Your name is Dallas Eakins and 14 games into your NHL head coaching career your team appears to already have been eliminated from the playoffs as a result of the second-worst October in franchise history. Your name is Dallas Eakins and there are questions about how how a power-play unit could have gone from eighth last year to 24th, how penalty kill unit could have gone from ninth to 26th, how your five-on-five could have given up more goals than any other team in the league and if the so-called swarm defence is understood by any of your defencemen. Your name is Dallas Eakins and you’re on the hot seat with fans wanting to stick your feet in the fire. “I feel it. I understand it,” said the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers when your correspondent asked what it’s like to be in this sort of jackpot to begin a NHL head coaching career. “I have kids bugging my daughter at school. That’s not very much fun. “I’m walking my daughter to school yesterday and I have one kid yelling at everybody ‘There’s the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers!’ And my five-year-old daughter gets real excited because, ‘That’s my daddy.’ “And then I have another kid yelling, ‘You suck!’” “So, yes, that’s happening. But it’s going to go the other way, too. I’m OK with the fire right now. I’m not OK with our record. But I’m OK with the passion of our fans in the fire.” His daughter is OK with it, too. “She’s only five. I checked into it after to see if she even remembered it and she didn’t. We’ll cross our fingers to hope it doesn’t turn into something bigger.” Eakins said it’s not as if this is his first rodeo. “I’ve just come from Toronto. I’ve seen this before,” said the Maple Leafs assistant for two seasons who went on to coach the Toronto AHL farm club for four years. “I’ve seen every little bit of this. I’ve seen it for way longer than however many games its been since I’ve been here. I’ve taken good notes, believe me. “I understand the guy who yells out of his car at me when I’m at the gas station and he speeds away. And I understand people as they walk into a restaurant murmuring something under their breath. I’m OK with it. That’s the passion.
Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins hears the fans griping
Edmonton Sun | Nov 1