Comparing Coaches

Jonathan Willis
January 22 2014 10:32AM

Coaching has been an oft-discussed potential reason for the Edmonton Oilers’ collapse this season. While nobody claims that it is coaching and coaching alone that has the Oilers where they are, some wonder whether general manager Craig MacTavish didn’t make a mistake when he chose Dallas Eakins to replace Ralph Krueger.

How does Eakins’ team compare with that of Krueger, and of Tom Renney at five-on-five?

The Comparison

What is needed for a fair comparison between coaches? A level playing field. Because Ralph Krueger’s Oilers only played against Western Conference teams, we will only consider Oilers games played against Western opponents in 2011-12 and this season.

That introduces another problem. Eakins’ Oilers have played 19 games on the road against Western teams, but only 11 at home. To compensate for that, we will be weighting his home and road games equally so out analysis isn’t impacted by an unbalanced schedule.

What should we compare? We’ll run the gamut of five-on-five statistics: shots, Fenwick (shots + missed shots), Corsi (all shot attempts) and good old goals. All numbers will be expressed as a percentage of total events – in other words, 50 percent represents the break-even mark and a higher number is better. We will also include shooting percentage and save percentage.

Tom Renney

Ralph Krueger

Dallas Eakins

Head-To-Head-To-Head

Tom Renney comes out looking awfully good here. Steve Tambellini never offered an actual explanation of what he thought Renney was doing wrong behind the bench when he fired the veteran coach, but it is abundantly clear in hindsight that canning Renney was the wrong move. The Oilers did a better job at getting shot attempts, and getting shot attempts through without them being blocked, of getting shots on net, and of scoring goals under Renney than they would under either of his successors. If one believes (as I do) that Renney had the weakest roster of the three coaches, it’s impossible to look at this without thinking he did an awfully good job.

Ralph Krueger vs. Dallas Eakins is where it gets interesting. Eakins’ team did a better job of generating shot attempts, but Krueger’s did better work getting them through to the opposition net. Krueger’s teams also did a better job of winning the goals battle, in large part because the team shooting and save percentages were better.

Eakins’ home/road splits are compelling. At home, Eakins’ team is pretty competitive with Renney’s in the shot metrics, but on the road the numbers fall apart to a degree not seen under previous coaches. I don’t have an explanation for that; it’s something I’m going to watch for in future games but the difference suggests that whatever Eakins is doing on the road isn’t working at all.

The other item to note here is the save percentage splits – that the goalies’ terrible play isolated to home games suggests to me that the bad goaltending this year isn’t necessarily driven by team defence. By that, I mean that while the Oilers allow way more shots than the league average, there seems to be little reason to believe that they’re consistently allowing higher quality chances than other teams. Certainly they weren’t under Renney or Krueger; it’s possible that Eakins is doing something bizarre but I don’t think it’s likely.

Would Edmonton be better off with Tom Renney behind the bench? I think so, yes, potentially much better off (particularly given the benefits of continuity). Would they be better off with Krueger than Eakins? I don’t know, but I believe there’s a strong learning curve for any rookie NHL head coach, and Krueger already had a year under his belt. That has to be balanced against MacTavish getting a guy suited to his style of managing, so I’m not sure there’s a definite answer here.

Both Eakins and Krueger strike me as intelligent, motivated coaches; I think Krueger would have figured things out eventually and I believe Eakins still will, but the big mistake here was making Renney a scapegoat for problems that weren’t of his creation.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 shaddup
January 22 2014, 07:19PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

Your sarcasm is either so subtle,so cunning and passive aggressive that it went over my head in it's implausible ironic tone...or, you have just written, by far, the most naive comment to grace this forum...

Either way, I am in utter awe...well done Sir.

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#53 bwar
January 22 2014, 12:15PM
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The problem I have with Eakins is that I honestly feel that the Oilers would not be doing any worse if I was the coach this season.

Krueger had the team in a playoff spot with about a month left in the season before an epic collapse to close out the season. Renney was really given next to nothing to work with and I really don't feel that he was expected to accomplish much of anything. Eakins on the other hand was given a team that was expected to make improvements and at least fight for a playoff spot yet instead we are seeing possibly the most disappointing season in Oilers history.

As a fan I think this season has been very testing. I find it harder and harder to get excited for the games and find myself questioning if things will ever turn around. Really at this point I can't find any reason for this organization to not make drastic changes. The personnel isn't getting the results expected and the management seems like they really just don't care.

