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.


C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
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 TSN 1260.
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#1 Ricky's Jalapeno Chips
April 06 2014, 07:28AM
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You are right about Huddy. Purging him was a terrible move.

Lowetide, what are the chances of the Oil being able to get Griffin Reinhardt from the Isles? Is there a realistic scenario that could bring this about?

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#3 Spydyr
April 06 2014, 07:40AM
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Is Eakins part of the problem or part of the solution?

My vote is part of the problem.

He was hired because Mac-T fell for his talk.He is all hat no cattle as DSF liked to say.

The only reason people say to keep him is for continuity in coaching.To avoid yet another coaching change.

It was one of Mac-T's first moves and firing Eakins would look bad on Mac-T.So I fully expect Eakins to be around to sink next season by Halloween yet again.

It is the Oiler way.

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#4 Retsinnab5
April 06 2014, 07:45AM
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My concern is that if the Oilers keep Eakins he's going to ruin Yakupov's career.

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#5 -30-
April 06 2014, 07:54AM
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#Resinnab5, Yakupov CAN'T turn into another Ovechkin.

If Eakins does it right this guy will be great but there's the problem, how to handle the guy and not ruin him. Yak can't be let go to freelance.

-30-

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#6 dougtheslug
April 06 2014, 07:57AM
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Messier for coach? That's all the Oilers need, another rookie head coach who can learn (or not learn) on the job. Mac David here we come.

Huddy for assistant?

Really?

Nobody in the hockey universe who isn't an ex-Oiler can be considered for the job?

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#7 a lg dubl dubl
April 06 2014, 08:00AM
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I was listening to 1260 yesterday, they were talking about the possibility of Oates getting fired in Washington. My question to you LT, do you think he could be a candidate for the assistant coach with "hc experience" that has been talked about before?

I think he would be imo, he could run the pp and teach guys like RNH, and Gagner on the art that is face offs.

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#8 Czar
April 06 2014, 08:00AM
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If the team isn't playing consistent hockey by Christmas then let him go.

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#10 Oiler Al
April 06 2014, 08:03AM
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Wake up everyone! Eakins was a Katz hire!

Eakins was the "big chase" last year, and Katz was not to be outdone by the likes of Dallas or Vancouver for the supposedly big catch in the coaching lake.

Let's get him while he's hot.. and give him what he wants.[not sure of his salary, but 4 years is a big give]

What about Kruger? O ya, well fire him on skype.

I would fire Eakins and if not him then the other three stooges behind the bench.

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#11 a lg dubl dubl
April 06 2014, 08:06AM
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Lowetide wrote:

They would have to give up something dear, like this year's 1st rd selection.

And Petry!!?

Please make it so

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#12 Derian Hatcher
April 06 2014, 08:10AM
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The following questions may be of the simplistic variety, yet I believe they are valid. I wonder how Oiler management would answer these in a truthful fashion, not their usual "patient and process" spin:

1) How did Colorado improve so much this season under Patrick Roy? 2) Paul Maurice seems to have a positive impact on the Jets - I believe Maurice was available last spring when Eakins was hired. 3) How does Bob Harlley get his players to work hard and compete game after game? 4) In reality, how much sense does is make the keep a coach whose team has not improved in any area of the game for the sake of continuity? 5) Is the Oiler team, as a whole, buying in and playing hard under Eakins?

All one has to do is look back to what Eakins said last June when he was hired, and compare it with the results.

How confident are you as an Oilers fan that "next season" (yet again) the team will be better (how can they be worse?) under the direction of Dallas Eakins?

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#13 Woogie63
April 06 2014, 08:16AM
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Keep Eakins so we have continuity, the guys will not have to learn a new system?

Which part of the season are we building?

Which players are we hoping to continue to show the progress Eakins squeezed out of?

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#14 Loweblows
April 06 2014, 08:23AM
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Eakins has been a disaster. Just more pablum from Lowetide.

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#15 Loweblows
April 06 2014, 08:25AM
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Czar wrote:

If the team isn't playing consistent hockey by Christmas then let him go.

The season should be over by then. I have zero confidence in this group of coaches.

