Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
via Adrian Dater of the Denver Post,
“Of course, we want to go in there and beat ‘em, be a spoiler,” Smyth said. “And we’re still not mathematically out of it ourselves. So, it’s a big game for us too.”
The Avs entered Friday in 15th place overall in the Western Conference, 11 points out of the eighth — and last — playoff spot with 14 games left.
A “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcast, in front of what will be a sold-out crowd, is always a great time in a city such as Edmonton. Smyth, who experienced many such nights with the Oilers, said few things compare.
“It’s an awesome atmosphere,” he said. “It’s going to be an energized building, and it’s exciting to play in. But we want to come out with the win, and we want to make it a quieter building.”
from David Staples of The Cult of Hockey,
It might be a helluva good idea for the Oilers to rent out some beautiful houses on the river valley, houses with great views of the city, near good schools, so that when new veteran players come to town, they can be rapidly set up in excellent quarters, nearby to their teammates.
How about the team buying up some houses in Daryl Katz’s neighborhood? Then the players and their kids can go for a dip in that his pool. That might even have kept a society lady like Lauren Pronger happy….
Over-paying any player is the new dread disease of NHL management. Why couldn’t all the Oiler contracts be so fine as Hemsky’s $4 million a year deal? I know there are reasonable answers to this question, but it’s also an issue that haunts the Oilers, a franchise that is pressed right up against the top end of the cap, but isn’t pressed right up against the top end of the standings.
Some NHL hockey bosses, such as Ken Holland, spend dozens and dozens of hours with their top prospects, impressing on them the lessons they will need to learn if they are going to make it as good people and good players. If an NHL exec isn’t doing this, if it’s not out there constantly teaching and mentoring these young draft picks, that NHL team is squandering its talent base.
from David Staples at the Cult of Hockey,
As I’ve suggested, the news of Pocklington’s arrest will come as no surprise to people in Edmonton, as Pocklington’s reputation was, shall we say, not the best in these parts. He was known to be a hard man to get to pay his bills, and that’s putting it kindly.
If I’m being a bit careful here in my description of Pockington, well, Canada has strict libel laws and, to be fair, in regards to these new U.S. charges, he’s innocent until proven guilty.
But in regards to Pocklington’s destruction of the Edmonton Oilers, there’s no doubt in my mind, the man is guilty. He ruined the best hockey team in the world. He traded Wayne Gretzky away like a piece of meat, as Paul Coffey so aptly put it back then. Then he “traded” away Mark Messier (I’ve always wondered if Pocklington got money in that Messier deal, too. I wonder if we’ll ever find out. I don’t know).
from David Staples at The Cult of Hockey,
There’s something wrong with this year’s Edmonton Oilers. It’s been wrong from the start of this year. The problem has haunted the squad all season. It hasn’t abated, hasn’t been rectified.
The problem is not the coach. It’s not the general manager. It’s not the lack of one more top scoring forward, or the lack of a third-line center who can take face-offs or of a shut-down defenceman. These are all red herrings.
And the problem is not Dustin Penner, who report has it is going to be benched for the Montreal game. Penner is the biggest, reddest herring of them all.
No, the problem is that this Edmonton Oilers team is neither aggressive nor is it united. Instead, it’s lifeless and divided. It’s not really a team at all, at least if you go by its on-ice performance. It looks, sounds, acts and performs like a group of individuals or, at best, an assemblage of factions.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
The Journal’s David Staples, who covers the Edmonton Oilers from home, wrote that Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid has been “begging” to be traded out of Edmonton.
The Smid blog came complete with a character analysis explaining why Smid might want out—even though Smid says he’s never met the writer.
“On the Internet, some guy is writing some (crap) about me wanting to be traded,” he said.
“You know what Edmonton is like, lots of rumours. I don’t even pay attention.”
update 12:07pm, for some reason, the Edmonton Sun has either pulled the story or they are having an issue with the link. It was working and now it is not.
added 3:46pm, Here is an alternate link to the Edmonton story via Slam. Be aware, Slam links on occasion disappear too.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Jagr, who accurately had been linked to the Oilers in mid-February, is all but certain to attempt to gain clearance from Omsk and the KHL to return to the NHL next season even though he had told friends throughout the year he is locked into Russia for 2009-10. If Tom Renney had remained behind the Ranger bench, it’s likely he would have sought to come back to New York.
That scenario is now inoperative. Indeed, if the Oilers miss the playoffs for a third straight year, it’s just possible Renney could replace Craig MacTavish as head coach and reunite with Jagr in Edmonton.
read on plus a few more hockey topics…
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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