Leon Draisaitl

Draisaitl: ‘My goal is to play in the NHL next year’


We’ve grown accustomed to seeing young players starting right away with the Edmonton Oilers in recent years and Leon Draisaitl wants to be the next one.

Jason Gregor at the Edmonton Journal spoke with the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and found out he’s staying in Edmonton all summer to train, leaving his parents behind in Germany, in an effort to make the team out of camp.

“I have a dream and I want to make that dream happen,” he said. “Obviously, I would love to see my parents, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t see them for a while. My goal is to play in the NHL next year and it (staying in Edmonton) is the best way to get ready and get used to the life here.

“For me, personally, it is the best decision.”

That’s a lot of toughness for an 18-year-old to just up and leave home, but opportunity is there for Draisaitl if he makes the most of it. The Oilers haven’t had issues with Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov jumping to the NHL right after being drafted.

For Draisaitl, the opportunity is there for the taking with Hopkins, Matt Hendricks, and Boyd Gordon the centers at the NHL level. He’ll have Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander, and others to compete with to potentially crack the second line.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

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.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

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:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.