Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Coaching Staff 2011

The Edmonton Oilers coaching staff has been much maligned over the last 20 years, going back to Ted Green to George Burnett to Ron Low to Kevin Lowe to Craig MacTavish to Pat Quinn to now Tom Renney. This years edition is Tom Renney being the head coach, Ralph Krueger being the right hand man, Kelly Buchburger and Steve Smith being assistants.

It has been awhile that the Oilers have been known for their stout defense. Over the last 30 years, I would say there has only been a handful of years in that time where you could say the Oilers had a "stout" defense. Back in the early 2000s when the Oilers had Jason Smith, Janne Niinimaa and Erik Brewer were roaming the blueline for the Oilers was the defense pretty good. It's a big part of the reason why Tommy Salo holds the all-time shutout record for the Edmonton Oilers. It was also the last time they had a checking line center and used him as such in Todd Marchant.

The Oilers have drawn this out in the newest edition of the Edmonton Oilers. They have a checking line Horcoff-Smyth-Jones, they have 4 pretty to very responsible centers in Belanger, Nugent-Hopkins and Lander, along with Horcoff. They have Dmen that just get in the way of the other team and are willing to sacrifice the body in blocking shots. All of these things will help this club be a better team in the future. The Oilers need to learn how to walk before thet can run, and teaching them to play a tight defensive style now, will only help them later when the games become more crucial. Championship teams learn how to win 2-1 as well as 6-5, something the Oilers will have to learn in order to become one.

I for one, want to applaud the efforts of this coaching staff for preaching defense first early in the season. We all want to see this team run and gun but its not how teams win these days. There is too much structure in todays game to do so. The key for the Oilers is to recognize when opportunities are there and seize them, but otherwise just simply keep the puck moving forward. I know everyone would want 6 goals a game out of the Oilers right now, but the Oilers are far better off for this right now.

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