EDMONTON, AB - During his eight-year tenure with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, newly appointed Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett gained a reputation of being a defensively-conscious bench boss to help his team win hockey games.
It turns out, the 16th head coach in franchise history isn't ready to categorize himself as one.
Tippett - who has 553 wins as an NHL Head Coach and a Jack Adams Award to his name - instead looks at the make-up of his lineup and moulds the team accordingly.
Video: 1-ON-1 | Dave Tippett
"As far as being a defensive coach, I laugh at that all the time because my first job in the NHL, I actually got it because I was an offensive coach," Tippett laughed. "I was an assistant coach in Los Angeles and I ran the power play and we had a real good power play. (Former Dallas Stars General Manager) Doug Armstrong hired me because he thought I could work more creativity and more offence. In Dallas, we had some good offensive teams.
"In Arizona, we had to figure out how to win without those high-end scorers. We figured out how to win in Arizona with character, grit, good defence and good goaltending. I don't look at myself as a defensive coach or an offensive coach. I look at myself as a coach that tries to find a way to win with the people that I have."
Oilers General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Ken Holland says he looks forward to the "structure" and "stability" the Moosomin, Saskatchewan native will bring to the hockey club.
With 14 seasons manning an NHL bench and two trips to the Western Conference Finals so far in his coaching career, Tippett's pedigree made him the leading candidate for Holland. Three weeks into his new role, Holland's first major move with the Oilers involved someone who shared his philosophy of winning in today's NHL.
Video: EXCLUSIVE | Ken Holland Interview
"We both would like the team to play fast," said Holland. "In the game today, you've got to play with speed and you've got to compete. You've got to compete when you've got the puck, you have to be heavy on the puck down low and when you don't have the puck, you've got to compete hard. I think about the Detroit Red Wings teams that won the Cup in '97 and '98 - people think about offence - but at the end of the day, you have to win some games 2-1 and 1-0. Some nights you have to win 5-4 so you have to be able to check."
"In talking with Dave, we believe in the same things of building a hockey team. We've got to have some pace, we've got to compete, we need some depth scoring, the defence has to join the rush but you can't take chances when you step up in the offensive zone which will lead to odd-man rushes. We believe in the same things and that's why we're here today and I hired him as the head coach."