WATCH: Former Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins had a message for fans – “You need to be patient.”
EDMONTON- While the Edmonton Oilers are in Glendale, Arizona preparing to play their first game under interim coach and general manager Craig MacTavish Tuesday night, Dallas Eakins spoke to the media in Edmonton one day after getting fired as the organization’s head coach.
“It wasn’t my turn anymore,” Eakins said Tuesday morning, when telling the media about how he explained being fired to his six-year-old daughter.
When you’ve got a six and a three-year-old, what’s it about? It’s about, ‘hey, can you share that, it’s her turn, it’s her turn.’ I just sat her down and explained to her that, ‘ It’s somebody else’s turn.
“One of daddy’s friends gets to coach the team now.”
The former head coach was classy and gracious: thanking Edmontonians for their support, and the team for the chance to lead the team.
He also stressed the need for patience during re-building process, saying “there’s no quick fix in this game.” Eakins said the team is going to grow and mature, but unfortunately that takes time.
“This organization is where it’s at, ” stressed Eakins. “And all of this past, is it painful for those who have been through it? Absolutely. The fans of this organization, you’ve suffered greatly. But I’m going to tell ya – you need to be patient.”
He said general manager Craig MacTavish needs more time to sort out the team’s problems, and remains hopeful the team will break out of it’s current slump.
“I want nothing more than tonight for this thing to turn around,” said Eakins. “This team has been on the wrong side of so many one-goal games. I am still confident and hopeful that the pieces are in place, and once this lineup gets healthy it will turn and suddenly there will be 5, 6 games in a row where the Oilers are on the good side of it.”
Eakins finished the news conference by shaking the hands of each reporter in attendance.
He is the second NHL head coach to be fired this season after the Ottawa Senators dismissed Paul MacLean last week.
The Oilers have lost four in a row and 15 of their past 16 games overall. The team, with a 7-19-5 record, sits in last place in the NHL.
This was Eakin’s second season with the team, after being hired in June of 2013. He was the fifth coach in seven seasons for the Oilers, who have not made the playoffs since reaching the Stanley Cup final in 2006.
The Oilers finished with the third-fewest points in the NHL in 2013-14, with a record of 29-44-9 in the one full season under Eakins.