Dallas Eakins and Priorities

Dallas Eakins, like the men who have preceded him as head coach of the Oilers the last few years, proved that at the least he was very capable of saying interesting things at his debut Edmonton press conference. What do his words tell us about how he’s going to run the team?

The Commitment

What we’re going to do here with this team is we’re going to be committed to character. We are going to be committed to a high fitness level. We are going to be committed to the details of tactical hockey. Foremost, the number one thing we are going to be committed to is competition. This team is going to compete. If you’re going to play for the Edmonton Oilers you are going to compete no matter if you’re a first-line guy, the sixth defenceman, the 23rd man on the roster, a player playing in the minors you are going to compete to play on this hockey team. That’s how you win hockey games in the NHL right now. It’s how you get your organization better. That is my commitment to this organization: to make that happen.

That one prepared paragraph from Eakins has a lot in it.

Watching the reaction on Twitter, both to this statement and throughout the presser, I noticed Eakins’ comments on competition got a lot of play. Phrases like “country club atmosphere” and “lazy” and “lack of accountability” and “losing mentality” got used a lot, with the idea that the coach was going to come in and change those things. It struck me as interesting because character and competitiveness (well, “compete level”) were watchwords of the Tambellini administration; nothing that Eakins said was noticeably different in that regard than what previous coaches had said. Much of the stated rationale for bringing Pat Quinn in was his ability to push players. None of this is to say that Eakins is going to do things the same way Quinn did; rather that an emphasis on character and competitiveness has not been particularly helpful for the Oilers the last few years.

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Far more interesting to me were the comments on player fitness and especially on tactics.


There may be some big adjustments for the players with me coming in here. I am someone who firmly believes that if you’re talented just being talented is not enough. I want our players to be so fit that a forward, if I ask him to play 26 minutes that night, he’s going to play 26 minutes at a high level. If we’re in a Stanley Cup playoff game and we go to quadruple overtime he will still be firing on all cylinders. That is something I am passionate about. That will be probably a bit of a challenge on the buy-in, but it’s non-negotiable and they will eventually buy in.

Eakins is known as a fitness zealot. It would have been impossible to throw a rock on Twitter Monday without hitting a Toronto reporter cracking a joke about how Eakins could be in better shape than some of his new players and how embarrassing that would be for them. He emphasized this to an extreme degree, and there’s every reason to believe he means it – this is far from a new thing.

I would guess that with some individual exceptions this isn’t going to be a huge driver of results for the team as a whole – I’m basing that on the basic idea that the Oilers, as a professional hockey team, probably aren’t way out of shape (also because with one or two exceptions, there has been nothing to indicate that they are). Getting that little bit extra matters, but it’s not likely to be the difference between lottery team and Cup contender.

The other reason I’m a little muted on this point is that it doesn’t take much looking to find examples of players who weren’t able to excel despite excellent fitness. Robert Nilsson hit the gym really hard in the summer of 2009 and came into camp having put on 15 pounds of muscle; he got bought out in the summer of 2010. Ryan Martindale’s fitness level was something Oklahoma coach Todd Nelson took pains to point out this fall, during an excellent training camp; here’s how Nelson described him at the end of the season:

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He’s gotten a lot better, and it’s going to take a bit of time. He suffered an injury that really set him back because I thought he had an excellent training camp and he was definitely quick enough at the time and then he hurt his knee and after that he lost all that hard work he put in.

A commitment to a standard of fitness can’t hurt, and it may help – particularly in individual cases – a great deal, but expectations need to be kept modest.


Photo: Alan Light/Wikimedia

The following is from Eakins’ follow-up interview on Oilers Now, and it struck me as very interesting:

I believe in playing multiple systems. I don’t follow the NFL, but I do know – I’ve read up on the NFL – where these football players get these huge stacks of playbooks and they have to know all these plays. And you have hockey teams that run one forecheck, one neutral zone forecheck, and they defend one way. That’s crazy to me. The one thing that we’ve been working on, the teams I’ve been coaching, is we have multiple systems, and we’ll switch in and out of them out of games, from game to game, and it’s important now. I tell you, you’re so heavily scouted and the pre-scouting that goes on against your team all the time, it’s tough to get around. If you can get your players prepared with multiple ways to play, and they’re comfortable with it, you can catch teams off-guard.

