One of the biggest shifts in the history of the Edmonton Oilers came today in 1989 when head coach Glen Sather relished his role behind the bench.
Taking over from the man who brought so many Stanely Cups to Edmonton was John Muckler, who in his own right, did a fine job as the Oilers head coach.
But Slats was like no other. Coaching the Oilers to 442 wins and carrying the Oilers from the WHA to the NHL and then some, his .616 points percentage goes unmatched against any other coach in franchise history — and that’s not to mention his four Stanley Cup rings.
The move to step back came after a miserable season for the Oilers in 1988-89, the first without Wayne Gretzky. Edmonton scraped by with a 38-34-8 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
A large part of Sather’s stepping back was to help focus more efforts on rebuilding the Oilers. The Oilers had sold the aforementioned Gretzky just a year prior and stalwart defenceman Paul Coffey was traded a few years back.
The likes of many others would soon follow over the next three to four years. His time focusing on GM duties, however, never went as planned.
Edmonton had notoriously bad drafts in the late 80’s and into the 90’s, things didn’t fare much better. He eventually stepped away from the Oilers entirely taking on a president and GM role with the New York Rangers in 2000.
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