With Canada’s 5-1 win over Belarus the team has a 6-0-1-0 record and 19 points, enough to top their Helsinki group.
You might think that Team Canada would only have gotten stronger as the NHL playoffs continue and teams find themselves on the outside looking in, but only Marc-Édouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks and Alexandre Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks have been the late additions. Yes, these are all excellent players and yes they can be difference makers, but it has been a couple of Edmonton Oilers who have continued to find their way onto the score sheet; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.
“In Stu we trust,” that has been the catch phrase in Edmonton every spring since the Oilers first drafted first overall. After another miserable season and with the Taylor or Tyler decision before the team, fans were torn. Some were on Team Taylor, some Team Tyler and all cheered for the Oilers to take a difference maker and turn the team around. Because no one seemed to have a clear idea of what would happen, nor who would be the better player everyone decided to keep their favourite in mind but trust that Oilers’ head of amateur scouting, Stu MacGregor and his team would pick the right player. But what about now, two years later?
It’s been two back to back overtime victories, but with those victories the Barons have now taken a 2-1 series lead over the San Antonio Rampage. After dropping the first game 6-4 the Barons regrouped and settled into the knowledge that this would be a hard fought best of 7 series.
There may not have been any dancing by Rampage goaltender Jacob Markstom yet, but maybe he’s just waiting for his song.
The summer to do list of the Edmonton Oilers must look a little something like this:
1. Improve defence
Through the 2011-12 season the Oilers faced a number of challenges, most of those stemmed from a weak defensive core. Especially with Ryan Whitney lost somewhat long term to a nagging ankle injury, and then a knee injury and then an ankle injury again, the Oilers were forced to quicken the development of young and rookie defencemen like Jeff Petry and Theo Peckham. Going into the next season however, the Oilers will have a few choices.
Craig MacTavish may be best known outside of Edmonton for being the last NHL player who didn’t wear a helmet, or perhaps you do recognize the name as the coach that led the 2006 Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup finals. But no matter what you know, or think you know about MacT, Jim Matheson’s article in the Edmonton Journal will be sure to teach you a thing or two.
If you’re close to Craig MacTavish, you’ll have a nickname; it’s an honour he bestows out of affection and a dry, spontaneous sense of humour.
So when the former Edmonton Oilers player and coach was told he had a cancer that starts in the lymphocytes, white blood cells that form part of the body’s immune system, he used an acronym to nickname that, too.
Known as MacT to fans and Mac to his friends, he repeats the name non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, then slowly pronounces the first letter of each word.
“I am back in the NHL,” MacTavish, 53, says before breaking into that familiar belly laugh.
He isn’t back in the National Hockey League, but he’s only a skate blade away.
There may have been nothing that would attract sports fans to the Cox Convention Centre for the Oklahoma City Barons’ Thursday night playoff game against the San Anontio Rampage. Tickets were only $11 a piece, there were free t-shirts and 10oz beer was just $1. Even better, you could get 16oz for just a dollar more. Despite the entertainment value, Neal Livingston reports on Copper & Blue that a mere 2833 fans walked through the turnstile.
The WHL season is not quite finished, but most of the hardware has already been awarded. Wednesday afternoon the WHL held their awards luncheon in Calgary where the Edmonton Oil Kings and Oiler prospect Tyler Bunz all walked away happy. Bunz took home the WHL goaltender of the year award, the Oil Kings were named the scholastic team of the year and Oil Kings’ GM Bob Green was named WHL Executive of the Year the Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy.
When it comes to the number of contracts the Oilers have, you have to know that there will be some changes. The current contracts roll over on June 30th, and the new contracts take affect July 1st. What this means is that Pelss’ contract doesn’t count until July 1st, and the same is true for the Tyler Bunz contract.
The Edmonton Oil Kings are still alive and well in this year’s WHL playoffs, but the Oilers have decided not to wait and to sign left winger Kristians Pelss to a 3 year deal.
Pelss was a 7th round draft 2010 draft pick who has helped take the Oil Kings to the WHL finals (which will begin Thursday night in Edmonton) with his scoring and defensive abilities. Pelss may not have led the team in scoring, but finishing 6th in points and 5th in goals on a team with as much depth and talent as the Oil Kings have is quite the accomplishment.
The Edmonton Oilers have two first overall players and a third one this summer but it is Jordan Eberle making headlines in the post season. Eblere was surely an easy pick for Team Canada and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in Sweden and Finland and now that pick is paying off.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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