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At Random: Blast from the past?

A lot of readers around here won’t remember Emanuel Viveiros, which isn’t surprising because many of you weren’t even born when he was a big deal with the Prince Albert Raiders. That was 1985-86, when Viveiros, a puck-moving blueliner with a knack for producing points, was named WHL Player of the Year. Mercy, Manny could flat-out play.

The Edmonton Oilers thought so, too, selecting the five-foot-11, 160-pound native of St. Albert 106th overall in 1984 after he had a 109-point season with the Raiders. Viveiros never played a single game with the Oilers, got traded to Minnesota in December 1986 and then headed for Europe after playing 29 games over parts of three seasons with the North Stars.

Viveiros was in his final season with the Raiders when I was in my first writing about the Blazers in Kamloops. I knew Viveiros had landed in Swift Current as head coach of the Broncos before the 2016-17 season after decades playing and coaching over in Europe, but I hadn’t given him much thought until this week, when Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer made a point of mentioning him more than once.

It was a reference Wednesday that caught my ear. First, Stauffer, who seldom drops names just for fun, referred to Viveiros as a “Rising coaching star in the WHL.” Later in the same show, Swift Current goaltender Stuart Skinner added: “Manny is amazing. He’s a super-positive guy, an amazing coach . . . there’s no secret that he’s definitely the best coach in the WHL and obviously rising into a higher level.”

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Viveiros, now 52, took over from former Oiler Mark Lamb in Swift Current. He coached the Broncos to a 39-23-0-10 record last season before his team was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs. As of Thursday, Viveiros had the Broncos in the mix again, sitting second behind Moose Jaw in the East Division at 36-12-3-1.

Talk to people around the WHL and they’ll tell you Viveiros is a coach who knows how to develop defencemen and somebody with a philosophy of breeding offensive confidence in his players. Hockey people will also tell you it’s only a matter of time until NHL teams looking for an AHL bench boss come calling on him – I won’t be surprised if that happens as early as this summer.

Todd McLellan began his ascent to the pro ranks after spending six years behind the bench in Swift Current. He worked a year as the head coach in Cleveland of the now-defunct IHL before spending four years in Houston. That got McLellan a job as an assistant with the Detroit Red Wings and the rest we know.

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I wonder, given that Edmonton has young blueline prospects in the AHL right now in Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones and have a guy like forward Tyler Benson on the way from the Vancouver Giants, if Viveiros might be seen as an intriguing possibility by the Oilers. You’d think so. Might he be a fit with the Condors in Bakersfield? The more I hear his name, the more I wonder. Stay tuned.

WHILE I’M AT IT

Way too much of a fuss was made about Al Montoya declining to speak to reporters after Thursday’s morning skate about this start against the Colorado Avalanche. Much of it was generated by a questionably worded Tweet by TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, although other media members complained as well.

Rishaug later apologized for the wording of the Tweet, which was characterized by many as insensitive and a cheap shot. I don’t believe that was his intent, but the fall-out it generated is an aspect of the immediacy of social media that can bite you once in a while. Rishaug has a job to do and he was ticked off about not getting what he came for. That happened to me many times during my years writing hockey.

The difference is there was no Twitter until my final season on the beat, 2006-07. If somebody didn’t want to talk and I didn’t like it, too bad. There was no way of getting that out there right away the way every person in the room can now. While I don’t recall ever getting anything worth squat from a starting goaltender at a morning skate, it was my job to try. No different for Rishaug.

Reporters getting blown off by somebody they wanted to talk to pre-game might whine and moan about it to the team media relations staff a bit, but it was usually forgotten by the time the puck dropped that night. Now, you bash something off and hit the send button. That initial reaction, as we see time and again, doesn’t always play very well.

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  • Jason Gregor

    I mentioned Manny last year when he completely outcoached Tim Hunter in playoffs. He is a very positive coach, who thinks game offensively, but also understands it defensively. His players love him in Swift. I will guarantee he is coaching in the AHL next year. He could even get offers as an NHL assistant, but he loves being a head coach and I expect he would rather run an AHL bench, than be an assistant in NHL. And watch out for Swift in WHL east playoffs. That division of MJ, Swift, Regina, Brandon is great. One really good team will be out in the first round during that 2 vs. 3 matchup and again in the East final. You’d rather finish 4th, so you could cross over and face Med Hat, Lethbridge and Kootenay.

