GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Dallas Eakins of the Edmonton Oilers during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 31, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Oilers 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Eakins gets vote of confidence after rough rookie season behind Oilers’ bench


Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish gave his coach, Dallas Eakins, a vote of confidence today, despite another disappointing season in Edmonton.

“I’m convinced this guy is the right coach to lead us into much more successful times … he’s relentless,” MacTavish said, per the Canadian Press.

MacTavish also promised more changes to a roster that already features three first overall picks — “We need a few pieces that can really move this thing along.”

For Eakins, it was a humbling rookie season behind an NHL bench. He was hired with much fanfare, accompanied by expectations the Oilers would emerge out of their rebuild and compete for a playoff spot. Instead, the team finished dead last in the Western Conference, a full 10 points behind Alberta rival Calgary, the second-to-last team.

Along the way, Eakins called a frustrated fan a “quitter”, got sprayed by a water bottle, and “didn’t even leave the house” after one particularly bad loss to the Flames.

Related: Eakins says Oilers need to add ‘some veteran leadership’

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.