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Report: Oilers to name Eakins as coach

The SportsXchange

The Edmonton Oilers apparently are moving quickly to hire a new coach.

One day after announcing that the team had fired Ralph Krueger, reports indicated Sunday that Dallas Eakins would be hired to fill the vacancy.

Eakins is the coach of the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey Association. He also is considered a candidate for coaching jobs with the Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars and New York Rangers.

Krueger lost his job after one season, reportedly informed of the decision via Skype. The Oilers were 11-22-7 in 2012, finishing third in the Northwest Division and 12th in the Western Conference. Edmonton has not made the playoffs since it reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.

"This was about me making a decision where I thought this was the best decision for the betterment of the club," Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said Saturday after letting Krueger go. "We're very close with a coaching candidate, but at this point we haven't formalized the deal."

Eakins would be Edmonton's fourth coach since 2009. MacTavish coached the Oilers from 2000 until 2009. He led the Marlies, who are the Maple Leafs' top minor-league team, to the Calder Cup finals last year. Before that, he was an assistant with the Maple Leafs from 2006 to 2008.

Krueger had served as the Oilers' associate coach for two sesons before he was elevated to head-coaching post last June.

"Ralph and I at the end of the year spent the better part of a week discussing that we would add a veteran assistant coach or associate coach," MacTavish said. "During the process of me conducting those interviews, I recognized I was trying to add a coach that was more closely aligned with the way I wanted to run the team and less about supporting Ralph in the head-coaching role. It was at that point when I contemplated making the change if, in my opinion, I found the ideal fit for our hockey club."
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