Scour any message board on any Oilers’ site and you will see fans clamoring for coaching change should the team have a start resembling anything close to what happened last October. Of course, due mostly to abhorrent goaltending and some misguided defensive systems that were introduced, the Oilers were ostensibly out of the playoff picture by the time the middle of November rolled around.
Now, fans are giving him 20 games, or he’s “OUTTA HERE!!”. Is that logic sound? Not really. Eakins was handed the hockey equivalent of the United States when Obama became president during the financial crisis. How do you do something good with something so broken?
Now, fans need to remember that the Oilers made two key coaching changes in the off-season. Kelly Buchburger and Steve Smith are gone, and in comes Craig Ramsay. Ramsay has a more impressive pedigree. Best of all, however, is that the coaches that were present for the most dismal stretch in Oilers history are off the bench. That should and will make a big difference.
As for Dallas Eakins, he is not only coaching the team but also bringing in a culture change. Remember when he went into the dressing room and removed all traces of the Boys on The Bus, despite having two of them upstairs? He wants this team to forge its own identity. Along with adding Ramsay, the Oilers added Bob Nicholson to the front office. He, along with Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish, should be able to build an excellent foundation for a team in dire need of stability from top to bottom.
That’s why it is my belief that Eakins gets an entire season before the axe falls. Naturally, if the team is 10-25-6 at the halfway point, perhaps the Oilers need to promote Ramsay and roll with it. In fact, that may be the idea all along. Ramsay can fall into place easily, should that occur.
Or maybe Dan Bylsma is still unemployed in December.
Or maybe Eakins is the real deal.