Jason Brough

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin

Sedin calls being ‘happy with losing’ a ‘dangerous road to go down,’ and he’s clearly talking about the Oilers


There’s a scene in the baseball movie The Natural where a psychologist is brought in to speak with the struggling Knights.

“Losing is a disease,” he says, “as contagious as polio. Losing is a disease, as contagious as syphilis. Losing is a disease, as contagious as bubonic plague. Attacking one, but infecting all.”

In the movie, Roy Hobbs (a.k.a. The Natural, played by Robert Redford) is having none of it. He rolls his eyes and walks out. For Hobbs, losing isn’t a disease. It’s a lack of talent.

However, the theory that losing can be contagious is clearly one that the Vancouver Canucks endorse. In April, GM Jim Benning spoke about wanting the organization’s “young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play.”

And last night, captain Henrik Sedin said basically the same thing, plus a bit more.

“You don’t want to be happy with losing,” he told TSN 1040. “That’s a dangerous road to go down, especially with young guys coming in. We’ve seen other teams around us where it becomes okay to lose, and we can’t have that. You have to try and create a winning culture.”

Sedin didn’t name names, but you can deduce which team he was talking about. The Edmonton Oilers are “around” the Vancouver Canucks, right next door in Alberta. The Oilers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. And they’re currently last overall in the standings, despite all the top-end talent they’ve assembled through the draft.

For the record, Sedin is fully aware that the Canucks have been doing their own fair share of losing this season. He’s not just throwing stones at other organizations. He’s warning his own.

What he doesn’t want is for losing to become acceptable, even if the current talent level in Vancouver makes it hard to win on most nights.

“Moving on, you have to try and create a winning culture, even though we’ve been through some tough times,” he said. “If you’re down in a game, you can’t just go through the motions. You have to show some emotion.”

And you know who wouldn’t disagree with that?

Todd McLellan.

Related: Changes are coming in Edmonton — ‘We haven’t been good enough’

Report: Coyotes have ‘backed off’ their offer to Boedker

Mikkel Boedker

The Arizona Coyotes appear to be on the verge of trading winger Mikkel Boedker.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Coyotes have “backed off a previously tabled offer” to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent. Boedker’s future with the club has been in doubt since the summer when, as a restricted free agent, he only signed a one-year extension.

Boedker has 13 goals and 25 assists in 59 games this season. He’s also a team-worst minus-27, which despite the questionable value of that statistic may require some salesmanship from GM Don Maloney.

Boedker’s age, on the other hand, will be easy to sell. He may not be as accomplished as Andrew Ladd and Loui Eriksson, two other pending UFA wingers who may find themselves on the move prior to Monday’s deadline, but they’re 30 and he’s 26. That matters because the Coyotes could theoretically get more from a team that sees Boedker as a long-term piece, as opposed to a team that sees him as a pure rental.

Changes are coming in Edmonton — ‘We haven’t been good enough’

Peter Chiarelli

“We’ve got some players who have underachieved and may need a new venue.”

And with that statement today, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli officially opened the door to all sorts of trade possibilities.

Certainly, names like Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz come to mind in the category of underachievers. But the likes of Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins may also be shopped. Remember that the latter was reportedly offered for Seth Jones, only for the Predators to choose Ryan Johansen instead.

“We haven’t been good enough, so there will be changes,” said Chiarelli. “I’d like to get bigger and heavier across the board.”

He’d no doubt like to bolster the blue line as well, though that’s easier said than done.

The wildcard in all this is the draft lottery. What if the Oilers win it (again) and get the right to pick Auston Matthews? Or, what if they win the second or third pick and have the ability to select one of the two Finnish forwards, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujärvi? Or maybe they end up with the fourth selection and target a defenseman like Jakob Chychrun.

With that in mind, it wasn’t surprising to hear Chiarelli suggest that the summer is the most likely time for a core player to be dealt. That’s when he’ll better know what he’s got to work with, not to mention that’s typically when other teams have the most flexibility.

Per General Fanager, here’s what the forward situation looks like for the Oilers:


(Nugent-Hopkins isn’t shown because he’s on IR, but he’s signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $6 million.)

And while you look through those names, remember that this is what Chiarelli said when he took the job in April:

“In this business, you can’t be afraid to make trades. … Those are ways to improve your team. … There are some very good young players on this team. Doesn’t mean that I’m going to trade any of them, but those are deals that you can’t be afraid to make.”

Related: Trade candidate Purcell suggests Oilers could ‘get some prospects or a pick for me’

Blues place Elliott on LTIR, will be re-evaluated in 4 weeks

St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) deflects a shot in front of Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Well, at least Jake Allen‘s healthy.

Because the St. Louis Blues have another key injury to overcome. This time, it’s goalie Brian Elliott who’s out. The club announced today that Elliott has been placed on long-term injured reserve with a lower-body injury and will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

Elliott was hurt Monday versus San Jose. He was replaced by Allen, who had only just returned to the lineup after missing 17 games with his own lower-body injury.

Elliott was excellent in Allen’s absence, to the point many wondered if he’d eclipsed the youngster as the Blues’ most likely playoff starter. Now he’s hurt, with the postseason less than two months away.

To back up Allen, the Blues have recalled goalie Pheonix Copley from AHL Chicago.

Couturier expected back for Flyers, but no Giroux

Michael Raffl, Sean Couturier

They won’t have Claude Giroux for a second straight game, but at least the Flyers are expected to get Sean Couturier back when they play tonight in Carolina.

“I feel ready to play,” Couturier said yesterday at practice, per CSN Philly. “I’ve been skating the past days pretty hard and trying to get back into shape. It might take a little while to get in that game shape but I’m not worried. I’m just going to keep it simple if I get to go.”

The 23-year-old, two-way center was hurt Feb. 4 in Nashville. He was originally expected to miss four weeks with a lower-body injury, so if he does play tonight, his return will be ahead of schedule.

After tonight, the Flyers play six in a row at home, with five of those games against teams currently outside a playoff spot.


Five points back of Pittsburgh for the final wild-card spot in the East, if the Flyers are ever going to make a run at the postseason, that stretch seems like a good opportunity to make it happen.

Related: No Claude Giroux tonight, and P.K. Subban may be why