Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,
The idea projected and promoted here that Connor McDavid would make the Edmonton Oilers significantly better long before he ever arrived on the ice in Edmonton, didn’t take long to kick in.
When Peter Chiarelli is introduced at a press conference Friday in Edmonton as the new head of Hockey Operations under new Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson, it will deliver a message to the entire hockey world it’s finally the start of a brand new era of Oilers hockey.
The Oilers, after missing the playoffs nine years in a row, are undeniably having their best playoff years since they last won the Stanley Cup.
One of the first questions Chiarelli will no doubt be asked at the press conference is if he’d have made the move if the bingo balls hadn’t placed the next Wayne Gretzky in the same city where the last one played the greatest years of his career.
Maybe the recently fired Boston Bruins general manager might say there’s far more here than the kid expected to become the best players in the league within three or four years. Maybe he’ll say he’d have probably taken the job anyway. But if he’s honest about it, I suspect he’ll say McDavid made it a no brainer.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The meeting was called for early Sunday, the morning after the NHL regular season had ended. At first, Dave Nonis thought nothing of it — he thought it would be a continuation of his Saturday conversation with Brendan Shanahan. At first, he figured it would be business as usual.
“A part of me thought we were going to move on to the next phase of our plan. That was my first thought, but a part of me knew it was coming,” said Nonis in his first interview since being fired as general manager of the Maple Leafs, an almost hour-long conversation with the Sun.
The meeting was brief and professional.
“He told me he was making a change. I pretty much knew what he was thinking ... I understand the reasons behind it. I’m not mad at Brendan. He’s still a friend of mine. But still, I was disappointed.
“There’s no hard feelings or ill will. I understand why he decided to make the change. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen. I thought we got along very well throughout the year. But I’ve been in the game a long time. I understand why you do this.”
from David Climer of The Tennessean,
The Nashville Predators arrived at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night with one objective:
Avoid being on the wrong end of a congratulatory handshake.
With a 5-2 victory in Game 5, the Predators survived to play another day. In the process, they postponed the traditional handshake that comes with the conclusion of each of the 15 best-of-seven series that comprise the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It's still an uphill climb for the Preds, who trail Chicago 3-2 entering Game 6 on Saturday at United Center.
Even so, this clearly is a team that is not going quietly. And after the events of the third period Thursday night, something tells me the Blackhawks are feeling pressure to close out the series at home Saturday. They don't want to come back to Bridgestone Arena for a decisive Game 7.
Below, Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times with "Everybody Else Wants To Be The Blackhawks"...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
Maybe Corsi can win you a game, eventually, if you dominate the possession stats the way the Sedins have over the Flames’ top line for five games.
“I hope so,” Daniel said. “In a long series, if you can make them tired, it’s going to pay off. All you can do is create chances, and sooner or later they’re going to start to go in. That’s the way we look at it, and tonight it paid off.”
We’ve reached that point now, folks. It’s a long series, guaranteed for six games, with a genuine possibility of seven.
Calgary is quicker and heavier up front, and their game plan of pounding, pounding, pounding on the Canucks defencemen is surely paying off. Alex Edler is not the Canucks' best defenceman, which is a battle won for the Flames. He, Luca Sbisa and Kevin Bieksa have been turning pucks over in the face of the Michael Ferland-led Calgary forecheck with growing regularity.
Vancouver’s plan is more IKEA. Possess, possess, possess. Recalling that the Flames have succeeded all season in the face of the Corsi numbers, we are left to ask: Was Game 5 a product of erosion? Did four games of pretty good possession for Vancouver produce a Game 5 that they truly dominated?
Or, was that a one-off by a desperate team on the brink of elimination? Will Calgary’s way beat the Canucks way when we get back to Calgary for a Saturday night Game 6?
from Mark Herrmann of Newsday,
Now the Islanders are in a uniquely desperate situation, or desperately unique. Not only are they playing for the survival of their season, they have one game to keep Nassau Coliseum alive.
They have one last chance to give themselves more chances, one opportunity to avoid having the lights turned out forever on hockey in the only home they have ever known. If they want to seize on omens, they can look at the fact that they haven't been good at closing things out or shutting them down this postseason.
If they had been better at those skills, they would not find themselves down three games to two against the Capitals, heading into a possible elimination for themselves and their building Saturday. Looking back on it, they put themselves in this position well before the 5-1 loss in Game 5 Thursday night. They were up by two goals twice in Game 2 and let that slip away. They were up two games to one and couldn't build on it. They even jumped ahead 1-0 Thursday night.
Here is Sportsnet's nightly recap...
Below, the NHL's version of the recap...
from David Pollak of the Mercury News,
The Sharks' failure to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2003 will not result in top management turnover.
Owner Hasso Plattner sent a 513-word message to season-ticket holders Thursday that said both general manager Doug Wilson and chief operating officer John Tortora "did a good job" last year and offered no hint of potential changes at the top of the organization.
Recognizing fan disappointment in not making the playoffs, Plattner at the same time reaffirmed his commitment to Wilson's rebuild.
"We had hoped we could do both, stay competitive and rebuild at the same time," Plattner wrote. "It was close, but other teams in our conference were better, at least throughout the whole season, and deservedly finished ahead of us."
Hearing the same thing as @JasonGregor -- that EDM will have a media conference tomorrow to announce the hiring of Peter Chiarelli.
Not sure of structure of the new front office, but it is believed Chiarelli will be President of Hockey Operations (or something like that).
via Bob McKenzie tweets,
Peter Chiarelli has been in EDM meeting with Bob Nicholson for past two days. EDM won't confirm, not yet anyway, news conference for Fri...
...but all signs point to him taking over all hockey operations for the Oilers. If Chiarelli was to take job there, he wanted full autonomy.
NEW YORK -- Defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers and forwards Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition," the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
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