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BLOG: MacTavish on coaching

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

"I’m not naive enough to think there isn’t going to have to be personnel change here over time.”

In an address to the media, Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish admits that he sees personnel changes in the future, but one at head coach isn’t on his list.

“We could bring in a fifth coach to deliver the same message to this group,” MacTavish said. “The thing that gives me optimism is that I’m hearing the same messaging from the players that I haven’t heard in the last number of years. The players are holding themselves accountable. I think you have to credit the current coaching staff for that, in getting the message through.”

MacTavish says, despite the win-loss record, he sees the evolution of Head Coach Dallas Eakins and that the messaging is still on point.

“When we asked Dallas to commit to us 18 months ago, he had plenty of opportunity and for obvious reasons,” MacTavish said. “He’s a sharp guy and as a very sought after coach at the time. I’ve seen, I felt at that time, as I do now, that he is a good role model for our players. He’s a passionate guy about the game and he’s evolving as a coach. Your question is where he’s evolved and I think with the way he deals with this situation, I think with his resiliency as a coach, I think it’s no easy feat to have the record that we’ve had at this time and still, in my mind, have the support of the whole group in there.”

That being said, much like the rest of the organization, coaching will still be under observation as the Oilers continue to evaluate every aspect of the club’s operations in an attempt to turn the team’s fortunes around.

“Coaching is under scrutiny, make no mistake about that,” MacTavish said. “Coaching is under scrutiny but, in my mind to make a coaching change, we’ve changed assistant coaches, we’ve brought in co-coaches, former head coaches… Those coaches were all delivering the same message and we need a higher level of execution. I feel our team is evolving to a point where the expectation internally with our players is that they do have to execute at a higher level and that gives me optimism that this thing is going to move forward.”

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