EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers fired coach Todd McLellan on Tuesday and replaced him with Ken Hitchcock with hopes of reviving a the team languishing in sixth place in the Pacific Division.
McLellan was in his fourth season behind the Oilers' bench. The team missed the playoffs in two of his previous three seasons despite having superstar Connor McDavid on its roster. The Oilers were just 9-10-1 entering its game Tuesday night at San Jose.
McLellan is the fourth coach to be fired this year, following John Stevens in Los Angeles, Joel Quenneville in Chicago and Mike Yeo in St. Louis.
The 66-year-old Hitchcock announced his retirement in April after a 22-year coaching career, which included a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. He had two stints in Dallas as well as head coaching stops in Philadelphia (2002-2006), Columbus (2006-2010) and St. Louis (2011-2017). The Edmonton native is the third-winningest coach in NHL history with an overall record of 823-506-88-119 (.603 winning percentage). He has guided teams to eight division titles and twice to the best record in the NHL.
The Oilers have lost six of their last seven games and only the Blues and Los Angeles Kings are below them in the Western Conference standings.
"Obviously it is frustrating, there is no other way to say it," McDavid said Sunday after a loss to Vegas. "Especially because we have shown we can be a good team. We had that 8-1-1 stretch where we looked really good and now we have wavered and find ourselves dipping a bit. We just have to get back to that brand of hockey that we know we can play."
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The Associated Press