Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal,
The Edmonton Oilers were feeling mighty good, watching highly prized D-man Darnell Nurse taking substantial steps forward this season, primarily on the left-hand side of the Oilers third pairing.
But then came the last game in Winnipeg, where Nurse left the match late, and hobbled out of the dressing room minutes later, on the shoulder of one of the Oilers training staff. Soon after, coach Todd McLelland indicated that Nurse’s absence would be “long term”. What exactly that meant did not seem immediately or abundantly clear. Personally, I was guessing that doctors were waiting for the swelling to go down before they could get an accurate assessment. But the longer it took to get word, the more worried I became.
Turns out, those fears were well-founded.
Nurse will miss the next twelve weeks of action, after undergoing surgery to repair right ankle ligament and bone damage
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
When McDavid scored on a power play in the middle frame to make it 2-0, he skated towards Manning after a fist-pump celebration and the two exchanged some more words. After the game, McDavid let fly that the words he heard from Manning inferred that he’d smacked him into the boards on purpose last season....
“I did all I could defending him last year in the media. Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose, and they wanted me to to say some comments today (morning) about what went on last year,” said McDavid, who shrugged it off after the morning skate as yesterday’s news.
But it was today’s news Thursday when they came together in the first period and words were coughed up.
“I thought it was one of the (most) classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice. He said some things. I guess we can put the whole if he did it on purpose thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that. Shows what kind of guy he is the way he doesn’t step up and fight some of our guys,” said McDavid, who had the power-play goal and helped set up Andrej Sekera’ shortie with some great board work in the second.
Manning was taken aback by McDavid’s not-so-friendly fire at him after the Oilers’ loss.
He firmly said last year’s violent crash with McDavid and himself was a hard play, gone wrong.
No malice intended.
“One hundred percent not. Anyone who’s seen the clip sees him catch an edge. I would never intentionally hurt someone. Anybody who knows me, knows I play a hard game, that’s the reason I’m in the NHL. I think I play an honest game,” said Manning.
Below, watch McDavid post-game, the Manning talk starts at the 1:00 mark...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
In a scoreless second period with the energetic Gustavsson and the quieter-in-the-net Dubnyk matching saves, the Oilers had to play the last seven minutes without Connor McDavid. One of the NHL’s concussion spotters in the building, or perhaps the NHL’s War Room crew watching on TV back in Toronto, decided McDavid didn’t look quite right after he was clipped by Wild defenceman Jared Spurgeon’s stick and the Oiler captain’s face appeared to hit the ice.
The Oilers bench expressed surprise when zebra T.J. Luxmore skated over to tell McDavid he had to go to the dressing room to be checked out. He had played 12:14 until that point and the Oilers missed out on him as they had nine seconds of a 5-on-3 when Nate Prosser cleared the puck into the netting, then a full two minutes when they managed nothing in the 1-1 game.
Prosser had knocked McDavid down earlier in the second frame with McDavid’s lid coming off. Milan Lucic gave Prosser a “don’t do that” slash after a fairly harmless check and got a penalty.
more on the Oiles 2-1 OT loss to the Wild...
Watch McDavid post-game below...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The power play is pathetic, the Oilers are back to being a mess defensively and if you break their season into eight game segments, after their 7-1 start they’ve gone 2-5-1 and 3-4-1.
That’s five wins in their last 16 games
Is it time to panic? Or is it just some strange temporary malfunction at the junction happening here as a team with a 7-4-2 away record struggles with a 5-6 record while trying to get comfortable at home in their new digs?
Waking up and not seeing themselves in first place in the Pacific Division alone might have the desired effect with the individuals who have looked like passengers in losing twice to Arizona and then to the Maple Leafs in a stretch where they could have banked points in the standings.
“We kind of had a chance to extend our lead in first place,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one of the Oilers who has been AWOL lately, although he created a whale of a chance early against Toronto only to ring it off a post.
“The good news is that we’re still there and still playing for that first-place spot. We’ve given ourselves a chance to be in this position so we can’t take our foot off the gas.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Tuesday night McDavid was brilliant in setting up Milan Lucic for a glorious opportunity in the second period. He scored one of the greatest goals of his young career on a partial breakaway early in the third. He also won a faceoff to pick up an assist on a second-period goal by Andrej Sekera.
It was the ninth multi-point game of the season for McDavid. And that made it 30.4 per cent of the games so far in his career.
If the team that head coach Todd McLellan says too often waits around for McDavid to do it had shown up with him for this game, he’d have owned the day against the hometown team he grew up cheering for as a kid in Newmarket, Ont.