The only person I have any degree of faith/confidence in is MacT because at least he seems to be making an effort to make the changes necessary to eradicate this team of its losing culture.

tldr; Oilers suck.

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#54 Wonger
January 23 2014, 08:52AM
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Ten years ahead Dallas Eakins will be regarded as an elite,very successful NHL coach like his mentor Roger Nielson. I hope and pray it is here with the Oilers. MacT and Eakins will fix this mess! They are both WINNERS with CHARACTER second to none. You can't teach that. You are born with it! I am as frustrated as any Oiler fan, but I believe in these men and see many positive changes coming at this years trade deadline and over the summer! I think some of the moves, or the number of moves, will shock us and amaze us! Go Oilers! I am staying the course! I believe in the Oiler's future because I believe in MACT and EAKINS!!!

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#57 ubermiguel
January 22 2014, 11:15AM
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Hind-sight tells us Renney was a good coach, but we can't go back in time and fix that firing. At this point I feel continuity in coaching is the more important than the relative quality of the coach. Keep Eakins. Keep MacT. Fire Lowe.

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#58 dougtheslug
January 22 2014, 04:51PM
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I take issue with a general perception, one that is being promoted by Gregor, Stauffer and others, that we can't keep changing coaches because of the disruption it causes in the development of players, so we need to stick with what we have for a while. Gregor insists that the star players have to be sent a message that they are not the captains of this ship.

But isn't an important caveat here that the coach in place meets at least a minimal level of competency? My observation is that Eakins does not. He was rushed into a position he wasn't adequately prepared for. I don't think the voices of ON are imagining things about Eakins' incompetence.

For me, the scene on the bench during Oilers last time out in the dying seconds of last nights game was telling. The three assistant coaches stared glumly off into space offering not the slightest sign of encouragement, while the players barely feigned interest as Eakins frantically sketched out a play. And he then sent out J. Schultz, the least likely Oiler to hold the blueline, to hold the blueline. Which, unsurprisingly to any fan who has watched this team, he didn't. Eakins still seems to have no clue what his personnel is capable of.

Firing Renney was a mistake, which has been compounded three fold by firing Krueger, and then MacT hiring Eakins on a whim. Failing to correct that mistake will be a disaster for this organization. But it is totally predictable given the toxic state of this management group.

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#59 The PUZ
January 22 2014, 06:25PM
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The only stat that matters is that Eakins has the WORST winning percentage of any head coach in Oiler history!

PS: Thanks Katz for ramping up the parking fees from 12 dollars to 15 dollars on this horrific "NHL" team with 7th highest revenues in the NHL and close to highest ticket prices in the NHL.

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#60 Gaz
January 22 2014, 07:10PM
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@admiralmark

I agree. As I've said before, its never been the coach with this sorry lot.

That said, firing Krueger was a big mistake. I just caught his interview on Ched and it reminded me how much I liked the guy. Class act too.

Bold Moves MacTavish should be so bold as to beg Krueger to come back in some capacity. The organization is richer with him on it.

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#61 Kr55
January 22 2014, 08:32PM
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Couple things that really saved Eakins from looking even worse relative to previous coaches.

1) Being forced to play Arcobello. I count this because he couldn't wait to demote Arco to make room for Gagner even though it was obvious to everyone he was a better #2C option for us. Arco, at least from a possession numbers standpoint is far superior to Gags, so Eakins' hand being forced to play him was essentially just a fluke for Eakins that helped his numbers out.

2) Perron playing in "St. Louis mode". Perron really dominated for us early on, and, in my opinion it didn't have that much to do with Eakins. Just a good trade by MacT to get a player from a good system/situation that has, so far, carried that game over to our team.

If he had a healthy Gags to start the year and Arco never got any opportunity to show what he can do, and you replaced Perron with, say MPS, then Eakins is even further down the toilet with his possession numbers.

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#62 Drowning in Oil
January 22 2014, 08:47PM
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XL Lebowski wrote:

Not really Eakin's fault that Dubnyk and Labarbera crapped the bed early in the year and put us out of the playoffs by Mid October. I heard Trotz threw DD under the bus after just one game in Nashville. This game is all about confidence and our goaltending let us down far too often with soft goals that were devastating to our team's fragile psyche. I think Eakin's gets a mulligan. If we don't improve next year, then we can justifiably let him go.