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#16 DevoKnows
April 06 2014, 08:32AM
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Bob Nickolson just stepped down from Hockey Canada. He would be a PERFECT candidate for POHO here in Edmonton!! Hire him, and let him bring in his own entourage. He is a proven WINNER!!!!!

C'mon Oil, don't "Fall A Sleep At The Wheel" on this one! It's probably our very best chance at getting out of this 8 Year Loser Of Culture we're in

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#17 Czar
April 06 2014, 08:36AM
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@Loweblows

You're probably right, it would be too late to salvage the season but I can't see MacT cutting bait with his guy before then.

Bring in Nelson as an assistant so when they skid Eakins we have are coach in waiting. Good interview with JW at the cult of hockey, Nelson is deserving in my opinion.

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#18 JSR
April 06 2014, 08:37AM
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Two years ago, I wondered why they let Renney go, then last year they let Kreuger go. I saw no reason to let either go, now I think Eakins is the wrong man for the job, so he will probably be retained...this all starts at the top...fire Six Rings!

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#19 Frank
April 06 2014, 08:42AM
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If this was their 2nd head coach they hired in the last 8 years, Eakins would be fired. The only reason they are keeping him is because they don't want to look more incompetent.

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#20 KSC10032
April 06 2014, 08:47AM
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I've said it before,...

Firing Eakins -- or any other coach -- is the easy part. The hard part is who do you replace him with???!!!

Well, all you members of the angry, torch-bearing mob? What is your -- realistic, mind you -- alternative? If you haven't got one, then "shadduppp!!!

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#21 Gret99zky
April 06 2014, 08:49AM
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"Next season should be stronger..."

It's deja vu all over again.

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#22 Stack Pad Save
April 06 2014, 08:50AM
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KSC10032 wrote:

I've said it before,...

Firing Eakins -- or any other coach -- is the easy part. The hard part is who do you replace him with???!!!

Well, all you members of the angry, torch-bearing mob? What is your -- realistic, mind you -- alternative? If you haven't got one, then "shadduppp!!!

The first step is to fire the coach. So until the decision is made to actually fire a coach, you shouldn't go looking for his replacement.......unless you're MacT. With a name like MacT you can even fire a guy over Skype.

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#23 Dan 1919
April 06 2014, 08:50AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

And Petry!!?

Please make it so

If he plays against the other team’s fourth line he’s a very good defenceman, that’s what our standards have become in Edmonton.

Haha, we don’t talk about Petry’s short comings around here. This is a very fragile fan base that’s been abused for years (most people still think everybody on the team can stay the same but Gagner and Eakins and the Oilers will magically be a Dynasty franchise.)

Petry can skate fast sometimes and passes the puck hard, it’s not his fault he’s had 3 years given to him on a silver platter and still puts out sub-par own zone play. It’s all umm, Eakin’s fault, and last year Kruger’s fault, and so on.

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#24 CMG30
April 06 2014, 08:51AM
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The team needs continuity. A new coach would necessitate the players learning a new system, AGAIN. This will scrub half a season, so come this time next year we'll be having the same conversations about different people. Ask yourselves why Eakins got such a lucrative contract? Danger pay for the Oilers recent history. You want to take a step forward? Then you need to stop singling out one guy and start looking at this thing as a whole.

Will the Oilers be better next season? Yes, for the simple reason they fixed their goal tending. I don't know how many people were watching at the beginning of the year but by my count Dubnyk cost them something like 10 of their first 20 games. That's 20 points right there that if we had, puts us in a totally different position. If they do something about the defense, I can see that translating to another 10 points. Now we're competing for a playoff spot.

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#25 JSR
April 06 2014, 08:51AM
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KSC10032 wrote:

I've said it before,...

Firing Eakins -- or any other coach -- is the easy part. The hard part is who do you replace him with???!!!

Well, all you members of the angry, torch-bearing mob? What is your -- realistic, mind you -- alternative? If you haven't got one, then "shadduppp!!!

Todd Nelson? He's done a good job with these kids on the farm. Bring in a co-coach with experience to mentor him?

