Is Craig MacTavish really a bad coach? We’ve all heard about the dreadful powerplay, the undue man-love for role players, the ever-scrambled lines, and how younger prospects barely get any minutes to prove themselves, but seriously: have a good look at this team’s lineup in the last two weeks. It’s poo.
In the first two games of the season the team was passable, even exciting to watch, but it’s hard to expect much from a lineup as young and maligned as this one has been lately. Don’t get me wrong, this team is currently playing out Kevin Lowe’s mistakes. But I’m not quite throwing in the towel yet. At least not until, oh I don’t know, another five straight losses. And I guess this includes Craig MacTavish.
The coach may share some of the blame for almost a decade of mediocrity (save for a miraculous Stanley Cup drive), but when I look back to all of those teams I don’t see a lot of top flight talent. There’s Mike Comrie as a first line centre. Eric Brewer and Janne Niinima as number one D-men. And of course then there’s Tommy Salo, who after a couple of solid years between the pipes later cracked like a Tennessee Williams' heroine. So yeah: not so great.
Apparently the head coach tore up the collective team’s ass yesterday at practice. While I don’t tend to buy into the rah-rah stuff (part of the reason I like MacT), how this team responds tonight will be a measure of the skipper’s ability to inspire his team. I’m not expecting a win, but a solid effort in which they don’t take 7 penalties in the opening 30 seconds would be nice.