One of the guys from IOF (Dennis, I think) made a comment that got me reading some stuff from the Fire Joe Morgan blog. Even as a guy who doesn't follow much sporting outside of hockey (a little football, the odd baseball game) it was funny and I liked the style.
Here's an attempt (hardly more than that) at that sort of mockery from Terry Jones latest column.
Okay. What's it been now, four days? The honeymoon is over. Pat Quinn has been in the job long enough now. It's time to ask the question. It's time to ask the coach about the coach killer. What the hell is he going to do with Dustin Penner?
Absolutely. Just because Quinn hasn't met the "coach killer" doesn't mean that he doesn't have an opinion on him. Just because he hasn't run one practice with the player shouldn't keep him from offering meaningful commentary. As for coach-killing, it's not at all silly to call Dustin Penner by that title when it was pretty clear that poor defensive play and the abysmal penalty-kill sunk the Oilers this season, and Penner wasn't poor defensively or a key cog on the PK.
Quinn doesn't dodge it. He could say he needs to become more familiar with his team, yadda, yadda, yadda. But you interview for a job, you better have some answers for some of the tougher questions and that's certainly one of the toughest on the team he takes over.
Ahh, yes, the "tough questions". Jones is an expert in the tough questions - after all, when Kevin Lowe had his press conference explaining why the owner had sent a text message to a local media guy saying that "MacTavish isn't going anywhere", guys like Dan Barnes and Ryan Rishaug focused on trivial questions, like, "When he says, 'MacTavish is not going anywhere,' It's vague enough for us to ask, Is he (MacT) coming back in some other capacity?" Jones cut to the heart of the matter with a big one - 'Will Daryl Katz hold a press conference at the end of the season?' Way to go, Jonesy.
Anyway, everyone knows that waiting until you have, you know, actual information before forming an opinion is silly. Quinn needs to know now, damnit!
"I don't know him real well but I intend to know him real well."
Well, thank goodness Quinn didn't dodge the question by saying something like "I need to become more familiar with the player."
Those are words which at the same time Penner has enough room to know he has a chance to put his rocky relationship with Craig MacTavish behind him and get a fresh start and yet know if he doesn't take advantage of that, life with his new 66-year-old father figure is going to be even less enjoyable.
For those of you who are curious, a "father figure" can be defined as "a man who takes over all the functions of the real father". Speaking for 26-year old men (soon to be 27) is a bit of a stretch for me (I'm only 23) but here it goes: Terry, we don't need new daddies. We aren't children.
It's obvious what has to happen here. There are guys new GM Steve Tambellini isn't going to be able to move.
Those guys Quinn is going to have to coach up. But now Tambelini has to get to work on remodeling the rest of the team to give Quinn and Tom Renney a much better chance to succeed and coach the game they both want to coach here.
This very much became Steve Tambellini's hockey club with the hirings of Quinn and Renney to coach this team in tandem. Other than the week or so around the trade deadline, there wasn't much he could do in his first year of being general manager with Kevin Lowe booted upstairs.
So did this team become Tambellini's at the trade deadline, or when he hired Quinn and Renney? Because I'm fairly sure that Jones has already run his "Steve Tambellini coming of age" story back at the deadline. Yep, in fact the "this became Steve Tambellini's team" line is almost a word for word copy from Jones reaction to the Erik Cole trade.
There was some question of how much the job was going to be truly his with Lowe looking over his shoulder and new owner Daryl "MacT is not going anywhere" Katz hiding back behind the curtains somewhere.
No Jones article would be complete without the obligatory reference to "just like Peter Pocklington, he's a single owner" Daryl Katz.
But these moves made it his team because they were made with his background and knowledge and relationships with the people he hired. And when your first major hiring as a GM is somebody who has spent a significant part of his career as a GM himself that shows some security and confidence in yourself, although that doesn't come across when Tambellini stands behind a microphone at a press conference.
I thought Steve Tambellini's end of season press conference, the one where he said he "will not put up with" an "unemotional game" and outlined his vision for the team showed some confidence. Maybe that was just me.
"I have a fairly good feel for what's here. I like skilled teams. You can't all be foot soldiers who dump in and bang the puck. There looks like there are some nifty little guys here. I like offence if you hold on to the puck," he says with words Ales Hemsky can by happy to hear and real concerned about at the sametime.
"Move and use the skills you have. Lose it and be damn gritty to get it back," adds Quinn.
READ THAT OVER
Hemsky, Andrew Cogliano, Sam Gagner and particularly Robert Nilsson, the other coach killer, also should read that over a couple of times.
Ah yes, Robert Nilsson: coach-killer. Leaving that aside, does anyone really believe that Ales Hemsky has a problem with grit? It seems to me that second-effort and going into danger areas have been strengths, not weaknesses.
And so should Tambellini.
Quinn knows what size can bring to a team. He was size. And as for the gritty-get-it-back and play-with-the-puck team he wants to have here, that means winning faceoffs and winning races to the puck and battles by the boards and between now and the time Quinn steps behind the bench, it's his job to get him some of those guys.
As for Steve Tambellini, why exactly sxhould he be reading that over? When he said that he wanted more grit, more size and more puck possession at his end of season press conference, didn't he make the exact same sort of statement?
Since he did make very similar statements at his end of season press conference, and said he would get a coach who agreed with him, isn't it a little stupid to say that Tambellini should be getting this sort of direction from his coach? The coach was hired because he agreed with Tambellini's previously setout vision for the team. Arguing that Tambellini should listen to Quinn's vision, rather than noting that Quinn is simply reiterating Tambellini's vision, comes across as dense. The coach wouldn't have been hired if Tambellini wasn't already moving in that direction.