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#26 Yaz
April 06 2014, 08:57AM
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@Czar

My bet firing Eakins by the end of October when we are out of the hunt again. Looks like 6 rings is going to stick with this guy, if they do for the love of God get him some new assistants. Somebody has to be able to coach defencemen and any pilon would do to replace Buccy..As far as Acton goes I am not sure but what I had hoped for he would have brought some of the passion he showed as a player where he was vocal and a real leader, I just have not seen that this year.

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#27 Dan 1919
April 06 2014, 09:01AM
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KSC10032 wrote:

I've said it before,...

Firing Eakins -- or any other coach -- is the easy part. The hard part is who do you replace him with???!!!

Well, all you members of the angry, torch-bearing mob? What is your -- realistic, mind you -- alternative? If you haven't got one, then "shadduppp!!!

As disappointing as this season has been I agree with your comment. There is no point firing any more coaches until this team actually has some decent player personal to evaluate. The Oilers defence is terrible, and the first thirty games that DD started in net the team was basically starting every game down 1 or 2-nothing.

The team actually played well in the first 30 games, goaltending just found ways to lose every night. I was saying it back then and I still believe that they became completely deflated from goaltending.

Not that they would have been a contender this year, but add two NHL d-men this offseason, come in next year with Scrivens and take it from there.

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#28 Gret99zky
April 06 2014, 09:04AM
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Eakins was a coach of an AHL team filled with players that would do anything they were asked to do for a chance to play in the NHL and get a big payday.

Here the players are already on the "big league team" and many are making millions and millions of dollars per season.

They are not motivated to do what Dallas asks.

This is the danger of hiring Nelson to replace Eakins. Nelson's players are motivated to take the next step.

This team needs an NHL coach.

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#29 Quintana
April 06 2014, 09:08AM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

I was listening to 1260 yesterday, they were talking about the possibility of Oates getting fired in Washington. My question to you LT, do you think he could be a candidate for the assistant coach with "hc experience" that has been talked about before?

I think he would be imo, he could run the pp and teach guys like RNH, and Gagner on the art that is face offs.

If this team has Gagner as a 2 line C next year , be prepared to draft mcdavid or eichel.

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#30 fuzzy muppet
April 06 2014, 09:10AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Oates is an interesting name. He played here, and was well thought of, so he's certainly worth talking about as an option.

Oates would be an excellent assistant. His mind for the PP is desperately needed.

Also, if I recall correctly, in his short time in Edmonton, both Horcoff and Stoll gleaned lots of techniques on the dot from Oates that helped them become more proficient at faceoffs. RNH and Gagner need to get better.

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#31 Alsker
April 06 2014, 09:14AM
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Czar wrote:

If the team isn't playing consistent hockey by Christmas then let him go.

I thought thats what was said in early Nov this season.

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#32 Quicksilver ballet
April 06 2014, 09:18AM
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It matters little what we think. Should be interesting though to see the fallout of the post season meetings before the players head off into yet another 6 month off season. Will one of the #1 draft picks ask to be traded if Eakins is part of the staff next year. Can't be at all enjoyable going to work everyday with the ever present cancer hanging over this organization. Kinda refreshing to see some of the guys who leave this organization have some success with another team (Hemsky). Many a night this team played like it has no regard for the coach.

Having a raw rookie coach come in and "reset" (as MacTavish calls it) the organization, has to add another three yrs to this rebuild excuse we've all bought into at an unprecedented rate. There is one comfort in keeping Eakins on though, next season will allow the Oilers a shot at Conner McDavid.

Wandering in the desert, extended by atleast two more years with all this coaching instability.

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#33 Chainsawz
April 06 2014, 09:20AM
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CMG30 wrote:

The team needs continuity. A new coach would necessitate the players learning a new system, AGAIN. This will scrub half a season, so come this time next year we'll be having the same conversations about different people. Ask yourselves why Eakins got such a lucrative contract? Danger pay for the Oilers recent history. You want to take a step forward? Then you need to stop singling out one guy and start looking at this thing as a whole.

