Confirming MacTavish returns to bench on interim basis. Replacing Eakins who was fired this morning.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) December 15, 2014
So according to Darren Dreger it's finally happened, Dallas Eakins has been shown the door. Taking over for Eakins will be the man who fired him, and the man who coached the Oilers from 2000-2009, Craig MacTavish.
I've written before that I don't blame Eakins for all that's wrong with the Oilers this season but the reality of the situation is that the Oilers have again been a massive disappointment this season with losses in 15 of their last 16. Hockey is a results driven business and for Eakins the results simply haven't been there. Eakins might not be the person I blame the most for this season, but looking at his record it's hard to argue that he's doing anything that would justify his keeping his job.
If MacTavish is in fact the man taking over behind the bench it'll be a move viewed by many as more of the same. And it is, but it is also the right decision. The Oilers are a mess right now, and as much as we all want change, dropping a new coach into this situation wouldn't make a lot of sense. MacTavish can adequately fill the role of coach in the interim, he can get a different perspective on what this team needs, and then can complete a lengthy search for a new coach starting in the spring.
This firing won't satisfy the majority of fans because it addresses just one of the many things that are wrong with this team. But a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The #Oilers have relieved Dallas Eakins of his head coaching duties. GM Craig MacTavish will address the media at 11:45am MT.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 15, 2014
So about that search for a new coach:
MacTavish will be "transitioning the coaching responsibilities" to Todd Nelson, who will take over as #Oilers HC this season.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 15, 2014
As I said above, I'd have been happy to see MacTavish spend the rest of the season behind the bench, unfortunately that's not going to happen though. Ideally the decision to transition Todd Nelson into the head coaching role is nothing more than a half season tryout for the former Barons bench boss, a move that will also allow MacTavish to focus solely on his duties as GM, and the club will still evaluate every available coaching option at the end of the season. As much as I want that to happen, I fear that the Oilers will win a few games down the stretch and Nelson will become the next coach by default and not on merit. Fingers crossed that this team proves me wrong.