There were, without question, times the Oilers struggled tactically last season. Game nine against Vancouver comes to mind – the Oilers ended up losing a close game in overtime, but what was really galling was the team’s inability on the powerplay to gain the opposition zone. They would fail to gain the zone, regroup, and fail. Regroup and fail. At least one whole power play was lost without gaining significant neutral zone time. The March 23rd game against St. Louis was another frustrating example – the Oilers generated one lousy shot on 43 tip-ins and dump-ins 5-on-5, couldn’t gain the opposition zone with possession and once there couldn’t generate shots off the entries. On the whole, the team seemed to regress under Ralph Krueger, and watching the team it felt like a lot of that had to do with the Oilers inability to find a functional game plan.

Because of the drop-off from Renney to Krueger, this feels like an area where a coaching change could make a real difference – and Eakins comes across as a man brimming with plans.

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Recently around the Nation Network

At Flames Nation, Kent Wilson makes an interesting point about former Flames captain Jarome Iginla:

[I]f Iginla had gone to Pittsburgh and suddenly started to drive possession again, then we’d know something had gone very wrong in Calgary – be it in terms of strategy, coaching or quality of linemates. Instead, the opposite was true – the erstwhile captain’s struggles continued in Pittsburgh, despite a vastly superior team. Iginla finished the playoffs with a -7.2/60 relative corsi, despite a very favorable 58.3% zone start. He also spent a lot of time with Malkin and Crosby through the first two series before Dan Bylsma eventually gave up and dropped him down the rotation.

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    I think its time that these guys get pushed hard and the coach has the absolute support of management. What we have had is 20 year olds dictating to management what happens when it should be the other way around.

    • J-Dogg

      No idea how you got this impression. Most of the kids (or at least those 19-23 yr range) have been stand up guys so far and have been very coachable and have good work ethic. I haven’t heard of a case where they ‘dictated’ to management what to do. A wee bit too hard on the kids, aren’t we?

  • TwoSkidoos

    Dallas Eakins isn’t someone who is going to come in and change the world for the team. He’s going to change things on a personal level for each player. Accountability, fitness, etc.

    I think Eakins will do better than his recent predecessors in that he will actually provide some level of accountability. The combination of MacT and Achins (guys may be achey when he’s done fitness-izing them) will be a good one.

    I haven’t been this happy with management since… I can’t even remember.

    They’re actually walking the walk, rather than dithering the dither.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    The thing that strikes me about Eakins that underwhelmed be about Krueger is he actually seems to have a real game plan for this team, as opposed to simply saying really nice things to make the players like him, like Krueger did.

    And on the point about Quinn and tambo using the same buzzwords as Eakins, Quinn was coaching a much different hockey team in a much different situation. And tambo, well, he’s tambo

    I for one thing Eakins is either going to be spectacular, or fail spectacularly. Nobody can say for sure one way or the other though, despite what history tells us.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Oh look, the new guy’s talking. We better pay close attention cause this guy is going to be able to accomplish what many before him have failed to do.

    He doesn’t walk or talk like Dave Tippett, so, fire him now. If Dallas is going to have a shot with this lineup here. They better rid themselves of the pacesetters wearing #’s 83 and 10. Good thing ankles Whitney is gone as well.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Kool -Aid , Kool-Aid , real great – we want Kool-Aid can’t wait . Our athletes today push hard pretty much as part of their regimen . Eakins needs better personnel to be successful. A strong work ethic most already have . Acceptable size ,skill and grit outside the fab 5 we sadly lack to compliment our young emerging talents . Give him the tools and he could be successful , but I doubt he do much better than last 3 coaches with current personnel and AHL’ers .

