The AHL Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Barons are coming back to Calgary to play the AHL battle of Alberta because the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL farm team of the Calgary Flames will play a home game in the Saddledome this Thursday night. While once again both corresponding NHL teams are on the outside looking in for the NHL playoff race, their AHL teams currently playoff bound. And so, for fans of both the Flames and the Oilers, the Heat and Barons may be as close to playoffs as they will get for the second year in a row.
Oilers lose 4-1 to Stars
Things are going from bad to worse for the Edmonton Oilers. What started out as an amazing season, the Oilers at one point led the western conference has now turned to what appears to be another basement finish
The Oilers are still without top defenceman Ryan Whitney, lost Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Tom Gilbert on Monday and after a game with the Dallas Stars may be without Jordan Eberle for an uncertain amount of time. Eberle suffered a knee injury early in the game and did not return. There has been no official word on the extent of the injury, but this cannot be a good thing for the already ailing team.
The Edmonton Oilers once again have some serious injury concerns. Potential rookie of the year Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fell awkwardly into the board during Monday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks and left the game. Nugent-Hopkins will not play tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Also injured in Monday night’s game was defenceman Tom Gilbert. For Gilbert it was a knee injury.
It has been over a year since Ryan Whitney’s ankle surgery, but the Oilers defenceman is still not completely recovered. Whitney suffered a broken ankle in a game on December 28th, 2010. After a successful surgery to repair the ankle, and a very long offseason Whitney returned to the Oilers lineup but he hasn’t looked like himself. Yesterday, Whitney spoke to the Edmonton media about his ankle and the pain that he still feels. The current diagnosis is tendinitis and the prescription is time.
While the Edmonton Oilers have been struggling as of late to find wins, their AHL and WHL affiliates have found themselves in the exact opposite situation. The Oilers have still played some exciting hockey, and of course the future looks bright but while the Oilers are falling towards the bottom of the NHL, the Barons are sitting on top of the AHL, and the Oil Kings’ strung together 11 wins before their Christmas break.
The number of Oilers prospects who may wear an Oilers jersey or who are at the very least excellent trading tools is higher than it’s ever been. Yet, among all of the names there has definitely emerged a surprise this year. Currently leading the AHL in scoring is a prospect that many had forgotten about and who had been passed in the ranking by younger prospects; Philippe Cornet. Cornet has played 4 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and now at the age of 21 (22 in March) is in his second AHL season.
Following the Taylor Hall injury update, news that Ben Eager has some injury woes and Anton Lander took a maintenance day, the Edmonton Oilers have recalled centreman Ryan O’Marra from the Oklahoma City Barons. First round pick O’Marra was acquired by the Oilers as part of the package in the trade of Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders on NHL trade deadline day 2007. During his time with the Oilers, O’Marra has played 24 NHL games, 24 ECHL games and 240 AHL games.
The Edmonton Oilers’ AHL farm team, the Oklahoma City Barons have not been receiving the traditional main stream coverage that might help the team attract more fans. This is the Barons’ second year of existence and unfortunately Ryan Aber, the writer who covered the Barons for the Daily Oklahoman was reassigned and has not been replaced. Neal Livingston has written on the Copper & Blue a piece explaining the media situation, and what that means for non-traditional coverage of the team.
As per Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal’s tweets this evening, it seems as though left winger Linus Omark may once again be disgruntled. Omark made some memorable comments to the media after being sent to the Oklahoma City Barons and blamed politics before the season began last season.
When the team chose to send Omark to Oklahoma this season after sitting the feisty shootout sensation in the pressbox, it was done quietly and no announcement was made until Omark had joined the Barons who were currently on their road trip.
In the least surprising news you will hear all day, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will stay with the Oilers for the remainder of the 2011-12 hockey season. None of his teammates were surprised as Ryan Whitney tweeted “The Nuge is staying in NHL huh? What a shocker. In other news, sky is blue, grass is green and it’s going to be cold in Edmonton in January.” Head coach Tom Renney made the announcement to the team, and was met with some happiness. Renney said “I probably would have given him a standing ovation because he is my meal ticket.”
The Oilers have also called up defenceman Jeff Petry from the Oklahoma City Barons. Coincidently, Petry has been called up due to the approximately 3 weeks Whitney will miss due to his knee injury.
The Oilers are doing much better than just hanging on without Whitney and Ales Hemsky, but players will start to get tired, and injuries will mount. The Oilers have one more home game this month, then play a grand total of 4 games at home in November. That is when the true test will come.
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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