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Jack Michaels | Edmonton Oilers Radio PxP Voice

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2024 5:42 am

Jack Michaels | Edmonton Oilers Radio PxP Voice

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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May 21, 2024 5:42 am

Radio PxP voice of the Edmonton Oilers Jack Michaels joins the show as the Oilers defeat the Canucks in Game 7, and advance to the Western Conference Finals!

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See site for details. We're pleased to welcome our friend Jack Michaels as he's with the team getting ready to head home and then prepare for game seven against the Dallas Stars. Jack, thank you so much for a couple of minutes. We listened to your last 30 seconds. Mr. J feels as though it's like a horse race. It's a real high tension.

How's your heart rate? Well, Edmonton, if nothing else, tends to make things interesting one way or the other. The Oilers actually played a fantastic game seven for about 50 minutes and then things got a little bit hairy. There was a turnover in the third period that allowed Vancouver to pass back and the Canucks did what they've done all series long, all season long is take those people who wanted to underestimate them and proved resilient and made what looked like a breeze in game seven into quite the frenetic finish. Edmonton closed it out.

Chris Knoblock did an excellent job taking a timeout when the Canucks drew within 3-2. From that point on, Amy, in the final four and a half minutes, the Canucks did not even manage a shot on goal. Edmonton closed it out in style and now it's on to Dallas.

Survive in advance, as they say. Did it seem like the Canucks were worn out to you? I think Edmonton deserves a lot of credit. Most people look at the Oilers numbers and see them as a high-octane offensive team and with some justification.

I mean, you've got McDavid and Drysdale once again over 100 points this year. Zach Hyman put up 54 goals. Everyone loves to talk about Edmonton's offense, but what won this series for the Oilers in my opinion, Amy, was their lockdown defense over the final two games. I mean, 15 shots against Vancouver in game six. Just 15 shots, five a period. And then in game seven, Vancouver had 14 shots on net with eight half-minutes to go when the game started to slip away. And even so, Vancouver finished with 17 shots on net.

You're not going to win many games when you get 32 shots in the final two games of the series. So, an underrated aspect and what I think has brought Edmonton to a second conference final in their three years is their team-wide commitment to defense, especially when their backs are against the wall. We had so many cool, dramatic moments.

I'm sure they created heart palpitations for a lot of fans, but why was this one as tight as it could possibly be? Well, Vancouver had to change its approach over the final 20 games of the season. They lost their number one goaltender and a couple of their top players went into deep offensive slumps. So, they shut it down and started winning games by making the most of what opportunities they had and playing lockdown defense. They've got a big, strong defense on the back end. And they were willing to play a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games to insulate what turned out to be a rookie goaltender from Latvia, 23 years old, who has now played more playoff games than he has regular season games. And Amy, as you know, in hockey, goaltending is 90% of the game, except when you don't have it.

And then it's everything. And with the young rookie, they wanted to lock it down. And as a result, they were able to get past Nashville scoring 13 goals in a six-game series.

That's a hard way to live. And they had to score more against Edmonton. They did. But the Oilers, I think, proved to be a better defensive club than maybe even Vancouver was expecting. But, you know, they had 50 wins, 59 points. They won the division. They were in first place from December the 21st on. They earned the right to host a Game 7, you know, in the second round. Edmonton's a club that, you know, got off to a dreadful start. They won two of their first 12 games. So the Oilers are a resilient bunch, too.

And when they needed to play their two best games of the year, especially at the defensive end, they did it. Jack Michaels is the play-by-play voice of the Oilers radio network, as he says, back into the West Finals for the second time in three years, waiting for them, the Dallas Stars. He's with us here after Game 7. Hopefully, his heart rate has calmed down a bit.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence. They've got some leadership that keeps them stable, keeps them resilient. Is this an achievement that they'll celebrate, or is this still taking it in stride because of expectations?

I think they're taking it in stride. I mean, you've got Connor McDavid. You've got Leondri Settle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who arguably just played the two best games of his career in Game 6 and 7, Darnell Nurse, Vitea Thekel. These are guys that have been down the road in the postseason before. You know, it's funny, Amy, when you and I first started chatting years back, the Oilers were one of the youngest clubs in the NHL. Now they're the oldest.

They're battle-tested. They're one of three teams that have been to at least the second round in each of the last three years, and now they're to the Final Four for the second time in three years. You know, they've been knocking on the door a while now, so winning a second-round series is not cause for total celebration. I think Vancouver was in a different frame of mind. The Canucks have not been anywhere near contention for the last three or four years. Their season was not going to be a failure or success based on tonight's result. For Edmonton, and especially its top players at its core that have been at this for a number of years right now, you know, Leon Driesuttle said it best before the end of the year and really in the aftermath of the loss to Vegas in last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, it's cup or bust. For this team, their expectations is that they're going to be competing for the Stanley Cup, and that means while winning a second-round series and showing that resilience in game 6 and 7 is nice, it's not their ultimate goal, not even close to it.