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Wasn’t a big fan of the Kreuger hiring, but after watching the press-conference Eakins looks like just the right amount of hard-ass, with modern day relational skills. Hopefully, this is it for awhile…

  • Sounds like a man that will impose himself on this team. This is about MacT imposing his vision of what this team will be and it sounds like he has the coach that will do that for him. From an organizational standpoint, imposing your vision from top down is a good thing. The core players are still very young, but there is some urgency in not only winning but also establishing routines that will shape the careers of these kids. If there was a change that needed to be made, better sooner rather than later.

  • book¡e

    Just found this quote from Krueger in an interview when he was hired, I think it really explains why MacT thought Eakins was needed.

    Krueger: ” As a coach, I like to be flappable and don’t like to emphasize being competitive to the team. When you emphasize competitiveness, it stresses the guys out, its far better just to give them positive feedback and let them know that whatever they are doing is fine. Also, I think we need to back off on the fitness training. These guys are pro athletes and they need to relax a little and have some pizza and nachos every so often. I plan on having a lot of take out food in the room and bringing in a big screen TV and X-Box to replace the gym equipment. Lastly, the team needs less character. Too much character makes the team seem arrogant, I like players to lean more towards being apathetic and selfish generally. It’s a better dynamic.”

    I think we will see huge changes on this team now that Eakins is bringing compete level, character, and fitness to the team. I, for one, think those things are probably important at the NHL level and clearly Ralph Krueger did not. With that said, it also might help if MacT brings in some more NHL level players.

    • Rob...

      Too funny……..you kind of said it all.

      The real issue is NOT fitness……..rather the caliber of players and team make-up.

      I have always maintained that skill can be neutralized with tough physical players……..just ask The Penguins about Boston, hitting them into oblivion.

      As Mac T himself said, coaching is over rated………..time to bring in some toughness to compliment our skill.

      Over to you Mac T.

  • G Money

    You’re absolutely correct that “compete level”, fitness, and tactics are part of every coaches vocabulary.

    That said, there are some interesting nuances to this situation that deserve consideration.

    RE: compete level. Every coach says it, but the Oiler compete level under Quinn and Renney was just so-so, and under Krueger it was lousy. The only guys who went balls to the wall to get the puck every night in every zone were Hall, RNH, Yak, and Smid (honourable mentions to Eberle, MPS, Brown, and Horc).

    Contrast that with historic MacT teams, who lacked talent but ‘brought it’ almost every night. Perhaps MacT sees that same fire in Eakins?

    RE: fitness. The only subtlety here is where the line is drawn. No NHL coach tolerates *unfit* players, but I suspect most are fine with *average for the NHL* fitness. Seems like Eakins plans to draw the tolerance line at above average.

    On the two points of competitiveness and fitness, Eakins certainly took one chubby floater in Kadri and turned him into an actual top-shelf NHL player.

    RE: tactics. Lots said about this recently. Lots of things about Kruegers gameplans and system to criticize. Most notably the fact that by two key advanced metrics (Corsi, Neilsen) virtually every second-year player not named Hall or Schultz Sr regressed under Krueger. Multiple systems sounds good in theory, but I’d be happy just with a system that works – even if it’s the same system every other team uses – and in-game decisions on line matching and zone starts that make sense.

  • The Soup Fascist

    No one has ever accused me of being a fitness nut, however the Nilsson example can be a bit misleading. It depends how a guy put on 15 pounds that determines how much it will help him as a hockey player.

    Adding upper body bulk can make a player slower and limit flexibility. Where muscle mass pays dividends is in the lower half of the body. I am not sure if that is the case with ol’ Roberto or not. But a beach body is not the desired build for a hockey player. Lean upper body and legs like tree trunks is the formula for success. My point is fitness should not be confused with body building.

