Eakins calls for patience in Edmonton, whether fans ‘like it or not’

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Fired yesterday by the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Eakins had a tough message today for a frustrated fan base that’s already been waiting a long time to watch a winning hockey team:

“I can speak freely now, and like it or not, you need to be patient. … I understand being out of the playoffs for a long time, but the situation is the situation. … This organization is where it’s at. … The fans of this organization, you’ve suffered greatly. But I’m gonna tell you: you need to be patient.”

And according to Eakins, that show of patience needs to be extended to the team’s general manager.

“If anybody’s going to find the solution, it’s going to be Craig MacTavish,” he said.

While Oilers fans may not want to hear that they need to be even more patient than they’ve already been (what with Edmonton owning the longest playoff drought in the NHL and all), Eakins believes it was a lack of patience that hurt the team while he was behind the bench.

“We probably got ahead of ourselves a little bit, system wise,” he said, adding there “probably” should’ve been more focus on the “fundamentals of the game.”

As for all this talk “swirling” around Taylor Hall?

Eakins is frustrated by it.

“My experience has been a short one with Taylor,” he said. “But what I see from this young man is an amazing amount of growth in a year. I don’t know who Taylor was before I got here, but I know who he is now compared to when I came in last year. He’s maturing. He’s going to continue to mature. And as he grows into a fine young man, he’s going to turn into a great, great hockey player.”

Audio: Eakins on the need for patience