I’m probably a little behind on this one, but I see that the Oilers homepage has an interview up with Kevin Lowe where he discusses the hiring of Wayne Fleming and the current team with CHED’s Dave Campbell. Here is the transcript:
On Wayne Fleming
I was really so impressed with the work that Wayne did for the Olympic team, particular in Salt Lake City in 2002. When that coaching staff came together, he was really the glue of that staff because he was the only one of the group that wasn’t head coach in the NHL; he was a full time employee of Hockey Canada. So he did all the leg work; he did all the grunt work; he did all the preparatory work for all of the coaches so that they were ready not only for the start of the Olympics but day-to-day within the Olympic Games.
He’s not unlike a lot of coaches in Canada who have gone through the Hockey Canada training programs and become career coaches. They all just have an incredible love and respect for the game and spend countless hours at it trying to refine their abilities and refine the teaching aspect of the game. That’s what Wayne Fleming brings. I’d say he’s very comparable to Tom Renney without the Head Coaching experience in the NHL, but he’s coached University hockey, he’s coached NHL hockey, minor league hockey, he’s coached in Europe. He’s been coaching forever, it’s his life, so we’re fortunate to have a guy like that. The fact that he does have a strong relationship and has experienced success with Pat Quinn previously, that’s just an added bonus for us. So we’re really pleased to have Wayne, and know that he’s going to be a real good fit for us.
On the team, heading into Training Camp
Well we didn’t make a lot of changes. We got a little younger in net *laughs*, not a lot younger. I wouldn’t say that goaltending has been an issue for us the last couple of years because Roli’s done a pretty good job. Khabibulin is just a little bit younger and we hope that (he is) a guy we can have for a number of years and be a really good addition for our younger goalies to give them time to develop into being regulars in the National Hockey League.
We have a lot of players signed. We have a lot of guys that are younger players that we want to give time to develop and we figure if we start making massive changes we just start spinning our wheels. There’s guys that had, I guess in some respects, disappointing seasons but we expect they’re going to be better this year. We expect with the coaching change we’re going to have a different culture and a different mood around the room. And (I am) not pointing any fingers at the previous coaching staff, because I think they did a wonderful job over the years. I seems like the players are excited about the change (and) new ideas and fresh ideas. I think that’s going to make a world of difference.
In terms of our needs, we really feel that we’ve got a lot of depth in all positions. If we’re lacking in any one position it’s probably in the high-end goal scoring department. We know our guys can do a better job in that department. We finished in the middle-tier of goal scoring in the National Hockey League. But, probably our biggest disappointment last year was our specialty teams and we hope (for an) improvement (from) the new coaching staff in that department. Steve has said a number of times “are we finished? no.” Sometimes the job isn’t done all at once”. We’re comfortable going into training camp with the group that we have. We know that this team will better than we were last year. It’s a team that missed the playoffs by a few points. It’s just our hope come trade deadline that we’re in a position where we can add some players to maybe take another run at it again.
It’s nice to actually hear what their thought process is, as to not making any changes. However, as many have said before, it would be nice to see one or two more pickups, such as a faceoff / PKer.
Stay tuned, as later today Patrick LaForge will give a conference to update us on the new arena status.