Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers have had five coaches since they were last in the Stanley Cup in 2006 — current general manager Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney, Ralph Krueger and now Eakins — and Hall won’t abide with anybody saying this is Eakins’ fault.
“Absolutely not. I would be extremely disappointed if that (Eakins being fired for the Oilers’ woes) happened. It would be so unfair if that was the case. For Dallas to take the brunt of the blame is not true. It’s on us as players, what we do on the ice,” said Hall.
Eakins knows a coach is always in the crosshairs, and with a team that has had a four-, a five- and now a six-game losing streak after just 21 games, this a hellish start, for sure.
“I face this head-on. If I wasn’t up to the task, I’d go do something else. I’d have taken another line of work,” said Eakins, who signed a four-year contract in 2013. “For me, I’ll get out of the rink, probably won’t sleep much, spend a day with my family, then be back at work (Monday). This is the only way we can go about it. If we’re going to sit and cry over the losses, then we’ll never, ever get out of them. The whole feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t work. The pain I feel is for our organization and our city.”
Nevertheless, Eakins looked like he’d been through a washing machine spin cycle after the game. “Probably the longest night I’ve had as a player or a coach,” said Eakins. “To come out against the Chicago Blackhawks with our players and the fans energized, then the first shots go into our net, and that will suck the life out of a team that’s been struggling. We couldn’t recover.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
MacTavish needs a No. 2 centre (something he undoubtedly knows), and before you say he would be dealing from a position of weakness now, Montreal GM Marc Bergevin managed to trade winger Rene Bourque for a useful defenceman Bryan Allen this week.after sending the inconsistent Bourque to the minors, first.
Whether that means MacTavish has to trade a winger, even with Benoit Pouliot busting his foot after a Marek Zidlicky shot slammed into him Friday, so be it. While rookie Leon Draisaitl was markedly better against the Devils, driving the net, distributing the puck, playing 16 minutes, the Oilers need an older second-line centre who’s played 400, 500, 750 games.
Draisaitl, who was robbed by Cory Schneider in the dying seconds on his doorstep, could move back to the third hole and Mark Arcobello could be the 13th forward.
Does MacTavish have to dangle David Perron, a greasy guy with hands who had 28 goals last year but can’t get untracked (one goal in 48 shots)? Does he consider trading Jordan Eberle in a bigger package as some have suggested? Who knows, but the GM, before he starts looking at the coach, has to make a deal. And, no, Detroit’s oft-injured but former No. 1 centre in Florida, Stephen Weiss, is probably not the answer.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The Edmonton Oilers sunk to a new low Friday, difficult as that might be to comprehend, having to skate off the ice to a chorus of boos after being badly outworked in a 2-0 home-ice loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Once again, all the skill in the world came up short in the face of superior will, as Team Analytics got steamrolled by an opponent that simply rolled up its sleeves and ground out a victory with hard work, determination and smart hockey.
“We have guys in our lineup, guys like Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon, they have a ton of will, it’s in their DNA,” said embattled head coach Dallas Eakins. “And we have other guys, who we’re pushing to go there and they will go there sometimes, but we need them to go there every time.
“That’s the challenge, because people are wired a certain way.”
Watch coach Eakins post-game below...
You can see how the injury occurred at the :22 second mark of this game recap video.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
There was so much focus on Toronto yesterday in the aftermath of the embarrassing loss to the Predators, but I suspect we need to keep just as close an eye on Edmonton, where the Oilers dropped to 0-9-1 against Western Conference teams this season with the loss to Vancouver. Simply unacceptable.
I know management in Edmonton was not going to sit on its hands and let another debacle of a season roll by without any action. They're craving a trade for a center, although that's easier said than done. And you wonder about the job security for Eakins if the losses continue. Not sure exactly which direction Oilers management will go, but if the losing continues, I'll be shocked if something doesn't happen in the next month or two.
read on for Strang, Burnside and Custance on either the Leafs or the Oilers...
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
General manager Craig MacTavish is trying to give Eakins more ammunition. Ex-Bruins assistant Craig Ramsay, one of the game’s sharpest defensive minds, is in his first year at Eakins’s side. David Pelletier, a former Olympic figure skater, is in his first season as Edmonton’s skating coach. Tyler Dellow, an ex-analytics blogger, is a hockey operations consultant.
This summer, MacTavish acquired Nikitin and Teddy Purcell. He drafted Leon Draisaitl with this year’s third overall pick. He signed unrestricted free agents Pouliot and Mark Fayne.
But the Oilers are still falling short. Despite three No. 1 overall picks and eight straight playoff no-shows, the Oilers need help at all three positions. Deals are hard because Edmonton is on many players’ no-trade clauses.
On Wednesday, the Oilers practiced at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. MacTavish spent part of the practice chatting with BU coach David Quinn. Given his team’s start, MacTavish could be calling the name of Jack Eichel, Quinn’s freshman prodigy, at next year’s draft.
The Oilers need a big center like Eichel, who projects to be a generational player. But he can’t help MacTavish and Eakins now.
Eakins is trying. He is a cerebral, curious, and energetic coach. But he doesn’t have the players needed to challenge Anaheim, Los Angeles, and San Jose in the Pacific Division. So Eakins will continue to grind.
more plus other hockey topics...
from David Staples of the Cult of Hockey,
Fire the coach? Make a trade? Hmmmm. Isn’t a total organizational housecleaning in order?
This just in from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who spoke on the radio this morning (as reported by Nichols on Hockey): “I’ve got to believe that there’ll be a significant trade for the Oilers before there would be a coaching change.”
For now, the Oilers should do neither a major trade, nor should they fire the coach.
The season is still young, let’s see how this team is doing after 30 games. If a trade is needed, useful players can be brought in to play centre, defence and goal without giving up the farm.
The NHL with the explanation...
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