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Category: Edmonton-Oilers

Believing In Edmonton

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

There are floor-to-ceiling windows in the room where the Edmonton Oilers conduct their postgame interviews. Inside, the players are calm and quotable, just two games into a nice start to the NHL season.

Outside on the street, it was bedlam, with 300-400 fans banging on the windows and cheering on Jesse Puljujarvi as he sat at the podium next to Leon Draisaitl, chanting “MVP! MVP! MVP” when it was Connor McDavid’s turn, and generally acting as if it were June, not October.

The Oilers beat Calgary 5-2 on a sudsy Saturday night in The Big E, and the local superstar had a hat trick. McDavid even scored one on that one-timer he’s been working on at practice. You remember, the one Draisaitl had joked was “fluffy” when asked about McDavid’s shot a few days ago.

Draisaitl was ready when he took to the podium after the game.

“If you watch the replay, it WAS a little fluffy,” he kidded. “It came off nice, but it was fluffing. It was a nice shot, I will give him that. A very nice shot. Good for him.”

Good for him.

It was a metaphorical pat on the head from a 50-goal scorer with one of the best one-timers in the game, to a player who scores every which way but like that -- until Saturday night. Like Rory McIlroy saying, “Nice drive,” when you “blister” one 225 yards down the middle.

continued

Game highlights are below.

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How Good Will The Edmonton Oilers Be?

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Has the time finally arrived for the Edmonton Oilers? Are they finally legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, 31 years after the last parade down Jasper Ave.?

It’s a question we’ll fully explore here, on the eve of Edmonton’s 2021-22 season opener against Vancouver on Wednesday, but it’s also a query you won’t get a lot of help with from within the Oilers ranks.

They know -- the players, the coaches, the management -- that, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, whatever Edmonton accomplishes in the regular season won’t prove anything. After two years of second-place finishes in their division followed by first-round playoff exits, it is all about the playoffs for this team.

They know it. They just won’t say it.

“Right now, it’s all about the regular season. Then, it’s all about the playoffs. That’s the best way to put it,” said Leon Draisaitl, tap-dancing around the elephant in the room. “This league is too strong to think you can half(way) things and think you’ll just focus on the playoffs.

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The Go For It Edmonton Oilers

from Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun,

The Oilers appear to have finally surrounded the NHL’s two most recent Hart Trophy winners with a capable cast.

There’s every reason to believe that this team, coming off a 35-19-2 season in the coronavirus pandemic shortened 56-game schedule, is about to begin a new era of 100-point seasons and significantly expand their collection of banners that hang from the rafters during the decade.

The Oilers rate no worse than second to only the Vegas Golden Knights returning to the Pacific Division where none of the other teams managed to make the playoffs last year and where one of them is expansion Seattle.

The Edmonton arrow, with the additions to the line-up to join the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with GM Ken Holland finally out of salary cap jail is definitely pointed up. Way up.

You may be about to watch the greatest power play this league has seen since the Montreal Canadiens inspired the rule change that resulted in the penalized player leaving the sin bin when a power play goal is scored instead of residing there the full two minutes....

Yes there are still questions. This team won one playoff game in the last two no-fans-in-the-stands Stanley Cup tournaments. The goaltending isn’t exactly set for any long stretch of success. But that’s all to be dissected and diagnosed in depth as we go forward.

For the here and now there’s one thing that might be missing as the 2021-22 Oilers complete their pre-season schedule with home-and-home exhibition games against the Vancouver Canucks before meeting the same squad to start the regular season here next Wednesday.

In a normal circumstance, you’d expect these ‘Go For It’ Oilers to skate on the ice next week in front of the first of 41 consecutive sold-out, all-in, over-the-top, gung-ho giddy fans. But in the city where the Oilers sold out those 551 consecutive games during the worst of times, as a result of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, you can forget about 41 consecutive sellouts to begin the expected and projected return to the best of times.

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Jesse Puljujarvi Is Growing His Game

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

As a six-foot-four, 205-pound Finnish right winger, the comparisons to Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen were inevitable on 2016 draft day, when Columbus selected Pierre-Luc Dubois third, gifting Puljujarvi to then-GM Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers. But any similarities between the two have evaporated like steam off the sauna rocks, as Rantanen became a 30-goal, 80-point player, while Puljujarvi walked away from the NHL to reset with his hometown team, Karpat.

Had any of the 31 other GMs offered Ken Holland a first-round draft pick in return, perhaps the Oilers GM would have traded Puljujarvi during his Finnish flight. But the rest of the NHL was just as skeptical, much to Holland’s good fortune.

Now? You wouldn’t trade Puljujarvi for a pair of firsts.

“His attitude has allowed him to make it work. He stayed positive,” said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “As tough as it is on a young player coming in -- maybe even more so on a European player -- it’s not easy to crack the NHL right away. There were frustrations -- we weren’t a great team when he came in; he had to learn to take strides.”

Today, Puljujarvi has learned how to use his big frame to create space and win battles. He has confidence to use a superior shot, and affixed with the best player in the game, scoring opportunities will be endless.

He could score 25 or 30 goals this season, and perhaps 50 down the road.

“Fifty?” you ask.

“Why not?” we’d counter.

more

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Video- Connor McDavid On A Dangerous Play

via Sportsnet,

Check this out, as Oilers captain Connor McDavid was not too pleased with Flames defenceman Chris Tanev for his trip during an Oilers 3rd period goal, says it's a "dangerous play for me and the goalie," and he wishes it was called as a penalty more.

