The Edmonton Oilers are heading into next season doing something they haven’t done the past three years — break camp with a new head coach.
From Tom Renney to Ralph Krueger to now Dallas Eakins, there’s been someone new at the helm in Edmonton each of those years. Having a host of different voices and systems to get accustomed to can be a bit of a pain for any team. It’s even more troubling for one that has a host of young players and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006.
That’s a point forward Jordan Eberle made sure to make as Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal shared.
“With the same coach, we can pick up where we left off,” Eberle said. “At the start of last year, we struggled and that’s going to be a big thing for us. We have to start the season well because, last year, we really dug ourselves in a hole early on and that killed us. Plus, it gives you confidence if you can start off winning; you realize you do have a good team.”
The Oilers didn’t exactly close the season in thunderous fashion going 9-10-1 in the final 20 games. Still, the point of having the same head coach for the first time since Renney’s second and final season in 2011-12 remains and Eakins has a lot to prove for himself as well.
The Edmonton Oilers are moving quickly to fill their newly vacant head coaching job.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Oilers will announce Dallas Eakins as their new coach tomorrow afternoon. Eakins will replace Ralph Krueger who was relieved of his duties yesterday after one season behind the bench and was let go via Skype.
Eakins has been hotly pursued by the Canucks and Rangers this summer for their vacant head coaching jobs, but the Oilers and GM Craig MacTavish moved quickly to get the up-and-coming star coach. He hinted in yesterday’s press conference he was close to hiring a replacement for Krueger and it was believed Eakins was it.
As the coach of the AHL Toronto Marlies the last four seasons, Eakins led the Maple Leafs farm team to the playoffs the last two years including a run to the Calder Cup finals last year. Eakins also spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Maple Leafs from 2006 to 2008.
It’s not easy being a head coach in the NHL. It’s especially not easy to be one in a bad situation. For now ex-Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger, not only was the job rough but how he was let go was particularly unkind.
Krueger tells reporters he was fired by GM Craig MacTavish via Skype, the Internet program that allows you to make face-to-face calls anywhere in the world. Krueger was on summer vacation in Davos, Switzerland and apparently it was the easiest way to reach him.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug shared his conversation with Krueger over what happened.
“This past Thursday he requested that I accept him on Skype so he could Skype me,” Krueger said. “When the conversation began he got right to the message that he felt it was necessary to hire a new head coach. That’s the way it went. The conversation was short.”
If nothing else, he took the bad news like a champ.
He told the Oilers when the season ended he wanted an experienced associate coach to join the staff next season which may not have given MacTavish the best impression in the first place. Krueger says he is grateful for the chance and he’s eager for the next step in his career.
If only we could all be that positive when we’re let go from a job.