Ok, before i am crucified for starting a ridiculous rumour and everybody starts freaking out, let me explain. Is it even possible that the Oilers organization could actually flip these two coaches? I have searched the Internet and tried to find if this rumour has been swirling anywhere. I did not come up with this idea on my own. In fact, last night after speaking with someone who is a little more in the know, I started to examine the thought of this as a potential possibility. This is someone that has been involved in hockey for sometime (including the coaching fraternity). There is a lot of reasons why this makes no sense at all and lots of reasons why this could be a really good idea. I am not stating this as a legitimate rumour but wanting to at least examine this closer.
Let's examine the pros and cons and the information that has occurred over the last couple years before just tossing this possibility aside.
Jonathan Willis has a interesting read on OKC Barons bench Boss Todd Nelson http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/03/08/would-todd-nelson-be-a-good-fit-on-next-years-edmonton-oilers-coaching-staff/
While I agree with Jonathan that adding Nelson to the current staff could be a good thing, Todd Nelson himself in a article written by Ryan Dittrick would prefer Head Coaching in the AHL to being a assistant in the NHL as he has already been a assistant coach with the Atlanta Thrashers. http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=636453
To further add to Ryan's interview with Todd Nelson. Robert TychKowski also quoted Todd nelson but only after he was not selected for the Oilers Head Job. In this interview he speaks about opportunity and it does not sound like a coach who wants to take a couple years as a assistant coach in the NHL for only a maybe position. http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/07/04/despite-being-overlooked-in-the-edmonton-oilers-head-coach-hunt-okc-barons-head-coach-todd-nelson-positive-his-chance-will-come--somewhere
Where does that leave us since MacT has gone on record as saying Dallas Eakins is not going away? Terry Jones reports on this. http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/02/25/edmonton-oilers-gm-craig-mactavish-gives-strong-vote-of-confidence-for-head-coach-dallas-eakins
Mike Baldwin, a reporter in OKC when interviewing Todd Nelson himself, quoted much of the same as our local guys except does mention the possibility in a couple years as working as a assistant coach.
Enough on the articles written. What are some common threads we are hearing or seeing on this team and around the city of Edmonton and in behind closed doors that leaks still seem to come out from?
What do we know? Dallas Eakins has seen this team's Powerplay drop significantly with a even better team this season then the previous. The team has dropped significantly in the standings looking to have taken a step backwards once again. We also know Barons head coach Nelson has continually had to deal with his best players being called up to Edmonton and at crucial times in the season. With the Oilers it seems just when their is a push for the AHL playoffs each year, they end up with a string of injuries or Nelson contends with those injuries on his AHL team. Bottom line? Nelson has an established track record with 50% of the Oilers NHL team and is known to be well respected and liked among them all.
You always hear rumours that can not really be substantiated. The young players party too much! The players have tuned out Dallas Eakins and do not respect him to get the best out of their game. The argument you hear to that is the NHL player is a professional and needs to be self motivated and shouldn't need a coach to pull the best out of him.
My take? I am sure Dallas is a wonderful person and even a really good coach. I just don't think that he is the right coach. From the moment he walked into this job, we heard how he was going to change this team. Their fitness level was too be intensified and their compete level was to be through the roof. In fact he really did IMO come off as arrogant and rude and his comments insinuated to me he was saying the last couple coach's did not demand that or couldn't teach that. Also he didn't really seem to know the players well enough of who has brought what to this organization with their gifts and talents. Even his systems play were truly flawed that he insisted would work and gave the reasons why.
Has Dallas learned on the fly? Absolutely and while I do think it's time we just quit firing coaches, I really did disagree we should have fired Ralph at all. Renney before him was a firing that happened to save Tambo's job for the following season. Tamby made Renney his scapegoat!
My take now? It's a tough decision to make and a tough pill for MacT to swallow if he were to replace his head coach but IMO if we are to bring in a young up and coming coach from the AHL, it should be from within the organization not from another one. At least we know what we have from within and it does look good.
Could Nelson accept a Assistant job? It's possible, anything is possible. If Todd does come in as assistant, you know at least a couple assistants are on their way out. What is most likely? I think Chabot and Bucky are on their way out.
However, what if Todd nelson were to take the Head Coaching job of the Edmonton Oilers should it be offered by MacT? What would happen with Dallas Eakins and the remaining part of his contract? The scoop I was told is Dallas gets sent to OKC to take on the Barons. I can hear some people right now saying 'no way!' Dallas didn't come to Edmonton to return back to the AHL. Maybe not but he also didn't perform and to me doesn't sound like a guy who is very accountable for his many mistakes as a rookie head coach. What happens to a player who under performs? He loses his job outright or gets demoted. They are paying Dallas so sending him to hone his skills within their AHL team isn't the end of the world. Eakins benches players when they under perform maybe it's time to do the same?
Not for a minute do I claim to know what WILL happen but this rumour could have some validity to it but only time will tell. In the meantime and in between time, that's it…for another edition of 'Oilers Jambalaya"