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.

Recently by Jason Gregor:     

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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

    • 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.

  • 24% body fat

    “Hey how would you like to be the new goalie coach for the oilers?”

    “Uh, I dont know, Hey listen, Ill get back to you. I have a guy on the other line about some white walls”

  • Spydyr

    It’s pretty obvious, mangement is feeling the pressure to do something. why go and get a centre now? Same reason, they are forced to make a change now and don’t want to address the real problem… management sucks.

  • 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!!!

  • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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?

  • 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.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    The only thing I can conclude from this never-ending buffoonery is the Oilers are trying for the best odds at McDavid.

    No management team could possibly be this inept, could they?

  • Congo Powerarm

    My thoughts exactly.. why ditch the guy with now 2 seasons gone instead of l.

    It’s possible that they kept him around to scapegoat him at the right time though. I wouldn’t put it past these guys.

  • Motown Fisher

    I feel much more relaxed now that the Goalie coach is gone… Next we go after the trainers and team medical staff…

    Wait we did that…

    uh… Scoreboard operator and Zamboni Driver better be on the chopping block next or there will be **** to pay!

  • The Future Never Comes

    Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall to upper management for a week? See what they are saying to all of this, what excuses their compiling, what outlandish answers for being in the basement again, why the players are not performing, see what lies their tossing around to help them sleep at night- such as “oh the underlying numbers say were doing good”! Well to the donkey’s leading the way, that may have muddled the fans angry protests after year two of losing, this is year 9 out of the playoffs, the time for answers is now. The angry mob won’t stop until you own up to the real problems, were not blinded by taking out a measly pond on the chessboard. Good try to displace the attention off you for a bit, but you are in the spotlight from now on.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    They always wait too long to respond to every situation, and, when they finally do, it ends up looking like a cowardly moment of panic. Why? Because they’re the Oilers.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Jason, why does Edmonton media tip-toe around laying obvious blame where it squarely lies: Katz, LOWE, MacT, Eakins. Hasn’t it gotten to the point where it is obvious where the problems stem from. Do you media guys need to be careful with your words, so you don’t get banned or something?

    Brownlee stated it straight in a tweet last Saturday saying Eakins was the wrong guy and if MscT couldn’t admit that, then he is the wrong guy too.

    • 2004Z06

      Why is the media responsible for calling out the debacle that is the Oilers management group?

      Isn’t it the fans responsibility? The paying customer? Stop going to games, request a refund on tix, chant “fire Lowe” for a few minutes, write a letter to the Oilers, take out an ad in the local paper, start a social media page to organize a boycott of a game or a period.

      Take some initiative as a fan base and stop expecting media to fight the battle. It worked in Toronto and Vancouver!

      • 2004Z06

        I agree, the fans need to take a stand and do what they can to show their dissatisfaction (I don’t go to games, and I have actually written a letter as well). However, things have gotten so bad for so very long, I wanted to know why media can’t call Oil mgmt. for what they are? Which of course is that they’re a hot pile of incompetent steaming sh*t.

        Just asking why they simply don’t state the obvious, because it is just so painfully obvious.

        Well, maybe after the Oilers go 0-10 in their next games that will trigger the next firing.

        • 2004Z06

          Fair enough and I certainly wasn’t calling you out personally. I have not renewed my ticket packs, watched a game or purchased any merchandise in over 18 months.

          I told the organization point blank when they called asking about why I was no longer renewing.

          As long as there are asses in the seats, beer flowing and jerseys being purchased, there will be no significant changes. This team is Katz hobby. Not a legit business venture for him, just a springboard to his downtown realty dominance. That’s where the real money is!

  • Lowe But Now High Expectations

    The Oilers PR is very similar to the way political parties operate. When a political party in power runs into trouble via bad decisions or scandal, you throw some junior minister or civil servant under the bus for what happened. Then you come out with some shiny new policy that attempts to deflect the public’s attention away.

    This is what the Oilers are doing. Firing Chabot is an attempt to deflect the fans attention from the real problems this team has. I guess you could say Chabot is now one of the “Boys Under The Bus”.

  • There’s an article that caught my attention from earlier this year that was around the time of the Olympics. It was about a Finnish Goalie Coach, Upi Ylonen, and his methods of coaching and how effective it’s been for his goalie students over the years. I’m sure quite a few of you have read this article- as I most likely came across it through the social network of hockey discussion. Anyways, what I took away from the article most was Ylonen’s tactics of attacking the puck: being on your toes- rather than your heels, staying square to the puckholder and having the ability to out-wait the puckholder without regressing to the butterfly style which goalies tend to do. Us Oiler fans noticed our goalies dropping to that butterfly style way too early.

    Look out if you read this article. You’ll be crying for mentor Upi and his next Finnish protege!

  • What happened to strudwicks article on the walk through hell?

    Honestly, in an organization as dysfunctional as this I really enjoy Strudwicks pieces that sort of give us insight on what the players are going through in all this. I also appreciate the brutal honesty. I would LOVE to see him go on a full scale rant article and really tell us how he feels about everything. No holds bared, “Strudwicks state of the union address”

    Do it.

  • 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!

  • This team needs not only a major management shake-up which is long overdue, but also a major player shake-up. I’d put Eberle on the block and see what is out there coupled with JSchultz unless Petry is refusing to sign. This mix of players doesn’t cut it.