Oilers broadcaster, Drew Remenda, appeared on the Teal Town USA podcast yesterday and was dropping gems in regards to the Oilers coaching situation, the fanbase hating him, and getting notes from Sportsnet on the angle in which he covers the game.
When I saw on the Oilers subreddit that ol’ Drew was dishing about the Oilers on a Sharks’ podcast I knew that it was going to be hilarious. Drew Remenda is a pretty divisive guy in the fanbase which is always funny to me because, really, he doesn’t do anything but provide opinions on what he sees while also wanking on about the Sharks any chance he gets. So when I saw that he was on a Sharks podcast I figured it was going to be entertaining.
On the coaching changes
As expected, Drew was asked a lot about the Oilers and, as always, he didn’t sugarcoat anything he said. Let’s get to the interview.
“In Edmonton, it’s an interesting market and it’s an interesting organization.”
What’s interesting, to me, is that this market loves the Oilers so much even though the organization hasn’t given them much to cheer for in over a decade but that’s a story for another day. It’s almost like a ‘why don’t they love me back’ relationship but that’s life as an Oilers fan. When asked about some of the recent changes behind the bench, Drew defended the assistant coaches that were let go:
“They had to do something. For me, firing the assistant coaches is ridiculous. They were so good last year and all of a sudden they didn’t know how to coach? Come on.”
To be honest, I said the same thing about these guys forgetting how to coach but results matter and it would have been weird to come back with the exact same crew. Actually, it’s almost surprising that the whole staff didn’t get the boot.
“Jay had the choice and Peter Chiarelli had been talking to him for some time, ever since they worked together at the World Cup of Hockey. (He’d say) ‘When are you going to take your own bench? If you want to be a head coach in the league, this is what you got to do.’”
The more I think about it, the more I think it will be good to have Woodcroft and McLellan on the same page in regards to how the NHL and AHL clubs play the game. While we don’t know what kind of head coach Woodcroft will be, he’s never done it before, I think it’s safe to assume that the guy knows at least a thing or two considering he’s been on an NHL bench for a decade. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I don’t think so.
What does Drew think?
“You know, there’s not a better gentleman, a smarter hockey guy on the planet, and a harder working guy that’s more organized and trusted than Jay Woodcroft is with Todd McLellan.”
Nothing new here. McLellan and Woodcroft have been together since back in the Detroit days so it’s not exactly news that these two would feel comfortable together. What’s next?
“(Woodcroft) was given the choice — you can stay with the big club or you can go down and take your own team and Jay thought it was a good time to go and take your own team. And I don’t know about you guys, but living in California in November, January, February, December is a little easier than living in Edmonton (laughs).”
GET IT?! IT’S COLD HERE IN THE WINTER! BOOM. ROASTED. Neeeeeext.
“Jimmy Johnson, unfortunately, took the hit because the penalty kill wasn’t very good this year but there were a lot of problems in that regard. I don’t think it was all Jimmy.”
Drew is on his own on this one. Not only was the PK horrible for most of the season, I was also told by a source I trust that the players didn’t really like Jim Johnson. I wrote about that here and I’ll continue to trust my source on this one. So when you combine a horrible PK with the fact that he allegedly rubbed some players the wrong way then it’s not exactly surprising that he was let go.
When asked about what’s next, Drew threw his hat in the ring of people that expect Trent Yawney to be landing in the 7-8-0 at some point soon.
“My belief is Trent Yawney coming to Edmonton.”
Sweet. A lot of people believe that. I’m gonna need you to tell us a little something about him, please.
“Trent is an outstanding developer of defenceman. Look at Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen — he had a big hand in those (players developing). He’s a terrific guy to counter off of Todd because sometimes you’ve got to play the heavy hand and Trent is very good at it, but he does it in a very constructive and smart way.”
The interesting comment here comes at the end of the quote when he talks about being able to use a heavy hand in a constructive way. That’s basically the exact opposite of what I was told Jim Johnson’s approach was and caused some of the players to tune him out. Johnson apparently had the heavy hand without the constructiveness behind it.
“(Gulutzan) might be a good choice as to have another head coach type guy there, but I’m not sure what else he’s looking at. I think it will only be two guys, it won’t be three … but I would bet dollars to donuts that Trent is going to be with the Edmonton Oilers next year.”
Maybe Gulutzan, maybe not. Maybe three new coaches, maybe not. Nothing new, but I can’t blame Drew for that. What else?
On Lucic and the team speed
One thing we heard a lot of last year was that the Oilers were too slow and Drew is someone that certainly subscribes to that idea.
“They didn’t replace that speed. They got top line guys that just aren’t fast enough anymore.”
