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Oilers fire coach Ralph Krueger after one season

Jun 8, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

ralphkreugergetty Getty Images

New Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish has decided to fire head coach Ralph Krueger, the team confirmed.

TSN’s Darren Dreger believes that trendy candidate Dallas Eakins could end up being the man in charge, although that might not be part of today’s presser.

It’s a pretty harsh blow for Krueger, who only received this 48-game season to make his mark on the Oilers roster. This was his first opportunity as an NHL head coach.

MacTavish probably deserves some credit for honesty, at least, as it’s common for new general managers to get anxious about hiring “their guy.” This situation could have been messier if he waited for the first excuse to part ways with Krueger, instead.

The new GM provided an explanation for the change, including this line.

“During the process of me conducting those interviews, I recognized I tried to add a coach that was more closely aligned to how I wanted to run the team than what Ralph was looking for,” MacTavish said.

Overall, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture about the Oilers organization, though. With Krueger in charge last season, Tom Renney coaching from 2010-11 to 2011-12 and Pat Quinn being the bench boss in 2009-10, there obviously hasn’t been a great deal of continuity in their coaching ranks.

  1. pdmjr - Jun 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Messier yes sir

  2. jernster21 - Jun 8, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    Credit for being honest? If he was going to can him, why didn’t he do it the day of/after he became GM? Couldn’t have anything to do with all the potential coaching candidates right? Even with the talent up front, I still don’t think many would see Edmonton as a desirable place to coach so they should probably just call Joe Sacco and see what he’s up to. I can’t believe they fired Renney – he seemed like a good coach for that team but I guess when you have an incompetent GM who gives you no defense and over pays for mediocre goalies, that’s how it goes.

  3. tdrusher225 - Jun 8, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    That’s a bit harsh. Seemed like a pretty decent coach to me. Maybe you should put together a sound roster before you decide he’s not “your guy”, Craig. I’m nowhere close to an NHL executive so I shouldn’t act like I know more than these guys, but I don’t think he’s the guy to blame. Perhaps he should look at many of the underachieving players on his roster before the coach.

  4. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Kruger didn’t meet the main criteria Oilers’ brass needs, to have played for the club during their glory years. Look for them to hire someone who can share old stories with Lowe and MacT.

  5. redridershoottheireyeout - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Mac T and Lowe, tweedledum and tweedledumber!

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:24 PM

      That’s an insult to tweedledum and tweedledumber.

  6. redridershoottheireyeout - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    btw this is the worst commenting protocol on the internet

  7. ray2013 - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Every pre-season prediction I saw had the Oilers finishing outside the playoffs, because they didn’t have even an NHL-average group of defencemen, they were extremely weak in the bottom six, and their goalie was not an established pro (despite the fact that former GM Tambo gave him a lucrative extension).

    So after the season which we saw possibly the weakest group of defensemen in the NHL, one of the worst bottom-6 in the NHL, and decent though not spectacular goaltending, and a nice little run before falling out in the last three weeks. Yep. It’s the coach’s fault, and not the current GM or President Kevin Lowe.

    I wish I worked for the Oilers senior management; you never have to be accountable for anything.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 8, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Maybe they really believed Sportsnet’s Spector (Captain Edmonton) when he wrote that the Oilers were going to be the best team in the league cause their young players played together in OKC? Or SI.com having them listed as 3rd in their initial power rankings?

      • ray2013 - Jun 8, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Were they having a smoke with Rob Ford? lol

  8. buffalomafia - Jun 8, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    The Sabres should fire there GM!!!!

  9. dprouse - Jun 9, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Firstly, we all should have seen this coming when Edmonton interviewed Eakins for an “associate coach” role. Eakins would not have taken the interview if it wasn’t for the head job.

    it also says a lot about the state of the Canucks when the hottest coaching candidate on the market snubs them to go to Edmonton. The Canucks won’t admit that, of course, but they interviewed Eakins twice – clearly he was the front runner there. Vancouver is a team about to head into a steep decline and inevitable rebuild, so Eakins is clearly better off with a team that is probably only one solid goalie away from breaking out.

  10. thesportsjudge - Jun 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Being an outsider (I live nowhere near Edmonton) it seems as though this organization is more about collecting talent, as opposed to building a cohesive group. Obviously I am not talking 20-30 years ago when they were a perennial powerhouse, so please remember this.

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