Craig MacTavish season wrap up, plus our playoff predictions, and more

By , April 29, 2013 1:22 pm
"It wasn't me that screwed this team up, it was Kevin!"

“It wasn’t me that screwed this team up, it was Kevin!”

Craig MacTavish season wrap up

So let’s start with a summary of MacTavish’s season wrap up…

– Overall team strength and depth and competitiveness needs improvement.
– Says these will be addressed, through a large degree, through personnel changes (i.e. waiting for the current guys to get bigger, or stronger isn’t going to help)
– Needs core guys to be better defensively and without the puck. Need structure in their game to have success.
– They need to add some specific role players that have a threat to score, even marginally. He says their current role guys, the best they were ever going to be on a given night was a “non factor”. Not a lot of upside in their current group.
– Says the few times that the role guys had an impact, they ended up winning games.
– Defense needs more foot speed to play a style that best suits the skill set this team has. The defensemen have to be able to Continue reading 'Craig MacTavish season wrap up, plus our playoff predictions, and more'»

MacT quotes from last night’s After Hours

By , April 28, 2013 6:06 pm

MacT celebrating a Toby Petersen shift

MacT celebrating a Toby Petersen shift


I have more and more respect for Craig MacTavish, and I feel the team is in very good hands under his management. Yes, the team should have considered other options, and I’m a little tired of the old boys club here, but I always considered Craig MacTavish to be a very intelligent hockey mind. Anyways.. the quotes…

When asked if he was surprised that the Oilers fell apart when they were in the fight for a playoff spot…
“As close as we were, I never had a tonne of confidence in our ability to get there (playoffs), because we seldom control the momentum swings in a game, which you need to if you’re a playoff hockey team. The other team always controlled the really critical moments when they had to. We had a great shot differential in most of the games, which is generally a pretty good indicator of team strength. The positive part of that is we didn’t need a lot of chances to score and there’s not a lot of teams that can say that.”

When asked about the biggest flaws of the Oilers team, he mentioned that the core guys could use improvement in their game without the puck, but went on more about the other players on the team – the role guys….
“And I think our role players have to be… I thought this year, to be kind of frank, that a lot of guys on our team on any given night were accepting of not being a positive factor.. or really doing something to contribute to the win or make a difference. That’s just not Oiler hockey, really. You have to be a positive factor in the game, and you can’t just go out there and not be involved in the game, or not show that you’re going to compete for your teammates, or go in the locker room and take your gear off and get ready for the next game. I just felt that our role players needed to be more impactful in the games. Maybe not impactful is the right word. But in the game of hockey you have to the opportunity every shift to go out and show that you’re going to go and do what you need to do to help the guy sitting beside you. I don’t think there was enough of that and for that reason I think it’s a bit of a shared responsibility for everybody.”

Hrudey noted that at the press conference, MacTavish mentioned he wasn’t a very patient person, and asked how this would benefit the team to change its future:
“I think we’re at the stage now where you go from almost a neglect style (of management) in a rebuilding mode to, at some point, you have to get into a more aggressive style of play and be more aggressive in the way we manage the team. I think we’re very much there. Everybody’s got to accept some responsibility to this. I really view my job is to make some moves here that clearly identify for the players what we’re looking for in terms of the personnel and the style of play and commitment and doing that will make a big difference.”

The key word in that one is “neglect”. Not sure if that was a shot at Tambellini, but I don’t think so. But it sure put into perspective what this management teams’ philosophy was before the MacTavish hiring. I said it all along.. Tambellini wasn’t avoiding filling holes because he couldn’t. It sounds from this quote that the plan, for whatever reason, had been to just sit back and see what happens and let the problems fix themselves, if they can, or accept another early draft pick. I think everyone would agree that this year should have been anything but that.. they should have tried to make this team competitive, but Tambellini was still in “neglect mode”. I think we’ll see a big difference under MacT’s management. I hope I’m not wrong.

Don’t let the door hit you…

By , April 28, 2013 2:18 pm
You know this article isn't going to be flattering..

You know this article isn’t going to be flattering..

So Ryan Whitney burned his bridges to the ground today. Not a lot was said, but it was clear he wasn’t just upset at himself for not giving himself the opportunity to play (through good play). I thought all year that this was what he meant in a lot of his comments to the media about being upset about not playing.. turns out I was wrong. It turns out he is pissed at the Oilers.

Well, I was wrong about what Whitney said, but I don’t think I was wrong about the player. He was once good, but his foot problems have made him an awful player for the Oilers. Could he be good somewhere else? Possibly. He could probably get away with playing lots of powerplay time, and playing even strength time with a guy who can save him from embarrassment when his flaws (namely agility and foot speed) are exposed. But here, he was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. He showed flashes of brilliance towards the end, but sorry, it was too little too late. The Oilers have to purify themselves of these types of players. They need guys they can rely on nearly 100% (preferably exactly 100%) throughout the season. With Whitney, we had a solid d-man for about 10% of this short year… never mind what we’d get out of a full year. He’s done here, and both sides should be happy about it. Did he need to throw the team under the bus in his exit interview? I don’t think so. Here is what was said:

“I’m not going to name any names, but there were definitely some other guys who could have been scratched.”

And:

“I’m hoping to sign on a really good team. I’ve made enough money and I’m hoping to prove them(Oilers) wrong.”

Really, the 2nd quote is fine, but the first quote is pretty piss poor, if you ask me. I’m not sure what gave him the misunderstanding that his play has been anything better than sub-average, on average for the last 2 years at least, but to take his (former) teammates down while on his way out, is just sour grapes. Yah, he didn’t name names, but I don’t think that helps any. We can speculate who he was talking about, however I’d rather not.

