Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
This improvement has received mixed reviews in Edmonton. Some believe that to win too many games when the season is hopelessly lost undermines the long-term future because it lessens the Oilers’ odds of landing either McDavid or Jack Eichel, the two most-coveted teenage prospects available in this year’s draft.
Others see the frustrating recent history of failure – eight consecutive years outside the playoffs – and just want the losses to stop, whatever the long-term consequences.
But there’s no divided agenda in either the dressing room or in the coach’s office. The Oilers are out to win every night and suggestions that they tank what’s left of the season to enhance their draft position are decisively rejected. Players and coaches are in the business of a) winning and b) survival. Accordingly, they couldn’t care less about who might be riding in with the cavalry come next season.
Under Nelson, “the biggest thing I’m noticing is, we’re playing better as a team,” said winger Jordan Eberle, who leads the Oilers in goal-scoring with 15. “We’re playing better as a five-man unit systematically. We’ve upped our tempo in practice a little bit and we’re playing more like that in games. Those two things – and we’re starting to enjoy coming into the locker room a bit more. A lot of that goes with winning, but it’s really a catalyst in helping you play better too.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Back in November, a few paragraphs of an Associated Press wire story out of Erie, Pa., made their way into Canadian newspapers and websites. The item noted that Sherry Bassin, owner and general manager of the major-junior Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, lost a $4.6-million (U.S.) judgment to Daryl Katz, owner of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
On the face of it, is seemed just another business-deal-gone-bad – the settlement amount was for a loan Katz advanced to Bassin, plus interest, nearly three years earlier. It was before the Otters had drafted the bankable teen phenom Connor McDavid, and Bassin needed the money to prop up the financially struggling franchise. Then, for reasons that weren’t made clear in the wire story, Katz called the loan. Bassin couldn’t pay, so off to court they went.
But a closer look at the dispute and what led to it reveals the indecorous underside of sports franchise ownership, not to mention the fickle relationships between teams and their communities, and the fragile “partnerships” between owners in various leagues. So much for the honour in pro sports.
The details will follow, but in short, Katz made the deal with Bassin not because he was interested in the welfare of fans in Erie. Instead, if he could quietly buy the Otters, he could move them to Hamilton and take control of his ultimate prize – the hockey lease at Copps Coliseum – even though a fellow NHL owner, Michael Andlauer, was the existing leaseholder at the Hamilton arena.
Ah, the timeline. In Edmonton, they’re still in about Year 2 or 3 of a successful rebuild. The problem being, they started five or six years ago.
In Toronto, they’ve painted themselves into a corner where they may have to start completely over. That means a good year of getting rid of assets before beginning at rock bottom again.
-Mark Spector of Sportsnet where you can read more on both teams.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Now healthy as he can be, Hall can’t score. He has 11 goals and 29 points in 40 games, well off his normal pace.
Hall scored two goals against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 21, and got one against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 9, but that’s it in the last 24 games. He’s managed 13 assists, but no goal celebrations.
His name has come up in trade talk, which was sacrilege until now, although any player can get moved, no matter where they were picked in the draft. Tyler Seguin, who was the second pick behind Hall in 2010, was moved from the Boston Bruins after winning a Stanley Cup, albeit maybe more for how he was away from the rink than on the ice.
The Oilers aren’t shopping Hall, but general manager Craig MacTavish’s phone has likely rung, with Hall in Year 2 of a seven-year, $42-million contract.
“I’m sure teams are asking, but I’m happy here and need to get my own game untracked before worrying about that stuff,” Hall said.
“It’s a change. In year’s past, I’ve always been mentioned as a guy who won’t be traded, but now you see your name creeping up in rumours.
“My friends and family ask me about it. I tell them, ‘You really think I want to talk about being traded?’ ” he said with a laugh. “My only control over being traded is how I play. Ultimately, if I ever asked for a trade, that would be my responsibility. But I don’t want to leave, especially the way I’m playing now.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
When you’re at the bottom rung of the National Hockey League ladder, it’s pretty obvious you’re a seller at the trade deadline — especially with guys who can walk away on July 1, no strings attached.
Which brings us to Jeff Petry. The Edmonton Oilers defenceman is in the prime of his career, but he’s due to become an unrestricted free agent following this season.
The clock’s ticking loudly on Petry — if there’s no traction on a long-term deal from his side or from Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish, he’s out the door by the trade deadline March 5, 21 games from now.
Chances are he’ll head to the Detroit Red Wings or to the Pittsburgh Penguins or to any team looking for one of those rare birds: a right-handed shooting defenceman who can skate and who has lots left on his odometer at age 27.
Rentals, outside big names such as Jarome Iginla when he left Calgary for Pittsburgh, normally bring back second-round draft picks or prospects at the deadline, but if a team feels they can sign a player before July 1, often they’ll give up more than one piece. Petry doesn’t want to think about the trade deadline, though.
from Robert Thcykowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Some Oilers fans are now actually cheering for losses.
A city that once followed Mark Messier’s lead is now giggling about finishing last and weaseling into a better draft lottery position.
Seriously, Dishonour for Connor isn’t funny. It’s embarrassing.
That’s not what sports is about, it’s not what Edmonton is about....
Edmonton sports fans insist that their teams compete hard and win, that they be the gold standards in their leagues, the team other teams aspire to be on and off the field.
And now a segment of the fan base is actually cheering for the Oilers to lose, celebrating roster moves that might ensure a 30th place finish in the misguided hope that Rebuild III, centered around Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, will somehow undo a decade’s worth of bad management, poor scouting and losing culture?
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
Jeff Petry is 27-years-old, in the prime of his career as an NHL defenceman. He’s likely got five or six years left where he will play at peak or near peak performance.
Petry has also been the most steady defenceman on the Edmonton Oilers for years now. He’s constantly sent out to play against the toughest competition in the NHL’s toughest conference, but more than any other Oilers d-man, he’s held his own. In fact, most d-men on the Oilers have wilted when asked to face the monster attackers of the West game in, game out, forwards such as Ryan Getzlaf, Anze Kopitar, David Backes and Jonathan Toews. But Petry has done OK. He’s not the kind of true No. 1 d-man the Oilers need, but he’s shown he can generally hold his own against the best of the best.
He’s not a great passer, but he passes OK. He’s not the toughest NHLer, but he generally takes the man. He’s not a big point producer, but he’s asked to carry the puck a ton and he moves it fine.
added 12:34pm, Penguins' release is below...
“You can complicate it, but at the end of the day, it’s the most consistent teams that execute the details and play smart hockey that win. I mean, they cover up mistakes better than the other guys. Every team makes mistakes. It’s the guys that sense that danger and cover up for their teammates consistently and create multiple layers to go through all the time that win. It’s nothing fancy.”
“The competition in this league is so high now. Defensive systems are so tight, and players are so consistent and responsible that even if you’re pretty good at it, if you make five or 10 mistakes a game, there’s your one-goal [loss] – because the other team is making only four to six mistakes. That’s the way the league is, and you have to bring yourself up to that higher standard. It’s just the way it is.”
-Andrew Ference, captain of the Edmonton Oilers. Much more from and on Ference by Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail.
Darryl Sutter via Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
On Ben Scrivens having to change the color of his stick tape:
It’s a rule. You have to have white tape on your stick. [Reporter: Did you just notice it then in the shootout?] No. If you check the books, he played for us.
The Los Angeles Kings pulled a little bit of gamesmanship on Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens during the shootout, complaining about his orange coloured knob on his stick.
The Oilers did win in the shootout...
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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