Photo Credit: Dave Sandford

Chiarelli talks coaching changes

As I’m sure you’ve all seen, the Oilers made some changes in the coaching department today and Peter Chiarelli offered up some insight in regards to the changes over on the official website. Let’s take a look.

After last season went sideways, it seemed inevitable that the Oilers were going to make some kind of changes in terms of coaching or management personnel, and today we got a first look at what’s to come. Jay Woodcroft was officially moved to the Bakersfield Condors as their new head coach, Jim Johnson was let go but will continue to look like he’s angrily waiting for a cab, and Ian Herbers ended up back at the U of A, leaving three empty spaces on McLellan’s coaching staff.

When asked about the moves, Chiarelli started off with some skiing analogies (not really):

“I wanted to give Todd a fresh base.”

Bigger the base the better the shred, I get it. But seriously, though. What’s up with these moves? Give us a scoop.

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“You can look at a lot of the areas where we struggled this past year: You could say player personnel, you could say special teams or a number of different things but I think when you get a fresh perspective, it gives Todd a fresh perspective and it gives the players a fresh perspective.”

Alright, let’s break this down step-by-step because there’s a lot to get to in this sentence.

Firstly, what the hell is Pete talking about? This was the most Trump-like, choppy, dodge-duck-dip-duck-dodge sentence that I’ve read in a while and I say that as someone that recognizes how mediocre I am at communicating with people. Now that that’s out of the way… Yes, Pete, I do blame player personnel and overall roster construction for a big chunk of what’s going on here but that’s on you, pal. Boom! Roasted. Second, that’s a lot of perspective in one sentence. PERSPECTIVE!

“At the end of the day, that was really the objective: To give him a new base. That’s what we’re setting out to do.”

I need someone in the comments section to explain to me this “new base” idea that he’s running with here. This is the second time he’s said it and I’m still not sure what he’s getting at. Is he talking about the new ideas that will come with three new people? If so, I can dig that. Is he talking about a new support system? Is he talking about learning new ways of doing things? Is he talking about having other people around to play good cop bad cop with?

“He sees trends and knows how to connect with the players. I’ve seen Todd do it in a number of different forms and a number of different years.”

I’m not going to say I disagree with this because I’m obviously not in the dressing room, but I have heard from a couple of sources that Todd wasn’t exactly an easy guy to play for this year. I was told that he was especially hard on some of the guys at times when he should have had a softer touch and that it made the vibe in the room a little bit sour. I’m not saying that being a hardass is the wrong approach, but sometimes these millennials need a participation ribbon if you know what I mean.

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“I believe he has the energy, enthusiasm and the tactical mind to address it. I feel very strongly in him.”

I hope so, Pete. We can’t have another season like the last one because both my sanity and your employment depend on it.

Baggedmilk on #theLOCKERROOM: Cup Finals, Henrik Lundqvist, and the Simple Things in Life


As you’d expect, Chiarelli said a bunch of words without really saying too much but that’s kinda his thing, isn’t it? When I saw the article come up, I was hoping that Chiarelli was going to give us a little bit of insight into why the assistant coaches were let go and not the head coach himself. To me, it seems strange to get rid of 75% of the coaching staff but to leave the man in charge in place. Just me? I don’t know. Personally, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we had seen everyone from GM to coaching staff get cleared out after this disaster went down and it’s a struggle to make sense of it all. I guess it just reminds me of a dealership that fires their salespeople for not moving units even though there were no cars on the lot. Am I wrong? I’m definitely open to being wrong. Then again, maybe I’m just confused about everything that happens with this team I love. What do you guys think?

  • The Future Never Comes

    The only reason I believe Todd to still be here is because of that dangling 3 million dollar price tag at two more years. Anyone who has played in competitive hockey knows that the lions-share of decisions are coming from the coach. He is who the players are playing under, the assistants are doing some background tweaking and suggesting during practice but Todd is the deployment, figurehead, and main motivator of that room. He has that contract to thank for saving his bacon.

  • oilerjed

    @BaggedMilk “Am I Wrong?”
    In short, yes. One really good season followed up by a poor season is a really terrible reason to blow up the whole organization for no other reason the to satisfy the blood lust of an irritated fan base. IMO the appropriate amount of blood was spilled and hopefully all of the negative commenters (and writers) come back on here next season when things are 180 degrees different from this season.

  • hagar

    Typical oilers.. take a disaster of a hire and promote them under the guise they are improving the importance of the disfunction rather than admitting the fault. Seen it for how many years now..
    The horrible specials team coach gets a new head coaching job to remove his incompetence.

  • A-Mc

    Hey BM, what if it was lucic that he was being hard on,? What if lucic was a grump ass because he was called out for sucking; we have seen it on the ice in his body language.

    If Todd creates a stink by demoting lucic to the 3rd line, I’m ok with that. Lucic needs to be better!

  • lee

    Peter C knows if the team doesn’t make the playoffs next season, he is gone. Hopefully he doesn’t panic and make another brutal trade.
    The fact that Peter C and Todd M couldn’t have done a worse job last season and yet they are still both here says it all.
    Everyone agrees that this season the NHL became a different league where speed and moving the puck is king.
    Both Peter C and Todd M showed how they dealt with the new league, lets hope Todd M goes home and watched teams like Vegas, As for Peter C he might have to win a big trade to get back his credibility.

