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Craig MacTavish signs two-year deal with HC Lokomotiv of the KHL

Early this morning, it was announced on Twitter that senior vice-president of hockey operations, Craig MacTavish, has signed a two-year with HC Lokomotiv to become their new head coach.

During his tenure with the Oilers, Craig MacTavish has worn a lot of different hats. He’s been a player, head coach, GM, VP of Hockey Ops, and those are the jobs we know about. Who knows what kind of other gigs he’s done with this team? It’s actually incredible that he didn’t get his own burger, ya know? My point is that I never truly expected this day to come. Sure, when Ken Holland came aboard as GM, he mentioned that there would be changes in hockey ops but I never actually expected to see his name on the way out, ya know?

According to Darren Dreger, MacT was looking for a change and that led him to the KHL where he will be back behind the bench:

After spending nine seasons with the team as a player, Craig MacTavish coached in Edmonton from 2000 to 2009, bringing the Oilers three playoff appearances, including their run to the Stanley Cup final in 2006. After the 2008-09 season, MacT was fired/stepped down as head coach before returning to the team in 2012 as the senior vice-president of hockey operations. A year later, he was promoted to general manager, a post he held for two seasons before being demoted in favour of Peter Chiarelli in April of 2015. Now, the man we loved for ripping Harvey the Hound’s tongue out is off to the KHL.

In a statement on Lokomotiv’s website, team president, Yuri Yakovlev, released this statement (keep in mind I translated this from Russian):

For our club, it was extremely important that Craig shares a strategy based on the broad involvement of his own students. He is well aware of many young players from the Lokomotiv system and will help them make a new career step. At the same time, Craig is ready to work successfully with a hard cap, which Lokomotiv, as we know, never exceeds. I believe that our talks were held in a constructive manner and the new head coach, thanks to his vast experience and knowledge, with the support of the entire Lokomotiv club system, is able to take the team to a higher level.

In the same release, MacT revealed the thought process that led him to get back behind the bench:

I look forward to the start of my cooperation with Lokomotiv and personally Mr. Yakovlev. In the past few years, I have often been to Russia, watched KHL matches and was interested in coaching here. I hope the upcoming season will be exciting and successful for our team.

With Ken Holland now in charge and MacT already on the move, you have to wonder what other changes are in store for the Oilers management team. While I think everyone would agree that MacT was a valuable part of this organization for a very long time, it is encouraging to see that changes are already being made. What will be interesting to watch over these next few weeks and months is how many familiar faces will be leaving while new faces are coming in. For now, we will tip our caps to MacT and wish him well on his new adventures. Since this is the Edmonton Oilers we’re talking about, I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before we see him again.

  • Total Points

    Kn Holland will be able to deal with Lowe and Bobby N when the members of the OBC who are below him in the corporate structure are gone. The hardest part to main control is when the people below you taking to the people above you. The old “end around game”

  • D'oh-ilers

    His management record wasn’t stellar but he did an amazing job of getting players to buy in, work hard, and play for each other as a coach. I wish him nothing but luck and success with his future endeavors.

  • FINALLY!!!

    I was lucky enough to get tickets from a friend you score in OT Winner in 91. You battled back from that awful incident. You battled back from Cancer. You battled back when Harvey was being a dick. You did an amazing job coaching that 06 cup run. And you did it all without a helmet! Thanks for memories and Best of Luck, Craig. As for the Oilers exec, I have to say they are now visually better.

  • FINALLY!!!

    Well I just tried posting a comment – then waited – then tried again – then waited – then tried again. If there is a triple post that shows up later I apologize 🙁

  • FINALLY!!!

    I was lucky enough to get tickets from a friend you score in OT Winner in 91.
    You battled back from that awful incident.
    You battled back from Cancer.
    You battled back when Harvey was being a jerk.
    You did an amazing job coaching that 06 cup run.
    And you did it all without a helmet! Thanks for memories and Best of Luck, Craig.

    As for the Oilers exec, I have to say they are now: визуально лучше

  • Odanada

    I’m waiting for the imminent announcement that KLowe is leaving to start his own sports psychology business, where he will travel the world teaching teams the secrets to “winning”.
    He’s certainly very qualified and while I’ll be sorry to see him go, I wish him all the best with his new endeavor.

    • Oilers4477

      What does bob green have to do with this? Absolutely nothing he’s been actually very effective in the later rounds in the draft as we have a lot of players past the second round that look like they are going to turn into players and he was a huge part of that. It’s the pro scouting that has been the problem not the amateur in recent years.

        • Glencontrolurstik

          I believe that was McTavish? I seem to remember Chiarelli at the draft saying something to the effect: “I don’t really know much about him, I just got here & management have been following him for a while”… “Craig is really high on Reinhart, so we made the deal”…
          I remember, as it struck me as a “I certainly hope you know what you are doing” moment.
          But it was MacT that had a shine on Reinhart since he entered the WHL apparantly…
          I’m glad he’s gone, it’s a first step…

  • Serious Gord

    Cue the hallelujahs!! Glad to see the back of him.

    Hopefully he’s the first of many to exit the organization. If he’s the only one little will have been achieved.

    Several have commented that Klowe is more arrogant than MacT. I’m told that the opposite is the case.

    And what I have found remarkable for some time now is that these clowns haven’t had the self-respect to have left years ago. To paraphrase someone – they are “bitter clingers”. So I will refrain from qualifying my joy be saying he was a good Oiler player. MacT and KLowe have burned up too much opportunity as management to deserve the that now.

  • Ben918

    Cool. Good for MacT. I think is good for the Oilers too. Despite what MacT did or didn’t do, the teams reputation has taken a hit the last… well decade and some. Management has squandered highly ranked prospects, insulted players, changed coaches more than players shave and ultimately are not well liked with Players and Agents around the league. Having Holland with the POHO title was a great idea for the team. A way to show that this is new management and the veteran GM needs to appeal to players more than maybe any other in franchise history. We need to trade terrible contracts and sign FAs. The latter requires a few to waive their NMCs which takes negotiation with agents that are right if they didn’t have a ton of respect for the Oilers during the Chiarelli era. Trusting Holland helps when the people know he is not influenced by management that was around during the craziness. MacT going helps the Oilers further distance themselves from the “boys club” that ran the team for the better part of the last two decades.

  • tkfisher

    Allowed him to save face. Leave on your own, or…. I don’t think people “choose” to go from cushy NHL Sr VP positions to coaching in the KHL by “choice”. Maybe i’m wrong, but I don’t see it.

    • Serious Gord

      Yaroslavl isn’t in Siberia but MacT will be travelling there for some away games. And you think the western conference in the NHL have a tough travel schedule…

  • Kneedroptalbot

    Im still scratch my head and wonder, …..
    How Craig Mactavish went from Head Coach of the Chicago Wolves (AHL) to General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers????

  • Schmidt Head

    Q – What do you call a bus load of politicians going over a cliff?
    A – A good start.

    Q – What’s to be said about MacT leaving the Oilers’ front office?
    A – See above!