Oilers reincarnated

Pittsburgh Penguins' Ryan Malone and Evgeni Malkin, celebrate a goal by Petr Sykora, during the...

Pittsburgh Penguins' Ryan Malone and Evgeni Malkin, celebrate a goal by Petr Sykora, during the first period in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

BOB STAUFFER

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

After watching the Pittsburgh Penguins throughout the playoffs, how many of you are thinking we are watching a modern-day reincarnation of the 1980's Edmonton Oilers?

With Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Pens have a one-two punch of the same calibre as Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

Pittsburgh also has one of the best powerplay quarterbacks in the NHL in Sergei Gonchar and another emerging stud on the back end in Ryan Whitney, to mirror Oilers great Paul Coffey.

Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury is on the verge of becoming a stopper of the quality of Grant Fuhr.

Throw in a sniper like Marian Hossa to match a Jari Kurri, add the best current heavyweight in Georges Laraque - who can throttle you like old Oiler Dave Semenko - and you have several similarities between the two clubs.

The Penguins paid the price to build a team like this, going through a brutal stretch where the organization teetered on collapse, and was awful on the ice.

But, an argument can be made that they lost the right way, and reaped the benefits with high-end picks in Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and Whitney and Jordan Staal - all taken in the top five overall between 2002 and 2006.

Is there a lesson in that?

DAUM DESERVES BETTER

This week Oilers GM Kevin Lowe told Sun Media hockey writer Robert Tychkowski that Rob Daum will not be returning to Craig MacTavish's staff next season.

Personally, I am disappointed for Daum who I know made an impact on some technical nuances of the game for the Oilers, including helping to implement the middle-zone breakout that the team used effectively in the final quarter of the season.

MacTavish commented on more than one occasion that Daum was a fan of Robert Nilsson's offensive flair as well, which cannot be overlooked.

Ultimately, MacTavish is the man who picks his staff, and numerous sources have indicated that the less-experienced Kelly Buchberger will be making the jump after being the head coach of the Springfield Falcons this past season.

If Buchberger does come to Edmonton, is there really a better man for the job in Springfield than Daum?

He is the lone coach in the Oilers organization who has won 50 games in a season anywhere (Houston, AHL in 2005-06).

Daum does have the option to return to the University of Alberta where he had close to a .900 winning percentage in his last five seasons with the Bears. His replacement for the last three seasons, Eric Thurston, has won two national titles.

A smart WHL organization might try to pry Thurston out of Edmonton while he is in limbo.

KATZ WILL STAY THE COURSE

Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz is weeks away from officially becoming Oilers owner.

Katz will not take a page out of Francesco Aquilini's book and blow out his GM, once he gets control of the team.

Katz already publicly endorsed both Lowe and MacTavish back in February and clearly has good relationships with several former Oilers, which was illustrated when both Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky endorsed him as an owner.

Sources say that Oilers president Patrick Laforge is safe as well.

Laforge, who has been known to flex his muscles on more than one occasion, clearly is a great salesman, who has steered the Oilers into a profitable course over the last three seasons.

CLOWE BEING COVETED?

Something has to give with the San Jose Sharks.

If the Sharks decide to move some bodies, my guess is that a guy the Oilers covet is Ryan Clowe. He is a restricted free agent, and is due for a big raise.

But Clowe is exactly what the Oilers need, and he plays the game that most fans wish Raffi Torres would on a regular basis.


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