MacT going nowhere

Jason Gregor
April 02 2009 09:38PM

mact

They say timing is everything, and the timing for Darryl Katz to declare his coach is safe is very puzzling.

Prior to the Oilers game tonight against San Jose, Katz sent a text to the pre-game host on Oilers radio, Bob Stauffer, that said basically “MacTavish is going nowhere.”

Not earth shattering news to anyone that the owner has the back of his coach, but why he felt the need to say it publicly is perplexing.

The pulse-o-meter in the OilersNation reads that the fan’s anger, disappointment and frustration are at an all-time high. The Oilers are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, all with MacTavish behind the bench. They are coming off another typical loss, which included a 15-minute lapse that cost them the game, not to mention an illegal stick call that backfired in MacTavish’s face.

Yesterday, MacTavish stated that even he would understand if his job security was wavering.

“I’ve been here for a number of years and I’ve had terrific support from virtually everybody and if I’ve got less now than before, it’s a hazard of the profession. You have fixed time to deliver the goods. I’m not forecasting anything, but you’re always evaluated on how many games you win. We’ve got ourselves in a position where we should be better.”

Did Katz send out the message because he wanted to protect his coach? Was there a need with five games to go in another disappointing season to create more friction between the team and their fans?

The team is underachieving, despite a high payroll and almost no financial flexibility in the future. Season number one as the new owner has not gone the way Katz or anyone in the Oiler organization hoped it would.

His text message just fuels the fire that new GM, Steve Tambellini, doesn’t have much say in how the organization is run. And there is no evidence that shows Tambellini has the ability to be a true GM under this regime.

Or maybe Katz just gave his coach the proverbial kiss of death. He wouldn’t be the first owner or GM to come out and proclaim the coach’s job was save, only to give him a pink slip a month later.

I’ve stated for months that MacTavish won’t be fired, but that he would resign when he felt he wasn’t benefiting the team. After the loss to the Ducks, you got the feeling that MacTavish was begining to wonder if his departure behind the bench might be best for the team.

If the coach has the slightest tinge of doubt, why wouldn’t the owner? If Katz doesn’t realize his team needs changes on and off the ice this summer, you wonder if the fans frustration starts to appear in the form of empty seats next season.

The Oilers haven’t been able to realize what time to show up on many nights and today their owner followed suite with some bad timing of his own.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 albundy
April 02 2009, 09:51PM
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I have no concern with MacT staying as coach. Several smart hockey people think MacT is a strong coach. Jason, as you said, it appears Tambo is a puppet in this little play and has no say. Jason, do you think the axe will fall then on KLOWE for his terrible decisions on people and contracts? Thanks for your great work.

Oil losing 2-1 but that is o.k., seats are full, Oil sweaters are selling, life is real good for the owner$$$$

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#2 Sandra
April 02 2009, 09:53PM
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Maybe a promotion to President of Oiler traditions

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#3 Sandra
April 02 2009, 09:55PM
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Oilers played well Damn it

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#4 Mr P
April 02 2009, 10:03PM
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I think Mac T could be a good coach. Just not here. Somewhere with veterans.

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#5 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:04PM
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There is no reseccion in pharmacies, but maybe the fans can't buy the jersey or that 5.00 pop for thier child. Life's still good in that circle

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#6 Mr P
April 02 2009, 10:05PM
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If the Oil could have the effort they had tonight more often the fan base wouldn't be so bi-polar. We don't mind them losing a close game like this as long as we felt they put in enough effort. Where was this effort against Minny, Phoenix, Ottawa etc.?

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#7 Sick and tired
April 02 2009, 10:06PM
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I can promise if MacT is still here next year, I will no longer be a season seat holder.

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#8 albundy
April 02 2009, 10:08PM
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Sandra, I have read your comments for a long time now. What do you think the Oilers will say after the game tonight.

Life is good for the owner of the Oilers, seats are full, sweaters are selling,$$$$$ are rolling in.

