Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
About 10 days ago or so, with the Edmonton Oilers having started the season winless in their first five games, we're told the team's front office held some intense discussions, looking at all kinds of possibilities for action should their miserable start continue. Another October from hell would not be accepted. Four wins in a row later everyone can take a step back and relax.
The Oilers shut out Montreal 3-0 on Monday night behind Ben Scrivens. The Oilers goalie was shaky early in the season, which provided people like myself a reason to ask whether Edmonton made an error in thinking he could be No. 1 goalie material. But like his team, Scrivens has bounced back well and has been terrific during the game's four-game win streak, the team's first of its kind since the lockout season two years ago.
read on for Burnside and Custance on the Oilers and Strang on the hits in last night's Wild/Rangers game.
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
The Oilers, 4-4-1, have won four games in a row for the first time since going on a five-game winning streak from March 26-April 3 in the 2012-13 lockout-shortened NHL season.
Only seven players in Monday’s lineup played for Edmonton that season.
“This taught us a lot about ourselves as a group and how we can play, but the test of a good team is repeatability and consistency. That’s where we’ve set the bar. We’ve now shown everybody in this room how we can play,” said goaltender Ben Scrivens, who made 29 saves to register his seventh career shutout.
Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers and Jonathan Drouin of the Tampa Bay Lightning scored last night.
Below, Droun's first NHL goal...
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
... “You can’t trade (Nail) Yakupov, because nobody’s going to take him,” said (Don) Cherry, as per Sportsnet.ca. “(Jordan) Eberle or one of those guys have got to go. It’s a tough deal giving one of (the young players) away, but something’s gotta go.”
While it’s a bit of hyperbole to say nobody would take the No. 1 overall pick in Yakupov, there’s no question that Eberle has significant value on the trade market and is exactly the kind of player the Bruins are seeking to answer their right wing questions along the top line. The Bruins and Oilers have conducted an ongoing trade conversation going back to the beginning of summer involving Johnny Boychuk, and again right before this season’s opening with Chris Kelly on Edmonton’s radar....
So the Bruins would have their right wing solution for the foreseeable future if they brought him into the fold. Boston will have to fight through a dysfunctional offense until they find a proper solution on the right side of David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and that means going outside the organization for the answer.
The challenge is meeting Edmonton’s price for Eberle, who will draw interest around the league, and clearing more cap space in order to take on his cap tag.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
- On Tuesday, Edmonton faced off against Los Angeles without injured top-liners Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Predictably, the Oilers fell short, even though the Kings were missing Marian Gaborik and Jake Muzzin. But they didn’t just lose. They got hammered, 6-1. The next night, the Coyotes hung seven on the Oilers.
As usual, it’s a mess in Edmonton. Injuries happen. It doesn’t help when they hit two of your best players. But management is responsible for providing depth when the inevitable takes place. Edmonton’s top two centers against the Kings were Mark Arcobello and Leon Draisaitl....
- What do Chris Kelly, Kris Letang, Matt Carle, Nicklas Grossmann, Dan Girardi, Stephen Weiss, Brandon Prust, and Nathan Horton have in common? Two things: They played for the eight Eastern Conference playoff teams last season, and they are overpaid within the context of their rosters and job descriptions. The point is that just about every management team is carrying an inflated salary. It happens. No GM is immune to this issue. There are reasons. Carle, Weiss, Prust, and Horton won their paydays as unrestricted free agents. Letang has the coveted puck-moving skill set. The Bruins like Kelly’s versatility and presence. Girardi, when he’s on, is a good shutdown defenseman. It’s better to have the player at a higher price than to lose him to a competitor.
more on the Oilers plus additional hockey topics including how teams deal with the second contract of a player...
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Now it's a five alarm fire.
Five games. Five losses.
Worst start in franchise history.
It was one of those “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” type of nights.
A lot of things which were wrong with the team in their first four games were right this night....
“It's always about the points,” said coach Dallas Eakins of the standings.
“But we're certainly not going to be kicking ourselves in the face after a game like that.
“It was an even battle. I thought we had a lot more gamesmanship tonight.”
Eakins didn't look like the captain of a sinking ship.
This a situation where everybody should be taking a deep breath, not one where people, especially players, should be turning blue holding their breath. Just about every team has a four-game stretch like this.
But this is Edmonton.
The sky is falling. Again.
Is it to early to panic? Probably.
But it won’t be in a week.
-Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun where you can read more on the Oilers.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Eakins’ failure to instill a defensive posture into this roster may be his undoing. Yes, the goaltending undermines everything. But this team is incapable of pulling its horns in on a night when two-thirds of its top line is out of the lineup due to injury, and trying for the 2-1 win. Edmonton simply bleeds point blank chances on a nightly basis, and considering that the GM added four veteran players over the summer — two on defence — you might look to the coach to install a system that limits the chances.
Vancouver is in town Friday night, as Edmonton opens up a seven-game home stand that Eakins’ job and the Oilers season hinges on. Rexall Place will be tense and angry if pucks start piling up behind Scrivens once again.
The term “goalie graveyard” is now being applied to Edmonton, and that is entirely fair. It’s been a coaching graveyard for some time now.
We wonder: if Dan Bylsma’s phone rang today and he saw the 780 area code, would he even pick up?
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Yes, deju vu, all over again. How can we get a rewind of last season? Last year, the Oilers never got the swarm defence, chasing people around and leaving people wide-open and their goalie at the mercy of shooters, fully-cocked. There were not nearly enough saves, either, from Devan Dubnyk or Jason LaBarbera to bail the team out, somewhat. Dubnyk admits that.
This October, there is no swarm to denigrate, after the fact. Now, the Oilers can’t seem to check anybody in a different colour jersey in their end of the rink. The goal Arizona’s Rob Klinkhammer, hardly a sniper of the Steve Stamkos variety, scored Wednesday- the 4-2 goal where he was standing all by his lonesome- was painful to watch. Five guys in a freeze-frame, nobody taking a man. Certainly, Ben Scrivens has to make some saves–he admitted as much, more than once after the 7-4 loss (one empty netter to give Mikkel Boedker his first hat-trick, five goals in three games, the first-ever Coyote to start that hot–but, again, the Oilers team defence is, frankly, non-existent right now. It is, as we’ve said, like the opposition is playing against air.
Below, watch coach Eaking post-game...
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Two minutes after LA Kings’ winger Tyler Toffoli made like Brett Hull, lacing a 25-footer under the crossbar after spinning away from a check, halfway through the first period Tuesday, Edmonton Oilers’ goalie Viktor Fasth went to the bench and then to the safety of the dressing room, hobbled by a sore groin. Most likely that wasn’t the only body part hurting a proud guy, but at least Fasth wasn’t put through 60 minutes of a nightmarish show.
There was no “we were in the fight” quote from coach Dallas Eakins after this one. The Oilers flat-out didn’t compete; they were like Wal-Mart greeters in the first period and into the early part of the second, waving the Kings in and asking if they could help them find anything The Kings didn’t any help finding the net. For a time it looked like it might rival the 11-0 decimation by the Hartford Whalers in 1984, but the Oilers dug in a bit and wouldn’t let the Stanley Cup champions hit double figures. But make no mistake, this was a subterranian low.
Watch Coach Eakins post-game below...
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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