After serving his jail time this summer and two horrible seasons on a four year deal most Oiler fans, including me, thought that Nikolai Khabibulin would be on an extremely short leash and hoped that Devan Dubnyk would be ready to shoulder most of the weight this season. In fact, many of us looked at situations where Khabibulin could play in the AHL and newly signed goaltender Yann Dannis could play with Dubnyk. The resounding response from Oklahoma City Barons fans was “What makes you think we want him?”
The Edmonton Oilers remain on top of the NW division and the Western Conference with their win over the St. Louis Blues. This was the last Oilers home game until November 17th due to the Canadian Finals Rodeo which will make use of Rexall Place for the next couple of weeks. The only thing that matters to Oiler fans right now is another notch in the win column making it now five in a row. At this time last season, Oiler fans were wondering if they would get five wins on the season; my how things have changed.
The Edmonton Oilers this summer selected another Edmonton native and member of the Edmonton Oil Kings at the 2011 NHL entry draft. Centre Travis Ewanyk hails from St. Albert which for all intents and purposes is essentially just a continuation of Edmonton to the north. Ewanyk was selected in the third round, 74th overall, just one spot behind his teammate and good friend Keegan Lowe who went to the Carolina Hurricaines.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has officially been told that he has played his last game of junior, but is still looking for his first point on the road. Friday night was a difficult game for the Oilers before it even began. The team hosted the Washington Capitals Thursday night, and then flew to Denver. The team arrived at the Denver airport early in the morning and then had to drive about an hour to the hotel. The equipment staff then had to bring the equipment to the arena to dry it out from the previous night’s game. All of this would have affected the players’ sleep cycles but then add in the added elevation.
In the least surprising news you will hear all day, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will stay with the Oilers for the remainder of the 2011-12 hockey season. None of his teammates were surprised as Ryan Whitney tweeted “The Nuge is staying in NHL huh? What a shocker. In other news, sky is blue, grass is green and it’s going to be cold in Edmonton in January.” Head coach Tom Renney made the announcement to the team, and was met with some happiness. Renney said “I probably would have given him a standing ovation because he is my meal ticket.”
The Oilers have also called up defenceman Jeff Petry from the Oklahoma City Barons. Coincidently, Petry has been called up due to the approximately 3 weeks Whitney will miss due to his knee injury.
The Oilers are doing much better than just hanging on without Whitney and Ales Hemsky, but players will start to get tired, and injuries will mount. The Oilers have one more home game this month, then play a grand total of 4 games at home in November. That is when the true test will come.
Oilers hand Capitals their first loss of the season 2-1
Exactly what has happened to the Edmonton Oilers, I can’t say. This team was not supposed to have a good year; playoffs, forget about it. For a while it looked like this team would struggle with goaltending, defence and then even offence. Then, something changed. The Oilers lost games by a single goal, some in the shootout, and then they won a couple. But this? The Oilers have now won their third game in a row and most inexplicably, were the team to hand the red hot Washington Capitals their first loss of the season.
The Edmonton Oil Kings’ captain Mark Pysyk was drafted in the first round, 23rd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2010 NHL entry draft after years of hard work with the Oil Kings. After an invite and strong Team Canada camp this summer, the young defenceman even stood a small chance of making the big club this year because he’s been developing quite nicely. Through the Oil Kings’ first 13 games, Pysyk is -1, has 5 assists and 27 penalty minutes. Pysyk now plays every game with the added pressure of knowing that the Sabres are watching him intently, as are the coaching staff of Team Canada. However, being named today to the WHL team of the Subway Super Series which will be played against Russia might relieve some pressure. This tournament is very important to the Team Canada world juniors team selection and is an indication that Team Canada Hockey likes what they see in Pysyk.
Edmonton City council today approved the downtown arena deal between the city and Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz. The final vote was 10 to 3, and means that the project will now move forward after four years of discussions that has felt like an eternity. The Oilers’ current lease at Rexall Place will expire before the new arena is built and ready, but that is a minor detail at this point.
Oilers’ prospect Drew Czerwonka had to wait longer than most to play his first game of the season this year thanks to a shoulder injury suffered at the Oilers’ training camp. Although the wait was excruciating for the left winger, being named captain of his WHL team, the Kootenay Ice surely helped make his return to the game that much better.
Oilers beat Canucks 3-2
The Edmonton Oilers are an interesting team this year. They can play seemingly boring hockey for a week straight, then have two games in a row that bring fans to their feet, even while sitting at home. Facing division rivals the Vancouver Canucks this game looked scary to most fans who hoped that it would at least be a manageable pain. It seems that it is these games in particular that bring surprises, and where the Oilers shine. Leading the game 3-0 until the midway point of the game, the Oilers are showing longer glimmers of what is to come.
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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