Clearing Up A Misconception About NHL Coaches

Jonathan Willis
April 14 2009 07:16PM

Toe Blake

MacTavish would, it seems, love a team who are muckers, who play a very physical style and the trap to perfection. In other words, he wanted to be Jacque Lemaire, the former head coach of the Minnesota Wild. That is not Oilers hockey. The team President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe put together is much more fast and loose, which focuses on attacking and speed, not grabbing a one goal lead and sitting on it. — Jonathan Williams, Bleacher Report

The thoughts expressed above by Jonathan Williams are not unique to him. In fact, those sorts of comments seem to pop up every time Craig MacTavish’s future is discussed, with prevailing opinion being that MacTavish is too focussed on defense and not enough on offense.

That opinion is wrong.

There have definitely been problems with MacTavish’s coaching this season; rumours of a rift in the room continue to abound, and more players are being quoted as saying things either overtly critical of the coach or running directly counter to statements made by him. But MacTavish’s requirement that players ‘create more than they give up’ is hardly unique to him.

I finished reading Scotty Bowman: A Life In Hockey over the weekend, a rather (occassionally overly) thorough look at Bowman’s decades in the sport. There were many points in the book that stood out to me, but one of them was Scotty Bowman talking about the man who he regarded as the greatest coach in the history of the game, Toe Blake:

“He got a lot out of his teams. He really believed in making it tough on other teams to score. He liked skilled players, but demanded balance from his players. I remember when he got Yvon Cournoyer out of Juniors. He played him on the power play. That’s how he broke him in. He never handed things to players. He believed the young guys had to come in and prove themselves, especially defensively. I think all the players who played for him, they knew how they stood, that they had to play both ways.”

When Bowman took the job of coaching the Canadiens, Blake was on hand to dispense advice. “He told me ‘Just keep stressing keep the puck out of your own end, you’ll score enough goals.’ We had a lot of skill players. He said, ‘Don’t get carried away with the offence.’”

Between the two of them, Blake and Bowman won 13 Stanley Cups in 21 years.

The point though, isn’t that defense is what wins; it’s that defense is what virtually every NHL coach preaches. And the simple fact of the matter is that when Craig MacTavish eventually leaves (be it this year or further down the line) his successor isn’t likely to turn back to the days of Glen Sather (and Gretzky, and Messier, and Kurri, and Coffey…). Instead, his successor is likely to say the same things that MacTavish does. He won’t be a clone, but one thing is all but certain: he’ll still emphasize that at the end of the day it’s all about what a player creates versus what he gives up.

And really, that’s how it should be.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 B-Rad
April 14 2009, 08:30PM
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Good read....

Any sugestions on the lottery.....? I think that if they don't trade up, maybe we should take Kassian, or if Kadri is around, take him.

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#2 Harlie
April 14 2009, 09:17PM
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good points Jdub,,,,this is alos a good read from the outside looking in.. http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/story/11608576/rss

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#3 James Gunner
April 14 2009, 09:33PM
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Willis, you're a guy all about the numbers. What year did Bowman give that quote? His record of judgment on these matters leaves something to be desired at least, doesn't it?

I prefer to let the rookies play, when needed, and let them make mistakes. We'll teach defense when it come to it. Let them learn how to score in the NHL. Let that blossom into someone who wants the puck at the opposite side of the rink. Let them try to dangle with a big guy waiting for it. Let them try to find the corn hole on a NHL goalie.

If they can do all that, we'll try to teach some defense.

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#4 Archaeologuy
April 14 2009, 10:05PM
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James Gunner wrote:

What year did Bowman give that quote? His record of judgment on these matters leaves something to be desired at least, doesn’t it? I prefer to let the rookies play, when needed, and let them make mistakes. We’ll teach defense when it come to it.

Bowman's judgement on matters of coaching leaves something to be desired? Was that supposed to be sarcastic?

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#5 nickxero
April 14 2009, 10:56PM
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It seems, to me at least, that MacTavish is aware that's he always been blessed with a talented offense. Even in his earlier days.

But outside of Cujo, our goaltending was suspect, inconsistent and at times just plain bad. And our defense pre-lockout has always been weaker than it should have been. MacT's system was to make sure the offense had a defensive mindset, so that one part of the team would keep the other standing.

