The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Dallas Eakins.
The decision came following Sunday night’s loss to the New York Rangers in which the Oilers were shut-out 2-0.
The loss moved Edmonton’s record in their past 16 games to 1-11-4.
The Oilers currently sit in last place in the Western Conference with a 7-19-5 record, good for a mere 19 points.
Eakins, who was in his second year as head coach of the Oilers, led Edmonton to a combined record of 36-63-14 in 113 games behind the bench. The Oilers were an NHL worst 3.27 goals against per game since Eakins was hired for the 2013-14 season.
Craig MacTavish will take over behind the bench during what is considered to be an interim, transitional position. Following MacTavish’s brief period behind the bench, current head coach of the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons Todd Nelson will take over as the full time head coach before the end of the season.
This decision can only be seen as yet another step in the wrong direction for the consistently struggling Oilers. All though many, including Oilers players, called for Eakins not to be fired, insisting the Oilers struggles were strictly based on the players poor play, Eakins was let go. The firing marks the fifth coaching change in the past seven seasons for the Oilers, who have failed to reach the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
At the end of the day, Eakins’ .381 points percentage was the worst among all Oilers coaches with over 100 games behind the bench, clearly not good enough to warrant an NHL coaching job. Ultimately, a rookie NHL coach leading a youth laden team was not a successful combination for the Oilers, who have to hope that this move finally sparks change in the Edmonton organization.