Wow, ok, so how's the team been lately? Now that Dubnyk is gone, are they winning? Bad argument.

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#63 Alsker
January 22 2014, 11:53PM
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@dougtheslug

Wow some honesty from one of the BOTB...that probably costs lummer an invite to this years xmas party...

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#64 He Who Knows
January 22 2014, 02:24PM
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#Lowemustgo......and he can take Mac T, Burger, and that guy who cost us the 1986 cup with him. Continue making it personal OilersNation because Lowe made it personal when he split the fan base into two types.

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#65 MessyEH
January 22 2014, 03:32PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

Phone your mother. She may have your pills.

MacT has done some good things. ( I may never understand the Smid trade.) But their are some obvious holes still in the line up. Top 2 defense being the biggest and our overated underachieving young guns. All are defensively suspect. I didn't notice it as much when Horcoff was here.

Too cutesy on offensive and no passion on the D side. That's on the players and the coach.

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#66 Shredder
January 22 2014, 03:53PM
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Here's a question slightly off topic...where does the most damage get done:

Lowe as POHO

OR

Rob Ford as Mayor?

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#67 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 07:56PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

BRING BACK KREUGER. SERIOUSLY.

I was driving around this evening and I heard Ralph Krueger interviewed on the radio. It reminded me of what a smart and classy guy he was. It sounded like he still feels very "connected" to the Oilers players. He said he could not bear to watch oilers games, even hilights.

Anyway, this is my constructive suggestion, moving forward. MacTavish contacts Ralph and BEGS him to come back as HC starting next season. If Katz wants to save money on the contract, offer Eakins a new contract as an assistant coach (not associate, he is not good enough). Tony Granato agreed to this when he realized he just wasn't HC material. George Burnett has a better chance of getting another HC job in the NHL than Eakins.

Or maybe just fire Eakins. Wouldn't that make us all feel a lot better. ADIOS, JACKASS! DON'T LET DOOR HIT YA WHERE THE GOOD LORD SPLIT YA!

I heard that interview as we'll. All class!

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#69 Cynic
January 22 2014, 01:00PM
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Isn`t Renney an assistant coach with Detroit? One of the most successful franchises of the past 25 years? The Edmonton Expos are merely a stopover for talented people on the way to better organizations.

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#70 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:34PM
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TayLordBalls wrote:

This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

You're nuts.

The Oilers already have more skill and speed than most teams and against bigger, skilled teams like StL, Ana, SJ, LA, Chi the Oilers get absolutely pasted.

The truth is you need everything: speed, skill, size, strength...everything.

The reason is you don't play one type of team. Not over a season. Not in the playoffs. To win the Stanley Cup you have to win four 7 game series against different teams.

If all you have is speed and skill you will meet a team that beats you physically. It's happened to the Penguins against the Flyers and Bruins.

If all you have is size and strength you will get beat by a team with speed and skill.

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#71 Randaman
January 22 2014, 08:45PM
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Dallylamma wrote:

Trotz: Dubnyk had ‘bad habits’ with Oilers http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/trotz-dubnyk-picked-up-bad-habits-with-oilers/

That is simple. Chabot is useless. Fire him, Bucky & Smith. Let Eakins hire his own staff with guidance of course (experienced communicator & defence specialist) and give them another year. If you think firing Eakins will get this team to the play-offs think again. I knew when this season started we were still at least two or three years away.

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#72 Sid
January 22 2014, 09:19PM
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After 7.5 years of misery Oilers are still an AHL team.

To expect changes for the good is faulty thinking.

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#73 tileguy
January 22 2014, 11:21AM
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Less vitriol with the comments than I expected, its early yet.

MacT has to decide if Eakins is the right guy and he has to decide now. If Eakins has lost the room, what is the sense of holding on to him. If the players have respect for him and what he is doing then he deserves another year. No sense in crying over spilt milk.

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#74 Still Hoping
January 22 2014, 02:10PM
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Well,

Interesting.

Again, the problem comes down to the captain steering the ship.

That would be Kevin Lowe. No good leader of an organization would let this happen.

LOWE, MAC T, and the OLD OILERS Must all GO.

They may have been great players, but they are the worst Management team of all the professional sports in North America.

Keep up the banners, voice, and tweets Edmonton. The fans will be heard even though most our media and pathetic Lowe lovers.