Although, as the defensive corps strengthened, especially in the past 2 years, this tactic was continually pressed, stifling the of fence to a degree and making them give the defense the help it didn't necessarily need.

It was a decent system until... well, pretty much until Pronger came to town. JW, good post, but I have to disagree. MacT clearly coaches a defensive game, but in what is now clearly an imbalanced fashion. Bowman never put the well-being of his D-Men as the #1 concern for his forwards.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
April 14 2009, 11:59PM
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@ James Gunner:

It's fine to run the rookies out and excuse their shoddy defense if you aren't interested in the playoffs.

But if you aren't rebuilding, you have to play at both ends.

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#7 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 12:04AM
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nickxero wrote:

It was a decent system until… well, pretty much until Pronger came to town. JW, good post, but I have to disagree. MacT clearly coaches a defensive game, but in what is now clearly an imbalanced fashion. Bowman never put the well-being of his D-Men as the #1 concern for his forwards.

Although things worked out okay during that Pronger season ;)

Honestly, I think the big failure of 06-07 had nothing to do with systems but was all about the incredibly shoddy defensive group Lowe had put together. Last season was all about youth up front, and this year I tend to think it's more of the same, plus an unwillingness to rely on young players who could have a two-way game.

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#8 Rob
April 15 2009, 08:26AM
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Is there a press conference today?? What time?? Tambo??

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#9 Wil
April 15 2009, 08:35AM
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Listening to the radio on the way home last night the Calgary guy was talking to a reporter from Chicago. The Chicago guy was talking about Martin Havlat, and about how coach Quenneville had discussions with him about being more responsible defensively. Havlat (29/48/77 pts) responded and so his coach trusted him and played him...

Every (good) coach preaches/teaches defensive responsibility... they do it in basketball, baseball, football, soccer...

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#10 topshelf
April 15 2009, 08:43AM
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@ Wil: It needs to be consistent though. As far as I could tell, the vets were just as awful as the kids in their own end of the ice this year. So why then, were the young players the ones taking all the verbal heat publicly from the coach? Discussions are one thing, but bashing young players for being inconsistent when the favourites are just as bad is another.

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#11 Ogden Brother
April 15 2009, 08:45AM
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topshelf wrote:

@ Wil: It needs to be consistent though. As far as I could tell, the vets were just as awful as the kids in their own end of the ice this year. So why then, were the young players the ones taking all the verbal heat publicly from the coach? Discussions are one thing, but bashing young players for being inconsistent when the favourites are just as bad is another.

Did you ever hear them bashed for their play? I heard them bashed over effort... two very different things.

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#12 topshelf
April 15 2009, 08:52AM
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@ Ogden Brother: I suppose. I just think too many players got a free pass while others couldn't fart without the coach turning his head.

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#13 Wil
April 15 2009, 08:53AM
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@ Ogden Brother:

I tend to agree. I think the poster boy for this issue is Cole. Little production but lots of effort (just look at how many penalties he drew this year). Sam is another one who worked hard without results so didn't get bashed. Penner and Nilsson were floaters and the coach called them on it.

JW has nailed it. There isn't another coach out there that will come in here and ignore the defensive side of the game (which is as it should be imho).

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#14 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 09:03AM
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Well obviously all coaches want their players to be defensively responsible. It isnt THAT they want their players to be responsible, it's HOW they want them to be responsible.

I could coach an NHL team and WANT my players to give up less than they create, but that doesnt make my philosophy anything close to Scotty Bowman's.

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#15 Ogden Brother
April 15 2009, 09:06AM
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topshelf wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: I suppose. I just think too many players got a free pass while others couldn’t fart without the coach turning his head.

Which slackers didn't get shat on?

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#16 the claw
April 15 2009, 09:17AM
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You make an interesting point and I agree that a 100% offensively focused team isn't going to get very far.

However, a new coach won't consistently throw roster players under the bus, throw AHL players under the bus, miss opportunities to give the aging starting goalie a rest in back-to-back games down the stretch, give preference to defensively one-dimensional players over offensively one-dimensional players... etc etc.

Ultimately Lowebellini hasn't provided the players to make this team a serious contender, but MacT's performance has been terrible. He may be a nice guy and his commitment to the Oilers is obvious, but regardless of good itentions when you suck at your job you get fired.

