As we previously reportedly, the Edmonton Oilers selected Ralph Krueger to serve as their new head coach. He’s been with the team as an associate coach for the last two seasons, so as you might imagine, the reaction among the players has been very positive.
The Edmonton Oilers are a young team trying to transition from their rebuilding phase to a more competitive stage. Doing that while accepting a new head coach can be difficult, but given the players’ familiarity with Krueger, the transition shouldn’t be difficult.
“He’s an extremely intelligent guy who brings an element of toughness and accountability that we’re going to need,” Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff told the Edmonton Journal. “We’re looking forward to having him be the guy. I know the (defensive players) had a real good relationship with him and felt really strongly about his ability to run things back there.
“It’s just nice going into training camp, whenever that starts, whenever that is, knowing that we have that familiarity with each other.”
Jordan Eberle added that Krueger can be credited with improving the Oilers’ work with the man advantage. Edmonton ranked third in the NHL with a 20.6% power-play conversion rate in 2011-12. That’s one of the arguments Eberle and Horcoff used to suggest that Krueger wouldn’t adopt an overly defensive style.
“You have to play defense in this league, but having said that we do have a lot of skill up front and I’m positive he’ll allow that skill to be creative,” said Horcoff.
“I think he felt, at times, a defensive style was the key for winning. It doesn’t mean he didn’t have a lot of offensive interest. You can tell by our power play he’s a very creative guy.”
With 2012 first-overall pick Nail Yakupov joining their young core, the Edmonton Oilers could have an intimidating offense in 2012-13.