NHL notes: Playoffs or bust for Oilers – Boston Herald

Ken Hitchcock barely had time to introduce himself to his new players before jumping behind the Edmonton Oilers’ bench for his first game last Tuesday in San Jose, one in which his new team battled back from three one-goal deficits to win in overtime.

But it took all of 45 seconds for the Oilers to demonstrate just a few things that have been ailing them.

First, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins lost a defensive zone draw cleanly to Joe Pavelski, who pulled it back to Brent Burns. Ryan Spooner, new to the Oilers but seemingly ready to fit in with the old way of doing things, made a half-hearted attempt to block Burns’ shot. Goalie Mikko Koskinen could not control the rebound and defenseman Darnell Nurse never picked up Joonas Donskoi, who was able to roam unmolested to the front of the net and easily score on the rebound.

That was some all-around ugly.

The good news for Hitchcock is that none of the failures on the play had much to do with talent. Contrary to the legion of Peter Chiarelli critics would have you think — and, no, I’m not suggesting the GM is blameless in all this — the feeling here is that there is enough talent in the Great White North to win more consistently and be a yearly entrant in the playoff tournament. The Oilers are imperfect and top-heavy, but better than what they’ve shown.

Hitchcock is the man to prove that — and perhaps saves Chiarelli’s job in the process. In the 18 times he’s been able to finish a season with an NHL team, he’s missed the playoffs just four times — his first year as a coach in Dallas, two seasons with a sad-sack organization in Columbus that he eventually got into the playoffs and with

Read More Here...

This entry was posted in Hockey News. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your email address will never be published.