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Eakins: ‘If you play scared in this league, you’re going to get killed’

Nov 3, 2013, 10:19 AM EDT

Dallas Eakins Getty Images

By now you’re familiar with the Edmonton Oilers struggles to start the year. They’re the worst team in the Western Conference and only the Buffalo Sabres are keeping them out of last place in the league.

After losing 5-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, coach Dallas Eakins gave an honest assessment of his team as John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal shared.

“We’ve got a group that’s hurting, they’re dying, they’ve lost their confidence,” Eakins said. “If you play scared in this league, you’re going to get killed.”

Getting drubbed by the Red Wings and getting just 14 shots on goal on home ice sure looks like a team getting killed.

The Oilers have a 3-10-2 record and are quickly drowning in a loaded Western Conference. In the Pacific Division alone they’re 10 points back of fifth place Los Angeles and 13 behind fourth place Vancouver and 15 points out of first place.

  1. joey4id - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Eakins needs to stop throwing his players under the bus. It’s ok to provide constructive criticism via the media when your team is not at the bottom of he league. He does nothing to elevate their confidence by going public. Just keep teaching the game. If the Roy and the Avs turned it around so can the Oilers if the environment is right.

    • 19to77 - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      “More than a man. More than a goaltender. More than a head coach. He is simply… The Roy.”

      I could get used to this.

    • c9castine - Nov 3, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      i think sometimes its ok to humiliate young teams. penguins went through it with therien, called them the worst defense in history to the local media. called out their toughness and loyalty to one another. things started looking up after that….

      • 19to77 - Nov 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Yeah, as soon as they fired Therrien. If I’m Dallas Eakins I’m not exactly loving that comparison.

      • joey4id - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM

        How long after that was Therrien fired?

  2. polegojim - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    I didn’t see ANY ‘fear’ from the Oilers during the game… IMO Eakins is deflecting responsibility and laying blame solely at the players skates.

    That’s a poor approach.

    Rather than ‘fear’… what I witnessed last night from the Oilers was uncertainty and hesitation… those are totally different issues and frankly places responsibility BACK on the shoulders of the coaching staff managing a young team.

    Yes, players need to execute, but they’re not ‘afraid’… they lack CONFIDENCE… and that is NOT just a product of being young.

    Eakens comments sound a lot like Joe Sacco about his previous ‘young’ Avs team… the SAME team that Patrick Roy and his staff have now FILLED with confidence, certainty, and success.

  3. stcrowe - Nov 3, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Dallas Eakins raises a valid point. Maybe they should have a coach to guide them out that mentality. Maybe that is the role of the coach. Maybe their current coach is failing miserably.

  4. 19to77 - Nov 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Another day, another Dallas-Eakins-criticizes-everyone-but-Dallas-Eakins postgame scrum. Seriously, one day it’s the players not showing enough drive. The next, they’re too scared. When are we allowed to start asking if their rookie NHL coach is in over his head?

  5. dueman - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Ya for sure, it’s all Eakins fault! lol! This team has been crap for five years now, and Eakins in the fourth coach in that time frame. All but one lasted only a season, and now you guys want Eakins gone after only 15 games. Too funny!

    I think that it’s time to admit that this team needs to make some personnel changes ON THE ICE! They are going to have to trade at least one of their six million dollar men, and acquire some quality defense, a goalie, and some veteran leadership, or they are in for another long season. No coach is going to fix what’s wrong with this team alone!

    • polegojim - Nov 4, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      That’s not the argument Duey… the argument is Eakins is showing no better traits nor leadership than his predecessors.

      But… since you brought up the point… what do you expect from a young team that has gone through 4,4,4 head coaches??? Who’s responsibility is that crap?

      Still a lot of hockey left to play… but look no further than Roy and Colorado to prove my point:
      1) Same situation – numerous head coaches, floundering kids
      2) Young team that everyone… including the previous HC was blaming… just like you are
      3) Regularly finishing near the bottom of the league
      4) Changed out GM to Sakic
      5) Changed out HC to Roy
      6) Same kids wearing the Avs Sweater, right?

      Don’t blame the team… ESP a YOUNG team… until they’ve been provided the leadership required to teach and coach them. The Oilers have failed WOEFULLY at that – and Eakins isn’t inspiring ANY confidence in hockey minded observers.

  6. lowenni - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Blow up the damn team…it’s clear the core they’re trying to build around isn’t working. They don’t have enough leadership, and they need to change their style. Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, and J. Schultz, should be untouchable…besides them, they need to trade some guys.

    • polegojim - Nov 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Lowenni… see my above comment to Duey.

      Leadership and Style are Coaching issues.

      Don’t blow up the team…yet… blow up the method and manner in which they’re choosing Coaches who are failing to recognize how to best USE their talent… via Style.

  7. tyler4richardson - Nov 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I blame the hockey gods. This is clearly their work.

  8. datsyukdominates - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    This is simply karma. Remember when the Oilers fired Ralph Krueger in the most unprofessional manner in the off season, via Skype, with no warning? I couldn’t be happier for Mactavish and the rest of the good ol’ boy network they have in Edmonton.

  9. crazemastercraze - Nov 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    It’s all about chemistry n ice hockey and there is none on this team. It’s like the saying goes “he played Kurri to his Gretzky”. And at some point you have to come to terms with that and look beyond some of the players draft selection spots and cut ties with them for the betterment of the team. Right now the oilers aren’t even stuck in neutral, the transmissions broken

    • polegojim - Nov 4, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Craze… but the SAME things were said in Colorado last year.

      Duchene… Stastny… etc… young kids not skating up to their potential… and were TRUE…

      But WHY??? See the Avs changes entering into this season and the result.

      Lowe and Mac have made POOR choices, just like Sherman, LaCroix Jr. and Sacco.
      Seriously – Howson as Sr.VP of Hockey Ops??? Yes, that 5 year stint in Columbus was wildly successful…. SHEESH…

      The Oilers have YET to get the right guy(s) in place… including those at the top.

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