THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know the author believes in Craig MacTavish. I learned a tremendous amount about the game from watching him as a coach during the 2000′s, and appreciated how he developed Ales Hemsky and tried to develop Marc Pouliot; I also loved the one team that ever gave him the horses, and the fact he led that team right up to the steps of glory.

I approach the ‘fire Kevin Lowe’ voices from the Craig MacTavish angle. I’d like to ask you a question: why would Craig MacTavish have the courage to leave the Oilers, finish his degree, survive cancer, join another organization in a complementary role, return as an adviser, then take the GM job, why would he do all of that, for the right to walk down the hallway to ask Kevin Lowe for permission to make a move?

Why? Why would an intelligent man who has faced his own demons and his own mortality put himself in that position? My answer: he would not.

A great man once said “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

Craig MacTavish is his own man. I expect he will make the moves necessary to make this team successful.

 

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95 Responses to "THE COURAGE OF HIS CONVICTIONS"

  1. Jon K says:

    LT,

    I’ve defended MacT on this blog and elsewhere many times, perhaps most notably when I went to bat for him regarding the whole “cancer excuse” for not taking any other NHL coaching jobs.

    I think MacT is a very smart man, smarter than his boss, in fact. Smart enough to perhaps realize that the opportunity presented, to be the GM of an NHL franchise, was too good to pass up, even if it came with the caveat of working under Lowe’s dubious supervision. There are only 30 GM jobs in the NHL, and his old friend was willing to give him his first shot at one. Few people in those circumstances would say no, in my estimation.

    Within that context, I wish to say that my comments in the previous post were meant only as an indictment of Lowe, and not of MacT, per se.

    I can agree with you that MacT was a defensible hire. I might even agree that he was a good hire.

    However, I cannot agree, in principle, with a hiring process where the optics are this bad. The hiring process did not appear to be thorough. We did not hear much about more experienced candidates with established track records. The man hired was a close friend of the man hiring. The man hired was previously fired by the man he was replacing, an outsider.

    I like MacT. I liked him as a coach. I adored him during the 2005-2006 run, especially when he beat Babcock (my favorite coach) in the first round. I like most of the moves he’s made so far. However, I don’t believe for a second that he received the job he has entirely on merit.

  2. 106 and 106 says:

    “At the end of the way… Craig will talk to me and get my feelings on it and you know . . . we talk enough over the course of the season that I generally know where he’s going on things and, you know, there’s an owner that has to make a call in terms of whether you’re going to spend the money for a free agent or trade an asset that’s been part of the organization for a while, so there’s a collective decision being made.”

    Mac-T is his own man, but his own man surrounded by other men who make the decisions.

    Lowe still holds the cards, except when it comes down to pay the piper for mis-management.

  3. Halfwise says:

    Even when I was the boss, I was accountable to someone above me, i.e. the person who hired me and signed my paycheque.

    MacT has my respect and my confidence. The person who hired him, and the person who signs his paycheque, did not do what most companies would consider due diligence and go through a hiring process before bringing in an outsider. (Good thing, because the last time KL did that it turned into Tambo). But MacT doesn’t have the cover that is provided by a long diligent hiring process, and it’s costing him here on the Interwebs. Eakins too, short hiring process, no cover.

    It’s like the Economy, where the first part of the recovery looks depressingly like the last part of the decline. This franchise has too many holes to withstand a run of bad luck. But I think the holes at the NHL level are finally getting some attention, just like ST paid some attention at the AHL level.

    No freebies coming in the Western Conference, though, and this team has miles of blacktop to cover just to see the taillights of the WC contenders.

  4. Woodguy says:

    I think MacT makes his own decisions.

    I think Kevin Lowe is still a significant part of the process.

    Kevin Lowe’s record as GM or President of Hockey Operations is the worst of any executive in the NHL who hasn’t been fired.

    Lowe may just be “another voice in the room”, but its a voice with a history of poor hockey decisions as an executive with one shining year.

    Getting rid of Lowe would probably be a good thing for the organization, even if it doesn’t change the decision making one bit.

    I don’t think it will happen though.

    Katz is very good friends with Lowe and MacT….and VP of Random things Mark Messier (Katz hired the Tragically Hip to play Messier’s 50th birthday party)

    It has to get much worse than this to see the can tied to Lowe.

    What’s worse than Lowe’s record over the last 14 years?

    Probably Lowe’s record over 16 years.

  5. Ryan says:

    “I’d like to ask you a question: why would Craig MacTavish have the courage to leave the Oilers, finish his degree, survive cancer, join another organization in a complementary role, return as an adviser, then take the GM job, why would he do all of that, for the right to walk down the hallway to ask Kevin Lowe for permission to make a move?”

    Is this a rhetorical question? As Danny Devito once said in a movie I can’t actually remember… “There’s a reason they call it money… because everybody needs it.”

  6. gcw_rocks says:

    There are two responses to that question.

    One, like most people, he enjoys many aspects of the job, and therefore doesn’t mind that his boss will not always approve or agree with his recommendations. In this particular case, he also knows his boss very well and likely share similar views on hockey do he believes his recommendations are likely to be similar to what his boss would do anyway so the majority of his recommendations will be approved.

    Two, why would Lowe, whose sole responsibility is hockey operations, abdicate the authority that very single president in every company enjoys and is entrusted with? Some presidents are more hands on, and some are less so, but they all know they are ultimately accountable for results, and therefore pay attention to and approve the major decisions that are going to impact those results. Trading Mike Brown probably doesn’t make the property list. Trading one of the core absolutely would.

  7. GordM says:

    I agree. (both in giving MacT time to run this and that he makes the final decisions).

    My issue with Lowe is that he is still collecting a cheque, paid for by us fans, and has the arrogance to spew the crap he did at MacT’s press conf).

    If you eliminated Lowe and his salary (presume in the low-7-figures???) you could give each season ticket holder another 100 Oiler bucks per season!!!). Whatever he makes…it isn’t worth it.

  8. GordM says:

    Plus….an organization defines their acceptable level of performance by the lowest level of performance they are willing top tolerate. What message does it send to the rest of the Oilers players/staff when they allow Lowe and his repeated failures to remain at the very top?

  9. maudite says:

    I definitely have a bit of rope for MacT to run on before I’m in much of a panic about him. There is just a lot of residual anger present and a lot of it honestly has not ever properly been acknowledged or dealt with. The one common factor has and will be Lowe. While I in hindsight don’t mind the hire the process stunk of “same old same old”. This franchise really can’t justify running in that process any longer.

    They have also been pushing accountability and clear targets down the line for a fairly long time now. It’s understandable that people are at the point where they are unreasonably angry and tired of the perceived rot. Unfortunate for MacT, if he is as bright as you say, he has to have been well aware of it prior to accepting the job.

    This house of cards is tumbling. Their narratives no longer really work and they are at a loss for answers. The last remnants of those glories scrappy underdog teams is likely gone this year (smyth & hemmer), the last remnants of false promise garbage teams is also gone (smid & gagner). Many times over, useful established players have been sent out to greener pastures and magic beans/rabbit in hats have been the replacements. Here we are, likely 3 years into an actual functional rebuild closing in on at least 7 years of brutal hockey. People have there limits. I’m fine with MacT establishing a new narrative I just don’t see how the fan base will have patience to stomach the truth without serious symbolically meaningful blood being spilt. I could stomach MacT delivering the message that he sees no reason this shouldn’t be a solid and perennial playoff team within the next three years and, judging from early results have some confidence he would be capable of delivering. Can’t see anyone stomaching that without the one constant factor in this rudderless wander in the desert being shown the door. There are far too many instances that it really appears Lowe’s ego interfered with sensible hockey decisions…that truly indicates a man above his qualified depth (we could start with comrie for Perry and continue through to Souray but we really need not bother)

    All this is a long way of saying:
    While I don’t believe MacT is Lowe’s lap dog by any means, I do believe any sane ownership would have a hard time not understanding the current state of the team, optics of management group and mood of it’s customers.

  10. Ryan says:

    GordM:
    (Lowe)… Whatever he makes…it isn’t worth it.

    It’s impossible to make a compelling argument against that statement.

  11. Melman says:

    Good post LT. I am a MacT fan and I firmly believe the head coaching carousel has to stop (where Torts or Maurice would have been a better hire is another debate).

    In addition to hockey moves though, how MacT handles Smith and Bucky will speak volumes about his commitment to do the tough things needed to move this team forward.

  12. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    Mact’s obviously a savvy guy but it’s hard to appreciate what type of dynamic he works in. It’s entirely conceivable that he was given every assurance that he had full reins to run the hockey club prior to taking the position.

    After that, there’s a number of scenarios that he could have encountered that may have changed that.

    1. Lowe could simply be obstreperous… In any type of group discussion, the loud and obnoxious guy often prevails in discussions.

    2. If Lowe disagreed with Mact on a roster move, I’d imagine he could go to Darryl voice his opinion, then come back to Mact and frame it that ownership isn’t on board. This way, he isn’t overtly meddling as far as Mact’s aware.

