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December 12, 2013 | 10:38am ET
Coach Eakins changes approach
TheFourthPeriod.com

As the Oilers regain confidence and win more hockey games than they lose, head coach Dallas Eakins has realized that his originally coaching method wasn't working.

According to the Edmonton Sun, Eakins admitted Wednesday he's now coaching the team he has, as opposed to coaching the team he wants it to become.

The Oilers started the season 4-15-2, but have since gone 7-3-1 since Eakins changed his tune.

"Well, yeah. I came in(to the season) and I had a way that I thought this team was going to play. 'This is how we're going to play.' I thought it was important to stick with that," Eakins told the Sun.

"But then, when you get to learn your personnel a little bit better, you can do one of two things as a coach. You can dig your heels in and say 'We're going to play this way!'

"But if your group isn't suited to play that way, I think that's pretty damn stupid of the coach. You have to adapt and go 'You know what? Maybe this way is a little bit better for the group.' And as we progress and as we get a stronger group, then maybe you can go back to how you really envision your team.

Eakins doesn't like to make excuses, but he did reveal that the first part of the season was certainly filled with them.

"When we were going through it, I wouldn't dare say it. But now looking back, I can say it," he admitted.

"We had a new system in place. We had some players struggling defensively. We got loaded with injuries. We had a terrible travel schedule.

"It was like a perfect storm -- a perfect storm in a very bad way. I mean, we couldn't recover. We just couldn't find a way to get out of it. And now with the better play, our goaltending has been good and our guys are a little bit more comfortable in our system.

"If I could put it on one thing, I'd tell you. But I think it's just a whole bunch of things. We're healthy. We're a little more comfortable in our skin. We've had some success, which breeds success."

As the Oilers continue to get better on the ice, GM Craig MacTavish remains focused on trying to help them out from his office.

The Oilers are still searching for a top-three defenseman and a gritty, two-way forward who can handle defensive responsibilities.


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