NHL insider reveals the real reason Jay Woodcroft was fired.
Greg Southam/Postmedia  

NHL insider reveals the real reason Jay Woodcroft was fired.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman shares his thoughts on what went down behind the scenes in Edmonton.

Jonathan Larivee

The Edmonton Oilers will play their first game under newly appointed head coach Kris Knoblauch later today, and no doubt there will be a ton of scrutiny on the new head coach after the surprise firing of Jay Woodcroft over the weekend.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the decision to terminate Woodcroft, but on Monday National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman shared his insights into what transpired in Edmonton. Friedman stressed that he does not believe this decision was a reflection of Woodcroft's abilities as a coach.

"I will say this until I am blue in the face, this coaching change was not about Jay Woodcroft, it was not," said Friedman on the 32 Thoughts podcast. "This coaching change was about Edmonton cannot afford a disastrous season, so what are we going to do to try to change things."

There has been speculation that this may have been a player-led mutiny, but Friedman does not agree with that narrative. Instead the insider pointed the finger at Oilers CEO of hockey operations Jeff Jackson, indicating that it was Jackson who ultimately made the decision to get rid of Woodcroft. 

"I think at the end of the day Jeff Jackson made this call," said Friedman. "The fact that it was Kris Knoblauch that says to me it was Jackson's call. I don't think the players overthrew Jay Woodcroft, I don't buy that."

A long standing relationship between Knoblauch and Jackson is what leads Friedman to believe that the Oilers CEO, rather than general manager Ken Holland, was behind yesterday's move. Friedman also indicated he believes that, with Ken Holland in the final year of his contract, there has been a shifting of power in the Oilers front office.

"Holland was the guy who brought in Woodcroft and there's a new sheriff in town," said Friedman.