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Born August 15, 1958 (1958-08-15) (age 51),
London, ON, CAN
Height
Weight
6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)
Position Centre
Shot Left
Pro clubs Boston Bruins (19791984)
Edmonton Oilers (19851994)
New York Rangers (1994)
Philadelphia Flyers (19941996)
St. Louis Blues (19961997)
NHL Draft 153rd overall, 1978
Boston Bruins
Career 1979 – 1997

Craig "MacT" MacTavish (born August 15, 1958) is a former ice hockey player and coach in the National Hockey League. He played centre for 19 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues. MacTavish later coached the Oilers from 2000 to 2009. He has also served as assistant coach with the Rangers and Oilers. He is known for being the last NHL player to play without a helmet.[1][2][3] He is also remembered as the player who took the last faceoff for the New York Rangers in Game Seven of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks with 2 seconds left and he and Mark Messier were the two Rangers who helped ensure the Rangers victory to deliver their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.[4]

Contents

Early career

MacTavish played two years of NCAA hockey with the University of Massachusetts Lowell, from 1977 to 1979. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft with their 9th 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

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 in an accident 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.[5] 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

Widely viewed at the time as a personal favor 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 insisted, however, that MacTavish agree contractually that he would not ever be allowed to drive the team bus. MacTavish readily agreed to this contractual term.) Sather's gamble turned out to be a good one, as MacTavish spent eight full seasons with the Oilers, helping the Oilers win three Stanley Cups 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 and Mark Messier) win the Stanley Cup for the Blueshirts. The Rangers' winning the Stanley Cup was the last hurrah for the great Edmonton teams of the 1980s.[4]

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

MacTavish didn't leave the game, however, returning for the 1997–98 season as an assistant coach with the Rangers. After two seasons in the Big Apple, he joined the Oilers as an assistant coach in the 1999–2000 season. He was subsequently promoted to the top job after head coach Kevin Lowe was promoted to general manager of the Oilers.

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. 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 #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 Finals 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".[1] 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 has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the club. The Oilers failed to reach the playoffs for the third year in a row.[6] He finishes his tenure with the Oilers at 36th on the all-time NHL list with 301 wins.

Failing to be picked up by another team in the coaching department, on September 21, 2009, MacTavish began the first of 25 in-studio appearances with TSN as a hockey commentator.[7] Well known for his large vocabulary, keen wit and sense of humour with the media, this seems like a suitable interim choice for the former coach.[7][8]

Awards and achievements

Coaching record

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 Finals (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 (fired)
Career Total 656 301 252 47 56 694 19 17 .528

Career statistics

    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
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

Notes

  1. ^ Craig MacTavish—A Student of the Game
  2. ^ http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?id=38664
  3. ^ http://oilerslegends.blogspot.com/2006/06/craig-mactavish.html
  4. ^ a b Cole, Stephen (2004). The Best of Hockey Night in Canada. Toronto: McArthur & Company. p. 128. ISBN 1-55278-408-8.  
  5. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE; MacTavish Is Free". New York Times. May 14, 1985. http://www.nytimes.com/1985/05/14/sports/sports-people-mactavish-is-free.html?&pagewanted=print. Retrieved 2009-09-14.  
  6. ^ MacTavish relieved of duties as Oliers head coach
  7. ^ a b Staples, David (15 September 2009). "Witty MacTavish finds "safe haven" at TSN". Edmonton Journal. http://communities.canada.com/edmontonjournal/blogs/hockey/archive/2009/09/15/mactavish-already-showing-why-tsn-just-made-a-good-hire.aspx.  
  8. ^ Staples, David (30 September 2007). "Behind the man behind the bench". Edmonton Journal. http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=f8eaac9b-1f11-45f2-9071-188d53d83a01&p=1.  

External links

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