Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'll Tell You What You Can Do! You Can Be A Man!

I made the point in my last post that some of what is happening with the Oilers is the result of some good luck but that it also clear that this nice finish to the season is the result of a lot of good that will be sustainable next season.
In other words things are looking up. Some of the comments that have been made around the sphere lately (and I will try and attribute these where I can - I am too lazy to go searching through thread after thread for them).
- that this team has no quit, as Dennis remarked last night - go down to a team that has a history of making the Oilers look awful; no worries, you come back and take the game to them and with a break or two you would win it; lose your best allround player, your captain, Souray, Torres; ring off a run to end the season that puts you in playoff contention with just over a week to go - that's an intangible - call it character, guts, whatever you want - but its something good
-that all of the people who saw doom for this team (myself included) did not take into account that sometimes the model breaks and your team of kids somehow beats the odds and makes an improbable improvement - Grebeshkov, Nilsson, Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Stortini - whether its confidence, being put in a role that they can succeed in, renewed focus, more icetime, the right linemates - all have taken a large step forward as the season has progressed
- that guys like Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff can become stars, that Tom Gilbert, although he has struggled for a while now, can step in and play top four minutes, score 10+ goals and 30 + points and keep his head above water for the most part, that the PK can thrive despite losing key parts, that the PP can do the same - once again the idea that the model is a model and sometimes good things happen outside of it
In the space of six months a bunch of kids have established themselves as viable NHL players, survived injuries and a management team that left far too many holes in the roster for my liking, again!, and have given us a fun stretch run that nobody, not even the most cockeyed optimist, could have predicted.
And I give you the man who made some oddball decisions earlier in the year, a guy who seemed caught between winning and developing kids. The man who deserves a ton of credit. See that list of good things above? He is responsible for most of it. At the very least he can coach the kids. He has made chicken salad out of chicken shit.
Craig MacTavish and his staff had better get some respect now.


Big T said...

I couldn't agree more on MacTavish Pat. The entire coaching staff has done a terrific job with this bunch. Did a terrific job in the spring of '06 too.

The team is lucky to have them.


Jon G said...

I have to agree with you BD, the only aspect that I would like to see more improvement in MacT's coaching is that he needs to be more consistent with line combinations. The old MacBlender does not usually work to get players out of their slumps

David S said...

Caw! Caw! indeed BD. What a wonderful string of posts here lately!

Mr DeBakey said...

The Blender thing - go to HF Boards & check out the other teams. You'll recognize the complaints - play the kids, the coach plays favourites with certain players, the blender blah blah blah.
I don't think MacT is much worse than the others, if at all

Next year, consolidate!
Move a $2,000,000ish guy or two to free same cap space. Add a little size maybe - But no major moves.

Pray for no sophmore jinx.
Cause when half your line-up is sophomores...

Anonymous said...

I could add a useful, topical follow up... but I'll go with a superficial semi-tangent:
I wish MacT would realize (or somebody would tell him this) that he is shown on camera a lot. It's usually in short burst and usually after goals/penalties against. My point? Close your mouth, MacT! When you stand there after a goal or penalty with you mouth open staring at the ice randomly pulling your lineup card out of your pocket and putting it in without looking at it... YOU LOOK DUMB. Superficial perception makes up a large part of people's opinions.

doritogrande said...

Sorry, but I couldn't take this post for what it was with that picture staring me in the face as soon as I opened up the page.

It looks like Huddy is giving the International sign for "I give BJs"

Black Dog said...

thanks david

mr. d. - yeah I think that is the logical move, not so much to clear cap room - I don't think that is an issue - but to get more icetime for the kids

but better hope no soph. slump

jon g - I think one reason for the old blender is that MacT has never had the luxury of letting guys work their way out of slumps - this team is always do or die to make the playoffs and waiting is not often option

we have seen him stick with lines when he can (06, last two months) - I think that is his preference

Mr DeBakey said...

Craig MacTavish and his staff had better get some respect now.

BiG story about Coach Craig the Brainiac on the front page of today's Journal Sports.
All this time and I never realized he could coach & walk on water at the same time!

mike w said...

Bit of a hangover today, Black Dog.


Black Dog said...

Not too bad but luckily I was allowed to sleep in.

Good thing - big Capsule game in a couple of hours.