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.

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    @ scorcoff hemmercules:
    even our old buddy Kipper from down the road was a #2 before Daryl gave him a shot. I've had a few #2's myself, and I'll say that sometimes a #2 will work a little harder than a bonafide #1.

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    Milli wrote:

    One more thing, Conks did not cost us the cup, this is a team game, quit looking for a goat.
    I would like to think that big Dustin will come into camp in great shape and try a have sucsess with a new coach.
    What about Gagner? Do you think in his third year he will become a force? Ludzy on the score was saying last night about how fast most players mature from second to third year? Any thoughts?

    I never said Conklin did cost the Oil the Cup.

    I've been saying it since the season ended that whoever replaced MacT would be in a good situation. The vets would be more attentive, and the kids, specifically Gagner and Cogliano will be better.

    I do think Gagner will have a solid season. If he stays healthy he is minimum 20 goals and 60 points. I'm not sure he will get into the 70 point range, but I suspect you'll see a much better season from him.

    The Menace wrote:

    I think a pretty good argument could be made that Conks cost us game 1. If we would have won that game, there would have been no game 7 (likely).

    Remember that the Oilers led 3-0 at one point, before gassing the three goal lead. Smith and Conklin screwed up, but I wouldn't say he cost them the series. Too many other things happened along the way.

    kingsblade wrote:

    I don’t believe optics was the concern. In Calgary there was enormous public support for hiring Brent and major disappointment when Keenan was hired instead. I believe that most likely they discussed it together and decided not to do it. I’m not certain that his time in NJ will have anything to do with whether or not they change that decision.

    Optics more from the personal relationship. If the Flames did exactly what they did under Brent that they did under Keenan then Darryl would had to have canned his bro. That is harder than firing Keenan.

    Also Brent went to NJ because of the big contract. He was making good money running the Rebels and needed compensation to offset the extra costs for the Rebels and being away from his family.

    Like I said, I'm not that close to the Sutter family, and really I don't care how close they are. I doubt all six get along the same way. But Brent is one of his options, but as I've stated all along I think Darryl will do both jobs and he'll announce that before the draft I suspect.

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    @ Jason Gregor:

    Gregor, when does the NHL announce the cap for next season??? Seems like some GM are waiting for that before any re-signing goes on.

    Also, what goalie do you see Tambo persuing???

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    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Remember that the Oilers led 3-0 at one point, before gassing the three goal lead. Smith and Conklin screwed up, but I wouldn’t say he cost them the series. Too many other things happened along the way.

    Oh I remember how they gassed that lead – it's burned into my memory! I guess I'm saying that if the outcome of game 1 had been different, I believe the outcome of the series would have also been different. After all, they still only lost by that 1-game margin. It killed me to watch Laviolette giggle about MAB falling on Roli on TSN's panel this year!

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    scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

    Gregor, when does the NHL announce the cap for next season??? Seems like some GM are waiting for that before any re-signing goes on.
    Also, what goalie do you see Tambo persuing???

    They will announce it around draft. They have to have it out before July 1st. I'm hearing there won't be much of a drop this coming season, a bit but not 5+ million or anything like that.

    As for goalies, that is a tough call. If Roloson agrees to a one year deal they want him. They have interest in Clemmenson and a few others, but don't expect to see Garon back here. His mental toughness, or lack of it, is why he won't be back.

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    In cap leagues, good GM's find ways to get undervalued players.

    If Roli was 29 and had put up last season's numbers he would get $5 million next year. Because he will be 40 soon we have to get someone younger. Why? Just because of his age?

    I don't see any reason why Roli can't do it again next year. He is not a guy that does the splits and is acrobatic but is a guy who relies on positioning and mental toughness. He lets in

    Give him $ 2 million this year and $1 Million to be a backup the year after.

    The smart money is on that being a good deal for the Oilers.

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    It seems like the thing about evaluating goalies is: Nobody Knows Anything. I can honestly say I have no idea what the Oilers should do with their goaltending situation, other than that they need to decide who they really want right off the bat.

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    Jason Gregor wrote:

    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.

    Just curious, are you assuming that those coaches wouldn't be considered by Daryl or do you know this? For the most part, I'd agree.

    A couple other assistants to consider include Brad McCrimmon & Tim Hunter.

