Oilers GM talks goalie interference reviews: ‘It’s a tough framework to establish’

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The Edmonton Oilers dropped Game 5 of their second-round playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night thanks in large part to an historic late-game collapse that saw them give up three goals in the final four minutes of regulation.

The third goal came with a bit of controversy after it was upheld following a review for goaltender interference.

That ruling left several members of the Oilers (specifically Milan Lucic) feeling a little confused on what interference actually is, especially since it is the second time in this series they had a goalie interference review go against them.

On Saturday, general manager Peter Chiarelli had a chance to speak to the media and discussed the rule and review process. He admitted that there is some frustration building.

Not because the calls were necessarily wrong, but because they seem to keep going against his team.

“There is a frustration level building,” said Chiarelli. “But it’s not really not because of anything the NHL hockey ops does. It is not because of the process. It is because the calls have gone against us. I know the process these guys go through and I have discussions after the fact with NHL hockey ops. And we as GMs have voted this stuff in, and there is a group that reviews these things, and they came through with a ruling, and unfortunately the last two have gone against us.”

Chiarelli was asked if he has a clear idea of what goaltender interference looks like at this point.

“We have a general framework,” said Chiarelli. “We’ve got incidental contact in the white. Incidental contact in the blue. We’ve got guys being pushed in. We’ve kind of set out that criteria, the GMs have. They tweak it a little, but it’s to our knowledge when they do it and they talk to us. We have our own way of interpreting it too. Like if they can tweak it a little, in our minds we can tweak it a little bit. We look at last night, I see two points of interference. One was caused by our own player pushing a player in. The other was caused by their player in my mind. So it was a difference of opinions.”

The replay system for goaltender interference has faced some criticism due to the apparent subjectivity that seems to exist, and Chiarelli was asked if the process has produced some unintended consequences.

Chiarelli does not see it that way.

“I don’t really put unintended consequences on this process,” said Chiarelli. “It’s just refining the interpretation. It’s tough. It’s a tough framework to establish. There is so many nuances. The other night [Game 4] it’s about was there contact in the white or contact in the blue. For me there was both. But we have constructive dialogue among the GM’s and the NHL and we’ll figure it out. I like the rule. I like the video review. But it was hard to take last night though.”

You can see Chiarelli’s entire media availability by clicking here.

After winning the first two games of the series in Anaheim the Oilers have now dropped three games in a row and are facing elimination on Sunday when the series returns to Edmonton.

Oilers re-sign Pakarinen for one year

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The Edmonton Oilers have given winger Iiro Pakarinen a one-year contract extension.

From the release:

Pakarinen just finished his third season with the Oilers organization, appearing in 14 regular season games in 2016-17, posting four points (2 goals, 2 assists).  The 25 year old forward missed 53 games due to an injury suffered during the pre-season. He appeared in one playoff game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Oilers brought Pakarinen over from Finland in 2014. Since then, he’s split his North American career between the AHL and NHL while drawing praise for his versatility and hard-nosed style.

Per CapFriendly, Pakarinen’s cap hit will be $750,000 in 2017-18. It’s a one-way deal.

Market heating up for prized Czech d-man Rutta

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Coming off an impressive performance for the Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, Jan Rutta is now being courted by a number of NHL clubs.

Per The Athletic, the Blackhawks are in contention for securing Rutta’s services. That comes on the heels of earlier reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger, who said there are “multiple” offers for the 26-year-old, including ones from Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s a steady defenseman with size, and he had a strong finish of the season,” an NHL scout told The Athletic. “He was very good in the playoffs and played his best at the Worlds.”

Rutta, who was never drafted by an NHL club, has spent his professional career with Czech League outfit Pirati Chomutov. He’s blossomed into a talented offensive defenseman — finishing second among Czech League d-men with 32 points in 46 games this year — and, as mentioned above, has good size at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds.

Last week, Rutta’s agent — longtime Octagon Hockey representative Allan Walsh — tweeted that his client would make a decision on NHL offers soon.

 

Sharks keep stockpiling European free agents, land Sandberg

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Doug Wilson is at it again.

On Thursday, the Sharks GM confirmed yesterday’s news — the signing of Czech d-man Radim Simek — and announced that Swedish forward Filip Sandberg had agreed to a two-year deal.

“Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space,” Wilson said in a release. “He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players.

“We are excited for him to join our organization.”

Sandberg, 22, is fresh off a Swedish League title with HV71. The club announced Sandberg would be headed overseas last week, but didn’t divulge what team had signed him.

It wasn’t surprising NHL clubs had interest. Sandberg had a good offensive campaign in Sweden, scoring 25 points in 52 regular season games, then broke out for six goals and 14 points in 16 playoff contests.

Prior to this year, Sandberg twice represented Sweden at the World Juniors, including the 2013 tournament where the country won silver. He finished with two goals in six games playing alongside the likes of Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, Elias Lindholm and Victor Rask.

As for Simek, he inked a one-year deal.

“Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge,” said Wilson. “We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America.”

Simek just finished representing his native Czech Republic at the World Hockey Championship, where he had two points in eight games.

According to a report from Radio Praha, the Sharks beat out the Rangers to acquire Simek. Passed over in his draft year, the 24-year-old has spent his entire pro career with Liberec Bili Tygri.

As mentioned above, Wilson has done well finding European skaters in their early-to-mid-20s, ones that can contribute right away at the NHL level: Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, most specifically.

The hope now is that Simek and Sandberg will continue that trend.

Avs dismiss three from coaching staff, but Bednar remains

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Colorado GM Joe Sakic said there would be turnover this offseason, but that head coach Jared Bednar was safe.

On Tuesday, Sakic followed through.

The Avs have parted ways with two of Bednar’s assistants — Tim Army and Dave Farrish — and also relieved goalie coach Francois Allaire of his duties.

Army, 54, has been with the club for the last six years, having previously served as the head coach at Providence. He served under three different head coaches in Colorado — Bednar, Patrick Roy and Joe Sacco — and was largely tasked with running the team’s power play (which finished 30th in the NHL this year).

Farrish, 60, just wrapped his second year on the job with the Avs after coming over from Toronto. A veteran of nearly 30 years in coaching, Farrish was brought aboard by Roy, and brought “a wealth of experience and hockey knowledge to our organization.” A journeyman blueliner who playecd 430 games at the NHL level, Farrish ran the club’s defense last season.

Allaire, 57, has been coaching goalies at the NHL level for over 25 years, with previous stops in Montreal, Anaheim and Toronto. His ties to Roy ran deep — he mentored the former Avs coach with the Canadiens, and the pair won two Stanley Cups together (in 1986 and ’93). Allaire has been with the Avs for the last four years, on the heels of an acrimonious departure from Toronto.

Today’s shakeup is a significant one, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. Bednar was essentially forced into retaining all of Roy’s staff following the latter’s shock resignation last August, and probably wants to bring in some of his own guys.

Sakic, meanwhile, had to make some sort of changes after the worst regular season in franchise history — and today’s could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Related: Avs president gives Sakic vote of confidence