MacT firing is a start

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

What do you call an organization that changes its coach and plans on changing a significant number of players in the same off-season?

A mess.

And not the good kind of Mess, the one who wore No. 11 and carried the team on his back through so many playoffs. We're talking about the kind of mess that finishes 11th, rolls over on its back and misses so many playoffs.

With yesterday's media conference at Rexall Place, where they announced that Craig MacTavish is indeed going somewhere, and it's not behind Edmonton's bench next year, the Oilers also announced that they are a franchise in disarray.

They didn't have to come right out and say it, but when the coach isn't good enough and the players aren't good enough - and management certainly can't be good enough given that it's responsible for the players and the coach - what else is there?

All that's left now is hope; the hope that general manager Steve Tambellini can pick through this dog's breakfast for any chunks worth keeping, flush the rest, find a new coach and build a playoff contender by next September ... in a market that might as well be sprayed with UFA repellant.

Good luck.

"We have some work to do," said Tambellini. "We're not a team that's comfortably sitting in a playoff spot year after year. We need a total overview and review of how we're doing our business, we obviously need to get better. Are there things that are going to change in there, yes."

MACT TAKES THE FALL

Starting with MacTavish, who became Mac The Knifed at 12:05 p.m. They're not saying "fired" because they want to spare him that last indignity, and they're not saying "resigned" because if he quits he doesn't get paid for the last year of his deal.

So the official cause of death is: relieved of his duties via a mutual agreement.

"He gave everything he possibly could to help this team get better," said Tambellini. "But we both agree that it is time for a change."

It is. MacTavish is an excellent, well-respected coach, but his preferred style of play no longer jibes with the type of players they have here. Of course, not many coaches have a preferred style of play that jibes with a small, soft, inconsistent roster.

The dressing room is where Tambellini's dustpan will focus next in his summer housecleaning project.

"I'm not satisfied right now," he said, in a statement that puts him on side with the fans. "We need more strength, we need more grit. I've seen compete at times when it's shown me that we're ready to play, but I've seen the other side too many times. One thing I will not put up with is an unemotional game where we can't dictate the outcome of the game with energy."

Unfortunately, that was most games this season, where the Oilers were an easy team to play against, especially at home.

NEED A TOUGHER TEAM

Tambellini wants to build a tougher team with more heart, led by a coach who's willing to let offensive guys set their switches to attack mode. It sounds like a fantastic product on paper, the hard part is finding the pieces.

For all that needs fixing, though, Tambellini says there are building blocks in place.

"I still look at this group and see a tremendous amount of potential. We have some good pieces in place here, some good young players who I think want to be great players. We have some good veterans who hopefully want to be a part of this going forward.

"I'm confident in most of the people that are in here. We've got something that should be very, very competitive by the time we (hit the) ice next year. We just have to find a way to make sure we're getting better, not staying status quo."


Videos

Photos