Anyways, the thing I like most about this is that it ensures he won’t be back. I hate seeing more black marks on the organization (think Sheldon Souray’s handling), but if he thinks that he was scratched unfairly, he’s dead wrong. He was poor for most of the year.. it wasn’t until a handful of games near the end that we saw him really do anything positive, and by then it was too little too late. He was a far cry from the good player we saw when we first picked him up, unfortunately.

I believe that Ryan Whitney will get picked up.. it will be for cheap… and he will play fairly well and be a good bargain for his new team. But this is a break-up that was quite overdo.

Oilers 2, Canucks 7 – Game 48 – 2013-04-27 @ 8:00 PM MST – CBC

By , April 27, 2013 3:05 pm
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
GDT - Edmonton Oilers vs Vancouver Canucks
logo vs logo
18-22-7 Record 26-14-7
Location: Rexall Place
Date: April 27, 2013 @ 8:00PM MST
TV: CBC

PRE-GAME RANT

So it turns out my powers of prediction are extremely weak. Every sign pointed to the Oilers dying to the hands of the Wild, without much of a fight put up. In reality, it didn’t take much of a fight to kick the crap out of them on the scoreboard. I have to ask.. what the hell was up with Zach Parise kicking at Corey Potter (blade first)? It will go unpunished, I’m sure, but I don’t think it should be. Of course if it was Matt Cooke doing the kicking, he’d be banned from hockey for life. For Parise… it won’t even be reviewed. It all happened pretty quick and wasn’t a big kick or anything, but in light of the Karlsson incident, you’d think the NHL would step in. Anyways, judge for yourself. Anyways, I thought Parise deserved to have his ass beat, but somehow it turned into the Wild pushing Potter around after that. On a later shift, both Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka went after him. I’m not sure why.. I missed a lot of this one, so I’m not sure if something happened before, or what. But really, this is sign number 1 that MacTavish needs some tougher players (that can play) in the lineup. I think he knows this too. He pointed to the Habs as an example to follow, and I think he recognized Brandon Prust as a good example of what to look for. We do have Mike Brown for that though, and he fills that role pretty well.. but I think we could use some guys like a prime Ethan Moreau (meaning, Moreau when he was a good player) and a Jason Smith type.

On to to tonight’s game… I’m pulling for a win, but I feel that I need to predict an awful loss, due to superstition (since my 3-0 Wild prediction last night turned into a 6-1 Oilers win). So uhm… 5-0 Vancouver.

Continue reading 'Oilers 2, Canucks 7 – Game 48 – 2013-04-27 @ 8:00 PM MST – CBC'»

Oilers 6, Wild 1 – Game 47 – 2013-04-26 @ 6:00 PM MST – SNET

By , April 26, 2013 12:09 pm
-={ Puttin’ On The Foil Presents… }=-
GDT - Edmonton Oilers at Minnesota Wild
logo vs logo
17-22-7 Record 25-18-3
Location: Xcel Energy Center
Date: April 26, 2013 @ 6:00PM MST
TV: SNETW

PRE-GAME RANT

So tonight, the Oilers, who’ve won ONE game in their last 10, take on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild have embarrassingly dominated the Oilers, winning 19 of the last 20 matchups. That’s unbelievable. Anyone who thinks this shit bag team is going to play spoilers and bump the Wild out of a playoff spot is in for bitter disappointment. You might be best not turning this one on. I predict a final score of 3-0. I typically am not this doom and gloom about the Oilers, but really… all signs point to a pretty crappy game. You’ve been forewarned.

However, a bit of wackiness in the lines tonight. I am interested in the top line. Horcoff seemed to really mesh well with Hall and Eberle when they were breaking into the league. Seeing Hall and Yakupov as his book ends will be mighty interesting. Also, Fistric will play with Justin Schultz. That’s a strange one, in a way.. but maybe the Oilers want to see the full potential from Fistric? Or perhaps that will be the bottom pairing, since Justin Schultz has been showing flaws in his D game for a fair bit now (he’s young though, so I’m not alarmed).

Khabibulin gets the start tonight, which might be our only wild card hope in stealing a win.

Some good 30 thoughts today by Elliot Friedman:
22. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish, asked if he sees Taylor Hall as a winger or a centre: “We wanted to try him at centre this season, but aside from some faceoff work when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins struggled, it never materialized … Terry O’Reilly always used to tell me, ‘Position is just a place where you line up when they drop the puck.’ Taylor covers a lot of ice from the wing.”

23. MacTavish had another good quote: “My vision of the team will be very obvious very quickly.” He pointed to Montreal as a team he hoped to emulate. It’s tough to make trades right after the season because you can’t deal with anyone in the playoffs and those who are out of it prefer to decompress before making important decisions. It’s a good thing he was at the under-18s in Russia because this week’s been a nightmare.

24. MacTavish did not specifically address Oscar Klefbom, but the sense is the Oilers consider the left-shooting defensive prospect an untouchable. I also think they are realistic about his impact, especially after Justin Schultz’s late-season struggles. They believe he can be a top-pairing blue-liner, but maybe not for two years.

25. Finally, Edmonton is going to try and upgrade in goal. Devan Dubnyk’s held them in a lot more games than the Oilers deserve, but they don’t have much throughout the organization. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them chase guys who can help them in both the NHL and AHL.

Continue reading 'Oilers 6, Wild 1 – Game 47 – 2013-04-26 @ 6:00 PM MST – SNET'»

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