Allow me to tell you a story. It’s about an offensively gifted player with the ability to score the most beautiful goals, the type of player who brings fans first to the ticket window and then to their feet. This talented young player, however, has a hole in his game. While he can dazzle and put pucks in the net, he is inefficient in his own zone. He’s not good defensively. It’s affecting other aspects of the game. The team is unhappy. The player is unhappy. Things have become so broken between player and team, that a potential trade is looming.
That player is, very obviously, Steve Yzerman.
In a well-known story in the annals of hockey, Yzerman was a consistent 100-point scorer with the Detroit Red Wings but played the game as if he were allergic to backchecking. Then Scotty Bowman arrived on the scene in 1993, asked his captain to work hard at both ends of the ice, and Stanley Cups rained down from the Detroit skies as Yzerman’s sacrifice and leadership brought joy to the men, women and children of Michigan.
What is sometimes forgotten is the Bowman/Yzerman relationship didn’t begin so swimmingly and got to the point rather quickly where Yzerman was within a breath of being traded to the Ottawa Senators. It seems unfathomable now, but one of the game’s best all-round players was nearly shipped out of town because he was a terrible defensive forward.
That brings us to, very obviously, Nail Yakupov. Read the rest of this entry »
David Perron meets with the Edmonton media two weeks after his trade to the Oilers. (Photo by EdmontonOilers.com)
Hotel life isn’t out of the ordinary for David Perron. After six seasons in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues, bunking with a teammate in different cities during a road trip is simply part of the job and hardly even a hassle.
But this isn’t the usual hotel stay for Perron. He’s not sharing space with a teammate as they prepare to play a game the following night. Instead, his roommates are his girlfriend, two dogs and a cat. There’s no game the next day or the day after that. All that awaits Perron in Edmonton, two weeks before the Oilers start training camp on Sept. 11, is a day with an informal practice with new his teammates and another extended search for a place to live in his new city.
Perron and his family would share that hotel room for 10 days before they finally found a suitable home in Edmonton with owners willing to rent to a couple with three pets.
“Oh what a mess that was,” Perron said. “I was with two dogs, one cat and my girlfriend in a hotel room for a week and a half. It’s tough to get the dogs some exercise. They don’t know where they are, so every time someone walks in the hallway, they’re barking.
“After a couple days there, they kind of settled down and got used to it. But the first couple days, were, well, different.”
The NHL lifestyle has its perks to be sure, but there are pockets of stress around every corner when you’ve been traded. It was especially true for Perron, whose first NHL trade sent him to an unfamiliar city to join unfamiliar teammates, none of whom he could lean on for help during the summer.
It also left him with the unenviable task of having to move twice in about two months. Read the rest of this entry »
At the beginning of this shortened NHL season, if I had told you that the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs would be playing a game against each other in the middle of April with serious playoff implications, you would have called me a brain dead moron and then asked me why I was rooting around in your bushes (I was using binoculars to look away from your windows, not into them, I swear).
But here we are, two weeks left in the season and The Canadiens are in first place in the Northeast division (2nd seed in the Eastern Conference) while the Leafs find themselves sitting 5th in the East.
Read the rest of this entry »
You know what that means (I really hope you know what that means, or else this entire thread is a waste of time. Don’t make my life a waste of time).
It means that it’s time that we get a little too serious about a sport where grown men wearing boots with knives on them chase a piece of rubber around a sheet of frozen water for our amusement.
Tonight, we have an original six match-up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. And if you want to stay up a little later with me, the late game will feature the Edmonton Oilers taking on the St. Louis Blues.
Read the rest of this entry »
Ken Linseman: The rattiest of the rats.
The NHL has a long storied history of dirtbags, and Down Goes Brown wrote a delightful post for Grantland outlining the dirtbaggiest dirtbags, and their many transgressions. What a rich treasure trove of bad behaviour and ugly injuries! Thus was born a series of Quiet Room posts exploring the worst of the injuries handed out by the worst of the dirtbags in their most inglourious moments.
Read the rest of this entry »
On Monday, Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz was in Seattle for one reason, and one reason only: to attend the Seattle Seahawks game against the Green Bay Packers. He got a chance to see one of the most exciting finishes to a game this season, as well as one of the most blatantly botched calls by the NFL replacement referees. I’m sure the story of him being there for that game will be a highlight of all his interviews in the near future.
Okay, he may have had an ulterior motive for visiting Seattle.
A couple weeks ago, Katz approached Edmonton city council and asked for more public funds to help pay for the construction and operating costs of a new arena. City council said no. Cue the veiled threats to relocate the franchise, the articles from the Edmonton media that freak out about the possibility of relocation, and the official Oilers twitter account retweeting one of those articles as a tacit endorsement of the threat.
It’s a bit of a gong show.
Katz’s visit conveniently comes right on the heels of Seattle city council voting to approve the building of a new NHL-suitable arena in the Sodo district. The implication is clear: heed my demands or I’ll move the Oilers to Seattle.
The problem for Katz is that it’s a completely empty threat. Read the rest of this entry »
Even prior to Jordan Eberle signing his six-year, 36 million dollar deal with the Edmonton Oilers yesterday, the blogosphere was abuzz discussing his value. He put up mammoth numbers last season, made the all-star team, and the team’s other young star (well, one of them – Taylor Hall) had already signed his long-term deal.
The reason for the buzz was this: Oilers fans blindly love their electric young talent (sign him!), but the advanced stat crowd was pushing back (it’s a bad time after a lucky season!), citing his shooting percentage.
And oh man did that crowd cite his shooting percentage.
Tyler Dellow wrote about it (multiple times, predicting 54-60 points over 82 games, down from 76). Jonathan Willis wrote about it (predicting 26 goals in 82 games, down from 34). Scott Reynolds wrote about it. David Staples wrote about it. Our own Cam Charron wrote about it this morning. Even the Edmonton Journal mentioned it. You get the point. Read the rest of this entry »