Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Sarah McLellan of azcentral,
The advantage came after a slew of penalties with Ekman-Larsson getting cross-checked by Kassian after hitting Hendricks. Kassian had to answer to captain Shane Doan, and then Hanzal fought with Letestu.
In the end, 81 penalty minutes were assessed. The Coyotes finished 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Oilers were 1-for-3.
"It was a real choppy game because of power plays and penalties and 4-on-4," Tippett said. "There's not a lot of rhythm to the game, but you still have to find some ways to capitalize on some chances. Third period we had a couple. We had some chances that we could have pushed it a little closer. You never know what happens at the end, but that's not the way it went."
Arizona also finished the game with a short bench as Chychrun was rattled again, this time after getting pinched along the boards by defenseman Eric Gryba. Defenseman Luke Schenn immediately fought Gryba, getting tagged with a two-minute instigator minor, five-minute fighting major and 10-minute misconduct. Gryba received two majors and a game misconduct.
Chychrun didn't play the rest of the game, undergoing mandatory concussion protocol, Tippett said, while Schenn was also bleeding above his left eye and required stitches.
Below, watch some of chippy play below...
from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,
Connor McDavid is the kind of brilliant, thrilling attacker who arrives in the National Hockey League once every 10 or 20 years.
But how long McDavid lasts in the NHL is another question, given how league officials either refuse to penalize or to properly penalize the various infractions against the phenom.
Of course, it’s not just McDavid who is getting repeatedly hammered with illegal and often dangerous stickwork. It’s all of the NHL’s best players. I’m sure fans of other teams could put together video evidence of numerous uncalled or under-penalized infractions against the top attacking players on their favourite team (and I encourage them to do so), but as I’m an Oilers fan in Edmonton, my focus is on McDavid.
Rarely a game goes by where McDavid isn’t held up with illegal interference, if not dangerous hacks and slashes.
from Tim Campbell of NHL.com,
A revised version of John Tortorella is hitting all the right notes with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
More patience has been the centerpiece of the coach's updated approach.
But a kinder, gentler Tortorella?
He said that might be an overreach.
"Don't think I've just changed completely here," Tortorella said before the Blue Jackets defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Tuesday. "I wouldn't say that at all. How can I answer that? My job is to push athletes and try to get them to a level they don't think they can get to. That's not going to change.
"I think the adjustment I have made with this team here and this year from last year, let's say, is that with some of the skill that has come in and the way the game has gone, I think you need to allow them to play."
Below, watch the game highlights...
Connor McDavid and Dylan Larkin dominate the conversation.
from Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal,
The Edmonton Oilers were feeling mighty good, watching highly prized D-man Darnell Nurse taking substantial steps forward this season, primarily on the left-hand side of the Oilers third pairing.
But then came the last game in Winnipeg, where Nurse left the match late, and hobbled out of the dressing room minutes later, on the shoulder of one of the Oilers training staff. Soon after, coach Todd McLelland indicated that Nurse’s absence would be “long term”. What exactly that meant did not seem immediately or abundantly clear. Personally, I was guessing that doctors were waiting for the swelling to go down before they could get an accurate assessment. But the longer it took to get word, the more worried I became.
Turns out, those fears were well-founded.
Nurse will miss the next twelve weeks of action, after undergoing surgery to repair right ankle ligament and bone damage
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
When McDavid scored on a power play in the middle frame to make it 2-0, he skated towards Manning after a fist-pump celebration and the two exchanged some more words. After the game, McDavid let fly that the words he heard from Manning inferred that he’d smacked him into the boards on purpose last season....
“I did all I could defending him last year in the media. Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and they wanted me to to say some comments today (morning) about what went on last year,” said McDavid, who shrugged it off after the morning skate as yesterday’s news.
But it was today’s news Thursday when they came together in the first period and words were coughed up.
“I thought it was one of the (most) classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice. He said some things. I guess we can put the whole if he did it on purpose thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that. Shows what kind of guy he is the way he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys,” said McDavid, who had the power-play goal and helped set up Andrej Sekera’ shortie with some great board work in the second.
Manning was taken aback by McDavid’s not-so-friendly fire at him after the Oilers’ loss.
He firmly said last year’s violent crash with McDavid and himself was a hard play, gone wrong.
No malice intended.
“One hundred percent not. Anyone who’s seen the clip sees him catch an edge. I would never intentionally hurt someone. Anybody who knows me, knows I play a hard game, that’s the reason I’m in the NHL. I think I play an honest game,” said Manning.
Below, watch McDavid post-game, the Manning talk starts at the 1:00 mark...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
In a scoreless second period with the energetic Gustavsson and the quieter-in-the-net Dubnyk matching saves, the Oilers had to play the last seven minutes without Connor McDavid. One of the NHL’s concussion spotters in the building, or perhaps the NHL’s War Room crew watching on TV back in Toronto, decided McDavid didn’t look quite right after he was clipped by Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon’s stick and the Oiler captain’s face appeared to hit the ice.
The Oilers bench expressed surprise when zebra T.J. Luxmore skated over to tell McDavid he had to go to the dressing room to be checked out. He had played 12:14 until that point and the Oilers missed out on him as they had nine seconds of a 5-on-3 when Nate Prosser cleared the puck into the netting, then a full two minutes when they managed nothing in the 1-1 game.
Prosser had knocked McDavid down earlier in the second frame with McDavid’s lid coming off. Milan Lucic gave Prosser a “don’t do that” slash after a fairly harmless check and got a penalty.
more on the Oiles 2-1 OT loss to the Wild...
Watch McDavid post-game below...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The power play is pathetic, the Oilers are back to being a mess defensively and if you break their season into eight game segments, after their 7-1 start they’ve gone 2-5-1 and 3-4-1.
That’s five wins in their last 16 games
Is it time to panic? Or is it just some strange temporary malfunction at the junction happening here as a team with a 7-4-2 away record struggles with a 5-6 record while trying to get comfortable at home in their new digs?
Waking up and not seeing themselves in first place in the Pacific Division alone might have the desired effect with the individuals who have looked like passengers in losing twice to Arizona and then to the Maple Leafs in a stretch where they could have banked points in the standings.
“We kind of had a chance to extend our lead in first place,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one of the Oilers who has been AWOL lately, although he created a whale of a chance early against Toronto only to ring it off a post.
“The good news is that we’re still there and still playing for that first-place spot. We’ve given ourselves a chance to be in this position so we can’t take our foot off the gas.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Tuesday night McDavid was brilliant in setting up Milan Lucic for a glorious opportunity in the second period. He scored one of the greatest goals of his young career on a partial breakaway early in the third. He also won a faceoff to pick up an assist on a second-period goal by Andrej Sekera.
It was the ninth multi-point game of the season for McDavid. And that made it 30.4 per cent of the games so far in his career.
If the team that head coach Todd McLellan says too often waits around for McDavid to do it had shown up with him for this game, he’d have owned the day against the hometown team he grew up cheering for as a kid in Newmarket, Ont.
Instead it was a tale of a visiting team outscoring the Oilers 4-2 to win only its second away game of the year and the home team that has now dropped to 5-6 in their brand new building despite a 7-4-2 record on the road.
Edmonton fans came to the game last night expecting a big night from No. 97, considering the frustration involved in his first NHL game against the Leafs in Air Canada Centre, a 3-2 overtime loss back on Nov. 1.
As the NHL season hits the quarter pole, people are producing their first lists of the season for NHL Award leaders and most have Carey Price and McDavid 1-2 for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.
Game highlights are below...
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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