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Thursday LNN: Flames Rising, Oil Falling, Ovechkin Persisting

It’s the Thursday Edition of Links, News, and Notes

NHL: Ottawa Senators at San Jose Sharks Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

It’s tough times in Ottawa Senators land after another loss last night, this time to the San Jose Sharks. Let’s take a spin around the rest of the league to distract ourselves shall we?

  • After a disappointing end to their season last year, the Edmonton Oilers have spent the first part of this season ripping through the competition. Leading the way, as usual, are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Are these the same Oilers as last year? Kristen Shilton digs into the question over at ESPN. Clearly the Edmonton players think this year’s different, but I remain skeptical. The money quote for me:

The problem is at even strength, where the Oilers are very much the same team. After 17 games last season, the Oilers had scored 38 goals and given up 41 at even strength; this season, they have scored 37 and given up 39.

  • Meanwhile, there’s another success story brewing in Calgary as the Flames find themselves atop a surprisingly competitive Pacific division. Justin Bourne has a nice breakdown at Sportsnet of just how the Flames have implemented Darryl Sutter’s vauted defensive system.
  • On Monday, I wrote about how the New York Islanders had finally played their games in their long-awaited home arena. Well, that’s about all that’s gone well this season for the Isles as they find themselves in last place in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan division. To add COVID to injury, Zdeno Chara was placed in protocols this week. New York was already without Anders Lee and Josh Bailey due to COVID, and have lost Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock to longer term injuries. Yes the season is still young but the hole is getting awfully deep for Lou Lamiorello’s crew.
  • Currently, the NHL is planning on releasing their players to play in the Winter Olympics in February. I say currently because after the Sens’ COVID-19 outbreak caused the postponing of regular season games there were rumblings that the league might be getting cold feet. Pierre Lebrun digs into the hurdles that will have to be cleared, including All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas, before participation is a reality.
  • On Tuesday, Kyle Beach agreed to mediation with the Chicago Blackhawks in an attempt to settle his lawsuit. Mediation is set to begin on December 15th.
  • At some point, and I don’t know when that is, Alex Ovechkin is going to slow down and the Washington Capitals will no longer be contenders. That day, however, is not today: Ovechkin notched three assists last night in the Caps’ 6-3 thrashing of the Habs and now has 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 20 games. Absolutely unreal stuff for a guy that turns 36 next year.