EAKINS

Lowetide
April 06 2014 07:19AM

eakins common33

After a long, disastrous season it's understandable to feel a need to lash out and point fingers. The problem? There are always some fingers pointing back at you.

In his famous Sunday article Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun tells us the prevailing wisdom in regard to Eakins future.

  • Garrioch: The belief is the Oilers will stick with coach Dallas Eakins as he heads into the second year of his contract despite a disastrous rookie season.

I believe it's the right call. Why? First, Craig MacTavish hired Eakins to bring a culture change to the organization, and it appears (from what we know) this was a turbulent year for all concerned. I have no doubt learning occurred for both players and coach (witness Hall's improvement in shot differential of late, likely a result of relaxing the 'shoot and chase' approach to offense) during this year. Next season should be stronger because of the foundation built in 2013-14.

There has to be structure, and Eakins has struggled at times to institute the plan. That's on him, but there's also a lot of truth in the idea that you can't win the race with a plough horse. Edmonton's defense isn't good enough to turn north and I don't think Scotty Bowman could get this defensive group into the playoffs.

Progress was made, and the blueline seems to be coming into view.

Garrioch article is here, he also mentions Messier as a future coaching option. 


ASSISTANTS

huddy

Lots of chatter about improving the staff by hiring and firing assistants. I don't know much about that area of the game, but do know that the defense hummed when Charlie Huddy was an assistant coach here. If he comes available, I'd like to see him back in our town.


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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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#101 ubermiguel
April 06 2014, 05:33PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Got to love the line" can't fire Eakins, need to have continuity"

What, continue to be in 29th place again, is that what you mean by continuity.

As opposed to all those other years where the coaching changes lead to immediate positive results?

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#102 brad
April 06 2014, 05:55PM
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120 stitches wrote:

I have seasons tickets 5 rows behind the Oilers Bench. I have had a pretty good opportunity to watch Coach Eakins run his bench. He rarely displays emotion, has limited interaction with his players, does not seem to "work" the referees by questioning their decisions so you may get a close ones down the line, Rarely have I seen any fire or passion out of him. Same with his assistants who seem almost robotic with constant glum looks on their faces. The whole staff for the most part look like they are suffering from depression. I think McTavish wanted to pick a coach like him-someone who is cerebral, calm on the bench, good communicator with the media etc. The problem though as I observe it Eakins does not have the presence or gravitas that McTavish had and,in any event, McTavish was not that great a coach anyways. Take a look at the coaches that are currently winning in the NHL in contrast. Roy,Sutter,Boudreau,Babcock, Therrien, Julien, Mclellan, Hitchkock, Vigneault. They are all big personalities behind the bench- very passionate at appropriate times animated and,very interactive with their players and upbeat in contrast to our coaching staff who seem to only display any type of emotion when they frown at an Oilers mistake. We of course do not know what Eakins is like in the dressing room. From what I have seen of him though, I cannot see him giving much of a rousing speech to motivate his players. You need a strong , charismatic, dynamic personality to successfully coach an NHL hockey team these days- We do not have that with Eakins-- he seems indecisive, exhibits no passion and seems flustered much of the time. Just an example I like that Patrick Roy called out publicly yesterday the St Louis captain for going after Nathan McKinnon- saying he was not impressed with Backes going after an 18 year old. I can't see Eakins doing something like this-- he certainly did not have much to say about the Kassian incident. This is an example of the passion and leadership the current coaching staff lacks. It is clear to me Eakins has been a failure and will continue to be. For those that say we cannot change coaches because there has been too much turnover you cannot for these reasons maintain an inadequate and dysfunctional coaching staff. We have seen lots of examples of new coaching staffs come in situations where there has been lots of coaching turnover and finally get it right. Besides there is an option that may alleviate these concerns. If Todd Nelson and his staff get their team in the playoffs under such difficult circumstances he could be a strong candidate to take over. There would be a lot of continuity as he has coached very successfully a lot of these players. I am not saying he should be the new hire but he certainly should be given stronger consideration than when McTavish impulsively decided to change coaches last summer to a coach whose record was no better than Nelson's.

