I’ve written about Craig MacTavish a lot on this blog, but fear MacT will soon be a blast from the past. Edmonton’s coach has his share of detractors on the Al Gore invention but I’ll thank you not to count me as one of them.

The Edmonton Oilers are a team with many unanswered questions, a team with many facts that seem to be at cross purposes, a team that is paid at the cap to play like crap.

In the words of the very talented Johnny Mercer, Something’s Gotta Give.

Kevin Lowe was talking in the paper today about the Oilers needing to work on the studio mix of the third and fourth lines (nothing about throttling today, though) and GM Steve Tambellini was busy at the airport sending out Tim Sestito.

Craig MacTavish? After his team went through the motions last night he said “it’s clear the will was there” and maybe he even believed it. I think he probably saw it in some of the veterans (Lubo, Moreau, Souray, Staios, Roloson, Horcoff, Hemsky) and some of the kids were working (Cogliano, Gagner, Gilbert). However, it looked to me like there were more than a few passengers on the runaway train last night in Edmonton.

So we’re left with these facts that seem to run up against each other. We can say “something’s gotta give” but the response is “Katz is a good friend of Lowe and MacT and there’s no chance either gets fired.”

And that’s good, but then comes the question “what if they keep on losing, despite being a cap team?” and after awhile it becomes obvious that in the history of organized sports (not a long period, mind you, but enough to draw some conclusions) it falls to the coach to take the hit during a lost season.

Why? Well you can’t fire the team and they just hired Steve Tambellini to be GM so it makes little sense to get rid of him. I’m not convinced MacT is the culprit here but do believe he’ll be the one to go.

Is it certain? No, this team has talent and could go on a run. They did in 2005-06 at a time when the coach was in just about the same spot he is now. What’s the difference between then and now? The Oilers had one specific problem (goaltending) and six guys who had shoot the moon contracts. The theme for this edition of the Oilers seems to be “paid in full, awaiting delivery.”

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416 Responses to "Trouble"

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  1. Kris says:

    I think the anonymity was because the player was revealing knowledge that a trade was immanent– he might have even known who is being traded.

  2. Chris says:

    I’ve never wanted MacT to be gone before. I’ve occasionally had some sympathy to the “fire Kevin Lowe” sentiments that have been common on the Al Gore but until this year I’ve felt pretty confident saying MacT was doing the best with what he’s had. MacTavish is usually a calm, cool, collected guy. I’ve not always agreed with every decision that’s he’d made but you could usually see where he was coming from. This year his recent behaviour has seemed rather erratic. He’s lost that calm presence that I’m used to seeing, and his decision making is just all over the map. Whether its his decisions regarding Garon, Penner, Cole, Pisani, Gagner or Smid, he’s been acting strangely and trying to force things that either haven’t worked and failed to respond to the apparant failure of those decisions or he’s simply exiling players for reasons that I’m not convinced are well founded.

  3. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    This team needs to be coached by someone who accepts that saucers passes, give and go’s, and tic tac toes are as good as grinding it out.

    Thanks bookie for saying what I was trying to say earlier much better. MacT is a good coach of an under funder team full of hard working grinder types. He does not know how to effectively manage the offensive team he has now, and it is simply time to move on.

    That said, someone earlier mentioned something about KLowe coming down and relieving his buddy and trying to clean up his own mess. That really struck a chord with me and honestly feels like something that is likely to happen.

  4. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:


  5. Coach pb9617 says:

    This team needs to be coached by someone who accepts that saucers passes, give and go’s, and tic tac toes are as good as grinding it out.

    I swear to Pete, if that means drop passes, I’ll burn the nearest Rexall to the ground.

  6. Kylei17 says:

    Hi, I’ve been a long time poster at HF and have enjoyed reading the posts on this blog so I decided to sign up and contribute.

    First i’m confused why people have a huge problem with a player publically calling out the coach yet many of you have no problem with Penner’s public flogging by MacT. Both events are essentially the same and were both gutless. We can debate whether MacT was right to call Penner out or not but it’s irrelevant because MacT went far beyond what was necessary when calling out Penner and was bordering on complete unprofessionalism. The player comment is also something that is gutless and should never has been said but you know the saying “What goes around, comes around” and this time MacT is on the receiving end.

    I am also surprised that the majority of you think that this was one player acting alone. I can’t fathom why one player especially a veteran would not only risk being blacklisted by the coaching staff and organization, but by his fellow players as well. My guess is that the player who made the comment had the backing and support of numerous teammates to make such a comment. The timing of this move screams of a calculated attempt by the players to bring to light a common concern in the coaching. Therefore while it’s fun to speculate I believe it’s irrelevant who made the comments and that a MacT witch-hunt may lead to a group of players not just an individual.

  7. Coach pb9617 says:

    First i’m confused why people have a huge problem with a player publically calling out the coach yet many of you have no problem with Penner’s public flogging by MacT.

    The player didn’t publicly call out Mactavish. He went back-channel to an out-of-town media member to call out MacTavish.

    MacTavish, rightly or wrongly, put himself on the line and hung Penner out to dry. The player knifed Mactavish.

    Also, you sound like Traktor’s older, better-written, brother.

