MacTavish fired as Oilers coach

Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:05pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Edmonton Oilers fired coach Craig MacTavish after failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third consecutive year, the team said on Wednesday.

"It's time to look forward here," Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini told a news conference. "I think this is the right thing for Craig.

"There's a mutual agreement on where we need to go as a team.

"We need more strength. We need more grit. One thing I will not put up with is an unemotional game. We have people here with skill and I want to see it."

During eight seasons in Edmonton MacTavish compiled a record of 301-252-103 and guided the Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006 before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games.

But this season the Oilers finished a disappointing 11th in the 15-team Eastern Conference with a 38-35-9 record.

The former Oilers' captain has a 17-13 record in the Stanley Cup playoffs and leaves Edmonton as just the 36th NHL coach to record 300 or more career wins.

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Justin Palmer)

<p>Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish yells to get the attention of a referee during the second period of the Oilers' NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minnesota, January 15, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Miller</p>