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:     

  • GarryB

    Firing him is an ok start, but there is TONS of things they need to do to improve this club.

    How about they start playing a simple fundamental hockey game from time to time?

    Toe-Drags left and right, 1 on 3’s, giving up odd man rushes like crazy, not being able to dump the puck in and retrieve it, horrible break outs, fire drills in their own end, etc, etc.

    This team simply cannot play simple hockey. They make low IQ plays multiple times a game. Over and over and over again. Same mistakes the past 3 years. Lundqvist would drop his save% and GAA a lot playing behind this team. Same for a prime Hasek.

    Crosby couldn’t save this team. They need simple structure and they need to look themselves in the mirror and start working harder. Quit being so fancy and try to play a smarter brand of hockey.

      • GarryB

        That is my biggest beef with Eakins. Remember this?
        “I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care how much your contract is. Blah Blah Blah”

        The ONLY reason they could be giving Schultz this much ice time is to be showcasing him. He is a HORRIBLE dman. He should be moved to forward or traded.

        Eakins benches Yakupov while the wonder kids toe drag their way to tons of goals against. How would that make the actual hard workers feel?

        There is zero accountability on this team.

    • DoubleDIon

      “Toe-Drags left and right, 1 on 3’s, giving up odd man rushes like crazy, not being able to dump the puck in and retrieve it, horrible break outs, fire drills in their own end, etc, etc”

      These guys are merely displaying their great skills we all seem to think they possess..

  • The real question that needs to be answered before any of the changes others are hoping for can come to pass is, does Katz care more about winning or having his 80s Oilers friends around? Because as things stand right now:

    Katz is best buds with KLowe

    KLowe is best buds with MacT

    MacT has staked his rep no more head coach changes.

    So until Katz decides he loves winning more than KLowe, the current trifecta of Lowe-MacT-Eakins is unlikely to change.

  • Anton CP

    They think we are morons… no respect for the fan base.

    “Let’s just fire the goalie coach. Then these idiot (tier 2) fans of ours will get off our case for a bit.”

    The saddest part in all of this is that they will end up doing a bonehead trade or two before the necessary change (Lowe, Eakins) happens.

    The only organization worth hundreds of millions of dollars that promotes people that prove to be inept at their existing position (Klowe to Pres, hire back MacT as gm, etc).

    Joke. Embarrassing. And I live in Calgary.

  • DoubleDIon

    Why not just fire the equipment people again? Maybe an usher or two should be axed. I mean last time they canned the equipment people because they were clearly the root of the problem.

    I blame Chabot for not making career back-ups/AHLers into frontline starters. Sharp move by sharp management.

    They should hire a bunch of mascots and each time the team loses fire one to appease the fans. Some good name ideas are:

    “Oil dropper.” This mascot would drop oil into the eyes of fans who attend the game as punishment for supporting them financially.

    “Mr. Freeze.” He physically restrains fans and pours Mr. Freezes down their throats until “brain freeze” occurs because we all know the Oilers make your brain hurt figuratively and it would be more interactive if they literally did too.

    “Mugsy.” Instead of just using your loyalty and love to rob you of your hard-earned dollars this beloved character could physically hold-up 20 lucky attendees at the urinate away their 8 dollar beers in the washrooms.

    Each time they lose one of these beloved mascots could be fired. The players better start playing better or concession vendors and zamboni drivers are next.

  • 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.

  • GarryB

    I believe a front page ad can cost up to $5500…..I don’t think the paper would run it anyways.

    The best way to show frustration is to stop attending games.

    • YEGFan

      Building off my previous post, host a fundraiser specifically during an Oilers game of amateur hockey at a local rink. The message being that the Oilers provide no entertainment value for money, so support this local movement that does. It would be a very clear showing of not attending an Oilers game.

      Get sponsors, get a crowd, raise a whole bunch of money for charity, and actually do something worthy of the front page.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I agree, the goaltender coach obviously sucked, why cant this oiler management team evaluate talent. They can seem to make the hard decisions when they should be made. maybe their intentions were to tank this season to get into the McDavid sweepstakes

  • oilerjed

    Getting rid of MacT is a waste of time until Lowe has been canned and he has been given a chance to right this team without interference. The decisions that are making us shake our heads are the same type that have occured frequently before MacT got here(again). Until Lowe is gone I’m not sure how much of this can be laid at his door yet. Who knows, other then the rookie mistakes from Eakins, all of his other crazy roster “decisions” may have actually been dictated by 6 rings. Fix the biggest hole to see if the small ones are actually leaking. Then plug them one at a time.

