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12-03-2003, 04:11 PM
  #44
Behind Enemy Lines
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,792
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I'll join Lowtide in the fence sitting. I for one do not believe this is a black-and-white issue. I place accountability on both the coach and this team's personnel. MacTavish has made some questionable coaching decisions including use/non-use of time-outs at critical times, excessive loyalty to some players, and perhaps working the blender. However MacT has also found chemistry with Torres, York, Hemsky. Bergeron and Stoll are blossoming. Craig Simpson was hired to work with the Power Play and while I like Simpson's cerebral approach he and the assistants do not deserve a free pass from accountabilities. Some suggestions made here to promote Simpson to head coach seem crazy when he has not yet achieved success in his core duties.

The Oiler personnel must also be accountable for these team results. This defense is paper thin and an area of concern (I felt) going into this season. Simple, responsible decision making is critical and this team, coaching or not, is prone to making back decisions. It is also evident that several players such as Isbister and Laraque require 'tough love' to motivate rather than self-motivation. Eric Brewer and Ryan Smyth have not contributed the veteran consistency expected of them. Finally, Injuries - no excuse - have contributed to shaky and erratic play.

Coaching a young, inexperience team imo is like walking a tightrope. It is a delicate balance between nurturing and teaching to instill confidence while also at times delivering tough love when mistakes begin repeating themselves and lessons are not learned.

Through this difficult patch I have viewed some positive. The Oates signing will help in many facets. Salo will return healthy - physically and hopefully mentally. We've seen youth rise to the opportunity with Salmo, Stoll, Conklin. This team has rallied several times in games to come back.
And we are still in the race.

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