    The radio guys down in Calgary talk with Pierre McGuire at least 3 days a week and they've been prodding him to throw his hat in the ring (although he has stated that he thinks Daryl is the best man for the job, and I'm not sure if coaching is something that interests him or if he's only interested in management at this time).

    Ryan McGill will almost certainly be an assistant.

    I tend to agree with you on Cammalleri. Decent player, but if someone throws 6 mil at him, I'd suggest they'll be sorry.

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    As Brownlee's already stated (along with Jim Matheson) Todd Richards appears to be a strong candidate. Another name I've heard is Detroit assistant Paul MacLean. Fletcher & MacLean worked together in the Anaheim organization a few years back.

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    Nice article Jason; thanks for asking that question (although since I'm pushing it, if you get a chance I'd love to hear what Quinn thinks about deploying certain lines primarily in the offensive zone or the defensive zone; giving them a zone to work with rather than a specific matchup, particularly since Renney seemed to do this in New York with Jagr).

    That quote also reminds me a lot of Don Cherry's take on line-matching; he wanted every line to be responsible and would often use one player (Marcotte) to buoy any line getting sent out for a defensive assignment (something Quinn seemed to hint at with his "one centre" comment).

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    MattL wrote:

    Why does everything think MacT didn’t want Schremp to succeed? What kind of idiot wouldn’t want good players on his team? There’s a difference between Schremp not being good/big/fast enough to play in the NHL, and a coach with a make-believe grudge…

    Well there was that whole thing with MacT ripping him publicly despite the fact that he wasnt even playing for him. Obviously Schremp hit the wall with the last coach, maybe with the organization. Him not being good enough has nothing to do with the lack of opportunity that was being sent his way compared to others. I'm still convinced that Liam Reddox isnt good enough, but he played plenty of games on the TOP LINE. Being good enough to play is a matter of opinion not a matter of fact. Either he takes this opportunity to start over or he's done with this club. There's almost no point after next season if he cant even be a call up by 2010 under a new regime.

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    @ Jason Gregor:
    Just curious, are you assuming that those coaches wouldn’t be considered by Daryl or do you know this? For the most part, I’d agree.

    A couple other assistants to consider include Brad McCrimmon & Tim Hunter.

    The radio guys down in Calgary talk with Pierre McGuire at least 3 days a week and they’ve been prodding him to throw his hat in the ring (although he has stated that he thinks Daryl is the best man for the job, and I’m not sure if coaching is something that interests him or if he’s only interested in management at this time).

    Ryan McGill will almost certainly be an assistant.

    I tend to agree with you on Cammalleri. Decent player, but if someone throws 6 mil at him, I’d suggest they’ll be sorry.

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    @ Jason Gregor:

    Do you see any possible trade options between the Oilers and the Kings?

    While I think it's hard not to like Sourey and his contributions last year, I tend to agree with Willis (and others) that his contract is too risky to hold on to, and the Kings seem like a team that could use a presence like his on the blue line.

    If dreaming for Frolov or Brown is out of the question, which I suspect it is, then might there be a fit for either Stoll or Greene?

    Yeah, I know this seems crazy but there aren't a lot of teams in the league who have the cap space for Sourey, and LA looks like a possibility. The skill sets of either of these former Oilers would be welcome back, too.

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    scorcoff hemmercules wrote:

    @ Cam:
    Sometimes a teams #2 guy is only #2 because they have a guy like Brodeur or Backstrom in net. I wouldn’t be upset if Roli returned but if he doesn’t (and probably won’t if two years is what he wants) we don’t have alot of options besides #2 guys. I personnaly don’t want JDD as our starter next year. Guys like Hiller and Varlamov were #2 guys as well and look how good they have played. I think we should take a chance on Harding or Clemmenson on a 2 year deal. It won’t cost us much to get those guys either, and money is tight in E-town.

    You have a point there about Hiller and Varlamov… and also about the price being right. And now that I think about it Cam Ward was a number 2 up until Gerber coughed up two games in the 2006 playoffs.

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    @ Jason Gregor: The conks comment wasn't directed at you. It was at someone earleir in the post. But I wanted your opinion on the gagner and such. And like everyone else, 06 is still burned in memory.

