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Craig MacTavish-4 Year Review

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04-23-2004, 05:59 PM
  #1
Lowetide
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Craig MacTavish-4 Year Review

Craig MacTavish: A 4 Year Review

What we’re looking for here is tendencies, and if MacT has changed as a coach in this time frame. As with the Lowe review, I’ll try to find the middle ground in terms of bias.

1. Does he roll 4 lines or sit people on the end of the bench
MacT has become more of a 4 line man than he was when he became coach. Much of that may have to do with the roster he inherited versus the one he has now, but one could argue that MacT cultivated that change.

The 00-01 roster had a big top line (Weight/Smyth/Guerin-Carter), a checking line (Marchant/Moreau/Grier) and a make shift 2 and 4 (Murray, Cleary, Riesen, Lacouture, Swanson, Kilger, Zholtok, Horcoff, Pittis, it’s a dog’s breakfast looking back). The defense was pretty consistent with the top 4 (Niinimaa, Ulanov, Poti and Smith) all over 21 minutes. Goal was patrolled by Tommy in 73 games.

The 03-04 roster had no such dominant line, with a few taking turns. The top goal scorer among rw’s was Fernando Pisani, and three left winger’s scored 20 or more. Seven defensemen were over 17 minutes per game average. The goaltending was split up in more even terms, although Tommy's poor play may have been a stronger contributer than MacT's wish to share the job.


2. How does he handle rookies?
Craig MacTavish has used 22 rookies (or what I consider rookies) in his 4 seasons, or 5.5 per season. Each season the Oilers have brought in at least one rookie of interest (00-01: Comrie, Horcoff; 01-02: Markkanen; 02-03: Hemsky, Chimera, Pisani, Semenov; 03-04: Torres, Bergeron, Stoll), and one imagines a few more on the way. Some of these players occupy some very important roles on the team already.


3. What KIND of rookies do well under MacTavish?
Well, he loves forwards who can play solid postional games (Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, Torres), and two pretty good goalies have emerged on his watch (Markkanen, Conklin). Defensively, the two players of note (Semenov, Bergeron) have had an uneven start but there's loads of potential and they are going in the right direction.


4. Is there an area of concern with regard to rookies? MacTavish has been very effective in using the usual powers of persuasion (press box, playing time, minors) to get the best out of most players. However, there is an increasing list of players who are either not progressing or refuse to buy into the system. All of them are offense first players.

Despite some tremendous success, Mike Comrie left town calling the Oilers "communists". Michel Riesen's 12 game NHL career ended when the rookie coach couldn't get the 4th Bulldog line on the ice due to penalties and powerplays. Ales Hemsky's young career is in trouble, as he appears to have lost confidence and become a perimeter player who won't shoot the puck. The first thing MacT did as coach was to "break down" Poti's game, after Poti had just come off a pretty good season.

However, is that MacT's fault? Comrie's 33 goal season (in which his giveaway/takeaway number was 118/43) was followed by a good half season and then a disastrous second half in 02-03. Management's belief that he isn't a top line center (which is completely reasonable) seems to be one of the main factors that caused his leaving the team. Riesen was never going to be a quality two way player, and hasn't done much since being dealt to St. Louis. Hemsky seems to have some coachability issues, as the whole world knows he should shoot but he continually passes up opportunities (87 shots in a full season is very poor, especially when he's got a good shot). His not making the World Championships shows the Oilers aren't the only ones who aren't impressed. Poti digressed into a poor defenseman with no confidence, Hemsky may not be tough enough to play at the NHL level.


Does he have specialists for certain roles? How rigid is this? He's less rigid than Ron Low, I believe, but Ron Low was a brick wall. His top 5 penalty killers (by minutes) up front were Shawn Horcoff (2:34), Ethan Moreau (2:25), Ryan Smyth (2:16), Mike York (1:53) and Jarret Stoll (1:51). Marty Reasoner (3:29) would certainly have been the leader in this area had he not been injured.

On the powerplay, York (4:18) and Smyth (3:30) re-appear, along with Oates (3:07), Hemsky (2:42) and Dvorak (2:33). He gave 3 minutes a game to Oates, but Torres (1:37) and Pisani (0:45) got little despite having fine seasons. In 00-01, Doug Weight (6:41), Ryan Smyth (5:31) and Anson Carter (4:37) all had bigger minutes, although the 00-01 group had more pp chances (398-338 in terms of chances, 59-44 in terms of goals).

