Kukla's Korner Hockey
from JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal, “
We have to win tonight. That’s where we start,” said captain Ethan Moreau.
“The burden has to be shared by everybody,” coach Craig MacTavish said. “Everybody has to step up. A lot of times you go to great degrees trying to complicate it or explain it or rationalize it, but it’s very simple. We need everybody in here to play the game hard, play with intensity, and execute. Everybody has to add something.
“The canvas will be finished over these next six games. How is it going to frame us? We still have an opportunity to turn it around.”
more and watch the video as the Oilers ask for fan support…
from Dan Wood of Duck Blog,
The question now is whether the Ducks or the Edmonton Oilers have enough left in the tank to drive for the Stanley Cup playoffs over the season’s final seven games.
That task will be considerably more daunting for the Ducks in the wake of a wild Friday night rollercoaster ride that featured a franchise-record 54 shots on goal but resulted in a 5-3 loss to the Oilers at Honda Center….
“It’s a tough loss,” Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger said. “You’re going to feel it here for a little while, but when you leave the rink tonight you have to put it out of your mind and make sure we’re ready to come to the rink tomorrow to work and prepare for Colorado on Sunday.”
from Robet Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
You have to look far and wide to find a more damning loss than the one they pitched last night.
By the time the game was 30 minutes old you couldn’t tell which team was second last in the West and which team was fighting for its playoff life. The Desert Dogs looked like the playoff team and the Oilers looked like something a dog leaves behind on the neighbour’s lawn.
They’ve got eight games left and can’t afford to lose many more.
“We’re running out of defeats, that’s the problem,” said head coach Craig MacTavish, whose club lost for the third game in a row to fall into ninth place. “You don’t want to spend one here today.”
But they did.
from the CP via the Globe and Mail,
The Edmonton Oilers had the Detroit Red Wings on the ropes for two and a half periods, but their failure to deliver a knockout punch left them in a precarious position in the tight Western Conference playoff race….
“Those are the games that drive you to drink,” said Oilers forward Dustin Penner. “It doesn’t feel good. I’d say that feels worse than losing 10-2. Especially at this point of the season with the way we have been playing and who we were playing tonight. That one stings.”
Edmonton head coach Craig MacTavish admitted it was tough to take the loss when he felt his team had done so much right in the contest.
“A game like that leaves everybody with a heavy heart,” he said. “It’s an incredible sense of disappointment. But at the same time we played pretty well and in a lot of ways outstanding. The way we checked and killed penalties. It’s disappointing but we’ll take some solace in that.
“It’s going to be quite the nine-game stretch here down to the end.”
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
Ales Hemsky is a frustrated star struggling to reconcile the good of the team with what he sees as his diminished role in it….
“I’m just trying to do exactly what they want. I’m becoming a checker,” he said with obvious displeasure after Monday’s practice. “We’re just doing what we have to do to win games. I’m not complaining. It’s important to win the games. I just don’t feel as important as I did before when they were riding me. I don’t feel they use me as much as they did before. If they don’t give me the confidence or trust me, I will never be playing the way I was before, the way they want.
“I’m just saying I don’t care about points. I know I didn’t play my best hockey. I can be better and I know they will need me. But they have got to show me they need me. Ride me. It’s 10 games. I will feel important and I will get better every game.”
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
The most excellent sources of Journal columnist Dan Barnes have told him the Oilers will make a go at Hossa this July, but we can only hope this effort is met with failure, or that it’s reconsidered. Even if Hossa wants top dollar, and even if did choose to sign in Edmonton, the Oilers would be committing salary cap suicide if they offered him $8 or $9 or $10 million a year.
Last summer, this pursuit of Hossa apparently took the focus off of the signing of Curtis Glencross, who could have been had for tens of thousands more, not hundreds of thousands, and certainly not millions. But Glencross was precisely the kind of small move the Oilers needed to make last summer. It wouldn’t have been a home-run signing, but it would have been a sharp double to right field.
There’s no quick fix in this modern NHL, no way for a bottom team to sign up that star player to a massive deal and challenge for the Cup, because the top player won’t make a salary sacrifice to play on a bottom or mid-level team. He will only do that, maybe, to play on the right Stanley Cup contender.
While on the Hossa subject, check out Eric Duhatschek’s story at the Globe and Mail on Marian and his time with Detroit.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune,
Their March swoon allowed the surging Vancouver Canucks to leap-frog the Hawks in the race for home-ice advantage. But with a game in hand, the Hawks had their chance to reclaim fourth Friday night with the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center, a team the Hawks had defeated three previous times this season.
But when things are going bad, it doesn’t matter who comes to town as the Hawks fell 5-4 in a shootout in a back-and-forth contest before a crowd of 22,151. The loss was the Hawks’ fifth consecutive and seventh out of their last eight games, but they did manage a point to pull even with the Canucks in the West with 12 games remaining.
An Edmonton artist is auctioning a painting he did of Chris Pronger.
David Staples of The Cult of Hockey has the story.
From Jim Matheson at The Edmonton Journal, via Faceoff.com:
Dave Hunter has three Stanley Cup rings, two that he keeps in a safety deposit box and the third he keeps around the house. He could flash it for some his oilfield clients, a little show and tell, but he doesn’t.
“My fingers got too fat ... the ring doesn’t fit like it used to,” said the self-deprecating former Edmonton Oilers winger, who has no trouble discussing his Battle of the Bulge.
Hunter, 51, says he’s about 280 pounds now, somewhat north of his robust playing weight. When he quit hockey in 1989, Hunter laughingly said he would never set foot in a gym again. He has been in a gym, but not often.
continued… with a profile on life after hockey, plus some memories with the Oilers
“We don’t have as many points as we should have had after the last 10 games. If we would have had those points, we wouldn’t be talking about Columbus or St. Louis. We’d be talking about challenging Vancouver….”
-Sheldon Souray of the Edmonton Oilers. More from Souray via JoAnne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal.
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 email@example.com