The Edmonton Oilers appear to be gutting the team in more places than just on the ice. GM Steve Tambellini fired chief of medical staff Ken Lowe, and dismissed the rest of the locker room staff as well. Allegedly, the Oilers off ice training system was in shambles. The weight room was not up to par, nor was the strength and conditioning program of the players. The Oilers have been knocked for being in the dark ages when it comes to training and nutrition, and Tambellini felt it was time to shed that reputation and start over. SB Nation has a great analysis of the details in this story.
These latest firings come a few days after Oilers assistant GM Kevin Pandergast was let go. Apparently before changes happen on the ice, Tambellini wants to be sure the people behind the scenes are up to scratch as well. But is coach Pat Quinn the next man to be shown the door? Tambellini has expressed confidence in the veteran coach, and Quinn doesn’t appear to be concerned about losing his job, but is he the right guy for a team that is about to get much younger? Besides getting the first overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, the Oilers have some great young talent in the system who could be ready for NHL action. Players like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, Linus Omark and Riley Nash could potentially be in the lineup at some point next season.
After Pat Quinn won the World Junior Championships with Canada, it made sense he would be the perfect guy to lead a group of young players. And he can’t be fully blamed for such a poor showing last season because there just wasn’t enough talent on his team. But is he going to be the one to lead this team in the coming years, or world juniors notwithstanding, is better suited for a team of veterans? Quinn deserves a chance to coach in the NHL, and it remains to be seen if he will continue to do so with the rebuilding Oilers.
This summer is going to be an extremely interesting one for the Edmonton Oilers. The draft and free agency on July 1st will be watched closely by anxious fans. Could there be more changes to come? There might have to be, because this once storied franchise is quickly becoming a destination players don’t want to be in (see Dany Heatley, Chris Pronger and Sheldon Souray). It’s time to turn things around, and if Tambellini doesn’t start getting it done, he may be the next member of the Oilers off-ice team to be looking for work.