• Beware the Ides of Late November

    by  • November 27, 2008 • Uncategorized • 13 Comments

    …a high ranking source within the organization said Thursday that the Oilers will make a trade to try to shake up their lineup before firing their head coach, whose team has struggled out of the gate at 9-10-2 and sits in last place in the Northwest Division.

    A veteran Oilers player, who requested anonymity added: “Maybe a trade, then the coach. After this long, a change might be good.”

    -Mark Spector, Sportsnet

    If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize in the last five or six years of following the Oilers too closely, it’s that coaching is a pretty rotten profession to get into. The baying for MacT’s head has fluctuated over the years but it’s never disappeared. The rationale just shifts as time goes on. This, however, is the first time I can ever remember seeing a player in Edmonton suggest firing the coach, even if he didn’t have the character to do so with his name attached.

    As far as a trade goes, I’d suggest that they start with trading the anonymous source. I’m actually having a hard time guessing who it might be – the reference to “after this long” kind of suggests that it’s someone who’s been with the Oilers a while; the only guys left from even the 2006 run are Shawn Horcoff, Ethan Moreau, Steve Staios, Fernando Pisani, Dwayne Roloson and Ales Hemsky. I’d guess that it wasn’t Pisani because he’s probably not hanging out at the rink these days. If I’m right and it’s one of those six, I’d imagine that the coach will feel more than a little betrayed when he reads that; he’s put in a lot of miles with all six of those guys, and with many of them, he’s probably a big reason that they have large contracts.

    If “veteran” isn’t modifying “Oilers”, in the sense of the guy having been an Oiler for a while…well, who knows – this team still doesn’t have a lot of veterans. Garon is an awfully obvious suspect. If I was MacT, I’d be sorely tempted to take whoever the best liked player in the dressing room is and make him skate at the next practice while everyone else watched until the source of the quote outed himself. Sure, he’d probably get himself fired for doing it but if he’s going down anyway, he might as well out someone in the dressing room as someone not to be trusted.

    I’ve criticized the organization before for what happens what happens when players get traded and all of the knives come out for the player in the media. The treatment of Smyth after he got moved was disgraceful. Now we’re seeing that the players can do this too. It’s a shame that it’s not the guys in the front office who are on the receiving end of the bile.

    MacT’s probably going to end up getting fired, and maybe it’s time, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure though that part of the reason there’s so much venom being directed towards him is two years of playoff misses, for which it’s awfully difficult to hold him to blame, considering that he’s not the one who made the decisions about the various moves over those years.

    I’ll be surprised if he makes it to the trading deadline.


    13 Responses to Beware the Ides of Late November

    1. sketchy
      November 27, 2008 at

      First Comment “Its pretty obvious when a player requests protection that they have no respect left for their coach.

      Is that really where we’re at? Is it one guy or is it, as MacTavish himself infers?

      The lessons taught during that five-day break were not new, MacTavish admitted, rather variations on the same theme MacTavish has been preaching for three months this season.

      “How about eight years?” countered MacTavish.

      Ugly all around.

    2. November 27, 2008 at

      Did the high-ranking source request anonymity as well, or is Spector just giving it to him anyway?

    3. mc79hockey
      November 27, 2008 at

      Matt – the knives don’t come out publicly from management until AFTER the firing. C’mon, you were around for the Smyth deal, you know how this works.

    4. November 27, 2008 at

      Ty – in terms of the reference to “after this long” I don’t think that narrows it down to any of the six. The guy is just commenting on the fact the MacT has been around for eight years.

      If this gets rolling it won’t even be the trade deadline. Team sags and it will be quick and over.

    5. November 28, 2008 at

      As far as a trade goes, I’d suggest that they start with trading the anonymous source.

      MC: Right you are. I just finished making this suggestion after not seeing/noticing it being expressed anywhere on the massive thread on the subject over at Lowetide, then when I move on down the alphabet and come here I see you nailed it right off the hop.

      I don’t want that guy on my team.

    6. Julian
      November 28, 2008 at

      If the player suggests a trade, it seems like it’s someone who doesn’t expect to get traded themselves, someone who’s recently signed a long term contract which wouldn’t be all that tradable perhaps.

    7. Fortboy
      November 28, 2008 at

      I think the anonymous veteran who called for MacT’s head is actually Erik Cole. This part of the quote interested me…”then the Coach”

      Full quote…
      “Maybe a trade, then the coach. After this long, a change might be good.”

