Just the other day, I wrote about how relationships — who you know – often enter into the hiring process to some degree in the NHL, how that dynamic played into Edmonton Oilers’ POHO and GM Ken Holland hiring Dave Tippett as his head coach and what might happen from here on out.
While that sort of familiarity played a part in Tippett’s decision to retain Glen Gulutzan on his coaching staff while letting Trent Yawney and Manny Viveiros go, he showed why a lot of people think he’s a solid hire by Holland by taking an extra step in one of his first decisions as the new bench boss.
Rather than making the call to keep Gulutzan simply because he knew him — they crossed paths with the Dallas Stars – and because there’s something to be said about maintaining some measure of continuity, Tippett talked to players here to get a better feel from inside a dressing room he wasn’t a part of last season.
After several years apart, Tippett talked about doing his homework and getting the low-down on Gulutzan in an interview of Oilers Now Host Bob Stauffer on 630 CHED.
WHAT HE SAID
“He was just coming into the organization at the end of my tenure there (in Dallas), and he’s a smart hockey guy,” Tippett said. “I did a lot of talking to people around the organization and outside, and got a real good feel for Gully. He was the main driver behind the power play last year, and that was one of the real positive spots for Edmonton. There’s always room for upside, but he was the driver behind that.
“I talked to a couple of players that were very much in his corner with the work he did with the power play, so I just felt I was comfortable knowing him before and the work that he’s done. The little bit of continuity of having some insight on some players coming back, it was really beneficial keeping Gully.
“I think the start of this season is going to be imperative for our team, and I don’t want to have a feeling out process. I want to make sure we’re up and going right from the start. Getting new people in here as quick as we can will be beneficial to our group.”
It’s details like taking the time to get the latest on Gulutzan that make a difference over time. While it’s not a huge deal on its own because, like I said, they already knew each other, new information is always better than old information and Tippett made sure he had it before letting Yawney and Viveiros go.
TWO ON THE WAY
With Yawney and Viveiros down the road, Tippett confirmed he’ll bring in two of his own coaches to join Gulutzan. “I just felt that I’d like to bring a couple of guys in that I’m familiar with. We’re going to do some more talking, Ken (Holland) and I, this afternoon about different scenarios we’re looking at.”
Unless something has changed, it looks from where I sit like Jim Playfair, who coached alongside Tippett for six seasons in Arizona, and Mark Lamb, who was on his staff for six years in Dallas, are at the top of the list of candidates. My best guess is that we’ll hear something on this front within a week.
WHILE I’M AT IT
A Canadian Press item about Connor McDavid’s appearance at an event in Toronto Tuesday raised some eyebrows because McDavid was apparently limping around in a knee brace. It’s been just eight weeks since McDavid suffered a slight tear of the PCL in his left knee against the Calgary Flames April 6.
While I’d suggest McDavid is well within the timelines of a normal recovery – he didn’t have surgery – it might not be a bad idea for the Oilers to get out in front of this thing and provide fans an update. The media relations department botched, you might recall, providing meaningful information when the injury first occurred.