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.