So the quest begins!!!
Now that it is clear the Oilers are in search of a new head coach everyone in Edmonton, including my grandmother, has an opinion on who should take over. This is a big decision for the team and will most likely take time.
The usual suspects are being thrown around like Sutter, Crawford, Hartley and Maurice. There are the new kids on the block like Oiler farm team coach Todd Nelson, Norfolk admiral coach John Cooper or Toronto Marlie head coach Dallas Eakins. Then there is Ralph Krueger.
For me, Ralph Krueger is the wild card in this process. Could he become the next head coach?
Before he came to the Oilers I knew who he was but didn’t know anything else about him. The year I spent playing under him I was really impressed. Right away I noticed how much hockey knowledge and people handling skills he possessed.
His hockey background is unique when compared to most NHL coaches. He has coached a lot in Europe where for the most part practices are more skill focused then team system driven. This is partly due to less games and more practice time but I believe it is also a philosophical difference between European and North American hockey.
When most coaches go to the board during a practice to set up a drill after 5 seconds I would recognize the drill and be able to do it no problem. But when Ralph would set up a drill for the team to do, as a player it was very important to pay close attention. They were very unique drills that often involved five or more passes to various players on the ice. I loved it! It engaged your mind and forced you to focus in practice which at times is hard to do over the course of the season. It also kept practice fresh and the players on their toes.
Does that skill mean he is meant to be an NHL head coach?
Not all by itself but add in his ability to manage people and it is a good start. Managing the dressing room, personalities and egos is now a big part of an NHL coaches responsibilities. Finding a way to push players buttons is a skill not all have coaches have but one I think Ralph just might.
He is a well known motivational speaker and quite possibly the most positive person I have ever been around. Maybe this team needs a coach that will inspire them to be better individuals both off and on the ice.
He is neither a coach that has been around the block a few times or a young coach working his way up. He is in the middle. If you feel the Oilers are in the middle of this rebuild maybe he is the right choice.
Where have you gone button fly jean?
This move away from button fly jeans to zipper has been hard on me. I am used to the routine of doing up the buttons and then being all set. Now with zippers I do up the button and then leave the fly down. I hear ‘XYZ’ all the time!!
It must be a lot easier for guys like Brownlee and Gregor, their pants just have drawstrings.