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Oilers Fire Woodcroft - Knoblach Reportedly Next Coach AND PAUL COFFEY

November 12, 2023, 5:45 PM ET [37 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Many were expecting to see the announcement of Woodcroft being fired after the Oilers lost to the sharks and were 2-9-1 on the season. A convincing win against Seattle made the fanbase hopeful that things could settle down but it appears the damage was done. Jay Woodcroft is out as the Oilers head coach. Woodcroft has the highest winning percentage of any Oilers coach in history and brought the team to the second round last season and the Western Conference Finals in 21/22.

You can't fire 23 players (21 in the Oilers cap hell situation) so the coach has to take the bullet for the team. There are things I didn't like about his coaching style but it wasn't on him that his goalies couldn't make a save or that players just left their opponent wide open in the slot or that while the team consistently was outshooting their opponent, they couldn't buy a goal.

The Oilers this season had the highest xGF% and the most scoring chances in the league... the actual goals just were not reflecting that. Some of that is puck luck, goalies playing well, and the players just not getting in the right spot to cash in... none of that I find can be pinned on the coaches. Last night against Seattle, we saw things go the other way and the same scoring chances being stopped by Skinner and the puck actually going in the net for the Oilers.

So far the fanbase seems fairly unanimous in their support for Woodcroft and I cannot remember the last time I saw a coach fired anywhere where the fans felt like that. Woodcroft deserved far better and his team should be ashamed they let him down this way.


Reports are already in that the Oilers do have a replacement, Kris Knoblauch, an AHL coach for the Hartford Wolf Pack. Knoblauch has served as head coach of the Wolf Pack since 2019 and had some solid success with that team. He technically has been an NHL head coach as he served as the Rangers coach in 2021 when David Quinn and his staff were placed in COVID protocol. The Rangers went 4-2 under Knoblauch.

The Oilers connection in all of this is Knoblauch was the coach of the Eerie Otters of the OHL from 2012-2017 and was McDavid's coach during that time.

I don't have much info on Knoblauch right now but the general reception is that he is an excellent coach and is deserving of being an NHL head coach. If this is one more attempt to keep McDavid than my eyes are rolling a bit but the actual numbers make me like this as an alternative (even though I like Woodcroft more).


Literally as I was writing about Knoblauch, I saw the second piece of news. Paul Coffey is being brought in as the new assistant coach.... WHAT?!

Coffey has ZERO coaching experience aside from coaching a AAA midget team in February 2014.... In that game, Coffey was assessed a grosss misconduct penalty for using a "discriminatory slur" and was given a 3 game suspension.

This is the Oilers of old, bringing in ex players who won back in the 80's under the belief that will impact the game in 2023. Knoblauch strikes me as something that Jeff Jackson would do but Paul Coffey has Ken Holland's greasy fingers all over it.

That's all for now, I will likely update this later.
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