    Really, there’s any number of possible scenarios…

    The only way you could hope to know for certain that Lowe wasn’t involved in the decision making process would be if he no longer worked for the organization. Even then, there’s a remote chance someone would bounce ideas off of him.

    Alternately, you would also know for certain that Lowe wasn’t involved in the decision making process if he didn’t have an opinion. We already know that to be false.

    Either way, his track record is not good.

  13. Bad Seed says:

    I like MacT ads much as the next guy but what’s different, really?

    Just like when he’s hired, he seems to hire the first coach that tickles his fancy without any real due diligence. Then he tells Eakins that he’d prefer that he keep the two bozos as assistant coaches. You don’t want to let any of the family go, after all. It’s kinda funny to me too that Acton was handpicked by Eakins & he’s also a former Oiler. It just never ends. Oh yeah, I forgot about them hiring Messier. Has anyone heard what he does yet?

  14. Melman says:

    Ryan,

    I think it’s important to bear in mind that while Lowe does give feedback on players as POHO I suspect that he has a bunch of other things on his desk that need attending to as well. Point being I don’t think Lowe, MacT, Howson and Olczyk grind together over every deal. Likely the larger the player profile & contract the bigger the pow wow. Notwithstanding that, MacT’s track record (or Eakins for that matter) simply isn’t long enough to truly know whether they are, or will soon be, excellent at their jobs. The team’s track record on the ice and in the front office post 2006 SC run lies squarely at the foot of Lowe.

  15. godot10 says:

    Six Rings and MacT have not made many good hockey decisions since losing game 7. Post-traumatic loss syndrome and a fatal codependent relationship is where we are at.

    Most of MacT’s hockey decisions since he officially returned have been as dubious as most of them between game 7 and his alleged sabbatical from the organization.

    Hejda, Pitkanen, Glencross, Penner on the scrap heap.

    The impulsive decision to fire Krueger and hire Eakins because they feared an outsider’s opinion. Dumping Smid. Dumping Horcoff. Chasing Clarkson.

    Maybe the shock of 14th or 13 place in the Western Conference will be as traumatic as game 7, and will clear the fog that has clouded his hockey judgement.

    I think much of the faith is misplaced.

    I would be happier if Lowe left, and one half of the codependency were excised.

  16. Thinker says:

    1 I don’t think Lowe advertised that he would oversee things the way he is accused of. Sometimes it’s just in someone’s nature to be controlling. Sather was like this: he hired people, but they were never good enough for him. I’m sure you’ve had a boss who has controlled your work.

    2 I don’t think MacT is as smart as you think he is. A lot of his moves (particularly the failed ones) weren’t beacons of brilliance.

    3 Why did he rot on the vine on TSN if he is such a genius. One would imagine he could find work in another organization higher up, but all he got was one year of minor league coaching.

    I think you overestimate MacT.

  17. Melman says:

    Woodguy,

    Totally agree – watch them start to crawl out of the wreckage in 2015-2016 and wait for Lowe to pull the “see I told you this would work”.

  18. Abby Oil says:

    gcw_rocks,

    This was an excellent comment. In the real world I work for a somewhat large company with many different branches and my role is GM of Operations. Above me is our President of Operations. He also happens to be my best friend, somewhat similar to the MacT/Lowe situation. Now in my case, I’m free and clear to make my own decisions and calls. That being said, the bigger moves and issues always move upstairs for pre-approval. I may not always be agreed with but 9/10 I am. This is how normal business operate.

    So for everyone saying they are tired of Lowe’s finger prints on MacT’s decisions, that is how it should be. I’m sure MacT still runs his own office for the most part and until Katz decides otherwise, Lowe will always have a say and so he should. Once Lowe moves on, whenever that may be, the new President of Hockey Ops will also play the same role along side the GM. I’m not saying that I disagree that most of the mess is Lowe’s problem, I’m just saying of course his prints are on the current and future moves made this season and perhaps beyond.

  19. prairieschooner says:

    I refer you to Mackinnon question MacT handled diplomatically and Lowe added his 2 types of fans answer

    MacKinnon: “When you talked about Steve coming in under difficult circumstances when he took over the job, part of that, with respect, was he had to clean up the mess that was left already. This group was largely responsible for that mess. How are fans going to be re-assured that the group that left the mess that Tambellini couldn’t quite clean up is now going to be cleaned up by the guys who left the mess to begin with?”

    Nobody answered this on the last thread
    Is our D corps this year better than last years?

  20. sliderule says:

    Woodguy:
    I think MacT makes his own decisions.

    I think Kevin Lowe is still a significant part of the process.

    Kevin Lowe’s record as GM or President of Hockey Operations is the worst of any executive in the NHL who hasn’t been fired.

    Lowe may just be “another voice in the room”, but its a voice with a history of poor hockey decisions as an executive with one shining year.

    Getting rid of Lowe would probably be a good thing for the organization, even if it doesn’t change the decision making one bit.

    I don’t think it will happen though.

    Katz is very good friends with Lowe and MacT….and VP of Random things Mark Messier (Katz hired the Tragically Hip to play Messier’s 50th birthday party)

    It has to get much worse than this to see the can tied to Lowe.

    What’s worse than Lowe’s record over the last 14 years?

    Probably Lowe’s record over 16 years.

    I don’t think Katz and Lowe have a clue of how much the fans are bleeding over this.

    You have summed it up the way most fans and myself are agonizing over all the bad decisions made.

    Kevin Lowe is still running the good ship oiler and if it’s into the rocks he doesn’t care.

    That’s were supreme arrogance gets you.

  21. Lowetide says:

    Marco Roy is back! But -3. lol.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I ran through my thoughts on the matter in the other thread with only the benefit of my memory of what Lowe said. Here:

    http://oilersnation.com/2014/1/8/if-theres-ever-a-concern-hands-on/

    Brownlee provides a transcript. My thoughts are basically unchanged.

    1. If, before this interview, you thought Lowe ought to be fired for a variety of reasons, including leaving Tambo in charge of a sinking ship, you win a pickle. You are correct.

    2. If, after this interview, you are of the belief that Lowe is a puppet master, you are projecting anger onto the smallest, highest point without clear evidence. What he said was the most banal and awkward way of saying:

    “MacT is in charge, but he bounces ideas off me and when $$ is involved I mediate for Katz.”

    News flash! This isn’t new. We already knew this.

  23. Old School G says:

    Lowetide, that was an inspiring read.

    Will this Lowe/MacT combination return us to relevancy in the West?

    Can MacT repeat more trades to the tune of Paajarvi for Perron?

    We (insert adjective) wait.

  24. cabbiesmacker says:

    Why is MacT the Oiler GM? Uh gee…Cuz, no other candidates were ever considered and it was handed to him on a silver platter. One doesn’t require an MBA to figure out how to answer an offer like that when it’s made?

    Maybe he will be a decent GM one day, he certainly wasn’t last spring when he was hired, but that isn’t the point. One day this will be a good hockey team too. Big whup. The point is he wasn’t as qualified as others that were available but he got the job because….well we all know why.

    I’m sure Kevin Lowe feels that if MacT were let go tomorrow 29 other teams would be in line for his services. ahahaha. Classic. Kevin Lowe lives in an interesting world. One devoid of reality, hockey smarts, or foresight but hey…He spends the most time steering this ship . There’s zero doubt despite protestations to the contrary.

  25. Hammers says:

    sliderule: I don’t think Katz and Lowe have a clue of how much the fans are bleeding over this.

    You have summed it up the way most fans and myself are agonizing over all the bad decisions made.

    Kevin Lowe is still running the good ship oiler and if it’s into the rocks he doesn’t care.

    That’s were supreme arrogance gets you.

    The fact people make mistakes is what life is all about . To say they don’t care is wrong .Actually Lowe made one huge mistake and that was Tambo A guy Vancouver passed over twice as a GM . Everything else goes back to the no money Oilers with 100 bosses .

    This team sold players as they could not pay them .When given the reins Lowe Got Pronger , ++++ and we had a run in 2006 . Should he have been fired , Hell Yes for Hiring the wrong guy . As for McT Katz pulled that trigger so wake up and smell the roses . Bloggers make me wonder where the hell they have been the last 15 years . In Edmonton or what . This was the cards we the fans where dealt > McT hasn’t been on the job for a year yet . If you could live through Tambo give McT another summer + .

  26. sliderule says:

    When I talk to my buddies we do hypotheticals.

    What would you do if you bought the oilers.

    First thing they come up with is a good GM.

    The next thing is give him what you the owner think are the best tools to do his job

    Number one would be scouting were you would hire the best and brightest without considering expense so that you would not be shut out of picks out of first round for four years.

    Number two would be coaching were you would hire the best head coach available and allow him to hire the best and brightest assistant head coaches available.

    I think me and my buddies could do a job to make Edmonton proud.

    PS we need 400 million .Donations accepted

  27. cabbiesmacker says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    What does President of Oiler Hockey Operations say to you? “I’m 100% hands off on all player moves, coaching hires, etc?”

    I ask because any time I’ve worked for a company with a President of ANYTHING they pretty much had last say and all the veto power. Maybe the companies you’ve worked for are different though.

