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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    That’s your pound of flesh, for the season. No matter how bad it gets this is the only mid season sacrifice that will be permitted. That should certainly shut up all of those whiney beotches.

    A dozen ushers have also been put on notice. Shape up or ship out, says Kevin Lowe.

    • TeddyTurnbuckle

      Last time there were sweeping changes under the direction of Kevin Lowe at the ‘Place, only Joey Moss survived the bloodletting. Trainer and equipment manager were bagged. I guess they are safe this time because only a couple or four man games have been lost due to injury this season..this is more due to the soft play of the oilers on ice than the trainer’s work for rehab.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Guy Lafleur

    We have changed the players, the coaches, the GM, and we even took the pictures down from the dressing room wall.

    We have changed everything except for the one thing that matters.

    Replace Kevin Lowe.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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..

      • 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.

    • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.