High Noon

The speculation mill regarding what’s going to happen with the coaching staff of the Edmonton Oilers has been in high gear for weeks now without even one official word about changes from the Oilers themselves. My expectation – which amounts to nothing more than speculation until it actually happens – is that will change by high noon or so today.

That best guess about getting some actual news today is based on bits and pieces of info that has leaked out from people I consider credible, including in-the-know TSN insider Bob McKenzie and John Shannon of Sportsnet, plus conversations I’ve had. McKenzie tweeted yesterday:

I doubt we get the whole story on the status of Todd McLellan’s staff today, but part of the picture is better than none of it. I expect at the very least we’ll get official word that Jay Woodcroft is out and will take over as head coach in AHL Bakersfield. As for the “multiple moves” — the fate of Jim Johnson and Ian Herbers, who has the option of returning to the University of Alberta — we’ll see. Johnson is surely gone, no?

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What we won’t get today are all the names who will fill those three vacant spots. I’ve written that Glen Gulutzan and Trent Yawney are likely the leading candidates to fill two of the positions on McLellan’s staff and I believe that’s how it’s going to play out when all the shuffling is done. Others have written the same thing. Do we get both names today? One of them? None? Your guess is as good as mine.

As for the name of the third candidate for McLellan’s staff, I keep looking at Swift Current Broncos’ head coach Manny Viveiros. I thought he might be a candidate to take over as the head man in Bakersfield, but if Woodcroft is slotted into that spot, I can’t see Viveiros taking an assistant’s gig in the minors. I can, however, see him considering a position as an assistant here.

If Viveiros is the guy, we’ll have to wait on that announcement. He’s got the Broncos in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The series is tied 2-2. The question for me isn’t if the Oilers want him, but if a position as an assistant here is enough to get him to sign on – Viveiros will be in demand this off-season.

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If things unfold as I believe they eventually will – it might be more accurate to say as I believe they should – then it’ll be Gulutzan, Yawney and Viveiros manning the bench with McLellan when the smoke clears and the dust settles. As for today, we’ll have to settle for news about who is out before we get on to who is coming in. My over/under on that is high noon.


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With the No. 14 pick, the Oilers select... John-Jason Peterka?