Pretty much everybody keeping tabs on the Edmonton Oilers’ coaching situation — from those in the actual know to those just guessing — long ago arrived at the conclusion Dave Tippett will be named the next coach of the Oilers. The only question has been when that’ll be made official.
Based on what we heard this morning from within the relatively small group of NHL pundits with a history of getting the story first and getting it right more often than not — Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, Ryan Rishaug, Mark Spector and John Shannon, to name five — Tippett will be unveiled Tuesday.
Hearing Oilers will announce their new head coach in the next few days. Dave Tippett still the only name we’re hearing.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) May 27, 2019
Spector and Shannon were first with that this morning — I know most fans don’t care who breaks stories, only that they provide the right information — and I expect we’ll get word from the Oilers soon enough a media availability has been scheduled for Tuesday. The expectation is POHO and GM Ken Holland will return from the NHL combine in Buffalo to make things official. Finally.
WHO WILL TIPPET BRING IN?
Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett looks on prior to the game against the New York Rangers at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Like I said, Tippett’s name has been out there for a while. There’s been speculation, and it might be bang on, that the delay in having Holland name him has been because of financial considerations — dollars and term. Tippett has a job, as a senior advisor with the Seattle expansion group, so it’s not unreasonable if he was looking to push the pay scale to come here.
While that’s the likeliest scenario, I wonder if there’s a possibility the announcement has been delayed to give Tippett time to reach out to candidates who’ll make up his staff of assistant coaches so that the whole group can be announced at once. Mentioned so far, the likes of Jim Playfair, who spent six seasons in Arizona with Tippett as an assistant, Mark Lamb, who spent six seasons with him in Dallas, Newell Brown and Ray Whitney.
I’ve got no inside information about whether Tippett has talked to any of them, but history tells us relationships matter and the connection Tippett has with Playfair and Lamb will play into things. Whitney? He played for Tippett in Arizona. The question is, how many assistants will Tippett bring in and what happens with the staff that worked under Todd McLellan and Ken Hitchcock?
Speculation has Trent Yawney joining McLellan in Los Angeles. As for Glen Gulutzan and Manny Viveiros, I can’t see both staying, but is there room for one of them? While Tippett has to be able to call his own shots, continuity matters. My sense is Viveiros was too often under-utilized in running the power play under McLellan and Hitchcock. That’s just my take. Might he stay?
We’ll get some, maybe most, of those questions answered when the Oilers stage that media availability between Stanley Cup games on Tuesday. Until then, like you, I’ll be tuning into Oilers Now to hear what host Bob Stauffer has to say today and reading between the lines while eye-balling the handful of names I trust on Twitter.
WHILE I’M AT IT
- I don’t cheer for teams but I do cheer for stories and I can’t imagine a better one than the St. Louis Blues coming all the way off the deck to beat the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final, which starts tonight. From dead-last to sipping from the Cup, the Blues would be a helluva tale to tell, but I don’t see it happening. Bruins in six games.
- I’ve loved the NBA since I was a kid growing up in Vancouver and cheering for Fred Brown and the Seattle Supersonics in the early 1970’s, so I’ve got no problem jumping back on the Toronto Raptors’ bandwagon, even with Drake prancing around. With the Grizzlies in Vancouver face down on the hardwood since the moment they drafted Bryant Reaves, I leaned toward the Raptors after they drafted Vince Carter in 1998. I’d love it if they beat the Golden State Warriors, but I don’t see it.