Jonathan Willis has been covering hockey for a variety of websites since April 2008. In addition to his work at the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey blog, his work can also be found at ESPN, Oilers Nation, Leafs Nation, Canucks Army and Hockey Prospectus. Previously, he spent two years writing for theScore about both the NHL and special events like the Olympics and World Junior Championships. He first covered hockey as the founder of the website Copper & Blue, and later as its managing editor under the SBNation banner. He is skeptical of narrative, and a comically bad left-shooting right-winger.
With the first round of the NHL playoffs in the books, this seemed like a good time to look in on our hockey pool and update everyone on the leaders and point out which commenter teams are...
A quick look through the hockey side of the Oilers organization shows a raft of new people, and displays Steve Tambellini's touch throughout.
"No. I wouldn’t say that. All I know is that to me, this whole thing has presented such great clarity. Not just to me, to everybody, of what has to take place here. Whatever happened happened. That’s the real comforting part of this, is that this entire organization is on board."Steve Tambellini, on whether the 'buy-a-winner' approach is viewed as a mistake by Oilers management.
Then, turns out, you like to boost your own narcissistic ego and started a Twitter account (as if the "In the Loops" blog wasn’t enough). Here’s how your "tweets" panned out by theme: 85% partying and/or girls, 5% stupid comments that make you look like a moron, 5% music, 2.5% hockey, and 2.5% physical therapy. If that wasn’t enough, you weaseled your way onto the team’s road trip to Canada, only to announce that you wouldn’t be coming back that season; ergo, partying on the company dime. For those facts alone, I give you my "Douchebag of the Season" award.Jen over at Anaheim Calling analyzes Joffrey Lupul's Twitter account.
J.F Jacques’ back problems have flared up again and he will surgery in Los Angeles later this week. Jacques’s back acted up at various points this season and the Oilers were hoping the two week break might be enough rest, but his back isn’t responding so he’ll go under the knife again.Jason Gregor, Oilersnation.com. Possibly of interest is the fact that when Nikolai Khabibulin went for surgery, Jacques was asked to comment because his (successful) surgery last year was of a similar nature.
Patrick O'Sullivan is in the middle of the most disappointing season of his career, but it's far too early to write him off.
Gilbert Brule is one of the Oilers' 10 best players under the age of 25, but does he have more value as a trade chip? I think so.
Ethan Moreau is a hot commodity out west. San Jose, LA and Anaheim are interested. Putting him on a solid checking line with Pisani and Horcoff is as much of a showcase as it is Pat Quinn trying to shelter his young players from the opposition’s top lines. The Sharks and Ducks seem the most interested.Jason Gregor, Oilers Nation
"One time [the Red Wings] had played poorly on special teams and we were practicing the penalty kill," [Aaron] Ward says. "The puck comes to me, I stop for a second and then shoot it out of the zone. Scotty blows the whistle and starts screaming that I should get rid of the puck before I get it. There I am, wondering if that's even physically possible. Now we're doing a drill where the [defensemen] have to get the puck out of the zone off the face-off, and he's standing at the boards at the blue line. For me to get it out, I'm going to have to wing it right at him. At this point I probably haven't been in the lineup for two weeks. Off the face-off the puck comes to me way too easy in the corner—you can see [centers] Steve Yzerman and Kris Draper grinning—so I fire it around the boards and wham! it hits Scotty in the head. He's bleeding. My career's over. He blows the whistle and screams, 'That's how you get the puck out of a zone.'Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
During Pat Quinn’s Maple Leaf era, I never saw him look or sound as defeated as he did following Edmonton’s 4-1 loss in San Jose Saturday night. (The clip is edited for length on the Oilers’ website, so the full effect is lost.) Quinn was almost always defiant during the tough times in Toronto; always an "I’ll show you!" response to any doubt, one of the intriguing things about covering him. It was really jarring to see him like that.Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night In Canda