Kukla's Korner Hockey
The only time they (Edmonton Oilers) contend is in the draft lottery.
-Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal talking Oilers on Sportsnet's Prime Time Sports tonight.
The press conference is scheduled to start at 1:45pm ET.
Hopefully you can watch it below, if not, Sportsnet has a live stream ready to go.
added 1:49pm, Well that did not go well, no stream below and the Sportsnet link is not showing the presser either, maybe geo blocked?
Sorry for this but was unsure if we could get it.
added 2:50pm, video of the presser is below...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So Eakins is out – he leaves Edmonton with a 36-63-14 record – and MacTavish is in, on an interim basis.
The Oilers have most of four months to play out the string and perhaps most importantly, the goal now is to shed the team’s losing culture and make hockey fun again - if such a thing is possible. The playoffs are not possible and the line the Oilers need to walk is to regain their credibility as an NHL market, but perhaps not win an excessive number of games from here until the end, because it would jeopardize their chances of drafting first overall next June. In the year of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, projected by scouts to be franchise-altering players in the mode of a Sidney Crosby, it isn’t easy. Your heart says one thing – win as much as possible, and let the lottery ping pong balls fall as they may. Your head says, someone’s going to land these two kids; why not us?
Of course, the likelihood is we wouldn’t even be discussing the Oilers in the context of the McDavid sweepstakes if MacTavish had left well-enough alone and just kept Ralph Krueger on as his head coach. Krueger coached the Oilers in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and they were showing signs of becoming competitive. They were 19-22-7, third in the old Northwest Division, and 12th in the conference, their best showing in six years. But MacTavish was convinced that Eakins was an upgrade; and was a hot commodity that would have gone elsewhere if he hadn’t been offered the head-coaching position. So he made an unnecessary change; handled the fallout badly; and it exploded massively in his face.
added 12:03pm, Dreger tweet,
Confirming MacTavish returns to bench on interim basis. Replacing Eakins who was fired this morning.
note 12:12pm, removed the word Report from the headline.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
t's time, now, for Edmonton fans to embrace it.
It's time for the 'Dishonour For Connor' 'Be A Gonner For Connor' McDavid movement become the focus for the customers who have been responsible for nine straight seasons of Rexall Place sellouts (even if some tickets are currently going for $8.75 on StubHub).
It's time for Edmonton fans to start to start to agree with owner Daryl Katz' obvious grand plan to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no ... well he doesn't speak does he?
To this point of the season, most fans are screaming for the Oilers to do something.
Or maybe that was two or three weeks back. Now it seems the fans have simply drifted toward apathy with a care level that's a low as it's been since Peter Pocklington's final days.
At what point does it hit home that G.M. Craig MacTavish's recently expressed plan to do nothing, is the perfect plan?
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
Through 30 games, they have only managed to secure a first-period lead three times. They haven’t won a game yet where they’ve been behind after the first 20 minutes, which has been the scenario in 11 games.
Scoring first? That’s happened just 10 times since the season opened.
“I firmly don’t understand it,” head coach Dallas Eakins said after preparations for Sunday’s home game against the New York Rangers had wrapped up.
“Believe me, we have talked about this a ton.”...
“It’s a very easy thing to say let’s have a good start,” he continued. “It’s quite different to have the DNA to go out there and understand that we have to out-start the other team.
“I don’t know if it’s a maturity level ... Of being in the league for a long time and understanding that that first shift is going to be just as important as the last shift of the game.”
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
With the Edmonton Oilers dead in the water again, the last 17 weeks of their season rendered meaningless by the first eight weeks of it, fans of this woeful organization are left to suffer in all too familiar misery this winter.
No playoffs to chase, no games to get excited about, no standings to follow. Virtually nothing to cheer for between mid December and yet another draft lottery.
It’s all over but the crying… and the last 52 games.
Crying is the easy part. After enduring nine seasons of wheel-spinning failure at Rexall Place, Oilers fans have shed more tears than Ryan Smyth at a trade deadline press conference.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
It was early in the second period when the video clip of the night in the National Hockey League and yet another freeze frame of a ninth-straight season out of the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers transpired.
Starting goaltender Viktor Fasth was pulled after the Anaheim Ducks had scored at the seven-second mark and again at the 50 second mark to make it 3-0.
The furious Fasth came back to the bench and fired his mask into the stick rack.
Then, with a great deal of animation, the former Ducks back-up goalie screamed at the Oilers players on the bench at some length.
There was a scene in the Oilers dressing room as the media headed to the goaltenders corner.
continued and below watch the "furious Fasth"...
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
With 19 points in 29 games, a 1-13 record in their past 14 and coming off two losses in a row on their California road trip, the Oilers have zero chance of making the playoffs. They are 15 points out of the final spot and would need to leapfrog seven teams to get there. It isn’t going to happen.
Luckily, the consolation prize for being really bad is really good. One could argue that the last true generational players to play in Canada were Wayne Gretzky and/or Mark Messier. To have a McDavid or an Eichel land in Edmonton would create symmetry, if nothing else. But to think MacTavish’s hands are completely tied is a false premise too. There are two steps he could take – one likely obvious to him, the other maybe not – to make the final two-thirds of the season productive on some futures level.
The first would be to shop for a lateral trade.
This is a strategy that has fallen out of favour in the 21st-century NHL for reasons that are difficult to explain.
from Jason Gregor of the Edmonton Journal,
They are tired of hearing excuses. They’ve seen this organization fail year after year after year, but just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger suggested Taylor Hall might be available in a trade.
“If the untouchable label has been placed on the fortunate few (Oilers players), that’s going to change in the off-season when teams have more flexibility to make bigger and more meaningful deals.
“It’s unlikely RNH (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) will become a target given his play and value as a top-line centre. But Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz and David Perron will be high on any list of players in play at the Draft when they shift from being Oilers to assets,” Dreger wrote.
Dreger has a close relationship with many inside the Oilers organization. For him to include Hall’s name as potential trade bait after the season suggests he heard it from someone within the team.
The Oilers have made some less-than-smart moves over the years, but if they are contemplating moving their most dangerous player, that illustrates they truly have no idea how to improve their hockey club.
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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