Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Bruce McCurdy of The Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
The Canucks outclassed the Oilers in every aspect of the game, before “class” itself fell victim to a disgraceful display of poor sportsmanship by the Vancouverites. That came from Zach Kassian, who put yet another black eye on himself, his team, and his sport with some utterly bush-league taunting of Sam Gagner, the man whose face Kassian caved in with an “accidental” clubbing in a pre-season game. Turns out Zach the Hack is pretty proud of his handiwork.
more and watch the incident below...
By all reports, Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk made some great saves in the 1st period last night against the Boston Bruins, but this was not one of them.
He faced 18 shots, gave up 3 goals in the opening frame and was replaced by Jason Labarbera in the 2nd period.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish was on his cell-phone while his team was skating Thursday morning and while it could have been his lovely wife telling her hubby to stop for a loaf of bread on the way home, it may have been another GM talking about defencemen. Certainly, the Oilers could use an NHL veteran back there....
Here’s who’s available, by most accounts:
Detroit’s Kyle Quincey, Carolina’s Tim Gleason, Florida’s Dmitry Kulikov and Phoenix’s David Rundblad.
*The Wings are likely offering Quincey, 28, around the league because he hasn’t played particularly well and they like Danny DeKeyser better and they badly need to clear out some money with major cap issues. Quincey, who has had two tours of duty with the Wings, has a $3.3775 million cap hit with his contract over July 1. He’s a C plus defenceman. Big enough but not an offensive guy or a true shutdown type. Detroit really doesn’t want to take a contract back in a deal for him but the Oilers are at 49 contracts (one under the max)
*Gleason,30, may be expendable with the Hurricanes because the 6’4″, 225-pound Brett Bellemore has stepped in to take XX night. He’s five years younger, plus Gleason has a $4 million cap hit for this year and two more, which makes his trade dicey. He’s a shutdown second-pairing guy. Carolina needs more offence.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org