Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/1/13
First-year head coach Dallas Eakins trots through life to his own double-time cadence and carrying his own clean slate which is precisely how the Oilers want it. This being Edmonton a sort of hockey Brigadoon where the 1980s glory days live forever Oilers Standard Time can take over which is understandable. On Monday for example while the all-business Eakins put his club through its final full practice before Tuesday’s home opener there were his bosses GM Craig MacTavish and president Kevin Lowe watching from the stands alongside Mark Messier. It’s one thing — and an astute move at that — for Eakins to move photos of the ’80s icons out of the team’s locker-room and onto the Rexall Place concourse to redecorate the locker-room walls with images of the players of today. But when yesterday’s heroes often populate the halls when two of them remain key club executives you wonder how completely Eakins or any head coach can or will install a new mentality. Messier as Jim Matheson writes about elsewhere in this section gave his seal of approval to the choice of veteran defenceman but first-year Oiler Andrew Ference as team captain. On the ‘clean slate’ front though the 46-year-old Eakins already has won some players over Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky at the head of that list. The two veteran wingers with left winger-turned centre Taylor Hall arguably form the Oilers top line making them Exhibits A and B that Eakins is true to his word about evaluating players on performance in the here and now not on past performance or reputation.
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