A scant 18 hours after being relieved of his duties as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Eakins addressed reporters Tuesday and discussed his time with the club.
He began by thanking the people of Edmonton, saying the city has been a great place to live and that he and his family plan on remaining there until the next coaching opportunity arises.
He also offered a message to the fans, saying, like it or not, they need to be patient with the organization's perpetual rebuild.
"This organization is where it's at. The situation is the situation," he said. "The fans of this organization have suffered greatly, but if anyone's going to find a solution, it's (general manager) Craig MacTavish. I know that for sure. His commitment to this organization. His pain that he goes through every day. Looking. Trying to make this organization better. He will get it done. He will. I know he will."
In terms of takeaways from his tenure behind the bench, Eakins once again pointed to patience.
"When I came in here, my long-term goal was to be a winner by the time the team got into the new building (three years), he said." At the same time, he admitted to coaching the team to win in the present, and may have moved too quickly in terms of crafting a system when he should have focused more on the fundamentals.
He did say he had no qualms about how things went down in Edmonton - stating he had a 100 percent "fair shake" - nor does he hold any ill will towards management or players.
"We did the best we could with the players available," he stated.
Eakins added the club used analytics to measure where their scoring chances are coming from, saying they're doing good in that area compared to other teams. What they lack, however, is the effort from others to get in there for the second and third chances.
"My experience has been a short one with Taylor, but what I see from this young man is an amazing amount of growth in a year," said Eakins. "He's going to turn into a great, great hockey player."
He further stated that it's easy to forget how young the team's core group of players is, once again preaching patience.
Still, for a club that hasn't qualified for the playoffs since 2006 and finds itself once again in last place, the patience message is falling on deaf and understandlably frustrated ears.