MacT and the future of the Oilers

backtothefuture

As the Oilers signed sticks, pictures, jerseys and said goodbye after another disappointing season, all of the buzz around the locker room was whether Craig MacTavish would resign or not.

I’ve said it all season that if they missed the playoffs he would step aside, and it seems that announcement will be made official later this week.

MacTavish opened his press conference saying he wouldn’t answer any question regarding his future. He will speak with Steve Tambellini tomorrow and Wednesday, but MacTavish did say that his future plans will be made public later this week.

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The biggest statement, and the one that confirms he will step aside in my opinion, was when he stated, “The thing most disappointing for me was that our culture took a hit; in terms of our work ethic, our selflessness and the universal commitment that we had here for so many years. There were a lot of nights as a coach I had to ask for more and sometimes the tank was pretty empty. It was difficult year for sure.”

That sounds like a coach who is wondering whether he can get the most out of his players. Whether you like or hate MacTavish, you can’t question his commitment to the team. When he leaves later this week, it will be because he feels that this group of players and him just don’t gel.

MacTavish has to shoulder some of the blame as well.

He didn’t throw any players under the bus. When asked about Penner, he said that he had already commented enough on Dustin this season and didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

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Regarding Nilsson, he said he made strides at times, but once again fought inconsistency. Not really what I would call throwing players under the bus. I think a more direct message was when Penner, Nilsson and Brodziak were in the pressbox on Saturday. A final message or possible parting shot from the coach came in that move more than what he said today.

Tambellini’s in charge

While the optics make it fair to question how much control Steve Tambellini has, I was told today that he is the boss.

Does Tambellini ask Kevin Lowe for his opinion on certain matters? Yes. Does Lowe go to Tambellini with suggestions? No.

The plan, as I was told today, was to bring in Tambellini and let him assess the team for the year. It is clear now, that this team was not as good as the organization thought they were and now it is up to Tambellini to start the renovations.

Tambellini will put his fingerprints on this team ranging from the coaching, to veterans moving out and which youngsters will be coming in. It would be unrealistic to expect massive trades and a complete purging of the team, but don’t be surprised to see at least one, if not two, significant player moves over the summer.

Oilers at the worlds

The golf season will be delayed a few more weeks for certain members of the Oilers. Tom Gilbert and Patrick O’Sullivan will suit up for the USA at the worlds. Denis Grebeshkov will play for Russia, Ales Hemsky and Ales Kotalik will play for the Czech Republic and Dwayne Roloson has confirmed he will wear the maple leaf, with Shawn Horcoff committed to playing as well. Robert Nilsson hasn’t been asked yet and he hinted he has some injuries, so even if a call comes, which is doubtful, he won’t be playing for Sweden.

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Stanley Cup and Regular Season tidbits

The Columbus Blue Jackets will finally play in a playoff game when they battle the Red Wings in round one. Will the Steve Mason v. Chris Osgood matchup allow the Jackets to pull off the major upset?

Only one team has ever won the Stanley Cup the first year they made the playoffs. The Leafs did it back in 1918. The Florida Panthers came close in 1996 when the lost in the Finals. The Habs (1918) the Bruins (1927) and the Blues (1968) are the other teams that lost the final the first year they made the playoffs.

Sixteen teams lost in the first round. Anaheim, San Jose (who beat Detroit in 1994), Washington, Phoenix, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Dallas all won one round. The Wild won two rounds in 2003.

Don’t pick the Jackets to win the Cup, but 14 of the previous 29 teams have won at least one series during their first trip to the dance.

  • Claude Lemieux will try to become only the second player to win a Cup with four different teams. Jack Marshall is the other.
  • Olli Jokinen will play in his first playoff game after 799 regular season games.
  • The last time the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, they finished the season with 119 points. They had 116 this year, their highest total since 1972.

  • You know what I just noticed? The standings scoreboard says we have 10 games to play yet. So can we still make the playoffs before tomorrow?

    *bingofuel whispers something about technical difficulties with website and single handedly crushes dreams and hopes*

  • I rarely whisper, Towel Boy. Quite often, I'm actually shouting.

    But right you are. These chubby little sausage-fingers of mine apparently couldn't find the "3" key when I was inputting the losses. please continue mourning the loss of a playoff spot.

