Do You See What I See Edition III

There is a lot going on right now. The coaching carousel in the NW division is picking up speed, the rumour mill will be spitting out suggestions hourly leading into the draft and the LA Kings are going to be a player this summer.

Talking with the new Coach

Steve Tambellini’s first hire was a safe one, but also the right one for him and the team. He couldn’t afford to bring in someone lacking NHL head coaching experience and the heat is on the Oilers to get in the playoffs next year.

Quinn’s game-planning has been questioned, but he suggests he has been given that title erroneously:

“The key to me has always been having a group of coaches that compliment one another. As far as the tactical side, I have delivered that on any team Ive ever had. I was the preparer of how we played. I decide what system we will play, but with contributions from Tom. He will have an integral part in helping how we play. We will have duties for all of our coaches to carry out and hopefully it makes us successful.”

I also asked him about motivation and how he plans to get guys emotionally ready to play, because that was lacking last season in Edmonton:

“That is part of your team building. Motivation is one of those things that is within the heart of each individual. You can provide an environment that challenges people, and thats what we hope to do here. We want to set some high standard for our guys, and we will make it known what the expectations are. We are going to be a team that has real defined practices, that leads to good work ethic, knowledge about we are trying to do systematically and understanding what the standards are. You have to become a team to win and if anyone is not willing to become part of that process then we will weed them out.”

For Jonathan Willis, I asked Quinn his thoughts on matching lines:

“At the start I want to find out the kind of depth we have. I’d be interested in playing all of our players. I’m more of a guy that thinks about handling a checking responsibility in terms of a defense pair, or maybe a defense pair and a given centre. As for matching a whole line, I think you can get confused some times. I think you can get caught up too much in the changing and sometimes I think you are telling players you are just a specialty player who can’t play in this circumstance.

I want to have a team that believes in themselves and can play in all circumstances. I know there are some nights you do pay attention to who is on the ice at certain times, but line matching is not as critical, especially during the regular season, as some of the other things we will want to do with our hockey team. Hopefully well have good balance so we can be a strong and up tempo four line, six defense team.”

Whats the most important thing you need to learn about your team early on?

“I really want to find out where is the leadership on this team. It can’t just come from the coaching staff. We have to find out where it is within our group. I know that leadership is interchangeable; there is not just one leader. You have a number of leaders and it is situational so that occasionally someone else steps up and does something in a situation that is considered ‘leadership.’ We have to find lots of things about this team that they haven’t shown a lot of in the past three years with not making the playoffs.”

Options for players

The deadline to sign 2007 draft picks who aren’t playing in Europe or college is midnight on May 31st. Milan Kytnar, who played for the Saskatoon Blades this year, will be signed before then. The Oilers are close to inking him to an entry-level deal.

Right now Rob Schremp does not want to sign in Europe. There has been some speculation that he might consider that option, but with the new coaching staff in place he feels he will have a clean slate and wants to stay with the organization for now. He’s hoping for a new start. He will get a clean slate with Quinn and Renney, but I can’t see how he makes the opening day roster and I wouldnt be surprised if he is a spare part in a deal.

Kings looking to make moves

This won’t shock anyone but the LA Kings will be a big player via trade or free agency. The Kings have $34.9 million committed to 19 players next year, and only $27 million in 2010 to 12 guys. They want a marquee name and will make a splash.

If a team signs Mike Cammalleri would you consider that a big move? I can easily see Cammalleri turning into the next Danny Briere, Scott Gomez or Chris Drury; a UFA who wont live up to his big fat contract. If the Leafs don’t sign the Sedin Sisters and settle for Cammalleri – their streak of 42 years without a Cup will remain as long as he is in Toronto.

Assorted coaching

I actually feel sorry for Tony Granato right now, and I couldnt stand him as a player. The Avs offered his job to Patrick Roy, and now that Roy has said no, Granato continues to sit twisting in the wind. Why doesnt he ask to get fired and at least save some face?

I wonder if Chuck Fletcher follows Tambellini’s lead and goes with a veteran coach as his first hire, or if he’ll go with a younger guy? I suspect Fletcher will add a coach with a proven track record, but not exclusive to the NHL. Lemaire was old, they will want a young, fresh voice in Minnesota.

Call it Karma for Hossa. The Pens will win in six.

