Oct 22, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Eakins Growing Into Coaching Role

Dallas Eakins has been quite chatty as of late, so let’s have a look at what our raven haired leader has had to say his loyal minions.

A few weeks ago, Eakins visited the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to get a better idea of what constitutes a thriving coaching team. I question the wisdom of approaching a team that hasn’t been all that successful as of late, but he showed fans that he is serious about doing this right and being the coach we need—not the coach he thinks he should be in his own mind.

Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett told ESPN the follwing:

If I tried to hire everybody who was exactly like me, that would be a really, really bad thing. If we tried to hire everybody who was exactly like some model, that would be a bad thing. You want to have guys who have different personalities and somehow touch the guys differently. I think we’ve done that. It was interesting to me that he recognized that.”

We see that already with the hiring of Rocky Thompson, Craig Ramsay and even
stats man Tyler Dellow to the Oilers. It is far more diverse and is a clean break from the Buchburger/Smith era that led the team into the toilet. Hopefully these are the right choices–so far, on paper, they are.

Eakins was plain ‘ol persnickety when he was asked about the Tyler Dellow hiring by the Globe and Mail, even throwing in a salty word or two. Eakins is of the mind all NHL teams will be using analytics within a couple of years, and it certainly seems to be heading in that direction. He says:

I heard through the grapevine [during the year] he was being highly critical of our team.That didn’t bother me. I’m like, ‘How can he not be highly critical of our team? We’re in 28th place.’ So of course he was.

I think the criticism of Tyler has been his ability to challenge people forcefully in a conversation and defend what he believes in.But I’ve got no problem with that. I like that he’s got a [expletive] opinion. That’s what you need when you’re in these meetings.

I just thought it was time to get on with it [bringing in Dellow]. I really believe that, over the next year or two, you’re going to see 30 teams with somebody doing analytics.

In so many ways, I would prefer that Edmonton had held off on the Eakins hire. Eakins is raw, new and getting a feel for the league—kind of like his players. While the new coaches will help assuage the inexperience, it leaves the Oilers more vulnerable. The roster this year is improved, especially between the pipes, and so more success is expected. Actually, not just expected, but demanded.

Eakins is likeable, if a bit arrogant, but he needs to produce a competitive team. Another year as a lottery team is the end of the line for most Oilers fans. That could result in empty seats and a half full debut for the new arena in 2016 if the team is a bottom feeding mess once again. Personally, I don’t think that will be the result, but the pressure is on.

Between visiting coaching programs to hiring analytics men to picking new coaches, the time for trials is over. It’s go time. I think Eakins has what it takes. Let’s hope the players buy in.

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Tags: Craig Ramsay Dallas Eakins Edmonton Oilers Rocky Thompson

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