Same Old, Same Old

While there's a lot going on in Edmonton Oiler-land, is it me or does it seem to feel like a lot of the same old, same old?

Let me start by saying, that I'm not opposed to the hiring of Ralph Krueger as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers. I think in fact it's the type of hire the Oilers needed to make. A coach with experience (maybe not NHL head coaching -- but a healthy resume none the less), and a man who is respected and liked by the young core of this team and a man with a passionate vision. If there is one thing Krueger is known for, it's on his ability to deliver a motivational speech.

He's going to need to be not just good at it, but really good at it if he expects to see change in the results column where change is not very present inside the dressing room.

To date, only one new face has arrived since the Oilers finished 29th place last season. That being the draft selection of Nail Yakupov, who should be playing right wing when the Oilers open the season in October and is currently showcasing his skills at the Oilers development camp at Millenium Place in Sherwood Park.

The hire of Krueger and the retaining of both Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger as assistant coaches means the faces will stay the same in the directors chair, but the message -- one that Steve Tambellini has touted as the real need for a new coach -- must change. That's hard to do when new blood and a new delivery isn't a by-product of a new coach that hasn't already been here.

Krueger has his work cut out for him. His biggest hurdle will be in finding a way to do what Renney and Pat Quinn before him couldn't -- that is get the veterans to chip in. The Edmonton Oilers are a team of youth. That is their future. But to succeed, they'll need contribution from the Horcoff's, Hemsky's, and Belanger's of the team to try and match the intensity level and effort put forth by the youth on a nightly basis.

I believe that's why Krueger was hired. That message has to be not only delivered, but received and demonstrated as understood by everyone on the team. If it isn't, a lot of people will be held accountable and none faster than current GM, Steve Tambellini.

Tambellini is putting a lot of faith in Krueger who will get his first chance to really showcase his motivational talents when he, along side Kevin Lowe, Steve Tamebellini, and Taylor Hall will pitch young defensive college prospect Justin Schultz on the merits of becoming an Oiler.

Schultz has placed Edmonton on a short-list of five teams -- Edmonton and Vancouver considered by many to the be the two favorites. My hope, is that if Krueger is as good as they say he is at sending a message and having it be received and accepted, Krueger and Taylor Hall will do most of the talking. Young star to potential young star and coach to prospect wanting a chance to produce results leading into a big time contract in a couple years.

If the Oilers can't convince Schultz, and our history as Oiler fans should let us know that it's a bad idea to get  our hopes up too much, there will be major need to use free agency and trades to bolster their blue-line. Again, where have we heard this story before? Go after the big name free agent and strike out. Try your hand and only succeed by drastically overpaying for the wrong player.

Even at Oilers prospect camp where fans are delighted to see the youth (mainly Yakupov) energize crowds with his goal celebrations, many are stopping to suggest that he cool it before insulting goalies and veterans he hasn't even played with yet.

These same veterans that are the problem in Edmonton. If you ask me, what Yakupov is doing is exactly what the Oilers need right now. A brash, confident young potential star to rub a few noses in the same old, same old. There needs to be a wake-up call to this team, and while we sit here waiting to see if we'll again come away empty handed in the Schultz sweepstakes or if the same coach who's already been in the room can change the perception, Yakupov is the only real visible difference. It's a difference I like.


Exactly,Yakupov can relax and have fun,and i dont think he is kidding when he lights up the goalies and embarrases defencemen---he is a serious man dont kid yourself--he means it alright as any stud would,and I hope he does it every single shift practice or not teammate or not,and I also hope by doing so he EXPOSES veterans for who and what they are,if you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen,and i dont mean Yakupov,I mean anyone in his or any young motivated guys way.

June 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM comment-delete

Wow... that was a long sentence, but I tend to agree. The Oilers are known as being too nice to play against. You need a few guys that can make you wish it wasn't your turn to face Edmonton. Whether they score, play physical or what have you, Edmonton needs to a team the other 29 NHL franchises don't want to play.

June 30, 2012 at 2:40 PM comment-delete

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