Photo by: James Guillory, US Presswire, with permission.
Three years after being fired from his job as the Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish is returning to the team as the new Vice President of Hockey Operations. After eight seasons spent behind the Oilers bench, MacTavish used some of his time away from the game getting a master’s degree in business from Queen’s University before returning to coaching last season as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks' AHL affiliate the Chicago Wolves. MacTavish of course also had a long career as a player that included eight full seasons and part of a ninth with the Oilers where he won three of his four Stanley Cups.
It's not immediately clear what exactly MacTavish's new job will entail but his title would suggest that he slots into the team's organization structure between Kevin Lowe (the President of Hockey Operations) and Steve Tambellini the recently renewed General Manager. If that is in fact how this is supposed to work it's less than a ringing endorsement for the man that the team reportedly gave a new three year contract extension to. At the very least the timing is, let's say, interesting. With Tambellini's extension seen by most as a one year audition to prove that the rebuild is on course, should the Oilers stumble out of the gate come October the calls from fans, and possibly the even media, wanting MacTavish to replace Tambellini as the GM will get very loud very fast.
Bringing in a member of the Oilers dynasty years to join the management team will likely be seen as a negative by some but I've always felt that MacTavish is a very smart person both in terms of hockey sense and away from the game as well (his master's degree would seem to back that assumption up), adding smart people to your organization is hardly ever a bad thing. His addition might give us more questions than answers right now but nonetheless, it seems like a good move from where I sit.