Principe's Blog: That's a Wrap
Gene Principe talks about next season as 2010-11 comes to a close for the Oilers
|Taylor Hall hopes to be a leader next season. (Photo: Andy Devlin)
I'll start with the players and every year when you don't get into the playoffs what they say isn't breaking news. There's a lot said about bad breaks, injuries, if only this or if only that. Part truth part fiction.
Having covered these 'garbage bag days' for too many seasons in a row after the final game of the year this one did feel different and sound different. First off the group of players that came out to put a wrap on the year were younger, cheaper and better than versions of years gone by.
When Taylor Hall says he hopes to be a leader next year, I believe him. When Jordan Eberle speaks of how he's glad this season is over only because that means next season is closer to starting I take him at his word. When Shawn Horcoff says it's up to those in the room and not someone that will be drafted or signed July first I agree the mirror is the best place to look for solutions.
Next up is the coach and for Tom Renney this was a trying year as in trying to teach a new system, a new approach with a bunch of new players. It worked for about half the season before his prize pupils started to miss games which lead to a collapse in the standings.
As bad as it all finished it did so with half an AHL team playing for the Oilers. Same points for a second straight year but the way Edmonton went about their business was choreographed by Renney. He seems to be the right coach at the right time who can coddle or kick when deemed necessary. Renney may not be as kind or gentle next year when another last place finish will not be tolerated.
That's unless it comes with a double digit jump in points. There's a 35 point difference from where the Oilers finished and the last playoff team in the West. Once he is handed the tools it will be up to the head coach to help determine whether it's one, two or three seasons before that difference gets made up.
Last but not least the GM spoke and it's become quite clear what Steve Tambellini believes in and that's his plan. He's got one and he's sticking to it. There will be no throwing money around for someone else's prized players instead he will work on developing his own.
That takes time which is something he and the team still have. Not as much as when he started the job but now Tambellini is doing things his way. He inherited an old overpaid club after a failed Cup run. Now the GM is working on rebuilding and retooling so one day the Oilers could be mentioned in the same breath as the Wings, Pens, Caps, Canucks. A good to great team that has a chance at winning the Cup every year and not just one year.
It will be an interesting off season with potential trades, UFA's and of course the draft. Enjoy it all and thanks for reading all season long and responding. Have a great summer.