Why fire Chabot now?


The Edmonton Oilers fired goaltending coach Freddy Chabot earlier today and replaced him with Dustin Schwartz. This isn’t a surprise, but why did Craig MacTavish wait this long?

I wrote last spring that Chabot should have been let go so the Oilers could hire another coach. Under his direction multiple goalies have struggled.

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Ilya Bryzgalov played well during his short stint in Edmonton, but Nikolai Khabibulin, Devan Dubnyk, Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth have been unable to play consistently.

I will never blame all of that on Chabot. The players play and they control their performance, but clearly whatever guidance or instructions Chabot was or wasn’t giving, didn’t work.

What I don’t understand is why general manager needed to see another 21 games of average goaltending to realize Chabot wasn’t the answer? Had they let him going in April they would have had four months to interview and talk to numerous candidates, but firing him now means they had fewer options to look at.


He played four seasons in the WHL for Medicine Hat and Red Deer, before playing five seasons for the U of A Golden Bears from 2001-2005.

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He was been a goalie coach in the AJHL, and he has been a goalie consultant for the Edmonton Oil Kings for the past four seasons.

He has been working with the OR Sports goaltending group under Lyle Mast.

Their website says…

“OR Sports founder Lyle Mast, has
studied and researched athletic performance to find the true mechanism
and training platform for optimum reactions and performance. The result
is an unprecedented program based on Head TrajectoryTM, that instantly impacts the goaltenders ability to perform optimally.”

Schwartz has worked with Ben Scrivens in the past and some other pro goalies, but this will be his first NHL job. Once again, the Oilers are adding more NHL inexperience. Schwartz might become an elite goaltending coach, but right now he is an unknown at the NHL level.

I’m not surprised Chabot had to go, but the timing of his firing confuses me. I don’t see why they needed to wait until the team was tied for 29th place, again, to make a move.

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This move should have been made last spring/summer.

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  • Guy Lafleur

    All you fire Lowe people I just don’t get. How does firing Lowe make us a better hockey team tomorrow? Furthermore who do you suggest as a replacement? It’s easy to piss and moan. But never do I see anybody offering up a replacement. Funny how he doesn’t get credit for the success of the Oil kings when all the people put in place to make that franchise a success were hired by guess who. I’m not against a change. I just don’t see how it makes us better tomorrow.

    • Spydyr

      No one thinks firing Lowe will make the team better tomorrow.We are all looking at the past and hoping for a better future.Lowe’s record confirms his incompetence.Some of us want a fresh start from the top.With the best people available hired with no regard to past Oiler affiliations.

    • PEBOisONit

      We’re not worrying about tomorrow any more. We need to worry about next year, the year after that and the decade after that. Every decision this management team makes is clouded with arrogance and incompetence. They should NOT be allowed to make ANY more decisions!

  • Spydyr

    Firing Chabot is not enough.

    I have an idea for a sign of unhappiness among tier one fans.At the four minute mark of every period stand up turn your back to the ice for four seconds and yell: Show number four the door!

    • Eberle4MVP

      Way too far. You should be ashamed. Hockey is a game. Cancer is serious, and to someone who is dealing with their mother-in-law suffering from stage 4 terminal cancer, I take exception.

      You should be so fortunate to never have to deal with cancer. But don’t ever compare it to a sport.

      You should be ashamed!

        • Eberle4MVP

          You survived. And well on you for that. Making fun of the terminally ill is not funny. I’m sure you would feel differently if you were given an expiration date instead of a chance to fight.

  • Oiler63

    Its all in frustration but humour me.

    Its obvious Lowe and Mactavish and Katz for that matter don’t read ON.
    At least i dont think so. Not sure what it would cost to run a front page add in the Edmonton Sun, but lets see how many people would kick in the pay for this add, front page, demanding Katz to remove these two from power. They would have to see this, as it would the add nation wide.

    I would kick in 50.00. I spent more than that on remotes i have fired at the floor.

    Prop if you would , Trash if you wouldn’t and lets add it up. All in Fun, unless we have someone out there who could assist making it happen.

    I for one , want my tier 2 , diehard Oilers Fan voice heard somehow.