    Lowe didn’t pick the cheerleaders maybe….but maybe he should have. More in his swing zone.

  28. G Money says:

    - Like LT, I am a big fan of MacT the coach. He’s a very smart man*. But I remain hopeful but skeptical of MacT the GM. He’s made some missteps. He’s a rookie in a very demanding job, he’s allowed to do that. His stripes will be earned by what he learns from his mistakes, not from perfection out of the gate.

    I hope he makes it. But there are no guarantees. KLowe was a pretty good player, coach, and even GM at one point. His record as POHO suggests he’s moved well past his level of competence a la The Peter Principle. MacT may be rising to, past, or still under his level of competence. We wait. We hope.

    - For those demanding MacT’s head on a platter for his mistakes so far, I assume that you were therefore perfect and made no mistakes your first year on every job? I assume yes**? We wouldn’t post something *gasp* hypocritical on the interwebs, would we?

    - Echoing ABBY OIL’s point, anyone who thinks MacT makes decisions on his own is naive. That is not how business works. As Lowe mentioned in his interview, MacT runs the show, but includes Lowe and Katz in the decisions. That’s how it works. That’s how it always works.

    - Real-life example: When I was VP&GM for Canada for a large multi-national (quite a bit larger than the Oilers actually), I had $50K of approval authority. Larger than that but less than a million went to the Pres/COO. Bigger than a million meant getting the CEO & Board involved. [Hint: in this structure, Pres = Lowe, CEO/Board = Katz, and almost every free agent is >$1M].

    - Re other points about Lowe hiring a known quantity in MacT being some sort of unusual decision … again, naive. In the real world, most senior level hires from outside the organization are made based on connections. At my old company, we hired the Pres/COO from Schlumberger based on his having worked with our CFO in the past. Within two years, three quarters of the executives were ex-Scumberger types. That’s how the real world works. Who you know is far more important than what you know.

    * Trivia: one of my former employees was MacT’s academic coach during his MBA. That employee was a stark raving Flames fan. Maybe he deliberately ruined MacT’s education?

    ** If so, please send references

  29. Lowetide says:

    Gents and ladies, can we keep the commentary going without getting personal. Thanks.

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    cabbiesmacker:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    What does President of Oiler Hockey Operations say to you? “I’m 100% hands off on all player moves, coaching hires, etc?”

    Not sure what I said that could have given you that impression.

    I have no reason to believe his role stretches beyond what he’s said it does publicly.

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    G Money: the Pres/COO from Schlumberger

    I can’t tell you how indebted I am to you for building a world of images for me here. Thank you.

  32. Kevin Lowe says:

    And lastly I’ll say that there’s one other guy in hockey today that is still working in the game that has won more Stanley Cups than me. So I think I know a little bit about winning, if there’s ever a concern.

  33. G Money says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: I can’t tell you how indebted I am to you for building a world of images for me here. Thank you.

    Honestly, the wonder of the written word is I have no idea if you genuinely liked my post because of the real-world examples, or if you think it’s utter trash and are trying to be scathingly sarcastic and/or skeptical.

    Since I am a naturally optimistic guy, I assume the former. So … you’re welcome! :-D

  34. Lowetide says:

    One thing that is true: that line has been hanging in the air since he said it. If you can light a fire with words, Kevin Lowe did it that day.

  35. oliveoilers says:

    G Money:
    - Like LT, I am a big fan of MacT the coach.He’s a very smart man*.But I remain hopeful but skeptical of MacT the GM.He’s made some missteps.He’s a rookie in a very demanding job, he’s allowed to do that.His stripes will be earned by what he learns from his mistakes, not from perfection out of the gate.

    I hope he makes it.But there are no guarantees.KLowe was a pretty good player, coach, and even GM at one point.His record as POHO suggests he’s moved well past his level of competence a la The Peter Principle.MacT may be rising to, past, or still under his level of competence.We wait.We hope.

    - For those demanding MacT’s head on a platter for his mistakes so far, I assume that you were therefore perfect and made no mistakes your first year on every job?I assume yes**?We wouldn’t post something *gasp* hypocritical on the interwebs, would we?

    - Echoing ABBY OIL’s point, anyone who thinks MacT makes decisions on his own is naive.That is not how business works.As Lowe mentioned in his interview, MacT runs the show, but includes Lowe and Katz in the decisions.That’s how it works.That’s how it always works.

    - Real-life example: When I was VP&GM for Canada for a large multi-national (quite a bit larger than the Oilers actually), I had $50K of approval authority.Larger than that but less than a million went to the Pres/COO.Bigger than a million meant getting the CEO & Board involved. [Hint: in this structure, Pres = Lowe, CEO/Board = Katz, and almost every free agent is >$1M].

    - Re other points about Lowe hiring a known quantity in MacT being some sort of unusual decision … again, naive.In the real world, most senior level hires from outside the organization are made based on connections.At my old company, we hired the Pres/COO from Schlumberger based on his having worked with our CFO in the past.Within two years, three quarters of the executives were ex-Scumberger types.That’s how the real world works.Who you know is far more important than what you know.

    * Trivia: one of my former employees was MacT’s academic coach during his MBA.That employee was a stark raving Flames fan.Maybe he deliberately ruined MacT’s education?

    ** If so, please send references

    Tru dat. CIBC to ATB is another example of people following other people around. Happens a lot in the patch, too. Send out the recon, then the shock troops, then call in the rest of the ground troops.

  36. Bank Shot says:

    I’m sure Mact doesn’t have to ask permission from Lowe to make every move. The problem for me, and others have illustrated it as well is that Mact is likely on the same hockey page as Lowe in most regards. They have worked together for the better part of 14 years. When Mact talked about Penner failing to develop with the Oilers he said the following, “We saw the offer sheet as the starting point, not the finish line”.

    We need to realize that a lot of the terrible moves that posters lambasted Lowe for at the beginning of the rebuild would have had Mact’s input as well. Mact was a part of that sinking ship and he’s had input since being let go as coach as well. For his time spent as a pro scout with the organization, where are the gems he has unearthed? It looks pretty likely that his ability to discover talent isn’t any better then the rest of the org at large.

    I know people want to believe that Mact is the answer to the Oilers problems, but I fail to see how it is based upon any kind of evidence. If he were a hire out of another organization with no connection to the OIlers, everyone, absolutely everyone would be questioning the hire based on his lack of credentials.

    Thus far Mact hasn’t done anything much different then his predecessors. He made a bad bid on a free agent and was rebuffed. He signed a bunch of filler that has proven to be mostly flotsam and jetsam. He traded an NHLer for magic beans. He traded for a good player that didn’t fit the team needs, and went into the season with huge obvious holes and a team out of balance.

    I’m not worried that MacT doesn’t have enough rope to get the chance to hang himself. I’m worried because he’s one of the ones tying the knots.

  37. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    G Money,

    I’m far too simple for either case.

    I just fell in love with the name Schlumberger.

  38. Bushed says:

    I’d be surprised if the membership in the old boys’ club changes anytime soon. The history runs deep and long between MacT, Lowe and Katz, plus Messier. My best guess is we’re stuck with what we have, management-wise, for the foreseeable future.

    I haven’t completely given up on MacT just yet, so I’m willing to watch what happens over the next 6 months or so before passing judgment.

    If he can turn Gagner into something useful, that would be a great start.

    Winnipeg is sour on Big Buff as a D-man. Why not grab him and turn him back into a forward for us? I know he wasn’t a center, but we want size and truculence…?

  39. SK Oiler Fan says:

    I don’t mind MacT as GM,and also think 6 rings has demonstrated he is miscast. I think there’s some overanalyzing happening though.
    Why would MacT want or accept the Oiler GM position? Simple. Money. I’m guessing he went from 150k to 750k. I’m sure most sane people would take most jobs that offer that much of a raise even if their boss was incompetent. Also keep in mind MacT was not likely going to be offered a GM position anywhere else.

    Half the people I know would like a different job, but never leave because they can’t make that money anywhere else. i.e. teachers.

    Seems the other half of the people I know never wanted to leave their job, but did because they’d be stupid not to because of the salary increase.

    Never underestimate the power of money in the decision making process. It’s usually criteria number 1. I can’t see the pro hockey business being any different.

  40. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot:
    I’m sure Mact doesn’t have to ask permission from Lowe to make every move. The problem for me, and others have illustrated it as well is that Mact is likely on the same hockey page as Lowe in most regards. They have worked together for the better part of 14 years. When Mact talked about Penner failing to develop with the Oilers he said the following, “We saw the offer sheet as the startingpoint, not the finish line”.

    I think we as fans tend to look at every move as being black and white, and of course that’s not the case. The relationship with Penner didn’t sour on day one, and Penner was not a useless player at the beginning (I always felt Penner was a useful player).

    I think teams make mistakes all the time, all teams. The trick is to cut back on them. For instance, I think the Oilers are about to make a mistake on Anton Belov, but it’s also hard to see things as they are when your feet are on fire.

