A FEW THINGS ABOUT DALLAS EAKINS

Lowetide
August 05 2013 10:14AM

Dallas Eakins has his roster, he has his challenge (the second season) and he's edging closer to his first training camp as an NHL coach. Aside from being a fitness fanatic, what do we know about him? Dallas Eakins is a pretty interesting guy.

14 THINGS ABOUT DALLAS EAKINS

  1. Eakins had a long pro career and turned to coaching very shortly after playing his final pro games (he is now 46 years old and less than one decade removed from life as a player).
  2. He played 120 NHL, 273 IHL and 609 AHL games over his pro career, never playing more than 23 NHL games in a single season.
  3. The men who coached him were elite level: Peterborough (Dick Todd, Jacques Martin), AHL (Terry Murray, Ron Wilson), IHL (John Anderson) and NHL (notably Roger Neilson and Mike Keenan but also including Lindy Ruff, Perry Pearn, Randy Carlyle and Pat Quinn).
  4. James Mirtle: Eakins brings a decidedly “new school” approach behind the bench, and as a coach that players rally behind, is more in the mould of someone like Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma than the long list of veteran NHL coaches available right now.
  5. Eakins is very good at developing the department of youth. Beginning in 2009-10 Eakins coached and sent the following players to the NHL: Viktor Stalberg, Christian Hanson, Tyler Bozak, Darryl Boyce, Jay Rosehill, Carl Gunnarsson, Keith Aulie, James Reimer, Nazem Kadri, Joey Crabb, Korbinian Holzer, Jake Gardiner,  Ben Scrivens, Matt Frattin, Mike Kostka, Leo Komarov.
  6. Eakins has been very clear with the Oilers players about expectations, even the new ones. Andrew Ference:“I think he’s going to be demanding, I think he’s going to hold guys accountable and expect professionalism, which creates success.As a player, you don’t want a guy who’s just going to be a nice guy and create an atmosphere where there’s no accountability, you want to win.You might have tough days here and there where you’re the one called out or being held accountable, but that’s the way it should be. We’re here to win and create a culture of success. One way to go about it is to be honest and demanding.”
  7. Eakins has an eye for talent, and is a fan of newly signed Ryan Hamilton. Eakins: "He’s a guy, I hope, will be in the mix when the conversations start as to who deserves a chance at the next level. He’s playing about as good a power-forward game as you can play at (the AHL) level.”
  8. Eakins is also very strong on new hire Will Acton. Eakins:“He’s like a bad smell that won’t go away. He’s never been the best player on any team he’s ever played for, but he scratches and claws and finds a way.”
  9. Dallas Eakins is to "unflappable" as Craig MacTavish is to "bold" in that they aren't there yet, but there are great expectations.
  10. Eakins had terrific success in the AHL, taking the Marlies to the 2012 Calder Cup finals.
  11. He was interviewed for a head coaching job in Edmonton, Vancouver, New York, Dallas and Colorado. He was the "hot item" on the coaching menu this summer.
  12. Eakins is described as a "modern coach" by many. Example: “The way you coach players now is you get them one-on-one, you grab them for lunch, you hit them at the coffee machine. It’s small-group meetings, it’s one-on-one meetings and it’s constant, it’s every day.”
  13. We should see an exciting, fast team this season. Eakins: “You can’t just be a defensive team and you can’t just be an offensive team. In a perfect world, I want to be able to push the pace as high as we can, not only with our speed and our skill, but our fitness level so that when we have the puck we are going to challenge the other team with that kind of game.
  14. It's difficult to draw many conclusions from summertime verbal, but it does sound like he's going to ride his Jacks and Kings much more than previous Oiler coaching staffs. Eakins: "I am somebody that firmly believes that if you're talented, just being talented is not enough. I want our players to be so fit, that a forward, if I ask him to play 26 minutes that night, he's going to play 26 minutes at a high level."

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Life teaches us that even with good people and a plan things can go wrong. Still, the best way to build something worthwhile is making a plan and executing it with the best people available. Dallas Eakins appears to be just that--the best coach available to the Edmonton Oilers.

His name is pronounced Ach-ins. We wait.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Serious Gord
August 06 2013, 07:31AM
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@magisterrex

Not negative - realistic. Nowhere above am I being negative about Eakins. I'm trying to keep to the facts as we know them. That the oil and oil fans didn't do that with Krueger contributed to his being hired and then failing IMO.

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#52 Joy S. Lee
August 06 2013, 08:06AM
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Hammers wrote:

What you didn't mention is his philosophy on how to utilize his players . I read he likes player pairs as well as units of 5 . He will take chances on the PP in the last 10 minutes of a game if loosing .You mentioned players being able to play 26 minutes and that I think is forwards so I won't be surprised to see any of that top 4 being pushed if there hot . Especially Hall & maybe Yak . It will be fun to watch.

