General manager Ken Holland and the Edmonton Oilers have hired Dave Tippett as their new head coach. That makes him the franchise’s eighth head coach in 12 seasons.
“This was a unique opportunity,” Tippett said. “It’s a first-class organization with passionate fans. There was a lot of things that came together. When Ken reached out, I looked at it hard and it was a great opportunity. That’s why I’m here.”
Most people know Tippett from his tenure behind the bench of the Arizona Coyotes franchise. He coached that squad from 2009-2010 through 2016-2017, winning the Jack Adams Award in his first season. His Coyotes were a playoff team in each of his first three seasons, but things took a dive and Arizona failed to qualify for the post-season in each of his final tries.
Prior to his tenure with the Coyotes, Tippett helmed the Dallas Stars. In his first season there in 2002-2003, he took them from a non-playoff squad to a division leader. His Stars eliminated the Oilers in the first round of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tippett kept Dallas in the post-season through most of his tenure, but his team struggled to exit the first round – this despite back-to-back 50-win seasons. In 2007-2008, the Stars at last made it to the Western Conference Final until falling to the Detroit Red Wings in six games.
The Stars fired Tippet in June of 2009 after a sub-standard 36-35-11 season in 2008-2009.
Prior to joining the Oilers, Tippett was actually on the advisory board of the expansion Seattle franchise. He was hired there in June of 2018 and had been overseeing various aspects of the organization’s development.
Legend has it that Tippett is principally a defence-first coach, something the Oilers could use a lot of right now. His style could address an area in which Edmonton needs serious assistance, as they finished last season allowing 3.31 goals against per game. And, perhaps most significantly, he adheres to a structure.
But Tippett’s approach to the game also runs the risk of being a page or two behind the times, which is typical of these Oilers. Just as the Holland hire was seen as a step backward into the old guard of hockey, the Tippett hire is likewise a little unfashionable – and more than a little foreseeable.
It’ll take a lot to light a fire under these Oilers, but, more than that, it’ll take a lot to light a fire under this fanbase. Making the playoffs should help, but generating a team that has some lasting success will help a lot more. Here’s hoping Dave Tippett is, finally, the man for the job.
(Photo credit: NHL)