Ex-Coyotes, Stars bench boss brings winning record, structure to Edmonton
Doug Harrison · CBC Sports · Posted: May 28, 2019 12:08 PM ET | Last Updated: May 28
Dave Tippett, named the 16th head coach in Oilers history on Tuesday, was known for getting the most out of a limited roster in Arizona, where the Coyotes mustered a 282-257-83 record in his eight seasons behind the bench. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/File) comments
The Edmonton Oilers, with explosive forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, have opted for a head coach known as a defence-first kind of guy, but also a man with a winning record in the NHL and ability to get the most out of his players.
Recently hired general manager Ken Holland on Tuesday named former Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett as the 16th bench boss in Oilers history.
"I come to a team that has lots of upside," Tippett told reporters at a 28-minute news conference on Tuesday. "Everybody talks about [captain Connor] McDavid and [fellow forward Leon] Draisaitl. There's more pieces here [than them]. There's good players to build on.
"Ken and I … are very much in alignment with the pace of play we want to play at, how hard we have to compete, allowing players to maximize their talents."
A 57-year-old native of Moosomin, Sask., Tippett left his senior adviser's role with the Seattle expansion franchise to sign a reported three-year deal with the Oilers, who have missed the playoffs 12 of the past 13 seasons.
'I'm big on experience'
In June 2017, Tippett and the Coyotes agreed to part ways after eight up-and-down seasons during which the team went 282-257-83 and lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Western Conference final.
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While Tippett's Coyotes missed the post-season in each of his final five seasons, they operated under a rock-bottom budget and several owners, and reportedly could have a new majority owner before the start of next season.
"I'm big on experience. When you're in the National Hockey League there's always choppy waters and certainly having someone behind the bench that's been through it before, it's a positive.
Dave's teams play with structure, he holds his players accountable and he's a good communicator. I look forward in working with Dave to build the Oilers into an elite team."
2010 NHL coach of the year
The Buffalo Sabres, who recently hired ex-Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger, are said to have interviewed Tippett for the job.
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The NHL's coach of the year in 2010, Tippett has a career 553-413-28-120 mark over 1,114 regular-season games and 14 seasons with Arizona and Dallas along with a 33-41 playoff record.
"I'm big on experience," Holland said. "When you're in the National Hockey League there's always choppy waters and certainly having someone behind the bench that's been through it before, it's a positive.
"Dave's teams play with structure, he holds his players accountable and he's a good communicator. I look forward in working with Dave to build the Oilers into an elite team."
The detail-oriented Tippett takes over from Ken Hitchcock, who guided Edmonton to a 35-38-9 mark after taking over from the fired Todd McLellan last November. An initial 8-2-1 surge under Hitchcock was followed by weeks of poor play, with the Oilers going 18-26-7 the rest of the way to finish 11 points out of playoff position.
Upon his hiring three weeks ago, Oilers general manager Ken Holland said it was time to build a relationship with a new head coach and added the "key building blocks" were in place in Edmonton. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)When Ken Holland arrived in Edmonton three weeks ago as the new GM, he said it was time to build a relationship with a new head coach and that hiring Hitchcock's successor was his top priority.
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"The key building blocks are here," Holland, the architect of three Stanley Cup titles with the Detroit Red Wings, told reporters. "I have to go out and support that core, find a coach, provide stability and build a program that our fan base is excited about."
Ken Holland is named the 10th general manager in Oilers history and president of hockey operations. 3:13
Oilers captain McDavid, Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were the only forwards on the team to reach the 40-point mark this past season.
There will be no shortage of challenges for Tippett, whose teams are structurally sound, as Edmonton ranked 20th in the 31-team NHL the past two seasons in offence at five-on-five and 26th in five-on-five goals against.
The success of special teams is also critical, especially in the post-season. A power play led by McDavid ranked ninth with a 21.2 per cent success rate during the 2018-19 campaign, while the penalty-kill was 30th at 74.8 per cent.
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