There is no denying that the Vancouver Giants and the Calgary Hitmen do not like each other. While the two teams rarely face off, this competition and dislike may stem from the NHL or even the fact that they are two big western cities and are playing for bragging rights.
For the Edmonton Oilers, goaltending continues to be an issue if not a major concern. When this season began, it appeared as though Nikolai Khabibulin was back to his prime and that Devan Dubnyk was ready to make the next step. Now, as the season has progressed, neither Dubnyk nor Khabibulin looks as steady, but they do still have great games from time to time.
What may be of little comfort to Oilers fans is that the Oilers may have the “real deal” waiting and developing in the WHL. For many however, Bunz is one of most exciting prospects in the Oilers’ system. After all, Bunz can be a real game changer. The best part of that of course being that Tyler Bunz was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Round. Everyone loves an underdog story.
All good things have to come to an end, including winning streaks. Wednesday night, The Calgary Hitmen’s winning streak had to end at 8 after an emotional 5-1 loss to central division rivals the Medicine Hat Tigers. With a total of 8 fighting majors, 114 penalty minutes and 33 infractions, both penalty boxes could have used revolving doors.
For the 2011 NHL entry draft there were several sons of former Oilers available, and the concern of whether or not those players may be selected for their blood ties before their hockey skills appeared real enough. When it came to David Musil, son of Edmonton Oilers’ European scout Frank Musil, selected 31st overall, concerns were quickly set aside. Musil had been ranked anywhere from 23 (The Hockey News) and 38 (CSS for N.A. skaters) and taking the defenceman at 31 was reasonable.
With the Edmonton Oilers’ current state of affairs, a first round draft pick in the waiting is something to get excited about. Enter Oscar Klefbom.
Drafted at 19th in the 2011 NHL entry draft with the Los Angeles pick acquired in the trade deadline day Dustin Penner trade, many were surprised Klefbom was still available. But as Klefbom’s name was called, fans already started slotting him into the roster in two years time.
After 31 years of waiting, it has finally happened; Sweden has won gold at the IIHF World Juniors Tournament and is the fourth country in as many years to win top honours. In some way, the 1981 Swedish gold medal winning team was with this 2012 team, but only in the locker room. The team had brought with them photos of the players from the gold medal winning team to use as inspiration. Apparently, it worked.
It was a battle of the goaltenders, nearly staring each other down from opposite ends of the ice. For the Czech Republic their goaltender Petr Mrazek was named player of the game as the Czechs lost to Canada 5-0, and the for the Russians Andrei Vasilevski has allowed only 4 goals on 121 shots. Vasilevski had not allowed a goal until the Saturday night game against Sweden. And now, they meet on the ice.
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.
Can you believe it! It’s not even a question when talking about the 2012 IIHF World Juniors, not today at least. Both December 31st Calgary games seemed to be won long before the final buzzer, but in both situations, the perceived victor walked away with their heads hanging.
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.
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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