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Edmonton Oilers go back to Mike Smith in net. Hmm. Can't say I Iike the move. – Edmonton Journal

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Analytics guy Michael Parkatti @mparkatti

Mr. Willis is spot on. What possible leverage did Mike Smith have to garner $2M? Throw a random dart at any European league goalie for min salary if this is your plan.

TSN’s Matthew Iwanyk @matthewiwanyk
Break it down by month

Oct – .919 (8 games)
Nov – .895 (7 games)
Dec – .828 (5 games)
Jan – .920 (7 games)
Feb – .916 (9 games)
Mar – .867 (3 games)

When Smith is on, he plays exceptionally well. When Smith is off, its quite bad.

Jeff Chapman @NewWaveOil
here’s how i got em
pulujuarvi: A
ennis: A+
turris: B+
barrie: A
smith: D

too high? too low? about right?

Bret Litke @BretLitke94
Mikko buddy, I’m thinking it’s time for you to emerge as a 60 game starter pal.

Ryan Donaldson @Maddawg81
GMs in Edmonton have lacked Creativity for years. I almost wish they were a small market team so they actually have to think out their decisions. Mike Smith decision is baffling. Everybody is saying why? And why $2 mil?

Oilers blogger Alex Thomas @Alex_Thomas14
Mike Smith is not an NHL goaltender. That is a horrible decision by Holland and severely dampens the team’s chances next season.

Mike @ThatsJustPr1me
Mike Smith’s last 2 seasons of Sv%:
.898 and .902

And. He. Keeps. Getting. Signed….

Dave @Welder_Dave1991
Oilers have resigned Mike Smith but, the team IS better than last season. I’m looking forward to watching this team play.

TSN’s Dustin Nielson @nielsonTSN1260
Question is….are the Oilers a better team in front of Smith & Koskinen then they were last year because they were 2nd in the Div with them last year.

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Pacers hire Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as new head coach – Sportsnet.ca

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The Indiana Pacers have hired Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their new head coach, the team announced Tuesday.

Indiana has been looking for a new head coach since firing Nate McMillan back on Aug. 26, only 14 days after strangely agreeing to a contract extension with him. McMillan’s dismissal came shortly after the Pacers were ousted from the playoffs in the first round for the fifth-straight season.

Evidently looking to shake things up and with a roster that contains its own plethora of questions, Indiana settled on Bjorkgren, who’s been a valuable member of Nick Nurse’s staff since joining the coaching ranks as an assistant in 2018.

“We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard in a press release. “This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time. He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long, successful partnership in helping the Pacers move forward.”

A coach with NBA championship experience following Toronto’s 2019 run, Bjorkgren also served as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns from 2015-17 and spent a lengthy period of time in the then-D League, a space in which he was given his first pro-coaching job by Nurse with the Iowa Energy and in which he built a relationship with current Pacers forward T.J. Warren as head coach of the Bakersfield Jam.

“Nate and I have known each other for 30 years, and I will miss having him next to me on our bench, and I know the Raptors players and staff will miss working with him every day,” Nurse said in a statement. “With Nate, the Pacers are getting someone who is ready to lead an NBA team, who is always prepared and is super-positive, who knows what it takes to win a championship, at any level, and is willing to put in the work to get there.”

The Pacers now join the Brooklyn Nets as the only two teams with coaching vacancies to go with a first-time hire.

“I am honoured to take on the role as head coach of the Indiana Pacers,” said Bjorkgren. “This is something I have prepared for during my career. I want to thank Kevin, Chad (Buchanan), Kelly (Krauskopf), Larry Bird, Donnie Walsh and Herb and Steve Simon for this opportunity. I also want to thank Nick Nurse for giving me my first professional coaching job 14 years ago.

“I’m looking forward to working with this great team to achieve our goal as NBA champions.”

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FTB: Kyle Dubas moves on to Travis Dermott – Pension Plan Puppets

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Kyle Dubas cleared out his calendar today by signing Ilya Mikheyev to a new two-year contract last night. Mikheyev requested salary arbitration with the Maple Leafs to settle his contract, and the hearing was scheduled for today, but the two sides managed to come together and strike a deal last night before the arbiter got involved.

Mikheyev was in an unusual position with only one season of NHL experience, much of that a write-off from a major injury, but he is 26 years-old and has five prior years of professional playing history in the KHL before the Leafs signed him and brought him over to Canada in 2019. That KHL experience was ineligible for discussion in the arbitration, so the arbiter would have had a tough job to make a proper comparison to his peer players, but none of that matters now. He’s signe with the Leafs for another two years.

I do have to say, I am quite happy with Mikheyev back. What price can you possibly put on scoring against the Habs only 30 seconds into a game?

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Dubas will now turn to the remaining two restricted free agents left that need new contracts; defenceman Travis Dermott, and winger prospect Joey Anderson who was acquired from the Devils as a oart of the return for Andreas Johnsson. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both contracts are announced today. Dubas doesn’t have much room under the salary cap left so these contracts are essentially fait accompli.


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Color of Hockey: O’Ree releases book, not slowing down at 85 – NHL
Willie O’Ree isn’t slowing down at 85. Days removed from his birthday, which was Oct. 15, the NHL’s first Black player recounted his special day, the well-wishes he received from players past and present, and reflected on his extraordinary career during the latest episode of Soul on Ice: The Podcast.

Connor Bedard on training in Sweden, call from Gretzky and exceptional status – TSN
“Connor Bedard’s phone rang and caller ID showed a number he didn’t recognize. “I think it’s one of those robot things that’s calling so I didn’t answer it. Then it called again and I answered and he’s like, ‘Hey, I’m Wayne Gretzky,’ and I was sure it was a prank call at first.”
It wasn’t.

Couple finds 60 bottles of 1920’s bootleg whiskey inside NY home
[SPECIES: why can’t this happen to me in my basement!]

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The complete Maple Leafs prospect rankings, autumn 2020 edition – The Athletic

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With the NHL draft and free agency (mostly) finished, the Maple Leafs prospect pool looks far different than it did even a few months ago.

A once thin pool now has another key piece acquired through trade and 12 new players added through this year’s draft. The theme that ran through the draft for the Leafs has all but become the identity for their prospect pool: tons of skill, not a lot of size and an emphasis on European players who are already playing their 2020-21 seasons.

But where do all these new prospects stand within the organization?

Like Leafs prospect ranking OG Scott Wheeler and his previous lists, I’ve included players aged 22 or younger right now.

But I’ve broken from Wheeler’s tradition to not only include players who are signed to NHL contracts or whose rights have not expired, but also players on AHL contracts. I’m doing so because of what I’m calling The Rubins Rule™: in 2018-19, Kristians…

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