What Dave Tippett did wrong in the playoffs shouldn’t overshadow all that the Edmonton Oilers coach did right this season.
I say that as someone who led the charge in criticizing Tippett for his playoffs mistakes, namely starting Mike Smith over Mikko Koskinen in Game One, not playing Caleb Jones at the start of series, and, most of all, breaking up the NHL’s best two-way line of Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto.
I’ve written and said enough about all these mistakes, but I want to stress that Tippett did excellent work in 71 regular season games. He helped build a winning team with solid lines and defence combinations, sound strategies for all states of the game, and with sensible handling of the team’s top two goalies. That carries far more weight with me than any errors he made for the playoffs.
I suspect Tippett had too much time on his hands to prepare for the playoffs and ended up out-thinking himself and over-preparing. But during the marathon haul of the 2019-20 NHL regular season, he repeatedly got it right.