In many ways, MacT is less rigid with specific players because they all resemble each other. Is there a huge difference between Shawn Horcoff and Jarret Stoll?

How about that powerplay? The Oilers pp looks exactly like what you would expect a Craig MavTavish powerplay to look like. He's built this team for 5x5 play and they're terrific at it, so it is somewhat predictable that they'd struggle with theman advantage, right?

Well, 4 seasons in there are some signs that MacT is willing to try something new. He employed MA Bergeron in the back half of the season as a pp qb, and Nedved played a large role as a "one shot scorer" on the pp late in the season. This may be an indication that he's going to have more specialists and fewer guys he plugs in everywhere.


What are his strengths? MacTavish teams have a solid work ethic, and play a high tempo game. Despite the craziest pk number for much of last year, imo this should be a good penalty killing team. Most of the problem last season came from the opponent scoring on the goalie about 10 seconds after they set up the pp in the Oilers' end. Salo just wasn't stopping pucks.

MacTavish seems to put his roster together bass ackwards, getting good role players to score enough to stay in the lineup. I'd say it never works, but Fernando Pisani scored 16 goals this season and played solid hockey all over the ice and this team of 8th rounders scored 221 goals. 4th in the conference. I bet a few NHL coaches would've overlooked Pisani. He's also gotten solid seasons from players who haven't been completely happy. Not just Comrie, by all accounts Hecht wasn't thrilled here but he put up a solid season.

A note about the backline, because I haven't talked too much about it. It's a pretty damn good unit, even though parts of it aren't too sexy. They're dependable, scored a whack of goals, and the numbers reflected that once the goalie started doing his job. And I think part of the credit for that has to go to MacTavish.

After the Comrie situation, we can probably sumrise that MacT has the backbone to backup his beliefs. Right or wrong, that's a good quality for a coach.

One final thing here: when this team was left for dead, he wouldn't give up. He kept trying, right to the last. I have no idea how many teams would be lining up for this guy if he came available, but he impressed me with that late season run. And remember, this came after a long stretch of awful and people wondering if he'd lost the room.


What are his weaknesses? Well, he's missed the playoffs in two of the 4 seasons, and his lack of imagination has made the pp a time for Oiler fans to hit the can. He can be stay with some players too long, as witnessed the Salo and Oates situation this season. A more vicious coach might have benched Salo earlier, and in doing so saved the season.

We don't know if the team's distressing inability to develop skill players is MacT's fault, but it has reached desperate proportions on his watch.


Okay, so that's it. Not MY opinion, although its spiced in there. There are compelling arguments for both sides.

So what is your opinion?

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04-23-2004, 06:29 PM
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MrMackey
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lowetide, it seems that you and I think exactly alike in terms of MacT, I've agreed in the past about your views on bringing Hemsky along, etc. and I 100% agree with this post.

A couple of points I'd like to add:

First, I think MacTavish might have one of the toughest coaching jobs in the league. He consistently has to put out a playoff team, but there is a high player turnover every year (especially the top players - Ottawa has a tight budget, but its core has been there for years now) and he really has no stars to speak of.

I think he's done a great job with most of the rookies, and Lowe has done a good job of surrounding his coach with players that would succeed within his system.

I believe that MacT will continue to struggle with nurturing highly-skilled rookies, and is better suited to having veteran offensive players as his scorers. Going in to the new CBA, I think this will be okay, as I believe Lowe will try and either sign Nedved or make a deal/sign another offensive centre. IMO, having more skilled players to play with will help Hemsky's game more than MacT buzzing in his ear about what he should be doing.

As the saying goes, you can teach good defense but you can't teach good offense, and I think MacT is one of the best at teaching a good defense because the system the Oilers play remains a fairly entertaining brand of hockey to watch (although a far cry from the glory days of this team... its not "Oilers' hockey").

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04-23-2004, 07:40 PM
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Pretty impressive assessment LT.

