Dave Tippett had a broad smile on his face walking into the coaching graveyard the Edmonton Oilers have been the past decade.The newest Oilers head coach — the ninth in the past 11 years — is well aware of the long list of fallen prior to his arrival Tuesday, hired by new general manager Ken Holland.Tippett is charged with doing what good hockey minds have been unable to in this organization for a long time.“I’m always up for a good challenge, I’m looking forward to it,” Tippett said with a smile after being introduced on Tuesday at Rogers Place. “That’s part of why we do what we do.“There is unbelievable history here and there have been unbelievable teams here and it hasn’t been as good lately, but we know how it can be here. I spent years chasing these guys around (as a player) and you always looked at them winning and you go, ‘Boy that would have been nice’. There is that challenge to get there.”Born in Moosomin, Sask., and raised in Prince Albert, Tippett, 57, brings 14 years of National Hockey League coaching experience to Edmonton. He coached the Dallas Stars from 2002 to 2009, making the playoffs five of six seasons before moving on to the Arizona Coyotes in 2010.In seven seasons with Arizona, Tippett guided the Coyotes to the playoffs three times, taking them to the Western Conference final in 2012.“I’m a Western Canada kid and I’ve never coached in Canada, and my mom is so excited about me coming back to Canada and working for a team here,” Tippett said. “There is an allure about that. The fans are so passionate, I’ve got more texts from buddies that were high school buddies that I haven’t heard from in 20 years.”Tippett was fired in Arizona after missing the playoffs with the Coyotes for five consecutive seasons. Following a one-year hiatus, he worked as a senior advisor for Seattle’s expansion franchise last season.“I don’t think it’ll really hit me until you get behind the bench that first time,” Tippett said. “I’m looking forward to planning training camp, all those things … so I’m excited for the opportunity, excited to work with Ken.”In seeking out a new coach after being hired as general manager by the Oilers three weeks ago, Holland wanted someone with experience. He turned to formers Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock for help and, between the two of them, came up with Tippett as the best option.“I talked to Ken Hitchcock and told him I wanted to work on two things: People that had coached in the National Hockey League or what we thought were going to be the top coaches that hadn’t coached in the National Hockey League,” Holland said. “I think the list was 16 or 17 people, and we went to work over three weeks to eventually get to today.”Holland and Tippett met for the first time in San Diego, where the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, were playing a playoff series.The two continued to discuss the position and Holland heard what he needed from Tippett.“I wanted to hear what was important to him as a coach,” Holland said. “What does he like in his team? How do you hold players accountable? How do you build team chemistry? We talked about the players on the roster, what does he think about the players on the roster? What does he think and what does he see with the team in comparison to what I see and what do we want to build?”The Oilers have missed the playoffs 12 of the past 13 seasons, so Tippett and Holland know they have a lot of work ahead.The first order of business for Tippett is to put together his coaching staff. Currently, Oilers assistants Glen Gulutzan, Trent Yawney, Manny Viveiros and Dustin Schwartz are in limbo regarding their fate.“That’s up to Dave,” Holland said. “When I had Jeff Blashill and I had Mike Babcock, I told them to put their staff together and they come to me and I’ll rubber stamp it. He’s got to work with those guys on an everyday basis, and if I tell him who his assistants are and if they don’t have chemistry, it probably isn’t going to be successful.”Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgOn Twitter: @DerekVanDiest
Oil Spills podcast: Oilers out with coaches oldHockey beat writer Jim Matheson and host Craig Ellingson talk about coaches and the Edmonton Oilers.There are old ones. Specifically:Craig McTavish, the Oilers’ bench boss for the first eight NHL seasons of the 21st Century, lately senior vice-president of hockey operations, and now a former member of the organization after he left last week to coach in Russia. Ralph Krueger, head coach of the Oilers in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, who was hired last week by the Buffalo Sabres as coach after leaving his chairman’s job in soccer’s English Premier League with Southampton. He had recently said he wasn’t interested in returning to the Oilers. And did you know Duane Sutter was once an NHL head coach? For parts of two seasons with the Florida Panthers in 2000-01 and 2001-02. He was let go from his job as Oilers’ head of pro scouting earlier this week. And, eventually and maybe soon, a new one. The Oilers are expected to hire a head coach perhaps by the end of the week. Odds are it’ll be former Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars coach Dave Tippett, who’s been working with Seattle’s expansion franchise, and not Todd Nelson.