Is Ralph Krueger the right choice for the Oilers?

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.

Previously by Jason Strudwick

  • justDOit

    I’m glad to finally hear some momentum behind RKs name for HC of the Oilers.

    If I hear anyone mention Crawford’s name again, I can only hope that they mean Cindy. But then again, I’m still miffed at seeing the best player to ever lace skates to his feet sitting on the bench in Nagano during the shootout.

    Go Ralph!

  • TwoSkidoos

    Everyone should quit wasting their time discussing RK for head coach. There is no way ST hires this guy for head coach, however I do believe he would like him to come back as an assistant coach. The coach will be Sutter, everyone knows this, and this is all just a show to pretend that they have scoured the face of the earth for the best coach possible.

  • JohnnySkidmarks

    Struds for Prime Minister!

    I fully agree that Kruger deserves a shot. When Renney was sidelined last year, Kruger did a stellar job with the club in his short but worthwhile tenure.

    I believe that if Tambo hires Sutter or another NHL retread, it’ll put the Oil back another 4-5 years.

    Its time to move forward and take a chance on someone new and unproven, just like the team.

    Your move Tambo.

  • Badger

    What’s the status of Lindy Ruff? I thought his contract needed to be renewed this offseason or something? I noticed some strife in the Sabres organization this year. Maybe he would like to come back home and coach the Oilers (I realize he’s in Buffalo since the 79 or something, so I guess tis isn’t really his home). I love that guy’s style and he’s done good stuff with young, smallish forwards over the years. I’m not sure he’s the main reason, but guys like Roy, Briere, Drury, et al sure developed their complete games in Buffalo. He even got Afinogenov to back-check once.

    Being a Warburg boy, I’m guessing he misses the mushrooms burgers from the Burger Baron in Calmar as well.

  • TwoSkidoos

    I would be fine with RK, he’s well spoken, and from what I’ve seen, obviously knows hockey. For example, took an essentially non-hockey country to one that could on any given day taken any other team in the world for a ride.

    To me he’s the type who demands respect through his demeanour. He can obviously work a system to the point where it’s successful, and lastly, Tom Renney said outright that this man deserves to be a head coach in the NHL.

    For a bona-fide NHL coach to make that statement should mean something.


    Sounds like your endorsing Kruger for the job. Just one more reason for me to back him as well. I vote Kruger for head coach. Strudwick for associate coach.