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Oilers fire coach Ralph Krueger

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

The Edmonton Oilers have fired coach Ralph Krueger after one year. (USATSI)
The Edmonton Oilers have fired coach Ralph Krueger after one year. (USATSI)

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The Edmonton Oilers are going through yet another coaching change.

The team announced on Saturday afternoon that Ralph Krueger, after just one year on the job, has been relieved of his duties as coach.

Edmonton finished the 2013 season with a 19-22-7 record under Krueger and missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.

The team has made the playoffs just twice in the past 11 years.

No replacement has been named but early speculation has Dallas Eakins as the front-runner for the job. Eakins, 46, has been the head coach of the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, since 2009. He has been connected with several coaching vacancies around the league recently and was reportedly talking to Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill on Saturday regarding their opening.

Coaching changes have been a constant for the Oilers in recent years as Krueger's replacement will be the fifth coach since 2008-09, joining a list that includes current general manager Craig MacTavish, Pat Quinn, Tom Renney and Krueger.

The move is more than a little surprising since MacTavish refused to put blame for the Oilers' situation on Krueger and the coaching staff just two months ago.

"It would be assinine to think that the situation that we're in has anything to do with Ralph Krueger,” MacTavish told HNIC Radio, via CBC. “We have to take the responsibility ourselves as managers to get more out of the group we have. We have to add depth to the group we have. That's where my focus will be."

Obviously, something over the last two months changed.

Or perhaps the Oilers simply didn't want to miss the opportunity to hire Eakins before somebody else did.

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