I’m not the least bit surprised Craig MacTavish had found his way back to the Edmonton Oilers, even if it’s as senior vice-president of hockey operations instead of behind the bench as coach, his first calling.
Given his long service here as a player and coach and his relationship with president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and owner Daryl Katz, you could see it coming – Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal certainly did, dropping a not-so-subtle note that he’d read the tea leaves in Sunday’s edition of Hockey World as he nailed the move bang-on.
My first thought with the news today – aside from wondering if MacT will be back in Kelowna to pick up the tab for our lunch date this week – is what it means to the Oilers coaching situation and Steve Tambellini’s search for a replacement for Tom Renney.
With MacTavish back in the organizational fold, and essentially insurance as a coach, Tambellini now has a built-in Plan B regardless of who he hires as the next bench boss. That leads me to conclude, rightly or wrongly, that associate coach Ralph Krueger might have jumped to the front of the line as the leading candidate for the position.
It also follows, as least for me, that Tambellini might be a bit more bold when it comes to taking a chance on his hiring – might he now ask the Tampa Bay Lightning to talk to Norfolk coach Jon Cooper with MacTavish in the wings?
I think that’s a question worth asking.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.