    Sorry, way too much talk about guys’ bodies. ….. How about that Mrs. Eakins?? Makes Izabella Scorupco-Czerkawski (that’s a mouthful*) look like my Aunt Nellie.

    * Space reserved for the obligatory “that’s what she said” comment that is sure to follow from the batch of ne’er-do-wells that frequent this site.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I got no problem with Eakins but Kadri played for him for how long and still came into camp Tubby last season. Is his players really any fitter then anyone else’s?

    I was not blown away by Eakins at the presser like both the infatuated brain trust and media in this city, but I liked his comments about playing multiple systems, adjusting on the fly, which were fair/unfair criticisms of Kreuger. I think some of Kreuger’s problem was implementing his systems, and it did not help that he had inexperienced assistant coaches he did not pick running shotgun. It seemed like the Oilers did the same things, especially noticeable on the fore-check and the breakout. They never could adjust to certain teams, or change their style in certain situations to hold a lead. I’m sure NAS will have a dissertation on the Eakins dynamic evolutionary breakout later and defensive Swedish dynamic lock hybrid trap later.

    In a shortened season the Oilers were disadvantaged by making wholesale changes, and if we saw a full camp, proper assistants and a longer season I think Ralph would have had more success.

    Eakins will hopefully have the horses this season, and the ability to mold the Oilers. I just hope thy give him the reigns. I am too concerned he will be like Kreuger, not given proper rope to hire his own coaches without interference. We will sit and wait.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Not sure what the truth is, but I got the sense from some of the comments lately that Ralph was offered, but did not want, an associate coach last year.

      IF that was the case it seems a little insecure. My belief in business is that you are better off if you surround yourself with people that are smarter than you – for some of us that is bound to happen. However, in the NHL (as with other businesses) that can leave you a little vulnerable when the poop hits the fan.

      Taking it a step farther, Krueger kept Bucky and Smith around (although that may have been mandated to him). I have no idea if they are brilliant hockey minds or not, but on the surface they do not seem like automatic head coaching material, and were likely not a threat to Ralph. And IF he was not open to having a strong associate last year, I can’t help but wonder if that insecurity expedited his dismissal.

      If someone knows that the lack of an associate was Tambo’s responsibility, instead of Ralph’s as I am sensing please let me know.

    • The Soup Fascist

      @ Smokey.

      I have no idea what types of system presentations this man will prefer to utilise.

      I do have a guess though, very traditional Oilers presentations but managed very differently from what we have seen for a very long time here. I think the key will fit.

      This coach has the right idea, you need to develop the ability to out read and react the opponent dynamiclly, you can do this with ONE system that has this flexibility specificlly built into it by proxy, if you can find such an influence, or you can do it by mastering multiple disciplines and pro-actively manageing them on-the-fly, in this dynamic hybrids rule the day.

      We are on the latter program apparently and it is a huge step forward. A Playoff sized step no doubt.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I really think we need to be careful about overestimating the role of a coach. For sure, the personal attributes and style of mentorship matter but Ryan Jones and Leo Petrol are not going to become astronomically better players becasue of a new coach. The fundamental issues remain, at this time.

    The Oilers need a crafty, jerk of a center (Brandon Dubinsky), one s.o.b who will happily smash his stick over an opponents neck where they to look at Nuge, Ebs and Yak (Steve Ott) and 2 solid and heavy D who can clear the front of the net (2 Matt Greene’s) and a very competitive goalie who has Roli’s focus and drive (Thomas, M. Smith)

    Until these minimum changes are made, even a sermon by Moses will have no effect on the outcome of this team.

  • d.doiley

    what can this hurt? we have been less than mediocre for years and if the result of a GM change happens to trigger a coaching change, what can it hurt.

    i always used to tell my mom is was vaccuuming downstairs, when in fact i was sitting with the vaccuum running. eventually she caught on. i said the right things but got called out on it when it didn’t translate to tangible action.

    don’t tell me you’re vaccuuming when you’re not Dallas. clean the floor good.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I sounds like the men are simply getting ready to work.

