The Edmonton Oilers will be thriving in a couple of seasons with Craig MacTavish at the helm.
At least, that’s what Don Cherry predicts.
During his Saturday Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, the commentator lauded Oilers president Kevin Lowe’s decision to hire MacTavish as general manager, and thinks the former Edmonton head coach is the right man for the job.
"If you don’t get MacTavish, who could you get? Who?" he asked. "You can’t get anybody better. I’m telling you, he’ll have that [franchise] turned around in two years. Guaranteed.
"You’ve got to get somebody to help the [Oilers’ young nucleus of players] though, remember that. And don’t trade any of the kids."
The Oilers — who haven’t made the playoffs since MacTavish coached them to the Stanley Cup final in 2006 — replaced former general manager Steve Tambellini, who was hired by the club in 2008, with MacTavish on Monday.
Lowe wasn’t thrilled with a reporter who questioned him during the press conference about re-hiring MacTavish, and got defensive.
Cherry understood why.
"Now Kevin Lowe lost his cool a little bit, but you’ve gotta give the guy a little credit," he said. "He just fired his best friend [Tambellini], he’s got pressure on him, and that’s the way it goes in hockey, when people ask stupid questions."
He also backed Lowe's decision to bring back a familiar face, citing examples like L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter, Montreal Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien and Anaheim's Bruce Boudreau.
Cherry’s comments came just one week after he blasted the Edmonton squad for its lack of toughness.
"When you go into Edmonton, you don’t worry about a thing," he said during last Saturday’s Coach’s Corner segment. "You’re not upset, you can have fun, you can do anything."
The Oilers entered Saturday night clinging to their playoff lives at 12th in the Western Conference with 41 points — eight behind the eighth-place Columbus Blue Jackets.
Cherry backs Boston
Don Cherry, decked out in a Bruins tie and suit jacket, offered his thoughts on a tumultuous and tragic week in the city of Boston.
The Boston Marathon bombings, which claimed the lives of three people and wounded more than 180, brought sympathy from Cherry.
"I want [Boston] to know that everybody up here is thinking about you for sure," he said. "You'll never get the city of Boston down. Two cowards that kill only women and children, that's not going to throw [Bostonians] off. There's no way that will throw them off.
"Bostonians are tough as nails...you'll always be in my heart. We're thinking of you up here. God loves the victims and their families. Hey, Boston strong."