I'm glad you brought up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. What made him such a difference-maker to close out this series? Well, I think, Amy, if you look at the past two post-seasons for Edmonton, you know, McDavid and Driesuttle, and understandably so, have earned most of the accolades. I mean, two years ago, Driesuttle played an unbelievable playoffs, averaged two points a game with a high ankle sprain for the last, you know, two rounds. McDavid, you know, won the Battle of Alberta with an overtime goal and was right there with Driesuttle, two points a game.

They burned those accolades, and they're understandably recognized as no worse than maybe two of the three or four best players in the world. But Ryan Nugent-Hopkins quietly has had, you know, one of the best careers in the history of the Edmonton Oilers. And as you know, when you and I are of a similar vintage, when you talk about one of the greatest careers in the Edmonton Oilers, you're not talking about some chump franchise. You know, I mean, you're talking about Gretzky and Messier and Anderson and Fuhrer and, I mean, Yari Curry.

There's so many players. Paul Coffey, who's now an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers. Nugent-Hopkins has always been underappreciated. He had a goal and two assists in Game 6, scored the game-winning goal tonight, had an assist on another goal play, locked down defense on the penalty kill. Edmonton, right now, is performing its best on the penalty kill in the history of the franchise, 92%. Their power play, again, gets all the attention, but their penalty kill, in my opinion, has made the difference in the first two rounds of these playoffs.

And Nugent-Hopkins is at the forefront of that. He plays in all situations. He's as underappreciated a player as there are in the four major professional sports. Is Shaq now a fan of the Oilers?

Absolutely. You've got Shaq Hyman, and that's an old story. I mean, that goes back to when Shaq Hyman was still in the minor leagues. He was affectionately referred to as Shaq Hyman because all of his goals came from six feet in. And I'll tell you what, AB, if you added up the total distance of his 54 goals this year, you might get to about 150 feet. He's still anchors himself in the blue paint. I'm sure you've seen the clips of Shaq demonstrating his skating stride. His age could be a factor, Amy, but maybe if you add Shaq to this club, give him four or five minutes a night down in the blue paint, he might be able to knock in about 10 or 12 goals with McDavid and Leon setting him up. Jack Michaels is with us as the Oilers have closed out the Canucks in Game 7.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. I know you're on a tight schedule before I let you go. How do they match up with the Stars? Well, the Stars are an exceptional team. They're a deep team. They finish with a slightly better record than the Edmonton Oilers during the regular season, and they beat Edmonton two out of three.

Now, two of those games were in Dallas, and one of the games, the Oilers went down to Lone Star State and win. But they are a balanced club. They've got a real good goaltender named Jake Ottinger. They've got a nice blend of youth and experience, great young players like Wyatt Johnson and Jason Robertson, and then old war horses like Matt Duchene, who eliminated Colorado with an overtime goal, and Jamie Ben, their longtime captain.

I mean, they're loaded for bear. When you get down to the Final Four, Amy, the margins are so slim. And Edmonton and Dallas have basically been alternating wins and losses head-to-head against one another for years now. It's the series that everyone has been waiting for. I mean, Edmonton and Dallas have played some great games against each other in the regular season, but for whatever reason, one or the other has been eliminated before a potential playoff matchup.

That's no longer the case. They're finally meeting Collision Course West Final. Amy, I would not be surprised if we were looking at another seven-game series.

Well, I'll sign up for that. Is there a better phrase in sports than Game 7, Jack? I just called my third at the National Hockey League level, and I wouldn't mind calling two more before this run was over.

There's nothing like it. There's nothing like a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. There's a reason they call the Stanley Cup the hardest trophy to win. There's a reason that another TNT colleague of ours, Charles Barkley, loves to say the Stanley Cup playoffs are the best playoffs in any sport.

And I'm telling you what, to be a very small part of it is an honor. Edmonton Oilers have one thing on their mind, and that is closing out a Stanley Cup title. You can follow Jack on Twitter at EdmontonJack, play-by-play voice for the Edmonton Oilers. If you have not heard his final 30 seconds of Game 7, don't you worry. We'll be replaying it a bunch.

It is dynamic. Jack, it's always good to catch up with you. Travel safe, and let's hope we do this again. Amy, don't be a stranger.

Take care. Okay, picture this. It's Friday afternoon when a thought hits you. I can spend another weekend doing the same old whatever, or I can hop into my all-new Hyundai Santa Fe and hit the road. With available H-TRAC all-wheel drive and three-row seating, my whole family can head deep into the wild. Conquer the weekend in the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe. Visit HyundaiUSA.com or call 562-314-4603 for more details.

Hyundai, there's joy in every journey. Dive into the start of summer at Whole Foods Market. Check out their summer splash event with sales on fresh organic produce, organic strawberries, and a fan favorite sale on Ben & Jerry's and Tlenti. Explore deals on grill-friendly meats like organic air-chilled chicken breast, beef, and chicken kabobs, all with no antibiotics ever from our meat department.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-21 06:49:41 / 2024-05-21 06:55:52 / 6

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