The three chosen ones when Dallas arrived were Taylor, Ryan, and Nail (the Russian). All future team success would come because of these three men.
After the Great Firing, Dallas began to change the culture of the team, and he planted new ideas about fitness, nutrition, and defensive play into the heads of all his players. One evening, after another meltdown by his goaltender, he decided to eat an entire box of donuts as the club left for an extended road trip, but he fell asleep while eating. Nail, the Russian, came to speak with the coach a few minutes later, but when he noticed the box of donuts, he left quietly to mock the coach with Taylor and Ryan.
But Taylor and Ryan didn't find the situation funny. They quickly grabbed some blankets, walked to the front of the plane and covered their new coach so that no one else would know of his shameful deed. As they did this, they made sure to look at the ceiling so that, in case someone asked, they could say they had never seen the donuts.
Dallas woke up with crumbs all over the seat, and he was very nervous. When he learned what Nail, the youngest player on the team, had done, he was furious. And so he cursed the Russian:
"May Nail be cursed! May he always be seen as less than Taylor and Ryan!"
Then Dallas said:
"May Yahweh, the God of Canadian hockey, be blessed! And may Russia serve him forever! O God, make Ryan's name great! Let him share in Taylor's awesomeness, and may it be that Nail will always play a line below them, that is, if he plays at all!
Dallas coached the team for two years after the Great Firing. He had coached professionally for six years, and then he was fired.
Consol Energy Center, 5:00 p.m. MDT
Visiting Team Scouting Report: Pittsburgh is off to a much better start than the Oilers in the standings, but that's not all that relevant for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. More encouraging for the Penguins is the fact that their possession numbers have bounced back nicely after spending last season south of 50%. So far this year, the Penguins have a Corsi percentage 53.7% during five-on-five play overall, and 57.4% with the score close. Importantly, they've been able to convert those shots into goals at a good rate, scoring 2.9 goals for every sixty minutes of five-on-five ice time.
Edmonton Oilers (1-4-1):
Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Hemsky
Perron - Gordon - Yakupov
Smyth - Arcobello - Eberle
Gazdic - Acton - Jones
Ference - J Schultz
Belov - Petry
Smid - N Schultz
Pittsburgh Penguins (4-1-0):
Kunitz - Crosby - Dupuis
Jokinen - Malkin - Kobasew
Jeffrey - Sutter - Zolnierczyk
Glass - Vitale - Adams
Orpik - Martin
Scuderi - Niskanen
Maatta - Bortuzzo
By The Numbers:
- Dallas Eakins wasn't joking when he spoke about riding his best players for a lot of minutes. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has averaged 24:13 per game so far this season, tops in the NHL among forwards. Taylor Hall is second at 23:09, Jordan Eberle eleventh at 21:15, and David Perron fourteenth at 21:01. Pittsburgh's top four forwards have all played much less. Sidney Crosby leads the team at 21:13, followed by Pascal Dupuis at 18:58, Evgeni Malkin at 18:56 and Chris Kunitz at 17:52.
- It's hard to believe, but the Atlanta Thrashers lost badly when they traded Marian Hossa to the Penguins even if you don't include Marian Hossa as part of the transaction. Hossa came to the Penguins along with Pascal Dupuis, and he's done far more to help Pittsburgh in the years since than Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito, and Daultan Leveille have to helpl the Thrasher-Jets. I grant that offensive performance isn't the only thing that matters, but Dupuis has 216 points (and counting) for the Penguins since the trade compared to 103 (and no one left on the team) for the Atlanta four.
- David Perron is a fun player to watch, and I think he's certainly been a positive contributor so far this season, but he sure has taken a lot of minor penalties. Through six games, Perron has six minors, second-most in the NHL and more than any other forward. It's something that he's had a problem with in the past, too. Last season, he finished in a tie for eighth in the NHL with twenty-two minor penalties and in 2009-10 he finished in a tie for thirty-sixth with thirty.