    All of the things we are hearing are the right things, these are areas where pre-game preparation is critical and can give you an edge. This aspect of professioanl work is a basic one that should apply to everyone, it is not something punative being done to anyone.

    Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance, remember?

    Ha ha ha ha, what do you mean we have to “work out”, ha ha, yes that is a big part of the funny little “work” thing those paycheques represent.

    This sounds like a challenge more than a condemnation.

    Seriously, see what happens when you air Oilchange, the first thing I noticed was that it was like peeking into the locker room of the Harverd Golf team in there, ha ha ha. I say — I say — I see a whoooole lotta feather — but not much Chicken!! Was that a quote by Foghorn Leghorn??

    Ha ha ha ha, I am loving this, when I was a competitor I would have been so happy that every man in the roon was being put to a new standard that they self-define, but most guys dont push their own envelope anywhere near hard enough and their skillsets can become protectionist like Batfinks wings –Sheilds of Shining Steel. The “I may not be the best” but ” I am the best you have right now” attitude has officially left the building.

    I wonder who will come out on top most workouts?

    Players will find that there is one thing that can level the playing field in the room and it is the performance envelope the good lord gave you. Everyone can meet the fitness challenge, skillsets aside, every man wether he was born with high level skills or not can max out his personal physical standards regularly.

    As a coach I may not be able to accurately guage wether your head is in the game from moment to moment so the closer I can bring your beanbag to your effort level the better for me as a coach, it just makes it easier for me to define you as a system asset for me which is really what you are. Everyones maximums will be baselined, this is exactly what I would do, it simply makes sense. The sweet part is that it isnt a one-off type of idea, the bar will be raised for everyone at the same time on an indiviadual level, no hiding behind the existing status quos performance levels, men will define their own status quos and build on them continually.The words internal integrity levels come to mind, we are seeing as much of a cerebral workout being planned as a physical one.

    Many men will react well to this approach, it is definately an impactfull approach.

    There is only one way to make sure everyone is putting the same amount in the Kitty every game, and this happens to be the optimal method to bring the men together ASAP and make sure everyone is anti-ing up, very very sound methodology.

    The physical challenge is more for the players development of a new type or set of personal managment skills than for the coaches.

    Good luck to anyone who tries to get ahead of the curve this coach is on, it simply aint gonna happen, he isnt the Boss that sits in the office and manages effectively from there, this sucker is EVERYWHERE in his head he is in and out of every dynamic situation he can find and he seems to optimise those moments, awsome talent, rare and potent perspective.

    Just put on your work clothes every day and be hard workers and open to constant learning, dont overlook the details , dont get caught up in looking at to big a piece of the picture, just trust this methodology and throw yourself All-in, because if I am the Coach right now and you fail to do that {without me being on your back}, it WILL be a part of the initial evaluation of you I keep permanently. First impressions wether people like it or not are always historiclly the most accurate.

    I do beieve the rope is being liberally spooled out as we speak. Just remember it is really hard to wrap any type of rope around an arse that is moving constantly and with reasonable speed, ha ha ha ha.

    Good god am I going to have to become an echo now, this cat takes away my ability to constructively critique by being a blonde one ahead of my curve wayyy to much man. Well done.

    • The Soup Fascist

      As much as his racial stereotyping wouldn’t play in today’s politically correct world, I liked Karate – Batfink’s faithful assistant – more than Batfink himself. Weird.

        • Zipdot

          @ Smokey.

          Can you feel the love all around you brother?

          Or does if feel like the cool silky hand of the darkest night is slipping itself over your shoulders right now as you sit at your computer? HA HA HA.

          Welcome to My World, BAH HAH HAH.{ominous laugh}.

