Kukla's Korner Hockey
Edmonton Coach Dallas Eakins spoke with the media after practice today. The Yakupov conversation starts at the 1:15 mark.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
MacTavish won’t trade his big guns–Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle–but the door might be slightly ajar for Yakupov who is having a miserable second NHL season after a fine 17-goal rookie year. But Hemsky is almost surely being shopped by the 3-10-2 Oilers who need to get bigger and better defensively, and certainly Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault, formerly running the Vancouver Canucks’ bench, would have seen lots of Hemsky over the past seven or eight years. And, it’s no secret the Rangers can’t score (26 goals in 14 games) and they sorely miss the concussed Rick Nash on the wing, and Hemsky can put up points, as long as he stays healthy.
His $5 million salary is definitely an impediment to any team taking him on but the Oilers would have to take salary back, or maybe they could pick up some of the right-winger’s wage. When Thomas Vanek was dealt to the New York Rangers, the Sabres agreed to pay close to 20 percent of his $7.1 million cap hit..
Who would the Oilers be looking at in New York. Leftwinger /centre Chris Kreider’s name immediately comes to mind.
I am not sure about Kreider, he has been impressive his last few games.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
It is a grim thing how the Oilers’ season had gone off the rails, and hard to see any solutions on the horizon, even with Taylor Hall returning to the lineup from injury, possibly towards the end of the week.
The Oilers’ defence is leaky, their offence has ground to a halt and the goaltending remains largely mediocre. The confidence level appears to be zero; they are trying to be altogether too cute when they have the puck; and they don’t seem to have a clue how to play without it. Not a recipe for a quick turnaround.
As of Monday morning, the Oilers were 10 points behind the fifth-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Under the new NHL realignment plan, the top three teams in each division make the playoffs along with two wild cards.
So that’s 10 points they have to make up in a division that includes only one other real weak link – their Alberta counterparts, the Calgary Flames. It is the start of the second month of the NHL season and the task is practically hopeless already.
Many general managers, including the Red Wings’ Ken Holland, believe that teams move in tandem in the standings once you get about six weeks into the season and only on the rarest occasion can a club dig itself out of such a precarious early-season deficit. So the arithmetic is heavily skewed against the Oilers and then there is the matter of getting their act together on the ice.
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from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Your name is Dallas Eakins and there are questions about how how a power-play unit could have gone from eighth last year to 24th, how penalty kill unit could have gone from ninth to 26th, how your five-on-five could have given up more goals than any other team in the league and if the so-called swarm defence is understood by any of your defencemen.
Your name is Dallas Eakins and you’re on the hot seat with fans wanting to stick your feet in the fire.
“I feel it. I understand it,” said the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers when your correspondent asked what it’s like to be in this sort of jackpot to begin a NHL head coaching career.
“I have kids bugging my daughter at school. That’s not very much fun.
“I’m walking my daughter to school yesterday and I have one kid yelling at everybody ‘There’s the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers!’ And my five-year-old daughter gets real excited because, ‘That’s my daddy.’
“And then I have another kid yelling, ‘You suck!’”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Is there a glimmer of hope for this year’s team after one month? MacTavish says there is and he doesn’t sound like he’s in denial.
He says he’s “as shocked as anybody” by the Oilers’ anemic record, but he’s not ready to make a trade today and regret it tomorrow just to pacify an angry audience. He knows the team has major blemishes and he knows he doesn’t have the right mix of players.
“I don’t see how making a bad trade helps anybody. Are we trying to do something to shore up the deficient areas? Absolutely. But I’m not doing something at all costs,” he said. “We’ve got significant pieces. Does the record really reflect the first 13 (14 games actually)? Everybody can draw their own conclusions there. And I’m drawing mine. I don’t think it’s reflective. We’re improving.”
But when big, nasty defenceman like Matt Greene, Robyn Regehr and Willie Mitchell kick butt for the Los Angeles Kings, it’s obviously an area MacTavish has to address. When six-foot-three, 210-pound James VanRiemsdyk goes to the net or Max Pacioretty, of similiar frame, does the same, this is certainly something the GM wants. He also needs somebody to grab the ball and run with it, hard, in net. Devan Dubnyk, presumably, but for all those Ryan Miller fans, Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier says there has been not one offer for the unrestricted free agent.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
There’s a website called SportsClubStats which usually gets a lot of use in the second half of pro sports season. It computerizes, by percentage, each team’s mathematical chances of making the playoffs.
Guess what the Oilers chances are this morning?
On October 30th.
You ready for this?
That’s better than only one other team, the Buffalo Sabres at 1.3%.
In the media room, as the final minutes were ticking off the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers, one writer asked how much time remained.
One wag responded “68 games.”
from Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal,
How much longer will fans continue to support an organization that can’t win, never mind be competitive?
Prior to the 2004-05 lockout, the Oilers had a financial disadvantage compared to the big spending teams such as the Devils, the Detroit Red Wings, the Colorado Avalanche and the Philadelphia Flyers. The fans accepted and understood the Oilers didn’t have the money to buy consistent, winning teams, and they seemed to relish the underdog role.
That changed after the lockout ended.
The Oilers no longer have one of the smallest payrolls in the league. Owner Daryl Katz has given president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and general manager Craig MacTavish, as well as MacTavish’s predecessor Steve Tambellini, the green light to spend money, yet despite the added payroll, they are still no closer to being a playoff team.
It is clear something isn’t right within the Oilers. Their plan isn’t working. They can’t keep blaming the head coach for all the failures of the franchise.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
There might be 90% of the season left to play, but it doesn’t take much of a hole these days to seriously jeopardize a team’s chances.
Fall just a handful of points and a handful of teams behind the final playoff spot and before you know it, “It’s early” becomes “It’s too late.”
“You look at the teams that are gaining points on us, they’re really good teams,” said Oilers winger David Perron. “Sure, it’s early, but at the same time we can’t fall too far behind or it’s going to be too steep of a hill.”
Steeper than one would imagine this early in the year. As Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman recently pointed out, since 2005-06 (the year the NHL added shootout points) only three of 32 teams that were four or more points out of a playoff spot on Nov. 1 rebounded to make the playoffs.
Sportsnet's HockeyCentral at Noon discussed the post-game comments Dallas Eakins made last night.
The panel wasn't very kind to Eakins...
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