Life is grand

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#9 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:10PM
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I can see Lowe behind Katz doing this

Hey, I’m not an offensive defencemen or a forward I don’t score goals, rush the puck or have any hockey records. and I don’t like Burke, Ryan or Carlyle, but i’m sure they are mourons. I have the boys club not a coaching staff. I speak english and french, not American and I call it Oilers Hockey not Trap I have a tatoo on my back I believe in defence not offence, Horcoff and not Getzlaf The Oil drop is a truly proud and noble symbol of hockey Fans opinions don’t matter thier just coach potato’s It is pronounced Horcoff not Horcov. Edmonton is the second largest hockey bed, the first “oilersnation” of hockey and the best part of the NHL MY NAME IS KEVIN AND I AM THE G.M.

hxxp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRI-A3vakVg

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#10 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:12PM
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I think a lot of tickets will be giving up

Press Confernce on OIlers site by Lowe

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#11 albundy
April 02 2009, 10:12PM
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Hey that is too funny. Your hot tonight.

Do you think that now that Mact is staying, Tambo is a puppet, what will happen with KLOWE>

Do you think KLOWE might be jealous that Fred Stauffer has direct text contact with the owner?

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#12 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:14PM
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hxxp://oilers.nhl.com/ LIVE now after MacT

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#13 GoGo
April 02 2009, 10:14PM
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It's all about going green -- the ice next year will made from the tears of this year's fans -- and so on.

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#14 Smokin' Ray - NNC
April 02 2009, 10:15PM
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WTF?!? I don't know what is going on anymore. Katz hasn't said a word since the Hossa episode, and now this? *scratches head*

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#15 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:15PM
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Cofedence in MacT's Voice

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#16 yo
April 02 2009, 10:19PM
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Hmm... MacT Going Nowhere...You can say that again. If he stays in place as coach not only is MacT not going anywhere then neither is the team. Apparently Katz' as owner means we have bee damned to put up with these 1980's old boy cheeseheads.

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#17 Mr P
April 02 2009, 10:20PM
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Katz finds it odd people think MacT is getting fired during a plyoff run? Ther're out Katz. OUT!

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#18 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:24PM
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What did lowe mean off line in french

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#19 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:28PM
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Stauufer and Tencer are in trouble

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#20 David S
April 02 2009, 10:31PM
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Man. Lowe looked like he just got totally reamed out by Katz (the professional terminology being he that his call to Lowe was "passionate"). Somethings up. I wonder if Katz just fired Lowe?

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#21 RP
April 02 2009, 10:32PM
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4 goal posts...they had them beat and they did outplay a much better team so Mac T did his job tonight. That said there is no emotion left in the man behind the bench. I want to see half the emotion that the owner and new GM show.

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#22 RyanD
April 02 2009, 10:34PM
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That presser was the biggest waste of time. I honestly can't believe what was said.

The silver lining to this season was that we could potentially get a new coach, a new direction, for the team heading into next season.

That silver lining just turned into a line of vomit.

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#23 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:35PM
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So much for being a hands off owner

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#24 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:35PM
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I really hope it's the kiss of death, but if he's going and saying that and it's true than I guess Tambo is a puppet.

If 3 straight misses is enough to keep your job... bad.

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#25 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 10:36PM
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Kevin Lowe steadfastly refused to give MacTavish a vote of confidence; both Rishaug and Barnes tried to ask but he dodged both questions.

I can't help feeling that MacTavish is done this off-season, no matter what Katz is stating publicly right now. That press conference was the biggest confirmation of that feeling that I've had.

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#26 Dennis
April 02 2009, 10:38PM
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What a gong show that PC was.

We'll see if I'm right about the MSM over the next couple of days.

Katz wants to control the message - that's his right but I've been saying the Oil brass have wanted to do this all along - and then Lowe walks in to say how disappointed they are in what the fans are discussing.

Shut and like it, boyos?

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#27 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:40PM
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MacT is done as "coach" but he will stay on

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#28 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 10:41PM
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Dennis wrote:

We’ll see if I’m right about the MSM over the next couple of days.

The questions from Rishaug and Barnes were both positive signs that they aren't going to roll over just because Katz would prefer it if they did.

