MacTavish Hired By Oilers

We've been waiting a bit on where the Oilers will be going management and coaching wise before the draft. It seemed awfully quiet (outside of Tambellini's extension) on the Oiler front.

Today seems to be the first of what could be a few louder days in Edmonton Oilers hockey as Craig MacTavish was brought back to the Oilers in a senior-vice president role.

This hire tells me two things.

First, it leads me to believe that the Oilers wanted MacTavish back but realized bringing him back as coach might have been tough to do. He was let go under trying times and it now looks to many like perhaps it wasn't MacTavish that was the problem. MacTavish had a very strong record compared to our recent swing of coaching hires. He's well respected in the coaching world and a management position makes pretty good sense. MacTavish is a smart guy, not afraid to make decisions. (he was quoted on the radio with Bob Stauffer that if he was GM, he'd wipe clean the coaches that created the 30th, 30th and 29th place finishes).

Second, MacTavish now gives GM Steve Tambellini and president Kevin Lowe the ability to make a riskier move in terms of coaching by perhaps hiring Norfolk coach Jon Cooper as a new head coach. Cooper to me seems the best fit for a young Oilers team and his only negative is his lack of NHL coaching experience -- he has none.

With MacTavish, should Cooper completely flop as coach (which I doubt he would), Mac-T could step in immediately and fill the shoes should the Oilers have made a poor choice.

Some suggest that Ralph Krueger moves to the front of the line, but to me if Krueger was going to be hired, he would have been already. Hire Krueger right away, show your faith in him and bring in MacTavish later. The Oilers have had plenty of time and know Krueger well. I just don't see them hiring him as the bench boss after such a long gap.

But, I could be wrong and the MacTavish hire perhaps just gives the Oilers the confidence they needed to make Krueger the guy if they were worried he wasn't the guy before now.

The question becomes who MacTavish reports to. It was announced by the Oilers that this was a Steve Tambellini hire, but the title given to MacTavish suggests he's more in the driver seat than that. Is this the Lowe and MacTavish show now? Is Tambellini on borrowed time with the new GM possibly being Mac-T himself?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Katz were part of this decision and wanted a back-up plan. We're immediately assuming or thinking MacTavish has been brought in as a coaching replacement should one be needed. Perhaps we should be thinking bigger picture. Perhaps this is a way of saying to Tambellini, "we gave you three years, but we also brought in a guy who is ready to go if you can't do this now."

Tambellini has often said "competing for jobs" is the best way to build a team. Katz and Lowe may have taken those words to heart. I believe this is a good day for Oilers fans. Especially those that don't want to see Brent Sutter as coach or are not big fans of Tambellini. MacTavish smells of signs that the Oilers are going to do something unexpected.


Its pretty clear they're sneaking MacT back in through the back door. They will be easing the fans back into the idea that he is with the team. At first I thought it would be like Renny behind Quinn. Everyone knew he was going to be the next coach. If you're hiring the replacement at the same time as the coach, you know he's a sitting duck.

So now it looks like they're hiring Tambo's replacement at the same time as they give him an extension. I'd much rather MacT as GM than Tambo, but it just adds to the confusion in the head office. WHO IS ACTUALLY RUNNING THE SHOW? The three headed monster who can't make a decision.

If I were a head coach looking for a job, I might want to steer clear of this mess until the other shoe drops.

June 12, 2012 at 7:50 AM comment-delete

I'm not sure if we should rule Mac-T completely out of the coaching option. No, he won't be the next coach, but I think from his press conference when Tambellini made the comment about Mac-T walking away from coaching and Mac-T said "well at least for today", that was telling. Craig still has the coaching itch and will jump right in if the new coach struggles.

I think MacTavish and Lowe will be loud voices and with Tambellini being Mr. Dithers, that's what this team needs. Two active voices.

If there is one area that Tambellini has done well, it's in picking up complimentary pieces for OKC. Perhaps Tambo will shift more focus down to the AHL, Mac-T for the big club and Lowe the gate-keeper. All three will be voices though.

June 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM comment-delete

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