    It’s easy to look from afar and be critical, and MacTavish should have added a center during the summer (we all said so) but some of the things that have happened (Dubnyk start, Schultz sideways) came as a surprise to everyone.

    I don’t recall the last free agent signing that made as much sense as Boyd Gordon, as an example. Do you?

    What about the last trade that worked as well as Perron? Is Smid playing better in Calgary?

    When we argue in black and white, we don’t allow for nuance and truth.

    We are here.

  41. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “You can debate the meaning of plus/minus all you want, but you, as a player, when you’re -11, it’s meaningful”

    Gord Miller, TSN.

    I think this, unfortunately, is true. +/- is a kind of early adopter “adv stat” that has wormed its way into boxcars and that means players probably are overly concerned about it.

    ———-
    VDV playing his 9th game as a Flyer tonight. Good for him.

  42. justDOit says:

    Lowetide,

    Sorry, LT, but I’ve been running crazy for a few days here and just popped in to see if the 3-for-1 deal has gone down yet, but… no. I haven’t read all the comments, but I didn’t see this answer proposed:

    So to your question: Why would MacT accept a GM job where he knew that his boss would still be pulling the strings?

    My answer: Because no other clubs were offering him a GM position at the time. I’m not being snide here – I would accept the job as well if I were in his shoes. It’s a foot in the door, in an industry where there are 30 possible jobs in the top echelon. That’s a rare opportunity that nobody would pass up.

    I know that MacT believes he can learn this gig from the ground up, and I believe he can too. But I think we’re both a little delusional if we think that it’s going to happen in the environment that is Vish. He’s a poisonous character who sits atop the mountain, where the rain washes his bile down the slopes, and into the lake.

  43. justDOit says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:

    ———-
    VDV playing his 9th game as a Flyer tonight. Good for him.

    That’s a tough row to hoe – from KLowe to Snider. Someone buy that man a beer, please.

  44. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Marco Roy is back! But -3. lol.

    Ended the game -1

    http://www.theqmjhl.ca/schedule/show/game/65044

    8/14 on the dot. 2/3 shots (what does that mean again, direct/deadly/daring).

  45. SK Oiler Fan says:

    G Money,

    Yes, very true dat. Which makes the Eakins snap hire even more curious. I’ll likely be corrected here, but I don’t recall any connection of Eakins to MacT, Lowe, or the Oilers.
    Eakins must be one hell of a self salesman.

  46. WeirsBeard says:

    If we believe one of MacT’s limitations as a coach was an over-identification with a player type like himself (Peterson on the powerplay!, ruined Rob Shinebox), doesn’t this bode well for him as a GM, as that’s precisely what we need?

    MacT and Lowe went through the proverbial wars together. Remember them as players though – Lowe was a hothead, MacT much more cool. I feel these personality traits would extend to their management styles as well.

  47. Young Oil says:

    Adam Tambellini, 6’3” 185lb 19 year old Edmonton boy has a goal and 2 assists (so far) in his first WHL game with the Hitmen.

  48. G Money says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:

    I’m far too simple for either case.

    I just fell in love with the name Schlumberger.

    Ha! Damn you and your uncomplicated ways!

    I’ve worked near, around, and in the oilpatch for so long, I just assumed everyone knew Schlumberger (the largest oil services company in the world, bigger but less in/famous than its chief competitor, Halliburton ex of Dickie Cheney).

    Also referred to as Scumberger, and Slob (shorthand for its stock symbol, SLB).

    I expect more complication, nuance, and moodiness out of you next time!

  49. Ryan says:

    Bank Shot:

    Thus far Mact hasn’t done anything much different then his predecessors. He made a bad bid on a free agent and was rebuffed. He signed a bunch of filler that has proven to be mostly flotsam and jetsam. He traded an NHLer for magic beans. He traded for a good player that didn’t fit the team needs, and went into the season with huge obvious holes and a team out of balance.

    Hit the nail on the head right there… nicely done

    It’s curious like I said before… Mact did a presser at some point of the end of his coaching career that was replayed on Oilers Now over the holidays. Blah blah blah too many small skilled players that can’t get to the areas that you need to score… not enough size… blah blah blah.

    That was at the end of 2009 and to date they have been able to find 1 forward with size who has skill. The one they had (Penner) was traded for various reasons including his expiring contract.

    For the love of all that is good in this world… Everyone who blows follows the doctrine of Zona about is crying over the loss of players like Omark… watch another team other than the Oilers.

    Watch how Hossa opens up ice with his size… watch how a player like Simmons does the same….

    I mean you don’t need to be the LA Kings or St. Louis Blues but think back to even what having a big body like Penner did for scoring opportunities.

    Mact coached the Oilers.. complained about the lack of size… and he went out and got Perron who’s admittedly a fine upgrade on PRV, but not what this team needed.

  50. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Ended the game -1

    http://www.theqmjhl.ca/schedule/show/game/65044

    8/14 on the dot. 2/3 shots (what does that mean again, direct/deadly/daring).

    dangerous. The QMJHL, being a more advanced league, counts scoring chances.

  51. G Money says:

    SK Oiler Fan,

    Yup, it is a bit of a mystery. But lacking any other info I assume what MacT said at the time has a measure of truth.

    He talked to Eakins, things “clicked”, and he immediately thought this was the guy. The unsaid part is that no doubt he had some measure of discomfort with Krueger as well.

    One thing you learn as an executive is that one of the reasons you hire the people you’ve worked with before instead of from out of the blue is that the average executive’s interviewing skills are terrible. And I mean truly truly f*cking abysmal.

    Making a few disastrous hires is part of the learning curve, and is the First Dysfunction of Management – which then leads to the Second Dysfunction of Management, which is “Better the Devil You Know.”

  52. nelson88 says:

    Young Oil:
    Adam Tambellini, 6’3” 185lb 19 year old Edmonton boy has a goal and 2 assists (so far) in his first WHL game with the Hitmen.

    Funny. Saw the box score as well and was intrigued by the name. Turns out he is steve’s son and also found this article that includes his friendship with Chase (how the hell did we get that guy in the 7th round)
    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/jrhockey-buzzing-the-net/rangers-pick-adam-tambellini-leaves-und-hitmen-other-231921617.html

  53. G Money says:

    Ryan,

    If you can’t tell the stark difference between MacT’s moves and Tambo’s moves, you should perhaps consider a vision test.

    And Hossa is a wonderful example to bring up. In case you don’t recall, the Oilers put a MASSIVE contract in front of Hossa during their post-Pronger whale hunting days. He turned it down for a contract far smaller and shorter, but with a contender (Pittsburgh I believe).

    All it does is highlight how much more challenging MacT’s job is trying to sell free agents on a shitty team in the league’s second coldest and northernmost outpost.

  54. Bank Shot says:

    Lowetide: I think we as fans tend to look at every move as being black and white, and of course that’s not the case. The relationship with Penner didn’t sour on day one, andPenner was not a useless player at the beginning (I always felt Penner was a useful player).

    I agree that Penner was and is a useful player as well. I have never been sold on the method used to acquire him however. The three picks that the Oilers gave up was a desperate move and they were very lucky that they didn’t end up giving up a top ten pick in a very solid draft year. The fact that they went something crazy like 14-3 in shootouts masks how badly the optics on that move could have turned out. It seemed like a poor decision by foresight as well as hindsight and Mact appears to have been pretty involved in it. Did they really think they would be a good team in 07-08?

    I think teams make mistakes all the time, all teams. The trick is to cut back on them. For instance, I think the Oilers are about to make a mistake on Anton Belov, but it’s also hard to see things as they are when your feet are on fire.

    I think the Oilers make more of them, and don’t balance it out by making the great moves that other teams occasionally make. Managers get paid for their foresight, and the Oilers management crew hasn’t shone any foresight IMO. They are pretty reactionary in nature in my view. The examples are endless. Steve MacIntyre is the most recent I suppose.

    It’s easy to look from afar and be critical, and MacTavish should have added a center during the summer (we all said so) but some of the things that have happened (Dubnyk start, Schultz sideways) came as a surprise to everyone.

    I don’t recall the last free agent signing that made as much sense as Boyd Gordon, as an example. Do you?

    I don’t post a lot but I was calling for more upgrades on defence since the summer and was critical of Schultz’s results last season and thought it was nuts to project him into a bigger role this year. I wasn’t the only one there. Another Ference move or two would have been nice.

    The lack of adding another real NHL defenceman and a decent veteran winger/center that could PK were baffling decisions as those aren’t very difficult moves to make.

    There are a lot of Dubnyk doubters including MacT himself given his verbal on him, and his actions trying to upgrade in the nets.

    The Boyd Gordon move was nice. It has worked out a lot better then the Belanger move which everyone seemed to like as well (Myself included). MacT hasn’t been completely abysmal, but he hasn’t really done enough to inspire a lot of fans that I talk with.

    What about the last trade that worked as well as Perron? Is Smid playing better in Calgary?

    Perron was a good trade. It just didn’t address an area of need. I would have liked to see something that did. Maybe nothing was there? Who knows. Toronto got goaltending for a couple of similar pieces and we know Mact was looking for that. Smid has been better in Calgary then Horak and Brossiot have been for the Oilers.

