Kukla's Korner Hockey
From David Staples at the Edmonton Journal,
Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe and head coach Craig MacTavish, now in their eighth season running the team, say that when the volume rises in the ever-increasing media coverage of the Oilers, they tune out.
“If we’re in a six-game losing streak, I don’t need to listen to the call-in shows to know what’s going on with the hockey team,” Lowe says.
If Edmonton Oilers hockey is a fishbowl, it’s never had more fighting fish in it, with far more sports coverage than ever on radio, TV and in print, not to mention the blogosphere, where every wannabe Oilers general manager can have his or her say.
from the CP,
“What we’re talking about is 5-on-5 ice for (Horcoff),” MacTavish said after the win over the Flames. “Maybe his role will be more important, more impactful for us if he is playing on a second or third line. The minutes will be there ... but maybe at the start of the game his name isn’t with Hemsky and with Penner.
“We need a dynamic scorer, and Horc, for all his strengths, is not an 100-point guy, so we’re going to entertain thoughts of looking at somebody else, at times, 5-on-5.”
Horcoff heard MacTavish loud and clear.
“It’s motivating,” he said. “There’s only a handful of 100-point guys in the league.
from the Calgary Sun,
“I had a tough time with how the city was being perceived,” said Souray, who suited up against the Flames last night in their pre-season encounter. “I could also understand because they went through a situation where their best player took them to the finals—(Chris) Pronger—and him wanting to leave sets the stage and people could ask, ‘Why would he want to leave after having that great year?’
“I could understand and see how some guys would think that way, but I would never put myself in that situation.”
Don’t underestimate what Souray’s signing did for the team and its psyche.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Broadcast booths throughout the NHL are chock-a-block full of former players working as colour commentators, but Randy Moller is taking one giant leap for microphone mankind by actually calling the games for the Florida Panthers this season.
Moller, who grew up in Red Deer, was the 11th overall player picked in the ‘81 draft, going to the Quebec Nordiques. The defenceman played more than 800 NHL games, winding up his career in Florida in the mid 90s.
He’s worked as a host and colour guy on the radio games as the Panthers’ VP of broadcasting and will now be the first former player to call games full-time.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
MacTavish believes the high end of Gagner’s offensive ability is probably much higher than Horcoff’s, and since the team needs offence, they have to give this a serious look.
“We need a dynamic scorer,” said the coach, who had no idea Gagner would be this good this fast when Edmonton drafted him last summer.
“Horc, for all his strengths, is not a 100-point guy in our minds. You need a guy who’s going to be a 90 or a point-a-game guy, at least, in that position. So we’re going to entertain thoughts of looking at somebody else there at times five-on-five.”
from Grant Kerr of the Globe and Mail,
Penner will turn 25 next week and has only one full NHL season under his belt. Last season, he played on Anaheim’s No. 2 line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Now, he’s a first-liner in Edmonton.
“I’m working every day to jell with the guys and get some chemistry going,” the 245-pound Penner said. “I need to use my body more effectively and pick up my speed and quickness.
“I love being back in Canada. I already know I have great teammates after being here three weeks. You get support from the fans, the organization and the city. You can feel the intensity [in Edmonton] already.”
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
One shot. One goal. A bullet from the right point that Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider never saw - even though he wasn’t screened.
“You see him bomb that one?” said head coach Craig MacTavish. “Wow!I knew he had a shot, but that thing was in and out of the net before the goalie even thought he was shooting it.”
And that’s what the Oilers are looking for - potency on what used to be an offensively-impotent blue-line. You might not want to be the forward charged with creating traffic in front of the net when Souray is unloading his cannon, but Edmonton’s power play coach is about to look a lot smarter.
from the Edmonton Journal,
“My experience is that athletes spend so much time on the tactical, the technical and the physical, and they just assume that the mental aspect will take care of itself,” said sports psychologist Dr. John Dunn from the University of Alberta.
“Obviously, in my profession, we think that what we take care of is trainable. Part of my job is to teach them how to train.”...
Veteran Ethan Moreau, admittedly a traditionalist when it comes to most hockey matters, is a proponent of having a recruit like Dunn on board.
Ditto for Shawn Horcoff.
“I think it’s been something that’s been lacking—not just for my game but for our team,” Moreau said.
from the Edmonton Sun,
“You need that in your organization,” said head coach Craig MacTavish. “For our long-term success, it’s important that one of those guys does it, almost immediately.”
Some of them have stepped up, with Sam Gagner, Kyle Brodziak and Robert Nilsson leading an impressive class, but scrimmages and pre-season tilts against watered-down opponents don’t always translate into season success.
Patrick Thoresen, for instance, looked brilliant early on last year but faded big time as the season wore on.
“You see it every year, players play well in camp and excel in the preseason and it remains to be seen how they play in the regular season, and further down the road, how they play 20 games into the regular season,” said Ethan Moreau. “It’s not to be negative ... but you don’t know, you can’t tell until you have stiffer competition.”
from the Edmonton Sun,
Head coach Craig MacTavish says they’ll go the team toughness route again this year.
“Intimidation is a big part of the game, you have to have some toughness,” he said. “But we feel we have enough. Sheldon Souray is plenty tough, Matt Greene’s tough. Steve Staios will battle and fight when he has to. Zack Stortini, Ethan Moreau, Raffi Torres ... we have enough toughness.
“Do I envision having a team that’s going to be fighting guys like Boogaard every time we play them? Absolutely not. That’s the strength of his game. Why give him the ability to do what he does best? You have to be punishing on the other factions of their team, and we have plenty of guys to do that.”
more on the Oilers…
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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