SUN Hockey Pool

Don't blame MacT for Oilers' woes

JOHN SHORT

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

It's amazing. Also frustrating.

Once again, fans are saying, and bloggers are writing, that Craig MacTavish is a lousy coach. The Oilers are a fringe playoff team, at best, so if the critics are right, he's a lot dumber than last year when they reached the Stanley Cup final.

How much smarter would he be if Chris Pronger had not whined his way to Anaheim, Jaroslav Spacek had not shuffled off to Buffalo and Dwayne Roloson had been as brilliant this year as he was after coming from Minnesota late last season?

Yesterday, in Denver, when Roloson played brilliantly, MacTavish was a much better coach than Joel Quenneville, whose biggest problem may be that his team is even softer physically than Edmonton.

The Oilers play a thoroughly methodical style, so they aren't always exciting to watch, but it's unreasonable to knock MacTavish for designing a game plan to fit the ability and production of his players.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

Lately, some prominent media types have been yelping that Martin Brodeur is the best goaltender in hockey history. Wrong.

A few years ago, similar things were said and written about Patrick Roy. Also wrong. In my opinion, neither belongs among the all-time top 10. They're not as good as Grant Fuhr was.

To me, the best was Terry Sawchuk, with Glenn Hall close behind. They starred for many years and did it before masks, bigger pads and ultra-light equipment. They deserve their spots in the hockey Hall of Fame.

Ken Dryden, who's also a hall of famer, disagreed with me. The former Montreal Canadiens great picked Gump Worsley as his personal choice. "Some goalies are better when they see a lot of shots," Dryden said. "Others concentrate better when they aren't too busy.

"Gump played well in both styles. In New York, the Rangers gave up a lot of shots. When he won Stanley Cups with the Canadiens, he faced fewer shots. The pressures are different. It took a special guy, with special ability, to handle all situations equally well."

HARVARD CALLING, MARCO

Marco Iannuzzi was the most exciting junior football player to hit Edmonton in a long, long time. While sparking the Huskies to a national championship two years ago with a string of remarkable catches and incredible kick returns, he was openly sought by Harvard University, both for his ability and his smarts.

Last week, we were told the likeable Calgary product has qualified for the next step. In a month or so, you can count on a major news conference in his hometown to confirm his enrolment in the Ivy League school.

AND THE WINNER IS ...

My super bowl prediction: Indianapolis 24, Chicago 14. My prediction record: 348 right, none wrong.


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