MacT has really grown (pains and all) into a good head coach.
Thrown pretty green into the position, knowing that his team was going to be bleeding profusely from 'vital organs' being ripped out, for 3 years.
This season was supposed to be the 'stabilizing the core/corps' year, then stuff happened.
He didn't lose the room this year.
Some 'leaders' exploded the room last spring.
The 'Comrie confusion' last fall didn't make things any easier, either.
It took hard work, focus and consistency from the coaching team;
commitment and even some atonement from remaining leaders to get the room back.
He has the room.
He has the TEAM.

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04-23-2004, 08:35 PM
  #4
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1) Rolling Lines - I think the term you're looking for is pureeing lines, or liquifying them is it not?

Seriously I think that the team we have lends itself to being a 4 liner, we don't have a first line that's so dominant that they should get to hog all the icetime and we do have at least 6 guys who are top notch second liners. Credit goes to MacT for using the 4th line a lot when they're playing well though. I'm sure that the Stars will attest to that.

2) I have a problem with his handling of the rookies here, imo they shouldn't be subjected to the line blender to the same extent as a York-type veteran. In order for the kids to look good out there they can't just "play the system", they also have to know how to play with their linemates and everyone has different tendencies. A kid who gets shuffled around between lines will never get to the point where he's making crafty plays on offense imo.

I'm sure that Brett Hull and Adam Oates played together for quite a few games before they became the dynamic duo that was feared by goalies league-wide. MacT doesn't seem to think this is the case as he's known to say "lack of chemistry" after a line has been together for one game or less.


I think that one of MacT's strengths is his use of veterans, especially d-men. Maybe we should be thanking Charlie Huddy for that but as we all know, crap runs downhill, kudos don't. (Hey, I should copyright that ).


I'm a guy who's been overcritical of MacT at times, no doubt about it, but I don't think I'm wrong to say that the three year extension was just a bit too much. MacT has been here more than long enough to make his stamp on this team and there are still some really big question marks about the team's overall preformance and some of his decisions as a coach.

I think that the Oilers will be going into the next season with a very solid team (assuming we still have Nedved or another proven center), and to fall more than one or two points short of 100 should be considered a dismal failure on MacT's part and he should be gone.

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04-23-2004, 10:52 PM
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I think MacTavish has done a good job with this squad, and your assessment seems pretty fair to my eyes.

In general I tend to think that coaches get a bit too much credit when a team does well, and a bit too much blame when it all goes wrong. I'd wager that the vast majority of Jack Adams winners coached teams that:
a.) Garnered more points in the standings than their goal differential indicated {i.e. had some puck-luck that year}
b.) Had a goaltender that had a very good year save%-wise.
c.) Coached a team that, quite predictably, performed worse the next season. (SEE a. and b. for the reasons)

I do think that MacTavish is a fair coach. And generally rewards players based on performance rather than pedigree. I also think that he has a lot of good players to work with, and uses them well. More often than not ... he seems to get the right guys on the ice in the right situations.

Just listened to the MacTavish Season Wrap clip at NHL.com. A decent interview, standard MacTavish stuff really. But their is something that bothers me, and that is his unwavering support of his assistants (he stopped just short of saying that other teams would be lined up to nab Craig Simpson if he were available ). I guess you could argue that the 'happy family' atmosphere is more likely to breed success ... but meh, I'm more from the 'pressure makes diamonds' school of thought. :beatup:

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04-23-2004, 10:54 PM
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Well Igor

Simpson did win two Cups with the Oilers so that makes him a great coach

I don't think MacT is a big problem with the Oilers. There are some things I don't like about him but at least he doesn't lose matchups like he used to.

I still can't get over the time he let Comrie take an own zone draw vs Modano with 10 seconds left in a period

I don't like the way some of the special teams play and strategy has gone but no one really knows who handles what, do they???

