Oilers dismiss head coach Woodcroft after poor start to season

The Edmonton Oilers have fired head coach Jay Woodcroft after the team’s 3-9-1 start to the season.

A 4-1 victory over the Kraken in Seattle on Saturday night was not enough to buy the 47-year-old more time.

Woodcroft departs with a 79-41-13 record as Oilers head coach, the fifth most wins in the NHL since he signed a three-year contract four months after Edmonton fired Dave Tippett.

The Oilers announced that Kris Knoblauch, of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, will assume head coaching duties with Edmonton and will be joined by assistant coach Paul Coffey.

In 2022, Woodcroft guided the club to the conference final before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.

Adam Zainul, an Oilers superfan, told CBC Edmonton that Woodcroft’s dismissal comes as a surprise considering the victory over the Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.

“If they lost [Saturday] I could kind of understand it,” Zainul said. “You do something good and you get punished. So it’s a confusing [decision].”

The Oilers have called a news conference for Sunday afternoon. Knoblauch and Coffey are expected to attend with general manager Ken Holland and Jeff Jackson, the team’s CEO of hockey operations. 

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