Will the Oilers be better next season? Yes, for the simple reason they fixed their goal tending. I don't know how many people were watching at the beginning of the year but by my count Dubnyk cost them something like 10 of their first 20 games. That's 20 points right there that if we had, puts us in a totally different position. If they do something about the defense, I can see that translating to another 10 points. Now we're competing for a playoff spot.

Do you not pay attention to other coaching changes that happen in the NHL? Bring the right guy for the right team and it works out fine. There's no evidence that is the case with Eakins and the Oilers.

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#34 Spydyr
April 06 2014, 09:20AM
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JSR wrote:

Todd Nelson? He's done a good job with these kids on the farm. Bring in a co-coach with experience to mentor him?

Wasn't that the plan with Ralph?The reason the team ended up with Dallas?

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#35 Czar
April 06 2014, 09:22AM
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@Alsker

Talk is cheap and that's all we seem to get as Oiler fans.

I think they still thought they could polish that turd in Nov. but if it looks and smells like sh!t ...

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#36 Spydyr
April 06 2014, 09:24AM
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Czar wrote:

Talk is cheap and that's all we seem to get as Oiler fans.

I think they still thought they could polish that turd in Nov. but if it looks and smells like sh!t ...

Summer is the Oilers season to sell hope along with season tickets.Just how many more years will it take before season ticket holders understand the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

As long as the building keeps selling out don't expect any real changes within the Oiler organization.

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#37 Czar
April 06 2014, 09:28AM
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@Yaz

I think Acton has some potential and would love to see some of the passion he had as a player behind the bench. Your right about the other two, Joey can take Bucky's job filling water bottles and Smith can go help down in Calgary again.

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#38 KSC10032
April 06 2014, 09:31AM
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To clarify my previous post, I am not advocating either position. Frankly, I have not watched enough hockey in the past few years to have even close to enough of a basis to form my own opinion on such a matter. I was and am just tired of the over-personalizing -- by some posters -- of every issue that is discussed.

As a matter of background and context, I am a contemporary of LT's. I'm a 60 year old former 20 year season ticket holder (1975-1995) who has become gradually less and less interested in NHL hockey in the intervening years.

I greatly enjoy this site, and LT's blog, but my following of the Oilers is basically restricted to these two venues, along with TV sports hi-lite clips and the TSN site. I have viewed, cumulatively, less than an entire Oilers game all year, (as well as for each of the last three or four seasons).

This is not just because of Oiler suckage -- I don't watch other games either. Its because of how today's game is played. As better articulated in both a recent interview with Zach Parise, and a more recent column by Cam Cole, today's average NHL game is becoming almost devoid of genuine, traditional, hockey action, and is, instead, a push-and-shove along the boards scrum-fest. Modern coaching and team/roster-building strategies have -- IMO only -- choked most of the life out of the game. So, after a few minutes of tuning in, I get bored and surf to something else.

I understand this is a minority position, and don't expect anyone else to agree. However, I do like reading the articles and postings here, and will continue to do so.

Flame away!

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#39 Bushed
April 06 2014, 09:31AM
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Lowetide:

The music you're alluding to is Dire Straights' (appropriate for Oilers, no?) Solid Rock:

"when you point your finger 'cause your plan fell through, you got three long fingers pointing back at you... etc"

I think Scotty Bowman would have had a trainer or usher or anyone in net after the third week of garbage goaltending. If he were GM too, something would have happened before losing the whole season. But I get your point about the D.

Messier as coach? Huge risk there. Roy looks great in Denver this year, but he has some coaching experience. Gretz in Phoenix didn't work nearly as well. Hard to predict what Mess could do behind the bench.

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#40 RMGS
April 06 2014, 09:33AM
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"Progress was made..."

Given that all the numbers (conventional and underlying) suggest the opposite, on what do you base this statement?

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#41 DAVE
April 06 2014, 09:33AM
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You can bully and browbeat minor league players, who will take any form of abuse to make it to the show. In the NHL, you have to have real leadership abilities, and that can't be taught. Fire Eakins now, he's a phony.

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#42 CurtisS
April 06 2014, 09:34AM
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Sad news for Oiler fans if he begins next season.

