The Edmonton Oilers have been a team surrounded by controversy for the last couple of years. It came to a head in November when then-general manager Peter Chiarelli fired head coach Todd McLellan and replaced him with retired head coach Ken Hitchcock. Then in January, the team opted to fire Chiarelli with the intention of making wholesale changes.
Hitchcock, who retired at the end of the 2017-18 season after coaching Dallas for one season, was the perfect experienced coach to put a fire under a struggling Edmonton franchise. Hitchcock had 823 wins as a head coach, eight divisional titles and one Stanley Cup championship, which he won in his first stint in Dallas back in the 1998-99 season. If anyone could help Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl back to the playoffs, Hitchcock would be the guy. It looked like the answer at first as Hitchcock led the team to a 7-2-1 record to start his tenure. Despite that start, however, the team has struggled since then, often frustrating Hitchcock and the team has gone 24-24-7, so far during his tenure.
However, when pressed by the media about whether he wanted to return next season, Hitchcock responded by saying that he did, “For the record, I feel if I’m good I can coach until I’m 99,” Hitchcock said. While Edmonton will also be looking for a new general manager, the question is whether Hitchcock, who has had a history of wearing out his welcome with younger players, is the right coach to return to coach the Oilers next season. Many could easily site the fact that the team’s roster isn’t acceptable in its current state and an offseason of turnover could do Hitchcock, who favors defense more than anything, quite a bit of good.
So should Hitchcock get another year to coach the Edmonton Oilers?
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