While ultimately, I did choose to be an Oilers fan, it is something that I was born into. I was born in the ‘80s and while I may not remember details, I remember excitement around the team. I remember celebrations being held at the end of school years, and I remember tears when Gretzky was traded. I may not remember a lot, but what I do remember were the emotions, the excitement and that people were for the most part happy. For years Edmonton has been sold various forms of hope, even HOPE, Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle. While you can say that times have been tough in Edmonton, they have been really tough since 2006 and every year seemed to get worse.
It was supposed to be a relatively quiet couple of weeks. The Edmonton Oilers had their GM in place. Craig MacTavish was giving the interviews, he was talking about the draft, Craig was on it. The Oilers had their spot in the draft lottery, and with about an eleven percent chance of winning the lottery, that wasn’t happening again, no way right?
The WHL season is over for most players, and this means tremendous opportunity for some including Jackson Houck. His Vancouver Giants team came in dead last in the WHL but now Houck’s season is not over. Instead of getting an early summer, Houck is being given the opportunity to play with a playoff team in the Oklahoma City Barons. Even if Houck doesn’t see ice team, the opportunity of practising with the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate and getting more attention, and working closer to the NHL team that drafted him will be a tremendous boost to his development.
It came as a shock to everyone this year the extent of and sheer success of goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Having bounced around from team to team, most hockey fans would have expected Dubnyk’s on ice performance to have suffered, this would have been an extreme blow to his confidence. Instead, Dubnyk has taken the moves and changes and flourished into one of the hottest stories of the NHL this season. This must of course mean that the Oilers are looking at their roster and picking up the phone right? Well… not exactly.
Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was relatively quiet trade deadline day. Trading only the expected player, Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens for a couple of picks in this year’s draft, MacT started the day off doing what was expected. What wasn’t expected came at his press conference Monday afternoon.
Retired NHLer and Edmonton fan favourite Ryan Smyth aka Smytty aka Captain Canada has been enjoying retirement these days. He's still watching Oiler games and can sympathise with the team's struggles. In an exclusive two part interview with Jason Gregor of the Team 1260, Oilers Nation and the Edmonton Journal, Smyth talks his introduction to retirement, his introduction to the league and of course his iconic paddle:
Well, first of all, it’s a canoe paddle. (laughs). Second of all, Glen Sather came to me my first year after I had my stick, my heavy stick, thick blade, not much of a curve and he’s like, ‘give me that thing, let me look at it. You need more of a curve, and your lie is wrong.’ And as a young kid you nod. He grabs it and takes me back to Barry Stafford and says, “Staffy, change his stick out for him and get him something else.’ Slats heads back into his back room with his dogs and I said to Staff, ‘give me that thing back; it’s going to work for me. Just leave me alone, I’ll be fine. Thanks for the advice,’ and I continued using it.
Read the rest of part one here
Just a short drive from the city of San Francisco stands the tech giant city of San Jose California. Thriving on the advent of technology and relishing in the proximity to some of the world’s best produce and wine the city of San Jose has grown to also incorporate their love for sport, and especially their love for hockey.
The San Jose Sharks have been a team to beat season after season, and finally in April of 2014 we were able to cross this arena off of the list.
The Edmonton Oilers made yet another mercy pull Monday. This time was different though, it wasn't one of the goaltenders that were a decided improvement on Devon Dubnyk last season, (are we so sure that was a drastic improvement now?) no it was head coach Dallas Eakins who was mercifully pulled from this season and it's losses.
The Edmonton Oilers are bad, really bad, so bad that they are quite literally the laughing stock of the NHL. But it shouldn’t be that way. They should be able to block shots, they should be able to play together as a team but the most glaring issue with the team seems to be their ability to stick together, to play together, and to be a team.
Jason Gregor from TSN 1260 and Oilers Nation has penned a very telling piece on the team’s struggles:
They don't play for another. They don't protect one another. They aren't willing to do whatever it takes to win for each other. And when a team doesn't have that, they are doomed.
The players have to be unified, even if the other team has more talent. If they don't believe in each other and aren't willing to defend one another this team will never win. They will never become competitive.
Read more here
Taylor Hall is out. Again. But of course, early in the season. This injury is not a statement about Taylor Hall’s health, athleticism or work ethic; this is about the Edmonton Oiler’s ability to fill in their roster.
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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