When Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland fired Dave Tippett and brought Woodcroft up from American Hockey League Bakersfield, he didn’t label him intern. But he didn’t make any promises beyond the end of the season.

So, what you’ve likely been witnessing the last four games is Woodcroft getting himself hired to return next year as full-time head coach.

OK. There’s a lot of regular season left. The Oilers, with 21 games to go, have just hit the quarter pole. But as long as Woodcroft keeps them positioned for playoffs, you have to figure he’s got the job.

No deal is likely going to be sealed without some sort of playoff success to follow, either. After being swept by the Winnipeg Jets last year and only managing one win in the Hub City bubble playoffs here the year before, there will be no press conference to present him with a three-year contract until then.

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