Is Ralph Krueger Taking Unwarranted Criticism?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ralph Krueger has made some odd lineup decisions, to be sure, but is he taking too much criticism for his game management?

Tyler Dellow has led the charge in criticizing the Oilers since the day Chris Pronger was traded for magic beans. But when it comes to Ralph Krueger, he thinks fan crticisms are both overblown and unfair. The three quotes below come from two articles from Dellow:

I tend to find that people dumping on the coach are kind of doing so in the abstract and failing to go back and look at what the coach’s real options were at the time, all things considered. I’ve found this year that some of the complaining about Krueger is unwarranted or falls apart when you look closely at what his options were at any given point.

It sure looks like the Oilers are going to waste the first big Taylor Hall season and it’s not on the coaching staff...

And most recently:

I’m conscious of the fact that I’m kind of swimming against the current in that smart Oiler fans for whom I have respect disagree with me but I’m not sure how Krueger is expected to run his bench better here.

I think Dellow is missing the forest for the trees, and creating a false dichotomy by saying Tambellini and Lowe should get the brunt of the fans' ire. All of them are responsible for this, and like frequent commenter gcw_rocks said "Fire them all to be safe."

My criticisms of Krueger are his lineup decisions and playing time. No team is going to win with Ben Eager on the first line. No team is going to win by playing Mike Brown 10-11 minutes a night. Starting Nikolai Khabibulin over a rested Devan Dubnyk is madness, especially when the start is based on a "hunch", and nothing more. Giving noted possession black hole Lennart Petrell playing time with Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi with the game on the line should never be an option. Playing Ryan Jones and Mike Brown on the penalty kill over Magnus Paajarvi...just no. Partnering Ryan Whitney and Justin Schultz and asking Whitney to play more minutes against better competition is just brainless.

But as far as bench management goes, does Dellow have a point? Is the anger over Krueger's bench management just frustration at management for the total lack of depth at forward, defense and in goal? Or do the critics have it right? Should Krueger be completely dedicated to line matching and giving Nail Yakupov a chance to perform?

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