Edmonton Oilers’ coach Dallas Eakins got a vote of confidence, and then some, from his best player Friday in St. Louis during an interview Taylor Hall did with Ryan Rishaug of TSN.

With the Oilers in the throes of a nine-game losing streak as they prepare to host the Arizona Coyotes at Rexall Place tonight and some fans and critics suggesting Eakins is the wrong man for the job and that he’s “lost the room,” Hall shot those opinions full of holes in a 53-second clip with Rishaug.

History tells us, of course, such a vote of confidence is often a kiss of death. Likewise, critics are quick to counter with, “What else is Hall going to say to a reporter?” It’s not like he’s going to say, “The coach sucks.”

Fair enough. What makes this bit of chin-wagging different, though, is Hall not only extolled the virtues of Eakins on the record with Rishaug before a 4-3 loss to the Blues, he’s apparently done likewise in conversations with his boss, GM Craig MacTavish.


Vote of Confidence

“He has our whole room,” Hall said. “There’s no doubt about that. I’ve heard stories about what it’s like to play for coaches that just aren’t respected. That’s not the case in Edmonton. We fully respect Dallas and we like having him as our coach.

“He’s got the systems in place. He’s got the right tactics for our team and for our group. Right now, it’s about us going out and playing as well as we can and just doing as well as we can.”

Rishaug then asked: “Is it important that message is out there, whether it’s the fans or Craig knows or whoever that knows you guys have this guy’s back?”

“Yeah, for sure, I think,” Hall said. “Craig and I have talked on a number of occasions and a couple of times I’ve mentioned it’s not Dallas’ fault at all. I think that he’s the guy for our group. He’s the guy to lead us out of this and I made sure that he knew that and that a lot of guys in the room feel the same way.”



I’m not going to call Hall a liar or accuse him of being generous with positive spin, given that there’s nothing in it for him to say the same things to MacTavish if it just isn’t so. Hall need not suck up to the coach.

“Losing the room” gets tossed around frequently as a catch-all for many issues when a team struggles as mightily as the Oilers have on the way to a 6-14-4 record. Losing the room means is the message is lost and that the players no longer respond to the coach. Of course, many fans point to the countless awful starts to games by the Oilers as being a sign of that. Hall says it isn’t so. Fine, Good.

That doesn’t mean the message is the right message, that the strategies and systems being employed by the coaching staff are the right systems, that personnel is being deployed to the greatest advantage. It means the players aren’t rolling their eyes and shrugging their shoulders when Eakins speaks.

Saying “He’s got the systems in place. He’s got the right tactics for our team and for our group,” is one thing. Going through the gate and proving it is, obviously, quite another. With the playoffs out of the question for a ninth straight season with December barely upon us, what fans need is more of that and less talk about it. 

Gum-flapping doesn’t sell here. It shouldn’t.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.

  • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

    Interesting articles about the soon to be devalued Canadian dollar and how it will affect the NHL salary cap. Teams like Boston, Chicago and LA will most likely have to make some tough decisions after this season to relinquish some salary, my point being if we keep devaluing our dollar enough, quite possibly we can get some of the better teams to lose enough good players so we can be competitive with them one day.

    • D

      A bigger question for the Oiler Boss. How will $70.00 oil and a further drop in the loonie effect the potential development of the Downtown? Mr.K has far more concerns for the next # of years than the Oilers.

    • 3rd Laraque From The Sun

      Two of the better teams you mentioned cut loose a decent dman each at the start of the season. Leddy and Boychuk would have transformed this defense like they have in New York. His Royal Boldness for whatever reason failed to step up. Don’t get your hopes up.

  • Derian Hatcher

    Player vote of confidence is laughable. If I got paid that kinda money I’d lie too.

    Anyone who plays hockey knows that when a coach makes intresting personnel decisions, that cause the team to loose, the coach is not very popular.

    Man I was hoping today was the day the can somebody, feelin sad now.

    • You can doubt what Hall says if you want, but money has nothing to do with it.

      Taylor gets his money whether he’s here, in the minors or with another NHL team. He’s doesn’t even have to pretend to get along with Eakins, let alone go to bat for him with the GM, with money as a motive.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    I find it interesting that almost no one is willing to consider that maybe Hall was just stating what he sees to be true. Could it be that Changing much of the roster and having a ton of young players including a rookie #2 center might just be a bit of a tough go in the west were men go to play hockey? I am not saying that Eakins is a great coach or that he has not made a ton of mistakes. If Hall is stating that he is wanting the coach to stay than I will take that at face value. A trade will happen for sure before Xmas.