I suspect the guys he'll play extra will be because they are bringing it that night, whether that be Hall or Ryan Jones. Leaning on the hot guys is logical to getting the most from the team through a long 82-game season.

Unlikely to be same guys every game. We don't so much care who is getting it done as long as the team is winning. Chances are it'll be guys like Hall, Eberle, etc., but there are as many as 21 guys to choose from on a given night.

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#53 The Beaker
August 06 2013, 08:24AM
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@Serious Gord

Actually Gord, the biggest issue I take with anything that you are saying is that things are "unsubstantiated" yet literally everything you say about their process is "unsubstantiated." You have no idea how exactly they went about anything. None of us do. We get fed tidbits which may or may not be entirely accurate but none of us here know the entire process of what they did.

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#54 Romulus' Apotheosis
August 06 2013, 08:27AM
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Serious Gord wrote:

As I said above, MacT interviewed people for the ASSISTANT coaching job. A few of those people had already been managers in the NHL. Had they been interviewed for the head coach their reaction could have been very different.

And again, no proof offered regarding this eye for talent claim.

There is a lot of speculation for you to make such claims. It's true he didn't interview for a head coaching job, but we don't know how extensive the interview process was.

Your rejection of this "eye for talent" thing just sounds petulant.

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#55 LinkfromHyrule
August 06 2013, 09:40AM
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haha I think all these years of losing have started turning some fans into paranoid conspiracy theorists. Pretty soon the streets of Edmonton will be filled delusional oilers fans wearing tin foil on their heads screaming about 6 rings and hall being a reptilian

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#56 Spydyr
August 06 2013, 09:51AM
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LinkfromHyrule wrote:

haha I think all these years of losing have started turning some fans into paranoid conspiracy theorists. Pretty soon the streets of Edmonton will be filled delusional oilers fans wearing tin foil on their heads screaming about 6 rings and hall being a reptilian

Some of us already have tin foil hats. Thank you very much.

You don't have to be crazy to be an Oiler fan but it helps.

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#57 The Soup Fascist
August 06 2013, 10:59AM
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LinkfromHyrule wrote:

haha I think all these years of losing have started turning some fans into paranoid conspiracy theorists. Pretty soon the streets of Edmonton will be filled delusional oilers fans wearing tin foil on their heads screaming about 6 rings and hall being a reptilian

When everybody is out to get you .... Paranoia is the prudent course of action.

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#58 chris
August 06 2013, 12:51PM
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I like what this new coach has to say however there has been a lot of coaches in Edmonton lately who can talk the talk, I'm hoping that Eakins can be the one who can walk the walk before I get to excited about him as head coach.

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#59 Serious Gord
August 06 2013, 10:16PM
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chris wrote:

I like what this new coach has to say however there has been a lot of coaches in Edmonton lately who can talk the talk, I'm hoping that Eakins can be the one who can walk the walk before I get to excited about him as head coach.

Exactly.

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#60 Gret99zky
August 07 2013, 12:02AM
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Also he is a spitting image of David Tennant.

Don't believe me? Google images.

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#61 Ari Gold
August 07 2013, 02:16PM
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I wonder if Schultz Jr. is liking the coaching change considering that Kruegs was the final reason he came to Etown.

Eakins talks a good game, we'll see if he can put that into practice. I love the idea of a team that is brutally fit and works hard. It's been a while since we've iced a team like that.

By the way, by that standard, Hemmer has no place on this team. Dump that salary for a pick and grab Grabo!

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#62 Joy S. Lee
August 08 2013, 11:39AM
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Ari Gold wrote:

I wonder if Schultz Jr. is liking the coaching change considering that Kruegs was the final reason he came to Etown.

Eakins talks a good game, we'll see if he can put that into practice. I love the idea of a team that is brutally fit and works hard. It's been a while since we've iced a team like that.

By the way, by that standard, Hemmer has no place on this team. Dump that salary for a pick and grab Grabo!

Interesting comments, most of which I agree with. Still players' coach, so Justin Schultz should be fine.

I noticed team lagging last year at times, knew they were going to lose when the top talent started slowing down, couldn't get more jump in their step to keep up with the pace. So, I believe this "brutally fit" mentality is critical to success in today's game. And, I've noticed here for quite some time. This should be an edge that a young team has. Oilers are young, but not as fit as they could be. Talented, but not fit enough. Mix that youth with extreme fitness, and let the older teams try to keep up. It's an advantage that absolutely MUST be utilized for a youth strategy to take root.

Hemmer will be interesting. I'm eager to see what transpires with him. If he takes off like a house on fire, we have ourselves a good dilemma, but that would be the exact time to move him for our missing ingredient (size and grit with some skill, on the wing).

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