Since the 2008-09 season, when Craig MacTavish was relieved of his head coaching duties after an eight year stint, the Edmonton Oilers have had seven different head coaches. You heard me, folks: seven. If we’re keeping count, that’s a few shy of one coach per year.
I’m an Oilers fan. To the bitter end, I will support them. And because I’m an Oilers fan, I know that the end is often bitter. In 2006, at the tender age of seven, I cried when the Oilers lost their dramatic and premonitory seventh game. In 2017, now 18 years old, my heart broke with the rest of the fanbase as the broken 11-year curse resulted in nothing more than a second round loss.
My point is, I’ve been through it with these boys. The Oilers are possibly the hardest team to remain loyal to, because most of the time — let’s face it — they suck. But nonetheless, I have. I continue to buy their merchandise and support them every season to no avail. I’ve referred to Connor McDavid as a deity in casual conversation, to the chagrin of my Habs-loving friend, who personally worships Carey Price. However, I simply cannot support their inscrutable desire to change direction every five minutes.
I understand that a new head coach once in a while is a good way to freshen up a team, liven their spirits, and maybe even introduce new strategy for them to win with. I really get it. But seven? In ten years? Come on. Clearly, leadership isn’t the problem. Or maybe it is, but no one put in the role seems to be able to figure out what’s wrong with the way they play. Good players and good strategy should equal a great team, but for some reason it just won’t click for the Oilers.
It’s been 26 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup, and 29 since the Oilers did. I think I speak for all fans when I say we’re fed up, and it’s clear that management change-ups aren’t working. It’s time to try something new; maybe keep Dave Tippett, the latest pre-casualty in a long line of head coaches, for longer than the time it takes him to drive into work.