NEED A CENTRE, CAN'T AFFORD A CENTRE

Jason Gregor
August 20 2013 09:39AM

The Oilers need another NHL centre. Plain. And. Simple.

In a best case scenario they will start the season with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Boyd Gordon as proven NHL players, leaving Anton Lander, Marc Arcobello, Will Acton and Andrew Miller to battle for the 4th spot.

In a realistic scenario, they likely start the season with two healthy, proven NHL centres. Ouch.

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DOES BIRTHDATE MATTER?

Jason Gregor
August 19 2013 01:05PM

Does the month you are born in give you a better chance to play in the NHL? In 2008, Malcolm Gladwell wrote the book, Outliers, which focused on different factors that might influence people's success. It looked at the Beatles, Bill Gates, law firms and other successful companies and people. He also wrote on why the majority of NHL hockey players were born in the first three months of the year.

He often mentioned the "10,000 hour" rule as the key to anyone's success. He wrote that most people who reach high levels of success put in at least 10,000 hours of practice before gaining success. That premise makes a lot of sense, but after reading his book, I questioned if the birth month numbers matched today's NHL.

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SMYTH HOPING TO SHARE HIS EXPERIENCES

Jason Gregor
August 07 2013 01:49PM

Ryan Smyth has played 1,198 regular season games, 95th most in NHL history. If he plays 50 games this year, he'll be in the top-80. If he plays 54 games, he'll pass Jari Kurri, and if he dresses for 57 games he'll pass Kevin Lowe. Smyth has had an outstanding career, that includes one Stanley Cup final appearance, two Olympics (won Gold in 2002) and he won the World Cup in 2004.

Smyth still has a passion for the game and he talked about what he's looking to accomplish this season.

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WHAT TYPE OF GAME WILL CANADA PLAY?

Jason Gregor
July 30 2013 12:18PM

After winning the 2002 Olympic gold medal, Canada kept the same coaching staff for the 2006 Olympics, but they were unable to match their gold medal run in Turin. Was the 2002 team that much better? Did they play a different style, even though the ice surface in Provo, Salt Lake was Olympic size (200 feet x 100 feet) and the same as Turin, Italy?

Will Canada play a different style in Sochi than they did in Vancouver, 2010? Will they want different style of players?

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HITCHCOCK: "WE'LL GET PAAJARVI TO PLAY THROUGH PEOPLE"

Jason Gregor
July 29 2013 11:55AM

Ken Hitchcock has been a head coach in the NHL for 15 seasons, and he's earned a reputation of being a very demanding coach. Last year, Hitchcock told me he's changed his coaching style a bit. He isn't as demanding on non-game days as he was when he coached the Stars and Flyers, but on game days players still need to play the way he wants or they likely won't play.

Hitchcock gave me some insight into David Perron, and he also shed some light on how he plans to alter Magnus Paajarvi's game.

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