The Edmonton Oilers need help on their blueline. And not soon, but now. While draft picks alone cannot remedy the situation, the team has been aware of the gaping holes in their depth and roster while making their selections on draft day year after year.
While defencemen tend to take longer to develop and to prepare themselves physically those who have been in the system for a few years, are inching their way closer to making an impact. The defenceman most recently added to the list is 6’5” 191 lb Slovakian Martin Gernat.
It was great while it lasted but for the Edmonton Oil Kings, their post season is over. The Oil Kings had their most successful season of modern franchise history winning their division, conference and eventually the WHL before competing for the 2012 Memorial Cup in Shawinigan Quebec but the the Oil Kings would be the first team to be eliminated from the four team tournament.
The Edmonton Oil Kings may be happy just to be participating in the Memorial Cup, but the team is going to push for every win they can get.
In the opening game of the tournament Friday night, the Oil Kings blew a 2 goal lead, but eventually squeaked past the home team Shawinigan Cataractes with a final score of 4-3. Not bad considering Shawinigan is not as battle weary as the Oil Kings. While the Oil Kings had only a few days to bounce back from their 7 game series against the Portland Winterhawks, the Cataractes have not played a playoff game since losing to the Chicoutimii Saguenéens a month ago.
Oil Kings beat Wheat Kings 2-1
After sweeping the Kootenay Ice in the first round of the WHL playoffs, the Oil Kings had a relaxing 8 days to prepare for their next opponents, the Brandon Wheat Kings. Going into game one the biggest question was of course, would the time off hurt or help the team’s momentum. After one game, it doesn’t appear to have hurt the team in the slightest. Speaking with the players, they seemed grateful for the break and considering how hard they worked to finish first overall in their conference it seems to make good sense.
Oil Kings beat Rebels 5-2
A game that features two top ten prospects going into this year’s NHL entry draft is enough to garner attention. A Friday night WHL game featuring two top ten prospects in Red Deer is enough to attract a circus. As the scouts poured into the building, some wearing the logos of their teams, others merely with their clipboards and pens the importance of these final games became even more apparent. While the Oil Kings’ have five players that will likely be drafted this summer, it is Griffin Reinhart who has stolen the spotlight. For the Rebels, the feature player is of course Mat Dumba.
The Oil Kings have taken all three games against the Hitmen at home, and after falling behind the Hitmen early in the first period, it looked as though the Hitmen may take all of their home games. But, hockey is a funny sport, and you often need to see the full sixty minutes.
The Eastern Conference leaders, the Edmonton Oil Kings, came into Calgary to challenge a team riding a six game winning streak. You must also remember that despite the fact that this is WHL hockey, this is still very much a battle of Alberta. It doesn’t matter how long a player has been with their team, they know that the rivalry is very real. And as such, this was anyone’s game.
Although the IIHF World Juniors tournament is not an NHL tournament, there are several players in the tournament who have been drafted by NHL teams. For many NHL fans, this is the only opportunity to see many of the prospects in action. Of course this is still a competitive tournament and an excellent opportunity to see the world’s best junior hockey players on display.
Here is a look at how the NHL prospects have done so far at this tournament. All stats were taken from the IIHF team statistics pages.
Neither team had the start to this game that they wanted, but Slovakia certainly found the finish. In what has been the most exciting hockey game in the Pool A preliminaries, Slovakia found the will and the way to come back from a deficit and score three goals in 3:01. Simply incredible.
In front of the Calgary crowd of 12 598 on the second day of competition, it was the goaltenders for both Latvia and Slovakia that defined the game. Kristers Gudlevskis stopping 42 or 44 shots faced was named player of the game for Latvia and Jurjaj Simboch turned away 25 of 26 shots on goal to be named player of the game for Slovakia.
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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