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.
While speaking to five time Stanley Cup winning, Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr who is now coaching AAA Bantam hockey for the Knights of Columbus in Edmonton I had to ask what was next, what were Fuhr’s coaching ambitions. Not that coaching AAA Bantam might not be enough, but was this where Fuhr intended to stay for a while, or was this a jumping block. Fuhr happily exclaimed that working with youth hockey was a delight, and something that he truly enjoyed doing. In fact, Fuhr intends to coach the Knights of Columbus AAA Bantam Squires next season as well but also does have further coaching aspirations; they focus around coaching junior hockey. “I enjoy doing this, but I wouldn’t mind coaching [major] junior. Junior hockey is awesome and it’s a lot of fun.”
According to a couple of Swedish newspapers, ex-Oiler Jason Strudwick has signed with Södertälje SK (SSK) of the Swedish 2nd League, Hockey Allsvenskan.
Strudwick is a new father and when there were not any offers that were a good fit for him and his family through the off season it looked as though Strudwick would take this season off. However, with as far as I can tell, a season ending injury to veteran Stefan Bemström, Strudwick’s presence is needed on the team’s blue line.
Before the scheduled hearing with Gary Bettman, the dispute between the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings has come to a conclusion as inferred after this tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie:
EDM-LAK settlement reportedly a small cash outlay to offset some of Fraser’s medical costs. No big deal apparently. Everyone moving on.
At one time or another, every one of us has thought that we would like to give back and do something good for others. It’s easy to think about doing something good, or even give money to someone’s efforts, but it is quite another to spend your time, energy, talents and emotions without expecting anything in return.
Jason Gregor of the Team 1260 and Oilers Nation and ex-Oiler Jason Strudwick have a fantastic relationship. I say fantastic because Jason Strudwick is one funny man, and Oilers fans often get to enjoy his laugh and tales on the Jason Gregor show on Friday afternoons, and randomly as Strudwick’s schedule permits.
This off season, Strudwick did not sign another contract with the Oilers or any other hockey team, just yet. The biggest reason why is parenthood. After years of struggles with infertility and waiting on adoption lists and because of Gregor’s relationship, Gregor has penned an excellent piece on where the Strudwicks have come from and where they are now. Currently, the couple are discussing a season in Europe, but in the meantime, Strudwick is enjoying his new family and this wonderful opportunity he has to spend with them. The Strudwicks’ story is an excellent read for anyone who has children, is considering them or is struggling with fertility issues.
We’ve craved the family unit for so long and now to finally have it seems surreal
On Wednesday August 31st, Gene Principe and Robin Brownlee had a very long interview with former Oiler prospect Jason Bonsignore. I needed a few days to digest what Bonsignore had said and to look for the other side. Robin Brownlee stated that “I’ve e-mailed John Rosasco, VP of public relations with the New York Rangers, told him about the interview with Bonsignore, provided a link to the audio on the TEAM 1260 site and offered to have Glen Sather offer his version of events, if he so desires. I’m waiting to hear back.” I would very much like to hear what Sather has to say as a rebuttal.
Drafted in the first round, fourth overall, Jason Bonsignore was a top pick of the 1994 NHL entry draft. He played one game with the Oilers in 1994-95 and the rest of the season was with his OHL team, the Sudbury Wolves. The following year, Bonsignore played 20 games with the Oilers 18 in the OHL and 12 in the AHL with the Cape Breton Oilers. That was the last Bonsignore would play in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers.
Often touted as a bust, Bonsignore’s story has gone untold. All that most fans know is what they saw, another first round Edmonton Oilers draft pick just didn’t make the cut. Surely it was the scouting staff not doing their job. Or was it? In an extremely candid interview with Gene Principe and Robin Brownlee on the Jason Gregor show of the Team 1260 on Wednesday August 31st, Bonsignore told his tale and changed many opinions along the way. The twitter response was instant and so positive towards the interview that I wanted to share it with those inside as well as outside of Edmonton.
It has been years coming, but it has finally happened. The Edmonton Oilers’ (second) first round draft pick in 2004, and ex-prospect Robbie Schremp has packed his bags for Europe. Schremp will be playing for MODO of the Swedish Elite League.
It has been common to just use the word gate behind any misunderstanding or wrongdoing. In this case, I don’t believe that the Oilers set out to pull the wool over the heads of the Kings. So, I hereby propose this subject be called the Fraser Feud.
I was in St. Paul at the NHL entry draft amidst all of the Ryan Smyth trade talk, and everyone was excited about it, no matter what team they were there representing or covering. TSN cameramen were telling me how wonderful they felt the move would be for Edmonton. The heart of the matter seemed to be at what cost.
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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