3 Takeaways as Oilers break losing streak with 4-1 win in Seattle

Nov 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55, left) celebrates with center Derek Ryan (10) and center Ryan McLeod (71) after scoring a goal against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Dylan Holloway (55, left) celebrates with center Derek Ryan (10) and center Ryan McLeod (71) after scoring a goal against the Seattle Kraken during the first period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Edmonton Oilers Jay Woodcroft
VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 06: Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft looks on during the second period of their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on November 6, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

3) Still uncertain if win will save Woodcroft’s job

There has never been any indication that the players don’t like Woodcroft. And yet, how they performed on Saturday night in Seattle was still going to tell us how much they were willing to fight for their coach.

In this respect, the 4-1 win versus the Kraken spoke volumes about the team, as they responded positively with one of their best collective games of 2023-24. And yet, it might still not be enough to save Woodcroft.

Speculation has been rampant, that the organisation had already made up their mind about the embattled coach and were just waiting for the team to return from their three-game road trip. The prevailing rumor was that the 47-year-old was going to be fired, along with assistant coach Dave Manson and general manager Ken Holland.

We’ve already given our argument for Woodcroft keeping his job. In addition, the optics would just look terrible and make the organisation appear incompetent in having to turn to a fifth coach in just five seasons.

Of course, we also appreciate that when you own a professional sports team, you can do whatever you damn well please. However, it doesn’t change the thinking that Woodcroft does not deserve his seemingly inevitable fate of being fired.

The Toronto native was asked about a sign that read ‘Woodcroft’s warriors backing our coach’, and if he felt his players were playing for him against the Kraken. However, in typical fashion he deflected from this, as he said:

"“I think our players played to win the game tonight, which is where their focus should be. Our players going to bat or whatever you want to call it, to me our players have a great batting average since I’ve been here and that speaks for itself. No one’s happy with what the overall record is, but in terms of the quality of the people we have in that locker room, the quality of players, we know we’re better than our record, but going back to Spec’s question, you stick together, you find a way, and it you can’t find a way, you make a way.”"

If Saturday’s game turns out to be the last of Woodcroft’s tenure in Edmonton, at least he has the (very small) consolation of going out with a win. However, it will also be a shame, as it didn’t need to end like this.

Quote of the day

Woodcroft was asked by Sportsnet‘s Mark Spector if Saturday’s win is something the team can build off of and take forward. Perhaps alluding to some tension between the two men, the Oilers coach simply said: “Yes” and quickly moved onto the next question.

Next. Bourgault could be key in any Oilers trade. dark

The Oilers improve to 3-9-1 on the season with Saturday’s win in Seattle, but sit eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Next up, they return home to face the New York Islanders on Monday night.