I was spit-balling here not long ago about the possibility the Edmonton Oilers might consider moving Ralph Krueger aside if they could land a big-name NHL coach. As it turns out, they just might get the marquee name they’re after without moving Krueger anywhere. That’s not a bad thing.

While Paul Maurice might not rate as the big catch that, say, somebody like Dave Tippett, Alain Vigneault or Lindy Ruff would be, the former bench boss of the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs is still an experienced NHL coach with a good (not great) record.

Just as important, Maurice is apparently interested enough in plying his trade in Edmonton without needing the "head coach" tag attached that, according to multiple reports, he’s already interviewed with GM Craig MacTavish.

That kind of move – plugging in Maurice as an associate coach – would land the Oilers the experience they need on the staff without deep-sixing Krueger after just 48 games. That possibility, in the days since Maurice’s interest came to light, is somewhat surprising to me, given his CV. It’s not something I can see Tippett or Vigneault doing. Associate coach? Not a chance.


In 1,084 games behind the bench dating back to 1995-96 with Hartford, Maurice has a point percentage of .501. Nothing to write home about, to be sure – save for a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2002 with Carolina – but you don’t work an NHL bench for more than 1,000 games without knowing your way around and picking up a thing or two.

That kind of time-tested experience is exactly what the Oilers to complement Krueger, Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger. All the better if that experience comes aboard without displacing Krueger, who had the Oilers within hailing distance of a playoff spot until the wheels fell completely off in the stretch.

It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a connection between Krueger and Maurice – Krueger served as a scout for Carolina during Maurice’s second tenure as head coach there, so they wouldn’t have to start from square one.

On a personal level, I’ve always found Maurice an engaging guy and a pretty sharp coach with a head for the game. Back in my days on the beat, Jim Matheson and I used to head straight for Maurice’s office whenever we were in Carolina. He was happy to sit around and talk hockey for as long as we wanted, and a lot of what he said didn’t just fill our notepads, it made sense.

Maurice would be a solid hire and adding his experience to the staff without displacing Krueger, who is well-liked and respected by the Oiler players I’ve talked to, would be a noteworthy first move by MacTavish.


. . . I like it that the NHL has decided to make visors mandatory for players entering the league in the 2013-14 season, but I’m also onside with the caveat allowing players in the league now to make their own decision on the issue. There is no downside to wearing a visor and certainly no adjustment needed for players now entering the league.

. . . I ran into mayoral candidate Kerry Diotte in Vancouver on the weekend. As everybody knows, Diotte, a colleague at the Edmonton Sun, opposed the new downtown arena project as it was structured every step of the way. While I respect that he was consistent in his opposition and never strayed from it for political gain, my guess is it’ll bite him at the polls.

. . . I still wonder about Nathan Horton’s noggin, but he’s playing himself into a big payday as a UFA with his performance in these playoffs. Likewise, Bryan Bickell, who could have a date with Horton in the Stanley Cup final.

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

      • 1) The coaching staff lacks experience. That is reason enough to beef it up

        2) Agreed. If you trade Yak you are almost surely giving up the best player in the deal

        3) It isnt an assumption, it was reported by one of Hockey’s best reporters in Elliot Friedman and the response from the Oilers was “No Comment”. It was not denied at all. Friedman is on the same level as Dreger and Mackenzie.

        4) Lots is going on right now. There are many vacant coaching positions, the combine just happened, and we are less than a month away from the Draft. People are reporting things because NHL offices are buzzing as they get ready for Free Agency and the Draft.

        • If the experience of the coaching staff is a concern now, it should have been even a bigger concern last year. It wasn’t, and the oilganization was content with Krueger’s expierence. I don’t see how, with one year added to his expierence, expierence is now a concern with Krueger.

          What exactly is a best reporter? A reporter is a reporter, not a wise man.

          Why would they deny? If they denied every half assed report out there: Lowe would have to sit in front of the camera all day long.

          What level are Dreger and MacKenzie on? They are not on the NHL or Oilers level. They report on the Oilers, and this time of the year they need stuff to report on.

