Friday, March 08, 2013


 We used to have an annual little Christmas do for a number of years and at one, soon after we had moved into our house we were talking about crazy neighbours. At the time the tenants next door were stupid, if harmless, and we weren't happy about them but I was always polite with them, even when presenting our complaints (they were loud and just didn't get it - we had a baby). It was raised that perhaps I should ramp things up and my answer was a)its not my nature and b)I didn't want a war because you never knew if things might spiral out of control. I didn't want the big fellow hanging out in back and finding some hamburger laced with antifreeze.

 Everyone laughed and said I was being paranoid.

 Except we had friends in Florida who had neighbours who weren't all there and somehow, they don't even know how, things turned ugly. The neighbours installed cameras that were pointed at their house 24/7 and within one month the county came and picked up their dog after complaints that it was a menace (he was a fat gentle retriever who never even looked the wrong way at anybody) and family services came to talk to them about taking away their kids after calls about abuse, drug use and neglect. Yeah. Serious insane shit.

 Everything was cleared up once it became clear that they were victims of a malicious bent mind but in the end they actually bought the house from the neighbours (they immediately flipped it) just to get them out of their hair.



 I've been thinking about the Oilers and what came to me just a few moments ago is this:

 The way this season is going works out perfectly for one guy. Craig MacTavish.

 As as been noted here and elsewhere this week as the Oilers circle the drain for the seventh straight year we, as fans, are running out of people to blame. The roster has been turned over. We're on our fourth coach in five years. The director of scouting, the minor league coach, the training staff, even the owner has changed. Lowe was kicked upstairs (or kicked himself upstairs - smart move) and Tambo was hired and now, well now its his turn.

 I figured this club for a possible playoff team but I also figured (YOU CAN LOOK IT UP!)that if the club fell short that the head that would roll would be that belonging to the mumbling glaze eyed general manager.

 All this a year after MacT returned to the fold.

 Now Lowe and MacT are part of the management team and so part of me thinks that even if Tambo goes nothing will change but there is also a part of me that thinks this.

 MacT was one of the aforementioned coaches and so he knows what its like to go to war when you don't have the horses and you're forced to run out a top four of Jason Smith (ok), Steve Staios (ok), Daniel Tjarnqvist (um) and a baby Ladi Smid (oh oh). Or with so few options that Liam Reddox or Toby Peterson are your best options for certain, erm, roles.

 And so I suspect, and maybe I am wrong, that he knew things might not go so swimmingly this year.

 And I suspect that he knows that all of this is reparable and relatively easily at that. Its this fact, after all, that has been making thinking fans insane for years. Its not like we haven't seen the holes in the lineup since 2006 and one would think that a guy like MacTavish knew that Tambo was making a lot of bets this year that were slim to none.

 And if Tambo takes the gaspipe (and he's going to, have no doubt about it) then MacT gets to ride in on his white horse.

- he will get another high pick to throw into the mix or trade for help

- maybe he will trade Hemsky for a Dman or burly forward with one year left on their deal. Yak will slide up to RW in top six on a soft minutes line.

- he trades for a big winger like Brouwer from a team looking to dump salary (or maybe this is what comes in the Hemsky deal)

- he signs another winger, lets say Stallberg or MacArthur to complete the top nine:

Hall-Nugent Hopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Belanger-quality 4th liner who can PK as well

- he trades for a true top 4 dman from a team looking to dump salary to clear space or because they are poor - Michalek and Visnovsky were had for what, seconds?

- he signs Smid

new guy-Schultz younger
Klefbom-Schultz older

- he signs a quality backup

That's the thing that makes everybody mental. Its not that hard. In the summer you have teams looking to move bodies and they can generally be had for cheap. Whereas Hemsky is desirable to a contender and thus would only garner picks/prospects in the spring, he could bring a player in the summer.

 Lots of options. Personally I'd rather keep Hemsky and run him on a tough minutes with Horcoff and a new winger, if Eberle or Yakupov get hurt or simply can't get the job done you can slide 83 up and you don''t lose a beat.

 But anyhow the option is there.

 That's a club that makes a real jump and guess what? Your man MacT and the man who will be by his side, his old buddy Lowe, will be hailed as heroes by a city starved for a team that for the first time in nearly a decade is winning.

 Paranoid? Sure. Conspiracy theory? Maybe a bit. But its just falling into place a little too perfectly for our man MacTavish to make a triumphant return. The team is broken. Fixing it would be pretty easy for anybody with an ounce of sense.

 And based on past experience MacT has at least that.


Muji said...

Hall-Nugent Hopkins-Eberle
Smyth-Belanger-quality 4th liner who can PK as well


I'd argue that this year's forward corps is better to significant better than this one. At least on paper. Hemsky and Ryan Jones are quality.

Tambo is indeed terrible, but I have no problem with the forwards they started with this season. The poor performance is mostly on the players (who have been bad and/or unlucky and/or injured). I do blame him for NOT reacting (surprise surprise) when Horcoff went down though.

The defence and goaltending, on the other hand, were a mess from the start. Why they didn't/don't get more experienced D, I have NO idea. Why they keep believing in Khabi, who's getting older, I have NO idea. It's groundhog day. Over and Over and Over again.

Black Dog said...

muji - agreed on D and goaltending, basically as usual they made bad bets

I don't mind Jones as a fourth liner and I agree on Hemsky but they need an improvement in the bottom six and Brouwer/Stallberg (or MacArthur - pick the guys you like and slot them in there, these are just examples) would bring that.

I didn't mind the bottom six but Yakupov has struggled on his off wing and Smytty has struggled as well. They need a LW who can play.

4th line of 94/20/28 I could live with

In any case its very frustrating, as you noted, the problems are obvious, nothing is done to fix them

RCN said...

I don't think Belanger will be back. I recall Russo saying he was a "negative Nancy" in Minnesota, and he's exactly what tgey don't need in that room. They'll find a way to get rid if him before September. Maybe even before April 3rd.

Black Dog said...

Yeah that's possible RCN, lets just say an equivalent then, a solid 4th line C

Jana said...

Although he drove me up the wall as a coach and I was certainly not sad to see him go, I think MacT could actually be a decent GM regardless of his relationship with Lowe. I think if anyone has a chance of competing with Lowe's decisions, it's MacT.
Or maybe I'm all wrong and it will just be another puppet show...