  • McDavid's Comet

    It would be great to see the Oilers hire someone with a good coaching resume, and is not a member of the “boy on the bus” club. Although he may be considered an Oiler alumni.

  • Dan 1919

    Wow Rishaug’s comment is almost comical, he makes his living by talking about a game, and he thinks people will feel sorry for him and take his side when a busy, new to town goalie passes on a 30sec interview. Work a little bit harder and find something else to “talk about” and get over it without crying on twitter.

    • This has nothing to do with willingness to work hard. Montoya’s first start was a story and a lot of people wanted it. — your “something else” would be a distant second that day. Ryan wanted the story and couldn’t get it. Putting out that tweet, which changed nothing, when he was still ticked off about it was the mistake in my opinion. He apologized for the wording. You still feel the need to take a run at him?

      • Dan 1919

        I’m not taking a run at him, I actually like Rishaug and his reporting. I just directly said how pathetic that poor choice of a reaction was. Similar to what you did by highlighting his already apologized for mistake in this article… nice try through RB.

        • Never suggested anything close to his choice being pathetic. Not similar at all. I felt the same way Ryan did more than once. The difference is there was no Twitter in those days. Had there been, I’d probably have put out something best not said more than once.

          • Dan 1919

            Fare enough, I interpreted your article as being critical of him for hitting the send button to twitter. You did not say you would have made the same mistake in your article. Either way, it was a poor decision by him that I didn’t notice until you highlighted it. I don’t partake in twitter/facebook for that very reason of people bantering about things they wouldn’t say to someones face. AND NOW I’VE FALLEN VICTIM TO TALKING ABOUT THE USELESS BANTER, WHAT HAVE I DONE!… How bout that coach, he seems good, can he run a PK or PP?

        • I can’t honestly speak to Viveiros in terms of his coaching strengths first-hand because I have not seen a single Swift Current game in person since he arrived. The results, and what people around the WHL say, paint a very positive picture. Gregor mentioned Viveiros out-coaching Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw last season. He’s kept better tabs than I have because his nephew plays in The Jaw.

  • camdog

    The big story around the NHL wasn’t about Montoya’s first start as an Oiler it was about an Edmonton Oiler reporter trashing the back up goalie. Google it.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Good on Ryan Rishaug for his apology. My point was, there are certain times that are not the best to interview for various reasons. That should be respected by both parties.

      • Derian Hatcher

        I could be wrong , but my perception of Richaug’s complaint was one of entitlement. Either way, he came off as whiny and petty, apology or not. Wouldn’t have been a story until he made it one. Hopefylly lesson learned.

  • VK63

    It is interesting how these things turn out. MannyV got the job in Swift because the Oilers blocked the Broncos efforts to secure Bucky who was their first choice. When the Oil offered Bucky a deck chair move and a bit more cash he declined the Broncos offer. Enter Manny.

    That PA team Manny ran the PP on was a collection of beauties.
    Bomber and Charlie as a D pair.
    Mercy.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    How about a replacement for Woodcroft?
    The above statement is so obvious, I’m presuming someone else had made this comment?
    I didn’t read all the comments before posting, sorry, my bad.

  • @S_2_H

    I haven’t liked Rishaug since he tried to twist the words of a rookie nail yakupov during a media scrum, when the kids’ English was still a work in progress – it was trashy and classless. Exactly the words I would use to describe this tweet. He’d do great over at TMZ or CNN.

  • camdog

    Look at that Terry Jones trashing on Odell Willis on Twitter. Another one member of the Edmonton MSM. Same guys that trashed on Hervey as GM supported the convict Tillman and the 6 ringed circus with the Oilers.

    • camdog

      Why does Terry Jones always get a free pass, why is he still employed? Ex eskimos calling him out on twitter. The Edmonton MSM is embarrassed the city of Edmonton 2 days in a row. Thankfully it’s the weekend, can they make it 3 “work days” in a row, we will have to wait until Monday folks…