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#75 Jeff
January 22 2014, 02:42PM
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The “revolving door” of coaches..... Let’s be honest the coach has a major impact and the prior coaching replacement/changes were if anything a comedy of errors/quick/harsh decision making.

Craig MacTavish – Fired/let go/resigned... what ever, left cause the culture in Edmonton was causing players not to be here and not to want to come here, is it 100% his fault no, but did he do anything to change it, I am not sure.

Pat Quinn – offer the “consolation prize” of some made up position in the Oilers organization. Not sure what happen to him, not a reflection of the team’s result, in fact he has been one of the only coaches to be mention with a legit forecheck. My thoughts are he was replaced with Renney because the Oilers organization was not sure they could get Renney so they signed Quinn as a safety net. Not a good firing.

Renney “Sacrificial Lamb” To say he was fired for finishing 30th, 29th, 30th is fair, even though they were in a “rebuild”.... to say he got canned instead of Tambo being let go is probably a better depiction of what happen. Tambo, self preserved himself, and tossed who he could to keep his job.... that is the business world some time.... This was a shame, Renney was a solid coach. Not a good firing.

Krueger... “The motivator” This one angers me to no end... there is no way he should of been let go, the man could coach, he made his mark internationally, corporate/fortune 500 motivator, created a culture of positivity and success.... This was a shame, Krueger was a solid coach. Fired in replacement of a coach the New GM wanted, Krueger was sent packing for no real good reason. Not a good firing.

Eakins... “The last great hope” Yikes, talk about all in on a pair of two’s. Will he be a good coach, maybe, will the players respond and learn from him, maybe. The fact that he has the complete backing of the GM, POHO, and owner, makes him our coach for life.

To say the problem is not our coach and the lack of continue of coaches, is a very product of a failed Organization. We fire coaches, to satisfy personal ambition/self preservation, make GM’s mark. I agree with the fact we do not have the players to be successful, meaning making the playoffs, however just like how our past 5 coaches have been dealt with our player selection is proving to be evidences of a failed organization. We draft offensive players, which we knew did not play a two way game, and try to change them and make them the player the coach wants.

The cyclical nature of the organization of poor firings, not knowing what they want from players, from coaches, concludes my argument that the organization as a whole is broken. Maybe we can get Krueger to come by and give the Oilers office a motivation speech.

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#76 Zarny
January 22 2014, 03:18PM
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A direct statistical comparison isn't valid because you can't adjust for the most important thing...the players on the ice. Which includes both the Oilers roster and their opposition.

Renney had and relied much more heavily on veteran players like Horcoff and Whitney. The kids played less.

Krueger had a healthy Gagner for his entire 48 games and Dubnyk wasn't letting in beach balls.

With Eakins, half the roster had zero NHL experience to start the season and no 2nd line C. When they went into Pit in Oct Eakins had to play Arcobello for 21 min against the two best C in the world.

"Western Conference teams" haven't been static. Renney coached against an Anaheim team that finished at the bottom of their division.

If the Oilers roster and that of their opposition had remained consistent the comparisons would be valid. They haven't. Half the roster is different and that's just on the Oilers.

Apples to apples this is not.

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#77 Butters
January 22 2014, 06:26PM
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I think Eakin's and the TO media head-faked MacT a little bit. MacT didn't want to miss out on his guy so he hastily hired Eakins as a head coach before he was hired a head coach somewhere else(maybe not).

This year, I am cheering for Yak and Hall. That is about it.

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#78 Rama Lama
January 22 2014, 07:19PM
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@pkam

I do not think it would be very hard to convince Eberle to add a one-timer in his bag of tricks?

The kid loves to score and every goalie in the league knows he will do it with a wrister. They all know his tendencies and as a result his shot totals have gone down........just like JW predicted it would. Why did this happen you ask?

Well it's because they all know he will not score a greasy goal.......he will wait them out. In other words he has become predictable. I remember Gretzky had many goals where he just shot the puck, but the main thing was you never knew what he was going to do, in other words he was NEVER predictable.

Eberle has become too predictable and it's upon the coach to point this out and help him........plain and simple!!!

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#79 Hall the time
January 22 2014, 07:35PM
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So if it's fine to be in last place I'm sure it's fine to change the coaching staff.

If your last your pasted.

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#80 Zarny
January 22 2014, 08:46PM
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BRHLBryce wrote:

Man am I glad I moved 3 years ago and gave up my season tickets (or better yet, stuck my brothers with them).

