Coming to you this Sunday afternoon, the second edition of the Last Week in Hockey feature here at Copper ‘n’ Blue.
We had some people disagree with my take on the Canucks last week – I’m sorry you’re so angry. I personally enjoy seeing Canadian teams succeed when the Oilers cannot (except Toronto, of course). Thanks for reading though.
So, what happened last week in hockey?
Dallas shocks many, defeating Vegas in 5
I, like many before me, did expect the Stars to pull out a victory against the Golden Knights in the Western final. But in 5? I didn’t see it coming. Vegas, for all their shots and puck possession, just couldn’t find any finish. Of course, a few stars went cold for them along the way. But I think Demko got in their heads late in their series against Vancouver, and they were just never able to right the ship confidence-wise.
And what do we think about the Lehner/Fleury situation? Part of me thinks that had an effect on the locker room, maybe being an unwanted distraction in a time where the bubble provides few others.
Dallas, on the other hand, was the recipient of outstanding goaltending, timely goals and a captain willing their team to victory. In Game 5, one thing I noticed was Jamie Benn going to each player before a faceoff and providing direction. With Tyler Seguin having zero production in these playoffs, it seems the captain has put the team on his back. I was impressed. And obviously Khudobin, who may secure himself a nice new contract next season with his play in these playoffs, is a Conn Smythe candidate.
Tampa Bay closes out the Islanders, finally
The Lightning ended the Islanders’ Stanley Cup hopes in 6 last week, ending one of the more strategic (read: boring) series that we saw during these playoffs. For Tampa Bay, if Point played – they won. The two games he missed, they lost. Right now, he seems to be the straw stirring the drink for the Lightning.
Stanley Cup Final begins with a Stars win
Tampa Bay, at least to begin the game, just couldn’t seem to handle the Stars’ “in your face” style. While the game ended 4-1, the Lightning outshot the Stars 20-2 in the third and dominated, narrowly missing many Grade A chances along the way.
I picked Tampa Bay in 7, and I’m sticking with it right now. I think Point is banged up, and they may have been fatigued by their overtime games against the Islanders. Stamkos will return in Game 3 or 4 (my best guess) and the Lightning will pull it out against a Stars team that, right now, seems to have luck and/or fate on their side.
Delayed start to the 2020/21 season looming
Based on the commissioner’s comments the other day, it certainly sounds like the next NHL season will be delayed and may not be the full 82 game season. There’s been talks of regional bubbles, limited attendance, less games, etc., and I’m not sure what it’s going to look like.
Perhaps it could be regional bubbles in places where fans will be allowed, to allow for teams to start gaining ticket revenue again? It’s not perfect obviously, as many home arenas will be going unused for hockey purposes, but it could be a start. And if it’s bubbles, I think they should cut the season down to 62 games (which they should do regardless of COVID-19).
Pietrangelo’s contract blues
It was announced late Friday that Alex Pietrangelo would be testing free agency, and I’m sure that has teams lining up to acquire his rights from the St. Louis Blues. I just find this whole situation mind boggling for the Blues. Why did they sign Faulk long-term and then royally f%#$ themselves over when trying to re-sign their captain?
Moving out some money could certainly help the Oilers make a move here... would you want Edmonton and Kenny Holland to take a run at AP?
Now, let’s talk a little Oilers...
Many, MANY conflicting reports out there these days. Bouncing between the Oilers are going to trade Klefbom, Nurse or anyone else to “minor moves”/tinkering only, has me struggling to know what to believe.
Last week, I gave a little preview of what I thought SHOULD happen – and that included big moves. This week, I’m going to take a look at what “tinkering” could look like, in my humble opinion.
Johnsson – McDavid – Puljujarvi
RNH – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Neal – C. Smith – Chiasson
Khaira – Koivu – Archibald
Extras: Kassian, Nygard, Haas
Klefbom – Bear
Nurse – Hamonic
Jones – Bouchard
Extras: Benning, Lagesson
In this scenario, we pulled off the Larsson for Johnsson trade with Toronto – one that has been discussed for (two?) years now. We signed Puljularvi and planted him next to McDavid and our newest winger in Johnsson. To round out the forward group, we signed Craig Smith to a $3.5M x 2 year deal and Mikko Koivu to a $1M x 1 year deal to be third and fourth line centres, respectively.
Note: Yes, I find it alarming that Kassian isn’t in on this iteration. I just don’t know where he would fit. Maybe takes Chiasson’s spot.
On defense, we flipped Kris Russell to Ottawa for a fourth round pick and signed Travis Hamonic to the same deal we signed for Craig Smith. Bouchard and Jones are ready for full-time work this upcoming season. To wrap up, Greiss was also signed to solidify the backup position.
In my mind, that’s just tinkering. I still think more is required, but here we are, trying to find balance somewhere.
CNB Offseason Roundtables
A few of our teammates went through an offseason roundtable this past week about the Oilers, giving their opinions on key positions, potential moves and the looming expansion.
As usual, let me know what you think or if you think I missed anything this week.