It is absolutely hilarious how you say Roy is "very passionate at appropriate times" LOL... he is a WACKO!That actually made me laugh out loud thanks. I do get the point you are making. That is just one of the funniest sentences ever.

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#103 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 06 2014, 06:02PM
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I don't necessarily believe that Eakins is "the right guy" but something to remember is that he's MacT's guy. MacTavish brought him in because he coaches the way that he wants his team coached.

Eakins has definitely made some rookie mistakes, but I think he's committed to making the team play the way he and MacT believe the game should be played. Best case scenario: this year was the result of growing pains and Hall/Eberle/Yak/etc. eventually learn how to play the chip & chase 200ft. hockey that they believe will lead to success. Worst case scenario: Eakins/MacT's vision of the game doesn't work well with skilled players, the message gets lost, and the young players' confidence gets ruined.

I guess time will tell, but if Eakins can turn guys who have a tendency to float and make ill-advised decisions with the puck into hard working players who play aggressive defence, the team will definitely improve. I'm sick of waiting to see if this team will get better, but I'm also sick of watching Gagner and Eberle glide around and play weak defence. One thing will change when the other does...

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#104 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
April 06 2014, 06:32PM
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No one was hiring a coach for them to learn the job. Coaches are not like players, it is simple and cutthroat that either you can do it or you can't. Culture change might be needed, but if the change is for the worst, what's the point for the change then? Just so they can suck in different ways?

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#105 vom04
April 06 2014, 07:00PM
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apparently you all know the outcome before the game is played!

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#106 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 06 2014, 07:03PM
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Anton (still waiting for playoffs) wrote:

No one was hiring a coach for them to learn the job. Coaches are not like players, it is simple and cutthroat that either you can do it or you can't. Culture change might be needed, but if the change is for the worst, what's the point for the change then? Just so they can suck in different ways?

Every coach should be learning on the job. Mike Babcock has said that coaching is a process of constant learning, evaluation and adjustment; even after winning a cup, you still have to look for ways to improve your team.

Again, I'm not saying Eakins is the guy to lead this team to the promised land. I'm just saying his philosophy parallels MacT's approach and that's why he was hired and why he hasn't been fired. I believe that if they can turn the young skilled guys into defensively responsible players who can kill the occasional penalty and handle D-zone starts, the team will definitely improve and won't just "suck in different ways".

All that being said, MacT loved blue collar guys (Reasoner, Moreau, Petersen) and didn't really work with much elite skill. I hope his philosophy works, but I'm not sure if it will.

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#107 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
April 06 2014, 07:30PM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

Every coach should be learning on the job. Mike Babcock has said that coaching is a process of constant learning, evaluation and adjustment; even after winning a cup, you still have to look for ways to improve your team.

Again, I'm not saying Eakins is the guy to lead this team to the promised land. I'm just saying his philosophy parallels MacT's approach and that's why he was hired and why he hasn't been fired. I believe that if they can turn the young skilled guys into defensively responsible players who can kill the occasional penalty and handle D-zone starts, the team will definitely improve and won't just "suck in different ways".

All that being said, MacT loved blue collar guys (Reasoner, Moreau, Petersen) and didn't really work with much elite skill. I hope his philosophy works, but I'm not sure if it will.

After almost the entire season, in which department that Oilers have shown any signs of improvement? That’s the concern I have regarding Eakins performance as HC.

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#108 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 06 2014, 08:14PM
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@Anton (still waiting for playoffs)

MacTavish said in his presser a couple weeks ago that he likes how Dallas has the team playing and he expects Eakins to be the coach "for a long time". MacT also thought that Grebeshkov could help the Oilers blue line this year too, so I'm not sure if his assessment is necessarily valid, but that's his opinion and ultimately it's his decision if Eakins gets fired or not.

I get the feeling that after the coaching carousel from the past few years, MacTavish would be inclined to believe that continued poor play will be more of an indictment on the players than the coach and he'll jettison players that don't seem receptive to playing within the coach's systems.