          I am proud to say that without fail all those indoctrinated to the NHSs Systemic Sexiness are dutifully and in an ordered fashion INSTANTLY RECOGNISING the similaritys between our new Coaches perspective and the NHSs focus. One would call this Irony of the Highest Order. Or you could simply say SWEET!!

          The road has been Paved and you are all ready for the next step of the NHS invasion, BAH HA HA HAH. First we take your bodys and then we take your minds, BAH HAH HAH HAH. You will be assimmilated…

      • J-Dogg

        I liked the old Coach and the old coach before him and so on and so on….

        I have hated the system for decades, or rather our lack of ability to initiate and engage it optimally.

        I have spent 3 years enveloping myself with the curative therapy bubble of the NHS, I am over the system hatred.

        The System will be here much longer than I will be alive I am quite sure. Its not my problem any more and actually I dont think it will be a problem for the Oilers any more either.

        I really like the key the Oilers have chosen to try in the ignition. Had I been Mac-T experiencing Dallas opening up his perspective and sharing it like we have seen so far, I would have also been forced to stop drop and roll at the uniqueness but directness of his substance and presentation, I instantly recognised some attractive traits that all winning perspectives carry, that was easy to see.

        My strongest Gut Instinct tells me the Players are really going to like this man once they begin to learn to understand and trust him and I can advise that its best to extend the trust factor first if you want to stay ahead of the curve, just trust me on that this direction will pay of for you.

        I havent spotted anything out of order, I just see sequential focused dynamiclly balanced projections of influence being made by Mac-T so far and statements par for that course being made by the new Coach, I await implementation. All the right moves if you will. So far Mac-T brought our head up out of our arse and now Eakins has put pressure on the mouthguard and tucked our chin down and in , we are squareing up, dam rights things are looking great to me.

        I kind of want to stay off the Apex of the curve right now, I dont feel as much of a need to expound on long conceptually catalysed post trying to be an translator, there is a properly placed influence that is already doing the exact same thing now at a high level, so who exactly would I be conceptualising for again in this case??

        It seems as if in one fell swoop I have landed smack dab in the exact center of the new Status Quo and a lot of other perspectives a majority if you will, are suddenly playing catch-up, ironic isnt it? I will have much less to say and others will be busting up the Blogs trying to keep up to a new and changing organizational perspective, ha ha ha.

        It seems as if this guys reads my mind so whats to say? He is seemingly very Intuitively driven.

        Now its going to be exponentially easier for me to learn the technicalities of NHL hockey, excellent,The Worm really has Turned.

        In two days he would have saved me over 500,000 words had he shown up 36 months ago.

        I am in a word “relieved”. Of both stress and an overwhelmingly encompassing feeling of duty.
        Tis a good day to be an Oilers fan. Mac-T saved me from pending premature balding, thank you Craig.

        Now “I” can make ten word posts and be certain they are conveying the entire conceptual message the optimal way, simply because I now know with an evolving level of certainty that there is a “reciever” on somewhere picking up the Dynamiclly conceptualised Morse Code I can now comfortably use.

        The rest of you all might feel like someone just opened up a big fat can of “The Tower of Babel” on your arses for a while, ha ha ha, dont worry you will be assimilated and things will begin to make sense, have faith, ha ha ha. You might find yourselves wanting to ask for more NHS in an attempt to ground yourselves and find balance, all I can say is forget it my part in this intervention is finished now, just close your eyes and relax, this stuff is much much better than the NHS.

  • The Soup Fascist

    There certainly is a lot of hype surrounding Eakins. He talks the talk thats for sure. I feel it was grossly unfair to Kruger being told the changes needed was to supply the coach with better resources and then 2 1/2 months later skype him and fire him.

    So what happens then? Well they sign Eakins to a four year contract, who really thinks that Eakins will last 4 years? How long will it be before Oiler fans start calling for his head? Because thats what Oiler fans do. But in the end, especially if MacT is able to improve this team, that Eakins isn’t given too much credit for the success. He was given better tools lets not forget that.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Thanks for pointing out that things like defensive accountability, and making the players compete, is not a sudden revelation or new Mantra. I like his 5 on 5 record, and his penalty kill, but it sounds like he needs someone to draw up his power plays.