This guy couldnt figure out that this team wins more by playing Hall RNH Eberle together. Playing them for only 40% of games played this season, well no wonder our record is what it is.

Our Winning % with the big 3 playing together is .700 and with them split apart its .450 yet we only play them in 40% of the games this year?!?!?!

Our PP another black hole in his coaching. No way this roster with the previous success is this bad. The 1-3-1 isnt working Eakins!!!

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#43 Oilcan
April 06 2014, 09:39AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

It matters little what we think. Should be interesting though to see the fallout of the post season meetings before the players head off into yet another 6 month off season. Will one of the #1 draft picks ask to be traded if Eakins is part of the staff next year. Can't be at all enjoyable going to work everyday with the ever present cancer hanging over this organization. Kinda refreshing to see some of the guys who leave this organization have some success with another team (Hemsky). Many a night this team played like it has no regard for the coach.

Having a raw rookie coach come in and "reset" (as MacTavish calls it) the organization, has to add another three yrs to this rebuild excuse we've all bought into at an unprecedented rate. There is one comfort in keeping Eakins on though, next season will allow the Oilers a shot at Conner McDavid.

Wandering in the desert, extended by atleast two more years with all this coaching instability.

How has it set the rebuild back 3 years? I would say the lack of having an NHL capable roster is what is holding the team back.

Funny thing about coaching is that your players can make you look really good, but they can also make you look really bad. You give the oilers an Allstar crew of coaches and they still don't make playoffs this year.

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#44 Quicksilver ballet
April 06 2014, 09:40AM
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The Philadelphia Flyers were in 28th place last November when they fired their coach. One person being replaced there seems to have worked miracles there.

You can't fix stupid, when they're calling the shots.

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#45 120 stitches
April 06 2014, 09:44AM
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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.

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#46 Lofty
April 06 2014, 09:44AM
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1-3-1 powerplay and the swarm alone should be fireable offenses. The coaches job is to get the most out of his players. Instilling a system which doesn't work with the personnel available is the definition of bad coaching.

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#47 blainer
April 06 2014, 09:49AM
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Nelson has already said he is not going down the assistant coach road again in the nhl. Been there done that. For him it is head coach or nothing. They have to get some assistant coaches who know how to help both the forwards and the defense to defend better. Getting bigger players with longer sticks and better positioning helps. I am worried about Yak's ability to learn... he is still young enough but he needs good teachers.

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#48 Thumby
April 06 2014, 09:55AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Summer is the Oilers season to sell hope along with season tickets.Just how many more years will it take before season ticket holders understand the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

As long as the building keeps selling out don't expect any real changes within the Oiler organization.

I think its happening already - I've been a season ticket holder many times and have attended at least 10 home games per year since 1979. This is the first year since I was 11 years old that I will not see the Oilers play a live game.

I have to think there are many other "die hard" fans that are fed up just like me.

When they (Katz) stop shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic and actually start moving this horrendous pile of turd in a positive direction, my wallet and I will return.

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#49 Gored 1970
April 06 2014, 09:58AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
10
cheers

Why does anyone quote Bruce Garrioch? The guy either points out the obvious or he makes up rumours that make no sense. Probably the worst hockey writer ever. I'll bet he voted Ov for the first and second all-star team last year.

Keeping Eakins with an aim to fire him part way through next year makes no sense - who would coach the team the rest of the year? Bucky? All the good coaches are hired in the summer so the pickings are slim after the season starts. Wouldn't it be nice if the Preds have a brain fart and fire Barry Trotz? Somewhat better than Messier, who by the way has coached where? At least Roy learned by coaching in the Q but Messier, meh.

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#50 Air on Egg blood
April 06 2014, 10:01AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
6
cheers

The Oilers fanbase is fickle. After a loss, all the anti-Eakins posts get tons of props. After a win, they get trashed.

But the unfortunate truth is that the Oilers got out-coached and out-willed too many nights this season. The coaching staff need some tweeking for sure. Does it mean replacing all of them? It seems MacT doesn't think so. I hope at least they will look into the possibility of bringing a power play specialist - Guy Boucher for instance - as an associate coach.

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