Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
‘Twas the last practice before the preChristmas game when out on the rink there arose such a clatter.
It had to be head coach Craig MacTavish, who whistled and shouted and called his players by name; right up until the Edmonton Oilers zeroed in on the drills.
MacTavish wanted more shots on net, more battle during the drills, more of everything. By the time the players plunged into a series of
one-on-one drills in a confined space, everyone was relentless….
“You get around the holiday season and everybody has family in and it’s easy to get distracted,” said MacTavish. “You come in here and go through the motions, then you get back to your family to enjoy the festive holiday. But we need that game (tonight); then we can have a couple of days.
“The bottom line for me is that they’re not giving goals away at this level. You have to work for them, you have to practice, you have to train,” MacTavish continued.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Normally it isn’t wise to make a trade for the sake of making a trade, but if the Oilers don’t get it going in the next few days, then Kevin Lowe, or Steve Tambellini, or Daryl Katz, or whoever’s holding the keys to the lemon currently parked near the bottom of the Western Conference standings needs to send somebody packing.
Give them the three games Edmonton plays during the Dec. 20-27 NHL roster freeze and if they aren’t an entirely different team when it’s over, then somebody’s gotta go.
Somebody significant. The core of leaders here isn’t delivering on the ice and doesn’t seem to be leading this young team to anything but mediocrity.
So if the Oilers are still in need of a shakeup on Dec. 28, they should start by shaking loose a veteran, or two.
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
The Edmonton Oilers are being killed by their penalty kill. After allowing four powerplay goals in a 9-2 loss to the Chicago Black Hawks, the Oilers rank as the second worst penalty kill in the league.
Twenty-nine games in, Edmonton has let in 34 goals on 126 chances, a 73 per cent clearance rate, just ahead of Atlanta at 72 per cent. To put that in perspective, 24 NHL teams have killed off at least 80 per cent of their penalties this season.
Five teams have killed off more than 85 per cent of their penalties, led by the New York Rangers, who have a 91 per cent clearance rate.
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
At 25, Hemsky is still making his way to the upper echelon of the National Hockey League. With 29 points in 28 games, he’s moved onto the league’s top 30 scoring list. He’s 10th with 11 power-play helpers, and he heads into tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks with points in 16 of his last 20 games.
There’s a consistency to his game that wasn’t there in the past. It’s a smarter, more effective game that he is playing.
“He wants to score now,” said linemate Shawn Horcoff, “and he’s shooting the puck a lot more, which is directly tied to him scoring. He’s always been a guy who’s been creative, but now he’s not holding it as much.”
“It’s part of the process. It’s growing up as a player,” Hemsky said. “I’m not wasting as much energy. I’m playing smarter.”
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The $575,000-a-year goalie, whose paycheque is 10% of Tomas Vokoun’s, went into the game with the best save percentage in the league at .941 and a 2.09 goals against average and improved on both numbers to go 5-1-2 in his last eight games and 16-4-3 since Jan. 3 last year.
(Craig) Anderson left the building with one of the most fascinating stats you’ll ever find for a goaltender as he stretched his career record to 10-1-4 in games in which he faced 40 or more shots.
But sorry, he wasn’t the story.
Lots of shots. No chances.
That was the sorry story as the Oilers booted yet another home game as they began the stretch of games in which they’re supposed to reboot their season.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
As expected, the local buzz surrounded Jay Bouwmeester and his contract. The general consensus around here is that Jay won’t be with the Panthers (big shock), and that Edmonton could offer some serious jingle to get their hometown boy back. I don’t think Jay will sign here to play under a microscope, and two people I talked to up here agree with that assessment. The Oilers are going to try to get him, though.
Pete (DeBoer) on Jay: ‘‘He’s been outstanding. I didn’t have a real appreciation for how good he is. He has that unique combination of speed and range where he can shut down the best players on every team. He’s also found his offensive game, something that started last year when he put up 15 goals.
more on Bouwmeester and the Panthers as the prepare to face the Oilers tonight in Edmonton…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Gilbert Brule is out on parole.
The Edmonton Oilers farmhand was slapped with a four-game American Hockey League suspension for a hit from behind on Lowell defenceman Matthew Corrente on Wednesday, but he’ll be able to play tonight against the San Jose Sharks after his call-up from the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.
Suspensions from the AHL don’t necessarily travel to the NHL, so Brule will play his first Oilers game, likely on the fourth line, after he was summoned Friday when Sam Gagner came down with concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow in the head in a Dallas Stars’ game Wednesday.
“It’s up to the league whether they will allow a player to play if he has a suspension somewhere else,” said Oilers assistant GM Rick Olczyk, indicating it’s a case-by-case basis.
from Marty York at Metro News (Tuesday story),
NHL sources told Metro yesterday the Oilers are poised to complete a significant trade and/or fire coach Craig MacTavish, likely this week.
“They (the Oilers) have come nowhere close to what they expected to be this season and (club chief) Kevin Lowe is extremely annoyed,” an NHL source said. “Kevin’s just about ready to pull the trigger.”
The Oilers were supposed to be a contender this season. Oddsmakers reckoned they’d likely qualify for the playoffs. Yet they’ve turned out to be inconsistent, at best, and are below .500.
read on and if I recall previous stories from Mr. York, not many have come true.
from the CP via TSN,
“We still have faith in this group,” Tambellini said. “We have a big weekend coming up. We can have a solid weekend here. We need a strong effort against St. Louis, no question.”...
“The players have to produce,” Tambellini said. “They have to play regardless of system or pressure, whatever the situation is. That’s their job.
“We’re working hard. We’re under-achieving in some areas as far as the offensive output, but I think everyone would agree there is enough skill on this hockey team to be a good offensive team.”
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
Despite seemingly trying everything to light a fire under his team’s butt - to little success - the Edmonton Oilers head coach still believes he can get through to his squad.
“When you go through phases like this, you’re never out of ideas on how to improve your team,” MacTavish said. “The answers are right there.
“It’s like going to university and going through an open-book exam, all you have to do is open your eyes and see what the issues are. Then you come to the rink with a game plan. So there is never a shortage of ideas that you can forward to your team and to your players.”
Currently the issue at hand is the inability to score.
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.
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