THE WAY I SEE IT: WHAT ABOUT NAIL?

Robin Brownlee
April 21 2014 10:37PM

Dallas Eakins 5

The bottom line is it doesn’t matter much that Anton Belov didn't want to return for a second season with the Edmonton Oilers as long as Dallas Eakins was the coach here, opting instead to sign with SKA in Russia.

Belov, who arrived in Edmonton after being named the KHL's best defensemen the previous season, didn't go into detail in comments to Russian reporter Pavel Lysenkov, as noted earlier today in an item by Jonathan Willis, but he did point a finger at Eakins.

"There is no one reason that made it an abrupt change," Belov said. "It all was building up during the season, especially more so after the Olympics. And the hire of coach Bykov (by SKA) was also an influence. The other point is that I could have re-signed with Edmonton, but I didn’t want to stay with that coach (Eakins)

In what can only be described as a sometimes-up-often-down season, Belov was an inconsistent and often mistake-prone player unable to command ice time with a defensive corps lacking both quality and depth. Was Belov worth having back? Sure. Is his departure a big loss? No.

That Belov clearly had issues with Eakins – be it a personality clash or a beef about how he was used -- isn’t a big deal. I'm much more interested in seeing if Eakins and Nail Yakupov can get on the same page going into next season because if they don't, well, that is a big deal. Way more at stake.

SOPHOMORE GONE SIDEWAYS

64-Yakupov-4

After scoring 17 goals and tallying 31 points in 48 games (.65 PPG) as a rookie last season under coach Ralph Krueger, Yakupov went sideways this season under Eakins, finishing with 11 goals and 24 points (.38 PPG) in 63 games before an ankle injury put him out.

Yakupov, 20, saw his ice time drop from 15:34 under Krueger to 14:19 under Eakins, with his power-play time dipping slightly from 2:28 to 2:10. How, when and with whom Yakupov was deployed by Eakins was questioned by agent Igor Larionov during the season.

More than once this season, Yakupov appeared frustrated and seemed at odds with Eakins. By the end of the season it was almost as if he'd mentally checked out. I'm not the only one who has made that observation. I'd be surprised if Larionov doesn't plan on getting back on the telephone with GM Craig MacTavish this off-season to re-visit what's happening with his client.

I've taken a few runs at Yakupov for being too individualistic and not working as diligently as he could at all aspects of his game, particularly his defensive play. He's a work-in-progress, sometimes a frustrating one at that. It comes with the territory when you're talking about a 20-year-old.

MEETING OF THE MINDS

64-Yakupov-11

Despite some obvious shortcomings at this stage of Yakupov's young career, I think Eakins has to take some of the blame for this sideways season – a fair amount, actually. Did Eakins give Yakupov the best possible opportunity to succeed in terms of how he was used and where he was used? No and no.

Did Yakupov contribute to the problem by withdrawing or sulking when things didn’t go his way? It seemed so. Did Eakins dig in his heels and insist things be done his way, as coaches are prone to do? Yes. Simply put, the way I see it, Eakins and Yakupov both have their stubborn streaks.

In the end, splitting the blame whatever way you see it doesn’t really matter. What does matter, and the challenge for Eakins, is that he finds a way to get on the same page with Yakupov. If that doesn’t happen, he risks losing the player and having Yakupov check out for good, and we're talking about a first overall pick here, not a fringe blueliner.

If that happens – nobody has told me we're at that point yet – and Larionov picks up the telephone and tells MacTavish his client wants out, Eakins will have a big problem, vote of confidence from the GM or not. The way I see it, Eakins and Yakupov better have a meaningful sit-down before Larionov and MacTavish do. Over to you, coach.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 v4ance
April 21 2014, 10:51PM
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Belov was a UFA and could have signed with any NHL team. The inference that I make is that his agent asked around and found no NHL clubs offering what KHL clubs were willing to pay in term and dollars.

