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MacTavish Relieved of Coaching Duties



Steve Tambellini announced today that Craig MacTavish was no longer employed as the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers.  Supposedly it was a mutual decision; on the other hand based on the language used in both the press relief and press conference, I'd guess that if MacTavish hadn't already been leaving under his own power then management would have given him a push.

Tambellini wouldn't comment on who MacTavish's replacement might be, but he did make a few things known during the press conference:

1) It would take a "special person" to come in without NHL experience.

2) The decision likely won't be made until the playoffs are over; watching the press conference I couldn't help feeling that Tambellini's preferred target(s) is/are currently coaching a team that still has games to play.

3) While Tambellini said he has to "remain open" to any candidate, he made it clear that an internal candidate was not likely to ascend to the head coaching job.

4) Tambellini also repeatedly referred to looking forward rather than back, with the likely message being that it would not be a former Oiler taking the post.

Based on those criteria, the top candidates would seem to be Scott Arniel, Brent Sutter, Paul MacLean, Don Lever or Kevin Constantine.  All have NHL experience, solid track records, and would likely be available.  Sutter is the most appealing of the group (in my opinion) and is rumoured to want to return to Alberta, but it would have to be considered a long shot for him to come to Edmonton, given that he's still under contract in New Jersey.