Team Canada Head Coach Todd McLellan has had a chance to watch two of the Oilers most talented players in action at the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
The Edmonton Sun caught up with McLellan at Worlds and he had some positive things to say about the talent already on the roster and the additions and changes to their front office. Bob Nicholson coming in as CEO and Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager are two of those changes that McLellan approves of. And of course, winning the lottery in a year with two franchise talents at the top of the draft is always a plus.
“It’s a team with a rich history and they have some good players there,” McLellan told the Edmonton Sun. “Now you add in (top-ranked 2015 draft prospect Connor) McDavid, Bob taking over and Peter coming in. I really do think there were good people there before. What job descriptions they end up in, I’m not sure. But there will be a very strong team and group of people there.”
Canada takes on Sweden today at 12:15 p.m. MDT.
The Oklahoma City Barons will take on the Utica Comets in the Western Conference semifinals of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup playoffs, the Barons front office announced today.
Games 1 and 2, as well as Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the best-of-7 series are scheduled in Utica, NY beginning on Thursday, May 7 and Friday, May 8 at 6 p.m. (CT). The series shifts to Oklahoma City for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary). Game 3 is scheduled for Monday, May 11 and Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, May 13 at 7 p.m. (CT). Should the series require a Game 5, it is scheduled for Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m. (CT). If the series would require a Game 6, it is scheduled for Monday, May 18 at 6 p.m. (CT) in Utica. If necessary, Game 7 is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20 at 6 p.m. (CT), also in Utica. A complete schedule is listed below:
Game 1 May 7 Oklahoma City @ Utica 6 p.m.
Game 2 May 8 Oklahoma City @ Utica 6 p.m.
Game 3 May 11 Utica @ Oklahoma City 7 p.m.
Game 4 May 13 Utica @ Oklahoma City 7 p.m.
*Game 5 May 14 Utica @ Oklahoma City 7 p.m.
*Game 6 May 18 Oklahoma City @ Utica 6 p.m.
*Game 7 May 20 Oklahoma City @ Utica 6 p.m.
* if necessary all times listed as CDT
Oklahoma City and Utica met twice during the regular season. Oklahoma City posted a 1-1-0-0 mark, while Utica posted a 1–0-1-0 record against Oklahoma City. This is the first Calder Cup Playoff meeting between Oklahoma City and Utica.
In the regular season series, Oklahoma City was led in scoring by forward Jason Williams who tallied 2 points (2–0-2). The Comets were led in scoring against Oklahoma City by Hunter Shinkaruk who tallied 2 points (1-1-2).
Leon Draisaitl and the Kelowna Rockets are WHL Western Conference Champions after an 8-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks in game six. They will now face the Brandon Wheat Kings for the title.
The Winterhawks didn’t make it easy on the Rockets. Portland took a 3-0 lead in the first period, courtesy of two goals by Chase DeLeo and one by Adam Henry.
Kelowna scored the game’s next four with Draisaitl, the third-overall pick by the Oilers in the 2014 draft, recording an assist on Madison Bowey’s shorthanded goal at 12:18 of the second period.
Portland drew even with Kelowna at 8:12 of the third, but the Rockets scored four more in the game’s final 10:35, including two empty-netters.
Draisaitl has 21 points (6-15-21) in 15 games these playoffs.
Top-ranked draft prospect Connor McDavid had five points in a 7-3 win as the Erie Otters closed out their series with Darnell Nurse and Sault Ste. Marie in six games.
Nurse, chosen seventh overall in 2013 by the Oilers, finished with a goal for the Greyhounds. McDavid, NHL Central Scouting’s top-ranked North American skater, had a goal and four assists.
Nick Betz put Erie on top with a redirection at 2:49 of the first period.
Sault Ste. Marie rallied for two-straight goals, including a terrific shot by Jared McCann through traffic, at 8:45 of the opening period. That goal came on a 5-on-3 power play.
Jake Marchment scored the equalizer, coming out of the penalty box. Marchment’s shot went in off the crossbar, at 10:12 of the first.
McDavid dished the puck with a backhanded pass to Alex DeBrincat who scored to give Erie a 3-2 lead at 8:46 of the second, on the power play.
McDavid scored on the power play as well, with a nice wraparound at 10:19 of the middle frame.
Nurse scored a big goal to draw Sault Ste. Marie within one again, with a fluttering shot from the point at 4:04 of the third period.
Unfortunately for Nurse and the Greyhounds, Erie would score the game’s final three goals.
Nicholas Baptiste put away a power play goal at 11:53 of the third.
DeBrincat finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play at 14:32 and he scored an empty-netter at 17:08.
A goal by Tyson Baillie with 5:05 remaining in the first overtime lifted the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night, giving the Rockets a 3-2 series lead in Game 5 of the WHL Western Conference Final.
Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl assisted on Riley Stadel's goal to opening scoring with 2:25 to go in the first period. That goal looked like it was going to be enough but with 3:33 to play in the third, Nic Petan scored to force overtime.
After three periods, shots on goal were 39-29 for Portland, but Kelowna found an extra gear in OT, outshooting the Winterhawks 20-4 in the fourth period.
