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Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Is Tippett’s Deal Done?

The Edmonton Oilers off-season has been quite eventful, and we will see more things shake down very soon.

Earlier this week Ryan Rishaug said the Oilers might have a coaching announcement this week, and yesterday Bob McKenzie said Dave Tippett is the only candidate, and that he and Ken Holland were discussing contracts.

Two sources told me today that barring a major change, the deal is all but done. Tippett will be the next head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.

Tippett has 14 years of NHL head coaching experience. He didn’t coach the past two seasons, so you can argue he will be re-energized and excited. He also has a reputation of being a player’s coach.

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Shane Doan shared a story about Tippett when he was the Coyotes head coach. They played Dallas, the team Tippett coached for the previous six seasons.

“I remember after the game, I was walking out of the rink and I saw about 13 Dallas players going to his office to speak to him. I’d never seen anything like that before. It showed how much the guys liked and respected him,” he said.

In today’s game I believe coaching is so much about connecting with your players. If they feel you care about them, they will do their best to play the system correctly. They are in a better frame of mind, which often allows players to play better.

Of course you need skill to win. It is great to respect the coach and want to play for him, but if the team doesn’t have enough high-end skill you won’t win. Arizona was a perfect example of that. As Dustin Nielson outlined, during Tippett’s eight seasons in Arizona his team’s leading scorer was a D-man four times. It is a bit foolish to suggest Tippett stifles offence, because he never really had an elite scorer.

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Doan led the team in scoring with 55 and 60 points in 2010 and 2011, Ray Whitney had 77 in 2012, Keith Yandle had 30 (48 games) in 2013 and 53 points in 2014, Oliver Ekman-Larsson had 53 in 2015 and 55 in 2016, while Radim Vrbata had 55 in 2017.

Tippett squeezed every drop of offence out of those teams, and there wasn’t much to start with. He won’t have that issue in Edmonton.

Connor McDavid has 324 points over the past three NHL seasons, the most in the NHL, while Leon Draisaitl has the seventh most points with 252. (Yes, Draisaitl has the seventh most points in the NHL the past three years and some people claimed his contract was bad. Hilarious.)

Tippett won’t have to worry about offensive challenges. Instead he can focus on improving the Oilers commitment to defence and on the penalty kill.

Assistant Coaches

Will Tippett retain any of Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney or Manny Vivieros? I’ve been told Dustin Schwartz is staying on as goalie coach.

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I still believe it would be beneficial for Tippett to keep at least one of those three assistants, so the players don’t need to get used to an entirely new staff again. Ultimately it will be up to Tippett and who he hires, but considering his reputation for being such a good player’s coach, I think he will see the value in having some continuity on the coaching staff.

The three assistants have permission to speak with other teams, but I’ve been told they will wait to speak with Tippett before having any serious conversations about other opportunities. There have been casual conversations about other openings, but nothing concrete.

The Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs are looking for a coach to run their defence, and Trent Yawney has worked with Todd McLellan twice before, so that is an easy connection.

If Vivieros isn’t retained I could see him looking to be a head coach in the AHL. There are currently two spots opening, and might be three if Dallas Eakins gets the Anaheim Ducks job. He had lots of success as a head coach in Europe and in the WHL. He is an excellent communicator and tactician, which is what teams need for their AHL teams.

I spoke with Jay Woodcroft yesterday. He wouldn’t commit on air if he was returning to Bakersfield, and I get why, if he hasn’t discussed it with Ken Holland, who was meeting with Tippett today in Vancouver. But Woodcroft did say he loved being a head coach and having the extra responsibility. The biggest factor in his decision will be family. His wife and children stayed in Edmonton this year, and that was difficult for all of them. He did tell me last October the plan was for his family to remain here this year, but come to Bakersfield next year. However, things can change.

When your kids are entering their teenage years you have to be very aware of them and their situation. Are they open to moving? How will they react? Sometimes we forget the family side of hockey decisions, and based on previous discussions with him over the years, I know family is very important to him. Also, as of today the Kings have not asked the Oilers for permission to speak with Woodcroft.

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His decision won’t simply be about hockey. If it was, I’d bet he’d be the head coach in Bakersfield, because that is the best path if he wants to be an NHL head coach someday. I still believe he goes there, but his decision isn’t just about him. It is also about his wife and children.

