Eakins was in his second season as head coach of the Oilers. In total, he coached 113 games and accumulated a record of 36-63-14. He has the remainder of this season and two more seasons remaining on his contract. Dreger reports that general manager Craig MacTavish is expected to take over as interim head coach.
The decision to fire Eakins will be a controversial one, given the Oilers' extended series of failures and a revolving door of coaching hires over the last several years. Since 2009, the Oilers have had five coaches and only Tom Renney (2010-12) and Eakins (2013-14) were afforded more than a single season. The last coach to have an extended term was MacTavish.
Of course, the issue with the Oilers is deep-seated in the team's futility. The club hasn't made the playoffs since 2006 and has been in an extended rebuild that has never gotten off the ground. Despite the fortune of several high draft picks, including three consecutive No. 1 overall selections from 2010-12, the team still sits at the bottom of the NHL standings.
As of Monday, the Oilers are in last place with 19 points.
MacTavish taking over as interim coach will not go over well. Considering many blame management for the team's ineptitude, sticking MacTavish behind the bench will only infuriate fans and critics further. Kevin Lowe, the team's president of hockey operations, and MacTavish are labeled as the architects of this sinking ship. With many calling for their removal from the process, giving MacTavish more power is going to result in some intriguing criticism of a truly astonishing situation that has developed in Edmonton over the years.