Kukla's Korner Hockey
from the CP at Sportsnet,
For years, the league wondered when the club would make a leap. This might be their year.
"I really feel like we’re going in the right direction," Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a recent interview. "We made some moves this summer that I think had some shock and awe, not intentionally, but it was part of what we’ve been trying to do. I’m anxious. I’m excited to get the season going."
Chiarelli was hopeful of snapping the playoff drought, if also realistic.
On average, the minimum for a playoff spot in the west over the past three seasons was 92 points. Edmonton had 70 points a year ago, the worst mark in the conference and only one more than the league-worst Toronto Maple Leafs. Even getting to 87 points, which landed the Minnesota Wild a playoff spot last season, would require a 17-point improvement, a significant and perhaps unreasonable jump for any club to expect.
"I guess, never say never," Chiarelli said. "We improved last year, believe it or not by (eight) points. And we're going to improve again."
frm Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Former Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference has been on biking excursions over 100 km this summer so his damaged hip, which needed major repair, is holding up on the trails and the open road with low impact exercise, but the defenceman hasn’t skated or run since his March surgery.
His NHL career is basically over, although there’s no official retirement.
“What is the terminology? I have a career-ending injury,” said Ference, 37.
“That’s the way I’m looking at it.”
“I got 16 years. I don’t feel I missed out. The people close to me walk on egg-shells until I tell them it’s OK. I told my wife it’s like graduating from high school. You go to high school, have a blast, have all these great parties but by the time you get to the end of high school, you say, ‘All right, I’m ready for the next step.’ You have fond memories. If I hadn’t won a Stanley Cup (2011 in Boston), that would be tough to swallow now.”
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
In Canada, McDavid has been a part of the hockey world’s consciousness since he was 14, so most people here don’t flinch much when they see an ad featuring McDavid fishing off a dock with a talking Penguin in a television commercial for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Just 19 and with no NHL playoff games on his resume, McDavid already has partnerships with CCM, Canadian Tire and Biosteel, which have added at least $1.5 million in endorsement money to McDavid’s portfolio, according to sports marketing expert Brian Cooper.
But when it comes to universal appeal, McDavid has a long way to go before he enters the consciousness of the casual American hockey fan. It doesn’t help that neither McDavid nor the Oilers are scheduled to appear on one NBC game this season. When it comes to generating the highest viewership levels possible, the formula for NBC Sports is a combination of big markets, winning records and attractive matchups. And star power. The Oilers possess just one of those in McDavid.
That doesn’t mean the Oilers will never appear on NBC, but the network will need to see something more than a tease from McDavid and Oilers. “As with any team, the Oilers can play their way onto our schedule,” an NBC spokesperson said in an email to THN. “As they get more competitive, they’ll see more airtime.”
from CBC News,
The man who was responsible for the ice during part of Edmonton Oilers' glory days will oversee ice-making at the new Rogers Place arena.
Dan Craig, the NHL's senior facility operations director, will work with the team in Edmonton to get the ice ready for next month's opening.
The Oilers play their first preseason game at Rogers Place on Sept. 26.
Craig expects the large space may pose some challenges for the Edmonton ice-making team, which has to consider air temperature and humidity levels.
"There will be a couple of little hiccups along the way, but I think they're going to get it under control," Craig said Wednesday on CBC's Edmonton AM.
"That's always been the goal from (the initial) design of that facility, that it will be the best in the league."
“I’m looking forward to these next seven years and I plan on playing them out to the best of my ability and, hopefully, I can add another year or two once this contract is done.
“Hopefully things are going well and I can play as long as I want to play. There’s maybe one or two per cent of guys who get to do that.
“I’m going to do everything I can to be the best player I can be in these next seven years. There’s a lot to look forward to.”
-Milan Lucic of the Edmonton Oilers. Much more from Lucic by Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Why have they shored up their defence with professional acquisitions like Anton Belov, Nikita Nikitin, Andrew Ference and Mark Fayne? Player evaluation: Pro.
Why did the front office overrule its scouts and draft Nail Yakupov first overall in 2012? Well, the GM and his pals didn’t trust the scouts’ collective player evaluation skills, and showed that their own were highly questionable as well.
Finally, how do you end up tied for the longest run of playoff misses in the history of the NHL? Play… Well, you get the picture.
When he became the Edmonton Oilers GM in April of 2015, Peter Chiarelli knew he had to get to work on the current Oilers roster. But he also knew the obvious: That the men who built that mess had to be replaced — ownership had already begun by replacing former GM Craig MacTavish with Chiarelli — and after moving out some scouts last summer he continued his assault on MacTavish’s group on Tuesday.
Keith Gretzky, a former director of amateur scouting for both the Arizona Coyotes and Boston Bruins — and a hire of Chiarelli’s in Boston — becomes Chiarelli’s right hand man in Edmonton, given the title of assistant general manager.
from Bruce McCurdy of the Edmont Journal,
Funny how tongues seem to loosen a bit when European players go home and do interviews in their native languages. Fans of the Edmonton Oilers have seen this in the past with the likes of Nail Yakupov and Linus Omark. The latest such comes from defenceman Oscar Klefbom, attributed with a controversial take on Taylor Hall in this revelation from Ola Winther of the website HockeySverige.se:
This tidbit was one part of a much longer interview with Klefbom, who also provided some comments on the state of his own health, a critical item going forward. More on that in a minute. Let’s start with quotes specific to the Taylor Hall trade for Adam Larsson, even as said quotes are somewhat garbled by the ever-adventurous Google Translate:
I think the team has improved. We already have so many promising forwards and we did not really have a peak reverse is rightare. I also think Adam gets a real breakthrough this year and hopefully I get the chance to play with him and forming chemistry.
– At the same time, I understand the reactions.Taylor has been our best player in recent years, but it’s also hard to tell what he has contributed.He never played his best games against the tougher teams, which we really needed it.However, he was fantastic when we met the little worse law.
A request for translation from an actual Swede has been placed, but let’s try to work through that.
continued and always remember, things can get lost in translation...
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...
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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