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#17 topshelf
April 15 2009, 09:33AM
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@ Ogden Brother: I wasn't referring to slackers so much as players not performing as expected. I think Moreau, Staois and Pisani all got a free pass when what they were giving up was much more than they were creating. That is, after all, Mac T's philosophy. You have to create more than you give up. I don't think they were held as accountable as some of the other players.

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#18 Wil
April 15 2009, 09:38AM
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the claw wrote:

You make an interesting point and I agree that a 100% offensively focused team isn’t going to get very far. However, a new coach won’t consistently throw roster players under the bus, throw AHL players under the bus, miss opportunities to give the aging starting goalie a rest in back-to-back games down the stretch, give preference to defensively one-dimensional players over offensively one-dimensional players… etc etc. Ultimately Lowebellini hasn’t provided the players to make this team a serious contender, but MacT’s performance has been terrible. He may be a nice guy and his commitment to the Oilers is obvious, but regardless of good itentions when you suck at your job you get fired.

There were some head scratchers this year, that's for sure.

I don't disagree with what MacT did with Penner (call him out for being lazy) but I do disagree with how he did it at times (publicly talking about his salary/performance).

Schremp so far is a nobody, we have no reason to believe otherwise... so I'm kind of meh on MacT's treatment of him.

Agree completely with the goalie treatment this year, some of that on Lowe and some on MacT, but on the flipside Garon didn't exactly light it up in Pittsburgh and JDD doesn't have the numbers this year or in the AHL to suggest that he's top notch (understanding he didn't get much of a shot to prove himself this year).

I think that if we got 20 more goals from somewhere (Horcoff, Penner, Cole, Gagne, Nilsson, Brodz, Poo, etc.) we're not even talking about some of the stranger moves that we've seen this year (Smid on the wing, Reddox on the first line).

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#19 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 09:57AM
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There is a huge difference between coaching a defensively sound game and a defensive system. How many times did the Oilers play to get a 1 goal lead and then go into defensive mode and consequentially give up the lead (and the game in most cases?). You can count on one hand the amount of games we continually took it to a lesser opponent and ran up the goal count. say what you will about this tactic but it is a good way to build confidence in a young team. By teaching "okay we have 1 goal lead so lock it down" shows a lack of faith in your team that they can play to a level to continue to carry the play and momentum.

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#20 Ogden Brother
April 15 2009, 09:59AM
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@ topshelf:

Well how would you know. The premise was on publicly calling guys out... we've already agreed that guys were called out/benched based on effort not performance.

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#21 Jonathan Williams
April 15 2009, 10:14AM
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Jonathan, nice name by the way ;)

The point I was making in the article is that MacTavish wanted something different than what it appears the President of Hockey Operations gave him.

MacTavish does prefer a defensive style game. He has consistantly been most annoyed when the Oilers were winning but not defensively tight.

The 06 cup run the Oilers played the trap. The majority of its best players started at the blue line and went back.

I think his lack of creativity on the offensive side comes from the constant preaching of defense first. Under that system you have a Nashville or Minnesota style and I still think MacTavish prefers that to a wide open style, with its inherent risk/rewards.

That may seem like a criticism and in some ways it is. At the same time, under the right type of player personnell it works.

As far as I can see, "The team President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe put together is much more fast and loose, which focuses on attacking and speed, not grabbing a one goal lead and sitting on it."

The team MacTavish coaches successfully are teams that DO grab a one goal lead and sit on it. Clawing and scratching for every inch of defensive space.

A team like Colorado of the beginning of this decade, or even to some extent the Detroit Red Wings currently did not claw and scratch. They threw their best players at you and beat you on the score board.

Yet the key to a wide open team is not just offense playing defense it is proper pairings. For every Coffey there was a Lowe or Huddy prepared to clean up. That the Oilers do not have currently.

Also they need a third line that can shut teams down. Which they do not have even though the third line is only one player different from the cup run.

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#22 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 10:18AM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

There is a huge difference between coaching a defensively sound game and a defensive system. How many times did the Oilers play to get a 1 goal lead and then go into defensive mode and consequentially give up the lead (and the game in most cases?).

I disagree with the terminology (I don't think a defensive system means getting a goal and then shutting everything down), but not the overall point. There's no doubt that the Oilers were a far worse team with a lead this season than they were when down by one.

