Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
If the Edmonton Oilers’ season was over in November, how come there’s still half of it left to go?
In a not so rare scheduling quirk, the Oilers find themselves in yet another 38-game exhibition season, where standings don’t matter and points are irrelevant, unless we’re keeping track of the bottom to see if this organization will actually suffer the humiliation of picking first overall four times in five years.
But that’s a story for the summer. In the meantime, there is still four months worth of clock to run out.
Another year, another Death March.
It happened in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and it’s happening again now.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
At some point, it's no longer coaching. It's about the way the group chooses to play. Eakins could start benching more guys, a road he's already been down with Nail Yakupov. But this could go even bigger.
The salary cap is going up and the average annual values going up with it. Why are teams chasing Evander Kane and Max Pacioretty? Because they are locked up long-term to contracts of excellent value.
How long is it going to be before Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are seen the same way? Think about it, because the Oilers have to.
-. Another thing MacTavish will do - if he hasn't already - is call Nashville Predators capo David Poile and say, "If you decide to trade No. 6, I'm in. I've got what you want. There's no better fit in the league." The Predators had no choice but to match the Philadelphia Flyers' offer sheet for Shea Weber. They needed control of the asset and credibility among the fan base after losing Ryan Suter. But things are changing in Tennessee.
-. The market is restless. The Predators were ecstatic to draft Seth Jones. But it meant not getting a highly skilled forward, which was the original plan. If a Weber package includes one of Edmonton's recent first-round picks (not Yakupov after the Alexander Radulov experiment) and this year's first-rounder, you can sell that. Of course, Edmonton will have 28 competitors if this scenario becomes reality.
more on the Oilers and 28 more Thoughts...
After Nail Yakupov scored with just under 4 minutes to go to make it 6-2 in favor of Edmonton against Winnipeg, this happened...
16:16 Winnipeg Dustin Byfuglien: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Chris Thorburn: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Edmonton Nail Yakupov: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Winnipeg Andrew Ladd: 2 minutes, cross checking
16:16 Winnipeg Zach Bogosian: 5 minutes, spearing
16:16 Winnipeg Bryan Little: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Bryan Little: 10 minutes, misconduct
16:16 Edmonton Nail Yakupov: 2 minutes, slashing
16:16 Winnipeg Zach Bogosian: 10 minutes, game misconduct
You can watch it play-out below...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
The jersey lay there on the ice, crumpled in an unceremonious heap. It had been thrown from the stands and landed at the top of the circle after a 6-0 Edmonton Oilers loss, discarded and left for the rink attendant to toss away.
It was a home blue Oilers jersey. Ales Hemsky’s No. 83, with an alternate captain’s ‘A.’ Likely $250 worth of jersey, abandoned like any hopes for the 2013-14 season, a parting shot from a Rexall Place fan base that can’t stand the losing anymore.
This franchise has given its fans one playoff berth in the past 10 seasons, inheriting the Toronto Maple Leafs record of futility with the longest playoff drought (this will be nine years) in the NHL. There has not been a .500 team here since 2008-09, and this club — in year four of what was supposed to be a rebuild — is the worst edition ever, currently playing .328 hockey. No Oilers team in the 34-year history of the franchise has been this futile.
The Edmonton Oilers — groan — are in 29th place again. The season was over before it started. New coach, new GM, same old laughing stock.
Mark Spector with a few tweets today after the Oilers' morning skate...
Eakins on fan: “That’s about as bad as it gets for me. It’s bull crap.” “Whoever threw that jersey, they’re out of the fight."
“This city, the people who work in the oil patch, they’re not quitters. I do not ever, ever, want our players to quit.” - Eakins
“For some fan to show us all that he quit, he’s done, he threw in the towel. I think it says volumes about the individual.” — Eakins
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
The door to Edmonton’s locker-room remained closed long after the St. Louis Blues had thumped the Oilers 6-0 — long enough for head coach Dallas Eakins to have his say.
He questioned the players about their inability to sustain the level of play that they exhibited in the first period of Saturday’s game, and how it was that the team could just roll over and give the game to the Rexall Place visitors.
It was, of course, just one more miserable night for a team that has lost six straight games, 24 of the 38 they’ve played since the season opened with far more promise than this.
“It’s like we love misery,” said Eakins. “I’ve had enough misery already and we have some players who have been here for a number of years. They have to be done with it. There has to be a change in the commitment level and the accountability — not from me but from within the room. That’s where it has to start.
“If it doesn’t start in there, this is just going to continue. It just will. I can sit guys out. I can yell at them, you can do all these things as a coach but you need guys in the room really holding each other accountable and not looking the other way.”
Below via Sportsnet, watch Eakins, Eberle and Bryzgalov talk about the poor performance...
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
... The Oilers arena is still sold out, but I can’t recall a time since the mid-1990s when there’s been so little interest in the Oilers in mid-season.
The compact between the fans on one side and Katz and his management group, headed up by Kevin Lowe, on the other has fallen apart. The deal was that the fans would endure a few years of losing so that the team could reload with top draft picks and rebuild the franchise that way.
This model has worked for some NHL teams, failed for others, but the Oilers core group, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle , Justin Schultz, Sam Gagner and Jeff Petry, is now at the same age we saw with groups in other cities when the losing started to fade away and those teams started to compete for the playoffs.
This turnaround didn’t happen last year in Edmonton and it’s not happening this year.
Instead, the team has appeared confused and disorganized, especially on defence and on the power play. Edmonton has had some success against weaker teams in the Eastern conference, but has been dominated by their real competition, the stronger Western conference teams.
added 8:17pm, Buffalo press release below...
DOPS with the suspension explanation.
Potter received a major for checking from behind and a game, Bonino appears to be ok.
from the Blackhawks,
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have acquired goaltender Jason LaBarbera from the Edmonton Oilers, in exchange for future considerations. LaBarbera will be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.
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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