Since 2009, the Oilers have had 5 head coaches: Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger, and now …. unknown. Sources say, Dallas Eakins will be named, however Craig MacTavish would not confirm yet (the signing is not done). MacTavish has an agreement lined up with a coach, but a deal isn’t signed yet. It is likely Dallas Eakins based on the word out there, but chances are there are other teams out there interested. I sure as hell hope that someone doesn’t snipe our candidate and leave us finding someone else now.
Dallas Eakins was head coach of the Toronto Marlies from 2009-10 seaosn to 2012-13. In his first two seasons, he missed the playoffs. In season 3, he and the Marlies made it to the Finals where they lost to the Norfolk Admirals (the then Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate). This year, the Marlies made it to round 2, where they lost to the Grand Rapids Griffins (the Detroit Red Wings affiliate, whom the Barons also lost to, and are now in the Finals). It seems that Eakins has had some good success in the AHL, and is another “player’s coach” and strong motivator. I don’t know enough about him yet… doing some digging, but I sure as hell hope he can line match. In today’s NHL, that seems quite important. I’d almost rather go back to Craig MacTavish as coach than another guy that just rolls the lines like Quinn and Krueger each did.
So I have one question already, is he a line matcher? My other question, will the new coach bring in a new set of assistant coaches? I sure hope so. I think that’s been another constant here, and maybe it’s time to move on with those guys. Buchy has been here since 2008-09, and Steve Smith came on a few years ago. Might be time to take a look elsewhere.
Craig MacTavish said he came to the conclusion about letting Ralph Krueger go when he was shopping around for an associate to coach with Krueger. He had discovered that the guys he was looking at weren’t so much guys that would support Krueger and in line with his abilities… but more so, support what MacTavish was looking for. Things changed… he wasn’t intending to fire Krueger initially, but changed his mind when looking at the options out there, it seems. He said this wasn’t meant to be “fair to Ralph .. but the best decision for the betterment of the club”. MacT also says he disagreed with Krueger’s philosophy. I’d bet line matching was a big part of it.
I really liked Krueger, to be honest. But I think he’s missing some important X and O stuff to have success. The Oilers are a mess in their own zone, often, the line matching is non existent… MacTavish, as frustrating as he could be, was a better coach than Krueger was. So I think as much as I hate to see a nice guy go, I think this is a wise choice. However, it’s hard to say he had enough of a chance here either or the right support. There should be some new assistants here to support whomever our new head coach is. Or, at the very least, the new head coach needs to make this decision solely on his own.