UFA SIGNINGS…

Nygard is a 26 year old forward. He shoots left and scored 21 goals in 52 games last year. He has good speed and considering the Oilers lack of depth on left wing, and a not great UFA crop, this might be a good value signing. I’d be interested in the term more than the salary. Tobias Rieder didn’t pan out, but he was only signed for one year. Shorter term is always better for free agents, except for the odd elite player.

***Update**

Looks like the Oilers have signed Nygard.

Worth the Wait?

Edmonton product Jay Bouwmeester made his NHL debut with the Florida Panthers when he was 19 years young in October, 2002. He played 764 NHL games before playing his first playoff game in the spring of 2013 with the Calgary Flames. His Flames lost in six games. He played another 226 regular season games before he finally won a playoff series with the Blues in 2016. He’d played 990 regular season games at that point, and had lost in the first round for three years before finally experiencing the second round of the playoffs.

Now, three years later, after 1,184 regular season games and 68 playoff games, he will play his first game in the Stanley Cup Final. Good luck to him and his family.

Also, St.Albert’s Colton Parayko and Edmonton’s Jake Debrusk will play their first Final games as well. Parayko’s only been in the league four years and he’s already played 50 NHL playoff games. He’s made the Conference Final twice. This is Debrusk’s second season and in game one on Monday he’ll play his 30th playoff game.

While Bouwmeester has waited much longer, I’m sure all three are equally excited. Congrats to all three and their families. The next few weeks will be the biggest emotional rollercoaster ride of their hockey lives. Buckle up and enjoy. It is probably worse for the families as they can do nothing but cheer and hope.

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ULTIMATE SPORTS FAN

My 9th annual Ultimate Sports Fan package in support of charity is here again. On June 22nd and 23rd, I am riding in the 190KM MS Bike from Leduc to Camrose, and I’ve come up with a pretty good package for the diehard sports fan.

Here’s how it works: You make a $125 donation and you get one entry. If you make a $250 donation you get two entries, and so on.

We only take 100 entries and we will raise $12,500 for MS. The draw will be the week of June 14th.

This year’s winner will win the following prizes and more.: The final package is valued at over $6,000.00

  1. The “Oilers experience” at the Oilers home opener in October, which includes tickets, parking, dinner and a behind the scenes tour.
  2. A pair of Edmonton Eskimos season tickets in the lower bowl.
  3. Twenty tickets, and a hot dog and beverage (non-alcoholic), to an Oil Kings home game. Also, you will get an Oil King player of your choice to come to your backyard rink or minor hockey practice for an hour. (Between November 1st and December 15th.)
  4. Four seats in the Edmonton Stingers VIP Hospitality Zone, which includes buffet meal, for one of the Stingers home games of your choice. Also a signed Edmonton Stingers jersey. And your group will receive a pre-game Fan Experience.
  5. A signed Barclay Donaldson jersey. He was the captain for the Broom County Blades in the greatest hockey movie, Slap Shot. Sweet jersey.
  6. $500 GC at Atlas Steak and Fish (either location).
  7. We will add a few more items as well.

This sells out fast so get your entry today. You can make your donation here. (click Donate Now to the right of my picture).

Thank you for supporting MS and good luck.

Recently by Jason Gregor:


  • TKB2677

    I don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about Tippet but what I do know is when he was coaching Arizona, a team full of 3rd and 4th liners who’s top scorer was often Ekman-Larsson who would score maybe 50 pts, they would beat the Oilers for fun and they did it by playing a structure team game where every guy played his ass off. So they would outwork and out hustle the more talented Oilers over and over again and he got every last single drop of of his players.

    So maybe Tippett can get more out of the Oilers players, get them playing a team game and maybe not be a disaster in the defensive end.

  • TruthHurts98

    It appears so. Working out the financial details this afternoon and expect the official announcement tomorrow. As long as we can start outworking teams and create a winning culture I don’t care who the coach is.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Everyone seems to be saying that Tippett is going to be the new HC. People say that Tippet\s teams never scored or won a lot of games especially when he was the Yotes coach. The thing is the Yotes weren’t exactly gifted with a ton of talent as some teams, but I will say that his time with the Yotes they were tough teams to play against and they always seemed to always press for a win, there didn’t seem to be a lot of give up, which is one thing the Oilers need.

