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article imageOp-Ed: Memo to Edmonton Oilers: To land Connor McDavid don't fire coach

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 2, 2014 in Sports
The Edmonton Oilers have not excelled on the ice for eons but have in the NHL entry draft. Now I used this space recently to say they should fire coach Dallas Eakins and improve on the ice but I've had second thoughts. They should stick with the draft
Here's why: After thier 5-2 home-ice loss against the not-so-good Arizona Coyotes Monday the Oilers are up to double digits in consecutive losses. Losing 10 straight has to hurt and, along with the fact their defence is getting worse, it's an indicator the season is basically over. I mean with a record of 6-15-4, twelve points out of a playoff spot, they have as much chance of turning it around as Justin Bieber has of behaving himself.
So perhaps the strategy of firing the coach isn't so wise. If Edmonton is not going to make the playoffs in any case what's the point? Because if you fire the coach (and pay him for doing nothing for 2 and-a-half years) the team is certain to improve but with no chance of getting to the playoffs, improving really only means one thing.
You miss out on Connor McDavid.
Which gets us back to the one place Edmonton is excelling, in the NHL entry draft. They've grabbed flashy talent in recent years, thanks to their poor finishing in the standings, including Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov (Jordan Eberle was a late-first found pick).
You get another offensive wizard like McDavid, who is very much the real deal (the next Great One, the next Sid the Kid, you get the picture) and you won't need a stellar defence.
Dallas Eakins: Lacks defense
Of course even with talent up front they'll still need to teach young players defence. And that is something that Eakins seems incapable of doing. The Oilers don't seem interested in defence under him. But in his one 48-game season as coach, Ralph Krueger had the team finish ahead of 11 NHL teams in goals against. It has been downhill since and they are now last in the league in goals against.
Most coaches, and you've all heard this before, will tell you it is defence that you can teach, but scoring is something less tangible and much harder to boil down to diagrams and drills. But the Oilers are getting worse defensively and the aggressive style of play that Eakins preaches is not what this team needs.
Which, given they would love to have McDavid, is another way of saying that, right now, it is exactly what this team needs. In order to keep losing they need a system they are incapable of embracing, taught to them by a coach that should be fired. Next year.
By all means improve - just wait until the draft to do it.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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