      To me…the player who said the above didn’t use MacT’s nickname and also this player sounds like he isn’t attached to the team very much as he called for a player and the coach. To me this smells like Erik Cole.

    8. Lord Bob
      November 28, 2008 at

      I just want to make sure that I’m sitting here watching people advocate shooting the messenger. Just want to make sure that’s what’s going on. :P

      • LinEx
        May 31, 2013 at

        Ugh. The Penguins game. High scoring, too bad they coudln’t win it. What really irks me is the 3-star selection. Whoever was making the selections must have been on crack.Mike Sillinger is the first star just because he scores the game winner?Recchi 2g, 3a, Crosby 4a and Malone 3g weren’t recognized? I can see Robitaille being a star, 3a, but Sillinger and Simon? Come on. Whoever’s selecting the stars needs to realize that a player’s team doesn’t have to win for that player to have been one of the best 3 players on the ice. Mark Recchi will likely be the first star throughout the league for today, but he won’t even have been one of the 3 in his game! In fact, Recchi, Crosby and Malone could go 1-2-3.The system in soccer is that whoever played the best game gets Man of the Match, regardless of result. And that’s how it should be for hockey. Just because someone scores 1 goal doesn’t make them the best player in the whole game.Thoughts?

    9. David Staples
      November 28, 2008 at

      “After this long”

      Means nothing. . . . Could well be a smokescreen to protect identity of real culprit. . . Known to happen in this dark and sneaky world.

      As for a trade, Erik Cole and Dwayne Roloson are two names that comes to mind, though we can’t forget the Oil’s weird dislike for Garon, and Penner is clearly there for the taking, and it’s hard to imagine all NHL teams have the same opinion of him as MacT does, if for no other reason than the millions Tampa threw at Malone.

    10. IceDragoon
      December 3, 2008 at

      Good day.

      Late to the party here.
      I read when I can.
      Great stuff lately, as usual, Tyler.

      Spector was on the morning show (more on sports) on 1260 on Monday. They don’t have an archive, and I couldn’t begin to remember the exact quotes, but it went something like this.

      Jake jokingly asked, ‘Who’s the dirty rat?’. Mark laughed and said ‘There was more than one… BUT… there seems to be some misunderstanding here. The question asked was not about this team. It was about a team continuing to lose, hypothetical/in your experience, type thing.’

      I think it hit Bryn and Jake about the same way it struck me. Hey, wait a minute. You wrote the piece, and led people to believe a veteran Oiler was advocating firing MacT. There was dead air at first, and then they fumbled thru a bit and changed the subject.

      I’m sure if you sent an email, (Jake and Bryn have always answered my queries once the show is done) or called, (6-10am mst) Bryn could fill in some details.



    11. Vic Ferrari
      December 4, 2008 at

      Great information Louise, thanks.

      Even the most cynical didn’t come up with that theory.

      Spector seems tight with Pat Morris as well (presumably that’s how his buds Stauffer and Flaming broke the Peca trade before it happened, has anyone ever asked Guy about this?)

      And that’s why when Spector ‘had a hunch’ that the Pronger trade request was true, all doubt was removed for me. Of course at the time I saw it as an opportunity to trade a player when his value was at it’s peak and Hossa and Gaborik were thought to be available, the EIG saw it as a great cost saving opportunity, but I digress).

      So Moreau and Staios are the only Morris vets on the roster right now, no? In any case, I don’t see any sense at all emanating from ‘It’s all a coaching problem!’ school. But sometimes a change really is good, every coach brings his own biases and a bit of a different set of priorities. If I were Katz I wouldn’t fir MacTavish, because the gain this season is likely marginal, so I’d be taking a few hundred thousand (or whatever) off of the Oilers’ bottom line for little return.

      But maybe if the right guy becomes available later in the season you make the move. Tricky business though, losing streaks are always inevitable, but so are winning streaks, and as the season wears on, unless there are a rash of injuries, well it is wholly inevitable that the Oilers will list more towards winning streaks.

      This team just isn’t good enough right now. But young teams get better, they always do, especially when the young players have talent and appear to be team guys.

    12. April 21, 2009 at

      Very interesting article and many ways to look at this subject. Many are closed in their thoughts and need to open up a little.

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