Behind the Bigger Story Lies a Smaller More Concerning One...

I'm a bit concerned and I'll tell you why. While I have about as much interest in what happens with the NHLPA and the firing of Paul Kelly as executive director of the National Hockey League players association, as I do sticking a pickle up my nose, I did find it interesting that Shawn Horcoff, who is a high ranking rep and Oilers team rep in the NHLPA had some comments on the topic.

When asked during an interview about what was going on in the NHLPA, the topic switched to the Oilers and Horcoff's excitement to get the season underway. Like a good little Oiler, he answered many of the questions in a politically correct fashion with phrases like "we're eager to prove people wrong" or "wipe clean the end of last season which we were all terribly dissappointed with".

What stuck with me however was his answer to how he thought he personally could live up to his rather large pay increase and his personal excitement to get on the ice and be a more offensive player. Among other responses, Horcoff mentioned he wasn't sure what his role would be since he hadn't yet spoken to Pat Quinn. Hmmm... and this is second interview in which Horcoff has made that comment.

Does that concern anyone else but me? I'm not out here to suggest that at this stage Quinn, Renney and Horcoff speak offensive strategy, play combinations and linemates; but no contact at all? No "hello"? No "hey Shawn it's Pat Quinn, we'll talk to you at camp, but I'm looking forward to our discussions about how to improve this team?"

Pat Quinn has had months now to contact any of the players he'd like to. Whether it be an outreach to players like Penner, Smid and Cogliano to tell them he's happy they are still a part of the Oilers future plans, or to introduce himself as coach to his new captains, I can think of plenty of reasons the new coach might want to at least call one of the assistant captains. Heck, if the management team and coaching staff can fly to Kelowna to chat with a player not even on their roster, could Quinn not pick up the phone and say hello to someone who is?

Not having yet spoken to a pivotal cog in the machine known as the Oilers in Shawn Horcoff, is like moving into a new house but not looking at all the rooms because you only sleep in the master and personally have no need for the other ones. By doing so, you have an incomplete picture of what your entire house (or in this case your entire team) looks like before its time to put it to the test.

As an Oiler fan, I've come to learn never to get to overly excited about the prospects for change. I've also come to expect that as a result, the Oilers come out publicly and declare their intentions to improve this team internally because they have the peices to do so. With Horcoff meaning so many things on a team that needs, so many things, I'm surprised and any internal investigations and searching for answers are hard to buy into if the coach and his players aren't talking yet.

Being years removed from the NHL, I would like to think Pat Quinn can't wait to chat with, listen to and skate with his team, yet in two -three months, he and Horcoff have had absolutely no contact.

Maybe it's just me.


I totally agree!

For months I've been waiting for Pat Quinn to say something about the players he will be coaching - article after article he keeps saying he hasen't had time yet. Well what is he waiting for???
Even if he doesn't talk to anyone (so he can have an open mind) you would think Renny would then take the roll to contact the players.

I look forward to Quinn coaching the team but this whole thing seems very odd to me!

September 2, 2009 at 9:45 AM comment-delete

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