In Denver I am actually able to go watch a product that is a development of a rebuild done right.

Even though the PLAYERS on the Avalanche blueline aren't better than what Edmonton has (save EJ, who has been a beast this year), they play a team defensive structure, which is foreign to the Oilers (and was here under Sacco).

Goes to show that getting the right coach, and right personel people (whether they are ex players or not) is really important. Whodathunk it?

If Eberle did his defensive zone tap to the middle that gets picked off every time, Roy would stick his ass to the bench.

The only real difference between the Avs and the Oilers is the top pairing D.

Just in case anyone was curious what a real top pairing D can do for a young team.

Erik Johnson is a beast. A 6'4" 232 lb beast who can skate.

Jan Hejda isn't a sexy name, but he's better than any D in Edm. He also happens to be 6'4" 237 lbs.

Roy isn't the difference. Roy's ability to throw Hejda-Johnson out for half the game is.

Eakins gets to counter with Ference-Petry.

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#81 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 08:57PM
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pkam wrote:

How do you know the Wings drafted player according to their philosophy and Oilers don't?

If the Wings had any philosophy that is reflected by their drafting, then it is icing European players. If you look at late 90s, 80% of the draft were European.

Do the Oilers have a philosophy? From the drafting, I can see they want to get more skill with the first round pick, and bigger with the remaining picks. You don't see it doesn't mean they don't have a philosophy.

Is the Wings draft much better than us? Yes, I give them credit for picking Datsyuk 6th rounder and Zetterberg 7th rounder. It looks very good. But what happen to the other picks in those 2 years, especially the early rounder? In 1998, they had 10 picks and only Fischer and Datsyuk becomes NHLer. In 1999, the Wings had 6 picks, only Zetterberg.

Only the Wings are developing their young prospect in AHL? Do you know we have a farm team OKC and our young players are developing there? You know we sent Nurse back to junior and Klefbom, Marincin etc to OKC before bring them up to Edmonton? You can argue we shouldn't bring Gagner up so fast, but it was 7 years ago.

Pkam

Do you read the posts or do you just get defensive as soon as you see that people reply to you?

All I was trying to say was Renney went to a team that sees his knowledge and patience and it fit their philosophy.

I never implied that the Oilers don't have a philosophy…i only said that the one they have is very confusing and seems to lack direction.

I don't even know how to address the rest of the vomit you spewed onto that post. So i won't…..

Love the OIL. Love the NATION

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#82 outdoorzguy
January 23 2014, 08:41AM
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Mr. Katz has more pressing problems to worry about in real life than his fantasy hockey world regarding the theft of medical information;

Katz Group of Companies bought Medicenters, they also own thousands of pharmacies, Rexal for instance. They hired ZoomMed to link the two through technology...The "ZRx Prescriber" is a Web application that runs on a pocket computer or a PC. The tool is used by physicians to fill out prescriptions and make them available to pharmacists, who can view them online via unique barcodes and confirm them using the physician's signed copy. The " ZRx Prescriber " also gives physicians access to a portable source of medical information generated by the pharmaceutical companies...Katz profits from the Medicenters and ensures that prescriptions are filled at Katz pharmacies.

There's no rush right now to fire Lowe or Eakins. Maybe if we could get Katz to fire Redford and Horne, then that would be progress!!

Boycott all Katz owned properties.

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#83 S cottV
January 23 2014, 09:54AM
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It's not looking good for Eakins, when he comes out in the paper - declaring that his job is on the line.

That is pretty much pleading with the player group to buy in / step it up and save his @ss.

I doubt that the player group responds to the extent that might be necessary.

All indications are that the player group is under achieving to at least some degree. Coach leadership is the major factor that governs where performance falls between the spectrum of under achievement and over achievement.

The coaches job is to get the most out of the player group - to extract over achievement. Eakins has had enough time to try and get his message across, to achieve buy in and to extract at least some signs of player group over achievement.

I am not sure that there is even one aspect surrounding the way the club is playing, that you can point at and declare some over achievement in this area or that area.

The overall record certainly points to under achievement by anyones standards. Oilers are at .346 and the Sabres at .344

Over achievement and the club is probably pushing on a .500 record.

Pushing his suspect agenda on the player group from the get go and having it blow up to the point that he needed to backpeddle out of things, really hurt his credibility. He bit off way more than was necessary or appropriate for the circumstances at hand and ended up having to throw it up - let alone chew it.

