As a coach, he took the Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Hurricanes in seven games; it was the Oilers first run to the finals since MacTavish helped the team win it all in 1990. After missing the playoffs three times, MacTavish left Edmonton. He continued coaching, leading Canada’s 2010 World Championship campaign and later spending a season in the AHL with Chicago Wolves. However, in recent seasons he has been active in the Oilers management, serving as GM and Senior VP of Hockey Operations before taking up the offer from Loko.
“I’m looking forward to getting down to work at Lokomotiv,” MacTavish told the club’s official website. “In recent years I’ve made several visits to Russia, seen a lot of games in the KHL and was interested in the opportunity to coach here. I hope our team will have an exciting and successful season.”
Lokomotiv president Yury Yakovlev explained why the team had chosen MacTavish as a replacement for Dmitry Kvartalnov. “It’s important for our club that Craig shares our vision of building a team around the graduates of our junior systems,” Yakovlev said. “He knows many of our young players and will help them to make the next step in their careers.
“At the same time, he understands how to work successfully under a rigid salary cap, which Lokomotiv never exceeds. I think we discussed the role in a constructive fashion and our new head coach brings the vast experience and knowledge that can, with the support of Lokomotiv’s own infrastructure, bring the team to a higher level.”
The news was also welcomed by Lokomotiv forward Anton Lander, currently playing for Sweden in the World Championship. The former Oilers man, who is moving to Yaroslavl after two seasons with Ak Bars, said: “He’s a good person, a good guy. He helped me a lot in Edmonton when we had some family problems. It’s good news, I like it.”