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MacTavish tries to explain Oilers’ nightmare start

Nov 14, 2013, 3:38 PM EST

Craig MacTavish. AP

The day after his free-falling Oilers dropped to 4-14-2 with a 3-0 loss to Dallas — a defeat that set a rather ignominious franchise record — a “frustrated” and “pissed off” Craig MacTavish met with the media Thursday (audio).

Among the things Edmonton’s embattled general manager communicated, per the club’s Twitter account:

— New head coach Dallas Eakins isn’t going anywhere. “What this team needs is continuity in coaching, and they’re going to get it.”

— The Oilers “self-destructed” and made “junior mistakes” in their first five or six games. (Ahem: remember what Lars Eller said?)

— The blue line needs improvement. “Do we need a big stud defenseman? It would help immensely.”

It sure would. Of course, if a team’s lucky enough to have one of those “stud defenseman,” it usually likes to keep him. Hence, the challenge in fixing the Oilers.

MacTavish was named GM in April. At the time, he called himself an “impatient guy” prepared to do “bold things” in order to “move the team forward in a rapid fashion.” So you can imagine his exasperation. After just 18 games, the Oilers’ chances of making the playoffs are close to zero.

Not surprisingly, MacTavish is willing to trade future draft picks for help today.

“I don’t view another first-round draft choice as what we need,” he said, per Jason Gregor of TSN 1260. “Whether I can get suitable value for that remains to be seen.”

Frankly, there was nothing all that surprising about MacTavish’s comments. It’s no secret the team is off to a nightmare start, and it’s no secret the GM is willing to make moves to fix things.

Mostly today was an exercise in public relations. The Oilers haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. The rebuild was supposed to be over by now. The fans’ patience has run out.

“It’s painful,” said MacTavish, “but we’re going to get through this and eventually be a much improved team.”

  1. pr0jecktpat - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    “Do we need a big stud defenseman? It would help immensely.” – Sure let me just put that order in for you! Your position in line is 30 out of 30 other teams that want the exact same thing.

    • stepanup - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Too bad Ryan Murray, Dougie Hamilton, and Jonas Brodin were all drafted before the Oilers picked in their respective draft years…Wait a second…

      • withseidelinn - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        Because Yakupov was “just too good to pass up”……

      • 19to77 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

        Man, can you imagine how different this team would look with Brodin and Murray instead of Yakupov and RNH? They’d still be on the outside looking in, but they wouldn’t be competing over a fourth 1st overall pick in FIVE FREAKING YEARS.

  2. c9castine - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    i hear ryan whitney is playing minor hockey for florida why don’t you sign him again. HAHAHA

  3. pitpenguinsrulez - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    One would think that after so many top 5 picks, especially the first overall pick, that this team would be able to turn it around quickly?! Wrong…Edmonton needs to turn it around quickly especially since they’re moving into a new arena in like 2-3 years. Atleast when the Penguins, Capitals, and Islanders were bad and had the first pick or a top 5 pick those teams were able to turn it around quick and support those top picks with good quality players.

    • rtookey - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Pens won a draft lottery and the worlds best player in the last 25 years happened to be on the block. Penguins are not in the same boat as any team out there. So tired of hearing people say, oh, do it like the pens did. They fluked into it.

      • pitpenguinsrulez - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        So what your saying is that Sidne Crosby is better than Gretzky and Lemieux…both whom which were around in the past 25 years? So then did Tampa Bay luck into Stamkos or how about the Islanders and Tavares? Let me hear your reasons behind that one?

  4. hockeydon10 - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I’m sure if they implode this year they’ll draft yet another forward. Who is the top guy for the 2014 draft?

    • 19to77 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM

      Sam Reinhart. Gritty, physical two-way centre. The other candidate, however, is 6’5 rock-solid defenseman Aaron Ekblad. “Big stud defenseman” if ever there was one. The Oil needs defensively responsible players, centre depth and a major overhaul of the D. Really, they desperately need both of these guys. Hard to say who they’ll take if they end up with the top pick.

  5. wingz101 - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I have been writing this since the start of the year and dreamers on this site have continually gone nuts and disagreed, but hiring Eakins has been a horrible, horrible misfire.

    I have seen the Oilers 6 times so far this year and though there is effort at the forward position (yes they battle) it is total chaos on defense both from the d-men and the forwards.

    You can blame Dubnyk all you want, but man o man, the poor guy has WIDE OPEN shooters in his face all game long. They high skilled forwards are still playing Junior hockey out there. At least with Krueger they looked like they made an effort defensively, but under Eakins? Yikes.

  6. bucrightoff - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    After four straight #1 overall picks, the Oilers within 3 years of that will be the frontrunners for Connor McDavid. I’m not sure if I should be revolted by it or impressed.

  7. travishenryskid - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Tyler Myers

  8. storminator16 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    MacTavish always has excuses. Kind of have to make excuses when you bluster “big change” and you don’t actually deliver it. I guess the big change was all the “L”s via changing the head coach therefore bringing the instability he pretends that doesn’t exist.

    He and Dallas Eakins are perfect for each other. “No team will work harder than the Edmonton Oilers”. Sure, keep delivering on those promises, boys.

  9. 19to77 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    This isn’t a hockey team. It’s a punchline.

  10. kingcobraman - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    what a surprize the look so good when ur drunk though hey MacTavish…

  11. b1unt3d - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    The Oilers will be a losing team for as long as MurderT and Kevin Lowe are calling the shots.

  12. timmylaz99 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    The best way for the Oilers to get better quickly… stop hiring ex-Oiler players!!!!

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Eakins on his way out of Edmonton?

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