With the crazy Olympic schedule and some AHL demands, I haven't updated this site as frequently over the last week as I would have liked. This is the first of three summaries, recapping selected articles at the various places I write, and it considers Oilers Nation.
The Edmonton Oilers beat the New York Rangers 2-1 last night. Before the game the Oilers opted to unite the team's three first overall draft picks on the same line, and it paid off as Nail Yakupov scored the game-winning goal late in the third period. I also posted full grades for each Oiler after the game.
The big topic this week is Steven Stamkos passing on the Sochi games due to health concerns. How will Canada cope without him? Better than anybody else would.
On the Oilers side of things, I looked at the rumours that Sam Gagner could be dealt to Los Angeles. The problem is money - any deal with the Kings would likely involve retaining salary, which would probably be a mistake for Edmonton.
Related to the Gagner trade talk is this question: Do the Oilers have room on the roster for Mark Arcobello, who has lit up Oklahoma City since being demoted to the minors?
Finally, can the Russians win gold on home soil? They have some unique advantages and a team built for the Olympic ice.
Here's some of my recent work:
It's been a few days since I've updated this site, so I'll just be providing an alphabetical list of pieces since the last update:
I don't consistently watch 'Ask an Oiler', but I decided to make an exception for Ben Scrivens. He was asked if he had any goalie rituals and offered the following:
"I'm actually morally opposed to superstitions. I think they're hugely detrimental to success. That being said, routines are obviously beneficial and the way you tell the difference is if you can change your routine and it doesn't mess you up mentally than it's a routine and if you cannot change something than it's a superstition. If you can't change it, and something forces you to - you know, an act of God where you can't, the bus breaks down and you don't get to the rink in time to do your complete superstitious ritual - now all of a sudden you've put yourself behind the eight ball mentally. You never want to go into a game in a negative state of mind for any reason, especially stuff that's in your control."
I personally come at it from a 'we don't live in the Dark Ages any more, so there's no reason to believe the Earth runs on witchcraft' perspective, though Scrivens' answer is more diplomatic and puts a little more thought into the question than 'it's stupid.' Either way, it's always nice to hear from a professional athlete (especially a goalie) who doesn't think the world runs on magic.
The Edmonton Oilers dropped a 4-3 decision to the Phoenix Coyotes last night. I did a pre-game write-up about the changes to Edmonton's line-up (and Dallas Eakins' approach to concussions), and after the game provided player grades and scoring chances.
In non-Oilers news, I also wrote about how Martin St. Louis has lit the NHL on fire since being excluded from Canada's Olympic team. Random fact from that piece: St. Louis was passed over by both Minnesota and Columbus in the 2000 NHL Expansion Draft.
Change appears to be on the horizon for the Edmonton Oilers, and it's a good thing too because simply waiting for the young defence prospects to mature is a very bad idea. What kind of change? Bob McKenzie has suggested a smaller group of trades at the deadline, followed by a potentially much larger move in the summer. One of those smaller moves is the probably departure of Ales Hemsky, though that shouldn't be an automatic conclusion.
Elsewhere, I looked at the trade of Michael Del Zotto for Kevin Klein, the top shootout weapons in the NHL and this year's Hart Trophy candidate(s).
Let's start with last night's game. I looked at the forward lineup going into the night, graded the players and considered Dallas Eakins' contentious post-game press conference. For good measure, I looked skeptically at the notion that Zack Kassian has been 'running the Oilers' show.'
Elsewhere, I argued that Edmonton's trade for Matt Hendricks is evidence that general manager Craig MacTavish has yet to embrace analytics, reported on the overall performance of prospects on the farm and made a comparison of the Oilers' last three coaches by way of their respective teams' five-on-five play.