Draisaitl's assist gave him 20 points so far in these playoffs with six goals and 14 assists in 14 games to lead all Rockets and rank fourth in the WHL in postseason scoring.
Kelowna can wrap up the series with a win on Sunday night in Portland. Game time is 6:00 p.m. MDT.
The Oilers announced the hiring of Peter Chiarelli as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager on April 24. Until now, it was unknown what former GM Craig MacTavish’s next move would be or if he would stay on with the Oilers.
Chiarelli, who is in Prague for the 2015 IIHF World Hockey Championship, confirmed to media that MacTavish would stay on his staff.
“He’ll be the No. 2 guy,” Chiarelli said, per the Edmonton Sun.
Chiarelli says he hasn’t settled on a title yet, but it is clear that he wants MacTavish on board.
“He’ll be my eyes and ears in all areas,” said Chiarelli.
“I want to have strong people with strong opinions.”
Chiarelli said MacTavish was upset at first, but the new hockey ops boss wanted to reach out and discuss options moving forward. Ultimately, MacTavish agreed to stay.
“I explained how much I’d like to have him in the mix and I’m glad he’s come around and decided to stay with us,” said Chiarelli.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds avoided elimination and forced game six with a 4-2 win over the Erie Otters.
Nicholas Baptiste opened scoring at 2:06 of the first period, giving Erie a 1-0 lead. A turnover right out in front of Sault Ste. Marie goaltender Brandon Halverson led to that score.
The Greyhounds responded, on the power play, at 12:09 of the same period. Jared McCann’s one-timer found twine, assisted by Anthony DeAngelo and Sergey Tolchinsky.
A scoreless second period followed.
A turnover in the neutral zone gave the Greyhounds a 3-on-1 rush. Michael Bunting put it away, at 3:36 of the third to put Sault Ste. Marie up 2-1.
Travis Dermott tied the game for Erie at 5:13 of the third.
It was Bryan Moore who broke the tie and scored the winner, at 12:55. Moore came down the ice from his own blueline and picked the corner behind Devin Williams.
Gabe Guertler buried an empty-netter at 19:58 to put the icing on the cake.
Oilers prospect Darnell Nurse finished the game +1, with no points. Top-ranked draft prospect Connor McDavid had an assist on the Dermott goal.
Game six of the OHL Western Conference Final takes place in Erie on Saturday. Game six is on Sportsnet 360.
Oilers winger Matt Hendricks has been named captain of the 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2015 IIHF World Championships.
Matt Hendricks named captain of 2015 U.S. Men’s National Team. Justin Faulk and Trevor Lewis to serve as alternate captains. #IIHFWorlds— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 30, 2015
Hendricks, 33, played in 71 games for the Oilers this season, recording 16 points (8-8-16) and 76 penalty minutes.
The 2015 World Championships take place in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic from May 1-17. The U.S. team is in Group B.
Hendricks is from Blaine, Minnesota.
An Oilers prospect, in his return from injury, scored the overtime winner and lifted the Oklahoma City Barons to a 2-1 win and a 3-0 sweep of the San Antonio Rampage.
Jujhar Khaira, playing in his first game since March 4, scored the game-winning goal at 5:01 of the overtime period.
In the first, there was a scramble in front of the San Antonio net. The puck slid behind Rampage goaltender Dan Ellis, but was covered up by bodies. Following an official review, it was confirmed to be no goal.
Kellen Jones jammed a rebound past Ellis at 18:51 of the second period to give OKC a 1-0 lead. Matthew Ford and Jason Williams earned the assists.
Kellen’s twin brother, Connor, scored the overtime winner in game two and came close to giving the Barons a 2-0 lead with 1:30 left in the game but his one-on-one chance was stopped by Ellis.
Ellis left the ice, giving San Antonio an extra attacker, with about 80 seconds left in the third. Dylan Olsen potted the equalizer with 58.3 seconds left in the game, assisted by Vincent Trocheck and Garrett Wilson. That goal sent it to overtime.
Bachman had his work cut out for him in regulation, making 35 saves through 60 minutes.
In overtime, it was the Oilers 2012 third-round pick, Khaira, who brought the brooms out for the sweep. Mitch Moroz, the 32nd overall pick in 2012, set that play up. Moroz came down the wing and centred a pass through two Rampage bodies. The puck reached Ford, who fired it over the net. Khaira banked the rebound in off of a sprawled Ellis for the win.
Bachman made 35 saves in his first start of the 2015 playoffs. The Barons second-round opponent is yet to be determined.
A three-goal run in the first and second periods lifted the Kelowna Rockets to an important 3-2 win over Portland, tying their WHL Western Conference Final series at 2-2.
Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl scored a goal at 7:50 of the first period, tying the game at 1-1. That goal sparked two more from Kelowna, giving them a 3-1 lead.
Nicolas Petan scored at 12:03 of the second, but that’s as close as the Winterhawks would get to completing their comeback bid.
Jackson Whistle made 14 saves in the third period for Kelowna to help seal the win.
Draisaitl also chipped in an assist on Kelowna’s third goal of the night, at 9:16 of the second on the power play. Draisaitl leads Kelowna in playoff scoring with 19 points in 13 games.