Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Off-Season Approach

Dan Tencer dos a nice job getting the goods out of Craig MacTavish and Kevin Lowe,

Some excerpts:


The young bodies also complicate things. Going down the roster, the numbers don't add up. There are too many names for too few spots. "It's a simple mathematical equation at this point," says MacTavish. "There are more players than there are positions. They're all good players so there's going to be good competition barring a multiple player deal."

"We look at it and go ok, who's going to be here, because we've got a lot of bodies. Now it's a matter of me and the organization to do the best to manage the assets and improve the hockey team. If that means potentially getting into a situation where we move three or four assets for one or two coming back, that might be a good thing."

The hints are there, but unlike last year, a more conservative approach to the offseason has been taken



"I want Reasoner back for sure," MacTavish told me matter-of-factly. "He's a valuable member of our team. We'd be remisce in a lot of respects not to bring him back. We're hopeful that we can get him signed."


Kevin Lowe acknowledges Reasoner's value, but doesn't have the same cut-and-dry feeling as his head coach. "I've talked to Marty's agent saying we have interest in bringing Marty back but we also have a lot of bodies right now so we have to see what unfolds in the next weeks and months."

Somewhat conflicting approaches. MacTavish has his favourites, but Marty was terrific in the last half of the year. He was instrumental on the penalty-kill, and played one of the toughest minutes on the Oilers. Lowe probably is juggling on whether there is enough room going forward down the middle:



Of course you can convert some of them on the wing, but there is only so much room. I would personally approach Reasoner with a 2M/2 year take-it-or-leave it offer.


"If his mindset or his agent's mindset is that this is his one kick at really hitting a home run then he's probably going to end up doing it in free agency and not necessarilly with us at this point," Lowe stated.

"It just might work out that he ends up going elsewhere. We certainly have enough bodies here so that's not a concern."

"We like the way he finished the year and we like his enthusiasm. He's a great kid and I think he has upside in his game. But, like I said before, we're piecing a puzzle together and we have higher end guys making more money so we have to find the right number where he can fit into our future and not hurt us in terms of bringing other guys in or retaining other guys."

You have to love this. In all likelihood, Glencross will turn out to be a legitimate NHL player - but every man has a price limit, and every bottom six player is replaceable.

Carefully selected words by Lowe - perhaps to put some heat on the Glencross party.


"If we can add to our team by upgrading our scoring and some of our toughness, we have the assets to do it," says Kevin Lowe.

"We don't have to rely on free agency to do it. That doesn't mean we won't be listening or making calls on July 1st."


"When you look at some of the other teams and their situation and our situation there's going to be some very interesting dialogue between us and a couple or three other teams who are looking to shed some salary cap and add some depth," said MacTavish.

Raffi Torres? Jarrett Stoll, whom the Oilers have been mum regarding a contract extension?


Craig MacTavish would love to have another year to evaluate Pitkanen, though, before making a decision. "I think that's fair," started MacTavish. "We had a real good discussion with him in terms of what our expectation was for him and whether he had the willingness to work and change some of the aspects of his game. We're not talking about fundamental changes in his game; we're talking about subtle changes in his game and playing the game more situationally. It's just managing those decisions of when it makes sense for him to jump up in the play and when it doesn't."

Just a possibility - the Oilers were kicking tires about moving Pitkanen, and didn't like the offers.


"It's a difficult situation for a guy like Dwayne who works so hard and puts so much time into being a number one goalie," says Craig MacTavish. "That discussion will be very important in terms of what our direction is with our goaltending. From my perspective, I'd certainly like to have him back."

Does Kevin Lowe?


"Pressure on an NHL head coach. It's business as usual; we'll all be evaluated based on the success that we have. It's a foregone conclusion that if you don't have success for an extended period of time that you'll be looking for elsewhere. That's part of the job. I've lived with it since the day I signed a contract to coach here in Edmonton and I'll be living with it next year. Business as usual from my perspective."

"We didn't prove anything. We had a nice 20 odd game run and there's lots of optimism but I do know that when the puck drops next October that it's going to be a grind to make the playoffs."

Saying all the right things. Great quotes in the blog entry by Tencer to chew on.

Doesn't it almost seem as if Craig MacTavish is a co-GM these days?

No comments: