MACT: THE HAMMER AND THE EOOBC

Robin Brownlee
June 08 2013 06:18PM

Craig MacTavish is riding such a wave of popularity right now, the new GM of the Edmonton Oilers could probably declare himself a candidate for mayor and do well at the polls. So far, so good.

That said, with the firing of head coach Ralph Krueger reverberating around the city in the first significant move of his brief tenure, the tough calls for MacTavish, and boss man Kevin Lowe and owner Daryl Katz, for that matter, are still to come.

In moving Krueger, as I pondered here MacTavish might May 23 – albeit for a bigger name than Dallas Eakins – MacT has certainly started delivering on the bold moves he talked about when he took the job. MacTavish walking the walk after talking the talk isn't surprising to anybody who knows him.

It should be noted, or course, Krueger was an outsider without membership in the Edmonton Oilers Old Boys Club – the same EOOBC that brought MacT back into the fold last season. Krueger, like Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Steve Tambellini, all fired during this rebuild, wasn't a card-carrying member.

Fans stunned by having a GM who actually does something might think I'm quibbling about details because it can be argued that any change on a team that's been out of the playoffs for seven consecutive years is a good thing, but that's how the cards have fallen so far.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Now, what about those remaining with the organization who hold EOOBC cards? What happens with them? For starters, with assistant coaches Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger, who has taken on the invincibility of a cockroach and survived the firing of four head coaches – MacTavish, Quinn, Renney and, as of now, Krueger?

Much will depend on what Eakins decides after he's unveiled as new bench boss, but I can't imagine Eakins agreed to take the job here without being given the latitude to pick his staff. Will Smith and Buchberger be cut loose? Will they be retained? Will they be given a cushy place in the organization to fall? How much input will MacTavish, Lowe and Katz have in that?

If MacTavish intends to make good on turning this organization around, and we've got no reason to believe he's fibbing given what he's already said about Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky and what he did with Krueger, he'll have to cast a critical eye throughout the organization.

Will Smith and Buchberger get a pass? What about the pro scouting staff, where Morey Gare, another none EOOBC member, runs the show and Dave Semenko earns a pay cheque? Given the swings and misses with free agents in recent seasons, has the pro scouting staff been good enough?

I still wonder about another old Oiler, regardless of what has been said publicly. That would be veteran Ryan Smyth. We'll have to wait – likely not long – on all of the above, but for the first time in a long time it's going to be an interesting off-season. It already is.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#101 PeOiler
June 09 2013, 09:33AM
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@NewAgeSys

Is your space-bar missing?

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#102 madjam
June 09 2013, 09:37AM
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RETROSPECT : Good thing the OLD BOYS are back in charge with MacT.. Just think how much further along we might have been if they had elevated MacT. up to GM as I stated at the time they let him go ,instead of letting him go in first place ! MacT. does seems to have a bit of that Burkeian flare does he not ? Aye aye Captain , Hook is on the prowl .Now where's them hidden teasures i'm waiting to pull out ? Pure gold I tell yuh .

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#103 Dangilitis
June 09 2013, 10:01AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Especially if the highly hyped young tiger turns down your offer and chooses to sign with another team in your division.........................oh wait..............you were talking in generalities. And not about the Canucks ......my bad.

He was also an assistant coach at the NHL level. I am trying to be objective here, but I am guessing you were diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder as a child as well as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder with multiple learning disorders - you can book it...

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#104 Dangilitis
June 09 2013, 10:04AM
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Dangilitis wrote:

He was also an assistant coach at the NHL level. I am trying to be objective here, but I am guessing you were diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder as a child as well as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder with multiple learning disorders - you can book it...

Sorry, this was directed against DSF, clearly, with respect to his flip-flop - first saying that the Oilers couldn't land Eakins, then claiming that Eakins wouldn't do well because he didn't have any NHL assistant coaching experience (which he does have).

