t find this nearly as offensive as you. Generally speaking, it’s never an awesome time to get fired. How many people get fired are like “whew, what great timing!”

            I just don’t get the conclusion that Tambellini is automatically a jerk. First of all, it’s June 16th and there is a whole lot of off-season left. Jobs could conceivably open at any time, with coaching you just never know. I don’t think I’m wrong to say it’s a pretty volatile job market.

            I don’t disagree with you often, Brownlee, you are easily my favourite Nation contributor, but the idea that Daum has been given the old screwgie here is just wrong.

            Tambellini has the right to take the time he needs to sort the coaching out. I’d rather him deliberate and make sure he’s made the right call rather than making snap decision when he’s not sure.

  • Jamie B.

    Yes, well said Robin. Another move that does’nt leave one with a warm fuzzy. This just ten days before arguably the most important daft/decision in Oiler history. Are we as fans supposed to feel any level of comfort about the captain running this ship. Yes the farm team statistically was a disaster but should the make up of that team be the barometer of the the Coach and if Daum was to be the fall guy for that debockle why was’nt he told weeks ago ? I can’t say how I might feel if Buckburger survives all this asinine assessing and miss guidance by Tambalini. By each passing day and by each of these moves we are looking more and more bush league. Scotty Bowman would’nt have been able to coach that group of misfits down in Springfield to a better result.
    Captain my Captain where for art thou ?

  • Jamie B.

    Like a Zack Stortini one-timer.


    “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.”

    Better burn. A.k.a. find me some half-decent players before you blame it all on me, you jerks. Okay, they fired KP too but it still would have been nice to see what Daum could do with, you know, some talent.

  • WTF is this team doing?? Just when it looks like we are finally headed in the right direction they go and sh*t the bed…AGAIN…have we learned nothing gentleman?? Piss poor management is running rampant through-out OUR team and nobody can do a damn thing about it. Sucks. You best be pulling a big effin rabbit out of your ass on draft day Tambi, or I for one, will be calling for your head. I know it’s business and sometimes you have to make the hard calls, but remember these are people too, your fu*kin with lively-hoods and that ain’t cool.

    Good luck to you Mr. Daum, Go show them what they missed out on.

  • StrangePhD

    On the other side, doesn’t this also put Tambellini and the Oilers at a disadvantage, seeing as how many of the qualified coaches have already invested elsewhere?

    I always liked Daum…when he came on as an assistant coach I thought he might be a guy to kick some of those players into shape.

  • I certainly hope that when the dust settles Tambellini will hold himself as accountable to the same high standards that he has set forth precidence in other parts of the organization in regards to retaining or not retaining staff.

    There is no way any of the fan base will accept Tambellini setting the bar up high and then trying to run under or through it and say “What?”. If the bar is set high, I dammed well expect this GM to clear it and make it look easy, otherwise he should quietly show himself the door and never look back. I mean he has set the precidence after all and leadership comes from the top.

  • I hope the people that were all over me for calling this a classless move by Tambellini read this and take the time to think about quotes like:

    “This is a kick in the nuts,”


    “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.”

    Yeah, ~this doesnt reflect poorly on Edmonton at all.~