My goal is to provide entertaining and thought-provoking articles and great videos. Thanks for visiting and I hope that you come again!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oilers - Krueger New Head Coach

On June 26th, the Oilers announced that Ralph Krueger would be their new head coach. Krueger has been with the team for the past two years, as associate coach to the now dismissed Tom Renney, and Krueger is partially responsible for a significant improvement in the Oilers’ power-play—which was ranked 3rd in the NHL last year. Previously, he was the head coach of the Swiss National team and improved their IIHF World rankings from 15th to 7th. He has numerous other credentials that indicate that he should be successful as a head coach in the NHL.  

Krueger is known to be a coach who demands hard work in practice and who expects players to always improve. His goal is to train the Oiler players so well that they will naturally become a winning machine. This all sounds great but you also need “heart,” and I see that coming from the younger Oiler players who are not just in it for the money.

Lowe and Tambellini made the right choice (for a change) in selecting Krueger as head coach as compared to the list of other candidates and rumored candidates. Marc Crawford was interviewed for the job, twice, and I am glad that he did not get the position because he has never impressed me. When he allowed his Dallas Stars team to slip out of a playoff spot in 2011 it was hard to believe, and of course it really hurts his resume. It was rumored that Brent Sutter as a candidate, and if Tambellini and Lowe actually seriously considered him it would be nothing short of insanity. To have the “enemy” (former coach of the Flames) coaching the Oilers would not sit well with the fans at all.

Besides rewarding Krueger with the head coaching position, Lowe and Tambellini also decided to keep the rest of the coaching staff intact, except, Moores in player development retired. Former Oilers, Buchberger and Smith, were kept as assistant coaches on the orders of Kevin Lowe, who, also created a new position for Craig MacTavish, “Sr. Vice President of Hockey Operations.” Lowe should have sought out a new goaltending coach for this coming year because they need improvement in that area. This past season I was stating that the Oilers had to change their coaching staff, including Moores and Sillinger in player development because younger guys were not advancing as they should have been—Paajarvi and Omark to name two. Well, with Renney being canned and Moores retiring part of my wish came true. The new Sr. Director of Player Development is Rick Carriere. Lowe is keeping Sillinger but I would have replaced him with someone else and started with two entirely fresh minds. In the next few years we shall see how Rick Carriere does.

I do have one issue with Lowe and Tambellini’s hiring of Krueger and that is the length of the contract given to him. They signed him on for three years? That really does not make sense because they just went through having to keep Renney too long and that was on a two-year contract. By the way, the reason they kept Renney right until the end was to save some money and to get a better spot in the draft. Krueger, as a rookie NHL head coach, should have been offered a one-year deal to see how he made out. If well, it would have been easy to extend him for two years. He did fill-in for Renney for five games last year and Krueger’s record during those games was 2-3-0—not good enough.

Under Krueger, I have no doubt that we will see an improved Oiler team, but a good portion of the improvement will solely be due to the maturing of the young talent and also the addition of one or more players—Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov and perhaps even Zharkov. I don’t want to pat Krueger on the back until he really proves that he deserves it.

TJ Stanley