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10-30-2013, 07:17 AM
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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.
Which structure? I'm still to see any kind of system play, the team looks different night after night, no consistency, still very unclear how he wants the team to play tactically. It's very messy. Against the Kings the team plays one way, against Leafs completely different. I think a team should be able to play different styles against different teams, but before you can do that you need to find a basic structure. For all his talk of identity he's so far completely failed at giving this team any shred of tactical identity.

I still think it's to early to judge Eakins, but one pre-season and 14 games in you'd expect at least some basic tactics to settle in. This is a really tough group of players to coach, they've proven as much before, but they can't be that difficult and still reach the NHL can they? He hasn't gotten the players to buy in one bit. Both him and the players so far are a lot of talk and nothing on the ice to back it up.

The team has had moments where they look better, where the forecheck works well, they play slightly more physical and generate shots(however a lot of them low quality in stressed situations) but still there is very little good play that comes out of structured defensive play, consistently good break outs and set offensive plays. Outside of the PP where they overpass the puck there are very few good passing plays in the offensive zone. We score on individual skill, lucky bounces and the occasional highlite reel play.

Also he's failed to recognize which players have chemistry and which don't. Or in some cases, Ebs and Perron, recognize it to then never play them together again.

The matching of lines is another thing. I get that your best players have to be able to play against the other teams best players, but if they do they have to learn how to do it. They have to be prepared how to handle them. If they can't, well then give them easier assignments until they can. It's really quite simple. This isn't the AHL where development is one of the main ingredients, this is the NHL where results is the be-all and end-all of everything.

He could really use a top notch tactical advisor by his side. So far Keith Acton has only managed to screw up our special teams and have every other commentator mentioning his son is also on the team. Buchy and Smith's additions to the team over the years obviously hasn't lead anywhere. And Chabot hasn't exactly provided top notch goaltending nor much development in the case of Dubnyk.

At the moment there's really no room for MacT to switch head coach, he's too invested. But considering two of our assistent coaches and our goalie coach has been here for a long while of losing he does have room to bring in a couple of new faces, preferably with some tactical sense, to at least do something to right this shipwreck. Eakins clearly needs help on the tactical side of things.

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