It was an easy decision for Belov to return to the KHL. His take home pay is probably tripled compared to any NHL offers, he and his family are more familiar & comfortable in his homeland and he knows & understands and likes his coach in Russia.

Of the 3 factors of pay, lifestyle and coach that caused him to re-sign in the KHL, the issues with Eakins were probably third on that list. It sucks that he was one of the factors but he wasn't the top issue that caused the departure.

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#2 baggedmilk
April 21 2014, 10:54PM
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*sigh* Never a dull moment...

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#3 David S
April 21 2014, 10:58PM
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v4ance wrote:

Belov was a UFA and could have signed with any NHL team. The inference that I make is that his agent asked around and found no NHL clubs offering what KHL clubs were willing to pay in term and dollars.

It was an easy decision for Belov to return to the KHL. His take home pay is probably tripled compared to any NHL offers, he and his family are more familiar & comfortable in his homeland and he knows & understands and likes his coach in Russia.

Of the 3 factors of pay, lifestyle and coach that caused him to re-sign in the KHL, the issues with Eakins were probably third on that list. It sucks that he was one of the factors but he wasn't the top issue that caused the departure.

He also wanted to go to the worlds under contract in the event he got injured. Given his Oilers contract was expiring it sounds like he had to take the KHL deal. Besides, in Russia he'll get regular minutes, treated like a super hero and a decent pay cheque. None of which it looked like he was going to get with the Oilers and Eakins, even if he re-signed.

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#4 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 21 2014, 10:59PM
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v4ance wrote:

Belov was a UFA and could have signed with any NHL team. The inference that I make is that his agent asked around and found no NHL clubs offering what KHL clubs were willing to pay in term and dollars.

It was an easy decision for Belov to return to the KHL. His take home pay is probably tripled compared to any NHL offers, he and his family are more familiar & comfortable in his homeland and he knows & understands and likes his coach in Russia.

Of the 3 factors of pay, lifestyle and coach that caused him to re-sign in the KHL, the issues with Eakins were probably third on that list. It sucks that he was one of the factors but he wasn't the top issue that caused the departure.

That's a lot of details for an inference.

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#5 LoweBlow
April 21 2014, 11:02PM
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Bold words by Belov. He's got a fat contract now and shouldn't care how NHL clubs view him now. I'm quite surprised, in fact, that he was so reserved in his comments.

I've got a feeling that dressingroom was brutal to be in. I wouldn't be surprised if all UFAs look to leave.

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#6 Arius Mumin
April 21 2014, 11:03PM
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Eakins is not a good NHL coach, simple and plain.

He is a hypocritical ego maniac.

For the sakes of Oilers future, I hope: they come out on a losing streak next season, so Eakins can get canned sooner than later.

Someone should contact Belov and ask more about the Eakins comments. But, that a pipe dream since the Oilers would never allow media to do that or go there with their team/coach.

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#7 HOFFFF
April 21 2014, 11:04PM
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It was a large enough issue with Belov that it was worth mentioning. He didn't have to say anything, but he wanted it out there.

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#8 The Real Scuba Steve
April 21 2014, 11:05PM
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Our defense is going to be weak just as last year. Sad, but Yak deserves a another shot.

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#9 RexHolez
April 21 2014, 11:10PM
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Can't get on the same page with a 1st overall pick, has ex players saying they don't want to play for him, moves the team backwards in every aspect of the game, I just don't understand why some people don't like him. He seems like the perfect coach to get KLowe canned!

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#10 WhattaMike
April 21 2014, 11:12PM
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First off, I will say that Belov took the money and ran. He was a star in his KHL league, here he didnt do much. I see him as a 6/7 defenceman in the NHL on any team that good.

HE's the type thats always easily replaceable...as is Fraser, Grebeshkov, Larsen, Potter, etc.

