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Jay Woodcroft expected to remain as Oilers coach through Saturday
By Zach Laing3 months ago
Multiple reports Friday seemed to confirm that the Edmonton Oilers wouldn’t be making a coaching change ahead of a Saturday night game against the Seattle Kraken.
The Oilers appear ready to keep their powder dry on a coaching change, first reported by TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and later by The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman.
Despite that, it feels as if it’s a matter of when, not if, a franchise-shaking move will be made. The general expectation is that the first buck to drop would be behind the bench with Woodcroft losing his job, days after the club sent Jack Campbell packing to the American Hockey League.
The Oilers were reportedly on the precipice of a significant move in the net on Wednesday, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who said during Friday’s 32 Thoughts podcast he isn’t sure what happened, causing a potential move to fizzle out.
Edmonton’s become the talk of the NHL amid a tail-tucking start to their season in which they’ve gone 2-9-1 through their first 12 games, one of the worst, if not the worst, starts in franchise history. While blood is on the hands of plenty in the organization, the coach always seems to be the one to pay the price first for an unacceptable stretch. Woodcroft himself has arguably one of the best coaches in franchise history, with a .640 points percentage in the regular season towering over the second-placed Glen Sather, with a .616 rate, and a third-placed Dave Tippett, who finished with a .596 mark.
Coaching bumps are proven to work in the NHL. The Oilers saw it with Woodcroft taking over for Tippett in February 2021, as he played a big part in turning the club’s season around.
A coaching change in Edmonton would likely do the same for this rendition of the Oilers, but at least for the next day or two, that doesn’t appear to be happening.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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