  • I thought the best snipet from yesterday was Eakins comments that he reads every single piece of media about his teams not because he wants to get the opinion of media types but because he wants to know what is filtering into his dressing room and into his player’s minds.

    With an overwhelming group of his players that are into social media – they read whats out there… GREAT THINKING on behalf of the coach to intercept anything from outside sources that could infiltrate the room.

    • Rob...

      So… what you’re saying is Eakins knows that ‘how hot his wife is’ is what’s in the mind of the players?

      No wonder he’s going to coach with an edge and try to keep his guys too busy in the gym to consider other physical activities in their down time.

  • The Soup Fascist

    GET READY FOR THIS : Oilers give up first pick , etc.. , as MacT. signs his big name player after calling A.Oates and obtaining A. Ovechkin . Now that’s big . Book it .

    • neojanus

      Wishful thinkng……..OV is OR……..over rated.

      If you want a good fit……think Jagr. Still has tons of skill, is the hardest working/ conditioned hockey player around. Could teach the youth about work ethic and still loves the game.

      On his worst night he is better than Hemsky ……..can play up and down the lines and on a line with Yaks could be fantastic.

      Time for Jagr to come to the Oil!

  • Micbilly99

    If Eakins doesn’t get the right horses, it won’t matter how fit they are or what system they preform under. Quite simply, the Oilers need better players…..if not….it will be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titantic! MacT you’re up, let’s see what you got.

  • Thumby

    Wow….I leave for a short vacation with no available internet…then come back home and see the new surprise/bold move (step 1) that the Oil fire Krueger/hire Eakins?….wow.

    I wish Ralph the best in his future just as I also feel he needed to show for one more yr minimum to prove he was a good coach too. 48 games with net to no training camp was brutal for a rookie coach I believe.

    But…I now feel there is gonna be a big difference with Eakins as head coach and it feels pretty good at the same time.

    I liked reading his coaching record, listening/watching a replay of his/Oilers’ press conference……this guy might be the one who will finally get this team to play the way it should have the last two yrs…at least.

    I hope that….nex/Step 2… is that Eakins fills out a very strong new complete coaching staff.

    I very much like the idea of him with Paul Maurice or Keith Acton primarily running the show and with a new defenceman running coach.

    Guys like Peckham should be getting in the gym asap with motivastion this time for this new yr.

    I like Bucky and Steve Smith but it is time they move on.

    Step 3/4 goes to MacT and his now immediately putting a complete new team together. I think Eakins knows the type of guys he wants for third/4th line duties and toughness…EXCELLENT!!!

    With Hartikainen leaving he is now a very good asset to trade…don’t want a job he wopuld have surely had then move him to another place like the NYI in a package for Strome or Hamonic.

    I also like the strong rumour that Philly may be trading one of Courturier or Brayden Schenn. I have mentioned this several times for the Oilers to look into.

    Philly wants #7 and will deal one of these two kids?….then it is Let’s Make A Deal time…pending who is available at #7 when the Oil is next to choose.

  • Thumby

    I think the fundamental difference that I want to see from an Eakins team vs. recent hockey teams is preparedness for games. How many times have we seen coaches, pundits, and fellow fans comment about how the Oilers weren’t prepared for this game, didn’t respond in that game, were flat for 2 periods of the other game, etc.?

    I’m looking for the Oilers to come out from the first shift trying to dictate play. I’m looking for the team to respond to and overcome efforts of other teams to play textbook “Beat The Oilers” hockey that we’ve seen for several years.

    Eakins’ excerpt from Oilers Now sounds promising. I’m looking for a team that can respond as well as dictating. Maybe this team will have a chance of actually achieving an identity. Eakins is saying the right things, now it remains to be delivered.

