Monday, June 11, 2012

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together - Two Silver Foxes

In an ironic twist just a few days after an extension for Steve Tambellini caused much laughter (amongst non Oiler fans - as a buddy of mine remarked, he doesn't know all of the ins and outs of the Oilers but giving a guy an extension after finishing 30th, 30th and 29th didn't seem something you could defend at all) and anger (amongst Oiler fans) it has become quite clear that the end game is now in place when it comes to our man Tambo.

Craig MacTavish is back with the Oilers.

Darcy McLeod, who goes by Woodguy, has commented a few times (including this past weekend at Lowetide's site) that Katz is buddies with many of the Boys on the Bus and it was his understanding (paraphrasing here) that the idea was that Lowe and MacT were to be given free reign to run the club some day.

When the club fell apart in the early days under Katz a scapegoat had to be made and so MacT was cut loose. Perhaps he was offered a role upstairs, perhaps he refused this role because he went back to school, earning an MBA. Then he battled cancer. His name was mentioned as a possibility in many discussions when coaching vacancies came up but his illness precluded these, one would think, and once he regained his health one wonders if the die was already cast for his return. Certainly one would think that if one had to choose between coaching and management one would take the latter path, especially when MacTavish already has seen how poor management can undermine any coach's ability to win games.

What does it all mean?

1/ Tambellini is next to go. Even without MacT's arrival this was the case but if this year, like the last six, goes off the rails, then Tambo's will be the head on the post outside of the city gates within the year.

2/ MacT is the GM in waiting. I have absolutely no doubt about this. Apparently he will have some say in the selection of the next coach. One might guess that he will 'recommend' the final hire. It will be his first coach in all but name.

3/ There were many who believed Lowe was pulling the strings all along ('Steve makes recommendations') - I'm not a big conspiracy guy but more and more I do think that Tambo is just another voice in the room here.

4/ The positive is if you think Tambo is lousy (and I do) then you can take heart in the fact that he will soon be gone.

5/ The negative is if you think Lowe is pulling the strings (and I do, to a certain extent) then know that Oiler fans will suffer for many years longer. Don't think so? Bob Pulford.

I think a lot of fans like this move. I do although I would feel a whole lot better if I knew Lowe were not going to be involved once MacT takes charge. MacT is a pretty smart guy and knows about a balanced roster, something Lowe certainly does not. He is educated, which is a nice change of pace. He is articulate and while plenty of folks didn't love him as a coach I think a) he still has a lot of goodwill amongst the fan base and b) after Quinn and Renney failed many saw that maybe MacT was not the problem after all

I think he will be a good GM. If Lowe were out of the picture I'd feel a whole lot better about it though.


Bucknuck said...

I don't believe Lowe has been the on putting this team together lately. The types of players being picked up, and the style of trades don't seem to be Lowe's style. I think it takes a special kind of moron to put together a 29th place team that was supposed to play meaningful games after Christmas. There's no way that Lowe would defend Khabibulin after the performance he's given.

Lowe's teams were always competitive (even in 2008 they almost made the playoffs). Once Tambellini was in charge that changed dramatically. I would welcome back Lowe with open arms as GM at this point, which perhaps was the point??

Wimpy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr DeBakey said...

First off, kudos to you for continuing to post when many would’ve given up on the Oilers and turned this site into “Black Dog Loves Hotspurs”.

Your resiliency is inspiring.

It looks like MacT will be the next GM of the Oilers.
Meanwhile, Tambo will the next Baron-in-Chief.

I wonder if Stauffer will complain about MacT every damn day now that he [MacT] is in management?

I hear that MacT thinks an entirely new coaching staff is needed – I’m not sure I like that. Hiring Krueger is about the only innovative thing this management group has done. It was totally outside the box. Hiring some cowboy from Viking isn’t.

On the other hand, maybe MacT’ll bring Rob Daum back – this past winter was his first year in the Austrian League and Daum put together a championship team.

A good addition I think MacT is. I didn’t agree with everything he did as coach, but on the whole I think MacT will add some experience and brains to the Oil Traintrust.

EastCoastEh said...

I like the addition of MacT, for many of the reasons you put in there, foremost that it involves the first foot out the door for Tambo.
I wonder what this means in terms of personnel and hiring a coach to use them right. I think most of anything for this team, the guys need defined roles. Namely Horc as #3C, Belanger on 4th line and Hemsky getting a bit more respect for his offensive game.

Either way, I like the move. It's like having someone on the inside that we know is a smart and shrewd guy, which seems to not be the case lately (ie, for 6 years)

mattwatt said...

Speaking of Hemsky, funny how many think his contract is the worse decision Oiler's brass has ever made, yet the likes of Chris Kelly and David Jones get stupid money and nary a opponent of Hemsky's contract mentions a thing. Here is hoping he tears the ball off the cover this year and lets other see that the Oilers made a wise bet.

As for MacT, happy to have him back. Guy is driven, articulate and knowledgeable. Shortcoming may be that he does seem to have difficulty with seeing the good in certain types of players (see: Penner, Dustin; however, he has not been the only one in regards to this player). That said, he often took lesser rosters and made them better, something very few NHL coaches can say they did.

As Pat mentioned though, too much incestual thinking for my liking in this organization. This teams needs a few members from other arenas involved in the thought procees, not just the same old. Doubt it will happen, but sure as hell hope it does.

That said, bringing MacT back has been a bright spot in a time were the Oilers have had too few. Here is hoping that this trend continues.

Ah, who the hell am I kidding.

Anonymous said...

If you think the Oilers were going to hire Jon Cooper you would think they would do before the draft.

Cooper would probably have excellent insights regarding players in the draft.

Woodguy said...

Its nice that he's back for sure. A smart guy in the room is nice.

I'm sure on how he evaluates players, or if he is prone to the same mistakes that others in the org make ("former 1st rounder?? Here's a contract and roster spot!"), but he can only be an upgrade on what is there.

Here's to hoping.

Next two weeks are going to be really interesting to be an Oiler fan.

Woodguy said...


Good point on a lot of fans realizing that he wasn't the problem.

I'm really surprised that he wasn't offered another NHL coaching gig given that he usually had a team made up of 50% AHLers in the playoff hunt in March.

I think he wanted to coach in the NHL again, and nothing came his way, so he opted back in the org.

The invitation was always there.

I wanted to see him coach WAS, but its a good thing for the Oilers that he's not.

Black Dog said...

Mr D. - lol, well its been a tough slog these past few years for sure, hopefully things get better at some point.

Bucknuck - have to disagree, I do think Lowe is still heavily involved. Don't forget before Tambo was hired Lowe was the guy spending to the cap and ending up in the bottom third of the league

Black Dog said...

anon - I don't think they hire Cooper, I think Tambo's job is on the line and so he wants a veteran proven hand.

Woodguy - it would be interesting to see what went on behind the scenes. I would guess that he was told that there was a spot open for him. He likely wanted to coach but then got sick.

If he wanted to wait I would think he would have gotten a gig somewhere when a guy like Therrien was recycled.