Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
If Eakins fails to speak up now and bring in the necessary help, an experienced assistant or two like Cory Clouston, Craig Ramsay, Perry Pearn, Todd Nelson and/or Rob Daum, then he’s setting himself up for more of the same losing. He himself has paid his dues as a coach and was adept enough to identify what is wrong with his team: a lack of sound hockey habits.
But if Eakins doesn’t take decisive action now, this is on him as much as it’s on everyone else in the Oilers organization.
If the Oilers followed the lead of an outstanding team like St. Louis, they would axe one or two or three of these assistant coaches and the would have brought in a more able and experienced crew to help Eakins.
St. Louis axed head coach Ken Hitchcock’s long-time friend Gary Agnew and goalie coach Corey Hirsch. They brought in a former NHL head coach, Kirk Muller, to not only act as Hitchcock’s assistant, but also to be on hand as an heir apparent.
That is the tough-minded way to run an NHL team, where friendships don’t matter.
But this isn’t St. Louis, where winning has become a habit.
This is Edmonton, where losing has become the norm.
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
At the press conference on Wednesday where Hextall was named the new Flyers GM, he was asked about his plan to build the team. Hextall made it clear the Flyers were a model franchise, used to winning, and he wasn’t going to be looking at tanking the team in order to get a high draft pick.
“There’s 30 teams out there and right now there’s a team out there – I won’t mention any names — there’s a team out there just collecting number one picks right now.”
Uh, sorry Ron, you’re fooling no one.
Hextall continued: “Yeah, they’re going to be a pretty good team in three or four years, but ask their fans if they’ve had a fun last seven or eight years. The culture of winning is nothing to be embarrassed about. We should all be damn proud of this organization and how successful they’ve been.”
Well what a night that was! Three Game Sevens and now we start the second round later today.
Before the second round starts let’s take a look at how we did predicting the first round.
Huge night for hockey fans out there! Kings, avs and rangers are my picks!— anthony brodeur (@abrodeur30) April 30, 2014
I will put my own predictions up to bat:
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from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
Key quotes from the Craig MacTavish press conference.
Oilers GM Craig MacTavish held a year-end presser, starting off with the expected comments, that the team hadn’t met expectations this year, but everyone in the organization is still committed to winning a Stanley Cup. The culture of the organization is to bring in hard-working, competitive “character” people.
This is exactly what the 14 other NHL GMs who didn’t make the playoffs are now telling their fans.
As for specifics, MacTavish gave a stay-the-course kind of message, with no promise of any bold moves, though he did talk about adding a “high-end” d-man.
On Eakins: “This is the right coach to lead us.”
“I’m more confident in my decision to hire Dallas Eakins than the day I hired him,” MacTavish said. “I’m more convinced that this is the right coach to lead us into much more successful times. … Time will prove that this coach was a very good hire for our organization. I really feel like he’s the guy to add the cultural elements, and police the cultural elements, that are necessary to build the quality team that we’re trying to build.
Ryan Smyth's final game ended with an Edmonton 5-2 win over Vancouver.
added 9:29am, Below, watch Ryan Smyth on HNIC After Hours segment last night...
Ryan Smyth is expected to announce his retirement today and you can watch the live stream below.
The press conference is expected to start at 4:00pm ET.
added 4:09pm, Also below, Oilers' official release on Smyth retirement.a
added 4:29pm, Live stream is complete.
From my seat, I think the cold water thrown on the fans this year will prevent many from getting all hot and bothered about watching playoff hockey next season. And watching the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs won’t likely help much, either.
That said, when it comes to the big picture, the hope will return.
-Terry Jones on the Edmonton Oilers. Read more from Jones at the Edmonton Sun.
from Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic,
The Coyotes let their lead slip away in the final minute of regulation, and Oilers center Sam Gagner – who pushed the game to overtime – scored the lone shootout goal in Round 4 to complete the comeback.
"The way we gave up the second goal, that's demoralizing," coach Dave Tippett said. "But it's not time to hang your head now. It's like losing a game in overtime in the playoffs. You've got to get back at it. That's where we're at."
watch the late, game tying goal by Sam Gagner below. TV color analyst Tyson Nash said it best- Ow....
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
In the end it may not mean a thing, but there are signs of growth from the Edmonton Oilers lately under Dallas Eakins.
On Sunday, the Oilers beat the Hurricanes 2-1 on the road. No great accomplishment, but it helped Edmonton earn five of a possible eight points on its four-game road trip.
The midseason tweaks GM Craig MacTavish has made in Edmonton have been positive. Goalie Ben Scrivens won again and has a .932 save percentage with the Oilers, so far fending off the expectations that his stats would take a nosedive when he left the protection of the Los Angeles Kings' defensive system.
Matt Hendricks has been another positive influence on this young team, scoring occasionally but also setting an example on how to work. There are still offseason changes to be made by MacTavish, but at least there's some hope for Edmonton fans to grab on to.
read on for Burnside on the Flyers, LeBrun on the Canadiens and Strang on the Sharks...
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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