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04-24-2004, 12:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matts
I still can't get over the time he let Comrie take an own zone draw vs Modano with 10 seconds left in a period

the one thing i have to say about MacT, is that he's more of a "senses" guy than a "skill" guy. what i mean by this is that he's more willing to play a guy in a situation if he's naturally got the smarts to know what to do in that situation. he prefers players who think versus players who react.

case in point is Cross being on the powerplay. we all know that he's not the most offensively skilled D-men on the team, but i'd say he's definitely got offensive instincts in him - that is, he knows what to do. in this case, it's unfortunate that the skills aren't there to complement the smarts.

likewise with ferguson on defense. he's slow, relatively not that strong, and has got no offensive clue about him. but in the defensive zone, he just knows what to do, and naturally gravitates toward the right defensive play. again, his physical skill/attributes fail him here.

i could get flamed for sayin' this, but i think hemsky is the same case. he's got offensive skill galore, but sometimes i just think he has no clue what to do with it out there. i don't think he's expanded his offensive mindset yet, as he tries to pull the same tricks quite often.

i guess in the end of it, it seems MacT hopes or feels that hockey smarts will get you a lot further than hockey skill. it seems like he's tryin' to get the most outta the guys who have got the smarts (moreau, pisani, et. al) while is still trying to teach smarts or expand the mindset of others (hemsky, comrie, et. al)

in reference to matts above, i think there was a case of MacT trying to force responsibility on a player, getting him to expand on the defensive side of things. getting him out there at that time would've been a huge boost of confidence that he wanted comrie to be a go to guy in all situations. whether or not that was a good time to pull that test on a kid is debatable, and we know how that one turned out.....

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04-24-2004, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
... But their is something that bothers me, and that is his unwavering support of his assistants (he stopped just short of saying that other teams would be lined up to nab Craig Simpson if he were available ). I guess you could argue that the 'happy family' atmosphere is more likely to breed success ... but meh, I'm more from the 'pressure makes diamonds' school of thought. :beatup:
If you believe in your coaching team, why wouldn't you support them?
It's a whole lot easier to develop a team on the ice, when they see a team of coaches leading them.
After all, you want everyone pulling in the same direction (toward Lord Stanley's Chalice).
Oi'll say! may remember me saying this last fall. :attn:
"Simmer will be a good head coach some day."

After working with him for a year, MacT says the same thing.
He is obviously a valued member of MacT's team.

I don't know about you, igor, but I'm more productive when I know that my abilities are appreciated.

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04-24-2004, 11:31 AM
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The one thing I will say about the high end rookies is this:

Mac-T doesn't have that much luxury. He doesn't have anyone to compensate for a guy like Hemsky.

If Hemsky is on the first 2 lines and isn't producing, the Oilers don't have the kind of skilled players who can compensate for that lost production. There is no Naslund scoring every 2nd game which allows Mac-T to throw Hemsky out there for 15 minutes every night. If Hesmky isn't producing, the Oilers can't win games if he is out there all the time not doing anything. They are better off with Pisani on the top line getting a point every two games than they are with Hemsky out there getting a point every 5.

It's a fine balance, you need a kid like Hemsky to improve, but you also need to win hockey games. We all saw it on this board. When the Oilers were winning, everyone was happy, and when they were losing, everyone was pissed off (for the most part). This would be a little more worrisome if Hemsky was 23... he isn't, he's 20.

It's a very fine line, and one that not too many NHL coaches find themselves in. I mean Oiler fans want the young kids to develop instantly and play all the time no matter what, but at the same time for the team to make the playoffs. Well it's really tough for that to happen when you don't have that superstar that shoulders the load for your team on most nights. If the Oilers had a guy like Weight or Iginla, or Naslund, I think you would have seen guys like Hemsky given a much bigger leash, simply because it could he could be compensated for.

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04-24-2004, 12:41 PM
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Lowetide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgbone
The one thing I will say about the high end rookies is this:

Mac-T doesn't have that much luxury. He doesn't have anyone to compensate for a guy like Hemsky.

If Hemsky is on the first 2 lines and isn't producing, the Oilers don't have the kind of skilled players who can compensate for that lost production. There is no Naslund scoring every 2nd game which allows Mac-T to throw Hemsky out there for 15 minutes every night. If Hesmky isn't producing, the Oilers can't win games if he is out there all the time not doing anything. They are better off with Pisani on the top line getting a point every two games than they are with Hemsky out there getting a point every 5.

It's a fine balance, you need a kid like Hemsky to improve, but you also need to win hockey games. We all saw it on this board. When the Oilers were winning, everyone was happy, and when they were losing, everyone was pissed off (for the most part). This would be a little more worrisome if Hemsky was 23... he isn't, he's 20.

