16. Had a lengthy conversation Monday with new Oilers coach Ralph Krueger. Talked about some of his ideas and learned he thinks similarly to two successful bench bosses, Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock.
17. Red Wings players will tell you Babcock’s belief is that “when we’re defending, you do it my way. When we have the puck, you can create.” (He laughed when asked about that.) Krueger’s plan for Edmonton will be along those lines. “The only way we’re going to learn to win is by having a solid team structure,” Krueger said. “We had a lot of ‘immature games’ last season…they were fun to play and watch, but we lost. We need to learn to manage the game better — play to the score, the clock, the situation.”
18. Krueger added the critical thing will be “finding a team defensive structure that works for the whole game, but allows players to use their intuition offensively.” He explained that when it comes to that part of the game, he believes more in “principles” than a set system. An example would be always having a net presence on the power play. As long as those principles are followed, the Halls, Hemskys and Nugent-Hopkinses of the world can create.
19. The Hitchcockian stuff came when we discussed Edmonton’s forward lines. In Dallas, Hitchcock once explained how he believed more in forward “pairs” than trios. For example, Mike Modano always played with Jere Lehtinen. The third could be rotated. Krueger wants to see if he can create a flexible, dangerous lineup that way.
20. He explained that he liked Jordan Eberle with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner with Ales Hemsky. That not only allows him to move Hall around the lineup, but also rotate others depending on the situation — Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones, Ben Eager and potentially even Shawn Horcoff on the wing. I’m really curious to see this. This stuff fascinates me.
21. Some of you will be wondering: what about Nail Yakupov? Krueger wants to see how the number one pick looks on the left side. Yakupov is used to the right, but with Eberle and Hemsky there, it’s pretty jammed. Finally, Krueger closed by saying one of the most important things moving forward for the Oilers will be the group “demanding more from each other and the team right from the beginning.”
22. Couple other Edmonton notes (should point out Krueger is not the source for any of this): think the Oilers, desperately searching for defencemen, took a long look at Islander Mark Streit. Garth Snow would not address that, but did say via text message, “I have no intention to trade Streit.”
23. Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey got a lot of attention for helping recruit Justin Schultz to Oilertown, but do not underestimate the role Hall played. Word is his sales pitch was extremely impressive, because he was unafraid to discuss the tough things the team has gone through — and how he believes those will be fixed.
24. Sam Gagner’s arbitration is tentatively scheduled for Friday. This one’s going to be interesting if it gets that far. The Oilers are probably thinking David Perron ($3.8 million AAV) while agent Jeff Jackson is likely looking at Brandon Dubinsky ($4.2M). Saw-off in the middle?
I really like Krueger’s coaching philosophy.. a lot. I’ve said it before, but I think Continue reading 'Oilers hot topic for Friedman’s 30 thoughts..'»