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#29 Bobo
April 02 2009, 10:41PM
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Hopefully Bob is getting fired. Then we can get Total Sports back...God I miss that show

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#30 Dennis
April 02 2009, 10:45PM
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JW: True enough but let's see if they spill some ink over the org's idea to dictate what's reported.

Just today, for instance, I saw Macinnion talk about fans being delusion that the 80's glory days will return.

Well, who constantly pimps that? It wouldn't be the org, would it?

I couldn't believe it.

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#31 albundy
April 02 2009, 10:46PM
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If Bob has a direct text line to Katz I don't think he is getting fired. Fred(BoB) is Katz's puppet and Katz can control Bob so Bob ain't going anywhere.

I suspect Lowe is pissed cause he was left out of the loop. When was the last time Lowe said anything. I suspect Katz expected Lowe to deal with the media and the MacT issue and when he didn't Katz did it. I suspect Lowe aint' feeling too good right now. Who wants to go wipe his tears away?

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#32 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 10:47PM
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@ Dennis:

Well, given that Terry Jones saw those two questions and decided to trot out 'so will Katz talk to us at the end of the year' as the final English question, it's a fair bit that whatever critical thought comes out won't be on the pages of the Edmonton Sun.

Not that that would be particularly surprising.

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#33 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:47PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Kevin Lowe steadfastly refused to give MacTavish a vote of confidence; both Rishaug and Barnes tried to ask but he dodged both questions. I can’t help feeling that MacTavish is done this off-season, no matter what Katz is stating publicly right now. That press conference was the biggest confirmation of that feeling that I’ve had.

I hope you know whatchu talkin bout Willis.

Didn't see the presser though, anyone with a link?

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#34 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 10:49PM
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@ Colin-FMNF:

I don't think it's up yet, but here are the basic summaries of MacTavish's comments and Lowe's (from memory, paraphrasing/point-form):

MacTavish:

'I'm not going to discuss my future, it's taken on a life of it's own and I don't want to contribute to my own disparagement any more. I'm going to discuss the game that just happened, I think that's fair.'

Lowe:

-Daryl Katz is upset that MacTavish's future is being discussed. -Daryl Katz is passionate about the game. -Kevin Lowe refuses to answer any question about Craig MacTavish's future becuase Daryl Katz doesn't want it discussed.

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#35 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:51PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Dennis: Well, given that Terry Jones saw those two questions and decided to trot out ’so will Katz talk to us at the end of the year’ as the final English question, it’s a fair bit that whatever critical thought comes out won’t be on the pages of the Edmonton Sun. Not that that would be particularly surprising.

Terry Jones is an idiot. so no surprise there, never been impressed with his work.

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#36 Rob
April 02 2009, 10:51PM
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A really disheartening message from the owner. That means this Oiler nightmare is going to continue. MacT sucks. He may be knowledgeable in some sort of technical coaching areas but he can't get the team to play for him.

Shooting his players down in the press has not endeared him to the players. Favouritism to certain do-nothing players like Moreau and Horcoff has split the team possibly. This sucks. I'm really going to have to give some thought to my support of the Oil since day 1 of their history. This management group has created a horrific mess and I can't support that. This disaster is man-made.

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#37 Colin-FMNF
April 02 2009, 10:54PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Thanks. Sounds like we'll be in for more excuses at the end of the year. I would hope they aren't dumb enough to try and sell it as "rebuilding" again; given the statements at the start of the year that would be a stretch. Not that most of the MSM would call them on it anyway.

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#38 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:56PM
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Lowe did look worried

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#39 Sandra
April 02 2009, 10:58PM
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"Fred" also sounds worried

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#40 deepoil
April 02 2009, 10:59PM
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albundy wrote:

Hey that is too funny. Your hot tonight. Do you think that now that Mact is staying, Tambo is a puppet, what will happen with KLOWE> Do you think KLOWE might be jealous that Fred Stauffer has direct text contact with the owner?

Katz texted Bob and then twittered all other personnel. He then went on facebook and myspace to announce the season ticket increase.

The dark knight has laryngitis and could not provide an audio interview....

