Craig MacTavish

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Craig MacTavish
Craig MacTavish.JPG
Born (1958-08-15) August 15, 1958 (age 56)
London, ON, CAN
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Played for Boston Bruins
Edmonton Oilers
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
St. Louis Blues
NHL Draft 153rd overall, 1978
Boston Bruins
Playing career 1979–1997

Craig MacTavish (born August 15, 1958) is a former ice hockey player and the current General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers. He played center for 17 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues, winning the Stanley Cup four times (1987, 1988, 1990, 1994). MacTavish later coached the Oilers from 2000 to 2009 and also served as assistant coach with the Rangers and Oilers. He was also the last NHL player to play without a helmet.[1][2][3]

Early career[edit]

MacTavish played two years of NCAA hockey with the University of Lowell Chiefs (now UMass Lowell) from 1977 to 1979. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft with their ninth pick, 153rd overall, and spent the next several years splitting time between the Bruins and various American Hockey League teams. He finally made the Bruins for good in 1982–83 and played two full seasons with them.

Manslaughter conviction[edit]

MacTavish missed the 1984–85 season after being convicted of vehicular homicide, having struck and killed a young woman while he was driving under the influence of alcohol. MacTavish pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of alcohol the night of January 25, 1984, in Peabody, Massachusetts. Kim Radley, 26, of West Newfield, Maine, died four days later of injuries sustained in the crash.[4] MacTavish spent a year in jail as punishment for this offence. While incarcerated, he watched most of the games that were televised. After MacTavish was released from prison, the Bruins offered to let him out of his contract. MacTavish accepted.

Later career[edit]

Widely viewed at the time as a personal favour from Edmonton general manager Glen Sather to his best friend, then-Bruins general manager Harry Sinden, the Oilers took a chance on MacTavish and signed him for the 1985–86 season. Sather's intuition turned out to be good, as MacTavish spent eight full seasons with the Oilers, helping them to win three Stanley Cups in 1987, 1988, 1990 and serving as team captain from 1992 to 1994. MacTavish was traded to the New York Rangers in 1994, just in time to help several other former Oilers (including Kevin Lowe, Glenn Anderson, Adam Graves, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen and Mark Messier) win the Stanley Cup.[5]

The next season MacTavish signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent, and was traded to the St. Louis Blues during the 1995–96 season. MacTavish retired following the 1996–97 season. He was the last helmetless player, having begun his career before helmets became mandatory (then-current players were allowed to remain bare-headed under a grandfather clause).

Coaching career[edit]

MacTavish turned to coaching immediately after retiring as a player, signing on as an assistant with the Rangers. After two seasons in New York, he returned to the Oilers as an assistant coach in the 1999–2000 season under former teammate Kevin Lowe. He was subsequently promoted to the top job when Lowe succeeded Sather as general manager.

In the 2005–06 season, MacTavish led the Oilers on their run to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the first round of the playoffs, MacTavish shocked the hockey world by utilizing a trapping defensive system to neutralize a potent Detroit Red Wings offense. This closed defensive system, while popular in the pre-2004 lockout NHL, had been deemed by many to be unworkable under the league's new anti-obstruction regulations.[citation needed] The Oilers were able to deny scoring chances by blocking shots with their bodies—something for which MacTavish was known for during his playing career. This proved effective; the eighth-seeded Oilers won the opening round 4–2, against the no. 1 seed, the Detroit Red Wings. Along the way the Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, by scores of 4–2 and 4–1 respectively. The Oilers could not complete their run, losing a thrilling seven-game final series to the Carolina Hurricanes, though they rallied from a 3–1 series deficit to even it. The Oilers had not reached the Stanley Cup finals since their championship season of 1990 during MacTavish's playing tenure in Edmonton.

On November 4, 2006, one day after the Oilers lost to the Dallas Stars due to an apparent blown call in the last five seconds of the third period by referee Mick McGeough, MacTavish was fined $10,000 for expressing his anger after the game, referring to the call as "retarded".[6] After this incident, Oilers fans collected over $10,000 and gave it to MacTavish, who subsequently donated the money to charity.

On April 15, 2009, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced that MacTavish had been relieved of his duties as head coach of the club. The Oilers had failed to reach the playoffs for the third year in a row.[7] He finished his tenure with the Oilers at 36th on the all-time NHL list with 301 wins, and second on the Oilers' all-time wins list behind only Sather.

