Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Derek Van Diest at NHL.com,
Will Nail Yakupov have a bounce-back season? -- Selected No. 1 by the Oilers in 2012, Yakupov had a strong rookie season but regressed last season. The talented right wing struggled in his own end, which created friction with first-year coach Dallas Eakins. Yakupov heads into the 2014-15 season wanting to put last season behind him. He reportedly also has mended fences with Eakins, meeting this offseason to iron out their differences.
"I'm not even thinking about last season," Yakupov said. "I'm concentrating on this season. I'm hoping to have a good year and I'm doing everything I can in order to do that. We'll see what it's going to be like this year. I promise I'll work hard and play 100 percent. I hope it's going to be good for me and good for the team. We have to play better than we did last year so we'll see how it goes."
Will Ryan Nugent-Hopkins be able to carry the load at center? -- Nugent-Hopkins was pegged as the Oilers' No. 1 center the moment the team made him the first selection in the 2011 draft. Nugent-Hopkins was signed to a long-term extension last season, confirming his place in the team's future with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Unlike Hall and Eberle, however, Nugent-Hopkins still is looking for his breakout season. Nugent-Hopkins had 19 goals and 56 points in 80 games last season, well off the point-per-game pace of his rookie season.
Lacking depth up the middle, the Oilers will rely heavily on Nugent-Hopkins on both sides of the puck. He'll be counted on to log big minutes against some of the top centers in the Western Conference.
If Nugent-Hopkins gets hurt, the Oilers could be in big trouble.
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
By skipping out on the World Championship, Hall was able to add a month to his workout regimen this off-season.
“That was probably the main reason why I didn’t go to Worlds, I wanted to give myself a really good summer to train,” Hall said. “It seemed like every summer I either had surgery or World Championships or an ankle to heal, so this summer was good for me in that regard. I got some good training in, I got on the ice a little bit earlier than I usually do, and hopefully, that helps out. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling healthy, I’m ready to go and I can’t wait for camp to start.”
Playing for the same head coach for two consecutive years should also benefit Hall heading into the year. In his four previous seasons with the Oilers, Hall has played for three different coaches, all seemingly wanting different things from him. This year, Dallas Eakins will be back behind the Oilers bench.
“That’s a really nice way to go into a year,” Hall said. “There is no awkward handshake at the start of the season (with new coach), it’s a business-like attitude now. I think Dallas feels really comfortable that way and I think all of us players over the course of 82 games got to know what Dallas expects from us and now we can hit ground running at camp.”
from Ryan Dixon of Sportsnet,
The Taylor versus Tyler drama at the 2010 draft was, really, driven more by alliteration than uncertainty. Taylor Hall may not have been a slam-dunk first-overall pick ahead of fast-rising Tyler Seguin, but by the time the Edmonton Oilers brass walked to the stage in Los Angeles, it would’ve been genuinely surprising to hear them call a name other than Hall’s.
Four years later, however, you can make cracking cases for both players as preferable to the other—which is exactly what we’re about to do.
Hall and Seguin have had different experiences through the early stages of their pro careers, Seguin having been to the Stanley Cup final twice with the Bruins, while Hall has yet to see his first playoff game in Edmonton. By the same token, both players have endured their share of hardship. Hall has faced perpetual questions about when the sad-sack Oilers will turn things around, while Seguin never blended in Boston, leading to a much-needed trade to Dallas just over 12 months ago.
Beyond similar first names, these players are linked by all-world speed and skill. But if we were to draft all over again, who would you take first?
(Edmonton, AB) August 19, 2014 - The stars have aligned to reunite the entire roster of the 1984 Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers, one of the greatest teams in the history of the game, on October 10 in Edmonton. During a live video conference today, Oilers legend Wayne Gretzky joined Oilers Entertainment Group Vice-Chairman Kevin Lowe to announce that the team will host a special celebration to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the historic 1984 Stanley Cup victory.
Oilers fans will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the entire 1984 Championship team and staff, including Oilers legends Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Glenn Anderson and Glen Sather, as they reunite in Edmonton on October 10 to participate in the 1984 Stanley Cup Reunion event, an evening of storytelling and memory sharing at Rexall Place, in support of the Stollery Children's Hospital.
“We’re still looked upon to finally getting over that hump and I feel the we can do it. We’re going to pick up where we left off. At the start of the year, we struggled and that’s going to be a big thing for us. We have to start the season well, because I think last year we really dug ourselves in a hole early on and that killed us going into the rest of the season. It gives you confidence if you can start off winning and you realize you have a good team.”
-Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers. More on Eberle from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun.
Congrats to Tyler Dellow...
from Derek Van Diest at NHL.com,
After spending the majority of the offseason in Russia, the Edmonton Oilers' right wing has returned to prepare for the upcoming NHL season, having put a disappointing second season behind him.
"It might be a huge year for me and that's why I'm here, to work on some things and to be here and train," Yakupov said Tuesday during a visit to the Oilers' summer hockey school. "I just want to be ready for the season. I'm going to be doing some different things this year. I feel more comfortable here than training at home. That's why I'm here and I will train with the Oilers prospects and the other NHL players that will come."...
"My season was over after [teammate] Justin Schultz's shot hit me in the foot," Yakupov said of a March 16 game. "I haven't even thought about last year. I have recovered from my foot injury. I worked over the summer on my foot and tried to skate a little bit. I feel pretty good and I'm ready to go. I'm 100 percent and I can do everything with my foot."
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
Hope #2: That Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander pick up where they left off in the AHL. Both Arcobello and Lander are seasoned AHLers now, and both have aced almost every test that league has thrown at them. If this were Detroit, we might be going on about how sage management had wisely let them get over ripe on the farm (though that’s not exactly the truth with Lander, is it?).
If this were Detroit, we’d think they were at last properly schooled and ready to graduate to the ranks of NHL stalwarts.
Hope #3: That Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is ready to do his best Davey Keon/Pavel Datsyuk impression and step forward as a truly effective, top-line NHL center.
Hope #4. That Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will both have outrageous peak scoring seasons, Hall with 95 points, Eberle with 85.
Hope #5. That Nail Yakupov will figure out how to mesh better with his teammates, read the play more adroitly, and find a home on the right half-wall of the power play from where he will pound in 20 power play goals from that spot, bringing his total to 35 for the year.
six more hopes...
from Jonathan Willis of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
It was a dark and ugly campaign for the Oilers. The 2009-10 NHL season saw the implosion of the retooling effort the team had carried out in the aftermath of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final run, and launched an official era of rebuilding in Edmonton.
With the moves made this summer, every single player who took to the ice for that team has now been purged from the system.
It’s a remarkable statement. Forty different skaters appeared in at least on game for Edmonton that season. Thirty-five of those 40 had already been dealt prior to the 2013-14 season, but Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish managed to knock off the rest over the course of the year.
You see, Corsi is like a tempting hotdog. It looks good, smells good, might even taste good, but it can you leave you with a stomach ache. If you actually dig into what ingredients are in it, you might start to question your consumption.
-David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, where you can read more on this topic and how it relates to Justin Schultz.
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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