Next, Eakins isnt the know all tell all type guy. He is an AHL coach now being an NHL coach and he has screwed up this season on certain issues to me. That being said, I (as armchair GM) will reasonably but cautiously give him 30 games to show he's grown as an NHL coach....if not give him the boot. I lay the main blame of this season not only only Eakins inexperience for the NHL but also on Dubnyk and LaBarbera for the some of the most inferior goaltending to start a season that I've ever seen before.

Last is that Yakupov has to rise to another level and start showing some better 200 feet two way playing effectively.Yeah Eakins couldve been better with the kid but Hemsky was here and seemingly owed his position. Yak got thrown all over then is confused (IMO) as to nwhich line's job was to be done.

My BIGGEST worry is that these early years with the drafted kids since 2009 ongoing...has been wasted/will be wasted too much... and very shortly in the future... their growing time will be gone and... all these highest picks that the Oilers gathered....will be gone/for naught.

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#11 D
April 21 2014, 11:12PM
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Yakupov fan here (my favourite player on this team, so my comment is clearly one sided). If it is a choice between Yakupov leaving or Eakins being dismissed as coach, please keep the number 1 pick and don't let the door hit number 208 on the way out. (Yes, I had to Google Eakins' draft number).

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#12 Rick Stroppel
April 21 2014, 11:42PM
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D wrote:

Yakupov fan here (my favourite player on this team, so my comment is clearly one sided). If it is a choice between Yakupov leaving or Eakins being dismissed as coach, please keep the number 1 pick and don't let the door hit number 208 on the way out. (Yes, I had to Google Eakins' draft number).

WHILE WE ARE PICKING ON EAKINS

Eakins played 120 games in the NHL and scored ZERO goals. I know he was a defenceman, but still...come on...zero goals. BTW, the NHL record for most career games played in the NHL without a goal is 155 games by someone named Steven Halko.

So, objectively speaking, in terms of offence, amoung thousands of men who played NHL hockey, Eakins is once of the worst of all time.

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#13 HOFFFF
April 21 2014, 11:58PM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

WHILE WE ARE PICKING ON EAKINS

Eakins played 120 games in the NHL and scored ZERO goals. I know he was a defenceman, but still...come on...zero goals. BTW, the NHL record for most career games played in the NHL without a goal is 155 games by someone named Steven Halko.

So, objectively speaking, in terms of offence, amoung thousands of men who played NHL hockey, Eakins is once of the worst of all time.

But he did get 9 helpers! He also played for 20 teams in 15 years after turning pro. :)

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#14 Sketchy
April 22 2014, 12:00AM
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@Rick Stroppel

one of the worst players to play the game, working on becoming one of the worst coaches to coach the game

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#15 OilersDynasty
April 22 2014, 12:07AM
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MacT stated he was going to send Yak down to the AHL cause 1st overall picks don't need any more seasoning once they're drafted. While that may be the case, Yak still should've been sent down, not only to allow him to get some more playing time and test out that ankle but to give OKC another weapon alongside Lander and Horak. OKC did excellent despite all the transactions that occured but it would've been nice to see him down to give the team a better chance at competing for the Calder Cup.

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#16 HOFFFF
April 22 2014, 12:09AM
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Sketchy wrote:

one of the worst players to play the game, working on becoming one of the worst coaches to coach the game

There's also our Goaltending Coach who played a total of 32 games in the NHL and his assistant who never even played in the AHL. That should support Scrivens and Fasth nicely. I don't get it.

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#17 Rick Stroppel
April 22 2014, 12:12AM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

WHILE WE ARE PICKING ON EAKINS

Eakins played 120 games in the NHL and scored ZERO goals. I know he was a defenceman, but still...come on...zero goals. BTW, the NHL record for most career games played in the NHL without a goal is 155 games by someone named Steven Halko.

So, objectively speaking, in terms of offence, amoung thousands of men who played NHL hockey, Eakins is once of the worst of all time.