Top line guys that aren’t fast enough, you say? Whoever could he be talking about?
“Milan Lucic, and I don’t know if you guys watched, but this is a guy that really needs to change his game in order to compete in the new National Hockey League. If you’re not fast, you’re not playing in this league anymore.”
People keep saying this and I have no idea what it means or how it’s supposed to happen? Are we going to pull a Wile-E Coyote and strap rockets to Lucic’s legs as a means to help him keep up? How do you teach a soon to be 30-year-old how to be faster? Meh, whatever.
On the fans hating him…
Like I mentioned above, Drew Remenda is a guy that’s fun to hate on when he’s doing Oilers games and he clearly knows that’s the case. Though, to be fair, he had some fun with it on the podcast.
“I don’t know if you know this but you can go and Google and search it up, and my kids love to do it because they think it’s the funniest thing in the world, Edmonton fans hate me. Like… HATE me.”
I want to go one record here and say that I don’t hate Drew. Sometimes I get annoyed when Drew sounds thrilled about a goal against or something like that but I definitely wouldn’t say that I hate him. Frankly, I don’t really think much about him at all. I barely even notice when he’s not there. To me, the colour commentators are like putting a different flavour of jam on your toast — same thing on a different day.
“Sharks fans, not so much. Sharks fans are so good to me all the time.”
Yeah, but it’s probably because you wank on about their team regardless of who you’re actually broadcasting for. I know that Drew has a history with the Sharks so I try not to think too much about it. I mean, he’s not John Garrett bad but it’s definitely noticeable.
On Sportsnet giving him notes…
One of the knocks that Drew has had about him is that he’s overly critical about the Oilers when they make a mistake. Right or wrong, the way he cuts can sting and is probably one of the reasons he annoys fans the most. It’s not like we don’t already know when they suck, so having Drew rub salt in the wound is a little much at times.
“This is being sent down from the network and it’s also being sent down from team ownership, they want you to build the brand, promote the brand. I get that.”
Ahhh so the Oilers tightened the leash a little bit on you, huh? I don’t know how I feel about that. Sure, I may not always agree with what you have to say but I certainly believe you should be allowed to say it. I know I said that having Drew cut the team up after a mistake is like rubbing salt in the wound, but I would rather have him be honest rather than put mustard on a turd sandwich.
“For me, I looked at as I wasn’t knocking the team down — I was just being honest. But there’s a way you can be honest without kicking someone in the rear end all the time.”
Hmm… I guess the Sportsnet and the Oilers want ol’ Drew to treat the team like they’re kids, teaching lessons while not being overly critical and hurting anyone’s feelings. That’s weird. Nothing like censoring the colour guy. From Drew’s side, I certainly understand why he wouldn’t want to bite the hand that feeds, but this does make the team look a little bit soft.
“Now, if you transfer that right across the National Hockey League with broadcasters, what you see is less and less analysis and more and more pumping up the tires. There are, I think, a few of us analysts still left. There’s not very many.”
Ahhh the old ‘last of a dying breed’ routine, huh? To me, this is kinda like the broadcasting equivalent to not being able to stop the clock from flashing on your VCR even though everyone else has already figured it out. Again, I get it but it just seems unnecessary.
“I work for a network, I don’t work for the Oilers, but I broadcast the Oilers games I work for Sportsnet. Even they want to say, ‘Hey, you need to be positive guys. We’re a partnership here with the Oilers. So you need to be more positive instead of jumping on them every time they make a mistake or when a goal is scored’”
Alright, now I actually think this is funny because I can picture Quinn and Remenda talking to each other during the break, trying to figure out how to polish turds. Take a minute and think about it. You’ll start laughing too.
“So we did that this year a little bit more, even though it was a tough year to do it, but we did it and I think we did it successfully without completely selling our souls.”
Again, I think it’s pretty weak that the Oilers give Sportsnet notes on how their broadcasters can talk about the team but I guess that’s where we’re at these days. Control the narrative, be the narrative.
As much as it’s fun to bust Drews balls when he’s doing Oilers games, I actually thought he comes off as a pretty fun and knowledgeable guy in this interview. I thought he did a good job of answering the questions he was asked and also being honest in his assessment of how things went. Frankly, I was hoping for more stuff to make fun of him for but that just wasn’t the case — he was just Drew being Drew. At the end of the day, I know I’ve done my share of making fun of Drew but the guy is just doing his job and trying to be interesting while he’s at it. Personally, I don’t put too much thought into what the colour guy says on a nightly basis but I can understand why that part of the experience matters to some people. Now that we know he’s getting notes from the Oilers and Sportsnet about what’s being said, some of the things he says may start to make a little more sense.
Check out the full interview here: