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Category: Edmonton-Oilers

Should The Edmonton Oilers Be Feared In The Playoffs?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

It has been inevitable for some time now, so it’s easy for hockey fans in other markets to see the Edmonton Oilers clinch a playoff spot and simply shrug their shoulders.

But for long suffering Oilers fans, whose team has made the playoffs exactly five times now in this 21st century — and just twice in the past 14 seasons — it is time to stop, maybe crack a beer, and enjoy a long slow pull.

With a 5-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks Monday night, the Oilers clinched only their second playoff appearance since Connor McDavid joined the team six seasons ago. Even though they were a playoff lock when the pause hit last March, a loss in the Qualifying Round does not qualify as a playoff appearance.

That loss to Chicago counted for only one thing: a hard, embarrassing lesson that this Oilers team took to heart.

“Everyone left the bubble in a bad mood. No one felt great about where we were at, or how that series went,” said McDavid, fresh off of lighting the Canucks up with two goals and four points. “It was a good moment to step back and learn from it. Learn what it takes to win.”

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Greatness On Ice

from Frank Seravalli of TSN,

On the night Patrick Marleau made history, Connor McDavid offered yet a reminder that his shortened season may be history in the making.

McDavid scooped up a loose puck just inside the Edmonton Oilers’ blueline, fired up the jet packs and picked his way through two Canadiens defenders – including one (Jeff Petry) who will receive Norris Trophy votes this season – to break open a tied game with less than five minutes to play.

Another three-point third period? Yawn. That was McDavid’s league-leading 130th end-to-end rush, according to Sportlogiq, some 28 more than New York Islanders centre Mathew Barzal, the NHL’s next closest player.

“I’m never really afraid to take on two defenders,” McDavid told reporters postgame. “It can get me into trouble sometimes … [but] I was able to get it in good stride and I was just trying to make a play.”

Yes, the greatness of hockey’s most highly evolved player is on display with such regularity that we’ve run out of superlatives to describe McDavid. Nights like Monday, when No. 97 takes a game over, have become routine.

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Witness another great goal from McDavid below.

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Dmitry Kulikov To Edmonton

added 1:49pm, Edmonton release is below.

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Being Ken Holland

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

...what’s it been like to be Ken Holland?

“For me, I go to my condo and the rink when I’m in Edmonton,” he said of the two destinations that are only 400 or 500 steps across the street from each other.
“When I’m on the road, I go down from my hotel room down to the meal room, go to the rink and then to the plane to fly to the next spot.

“There’s no social activity. There’s no going out anywhere. That’s the NHL-NHLPA (Players Association) protocol.

“We love our job. That’s what we do. And we have to do what we have to do to keep not only ourselves safe but, obviously, decisions we make can impact our team and other teams in our division.

“It’s been a trying time but it’s been a trying time for everybody, whatever walk of life you’re in. It’s been a challenge for everybody with this virus.”

more

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Video- Connor McDavid Fined For Elbowing

NEW YORK (March 31, 2021) – Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for elbowing Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi during NHL Game No. 498 in Montreal on Tuesday, March 30, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 17:24 of the first period. McDavid was assessed a minor penalty for roughing.

The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

 

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Mike Smith’s Year

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The surname Smith goes back to Anglo-Saxon times — the 5th century — meaning “one who works in metal.” Alas, it seems Mike Smith was destined for the pipes.

Surnames. They tell us nothing at times, everything at others.

Like when you begin to research the season that the NHL’s eldest No. 1 goalie is having, and the surnames that show up as comparables are names like Worsley, Hasek, Plante, Bauer and Luongo. That is how well Smith — who turned 39 on Monday — is playing at this advanced age, carrying a .922 save percentage (seventh among NHL starters) into this two-game, first-place showdown between the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But enough about his game.

Fun Fact: More than 8,000 men — 7,297 skaters and 823 goalies — have played in the National Hockey League since its inception. Guess how many have shared the name Mike Smith?

The answer: Zero.

Seventy three NHLers surnamed Smith over the years. Only one of them a Mike — even though “Smith” has been the most popular last name in Canada for the past century, and “Michael” was the most popular name for boys in the 80s, when Smith was born.

Unique? Oh, he’s unique.

“I can tell you one thing about Shmitty,” said his head coach Dave Tippett, the one person who adds an ‘h’ into his goalie’s nickname. “I’ve been coaching for a long time, and I had him as a young player drafted in Dallas. There are maybe two or three guys that I would classify as the best athletes I’ve ever coached. He is one of them.”

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Video- Top 10 Career Highlights From Connor McDavid

A little less than 6 minutes of your time.

 

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Jesse Puljujarvi’s Half Season

from Justi Bourne of Sportsnet,

By the raw boxcar stats, Jesse Puljujarvi is not setting the world on fire in the month of March. He’s scored twice and added an assist, largely on the back of a one-and-one performance against the Flames on Wednesday night, and that wouldn’t be enough to raise even an eyebrow of a fan from any of the league’s other 30 teams.

But if you’ve been watching the Oilers enough, big No. 13 seems to have moment after moment where you go “Huh … it really feels like there’s something here with that kid.”

Edmonton’s game Thursday night against the Winnipeg Jets was a game where both teams were on the second half of a back-to-back and had travelled, with both landing in Edmonton close to 1 a.m. And boy, did the play reflect that. It looked like most players were stuck in mud, with offensive zone possessions largely consisting of high-to-low passes with two forwards standing near the front of the net, a shot, and no second chance opportunities. But there was Puljujarvi, just about the only player with some pop in his step, hunting the puck with a verve not normally reserved for your average mid-season slog.

His ice time reflected it.

Puljujarvi’s TOI season-high at even strength going into Thursday was 17:40. Head coach Dave Tippett added a full 1:21 on to that, with the big Finn surpassing the 19-minute mark for the first time all season. His total of 19:31 was the second most he’s played in any game over the past three seasons.

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Concern In Edmonton After A Three Game Sweep By The Toronto Maple Leafs

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

It was supposed to be a measuring stick, this first-place clash with the division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs.

The measuring stick, it seems, may now have to be surgically removed.

How badly did it get for the Edmonton Oilers, losers by scores of 4-0, 3-0, and in Wednesday’s finale, 6-1?

“They embarrassed us three games in a row. That’s a tough one to swallow,” said defenceman Tyson Barrie, pointless in all three games, like so many others.

There isn’t a single element of the sport of hockey that Edmonton can claim to have executed better than Toronto through nine periods of hockey, so thorough was the defeat.

Whether it’s a tangible, like winning battles or scoring goals, or intangibles — like heart — the Leafs had more and did it better.

As such, everything about this Oilers team is open for question.

“It’s very concerning,” said a grave head coach Dave Tippett. “Very concerning that we don’t want to grab the competitive level in a series like this.”

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Game highlights are below.

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Video- Alex Chiasson Suspended One Game

For a cross-check.

 

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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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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