Dallas Eakins said he learned from mistakes made during his first NHL coaching career and was excited about the future of the Anaheim Ducks.
“It was a difficult place to go. There were a number of challenges, ”Eakins told KLAA 830 Thursday. “Instead of coming in and planting seeds, I came in with a torch and burned the place down. In the end, what was accomplished was me and there was. There is never, never us.
“I would like to go back and start again. Interestingly, it was not something I had never done before like what I had done in Toronto (of the 2009-13 American Hockey League) and places like that. It was always a kind of “we, we, we” culture. My process of thinking about this other job was just getting into it and doing it right away and waking up this room and the organization right away, and that was a bad plan. And so it brought us here and we came back to “we, we, we”, and that’s why I can’t wait to get ahead here. “
After being fired by the Oilers, Eakins returned to the AHL and coached the Ducks’ affiliate in San Diego for four seasons. He went 154-95-23 and San Diego qualified three times for the Calder Cup playoffs.
Eakins was hired as an Anaheim coach on June 17, 2019. The Ducks were 29-33-9 when the NHL season ended March 12 due to concerns about the coronavirus. They follow the Nashville Predators and the Vancouver Canucks by 11 points for the second wild card in the Western Conference Stanley Cup playoffs.
“In a nutshell, I thought it was good,” said Eakins. “But my competitive side, even if you understand that you are a team in transition and that you think you know when you will enter a season where you are probably going to finish, your competitive side is always when you go there every night, you expect to win.
“I thought it was good that we have our young guys who are going to be the key to getting us moving in the future, I thought they had very good representatives. I thought a number of them learned great lessons, a few became much, much better. And then the core of our team, I thought they were playing well; the Cam Fowlers, the [Jakob] Silfverbergs, kind of this group. “
Between veterans like Fowler, Silfverberg, defender Hampus Lindholm and center Ryan Getzlafand younger players, including forwards Max Jones (21) and Sam Steel (21) and the 22-year-old defenseman Jacob Larsson, Eakins said he was confident the Ducks have the talent and the culture he helps create to fight.
“The only thing I have learned for sure is that I cannot underestimate the great men we have in this room,” said Eakins. “This locker room was tight. They even stayed streamlined when the coach may not have been so consistent some nights. I really believe they really loved each other, and that’s what you need when you’re trying to build a new culture. and a new dynamic in the room.
“I thought we were doing well on the ice, but I thought that in this locker room – and that has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with our management group and our players who are in the room – but this locker the room is very, very solid, and I’m delighted. ”