Like others - I have been saying for a long time that Eakins is in over his head and never should have been put in this position in the first place.

The right Coach with the right stuff - could do a lot better.

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#84 Joe Mamma
January 23 2014, 11:40AM
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Wonger wrote:

Ask Ken Hitchcock what he thinks of MACT and EAKINS! He feels exactly like I do! ....and there are dozens more in the hockey world who agree 100% with me as well. YOU CAN GO TO LEAFS NATION and take all of your NEGATIVITY with you!!!!

Hitch is notorious for pumping the tires of the competition to lull them into a false sense of security, so even assuming you do actually know what hitchcock has to say about these two, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

You're delusional.

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#85 Lowe Expectations
January 22 2014, 11:02AM
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Comparing these coaches is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. This team hasn't got the right balance of players (too many players with the same skill set, size etc) and doesn't bring the effort on a consistent basis.

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#86 pkam
January 22 2014, 11:11AM
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Robert Ore wrote:

One other comment on comparing coaching is the injury factor. I do not have the stats for the periods you have shown, but I believe under Eakins term we have far fewer man days lsot due to injury than previous years (particularily to our top end forwards)

Not true.

Kureger has the least man games lost at 118 over 48 games. If you subtract the 48 games by Sutton, we only lost 70 man games over 48 games.

Renney lost 246 man games in 11-12 over 82 games.

So far, Eakins has lost 215 man games over 52 games. At this pace, we will lose 339 man games over 82 games. The worst since the 520 in 09-10.

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#87 Lochenzo
January 22 2014, 01:02PM
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Oh no, terrible news for you Shea Weber rumour-mongers! Klein for Del Zotto. That's one less righty needing top 4 minutes in Nashville. I don't see Weber nor Seth Jones going anywhere any time soon.

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#88 westcoastoil
January 22 2014, 02:18PM
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Dallylamma wrote:

Trotz: Dubnyk had ‘bad habits’ with Oilers http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/trotz-dubnyk-picked-up-bad-habits-with-oilers/

It's refreshing to hear a respected impartial critique of the goalie coach.

Pat on the back to MacT for sliding that past Nashville's pro scouts?

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#89 Show me da Money
January 22 2014, 04:55PM
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What about the Oilers goal tending coach?

Is there a reason Dubnyk hasn't progressed? Listen to what Barry Trotz said earlier.

“We got Devan from Edmonton, and what we realized very quickly was that Devan has a lot of… I’ll say bad habits he’s picked up this year,” Predators coach Barry Trotz told Nashville radio station 94.9 Game2 on Wednesday.

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#90 Jay
January 22 2014, 06:43PM
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Good Article, I used to think Willis was a bit of a downer but he's quickly become my favourite Oil writer. Smart dude

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#91 pkam
January 22 2014, 06:51PM
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Mack Strong wrote:

My implication is that Detroit had a philosophy and model. They follow this philosophy and model in everything they do. Including bringing in Renney who we let go…Renny and Ralph were good for the young guys. He was patient with them. How is Eakins punitive mentality working with Yak?? He's 20 and thinks his $hit don't stink…maybe not the best mentality but Ralph brought a better side out of Yak.

You are 100 % correct that Detroit made a decision to scout European and and European style players because they broke away from the chip and chase philosophy and utilized the puck possession philosophy in the mid 90's.

MANAGEMENT implemented a philosophy and followed up by getting the personnel to follow it. They traded I believe 8 1st round picks:

Primeau plus 1st for Paul Coffey

Eriksson plus 2 more 1st picks for Chelios

Kozlov (1st rd) for Hasek

1st and Fleischman for Lang

1st and roster player for Schneider.

Those are BOLD MOVES!

Point is they had a philosophy implemented by MANAGEMENT, made moves for players that would fit the philosophy, moves made by MANAGEMENT, and brought in Babcock a possession minded coach. They also have a philosophy that players that enter that organization from draft will "Do time in the AHL to learn the game" and patience and mentoring is exercised with them.

What philosophy do you see here in Edmonton? Are they picking players that fit a philosophy? Are they making trades that fit a philosophy? Many of us in the Nation would argue that there seem to be a lack of direction or T. fortitude to make the type of moves Detroit did in the mid 90's. This organization rushes players then slows others, says they'll trade players then keeps them, etc…

Lack of direction from the top bring what we have…Leadership, mentorship, and direction is what brings what they have. Renney is right there with them and so is Ralph just with Team Canada - which by the way is essentially the brain trust of the Red Wings.

