Edmonton Oilers hockey coach Ralph Krueger was fired Saturday via Skype by the team’s general manager. Dallas Eakins will replace him as the team’s new coach.
Krueger told TSN that the Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish requested that he accept him on Skype so they could talk
. MacTavish was in North America, while Krueger was in Switzerland at the time. In a relatively short conversation, Krueger went from being an Oiler to being outside the organization.
Krueger, who took over from Tom Raney, said the firing was unexpected. He had been an assistant coach for the team since 2010.
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“I believed very quickly in my mind that it wasn’t worth burning any brain cells thinking about why. I could feel the decision was final, and so it wasn’t necessary for me to really understand it,” Krueger said. On Sunday, he told media that the loss was still sinking in.
The Oilers went 19-22-7 in 2013, missing the playoffs for the seventh season. At a media conference, MacTavish said he had been working with Krueger to hire an assistant coach when MacTavish realized he was more concerned with adding a coach that aligned with the way he wanted to run the team than with supporting Krueger.
“Philosophically, I differ somewhat with Ralph, and it doesn’t mean my strategy is right or Ralph's strategy is right
,” MacTavish said in the USA Today article. “But I'm the general manager, and it's my job and my decision to make. That's why I've made that decision.”
TSN said Eakins will be the fourth coach in the past five seasons.
Eakins comes to the Oilers after four years with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, which went to the Calder Cup final in 2012 before losing to Norfolk.
Eakins takes over a team with a young roster, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Taylor Hall. Before the Monday announcement that he’d coach the Oilers, the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks were showing an interest in Eakins.
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