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#105 nunyour
June 09 2013, 10:26AM
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Great move Mact,don't stop now,your assistant coaches have a brutal record too,and your scouts,sorry not good enough,nothing personnel ,it's just business,and Lowe,o sorry getting carried away there.

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#106 Wäx Män Riley
June 09 2013, 11:09AM
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PeOiler wrote:

@NewAgeSys

Is your space-bar missing?

Maybe, could be missing more than his space bar...

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#107 TDSM31
June 09 2013, 01:20PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Mactavish is doing his job at the elite level we expected him to execute at,the decisions he is required to make require a tremendous level of business and hockey acumen projected via proper preparation and integrity driven accountability,these are the exact things Craig Mactavish is providing for us right now.

I am confident we will see a capable and prepared Head Coach retained by the Oilers soon,and that the man will be put in a position to suceed.

I appreciate as a fan the clarity of direction and high level of transparancy we are recieving,when a G.M clearly tells you his incoming Head Coach will have the latitude to bring his support staff with him,the buck stops there.The levels of accountability are clearly defined.The decisions will not be made by Mac-T,they will be rightfully made by the man who is going to be primarily accountable for that dynamic.

I cant wait to hear a Name so I can research the data and make some anticipatory analysis on the potential new influences we might experience here.At this point in time the Name really doesnt matter to me,I trust Mac-T 100%.I know he is looking for the right ingredient,that is enough for me.

Hahaha....good one Gary Busey!!

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#108 Time Travelling Sean
June 09 2013, 01:23PM
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How does Steve Smith and Buchy both survive FOUR NHL coaches? That's ridiculous. Also, isn't it the coaches job to look for assistants? Not the GM's?

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#109 NewAgeSys
June 09 2013, 01:26PM
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TDSM31 wrote:

Hahaha....good one Gary Busey!!

Glad you liked it Howie Meeker.

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#110 NewAgeSys
June 09 2013, 01:39PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

Maybe, could be missing more than his space bar...

The only thing I am missing is the Oiler Glory Days, and it looks like those are on their way back into town as we speak.

Space-bar,ha ha ha it sounds like you are snacking on Space-bars right now,ha haha. I have suspected as much reading some of your posts,looks like the two of you might have the same connection,ha ha ha. I hope you have a prescription for those puppies,ha ha,this explains a lot.

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#111 Cowbell_Feva
June 09 2013, 03:36PM
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I have always like MacT...his time was up as coach and was glad to see Quinn and Renney brought in. Not that they coached the Oilers into the playoffs or anything, but a fresh face was needed (by the way -in defense of those coaches, its hard to paint a picasso with dog sh*t).

I am not so sure everyone in Oilerville should be jumping up and down, however. He sacked a coach. This has happened quite frequently around here lately, with no changes to on-ice product. What keeps me from feeling a sense of change, is the fact that Kevin Lowe is still sitting atop the throne. Fire all the coaches and GM's you would like, the Puppet Master is still the same guy who traded Pronger, signed Horc's to this assinine contract, same with Moreau's and Pisani's, and basically said if you weren't a ticket paying customer, that he didn't care what you thought. (As if it was an honor to pay out the nose to watch HIS manifestation of poor management live and in person.)

I agree whole-heartedly that Hemmer and Horc's time here is up. But given the fact these guys are on the downward side of their careers, and both carry horrible contracts, any potential return for them will be weak. After the draft if the Oilers are an improved team, I may feel differently, but with KLowe watching over, I'm not holding my breath.

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#112 bazmagoo
June 09 2013, 06:15PM
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@Cowbell_Feva

Personally I have zero faith MacT can right the ship. Have no idea why he would go on the radio and state they are shipping Hemsky and Horcoff, then realize what he's done and claim the Oilers expect to get something for them as they are valuable players.

They are not valuable players, both are coming off poor seasons and have outrageous contracts. Any value they may or may not have had was eliminated the moment he opened his big mouth on the radio.

Just another classis example of the Klowe/MacT clown show that could go on for a few more years. I hope they prove me wrong, but have little faith.

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