"I'm certainly to blame, and I'll take some of the blame. I just won't take it all."
MacTavish also said, "We did have some good stretches at certain points in the year last year. But I think the one underlying failures last year for us was the penalty kill. Now with Kelly Buchberger for us running the penalty kill, a very passionate guy, he's going to inject and infuse a lot of energy in the penalty kill. Tom Renney is there as well. He coached the Rangers last year; they had the best penalty killing in hockey, so when you put those guys together, a little bit of a change in philosophy, I think it's going to be a breath fo fresh air for everybody. I think the penalty killing could improve.
We had high expectations going into the year. For the most part of the year we were in a playoff position and we were in pretty good shape. At the end we really didn't fulfill those expectations and when that happens changes are made. I think the players lost their trust and faith in me and my ability to get the job done, and for a large part I think that was the same for me, that I lost faith in the players."
"I'm happy to finally be among the experts where the issues are many and solutions obvious. I appreciate TSN providing a safe haven for unemployed coaches, as we rehabilitate ourselves towards future employability."
MacTavish’s ties within the organization run deep, from owner Daryl Katz to Lowe and GM Steve Tambellini. If MacTavish, who has yet to speak with reporters since being let go, wants to make a move into management, my guess is he’ll get the chance.
Tambellini spent last week assessing hockey operations from top to bottom, including assistant coaches, assistant general managers Kevin Prendergast and Rick Olczyk, the scouting staff, and players.
"Well, if the coach said so, then, that’s how it is. I’m used to that from the NHL."
No other public figure in this community has been slagged as often or with as much venom and vigour in the past year. To his credit, MacTavish never once retreated. Though it must have been hellish, he was perfectly professional to the bitter end and we are left only to speculate on how he handled it at home.
Two Edmonton-based sportswriters in a cab heading to the morning skate prior to last night's Stanley Cup playoff game here sent a text to MacTavish inquiring about the press conference the Oilers had called inquiring if he'd made his decision either way.
"Yes," MacT responded. "I just signed a long-term deal. See U at the press conference."
The guy kept his sense of humour to the very end.