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Peter Chiarelli Demotes Craig MacTavish, But Keeps Him As Right-Hand Man

In a fitting description of the decision, Peter Chiarelli says Craig MacTavish will be his "number 2".

There's a scene in Rounders when Matt Damon's character Mike McDermott is walking back into Teddy KGB's place, the poker club that was home to his greatest defeat. Mike says:

Just walking in here makes me queasy.
The brick walls. The fucking mopes at the tables.
The musty smell. I feel like Buckner walking back into Shea.

Everything, down to the walls, the smell and the mopes at the tables is the exact same as the night he lost his entire bankroll. He's back at the Teddy KGB's place to try and clear a mountain of debt and shake his demons, and yet it's the realization that everything is the same that sticks in his mind as sets foot in the club. Mike has no control over his environment - he's made awful decisions* that have left him in a spot where he went in debt to a mentor to play a loan shark/card sharp for the money he needs.

*The worst of which is rejecting Famke Janssen. It's completely unrealistic. No movie watcher honestly believes he's turning her down. No single man would reject Famke Janssen in that spot, let alone a single man in the worst spot of his entire young life, especially a single man in the worst spot of his entire life with a glass of scotch in his hand.

"I’m not going to come in and gas everybody."

Bob Nicholson and Peter Chiarelli do control the environment surrounding the Edmonton Oilers and have the chance to make right everything that's gone wrong over the last nine seasons. They can start with a clean slate, sandblast the brick walls, eject the mopes and disinfect until the smell is gone - they have the chance to burn it to the ground and start all over.

So what did they do instead?

"He’ll be No. 2 in all aspects."

Chiarelli made Craig MacTavish his "Number 2", in a bizarre demotion fitting the never-really-fire-anyone Edmonton Oilers. Why? "I want to have strong people with strong opinions." Outstanding. Mike Milbury has strong opinions and they're almost always separated from fact by every word in the opinion. The man couldn't manage his way out of a Chinese finger trap, but because he has a strong opinion, he's a valuable resource?

"He’ll be my eyes and ears in all areas."

This is the same Craig MacTavish that wasted the only thing Steve Tambellini left him - cap space - by signing horrendous contracts for Andrew Ference, Keith Aulie, Luke Gazdic, Justin Schultz, icing the worst defense in the NHL and then blaming Devan Dubnyk (Vezina and Hart-worthy Devan Dubnyk) for the team's inability to keep pucks out of the net. He "fixed" that problem by adding 6th defenseman Nikita Nikitin and expecting him to be a top pairing guy, then blaming Jeff Petry when the team couldn't keep pucks out of the net.

MacTavish single-handedly put the team on the brink of a cap disaster and somehow made the Oilers worse in doing so.

Maybe I'm jaded by a decade of utter and prideful incompetence, but making a person who has no idea what they're doing the "Number 2" manager in the organization is a dark harbinger to mark the beginning of Peter Chiarelli's tenure.