Monday, May 12, 2014
What possible changes exist in the Oilers coaching staff?
According to MacT Eakins is going nowhere. I have been very open about my thoughts on Eakins and what this team needs to do. Problem is? It doesn't matter what I think, it matters what MacT thinks and right now he has backed his coach 100%. MacT is going to run with Eakins, if he turns out to be incapable of bringing this team up to par in the playoff race next season, Eakins will be gone and MacT likely will only have one last coaching choice to make the team a success. For that to happen would mean another season (Year 5 of the rebuild) will have been wasted and this whole team will be blown up.
I know lots of fans and media alike think Lowe and others are totally safe and this team's ownership is a old boys club but he is still a businessmen. MacT is only 1 year and a bit on the job and has replaced only 1 coach. He will get 2 swings at it if he has too. However saying all that, it is very unlikely that will happen unless Eakins starts next season like he did last. Eakins came across last off-season like the 'Lone Ranger' riding his white horse and how he was the 'man' who would be better then the previous regime of head coaches. He came across to many of us as smug, arrogant and self-righteous. He made claims that you play bad, you watch from the press box. Did he follow through with that equally among all his players? Nope! Not at all.
He said no favouritism yet he showed it by scratching Yakupov for his poor play on the ice but not other elite players who were constantly causing Oilers games with poor defensive play. Who else was scratched for bad play last year other then Yakupov? Petry! Yup, that's it! No others. Granted, Hall and even Eberle while struggling earlier on, at least they were putting pucks in the net and contributing to goals for the team. What about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who I do believe in and believe is a excellent player) and Sam Gagner? What about Andrew Ference? Oh, yes, Andrew while a awesome guy and person made so many blunders out there at bad times but he's the captain and Eakins was not going to bench him. Some thing went wrong between Eakins and Yakupov and for Nail's part, after the debacle with his agent Larionov, Yakupov showed great character and said the right things on and off the ice. When it comes to putting in the work, Nail is no slacker. Enough with Nail as this is not about him but more about the way Eakins coached and taught him and used him and others.
No matter if I like it or not, Eakins is here to stay. I predict he has till the trade deadline next year to keep his job secure. If the Oilers are already out of the playoff race by trade deadline, Eakins will go (it happens, see what happened in Vancouver?). What will happen with the start of next year? Well, it's all speculation anyway but some things simple deduction will make it easier to read into the 'hockey leaves'.
Not sure what Keith really brought to the table last year that really helped Eakins and if he did, we would never know what. There are many coaches who could do a much better job then Keith especially since there are so many technical coaches who can add to what this team needs. Action was a good soldier but we all know what happens to good soldiers. They are expendable! I can't see Action going anywhere this off-season as Eakins selected him but really IMO he needs replaced with more experience and a coach with a better resume. Keith likely stays.
This is a choice that many people behind the scenes believe was MacTavish's decision. MacT loves Smith and believes he has brought good success to the development of the defence. MacT likely chalks up the poor defensive play early in the season to Eakins running with his 'swarm' philosophy in the NHL. MacT stated Eakins was learning on the job and likely believes it was a mistake learned. Unless all the coaches are cleared out under Eakins, Steve is in Edmonton at least one more year working with the defence.
This is the most puzzling of all the coaches decisions. Ever since his selection to coach the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, Kelly has not proven anything he adds to anyone other then someone above him I suppose. He did not look good as a head coach in the AHL and certainly not showed anything to us fans or the players that his coaching ability is better then others out there. The fact that he keeps lasting through head coaches is what scares me of the legitimacy of his coaching ability. It really makes no sense. While I see the other two coaches maybe staying on to start the year, I really question if Kelly is back to start the year as a assistant coach. Possibly let go and moved into a scouting area or player development or some fancy named position? Call it a hunch but I think we won't see Buchberger in the same role starting next season.
Things really went wrong for Chabot when Barry Trotz let out his concerns with Devan Dubynk upon a couple games playing in Nashville. Those words resonated around the NHL, so you have to believe they were heard and examined closely within the Oilers management. I have seen a lot of Chabot's work with development of the Goalies over the years. He works hard and seems to train well on the technical tools they need to practice and work on. Some may just say the players given to him are not good enough. Goalies are a different breed and a Goalie coach is actually much more like a head coach when it comes to the goaltending position. The coach himself does little for the Goalie but the Goaltending coach is the one who prepares, teaches and trains and gets into the psychology of a goalies mind. Saying that,, there are not many great goaltending coaches and when you find one, you run with him. Rumours persist Fuhr one day returning to Edmonton but for now that is still speculation. I tend to see Chabot on his way out.
Next article we will discuss and look into what possibly is going to happen with the forwards on the Edmonton Oilers hockey team.
In the meantime, and in between time, that's it for another edition of Oilers hockey!
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