Dallas Eakins

Eakins interviews for Oilers’ associate coaching gig


Dallas Eakins’ coaching candidacy tour rolls on.

Last week, the AHL Toronto bench boss met with Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish about a spot on the Oilers’ coaching staff, the Globe and Mail reports.

Eakins is being considered for an associate coaching gig with Edmonton to work alongside head coach Ralph Krueger who, after his first year on the job, is reportedly not on the hot seat.

The 46-year-old Eakins has been coaching the Marlies since 2009 and is regarded as one of the AHL’s finest coaches. He took the Marlies to the 2012 Calder Cup finals and has posted a .632 winning percentage in each of his last two seasons.

He’s also been very active on the job interview front lately.

Vancouver asked Toronto’s permission to interview Eakins for its vacant head coaching position, as did Dallas. Over the weekend, TSN reported that the New York Rangers also sought permission to speak with Eakins after firing John Tortorella.

Here’s more on the Oilers situation, from the Globe’s James Mirtle:

Eakins has long maintained that he believes his next step will be as an NHL head coach, noting that he already has two years as an NHL assistant – in 2006-07 and 2007-08 with the Leafs under Maurice – and wasn’t interested in returning to the role.

But what the Oilers are looking for is someone to step in one rung higher as an associate coach – a situation where Eakins would be considered second-in-command and first to take over in case of a firing – and there’s no question the Marlies coach could be an excellent fit with a young, up-and-coming team.

That was believed to be the basis for MacTavish’s sell job, one that can only work if Eakins doesn’t get an offer to be a head coach elsewhere.

Mirtle also notes the Oilers have been looking at former ‘Canes head coach Paul Maurice and ex-Vancouver assistant Rick Bowness, the latter of whom accepted a position with Tampa Bay on Monday.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards

When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”