    My only concern is that our PP PK and defensive system have been just brutal, if Tippet brings in new assistants or maintains some of the old they need to work to get those areas fixed, because it has been a huge drag on the Oilers season the last 2 seasons. The Oilers keeping Schwartz on doesnt exactly inspire confidence for me, I have no problem with Schwartz working with the kids on the Oil Kings, but to have him continue working with the Oilers NHL goalies I think we are headed for more failures in net from the goalies still staying in bad habits

    • Have to agree, if they are going to keep failed employees yet again, I cant see much changing. Schwartz needs to go and Howson as well, along with several other a*s kissing sycophants who contribute nothing expect bad advice. Coach wont make much difference. Eakins was one of a kind (Thank God), but we managed to take Renney and McClellan and make them look like they did not have a clue either. Kruger knew what he was doing, as did Todd Nelson, so by all means they had to get rid of them(Sarcasm Font)

      • Kool-Aid Man

        @trainreck

        That about right, anyone, as or, stupider (Howson/Schwartz) than the OBC are guaranteed jobs. They make OBC look as if they actually know how to manage a team. It doesn’t help that burger bob is the front man of the idiot squad.

    • TruthHurts98

      Tippett will be choosing his staff, part of the deal to be announced. I’ll be surprised if any of the associate coaches are retained including Schwartz.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Gregor said on his radio show today Schwartz is staying with the Oilers as goalie coach. I am not a fan of it, I said before Schwartz had a pretty good junior career and a pretty decent career at the UofA as a goalie, I didnt mind him being goalie coach of the Oil Kings but the Oilers parachuting him into the Oilers golatending coach after firing Chabot was a huge mistake.Schwartz is out of his depth with respect to the NHL goaltending and how quickly teams will exploit a goalies weaknesses and how detrimental it can be to have a goalie develop bad habits and how things snowball and effect a goalie and a team mentally,m and Talbot and Koskinen last both had bad habits of going down way to early and for way to long. How many times did we see Talbot get beat high same with Koskinen, not to mention problems with Koskinen making himself too small in his crouch and getting beat glove side….often. I saw nothing in the way of improvements to where it looked like there were any solutions to solving any of those issues. Yes the Oilers defence has been brutal and the goalies saw far too much rubber and they were in tough a lot of nights, but even if the defence was better does anyone think that those issues couldnt be solves by a better goalie coach? I sure believe that

        • Oscar

          Tippett is obviously a players’ coach … as evidenced by his popularity among ex-players … which leads to the knowledgeable & discerning NHL fan asking … how much did he let his players get away with while coaching his players to a .415 pts % over the last three seasons with the Yote’s …

          • Boba The Fett

            Look at the talent he had to work with on a perpetual budget team. Pretty asinine comment when considering he was always working with a bargain bin roster

          • Dallas Eakins Hair

            You Lamers fans sure are concerned about the Oilers, I’d be more worried about solving the issues of why your Lamers failed in the playoffs to another patented Lmaers first round exit

          • Oilcountry97

            @oscar… Yeah or maybe they were a .415 team because they just didnt have a good team. Those coyote teams never had an elite scorer and just didnt have the team to compete. I hardly think that it was on tippet that they werent very good

        • Oilcountry97

          Yeah gotta agree with you. Schwarz does not seem to be able to help the goalies in the nhl. It seems as soon as they leave the oilers and start with a mew team/goalie coach they improve drastically. I really wosh they would find a new goalie coach like burke. Improving the defense also couldnt hurt but this same 6 d men just a few years ago seemed pretty solid and got us to the second round of the playoffs. I would like to see them keep viveros and yawnee but would like to see gulutzan leave.

        • Kneedroptalbot

          Dustin Schwartz did a very good job with helping Kostikinen adjust to the smaller NHL ice and covering the shooting angles. He also worked with Carter Hart in the off season and helped make the 19 year old an NHL starter. Ken Holland is a smart hockey man and knows what he has here with Dustin.

          • CofC

            Agree; not sure what people are basing their thoughts on Schwartz around, other than “he was never an NHL goalie”… Since when has NHL career or longevity had a significant correlation with coaching success? And who are these goalies that apparently left Edmonton to have sterling careers elsewhere? I can think of Dubnyk, but he was under a habit when he was here…

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Good on Bouwmeester. One of the better two-way defencemen of the “modern” era (i.e. post-2000). Very underrated. And he’s also the template for what a mobile defenceman should look like. Big, but not massive, but with outstanding wheels. Just a fantastic skater.

