What a difference a week can make sometimes.
Take the Edmonton Oilers for instance. Last Sunday, they took to the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks looking to snap a nasty five-game losing streak that was capped off with a 6-0 whooping on the road in Nashville at the hands of the Predators.
The last seven days have provided three wins in four games for the Oilers, and they were able to get a matter of revenge on the Predators thanks to a 3-2 win Sunday.
And, like the snap of a finger, the Oilers are now two points back of the San Jose Sharks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Only four points ahead of the Oilers are the struggling Vancouver Canucks, currently the seventh seed in the West.
“It’s amazing how things can change,” Oilers’ winger Jordan Eberle told the Edmonton Sun.
“Five games ago it looked like we were out of the playoff picture and now we’re right back in it. Two points? We’re right back in it.
“I haven’t been in this situation in March before. It’s exciting.”
Eberle scored the winning goal against the Predators with less than five minutes remaining in the third period.
“Tonight, we couldn’t match the Oilers’ desperation,” Predators goalie Pekka Rinne told NHL.com.
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.
When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.
And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.
“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.
Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.
But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?
Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”