It's a very fine line, and one that not too many NHL coaches find themselves in. I mean Oiler fans want the young kids to develop instantly and play all the time no matter what, but at the same time for the team to make the playoffs. Well it's really tough for that to happen when you don't have that superstar that shoulders the load for your team on most nights. If the Oilers had a guy like Weight or Iginla, or Naslund, I think you would have seen guys like Hemsky given a much bigger leash, simply because it could he could be compensated for.
It's a tough call in regard to Hemsky. He could certainly turn it around and come back strong, there's nothing in his past that says he won't do it. There's also strong evidence that he wasn't listening well enough to what the coaches were saying.

The underlying truth, though, is that the Edmonton Oilers have gotten very little from high skill first rounders, and after awhile it starts to ring alarm bells.

Is it just that these kids are letting them down, and the Oilers' brass has been unlucky? Or is it something the organization is not giving these kids?

I honestly don't know.

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04-24-2004, 02:21 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceDragoon
If you believe in your coaching team, why wouldn't you support them?
It's a whole lot easier to develop a team on the ice, when they see a team of coaches leading them.
After all, you want everyone pulling in the same direction (toward Lord Stanley's Chalice).
Oi'll say! may remember me saying this last fall. :attn:
"Simmer will be a good head coach some day."

After working with him for a year, MacT says the same thing.
He is obviously a valued member of MacT's team.

I don't know about you, igor, but I'm more productive when I know that my abilities are appreciated.
Well, to my mind it is all about accountability. You are either for it or against it.

It is abundantly clear that Lowe is FOR player accountability and AGAINST coach accountability.

He will not even confirm what the responsibilities of the individual coaches are. I have heard him asked the question directly, and he avoids answering in the deft manner of a young Francisco Franco :lol

Ahhh ... to be a 'Friend of Kev'.

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04-24-2004, 02:23 PM
  #12
momentai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
1. Does he roll 4 lines or sit people on the end of the bench
MacT has become more of a 4 line man than he was when he became coach. Much of that may have to do with the roster he inherited versus the one he has now, but one could argue that MacT cultivated that change.
If one had to choose between the two options, it would definitely have to be the latter especially in the latter stages of the game. Case in point this year: Adam Oates, Ales Hemsky, and Jason Chimera. While I can understand this line of reasoning: the people MacT trusts as veterans are less prone to glaring errors... it still makes me wonder how much actual faith the coaching staff have in those said players. Many a time this season I have seen BG struggle finding his game and, yet, in the third period he remained playing while Chimera was stapled to the bench. (even if he had had a relatively strong game)

Not exactly rolling 4 lines per game especially in the waning stages. This could also be applied to his defensive pairings as well... I think we all remember the New Jersey back to back debacle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
2. How does he handle rookies?
Craig MacTavish has used 22 rookies (or what I consider rookies) in his 4 seasons, or 5.5 per season. Each season the Oilers have brought in at least one rookie of interest (00-01: Comrie, Horcoff; 01-02: Markkanen; 02-03: Hemsky, Chimera, Pisani, Semenov; 03-04: Torres, Bergeron, Stoll), and one imagines a few more on the way. Some of these players occupy some very important roles on the team already.
I think he should commended in this respect. It is no easy task to implement so many rookies every year into the system. However, that is going to be a continual occurrence for the Edmonton Oilers in the forseeable future. (Especially with Lynch/Woywitka/and perhaps Salmalainen looking to make the club)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
3. What KIND of rookies do well under MacTavish?
Well, he loves forwards who can play solid postional games (Horcoff, Pisani, Stoll, Torres), and two pretty good goalies have emerged on his watch (Markkanen, Conklin). Defensively, the two players of note (Semenov, Bergeron) have had an uneven start but there's loads of potential and they are going in the right direction.
I think you said it best. The ones who have excelled are ones that already had a relatively strong defensive mentality developed FIRST. Horcoff/Pisani/Stoll were all known as more than capable defensive players before making the team. Torres was known more for his hitting prowess but they all had elements of that defensive mentality in their game already developed. Perhaps there is something in that that can be deduced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
4. Is there an area of concern with regard to rookies? MacTavish has been very effective in using the usual powers of persuasion (press box, playing time, minors) to get the best out of most players. However, there is an increasing list of players who are either not progressing or refuse to buy into the system. All of them are offense first players.
I think, by definition, the Oilers' organization should always remain concerned with rookies and prospects. It is, after all, their staple and what they base their future upon given the current market conditions.

