SUN Hockey Pool

'Not much out there'

Right now, despite the Oilers' struggles to get back into a playoff position, coach Craig MacTavish...

Right now, despite the Oilers' struggles to get back into a playoff position, coach Craig MacTavish isn't making a big deal about GM Kevin Lowe not doing a deal. (Sun Media File/Perry Mah)

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:45 PM ET

BOSTON -- Get somebody!

You'd think with a dozen days to go to the trade deadline the relationship between coach and general manager might be getting a little strained.

Craig MacTavish still doesn't have his puck moving defenceman. And without Jarret Stoll, Fernando Pisani and Ethan Moreau, he's an entire line down as the Edmonton Oilers have six games to go on the seven-game make-or-break road trip which continues in Buffalo tonight.

But the coach, who took his team to practise here while waiting out the weather prior to flying to Buffalo later in the day, says he's not screaming at Kevin Lowe to get him help and get it now.

"The relationship doesn't change," insists MacTavish. "You are always trying to do the right deal for the organization on the cycle that you're in."

WHAT'S THE DEAL?

And right now, despite the Oilers' struggles to get back into a playoff position, MacTavish isn't making a big deal about Lowe not doing a deal.

"There's not much out there that's enticing in any way, shape or form," he said.

"It's not like we wouldn't like to help ourselves. You have to do a deal that makes sense. You have to do the right deal, regardless, short term or long term."

GM Kevin Lowe, stranded in Hartford yesterday in an attempt to watch Oilers farm hands play in a weathered-out game in Springfield, Mass., says that it's at times like this a GM really appreciates having a coach like MacTavish.

"That's one of the under-appreciated sides of Mac. More than most coaches, he's in it long term and he sees it long term.

"I don't know many coaches around who know contracts and the value of players on the open market."

Lowe says he hates to deliver the message to Oilers fans that there's nothing enticing out there.

"I don't want to be so doomsday to our fans. But the truth is we don't have a rabbit to pull out of the hat.

"When you say, 'Get somebody!', we're like that sometimes ourselves. And if we could do something right now to shake up and see what happens that made any sense, we'd probably do it.

"At the same time there are so many trade rumours on TSN and Sportsnet that are just TV guys throwing stuff at the wall with maybe 1% basis, it drives you crazy. It's like trying to plug the Hoover Dam. I've given up. It really affects some players. At a time like this when you really need them, they're playing uptight."

With all the talk about getting some kind of a deal done, MacTavish says, there's one thing here that he can't get past with his hockey team.

"With what we have here right now should be good enough," he said.

"We're capable.

"It's been extremely frustrating the last couple of months. We're good enough. We're not playing terrible.

"We play to get ourselves an opportunity, we win a couple, we give ourselves a chance to get on a run. Then we haven't been good enough to win that one hockey game."

BACK WHERE THEY WERE

The Oilers won two straight going into Tuesday's tilt here with the Boston Bruins. They'd won five of the previous seven.

But the losses in there against Calgary, Vancouver and now Boston have all put them back where they were.

"The furthest ahead I'm looking is the Minnesota game at the end of this road trip," said MacTavish.

"We want to put ourselves in a position to make that game as meaningful as possible.

"That just got more difficult by losing the first game of the road trip."

"Now we have to salvage from the five games we have left between now and the Minnesota game and go in there and put the pressure on them and this time finally take advantage of it.

"Minnesota is the team we have the most opportunity against," MacTavish said of the fact that the Oilers have five of their last 19 games against the Wild.

"Time is running out obviously. We have to get in position with our team game to be good enough down the stretch or our season expires."


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