I HAD TO CHECK THIS OUT

I just went to the NHL database. 6,397 men have played in the NHL. Halko holds the record for most games played without a goal, DALLAS IS NUMBER TWO! So you could say that Dallas was the second most useless NHL player of all time.

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#18 Sorensenator
April 22 2014, 12:14AM
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Yakupov sucks, trade him for Linus Omark for all I care.

He is a useless project

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#19 Sorensenator
April 22 2014, 12:15AM
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Eakins is also a useless project

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#20 Death Metal Nightmare
April 22 2014, 12:29AM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

I HAD TO CHECK THIS OUT

I just went to the NHL database. 6,397 men have played in the NHL. Halko holds the record for most games played without a goal, DALLAS IS NUMBER TWO! So you could say that Dallas was the second most useless NHL player of all time.

this made me laugh out loud...

such a garbage boy just acting hard with his lame 1970s Clint Eastwood hair.

he couldnt even score in juniors. 20 regular season goals in four years (226 games).

all that "FITNESS" and no skill. real garbage boy.

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#21 Arius Mumin
April 22 2014, 12:36AM
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WhattaMike wrote:

First off, I will say that Belov took the money and ran. He was a star in his KHL league, here he didnt do much. I see him as a 6/7 defenceman in the NHL on any team that good.

HE's the type thats always easily replaceable...as is Fraser, Grebeshkov, Larsen, Potter, etc.

Next, Eakins isnt the know all tell all type guy. He is an AHL coach now being an NHL coach and he has screwed up this season on certain issues to me. That being said, I (as armchair GM) will reasonably but cautiously give him 30 games to show he's grown as an NHL coach....if not give him the boot. I lay the main blame of this season not only only Eakins inexperience for the NHL but also on Dubnyk and LaBarbera for the some of the most inferior goaltending to start a season that I've ever seen before.

Last is that Yakupov has to rise to another level and start showing some better 200 feet two way playing effectively.Yeah Eakins couldve been better with the kid but Hemsky was here and seemingly owed his position. Yak got thrown all over then is confused (IMO) as to nwhich line's job was to be done.

My BIGGEST worry is that these early years with the drafted kids since 2009 ongoing...has been wasted/will be wasted too much... and very shortly in the future... their growing time will be gone and... all these highest picks that the Oilers gathered....will be gone/for naught.

You only see Belov as a 6th/7th defenseman because Eakins presented him to you as such. Take a look back at how Eakins presented Yakupov to you. Look at other players like Eberle and RNH.

Belov had the same misfortune as rest of his teammates: Eakins for a coach.

Belov was a good player in the KHL, was good player in the Olympics. Unlike he did to you-Belov showed me that he could be a good NHL player, he also appeared lost and disinterested like most of his teammates.

Trust me, Eakins had more to do with it than you saw.

I would be willing to bet, that; under another NHL coach, on another NHL team, Belov would have been a better player than under Eakins.

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#22 Dave
April 22 2014, 12:41AM
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HOFFFF wrote:

There's also our Goaltending Coach who played a total of 32 games in the NHL and his assistant who never even played in the AHL. That should support Scrivens and Fasth nicely. I don't get it.

Cudos to Brownlee, excellent article and a great comment by Sketchy. The goalie coach has to go.

The only silver lining here is that it appears that Scrivens may actually be a number one goalie.

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#23 6 ring circus
April 22 2014, 12:46AM
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Mactavish should have never hired Eakins in the first place.Kruger should've been given the opportunity to coach the Oilers this year,that was the right move, instead he was stabbed in the back.The Oiler's organization is a gong show,if we can all see this from the outside,I really wonder what is happening on the inside.

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#24 SlowTalker
April 22 2014, 12:55AM
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Oops I read the comments again. Fire Eakins, Fire Lowe...so and so sucks...Yadda-Yadda-Yadda!

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#25 nrXic
April 22 2014, 12:58AM
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There was a clear difference in how Yak played late last season in comparison to this one. Again, the second half of last season, he was all over the place early that season.

