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Oilers coach clears out many glory days items from locker room

Sep 16, 2013, 9:47 AM EDT

Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers walks to the locker room following warm ups to the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 15, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.
(December 14, 2011 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins is looking for ways to get the Edmonton Oilers to move past the rebuilding stage and it looks like part of his answer involves taking a step away from their past, based on an Edmonton Sun report.

In the 1980s, the Oilers were a stacked team worthy of the dynasty label and until recently, their locker room was a shine to that, complete with plaques, pictures, and the names of the team’s former greats. That’s not the case anymore.

Eakins wants to make sure that his players feel like it’s their dressing room, rather than Mark Messier’s. With that in mind, he’s made some significant changes. Among other things, many of the pictures have been removed and will be replaced by photos of those currently serving on the team.

When it comes to Eakins’ coaching staff and the team’s upper management, the new head coach is somewhat unique due to his lack of connection with the glory days Oilers. President Kevin Lowe, GM Craig MacTavish, and Eakins’ assistant coaches all won the Cup with Edmonton.

Their presence gave deeper meaning to the “Once An Oiler – Always An Oiler” sign — which, by the way, has also been removed.

“Listen, when we walk in that door, there’s five Stanley Cups standing there,” Eakins said. “That’s a great piece of history. That’s the only thing that counts.”

  1. rainyday56 - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    The cardinal rule in show biz is: three acts you should never follow: A dog act, a banjo act, and the 1980’s Edmonton Oilers. Don’t break your knuckles gripping your sticks, knowing eyes of the grandchildren of the people who saw them play are boring down on your every move, boyz …

  2. joey4id - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    The guy is grasping at straws. How mentally tough are those kids if this is want it takes to get them over the hump?

  3. afrozenpond - Sep 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I like his style.

  4. cheliostwin - Sep 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    The Detroit Red Wings locker room is full of pictures and plaques from past years, and occasionally Mr. Hockey will drop by and shake some hands, but they always have plenty of veterans there to soothe the younger players that might get jittery. The continuity is there, and I think it inspires the rookies to play their best.

  5. lewdood - Sep 16, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Smart move by Eakins. Having the dynasty hanging over these kids can do nothing but hold them back. It’s either an unmatchable (in today’s NHL) goal by which they’ll always judge themselves, or it’s a safety blanket for the kids to think the fans had so much success in the past that nothing they can do will ever match it anyway. It’s time for them to start building their own legacy.

    • sportsfan18 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:08 AM

      I understand your comments but I respectfully disagree.

      All sports, not just in the NHL have teams in this position.

      I think it’s wonderful to see things showing what a wonderful franchise that you play for. It let’s a player know that his organization has been run in ways that have gotten them to where they are trying to get to, that it is attainable for that organization.

      It’s about confidence, not arrogance. Anything may be overdone or portrayed in the wrong way, but things like this don’t need to be portrayed in a negative light.

      I’m NOT a Yankee fan or a Laker’s fan, but players in those organizations know they play to win championships and when players go to those organizations, they know what to expect.

      What professional athlete doesn’t want to win? Doesn’t think their team can or will “get” there?

      I don’t want them to think that it’s OK to just play average. Let’s put away all these reminders of our organization achieving what it is each and every team in the NHL (or NFL, NBA or MLB) is trying to do…

      I would be comforted as a player knowing the history of my organization and I’d do my damnedest to get my team’s picture hung up as a championship team and to have memorabilia of our team displayed.

      Then, 10, 15 or 20 yrs later, I’d be ticked to find out that a coach has come in and taken it down…

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