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MacTavish: ‘It’s always darkest before the dawn’

Craig MacTavish

Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish speaks to reporters following the NHL general managers’ meetings in Toronto, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. (AP PhotoMark Blinch


Late last week, Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish held a press conference to address the woeful state of the Oilers.

The availability got, well, a little heated.

And so, in what may be best described as an exercise in damage control, a far less defensive MacTavish is now appearing in three “impromptu” (yeah, OK) segments for in-house Oilers TV, with whom he was able to control the message slightly better than he was while being grilled by a ravenous pack of reporters:

“The positive things for me are really the accountability that I’m hearing come out of the dressing room at a level that I haven’t heard. I think our roster has much more capability in our ability to win hockey games, and close out games. We’ve got to execute better. We make mistakes that young teams and developing teams make. ... It’s always darkest before the dawn and it’s a pretty dark time right now. With some of the improvement in our execution and our accountability, we’re going to be a team that is going to get turned around.”

“ takes time to adapt to change. We’ve got new players. We’ve got young players. ... We’re going to be patient with this group. We’re not trading our coveted assets for 50 cents on the dollar. ... Our long-term objective with this hockey team is to build a team that’s going to be a dominant team for a decade.”

On press conferences like last week’s not being a very fun experience: “You try and man up and go in there and face it and try and get your message out there, that we’re doing everything we can to get this turned around.”