2) Jeff Jackson played his hand too soon
The Oilers have had 10 different head coaches since 2010, with half of these during the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl era. This speaks volumes about the lack of stability in Edmonton, despite having a generational talent and a superstar on the same team.
They always say it’s easier to fire one person rather than a whole host of them, i.e. the coach rather than a team of players. However, at some point you need to stop making the coach the scapegoat, and realise the issues go way deeper.
We have and will continue to stand by the opinion, that the Oilers fired Jay Woodcroft way too soon. The powers that be needed to look at his overall record behind the bench in Edmonton, rather than just the first 13 games of this season.
Woodcroft easily has the best winning percentage in Oilers coaching history, even taking into account the poor start to the 2023-24 campaign. He didn’t suddenly become a bad coach overnight.
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Of course we appreciate what’s done is done, and there’s no going back. However, we would still contend that CEO Jeff Jackson has shot himself in the foot.
It’s common knowledge that Kris Knoblauch was Jackson’s prime candidate to take over as head coach and he’d had his eye on him for a while. Ken Holland might well be the general manager, but this hiring was ultimately made from higher up the food chain.
Here’s the quandary for Jackson though – what happens if the Oilers continue to lose as consistently as they have done, with Knoblauch as coach? How much losing is acceptable, before the Oilers CEO is almost forced to get rid of Woodcroft’s successor?
We appreciate that Knoblauch’s leash will probably be a longer one than standard, given he is Jackson’s choice. However, if the losing continues, not only could the young coach have his confidence destroyed, but the optics will look even worse that the Oilers gave up on Woodcroft too soon, especially with the proof/reality that he wasn’t really the problem.