      • TruthHurts98

        I’ve done a ton of research on the prospects and it won’t surprise me if Cozens and Dach are drafted before the Oilers pick. Turcotte will probably be gone to the Avs. That leaves wingers Caufield and Boldy and maybe C/LW Zegras. I think Holland picks one of them. Krebs appears to have slipped a bit in the rankings.

  • hagar

    I cant think of a worse coaching tandem than Todd and woodcroft while they were here together. Its surprising they are talking about getting that show back together like it was some magic combo.

  • Shameless Plugger

    I can’t for one reason think why they’d retain Dustin Schwartz. Name one goalie who showed marked improvement since he’s been here? I can’t think of one. I can, however, think of a few who regressed.

  • OilTastic

    Oh goody! Upper management has decided that professional hanger-on Scott Howson and crappy goalie coach Dustin Schwartz both get to keep their jobs. And remember, did the Oilers actually fire MacT or was he given a 2 year hiatus only to come back after he fails over there?

  • Serious Gord

    Boy, Brian Burke certainly heaped on the faint praise this morning regarding Tippett – questioned why he hadn’t been coaching the past two seasons; said he never considered hiring him ever in the years he was GM.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        When Stauffer was saying on his show that Manning would help the team..I knew that seemed more like a PR pump to get the fans to quite howling so loud about the Manning trade how much he really believed it..well thats another story

    • Derian Hatcher

      Nice cherry picking Gord, here’s what Burke actually said:

      “He’s been out of work for a few years and that seems curious cause he seemed to do a quality job in Arizona. I never looked at Dave Tippett as a candidate for any of my coaching jobs even though I like him very much …just cause of the styles, you know he’s not a black and blue guy like I was. But he’s a good coach, they play a very sound defensive system and he’s good with young players so I could see that for sure.”

  • When the Oilers announce Tippett as the new coach, three external names come to mind as assistant coaches. Mark Lamb was a Tippett assistant for all six seasons he spent in Dallas. He’s the GM in Prince George right now. Jim Playfair was an assistant to Tippett for six of the eight seasons he spent in Arizona. He might be interviewed by D.J. Smith in Ottawa. The other guy is Newell Brown, who spent four seasons as an assistant to Tippett in Arizona. Brown is with the Vancouver Canucks as an assistant now — not sure of his contract status.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Have you heard anything on the Chaisson front? Man its been like radio silence unless Chaisson and his agent wanted to wait and see what other teams may have an interest in him. I would have liked to see Chaisson back.

      • Oilcountry97

        @dallas eakins hair… I kind of agree with you on chiason. At the same time though i am a bit worried about him. He had a stretch of ganes where everything he shot was going in the net but then he really cooled off after that. If they can sign him to a reasonable deal like 1.5 mill for 1 year id be happy with it but if he is trying to get anything over that i would be very hesitant to sogn him again. I think they can find someone better to sign over him though

        • Boba The Fett

          Maybe not having him locked up yet is more a product of the player wanting to cash in on a career year and a team not wanting to pay him more than a 3rd liner. If this is the case I am all for it. Quit pushing for rash decisions based on small sample sizes, when Koskinen had his amazing stretch in Nov/Dec people were screaming for him to be signed, now everyone is pissed off about it.

          • Dallas Eakins Hair

            They never had to give the farm to Chaisson. He wanted to stay, they could have offered him 1.5 or 1.75 when he was at 15 goals and it would have still be a bargain we have guys that were making way more than that didnt even have 5 goals. If Chaisson chose not to sign for it no issue, but to not do anything and let him get to market isnt smart when offence is not something the Oilers can lose.

            When were people screaming to sign Koskinen long term? I sure wasnt, way too small of a sample size, did I like the win streak, yeah, thought it was good, but I was still skeptical because 82 games is a long season and Koskinen wasnt used to playing that much. I would have wait till we had a bigger sample size to see what to do with Kosninen and a contract. So dont assume everyone was on board with his signing that posts here

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Why? Why? Why? Why? Why do we constantly hire guys who prefer old farts over young guys? We need the young talent going forward, yet Dave Tippett is such a friggin oldie that he’ll staple them to the 4th line playing 2 minutes a night. What the f?