  • Ogden Brother

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    RossCreek wrote:
    @ Gregor
    Tom Gilbert, Kyle Brodziak & a 2nd round pick for Simon Gagne
    Edmonton makes that deal in a heartbeat. The Flyers scoff and say try again.
    YOu picked the right team though. The Flyers have six forwards making $4.2 million or more a year, and they need a puck moving D-man.
    They need to shed salary and Gilbert and Brodziak combined won’t save them much. I think the Flyers will try to move Briere to anyone that will take him.Sick of bitchy Oilers fans wrote:
    Jason: I have a question for you. Do you think that part of the reason that Edmonton has challenges attracting free agents has anything to do with the fact that fans get all over the players after one or two bad games? The list of players that the fans have run out of town is fairly lengthy.
    Not at all. I think the negative fans are the vocal minority. Games are sold out, merchandise at places like the Sports Closet sell quickly.
    The reason that players haven’t signed here lately is more about the lack of success than anything else. Sure travel is an annoyance, but Detroit travels just as much, if not more than the Oilers, yet players sign there.
    Win and people might be enticed to come here. The Oilers did sign Souray. Some would argue they overpaid, but I don’t think anyone thought he wasn’t worth his contract this year.
    A losing atmosphere is much more of a problem than negative fans. Win in this city and the players are considered Gods by most fans. They would love it.

    I'm sure winning doesn't hurt, but based on past player movements, it's far from top of their list.

    Malone went from Pits (SCF) to TB (1st over all pick)

    Brier went from Buff (presidents trophy) to Philly (last overall)

    Drury went from Buff (presidents trophy) to NYR (15th overall)

    Gomez went from NJ (2nd in the conference to NYR (15th overall)

    Winning wieghts in, but $/taxes/weather/travel/location/media and yes, psycho fans all wieght in as well.

  • Ogden Brother

    @ Mark:

    Bingo, the coach should get his share of the flack. But to think this team was a slam dunk playoff team based on the roster is the hight of homerism.

  • Rob

    @ Mark:

    I didn't mean to suggest that the players don't have to take some of the blame, they do absolutely. It just seems like in the past Lowe and Mact don't take any blame what-so-ever. It's time for this whole organization to take a hard look at itself and make the correct changes. That said, I'll bet anyone right now that Mact will get another crack at this team and no one is safe from trades this summer (Horc is for obvious reasons but I dont think anyone else is).

  • rindog wrote:

    And yet we finished with the 2nd least amount of points in MacT’s tenure??
    Why is management giving him the option of quitting?
    I know it’s semantics, but is there any value in management sending a message? It seemed okay for MacT to send messages??

    MacT sent messages to try and spark players to be better. And it worked a few times, so not a bad plan.

    I don't see what message it would send other than, "Don't worry players you were all good, the reason we lost is because of the coach."

    If a girl broke up with you. Would you want her to tell you she is breaking up because she cheated on you, or just break up with you?

    Adding insult to injury is never a good move.

  • Ogden Brother wrote:

    Malone went from Pits (SCF) to TB (1st over all pick)
    Brier went from Buff (presidents trophy) to Philly (last overall)
    Drury went from Buff (presidents trophy) to NYR (15th overall)
    Gomez went from NJ (2nd in the conference to NYR (15th overall)

    And how many of those guys are worth their contract? Only Malone. Do you think Drury and Gomez have been seven million dollar players? Not even close.

    I've always said that signing the big ticket UFA hinders a team as much as it helps it. Sure Hossa has worked out, but three of those four you mentioned did not.

    Signing a UFA for a big price is almost as risky as a 10-25 first round draft pick. Some work out, and just as many if not more never live up to the expectations.

  • Ogden Brother

    @ Jason Gregor:

    ?

    I think we are different waivelengths here… I agree that UFA's rarely workout, I was relieved that Hossa turned down the offer.

    The point I was discussing was: Your claim that the winning tradition is what attracts players, their is ample evidence that players will leave winners for losers, ie a winning orginization is no guarantee that you will attract players.

  • topshelf

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    their is ample evidence that players will leave winners for losers, ie a winning orginization is no guarantee that you will attract players.

    Providing four names is hardly ample evidence.

  • Archaeologuy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    If a girl broke up with you. Would you want her to tell you she is breaking up because she cheated on you, or just break up with you?

    good point, but if you were in a long term relationship with somebody you werent interested in AND were already looking for a new partner, would you wait around for your current girlfriend to move out of the house on her own? Would she get the hint after you brought the new chick over for dinner? Awkward.

