Roughly three hours down the road from Edmonton, Greg Chase an Edmonton Oilers’ draft pick has played his best season yet. Drafted in the seventh round, some say Chase was a sleeper pick, some, such as I think that this was one of those rare occasions where he should have gone in a round much earlier, but somehow all of the teams thought that he had already been picked. Regardless of how it happened, Chase, an Edmonton born and raised player is playing for a chance to develop with, and one day play for the Oilers.
The Edmonton Oilers have had a few parting players make remarks about the team, the coaching staff, and the general state of affairs over the years. Generally, not much is said that isn't already known, or little credence is put into what is said. But this season, both Ladislav Smid and Ilya Bryzgalov have mentioned that their new team’s have a much faster pace to their practise, even alluding to the intensity. Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 and OilersNation.com investigates, talking to head coach Dallas Eakins, David Perron, and Sam Gagner. From his interview with David Perron:
Do you think it is up to the players to control the pace and tempo practice?
I do. Dallas mentioned it a lot. Do you want to be the guy driving the practice or do you want to sit in the back of the bus and hope the day goes by, and that’s not a way you get better. It’s up to us to bring that level higher. I think it has improved over the season, but there is another level to get to for sure.
How can you make practices more intense?
It’s pretty simple. Every time there is a rebound you try to score. Every time you go by the net you stop. The hard work comes with the habits. When you have good habits it brings your level higher because you want to succeed.
If you’re not going to do it in the game, you have to start doing it in practice and then it will translate in the game. You will go by the net and it will be natural that you will stop. Early in the year we didn’t have many guys going to the net, but I think it has gotten better and when we do have one-on-one battles in practice we can be harder for sure.
It was social media at it's best Tuesday in the city of Edmonton. The Oiler's GM Craig MacTavish had just made the Oilers second goaltender trade of 2014 and Viktor Fasth would not be able to make it to Edmonton in time to suit up with his new team. What about Canada's gold medalist Shannon Szabados? An Edmonton native and a gold medal winning goaltender, why not bring her in to backup Ben Scrivens? Twitter feeds soon filled with #SzabadosForBackup.
The Edmonton Oilers had lofty goals this season. Oilers GM Craig MacTavish was fairly certain that the team needed only minor tweaking. There was no way to know that the team may need a whole new overhaul, well at least according to MacT. Yet here the team is, bottom of the league again in a year where anything short of playoffs was to be a failure on the season. The goaltenders have both been swapped, and on trade deadline day, all that was acquired were more picks.
The Edmonton Oilers have made their decision with Ben Scrivens. Maybe. While the team has had quite possibly their worst year of their rebuild this year, goaltending issues had to be the cherry on the top of a mountain of troubles. The team had stuck with and developed Devan Dubnyk but ultimately decided that he wasn’t going to be the team’s starting goaltender. Now, it looks like he won’t be there for the Nashville Predators either. So, the team has moved on with Ben Scrivens but maybe only for 2 years, or even less.
The Edmonton Oilers are far from finished making changes. As seen time and time again at various other times, by various other teams around the league, simply drafting high, and acquiring young talent is not enough to make a Stanley Cup team. Steve Tambellini was never quite able to pull the trigger and make moves to make the team take bigger steps, and while new GM Craig MacTavish is making moves, we won’t know if it will be enough for quite some time. Just like we will never know if former goaltender Devan Dubnyk could have had a better season if the team in front of him was even just a little bit better.
The Edmonton Oilers have been dropping like flies to injury for years. We try to assess where the blame is, we try to figure out whether or not the medical staff are on their toes, but what if it's not a matter of misdiagnosis, what if it's more a case of the players eating too many pasta dinners? No, seriously.
Edmonton Oilers' GM Craig MacTavish has finally done it, he has successfully traded Linus Omark. Omark is a once highly touted Oilers' prospect who was soon surpassed by even younger and more talented prospects as the Oilers hit the jackpot with three first overall picks in a row. Omark's performance in the NHL never took off, while he has been the AHL Oklahoma City Baron's top scorer.
The Edmonton Oilers have had their share of issues this year. They couldn’t get a win, they couldn’t score goals, they couldn’t stay healthy, and most importantly, they had some terrible stretches of goaltending. GM Craig MacTavish set out during the off-season to acquire a backup goaltender, thinking that was all that his team would need. Devan Dubnyk had been showing signs of promise despite bad stretches or bad goals now and then. It was believed that Dubnyk would be the goaltender going forward, that he was going to prove himself this year. He has proved himself to this point, but as a backup goaltender.
Linus Omark is still unhappy, and still more than willing to talk to the Swedish media. After playing a lockout year in Switzerland, the Oilers and Omark appeared to have mended fences, or at the very least perhaps new GM Craig MacTavish decided to try his hand at working with Linus Omark. Regardless of what happened in the background, Omark agreed to a one year two way contract and began the season in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons. But that’s where he’s stayed (aside from one NHL game) despite highlight reel goals, game winning goals, repeated multiple goal games and a lot of buzz. And why?
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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