Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe formally introduced Craig MacTavish as the fifth general manager in team history on Monday afternoon. In addition, Scott Howson was announced as the senior vice president of hockey operations.
Lowe explained the decision to fire former general manager Steve Tambellini occurred because the organization needed to make changes. He was informed of his dismissal on Sunday.
MacTavish thanked Lowe and owner Daryl Katz for the opportunity. He also expressed his trust in Howson and cited their years of work together. MacTavish believes there are two fundamental strengths to the Edmonton franchise, which are the team's ownership group and its bright future. Included in this future is the team's youth, the pending new arena and the city's economy.
MacTavish made it clear that he hopes to improve the team's depth. He believes the organization is ready to make bold decisions and that he is open to taking some risks in the hopes of improving the team. He also expressed a desire to bring in talented people with strong character traits.
This is likely the goal of most professional sports franchises. Of course, the ability to evaluate talent and character is what separates top-tier franchises from perennial lottery teams. MacTavish is aware of this and stated that his ability to properly act as the Oilers manager will come in his actions, not his words.
However, some of his words were concerning. The same could be said of Lowe's.
MacTavish acted as the team's coach from 2000-09 before being relieved by Tambellini. Some have questioned whether the Oilers' search for Tambellini's successor was too narrow in scope and that the franchise is stuck in an 'old boy's club' kind of mentality.
During the media availability, a question was asked about why the franchise believes the guys who made the current mess the Oilers are in will be able to clean it up. MacTavish stated that he believed the current mess the team is in is partly due to the Oilers dynasty from the 80s and early 90s. Lowe jumped in and stated that the team was one period away from winning the Stanley Cup seven years ago (in addition to referencing the amount of Stanley Cups he won as a player as an indication of his ability to evaluate talent).
This kind of explanation doesn't add up.
The press conference wasn't overly encouraging that the franchise fully understands where they are in their development. In fact, a good portion appeared to be more spin than substance. MacTavish's insistence that he is willing to take bold risks seemed like a weaker choice of words than saying something along the lines of making calculated decisions.
Of course, as MacTavish himself stated, his success will be determined based upon the actions he takes, not the words he spoke on the day he was hired.