Kukla's Korner Hockey
I don’t think we’re that far off from making the playoffs, to be honest with you. I think one more piece [on defence] and we’ve got all the talent up front we’ve always had and added more talent via free agency and the draft. When you shore up the back end, which is what Peter’s trying to do, as long as I do my part, I think we could definitely battle for a playoff spot this year and next year and go from there.
-Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers. Read more from Talbot in a Q & A with Luke Fox of Sportsnet.
from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,
Fans of the Edmonton Oilers are lucky in that between the two radio stations, 630 CHED and TSN 1260, we get to hear commentary from some of the wisest heads in hockey, including five of my favourites, Craig Simpson, Mike Johnson, Craig Button, Adam Oates and Ray Ferraro.
This past week all five weighed in on the Adam Larsson-for-Taylor Hall trade. In case you missed what they had to say to hosts Bob Stauffer of CHED and Jason Gregor of Team 1260, here are some of the highlights:
Craig Simpson on Oilers Now: “I felt there was a real sense of need (to acquire a defenceman). There was a real sense of anxiousness to make something happen so at least you fill a hole that you’ve not been able to fill for a long time… You’re forced in that situation to put in a guy that we all hope will fill that role...
Ray Ferraro on TSN1260: “Clearly the best player in the deal went East. There’s not any question about that. I mean I was surprised there wasn’t a second piece in the puzzle for Edmonton. Adam Larsson, I don’t see play live a whole pile, but he is a defence first, second and third guy. He moves the puck OK. He skates fine. He’s not a speed burner, but he skates fine. He’s not going to score a lot… but it’s really difficult to get a handle on what Adam Larsson is yet because the first couple of years in New Jersey he didn’t play very much.
more from both Simpson and Ferraro plus others on trade...
from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,
Is Nail Yakupov ready to work this year? Is he really going to get another chance on the Oilers? That’s the question that Sportsnet hockey analyst Drew Remenda dug into on Oilers Now on Friday. I put some extra weight into Remenda’s take on this issue, as he’s been tight with Oilers coach Todd McLellan for years.
Remenda was speculating on what lines the Oilers might roll out this coming year. The broadcaster made it clear he is no fan of playing Yakupov again with Connor McDavid but preferred Jordan Eberle in that role.
“If you’re a coach, and I’m putting on my coaching hat, if I look at Jordan Eberle and Connor is telling me, ‘I like playing with that guy,’ I got to listen to my players. And Jordan was so productive with Connor, and I know he’s been productive with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as well, then I’ve got to go with the guy I thought was going to be the strongest and give me the most production, which based on the year was Jordan. There comes a time, like Todd said, ‘When do I have to stop looking for some guy to make that guy better? When is that guy going to make other people better?'”
Remenda then got to the money quote about Yakupov: “I think he’s also got to be a better practice player…I know I talk about this a lot. I know they think I’m a broken record. But we’ve seen Nail Yakupov kind of check out at practice. And he’s got to be better, more focused, determined in practice, because that does 100 per cent transfer over to the game.”
“Last year for us was about laying a foundation and playing the game the right way. We didn’t finish where we wanted to finish, but we felt there was some good work done. This year we’re looking to take a step.”
-Jay Woodcroft, assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers. More on the Oilers at Sportsnet.
from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli looked like one man at his press conference on Thursday when he carefully explained his thinking behind trading away fan favourite Taylor Hall, then like quite another man when he addressed the topic of the newest addition to the Edmonton Oilers’, Milan Lucic.
His vibe was entirely different.
In the first case, the normally calm Chiarelli seemed a uncertain as he dealt with assertions that he had lost the Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade. In the second, Chiarelli seemed almost giddy as he talked about a new attitude and new leadership on the team, and how things were going to be different now.
On Thursday the Chiarelli quote that will be remembered by Oilers fans was the general manager’s grim assessment of the necessity of moving Hall: “This is the price you have to pay.”
The money quote on Saturday? “We improved our team significantly.”
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
The Edmonton Oilers had skill. Now they have snarl.
They will have it for a good, long time after signing Milan Lucic to a seven-year contract that ESPN reported was worth $42 million when the NHL free-agent market opened Friday, and that's the obvious concern. Seven years is a lot of term for a power forward who is 28 and locked up through age 34.
But you have to take risk if you're going to win bidding wars in unrestricted free agency, especially if you're a team like the Oilers, who have missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons and play in one of the coldest of the cold-weather markets.
And general manager Peter Chiarelli was willing to take this risk because he knows what Lucic can do on the left wing with elite centers.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
They traded Taylor Hall for whom?
After reading 1,475,942 blogs that began “Should the Oilers trade Taylor Hall for,” how come the name Adam Larsson wasn’t mentioned in any of them?
After 10 straight seasons out of the playoffs, Edmonton hockey fans probably feel like lining up like a herd of buffalo ready to jump off the cliffs of the North Saskatchewan River and smash their heads in.
It’s imperative that a 48-hour timeout be called here.
Taylor Hall represents the first skate to drop.
The game is still afoot.
The day before, left winger Milan Lucic and defenceman Jason Demers both visited the out-of-this-world Rogers Place Arena that Taylor Hall now won’t play in but once a year — Jan. 12 this coming season.
If both sign as free agents, that would mean the Oilers will go into next season adding Lucic, Larsson, Demers and Jesse Puljujarvi, while subtracting Hall.
from Scott Stinson of the National Post,
Where the Subban trade becomes sad is that he was beloved in Montreal and donated $10-million to the local children’s hospital. Better get rid of that guy because he doesn’t play the boring style preferred by the coach.
Over in Edmonton, the trade of Hall was at least sort of understandable if you squinted at it a certain way. Yes, Hall was the Oilers’ leading scorer last season, though he would not have been if Connor McDavid had stayed healthy, and yes, Edmonton has for years now needed to improve its defence even as they kept adding forwards at the top of the NHL draft. So the trade of Hall for New Jersey Devils defenceman Adam Larsson at least addresses a key need. But Hall is also under contract for another four years at the fantastic price of $6-million per season, and he is just 23. In theory, he was a very valuable trade chip, one that should have acquired a better haul in return.
more on both trades
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
The Devils pulled off a heist of notable proportions in acquiring young marquee left winger Taylor Hall from the Oilers in exchange for promising young defenseman Adam Larsson.
The Devils entered the offseason with a top-five goaltender in Cory Schneider, a young and relatively deep defense and an admirable work ethic but also facing a huge talent gap at forward between themselves and the best teams in the East.
This deal in which general manager Ray Shero — who when at Pittsburgh acquired Chris Kunitz from Anaheim for Ryan Whitney and James Neal and Matt Niskanen from Dallas for Alex Goligoski — added the 24-year-old Hall from Edmonton goes a long way to addressing that gap.
Hall, the first overall selection of the 2010 entry draft, is a speed-and-skill winger who plays with an edge and can put the puck in the net, getting 26 goals with 39 assists last season. Of all those high-end lottery picks that came before Conor McDavid a year ago, Hall owns the most formidable game.
via Sportsnet's YouTube channel,
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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