Losing the Room

MacT and the team

The Edmonton Oilers fired Springfield Falcons head coach Jeff Truitt back in early February. The Falcons have struggled mightily this season and Truitt’s replacement, Rob Daum, has made some gains but has been unable to turn the team around.

Here’s what the players in Springfield had to say about Truitt being fired:

“I personally didn’t think he deserved to be fired — he was a great coach — he didn’t make the mistakes out there, we did. We let him down, along with ourselves and I think that he would want us to go out and play hard and do as well as we can for the rest of the season.”

– Springfield Falcons captain Tim Sestito

“We let [Truitt] down and he took the fall for it.”

– Springfield Falcons forward Ryan Stone

“It’s still a shock.”

– Springfield Falcons forward Rob Schremp

“Truitt was well-liked by his players, coaching staff, the media and the team’s staff. But in a results-oriented business, the Falcons weren’t producing.”

– Springfield reporter Frank Sypek

“ [Ryan] O’Marra described Truitt as a player’s coach and made it clear that even though the team has struggled mightily for the last couple of months, there was no dissention and that the coach had not lost the room.”

– Edmonton reporter Guy Flaming

“I asked Reddox if it was fair to say that Truitt was indeed liked by everyone and that he felt the Falcons coach was ‘a player’s coach’. Reddox echoed what O’Marra had told me in that Truitt had the respect of all of the players and that the team was taking responsibility for the poor play upon themselves rather than looking to pass blame to the coaches.”

Where am I going with this? There’s a popular notion that Craig MacTavish has “lost the room” in Edmonton; that players are tuning him out and aren’t willing to try for him.

I don’t spend time in that dressing room, but I haven’t read anything from the reporters who do to indicate that this theory is at all accurate. There’s the odd quote that is mildly critical of MacTavish (Hemsky’s quote yesterday being a good example), but no frequent grumbling.

When asked why they fell MacTavish has lost the room, the common answer I get from proponents of this theory is “look at their record this season” or “do you think they’re playing to potential?”

This is my response. The Falcons have been miserable this season; far worse than the Oilers. Players like Stone, Schremp, O’Marra and Sestito haven’t exactly had banner years, yet they praised the coach despite his firing. In short: a team’s record does not necessarily show how much they like or respect their coach.

  • Hippy

    @ baggedmilk:

    we had a cup run?

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    please go on about “fans”, I’d like to know what it takes to be a real fan.

    stop scapegoating the Oiler who shows up every practice to work and every game to win. That'd be a good start.

  • Hippy

    Re: Mac-T debate
    I think that if the Oilers dont make it past the second round MacT will quit. He might quit even if they make the conference finals (BTW I dont think this will happen). I really would be shocked if he is back next year, so the Mact haters just need to calm down and wait for the inevitable sword to fall. MacTezzy is a pretty good coach but the oilers need some fresh ideas.
    On a side note, I guarantee everyone will miss his press conferences.

  • Hippy

    Deans wrote:

    Re: Mac-T debate
    I think that if the Oilers dont make it past the second round MacT will quit. He might quit even if they make the conference finals (BTW I dont think this will happen). I really would be shocked if he is back next year, so the Mact haters just need to calm down and wait for the inevitable sword to fall. MacTezzy is a pretty good coach but the oilers need some fresh ideas.
    On a side note, I guarantee everyone will miss his press conferences.

    Very true.

  • Hippy

    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    I wonder how many people will sit back and reflect on what the word ‘reactionary’ means.

    Reactionary (also reactionist) referrs to any movement or ideology that opposes change or progress…

    *Irony DEFINED*

  • Hippy

    @ Archaeologuy:

    So your argument, then (just to be sure I have it right), is that after 8 years you have decided that no one else could possibly be worse. I just want to get you on record now, so that we can talk about this again next November.

    And how's this for lousy; MacT is a lifetime .541 behind the bench during 8 regular seasons and a .567 lifetime in the post season. He even actually had a losing season once, where he posted a .433 in 06-07 (eleven roster players injured at the same time is no excuse). Seven seasons where he won and finished as high as .590; that has 'Fire Me' written all over it. Now that I reflect on it, I can see why we'd want to bring in Sean Avery to coach next year ahead of this MacTavish clown.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:

    I was thinking more along the lines of:

    relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction

    Still, after verifying your definition . . .

