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Knoblauch receives workmanlike efficiency in debut as Oilers coach

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers had a shock for Kris Knoblauch following his first win as an NHL head coach Monday.

“After the sport they did one thing actually particular — they’d a video on the TV, they offered the puck they usually had my spouse on the TV, simply saying a number of phrases, and that was very good of them to do,” Knoblauch mentioned after a 4-1 victory in opposition to the New York Islanders at Rogers Place. “Normally I’m going in [the dressing room] after a win and say a number of phrases, and I stroll proper out they usually mentioned, ‘No, you’re not going anyplace,’ they usually offered me the puck.

“I used to be in the course of the room, they usually turned me round and I noticed my spouse on the display. My children weren’t there, they had been already in mattress, it’s a two-hour (time) distinction, they usually simply organized it with three minutes left within the recreation and made it work.”

Knoblauch’s spouse, Autumn, and kids are again in Hartford, Connecticut, the place he coached the New York Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate earlier than being employed by the Oilers.

On Monday morning, Knoblauch’s voice cracked whereas speaking in regards to the individuals who helped attain the NHL as a coach, a profession that started as an assistant with Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07.

“First, it’s my spouse,” Knoblauch mentioned. “I’m just a bit emotional leaving my household to get right here and being right here.”

Knoblauch changed Jay Woodcroft on Sunday and met his gamers in particular person for the primary time Monday. He noticed one acquainted face; Knoblauch coached Edmonton captain Connor McDavid when the 2 had been collectively at Erie of the Ontario Hockey League from 2012-15.

The Oilers’ new coach obtained a affected person, workmanlike efficiency in opposition to the Islanders. He additionally bought a very good goaltending efficiency from Stuart Skinner, who made 32 saves. Edmonton restricted the defensive errors and scored two well timed power-play targets within the third interval to interrupt 1-1 tie, which have all been points this season. It finally led to Woodcroft’s dismissal, together with assistant Dave Manson, who was changed by Corridor of Fame defenseman Paul Coffey.

McDavid scored for the primary time since Oct. 17, ending an eight-game drought, and Leon Draisaitl had a aim and three assists.

“It feels wonderful to get that first win; being a head coach was a spotlight, simply being right here, and clearly it will get significantly better once you win,” Knoblauch mentioned. “I favored how our staff performed. It wasn’t an ideal recreation; actually we weren’t the higher staff within the first half of the sport.



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