An email will be sent out in the offseason inviting all ticket holders to a focus group on who to draft this summer.....

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#41 Victoria
April 02 2009, 11:00PM
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I think my disappointment with the management and ownership is starting to eclipse my disappointment with the team itself.

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#42 swany
April 02 2009, 11:01PM
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Katz's comments mean nothing, every media guy every fan everybody nows that Mact will resign not get fired. So Katz saying Mact isn't going anywhere is true in his eyes it doesn't mean that Mact still won't resign. Lets say after the season is over they sit down and Mact says I'm done do you really think Katz is going to beg him to stay, Mact is a very good coach but I think he is as done as the season. And by the way what are we all going to bitch about next year when he have a new coach and we still got the same shit?

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#43 Dennis
April 02 2009, 11:01PM
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I don't know if Lowe was worried, rotted about being out of the playoffs again or just had a massive case of buyer's remorse at his new role.

Once you get past the disappointment of missing out of the playoffs, one of the guilty pleasures is waiting for Lowe to emerge from his bunker and list the reasons why April at Rexall is more suited for Nickelback concerts than it is playoff hockey.

I was thinking Tambellini would make those announcements this year but he's pretty much a managerial eunich given who took the podium tonight.

Not that anyone saw that coming, BTW.

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#44 Zamboni Driver
April 02 2009, 11:01PM
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It's actually brilliant marketing. "stop talking about this you hear? I mean it. I really do. We need to stop this say our owner. Who Is alive and goes to games driving with his wife." (presumably in a car that shoots flames out the back and has a big bat on the hood.)

On an entirely unrelated note....

The F-ing team F-ing lost at home AGAIN.

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#45 albundy
April 02 2009, 11:02PM
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If Katz, as owner has to talk to the media, I mean text the media, because the President doesn't want to, what does that mean?

Klowe is in deep trouble, not only did he not handle contracts and players well as a GM and left Tambo with no cap room and Penner and Horcoff that no one will want, Klowe doesn't want to talk to the media and deal with the issues of the team. Katz can't be happy with Klowe

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#46 David S
April 02 2009, 11:02PM
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Sandra wrote:

Lowe did look worried

I thought he looked like Katz tore a strip off of him. Very strange. Lowe could barely put three sentences together coherently. Either he was furious at being dressed down by Katz or embarrassed.

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#47 D-Mo
April 02 2009, 11:11PM
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This is fun! It takes my mind off the embarrassment that is my hockey team.

MacT looked disappointed to hear that he is not going anywhere.

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#48 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 11:12PM
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albundy wrote:

If Katz, as owner has to talk to the media, I mean text the media, because the President doesn’t want to, what does that mean?

I know you're working off the text, but given that Kevin Lowe just went out there to spout the Gosple of Katz I think you're a little off in your interpretation.

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#49 oilersseasonticketholdersince99
April 02 2009, 11:13PM
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Thats great!!! why did Katz wait until now to speak? We have not heard from him since summer, then he waits till after the season seat renewals and drops this on our lap.I thought that Mac T would be gone after this year,either they fire him or he resigns,where do K lowe and Tambalini fit in all this? Does Tambalini report to Lowe and Lowe report to Katz,so they have nice titles but cannot make any decisions until Katz says so? I hope that this is not the case if it is they should all resign and let Katz be President,GM and coach because thats what it looks like what is happening.

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#50 Jonathan Willis
April 02 2009, 11:16PM
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D-Mo wrote:

MacT looked disappointed to hear that he is not going anywhere.

MacTavish looks just like a man who has been subject to unrelenting criticism all year and just saw his playoff hopes disappear should look - defeated.

This isn't aimed at you specifically, but while much of the criticism levelled at MacTavish has been valid, much of it has been incredibly personal and unwarranted. He cares - anyone who watches him can see that he cares.

Sure, sending out O'Sullivan, Gagner, Nilson, Souray, Grebeshkov and Gilbert as the six players in the last minute of the season that mattered was stupid (as were a bunch of other moves) but his heart's in the right place.

I like MacT, I really do. It's a shame that his performance means he shouldn't continue as coach.

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