 

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The COVID-19 Vaccine Could Have Helped Josh Archibald

from Jay Rosove of CTV News Edmonton,

As revelations emerge about the Edmonton Oilers' only player still unvaccinated against COVID-19 developing myocarditis, an Edmonton cardiologist wants you to know your risk of dealing with the same heart condition.

On Sunday, Oilers head coach Dave Tippett told reporters that it's believed forward Josh Archibald, 28, developed myocarditis because of an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 that initially went undetected over the summer.

Archibald joins his teammate Alex Stalock on the injured reserve, who is also sidelined indefinitely with myocarditis after a case of COVID-19.

Myocarditis is a term that refers to inflammation of the heart muscle.

According to Dr. Ian Paterson, a cardiologist with the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the most common cause of the condition is a virus like COVID-19.

"Myocarditis related to COVID, related to the virus itself, is said to effect approximately five to 15 per cent of people who have been sick with the virus," Dr. Paterson told CTV News Edmonton on Monday.

The Edmonton cardiologist said, while cases of myocarditis have been linked to COVID-19 vaccines, those instances are much more rare than ones linked to COVID-19 itself.

"It's about a one in 100,000 risk of developing myocarditis from the vaccine versus about 10 per cent from the virus."

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The Pressure Is On In Edmonton

from David Staples of the Edmonton Journal,

Is Dave Tippett putting the heat on his Edmonton Oilers players? Or is the heat on him?

Only owner Daryl Katz and GM Ken Holland know the answer to that second question. For all my efforts, I cannot read the mind of either man.

But it’s evident Tippett is now upping the heat on some of his players, including star attacker Leon Draisaitl.

Playoff success lacking

Tippett is in the final year of a deal that pays him about $3.0 million per. He’s also seen his Oilers flame out twice, big time, in the Stanley Cup playoffs, losing in four games to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020 and in four games to the Winnipeg Jets in 2021.

Tippett’s playoff record with the Oilers is one win and seven losses.

If Edmonton does not do better in the playoffs this year, it’s easy to imagine the Oilers going in a new direction at head coach. That doesn’t mean the Oilers have to win the Stanley Cup this year.

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This Is Not What They Call A Backhanded Compliment

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

The Oilers had coughed up a late 3-1 lead to the Winnipeg Jets with some soft, careless play in their own zone — sound familiar? — before Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins saved the day.

Draisaitl saucered a long backhand pass across the Jets zone that landed on Nugent-Hopkins' blade, and he deposited the puck behind Eric Comrie for a late, 4-3 Oilers win.

What a pass by Draisaitl, eh coach?

“He threw a lot of backhands tonight — some to our team, some to the other team,” said coach Dave Tippett after the game. “The problem is, when that happens in the playoffs it usually goes against you. And that’s the problem I have with it.”

Tippett’s Oilers picked up right where they’d left off the previous playoff season. Soft, loose and with a lack of attention to detail, their skill had rescued them the way it does all season long — until the playoffs, when the cavalry annually disappears.

“We were red rotten,” spat Tippett.

We showed the video of Tippett’s quote to Draisaitl, who took the high road:

“I know how to play in the playoffs. That’s all I can say.”

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Josh Archibald Out Indefinitely

EDMONTON, AB - Head Coach Dave Tippett provided an update on the status of Josh Archibald on Sunday afternoon, revealing the forward has been diagnosed with Myocarditis and will be out indefinitely after contracting COVID-19 over the summer.

"In the last week or 10 days, he's got a bunch of tests done," Tippett said. "Archie, when he came up from the States, he had to quarantine for 14 days. During the back half of those 14 days, he wasn't feeling well. He had a severe viral infection coming out of his quarantine. He tried to skate for a few days and just wasn't feeling right, so we got a bunch of tests done with him.

Tippett continued: "What the tests showed was that at some point this summer, he had COVID, so he tested for the antibodies and he was struggling with the viral infection. He got a bunch of blood work done and since then has been diagnosed with Myocarditis. The doctors are taking care of him and he's getting a bunch more tests done, but ultimately, he's out indefinitely right now."

 

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Stop Ignoring The Penalty Calls

from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,

The rather bizarre dynamic in which referees are allowed to ignore the rules as they see fit has been a constant source of consternation among some fans of the game, particularly those who cheer for the league’s most elite players.

While the NBA and NFL have embraced the value of letting star players exhibit their skills, the NHL has continually tailored its landscape to accommodate mid-range players instead. It remains a plumbers’ league, where the attitude seems to be something along the lines of “if we don’t let defencemen hook and hold, guys like Nathan MacKinnon, Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov will put up 200 points a year, and we can’t have that.”

It’s an issue that reached a peak in last year’s playoffs, where McDavid didn’t draw a single penalty in 121 shifts over four games against the Winnipeg Jets. A year earlier in the four-game post-season series with Chicago, he drew one penalty over four games....

It’s a delicate line that stars have to walk when discussing the subject, because getting on the wrong side of certain referees could have lasting consequences.

When asked about the issue, again, as another season approaches, McDavid tried to view it from both sides.

“It’s such a hard job, they’re never going to be perfect, they do the best they can do,” he said. “They’re human, too, and they have their own opinions. They’ll see the game maybe a little bit differently.

“Overall you just want to see some consistency from game to game, consistency throughout the night, period to period. That’s what everyone is striving for.”

read on

added 11:16am, Below watch Ray Ferraro on the same topic.

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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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