Taylor Hall #4 of the Edmonton Oilers awaits a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes during the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on December 15, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Oilers 4-2.
(December 14, 2011 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

It’s Edmonton Oilers day on PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Edmonton Oilers.

The Edmonton Oilers led off the 2012 NHL Entry Draft for the third consecutive year. It was a remarkable and simultaneously embarrassing feat. Over the past few years they had assembled an incredible core of talented young forwards — but had done so by enduring the worst stretch of failure in a generation.

Some of that could be forgiven because they were clearly in a rebuilding process, but eventually promise for the future needs to transition into success today. Going into the 2013 campaign, the Edmonton Oilers’ objective was to finally compete for a playoff spot.

Well, they were better, but still nowhere near good. On the positive side of things, Taylor Hall had his best season yet with 50 points in 45 games and Nail Yakupov had a respectable rookie season. Another player that entered the season as a potential Calder contender, defenseman Justin Schultz, excelled offensively, but also posted a team-worst minus-17 rating.

The Oilers finished with a 19-22-7 record, which put them a full 10 points shy of the playoffs.

Offseason recap

Edmonton’s failure to take a major step forward led to GM Steve Tambellini being replaced with Craig MacTavish. In his introductory press conference in April, MacTavish labeled himself as “impatient” and was ready to do “bold things.”

So what did he follow that statement up with? Well, for starters he fired Ralph Krueger after just 48 games as an NHL head coach and brought in Dallas Eakins to serve as the team’s new bench boss. Eakins enjoyed a great deal of success with the AHL Toronto Marlies, but he will also be the team’s fifth coach in just six seasons.

On the trade front, MacTavish was able to move forward Shawn Horcoff and his $5.5 million annual cap hit to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Philip Larsen and a 2016 seventh-round pick. He followed that up by shipping forward Magnus Paajarvi, 22, along with a second-round selection to St. Louis in exchange for David Perron.

Edmonton wasn’t terribly active on the free agent market, but they got some much needed defensive help by signing Andrew Ference to a four-year, $13 million deal.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
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The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

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The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season:

Francis, Kurri, McKenzie named to Hockey Hall of Fame committee

Ron Francis
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The Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee added some big names on Tuesday — most notably, a pair of Hockey Hall of Famers.

Ron Francis (inducted in 2007) and Jarri Kurri (2001) have been appointed to the committee, the Hall announced. Longtime hockey scribe and hockey insider Bob McKenzie was also named; together, he and Francis and Kurri will replace an outgoing trio of Lanny McDonald, Mike Emrick and Peter Stastny.

Francis currently serves as the GM in Carolina while Kurri holds the same title with Jokerit of the KHL.

More, from NHL.com:

McDonald resigned his spot on the committee to become chairman, while the terms of Stastny and Emrick expired.

The Hall also announced Eric Duhatschek, Michael Farber and Bill Torrey were reappointed to the selection committee for a further three-year term.

The next big meeting for the new members of the selection committee comes in late June, when everyone gathers to consider candidates for the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame.

The announcement for new inductees will be made on June 27. As we’ve written about in the past, the list of first-time eligible entrants isn’t exactly overwhelming, so this could be the year some “passed over” candidates get in.

Among those in that category? Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Mark Recchi and Jeremy Roenick, to name a few.

Related: Poll: Who should be in the 2016 Hockey Hall of Fame?

Suter admits to ‘saying stuff I probably shouldn’t have said’


For the Minnesota Wild, today was a day for damage control.

Try to act surprised, OK?

“We’re obviously on the same page,” defenseman Ryan Suter told the Star Tribune. “It’s a story that shouldn’t even be a story. I think the heat of the practice yesterday, I was just saying stuff I probably shouldn’t have said.”

In case you missed it, what Suter said was that he shouldn’t be playing with a left-shot defenseman like Jonas Brodin.

“I don’t know what [the coaches are] thinking,” said Suter.

But in addition to that — and this was the really eye-opening stuff — Suter effectively questioned how head head coach Mike Yeo was reacting…

…to the latest bit of adversity the Wild were facing.

“Now’s when you need leadership more than ever,” said Suter. “It’s easy to be a coach and a leader when things are going good.”

The Star Tribune has more on what everyone was saying today, so be sure to click on the story.

Yeo, predictably, downplayed Suter’s remarks, chalking them up to a “guy that when you ask him to do something, he might tell you his opinions, but nobody will go out there and do it better than him.”

The Wild take on the Blackhawks tonight at United Center (on NBCSN).

Oh, and Suter will, indeed, skate with Brodin against the defending champs. Those two have only been together a bit this season, but they were a frequent pairing last season.

Expected pairings (shoots)
Ryan Suter (L) – Jonas Brodin (L)
Marco Scandella (L) – Jared Spurgeon (R)
Nate Prosser (R) – Matt Dumba (R)

P.S. — This is why the Wild were hoping for better things from young Dumba.