Thursday, November 27, 2008
Everything hits at once
For the past few years, I would have considered myself a soft supporter of Craig MacTavish’s work behind the Oilers’ bench. The man has never run a PP to save his life, but he’s got a good hockey head on his shoulders and has done as well as can be expected with the crap he’s had to work with during his tenure, so I’ve been willing to give him some slack.
Well, that shit is over as of now.
That the Oilers aren’t getting results is one thing. I’m used to that, I can take it. That they don’t seem to give a shit out there is a whole different story. I’m here to be entertained, goddamnit, not watch a bunch of guys making millions of dollars half-ass their way through another dull, mistake-filled loss to some mediocre club like Columbus, Toronto or L.A. I watched a good chunk of the game prior to last night’s shit show against the Kings (a 3-1 Montreal win over Detroit) and saw two strong skating teams shooting the puck, great goaltending, playing disciplined and sound positional hockey. Thirty minutes later, as Denis Grebeshkov nonchalantly poked the puck on to the stick of Anze Kopitar for the King’s first goal, net, the line separating the contenders from the pretenders couldn’t have been clearer. These goldbricking, slack-ass motherfuckers just don’t give a rip.
Granted this team isn’t exactly underperforming. Despite the early season hype, this was always a team that needed everyone to play to their full potential just to have a hope of contending for the NW title. Instead, damn near everything that could have gone wrong has. The veterans have struggled (notably Horcoff and offseason pick up Erik Cole), the kids look completely lost (Brodziak is stuck in the PB, Ganger is drowning and does Nilsson even play for this team anymore?) and the goaltending…sheeeeeiiiiit. A lot of this was probably foreseeable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow, especially coupled with the aforementioned lack of effort.
Something’s gotta give. MacT, it’s been widely observed, looks and sounds like man in the late stages of a terminal disease who is willing to try any treatment, no matter how radical (putting Smid on the wing, say), to save his ass. But you’d have a better chance of curing cancer by eating the pituitary glands of Mexican orphans than winning games with the effort these dinks are putting out there. Obviously, not all that is going to be on the coach but it sure looks like a group that’s either tuned the gaffer out or is just not responding well to his methods. Something’s gotta give.
Tying a can to the coach at this point is probably the best option for a short term boost. The team is close enough to .500 that they can see daylight, but not so comfortable that another three or four losses in their next five won’t fuck them good and proper come spring. Time is not on our side here. If nothing else, firing MacT would go a long way towards settling the debate over whether the problem was him or the players, and that alone makes it a worthwhile experiment to try.
Posted by LittleFury at 3:36 PM