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.
The battle of Alberta is not yet what it once was. Slowly, that's changing. No longer are these the fighting days of Dave Semenko and Tim Hunter. Instead these have been the years of a one sided battle where the outcome was known before the initial puck drop. But as I have already mentioned, slowly things are changing.
If you blinked you might have missed it, but in Tuesday night's horrific loss to the San Jose Sharks the Edmonton Oilers pulled out a play made famous by Emilio Estevez's Mighty Ducks movies. That's right, the flying V took flight. It was only briefly, and perhaps because it didn't lead to a goal, wasn't used again that game. But after photos have made their twitter rounds, we finally have video evidence.
After the sweet sounds of a melodious shootout victory in Vancouver, the Edmonton Oilers' home season started on a sour note. Literally.
As the Oilers tend to do, they invited a local music artist to sing the national anthems. I don't think that this young lady will be invited back given the reaction from both fans and media on twitter. It's not as though she didn't try her best, she just never found her comfort zone, and she appeared to cringe as much as I was listening to her. You have to give her props for standing up to sing in front of nearly 20, 000 people live, and countless more on national television... but I can't applaud the performance. And funny enough, the same can be said of the Oilers' performance.
Mitch Moroz wasn’t the name fans expected. No, many expected pretty much any name but with the second pick of the second round at the 2013 NHL entry draft. But the Oilers had their man with Nail Yakupov, they missed out on Henrik Samuelsson and didn’t intend to miss out on Mitch Moroz. You see, Tambellini was adamant that he was after character players, and filling needs with all remaining picks of the entry draft. With Moroz, the team took strength, skills and a personality that can at times be larger than life.
Only two rookies in the opening game of the 2013 Edmonton Oilers season. Two rookies, but still a plethora of youth.
Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz would see their first NHL minutes in Vancouver, looking for their first goals against elite netminder Roberto Luongo. These are the things memories are made of.
Trades can never be easy. In order to get something of value, you have to lose something of value and often times more. And so it was for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL in their quest to acquire veteran defenceman and Edmonton Oilers’ prospect David Musil, then of the Vancouver Giants. Many saw this trade as inevitable, as this is Musil’s last season in the WHL, and he was the lone Oiler draft pick that was not playing for the Oil Kings. Going to the Giants was their first round 2013 draft pick (a low pick if the Oil Kings make another Memorial Cup run) and a defenceman who looked to be a key part of the future defence; Mason Geertsen.
The plight of the fans is what has been most discussed in Edmonton during the lockout. In the NHL's northermost city, where the winter is long and the hours of daylight are short, the winter blues are a reality. For some, the blues are combated with the obsession over the home team, that and beer consumption that just seems to make everything seem a little less important even if just for the time being.
Knowing just how badly the city of Edmonton wanted the NHL back, the Oilers got a little creative and played their first game outdoors, in the park. And didn't sell a single ticket.
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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