  • J-Dogg

    He seems to be making all the right noises when his mouth moves to have many people nodding in agreement.

    Maybe the last 20 odd years of Oilers’ hockey have finally pushed me over into what you might call the more jaded portion of the fanbase, but I’m gonna go ahead and respond to all MacT and Eakins promising talk of the future with my old shop teacher’s favorite line of “Show me, don’t tell me”.

  • Zipdot

    I, for one, applaud the dynamic DALLAS EAKINS for coming to Edmonton with an emphasis on DYNAMIC SYSTEMS. We need a coach who will emphasize dynamic FITNESS and SYSTEMS so that the players can step up their DYNAMIC ability to implement SYSTEMS.

    And now, a few words about dynamic systems.

    The Edmonton Oilers under Ralph Krueger played a defensive SYSTEM that was not very DYNAMIC – a “pre-gap” SYSTEM. Before that, Coach Renney played a LEARNING SYSTEM. Also not dynamic. Before that, MacT played a DYNAMIC SYSTEM. On the FORECHECK, the players applied PRESSURE and did this DYNAMICALLY within the SYSTEM.

    Dallas Eakins promises to play DYNAMIC SYSTEMS which will be helpful to win games because you can’t just be static, you’ve got to be DYNAMIC and do it all within the SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!

    DYNAMIC SYSTEMS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zipdot

    Eakins is going to be better because RK ran a man defensive system that no one else in NHL ran.

    This left the slot open and worked the crap out of our centers trying to cover the whole back end.

    It’s as simple as that.

    • vetinari

      How was that defensive system ran? Was it a pure man influence?

      Why was the slot left open consistantly. What thing or things were we doing that allowed a consistant weakness to evolve? Why just the slot? Why werent there holes all over the ice if there was such a significant one in the slot?

      Was it our centermen or was it the way opponents engaged our system, were those slot opportunitys system induced by the opponent or were we just early in the learning curve and suffering consistant disconnects for a simple technical reason?

      What was the opposition doing to create a weakness here and not in other areas? Why target that spot?

      Why were the Centerman in your opinion left with more ice to cover than they could handle? Was there no secondary support for them?

      Do you see any ways that the hole in the slot could be sewn up without sacrificing the entire tactical direction?

      If that was the major flaw why did it manifest itself where it did and not all over the ice?

      I believe you have correctly identified a chronic issue to some degree, I am just not sure if the diagnosis is accurate enough. Give us more data please.

      It seems as if you think we overloaded our defensive scheme in the areas the centerman was responsible for , but without any more data it is tough to buy into.

      Was there possible a potential upside to the tactics that was never fully optimised? Were we just left of center or were we completely off the mark?

      I like that you have targeted the specific spot that caused us the most damage at the worst times last year. However I dont see that as being a terminal weakness, that area was scouted and developed by opponents and we had plenty of time to adjust to it, in fact we did, but not adequately for long enough, once teams zoned in we were constantly adjusting.

      If we arent carefull we could get a false/positive read on this issue.

      I am not sure I am comfortable with the thinly supported assesment however, I am not saying it doesnt hold value, we just need more evidence of causality to make a clearer assesment.

      So far we have that the Oilers ran a man defense that created a hole in the slot the centermen couldnt cover because with all of the backend they were responsible for at the same time they just werent humanly capable.

      That is an accurate observation however it does not speak to causality at all, we need more.

      Give us more please.

    • vetinari

      Funny you should say that.

      For a complete synopsis on my feelings concerning the recent changes all you need to so is Youtube – How you like me now the heavy lyrics-, enjoy.

      If you want to know how I felt 3 yrs ago then youtube – 300-Creed-My Sacrifice -and watch the first 35 seconds of the video.

      If anything at least you will get a chance to see the Family Doctor Zipdot , NHS, and the Worthy Few share at the 30 sec mark. Ha ha ha. Thats not the “Wordy Few” either marty pants. Ha ha ha.