Dallas Eakins fired by Oilers

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Apparently, last night’s listless loss to the New York Rangers was the final straw. The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Dallas Eakins.

GM Craig MacTavish will become the interim head coach, with Todd Nelson to transition into the role sometime during the season.

The move, first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, comes the day after the Oilers fell to 7-19-5, shut out by the visiting Rangers, while being held to just 16 shots. Edmonton has won just a single game in its last 16 outings.

Eakins was hired with much fanfare in the summer of 2013. At the time, it was hoped that 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, the rookie NHL coach 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.

It didn’t get much better in Eakins’ second season behind the bench. Though he insisted the Oilers were making progress, and players like Taylor Hall went to bat for him, the losses continued to pile up. And with MacTavish unable to consummate a significant trade, the coach was ultimately the one to pay the price.