Nielson’s Ten Tidbits on the Tippett Press Conference

The worst kept secret in town was confirmed on Tuesday as POHO Ken Holland formally introduced Dave Tippett as the new head coach of the Oilers.

I was at the press conference and there are a number of things I want to quickly hit on from Tippett’s debut availability in Edmonton.


Jason Gregor asked Tippett about his belief in analytics and I think his answer probably excited the analytical crowd. He said that he first starting keeping track of some advanced numbers in 1995 when he was with the Houston Aeros as an assistant coach, which was his first coaching job.

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I thought it was interesting how Tippett reacted to being described as a defensive coach. He kind of chuckled and then said he got his first head-coaching gig in Dallas because the GM at the time, Doug Armstrong, wanted to inject some offence into the club. Armstrong had liked the work that Tippett had done with the power play as an assistant in Los Angeles. The Kings had the best power play in the league in 2001-02 operating at a little bit above 20%. In his first year in Dallas Tippett had the Stars power play in the top five in the league.


I didn’t talk to many people who thought Tippett was going to sign for a number significantly less than what Ralph Krueger received from Buffalo.

For Tippett to come around a million less than Krueger is pretty impressive work from Ken Holland. I would have thought a guy with 15 years of experience as a head coach would have been in the plus side of four million.

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I thought it was pretty telling that the first thing Ken Holland did was thank Ken Hitchcock for assisting him in the search for a new coach. I’m not sure what Hitch’s official title will eventually end up being but I do think he could be very valuable as a sounding board for pretty much anyone in the organization.


Tippett loves building things so much that during his early playing days in Hartford he would run a construction company during the off-season. I’m only putting this tidbit into the piece in hopes of someone photoshopping a Dave Tippett/Bob The Builder masterpiece.


During the press conference, Tippett talked about Leon Draisaitl having the versatility to play with McDavid but also didn’t commit to playing them together all season. In the scrum, after the presser, he said the Oilers young core was the most alluring thing about joining the franchise. In addition to McDavid and Draisaitl, he also referenced Nugent-Hopkins and Nurse as key pieces of the core. He coached Nuge at the World Cup of Hockey.


“In the hockey world, this is still looked upon as a great place. Sometimes you get in certain places and you think oh we haven’t won the last few years, but this is still looked upon as a very, very good franchise and that’s the feedback I got, when Ken reached out I looked at it hard and it was a great opportunity.”

I thought this was an encouraging comment from Tippett about what other folks around the NHL were saying about the organization when he looked out for advice.


Tom Gazolla was covering the presser for TSN as Ryan Rishaug is currently eating his own weight in donuts in Boston. Gazolla’s socks were certainly a discussion point. He wasn’t just wearing low cut socks, it looked like he wasn’t wearing any socks at all. Apparently, they are called no-show socks and by all accounts, they feel terrific. I have had a couple of pairs of no-shows myself but I’m never sure if I’m wearing them correctly. Have you ever tried the no-shows?

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This news broke shortly after the Tippett press conference from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

The rumoured salary for Coffey’s skills development position was $500,000 per season. This move kills two birds with one stone. It saves Katz half a million bucks while at the same time eliminates a member from the perceived old boys club.


You tell me who looks like a better coach.

I for one will not rest until Dave Tippett brings the moustache back. For his face, for his team, for this city!!

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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

  • Serious Gord

    I think his analytics comment is a smokescreen. His reference to spreadsheets is old school. And he’s been out of the game for two seasons and even then probably was on a team that couldn’t afford an analytics dept just when the grinding of big data has started to take off.

    Thus he is going to need an education into what is going on now and more importantly his boss is going to invest heavily in staffing up a world class analytics crew.

    That crew is going to have its work cut out for them as they play catch-up with other teams that have established analytics departments.

    And for those readers who click that analytics have a greater impact in scouting and roster selection, note that there are about to be really dramatic changes to on-ice tactical stuff based on analytics.

    Just one example that is only partially being done – analytics is being used to make the case that goalies should actually try and kick rebounds further away rather than try and de-energize it and keep the puck nearby.

    These kinds of things are evident in baseball with the shift and swing angle. On the pitching side of things we are all familiar with pitch count, but there are literally hundreds of other changes being done that aren’t ‘visible’ based on analytics.

    Player tracking starting this year is going to change the tactics of hockey – especially ‘visible’ ones far more than they have in a static game like baseball.

