Nov 22, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT
After his breakout 2011-12 campaign, Oliver Ekman-Larsson probably could’ve landed a lockout gig in his native Sweden, or another strong European league.
Instead, he agreed to join AHL Portland at Phoenix’s request.
The Coyotes’ brass is sure happy he did.
Ekman-Larsson has been stellar in the American league, scoring nine points in nine games — even though he missed three weeks with a sliced finger.
“It’s been really good,” GM Don Maloney said of OEL’s time in Portland. “He’s been really good and the reason for that is just his attitude. He wants to be there. He wants to improve. He’s working hard.”
Ekman-Larsson is the cornerstone of Portland’s young, gifted blueline. Others include:
– Brandon Gormley, the 13th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
– Michael Stone, a third-round pick from 2008 that debuted with the ‘Yotes last season (and played in two playoff games.)
– Chris Summers, a first-round pick from 2006 who’s currently serving as Portland’s alternate captain.
The Pirates blueline also has youngsters Maxim Goncharov and Mathieu Brodeur in the mix — all told, the oldest defenseman on the team is 25.
So, no shortage of talent on defense…but with that said, Maloney recognizes Ekman-Larsson is the guy most (if not all) are focused on.
“I’ve actually seen a lot of [AHL] games in the fall, and there are players down there that have been in the NHL that have it in cruise control a bit,” Maloney said. “In OEL’s case, that’s not him.
“He’s out there to help that team win and so other than the injury, he’s been excellent and it’s been good for his continual maturation.”
Apr 17, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT
Head coach Todd McLellan took his time announcing this one, though.
Apr 17, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Meanwhile, no word on Torts.
Apr 17, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT
Oh, this should be good.
Apr 17, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT
Not great developments on the injury front.
Apr 17, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
“The quicker you get the puck off your stick, the more net there is to shoot.”
Apr 17, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
Two teams meeting for the third time in the playoffs.
Apr 17, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
Just in case you don’t recognize them tonight.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
“You definitely want to be physical on him.”
Apr 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
Game 1 gets underway at Scottrade at 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN).
Apr 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT
Classic rivalry will get underway tonight at Scottrade.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Even though they’re not really underdogs.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Both teams bounced back from bad starts to make the playoffs.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Matt Duchene is already on the shelf.
Apr 17, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
Apr 17, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT
It’s a motivation thing.
Apr 17, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
He had eight points in 19 games with New York.
Apr 17, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT
New York, St. Louis, Denver, and San Jose is where it’s at tonight.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT
A Tyler Seguin bullet, no less.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:08 AM EDT
A tale of two games, really.
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- FYI: Hartnell and Voracek have black beards now 31
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh 110
- Oshie and Berglund out, Tarasenko in for Blues tonight vs. ‘Hawks 9
- Ducks hold off spirited Stars comeback, take 1-0 series lead 11
- Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead with overtime win 7
- Penguins outlast Blue Jackets, take Game 1 63
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers 79
- Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup 37