  • Derzie

    Taylor is being honest I’m sure he just does not have perspective. He has yet to be around a winning environment to see the difference. The NHL is a tough league. Everyone involved is measured by a very high set of standards so even the worst performers are pretty darn good on a world scale. Just not relative to their NHL peers. I take Taylor’s sentiments with a grain of salt (obviously). At this point, the only move that needs to be made is to replace the POHO.

  • Maybe Hall was told,” if you your eyes set on being the Capt., of this team in the future, then start acting like one now – on and off the ice.

    Or maybe he as visions of playing on a line with McDavid, while scoring mega points,winning trophies etc. { in other words endore Eakin, so that team

  • vetinari

    I have no doubt that Hall means what he says but I think it all comes down to this: Eakins may the coach that the players want but given his body of work over two seasons and 100 games, he may not be the coach that the players need.

  • D

    With all due respect to Hall, what does he actually know about competent NHL coaching? He is in his fourth season of futility. He has dealt with multiple coaches and different schemes.

    Hall is either playing team politics or showing up Lowe/Mactavish unintentionally for not knowing how to draft and develop players. Hallsy your organization sucks! What are the self-appointed hall(?) monitor?

  • D

    Imo….trading eberle, perron,& petry to philly for simmonds&courtuier would be so good for our beloved oil…especially yak (I miss yak city…have a deflated feeling watching eakins diminishing his attributes. ..poor guy must be pissed…real choice mates thus far….play the number one pick line for eff sake FOR MORE THAN TWO SHIFTS!)
    *gets whiskey stones and glass…wondering how many bottles of wisers in currant losing skid

  • D

    Heh Robin

    What’s responses like if Rishaug has this interview with David Perron? As well as a question regarding are all players being held accountable in the same way?

    I dont think they are – and Perron has said this for both players and coaches.


  • 3rd Laraque From The Sun

    …i think maybe MacT made a play for Leddy and Boychuk but they refused to come here. So we have to be satisfied with other teams rejects……i think it all starts with eating crow a little, KLowe should do the team a favour and retire regardless of wrong or right. It will be a catharsis. Comments like ‘i know a thing or two about winning’ certainly isn’t exhibited on the ice.
    i am confused by the oiler decisions. The best game played up to now was a losing 1-0 in overtime to Nashville, all good but for a late change. In that game Schultz was sitting Aullie was in. No giveaways, Aullie hitting lots, great game all round.
    Next game Schultz back in, abundant giveaways again. we suck again.
    Our team is very fragile one bad play and it snow balls, so remove the person continually making bad plays, Schultz

  • 3rd Laraque From The Sun

    ……just a thought…. that elusive 4 game winning streak of long ago was without Taylor Hall, now i like Taylor but he has too many flaws and has not yet reached a responsible, reliable player status, his play seems apathetic and body language reaction negative, team not reacting to coaches needs, defense that is reactive instead of proactive, weak support play, too many off sides during play, stupid lazy penalties, and i could go on, i wish there was light at the end of this dark tunnel but i can’t see none. Every body wants out and no body wants to come here, so what are we left with, what we have?

  • Visually McDavid

    …..i would like to point out a freudian slip in Taylors comments
    “Yeah, for sure, I think,” Hall said. “Craig and I have talked on a number of occasions and a couple of times I’ve mentioned it’s not Dallas’ fault at all. I think that he’s the guy for our group. He’s the guy to lead us out of this and I made sure that he knew that and that a lot of guys in the room feel the same way.”
    a lot feel the same way’ that tells me there is a few who don’t believe it and thats all it takes to lose the team……i think it is time to give serious consideration to Mcdavid and Eichel pick, maybe we should work on getting both of them. That being said why not try new things, bring up Yakimov, keep Pitlick in, put Nails on the first line he should be rewarded seems like the only player listening to the coach and having positive results, so as a reward his time gets cut, wtf, if Mr. Katz had any balls he would clean out the old and start fresh, enough of KLowes bravado with comments like ‘i know a thing or two about winning’