          • StHenriOilBomb

            “What exactly is a best reporter? A reporter is a reporter, not a wise man.”

            All reporters are not made equally. Friedman makes a habit of using his seemingly unlimited sources to portray often uncovered stories within the NHL. He usually presents multiple sides to an argument and has given many fans insight in to the game and life in the NHL that they wouldn’t have had without him.

            There are many reporters out there who just re-hash old information, use unreliable sources, or can’t write their way out of a wet paper bag. Some reporters seem to know only their local team, others can’t grasp the reality of the changing game. There a countless flaws a reporter can have in his/her work.

            Friedman is one of the best.

    • They are trying to ADD an Intuitive perspective and communication acumen and ability to Ralphs right hand.

      They were alerted to the need by Moma2 and the NewAge Hockey Systems pressure 3 yrs ago,they battled with Moma2 and the NHS the intervention was rough ,so they tried Darkhorse Analytics as a solution,it failed,they are now trying to find a purer more hockey catalysed source of this Intuitive input,they have essentially refined their quantitative definiition and valuation of this influence.

      An optimal candidate of the type they are seeking to provide this Intuitive input NHL traditional style via another coach will boost their perspective to at maximum 50%stats based/50%Intuition based,optimally to this balanced degree,not guaranteed.

      This is an admirable goal,but unfortunately even optimal execution and performance of this dynamic template is not enough Intuitive influence to properly initiate and engage out systemic influences as they stand today.Its gretzky,Moma2 and the NHS,Mark Messier,Mac-T,or Ralph,in that order of influence Gretzky being 100% pure as source.

      We need a minimum 70% Intuitive influence/30% statistical influence dynamic template at a minimum to initialise and engage the current systemic influence on the roster we have.The more Intuitive input we inject the better resuts we will see and the more we can adjust the system towards the Dynasty or Optimal system presentation.

      Optimally we would have a naturally catalysed at birth 100% pure Intuitive managment source like Wayne or the NHS infused into our system,as a secondary option Messier allows us to project the ability to teach with a deep NHL dynamic template knowledge base as an Associate coach above all others,really thats what the Oilers are looking for and there is only ONE MESSIER,one man who learned the way he did from a naturally born hockey indoctrinated Intuit.Messier could go it alone but is better utilised as a support to Ralph Krueger as he would use his communication ability to bridge the gap between the systemic direction-Ralphs perspective-and the players understanding of that dynamic concept as it applies to them individually.The tertiary option is bringing in an instinctive NHL coach as support to try to do what Messier would be doing-helping Ralph.

      They are looking for an Intuit,and I listed the ONLY THREE I know of that exist based on winning results and how they are obtained consistantly.Wayne Gretzky,Moma2 or me,and Mark Messier,Mark was taught by Wayne,Wayne and I were born this way. No there dont “have to be”others in the NHL either if thats what you want to think.
      That is an assumption that has backfired on the Oilers epiclly already.At least they are trying to get the best Intuitive input they can muster up,gotta give them credit.At least we know they have if you include the candidates they are looking at 4 potentially winning choices or options to add Intuitive inputs and arent cornered at all.It is simply a matter of degree of purity and volume they want to interject or can obtain or as in Moma2s case afford.Wayne and Mark will come cheap as they are building on great careers already,the NHS will not.

  • MarcusBillius

    How do you figure that Diotte’s opposition to the arena will hurt his mayoral chances? In several polls, including that one privately sponsored by someone right before the council vote, Edmontonians were against the arena deal by a wide margin.

  • MarcusBillius

    How do you figure that Diotte’s opposition to the arena will hurt his mayoral chances? In several polls, including that one privately sponsored by someone right before the council vote, Edmontonians were against the arena deal by a wide margin.

  • MarcusBillius

    How do you figure that Diotte’s opposition to the arena will hurt his mayoral chances? In several polls, including that one privately sponsored by someone right before the council vote, Edmontonians were against the arena deal by a wide margin.

