On Thursday morning, the Edmonton Oilers announced they fired head coach Dave Tippett after the Oilers lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Perhaps more damning was how they lost. Trailing 2-1 going into the third period, rather than running up the shots and pressing for the tying goal, they got out shot, out chanced, out scored and just overall dominated in the final period. This was after losing 4-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights the day before, a game in which Craig Button called the Oilers “pathetic in this game”.

Maybe because of defense like this.

The Oilers are now 7-14-3 since the start of December when their tailspin started, and fallen completely out of the playoffs in the worst division in the entire NHL by far. They are at 23-18-3 for the season, and their 49 points puts them 5 points back of the final wild card spot with an extra game played.

It’s been a bit of an 18 wheeler falling off the click-type tailspin. Something that seems both tragic but inevitable. Missing the playoffs again with McDavid and Draisaitl in their prime, in a weak division, is inexcusable but wholly believable considering how things seem to go for the Oilers.

How bad is it? Since the year 2000, the Oilers have had 10 coaches. That’s about one coach every 2ish seasons. Except the first coach in that span, Craig MacTavish, was the coach for 9 of those seasons. Since 2009, the Oilers are now on coach #9. That’s a coaching change every 1.5 seasons. Ryan Nugent Hopkins has had 8 coaches in his 11 year career. EIGHT!

  1. Craig MacTavish (2000/01 to 2008/09)
  2. Pat Quinn (2009/10)
  3. Tom Renney (2010/11 to 2022/12)
  4. Ralph Kruger (2012/13)
  5. Dallas Eakins (2013/14 to 2014/15)
  6. Todd Nelson (2014/15)
  7. Todd McLellan (2015/16 to 2018/19)
  8. Ken Hitchcock (2018/19)
  9. Dave Tippett (2019/20 to 2021/22)
  10. Jay Woodcroft (2021/22 — interim)

LOLOilers and all that, but it’s just kinda sad now. McDavid shouldn’t be missing the playoffs, and while I can easily see them rallying enough to at least squeak into the wild card... that’s damning with faint praise.

The sad part is that there are only two Canadian teams in a playoff spot as of writing this. The Leafs are pretty firmly in a playoff spot, and Calgary is holding onto the final playoff spot in the West. That’s it. Montreal has been the worst team in the league, Ottawa is the 5th worst team in the league, and Vancouver and Winnipeg have both made coaching changes while still sitting well back of the playoffs.

Go Leafs Go, I guess! Maybe Canada’s team for the whole playoffs at this rate!

Baby Leafs at the Olympics: Day One Recap | by brigstew, looking at the strong debut performances for each of the three Leafs’ prospects at their first game in the Olympics.

2022 Olympics: Potential NHL Free Agents to Watch in Group C | by TLN

Leafs Notebook: Justin Holl quietly stabilizing his game, Mitch Marner’s newfound goal-scoring confidence, and Kyle Dubas’ trade deadline priorities | by Anthony Petrielli

Mitch Marner could always score. What he’s unlocked is a new dimension that could help the Leafs when it matters | an optimistic take by The Athletic

Speaking of prospects...

Unfortunately, not all the news from yesterday concerning the Leafs’ prospects was good. We found out some more frustrating news about Rodion Amirov.

Jay Woodcroft takes over as Oilers head coach, replacing Dave Tippett | by Sportsnet

Brad Marchand should never have made fun of the Arizona Coyotes.

That could really suck for Boston, who may be without Patrice Bergeron due to injury at the same time.

Some big news out of Vancouver.