Malkin and Crosby have combined for 26 of the Pens 65 goals in this years playoffs. Guerin has seven, while Fedetenko has six giving their top four shooters 39 goals. Which is exactly 60% of their teams total. Meanwhile the Wings top four guys: Franzen (10), Zetterberg (9), Cleary (8) and Hossa (6) have combined for 33 of the Wings 59 goals roughly 56% of them. The Pens have 16 different players with at least a goal, while 15 Red Wings have tallied at least once. So why does everyone think the Pens are a two-man show?

The biggest surprise in this years playoffs has to be the sudden goal production from Pens defenceman, Mark Eaton. He already has four goals in 17 games. Prior to these playoffs, hed never scored a goal in 23 playoff games and his career high in a season was four.

You might not need to watch the 3rd period in any game during the Cup final. The Penguins are 8-0 when leading after 40 minutes, while the Wings are 9-0. Lets hope they are tied heading into the final frame.

A big reason why the Pens and Wings are in the finals is that they draw way more penalties than they take. The Pens have had 83 PPs but have only been on the PK 61 times. They are +22. The Wings are +17 having drawn 74 and taken 57 penalties.

The third round of the NHL playoffs had no drama. The Wings and Pens dominated their respective series, and hopefully the final wont be so lopsided. The NBA playoffs on the other hand have had exceptional conference finals. I just want to know why the Cavaliers and Lebron James cant hold a 20 point lead? They have blown a 20+ point lead three different times, yet luckily they have recovered to win two of those games. I still think LBJ and the Cavs will come back and win their series.

More on Sutter

So who are these three mysterious coaches that Darryl Sutter thinks might be more qualified than him to coach the Flames? He said they are all current NHL coaches and all are under contract. They have to be coaches he thinks would consider leaving their current post. Im guessing Brent Sutter is one. Coaches who wouldnt leave are Babcock, Hitchcock, Julien, Bylsma, Andy Murray, Quennville, Boudreau, Vigneault, Mclellan, Maurice and Stevens.

Coaches he wouldnt consider better options include: Deboer, Tocchet, Tortorella, Anderson, Wilson, Clouston, Gordon, Granato, Terry Murray, Gretzky, Quinn and Trotz. That leaves Carlyle, Tippett and Ruff from the head coaching ranks.

The list of assistants that would interest him isnt that long. Some guys that could pique his interest include: Brent Peterson in Nashville, Joe Mullen in Pittsburgh, Dean Evason from the Capitals and James Patrick in Buffalo. Remember that MacTavish is still under contract, and so is Peter Laviolette so they too could be in the mix based on Sutters wording.

Oilers contract thoughts

Interesting that Alex Plante has the exact same base as Sam Gagner and Jordon Eberle, $875,000. Gagner was the 7th pick, Plante 15th and Eberle 22nd.

Dwayne Roloson is still hoping to get a two-year deal, but it wont happen from the Oilers, unless it is for one million per season. I suspect hell test the UFA waters and see if another team will pony up a second season. If not, hell have to decide if coming back to Edmonton gives him the best opportunity to play. The Oilers would love to have him back for another year.

  • RCN

    I'm thinking that the Sedins would add instant depth on the Kings, and the Kings are probably the only team not named the Canucks that can offer a competing salary for both brothers. Sedins plus Brown would be a nice line with grit AND scoring touch. It would be followed by Kopitar and Frolov. Throw in a goalie (Roli?) and that team might make the playoffs next year.

    As far as Schremp goes, i WANT to see the kid succeed. Will he? Probably not, but i dont care about what WILL happen. I just want him to do well. Not too many people would keep getting kicked aside by people that obviously dont like you and keep coming back for more. As much of a problem as his attitude is, he hasnt given up yet despite the best efforts of one Craig Mac Tee. A clean slate just might be what this kid needs to get past his own issues.

  • RCN

    Nice piece Robin, given the Oilers situation, who would you be shocked to see at training camp in the summer? For me, personally, I will say Robert Nilsson. If the guy is back here come September I will be 10 shades of surprised.

  • RCN

    baggedmilk – IQWT wrote:

    Nice piece Robin,
    its gregor….
    anyways… lets just get rid of RS, and let him walk..
    he has skills, but if hes not in your top 6, hes done…and i cant seem him in the oilers top six for next season… mike morrison should give RS some tips as where to play in europe ….

  • RCN

    i would like to see roli signed for the 2 years he wants, at a cheaper price. ( maybe 2M cap hit ) and use him as a phase in for JDD. 20-30 games for JD this year, and 20-30 games for roli next year. if JDD can be a starter he will take over and if he cant, the oil have had time to clear up the cap issues and can go after a bigger name.