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    Yes or no? Here's some possible names that might be available (with varying ages, contract status', abilities, etc.):
    Kari Lehtonen
    Manny Fernandez
    Cristobal Huet
    Nikolai Kahbibulin
    Dwayne Roloson
    Tomas Vokoun
    Craig Anderson
    Josh Harding
    Jaroslav Halak
    Dan Ellis
    Scott Clemmensen
    Martin Biron
    Antero Nittymaki
    Ilya Bryzgalov

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    Ducey wrote:

    Give him $ 2 million this year and $1 Million to be a backup the year after.
    The smart money is on that being a good deal for the Oilers.

    If he agreed to that the Oilers would take it for sure, but I don't see him taking a two-year deal worth $3 million.

    RossCreek wrote:

    Just curious, are you assuming that those coaches wouldn’t be considered by Daryl or do you know this? For the most part, I’d agree.
    A couple other assistants to consider include Brad McCrimmon & Tim Hunter.

    I know some are of no interest to the Flames and the others were me looking at their situation and experience and based that on the comment he made about three guys he'd rank higher than himself.
    Andrew W wrote:

    Do you see any possible trade options between the Oilers and the Kings?

    The Kings will be players. Go to the NHL website and click on the Kings and you can read the letter Dean Lombardi wrote to the fans.

    He admits they will be looking at UFAs or a big trade. But to think they would trade Souray for Stoll and Greene I doubt it. I can't see the Oilers getting both of those guys back after they traded them, plus their salaries equal $6.6 million so the Oilers won't be adding salary.

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    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Well there was that whole thing with MacT ripping him publicly despite the fact that he wasnt even playing for him.

    I think that was more about ripping the media and fans more than ripping Schremp. Not that I agreed with the method at all, it was pretty dumb. But I couldn't disagree with anything he said.

    Reddox is more ready for the bigs than Schremp. Schremp reminded me of Mikhnov last season. Obviously he's got a few tools, but wouldn't survive a season without being a serious liability. Not that Reddox should have been on the top line. Aside from being like, 120lbs soaking wet, Reddox brought everything that the team was missing last year.

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    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ MattL:
    I respectfully disagree with your assessment of Reddox, but all I’m saying is that a new set of eyes will be good for Schremp.

    I think Reddox creates more than he gives up, which cannot be said for Shremp… therefore Reddox is more ready. I agree with MattL based on that.

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    Archaeologuy wrote:

    all I’m saying is that a new set of eyes will be good for Schremp.

    I respectfully agree with that wholeheartedly. A second opinion will probably be good for him too.

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    @ Jason Gregor

    Your comment about Roloson testing the UFA market and if he doesn't find a second year then he would look at coming back, my question is it really in the best interest of the Oilers to wait him out and risk losing him and the chance to sign someone else?

    I think it would be best if they gave him the June 30th at 11:59PM to decide if he is re-signing the deal that is offered or not and if not then to move on and go for someone else.

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    @ Cam:
    I can count what Reddox created on 1 hand.
    If we're talking about what Schremp created compared to what he gave up in the 4 games he played, he did very well. But its 4 flippin games. I think of all the games played by Nilsson, Pouliot, and Brule and I cant help but think that Schremp could have been given at least half of what had been given the multitude of chances given to those guys.

    I think a lot of people want to say that Schremp did nothing or proved that he was incapable in his EXTREMLY short time here. BUT HE DIDNT. It was the opposite. We were raving about how well he played offensively AND defensively, then he was sent down never to return. He tanked his season down in the AHL and its understandable that he wasnt recalled, but the question still remains if a new set of eyes will see something different in the kid than what MacT saw. That is ALL i'm saying.

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    Archaeologuy wrote:

    He tanked his season down in the AHL and its understandable that he wasnt recalled, but the question still remains if a new set of eyes will see something different in the kid than what MacT saw. That is ALL i’m saying.

    If he went back down and tore it up in the AHL, then I think you'd have something there. It's almost like he has a false sense of entitlement. Yeah he must have felt like he had his teeth kicked in, but still. I just don't see that burning desire to make the big show. You'd think a guy on the bubble would be more like Zack Stortini, who's been training his butt off for over a month already.

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    @ Jason Gregor:

    For the record, I thought there might be a possibility to trade Sourey for Stoll OR Green (not both). This would make better sense for both teams as LA would be getting an upgrade while Edmonton would shed some cap space while addressing one of their needs.