The Coach

On virtually any other NHL team, Dallas Eakins would be out of a job right now. A 4-14-2 start is a fireable offence for most NHL teams, but here Eakins has a protective barrier formed by the ghosts of Criag MacTavish and Pat Quinn and Tom Renney and Ralph Krueger.

The Path Forward

It isn’t too early to think about firing the coach. It’s just too early to actually fire the coach. Edmonton has fired coaches so many times without results (on that note, wouldn’t it be nice to go back two years and let Tom Renney keep coaching the team?) and it’s time to go a different route.

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This is one of the things Craig MacTavish is here for. In previous years, Steve Tambellini proved remarkably unwilling to address simple team needs (such as fourth line centre). MacTavish is already one up on Tambellini because he’s been willing to try plugging in minor leaguers (recall Mark Arcobello rotting on the farm while Chris VandeVelde and Ryan Smyth failed as fourth line centres) but that’s not enough.

It’s trade time. And not a ‘move Ladislav Smid for futures’ trade. A trade that actually brings in NHL talent. Maybe it’s a defenceman who can play in the top-three. Maybe it’s a big forward who can play in the top-six. Maybe it’s a good third-line wing so that Boyd Gordon doesn’t have to drag around Jesse Joensuu and Ryan Jones. I don’t know what’s out there, or how much what’s out there costs to acquire; I do know that this team isn’t getting the job done and Dallas Eakins seems like he’s out of answers.

Normally, when the coach is out of answers the coach pays the price. In this case, so many other coaches have been out of answers that it’s time to try giving the man behind the bench some different pieces.

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Lousy NHL Debuts

Some very good coaches have had some very bad starts to their careers, generally because opportunity arises with bad (or expansion) teams. Here’s a brief list of some very good coaches who started out on the wrong foot:

  • Scotty Bowman: 4-13-2 with St. Louis
  • Dick Irvin: 2-6-4 with Chicago
  • Ron Wilson: 4-13-2 with Anaheim
  • Lindy Ruff: 5-10-4 with Buffalo
  • Ken Hitchcock: 10-18-8 with Dallas

Naturally, I’m not saying ‘oh man, Dallas Eakins is Scotty Bowman!’ That would be crazy. What I am saying is that it’s possible that the Oilers will end up benefiting from their (essentially) forced patience with Eakins. Of course, it’s just as possible that 20 games from now nothing has changed and Eakins is out the door, but it’s at least plausible that the coach can right the ship.

So, About That Trade…

It has to be coming, and it has to be meaningful.

  • Ducey

    I am not really sure why a trade has to be coming. The season is lost.

    Making a trade now for a big name defenseman might move this team to start playing .500 hockey for the rest of the season. Big deal. Its going to cost assets and is likely to wind up being detrimental in the future.

    • Chainsawz

      Who cares about the future? I want wins now.

      Continuously losing has not helped this franchise one iota to date. Why repeat this madness?

      Get winning and start building a winning culture.

  • Zarny

    Firing the coach is the easy way out. The problem is that Mactavish seems to think that he will be able to get what he needs without sacrificing one of his core guys. He mentioned today that he wants to turn the team over to the 8-9 guys that he’s identified as the team’s core. If we assume that Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, Gagner (based on Mactavish’s public praise for his ‘character’) and Justin Schultz form that core as well as acquisitions like Perron and Ference, there’s not much left. Hemsky? Good luck getting more than draft picks or prospects for him at this point.

    • A-Mc

      I think the major currency this year is that 1st round pick.. With the way this season is going, it could very likely end up being another 1st overall which would have tremendous value.

      If we do pick 1st overall, our 2nd is basically a 1st round pick as well, so the 2nd has reasonable value.

      I could see a number of guys being cut from the team just to shed contracts. Then our 1st rounder (1st overall?) + a decent prospect being flipped for that true top 4 D (likely not a #1, probably a 2/3 type guy).

      Take the 2nd/3rd round picks and turn those into an over achieving 3rd line winger that has some size and Jam.

      Goalies: i have no freakin clue what to do there…

  • A-Mc

    I would be very surprised if Bowman would have thrown Ganger out for a draw in the last 2 minutes of a game. Eakins has made bonehead moves right from the start. Looks like a fool is guiding a crap team. Both coach and team have rightfully earned such a crappy record. Hail the suck.

  • A-Mc

    Venting on site is good for fans , as they get their frustration out of their systems and still remain hockey fans . If they all held it inside they might give up hockey all together . Teams a reflection of management , and right now it is not looking good or very optimistic .

  • Randaman

    I honestly believe that I could do a better job coaching this team right now versus what we have seen from Dallas Eakins. There are probably a lot of posters and readers who also could probably do a better job. I think what really causes the most hate for Eakins is his own crap don’t stink attitude. Take a look in the mirror and see who is responsible for this embarrassment of a team this year.

  • Overwatchedandunderpaid

    As awful as this sound i hope the oilers continue on this downward spiral. I have to hope that katz has to do something if things dont start to change. However, if we start to win every second game but still find are self well out of competing for a spot the oil brass will not change and everything will stay the same. It is time for a big, BOLD change.