    I’m just not seeing the foresight, or vision from this management group to have faith that this team can somehow top out as a Stanley Cup winner down the road.

    The Oilers need to do better then adding a Perron, Gordon, and Ference while shedding a Horcoff, Smid, possibly Gagner/Hemsky next year.

    When are they going to put this thing in drive Lowetide? How much more time are you willing to give the braintrust if they don’t get results? 2 years? 5?

  55. Bank Shot says:

    I responded to your points individually but they ended up lumped into your quotations Lowetide as apparently I am useless on computers. haha

  56. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot:
    When are they going to put this thing in drive Lowetide? How much more time are you willing to give the braintrust if they don’t get results? 2 years? 5?

    I think that’s the disconnect. You see the miles since 2006, and I understand. I see a man who has had one summer. We’re both correct, but I’m a firm believer in giving MacT a chance to make a difference in the GM chair.

  57. Andy P says:

    I’ve actually been in or around management for most of my 40 year career. It’s quite normal, in fact if you read books like “From good to great” you will see that companies that beat the market on a long term basis mostly promote from within. Given the choice between people you know and trust, and have been to battle with in the way that you have seen their best and worst and still trust them, and a person you don’t know from Adam, most take the former, and most that do that succeed. IMHO.

    The Oilers didn’t always seem badly run to me. I thought they actually did quite well with the 100 owners, and I had a passing association with one of those owners. I recall feeling that the wheels were falling off when they traded the heart and soul of the team, and I have not seen them regain their soul since, even though the player looks like he will now finish his career here.

    I had an opportunity to interact with MacT on a casual basis when he was coach, and I was impressed with his intellect and his grasp of the subject and issues at hand. I think he is a straight shooter, a good man, intelligent, capable, and a very good fit for this organization and this job.

    I do not think that Lowe is the incompetent prick so many of us make him out to be in our frustration over what the team became. I think he is obviously a bit impulsive to the point of being a bit immature in a way at times, but I also think he has a lot of good qualities. I think he trusts MacT and gives him a lot more freedom than he ever gave Tambo, and for good reason. I think Tambo may have done even more damage than he did, had Lowe not held him on an increasingly short leash. I think they kept him until they concluded that there was no hope of him working out even under tight supervision, when he screwed up the Ben Bishop deal.

    So while I am as desperate about the appalling state of this team as the rest of us, I do support, trust and respect MacT, and I feel he is the best man for tis team for this job right now.

    I don’t think Eakins is Gord’s gift to the team, I think he was a good AHL coach, not as good a pick as Todd Nelson would have been, but Eakins does give a good presser and at the very least he will be an abject lesson to MacT in terms of how to handle those silver bullet hires.

    So we’ll see how it all pans out soon enough.

  58. bookje says:

    Andy P,

    I agree – well said.

  59. Ryan says:

    G Money,

    All it does is highlight how much more challenging MacT’s job is trying to sell free agents on a shitty team in the league’s second coldest and northernmost outpost.

    It’s not so much that I can’t see a change from Tambo–which I can, but the degree to which things have changed since (and prior to Tambo) are underwhelming. There’s also reasonably compelling evidence that the Oilers were trying to tank under Tambo.

    I’ve actually moved back to the league’s second coldest and northernmost outpost from several years of living in what you’d probably consider ‘paradise.’ I actually like it here though I did grow up here.

    Honestly, you either need to open your eyes or take a trip to Detroit. The reasons UFA’s don’t want to come here isn’t so much their wive’s dislike of the weather (ala Pronger meme etc), it’s more so that the team completely sucks and the organization as a whole is full value for the suckage.

    Edmonton’s never going to be the place for everyone and it’s never going to be San Jose, but if we had an organization and team like Detroit, we’d get our share of UFA’s.

  60. Lowetide says:

    bookje:
    Andy P,

    I agree – well said.

    You might agree, but I agree more!

  61. SK Oiler Fan says:

    Bank Shot:

    When are they going to put this thing in drive Lowetide?

    Laughed at this line. Sums it up well
    LT I’d like to request an ask Lowetide a question post in hoped of getting some answers to questions like this. For the comedy of course

  62. gr8one says:

    In unrelated news, but of the utmost importance.

    Scarlett Johansson is on Letterman tonight.

  63. Well Oiled and Enthusiastic says:

    Completely understandable WHY MacT took the role. The window of opportunity to secure a GM role in the NHL is damn narrow and frankly MacT’s opportunity was the Oilers. He would start a rung or two down anywhere else and too many variables would be in play whether he could ultimately be a GM.

    I’m not fussed Lowe hired a friend and a man he could trust. Happens all the time in hockey and elsewhere. I’m also not concerned MacT will prove competent, courageous and independent.

    As to Lowe though, I said this before. The biggest reason to release him is to ignite a culture change. It’s desparately needed. This extends beyond the players and management personnel. This is a public entertainment business and personally I do not admire how the organization engages the public on hot issues. The jersey throwing incident…how did the organization address it? Not a peep from the President and GM. What came from Eakins was passionate but not well thought out. Brutal public engagement. The presser for MacT’s hiring? Yikes. The hiring of a legend in Messier? Crickets and quickly becoming a master mystery. The culture needs a significant change in course.

    Frankly, the POHO is a horsesh@t role. Eliminate it and run the team with MacT running the hockey ops supported by Howson and Laforge handling business matters. Remove this obscurity of who is in control of hockey matters. To many mouths at the management table has never been a formula I have witnessed succeeding.

  64. Lowetide says:

    gr8one:
    In unrelated news, but of the utmost importance.

    Scarlett Johansson is on Letterman tonight.

    this should be written across the sky.

  65. G Money says:

    Ryan,

    So you see the changes, but you don’t agree with how fast the changes have been made. No problem. That’s the point at which you start listening. This is why it is relevant that MacT says the right things. Some undervalue this, but the fact that MacT recognizes he needs e.g. size but hasn’t been able to get it is prima facie evidence as to how hard the market is.

    Clarkson is of course living recent proof of that. He went to another team for less money. What does that tell you about how hard it is to get people to move here? He knew he had to overpay (which many have made fun of, to which I say, get used to it), and it still didn’t work.

    I get the fact that the toughest part of selling free agents is that the team is shitty. But you’re missing the point, which is that e.g. when LA was rebuilding, you could fall back on all the other stuff like weather and babes. What do you fall back on in Edmonton? “Come for the beer, stay because your car won’t start”?

    What you’ve identified is the Catch-22 of the Oilers. We could sign free agents if we were as good as Detroit, but how do we become remotely as good as Detroit without being able to sign free agents?

    I think getting Perron for beans, Gordon for Horcoff (that’s what the trade ultimately was), and Ference for cash were good moves. Signing Belov and Joensuu were good experiments. Getting beans for Smid and not signing Raymond and Lapierre were mistakes.

    What I watch for is whether MacT recognizes those mistakes and better exploits the opportunities that are in front of him (however difficult to find or close they may be).

    To suggest that what you’ve seen in what – eight months? – in the worst FA market in hockey is hardly conclusive evidence of MacT’s inability to do the job.

    Now Lowe, Bucky, and Smith on the other hand …

  66. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    G Money: Ha!Damn you and your uncomplicated ways!

    I’ve worked near, around, and in the oilpatch for so long, I just assumed everyone knew Schlumberger (the largest oil services company in the world, bigger but less in/famous than its chief competitor, Halliburton ex of Dickie Cheney).

    Also referred to as Scumberger, and Slob (shorthand for its stock symbol, SLB).

    I expect more complication, nuance, and moodiness out of you next time!

    Haha…

    I can never be any of those things when I’ve encountered a new and glorious name!

    A name like Schlumberger belongs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Fit right in with Slugworth and Gloop.

  67. G Money says:

    Lowetide: this should be written across the sky.

    Done and done!

    http://i.imgur.com/SiIQY49.jpg

  68. FastOil says:

    I was completely against the Clarkson signing in every way. However, after hearing him in a clip on ice, I understand. Not that he should be paid more than a decent checker with O, probably 3-4 M a year.

    This guy is hard, and a prick. That is what MacT was probably after. The amount was wrong, the idea right. Craig needs to understand that hard players are out there, and that they only need to be complimentary players. The talent exists, the millions not necessary.

    Gazdic is the right idea. Yet they still need to teach him what he needs to do now, and realize that he needs the coaching he hasn’t had in the past, given that he isn’t a non hockey player.

  69. RexLibris says:

    Okay, so I’m reading all this pro-MacT/anti-Lowe stuff and there are some things that come to mind.

    One – I was and am a very big fan of MacTavish. I liked what he did with his playing career, his life off the ice, and how he transitioned to a post-playing career. I like his wit, his demeanour, and the way he carries himself.

    I was also a fan of Lowe when he was a player. Loved him on the ice. In management there were good times and bad, but I realize that some of the bad times were the result of working under difficult and complex circumstances with the EIG. Some bad decisions were made, but I have yet to find many GMs who have completely avoided them. He needs to stop talking to the media, save his reminiscences for a ghost writer, and learn to bury his ego from time to time.

