The Edmonton Oilers (MacT as GM edition) are 3-10-2 fifteen games in, and OilersNation has gone from anger to real disillusionment. Up next for the fanbase is indifference, but before they get there is there anything the GM can do?
- Darcy Regier: "These GM jobs, they’re good jobs. But waiting for a GM opportunity that’s structured for success? I’m not sure it exists. When I was assessing the problems in Buffalo before I joined, Al Arbour said to me "Darcy, do you think there would be an opportunity there if there weren’t problems? Go in there and do something about it.’" (from the book Behind the Moves).
I’m sure Craig MacTavish knew there were problems (he was part of the organization before agreeing to the job in spring) but there are elements out of the control of the GM that have (at least to this point) conspired against him. His new coach has gone from being seen as confident, fresh and relentless to another in a ever lengthening line of failed coaching hires in Edmonton.
His club has been rocked by injuries (two more last night, and as Robin Brownlee tweeted that Belov injury looked bad) goaltending maladies and confidence issues. I haven’t seen locusts, but haven’t been looking either.
It’s a team in a bad way.
WHAT CAN THEY DO?
As the playoff hopes unhook and release (November 3rd!!!!) there’s a sense that the club should do something–anything–to improve things. There are options:
- FIRE SOMEONE! Age old solution, find some poor schmuck who was in the room at the time. Candidates often include assistant coaches, pro scouts, the guy who brings the towels and people with one eyebrow. It usually doesn’t help.
- HIRE SOMEONE! Oilers have already hired Messier, we just don’t know what he’s going to be doing.
- TRADE SOMEONE! Good idea, but you can go from ‘we can’t trade that guy’ to ‘no one wants our crap’ in a heartbeat and the reality is that it’s really early for a significant deal. Besides, the Oilers have traded Mike Brown which means they’ve used their "Steve Tambellini trade chips mid-season" allotment.
- CALL SOMEONE UP! They could call Omark, but I suspect he’s broken his phone.
THIS IS GOING TO END BADLY
Probably. However, there’s very little that can be done about things as they stand today. Firing the coach would be crazy, trading players when you haven’t actually seen your entire team healthy is equally addled and despite being 3-10-2 after fifteen games you could make a case that with goaltending and better luck they could be 6-7-2.
That may sound like sunshine, and hell maybe it is, but from here there’s not a lot going on here that some timely goaltending, a better penalty kill and better health can’t fix.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The plan is on fire, the season is gone, but there’s still a chance to get something out of it. Fix the PK, find useful 6’s and 7’s and 9’s for the 3line with Gordon and the 4line overall. Get Yakupov scoring, get everyone else healthy, find a way to finish above Calgary and then work like buggers next summer to make certain that 2014-15 is the year we see a second season.
Sound horrible? It is. It’s also the truth.
Or the owner can fire everyone again.