Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal,
At 25, Hemsky is still making his way to the upper echelon of the National Hockey League. With 29 points in 28 games, he’s moved onto the league’s top 30 scoring list. He’s 10th with 11 power-play helpers, and he heads into tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks with points in 16 of his last 20 games.
There’s a consistency to his game that wasn’t there in the past. It’s a smarter, more effective game that he is playing.
“He wants to score now,” said linemate Shawn Horcoff, “and he’s shooting the puck a lot more, which is directly tied to him scoring. He’s always been a guy who’s been creative, but now he’s not holding it as much.”
“It’s part of the process. It’s growing up as a player,” Hemsky said. “I’m not wasting as much energy. I’m playing smarter.”
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The $575,000-a-year goalie, whose paycheque is 10% of Tomas Vokoun’s, went into the game with the best save percentage in the league at .941 and a 2.09 goals against average and improved on both numbers to go 5-1-2 in his last eight games and 16-4-3 since Jan. 3 last year.
(Craig) Anderson left the building with one of the most fascinating stats you’ll ever find for a goaltender as he stretched his career record to 10-1-4 in games in which he faced 40 or more shots.
But sorry, he wasn’t the story.
Lots of shots. No chances.
That was the sorry story as the Oilers booted yet another home game as they began the stretch of games in which they’re supposed to reboot their season.
from George Richards of On Frozen Pond,
As expected, the local buzz surrounded Jay Bouwmeester and his contract. The general consensus around here is that Jay won’t be with the Panthers (big shock), and that Edmonton could offer some serious jingle to get their hometown boy back. I don’t think Jay will sign here to play under a microscope, and two people I talked to up here agree with that assessment. The Oilers are going to try to get him, though.
Pete (DeBoer) on Jay: ‘‘He’s been outstanding. I didn’t have a real appreciation for how good he is. He has that unique combination of speed and range where he can shut down the best players on every team. He’s also found his offensive game, something that started last year when he put up 15 goals.
more on Bouwmeester and the Panthers as the prepare to face the Oilers tonight in Edmonton…
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Gilbert Brule is out on parole.
The Edmonton Oilers farmhand was slapped with a four-game American Hockey League suspension for a hit from behind on Lowell defenceman Matthew Corrente on Wednesday, but he’ll be able to play tonight against the San Jose Sharks after his call-up from the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.
Suspensions from the AHL don’t necessarily travel to the NHL, so Brule will play his first Oilers game, likely on the fourth line, after he was summoned Friday when Sam Gagner came down with concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow in the head in a Dallas Stars’ game Wednesday.
“It’s up to the league whether they will allow a player to play if he has a suspension somewhere else,” said Oilers assistant GM Rick Olczyk, indicating it’s a case-by-case basis.
from Marty York at Metro News (Tuesday story),
NHL sources told Metro yesterday the Oilers are poised to complete a significant trade and/or fire coach Craig MacTavish, likely this week.
“They (the Oilers) have come nowhere close to what they expected to be this season and (club chief) Kevin Lowe is extremely annoyed,” an NHL source said. “Kevin’s just about ready to pull the trigger.”
The Oilers were supposed to be a contender this season. Oddsmakers reckoned they’d likely qualify for the playoffs. Yet they’ve turned out to be inconsistent, at best, and are below .500.
read on and if I recall previous stories from Mr. York, not many have come true.
from the CP via TSN,
“We still have faith in this group,” Tambellini said. “We have a big weekend coming up. We can have a solid weekend here. We need a strong effort against St. Louis, no question.”...
“The players have to produce,” Tambellini said. “They have to play regardless of system or pressure, whatever the situation is. That’s their job.
“We’re working hard. We’re under-achieving in some areas as far as the offensive output, but I think everyone would agree there is enough skill on this hockey team to be a good offensive team.”
from Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun,
Despite seemingly trying everything to light a fire under his team’s butt - to little success - the Edmonton Oilers head coach still believes he can get through to his squad.
“When you go through phases like this, you’re never out of ideas on how to improve your team,” MacTavish said. “The answers are right there.
“It’s like going to university and going through an open-book exam, all you have to do is open your eyes and see what the issues are. Then you come to the rink with a game plan. So there is never a shortage of ideas that you can forward to your team and to your players.”
Currently the issue at hand is the inability to score.
From Mark Spector at Sportsnet.ca,
Craig MacTavish’s job is officially on the line in Edmonton, as it appears the Oilers head coach is beginning to lose his players’ interest after eight seasons behind the bench.
But a high ranking source within the organization said Thursday that the Oilers will make a trade to try to shake up their lineup before firing their head coach, whose team has struggled out of the gate at 9-10-2 and sits in last place in the Northwest Division.
A veteran Oilers player, who requested anonymity added: “Maybe a trade, then the coach. After this long, a change might be good.”
from Jay Feaster at the Hockey News,
If only I could feel bad for the Oilers and their serious case of buyer’s remorse.
What, exactly, did Edmonton think it was purchasing with that offer sheet? Penner was a 6-foot-4, 245-pound winger who had played two seasons of college hockey, two seasons in the American League and one full season in the NHL (plus 19 games in part of one other season)....
Did they know his legs were “inconsistent” and his conditioning sometimes an issue? Did they know that the “competitiveness” part of his game has “always been a problem?”
That’s the reason GMs snicker. Edmonton didn’t know, but they hoped. They paid an exorbitant price and hoped for the best. They now have buyer’s remorse.
On Nov. 22, 2003, the Canadiens and Oilers braved sub-zero temperatures for an outdoor hockey extravaganza. Here’s a look back at this historic event!
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.
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