Is Mactavish a Right Fit for the Oilers?
Now I know what you are all thinking: Not another Oiler fan losing it after a loss. But this is not the case. The 5-4 loss to the Penguins to make the Oilers lose 5 of their last 7 games was just the nail in the coffin.
The Edmonton Oilers are not playing good hockey.
Sure they only lost by one goal yesterday against a very good hockey team, right? Wrong. They were down 5-0 at one point, and at the end of two periods were down 5-1. A third period too-little, too-late comeback made it seem as though the Oilers played a good game.
So, why should Craig Mactavish be fired?
Well simply put, he is not a right fit for this Oilers team. MacT is a defense first coach. The Oilers are a team built around offense. Even our defense is better in the other teams end of the rink than our own.
We need to play a run and gun offense, and rely on scoring to win, not defense and goaltending. The reason why the Oilers were picked by so many people (including myself) to challenge for the Northwest Division crown was because our offensive depth would allow us to roll three legitimate scoring lines.
We were supposed to just bombard the other team and be a scoring machine. The reality? The Oilers are 25th in the NHL with a measly 2.62 goals per game. What happened?
Mactavish is trying to instill a defensive game on this team, and it simply is not working. The Oilers need to blow out opponents and score a lot of goals. They need to keep the pedal to the metal and never let up when they get a lead. They just are not good enough defensively to try to protect a lead without adding more goals.
Craig Mactavish is a good coach. He was able to take Oilers teams in the past who were just awful into mediocrity. Now, however, he has arguably one of the best teams in recent Oilers history, and they are once again mediocre.
People argue that he took us to the cup in 2006. But in 2005-2006, the Oilers had a very good team, and still had to fight for the eighth spot in the conference. The same thing is happening this year.
The team has not come out to play in the first period. They are last in the NHL with five goals in the first period this entire season. They have also let in the 10th most goals in the NHL in the first period with 13.
The players are lacking intensity, and some of that blame has to go to the coach. He isn't motivating them to play their hardest, and that's a problem. The only player he has called out during the season has been goaltender Mathieu Garon, who had little support.
Coaching is very important in the NHL. If you look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, they have a worse team than the Oilers. But they have a better record than the Oilers. Ron Wilson was not afraid to call out his players that were playing poorly, and he even benched them.
In the end, Mactavish does not seem to be working. Whether it's because the players are tuning him out since he has been there so long, or what have you, he needs to go. Year in and year out, the Oilers have been a mediocre team at best, and while the players have changed, the only constant is Mactavish.
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