Remember, it's not like this team was good before Eakins got here. MacT made it clear that he didn't agree with Krueger's systems and he fired him so he can have a guy teach the game the way he wants it played. Last year the team proved they weren't capable of playing playoff type hockey if they consistently cheat for offence in an effort to outscore their opponents. Eakins' defence first style may or may not end up being correct, but it's how the GM wants his team to play.

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#109 Anton (still waiting for playoffs)
April 06 2014, 08:26PM
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Mo Playoffs Mo Problems wrote:

MacTavish said in his presser a couple weeks ago that he likes how Dallas has the team playing and he expects Eakins to be the coach "for a long time". MacT also thought that Grebeshkov could help the Oilers blue line this year too, so I'm not sure if his assessment is necessarily valid, but that's his opinion and ultimately it's his decision if Eakins gets fired or not.

I get the feeling that after the coaching carousel from the past few years, MacTavish would be inclined to believe that continued poor play will be more of an indictment on the players than the coach and he'll jettison players that don't seem receptive to playing within the coach's systems.

Remember, it's not like this team was good before Eakins got here. MacT made it clear that he didn't agree with Krueger's systems and he fired him so he can have a guy teach the game the way he wants it played. Last year the team proved they weren't capable of playing playoff type hockey if they consistently cheat for offence in an effort to outscore their opponents. Eakins' defence first style may or may not end up being correct, but it's how the GM wants his team to play.

Unfortunately, that I understand what you were saying fully. It is just something that MacT needs to realize that being stubborn on certain decision making was one of the reason got him fired before. I do realize that MacT will not fire Eakins at least for another full season which will put Oilers as front runner for McDavid next season is truly sad.

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#110 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
April 06 2014, 08:35PM
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@Anton (still waiting for playoffs)

Agreed. Although if the Oilers get either McDavid or Eichel they've gotta turn this thing around eventually right??

I'm tired of watching this team be terrible and I'm tired of the "wait till next year" talk. But I do believe they will at least start being competitive next year. If they continue to get decent goaltending and they can get their hands on a decent D-man who's able to eat tough minutes, it almost won't matter who coaches the team. They'll be better.

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#111 Oil Spill
April 06 2014, 11:07PM
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It's the classic case of insecure management. Kevin Lowe doesn't want someone below him that knows more about hockey than him,so he hires MacT so he can control him. At the same time MacT doesn't want a coach below him who knows more than him so he hires Eakins. Eakins and MacT know they both shouldn't have that job on a normal team so they are now in the pocket of who gave them a chance. The strings are all being pulled by Lowe, thus keeping the cycle of poor management forever ongoing.

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#112 Jason
April 07 2014, 01:34AM
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@Lowetide

I totally disagree with you.

Look at the rest of the NHL, most teams have no name Dmen and yet they still win games.

What's wrong with Oilers Dmen now?

The 2 Dmen on the ice can only cover their man behind the net or in front of the net. If he is covering a forward and that guy pass the puck to open guy in the slot and no Oilers forwards are covering him, then it's easy tap in goal. DEFENSE is for all 5 players on the ice any time, not just the 2 Dmen. So many goals scored against the Oilers this year because the forwards are not doing their job. Turnovers from the players are not helping also.

The Predators had Weber, number 1 Dman (everyone wants), yet they are not making the playoffs. Top Dman will not win games if the rest of the team is not playing team defense.

The Avs has no name Dmen (Erik Johnson still a young guy at 26) and yet they won 50 games this year. They were 29th place team last season.

Also the HEAD coach teach the team the system, the assistants coaches implement that in practice. So bringing in new assistants to teach the lame system the Head coach preach will not improve the team.

In previous years Oilers power plays and penalty kills were near the top of NHL. Why are they so bad this year? It's because of Eakins system, if assistant coaches use same format from Krueger or Renny then their PP and PK would still good and not bad this season.

The coach make the team better with what he has. The defense is only good if everyone on the ice cover their man.

That's the difference from good and bad teams. Good coaching and the team playing as a unit.

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#113 BillHK
April 07 2014, 08:50AM
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Eakins is just too slow a learner. It took him a whole season to figure out that Hall-Nuge-Eberle just might be a lime combination.

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