…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.”
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.