To say that fan reaction to the Edmonton Oilers’ hiring of Hall of Fame defenceman Paul Coffey was mixed is the understatement of the century. While some Oilers die-hards welcomed the legendary blue liner back into the fold, others saw it as an indication of a much bigger problem with the historic franchise and a return to the “Old Boys Club” ways of old. Officially hired as a Skills Development Coach, it’s unclear exactly how Coffey will fit into the team’s coaching staff on a day-to-day basis, but former NHL goaltender and CBC analyst Glenn Healy sees bigger things than just skills development in the future for Coffey.
How big? Think Todd McLellan’s job big…
While making an appearance on the Sportsnet 590’s The Jeff Blair Show yesterday afternoon, Healy was asked why he thinks Coffey was hired by the Oilers.
“To be the head coach.”
Uh… pardon me?
“I think that in a short period of time you would potentially see a Paul Coffey coaching the team. They need some help, clearly, and maybe some of his championship pedigree will rub off.”
The same championship pedigree that Kevin Lowe, Craig McTavish and provided for over a decade? The same championship pedigree that resulted in zero playoff appearances from 2006-2016?
“If this ship doesn’t get turned around, the coach knows what’s going to happen. There’ll be a casualty, and he’s going to be the casualty.”
Fair enough, but it’s quite a leap to go from a McLellan head coaching firing to a Coffey head coaching hiring. To be fair, Healy’s opinions have always kind of been… out there. He’s not the most reputable source in the NHL and that’s putting things nicely.
Report: Chiarelli insults Oilers and fans in latest statement
In other news, Oilers fans are in an uproar after GM Peter Chiarelli puts his foot in his mouth again.
Chiarelli is in perhaps the most unenviable position of any GM in the NHL. But… it didn’t start that way. The former Stanley Cup winning GM was hired by the Oilers back in the Spring of 2015, just months before the team would go on to select superstar and generational talent Connor McDavid first overall. Chiarelli wasted no time in moulding the Oilers to his liking, by adding not only McDavid, but Griffin Reinhart, Cam Talbot and Andrej Sekera. The giant mistake of the Reinhart deal has only come to light in recent monthS, but it’s nothing compared to the damage Chiarelli inflicted upon the franchise with his moves in the 2016-17 season and offseason. In quick succession Chiarelli shipped out Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov. In their place the Oilers have an over-the-hill Milan Lucic and a stable 2nd pairing blue liner in Adam Larsson.
Still, despite all of Chiarelli’s questionable moves, the Oilers were able to earn a playoff berth in 2017-18. Spurred on by their new captain McDavid and with some superb goaltending by Talbot, the Oilers were able to contend for a Stanley Cup last season. So, how’d Chiarelli follow up last season’s success? By trading Jordan Eberle for underperforming winger Ryan Strome. Yikes.
In just over two years, Chiarelli has taken what was the NHL’s most promising stable of young talent and turned them into a group that, beyond McDavid, has no real identity or direction. In short… it’s a depressing time to be an Oilers fan… no it’s a FRUSTRATING time to be an Oilers fan. With McDavid locked up for the foreseeable future this team should be contending for the Stanley Cup every year. Except… that’s not how Chiarelli sees it.
In a meeting with Oilers season ticket holders yesterday afternoon, one fan managed to get some time alone with Chiarelli and asked him, “When will the Oilers win the Cup?” Chiarelli’s answer? Five years. FIVE YEARS!
Are you kidding me!? How about THIS year? And everyone after it for as long as McDavid is under contract?!