Monday, June 18, 2012

What's keeping the Oilers from hiring a new head coach?

With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. just days away, the Edmonton Oilers are still sitting without a head coach for the coming season. While there is no real need to have their guy in place for the draft, the question is why is it taking GM Steve Tamellini so long to bring someone in? Possible candidates like Norfolk Admirals bench boss Jon Cooper and Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens, were obviously late additions to the interviewing process because of their team's playoff success but why would they have been talking with the likes of Marc Crawford over the past ten days? Outside of Cooper and Stevens, should they have not taken care of everyone else long ago? The two most prominent names we hear as a possible replacements for Tom Renney, remain former Calgary Flames head coach Brent Sutter and Oilers assistant coach Ralph Krueger. If one of these two end up being their man, than what's the hold up? 

It could be argued what route Edmonton should go with their next head coach but the time has come to make a decision. They have already added Craig MacTavish to their management team, are about to make their third consecutive first overall selection at Friday's entry draft and are less than two weeks away from free agency. While having a coach in place for the draft isn't a necessity, ensuring they have their man before "Free Agent Frenzy" is simply a must.

This year's free agent pool is paper thin on high end talent but there are plenty of pieces available that can help a club fill out their roster. For those who believe the head coach doesn't play much of a role in getting potential UFA's to sign with a certain organization, think again. While the final decision typically comes down to the almighty dollar and what works best for an individual's family or preferred lifestyle, the man behind the bench does play a role. Most players like a certain style of coach and/or system and if the Oilers have no one in place, what player in their right mind would sign for the sake of signing? Sure if they offer lengthy contracts to the Eric Belanger and Ben Eager's of the world, they will gladly take it  but that is exactly what this franchise is looking to avoid. 

Making any sort of signing without input from your head coach would be a huge mistake and as it currently stands, they would have no other option. There is a lot riding on who the Edmonton Oilers bring in as their next head coach but waiting until the bitter end to make that decision, is not the way to go. It is one thing to be  thorough  but it is something completely different to be unwilling to make the final call.. Steve Tambellini, you  are on the clock.


  1. Hey Rob, do you have a preference for coach? I think I would go with an outside hire if possible rather than Kruger. I don't know the man and he might be the perfect man for the job, however he was apart of the Oilers loosing season(s). I think I am wanting a change just for change sake.
    If Cooper was interested in the Oiler job I would go after him, even though I do not know him or possibly did not share the same vision. However he does know how to win in hockey regardless of the level. Also if he had a different veiwpoint than Tambelini a welcome of new/fresh ideas might be a blessing.

  2. Honestly, I really don't but I want no part of Marc Crawford and the fact that Hartley is gone, makes me happy. I'd be alright with Sutter but not 100% certain he's the right guy. Cooper sounds like he could be a nice find but the NHL is a whole different beast. The longer it goes, the more likely it will be Krueger and I'm ok with that. While I understand the change for the sake of change mindset, they are starting to flirt with too much change. This will be the third different guy since MacT. Hard to secure a proper rebuild with a different guy behind the bench every couple of years. That being said, I understand your frustration.