Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Edmonton Oilers

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From Wayne Gretzky to Taylor Hall, the Oilers have a tremendous amount of history with talented forwards and their look on the ice with their sweaters is something they’ve pretty good fortune with. Like all teams that had a good thing and gave it up to do something different, they’ve gone back to what works. Good move, guys.

Best: When your legacy in the NHL starts with having guys like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier among others, it’s hard to not instantly fall in love with the look those guys brought to the ice. It’s a look that was so perfect for the time it came about in the late 70s-early 80s and won everyone in Edmonton and elsewhere over that the Oilers caved into pressure and are bringing it back full time this season. Their dynasty-era home and road jerseys are iconic for the time and the team and their road blues are the epitome of the dynasty years. Blue and orange never looked so good together, especially with Gretzky establishing records that may never be broken while wearing them.

Worst: While it would be easy to pick on the brutal Oilers third jersey that was designed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, the Oilers have another sweater that managed to look worse than that. When the RBK Edge system took over, the Oilers’ look to follow suit with the Reebok design was bland, uninspired, and overwhelmingly dark blue for their home sweaters. The sleeve striping was copper, white, mixed with stupid (something the Edge sweaters had/have a nasty affliction with) as they didn’t go completely around the arms.

Old is new again: The Oilers starting off in the NHL with the look they carried over from their WHA days was a great move and obviously a brilliant one on the creator’s behalf as it’s one the Oilers are readopting in full this season. As we’ve seen with other teams that have done this, going back to a look that was also attached with a long history of success is something that a lot of teams try to latch on to. After all, pleasant memories are always warm and welcoming and can lead to new sales. Funny how sweaters and uniforms are always the thing fans get the ultimate final say on. If they’re not buying the merchandise, things are going to change.

Assessment: The Oilers full-blown switch back to their look from the 80s and early 90s that’s attached with their dynasty years is a move I fully support. It’s a look attached to great success in the team’s history and the last time we saw an array of great young talent taking the ice in these style sweaters it turned out pretty well. Keeping the ugly Edge home sweater as an alternate reeks of getting the most out of a failed experiment. Just let it go guys. The Oilers haven’t had success on the ice much in recent years, but they’re going to look like winners all over again. That’s a start.

NHL cracking down on slashing, faceoff violations to begin preseason

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The NHL has made it a point to crack down on slashing for the upcoming regular season. With the preseason underway, the foundation for the new standard is being set.

Dating back to late June, the NHL had vowed to call slashing more closely after a number of incidents last season, including Marc Methot‘s gruesome finger injury, which was the result of a slash to the hands from Sidney Crosby.

Monday’s game between the Islanders and Rangers featured nine slashing minor penalties. The Devils and Capitals were only 41 seconds into their preseason game Monday when Jimmy Hayes was called for slashing. A total of six slashing minors were called in that game — not to mention three faceoff violations.

From the Washington Post:

There’s been talk of being harder on slashing following several wrist, hand and finger injuries last season from dangerous stick work. “Now, as soon as your stick is off the ice and you touch the other players’ stick or hands, it was zero tolerance today,” Eller said. More surprising was the three faceoff violation penalties called in the first period of the game. That also represented a new emphasis from the league. “Cheating” on faceoffs has been commonplace, and for centers who’ve made their name winning faceoffs with a certain style and routine, staying perfectly within the red lines in the circle was an adjustment.

According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the Senators-Maple Leafs game Monday also featured three faceoff violations. It appears right now there will be quite an adjustment for players across the league to the apparent crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations, especially early on.

However, will this be the standard for the entire season? For the playoffs?

“I have a tough time believing that in the playoffs, in Game 7, that kind of call is going to be made,” Mark Letestu told Sportsnet. “Right now, there’s an overemphasis on it, and hopefully it doesn’t go all the way back to where it was.”

Video: No. 1 pick Hischier scores ‘tenacious’ goal in Devils preseason debut

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Nico Hischier, the first overall pick from this year’s NHL Draft, provided quite a glimpse into the type of player he can be for the New Jersey Devils during his first preseason game on Monday.

The Devils recorded a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals, with Hischier’s goal late in the third period putting it away. For Devils fans at Prudential Center, this should provide a little more optimism for a club that has looked to upgrade its offensive attack this offseason.

Hischier hounded Capitals forward Kevin Elgestal in the neutral zone, and eventually stole the puck while splitting two Washington players for the breakaway. In all alone, Hischier made no mistake, sliding the puck under the pad of goalie Vitek Vanecek.

“His skating was a factor. He was competitive on the puck,” said Devils coach John Hynes, per NJ.com.

“As the game went on, the second and third period, he started to make a few more plays, and I think he got adjusted to the time and space and battle level that was out there. You see the goal, he was really tenacious on the puck. He hunted it, had the second effort and a great stick to create the turnover. His work ethic put him in position for half a breakaway, and that’s when his skill takes over.”

While Nolan Patrick had for months been talked about as a potential No. 1 overall pick, Hischier put together an impressive year in the QMJHL and when the time came for the Devils to make their selection, they went with the 18-year-old Swiss center over Patrick.

It will be interesting to see exactly what role the Devils give Hischier this season, although the plan since the draft has been to give him every chance to make the NHL club right out of camp. Per NorthJersey.com, Hynes discussed the topic of Hischier in a potential top center role following Monday’s game.

“Certainly he has the skills and the hockey sense to play in that role but is he really ready for that?” said Hynes. “We’ll put him in a situation that will benefit him the most and the team the most.”

Video: Whoa, this is one sweet Mike Hoffman backhand goal

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Monday’s game won’t help the Ottawa Senators defy critics about last season running on luck, at least in that it doesn’t count in the standings.

Senators sniper Mike Hoffman didn’t seem to care.

Hoffman owned last night’s pre-season NHL highlight reel (sorry Nico Hischier), scoring two very different goals.

The best one can be viewed in the video above this post’s headline, as he burst through the Maple Leafs defense for a ridiculous backhander on the rush. Wow.

His first of the night was memorable for a different reason, as Hoffman shook off a near-miss (eventually) to score this goal.

Weird/cool/good, indeed.

Prediction: Hoffman will score a lot of goals that will “count” in 2017-18, too.

Wild extend captain Mikko Koivu’s contract for two years, $11M

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Minnesota Wild fans fearing that the 2017-18 season could be Mikko Koivu‘s last can breathe a sigh of relief, and that suspense didn’t even carry into opening night.

Instead, the Wild signed Koivu to a two-year contract extension worth $11 million.

That $5.5M cap hit kicks in during the 2018-19 campaign and ends after 2019-20. It represents a minor cut in pay for Koivu, as he’s entering the final year of a deal with a $6.75M cap hit.

Koivu, 34, enjoyed a strong first season under Bruce Boudreau, becoming a Selke finalist for the first time in his underrated career. He’s been Minnesota’s captain since 2008-09.

Koivu’s deal would qualify as a 35+ contract, according to Cap Friendly.

The Finnish forward likely valued stability, maybe taking a little less in AAV for the sake of peace of mind.

This continues a busy week-or-so for the Wild, who also broke their impasse with RFA Marcus Foligno by handing him a four-year, $11.5M deal.

Opinion: this Koivu deal is a much, much easier decision to justify, even taking into account his advanced age.