Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

‘I understand the passion’: Oilers coach Eakins on fans’ frustration


Times are tough for Edmonton Oilers’ fans.

So tough, in fact, that head coach Dallas Eakins’ young daughter is hearing about it from her peers at school.

October has come to an end, and the Oilers, with growing expectations levied upon them this season, have a record of 3-9-2, good enough for last in the Pacific Division.

“I have kids bugging my daughter at school. That’s not very much fun,” Eakins said Thursday, as per the Edmonton Sun.

“I’m walking my daughter to school yesterday and I have one kid yelling at everybody ‘There’s the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers!’ And my five-year-old daughter gets real excited because, ‘That’s my daddy.’

“And then I have another kid yelling, ‘You suck!’”

That’s not very nice. However, kids rarely come with filters. But that’s not the only situation in which Eakins has heard it from an increasingly frustrated fan base. Adults, too.

“I understand the passion. I understand the guy who yells out of his car at me when I’m at the gas station, then speeds away. I understand people, as I walk into a restaurant, murmuring something under their breath. I’m OK with it,” said Eakins, as per the Edmonton Journal.

“When we do turn this thing around … that passion will turn the other way. The guy at the gas station will probably buy me my gas and the people in the restaurant are probably going to buy me dinner. So if I’m OK with that part of it, I’d better be OK with this.”

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.