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#23 topshelf
April 15 2009, 10:22AM
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@ Ogden Brother: Sometimes how you use your players says more than words do. If I say black are you going to say white?

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#24 the claw
April 15 2009, 10:23AM
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@ Wil: Agreed Wil. 20 more goals would have been very nice :)

I just think that MacT calling out Schremp was a classless move and the kind of thing that, in my mind, keeps high profile players from signing here. When was the last time someone in the Detroit organization publicly trashed a farmhand?

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#25 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 10:29AM
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@ Jonathan Williams:

Nice to see you here! Hope you didn't think I was picking on you specifically; I just saw your comments and they illustrated the general point.

I don't think there's any doubt that the team Lowe assembled was a poor fit for MacTavish, but I don't think he team would have been a particularly good fit for most coaches, either.

The simple fact of the matter is that when you're running Gagner on one line and Cogliano on another, there are going to be two lines that need sheltering. Neither of those players is good enough to go head-to-head with quality; even playing a loose, offensive style of game they're going to get outscored (although Gagner's made strides in this department).

You reference Detroit and Colorado; Gagner and Cogliano wouldn't have had significant roles on either of those teams. Incidentally, Detroit's best players were guys like Yzerman and Fedorov - hardly the icons of a freewheeling, fire-wagon squad. Colorado had Sakic and Forsberg - both responsible, two-way guys. These aren't comparisons that can be made, because Edmonton's scorers (outside of Hemsky and Horcoff) haven't developed a game that can be played at both ends of the rink.

I'm not a fan of MacTavish's performance this year, but I don't think there's a coach out there that could have won the division with Gagner and Cogliano as centers #2 and #3. I expected to see them united on the same line and a tough-minutes guy brought in for the third line; that way, the Kids could be sheltered and the third line and Horcoff line could handle the other teams' big guns.

As for the defense, I thought the top-four this year was fine; a little light on the physical side of things, but good otherwise. (Side point: you mention Coffey; Bowman ran Coffey out of Detroit because as much as he liked the offense, he couldn't handle the lack of defense, even when paired with a defensive partner).

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#26 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 10:35AM
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Sigh, i am bored. When is the presser???

*picks up an axe and heads to the forest to chop down a tree...hooks the tree up to a super sized Dodge and drags it back to the lab where he peels off the bark and carves a totem pole of the Oilers hierarchy... Neilson on the bottom...then Moreau...Penner...etc all the way up to the top, where he is forced to stop carving and wait because Mac T is not going to be the top of the totem pole anymore*

Who to carve....who to carve....

*Twiddles thumbs while he waits*

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#27 West Coast Oil, $Version=1
April 15 2009, 10:36AM
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@Willis Accepted. My main point is that once the Oilers grabbed a lead and went into defensive mode they generally gave up the momentum they had built and this was a team that needed momentum on their side to be successful. Compare the Oilers to a team like the Wild who work on turnovers and dont need continual momentum to be successful

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#28 West Coast Oil, $Version=1
April 15 2009, 10:40AM
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The only thing I really can't understand is how there could be such a big disconnect between Lowe and MacTavish after so many years of working together. This more than anything shows the dysfunction in the organization.

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#29 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 10:47AM
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one last point.. has everyone seen the lastest article by Terry Jones http://www.edmontonsun.com/Sports/Columnists/Jones_Terry/2009/04/14/9106961-sun.html

Whats your take, do you think MacT has done a lot to hurt the image of the Oilers with any UFA's? I tend to agree with Jones and unfortunately I think MacT has done way more damage this year in attracting fee agents then Lowe has in many years..

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#30 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 10:47AM
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*Nilsson*

Damn.

Oh yeah AND i see the press conference is happening at noon and can be viewed on the oilers website...

*continues to twiddle*

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#31 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 10:56AM
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@ I'm a Scientist!: Dont worry about the Totem pole. Go ahead and put MacT on there, this conference is only to reaffirm that Fans dont matter at all. MacT signed an extension until the 3072 season. His severed head will carry around the ashes of Dustin Penner to symbolically place on the astro-bench in the 3rd period.

