Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Adrian Dater of All Things Avs,
At this point to the season, I think it’s become clear what one remaining weakness of the Avalanche is, and one that needs to be addressed if it wants any shot at making and/or going deep into the playoffs: the power play.
Specifically, the Burgundy and Blue lack a point man with great PP quarterback abilities, one with a huge slap shot that makes the D back off and creates more garbage rebound goals for the forwards in front….
This is why I think the Avs should make a serious pitch for Souray, the Edmonton veteran. Yes, I know Souray is having a bad year and has had some off-ice drama as well. I know he’s 33 and a bit slow and doesn’t make a great pass out of his own zone. But I do know he still has one of the most feared slap shots in the game, and he can really play a mean, physical game down low.
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
There’s so many staggering statistics in play that it takes half a column and more just to list the Oilers, uh, accomplishments.
And here’s a new one.
The Oilers are one game away from doing what has never been done in franchise history before – lose every single, solitary game in a full month schedule.
It hasn’t been done by an NHL team for 12 years!
They have 12 straight losses.
It’s Dirty Dozen every which way you look.
from Dave Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
There are some pundits who say the Edmonton Oilers will be able to get something of value in return for players like Sheldon Souray. There are others, such as TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who aren’t nearly so optimistic.
I’m firmly in that not optimistic camp, but I’m hoping to be surprised.
Here’s how I see the trade value of various Oilers, the ones who are on the block, have been on the block, might be on the block, or should be on the block:
Pisani’s contract is up this July, so he’s a pure rental, a veteran with Stanley Cup experience who is one of the best penalty killers in the NHL. A great pick up for any team with cap space, the only risk being his health.
Best case for Oilers: Now if the Oilers’ goal is to win next season, they might want to pick up a cheap, veteran goalie for Pisani, or any solid, defensive-minded veteran player aged 23-28.
from David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey,
The second (Jim) Matheson item that caught my attention was his speculation on where Souray might end up, and what the Oilers might get in return. It seemed a rather optimistic piece of reporting to me, as all kinds of fine young prospects were mentioned as possible pickups for the Oilers, players such as Jamie Benn of Dallas, Brandon McMillan of Anaheim and Adam Henrique of New Jersey.
All this astonished me as I believe Souay has close to negative trade value, in that if the Oilers want to move him, they would actually have to eat some nasty contract for a marginal player in return. Now, that contract would be for less money and less term than Souray, but it wouldn’t be some promising kid with a cheap contract.
To me, there’s a huge risk in any team picking up Souray, as he’s still coming back from a major injury (concussion), his play has been extremely spotty (even if he was excellent last season), he’s old for a defenceman of his type (big, slow, offensive skills, physical style), and he’s got two years left on a massive contract.
from Gene Principe of Sportsnet,
“I never thought I’d be waiving it (no trade clause),” Souray said. “I chose Edmonton over other teams because I intended on staying here.”
His future in an Oilers uniform could now be in jeopardy as Souray’s agent and Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini look at other possible hockey destinations for the defenceman.
“It’s probably best you talk to my agent and Steve (Tambellini),” Souray said. “We are submitting a list of teams that I would consider being moved to and I gave them my opinion on it. In a few more months (July 1), the no-trade clause doesn’t apply so then they can move me anywhere.”...
“It would have to be a good situation and it would have to be a good team. Family is as important to me as the game and that’s why I first signed in Edmonton.”
J.F. Jacques of the Oilers put a hit on the Avs Ryan Wilson Monday night.
Adrian Dater now reports on Twitter Wilson is out with a concussion.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail, I
n the immediate aftermath of Black Monday – a night in which the two Alberta teams combined to get clobbered 15-1 by the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche – the only thing they share in common is the experience of being an NHL punching bag.
That’s been going for some time in Edmonton, which is 1-13-1 in its past 15 games. Heading into last night’s NHL schedule, the Oilers were in 15th place in the Western Conference, 10 points out 14th and 20 out of the final playoff spot. Their fate is sealed.
The only race worth monitoring there is the one between the Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes for the right to draft Taylor Hall first in the June entry that – a consolation prize of some note. The Oilers, at least, can offer a reasonable excuse. They’ve been plagued by injuries and their talent level was only so-so to begin with. Without their top goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and their perennial scoring leader Ales Hemsky, they are too young and too small and too error-prone to compete this year.
Calgary, by contrast, has been extraordinarily healthy.
from Darren Dreger of TSN,
There will be trades, mostly to change the culture of the team, which means veteran players beware…your time in Edmonton may soon be over.
This isn’t another run at the endless speculation that has followed with the Oilers continued disappointment.
There will be changes.
Trade is the most “friendly” way, but it is possible Edmonton will take a far more aggressive approach and bury players in the minors, or wait until the end of the season and buy out contracts, if necessary.
That’s a very harsh way to change the culture, but the team you see today will look much different by the end of the summer.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Being unable to sustain the energy is very close to quitting.
Nobody’s throwing the Q word around yet, but this looked dangerously close.
“I won’t be flashing my teeth because I think they just got kicked in,” said head coach Pat Quinn.
“That’s the way it feels, anyway. After a game like that you’re pretty discouraged. There were a lot of people who didn’t compete very well tonight.
“We had trouble finding four or five forwards (who competed). You have to have people who are willing to pay a price and work hard and be diligent ... and when things get tough, take the tempo up higher.
“The tempo went up today, and we didn’t go with it. We’ll lose every game like that. We are losing every game. It’s embarrassing.”
The team is sitting in last place in the Western Conference with a record of 16-25-5 and just 37 points. They’ve lost three in a row, they’re eight points below the next-lowest team in the Blue Jackets, and their playoff prospects are impossibly bleak.
Normally, a team mired in that bad of a situation can at least look forward to a brighter future - the idea being that they can really only go up. But when it comes to the Oilers, could things be looking equally shaky for the long term?
“I get the idea that they want to peddle hope - and they should - and there’s a major rebuild that’s going to go on here,” says TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie. “But this is a last-place hockey team with a first-place payroll, and they’ve got some serious financial issues they have to address.”
Those financial issues are going to provide a major obstacle for a team whose immediate priority is simply to climb out of the NHL’s basement. The first step?
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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