A lot gets said and written about the Oilers, and how smart/serious they are about ending this 7-year slide. Most of that comes out of frustration, because any professional organization on the Oiler’s level is always doing that.
And most of the people doing the commenting could not be an NHL General Manager in their wildest dreams.
The afore mentioned critics should surely be silenced today, at least temporarily, by the hiring of Craig Ramsay as an Assistant Coach. He will replace Kelly Buchberger on the bench, for certain (Buchberger assigned to Player Personnel, a spot he’s well-suited for, and I expect Steve Smith will either also be re-assigned…or simply move on.
Although I probably don’t need to read his resume, it’s re-assuring to hear that we’ll have a man on the bench in Craig Ramsay who has not only played over 1,000 NHL games, but who has also stood on an NHL bench for an additional 17 seasons. We can forget, they are two entirely different skill sets, playing and coaching.
This instantly makes Dallas Eakins a much better NHL coach. I think Eakins is a smart, driven guy who was simply overwhelmed at times, and in need of a steady hand on his shoulder. The thinking of maintaining continuity among the coaching staff was a decent idea in principle, but it soon became clear that like Andrew Ference on the Oilers blue-line, Eakins was being asked to shoulder too much of the burden on his own.
But just as importantly, Ramsay is literally the Dean of Playing Defence in the National Hockey League. Soon after Eakins arrived, he realized how under-educated his young charges were. Those kids now have a Yoda from which to learn the ways of the force. I’d submit that, if they can’t learn systems from Ramsay…they probably have bigger issues, and the organization should move on.
Don’t get me wrong…Craig MacTavish still has a LOT of work to do this Summer. But this is one move that will make everything else that he does that much more effective, as a result.
Have faith, long-suffering Oilers fans.
The Cavalry has been summoned.