Jay Woodcroft: Confirmed Best Coach in the NHL

May as well call the race now, because Jay Woodcroft already has the Jack Adams locked up.

Getting to know Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson

It’s been a while since I’ve felt confident saying this, but the Oilers looked like a real NHL team last night. They obviously didn’t play a perfect game, and there are still some areas (I’m talking about you Tyson Barrie) that need improvement, but overall, it’s hard not to be impressed by what the Jay Woodcroft Oilers have shown us.

If you watched them at all, you would know that a staple of the Dave Tippett Oilers (particularly later on) was that they would often significantly outshoot the other, but still lose. This is because the shots that they were taking weren’t high risk and was pretty much the equivalent of having a team full of Brady Tkachuk’s. They would just fire pucks right at the goalie, with little to no traffic, which shockingly, rarely worked. With Woodcroft though, their approach seems to have completely changed. They’re getting high-risk chances, which has led to more goals off tips. This hasn’t been their only notable change though.

The team defense has looked miles ahead of where it was even a week ago. With Tippett, this team could not defend if their lives depended on it, but with Woodcroft, they seem to have more drive when on defense. They allowed just 20 shots against last night, their second-fewest all season, and not a single one of them looked like it had a chance of going in. It may have been against two pretty weak teams, but this instant spike in defensive efficiency under Woodcroft is clearly not a coincidence.

I know it’s only been two games, but this team looks so much better than they were before. Maybe I’m a little biased because of my disdain for Dave Tippett, but Jay Woodcroft has a legit shot at turning this team around. Onto 3-0 tonight against the Kings.

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