The World Championships concluded on Sunday with Canada winning Gold for the first time since 2007. Canada dominated the tournament outscoring their opponents 66-15 on their way to a perfect 10-0 record.
Jason Spezza led the tournament with 14 points and was named an all-star. Jordan Eberle was second in scoring with 13 points, while Taylor Hall finished third with 12 points and was named an all-star. Hall’s seven goals were third most in the tourney, Tyler Seguin (9) and Filip Forsberg (8) had more, but all of Hall’s goals came at even strength. Seguin had five PP goals and Forsberg had two.
For the Oilers and their fans, the 2015 off-season just continues to get better.
Todd McLellan also won gold, and he will be announced as the 13th head coach (Todd Nelson was interim, so I didn’t include him) in Oilers history later today. He made a very good first impression with Hall and Eberle by playing them with Sidney Crosby for much of the tournament, and they performed well.
Did McLellan know he’d be the next head coach of the Oilers prior to the start of the tournament? We will never know for sure, but playing two of his best forwards with the best player in the world was a very smart move if he wanted those two to learn a few things from Mr. Crosby that could help them and him in Edmonton.
The Oilers have many holes to fill, but adding McLellan along with general manager Peter Chiarelli last month gives the Oilers significantly more experience at key positions within the organization. Now it will be up to Chiarelli, with some input from McLellan I’m sure, to inject some more experience into the roster.
What will winning the WC mean for Hall and Eberle? It won’t guarantee them success in the NHL, but it will make their summer a lot shorter and much more enjoyable. “It was nice to be around a winning atmosphere again,” said Hall. “You almost forget how fun and addictive it is to win. I learned a lot.”
It was the fourth championship of Hall’s career. He won gold at the U18 in 2008, and at the Memorial Cup in 2009 and 2010, but for the past five seasons he and Eberle have endured more losing than any players in the NHL. Both of them were extremely jubilant after Sunday’s victory over Russia.
- Jay Woodcroft will be one of Todd McLellan’s assistants. He and McLellan joined the Red Wings staff together in 2005/2006, and three years later McLellan brought Woodcroft with him to San Jose. They’ve coached together for ten years, and one of Woodcroft’s main responsibilities has been running the powerplay. Woodcroft has had some excellent players at his disposal in San Jose, but he is still the one who designs their plays, and Patrick Marleau told me last December, “Jay has a great offensive mind, and he knows how to attack different PK units. He makes us look really good.”
- The Sharks’ PP has been in the top-ten (6th, 7th, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 10th) every year under Woodcroft, except last season when they were 20th. He ran the PP for Canada at the WC and Eberle raved about his schemes.
- There has been a lot of talk on Oilersnation about the Oilers trying to pry Brent Burns out of San Jose. Burns has a restricted NMC. He’ll submit a list of only three teams the Sharks could trade him to on June 30th. No chance the Oilers were one of those three last June, but a source told me last night that if the Oilers made an offer to the Sharks he’d strongly consider it because he loves playing for McLellan. The Oilers would have to give up a lot to get him. It would take more than the #16 pick and Martin Marincin, which seems to be the package most present as a starting point.
- Speaking of Marincin, he was scratched for game six of the OKC/Utica series last night. Marincin has NHL skill, but his competitiveness is the issue. My biggest concern with Marincin has been his attitude more than his play. After being drafted he never took the off-season training serious enough. He never gained any significant strength or weight until last summer when he added 15 pounds. He was drafted in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2014 that he put in the work necessary to gain muscle and strength. I’m sorry, but you can’t coach commitment. His has been lacking off and on the ice, and it is up to him to change it.
- I’m not saying he can’t. We’ve seen many examples of players who finally clue in. Guys with high-end skill will always get second, third and even fifth chances. Dan Cleary is a prime example. He was a first round pick, but he almost partied himself out of the NHL. Cleary admitted he finally matured when he was 28 and the only team to give him a chance was the Detroit Red Wings, who offered him a tryout for training camp, not even a real contract. If Marincin becomes a regular in the NHL he will have to commit physically and mentally, both on and off the ice. He has the skill, but only he knows if he has the desire to be a regular NHLer. It is a difficult league to play in — you can’t get by on skill alone.
- Derek Roy is not better than RNH or Connor McDavid in a top-six role, and he isn’t better than Anton Lander or Boyd Gordon in a defensive role. If they want a veteran fifth centre, which would be wise, then I’d look at him later in the summer. No way I’d add him before free agency or looking at other trades.
- Roy cannot be the only player who makes Nail Yakupov productive. Yakupov needs to be productive regardless of who he plays with, otherwise he is not a bonafide top-six forward.
- If he isn’t already, Tyler Johnson could be the next Marty St. Louis. He continues to write one of the best underdog stories in NHL history. What a terrific player.
- Don’t expect Nelson to stay on as an assistant in Edmonton. He has been passed over for the head coaching job three times now, and will look for another opportunity in an other organization. I believe he will eventually get an NHL head coaching gig.
- If the Ducks can have Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm on their blueline, why can’t the Oilers have Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse on the roster next year? If Nurse proves he is good enough to play in Edmonton, then he should stick, regardless of his age.
- The finalists for our 3rd annual Karaoke contest will be announced later today on my show. The audition videos were outstanding. There will be some great talent on stage this Friday night. The winner takes home $1,000. (Donated by On The Rocks.) You can buy tickets to this fun-filled charity event here. 100% of the proceeds goes to charity.
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