He was aggressive on the puck carrier and was more prone to cause turnovers. This year, right from training camp into the first few weeks, he was the exact opposite. He hesitated, attempted to anticipate the puck carrier's moves, which gives them all the time and space in the world to make a sound play. I honestly felt like he was so passive that it was almost a 5 on 4 out there in how the opponents were able to move the puck and create quality scoring chances.

He was an obvious defensive liability in early games. He rarely hit (something he did more of late last season) and cheated way too often. I really can't blame Eakins in cutting down his ice time when the team was starving for wins. I can't blame Eakins in having Yak play the other team's 3rd lines. I don't think Eakins erred in that logic.

What I do think he erred in is allowing that poor play to happen when it wasn't the case late last year. Now, maybe since Eakins has no idea of what Yak was able to do last year, and hasn't seen many of his games, he didn't see the regression at the beginning of the season. So maybe the Assistant Coaches should have picked that up. Maybe some responsibility falls on them.

After Lari-gate, he seemed to improve in these areas. He's gotten more physical, and is a bit more confident in how he treats the competition. Ultimately became more reliable defensively. We saw him playing a harder edged game near the end, he even got injured on a slap from J.Schultz when Yak was rushing to get in front of the net, somewhere you don't usually expect him.

I think looking to a player like Perron as a mentor can help. In terms of getting in there, using their frame/size to steal pucks, to win battles in tough areas, in sending it to the net hard from any angle.

I was more than happy with Yak's game just prior to his injury. He was still struggling a bit offensively but made sure to play a much better defensive game. I didn't feel the same anxiety I felt earlier in the season when he was on the ice. He's been far more engaged in the play and unlike early in the season, he didn't watch the play and wait for a pass. I look forward to his next season, which I really hope is on the Oilers.

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#26 Hoozonphirst
April 22 2014, 01:20AM
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Interesting to me that the print media robots predictably chimed in today. They immediately gang up on the unhappy player to discredit anyone who makes a negative comment about Oiler ownership, management or coaching.

Belov didn't have a good year no doubt. This organization and their media trolls NEVER accept criticism and so there is no way for them to turn this around.

This management group is one colossal goat ****. The off season has barely begun. Hold on to your hats boys and girls. I think the Oiler Circus is about to arrive in town putting Ringling Bros. to shame

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#27 Oilers Coffey
April 22 2014, 01:22AM
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LMAO at Eakins 2nd worst NHL player of all time. Of all time. Seriously this has got to say something no wonder he was chopping wood and hauling water. WTF does that even mean? His coaching tactics and hair style are beyond outdated. Its 2014 not 1914. Belov said it and he obviously wanted to make that point clear. Eakins is a terrible coach. How many others are going to be jumping town when their contacts are up. So much for attracting free agents. I mean Justin Schultz came to the Oilers because of Ralph. He's probably sitting at his Summer cabin thinking the same thing as Belov. As for Yakupov, how else can Dallas destroy this kids confidence. Nail loves hockey and to see him totally withdrawn is a huge red flag to me.

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#28 Andrew
April 22 2014, 01:45AM
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With all of this disfunctional nonsense going on how do you season ticket holders feel about this? If I were staring at a blank cheque and considering writing a 6 figure amount on it I have to say I'd be weighing my options very carefully.

Eakins made mention, after being baptized on the bench by Taylor Hall, how he had had many more screaming matches with other players over such minor issues. He is apparently no stranger to conflict. His reaction to an unintentional act was way the hell over the top. Can anyone see anger issues here?

If there is this much confusion and controversy visible from the outside fan's perspective what in hell is going on out of our sight? Enough apparently to overflow into public view. Just a thought...

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#29 Andrew
April 22 2014, 01:59AM
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Andrew wrote:

With all of this disfunctional nonsense going on how do you season ticket holders feel about this? If I were staring at a blank cheque and considering writing a 6 figure amount on it I have to say I'd be weighing my options very carefully.

