November 17, 2007
Double standardEdmonton fans have two different views
By BOB STAUFFER
Are Edmonton Sports fans superficial?
There seems to be a real contrast right now between the public's buy-in with Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia and Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.
When the Eskimos announced this week that Maciocia would stay aboard as head coach and Director of Football Operations, the majority of phone calls and e-mails that flooded into to radio shows and letters that came into the newspapers were critical to the Eskimos for not firing Maciocia at the end of the season.
Forget that the Eskimos had to deal with 14 significant injuries in 2007, including losing their best player, quarterback Ricky Ray for the final third of the season; or that the organization was steadfast in its commitment to the CFL's salary management system which prohibited the team from having extra imports around ready to step into the line-up like Saskatchewan did all season.
Bottom line: the Eskimos were close and competitive in most of the games this season, but that is not acceptable for fans in Edmonton.
Many fans have also suggested that Maciocia inherited Tom Higgins' team and that is why the Eskimos won the Grey Cup in 2005.
Did they forget about the 19 new players that season?
So in the eyes of the majority of the public, it is time to make a move after three seasons of Maciocia-ball?
Suffice it to say many of the same fans have given MacTavish a longer leash!
Now into his seventh season as head coach of the Oilers, the majority of fans appear to be patient with an injury-riddled Oilers line-up that can't score and has only won three games out of 19 in regulation this season. Fans also seem to understand that general manager Kevin Lowe is limited in what he can do because the Oilers are up against the cap.
Hmmm... see a bit of a double standard here?
MacTavish and his staff often receive significant credit for the Oilers magical playoff run in 2006 and most fans gave that same staff a do-over for 2006-07 because the team traded away it's two best players in Chris Pronger and Ryan Smyth, and was decimated by injuries.
Maciocia should be so lucky! He doesn't get credit when the team succeeds, and it is his fault when the Eskimos lose.
Face it Edmonton, some of you don't like Maciocia, and it is personal.
Is it because he is from Montreal and not an "Eskimos Old Boy"?
Is it because he never played the game at a high level?
Is it because he doesn't at times appear stylish or stately?
Surely, Edmonton, you are better then that!
In 11 seasons as a coach in the CFL, Maciocia's teams have gone to the Grey Cup four times and won twice. The two wins occurred here in Edmonton.
You would think that kind of record alone would buy him some patience with Eskimos fans, at least for another of season.
MacT has been ok.
MacTavish, who is now in his 10th season of coaching if you include the three years he spent as an assistant, has done a good job so far this season.
He clearly has shown a commitment to reinforcing positive messaging with the kids and struggling veterans alike.
The better offensive players have continued to be given "sugar-time" despite a struggling power play, as the team searches to find its groove with the extra man.
This is something that didn't happen at the end of last season when AHLer Tobbie Peterson saw himself playing more power play minutes for a stretch then Petr Sykora and Joffrey Lupul.
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST?
You have to feel to a certain degree for the aforementioned Tom Higgins. He didn't deserve what happened in Calgary. That was an ugly bit of business.
Higgins, though, does tend to worry about a lot of things for players and personnel alike that, on the surface, appear to be outside of the normal coaching realm.
Is he better suited to be in upper management than a coach?