Struggling Oilers fire head coach Eakins

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 15, 2014 12:53 PM

(Reuters) - The last place Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Dallas Eakins in the midst of a four-game losing skid, the National Hockey League team said on Monday.

General Manager Craig MacTavish will take over behind the bench while Todd Nelson, coach of the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, transitions into the role of interim coach.

"I had no real good reason to do this outside of performance," MacTavish told reporters. "That's what we're judged by, the performance of the hockey club and the record. I would point to those things solely."

MacTavish did not put a timeline on how long he will coach the team, saying only that he will hand over the team when Nelson is comfortable.

Eakins, 47, was in his second season with the Oilers and the team was tied for the worst record in the 30-team league after a 7-19-5 start to the 2014-15 campaign.

He was hired in 2013 to help turn around a team that has not made the playoffs since losing in the Stanley Cup final in 2006 but the Oilers finished with the league's third-worst record in his first year as an NHL coach.

Nelson, 45, has never coached at the NHL level and was in his fifth season with Oklahoma City.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes and Simon Evans)

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