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#32 Chris
April 15 2009, 11:01AM
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The total failure of every coaching staff under MacT to ice an effective powerplay is the key reason MacT moves on. Anyone who is critical of the job MacT and his staff have done five on five just hasn't been paying close enough attention. (Also, had MacT been given a proper shutdown center, the PK numbers would probably have been fine)

I believed right from the start of the season that this team was too small. I thought this lack of size/ grit would hurt them five on five. I believed that the Oilers would compensate for this deficiency with an effective powerplay... I was wrong. The PP was way too predictable: everyone pressured the point, the Oilers forced the puck through the box too frequently looking for the cross seam pass... They just needed to show the opposition a bigger variety of different looks... This team would have made the postseason if management had addressed the need for a defensive center, and if MacT's staff could have delivered an effective powerplay.

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#33 Rick
April 15 2009, 11:03AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don’t think there’s any doubt that the team Lowe assembled was a poor fit for MacTavish, but I don’t think he team would have been a particularly good fit for most coaches, either.

Your basic point (not just the one highlighted but in your blog as well) is spot on. There are general pre-requisites that every coach is going to subscribe to and fans should be cautious in terms of what kind of changes a new coach will bring.

That said, I think you missed or for this particular piece ignored what a fresh set of eyes would bring. It's not about a huge shift in basic hockey philosophy, as much as it will be about how the coach see the pieces of the team fitting together.

MacT was comfortable with his vets and his vets were comfortable with him. As a group they were together for so long that it appeared that MacT lost sight of what they brought as hockey players and used them inappropriately by deferring to them as the guys that will get things done for him.

A new coach should bring a fresh evaluation of what each guy can and can't do, hopefully resulting in them playing in more appropriate situations.

Of course some fresh ideas for the special teams wouldn't hurt either.

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#34 I'm a Scientist!
April 15 2009, 11:08AM
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@ Archaeologuy: Well, as long as Penner is benched... i guess that is a good move. Right? Right?

*crickets*

*gets out his chisels and is about to start carving the top of the totem pole*

Nahh..might as well wait until after the noon presser...

*twiddles*

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#35 Chris
April 15 2009, 11:10AM
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Oilers press conference at noon.

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#36 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 11:20AM
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Rick wrote:

MacT was comfortable with his vets and his vets were comfortable with him. As a group they were together for so long that it appeared that MacT lost sight of what they brought as hockey players and used them inappropriately by deferring to them as the guys that will get things done for him.

Dead on. MacT went to the vets even when they were hurting the situation because that is who he felt he could trust and in the end this hurt the team more. In the latest David Staples Blog he has one some good points but this one stood out to me..

"If there was an on-ice metaphor for MacTavish this season, it was a smart player like Horcoff on the penalty kill, desperate to succeed, fiercely chasing hard after that puck, but chasing too hard, getting out of kilter, throwing things out of sync and, in the end, hurting the team."

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#37 Death Metal Nightmare
April 15 2009, 11:24AM
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good points. i think all these philosophical indictments against MacTavish are baseless and usually have no data or evidence to back them.

what it boils down to is that the Oilers roster cant execute. average vets, passive players and immature kids doesnt really ring with much confidence for success. it did last summer though.

simple as that.

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#38 Jonathan Willis
April 15 2009, 11:25AM
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Rick wrote:

A new coach should bring a fresh evaluation of what each guy can and can’t do, hopefully resulting in them playing in more appropriate situations.

Absolutely. Coaches get stubborn on guys, and fresh eyes will be a big help. I'm not saying stick with MacTavish by any means; but then you already identified my key point - that a new coach probably isn't going to be significantly different in his basic philosophy.

He could very well be better, but the 80's are gone. There aren't going to be a raft of 6-5 games no matter who gets hired.

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#39 Rick
April 15 2009, 11:26AM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

Dead on. MacT went to the vets even when they were hurting the situation because that is who he felt he could trust and in the end this hurt the team more. In the latest David Staples Blog he has one some good points but this one stood out to me.. “If there was an on-ice metaphor for MacTavish this season, it was a smart player like Horcoff on the penalty kill, desperate to succeed, fiercely chasing hard after that puck, but chasing too hard, getting out of kilter, throwing things out of sync and, in the end, hurting the team.”

Actually before I even read that bit from Staples I was going to use a similar example but with Moreau.

It looked to me like Moreau and MacT had very similar seasons in that Moreau looked like a guy that was simply trying to do too much. It effectively just effed up what ever situation he was playing.

