“You can bring sandpaper and be a skilled player at the same time,” Eakins told the Edmonton Sun.
Eakins argues that getting in on the forecheck goes hand-in-hand with competing hard. Not every player will have the same level of grit, but he feels they can be pushed in that direction.
“Some guys are just built where they’re very friendly and they’re very friendly on the ice,” Eakins said. “But we’re not looking for son-in-laws here, we’re looking for guys to win hockey games.”
The Oilers certainly could stand to be a more physical team, but that’s not the only thing Eakins is preaching. In the same vein, he’s also plans to hold players accountable and that’s something that seems to have been made abundantly clear to his players.
Forward Ryan Jones, 29, thinks the level of accountability that Eakins is looking for is something the team didn’t have in recent years and so far it sounds like players are welcoming the change with open arms. At least in this early stage.
This will be the Oilers’ fifth coach in six seasons. Whether or not Eakins lasts longer than his predecessors will be based on the Oilers’ execution rather than September quotes.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: