PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
There are people that would love to ride on a Zamboni and then there’s this guy:
(H/T Puck Daddy)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
The Edmonton Oilers played shorthanded for about 20 seconds early in the third period on Wednesday. They weren’t killing a penalty so you can chalk this one up to an error in counting:
Speaking of the Oilers, head coach Dallas Eakins has broken up the former top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. (Edmonton Journal)
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock shared his thoughts on the challenges of building a team identity and training younger players to maintain a high compete level. (Winnipeg Sun)
Peter Forsberg talks about what being inducted into the Hall of Fame means to him. (Washington Times)
Russia has come out ahead in this year’s Super Series. (NHL.com)
This fan took a do-it-yourself approach to updating his jersey:
As hoped, Taylor Hall will indeed return from his knee injury on Sunday as the Edmonton Oilers face the Arizona Coyotes.
Hall isn’t sure if he’ll slide into a wing spot with his normal partners in crime Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, as the 23-year-old believes that Benoit Pouliot’s done a great job in his absence.
(After all, if they can maintain strong play, Hall can conceivably boost a different line, giving Edmonton more of a varied attack.)
Either way, it’s clear that Hall is excited to be back, and apparently targeted today as a return date.
The Oilers responded reasonably well without him, yet their chances of squeezing into the 2014 postseason improve substantially with the aggressive forward back in the mix.
With Taylor Hall out for an estimated two-to-four weeks, the Edmonton Oilers need other forwards to step up. So far, it appears that this will mean elevated roles for Nail Yakupov and David Perron, in particular.
Looking at Saturday’s shift charts, Yakupov received the first audition with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. Perron, meanwhile, scored his first goal of the 2014-15.
The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson noted significant ice time increases for both players, especially Yakupov; the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft received almost six more minutes than his previous high this season.
While the Oilers are notably weak down the middle, they actually boast a host of options on the wing. Yakupov, Eberle and Perron are the most obvious examples as first-line wingers without Hall, yet head coach Dallas Eakins could consider other alignments as well. Perhaps he’ll want to add a possession-friendly winger such as Benoit Pouliot or Teddy Purcell to the top line?
None of these scenarios truly dull the pain of losing their best player and general wrecking ball winger. Still, for a team that continues to struggle to compete, perhaps it would be beneficial to see more from guys like Yakupov?
(Besides, Yakupov could make himself a nice chunk of change if he plays well in the last year of his entry-level contract.)
A week ago, the Edmonton Oilers looked worse weaker than they really might be. It’s fitting, then, that a couple late goals made their third consecutive win look a little misleading tonight.
The Oilers beat the lowly Carolina Hurricanes, who were coming off of a 5-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday, by a slightly inflated score of 6-3 on Friday.
Matt Hendricks scored an empty-netter, for example. Also, there’s this thought to at least consider:
The box score reads like a series of “ah ha!” moments (especially if you ignore comparable shots on goal totals), as a number of struggling Edmonton players got on the board. Jordan Eberle didn’t just score his first goal of 2014-15; he scored two goals and added an assist. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems like he’s healthy with a goal in three straight games.
Maybe most promisingly, 2014 first-rounder Leon Draisaitl’s first NHL goal happened to be the game-winner:
That’s not exactly the kind of beauty that will drive management to burn an entry-level year off of a rookie’s contract or not, but it must have been a relief for the third pick of the 2014 NHL Draft.
The Oilers are now 3-4-1 and get the weekend off before they close out October with home games against two formidable opponents in the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators. If they can win those contests, then the excitement could really build in Edmonton.
Tonight’s a relatively light night with five games on the docket, yet there have been plenty of highlight-reel moments.
You can see Jonathan Drouin’s brilliant work with Steven Stamkos here. Jason Spezza’s shootout goal was quite pretty. Consider this post a collection of some of the other awe-inspiring moments from Friday. (If you have any recommendations that didn’t make it, feel free to share them in comment form.)
Starting with the Anaheim Ducks’ Corey Perry, who scored a beauty for his ninth(!) goal of the season. This is his eight contest of 2014-15 and there’s still time for him to do more damage:
Anaheim ended up winning 4-1 for its seventh consecutive win.
Transitioning from hot to cold, Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle came into Friday’s action without a tally in 2014-15. He can thank Taylor Hall for setting him beautifully to get No.1:
The Oilers took that game 6-3 for their third victory in a row.
Finally, a player who’s heating up: Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene made the kind of play we saw quite a bit last season, blowing Eddie Lack’s mind as the Avs are currently rolling over the Vancouver Canucks:
It’s air to say that a 7-3 win will make Patrick Roy even less worried about his tactics …