Saturday, 18 April 2009

(MacT) Thanks and Good-bye(s?)

Craig MacTavish

Joining the show late (as it is my wont to do) I will add my voice to those that:

a. thank Craig MacTavish him for his efforts as coach of the team;
b. wish him well in the future;
c. believe he was a far better coach than given credit for (by many);
d. appreciate his ability to develop talent;

and, perhaps most importantly imo,

e. do not believe he deserved to walk the plank alone

Yes, MacT took a whack of misteps this year (I have a summary somewhere here and
BDHS has a more recent, and better, one) and when those mistakes are combined with:

a. a historic(al) inability to develop a decent powerplay system, and
b. players whose committment he had lost**

it was time for him to go.

BUT, this was Lowe's roster all the way and it was his player procurement that set the team up to fail.

Pronger for beans, Smyth for less than that, Torres for a question mark, Hedja, Reasoner and Glencross discarded, and more - the series of moves made is as mindboggling as it is questionable. Rebuild style moves made when a reload was possible and reload style moves made when a rebuild was the obvious strategy.

It really is batshit crazy kind of stuff.

Yet, when other head office retirements are mentioned it isn't Lowe's name that comes up - it is that of Kevin Prendergast.

That is asinine.

Kevin Prendergast

look at draft results all the time and I am absolutely certain that in the fullness of time the Oiler drafts from 2001 through 2008 will show positive results.

I have a couple of years of updates to do to my data and on the quick I can honestly say the trend is way up; the only clear miss being Niinimaki in 2002.

But you want to point a finger of blame per the Pouliot/Parise trade?

Good. Point it then at the substandard return Lowe secured and not at Pouliot nor Prendergast (as neither deserves the heat simply for being). While I cannot be mad at Lowe for making the pick I can be mad at how he prices his draft assets - compare what he got for the 17th (2003) versus what he paid for the 21st (2007) and then take a look at all of Lowe's like trades - he is a classic sell low and buy high kind of guy.

Want to be mad - be mad about THAT. Good GM's don't sell their assets cheap.

Guy Flaming has an absolutely must-read post at
Coming Down The Pipe that lays out a defense of KP. It doesn't get much better than that.

(The second in the series is here and the third is here)

Now, Flaming might be tight with KP. Guy has been following the Oilers propects for quite a while now and developing contacts/friendships with the scouts would be a natural thing to have happen. But nothing in his post(s) ring false.

[Edit to add: seems I spoke too soon about the 'nothing in his post(s) ring false' as Tyler Dellow speaks to the issue - as far as MacT is concerned anyways]

Kevin Prendergast should not be shown the door. Not this year at least. We'll see how Springfield does next year.


One of the best things about Guy's post is that it basically states, in no uncertain terms, that Best Player Available is a joke. No team out there takes best player available - they all take Best Player Available According To Criteria.

[Edit to add: a belief I have, well... always, had]

So whether it was Barry Fraser loving size (and US colleges - see my work) or Lowe not really wanting another small skilled guy in 2003 (buh-bye Parise) NONE of it had anything to do with taking the best player available.

Fact is, reading Guy's post it sounds an awful lot like the Oilers made the cardinal sin of drafting for need. BPA be damned.


** Despite other assertions I am one of those who believes that MacT lost the room.

'Losing the room' does not have to exhibit itself in the form of a general player revolt (dressing room) or unofficial player surrender (on the ice) - if one sees a team that either lacks confidence or shows a condition of malaise, when it should not, then odds are good that the leadership of the team (the leadership is comprised of the coaches and the letters) has lost the room.

The disconnect was noted by MacT himself. For a guy who preaches team grit and sacrifice NOT to be able to get that out of his team, despite the fact that most of his players were/are cut from that mold, well... that is 'lost the room'.


To be clear. MacT should have, and did, get shown the door. But the other guy going, if any, should be Kevin Lowe. Not Kevin Prendergast.


Have a great evening everyone.


Jonathan Willis said...

Prendergast deserves very little blame for the Oilers this season. However, if he was given a lot of latitude in Springfield the last two years, I can see some very sound reasons to let him go.

That said, I completely agree with your main point: that the vast majority of the problems the Oilers have faced over the last three seasons can be laid at the feet of one man, Kevin Lowe.

YKOil said...

I lean more towards a first year forgiveness (given how it came about and seeing that Buchberger wasn't his choice for coach) and second year mulligan (given how it didn't work and his guy - Truitt - didn't pan out either).

Third year the charm. Or the out.

Since I think it takes more than one year to get a turn around I don't hold out much hope for KP long-term. I just don't think he should go THIS year.

YKOil said...

Oh. And I reject criticism of his work overseeing player procurement.