Jason Gregor
February 16 2012 03:33PM

Dallas Eakins played pro hockey for 15 years. He was an elite journeyman defenceman. He played for 18 different organizations in the AHL, IHL and NHL. He played 273 in the IHL, 609 in the AHL and 120 in the Show. He also spent another 220 watching from NHL pressboxes.

He understood his role and knew his limitations as a player, but he was lucky enough to play for and watch some of the best coaches: Roger Neilson, Mike Keenan, Lindy Ruff, Randy Carlyle, Perry Pearn, Pat Quinn and others, and Eakins was smart enough to monitored what worked for them as coaches.

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Jason Gregor
February 15 2012 12:06PM

Usually opposing fans loathe successful franchises. Many outside of Edmonton couldn't stand the Oilers after they won a few Cups. They were considered cocky, arrogant and influenced the league to invoke the mythical "can't hit Gretzky" rule. The Habs were/are dispised because they've won more Cups than any other franchise, of course they've only won two since the league expanded to 21+teams, but most still can't stand them.

The Leafs haven't won, or even been in a final, in 44 years and they look like a good bet to extend that to 45 years this spring. The Leafs have lost four straight and even though they are 6-8-1 in their last 15 games, they've allowed the New York Islanders to make up 7 points in that stretch and suddenly the Islanders are within 6 points of the 8th place Leafs with a game in hand.

The Oilers are out of the playoff hunt way too early again, but a win tonight would allow their fans the enjoyment of watching the Leafs choke their way out of a playoff spot.

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Jason Gregor
February 11 2012 08:07AM

Hockey Day in Canada has become an NHL tradition, although I'm not sure if has become an NHL fan's tradition yet. Will you be playing the great game of hockey today? Maybe you'll be in the stands watching your son, daughter, nephew or niece or maybe you'll strap on the blades and play shinny with your buddies. I love the idea of Hockey Day in Canada, I'm just not sure if it is more about watching NHLers than actually playing it yourself?

Thrity of us will be playing shinny outdoors at Saikers Acres, the home pf the World's (2nd) Longest game (record was recently broken by a group, indoors though) and I'm sure the fellas will be remembering the days when we were decent and could go up and down the ice more than once without needing gasping for air.

For me, skating on the outdoor rink or the pond was always the best hockey. There was no ref, no "official" rules and you could play for hours. It would be great if the Sens and Oilers mirrored the Hawks/Oilers game from last week, and played some pond hockey today, but I doubt we'll see that.

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Jason Gregor
February 10 2012 12:14PM

Many are wondering if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins's shoulder injuries are connected? Unless you are the doctor or trainer working on Nugent-Hopkins, then you are likely only speculating. Our natural instinct is to assume they are related, and they might be, but there is also a good chance they weren't.

The are actually three joints of the shoulder, and that is why it is possible that the injuries aren't directly connected. I'm far from a doctor or even a trainer, but the joints are the glenohumeral, acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular. I can barely spell them, so I won't try and explain what they are, so I linked to them if you want to know more.

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Jason Gregor
February 09 2012 02:34PM

Jesse Wallin drafted 26th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1996 entry draft. He felt the pressure of being a first round pick, the struggles to try and be a regular in the NHL and the disappointment of having his career cut short due to a concussion. After retirement he was out of hockey for a year, but got back in as an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels in 2005.

He spent three years as an assistant and associate coach, before being named head coach in 2008. He's now in his fourth year as the bench boss of the Rebels and we talked about his philosophies on coaching, dealing with elite players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Matt Dumba and what he'd like to do in the future.

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