  • RCN

    I'd sooner deal for Ellis from Nashville then resign Rollie. He has a better save % and is 28 yrs old, and also has a $1.75 mill cap hit next year. nashville has Pekka Rinne as the starter now, so he might be available for a mid round pick and one of our forwards (since nashville could use some players to round out the roster. pouliot could be a fit in Nashville).

  • RCN

    I'd like to see Sutter take a look at throwing Barry Melrose behind the bench in Calgary. Then we'll really see if he got a raw deal in Tampa. I think that kind of a hire would be great for everyone in the NW division.

  • RCN

    Clow wrote:

    I have heard that Pat Quinn does not like Dustin Penner is this true?

    Heard where? Any good coach will evaluate Penner after meeting with him and seeing him at camp. I doubt Quinn thinks the kid is an automatic waste. Most coaches, or people for that matter. believe that they can get the most out of someone or get them to change their habits.

    If anything Penner should come to camp in great spirits because MacTavish isn't here. THey didn't like each other. It got personal between those two. I wonder which combo has more dislike for one another. Penner/MacTavish or Balsillie/Bettman??

    baggedmilk – IQWT wrote:

    Nice piece Robin, given the Oilers situation, who would you be shocked to see at training camp in the summer? For me, personally, I will say Robert Nilsson. If the guy is back here come September I will be 10 shades of surprised.

    Nothing like being bombed at 9:58 in the morning BM!! ha

    Right now I don't see a team taking on Nilsson's two million dollar salary for the next two years. If they could trade him they probably would, but most likely he'll be here in September. Supposedly he is working his ass off in Sweden right now. We'll see if the extra work translates into him finally living up to being a former 15th overall.

  • RCN

    So which former Oiler goalie in the finals not playing do you want to win a the cup? Garon or Conklin( who cost us the cup)
    I pick Garon, who the Oilers should bring back next year with Desjarlais and Fuhr as a Goalie coach, All are acrobatic and will learn from Fuhr, who will be fired when Bass-man gets his team. Bye Bye Peters!!!!!

  • RCN

    @ Jason Gregor:

    If Brent Sutter is such a great coach why didn't Daryll hire him 2 years ago?? I think him and Keenan got hired the same weekend that year. I just find it weird that everyone thinks Brent is so high on Daryll's list these days but wasn't considered two years ago. I have also heard that Brent and Daryll don't get along that great, not sure if thats true but I don't see Brent going to Calgary.

  • RCN

    How weird is it that the Sedin Sisters won't even consider playing apart? You'd think after being conceived in the same test tube, then playing together their whole lives they might enjoy some time apart. Like I said, weird.

    Also, even though Rollie is getting on in years I hate the idea of letting your MVP walk over not wanting to give him a second year in a contract. We throw multi year deals around like they're peanuts, yet we can't buck up an extra year for the Colossal Fossil? Seems wrong to me.

    Guys who compete as hard as Rollie tend to have longer shelve-lives than others, so I say bite the bullet and keep him here for 2. If need be, trim the fat somewhere else in the 2nd year (I'm looking at you Penner).

  • RCN

    scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

    @ Jason Gregor:
    If Brent Sutter is such a great coach why didn’t Daryll hire him 2 years ago?? I think him and Keenan got hired the same weekend that year. I just find it weird that everyone thinks Brent is so high on Daryll’s list these days but wasn’t considered two years ago. I have also heard that Brent and Daryll don’t get along that great, not sure if thats true but I don’t see Brent going to Calgary.

    Keenan was hired June 14th while Brent was hired on July 13th back in 2007. The big reason the Flames didn't hire him was at the time Darryl didn't think it would look good hiring his brother who had no previous NHL coaching experience. Also the Devils paid Brent $2 million a year to coach there, the Flames weren't going to pay him that.

    As for them not getting along, I've never heard that at all. They are a very competitive family, but close at the same time. When Darryl talks about Brent he speaks with a great sense of pride. That might be just in the public eye, but people that are much closer to the Sutter clan than I am, have stated they all get along.

    Darryl be interested in Brent now more than he was two years ago because the optics look way better. Brent has put together two pretty good seasons behind the bench in NJ going 97-56-11. The problem is he hasn't got them out of the first round either year, which is exactly what plagues the Flames.

    Darryl is very interested in Brent as the HC of the Flames, but I just don't see it happening.