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.

Devils sign d-man Michael Kapla

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The New Jersey Devils have signed UMass-Lowell defenseman Michael Kapla to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Kapla, 22, had three goals and 27 assists in 41 games this season. He’ll report to the Devils and likely burn the first year of his ELC by making his NHL debut sometime very soon.

The Devils host the Winning Jets tonight. They’re in Brooklyn Friday to play the Islanders.

Kapla spent four years in college. Per the Devils’ press release, he “most recently captained the River Hawks to the 2017 Hockey East Championship. He also received Hockey East All-Tournament Team honors and was named to the Hockey East Second All-Star Team.”

 

Report: Penn State sophomore Pedrie leaves school, signs with Rangers

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For the second straight day, the Rangers have landed an undrafted college free agent.

Vince Pedrie, a sophomore blueliner that just wrapped his sophomore campaign at Penn State, has reportedly agreed to terms with the Rangers on an entry-level deal, per the Collegian.

Citing a post from Pedrie’s Facebook account confirming the move, the Collegian reports the 23-year-old is the youngest Nittany Lion in program history to leave the team for the professional ranks.

It comes after Pedrie emerged as a “dominant offensive force” for the club last season, racking up 30 points in 39 games while helping Penn State qualify for its first NCAA championship appearance.

As mentioned above, this is the second intriguing prospect to join the Blueshirts in as many days. On Monday, University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri agreed to join the team after an impressive four-year career with the Gophers.

Hjalmarsson says ‘Hawks are ‘too comfortable’ after rough trip through Florida

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When most people take trips to Florida, it’s to get away from the stress and struggle of everyday life. But it’s safe to say that this edition of the Chicago Blackhawks won’t want to remember their visit to the Sunshine State.

The ‘Hawks dropped an embarrassing 7-0 decision to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night before blowing a 4-1 lead in last night’s game against the Bolts (they eventually lost 5-4 in OT).

They still have a comfortable lead atop the Central Division (eight points up on the struggling Wild), but they aren’t satisfied with their play.

“It’s getting close to the end here and we’re getting a little bit too comfortable maybe,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said, per the Chicago Tribune. “As soon as you do that, you’re going to lose games … At the same time I’m glad that we were playing like this before the playoffs so we can make some adjustments.

“Eighty-two games is a long season. It’s a mental grind more than anything. As soon as you’re not there 100 percent, it’s going to show in the scoring.”

As Hjalmarsson said, six games is still enough time to figure things out for Chicago. They just won’t have the luxury of facing easy opponents when they do try to sort out their struggles.

They’ll play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday before returning home to play Columbus and Boston. They’ll then head back on the road to close out the season in Denver, Anaheim and Los Angeles.

PHT Morning Skate: This season’s top five breakout performers

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Jake Allen wore a special U.S. Navy tribute mask during last night’s game against the Coyotes. It’s really a gorgeous mask. “The blue and yellow complements our colors well, and it’s a great tribute to the Blue Angel pilots who have the honor of flying and performing across the country.” (NHL.com/Blues)

–With every NHL season, there are surprises and disappointments. Rather than focus on the negatives, The Hockey News breaks down the top five breakout seasons in 2016-17. At the top of the list is Panthers forward Jonathan Marchesault, who is shockingly closing in on a 30-goal season. Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson and Boston’s David Pastrnak have also made names for themselves. (The Hockey News)

–It’s no secret that NHLers are forced to travel a lot, but each team makes the most of their road trips in different ways. For example, Kevin Shattenkirk and the Capitals enjoy fine dining when they’re away from home.  “It’s so easy to go to the top names or the ones that you hear of all the time, but when you go to a lot of these cities, the food scenes everywhere now are really starting to improve. A lot of my friends naturally are foodies. They bring me to some of their places. Even just a simple Google, most of the times, the first two things that come up are Yelp or TripAdvisor, and I usually go a couple down and look at a local newspaper, if they have the best spots to eat in 2017. I like to focus on those.” (Washington Post)

–The Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves down 4-1 in lasts night’s game against Chicago, but they were able to battle back and win in a thrilling overtime period. You can check out the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Tonight will mark the first time that Jordie and Jamie Benn play against each other since the trade that saw the older Benn head to Montreal. The Canadiens took the opportunity to ask their Benn some questions about what it was like growing up with his brother. Here’s a sample question: “Of the two of you, which one is Peyton and who is Eli?” (NHL.com/Canadiens)

–This year’s rookie class with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, Mitch Marner and Matt Murray is one of the best in recent memory, but which other freshmen classes stand out? BarDown takes a look at the top five rookie classes since 2000. (BarDown)

–Capitals forward Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky had some fun during picture day. The two players showed up to the rink with some pretty poofy hair. There’s no point in me trying to explain it when you can see the pictures for yourself. (NHL.com)