Eakins made mention, after being baptized on the bench by Taylor Hall, how he had had many more screaming matches with other players over such minor issues. He is apparently no stranger to conflict. His reaction to an unintentional act was way the hell over the top. Can anyone see anger issues here?

If there is this much confusion and controversy visible from the outside fan's perspective what in hell is going on out of our sight? Enough apparently to overflow into public view. Just a thought...

5 figure amount...my bad.

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#30 a lg dubl dubl
April 22 2014, 05:41AM
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Yakupov is to the Oilers as Kadri is to the Leafs.

Remember when Kadri first went to the Marlies and Eakins called him fat, then Kadri pouted, then went to the Leafs and had 1 great season.

Im just rambling, but Yak reminds me of Kadri...

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#31 Jason
April 22 2014, 05:48AM
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I m in Toronto, The Marlies still winning after Eakins left, what does that say about him?

You got a few writers hyped him up as the next hot thing in coaching. They had Mac T bite, well he won't admit he screwed up and fire Eakins, he gave him another year to screw the Oilers up.

Eakins only has plumbers (long time AHL players like him) because he had no skills as a players.

He has something against foreign and Muslim players, he insulted and pissed off Kadri in AHL. Now Eakins is doing it to Yakupov over there.

Oilers are NHL worst in goals against, got shut out 10 home games? Allowed 13 short handed goals against (Leafs has 12 so they both has something in common, he came from this organization).

Oilers missed the playoffs from November on, great coaching!

So 4 ex-Oilers said negative things about Eakins since they left. No alarm bells ringing over there yet?

The guy is all talk and no action.

The Avs got new coach, same young team with no big name Dmen. They are second in the West this year after finishing 2nd last the year before.

Even the Flames has better record than the Oilers with no name goalies. Ouch!

Eakins benched the foreign players but he didn't benched Hall, RNH, Eberle or Justin when they screwed up?

A coach is supposed to make his team better not make his players lose confidence.

When Hall sprayed Eakins with water on the bench, he sat Hall most of the 3rd period? This Eakins is a clown, a joke.

If anyone trashes this have the balls to reply why, and what good did Eakins bring to the Oilers.

Todd Nelson is a good coach, he should be promoted. Every year he has nobody in the line ups because the big club traded away his players. The big club kept recalling his players, yet he got the Barons in playoffs each year. Give Nelson credits.

The Oilers deserve better, the fans deserve better!

Winning will change all that.

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#32 Voice of Reason
April 22 2014, 05:51AM
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Rick Stroppel wrote:

WHILE WE ARE PICKING ON EAKINS

Eakins played 120 games in the NHL and scored ZERO goals. I know he was a defenceman, but still...come on...zero goals. BTW, the NHL record for most career games played in the NHL without a goal is 155 games by someone named Steven Halko.

So, objectively speaking, in terms of offence, amoung thousands of men who played NHL hockey, Eakins is once of the worst of all time.

Do any of you know how many goals Scotty Bowman scored in the NHL?

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#33 Gk1980
April 22 2014, 06:15AM
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Not much optimism here these days. How important is next season? I agree Eakins is on a short leash. Personally next season will be another failure. It will be interesting though and these boards will have a ton to talk about. I still think a major player change is required. MacT has some tough decisions to make before training camp this year.

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#34 blainer
April 22 2014, 06:36AM
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Jason wrote:

I m in Toronto, The Marlies still winning after Eakins left, what does that say about him?

You got a few writers hyped him up as the next hot thing in coaching. They had Mac T bite, well he won't admit he screwed up and fire Eakins, he gave him another year to screw the Oilers up.

Eakins only has plumbers (long time AHL players like him) because he had no skills as a players.

He has something against foreign and Muslim players, he insulted and pissed off Kadri in AHL. Now Eakins is doing it to Yakupov over there.