    I actually felt a little bad for the Oil as they made that walk of shame. Not that it wasnt totally deseved but that must have been difficult to do and not respond.

    • Gilmore Tuttle

      MacT was the one who started this mess before he was “resigned”. Why would he be the one to fix it other than he knew what he did?

      If the Oilers hadn’t lucked into the 2006 playoffs and then gone on a streak, the fans would be looking at almost 2 decades of no playoffs. Time has clouded fans memory of how unimpressive that 2006 season was until the end.

    • Perron’s still here? Lowe to Mact. MacT to Eakins, we will get this guy that actually cares the hell out of here, it is bad for the kids development.MacT to Eakins again. You know , we could play that defenceman MM a little more often? Eakins reply, sorry boss i thought you meant no more M and M’s!

  • Nice work Nation. Pulling Strud’s article really was in poor form. He didn’t say anything other than “hey, player’s hear this kind of stuff and it stays with them” and yet the article was pulled for some reason.

  • pkam

    The Chabot firing sure seems like throwing a bone to the howling crowd trying to get some appeasement without really making any tough decisions about coaches and players.

    Chabot was a leftover from Tambo, which probably made it a lot easier for MacT. Now we have a rookie goalie coach so to speak, being promoted from the dub to the NHL. Seems like the equivalent of Draisitl.

  • Andy7190

    I’m not going to blame this all on Dallas but I still want him out of here
    I’d like to so Todd Nelson given the job as he seems to be able to coach winners and has coached most of these players already

    • Tikkanese

      After the “braintrusts” morning meeting. Lowe to MacT. Can you send Scotty out to the parking lot to see if there is any room under there? Heard with Freddy we are running out of room.Mact No problem bud, we can get a bigger bus. Just get Daryl to call city hall.

    • Spydyr

      Firing Chabot is just a distraction. It makes management look like they are doing something.

      Man, you guys (management) are really a bunch of dumbasses. Remember last year when Duby got traded to Nashville and all the reports were coming out that he had many glaring bad habits in his game. Do you think that might have been a good time to start looking into the issue? You could have had the whole summer to come up with a solution. Instead you sit on your hands and now make a decision mid-season. What a bunch of fools.

      I can’t wait to see the rest of the bold moves this team has in store for us. Have you guys thought about changing form Berry Gatorade to Grape flavour yet? Maybe you guys should start using green pucks at practice……you know green is the colour of geniuses right.

      This organization is a joke.

      • Spydyr

        Definitely a distraction. Surprised that
        MacT didn’t call a presser to announce that all is well… Cabot fired and superstar Acton traded to Vancouver.
        “These changes should put us in good shape heading out the next roadtrip.”

        PS… I know MacT might not be the sharpest knive in the drawer, but he is smart enough not get within a mile of a mic right now.

  • Spydyr

    I almost got excited to see Chabot go until I saw who we hired. Can we just hire one staff member with some NHL experience? This is tanking at it’s finest.

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Gregor, why would a long time goalie like Nikolai Khabibulin really need a goalie coach? Do you think Rekhabb would actually listen or care to fix things? He was just here for the pay cheque.

    And is Chabot really fired? The last big “firing” of multiple low level staff was a scam. They all got jobs elsewhere in the Rexall Sports organization.

  • Gilmore Tuttle

    Jason you said you were surprised that Chabot was let go now? I’m assuning this is tounge in cheek??

    As the act goes…….”full of sound and fury signifying nothing”! Yes this is what we call in the seceret service world……a diversion.

    Nothing here folks but good old tricks.

  • Spydyr

    Diamond (#72) wrote:

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

    That my good man, is bang on the money! Too bad the Oil can’t grasp that concept. Every major league sports teams does in fact represent their city every time they play. The Oil have indeed given this city a nasty old pounding. We do not deserve this crap.

  • Kr55

    Keeping Chabot this season was a calculated move by Oilers management. They knew fans were blaming him for goaltending, and they knew his affect on it was not a huge factor, so he was a good guy to keep around incase the 14-15 season went bad. He was kept to be a scapegoat and hopefully buy more time for Eakins to learn how to coach and MacT to learn how to be a GM. We all know neither of those things are going to happen, so it’s just delaying the inevitable Eakins firing.