Love the OIL Love the Nation

How do you know the Wings drafted player according to their philosophy and Oilers don't?

If the Wings had any philosophy that is reflected by their drafting, then it is icing European players. If you look at late 90s, 80% of the draft were European.

Do the Oilers have a philosophy? From the drafting, I can see they want to get more skill with the first round pick, and bigger with the remaining picks. You don't see it doesn't mean they don't have a philosophy.

Is the Wings draft much better than us? Yes, I give them credit for picking Datsyuk 6th rounder and Zetterberg 7th rounder. It looks very good. But what happen to the other picks in those 2 years, especially the early rounder? In 1998, they had 10 picks and only Fischer and Datsyuk becomes NHLer. In 1999, the Wings had 6 picks, only Zetterberg.

Only the Wings are developing their young prospect in AHL? Do you know we have a farm team OKC and our young players are developing there? You know we sent Nurse back to junior and Klefbom, Marincin etc to OKC before bring them up to Edmonton? You can argue we shouldn't bring Gagner up so fast, but it was 7 years ago.

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#92 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 08:00PM
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Jay wrote:

Good Article, I used to think Willis was a bit of a downer but he's quickly become my favourite Oil writer. Smart dude

It's all jibberish...Corsi shmorsi!! Just Win Baby!!

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#93 outdoorzguy
January 22 2014, 08:05PM
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The PUZ wrote:

The only stat that matters is that Eakins has the WORST winning percentage of any head coach in Oiler history!

PS: Thanks Katz for ramping up the parking fees from 12 dollars to 15 dollars on this horrific "NHL" team with 7th highest revenues in the NHL and close to highest ticket prices in the NHL.

Parking fees are controlled by Northlands. It's their land, their building. It is however, a huge cash grab for them. They probably need the money to compensate Dick Anderson for going back stateside. He's Northlands own Klowe. Anderson fired or forced out all the Canadians and brought in his American minions to ruin Northlands.

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#94 XL Lebowski
January 22 2014, 08:41PM
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Not really Eakin's fault that Dubnyk and Labarbera crapped the bed early in the year and put us out of the playoffs by Mid October. I heard Trotz threw DD under the bus after just one game in Nashville. This game is all about confidence and our goaltending let us down far too often with soft goals that were devastating to our team's fragile psyche. I think Eakin's gets a mulligan. If we don't improve next year, then we can justifiably let him go.

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#95 China town man
January 23 2014, 09:23AM
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My buddy from Calgary text me. Hey China town man What is the difference between your Oilers and my flames I replied what is it, he tells me both our team sucks but the only difference is the flames organization has more brains than ours. I haven't replied..

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#96 S cottV
January 23 2014, 12:57PM
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Joe Mamma wrote:

Hitch is notorious for pumping the tires of the competition to lull them into a false sense of security, so even assuming you do actually know what hitchcock has to say about these two, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

You're delusional.

Absolutely agee.

Hitch is a master at mind games.

So much so - that some consider it a weakness.

He is no doubt blowing smoke on the MacT / Eakins support.

While second hand, I dont doubt the source who said Hitch told him some time ago, that he would have loved an opportunity to Coach the Oilers.

Further said that it would never happen because the Oilers would not let him do it his way...

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#97 Mustangheart
January 22 2014, 11:22AM
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JW great job presenting the facts. Very good info.

I think regardless of Eakins performance this year, he will still survive this yea. Primarily that the management cannot afford to fire another coach after just one season. It would just highlight KLowes and Mc. T's incompetence and mismanagement.

I believe that Mc. T is doing his best to turn things around and I like his efforts in obtaining Perron, getting rid of Devon, but I cannot say the same for KLowe. I cannot help but think that the Oilers are in such a mess and disarray, why does KLowe allocate so much time to Team Canada? Does he think he is the only one that can do that job? You would think he would get his own house in order before taking on more obligations? You would think Katz would have insisted KLowe focus on the Oilers? Lot's of questions that need to be addressed to the fans.

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#98 toprightcorner
January 22 2014, 12:20PM
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godot10 wrote:

Renney was fired because he finished 30th and 29th in a 30 team league over two full seasons.