MacT, was the same way, he all to often looked like a guy that was treading water as fast as he could but forgot to let go of the 50lb rock when doing so.

I don't question the committment of either guy to the team but it's tough to deny that they were flailing so uncontrollably hard that they ended up probably doing more harm than good.

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#40 Racki FMNF
April 15 2009, 11:28AM
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MacTavish has become a distraction more so than ever this year. He needs to be moved out of the coaching role, even if he's put in as an assistant GM or something of that nature.

We have us fans and media to thank for that distraction. I'm a firm believer that MacTavish's window of opportunity is over. But I think MacT, the fans, the players.. everyone is tired of hearing about the MacTavish drama - will he step down? Will he be fired? Would this team be better under a different coach? It's a huge distraction. The time to change is now. MacTavish is a respectable man, and I thank him for his years here. If he gets a job elsewhere, I wish him the best of luck. If he stays in a different role here, I am sure we will benefit from that. But this team is being dragged under for every day he stays as coach.

It is possible that the next guy who comes in (please not Buchy, btw) is going to preach defensive systems as well. But I hope that he doesn't forget that forwards should be our #1 offensive weapon and defencemen should complement them offensively, and defencemen should be our #1 defence and forwards complement them defensively. Not the other way around. At this point, our forwards are the best defenders on the team, and save for Hemsky, our defencemen are the best offensive players. This does weigh on Lowe's decisions a bit. But I'm confident that with a handful of changes (in addition to a new coaching staff), this team will be not only salvageable, but a contender.

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#41 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 11:38AM
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@ Death Metal Nightmare: My sentiments exactly. The coach has absolutely no bearing on player performance or development. He doesnt control the kind of system they play or even which goalie is in net. He cant be blamed for the team being outshot in 53 games. Not for failed on ice matchups. Not for a lack of identity or leadership. It certainly isnt his job to motivate players. The fact that he already admitted that he couldnt find a system that worked is just the Hero inside of him getting ready to sacrifice himself for the good of the team. He obviously knew what would work but the players were too inept to perform. Simpletons, all of them.

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#42 Chris
April 15 2009, 12:01PM
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Nobody at RX1 minds the Oilers playing a tight checking, defensively responsible game five on five... We just want to see intensity, big hits, and an exciting powerplay: two PP units that can gain the zone, move the puck, and generate excitement/goals. The people at RX1 deserve to go home with a smile more than four or five times a season. (I know there was 18 wins... but only a few of them were cause to smile)

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#43 West Coast Oil
April 15 2009, 12:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ Death Metal Nightmare: My sentiments exactly. The coach has absolutely no bearing on player performance or development. He doesnt control the kind of system they play or even which goalie is in net. He cant be blamed for the team being outshot in 53 games. Not for failed on ice matchups. Not for a lack of identity or leadership. It certainly isnt his job to motivate players. The fact that he already admitted that he couldnt find a system that worked is just the Hero inside of him getting ready to sacrifice himself for the good of the team. He obviously knew what would work but the players were too inept to perform. Simpletons, all of them.

I disagree on the first point. The coach has all the responsibility in player deveopment. Coaches are meant to be teachers and strategists it is their responsibility to teach young players an NHL level of play and commitment and to get the best out of them. Good coaches know how to work with different levels and types of players and how to groom and teach them to be successful at the level they are playing. MacT is great with working with veteran players and the gritty types of indiviuals but seems to struggle with skilled or non gritty players. With the new NHL salary cap era teams are depending more on younger players and I think this is why AHL coaches are having such success at the NHL level as they are familiar with how to motivate and work with players who come from junior to the professional level. In the past, coaches like MacT had the luxury of having the AHL coaches groom the kids for a good time period so when they reached the NHL they were essentially men. this making their coaching job a bit easier because you did not have such a huge gap between juniors and pro league.

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#44 Chris
April 15 2009, 12:08PM
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Man Tambo sounds PISSED!

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#45 Archaeologuy
April 15 2009, 12:38PM
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West Coast Oil wrote:

I disagree on the first point.

I would hope that you disagreed with the entire thing. It wasnt meant to be serious in the least. More of a tongue in cheek rant meant to undermine Death Metal Nightmare's point.

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