Anton Belov is the first Oiler to speak (kind of) publicly in a negative way about Dallas Eakins and his coaching with the Oilers. It’s important to look at this in context, so let’s do that now.
There are several ways to get better performance, and one of them is confrontation. It isn’t for everyone, and there’s a long list of men who failed doing it this way, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to point at Dallas Eakins STYLE as being the problem. There ARE things we can blame him for:
- the Swarm, despite getting better shot differentials, gave opponents great scoring chances.
- he’s stubborn on all kinds of things. He rode Nuge to the point where the kid lost effectiveness for a long stretch, he refused to put Arcobello back at 2line C when Gagner was clearly unready, and I do think he contributed to Smid’s departure by moving him down the depth chart.
- the kids did not improve on their past established levels.
- the team did not improve from beginning the end.
- stubbornly continued a power-play plan that was very poor in terms of results.
That’s a lot, actually. I don’t think ‘demanding’ and ‘in your face’ are issues we should acknowledge. It’s also important to remember the value of consistency. Eakins is coming back, we know from MacT’s words and those of Taylor Hall last week.
My big concern? Roster makeup. Eakins came in and announced his presence with authority, received push back, and those issues are (hopefully) over. A huge concern involves what the team will look like in the fall.
THE CONVERSATION IN THE COACH’S ROOM
- Eakins on having a hammer: “I can easily stand here and argue “Yes, we need that.” We’ve got a guy back there that’s more than willing to fill the role with Mark Fraser and, uh, one side of me says “absolutely, we need the toughness up front, we need it on our back end.”
- Final portion: “But, Mark [Spector], I… and that’s the honest to God’s truth, there’s one side of me that says: “Yes, we need to old school it and we’ve got to have those guys.” And, then there’s another side of me looking at how teams are, some other teams are building and… I’m not sure.”
Today, we’re going to read a lot about Belov’s comments and what they mean. A far more productive subject: how many Fraser’s and Gazdic will be on the roster opening night?
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Back on the radio with the Lowdown at 10, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. Terrific start to the NHL playoffs, what series is the biggest surprise?
- Travis Yost, Hockeybuzz. The Senators offseason may be more about money than getting better.
- Kirk Luedeke, Red Line Report. We’ll talk college and USHL kids at the top of the draft (Tuch, Demko).
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. Best goalies in the draft, Draisaitl’s progress this spring.
10-1260 text or @Lowetide_ on twitter.