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article imageEdmonton Oilers fire coach Dallas Eakins as club's loses mount

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 15, 2014 in Sports
After a 2-0 home-ice defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers last night, their 15th loss in 16 games, the Edmonton Oilers have finally pulled the plug on coach Dallas Eakins. The Oilers fired Eakins this morning, multiple reports say.
GM Craig McTavish will take over the coaching reins for now. He said his AHL coach, Todd Nelson, has been summonsed to be an assistant and further along this season will take over the head coaching role on an interim basis until the end of the campaign.
"I really feel the same way now as I did when I hired (Eakins)," MacTavish told media. "He's an excellent coach. I was happy with a lot of things. I had no real good reason to do this outside of performance. That's really the bottom line that we're all judged by, is the performance level of the hockey club and certainly the record. I would point to those things solely as the reason for this change."
Eakins took over the team from the fired Ralph Krueger, who was given just one 48-game season to coach the team, in the off-season of 2013. Last season Eakins took the team from their 24th place finish in Krueger's one season, to 28th place, ending with a 29-44-9 record.
This season it has been worse, though they regrouped after a poor start and at one point boasted a record of 4-4-1 and a four-game win streak, heady numbers for a team that has struggled for years and not reached the playoffs since 2007.
They sit last in the Western Conference and last in the NHL.
Eakins, 47, a former journeyman NHL player, was afforded almost savior status when he was hired away from the Toronto Maple Leafs system, where he'd coached the Toronto Marlies of the AHL for four seasons after two seasons as an assistant coach of the Leafs.
He was reportedly sought by many NHL teams the summer that the Oilers hired them. At the time he interviewed for Edmonton, the Oilers said that he was only being sought as an assistant to Krueger.
But the Oilers said they were so impressed with Eakins they hired him as their head coach and fired Krueger, who still had two years left on his contract. Eakins now also has two years, plus the rest of this one, left on his contract.
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