  8. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    I’m going to try and cram as much as possible into my limited time today. Tho I’d like to comment on much in the last few topics, alas, we don’t always get what we want. Besides, a wise man once told me…

    “Don’t argue with idiots, they’ll bring you down to their level. Then, once you’re in their neighbourhood, they’ll beat you with experience.”

    Well, this isn’t my blog, but I consider it part of my neighbourhood… a cherished place where intelligent discussion is presented with logic, reason and a willingness to question one’s own opinions. The common goal is a greater understanding of the game we all love.

    It looks to me like my favourite haunt in the hood is in danger of being taken over by a bunch of myopic-cyber-morons. Idiots, who try to fold/spindle/mutilate every crumb they hear and see (validity is irrelevant) into the ‘Fire MacT’ conclusions they keep in their bellybutton lint. If any info doesn’t fit in their ‘Fire MacT’ lint (again, validity is irrelevant), they discard it.

    Emboldened in packs, their incessant leaping (to conclusions) can cause even the most sane heads to spin. And if left unchecked, they will deface every readable surface with their “FIRE MACT” lint.

    If I wanted to wade thru garbage looking for something of substance I’d still be posting at HF. Since I’m not leaving Lowetide’s and I’m not going to remain silent while idiots take over the neighbourhood, I’m going to address a couple of them and then I’ll choose to ignore the crap spewed by the lot of them.

    A little context here – We have a collections can at work. We’re helping raise funds to purchase a special cystic fibrosis vest for a baby boy. ‘Coins for Conner’ is getting an extra $20 for the following comments. Sorry, Lain. Cover the kids’ eyes, because it needs to be said.


    … the rest of you circle-jerkers can follow him.

    kamus: He said that MacT called Penner a “waste of skin”.



    I hope this doesn’t unnerve you too much, Riv, but the crazy lady agrees with you. Actually, she usually does, even when you’re being a dick.

    Anyone truly wanting to further the discussion should really go and reread your comments over the last few days/topics.


    That veteran right-handed centre is the difference between winning and teaching. Not having one effectively cobbles MacT and impacts everything he does. How can the team develop trust when the support is inconsistent? Where does the team game come from without support and trust?

    Add to that – an extra goalie and Hemsky’s nuclear deterrent taking up two of his three press box weapons. What tools does he have left? Coming from someone who knows crazy, bat**** can be an incredibly effective, albeit, short-lived, tool.

    I tried to explain the madness in his methods in the the Columbus GDT and Sestito topics. School is in. Playing guys out of position forces them to keep-it-simple-stupid, and gives them more appreciation for their linemates when they get back to their natural positions. MacT has never been about taking the easy path. To win in the playoffs, you must be able to overcome adversity.

    Firing him for not getting gold out of an inadequate roster would be cowardly.

    Simple Rules to Success
    #1 – Hire the right people.
    #2 – Give them the tools to do their jobs.
    #3 – Let them do their jobs.

    Give him the tools and he proves that he’s the right person.


  9. Black Dog says:

    Thank you my dear Louise.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Louise: Then why bother to spend to the cap? I understand trying to balance development with making the second season and going on a run but that 3line C job was (logic suggests) between Brodziak and Pouliot.

    And we’re 20 games in. No sir. Something’s afoot.

  11. kanadienkyle says:

    Once again this blog saves the day. 414 comments is the best way to make it thru a boring play with the fam.

  12. RiversQ says:

    LT: Maybe because it’s way easier to appease the fans with cash than actual results?

    Regardless I still think the wild thing is that the Oilers decided this was the year to crank up the expectations. It’s still possible, but the playoffs would be a bonus this year. The clock starts next year. This should be a development year.

    ID: My world is upside down. ;) I’m guessing you position on the rat is that he should be traded. I’m not a big fan of public comments on players by the coach, but if you can’t tell the difference between that and what the rat did, then life is going to be difficult.

  13. IceDragoon says:

    Lain: Because they can. At least a few of the big ticket items are temporary.

    The big boys were betting on Pouliot’s and Brodziak’s high IQs taking them to another level. One of the two should have it in him in to be way ahead of the curve in, essentially, his second year, right? Right?

    MacT’s thoughts on this are ridiculously easy to read in his actions, but, compromise being what it is, Marty is in Atlanta and coach has been trying to grow a vet rhc out of a couple of smart sophomores and vet wingers. Oh, and, one of our vets is new to the team/conference and has a history of playing against quality opponents, but also appears to have some princess in him. joy

    Dennis said he’s giving MacT till the 26 game mark to turn things around. Funny thing, by my eye MacT looks to have the same target. He’s in the stretch drive of the bat**** stretch of his season.

    As always, Lowe wants to eat and have his cake, so look for him to be filling in the holes he created… sometime in January. Right?

    And… Something is always afoot.

  14. IceDragoon says:

    Oh, and…

    Everything RiversQ said.

    Riv: Rats must always be outed, but I’m not even sure that there is a rat. There isn’t any context to the quote.

    I don’t like public floggings either, but the leaders on this team were, at least, nodding in agreement.

  15. IceDragoon says:


    I was so wound up in my potty mouth, I forgot my manners.

    Black Dog: Thank you my dear Louise.

    You are welcome, Pat.


  16. kamus says:

    IceDragoon, even if the comment is bullshit how would you know are you around Mact 24\7?
    Judging by what Mact said about Penner in public the comment doesn’t seem like a stretch.

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