Oilers are NHL worst in goals against, got shut out 10 home games? Allowed 13 short handed goals against (Leafs has 12 so they both has something in common, he came from this organization).

Oilers missed the playoffs from November on, great coaching!

So 4 ex-Oilers said negative things about Eakins since they left. No alarm bells ringing over there yet?

The guy is all talk and no action.

The Avs got new coach, same young team with no big name Dmen. They are second in the West this year after finishing 2nd last the year before.

Even the Flames has better record than the Oilers with no name goalies. Ouch!

Eakins benched the foreign players but he didn't benched Hall, RNH, Eberle or Justin when they screwed up?

A coach is supposed to make his team better not make his players lose confidence.

When Hall sprayed Eakins with water on the bench, he sat Hall most of the 3rd period? This Eakins is a clown, a joke.

If anyone trashes this have the balls to reply why, and what good did Eakins bring to the Oilers.

Todd Nelson is a good coach, he should be promoted. Every year he has nobody in the line ups because the big club traded away his players. The big club kept recalling his players, yet he got the Barons in playoffs each year. Give Nelson credits.

The Oilers deserve better, the fans deserve better!

Winning will change all that.

Jason, you can bet that Eakins is on a very short leash and he won't be the only one. Fans have been very patient but this is the year that changes. The rebuild time is up and the seats are going to start to get empty and believe me... changes will come fast when the oilers start losing money. I am on the page of a very short leash to start the season..I would give him the month of October. If we are under 500 for that month he is out.

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#35 blainer
April 22 2014, 06:51AM
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My take on Belov and Yak.. On belov ..I didn't get that Eakins was playing Fraser ahead of Belov. Those two players are not even close and I suspect Belov also saw this. The worry with yak is that Belov was a fellow countyman and you can bet the two of them talked a lot about Eakins. A big problem with Yak was that we had ebs and hemmer ahead of him on the depth chart and had yak playing all over the place. RW, LW,1st 2nd 3rd and 4th lines. Whereas Hall and Nuge came in and were on the top line immediately. If we keep Yak put him on the 2nd line RW with Perron and a big talented center and leave him there. My God playing him with Gags Was Madness.

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#36 Fresh Mess
April 22 2014, 06:59AM
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The coach is the boss. It's up to the player to conform to what the coach wants. Yakupov is terrible. This team features several coach killing princesses.

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#37 CaptainLander
April 22 2014, 07:24AM
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Hearsay, biased option, gossip and loads of conjecture. Excellent 'blog'!

Does anyone here really understand the intimate relationship between this coach and his players? Not likely.

Belov went from being a top 2 defender to barely cracking the lineup. See why his NHL dream floundered. I liked K-Bomb's and Marincin's game more anyway.

Yak will bounce back.

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#38 15w40
April 22 2014, 07:45AM
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What seems clear to me is that next year will dictate to me how serious the fan base is about "change".

The GM has stood up and endorsed the coaching staff in its entirety as well as the "core" as being the meat of who will take this team to the promised land.

Ownership has stated its mandate is to stay the course.

So - in short, what you see is what you get plus a few more changes to the fringe. Trying for a higher end defenseman and a better centreman.

If this thing stays as far off track as has been shown in recent history, and the fans keep showing up at rexall like sheep and filling the place and lining the pockets with $$$ then I don't really see why there is any motivation to change anything. The paying fans will decide how fast or how motivated Katz is to turn his toy into a hockey team.

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#39 Gordie Wayne
April 22 2014, 08:06AM
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After reading all of these comments, all I can think is that it is this team's plan to draft Connor McDavid next year...

This team is depressing the hell out of me right now...this was the worst Oilers season I have ever had to suffer through and I have been an Oilers fan since the beginning...my first word wasn't Mom or Dad, it was "Oilers".

Fire Eakins...

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#40 HardBoiledOil
April 22 2014, 08:08AM
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they should just trade Nail.