I believe Renney was fired too soon as the axe should have fallen on Tambo instead. I also believe that Renny did have a few advantages over the others that are not measurable but need to be considered

Renney -

Advantages - was an associate with the team for a year and had a total of 3 years with the team for the stats used. - Had an exceptional associate coach in Kreuger who was very motivational and communicated well with young players - Had a much more experienced defence - Horcoff and Smyth (2011) were still top 6 players, not bottom 6

Disadvantages

- Tambo did nothing to help his cause (same as Kreuger) - Injuries in 2010 6 of the top 9 scorers missed 15 or more games, 2011 Nuge and Hall each missed 20 games

Kreuger

Advantages - Had 2 years as an associate coach and 2.5 years with the team for the stats used.

Disadvantages

- no associate coach (to this day I don't understand it and believe it was likely Tambo's decision since after he was fired Kreuger told MacT that he needed an associate coach) - no training camp - Tambo again did nothing

Eakins

Advantages - The "young" players had a couple years experience and should be ready to carry the team more - has an associate coach (I believe there were better options out there and if Eakins could have fired Smith and Buchy, Acton would have been a better assistant and could have hired an associate with more NHL experience)

Disadvantages

- Only 50 games with team - first NHL coaching job - First time the young players have ever been held accountable - Tougher, hard-nosed personality than Kreuger who was excellent at communicating with young players - by far the worst defense of the group - Better GM with MacT but still cleaning up Tambo's mess - One of the worst starts in team history that makes up 25% of the sample size.

I think Renny was also losing the room onhow veterans were treated differently sodon't think it would have worked out for him anyway.

If it were me, I would have kept Kreuger as head coach and added Eakins as an associate to help as they could have be a very good combination. Eakins could have been plan B if that didn't work out.

I pray that Eakins can replace his bench coaches at the end of the season (any chance for Huddy!!) an put in the staff that he wants. I suppose I am hoping that the reason he kept the staff the same is because the guys Eakins wanted were under contact and could not leave for a lateral move.

I also believe, based on early season play, that Renny and Kreuger did a poor job teaching the young guys the fundamentals required to succeed in the NHL and Eakins was forced to take a step back and reteach and simplify some things because of that.

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#99 Zipdot
January 22 2014, 02:18PM
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My theory:

One night, after binge drinking together, Steve Smith and Kelly Buchberger, knowing they were about to be dismissed, made their way on foot to Kevin Lowe's house, where Lowe was sitting in front of the fireplace, regaling a naked Katz with stories from the glory days.

Hearing the knock at the door, Lowe shout-whispered to Katz to go hide in the closet.

Lowe proceeded to answer the door, and in fell the keystone coaches, crumbling into a pile together in the foyer.

Before Lowe could do anything, the two began to wail and whimper and cry their eyes out.

"PLEEEEEEEASE don't fire us!! We'll never work in hockey again!!!" said the two men.

"We just need ONE more season to turn it around, and then you can fire us, because we'll be marketable again!"

Lowe knew that Katz could hear the agonizing pleas.

Katz, leaning against the door to try to hear what was being said, suddenly slipped and fell into the door, which sprung open, and Katz came tumbling out of the door and landing on the floor in front of the three men.

At that moment, Lowe extended a shaking hand, saying, "welcome, Steve and Bucky, to YOUR two thousand twelve EDMONTON OILERS!!!!"

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#100 TayLordBalls
January 22 2014, 03:17PM
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This may be the most important comment you ever read:

MacT is the one with the challenge, not the coach. Here is my reasoning:

Everyone knows the western conference is made up of larger bodies. How do you compete and rise to the top of such a division?

The answer is not to go with bigger bodies but to go with more skilled players that can out skate the bigger bodies.

Example: Canada Russia 1972 series. Although Canada did ultimately win the series, the Russians were far faster and skilled than anything in the NHL at that time.

The dynasty Oilers were molded around the concept of Russian speed and skill and they beat the heaviest and toughest teams ever put together in the NHL.

This teams destiny falls onto the shoulders of MacT. He needs to be the visionary to assemble a team capable of beating heavier teams.

We don't need more fighters, we don't need bigger players - we need skill and speed.

MacT needs to assemble players with the intent to out-skate and out-skill bigger teams. The Coach needs to design a strategy NOW, utilizing this skill and speed.

I put my complete trust in MacT - he's the man.

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