Dallas Eakins Fired in Edmonton, GM MacTavish Reported as Temporary Replacement

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The never-ending saga that is the Edmonton Oilers continued today as the team fired its head coach, Dallas Eakins, amid a poor stretch of games. GM Craig MacTavish will reported replace him as interim coach. Todd Nelson, the coach of their AHL affilliate, the Oklahoma City Barons, will join the Oilers as either an assistant or associate coach.

The Oilers lost 2-0 to the New York Rangers on Sunday, and have started out this week last place in the League standings with 19 points. They have a League-low seven wins, are 29th in the League in scoring with 2.10 goals per game, and 29th League-wide in goals-against with 3.32 goals allowed per game.

Eakins was 36-63-14 in his second tenure with Edmonton. He had previous come onto the Oilers after coaching four seasons with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

This Week’s NHL Hockey 101 Highlights | 12/14/14

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So, after missing last week’s article for personal reasons, here are this week’s NHL hockey 101 highlights.

5. New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes (12/8/14)

Adam Henrique gives the Devils a 2-1 lead on the PP.

The play starts at the 37-second mark of the video. Scott Gomez has the puck at the corner of the boards. He passes it to Jaromir Jagr, who takes it behind the net. As he swings a pass from behind the net, two Carolina defenders are caught out of position in the slot as they have no idea that the eventual goal-scorer, Adam Henrique, is just waiting to slide in. One of the defensemen realize it too late and forward Jay McClement is unable to poke the puck off of Henrique’s stick. It’s one-timed into the back of the net. 2-1 Devils on the man-advantage.

 

4. Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers (12/8/14)

JT Miller taps the puck in to tie the game at 1.

At the 37-second mark of this video, forward Dominic Moore skates against the Penguins’ Paul Martin on the backcheck. He’s going to poke the puck off his stick in the Neutral Zone to force the turnover.

 

Now that play’s gone the other way, you’ve got a potential little 2-on-1 situation for the Rangers

Eventually, Marty St. Louis (#26) is just going to pick the puck up along the boards into the OZ and feed Miller a beautiful pass for a tap-in past Marc-Andre Fleury and it’s a tie game at 1.

 

3. Edmonton Oilers @ San Jose Sharks (12/9/14)

Joe Pavelski gives the Sharks the 1-0 lead early in the first.

Okay. I’ll admit this was a lot of Home bias by me because I’m a Sharks fan. Honestly, though, how can you NOT love this goal by the Big Pavelski? The whole thing starts at the 20-second mark of the video. Former Captain Joe Thornton goes in on the forecheck as the puck is rimmed along the boards. The Oilers try to get the puck and break out of their own zone, but then Sharks defenseman Justin Braun gets in the way of that. He helps the keep the puck in the zone.

Jumbo now has the puck, and now note Joe Pavelski just waiting on the right face-off circle.

Thornton does what he does best with the puck as one of the NHL’s elite playmaking centermen and, you guessed it, feeds a great backhand pass to Pavs. Pavelski whips a beautiful backhander past the Oilers’ netminder, Ben Scriven, and the Sharks strike early in the first to gain the 1-0 lead.

 

2. Edmonton Oilers @ San Jose Sharks (12/9/14)

Pavelski finishes a beautiful tic-tac-toe play to make it 4-2 Sharks on the PP.

No, this one wasn’t out of bias. At 1:39 into the video, Joe Thornton has just gotten the puck from Brent Burns, and this is just quick passing. He waits and patiently feeds the puck to Patrick Marleau who one-touches it to Pavelski, who finishes off a beauty tic-tac passing play.

 

1. Toronto Maple Leafs @ Detroit Red Wings (12/10/14)

Phil Kessel ties the game at 1.

At 1:09 of the video, the Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk skates through the Neutral Zone into the Offensive Zone and he’s got Phil Kessel with him. You can see as Kessel trails into the zone, van Riemsdyk decides he can’t get a good backhand pass off to Kessel with a Red Wing on him.

So, what does he do? He waits ’til Kessel skates towards and at the net and slips a nice pass while continuing to fight off the Red Wing on him. The Red Wing at the front can’t get to the puck in time and the Leafs tie it at 1.

