Kukla's Korner Hockey
Dillon Simpson has been blessed to have had a father who has won so many awards, had so many accomplishments, and processes so much skill and talent. At the same time, this could be seen as a bit of a hindrance; much like one of Dillon’s best friends Keegan Lowe. If there is one thing about Dillon Simpson’s game or pursuit of hockey that may aid him in trying to find his own path it just might be the position he plays. While Craig Simpson was a left winger, his son Dillon has made his career at defense.
It has been years coming, but it has finally happened. The Edmonton Oilers’ (second) first round draft pick in 2004, and ex-prospect Robbie Schremp has packed his bags for Europe. Schremp will be playing for MODO of the Swedish Elite League.
There are several Oilers prospects that will add up to make for an excellent Oilers team going forward. One of my favourite prospects is Tyler Bunz. Bunz is a favourite for various reasons. For starters, he is from Edmonton and was fortunate enough to be drafted by his favourite team. Bunz also has an excellent work ethic and has persevered to rise to a position at the top of the WHL goalie list. Some will say he was the second, and some the third best goalie but ultimately, he was tops in the league.
I suppose this means that Olivier Roy may not be at the Oklahoma City Barons camp this fall afterall. Eric Rodgers of Copper and Blue has discovered that David LeNeveu formerly of the Springfield Falcons, Columbus Blue Jackets, The Phoenix Coyotes, the Hartford Wolf Pack, the San Antonio Rampage and the list goes on has signed with the Barons. This Fernie B.C. born goaltender was drafted in the second round of the 2002 draft has seen his share of teams, but the Oklahoma Barons must see something in LeNeveu that they needed or had to have, or he was someone who was willing to sign a one way contract with an AHL team. Either way, Barons fans rejoice! Your second season of AHL hockey is closer than you think.
The Edmonton Oilers have announced that they will once again be participating in the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament in Penticton B.C. Several young Oilers prospects are guaranteed three games in this round robin tournament; one against the Vancouver Canucks’, Calgary Flames’, and San Jose Sharks’ prospects from September 12th to 16th. At this tournament last year, many Oilers fans were given the opportunity to see Magnus Paajarvi, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall play together in a game situation for the first time.
This spring, Team Canada named Vancouver Giant’s head coach Don Hay to coach the 2012 Team Canada World Junior team. The last time the championships were in Alberta, Canada took the gold. Coincidently, Don Hay was the team’s head coach. 1995 was also a year that a young Ryan Smyth played for Team Canada. Through the seven games played, Smyth scored 2 goals and 5 assists.
The Sunday night crowd in Fort McMurray was large for Team Canada’s second consecutive night of split squad action. The newly renovated Casman Cenre was unsurprisingly sold out. Not many hockey fans can pass up a live game of this caliber on an August night. The city of Fort McMurray currently hosts an AJHL team, the Oil Barons and I often wonder if they might support a WHL team some day.
Fan favourite Ryan Smyth is beloved by many hockey fans throughout the world, but especially throughout the nation of Canada. Smyth not only played for Team Canada on many occasions, but also captained Canada’s World Championship team for a record six years Smyth has won several gold medals playing for his country including an Olympic gold in 2002. The nickname Captain Canada is fitting for the man who has left it all on the ice; blood, sweat, teeth and tears.
Smyth had the chance to return to the ice of Rexall place for the Team Canada U20 development camp’s Red and White game and was given the honour of performing the ceremonial puck drop and interacting with the young players.
“Today is the best day of my life!” Proclaimed Noah, a young Edmonton Journal contest winner. His prize, a chance to watch the Team Canada U20 game from the pressbox, a behind the scenes tour and memories to last a lifetime. “We got to meet Ryan Smyth!” The contest winner, with his youthful smile and energy went on. There were two winners of this contest, and thankfully only one broke my heart when he told me that he was not an Oilers fan. The list of teams he does cheer for was long, and one team pains me too much to even type. Each winner was dressed in a team Canada hockey sweater signed by the players at this camp, one red and the other white.These of course were far from the only youths in attendance at this event and it is wonderful to see so many who still dream of playing hockey at it’s highest levels and not for the contracts, but for the sheer love of the game.
It’s a rainy, muggy morning in the City of Champions, and hockey fans were arriving long before the 9:30am start time to team white’s practice. The Oilers’ faithful, the friends the family, and general supporters of the nation’s favourite pass-time, are all in attendance.
The reason of course for the draw to a practise is likely to do the free sneak preview of Oiler’s prospects Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tyler Bunz. Surely a name like Sean Couturier doesn’t exactly make fans shy away. To have this opportunity to see such high profile, top picked prospects is an excellent use of a Saturday morning in August, in the hockey crazed city of Edmonton, Alberta. Days like this, I truly feel like an Edmontonian, let alone a Canadian.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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