  • MarcusBillius

    How do you figure that Diotte’s opposition to the arena will hurt his mayoral chances? In several polls, including that one privately sponsored by someone right before the council vote, Edmontonians were against the arena deal by a wide margin.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Nothing Ralph Krueger did last year was any more of a causality factor in the bad result than the actions of his managerial predecessors for several decades before him.Systemic core value Intuitive Dynamic Analysis and Managment lackings that Ralph inherited catalysed the seasons path,actually Ralph brought an interesting reply to the historical Oilers Dynsaty system riddle,he showed up for the match thats for sure.

    I have a bit of a problem in that although I am seeing conventionally sound resumes,I am failing to see anything thst really stands out to me as being a strong Intuitive influence emanating from any of the candidates I have seen so far,excellent credentials,but are they the right ones for the Oilers right now?

    Is Torterella free,I never really heard him say much that seemed far off the mark,personally he is a bit overly energised but his perspective is bang on to me.

  • MKE

    First, I say that Diotte is not a good mayor fit for Edmonton….he would remove progress with bringing back hopeless. That poll people bring up on the arena was not proper, accurate question based nor complete with true fact information for voting issues.

    Second, I have liked the idea of Paul Maurice being brought here to the Oilers as also, Eakins and/or Brent Sutter.

    Last, I think Krueger did decent in 48 games and the players lost it in those 10 or so games. He still deserves another yr as coach…minimally. PP and PK did good again.

    Now the Oilers must give Krueger and staff a complete team this upcoming season to coach as the bottom six and half of the defence core sucked. Goaltending has to keep progressing more as well

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    1)Trade the 7th and 37th for Boone Jenner and the 14th overall from Columbus

    2) Sign Bickell, Gordon, Lapiere

    3)Trade Hemsky for Ballard. Similar cap hits, UFA’s in a season. One is injury prone and one is underperforming. We need defense more than Hemsky.

    4)Buyout Horcoff.

    5)Trade Gagner for Shawn Matthias

    Trade for Kyle Beach, probably a 6th rounder if Bickell is unobtainable (which is likely)

    Hall Mattias Yak
    Beach Nuge Eberle
    Paajarvi Gordon Jones
    Brown Lapiere Whoever

    N Schultz J Schulz
    Belov Petry
    Ballard Smid

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    Robin, do you think it’s likely that the addition of an associate coach is the only change MacT is going to make regarding the coaching staff? Granted I don’t know exactlywhat every assistant coach on every team does, but Buchburger and Smith have stuck around through three head coaches now and I wonder if they’re going to incur any of the blowback of these dismal few seasons.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    They could add 3 more coaches, and this still wouldn’t deal with the issues holding back this hockey club. Will adding Paul Maurice help turn Jeff Petry into Chris Pronger? This coaching staff isn’t lacking in experience, it’s lacking in players who can actually contribute.

    Perhaps a couple top pairing blue liners and a legitimate 2nd line center would’ve made the existing coaching staff a whole lot smarter, no?

    It’s time to endorse Kevin Lowes “I think I know a little bit about winning” philosophy he knows so much about. When they finish 25th again they can shipcan the whole works of them, and start from scratch yet again.

      • Word to the Bird

        Unfortunately just because he coached them at the World Championships doesn’t mean that they suddenly come to the Oilers. It’s a shame that it doesn’t work like that. (Troll)

      • MKE

        Hall outscored 2 of them. Our top end players are not the problem. I wouldn’t take any of these guys over Hall.

        Sure Stall is the big center. But he’s not overly physical.

        I know he’s won a cup. But hasn’t won jack lately. I still would rather have Hall all things considered.

        I don’t think Staal has the drive anymore. He’s got the cup. Big contract. Playing with his brother. Some would find it hard to be motivated after that.

        Hall cares and he shows that every night. It’s why he will be a future captain of this team.

        The young guys here are hungry to win.

  • Fearless prediction : Despite being in the toughest division next year , and considering our new acquisitions might not add up to a “hill of beans” or even more downgrades – I still project we will finish with more points next year .