    It would have been helpful if a journalist had asked the coach (and GM) to expound on the above. If they had resorted back to spreadsheets they would sound like those old fogey players in the sonnet ads.

    • Big Nuggets

      I too thought his analytics comments sounded questionable. I wouldn’t call it a smoke screen because he probably believes what he says, but whatever analytics he started using in ’95 are likely outdated.

    • Simmerdown

      ” And he’s been out of the game for two seasons and even then probably was on a team that couldn’t afford an analytics dept just when the grinding of big data has started to take off. ”

      Ummmm John Chayka…..
      Ummmm ever here of Stathletes

      You sir need to take some time away from the oilers.

      • Serious Gord

        Interesting point that’s worth digging into.

        Chayka signed at age 26 (!!) to be GM of the Coyotes in May 2016. And, as you note, he was hired largely because of his new school analytics-driven background.

        That same month the Coyotes signed Tippett to a 5 year extension – a bit surprising in view of the delicate financial situation of that organization.

        I don’t know – perhaps someone could determine – whether Chayka signed Tippett or whether it was someone else who did it prior to Chayka’s arrival. Tippett was signed on May 5th so I am going to lean towards it being someone other than Chayka.

        Regardless, Tippett was fired the following season – just one year into five year deal.

        Was that because he was too old school for Chayka’s liking? Further, why didn’t Tippett bring up your point in the presser?

        PS – it’s pretty cool that Chayka was born in Jordan Station Ontario. I spent a lot of time back in the day in that part of the country – beautiful area. He appears that he is a very talented and driven guy to get to where he is at such a young age…

    • Towers-of-dub

      this comment suggests that you know tippett hasn’t done anything to advance his use of stats since he first fired up Window’s 95. You’re basically suggesting that because he started using analytics in 95, he’s still using them exactly the same way now. Can you prove that?

      • Serious Gord

        No, I am not suggesting that. Your are trying to strawman me and it isn’t going to work.

        He is the one who used the word “spreadsheets” repeatedly in the presser – I take that as an old school reference to analytics. And that along with his age, his two years out of coaching and – perhaps – his early dismissal by Phoenix by a an analytics-style GM are circumstantial evidence that he may be behind the times on the vital aspect of analytics.

    • TruthHurts98

      He just signed Gambardella to a frugal 2 year deal. P.C. would have paid double or triple. Holland can negotiate and I for one love the Tippett hire. I’ve researched him more and his teams overachieve. Arizona sucked more when he left and now they are doing a little better after adding more high picks and some decent trades.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers have signed forward Joseph Gambardella to a two-year contract extension.

    Good move he may make the fourth line and if not he is a good call up when injuries raise their ugly head.

  • Where is picture of the socks? I think that was most exciting thing yesterday, given the fact that we knew about Tippet hiring for last week!

    Theoretically, even if anything else would not work, if our PP will improve we can make playoffs…given that goalie can sustain his numbers.

  • It will take 3/4 years to get rid of the over paid deadwood and sign the right players to stay under the cap. Holland has the experience and hopefully the autonomy to do what it takes to get it done. Some hard moves with fan favorites who will have to be moved as this team needs big changes. I know this post won’t be popular but its reality of what have the Oilers won lately, except McD’s scoring titles?

  • RJ

    I listened to one of his interviews, and Nurse was one of the first names that came up.

    Hopefully that deflates some of the wind from the pro-Klefbom writers on this site who want Nurse gone.

  • GRC

    What a surprise. The usual suspects are busy locating reasons why no one should be optimistic about the teams current direction. Negative bias is not only a real thing but apparently its impossible to shake.
    It takes a special person to constantly and consistently try to suck the joy out of being an Oiler fan.

    • Shameless Plugger

      Some on here thrive off being negative. Things are headed in a positive direction and heads that are being called for are starting to roll (certain to be more coming) yet it’s not good or fast enough. Being negative is lazy and it’s the easiest way to not have to think.

      • GRC

        I am not sure its about being lazy. I mean look at how much work Serious Gord put into his posts. He is doing everything he can to simultaneously pull the rug out from under happy Oilers fans and also support his chronically negative disposition. Its quite a balancing act. It takes some effort to pull that off.

        • Joy S. Lee

          It absolutely is about being lazy. I mean, when the ceaseless naysayers start posting original thoughts it might turn into an actual discussion. The same rhetoric over and over and over and over and over and over and over and… yeah, really… it’s the very definition of lazy.