Oilers fire head coach Eakins

Edmonton, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers fired head coach Dallas Eakins on Monday.

Eakins was in just his second season with the perennially rebuilding Oilers, who reside in the Western Conference basement with a 7-19-5 record. They are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the fewest points in the league at 19.

General manager Craig MacTavish will take over the coaching duties on an interim basis before transitioning the team over to Todd Nelson, who joins the staff as an assistant coach.

MacTavish, who coached the Oilers for eight seasons from 2000-09, will hand the reins to Nelson once he is comfortable. Nelson was in his fifth season coaching the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City.

The Barons made four playoff appearances under Nelson, including two trips to the conference finals.

Eakins' dismissal comes as the Oilers are in a free fall, having lost 15 of their last 16 games (1-11-4).

"I had no good reason to do this other than performance," MacTavish said.

Edmonton went 29-44-9 last season under Eakins, who landed his first NHL head coaching job on the strength of a four-year stint directing the Toronto Marlies, the top minor league affiliate of the Maple Leafs.

Eakins was the Oilers' fourth head coach since MacTavish's run.

Edmonton hasn't reached the playoffs since losing to the Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.