Saturday, April 7, 2012

So When Is It Time?

So as the season is winding down I have been thinking over the year, the management and a few other things. The main thing that keeps sticking out to me is that neither Tambellini nor Renney have contracts going into next season. Is that a sign that they wont be around or is it just a matter of negotiations that are taking longer than expected?

Well I have had a few idea's that I think should determine whether or not (or rather the order) in which these decisions should be made.

First: When is it time to start moving real talent to go from a pretender to a contender?

I know that sounds a little bit like an oxymoron, most people think that to build a good team you need to stack it full of high end talent and and run it from there. Not the case in my opinion. Sure there is a need for the talent and skill to be there, but lets be honest. A team must be built as a unit and that will include having mid level talent to fill in the ranks. Everyone must have a job to do and the top scorers (as an example), can't be expected to start shutting other lines down. There is a need to fill many different roles on a team, and sometimes there is an abundance of one type of player on a team so said team has to make decisions on who to move regardless of how "good" those players may be. I think now is the time that the Oilers need to start making those decisions. There are players like Smyth, Omark, Hemsky etc... that really don't have a place on the team anymore. They may be fine players but to fill out a lineup there are going to have to be more "Jones" type role players that can be slotted into the lineup. The Oilers have too many small skilled players. Far too many if you ask some people and regardless of how beloved they are to the fan base or to the management there has to be some decisions made.

The next thing I was thinking about was "When is it time to change coaches?"

It is a rare thing for a coach to have a long shelf life. Coaches have a tendency to "lose the room" where they lose the ability to fire up their players and get them motivated. They can fall into complacency and begin to trust their veteran or "go to" players more that they should. This leads to handing out more ice time to players that don't deserve it (AKA Belanger on the PP) Or they can simply not have the ability to formulate a system that works with their players to the best possible manner.
A GM usually gets the final say on when a coach has used up their welcome. It can come when a new GM takes over or maybe if there is a conflict behind closed doors.
In my opinion a coach should really only be let go when the GM provides everything the coach has asked for in a team (and yes the coach should have the biggest say on how a team is built so it fits the system he has in place) but the coach has been unable to bring the team to the top of what it can do. It may be an indication that the coach has lost the room, or his system doesn't work but regardless, if he was given everything he needed and yet failed to provide what was asked of him then it is time to go.

Lastly "When is it time to let the GM go?"

A GM should be given a set time frame to to accomplish a specific goal. Whether that goal is to make the playoffs, go a couple rounds or make the final for a shot at the cup it doesn't matter. Once the time frame has passed the owner has to realize that either the GM doesn't understand how to build a team, doesn't have the balls to do it, or he doesn't have the capability to put his goals in motion. The old saying goes " if you have enough monkey's banging away on a typewriter for long enough, one of them will eventually write a Shakespeare". Just knowing that a GM "can" eventually make things work, does NOT mean that said GM should be allowed an unending amount of time to get it done.

If on the other hand a GM is given a set amount of time to reach a specific goal, then I think he should be allowed to use his time wholly to get it done. If the mandate is to make the playoffs and he is consistently there should be no reason to let him go. Some GM's last a very long time because they continue to get the job done when they are asked to. If the goal is to rebuild the team, then I think it gets a little more complicated but the idea is still the same. It is more complicated because rather than saying "make the playoffs" which might only take the addition of a single player to put them over the top, building a team means there has to be a set agenda, a specific team build already thought out so the GM can target specific players and there should be an end factor. A team being rebuilt still needs the goals in place for not only what they are going to look like when it is said and done, but they also have to have all the smaller goals to meet along the way.
During this time the GM should be watched like a hawk. If he say's "we will be making the playoffs this year" then no excuses should be warranted. That GM should be doing everything he can to make sure they reach that goal. Sure things might happen that an owner might overlook. Serious injuries might happen on a wide scale, but the fact that the GM didn't do anything about it when they happened means that even if he gets a pass for one season he should NOT be given another one.

So what do I think? I think that there is room to move some talent on this team to build it quicker than drafting year after year in the lottery. I also think that the coach should be given an extension. I think this should be the case, based on the fact that he was NOT given everything he needed to make the team better but he was still able to make the most of what he had and there were several players that showed in their breakout years that he is a good coach moving forward.

As for the GM, I personally have lost my patience and I think its time to move on. He has NOT met the expectations set out for him. He is behind schedule for the supposed "5 year rebuild" and he started spewing off at the start of the season that they were going to be playing meaningful games in March. He has not followed through with his promises and he really doesn't look like he knows what he is doing. If I was the owner of this team right now I would be temporarily putting Lowe in charge so we at least have someone to go down to the lottery draft and I would be making calls through the summer to find a guy that I believe would have the balls to take this team to the next level. Now that might mean that Renney ends up getting the boot anyway, and that would be unfortunate. But my job as an owner would be to find a GM that I can trust, his job is to find a coach he can trust, and the coaches job is to get a team going. It really doesn't work any other way.

We might be in for a fun summer.
Here's to hoping

until next time.

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