    Lowe has probably done enough to deserve being fired, but to be perfectly frank the working world is filled with people who deserve far worse than they ever receive.

    And if we are discussing Lowe’s influence on MacTavish, be it as managerial mentor or overseer of all hockey operational decisions, on the latter I agree with LT. Very unlikely a man such as this kowtows to his boss for every insignificant move. Most managers I have met and worked with have appreciated employees who see a problem and then proactively fix it within organizational standards and philosophies before it can get to the boss’ desk.

    On the latter point of Lowe’s being a managerial mentor to MacTavish, Dave Nonis has followed Brian Burke around the NHL like a lost puppy for about a decade. There likely is no other individual working in professional hockey today who is more attuned to the Brian Burke way of doing things. Yet when he took the reins of the Leafs he made roster changes involving many of Burke’s key acquisitions, obviously holding a very different opinion on their value to the team and the direction which he believed the Leafs ought to pursue.

    I may be pilloried for this, but there are aspects of Lowe’s time in Edmonton that make me think of Jim Devellano in Detroit. He wasn’t the best GM in the league and there were some bad decisions and a lot of floundering despite the talented roster. However, what he did well was begin the process of gathering together smart men who would eventually bring success.

    Hockey Canada regularly makes decisions I disagree with (K. Predergast as Head Amateur Scout), but Lowe has been on the selection committee for some time alongside the likes of Chiarelli, Yzerman, and others. They must feel he has some value in the process.

  70. Thiru says:

    I’m going to come out here and defend Kevin Lowe.

    1 – As a player, he was a warrior
    2 – Before even getting to Edmonton as a coach, he was absolutely wonderful in the community
    3 – He was good in his only season as head coach
    4 – He BUILT a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in a 30 team league. It was RUINED by Chris Pronger. If he had not requested a trade, that team would have been competitive for years. The moves he made that season, collectively, were amongst the shrewdest the NHL has seen. He acquired Peca, Pronger, Spacek, Samsonov, addressed goaltending with Roloson, and had a guy in MacT who was among the top coaches in the game.
    5 – Even prior to that season, he made some amazing moves. Guerin for Carter + the flipping of picks (which landed them Hemsky). Anyone remember that? FANTASTIC move.
    6 – Remember when we were all crying about the Janne Niinnima trade? Lowe won that one.
    7 – Lowe could find defensemen at will. Eric Brewer. Steve Staios. Spacek. I’m telling you, the Oilers had a run of player procurement that was or was close to tops in the NHL for a period of time.

    Granted, he made mistakes, and his pride cost us Corey Perry once upon a time.

    But people should leave him alone. He’s no Milbury, he’s no Doug MacLean.

    He stepped aside when Katz asked him to. MacT is running the ship.

    But Kevin Lowe gave us some wonderful seasons, guys. Wonderful. There was a period of time there where I was extremely, extremely proud to be an Oilers fan, and he was the architect.

  71. RexLibris says:

    Andy P,

    On internal elevation, I agree.

    I’ve seen organizations forced to make structural changes that have resulted in talent loss due to an artificial ceiling which results in masses of enthusiastic, young, informed, and most importantly, trained, staff leaving for other careers. Then the organization looks around to hire for positions on the next level and tellingly prioritizes those same characteristics that have just walked out the door.

    Hiring from within has benefits if it means that you have created a well-informed, ambitious and enthusiastic internal talent pool from which to draw.

    That being said, I also believe there is value in drawing from other organizations and experiences in order to provide contrast and perspective, provided those coming in have priorities and corporate philosophies that align with the organization.

  72. RexLibris says:

    Reading through some other thoughts on Lowe here.

    Huh.

    Oilers lost last night and Brad Hunt, defenseman #12 at the beginning of the season, played 3rd pairing minutes.

    The season has effectively been over for more than a month now.

    The Calgary Flames could ice perhaps the worst roster in the NHL this year and still finish ahead of Edmonton.

    And here we are being all rational, objective and…I dare say…positive about our management group.

    Is it because ScarJo is on Letterman? Or has Rexall started drugging the water supply with Prozac?

    Not that I’m complaining.

  73. RexLibris says:

    Okay. Found this

    http://www.gizoogle.net/xfer.php?link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_MacTavish&sa=U&ei=yjHOUsT1JdOUhQedooHwCQ&ved=0CB0QFjAA&usg=AFQjCNFLOkHakKZKC7ocbhw5Egx5dA0vSw

    and whether or not you like MacTavish, you need to read this.

    An excerpt: “Failin ta be picked up by another crew up in tha pimpin department, on September 21, 2009, MacTavish fuckin started tha straight-up original gangsta of twenty-five in-studio appearances wit TSN as a hockey commentator. Dude is known fo’ his big-ass vocabulary, keen wit n’ sense of humour wit tha media.”

    I may need to start using this search engine for everything.

  74. smellyglove says:

    Omark with 6 games in Buffalo, depth minutes (12 and change per), and with only 1 assist and 1 SOG.

    1:30 a night on the PP.

  75. Halfwise says:

    smellyglove: Omark with 6 games in Buffalo, depth minutes (12 and change per), and with only 1 assist and 1 SOG.1:30 a night on the PP.

    I believe the popular narrative would be “MacTavish ruined him.” No supporting evidence is ever required.

  76. Wes Mantooth-11 says:

    MacTavish.

    I can’t see the Oilers improving their position without massive change, not a player here or there but almost everyone, this is going to piss a lot of people off.

    With so much need, MacTavish cannot get this wrong, not even by a little, IMO,

    My issue, and has been from the start of MacTavish as GM is this; MacTavish is one of the original guy’s/ group who helped give birth to the rebuild in the first place.

    MacTavish body of work so far, most of what he has done has been on the signing and trade front is pretty unremarkable.

    Looking back at the draft in my estimate not drafting Jarry or Comrie wasn’t as big deal at the time, but I’m befuddled that he would then trade Smid for Horak & Brossoit? Especially when both Jarry & Comrie had better numbers earlier in the Dub.

    Failing to land a starting goalie, even after offering Vancouver an overpayment for Schneider, reminds me of the press conference & Lowe ” we chased players for our fans” basically chasing Schneider & Clarkson smells of old Oilers & Lowe.

    He already made a couple rookie mistakes in my mind by firing Krueger and hiring Eakins, had he let Krueger stay & brought in Eakins as co-coach, if he has to fire Krueger he’s got his coach (Eakins) already in place.

    Problem I seen was MacTavish summer was very Tambellini esq. we knew the centre dept was bad, yet only Gordon was brought in ( great signing) back filled the third and forth lines with AHL or just above AHL level players.

    He talked about viewing Grebeshkov, Belov (the best defensemen not in the NHL) He talked about viewing Klefbom once and told the scout he’d seen enough to know? Yet there they sit both in the NHL & AHL figuratively & literally.

    I’m confused as to his body of work so far? Is his view of talent off?

    So what can MacTavish do? The mess this team is in, I can only see one real solution, trading picks prospects & anyone not named RNH or Hall for this team to be competitive & that still might not be enough.

    God speed MacTavish.

  77. justDOit says:

    From: http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/28641/wayne-gretzky-on-canadas-olympic-roster

    The Krueger Factor

    A real underrated ingredient for Team Canada has been the presence of Ralph Krueger as a consultant to the coaching staff.

    “A huge assistance, real smart,” Team Canada coach Mike Babcock told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

    Babcock said Krueger was going to join him for three Red Wings games in the next week starting in San Jose on Thursday to update him on what he’s picked up overseas ahead of the Olympics.

  78. teddyturnbuckle says:

    Love MacT. I was hoping he would step behind the bench then he became GM. I miss his game day pressers. MacT has a real ability to simplify the game for us non pro hockey players. Quotes like ” The more different and new things you try on the power play the farther you deviate away from the simple things that have always given you success. You put Ryan Smyth infront of the net and you work the top for shots.” That was his response when someone asked him if George Laraque should be on the powerplay in the 2006 finals.

  79. art vandelay says:

    Excellent post, Thiru.
    Kevin Lowe is a fundamentally decent man. And one day the veterans’ committee (or whatever they call it at the HHOF) will enshrine him.
    Getting a little short-fused at a press conference is nothing compared to his predecessor’s act. That is, when he could be bothered to take time away from running Banff or fishing with Harry Sinden to actually show up for work.
    Difference is one guy was gifted Gretzky in a backgammon game and had him for a decade. The other guy was gifted Pronger and had him for a year.

  80. TheOtherJohn says:

    Liked MacT as a coach. Did a good job when he had the horses. Only time Oilers have made the playoffs in a decade.

    The reason he’d take the job is to be 1/30 GM’s in the NHL. He would not have been considered for that position anywhere else. Hiring people you know is a very typical business practice. It is not a very common business practice after 1 decent year in a decade and after 4 of the worst years in hockey history. I would expect that you would scour the hockey world for the best possible candidate. Invite all your connections in and have them compete for the job. Your friends w connections may still win the job as a result of being the best candidate for the job: best background, best training, thorough preparation and best temparment.

