Meet your potential Jack Adams winner: Kris Knoblauch
The Edmonton Oilers made the inevitable coaching change this week and the stage is set for quite the turnaround narrative.
Hello and Happy Tuesday. Here is what is ahead today.
If I were a betting man I would put money on Kris Knoblauch being your 2023-24 Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year.
Some Jaromir Jagr memories as the Penguins prepare to retire his number.
The Edmonton Oilers made the first coaching change of the 2023-24 season this past week, firing Jay Woodcroft and replacing him with Kris Knoblauch.
Given the way Edmonton started, a coaching change seemed inevitable.
The Oilers are under immense pressure to win because, A) they should have a pretty good team, and B) they can not keep wasting the prime years and careers of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and not get them closer to a championship.
You can not fire 23 players a month into the season when things go wrong, so the coach is always going to be the first person to take the fall.
Woodcroft ended up being the sacrificial lamb, despite compiling a .643 winning percentage in the regular season and actually winning three playoff series in his first two years with the team.
As far as Oilers coaches are concerned, he has been by far the most successful of the bunch. Just for comparisons sake, in the 15 years before Woodcroft the Oilers had won just one playoff series under nine different coaches.
But that 3-9-1 start was just too much to overcome given the expectations.
The wild thing about all of this is, and for as much as I make fun of the Oilers and am critical of them, I am not really entirely sure what Woodcroft was doing wrong or what he could have done differently to produce different results.
Overall, I don’t think the Oilers were playing all that poorly. They were just getting crushed by the biggest coach killer of them all.
Specifically, the save percentages.
He ended up falling on the sword for it while Kris Knoblauch steps into a pretty good spot.
Let’s dig into it.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Adam's Sports Stuff to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.