Nip It In the Bud...

Wednesday night had a lot of "nip it in the bud" type references. From the TSN interview with MacTavish, introducing his new position as a TSN analyst, to the post game comments by Pat Quinn about the Oilers performance in a 3-2 victory over the Islanders, I sensed a recurring theme -- the desire by those both old and new in the Oilers organization to make a change to the unsuccessful areas of their hockey team.

As always, Craig MacTavish and his dry sense of humor had me intently tuned in to his via satellite interview with James Duthie. Eager to see how he'd answer some questions about his exit from the Oilers organization, Mac-T didn't dissappoint. If this brief TSN video tells us anything about how MacTavish will be as an analyst, we're in for some funny and witty moments.

Duthie: Did you resign or were you fired from your job in Edmonton?

There's no need... they're both similar results. I tabled the fact that a change should be made and it was quickly supported unanimously by everybody -- including the players, management and myself. We all knew at the time, change had to be made.

An honest refreshing answer as it seems everyone involved understood that it was past the point of fixing. Players and coaches weren't responding to each other, thus that relationship and the frustration that went along with it had to be "nipped in the bud".

A funny moment was Duthie's reference to the dislike of MacTavish for the media to which MacTavish quickly agreed, even though he is now one of them.

The game against the Islanders was entertaining. I found myself at certain points excited about the overall effort with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Cogliano and Gagner. In the same breath though, I was ready to throw things around my house at the same mistakes by some of the same players. The indifference of a player like Hemsky, the over-carry of the puck and easy give-aways by Nilsson and Gagner and the constant inability for Souray to take just a bit of his shots to hit the net, drove me mad. (although it was entertaining to see how into it Rexall Place got when he broke the glass twice on two successive shots).

I didn't stay frustrated long after the game as one of the first things I noticed was the continuity amongst player and Quinn comments that these mistakes needed to be minimized and it was a focus of the team to do so.

There were points when I could see Gagner nodding his understanding when Quinn would point out the errors, or when Souray would sense (and admitted to it later), that the coaches were trying to keep the players honest. Quinn wanted to "nip it in the bud" and unlike their lack of focus to MacTavish and his instructions, the players responded quickly to Quinn, which is a fantastic sign.

It won't be long before players buy into and understand the system being run, which I think in many ways will reduce a lot of the errors being made that don't need to be.

Perhaps when all is said and done, as MacTavish admitted during his interview; the players, the coaches and everyone else involved with the Oilers, will have nipped enough in the bud to make it to the post-season.


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