    But after 30/30/29/24 ……….hiring your buddy as the rookie GM with no process is surprising. We may get lucky in that MacT is a reasonably smart guy and he may become a real solid GM.

    Another thing surprising is after 30/30/29/24 the only staff that gets let go is Tambi and Kruger. Pro scouts-still here; amateur scouts-still here; development staff-still here. Bleep- Asst coaches-still here. In a company with 9 bad years out of 10 w 4 straight shitty years in a row: there would be all sorts of bloodletting. Fact that there was almost none is very surprising. You’d almost think someone likes the organization as presently set up

    Said earlier that we may get lucky on MacT. We might ……….but not off this summers body of work. Perron trade good deal.Solid. Gordon signing was outstanding. Thereafter mostly a mediocre summer. Did not bring in a veteran center on 4L, signed a 34 yr old undersized 4D to a 4 year contract for too much term w NMC, moved out Smid & Horcoff for underwhelming returns (and could have desperately used their skill set all year) and signed a whole lot of guys playing in the AHL or are routinely in PB. Like how team dealt with Arcobello

    Also realize that you do not turn around a brutal franchise in 1 summer but we need to be adding more than 2-3,solid moves per offseason or we will be 2 MORE years getting to the playoffs. We’re only 8-12 real NHL players from competing

    Waiting for Nurse, Klefbom & Marincin to play top 4 minutes is really not an option because that’s going to be 2-3-4 years away and I do not believe the fans will put up with that timeline. I estimate there were 1000-1500 empty seats for the TB game. It was a cold night, an early start & tough opponent but if it was my barn empty seats- paid for or not would terrify me

    MacT is our GM, that will not change. He has a window to get it right. I certainly hope he does get it right. I no longer believe, however, that it is inevitable that the 3OV will lead to a perennial WC powerhouse. They may but it’s no longer inevitable.

  81. hunter1909 says:

    Thiru: It was RUINED by Chris Pronger. If he had not requested a trade, that team would have been competitive for years.

    I’d rate Pronger equal to Messier for effectiveness as an Oiler, other than there’s no way Messier is any part of a team that blows game 7(especially after the slaughter of game 6).

    I’ve lived away from Edmonton since college, and see it like any over 25 – a city with very little going for it outside of work. Piss poor frontier culture everywhere, with farmers driving Jed Clampett trucks as likely to accost you on 124st in broad daylight as anyone else. Incredibly horrible “summer” weather which consists of hard driving rains and of course, mosquitos every time you take the lady outdoors. If you’re under 25 it’s not too bad, since you haven’t got any comparison and at that age you’re likely to be single and dumb so that outside hockey you really aren’t worried. But in 2014 NHL players are in the 1%, and therefore attracts the blonde bimbo brigade which flat out hates the mud, snow, arctic blasts of Edmonton.

    Now if Oilers had a family oriented culture for the players, and were run accordingly things might be different. Kevin Lowe strikes this 2nd tier fan as a crank. Lowe’s jumped the shark, in other words. He’s running the Oilers like some colorful old character who likes to sweeten his coffee, chew tobacco, and spits on the floor in front of the ladies, not knowing any better. Lowe is also extremely vindictive, which hardly makes for a strong bargaining position.

    Despite everything, 3 1st overalls HAD gifted the oilers the cachet of being an ‘up and coming’ franchise – which is very desirable to a certain type of UFA like Boyd Gordon, Justin Schultz etc. With the oilers, it seems, you always get shite with your sugar and so this season new boy Dallas Eakins has decimated that advantage inside 1/4 of his rookie season as head coach.

    Edmonton absolutely 100% blows as a city though. There’s no getting around that until they build that giant perspex dome over the city like I was agitating for at 16.

  82. kr55 says:

    Looks like Lowe did make the right move hiring his buddy MacT back in. Zero track record in management, same old ideas Lowe had to draw on before while falling behind the rest of the league in every way, but still one of the good old respected ex-oilers that could restore some peoples blind faith in this terribly run organization. Well played Lowe, well played. You might lose these people again when the Oilers break Florida’s 10 season playoff drought record though… Fair warning.

  83. hoser313 says:

    Lots of great comments and views on here this evening.

    Honestly hope MacT succeeds.

    Hiring process looked funny (esp. timing) but not MacT’s fault. If someone offers you a good job, you take it.

    No more magic beans, please.

    Positive example: full marks to MacT for keeping Hemsky instead of getting magic beans in the summer.

  84. Ontario Oilers Fan says:

    Rookie GM…. He cant get no one to play here.
    Rookie coach… Who buys into his system?

    WE are three years away for regular playoffs appearances.

  85. bookje says:

    hunter1909,

    Hunter – The city has improved a fair bit over the last decade. It still lacks a lot from an urbanism perspective, but it’s better. With that noted, it’s hard to take you seriously when you slam the summer. I’ve lived in a lot of places and Edmonton has great summers. They are just too short. I also prefer our winters to those I have experienced in Ontario (cold, wet, and no sun).

  86. bookje says:

    I would add though, that I agree that Edmonton is a hard sell to a lot of hockey wives compared to many cities in the league. With that said, a winning team would easily overcome that as it does in other cities.

  87. bookje says:

    Wow, what a thread. Even Art and John are making insightful comment. LT, you should frame this one.

    I think there are a lot of great points here both supportive of and critical of Lowe and crew.

  88. gcw_rocks says:

    Abby Oil,

    Thanks. I think your situation is an excellent parallel. I am amazed at the number of people who think MacT is flying independently. People need to accept that Lowe will be involved in all key decisions as long as he is on his job. That is his job.

    Once you accept that, then you can decide if you like the tandem or not. I don’t. I think the league and the game has passed them by. It happens. That does not take away from past success.

    But let’s not kid ourselves that Lowe is a figurehead. That’s not the way the real world works in senior management.

  89. Survioil says:

    A little late to the party but it was “Hockey Night in Stratford” last evening.

    I am a survivor (the screen name pun works for being an oil fan as well) of Non-Hodgkin’s (BMT) and also went on to get an MBA. It doesn’t mean I know anything about the current management structure but I tend to side with Lowetide.

    When you are close to your own mortality it gives you certain freedom of opinion and perspective on what you will accept or won’t accept in the real world. I think out of loyalty and out of ambition, MacT will end up running Lowe’s show. (in a kind end game way:)

    I can’t even figure out how to make my fonts white, so obviously my education is working for me.

  90. Woodguy says:

    Thiru:
    I’m going to come out here and defend Kevin Lowe.

    1 – As a player, he was a warrior
    2 – Before even getting to Edmonton as a coach, he was absolutely wonderful in the community
    3 – He was good in his only season as head coach
    4 – He BUILT a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in a 30 team league. It was RUINED by Chris Pronger. If he had not requested a trade, that team would have been competitive for years. The moves he made that season, collectively, were amongst the shrewdest the NHL has seen. He acquired Peca, Pronger, Spacek, Samsonov, addressed goaltending with Roloson, and had a guy in MacT who was among the top coaches in the game.
    5 – Even prior to that season, he made some amazing moves. Guerin for Carter + the flipping of picks (which landed them Hemsky). Anyone remember that? FANTASTIC move.
    6 – Remember when we were all crying about the Janne Niinnima trade? Lowe won that one.
    7 – Lowe could find defensemen at will. Eric Brewer. Steve Staios. Spacek. I’m telling you, the Oilers had a run of player procurement that was or was close to tops in the NHL for a period of time.

    Granted, he made mistakes, and his pride cost us Corey Perry once upon a time.

    But people should leave him alone. He’s no Milbury, he’s no Doug MacLean.

    He stepped aside when Katz asked him to. MacT is running the ship.

    But Kevin Lowe gave us some wonderful seasons, guys. Wonderful. There was a period of time there where I was extremely, extremely proud to be an Oilers fan, and he was the architect.

    All of this is true and it is why many people (including myself) have defended Lowe for years.

    The problem is that the last of the good things took place in 2006.

    That’s 8 years ago now.

    There hasn’t been a series of good decisions since.

    In Lowe’s words “we chased the dream for a few years for our fans”, refering to years 07-10.

    I think they chased whales with their new owner and to say they “did it for the fans” strikes me as trying to move the blame for bad decisions away from himself.

    Then comes the “Moment of Clarity” where after they signed Nik and spent to the cap and finished 30th they realize they have made some awful decisions.

    This is good, but the next part is more bad decisions.

    So they burn it to the ground without any thought of how to drag themselves out of the muck once they have some gifted kids.

    He lets Tambellini get rid of the entire Dcorps and add nothing of value for 5 years outside of 1st overalls.

    Yes, Lowe was very good in 2006.

    Also remember that the team got the playoffs once in his 5 years of GM before 2006 and lost out in the first round.

    I loved Kevin Lowe as a player. Absolutely loved him.

    As a manager, he had 1, maybe 2 good years out of 14.

    As a manger I love him as a player.

    Given his verbal, he doesn’t see how bad he is and still sees himself as the winner he was when he was a player and hangs onto the one year of managerial success and everyone be damned if they think otherwise.

