Dec. 03, 2008 - Issue #685: The Art of Rock
Odds on MacT
Here’s last week’s Oiler news in a flash. Lose at home (2-1) to the Kings. Win a Saturday matinee game (4-2) in St Loo. Lose in Dallas (4-3). Call up the mythical Rob Schremp. Drop to within three standings points of last place overall in the league (as of last Tuesday night). Keep coach. For now.
MacT and Cheese
Sometimes it must suck to be Craig MacTavish. People have been calling for his head since the day he took the job as the Oilers bench boss. They were quieted temporarily after the improbable ’06 Cup run, but returned with a vengeance when the team fell short a year later. Personally, I’ve always been a bit of a quiet supporter, feeling that he did a fine job of teaching responsibility to the younger players, while getting value out of the veterans. And while I think that he is a good coach in these respects, I also feel that the current edition of the team may have different needs than what coach MacTavish has to offer.
As a player, MacT was the prototypical hard-nosed grinder. He wasn’t blessed by amazing speed or finesse, but by a hard-work ethic and a deft understanding of the game. Not surprisingly, players who exhibit these same traits do well under him. But as the Oilers have acquired more talented players it has become more apparent he has no idea how to use players with skill. As a coach of a rebuilding team, MacTavish is a good fit. As a coach of a team trying to reach an elite level, he fits like a 10-year old suit; a little tight in places, and a bit out of style.
MacT is in his eighth year as head coach and he can really only keep it interesting for the players for so long. It may be time to shake things up with someone who’s not afraid to get “smashy” in the dressing room to get his point across. There are some fine “smashy-type” candidates out there as well. Pat Quinn and John “Fonzarelli” Tortorella come to mind.
Do I feel that MacT has to go? Maybe. Do I think that he will anytime soon? Probably not. I give it 10-1 odds that he stays until New Years, and 3-1 that he lasts the entire season. TB
TB said a lot so I’ll give my shorter State of the Coach address. The blog-world’s call to oust MacT has been loud but not incendiary; the growing “anti-MacT” contingent seems to speak with a tone of resignation (if that’s the right term!) rather than hatred.
MacT’s departure seems more like a “when” than an “if” issue right now. So, “when” MacT is replaced, the change should be made before the team is too far out of playoff range and something can be salvaged and gained from such an extreme move. December’s schedule provides the team its best opportunity to improve its lot with eight home games out of 13 matches. If things don’t look better for the Oilers by mid-or-late December, MacT is likely gone. Odds? I give a less optimistic 15-1 odds that he survives 2008 and only 20-1 odds that he will be behind the bench at season’s end.
My gut also tells me that your next Oiler head coach will be former Oiler draft pick Marc Habscheid.
Hopefully assistant coaches Charlie Huddy, Billy Moores and Kelly Buchberger don’t get together and announce to the Governor General (or Tambellini) their plan to form a coalition coaching position until this is sorted out. Bill Moores does somewhat resemble Jack Layton. DY
This week’s Oiler definition
“Sloppy Seconds”: 1) An offensive, sexist term best left to the locker room and not meant for a media scrum. If you’re Sean Avery, it gets you an indefinite suspension. 2) One thing not plaguing the Oilers as they have outscored opponents 29-25 thus far in the second frame. V
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