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 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.
It happened without fanfare, it happened without a big public address, but it happened just the same. The NHL season is cancelled for the foreseeable future and the players are locked out. For some, that means nothing but more uncertainty. Do they pack up their families, pull kinds out of school and chase a paycheck in Europe, do they spend a year away from their families if they can find a team to play for? Not every player will be able to find a team, and certainly not every player will feel comfortable with the risks of taking less pay and the risk of getting injured and forfeiting their NHL salary if the season can be salvaged.
For the Oilers, several players on entry level contracts (ELC) have been assigned to play in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons, some have accepted that they will not be playing hockey unless the NHL starts up again, and of course a few are making their way to various leagues in Europe.
Well, one RFA that is. With the contract extensions signed for defenceman Alex Plante and centreman Chris VandeVelde Thursday morning, the Oilers only have the much talked about Linus Omark left to sign. Or move. But the suggestion that this team may be done making moves couldn’t possibly be an accurate reflection of the state of the team. Whether or not moves actually come through however, will be what remains to be seen.
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.
With the elimination of the Oklahoma City Barons from the AHL western conference finals, that draws to a close the 2011-12 season for all Oiler players. And despite the sour note that all teams finished the year on, you have to think of just how important, just how good it was for the Oilers’ prospects to experience winning and a lengthy post season. No, not because the Oilers will are guaranteed a similar experience next season, but because this is what is needed to help remove that losing mentality from the locker room.
After being blanked by the Toronto Marlies in game 1 of the AHL Western conference finals Thursday night, the Oklahoma City Barons have battled back to take game two 5-1 evening up the series.
With the Oilers’ season long gone, EdmontonOilers.com staff have journeyed to Oklahoma City and Ryan Dittrick reports on the game:
The Oklahoma City Barons needed a quicker start than they had in Game 1. They got it.
They needed their power-play to answer the Marlies’ AHL-best PK, which went 6-for-6 Thursday night in a 5-0 win. They got that, too.
They needed to battle, compete and show up at puck drop. No complaints here, either, as goals by Mark Arcobello and Teemu Hartikainen in the opening 20 spurred the home side to a dominant 5-1 win over the Toronto Marlies in Game 2 of the AHL’s Western Conference Final at the Cox Convention Center in OKC.
It’s been two back to back overtime victories, but with those victories the Barons have now taken a 2-1 series lead over the San Antonio Rampage. After dropping the first game 6-4 the Barons regrouped and settled into the knowledge that this would be a hard fought best of 7 series.
There may not have been any dancing by Rampage goaltender Jacob Markstom yet, but maybe he’s just waiting for his song.
There may have been nothing that would attract sports fans to the Cox Convention Centre for the Oklahoma City Barons’ Thursday night playoff game against the San Anontio Rampage. Tickets were only $11 a piece, there were free t-shirts and 10oz beer was just $1. Even better, you could get 16oz for just a dollar more. Despite the entertainment value, Neal Livingston reports on Copper & Blue that a mere 2833 fans walked through the turnstile.
It wasn’t a sweep, but the Oklahoma City Barons have made short work of their series with the Houston Aeros, taking the best of five series 3-1 and will now move on to the Western Conference semifinals to face an as of yet undetermined opponent. The San Antonio Rampage, Abbotsford Heat or Milwaukee Admirals are the possible opponents, but it will most likely be the Rampage that will make the trip to Oklahoma City.
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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