 

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This Week’s NHL Hockey 101 Highlights | 11/30/14

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This is a new weekly feature that I’ve come up with that details the play-by-play of the top 5 great plays from highlights that I pick around the League. It’s a great way for all of us to learn how hockey systems work and how players think.

5. Chicago Blackhawks @ Vancover Canucks (11/23/14)

      Hawks’ Kris Versteeg ties the game at 1 on the man-advantage.

 

Versteeg’s PP goal comes at the 2:53 into the video. This goal shows the importance of just getting pucks to the net and having bodies at the net in front of the goaltender providing either a screen or a deflection, or even just whacking home a rebound. At the 2:49 mark, Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane (#88) works the puck along the boards to defenseman Brent Seabrook, who’s set up at the point along the offensive blue line. It’s important to notice Patrick Sharp (#19) supporting the play and being ready at any time the puck gets intercepted. Seabrook then passes the puck to defenseman Duncan Keith along the blue line. Meanwhile, at this time (although you won’t notice until after the shot is fired), Kris Versteeg’s already established body position at the net looking for a deflection. Surely enough, Keith blasts the rolling puck from the point and Versteeg deflects it home past Ryan Miller to tie the game at 1 on the PP. Again, note the importance of just getting the puck to the net and — if you’re the team mate — making sure you have established body position in front of the opposing goalie.

 

4. Arizona Coyotes @ Anaheim Ducks (11/23/14)

Keith Yandle cuts the Ducks’ lead to 1.

 

Unfortunately this video doesn’t show how the whole thing is played out, but basically Arizona Captain and forward Shane Doan (#19) rims the puck from the point behind the net to the eventual goal-scorer defenseman Keith Yandle (#3). Yandle tries to make a cross-crease pass to Antoine Vermette (#50), but it ends up back at the point where it’s kept in the offensive zone by Milan Michalek. Michalek then rims it back behind the net to Martin Erat (#10) who backhands a pass to Yandle for the one-timer in the slot area. What’s the key here? Puck recovery. Yandle tried to set Vermette up for a shot on goal in the slot area but because they couldn’t connect, the puck would have gotten out of the zone had Michalek not recovered it in time. Nice puck recovery and pressure to cut Anaheim’s lead in half.

 

3. Montreal Canadiens @ New York Rangers (11/23/14)

Carl Hagelin makes it 4-0.

This goal happens because of some nice passing between rookies Kevin Hayes and Anthony Duclair, and of course Carl Hagelin finishing it off with the one-timer. At 11:22 of the video, Hayes receives a pass in the Neutral Zone from the New York Rangers’ Defensive Zone. He skates into the Offensive Zone and chips the puck to himself past the Habs’ Douglas Murray (#6). He then pivots and sees Duclair trailing into the zone.

Duclair kicks the puck up to his stick and is going to skate into the slot area where Hagelin is skating for net position with #77, Tom Gilbert, on him.

 

Eventually, it’s a cross-crease pass by Duclair to Hagelin for the one-timer. 4-0 Rangers.

 

2. Ottawa Senators @ Detroit Red Wings (11/24/14)

Riley Sheahan gives Detroit their first lead of the game on the power play.

This goal is all about driving the net for the rebound. It’s pretty simple. Tomas Tatar skates into the Neutral Zone at 5:13 of the video and keeps skating into the Offensive Zone. He shoots a hard slapper on net. Sens goalie Craig Andersen stops it, but leaves the rebound wide open for Sheahan to one-time it home. Andersen can’t stop it and it’s 2-1 Wings. Again, drive to the net and good things will happen.

 

1. Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins (11/24/14)

Milan Lucic ties the game at 1.


This was just a beautiful play from top to bottom. At 6:27 of the video, Carl Soderberg has the puck in Boston’s defensive zone. He skates with it into the offensive zone and backhands a drop pass to Loui Eriksson. Meanwhile, Milan Lucic — the eventual goal scorer — is driving the net and getting into position.

Eventually, Eriksson’s going to be in the slot area and passing the puck to Lucic, and the rest is history. Great play though, and great finish.

 

 

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Canucks News Catchup – Daniel Sedin, Good Hockey and Injury Replacements

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By Pete Edney

The Canucks are coming off the back of a nine-game stretch which gives us a pretty decent idea of how good this team is. Before I get into that though it’d be remiss of me to be writing this week and not to mention Daniel Sedin.

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