Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oilers Fire MacTavish

The email from the Oilers pipeline had the subject line "Oilers relieve MacTavish of head coaching duties" but Tambellini painted it as a mutual agreement between MacT and the management. Whether on not he stepped aside or the Oilers fired him doesnt matter anymore. After 8 seasons the Oilers will have a new coach next season.

Overall I am happy with the outcome. MacTavish is a decent coach who had a bad year. Sure his wit and quality post game interviews will be missed but his record over the past 8 seasons wont. Surely the Oilers wont average 9th place in the conference for the next 8 years too. The Oilers were built to be a skill team and needed to be a dominant on special teams to be a good team. The power play and penalty kill were 22nd and 27th in the league respectively. MacTavish can shift the blame all he wants but thats reason enough for change.

Despite this, MacTavish is likely the scapegoat for a team with some serious potential but equally serious problems. The lack of a 2nd centre who could play tough minutes and win draws hurt the team. All in all MacTavish was right when he says the Oilers have size and competitiveness issues. Trading away our only top 6 forward (Cole) with size and grit at the deadline for another small player in O'Sullivan left a hole in the team and it showed down the stretch. After inheriting a team last season, this will be Tambellini's chance to show his moxy and put his stamp on the team. While the roster has holes, the Oilers arent far from being a playoff team. A topic we'll have all summer to discuss.

My vote for a replacement is Pat Quinn or Brett Sutter. Even though many of the old boys have the knowledge of what it takes to win championships there aren't many with a coaching background. The Oilers aren't a championship calibre team and need to hire a teacher not a ex-Oiler, something MacTavish was fairly proficient at.

Steve Tambellini welcome to the spotlight.
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