Today's agreement for Craig MacTavish to leave his head coaching position with the Edmonton Oilers is being called mutual, which is the only way his dismissal could happen publically after Oilers owner Daryl Katz gave MacT a text-message blessing late in the season.
Privately ... well, he was toast, and deservedly so. Edmonton missed the playoffs for the fifth time in his eight years. His constant complaints about players like Dustin Penner indicated that MacTavish himself didn't think the fit was right any longer. And then there was that botched stick-check against the Anaheim Ducks with the Oilers' playoff lives at stake. If that didn't smack of desperation, nothing does.
General Manager Steve Tambellini calls MacTavish's firing "a new start" for the Oilers, which is sort of a hard sell when you can count on one hand the number of unrestricted free agents the Oil have this summer.
But the team has decided to find a coach that fits the players. As Tambellini said:
"We need more strength. We need more grit ... One thing I will not put up with is an unemotional game."
And yet they traded Erik Cole.
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Fare thee well, MacT. Thank you for that exciting run to the Finals on Chris Pronger's shoulders, and for giving the hockey world the "vortex of death" meme this season.
(Mac) T-minus three minutes until someone in Edmonton calls for Mark Messier to be hired.