As we head into the nondenominational winter holiday period (happy Hanukkah to me...I don't care about the rest of you), the world of Oilers print media seems awash with Christmas wish lists, top tens of the year and all that other drivel we are constantly bombarded with during the holiday season. Before I get into my holiday rant, I just want to remind everyone (all 7 of you...now that we have a new writer, our readership has actually grown ever so slightly) the way I feel during this time of year. Bah Humbug! There, I said it. That's enough holiday bitterness for me.
Now, to address the task at hand: Changes, or quite possibly, the winds of shit. Let me clarify what it is that I am talking about. It has very little to do with the fact that Reddox-Gagner-Cole is our second line, and the Poo is taking Nilsson's spot on the second unit PP with Cogs. It has nothing to do with the fact that suddenly Hamster Balls and Sleeping Sammy have woken up and started to play like they should be. It has even less to do with the three headed monster, the lack of discipline which is sending the team into the crapper, and the most anemic penalty kill in the history of time.
What I am talking about is the buzz around the axeMacT movement that has been kicked into overdrive lately. ESPN is talking about K-Lowe himself stepping out from his cushy office and into the winds of shit, with MacT likely taking a position in the front office, as the old boys club really hates to get rid of their own.
As you can see, the man upstairs seems a bit on the stressed out side. I can't see him really wanting to get behind the bench again, and the reality is that his message won't be that different from MacT's. If he has truly lost the room like ESPN is suggesting, is K-Lowe the answer?
Well, the local Edmonton media doesn't think so. Some people have suggested that this man is going to take over in the new year.
Yup...that's right...Pat Quinn, the 70 year old "genius" coach who is currently motivating a bunch of smallish Canadian forwards at this years World Junior tournament. Why is he working for Hockey Canada? Because he couldn't get it done in Stinktown coaching the Leafs and their overpaid, underachieving roster of nobodies who should be somebodies. Quinn is a better call than K-Lowe to be sure, only because it would at least be an ever-so-slight shift from the old boys club currently in charge. I say this despite his Edmonton Oil Kings roots (Memorial Cup champion in the 60s) and association with Sather in his playing days, and because he has to coax offense out of small Canadian forwards under constant scrutiny of the Canadian media machine while playing for a 5th straight gold in the Nation's capital. If they win Gold, Quinn is a genius again, and may get a phone call. If they lose, Quinn will likely be put out to pasture and remain with Hockey Canada as an executive consultant, but given that he's a renowned control freak, this seems unlikely. Beyond his coaching abilities, Quinn is a lawyer, part owner of the Vancouver Giants, and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee.
Let's have a look at Quinn's track record: 2 Jack Adams awards in 3 Nominations for coach of the year, 2 trips to the Stanley Cup finals, 3 more appearances in the conference finals, 15 playoff births in 19 seasons as a coach, an overall coaching record of 657-481-154-26, and a playoff record of 92-89. Not bad, really. Not bad at all. That doesn't include his Gold Medal coaching performance at the 2002 Olympics or his World Cup of Hockey win in 2004, representing a Hockey Canada team that featured, you guessed it, K-Lowe as a managing partner in both tournaments. Oh, and who could forget Tambo's relationship with Quinn from their time together with the Casucks and with Hockey Canada...Hmmm...I wonder why Quinn's name has come up? I doubt it has much to do with his success at coaching offense out of smallish forwards...
MacT's coaching record looks like this: 263-217-46-46, with three playoff appearances in 7 seasons, 2 of which were 1st round losses and well, we will always remember the glory of 06. Currently the Oil will not make the playoffs, and the 14-14-3 record including a sub.500 record on Northlands' glorious ice is quite simply not good.
Look at poor Craig. He just seems sad now, maybe even a bit confused, wondering why his incredible talent just isn't coming together like it should be. And it's really too bad. MacT is not a bad coach, but it's possible that his message has gotten stale. The public thrashing of Penner proved to be a stroke of brilliance, but with Nilsson, will lightning strike twice?
I'm not suggesting we fire MacT. I like the guy. I simply feel that the winds of shit have fallen upon the team as a whole and that a change might do some good. 53 shots should not equal 2 goals. I am far more partial to a trade, maybe to get a shutdown center as BCB has suggested all season long. Ottawa looks like a great trading partner right now, given their incredible level of suck that makes our situation look like, well, less suck. I feel like maybe Garon could become a Senator, and we give up a prospect or a kid (Nilsson, despite his upside looks like trade bait...or maybe Brule...and Staios) and maybe get Mike Fisher. That would help. Just a thought.
I can't harp on the entire team right now as some individual players are playing better than they have all year. But it's the same old story; no offense, too many penalties, and not enough discipline or leadership. Let's hope we can finish the year on a winning note and beat up on Gretzky's desert dogs. I'm hoping for a Hanukkah miracle. (And yes, it is a holiday known for miracles, the Christians got that one from us...just like Jebus...)
Craig MacTavish and his Centres
51 minutes ago