Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of the National Post,
While the rebuilding pain still lies ahead in Toronto, the medicine has been swallowed and the needle suffered in Edmonton. The biggest ache - a two-year, injury-plagued hiatus from the playoffs - will soon be behind them. It is unlikely the drought will stretch to a third year next season.
“You feel it in the room,” Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish said. “I feel it and sense it, and normally if the coach feels it ... you’re the last guy to feel the optimism of improvement.
“We’re pretty positive about the outlook, with the group that we have here.”
NEW YORK—Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, who led all rookies in scoring with 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 12 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for February.
Gagner edged New York Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky (6-5—11 in 12 games), Phoenix Coyotes center Peter Mueller (4-7—11 in 14 games), Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (3-7—10 in 10 games) and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (5-2-0, 2.33 goals-against average, .925 save percentage, one shutout) for the award.
The injury list continues to mount for the Edmonton Oilers, as the team learned on Monday that captain Ethan Moreau is out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
...what are the odds that Anaheim’s GM will actually walk up to the podium on draft day and say, “With Edmonton’s first pick overall, a pick they could have kept if they hadn’t signed Dustin Penner to that desperate and irresponsible offer sheet, and then finished dead last, just like I said they would, because the Oilers suck so bad, the two-time Stanley Cup champions are proud to select, with Edmonton’s pick, franchise player Steve Stamkos ... with Edmonton’s pick.”
And then Burke gives Stamkos Penner’s old No. 17 sweater, taken in at the waist, of course.
Oh well, at least there’s a race to watch.
Only instead of chasing down eighth in the West, the focus shifts to 25th overall (since a team that wins the lottery can only move up four spots, the best Anaheim can get if Edmonton finishes 25th is second overall in the deepest draft in decades. So chew on that, Burkie).
from Dan Barnes of the Edmonton Journal,
Sources have confirmed Lowe is trying to insinuate himself into the bidding war, such as it is, for overpriced Tampa Bay forward Brad Richards. Lowe hinted at it on Friday’s pay-per-view broadcast.
“Potentially a high-end player, if something of that type was available, that would be good,” he said.
His phone calls to Tampa GM Jay Feaster will likely go for naught, since Richards’ deal contains a no-movement clause and the chances of him hopping from one non-contender to another, with the attendant drop in temperature, would seem ridiculously small….
Lowe should get his nose dirty and try to move the underachieving Jarret Stoll and enigmatic Joni Pitkanen while there are willing buyers like Ottawa, Tampa and the Montreal Canadiens.
from the Edmonton Sun,
Dwayne Roloson hasn’t come right out and asked for a trade, but he’s already moved his family out of town and says if a choice has to be made between sitting in Edmonton and playing somewhere else, there’s no choice to be made.
At some point, and he’s been at that point for some time, the need to play outweighs a guy’s fondness for a city and an organization.
“Definitely,” said Roloson, who hasn’t played a game in 21 days, and isn’t scheduled to start tonight in Dallas. “It’s outweighs it big time.”
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Edmonton Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe may be in pursuit of free-agent sniper Marian Hossa of the Atlanta Thrashers, according to sources….
It seems inconceivable that Hossa would want to play in Edmonton because the Oilers aren’t an elite team. He’s 29, in his prime and wants to win a Stanley Cup.
But maybe Lowe still wants to give it a shot, even if he may be baying at the moon. He presumably has got the money for Hossa with the immiment takeover of the team by billionaire drugstore magnate Daryl Katz—the big winger is expected to command $7.5 million a year come July 1.
Hossa’s agent, Ritch Winter, is a Katz fan, too. Whether Winter sees a future for his client in Edmonton is debatable because it also gets to be 30-below zero in the winters and Hossa might want a more established cast of players.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Lowe may be on the sidelines this year. Maybe sampling a few nibbles around the edges and not backing the truck up and off-loading players, although the chances of getting an offensive player to help the club, if they’re still in the playoff hunt, is certainly a possibility. (Say Michael Ryder, an unrestricted free agent, for Marc Pouliot).
“If we can do a hockey trade we’ll make one, but we don’t have a lot to move because we’ve got a lot of injured guys right now (Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Raffi Torres, all gone for the year) and a lot of young guys that we like,” said Lowe.
from Empty Netters,
In the Canucks’ 4-2 defeat of the Oilers last night, things went crazy. Apparently the teams got into an argument over who’s Reebok Edge Super-Duper Uniform System jersey was uglier. (And frankly, there is no winner in that argument.)
There were 14 fighting penalties, eight misconducts and 183 total minutes in penalties.
check out the videos…
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
What’s happening to the Oilers isn’t bad management, it’s mostly bad luck, but it does illustrate the risks that come with signing young players to contracts based largely on what they are projected to do and the way injuries can rip apart a team….
All of this makes things difficult for Lowe, but fascinating for those who look at the Oilers without a rooting interest.
Will he accept his apparent fate and allow his team to go slowly into its goodnight, much the way he did last season, or will he become a buyer at the trade deadline like he did two seasons ago when the moves made paid off with a stunning run to the Stanley Cup final?
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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