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Thanks Jason, I appreciate the focus on family in this article especially. You should be very proud of Noah and what the Raiders accomplished this season. He & the Raiders are going nowhere but up… The “Mem-Cup” is arguably the hardest trophy to win in sport and you should all be very proud.
    Thanks again for sharing part of your life with us, you had me cheering for them…
    Oiler wise, there is a lot to look forward to, that’s the only positive I can take out of the last two seasons without really drilling down. Thanks again for your efforts on keeping us all informed. You are a credit to all of us.

  • TKB2677

    If/when Tippett gets officially announced there will be a certain segment of fans who are the usual super negative fans who will complain about it. If you were to look through all their posts, I would bet money that the majority of the time they are the ones that are negative about every single thing. I also believe that if the time comes that the Oilers are actually good for a sustained period of time, those same fans who are super negative now, will be negative about something. Unfortunately because the Oilers have been poor for so long, there is a segment of fans who don’t know how to be anything but negative.

    • wiseguy

      The most negative of them says the Oilers have sucked for so long and as long as they keep sucking, he’ll be negative. What kind of masochist spends 13 years following and commenting about a team daily if it is that very team that drives his negativity. If following a bad team makes me a grumpy old grouch, maybe it’s unhealthy and I would choose a winner to follow. Imagine what the person who is so miserable online, is like in social environments when people make small talk about hockey or the Oilers. I bet his wife and kids avoid him during televised games too because that must be a treat to be around. My advice is to cheer for the Bruins, Patriots, Warriors.

      • TKB2677

        Certain fans complained that the Oilers took no time to hire Chia. Then they complained when the Oilers took their time with this hiring calling it embarrassing that it took so long. They complained about every single candidate, picking them apart. Holland gets hired and they complain about him. As soon as he is hired, they complained that he wasn’t firing people on the spot even though it would take any person at least a week to physically get to know peoples names and find out what they do. He comes in, immediately goes down to watch the AHL team. During that time, he has meetings with the amateur and pro side of the organization. Finished the meetings and then Mac T out of no where says he decided he needs a change (yeah right) and leaves before he can get fired. Then he fires the main pro guy in Sutter and another media guy. BUt people are complaining he hasn’t fired enough people yet. The guy has been on the job for barely 2 weeks. Spent time in Bakersfield watching the AHL team. Met all the scouts and departments for both the pro side and amateur side. I would bet money he played a small hand in Mac T leaving and fired 2 people. That’s a hell of a lot done in 2 weeks yet people complain its not enough.

        • Serious Gord

          I did criticize the rush to hire chia. I haven’t criticized the “slowness” in hiring a GM and coach – quite the contrary. I think others are on the same bandwidth.

          Now it looks like Holland isn’t firing anyone- that those who left left of their own volition and it appears Howsen et al are staying. And rightfully that should be criticized if that is indeed the case.

          My criticisms have been about the hires and the process. I and others obviously will see if these hires work out in the fullness of time.

          That noted, even in these early days of Holland he’s apparently made some questionable moves – hiring Tippett, not firing anyone.

          (Hard to see how you argue holland hasn’t had enough time yet pin the departures of MacT, sutter and the PR guy (!!) on him. You can’t have it both ways.)

          • Boba The Fett

            I would say Sutter and JJ were let go by Holland. Mac T was probably told to look for something else in an attempt to save face and let him appear to leave on his own terms, not a bad thing to a allow a guy to do. The fact he isn’t going all scorched earth out the gates is a good thing as he is properly assessing things and gathering info. This is something fans have always complained the oilers never did, now that they are doing it you complain that they are taking to long. Make up your damn minds people.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      That’s Ok,… Unfortunately, most of those negative fans will morph into the super-fan…. The ones that go on and on with, I told you so this & you should have listened to me that… Those I find those the most annoying. Even now, they take the obvious. Articles of interest that are written as to why something is happening on the team & make it their own idea, whipping it up, until they froth into a frenzie & it turns out that that’s all they keep saying over and friggen over… It gets old really fast. And we all know who they are…

    • TKB2677

      Nygard is supposed to be extremely fast and can kill some penalties. All he has to do is score 1 goal and it will be a way more successful season that Rieder had.

      • Wesley41

        Bob stop piling on the lad,did you not bury him enough at season ticket holder meetings already lol but unfortunately if he does score even a goal and is as good on the pk he would be a better signing wow!

  • Harry2

    Oh man how funny would it be to see Eakins behind the Ducks bench. To see the swarm against McD and Leon. And then to watch Dallas squirm as it all goes down. Please let it be true