3

NHL History: Edmonton Oilers fire rookie head coach George Burnett today in 1995

The George Burnett era in Edmonton lasted all of… four months.

It started with him being hired as the Oilers head coach ahead of the 1994-95 season and with the league heading into labour disputes and a lockout, his first game behind the bench wasn’t until Jan. 20, 1995 — a 2-1 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

After 27 games, Burnett’s Oilers held a 12-13-3 record, but the wheels quickly fell off. Edmonton lost seven games in a row and a public dispute with captain Shayne Corson poured into the media. It culminated in Burnett, the league’s youngest head coach at 33 years old, stripping Corson, 28, of his captaincy.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The final nail in the coffin came on April 5th, 1995 with a 4-3 OT loss to the same Ducks team he beat in his first game behind the bench.

“I had to make a decision, and I’d rather make the wrong deciison than sit here and do nothing. The team wasn’t moving in the right direction. I want to make the playoffs this year and I think we have a good neough team with the right personell that we can do it. That’s pretty much the reason for doing what I did.” – Glen Sather after firing Burnett.

Replacing Burnett behind the bench was assistant coach Ron Low, who didn’t fare much better going 5-7-1 in the remaining games and Edmonton missed the playoffs.

On Twitter: @zjlaing