    That’s not a good executive.

    Not good at all.

  91. Bag of Pucks says:

    Lowetide: this should be written across the sky.

    Amen brothers and sisters.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCuKKVyt6F4

    ScarJo so’s hot, a dry hump seems reasonable.

  92. DeadmanWaking says:

    The thought of MacT capitulating meekly to the loudest person in the room is just plain funny. I laughed out loud. It would take Gunnery Sergeant Hartman challenging him to wipe the smirk off his face to get him to flinch.

    Doesn’t the mystique of the Stanley Cup reside in its reputation for being the hardest trophy to win in all of team sports? Maybe the pitching ace who starts three games in a seven-game series has one limb and half a groin as sore as any part of the body of a defensemen who battled through four series as Mike Grier’s runaway-truck trampoline.

    Blow-hard vs. rapier. Advantage: Rapier.

    Lowe once commented about the Pronger aftermath, “maybe we should have just blown it up.” In retrospect–from the perspective of accrued wins/losses–that would have been the better road.

    But … the team had only had one good season. The narrative around the rest of the league (by the math challenged) was that this was a Cinderella season. This team went something like sixty games with a 0.870 save percentage, then Roloson came in and after a brief yet perilous adjustment period, dialed the save percentage on any given shindig up to 0.930 (the plush sell-your-soul for a deep run depth chart didn’t hurt his cause).

    Imagine Lowe has the balls to actually begin blowing the team up three days after 15 W. There’s going to be some losing. The Cinderella narrative will get stronger. The disgruntled loyalists (these are the worst kind) will start doing the seven-year math. Except for one lucky season, what have you done for us lately?

    Note that in retrospect we know to almost a dead certainty that Lowe would have been taking the team in the best direction. But given the boundary condition of fan input, I don’t see any way he could have survived being right.

    The problem was that not blowing that team up required fishing the free agent market. With Pronger gone, with Peca gone, with Horcoff and Pisani signed to lifer contracts, we weren’t attracting the “I’ll go anywhere to win” crowd and we weren’t attracting the trophy wife and kids crowd.

    Time after time Lowe offered better dollars on longer terms and still he heard “no”. The cupboard was now bare, and the season was about to begin. Lowe officially lost it. Some combative part of his brain flipped into Tony Soprano mode. He offered Souray a contract he couldn’t refuse. Small difference. Unlike Tony, this was less due to intimidation and more due to fiscal folly.

    If he hadn’t landed Souray, we’d have seen the season written off in the first month. How painful is that? The team would have been way below cap, so the narrative grass-fire would have been that the team is cheaping out.

    The public ire would have only served to increase perception around the league that the team is too dysfunctional to risk signing there, given a choice, any choice.

    He can’t publicly admit that the Edmonton and it’s franchise now faces an insurmountable pariah gap on the free agency market. Had he done so, the savvy horse-traders would have been up in arms about the incompetence of revealing your trading cards. The savvy horse-traders are particularly boisterous in pointing this out.

    He’s now screwed at the drive-thru six ways from Sunday. Worst of all, he’s temperamentally terribly badly suited to the slow and patient process of beginning a deep rebuild. This is not his fault. I have nothing but 100% sympathy for his remark “we knew he was unhappy, but we thought he’d come around after a successful post-season; winning usually changes everything”.

    Not that time. The ownership group couldn’t bring themselves to fire Lowe three minutes after 15 W. That would have looked a bit heartless, don’t you think? But it would have been right.

    By the time the Souray thing has blown up, the damage is done. Firing Lowe (either by promotion or release) was mainly symbolic at this juncture.

    What the organization desperately needed to calm the storm was a patient man. With free agency non-viable, the farm system in ruins, and an aging facility, a presto rabbit rebuild would have been a small miracle.

    I think Tambi served the organization well. All he needed to do more than he did to go from poor to fair was assemble a credible fourth line and add Boyd Gordon instead of Belanger. The Tuebert we flushed should have matured into one of those fourth-line pieces.

    It was hard to evaluate Tambi in the big picture while his core assets were so wet behind the ears. But then, Hall and Eberle and RNH were all developing well. One can take two views on this. These guys are so good, this is to be expected. Or you can take the view that these pieces are so vital to our future success, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. We’ve subsequently learned that taking for granted the smooth ascendency of top picks is enormously risky after all.

    This is what Taleb criticizes as Black Swan blinkerhood: to assign a cost of zero to something that rarely goes wrong, even if it’s managed by TEPCO. Before Taleb, the saying was “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. Not even ringers like Taylor Hall.

    We can’t criticize this management group for ruining Yakupov without giving at least some credit to Tambi for the three he didn’t ruin.

    List of NHL franchise post-season droughts

    Read that and weep. Weep over how our misfortune barely deserves any real tears.

    Last post season win | length of drought

    1992-93 19 seasons NYI
    1995-96 16 seasons Florida
    1800-01 13 seasons Winnipeg
    1801-02 12 seasons CBJ
    2002-03 9 seasons Minnesota
    2003-04 8 seasons Calgary
    2003-04 8 seasons Toronto
    2005-06 7 seasons Edmonton

    Three of those teams above us have exactly one appearance of one and out. NYI has six appearances of one and out, but they’ve had 19 years to rack those up. Nineteen fucking years.

    There’s another five teams that haven’t won a playoff series in the last four to six years. That puts us in smack in the middle of a rather large ocean of suck. We’ve actually won three playoff series in the last eight years, in case there’s any concern.

    Would we rather trade Calgary their last eight seasons? In the blue trunks, three playoff victories, one playoff appearance. In the red luggage trunks: zero playoff victories, four playoff appearances.

    Furthermore, Calgary’s quadruple short-dance occurred during a high ebb, whereas our nucleus is but one toe into their prime years. RNH can’t legally drink in all fifty states (Wisconsin makes an exception if he brings his parents along and he convinces his buddies to make a quick jaunt up to Milwaukee following an afternoon melee against the Blackhawks). He’ll get his legal drinking age out of his system during the off season. Yakupov–always one to make things more difficult–has timed his legal drinking age to next October.

    But there was always a governor and a ceiling on those teams. There is no ceiling on this group. Quite clearly there is a good era ahead.

    The thing is, the mandate from team ownership is not to merely get to the playoffs, but to win in the playoffs.

    A rebuild with no governor simply takes longer, unless the cards fall in your favour (consecutive top picks in a Malkin/Crosby vintage year double header).

    Start with a regulation-issue three year rebuild drought. Add two years for management bungling. And one year for aiming high. Add another year for harvesting green and undersized BPAs (this is outside your control). Then recognize that the management bungling occurred against a backdrop of CBA uncertainties, constraints, and restraints that never used to exist, and that the new CBA considerably devalues the first overall pick in terms of when these stars begin to see the big bucks.

    In my perspective, we’re just barely on the threshold of graduating from ugly squared to epic fail.

    With a little more size instilled in the roster, does our young nucleus begin to turn the corner? Much yet hangs in the future balance.

    Personally, I don’t find “seven years” to be much of an improvement over “six rings” in the department of compelling narratives. There’s a fairly high coefficient of winner-take-all in this league: good climate leads to better players leads to winning leads to more better players. For small markets, the CBA giveth but it also taketh away. The dust hasn’t settled yet on competitive balance in a state of market equilibrium (1000-page legal documents tend to equilibrate slowly).

    I also don’t believe that Katz owes us the firing of Kevin Lowe just to outwardly prove that Kevin isn’t bringing the stink in his continued role, which I’ve long suspected has more do to with the back-room glory-day glad-handing involved in extracting public money to erect a private facility.

    MacT: Hey Kevin, what really went down, in your opinion, between Burke and Sather back in 2004?

    I’d personally think twice about firing that old warrior if I were Katz, despite his inability to holster his sidearm in the Nambutu Embassy and the big diplomatic mess we’re still cleaning up.

  93. hunter1909 says:

    bookje:
    hunter1909,

    Hunter – The city has improved a fair bit over the last decade.It still lacks a lot from an urbanism perspective, but it’s better.With that noted, it’s hard to take you seriously when you slam the summer.I’ve lived in a lot of places and Edmonton has great summers.They are just too short.I also prefer our winters to those I have experienced in Ontario (cold, wet, and no sun).

    I was merely explaining reasons why no one wants to sign for the oilers over the age of 25, which is still true.

    Add the latest(MacT in a public shouting match with fan) and they’re entering territory that hasn’t been since Eddie Shore and his Springfield Indians.

  94. Woodguy says:

    The cupboard was now bare, and the season was about to begin. Lowe officially lost it. Some combative part of his brain flipped into Tony Soprano mode. He offered Souray a contract he couldn’t refuse. Small difference. Unlike Tony, this was less due to intimidation and more due to fiscal folly.,

    I had heard from more than one person that the EIG was hearing from the ticketbase that with the loss of Pronger, there was no #1 anything on the team and Lowe had marching orders to get a #1 anything.

    So he signed Souray because Souray would sign a contract here.

    The way they ran him out of town and pissed away his value is so dumb that if you wrote it no one would believe you.

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