January 13 2009 10:27AM
So we made a friend awhile back who has the most interesting skill. It seems he knows exactly what's going on in the room right now for the Oil. Stranger still, it seems he is ok with letting some info out to your ol' pal Wanye from time to time.
Now this isn't the kind of friend that you would call up on a regular basis and ask, "Does Kyle Brodziak put on his left or right skate first?" But it is the kind of friend with whom we have an understanding that when we run into each other from time to time he'll let us know if anything is new or interesting behind those enormous sliding doors. And his message is pretty much confirmation of what is widely suspected and increasingly becoming known -- there are cracks in the room these days that are expanding at a slow but steady rate and it has been affecting play on the ice.
Why are their cracks forming you ask? It seems the Oil –- particularly the youth movement -- no longer enjoy the lack of respect doled out by their head coach on a continual basis and many feel his methods of coaching are no longer effective.
Translation: MacT doing dick stuff to the team will eventually make his players hate him. It's pretty much that simple.
It would seem there is a constant stream of disrespect aimed at the players these days. As it was explained to us, no one incident that stands out above the rest but a bunch of continual things that has helped MacT lose big chunks of the room.
MacT Dick Move #138,962
The Oil played the Coyotes on Dec 22 going into the Christmas Break. Santa delivers and the Oil win 4-2 to send the team into the break on a relative high note given how things were unfolding during the first three months of the season. Now you know how it is around Christmas: you want to be home with your families if at all possible. The understanding seemed to be win on the 22nd and part for the holidays filled with Christmas cheer.
But not with ol’ Coach here in E-town.
In his infinite wisdom, MacT switched it up and made the team attend practice on the 23rd. As a direct result all players couldn't get back east to their families for Christmas as many had planned. Instead they were stranded in Edmonton and away from their families over the holiday. Classy.
Now we can hear you out there saying:
“Shoot Wanye! Miss Christmas? Boo-freakin-hoo. If I made Lubo money it would be Christmas every day! I would hire actors to be my family and they would go with me everywhere and every morning we would gather under the tree and open presents 365 days a year! Are you suggesting that: 1) I should believe that missing Christmas makes the PK bad; and, 2) I should care about these rich athletes in the slightest?”
This is completely fair. If we made Lubo money we would hire Lubomir Visnovsky himself to carry us around on his back all day long. “Mush Lubo!” we would yell, “to the liquor store!” And dutifully, Lubo would piggy back us all the way to Liquor Depot because the only thing better than making Lubo money is making even more money. If we happened to pass someone being piggybacked by a cheaper Oiler –- say Liam Reddox -– we would make Lubo stop and we would stand there laughing heartily at the cheaper player and his fare. But that’s just how we would roll.
But back to the Oilers missing Christmas. Rich athlete or not, people want to be home for Christmas if at all possible. A last-minute practice after a win is a dick move plain and simple. This is a single instance that came up in our conversation and the message was, "There are a million things that have gotten the room to where it is today. This is an easy one."
It's a coaching style -- plain and simple. And if you believe that an under-performing team with myriad players who are under-utilized, miscast, miscoached or poorly motivated may not be responding to the style of their current coach, then you arrive at the same conclusion we did last night when we were hearing these tales.
There has to be a change in coaching style
There are "players' coaches" who cater to the room like Tom Renney in New York. Coach Renney let Jagr sit in the front seat of the Rangers bus anytime he wanted and he had an unlimited Xbox rule on the road. JJ loved his videogames and riding shotgun, and he produced as a result of the treatment he received.
Then are also hard asses like John Tortorella who used to beat Martin St. Louis without mercy in the dressing room before games until Oren Koules bought the team and promptly destroyed it. St. Louis would crawl into the corner and hide for 20 minutes, then he would go out on the ice and dominate. This hard-assed style worked for him.
Then there are coaches who have lost the room and act the arrogant fool. They take a hard line with rookies while showing Buddha-like patience when veterans have mistake-riddled games. Think the hardass line is working, Nation? Think the team is finding its motivational state of balance? Hells no -- its Chakra is destroyed these days.
Look at this graph, it’s all very clear:
As the team mails in game after game after game, it's becoming evident that MacT is no longer capable of coaxing, cajoling or Jedi mind-tricking the Oilers into consistent performances this season. His coaching style of taking a continual hard line doesn't seem to be having much effect anymore -- and as we all know you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Instead you hire a new dog who has a whole new bag of tricks. Right?
Miss Christmas with your family. What a dick.