If you hang around this game long enough and learn to pay attention, it doesn’t take a vast intellect to separate the guessers and coat-tail riders in the media mob from those who are actually in the know.

So, when 630 CHED radio color man Bob Stauffer, who has telegraphed more moves by the Edmonton Oilers than anybody else I can think of over the past three years or so, starts dropping hints about what he thinks should or will happen, I listen – even when what he says conflicts with my take on things.

While that’s not a popular stance with people who think Stauffer somehow "sold out" by leaving his popular Inside Sports drive-time show at TEAM 1260 for his gig with the Oilers, anybody who is actually keeping score regarding who gets the story right most often knows how connected he is.

Today, Stauffer is hinting associate coach Ralph Krueger should be or is a strong candidate to take over from Tom Renney as head coach. While I’m of the mind Brent Sutter is and should be the leading candidate for the job – my take is based on circumstance and gut-feel rather than inside information – Bombastic Bob has my attention.

He should have yours, too.


Stauffer has been busy on his Twitter account today, offering up the following tidbits about the coaching situation in two separate but connected Tweets:

"The Oilers best players are drafted and developed. Steve Tambellini has hired 2 straight experienced NHL Coaches. Maybe need to look at an . . . Internal coach that the organization has developed, who understands the team and the players. Like, say, Ralph Kreuger."

Stauffer blew Krueger’s name in the Tweet – I can attest that he talks better than he spells because I used to edit his copy when he was writing a column at The Sun (I’m guessing the bosses at the tabloid that fired me in 2007 didn’t know that) – but the message is what matters.

If Stauffer suggests Krueger is worth looking at, then chances are GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe are already looking at him (Jim Matheson at The Journal has long been a master of framing what he already knows as a "suggestion" for decades). That look will likely amount to more than lip service and a courtesy call for Krueger.


While I don’t perceive Krueger as a leading candidate, Stauffer knows infinitely more about his relationships with the players, his hockey IQ and how he is regarded by Lowe and the rest of Oiler management than I do here and now because he’s around the team year-round, as I used to be.

It’s also worth noting that while Lowe and Tambellini were over at the World Championships keeping tabs on Team Canada and Sutter’s work behind the bench – a stint I and others have assumed is a pre-cursor to him being named as Renney’s replacement — Krueger was there, too.

The bottom line: while I see Sutter as the leading candidate, you can bet Krueger is on the short list and in the running and that he’ll get more serious consideration than most of us thought he would. If Krueger doesn’t get the job outright, I can see a scenario where he stays on as an associate in the kind of role Renney had when Pat Quinn was hired.

My guess is the hangers-on and coat-tail riders in town will be parroting the "Krueger is a serious contender" angle and spinning the idea as their own — without attribution — soon enough.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Brownlee,

    Bob stated that it is likely they will look internally for the next coach and only used Krueger as an example. What do you think the likelyhood of say Nelson getting that head coach job would be? And on a bit of a side note in a coaching hierarchy how would an assitant coach in the NHL compare to a head coach in the AHL?

  • Oilers: We Need a New Direction, a new Voice to lead us in the next phase of the Rebuild!

    Fans: Who?

    Oilers: The guy that’s been there every day for the past year!

    Fans: ????

    Oilers: Also we will have New Captain!

    Fans: Oh wow, Really?!

    Oilers: Shawn Horcoff will fill that role

    Fans: I dont think that word means what you think it means…

  • Oiler Country

    It’s going to be an interesting pick, but didn’t Gregor say that the next coach with the Oilers will have NHL coaching experience? This is probably Tamby’s last crack at hiring a coach for this team and after two failed attempts on hiring a coach, this one has got to count. You think Tamby would risk it all on Kreuger? I’m not thinking so. Tambellini needs success now and I don’t think he’ll roll the dice on Kreuger. At least I wouldn’t if my NHL job was riding on it.

    • I’m also of the mind the Oilers should and will opt for somebody with head coaching experience in the NHL. And I don’t see Tambellini as a risk-taker, especially with this hire because his job is, and should be, on the line.

      That said, I put a lot of weight in what Stauffer says because he’s had a finger on the pulse of what’s going on for awhile — long before he went over to CHED.

      I’m not convinced Krueger will get the job, and I don’t think Stauffer is saying it’s a certainty he will, but he will get more of a look than I thought he would.

  • oilbaron

    Based on Oilchange, Renny never came across as a great leader. He likely has a lot of technical ability, but some intangible leadership qualities seemed lacking. Kreuger on the other hand seemed to have a presence about him that Renny did not. Based on what I’ve seen, Kreuger would be a better option.

  • Kevin Lowe’s template for success is from the glory days.

    As such, the Oilers are leaning towards a coach that has an offensive rather than a banger mindset.

    Winning is easy, just score more goals than the other team.


  • If Kreuger gets hired then he better fire his assistants and replace them with incompetent goons. There seems to be a trend recently of axing the guy in charge and promoting his assistant.

    Probably best for Krueger to make the next guy in charge a complete idiot, just to keep that pattern from repeating.

  • I only know about Krueger from his limited pressers this year, but he seems like a pretty decent guy who knows his stuff. Made the Swiss team respectable too if I recall and that’s no small feat.

    My only concern would be his close relationship (or the perception of such) with Tom Renney. At the exit interview Renney suggested the “rebuild” could take a bit longer than both fans and Oilers management might think – and maybe that’s at least part of the reason the team didn’t want to re-sign him. He told them something they didn’t want to hear in his go-forward plan. Would Ralph be painted with the same brush?

  • A-Mc

    I would be very pleased with Ralph as Head Coach. I really liked the way he addressed the media and fans while he was holding everything together when Tom was concussed. I like the way he speaks of what the team does right, and what they do wrong. His words felt genuine to me, and i really appreciated that.

    I’m excited to hear that there is a chance he could land the Head Coaching position.

    Good Luck Ralph!

    • bumblebpete

      I totally agree!!

      I would like to see Krueger hired as the next Head Coach of the Oilers.

      The first 2 games he coached during Renney’s absence were so-so, but the next game he made his own lines up and the team did very well.

      He would be better suited for this team than Sutter would.

      Yes, good luck, Ralph.

  • oilbaron

    Both men are good coaches. Ive been heaqring and reading allot about who should be the next coach because of each’s respective resume’s and records but what about going on the style of play that they like to run with? They way that this team has been built with the “potential” high end offense and lack of size at forward i think it would be best to hire a coach that will fit in with the group we have. If we hire a coach who likes to dump the puck in the corner and cycle it downlow all game than i think were going to be getting into trouble. I believe the coach that we should hire, experienced or not, should teach and apply a puck position game. Now, what style of play does sutter go with? from what ive seen from his time in New Jersey and Calgary he’s more of a banger style of coach, is this because of the talent he had on the team or lack of? Your a smarter man than i Mr.Brownlee so maybe you could elaborate for me.

  • Would Krueger really be all that different from Renney?

    I hope the coach for next year’s team employs a forecheck with more consistency and tenacity. I like what NJ has done with their forecheck in the playoffs.

  • Pizzy

    I still prefer to listen to Stauffer on 630 Ched than the team 1260 during my noon hour. Mainley due to the fact that I do think he is connected more than his counterparts.

    Also, I hope they get the coach in place pretty quick as it is much more enjoyable thinking about who we will draft and who we will pick up on July FIST! vs. who will be the next coach of the Oilers! My guess is when it is all said and done, it will be Sutter. Just like it will be Yakupov.