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10-30-2013, 06:32 AM
Tarus's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Edmonton
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by Hockey Buddha View Post
Yes, Eakins has a lot to prove at this level, but I don't perceive him to be making rookie mistakes; I think that he is showing great leadership, actually. He is implementing a long-term structure for success that takes primacy over short-term results. That is not something that is easy to do. It takes an incredible resolve.

Our most talented players are having more demanded from them by Eakins than from any other coach. Our talented core is still very young compared to those on the number one lines on other teams. Their development is being fast-tracked by Eakins. Our most talented players will adapt, but it takes time.

Eakins is a good coach, with a solid track record, who has a genuine vision for this team that he intends to realize. One of the most difficult things that he is implementing is he is forcing his most talented players into situations that they haven't yet been placed in or adapted to, and he's forcing them to take on considerable more minutes. He's forcing them to adapt to a new workload. Each of these demands puts them in a situation that they are challenged to adapt to in order to meet. It simultaneously speeds up their development and makes the better players. Previous Oiler coaches relied on their veterans more. Eakins is not doing that. He's relying on his best players to take those minutes. They will be better off for it, and so will the team.

Eakins is approaching games with the long-term benefit of the team in mind, which means some short-term pain for fans and the team. He is engaging his players in a painful process that will have them achieving considerable success in the shortest route possible, but it involves considerable growing pains.

The team is responding to Eakins and will get there. He has not lost the room; the players are responding, but the results aren't there yet. Eakins has had 14 games to implement his radically new structure. It is going to take some time to achieve success, but success will come from it. The players will rise to the occasion.
There is nothing even remotely "long game" about what Eakins is doing.

Sending out twenty year old players to get rag-dolled by star level NHL opponents teaches them nothing, it's setting them up for failure pure and simple. The reason why past coaches relied on vets more than the kids in those situations is because sheltering them from matchups they have no chance of being successful against is better for both the players and the team. It would have been successful too, except for the fact that Oilers management is unwilling and/or incapable of acquiring vets who don't get killed playing those sheltering defensive roles.

Nor is Eakins showing great leadership by utilizing his honeymoon period as a new coach to push players to play his ineffective AHL-level pet system. He's got buy-in from the players, but they are getting absolutely shredded - it's negative reinforcement of the very worst kind.

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