The Edmonton Oilers need some work. No, they don’t need to hit the gym any harder, they don’t need more side projects to help fill the time, they need to figure out where the team is weak and address those weaknesses. And so, most fans can’t help but wonder why aging goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin is starting in net so often this week, while the supposed starting goaltender rides the pine.
With the Oilers’ record falling, and the short season becoming shorter, there is no room for error. There is especially no room for lengthy suspensions due to atrocious hits. But that’s exactly what we can expect as the reaction from the league to Taylor Hall’s knee on knee hit on Cal Clutterbuck in Edmonton Thurdsay night.
A one sided rivalry, isn’t really a rivalry at all. No, we call this a situation of nemeses, at least in the case of the Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars. For the Stars, it’s just a guaranteed two points.
While the NHL season is just starting up, the WHL is quickly winding down. And with that, the pressure on young draft eligible players increases. For Vancouver Giant Jackson Houck, this season had its own challenges playing for a team that has struggled more than usual, but to add to that graduating high school and trying to wow the scouts seems a little much.
Somehow, Houck like all other players in his same position are using the challenge to push them further. Will it be enough is yet to be seen.
The Edmonton Oilers are in a familiar position; a lineup decimated by injury, in the middle of a losing streak, and all the while the playoffs appear to be getting further and further away.
Missing their top line centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Shawn Horcoff, Eric Belanger and now Anton Lander the Oilers are desperately low on centermen. And while playing Ryan Smyth at center will work in the short term, it's certainly not a long term solution.
No word yet if NHL scouts are beating a path to Bismarck Century High School in North Dakota, but this youtube video shows that the school's players have some skills.
As reported by Brian Stubits of CBS's Eye on Hockey, Alec Rauhauser who is currently ranked 196th in North American skaters by Central Scouting, pulled off the old backhand lacrosse style goal against another Bismarck High School and someone was fortunate enough to record it.
For those worried about his goal celebration afterwards, hopefully you didn't find it too unsettling.
With three first overall picks, who would have thought that it would be a veteran player leading the Edmonton Oilers in scoring. Yes, 23 year old Sam Gagner with a total of 375 NHL games under his belt has 10 points in 9 games, good enough for the best point streak in the NHL to this point this season.
It was the battle of the goaltenders Monday night in Edmonton. Kind of. On one end of the rink, Loberto Luongo and on the other Devan Dubnyk. One has allegedly asked for a trade, and was supposed to be passing the torch this season to the younger franchise goaltender. The other is taking the reigns as the starting goaltender while leaving the older tender on the bench. Neither goalie looks to be a lock with their team just yet, but the story of this game was all about the man between the pipes and it would be the Canucks to walk out with a 3-2 OT win.
Listening to Don Cherry on CBC's coach's corner Saturday, you would think that Nail Yakupov committed sports biggest foul. But looking at the source, that reaction was to be expected. Mr. Cherry is old school and while he can be quite outspoken, he prefers his hockey players to be quiet and demure small town Canadian boys.
As we all know, Yakupov is very Russian, and he has a strong passion for the game and everything he does, including celebrating.
The NHL’s rookie of the year trophy, the Calder Memorial, has been handed out 79 times to date. Unsurprisingly the trophy has touched the hands of more forwards than any other position. The totals are 53 forwards - 25 centres, 10 left wingers and 18 right wingers, 16 goaltenders, and only 10 defencemen.
Those 79 recipients have come from 21 of the current 30 NHL teams, and yet with all of the young rookies that have played for the Oilers at one time or another, not one of the recipients has been an Oiler.
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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