EDMONTON – League players Edmonton Oilers they are still in shock, a day after the team management’s decision on coach changes.
“I didn’t see anything,” said the captain Connor McDavid.
Last year’s Hart Trophy winner told reporters he learned via text message that head coach Jay Woodcroft and assistant Dave Manson had been fired Sunday morning, when the players were supposed to have the day off.
“I loved playing for Woody, I loved playing for Mans, two guys who are amazing coaches,” he said. I’m sure he’ll be back in the league very soon. »
Leon Draisaitl for his part, he points out that the players are responsible for such a decision by the management after a difficult start to the campaign.
“He hasn’t lost a single player in this dressing room. These are the players who are on the ice and we were always well prepared. It’s up to us if we want to be better,” said Draisaitl, who was limited to just one goal in the last 10 games.
“It’s not the start we wanted, but that depends only on the players. Days like this are hard because there is a lot of guilt. We have to move forward,” he added.
The morning warm-up at Rogers Place was the first to take place under new head coach Kris Knoblauch. The Oilers (3-9-1) will host the New York Islanders (5-5-3) on Monday night. The Isles have lost three in a row in regular time.
Knoblauch led the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Hartford Wolf Pack New York Rangers, before joining the Oilers. He previously resided in Edmonton, first as a player in the Western Major Junior Hockey League (WHL), then as a member of the University of Alberta Golden Bears.
The 45-year-old was an assistant coach for two seasons Philadelphia Flyersthen he managed the Rangers for eight games on an interim basis while the team’s coaching staff was sidelined due to health protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s quite different,” agreed Knoblauch. When I was the interim head coach in New York, it was fun. I didn’t feel any pressure; I was content to be there, behind the bench. It was exciting to be in the NHL. »
“Today is different. When you become the head coach here, then your opinions, your decisions are questioned, re-examined and obviously there is more pressure,” he added.