At the postseason media conference, Craig MacTavish said a lot of things, but as time rolls along it seems to me the verbal future described doesn’t match the results. In the midst of hundreds of “relentless” and “consistent messaging” and “value system” references, MacT said the coaches were fine, but that coach Eakins would have final say. These weeks later? Craig Ramsay and Keith Acton will join Dallas Eakins behind the bench next season.
How do we apply that lesson to the current verbal?
- MacT: “I’d like to add four or five players — one or two through trades and two or three unrestricted free agents.”
- MacT: “We need help on defence. We’re looking for a puck-moving defenceman, a guy who can carry the puck north and continue into open ice.”
- MacT: “We also need a defending defenceman. We’re not going to compromise our young prospects on defence.We’d rather they played in the American Hockey League or junior.”
- MacT: “We’re trying to get bigger up front.”
- MacT: “We’re trying to get bigger up front. We’ve got the toughest element to get (skill), but I think we can augment that with players who are bigger, stronger and more productive than what we’ve had.”
There doesn’t seem to be much we can misinterpret here. The puck-moving defenseman sounds more like Ehrhoff than Phaneuf or Coburn. Fair? And the stay-at-home guy could be Matt Greene or Derek Engelland or Mark Fraser—we have that guy surrounded. The bigger forward? I don’t know. Rene Bourque? Any ideas? The names both Terry Jones and Mark Spector gave us were for the most part the low-end of each player type. It feels like the Oilers are about to acquire Coburn and Greene and Bourque and Handzus.
What if MacTavish is, once again, framing the issue—under-promising to over-deliver? Wishful thinking? Probably. Still, it is interesting that we spent some time grumbling about the coaching staff and changes were made. Is it such a reach to suggest that Michal Handzus is a worst-case scenario? Seems to me Craig MacTavish learned some lessons well from his first summer at the helm. We wait.
There are things you say you’ll never do, and then life gets in the way.
As some of you may know, I left my advertising job at the end of December and embarked on a writing career to go with my broadcasting work at TSN 1260. I write for Oilers Nation, Bleacher Report, Puck Rant and this blog, and have good relationships with all (save Lowetide—what a jerk!). For two of my writing gigs, there will be less work after the draft and free agency, and that’s cool—hopefully we can hook up (that doesn’t mean something bad, does it?) again in the fall.
Many of you over the years have requested a PayPay contribute button, so I’m going to try it for a time. It will be up on this blog sometime soon. Nothing changes, you’re not going to get insider info (I could tell on the dog when she does something bad, if that helps) and there is no wall of greatness or any of those things. This is simply as stated above, an effort to keep writing and maintaining this road as opposed to finding some other work (which I can do, so don’t feel like you have to contribute to keep this blog going).
This is not a hold up, it is a request. If you want to contribute, please do! And thanks.
Once again, the Oilers seem to be going to opposite directions with their plans. As was the case last season, the club added quality building blocks (Perron, Gordon, Scrivens, Fasth, I would include Ference) to poor-possession physical players (Gazdic, Fraser) and ended up with porridge. As we can see with the names above, there is once again good and bad. I suspect Craig MacTavish is going to acquire as many things Dallas Eakins wants as possible, in order to give him the best chance to succeed (I don’t think Eakins gets a third season if 2014-15 is another disaster).
I think we might be headed for a summer where Shawn Thornton and Douglas Murray are targets, while also seeing Christian Ehrhoff and a useful center added to help the progress of Edmonton’s Oilers. As a fan, it is wildly frustrating, but here we are.
The additions of Steve Pinizotto and Iiro Pakarinen get the offseason underway with smaller, less vital moves. The next group of transactions, at least one of which should be on this side of free agency, will tell the tale.
This Oiler fan is hoping for a spring/summer of Ehrhoff, Stralman, Grabovski and Kulemin, and fears a summer of Coburn, Engelland, Handzus and Thornton.
History tells us to expect something in the middle. I always hated history.
TSN 1260, 10am. Guests include Scott Burnside (ESPN), Steve Dangle (Leafs Nation), Ryan Batty (Copper and Blue) and Scott Cullen (TSN). Offseason across the NHL, plus Oilers and their summer. And Cullen and I will probably talk baseball, football and World Cup.