Kukla's Korner Hockey
A behind the scenes look at Taylor Hall when he recently returned to Edmonton.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Jujhar Khaira learned hockey on the streets of Surrey, B.C., a Sikh kid and his little brother scoring their Game 7, Stanley Cup-winning goals while in runners, shooting a tennis ball.
Khaira was no different than millions of Canadian kids, except for one thing: He would go on to score on the big stage Monday night at Rogers Place. It was his first NHL goal as only the third Indo-Canadian to play in the National Hockey League, after Robin Bawa and Manny Malhotra....
When this hockey writer broke in, a story like Khaira’s belonged to a kid off the farm in Redvers, Saskatchewan, like Dean Kennedy. Or Bobby Dollas, the son of a Montreal furrier who stacked pelts all summer and made his NHL dream come true when the snow flew.
Today, it’s a kid like Khaira, a first generation Canadian whose parents came from India as children, and has to bone up on his Punjabi when he speaks to his grandparents. His brother, Sahvan, is a big defenceman for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
When you have the greatest skater in hockey in Connor McDavid, you want to be able to give him the best ice in the National Hockey League upon which to perform.
“I’m sure as heck not going to argue with that,” said Bob Nicholson, CEO and vice-chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group.
Perhaps you’ve noticed. He hasn’t had it.
They promised great ice in Rogers Place. Until recently, it hasn’t even been good ice.
Perhaps you’ve noticed something else. On some nights, the fans have been freezing in the finest facility in hockey.
Three games into a six-game road trip, Edmonton Oilers players are happy to be able to report improvement.
“It’s going in the right direction. From where it was in October to where it is now, there’s been real improvement. It’s become a lot better,” said Milan Lucic.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Taylor Hall took the first step to cutting the cord with his old Edmonton Oilers team last week in New Jersey when he played against buddies Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
But Hall will officially sever it Thursday night when he’ll be the enemy against the Oilers in the town where he got Kevin Lowe’s old No. 4 out of mothballs and on his back, where he went from teenager to man, where he got the letter A on his jersey.
“I honestly don’t know what I’ll feel,” said Hall, who played 381 games for the Oilers but traded in June 29 for defenceman Adam Larsson. “I think I’ll get a good applause … in the past when guys have come back and played they’ve always been gracious to them. I don’t think it’ll be any different. That’s the kind of people that are here in Edmonton. I really enjoyed my time here and the way they treated me.”
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Everybody makes mistakes. And, boy, did Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli make a Monster of a mistake with Jonas Gustavsson.
You could also say he made another by keeping his 18-year-old fourth overall pick in the draft, Jesse Puljujarvi, here playing minuscule minutes or not playing at all.
The GM, who is way ahead on points with the trade deadline acquisition of Pat Maroon alone, much less the half dozen other good moves he’s made, finally made a mid-course correction by waving the holey goalie and shipping the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time Finn to the farm.
Score both as ‘It’s about time’ moves.
Lets start with Gustavsson.
via the Edmonon Oilers,
The Edmonton Oilers have recalled winger Anton Slepyshev from the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Bakersfield Condors. Winger Jesse Puljujarvi has been assigned to Bakersfield and goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been placed on waivers.
Slepyshev, 22, has appeared in 15 games with the Oilers this season, posting four points (2G, 2A), two penalty minutes and a plus four rating.
The Penza, Russia native has registered five points (2G, 3A) and four penalty minutes in 25 career NHL games.
The 6’2”, 217-pound forward has appeared in nine games with Bakersfield this season, recording 10 points (3G, 7A), six penalty minutes and a plus three rating.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
"It's going to be weird, but to be honest, it was really nice to have a game [Friday] against a different team," Hall said. "I guess now I start thinking about it. I'm just trying to stay focused on helping my team and trying to get two points for us. It's definitely going to be weird and I'm not going to downplay that. It's going to be a super strange atmosphere for me, but the quicker I put that aside and just focus on playing hockey and focus on my contribution to the team, I think that's the best way to go."
Hall said in November that his motivation after the trade was to prove the Oilers wrong for getting rid of him. He's hit or miss on if he has done that through almost half of his first season in New Jersey.
He has nine goals and 16 assists (25 points) in 30 games, and the Devils are 16-17-7, six points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Oilers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2006, are 20-13-7, third in the Pacific Division.
"I wanted to prove them wrong in more of a team sense than anything, more of, 'How much can I do to help my team?'" Hall said. "I'm obviously disappointed in that factor. We're one game below .500. We're not in a playoff spot and Edmonton is. I don't think that falls all on my shoulders, but certainly I think I have another level to get to and I think I will."
via Sportsnet from 12/30/2011,
"People ask me all the time about my records, but to me, that's my favourite," Gretzky said in an interview with canada.com. "They're all made to be broken, that's what sports is. That's what's so great about sports, but that's my favourite because I think that will be the hardest to break."
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Has he stopped drinking, period?
“Yes,” he said. “Yes.
“The one thing they stressed to us was one day at a time. It’s kind of overwhelming for a 24-year-old to even think 20 or 30 years from now. But the answer is yes.
“I really want to turn my life around and I really want to make this home,” he said of Edmonton and the Oilers organization that took the considerable gamble on him.
A year later he looked back at the way it all went down.
“Peter called me. We had a very short conversation. I told Peter, ‘There are no words I could say. I have to put it into action. It’s about me showing you.’ Peter was happy to hear that. And basically the conversation ended.
“I felt like that day, all the way to today, a year later, I’ve held up on what I told him. Looking back, I think I took the right approach. That’s all I could handle.”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- Through 35 games, Milan Lucic is Edmonton’s No. 3 scorer with 10 goals and 14 assists. The ex-Bruin is on pace to score 56 points, almost right in line with his 20-35—55 output last season with Los Angeles.
Half of Lucic’s production, however, has taken place on the power play. In Edmonton’s 3-2 win over Arizona on Wednesday, Lucic scored his fourth power-play goal by hammering home a close-range strike on Mike Smith. Lucic is averaging 2:59 of power-play time per game, second-most on the team behind Connor McDavid (3:11). The left wing is seeing more man-advantage opportunities than he did in LA, where he averaged 2:07 of PP time per game.
The curious thing about Lucic’s first year as an Oiler is how he hasn’t produced with the same efficiency at even strength, especially considering he’s been riding with McDavid and Jordan Eberle on Edmonton’s first line. You would think a pee-wee could average a point per game with McDavid as a center. But it hasn’t been that easy for Lucic. The former Bruin is averaging a career-worst 1.22 five-on-five points per 60 minutes of play, according to http://www.corsica.hockey In co.mparison, McDavid is averaging 2.64 points per 60....
- It’s hard enough for John Tavares to center Josh Bailey and Anders Lee. On deeper teams, neither Bailey nor Lee would be considered first-line wings. The bigger issue is how short the Islanders’ bench becomes after Tavares takes his shift. Coach Jack Capuano’s second line is Andrew Ladd, Alan Quine, and Jason Chimera, hardly a murderers’ row of offense. It means opponents can deploy all their top defensive dogs against Tavares, who is so good that he still manages to create chances. For example, the Bruins rolled out Chara and Patrice Bergeron against No. 91. Against Pittsburgh, Chara and Bergeron were separated, tasked to defend Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, respectively. Tavares is signed through 2018 at a $5.5 million annual song. The Islanders may have to double his payday just to convince him to stay in Brooklyn.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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