'Draisaitl can get really whiny': wicked smack talk heats up big time in Florida about Edmonton Oilers

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There’s been an eruption of smack talk about the Edmonton Oilers in Florida. First came Miami Herald columnist Greg Cote with his cheap shot about Connor McDavid being over-rated, and now we have the Cats ‘N Rats podcast taking hard swipes at everything from Edmonton Oilers centre Leon Draisaitl being a major league whiner to the prospect of Panther’s d-man Aaron Ekblad thumping McDavid to the ice if he tries a sweet move like McDAvid pulled to score a goal on Miro Heiskanen, Jake Oettinger and the Dallas Stars in Game 6.

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If the Oilers were lacking bulletin board material, they’ve now found the motherlode.

I’ll say this about the Cats ‘N Rats podcast: with all of the bland, shallow and hum drum commentary that typifies mainstream media hockey coverage in Florida, the three commentators of Cats ‘N Rats — host Kirby Lupul and his co-pilots Nick Levine and Cody Stevens — provide welcome relief.

I recommend that Oilers fans follow their podcast this series if they want to know what sharp and informed Florida commentators have to say. And, as you’ll see, they can also talk some wicked smack, as they did repeatedly about the Edmonton Oilers in their most recent show.

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Here are some of the hightlights (any my apologies if I’ve misattributed any quote, as three people were talking in the podcast and there was only sound, no visuals, to identify each speaker):

Cody Stevens on how the hockey world misjudges the Panthers:
“There’s a huge — and I mean huge — misconception on what this team is… The Panthers are not getting enough credit as a defensive structured team. Nowhere near it.  I believe the media believes like, ‘Oh, they just kept hitting (Tampa forward Nikita) Kucherov, (Boston forward David) Pastrnak and (Rangers forward Artemi) Panarin (in previous playoffs rounds) and that’s why they were scoreless. No we didn’t. We never gave any of those guys time and space. That’s why they never scored. Our defensive structure drove them mad. They had no space to operate…. Kucherov was a ghost. He was horrible. And Panarin, after the Conference Final was over, I saw about five or six different Panarin trade proposals.”

Kirby Lupul on claims that the Edmonton Oilers player have got a lot of fight in them:
“Like (Oilers commentator Jason) Strudwick said, ‘The Oilers, they’ve got a lot of fight in them, they’ve got individuals that have a lot of fight in them.’ Sure. But let’s see what it’s like when they match up against the Panthers, and if some of that fight will get drawn out of a guy like (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins, Evan Bouchard, even Stuart Skinner. If guys are getting in his kitchen like (Sam) Bennett and (Matthew) Tkachuk on the doorstep, let’s see if these guys can fight through. (Darnell) Nurse he can play mean and nasty, but we can also take the will out of him, too… And Draisaitl can get really whiny with the best of them.”

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Lupul on certain Panthers fans fearful about the team being unable to stop McDavid’s quest for the Cup:
“I understand the hunger in Connor McDavid and that he probably wants to get the job done the first time that he goes to Stanley Cup. But if I go back in time …. Crosby lost his first time, Wayne Gretzky lost his first time. Why are we anointing Conor McDavid to win the Stanley Cup?”

Nick Levine on top Florida centre Aleksander Barkov checking McDavid:
“People are saying, ‘How is Barkov gonna defend Conor McDavid?’ You do realize Conor McDavid’s not gonna have the puck in the offensive zone the whole time Barkov’s on the ice? Like Barkov is gonna get chances too, you know that right?”

barkov
Connor McDavid (97) of the Edmonton Oilers defends against Aleksander Barkov (16) of the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Nov. 8, 2018, in Sunrise, Fla. Photo by Joel Auerbach /Getty Image

Levine on the strong gap control of Florida on defence:
“Our gap has been probably as good as it’s been all year… Dallas really backed off Edmonton. When they (the Oilers) were coming in the zone they were like backing off a little bit, kind of letting them enter the zone right.

Cody Sevens on how Florida d-man Ekblad will handle McDavid in a way the Dallas Stars failed to do:
“I feel like Dallas switched their style to trying to be like Edmonton. That’s not going to happen in this series… It felt like at times Dallas just let Edmonton do whatever they wanted…  We were disgusted by Dallas. Disgusted.
“That power play goal (by McDavid in Game 6), that highlight real goal — which was amazing like the handle is ridiculous — that’s not happening against us.. That’s (Aaron) Ekblad’s side. You think Ekblad’s just gonna make himself smaller and let McDavid get to the slot? No, he’s getting put on his behind there ! Are you kidding me!?”

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Kirby Lupul on how the Dallas forecheck will thwart Oilers d-men:
“If they can get on top of Evan Bouchard. If they could get on top of Darnell Nurse, (Vincent) Desharnais, whatever defenseman is in the line, Cody Ceci. Cody Ceci, very Leafy, used to play with the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you could get up on those guys, they are not even going to be be able to adapt to the time and space and be able to make reads to puck exit and move the puck out.”

Nick Levine on the aggressive Florida forecheck:
“When we talk about physicality and heavy team, I don’t think like people realize how dominant a force and how much our fore-checking can take over a game. Like it is constant relentless pressure.”

Kirby Lupul on Dallas’ strong play on the boards in the offensive zone:
“In the Dallas series they (the Oilers) were moving the puck up the wall. You can’t do that against Florida … The Panthers are just there to take it. Gustav Forsling, thank you very much.  Brandon Montour, thank you very much. And we create a scoring opportunity out of it and it ends up in the back of the Oilers net.”

Kirby Lupul on the dominance of Barkov:
“I think Oilers nation’s jaws are going to drop. They’re like, ‘This isn’t supposed to be Aleksander Barkov’s time, this is supposed to be Conor McDavid’s time.’ Well , news flash, I think Barkov’s ready for this moment and he ain’t gonna get pushed out of this series.”

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