Oilers coach Eakins says bad habits have to ‘die’

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Dallas Eakins wasn’t sounding too impressed after his first regular-season game as Edmonton’s head coach.

And really, can you blame him? The Oilers were sloppy and careless with the puck in blowing a 4-2 lead last night at home versus Winnipeg, eventually losing 5-4 to the Jets.

“There’s a ton of work to be done,” said Eakins, per the Edmonton Sun. “There were some good things in that game. I liked the shot attempts. We were doing a good job there. But there are habits here. We have to make sure they die. We had cross-ice passes with no support. We didn’t manage the puck well. You don’t try to beat three guys by yourself.”

One of those “cross-ice passes with no support” was courtesy Taylor Hall, and it led to Winnipeg’s fourth goal.

Hall, it should be noted, has been shifted from wing to center to start the season, thanks to injuries to Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

It’s a tough task, moving from wing to center, and one that comes with added responsibilities, particularly defensively.

“In the offensive zone, there’s no set goal of where you’re supposed to be, whether it’s a cycle or bringing pucks to the net,” Hall said early last month, “but in the defensive zone, the centerman is down low, doing the dirty work to get the puck back.”

The Oilers’ next game is Saturday night in Vancouver in front of another national TV audience.