  • Cam

    What about Ted Nolan? When he had a decent team (Buffalo) he did very well, but then ten years later he surfaced with the islanders, who are an even more sorry lot than the oilers… I am not sure what Snow was trying to do there, but you can't blame Nolan for those issues…

  • RossCreek

    @ Jason Gregor:
    Any chance Randy Carlyle or Alain Vigneault lose their job if their clubs suffer 1st round losses? Would either be of interest to the Oil? (I'd think so)

    Have you picked the man you'd like to see behind the bench yet, or are you waiting for MacT's decision?

  • RossCreek

    Cam wrote:

    What about Ted Nolan? When he had a decent team (Buffalo) he did very well, but then ten years later he surfaced with the islanders, who are an even more sorry lot than the oilers… I am not sure what Snow was trying to do there, but you can’t blame Nolan for those issues…

    A…NO. Next.

  • Archaeologuy

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    I agree that UFA’s rarely workout, I was relieved that Hossa turned down the offer.

    Yeah, those 90+ point guys are over-rated, thank the hockey gods that we re-signed Horc for a Gagilion dollars over 300 years instead.

  • Ogden Brother

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    I agree that UFA’s rarely workout, I was relieved that Hossa turned down the offer.
    Yeah, those 90+ point guys are over-rated, thank the hockey gods that we re-signed Horc for a Gagilion dollars over 300 years instead.

    What was the offer? 9 years 9 million/year?

    Even on this years pace and next years $$ Horc would be producing at roughly the same $/point clip as Horc.

    As soon as Hossa dipped back into the 70 point range, you'd be complaining about his 9 for 9 as much as you do about Horcs 5.5 for 6.

  • Ogden Brother

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Archaeologuy wrote:
    Ogden Brother wrote:
    I agree that UFA’s rarely workout, I was relieved that Hossa turned down the offer.
    Yeah, those 90+ point guys are over-rated, thank the hockey gods that we re-signed Horc for a Gagilion dollars over 300 years instead.
    What was the offer? 9 years 9 million/year?
    Even on this years pace and next years $$ Horc would be producing at roughly the same $/point clip as Horc.
    As soon as Hossa dipped back into the 70 point range, you’d be complaining about his 9 for 9 as much as you do about Horcs 5.5 for 6.

    Meant to say "Hossa would would be producing at roughly the same point/$ clip as Horc"

  • David S

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    Yeah, those 90+ point guys are over-rated, thank the hockey gods that we re-signed Horc for a Gagilion dollars over 300 years instead.

    Haha! Noice!

  • David S

    Ogden Brother wrote:

    Meant to say “Hossa would would be producing at roughly the same point/$ clip as Horc”

    In what universe? Horcoff is barely qualified to wash Hossa's Lambo.

  • Ogden Brother

    @ David S:

    Really? Hossa had 71 points this year (79 on an 82 game clip)for 7.5 million

    Horc had 53 for 3.6…. even taking next years 5.5 hit and they are still comparable production for cap hit.

  • Ogden Brother

    topshelf wrote:

    Ogden Brother wrote:
    I think we’ve seen enough players leave here to know it’s not all about winning
    When were we winning here?

    80's

  • RossCreek

    I know everyone's upset with the length of the Horcoff contract. I' sure he's got a solid 4 years in him (no, maybe not worth 5.5, but thats another topic), and at that point in time, buying out Horcoff would cost the team slightly over $1 Million a year for 4 years. Not ideal, but not a complete catastrophe. Its the same sort of scenario for the latter years of Franzen's contract.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ Ogden Brother:
    Ok, to be fair Hossa didnt score 90 points this season. But he has been right around a point per game or higher for almost as long as MacT has been regularly missing the playoffs.
    Somehow I think I would be more forgiving of a 40 goal scorer than I would Horc and his 17 measly goals. Just my bias.

  • Ogden Brother

    RossCreek wrote:

    I know everyone’s upset with the length of the Horcoff contract. I’ sure he’s got a solid 4 years in him (no, maybe not worth 5.5, but thats another topic), and at that point in time, buying out Horcoff would cost the team slightly over $1 Million a year for 4 years. Not ideal, but not a complete catastrophe. Its the same sort of scenario for the latter years of Franzen’s contract.

    The real complaint we should have is not tacking on an extra 3 years at 1 million per