Fans in Edmonton won’t be shocked to hear the news on Tuesday that head coach Todd McLellan was relieved of his coaching duties in Edmonton. They might be shocked to hear he was replaced with veteran coach, and retired bench boss Ken Hitchcock.
Hitchcock was working as a consultant for the Dallas Stars, and will hop onto a plane and join the Oilers who have a game tonight versus the San Jose Sharks. McLellan is now out on his keester with a 9-10-1 record and six losses in their last seven games.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 20, 2018
The firing was first confirmed by the Edmonton Oilers on the Oilers official website:
“The Edmonton Oilers have named Ken Hitchcock their new Head Coach after relieving Todd McLellan of his coaching duties earlier this morning. Hitchcock, 66, will join the Oilers, after having served as a Head Coach with Dallas twice (1995-2002, 2017-18), Philadelphia (2002-2006), Columbus (2006-2010) and St. Louis (2011-2017).
Reaction to the firing and hiring on social media has been mixed. Many fans were calling for McLellan’s head since the team was struggling so badly. Those same people might be regretting doing so considering the coach Edmonton has hired hasn’t been behind the bench of a team for some time and considered a dry, take-the-offense-out-of-the-game coach. He’s good with his X’s and O’s, but he might not make for the best leader of a talent like Connor McDavid.
If there’s one thing that’s clear, however, Hitchcock is a coach with a ton of wins on his resume. That has to count for something.
Hitchcock is a native of Edmonton, AB, and the third-winningest coach in NHL history with a total of 823 victories. He might be just a short-term fix for the Oilers, who if they miss the playoffs, will likely fire the GM, the coaches and bring in a whole new staff.
Hitchcock will be the head coach for the remainder of this season. Agreement to reevaluate future at season's end.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) November 20, 2018
Had the Oilers last two games not gone the way they’d gone McLellan might still be the coach in Edmonton. But, four unanswered goals in the third period of the game against Calgary and a 6-3 beating at the hands of the Golden Knights was enough to show management that something needed to change.