EDMONTON - Interim head coach Ralph Krueger was talking about his two scorers in perhaps his final game replacing concussed Tom Renney as the coach of the Edmonton Oilers.
“I was coaching a country for 13 years that couldn’t score goals,” said the former national coach of Switzerland.
“We would win games 1-0 or 2-1 or not at all.
“When I came to training camp here last year, it’s the one part of my coaching portfolio which has expanded — learning about offence and how these players are able to create and find holes.
“It’s the most exciting thing for me.
“To have Nuge join us this year with Taylor and Jordan, they are all so coachable,” he said of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who he may be able to coach with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle Saturday afternoon if Renney adopts a “win and you stay in” policy for the coach.
“They are extremely curious about defensive hockey and how they can be better there. That’s a necessary evil on that front. It’s nothing but exciting every day that we come in.
“Taylor and Jordan happen to living in my building, too, so I get to keep an eye on them away from the rink as well.
“It’s been nothing but a pleasure,” said the international coach who will likely return to coaching a national team in Europe again next year.
“These are nothing but great young men and Edmonton is going to be proud of them for a long time.”
There may not be a lot of reasons to go to Rexall Place to watch the Edmonton Oilers the rest of the season, from the point of the standings. But there’s Eberle and Hall.
Both scored last night to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead en route to a routine 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. (Routine? Hey, Philly hasn’t won here in 11 years and the Flyers haven’t scored a goal here since 2007.)
With 22 games to go it’s interesting to project where Hall and Eberle are going to end up in goals and points by the end of the season.
Hall matched his 22 goals from his rookie season, when he played 65 games.
Due to injury, Thursday night was only his 50th game of the year. He’s already put up 45 points, three more than last season.
Will the 20-year-old become a 30-goal scorer and a 60-plus point man in his second season in the league?
“I’ve got to get a two-goal game here,” said Hall, who hasn’t had one since his hat trick Nov. 19 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Thirty goals would be great considering the number of games I missed. But I learned last year not to worry about the goals. It’s the shots and the chances.”
And does that project him for 40 and 50 for the prime time years of his career?
And what about Eberle, who led the Oilers in point production in his rookie year with 48, including 18 goals?
With a goal and an assist last night he now has 27 goals and 60 points in 56 games.
Thirty goals seems a lock for the 21-year-old.
Does he have a shot at 40 in his second season?
The Oilers haven’t had a point-per-game guy since Doug Weight played here. Ales Hemsky has never done it.
With his 17th multiple-point game of the season, Eberle moved back into the top 10 of the NHL scoring race behind Evgeni Malkin and Steve Stamkos, who are tied for the lead with 73.
Eberle, with four minor penalties all season so far, also has a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas as a finalist in the NHL Award for the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player.
“I try not to think of any of that stuff,” said the Regina product.
“I don’t really set goals for myself. But I’m a big believer in confidence and confidence comes from scoring goals.
“Right now I’m feeling very confident and that has a lot to do with scoring those goals.
“Obviously 40 goals would be a big milestone. But I’m not going to worry about it too much.”
Hall said it’s scary the way it is with his room-mate right now.
“I’m just trying to find Ebs every time I can. Everything he shoots is going in.”
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