    • Regretzky

      PC built a heavy team just in time for the league to shift to an era in which, as you said, speed and puck moving is key. We don’t need him to acquire a bunch o lil whips and show up late for the next era too, we need a forward thinking coaching staff that can use what we have to BE the next shift and ‘diversity’ it will be. We got some fast players, got some big players, a few holes on the roster for sure but it’s brains we lack the most. I’m just trying to be optimistic about these coaching get changes. …they’ll still probably hire a bunch of dinosaurs and put Yammer on the top line.

  • CMG30

    If the Oilers are going to keep the GM then they obviously feel he was not the problem. Therefore the blame must lay elsewhere. But you keep the head coach? No problem there then I guess… Oh it was the assistant coaches! How terrible they must have been that they ALONE cost us the season! Despite that, at least one of them is still good enough to lead our team in the AHL.

    Back in reality, the Oilers just didn’t have the horses. The GM downgraded the skill surrounding McDavid while ignoring critical holes on the backend. But hey, according to Bobby, he’s got a plan!

  • Hockeytalkguy

    Hate to beat a dead horse but I still believe there was trouble in the dressing room. Nurse / Draisaitl. I believe for this reason Chia & TMc jobs were saved cause in the big picture the shananigans that happened off the ice early in the season was out of there control. When Draisaitl had the black eye and was out with concussion symptoms there wasn’t one media interview with Draisaitl, TMc, Chia or anyone else for that matter for how he got the black eye and concust. Everything was swept under the rug. If any of you remember a comment TMc made after the season. “There is a lot of things we can do better, on the ice and off”. That to me spoke volumes. There is so much behind the scenes activity that us fans have no clue about. Now I’m not giving Chia & TMc a free pass but I do think there was other circumstances that contributed to this painful season.

  • Finnaggled

    Im curious why an established coach would want this position? Think about it, if the team does well then great. But if you’re trent yawney, and are getting multiple offers, you know if the oilers have a repeat performance tmac will be fired, another hc brought in (or gulutzan as rumored), who would of course hire his own staff. I just find it hard to believe a coach as in demand as he reportedly is, would accept such a volatile position.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I’m ok with the coaching changes today. The special teams sucked ass this year and even though Todd oversees all on the bench, he gave the reins to Woodcroft and Johnson when it came to the pp and pk. Sometimes the Project manager has to fire the formen for not getting the guys to produce. This also shows Todd has a short leash going into next season.

    Hopefully the GM will give TMac the proper players to slot properly on each line instead of having to put Drai on 97s right wing because there was nobody else.

    November 15th, if the team falters like they did this year, it’s been nice knowing you Todd.

  • Dave2

    At least MacT was articulate when he was the GM. When you hear a person who is incredibly articulate you tend to think they must be smart.

    Main Street Media is buying the Oilers Woodhouse spin. I think the Oilers are just doubling down.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    The power play sucked.

    The penalty kill sucked.

    The defence took a step back.

    Fire the assistants, replace them with better more experienced coaches.

    Make the team better. This article is pointless.

  • nuge2drai

    In 24 hours I’ll be smoking a couple fatties, celebrating another lottery win.

    Why else would Katz keep these guys around… they are lottery magic.. cant mess with a winning thing.

  • Johnny Stomper

    I’m so mixed in my feelings on this. We’ve had such a history of firing coaches that I was happy when Todd came in. You started to see a system. Finally we started to have something consistent and not revolving every year. Yes this was a bad year. Terrible!! Did I believe we really were the 2nd favourite odds to win the cup before season started. No! I thought that was so off but I also thought we were in contention.

    Do I think if we had Hall or Eberle that things would be different. No I don’t believe that. Eberle was good for regular season but not playoffs. He was so soft on that play along the boards against Anaheim that resulted in a pivotal goal in that series. You can’t win with guys who play like that in playoffs.

    I think we have the pieces in place and need a few tweaks. Definitely better goal tending tandem. The one thing that still frustrates me with our team is our breakout. It still sucks ass. I hope the Oilers are watching the Vegas Knights. That’s how you break out. Great to watch.

    I ask you guys. Ok if you fired PC and TMac who are the replacements and what do you like that they bring?

  • ed from edmonton

    This boils down to PC stating he has confidence in TodM and he is giving him on last chance (i.e. with new assistants). This is not so different than a GM giving a coache a vote of confidence just before he fires him. Al this may be the result of a group within the Oil management (the RWS guys??) who wanted TodMac gone and other who didn’t agree. So they settled on this. If the Oil get off to another bad start TodM could be gone by Xmas.

  • OldOilerFan

    Your line “I guess it just reminds me of a dealership that fires their salespeople for not moving units even though there were no cars on the lot.” That sums it up nicely. If Yawney or Gulutzan come in as rumoured that couldn’t hurt I don’t think, but that won’t address the bigger issues this club has – and that’s upstairs….

  • Crakupov

    The coaching was the #1 problem this year. Very bad power play, Very bad Penalty kill and crap goaltending. If you fix one of these three the Oilers would have been fighting for a playoff spot. I hope the coaching changes help as I think we have a competitive team on the ice if they are coached properly. I’m not sold on Tmac his coaching seems to be a step behind everyone else in the game.

  • tkfisher

    This is like firing the flight attendant for a plane crash. It’s the pilot and Co pilots fault. If Tmac had issues with the pp or pk, he’s the head coach. The assistants assit. If coaching was the problem, and the oilers are saying with these moves it was, then that’s on the head coach. Period.