Kukla's Korner Hockey
Sources tell TSN that Edmonton Oilers’ Joni Pitkanen will undergo knee surgery which is expected to keep him out for four weeks.
From the CP,
Ryan Smyth, the former Edmonton Oiler, made good on his prediction Tuesday just before he faced off for the first time against his old team since his shocking trade eight months ago.
The mullet-haired left winger, now with the Colorado Avalanche, became teary-eyed as he lined up in pre-game ceremonies, watched a one-minute video tribute of his 11 seasons with the copper and blue, and received a 30-second standing ovation from the 16,839 fans at Rexall Place.
It wasn’t a weeper to rival the saddest of sports sob stories, “Brian’s Song,” but it had its moments.
Updated 3:30am ET:
Smyth’s comments in the Denver Post:
“It was a nice tribute to me and my family by (the Oilers). It’s quite an honor to come back to the city where you started your NHL career and be recognized like I was tonight,” said Smyth, who went scoreless in the game. “The fans were great to me, and I really appreciate that.”
added 5:53am by Paul, The first 55 seconds or so of the video (below) shows the ovation Smyth received from the Oilers fans.
Update 1:41pm ET: More commentary from John MacKinnon at The Edmonton Journal.
From Eric Duhatschek in Monday’s Globe & Mail,
As for Smyth’s return on Tuesday, which figures to be an emotional night for both him and his former team, Staios said he hoped that Edmonton fans will take into consideration his years of service when deciding how to greet him.
“He did a lot of great things for this organization,” Staios said. “The business side of things is never really appreciated by the fans.”
“Hopefully, they’ll remember what he did on the ice and in the community and can show him that respect – like they did for Jason when he came back.”
more… (*looking at the new Oilers era)
From George Johnson at the Calgary Herald,
“Everything has changed so dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years in regards to handling players. I don’t know about Mike, but I’ve had zero success trying to make players do things. It just doesn’t work.
“You have to explain things to them now. You have to make them think what you’re trying to get across is their idea. The dictatorial days are over.
“I don’t think. There’s so much more pressure on players than before.’’ He gestured around him, to a small army of scribblers, cameras and microphones milling around. Used to be, there were half a dozen of you guys here on game day. Now there’s 20. Or more. There are appearances, community commitments.
“So much more of their time is taken away by the game. So if they show up at the rink and you suffocate them, there’s a danger of sucking the life right out of them.’‘
*MacTavish coached his 500th Oilers’ game Saturday night and shares some memories of opposing coach Mike Keenan and the Battle of Alberta)
From Eric Duhatschek’s Globe & Mail blog,
Officially, the Edmonton Oilers have another week or so before deciding whether to keep rookie Sam Gagner on their NHL roster. But coach Craig MacTavish implied Saturday that the decision had been mostly made already – and that there would have to be a radical reversal in fortune in the next few days for the Oilers to send Gagner back to his junior team, the London Knights. And this was before Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames, in which Gagner scored the first goal of his NHL career, to go with the four assists he picked up in his first six games.
“There will be a point of no return and we’ve probably reached that point already,” MacTavish said. “The way he’s played and what he’s contributed so far, there’s every reason to expect him to stay here.”
Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Fernando Pisani is a private person who doesn’t like talking about himself when things are going great, so you can imagine what it was like telling a bank of reporters and cameramen about something as personal and painful as his struggle with ulcerative colitis.
About losing 30 pounds and six pints of blood in a matter of weeks. About not being able to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for air. How 15 or 20 trips to the bathroom every day left him weak and dehydrated.
from the Edmonton Journal,
Roli the Goalie, a member of the Minnesota Wild from 2001 to 2006, joined the ranks of St. Paul’s finest when he was named “an honorary policeman.” “Extremely honoured to be part of the ceremony ... very nice that they did it,” said Roloson, who got a framed plaque and a badge.
Roloson was saluted along with five other people. Only about 10 people have been honoured by the police, he said, and he is the only athlete.
from Damien Cox at ESPN,
Are teams in the NHL business partners above all else? Or are they competitors first and foremost, and thus perfectly within their rights to take advantage of an opponent’s soft spots if they become evident?
This, really, is what the much-publicized Brian Burke versus Kevin Lowe verbal slap fight is all about.
Make no mistake about it, this is one entertaining confrontation, albeit one that has taken place mostly with Burke in California and Lowe in Edmonton, Alberta….
These days, if you take Burke at his word, he wouldn’t even speak to Lowe if the Edmonton GM walked into his office looking for a stapler. He wouldn’t stop for Lowe at the side of the road if Lowe’s motor vehicle were on fire.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Minnesota Wild winger Derek Boogaard is out to inflict some pain, which is exactly what the six-foot-seven, 260-pounder did last year when he scored a hat-trick of sorts—knocking Oilers’ Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid and Marty Reasoner out of action for a spell.
All three were staggered by Boogaard hits—the Oilers would say with some malicious intent in the case of Hemsky—although Boogaard claims he was only out only to create mayhem and Hemsky got caught in his train tracks.
“Speaks to his effectiveness that we’re speaking about him right now,” said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. “He hasn’t fought, either. You don’t want to play to his strengths, obviously. He’s a helluva fighter….”
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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