I think that is a definite point. Like I mentioned above... can MacT and the staff DEVELOP a strong defensive game in an offense-first player? Can he do to Hossa what Jacques Martin did? No answers to these questions... but is something that is worth thinking about IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
Does he have specialists for certain roles? How rigid is this? He's less rigid than Ron Low, I believe, but Ron Low was a brick wall. His top 5 penalty killers (by minutes) up front were Shawn Horcoff (2:34), Ethan Moreau (2:25), Ryan Smyth (2:16), Mike York (1:53) and Jarret Stoll (1:51). Marty Reasoner (3:29) would certainly have been the leader in this area had he not been injured.

On the powerplay, York (4:18) and Smyth (3:30) re-appear, along with Oates (3:07), Hemsky (2:42) and Dvorak (2:33). He gave 3 minutes a game to Oates, but Torres (1:37) and Pisani (0:45) got little despite having fine seasons. In 00-01, Doug Weight (6:41), Ryan Smyth (5:31) and Anson Carter (4:37) all had bigger minutes, although the 00-01 group had more pp chances (398-338 in terms of chances, 59-44 in terms of goals).
I think in a lot of ways... this can be boiled down relatively to trust in certain players in certain situations. He does have quite a few options on the pk which helps the fatigue factor in many instances.

As for the pp, Torres getting as limited minutes as he had.... astounds me given his tendency to be a "shoot-first" type of player. We all know how much we need shooters... especially on the pp. It would be nice to have a coaching staff that could actually cultivate an average pp for once. At times, MacT and the staff simply sends out just another "line". To me, I think that's just basically giving up on pp strategy.

In this respect, it is not merely MacT at fault here... it is the entire coaching staff that shares both blames and failures especially for the special teams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
How about that powerplay? The Oilers pp looks exactly like what you would expect a Craig MavTavish powerplay to look like. He's built this team for 5x5 play and they're terrific at it, so it is somewhat predictable that they'd struggle with theman advantage, right?

Well, 4 seasons in there are some signs that MacT is willing to try something new. He employed MA Bergeron in the back half of the season as a pp qb, and Nedved played a large role as a "one shot scorer" on the pp late in the season. This may be an indication that he's going to have more specialists and fewer guys he plugs in everywhere.
It seems to me that MacT/staff have coached these players well in this respect. Not "good" exactly but well. It seems ingrained into these players that they will always fall into the goal line "hot-potato" stategy as I like to call it. (Two forwards along the goal line with one forward along the halfboards pasing it back and forth) It rarely differs from that intial formation and I think it's a testament to how well the coaching staff have settled them into this formation. However, this is probably a big reason why the pp remains as stilted as it has been.

It would great to have a one-shot goal scorer consistently... but I think it's an area of concern that players never move without the puck. I have seen Bergeron do it as well as Horcoff... but the remaining players (more often than not) "wait" rather than "create".

Maybe it would be in the Oilers' best interests to lay off the pp? Put the best players on the ice and let the chips fall where they may? Hehe. I doubt MacT would approve, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
What are his strengths? MacTavish teams have a solid work ethic, and play a high tempo game. Despite the craziest pk number for much of last year, imo this should be a good penalty killing team. Most of the problem last season came from the opponent scoring on the goalie about 10 seconds after they set up the pp in the Oilers' end. Salo just wasn't stopping pucks.
I would agree with you for the most part. He tends to have the role players elevate their game. Pisani at 16 goals is quite the achievement as is Reasoner's remarkable performance the season before. Ethan Moreau looked great this year as well.

I think we are all relatively satisfied with the 5 on 5 play this year as Igor has many a time stated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
What are his weaknesses? Well, he's missed the playoffs in two of the 4 seasons, and his lack of imagination has made the pp a time for Oiler fans to hit the can. He can be stay with some players too long, as witnessed the Salo and Oates situation this season. A more vicious coach might have benched Salo earlier, and in doing so saved the season.

