AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons to cease operations at end of 2014-15 season

Jared Clinton
Oklahoma City Barons featured

It was announced today that the Oklahoma City Barons, the AHL farm team of the Edmonton Oilers, will no longer be in operation come the end of 2014-15.

The Barons, who are currently first place in the Western Conferences West Division by four points, are doing little to draw fans and Prodigal CEO Bob Funk, Jr. told The Oklahoman it was simply a business decision.

“At this particular point the market isn’t as accepting as we’d like,” Funk told The Oklahoman. “But maybe at some point in the future it will be more accepting which is why we’ll always keep the door open.” Read more

Top 10 Vezina candidates of 2014-15: Rinne rules

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Goaltending can make or break a team’s season. Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who for years have looked promising but have been unable to secure a goaltender to give them the big save they need.

You won’t find either Oilers goaltender, Ben Scrivens or Viktor Fasth, on this list of the top 10 Vezina candidates. Nor will you find Michael Hutchinson, who currently leads the league in save percentage and is second in goals-against average. The reason being Hutchinson just hasn’t had the workload, and including his numbers also put goaltenders like Colorado’s Calvin Pickard and injured St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott into the conversation.

Instead, many familiar faces are among the contenders, though not a single one has won the Vezina in their career. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Trading Hall would do little to help Oilers long-term improvement

Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers firing of head coach Dallas Eakins prompted speculation over potential roster changes. It’s believed Oilers management will consider all options going forward, including the possibility of trading star left wing Taylor Hall.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports of a “sagging work ethic” and lack of a winning culture among the Oilers’ players, suggesting Hall hasn’t been what the front office expected “from a culture standpoint.” Dreger believes the 23-year-old Hall will be in play in the trade market and believes the best return could be had during the summer, perhaps at the NHL Draft in June.

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish spent several weeks seeking help for his floundering roster via the trade market. During a press conference on Dec. 5, MacTavish stated he wouldn’t make any knee-jerk moves and wasn’t prepared to move his core players. Read more

Oilers took step forward in process, but Eakins a victim of results-oriented business

The Hockey News
Taylor Hall (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Dom Luszczyszyn

With due process, the results will come. For the Edmonton Oilers, the results have been long overdue and Dallas Eakins lost his job on Monday because of it.

The NHL is a results-oriented business – it always has been – so when a team wins three of its last 22 games, someone’s getting fired. But if the goal is long-term success, then the process should be the number one priority. Improve the little things that lead to wins and eventually they will come. Read more

Don’t look now, but the Buffalo Sabres are in the playoff hunt

Adam Proteau
Jhonas Enroth and Brian Gionta (Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

After their 18th game of the season, the Buffalo Sabres had a 3-13-2 record and were being talked about the way you talk about that cousin nobody in your family likes to talk about: in hushed tones, with faint hope that things will turn around for them.

One month later – and after Monday’s 5-4 shootout win over the division rival Senators – they’re riding a four-game win streak and a six-game home win streak, their longest since they won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2006-07. Their record in that time is 10-3-0, and they’re only two standings points behind the Sens, four points behind the Bruins, and four points out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

That’s correct. The Sabres could make the playoffs this season. This may give you the distinct sensation of being in a dreamlike state, but this is in fact occurring in real life. Read more

Trade Taylor Hall? Is it April 1 already, Oilers?

Adam Proteau
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall (Getty Images)

A TSN report that suggested Oilers star left winger Taylor Hall will be on the trade block should alarm Edmonton’s long-tortured fan base.

Trade Hall? Is it April 1 already?

There should be no sacred cows with a team this incapable of competing, but the idea the franchise could retain the services of president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe and trade away its most talented player is galling and will rightfully raise ulcer rates across the city. There’s nothing wrong with breaking up the core of talent the Oilers have assembled – in fact, that’s exactly what should happen – but if Edmonton management is going to retain one or two of their current young talents to move forward with a new roster, it’s probably a good idea if they held on to the best one they’ve got.

Now, you can argue Hall has the most value of anyone currently in an Edmonton jersey, and you’d be right. But if he’s the most proven talent of all Oilers youngsters, why not deal Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and/or Jordan Eberle instead? Surely any competent GM could use any combination of those three players (or at least two of them in separate deals) to address the depth and talent issues the organization clearly faces, right? Even if they draft Connor McDavid this summer, they’ll need to fix their defense and goaltending or it will all be for naught again. Surely MacTavish can acquire some blue-chip prospects and/or experienced defensemen able to contribute, right? Garth Snow did so in the form of Johnny Boychuk for a far cheaper return. It’s just about doing it right, and that brings me to the most important point.

In the same report, TSN’s Darren Dreger said Hall “at least from a culture standpoint – in the room, not on the ice – hasn’t been what they hoped he would be”. The same was undoubtedly true for former Oilers coach Dallas Eakins, who was fired Monday morning after blowing away MacTavish two summers ago in a job interview. But after so many of these decisions have failed to work out, when does it become fair to point the finger of blame at management’s concept of a winning culture and the people who are continuously choosing the wrong people for the jobs? Read more

Dallas Eakins fired; Craig MacTavish doubles down on himself

Ryan Kennedy
Craig MacTavish (right) with Scott Howson (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers have fired coach Dallas Eakins, thus ending a relationship that metaphorically resembled a broken man sitting at the end of a dank tavern for most of the year and a half Eakins was in charge. Dumping on the Oilers the past few years has become so easy and ubiquitous that it brings to mind all the photos and documentaries that have sprung up of burned-out houses and urban blight in Detroit: Even the admitted rubbernecking feels sad.

Now, GM Craig MacTavish is stepping behind the bench in an attempt to stabilize the situation. And he should realize before he sets a fire under Edmonton’s players that he himself is covered in kerosene already.

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