During 2011-12 season, MacTavish coached the Chicago Wolves, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. After the season, MacTavish left the Canucks organization and returned to the Oilers. On December 15, 2014, he was named interim coach of the Oilers following the firing of Dallas Eakins.[8]

TSN commentator[edit]

Failing to be picked up by another team in the coaching department, on September 21, 2009, MacTavish began the first of twenty-five in-studio appearances with TSN as a hockey commentator.[9] [9][10]

Management career[edit]

On June 11, 2012, Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini announced that Craig McTavish was added to the club's hockey operations management team as senior vice-president of hockey operations.[11]

On April 15, 2013, general manager Steve Tambellini was relieved of his position, and the Oilers named MacTavish as the new general manager. Former Columbus Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson replaced MacTavish as the vice-president of hockey operations.[12]

Personal life[edit]

MacTavish is of Scottish descent.[citation needed] While playing with the Flyers, MacTavish was a resident of Voorhees Township, New Jersey.[13]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular season Post season
G W L T OTL Pts Finish W L Win % Result
EDM 2000–01 82 39 28 12 3 93 2nd in Northwest 2 4 .333 Lost in 1st round (Dallas)
EDM 2001–02 82 38 28 12 4 92 3rd in Northwest Missed playoffs
EDM 2002–03 82 36 26 11 9 92 4th in Northwest 2 4 .333 Lost in 1st round (Dallas)
EDM 2003–04 82 36 29 12 5 89 4th in Northwest Missed playoffs
EDM 2005–06 82 41 28 13 95 3rd in Northwest 15 9 .625 Lost in Stanley Cup final (Carolina)
EDM 2006–07 82 32 43 7 71 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
EDM 2007–08 82 41 35 6 88 4th in Northwest Missed playoffs
EDM 2008–09 82 38 35 9 85 4th in Northwest Missed playoffs
Career total 656 301 252 47 56 694 19 17 .528

Career statistics[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1979–80 Binghamton Dusters AHL 34 17 15 32 20
1979–80 Boston Bruins NHL 46 11 17 28 8 10 2 3 5 7
1980–81 Springfield Indians AHL 53 19 24 43 89 7 5 4 9 8
1980–81 Boston Bruins NHL 24 3 5 8 13
1981–82 Erie Blades AHL 72 23 32 55 37
1981–82 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 1 1 0
1982–83 Boston Bruins NHL 75 10 20 30 18 17 3 1 4 18
1983–84 Boston Bruins NHL 70 20 23 43 35 1 0 0 0 0
1984–85 Did not play (incarcerated)
1985–86 Edmonton Oilers NHL 74 23 24 47 70 10 4 4 8 11
1986–87 Edmonton Oilers NHL 79 20 19 39 55 21 1 9 10 16
1987–88 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 15 17 32 47 19 0 1 1 31
1988–89 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 21 31 52 55 7 0 1 1 8
1989–90 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 21 22 43 89 22 2 6 8 29
1990–91 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 17 15 32 76 18 3 3 6 20
1991–92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 80 12 18 30 98 16 3 0 3 28
1992–93 Edmonton Oilers NHL 82 10 20 30 110
1993–94 Edmonton Oilers NHL 66 16 10 26 80
1993–94 New York Rangers NHL 12 4 2 6 11 23 1 4 5 22
1994–95 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 45 3 9 12 23 15 1 4 5 20
1995–96 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 55 5 8 13 62
1995–96 St. Louis Blues NHL 13 0 1 1 8 13 0 2 2 6
1996–97 St. Louis Blues NHL 50 2 5 7 33 1 0 0 0 2
NHL totals 1093 213 267 480 891 193 20 38 58 218

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Craig MacTavish—A Student of the Game
  2. ^ Last Helmetless Player in the NHL Video – NHL VideoCenter
  3. ^ Edmonton Oilers Legends: Craig MacTavish
  4. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; MacTavish Is Free". New York Times. May 14, 1985. Retrieved September 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ Cole, Stephen (2004). The Best of Hockey Night in Canada. Toronto: McArthur & Company. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-55278-408-2. 
  6. ^ http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid=282409&page=NewsPage&service=page
  7. ^ MacTavish relieved of duties as Oliers head coach
  8. ^ "Oilers fire head coach Eakins". TSN.ca. December 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Staples, David (September 15, 2009). "Witty MacTavish finds "safe haven" at TSN". Edmonton Journal. 
  10. ^ Staples, David (September 30, 2007). "Behind the man behind the bench". Edmonton Journal. 
  11. ^ Oilers Add MacTavish to Hockey Operations Management Team
  12. ^ STRUGGLING OILERS FIRE GENERAL MANAGER TAMBELLINI
  13. ^ Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times; MacT's Muscular Art: The Crucial Face-Off", The New York Times, May 22, 1995. Accessed March 17, 2011. "Despite their age difference, MacTavish and the 22-year-old Lindros are roommates on Flyer road trips, and the Flyer captain often hangs out at the MacTavish home in nearby Voorhees, N.J."

External links[edit]