The Edmonton Oilers coaching staff evaluation didn’t take very long. GM Craig Mactavish sacked head Coach Dallas Eakins on Monday and has even decided to get back behind the bench of his team on a transitional basis.
The team’s next head coach will be Todd Nelson, current coach of Edmonton’s American Hockey League affiliate team.
The move comes just over a week after Mactavish and the players repeatedly defended Eakins' position. The Oilers are currently on a four game losing streak and sit dead last in the NHL standings with a record of 7-19-5.
Defending a coach one week and sacking him next week doesn’t give Mactavish much credibility. However, the decision was based on the team’s abysmal record and overall performance.
Mactavish admitted that he’s at fault as well by giving Eakins such a young squad of players to work with. His statement “there’s blood all over my hands too” pretty much summed up Monday’s press conference.
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It’s been another dreadful campaign for this team and it’s going to take a long time to clean up the mess.
Dallas Eakins should’ve been able to stay on for the rest of the year. The team is out of playoff contention anyway and many of the players defended him. Even though the players know that this is a business, some of them are still going to be angry and therefore may not be so eager to begin learning yet another style of play. They may be even more frustrated that they now have to listen to the man that made the decision.
Should’ve shopped around
This decision, along with many others, has been made far too quickly. Mactavish could’ve stepped in and shopped around for a coach for a while first. I’m in favor of giving minor league coaches a shot at an NHL position, but there were many coaches available that actually have valuable experience coaching within the NHL. Dan Bylsma would’ve been a perfect fit for this Oilers team. He’s worked with a lot of young players during his time and could’ve easily helped the Oilers' top three forwards elevate their game.
Paul Maclean or John Tortorella would’ve given these players a much needed reality check and forced them to be better. They would’ve sparked the team, stoked the fire and easily eliminated all the careless mistakes.
These guys would’ve been tough and demanding but sometimes a kick in the pants is all players need to get going.
I’m excited to see what Nelson will bring to help this team succeed and get something out of the remainder of the season. But I also would’ve loved to see one of the three guys mentioned above to come in and shake things up as well.