It was disappointing to hear about the firing of Jay Woodcroft as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers just over a week ago. Even more surprising was the decision to replace him with Kris Knoblauch, a guy who had no NHL head coach experience to his name.
Woodcroft had been at the helm of the Edmonton Oilers for parts of three seasons and had led the team to the conference finals in his first year and conference semi-finals last year. He had instilled a winning culture in the team, but that was lost earlier this season, and the Oilers had to do something.
It has been just over one week since the Edmonton Oilers fired Jay Woodcroft and replaced him with Kris Knoblauch. How has it gone?
On the other hand, Knoblauch had no prior experience as a head coach in the NHL. He had only served as an assistant coach in the NHL and had been working as a head coach in the AHL when the Edmonton Oilers signed him.
The decision to replace Woodcroft with Knoblauch seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to the Edmonton Oilers’ early season struggles this season. But firing a coach after just one full season, especially one who had brought success to the team, is not a wise move.
Moreover, the lack of experience of Knoblauch in the NHL and the fact that he has never led a team to a championship make his hiring a questionable decision. It takes a certain level of experience and knowledge to coach at the professional level, and it remains to be seen whether Knoblauch has what it takes to succeed.
The last few games have proved that firing Jay Woodcroft and hiring Kris Knoblauch was the wrong move for the Edmonton Oilers. The team should have given Woodcroft more time to try and turn this team around. If the Oilers were looking for a replacement, they should have at least chosen someone with more experience and a proven track record of success in the NHL.