Hockey

Do the Oilers Need a Coaching Change?

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Edmonton Oilers head coach Dave Tippett has found himself in a tough situation with the Oilers group, but most importantly the fans of Oil Country have found themselves resorting to a “fire Tippett” chant. 

After losing his last eight games, Tippett finds himself on the hot seat, but questions arise, “Is it too early for a coaching change?” and “Who would replace him as head coach?”

Recently, the NHL witnessed a coaching change as the Vancouver Canucks brought in former Minnesota Wild, Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks head coach, Bruce Boudreau. The Canucks went 7-0-0 in their first seven games with him behind the bench, all because of a change of face from the previous coach, Travis Green. 

Questioning of Tippett as the Oilers head coach continues to increase, as he has won just a single playoff game out of eight played with the Edmonton club. As captain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enter their primes, the Oilers must enter a “win now” attitude. This may result in a coaching change and the addition of several players by the trade deadline on March 21st.

Fans want to see their team improve as all fan bases do. However, the Oilers have been lacking playoff success. In the 2016-17 campaign, the Oilers found themselves in defeated in game seven against the Ducks. The Oilers then went on to miss the postseason for two consecutive seasons as another coaching change was made when the organization hired Ken Hitchcock, which didn’t work out the way it was intended to. 

Was the Todd McLellan Firing a Mistake?

When Todd McLellan was released from his duties with the Edmonton Oilers, he would be grabbed up in the off-season later that year by the Los Angeles Kings who have seemed to increase and encourage their player development since his hiring. It was McLellan in the end that took the 2017 Oilers squad to the second round with the help of players like Cam Talbot, McDavid, Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, and Milan Lucic to name a few. It begs the question, was it a mistake to fire Todd McLellan? It’s hard to say but there’s a lot of evidence to support that statement.

The View of a Fan

From the view of a lot of Oilers fans, something needs to change. The roster has gone through several changes over the past few seasons, where the management still persists in finding strong chemistry for players like Draisaitl and McDavid. Fans want to see their team succeed, especially when the team has two of the greatest offensive talents of the decade. Fans want to see the team progress not only in the regular season, but the postseason as well. 

To many fans, it feels like the Oilers get coaches every few years on average. Is it truly a coaching problem, or is there more to it? The Oilers still lack forward depth, strong defensemen, and consistent goaltenders. The team has many holes to stitch up if it wants to be a championship contender, with the two superstars it has. 

What’s Next?

With a road trip taking place in the east, the Oilers look to get back in the win column after losses to the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers. After the next few games, the fanbase as well as the front office will get a better idea of what needs to change, and how soon it needs to be changed. 

With the two leading scorers in the league in Draisaitl and McDavid, the Oilers must figure out what to do to find the necessary improvement come the post-season in the spring. 

With potential changes to their general manager and coaches, the Oilers need to find who to keep behind the bench that will find them their much-wanted success in the post-season. As many players have said, “the playoffs are a different animal.” In order to take down that animal, it is on the coach to get his players motivated to reach their total victory. 

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