Instead it was a tale of a visiting team outscoring the Oilers 4-2 to win only its second away game of the year and the home team that has now dropped to 5-6 in their brand new building despite a 7-4-2 record on the road.
Edmonton fans came to the game last night expecting a big night from No. 97, considering the frustration involved in his first NHL game against the Leafs in Air Canada Centre, a 3-2 overtime loss back on Nov. 1.
As the NHL season hits the quarter pole, people are producing their first lists of the season for NHL Award leaders and most have Carey Price and McDavid 1-2 for the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.
Game highlights are below...
from Jonas Siegel of the CP at CTV,
On a conference call with scouts Thursday morning, Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli broke down the team's progress from last season and found improvement in just about every area.
There has been remarkable growth for the Pacific division-leading Oilers, who had reeled off three straight wins heading into Friday's game against the Coyotes, including a hearty third period comeback effort in Colorado on Wednesday night. It was the first time all season that the club has won when trailing after two periods.
"I'm sure I can count on my hand the number of times we did it last year," Chiarelli said in a phone interview from Arizona.
The Oilers GM sees considerable change from a group that finished dead last in the Western Conference last season. The roster, for one, is quite different. Chiarelli brought in Milan Lucic and Kris Russell through free agency, traded Taylor Hall for defenceman Adam Larsson and drafted Finnish winger Jesse Puljajarvi with the fourth overall pick at the 2016 draft.
Then there's the presence of Connor McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer who missed almost half of last season with injury.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The question I’ve heard most often over the past month has been this one: “Are the Edmonton Oilers for real?”
And my standard answer was, “They’ve got 10 of 15 games in November on the road, against a lot of good teams. Ask me on December 1st.”
Well, after a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday — their third straight defeat — Edmonton’s record over its past eight games falls to 2-5-1. They awake Monday morning in first place in the Pacific, but nobody around this organization is kidding themselves that they are an elite NHL club right now.
“That confidence and swagger that we had in the first eight games kinda got away from us. We haven’t had it in the last eight games,” said Milan Lucic, the big left-winger who came to Edmonton to play alongside Connor McDavid, but was replaced there by Pat Maroon a few games ago.
Game highlights of the Edmonton loss to the Rangers is below...
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
A month into the 2015-16 season and coming off a solid 2-2-1 road trip that concluded with Tuesday's exciting, 4-3 loss to the defending Cup champions, it's fair to suggest that the Oilers are the story of the season so far.
"I do think that they've taken a significant step with the additions they've made," said one veteran western-based scout who has seen the Oilers play multiple times this season.
It starts with top end-coaching from Todd McLellan and great goaltending from Cam Talbot, who has turned in a .938 save percentage in his last nine games. "Talbot's definitely the real deal," the scout said.
The Oilers also boast an emerging, better-than-expected defense and a balanced, big and fast offensive group.
"The pieces are in place," the scout said. "And I think they're coming together; there's an excitement around the team."
The Oilers are 9-4-1 to start the season.
I have a feeling David Staples of the Edmonton Journal did not appreciate the post-game comments Mike Babcock made about Connor McDavid's ice time.
It is pretty unusual for an opposing coach to talk about such a topic.
I also think Staples is not happy with the lack of a call from the refs on Nazem Kadri's OT goal on Tuesday night...
from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,
The winner of the Connor McDavid-Auston Matthews titanic top pick battle Tuesday was ... Nazem Kadri?
Yes, in a game in which the Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers put their No. 1 overall draft picks head-to-head for the first time — in McDavid’s backyard — a much older Toronto first-rounder made himself the story.
Kadri, whose career has not taken a straight path since 2009, capped his own line-match battle against McDavid on the overtime faceoff, taking a Morgan Rielly pass, battling the bigger McDavid down the ice and beating Cam Talbot for his second of the game, a 3-2 overtime winner. It took just 12 seconds.
“You don’t want him to walk all over you,” Kadri said, going back to a five-point game McDavid enjoyed against the Leafs in Edmonton in his only other test against his childhood team. “He can embarrass you when he has time and space and I just wanted to limit that.”
Kadri scored both goals with Matthews on the ice, the first at 1:29 after Roman Polak pinched and linemate Connor Brown fed him in the slot. McDavid, who was double-shifted and utilized on a few lines by coach Todd McLellan to escape Mike Babcock’s home-ice checking plan, found Kadri, Brown and Leo Komarov constantly hounding him.
Below, a few videos including Mike Babcok post-game on McDavid's ice time...
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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