Drafted as a centreman, now playing the wing, 21 year old Tyler Pitlick will make his NHL debut Tuesday night in Montreal as the Canadiens host the Edmonton Oilers. Pitlick has had some unfortunate injuries, and has not had career numbers during his time in the AHL, but due to even more unfortunate Oiler injuries to Ryan Smyth and Taylor Hall, Pitlick has been called up.
The hockey world was shocked by the passing of young Latvian, and Oilers' prospect Kristians Pelss. Shocking, heartbreaking and tragic, the loss of Pelss touched upon the heart strings of anyone who heard the story. While we may never know what happened last Monday in Latvia, we do know that the friends and family of Pelss will never forget, will never completely be able to move on. And for them, we mourn.
The Edmonton Oilers have had luck on their side when it comes to their draft positions the last few years. You can’t deny that drafting first overall three years in a row and highly in each subsequent round has had huge implications to the team’s prospect stockpiles. But while the first overall picks have been relatively easy to select, it has been head amateur scout Stu MacGregor who is the main reason behind the Oilers drafting success in later picks.
For nearly every team in the WHL, the season ended just a game or two too soon. For the Edmonton Oil Kings, last year’s WHL champs, this especially rang true. The Oil Kings knew what it takes to get to the Memorial Cup, they had finished out their season there last year. And for many of the players on the roster, these were their final games of their junior careers.
The Edmonton Oilers may have finished dead last in the spring of 2010, but they could finish first in that year's draft class. While teams hope for one or two players to make the NHL, or a significant impact in the AHL, the Oilers may have struck gold with each and every pick.
While on his visit to Oklahoma City, Terry Jones of the Edmotnon Sun was able to catch up and on each of the 2010 draft picks, all of which find themselves on Edmonton Oilers affiliated professional teams.
With the exception of Bunz, last year’s WHL goaltender of the year who they want to play 60 games with Stockton in the ECHL, they’re all here this year, they’re all members of the Oklahoma City Barons.
In 2010 GM Steve Tambellini gave MacGregor the bullets. It was essentially the year Tambellini and staff put together the development model to take the Oilers to a place they’d never been before, one only the Detroit Red Wings had ever aspired to become, and realized, as an organization.
You already knew that Edmonton loves their Oilers, and this week offers nothing but more evidence to support the assessment. This week, all of the Oilers’ prospects have travelled from their home bases to work with the Oilers training and development staff and to see where they stack up against the other prospects. Most days of the development camp are mundane drills, nothing even slightly exciting. And yet the fans pour into Millenium Place in Sherwood Park, at least 500 I would say if I had to wager a guess. Some fans just pop in for a half hour or so, often just to see Yakupov, while others stay for the nearly 3 hours of drills hoping to catch a glimpse of greatness.
Who says you can’t go home? Amidst stories that Georges Laraque would like to return to the NHL was the story that Craig MacTavish might be returning to the Oilers.
As the story grew, it was reported by the Vancouver Canucks that MacT was leaving his coaching position with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate team the Chicago Wolves to pursue other opportunities. With that release speculation grew that MacT was taking a management position with the Oilers. And now we have an official press release from the Oilers saying that Craig MacTavish is the new Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations. There will be more information later this afternoon at a press address.
General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have added Craig MacTavish to the club’s Hockey Operations Management team as Senior Vice-President, Hockey Operations.
MacTavish, 53, was the Head Coach of the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this past season, where he led the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate to a 42-27-7 record, third best in the conference.
Named the eighth coach in Oilers history on June 22, 2000, MacTavish compiled a career record of 301-252-103 (.537) in 656 regular season games over the course of eight seasons (2000-01 to 2008-09).
MacTavish became the 36th coach in NHL history to win 300-or-more games with a 5-3 win versus the Vancouver Canucks on April 4th at Rexall Place.
He completed his coaching tenure behind the Oilers bench after the 2008-09 season, ranking second among Edmonton coaches in games coached, wins, losses, ties/overtime losses and winning percentage and ranked 36th all-time in NHL history in wins and 41st in games coached.
The former Oilers’ captain has a 17-13 (.567) record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and became the third coach to lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final.
In 2005-06 MacTavish guided the Oilers to their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1990, as Edmonton fell in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. After finishing the regular season in 8th place in the NHL’s Western Conference standings with a 41-28-13 record, MacTavish led the Oilers to within a game of their sixth Stanley Cup. In the post-season the Oilers went 15-9 and defeated the President Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings, the San Jose Sharks and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on their way to winning the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl as Western Conference champions.
After departing the Oilers organization following the 2008-09 season, MacTavish earned a master’s degree in business from Queen’s University and spent two years as an analyst for the NHL on TSN.
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.
Matt Mackenzie was the captain of the Calgary Hitmen when he was traded last January to the Tri-City Americans. It was a move to add depth to their blueline as the Americans prepared for what they hoped would be a long WHL playoff run. The Americans’ playoff run was not as long as they had hoped, but the experience gave the third round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres playoff experience he would not have had with the Hitmen.
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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