Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I caught this a couple of weeks ago while I was on semi-hiatus.

MacTavish on Keenan from a David Staples article in the Edmonton Journal*:

"His biggest weakness was his inability -- and it might be his biggest strength -- to rationalize defeat. ... It's hockey, and there are times as a team that you play well and you lose, and he had a hard time differentiating that from the times that you played poorly and lost."

That's just a fantastic quote right there. I imagine there are a few other NHL coaches with such enlightened views on the game, but quotes like this make me very happy that the Oilers' coach is one of them. It's a shame that more people don't recognize this truism in athletics.
*Hat-tip to gnash at BofA for the find.


Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Dude, you have a gift for selecting blog pictures. That's priceless.

On the content, I'm not so sure. Now that Granato and Low don't have coaching gigs in this league, I don't know if MacTavish doesn't have one of the softest hearts in the coaching ranks.

I like MacTavish, but if there was a blind survey of NHL coaches, a notoriously cold hearted breed, I think that only two would "believe in fate"; Gretzky and MacTavish.

Of course if it were a public survey, about 20 would state that they believed in fate. They are also a notoriously political breed as well. And I think that is MacTavish's real talent as well, almost everything he says can be taken a number of ways.

He's a good bench coach too. And he usually let's the kids play, he gives most guys more than enough rope to hang themselves, to a fault I think, despite the cries to the contrary that are always coming from the gallery in a hockey town.

10/10/2007 11:55 am  
Blogger Black Dog said...

If I were Gretzky and MacT I'd believe in fate too. One born with a million miles of talent, the other with one of the best second chances a man ever got.

I'll bet Lowe is a believer too.

All those Cups might do that.

10/10/2007 5:49 pm  
Blogger RiversQ said...


I just figured he was talking about sometimes losing games when you outchance the opposition anyway.

If you treat those losses like any other loss, you're sort of raging against the tide aren't you?

10/10/2007 8:54 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Yeah Rivers, I think that's what he's talking about here as well. But don't all coaches think that way? I mean you listen to Vigneault talk and it's as if the scoring chance count is more important than the score count.

Maybe it's just because I end up hearing a lot more of MacTavish, but I don't think he has the truly cold heart of Badger Bob, Wilson, Burns, Lemaire, etc. MacTavish still never criticizes a win, isn't that right?

One thing he says that I can't get my head around, is that [paraphrasing] "when you're coming to the end of a winning stretch, you win games that you don't deserve to win. And when you're nearing the end of a losing skid, you lose games that you deserve to win". I think a lot of guys who had spent a good chunk of their life watching tape would think that losing games that you deserve to win is the main reasons that the losing streak exists in the first place. That it isn't just a symptom.

Minor thing I know. But there are a few bits here and there that point in that same direction. I mean compared to fandom at large ... complete cold, rational hardass. But compared to his peers, I'm not convinced that's the case at all.

10/11/2007 8:32 pm  

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