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#41 S cottV
April 22 2014, 08:10AM
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I agree with a prior poster that a huge problem with Yak, is that there is not a strong enough 2c to play him with.

Yak is a top 6 player or you really cant play him.

Playing Yak with Gagner just does not work.

Playing Yak with RNH and Hall, isnt the answer either. RNH is not yet a strong enough 1C to have to carry anyone.

So - MacT has to get a veteran 2C (a rookie 2C would not work either) who can carry Yak's weaknesses, until they can be hopefully worked out of his game.

So - as much as I am not an Eakins supporter, the Coach is very much handcuffed by what he can do with Yak.

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#42 geeker99
April 22 2014, 08:11AM
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I would be pissed if Yak were traded. If your picking players in the top 3 and especially forwards, these guys have dominated scored points since they were 6 years old. Probably haven't played much in there own zone defensively.

The oilers have failed badly on teaching these kids that n the NHL requires a 200ft game. Nuge has it but is physically not there yet. Ebs is a non factor right now, haven't seen him throw a decent body check yet? is weird to me as Bucky was a good checking forward but something ain't getting through.

Yak is a special talent, you can tell when he gets the puck that he wants to do something special. He should have spent time in okc so his growing pains weren't center stage. Has a mean streak in him which is a surprise and a delight. I love ebs but he would be my trade bait, when he is not scoring he is useless.

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#43 dqgc
April 22 2014, 08:14AM
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"Coach Killing Princesses"... Love it.

And Bang On.

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#44 HallFever
April 22 2014, 08:17AM
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Wow, the heat is on. I want to see the changes happen that MacT wants to make (top dman, better second line, better 3rd line). Yak will be a much better player in 2-3 years. We cannot give up on this kid. If we do we will regret it...

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#45 madjam
April 22 2014, 08:29AM
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Where has the attitude you must want to play here , or they ship you out , got us over the last 8 years ? Disgruntled player exits that bad mouth organization and prevent others wanting to come here ? These are supposed to be professionals , and they should still perform admirably despite we are not their choicest destination . I doubt Eakins is a major problem ,as he can only work with the players he has .

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#46 Chainsawz
April 22 2014, 08:29AM
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CaptainLander wrote:

Hearsay, biased option, gossip and loads of conjecture. Excellent 'blog'!

Does anyone here really understand the intimate relationship between this coach and his players? Not likely.

Belov went from being a top 2 defender to barely cracking the lineup. See why his NHL dream floundered. I liked K-Bomb's and Marincin's game more anyway.

Yak will bounce back.

"Does anyone here really understand the intimate relationship between this coach and his players? Not likely."

Belov does more than you. Wonder what he has to say on this matter as an outsider with no skin left in the game?

Does it matter at all what Belov's skill level is? How does that belittle his opinion? On par with using Eakins NHL stats to determine his ablilities as a coach (even though they do seem related, purely coincidence).

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#47 Loweblows
April 22 2014, 08:33AM
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Gk1980 wrote:

Not much optimism here these days. How important is next season? I agree Eakins is on a short leash. Personally next season will be another failure. It will be interesting though and these boards will have a ton to talk about. I still think a major player change is required. MacT has some tough decisions to make before training camp this year.

Why does MacT have to make tough decisions? According to him everything is well and on track. Nothing to see here folks.

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#48 nuge2nail
April 22 2014, 08:34AM
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Oiler Domination To Follow

I wonder if my ip is still banned - last comment allowed was on a Robin article - and I know that guy hates me.

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#49 Loweblows
April 22 2014, 08:36AM
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Does shi$ the bed for McDavid rhyme?

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#50 Aitch
April 22 2014, 08:57AM
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So, Eakins is a bad coach because he didn't score in the NHL. Well, based on that line of thinking, I guess we should replace him with Gretzky. Surely, he must be a Great coach due to his hold on the record books. Right?

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