We don't know if the team's distressing inability to develop skill players is MacT's fault, but it has reached desperate proportions on his watch.
As for weaknesses.. a couple of things come to mind.

1) Great over-reliance on some players in the lineup. Fatigue is an important thing to manage and MacT does not do that well at times.

2) Developing a defensive game to strong offensive players. ie/ obviously a relatively poor defensive player is not going to get the icetime under him.

Those are my opinons. Take those for what they are worth. Merely opinons.

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Old
04-24-2004, 06:42 PM
  #13
IceDragoon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igor
Well, to my mind it is all about accountability. You are either for it or against it.

It is abundantly clear that Lowe is FOR player accountability and AGAINST coach accountability.

He will not even confirm what the responsibilities of the individual coaches are. I have heard him asked the question directly, and he avoids answering in the deft manner of a young Francisco Franco :lol

Ahhh ... to be a 'Friend of Kev'.
"or/and"? Doesn't look clear to me.
KLo has always been accountable and expects the same from everyone that he deals with.
Just because we don't see it, doesn't mean that the coaches are not held accountable.
In upper management there is plenty of accountability behind closed doors.
So, I'm OK with KLo determining accountability.
I'm OK with him developing the ability to deflect the media.
And, I'm OK with him choosing people he trusts and has experience with, to do the jobs to his expectations.
meh - I'm patient and I'm easy.


Last edited by IceDragoon: 04-24-2004 at 08:06 PM. Reason: correct a sentence
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Old
04-24-2004, 07:24 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowetide
It's a tough call in regard to Hemsky. He could certainly turn it around and come back strong,
After reading your fine and entertaining recap of MacT, I find it an odd sensation to rummag through my memories of the MacT/Hemsky story.

1st season. Hemsky was started up, but quickly found himself in the pressbox watching NHL hockey. Then he came into the lineup off and on, and I couldn't believe, frankly, that he was playing what seem to me to be pretty smart hockey with some good defense. From a guy that was supposed to be all offense. He finished the year strong and MacT eventually found him a spot on the 1st line. To me, it looked like MacT did a great job bringing on a guy fresh out of junior and too young for the AHL.

2nd season. The sophomore slump season. Hemsky reports to camp thinner. Many people wonder out loud whether he'll make it through a full NHL season. Pours on the points and is given ice time and opportunity. Falls off the map. MacT's doing? All players slump sometime, and I guess its MacT's job to ensure Hemsky doesn't slump right into the ECHL, but I'm not sure how big a slab of the blamecake is rightly his. I don't remember Hemsky being ripped specifically for his lack of defense: he just wasn't producing or even playing with confidence. So if MacT's directly culpable, it appears to be only because he doesn't know how to nuture burgeoning skill players, not because he's a narrow-minded D-***** who has no room for skill players.

From memory, Hemsky was a near-point-per-game player for several months...a continuous streak that stretched over two seasons. I guess my quandry is I have a hard time clearly understanding why MacT might earn credit for Hemsky's first season and scorn for the second.

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Old
04-24-2004, 07:51 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilswell
From memory, Hemsky was a near-point-per-game player for several months...a continuous streak that stretched over two seasons. I guess my quandry is I have a hard time clearly understanding why MacT might earn credit for Hemsky's first season and scorn for the second.
Yes, there's a definite split in his season. Oct-Dec (36 games) he was 9-14-23, -5, and Jan-Mar (35 games) he was 3-8-11, -2.

As for understanding why MacT might get credit or scorn, MacT's success rate with a bunch of rookies suggests that he clearly has an idea how to get these kids into the deep end of the pool without drowning.

Hopefully, Hemsky comes back strong next year.

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Old
04-24-2004, 10:39 PM
  #16
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Dawgbone

SOME Oilers fans might want the kids to be played and want the playoffs made as well but I'm a guy who doesn't mind sacrificing wins and points if it means young guys are earning their stripes. No I didn't like the Bergy demotion but he came back and played much better and I don't mind giving MacT the credit that when Bergy gambled he still stuck with him down the stretch

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