Oilers decide now is the time to change approach

The Edmonton Oilers have realized that the days of overpaying for
free agents and essentially “buying” a successful hockey team are over.

Problem is, that realization has come about five years too late.

After this approach worked, sort of, in 2005 the Edmonton Oilers
decided to keep going down the same path. Yet as the rest of the NHL
adapted to post-lockout hockey, and how the most successful teams are
now being built through the draft and smart acquistions, the Oliers
struggled until finally hitting rock bottom this past season.

Now team president Kevin Lowe is admitting that their approach
perhaps wasn’t exactly the best one to take. From
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal:

“We’ve got to get back to what we did for a lot of
years,” Kevin Lowe, Oilers hockey boss, told reporters in Oklahoma City
on Wednesday . “We’ve got to get back to our basic principles of
drafting and development, get out of the free agent business.”

“It’s almost like something hit us in the side of the head and said,
‘OK, if you guys can’t figure this out yourself, then we’re going to do
it for you.”‘

Unfortunately, the Oilers are still stuck with the duo of Lowe and
Steve Tambellini running things, as it appears the team is just ecstatic
after “winning” the top pick in this year’s draft.

You have to wonder if these leopards can change their spots, after
years of banging their heads against the wall in futility. Sure, they’ll
get a great player this season that will placate the Oilers fanbase but
just how much patience will the team have with a couple of years of
actual, no-bull rebuilding? You know the itch will be there to go out and sign that big free agent
when things aren’t going well.

And if this new approach doesn’t work, they can always just fire the equipment managers again.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?