Jun 10, 2013, 4:23 PM EST
Dallas Eakins wants to get to know the Edmonton Oilers. And he wants to do it soon, because until he knows each of them individually, he won’t know how to motivate them.
In other words, get ready for lots of coffee and lunch dates, guys.
“The way you coach players now is you get them one on one,” Eakins said today during his introduction as the new head coach of the Oilers.
“You’ve got to know them inside out.”
In addition to vowing to discover each of his players’ unique motivations, inspirations, and goals, Eakins made one big, overriding promise: “This team is going to compete.”
The Oilers — stocked with three first overall draft picks and other top, young prospects — missed the playoffs for the seventh straight time in 2013. As a result, Steve Tambellini was fired as general manager and replaced with Craig MacTavish and head coach Ralph Krueger was dismissed in favor of Eakins.
According to MacTavish, the Oilers met with Eakins last Saturday in Toronto for four hours. Immediately, it was felt that Eakins would be “better served in a primary role” as opposed to taking on a “secondary position” like associate coach. A follow-up meeting occurred Sunday and a contract was negotiated during the week.
Today, MacTavish lauded Eakins for his ability to relate well to young players, which was “important to us for obvious reasons.”
The Oilers’ GM also called Eakins “unflappable” throughout the entire hiring process — a trait that will surely be tested in a hockey-mad market that’s desperate for a winner.
“This isn’t about winning one game or winning one season,” Eakins said. “We want to be in the mix every year to win.”
- Video: Isles’ Martin to face hearing for ‘stupid’ knee-on-knee hit 0
- NHL on NBCSN: Reloaded Red Wings, Rangers set to battle tonight 36
- Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net 4
- Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air 58
- Doan: Coyotes rebuild was ‘not my idea, not my ideal situation’ 29
- Video: Kessel says the way Toronto media treats Phaneuf is ‘embarrassing’ 47
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 9
- Rutherford: ‘Our guys felt very strongly about reacquiring’ Lovejoy 49
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline 78
- Giordano to have surgery, is ‘done for the season’ 22
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)