Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Ilya Bryzgalov’s strategy was apparent as he met the Edmonton media for the first time on Monday. Forget the past, hope everyone else forgets the past, and if that doesn’t work, then deny the past. So the average player-media exchange went something like this:
Reporter “Do you see this as a second chance for you?”
Bryzgalov “What do you mean?”
Reporter “Just, the way things ended up in Philadelphia…”
Bryzgalov “I never lost my first chance, you know.”
So it turns out that Bryzgalov, a contrarian if nothing else, was not blackballed by hockey these past few months. He just took a little longer to find a contract after that compliance-buyout thing in Philadelphia. The whole situation was completely out of his control, actually, which must include a save percentage that ranked 59th and 55th among NHL goalies the past two seasons. Does being paid $23 million over 14 years just to go away bother him? “Not at all,” Bryzgalov says, breaking into a big smile. “You know, it’s out of my control. I can’t do anything about it. It’s just like, ‘Ok, guys. If you decide… to make that move, I’ve just got to accept it and move on.’”
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
Nail Yakupov wants to play more. Dallas Eakins, the Edmonton winger’s coach, does not agree.
And so the sad-sack Oilers have a situation that is entirely of their own doing. The team is in the dumps. Arguably their most talented offensive player — scouts compared Yakupov with Hall of Famer Pavel Bure — is angry. Nobody, from the player to coach to captain Andrew Ference to general manager Craig MacTavish, has uncovered any answers to fix the first thing around the team.
Yakupov is not at fault. Yakupov is 20 years old. For most young, wealthy, and entitled men, maturity arrives in following years — if at all.
The blame belongs to the Oilers. They are one of the primary log-throwers onto a fire that’s burning organizations as well as players. The Oilers are leading the charge toward rushing young players into the meanest league in the sport.
continued plus additional NHL notes...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The Oilers, who had only two goals in the previous five consecutive games at home so they’d been outscored 23-2 when Yakupov pulled the trigger for his 20th career goal in his 67th career game.
Oh, yes. Forgot to mention. The Oilers lost the game 3-1 to the Sharks who have now gone 10-1-1 in their last dozen games in Edmonton. It was the Oilers sixth straight loss at home in which they have been out-scored 23-3.
“It’s always good when you score but we have just four wins and we’ve played 21 games. We’re frustrated about it,” said Yakupov to complete his interview.
And the Oilers headed for Calgary with a record of 1-7-0 at home.
Oh, and one other thing. The Buffalo Sabres won last night. Edmonton dropped to 30th overall.
But who cares?
A goal! A goal! Oilers fans actually saw a goal!
via the Edmonton Oilers PR department,
General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have assigned centre Mark Arcobello to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League and recalled defenceman Oscar Klefbom from Oklahoma City.
Klefbom, 20, has played in 12 games for the Barons this season, recording one assist and two penalty minutes.
The 6'3", 204-pound defenceman is in his first professional season in North America after spending the past three seasons with Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League. In 67 games he posted seven points (3G, 4A), eight penalty minutes and a plus seven rating.
The Oilers selected Klefbom in the 1st round, 19th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Arcobello has played in all 20 games for the Oilers this season, registering 12 points (2G, 10A) and four penalty minutes.
Edmonton fans react...
from John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal,
MacTavish said he remains convinced a core group of 8-9 players is on the right track for the Oilers, even as they struggle with a new defensive system, a new head coach and, clearly, with the opposition, night-in-night-out.
He said he will continue to work the phones and network with his counterparts around the league to secure the missing pieces the club needs, especially a wheelhorse defenceman, a rare, hard-to-acquire commodity in the NHL.
Further, MacTavish said he would be prepared to include the club’s first-round draft pick, which could be No. 1 overall the way the club is going, in a trade package for such a player.
“We don’t need another 18-year-old kid in here next year,” MacTavish said, in reference to the cluster of young stars the club has acquired by virtue of a series of last-place finishes.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal answers a few questions from readers...
Q: I don’t know how much longer Oilers GM Craig MacTavish can wait before he has to fire coach Dallas Eakins and clean up the mess himself à la Lou Lamoriello. What a freaking disaster.
A: Eakins is going nowhere. Hey, it’s 19 games into a four-year contract. I’d say he deserves a whole lot more time than that. This is hardly the NHL coming-out party Dallas Eakins wanted, though. With every Oilers’ loss, he meets the media and tries to put some positive spin on things unless it’s obvious there is no compete there. You are correct that New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has stepped in as an interim guy a couple of times, when coaches Larry Robinson and Claude Julien were fired, but MacTavish believed in Eakins this spring when he hired him, and unless I’m reading the wrong tea leaves, this is his guy. It is very disturbing, however, how incredibly bad the Oilers have been defensively. That falls on the head coach. After 19 games last year, when Ralph Krueger was at the helm, they’d given up 54 goals. They’ve given up 75 this season.
a few more Edmonton related questions...
from the CP at Sportsnet,
Craig MacTavish isn’t taking too kindly to comments made by Nail Yakupov’s agent about his client’s role with the Edmonton Oilers.
A day after Igor Larionov told ESPN.com that he’d be open to a trade from the Oilers, MacTavish accused the reporter (Craig Custance) who wrote the story of "manufacturing it" and defended the team’s treatment of Yakupov.
"There’s nothing changed from our perspective on Yak," MacTavish said after the NHL general managers meeting in Toronto. "The only thing I will say is that adversity in my mind is something that helps spur development. Yak’s facing a little bit of adversity, but there aren’t too many players of that age that haven’t. That’s really all I have to say about it."
continued with more from MacTavish...
from Chris Westcott at the Olers website,
"I know that (Larionov is) coming and we've got to do something because I don't see any trust in me now," said Yakupov. "I'm playing lower and lower minutes and I just want to help my team win every game and try to do something. I'm trying to shoot, trying to skate, trying to hit but I haven't had that much chance to do that. It's been very hard to watch the game from the bench when my teammates are fighting for pucks or points because I know I can do the same thing."
Yakupov is averaging 15:28 of ice-time per game, however has saw those numbers dwindle recently and has not played over 12 minutes in a game since November 5, against the Florida Panthers (12:47).
"I just want to play. I don't want to play nine or five minutes. I think I can play more and I can help my teammates to do something to get some points. We need points. I'm 20 years-old and I think that's a pretty important year for me to learn how to play hockey.
"I just want to play, I want to help and I want to have fun. It's a simple thing. I want to play hockey."
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
With 15 losses in 19 games to start a season that was supposed to be one in which things finally started getting better, it’s really hard to fathom it can get any worse than this for the Edmonton Oilers.
Losing 5-4 on Sunday night to the reigning Stanley Cup champions, a Blackhawks team that’s really starting to hit its stride and score goals in bunches, wasn’t, in itself, any reason for despair....
The entire organization seems to have that shellshocked look. Well, not GM Craig MacTavish, maybe. Having battled serious health issues and gone through the living death of coaching in the NHL, he knows there’s worse than this, and he knows this time, at least, he’s in charge of his own fate.
Rookie head coach Dallas Eakins is hanging in there pretty well, worried as much about the impact this difficult start is having on his family in their new hometown, wondering every day how to get his message across to his players while maintaining a positive public posture with the media....
Eakins has got veterans making rookie mistakes, young forwards with talent but little defensive savvy, a blue line that isn’t very good and saw one of its more experienced components traded away last week and goaltending that lets the team down pretty much every night.
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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