    • YEGFan

      Better yet, choose a charity, raise the money for that charity and centre the campaign around raising awareness to get hockey executives fired. If you get a following on websites like oilersnation and coppernblue and actually raise a decent amount of money, you can probably get a few articles in the papers, interviews on radio shows, and segments on local news. Raise enough money and you can probably get onto the more general sports websites and some national news networks.

      At least then the only winner from your efforts won’t be Sun Media…

      • Jason Gregor

        Good point. I would be up to it but would need some weight on my side
        if you know what i mean.

        For charity is an awesome idea. Thanks YEG.

        Need a few of us to do this and be all in.

        I want my team competitive again and my city not to be the laughing stock
        of pro-sports pretty much.

    • Gilmore Tuttle

      The Sun depends too much on hockey reporting to risk losing access to the team for their reporters and too much on Rexall advertising to risk losing that revenue. They would never agree to printing it citing some libel issues or some such tripe. There aren’t enough Dodge dealers in the city to make up the difference.

    • R U Kidding Me!


      Gregor says”This move should have been made last spring/summer.” The move that should have been made was to turf MacT, Lowe and Howson.

      At this point, with 9 years of fail on their resumes and zero progress (they are in 30th place FFS! – at the quarter pole of another lost season) there is no reasonable argument that these three losers should be employed in any capacity by an NHL team. Oh, excuse me, except the Oilers of course, who value cronyism and mediocrity above the success of the team and respect for their fanbase – who at the end of the day are footing the bill for this treehouse gongshow.

      Nothing changes until the three losers are gone.

    • Tikkanese

      Scotty Bowman couldn’t coach this team anywhere near the playoffs either. I don’t like some of Eakins decisions either but he really doesn’t have much to work with. Especially on D and down the middle.

  • Spydyr

    Hey Kevin, Hey Craig, Yes you know I’m talking to you….. Please for the sake of 500,000+ living souls of Edmonton, hand in your resignations! Now!!!! Not a moment longer Please! You know your boss is gutless to fire you, but you yourself are self-conscious person, you don’t want to overstay your welcome in Edmonton, take your cue and exit left, yes, that’s the right choice, go do it!!!

    • Craig1981

      Yup, upper management is thinking this might settle down fans that “changes are being made” and they will back off the Fire Lowe mode…….

      …..I would like to the stadium to chant fire Lowe from puck drop next game……they can’t kick out everyone….and if they did it would look even better

  • Prongers Promises

    I hate this move. Sure Chabot deserved to be fired, but doing it now just insults Scrivens and Fasth and destroys what little confidence they have left.

    This is blatant scapegoating.

    Firing Kevin Lowe needs to be the next move the Oilers make. I don’t want Lowe or MacT making the trades that need to be made.

    Let the new President of hockey ops clean house in the press box and in the locker room.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Weak firing by the Oilers. Its obvious they needed a scapegoat and Chabot was the easy target. The only one left who hasn’t been fired before Kevin Lowe is Joey Moss.

  • Rebuilding the Rebuild

    I’m glad this change was made and hope that Schwartz makes a difference. Time for Eakins to go as well.

    Honestly, I think too many people underestimate the impact a coach can have on a team. You can literally find hundreds of examples in pro sports of a head coaching change that has led to a complete turnaround. Eakins had his chance, the troops just aren’t battling for him. Time for a change.

    I could see Dan Bylsma being a guy they’d battle for. Enough of this coaching consistency garbage. All it’s been for these guys is a comfort zone… time to get uncomfortable me thinks.

    • Eberle4MVP

      Eakins is not the problem. I believe his hands are somewhat tied. Previous coaches have brought this up after leaving the organization. With that said, who would want to replace him? Probably not too many options and besides that would just be another temporary band-aid. The real problem is up top. Can you imagine who those klowns would put behind the bench next?

      • Rebuilding the Rebuild

        Bylsma has shown he can succeed in the NHL. Frankly, that’s enough for me at this point. Eakins had his shot and we’ve watched another 2 seasons disappear. You need to know when to cut your loses but I fear MacT is too stubborn to realize or admit he made a mistake by hiring Eakins.

        • pkam

          Not trying to downplay Bylsma but honestly any coach can lead that Penguins squad to playoff. They now lead their division with WHL WinterHawks’ head coach Mike Johnston.

          Derek Laxdal, the Oil Kings ex head coach had beaten Johnston twice in 3 playoff series, and won one Memorial cup with less talented teams, just saying.