Kukla's Korner Hockey
From Eric Stephens at the LA Times,
The juicy subplot to Sunday’s game between the Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers seemed certain to come to a head.
But there was no shouting match or chance public encounter between the Ducks’ Brian Burke and the Oilers’ Kevin Lowe, the teams’ bickering general managers who avoided each other even as the NHL dispatched extra security because of the tension between the two.
And the subject of the controversial offer sheet at the heart of that tension, Dustin Penner, did little in his first appearance at Honda Center since he skated around the ice with the Stanley Cup in June.
(*the NHL sent extra security for those guys?! Wow)
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
Those especially embarrassing white away uniforms with the shirt tails it looks like they forgot to tuck in, that crappy costume they were wearing on Hockey Night In Canada out of Los Angeles last night.
The Oilers have been wearing these daffy duds long enough most of the fans I’ve talked to have only one question:
“How do we get our stripe back?”
O.K. Two questions.
“How do we lose that practice uniform piping on the front, too?”
The fans clearly haven’t fallen in love with the Oilers new uniforms, home or away.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Penner doesn’t have any illusion about the reception he’ll get from the Ducks’ crowd. It may be warm but it won’t be a hero’s welcome like former Oilers winger Ryan Smyth of the Colorado Avalanche received at Rexall Place on Tuesday.
“I won’t be getting a video tribute. I won’t be tearing up,” kidded Penner. “I do have some fond memories though. I’m excited to be going back. I made some friends there that I’ll have for life.”
more and Penner hopes to get his Stanley Cup ring too…
Sources tell TSN that Edmonton Oilers’ Joni Pitkanen will undergo knee surgery which is expected to keep him out for four weeks.
From the CP,
Ryan Smyth, the former Edmonton Oiler, made good on his prediction Tuesday just before he faced off for the first time against his old team since his shocking trade eight months ago.
The mullet-haired left winger, now with the Colorado Avalanche, became teary-eyed as he lined up in pre-game ceremonies, watched a one-minute video tribute of his 11 seasons with the copper and blue, and received a 30-second standing ovation from the 16,839 fans at Rexall Place.
It wasn’t a weeper to rival the saddest of sports sob stories, “Brian’s Song,” but it had its moments.
Updated 3:30am ET:
Smyth’s comments in the Denver Post:
“It was a nice tribute to me and my family by (the Oilers). It’s quite an honor to come back to the city where you started your NHL career and be recognized like I was tonight,” said Smyth, who went scoreless in the game. “The fans were great to me, and I really appreciate that.”
added 5:53am by Paul, The first 55 seconds or so of the video (below) shows the ovation Smyth received from the Oilers fans.
Update 1:41pm ET: More commentary from John MacKinnon at The Edmonton Journal.
From Eric Duhatschek in Monday’s Globe & Mail,
As for Smyth’s return on Tuesday, which figures to be an emotional night for both him and his former team, Staios said he hoped that Edmonton fans will take into consideration his years of service when deciding how to greet him.
“He did a lot of great things for this organization,” Staios said. “The business side of things is never really appreciated by the fans.”
“Hopefully, they’ll remember what he did on the ice and in the community and can show him that respect – like they did for Jason when he came back.”
more… (*looking at the new Oilers era)
From George Johnson at the Calgary Herald,
“Everything has changed so dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years in regards to handling players. I don’t know about Mike, but I’ve had zero success trying to make players do things. It just doesn’t work.
“You have to explain things to them now. You have to make them think what you’re trying to get across is their idea. The dictatorial days are over.
“I don’t think. There’s so much more pressure on players than before.’’ He gestured around him, to a small army of scribblers, cameras and microphones milling around. Used to be, there were half a dozen of you guys here on game day. Now there’s 20. Or more. There are appearances, community commitments.
“So much more of their time is taken away by the game. So if they show up at the rink and you suffocate them, there’s a danger of sucking the life right out of them.’‘
*MacTavish coached his 500th Oilers’ game Saturday night and shares some memories of opposing coach Mike Keenan and the Battle of Alberta)
From Eric Duhatschek’s Globe & Mail blog,
Officially, the Edmonton Oilers have another week or so before deciding whether to keep rookie Sam Gagner on their NHL roster. But coach Craig MacTavish implied Saturday that the decision had been mostly made already – and that there would have to be a radical reversal in fortune in the next few days for the Oilers to send Gagner back to his junior team, the London Knights. And this was before Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames, in which Gagner scored the first goal of his NHL career, to go with the four assists he picked up in his first six games.
“There will be a point of no return and we’ve probably reached that point already,” MacTavish said. “The way he’s played and what he’s contributed so far, there’s every reason to expect him to stay here.”
Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Sheldon Souray is out indefinitely after suffering a separated shoulder.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
Fernando Pisani is a private person who doesn’t like talking about himself when things are going great, so you can imagine what it was like telling a bank of reporters and cameramen about something as personal and painful as his struggle with ulcerative colitis.
About losing 30 pounds and six pints of blood in a matter of weeks. About not being able to climb a flight of stairs without gasping for air. How 15 or 20 trips to the bathroom every day left him weak and dehydrated.
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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