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BLOG: Decision behind coaching change

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

With the Oilers entering the week 30th in the league standings with 19 points, the organization decided to make a change at head coach. The Oilers announced that they have relieved Dallas Eakins of his duties and General Manager Craig MacTavish will take over temporarily before handing the reins to Interim Coach Todd Nelson.

The decision to make the change was strictly based on team performance and the lack of wins, according to MacTavish.

“I really feel the same way now as I did when I hired him,” MacTavish said. “He’s an excellent coach. I was happy with a lot of things. I had no real good reason to do this, outside of performance and that’s really the bottom line that we’re all judged by — the performance level of the hockey club and certainly the record. I would point to those things solely as the reason for this change.”

The Oilers, 7-19-5, have lost four-straight games and the growing number of losses sparked the decision.

“It’s just the compounding of the losses and the losses have an emotional toll on everybody in the organization, at least they should and in particular the coaching staff,” MacTavish said. “I think that the fact that we weren’t able to get any traction at all after that just led me to believe that the timing was right for a coaching change now.”

MacTavish also says that this decision to make the change was his, after careful consultation with senior management.

“I have complete autonomy with the hockey club. Obviously, there have been internal discussions between Bob (Nicholson) and myself, but the decision was solely mine. I made the decision based on what I thought was appropriate for the team.”

After the transition, Nelson will coach the team on an interim basis until the end of the season.

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