Here are some quotes from Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli's media availability.
More coverage coming soon.
ON TEAM EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
"Yeah they did. I had us in meaningful games in March. I've been saying 85 points, 87 made it the year before. I kind of had us in and around the playoffs. What happens is that the team starts developing a real identity and starts feeling good about itself and that's what you saw at the end. That was a leap that I hadn't projected but it carried into the playoffs. I thought we had a good series against San Jose. We had a good series against Anaheim, there was a couple results I didn't like but that uptick at the end, that was a bonus. And everyone went along for the ride. Now we've got players that have played in a playoff drive, young players, we've got players who have played in two rounds of a heavy series. I was banking on the meaningful games and maybe the playoffs and that was a 15- to 20-point improvement from the year before. We exceeded that."
ON NUGENT-HOPKINS AND EBERLE
"It is their first time in the playoffs and it's a different animal. We saw some people thrive, we saw others muddle along, we saw guys struggle. I have to be careful, we have to be careful how we evaluate. I know there's been a lot during the course of the playoffs written about those two, I think unfairly but I understand the position they're taking because they're not producing and we have other guys are producing. Over the years, I've seen people get into the playoffs and go, Holy cow, this is something completely different,' and they figure it out and become meaningful contributors. I saw it a number of times in Boston, so we have to be careful. With regards to Ebs, he was our third-leading scorer. He gets a lot of touches. I like his cycle game in his own way. He creates space in his own way because he's quick and he's smart. I know there's some board work issues that he's been better at. I know there's been some flashes of his game that I really like from a power perspective and that's not something you usually associate with ebs. I saw something in his game I haven't seen, he just didn't do it consistently. So, we talked about his approach mentally as to scoring and what's his routine and maybe there's some things we can look at. He's a very skilled player and I know there's some things under the spotlight in a negative fashion but he's a guy that's in the playoffs for the first time and I like the way he finished, he was our third-leading scorer and I guess the takeaway from that is we have to be careful about how we evaluate him."
ON ADDRESSING THE BLUELINE
"I think for now I'm pretty happy with the D. With regards to the power play, we made a significant improvement in the power play without a pure power play d. There are different ways to evaluate a power play, there's different ways to run a power play. Traditionally there has been that puck-mover - the guy with the shot - or ideally the guy who has both. We don't have that guy but we've got solid thinkers and I think when you look to the power play and their results I think you see that that can be a successful formula.
As far as do we have a championship D core? I'm not sure yet. There's still an element of growth in our d. If you look at Klef, Larss and then you take out Reggie and Rusty jst because they're older, then you've got Darnell and you've got Matt, you've got some young d. You've got some young d who had a terrific experience in these playoffs. You saw Darnell move up with Larsson and I think you saw a good pair. You see some promise there. You saw Benning move up with Russell, you saw some good performances. There's room for growth, we have to allow space for that. We made some major additions this past year, I'd like to let it evolve a little bit. However, I do see two probably of the best d cores in our conference playing right now in the league in Anaheim and Nashville. It's fun to watch both their d and it'd be nice to have a d of that level but we're not there yet."
ON DRAISAITL'S POSITION AND HOW IT CHANGES THE WAY TEAM IS BUILT
"That was four hours of our pro meetings right there. I can give you a snap shot. It's kind of consistent with what I said at the deadline. I want to give our coach the ability to flip-flop because it changes the tempo of the game and can change the nature of the game. Unfortunately, that means pushing Nuge to a lower third line. I'm not saying it's unfair to Nuge because he's a team guy and that's one thing he stressed in his exit meetings, but in the ideal world it would be nice to have set centres and a big centre like Leon as your centre and not your wing. This is about versatility, and as far as team building it means getting a guy that can play the wing and play centre who might be a centre and can take faceoffs. We had players like that in Boston - Chris Kelly - that can play both but take faceoffs. David Desharnais showed he could do that at the end on a smaller or lesser level, but he did that. It menas we have to dig a little deeper. But I want to make sure our coach has the ability to change his lineup game-to-game and in-game. I can't really go out and firm up a lineup I have to be a little more resourceful."