    [makes wry face, offers grudging hat tip]

    I salute your wit, if not your ideas.

  • Hippy

    Ender the Dragon wrote:

    @ Archaeologuy:
    So your argument, then (just to be sure I have it right), is that after 8 years you have decided that no one else could possibly be worse. I just want to get you on record now, so that we can talk about this again next November.
    And how’s this for lousy; MacT is a lifetime .541 behind the bench during 8 regular seasons and a .567 lifetime in the post season. He even actually had a losing season once, where he posted a .433 in 06-07 (eleven roster players injured at the same time is no excuse). Seven seasons where he won and finished as high as .590; that has ‘Fire Me’ written all over it. Now that I reflect on it, I can see why we’d want to bring in Sean Avery to coach next year ahead of this MacTavish clown.

    Nice.

  • Hippy

    And of course Ender is right that whoever is tapped to replace MacTavish needs to be suitably qualified.

    Just as one wildly improbable example, if Kelly Buchburger replaces him my head may explode.

  • Hippy

    King Mob wrote:

    stop scapegoating the Oiler who shows up every practice to work and every game to win. That’d be a good start.

    What are you talking about?

    @ Ender the Dragon:
    ~Wow, youre logic is so crisp and undeniable~. You cant possibly expect me to look at missing the playoffs 4 of 8 years and say he did well? I dont care what his winning percentage is, show me results. What is his average placement in the West? His winning percentage is completely meaningless.

    Also, MacT has won 298 games in 646 games for a 0.461 winning average, not 0.541.

  • Hippy

    If you never have reason to complain about your boss, he's probably not doing a very good job.

    I take that view, especially in minor league hockey.

    As such, I find it suspicious when all the players are on board with the coach, despite an atrocious lack of success for their team or themselves personally as players.

  • Hippy

    This whole discussion is moot.

    The writing is on the wall. MacTavish will be gone at the end of the season.

    Whether he has the room or not you know that his days are numbered and the management are letting him mercifully save face and finish the season.

    Pick on MacT all you want. Kick him while him and the team are down because you only have a few more weeks to do it.

    We need a new poll on the front page of ON. Bucky or Semenko as new head coach?

  • Hippy

    Abdullah the Butcher wrote:

    We need a new poll on the front page of ON. Bucky or Semenko as new head coach?

    And the sad truth is that it likely will be between those two as our next coach.

  • Hippy

    Jon K wrote:

    As such, I find it suspicious when all the players are on board with the coach, despite an atrocious lack of success for their team or themselves personally as players.

    Agreed…I've seen it too many times over the years where a coach gets canned after his team woefully underperforms, and his former players, nearly without exception, throw flowers on his grave and wax poetic about how this wasn't his fault.

    I wonder what they'd say about Truitt if they were talking to somebody who wasn't part of the media.

    In other words, don't expect 100% honesty from a player if his quotes have a chance of coming back to bite him on the keister, especially when he's in a vulnerable position like the minor leagues and his chances of an NHL career are on the front burner of his mind.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan – Whether the Oilers like the coach or not, his results for the past 8 seasons are an issue. It's almost a non-factor whether they like him or not. People argue ad nauseum on why his judgements are suspect. MacT is not showing any markedly improved results with this team. He has had umpteen jillion players come through Edmonton and are you suggesting they all were pylons. Are you suggesting coaching is not an issue? I have yet to hear any player not take the blame for any coaches firing in any sport. Empty words.

    My 1985 Hyundai sucked. It doesn't matter to me how smart the engineer was who designed it. Results are everything. MacT's popularity with the players is not the issue but performance sure is. KLowe is the only reason he has been allowed to continue to founder here as we reach for our wallets.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I don't know how many times this has been mentioned (I've said to Gregor many times)….

    Do you really think that players are going to say anything negative about their coach while he is still in charge?

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    Do you really think that players are going to say anything negative about their coach while he is still in charge?

    Not really, but I think the burden of proof lies on the guys advancing a theory, not the folks debunking it. In other words, while a lack of evidence is not an evidence of lack, it isn't evidence of anything else either.

  • Hippy

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