    • More points after 48 games? more troll shi# disturbing. The Oilers will be in tough next year but they will improve and be close, the Blues should take another step forward, the aging Sharks and the Ducks with their two huge contracts( where did their ppg go after the ink dried)will be lower in the standings,Canucks will also start to head south.I for sure have faith in Mac T. Bring on the draft and free agency.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The key to cruises is to book early. Most cruise lines bump up the early committers, often more than once. Cruise goers often buy the least expensive rooms available, forcing the carrier to upgrade the earlier customers in order to fill the ship as much as possible.

      Premium beer and wine package, nothing but an upsell gimmick. Save your money for the tacky art auctions.

  • About 3 or 4 days before anyone mentioned Paul Maurice, Stauffer had Tripp Tracy on his show, and if you read the tea leaves, you knew Maurice was a candidate. Everyone knows Stauff has been calling for a certain type of coach to be added. Maurice came up in the convo, and Bob asked what kind of coach he was. Tripp explained, and Stauffer let out a sly “Hm.” as if to say “well there you go, that’s the type of guy right there”. Couple days later, and word leaks that Maurice has interviewed.


    • justDOit

      The report of Maurice being talked to via the Oil came up before Stauffer had Tripp on his show…

      No Hmmmm…

      Just Facts…

      As for Maurice, he was my choice for the Bench Boss gig before they hired Coach K.

      So I would be thrilled to see him with a Copper Drop on his chest in the future.

      His dynamics & acumen when it comes to the game at BOTH sides of the sheet are insurmountable to a Hockey Club such as the Oil moving forward…


  • Word to the Bird

    You know, there are a lot of players on Winnipeg that I would like on the Oilers. Mind you I don’t watch enough Jets hockey to get an accurate valuation on those players.

    Andrew Ladd
    Dustin Byfuglien (if he slimmed out lol)
    Blake Wheeler
    Tobias Enstrom
    Zach Bogosian
    Bryan Little
    Kyle Wellwood

    All players I’d take on the Oil for the right price

    Note: I didn’t add Evander Kane because he’s basically a worse (and douchier) version of Taylor Hall.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Robin, I agree with you that Maurice would be a solid Assistant, I just don’t think he is the ideal Assistant. I think Eakins falls under that category, however I don’t think he is going to be convinced to accept an offer for that position. If MacT is making changes behind the bench with additions, do you think he’ll make changes with subtractions (Smith and Buchberger?).

    The other thing, unrelated to your article, but seems to drive many of us here crazy in the comment section is New Age. Can you muzzle him? At least get him to stop trying to dazzle us with his so-called brilliance instead of us being baffled by his bullish!t. Rant over.

  • MKE

    Even if they did remove the current assistants you still need the same thing. Upgrades…people with more experience.

    If Maurice comes in and knows his role, I think he would be a fantastic addition. You are only as strong as your weakest link.

    I don’t see Ralph as a weak link.

    And you can’t trade Yak. Not on his ELC.

    Plus he’s one of the few guys that cared last year. You need more guys like that. Not less.

  • Shawn Cronin

    Ah yes, if this happens, the Oilers will be continuing the practice of bringing in the replacement coach/GM before actually giving them the job. I bet Kreuger knows he will be done in the next year or so……and Maurice will know the coaching job will be his.

  • MarcusBillius

    The practice of bringing in replacement coaches and Gm’s is apparant. Don’t like one guy, bring in the next. I’m sure Quinn, Renney, Tambo are having a giggle over this. Associate coach=replacement when you can’t get team into the playoffs.

    Maurice is a good guy, but he should stay far away from this stinkpit.

  • StHenriOilBomb

    Adding Maurice would be astute and a good move for Maurice who would benefit from the old boys club connections tha KLOWE and MacT also bring to the table. As to Kerry Diotte. I have better uses for my vote then to waste it on an Alderman who lacks the vision needed for this city’s future. His head is so buried in the pothole issue he can’t see anything else. Why would I vote for a single issue candidate? I want a candidate who has plan for this City moving forward. I had hoped Sohi would be that guy but unfortunately that will not happen. Hopefully Krushell will step up.

    Visors good. I lost the use of my left eye playing road hockey many years ago. I was 6 at the time.1971.They did not have the tech they have nowadays to save an eye.