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.
Edmonton Oilers’ Swedish prospect Oscar Klefbom has had a less than ideal season so far. In September Klefbom suffered a cut to his thigh and subsequently a leg infection. Most recently, Klefbom suffered a concussion. Recently however, November 24th, Klefbom was able to return to his Swedish Elite Team (SEL) Färjestad BK. Should Klefbom remain healthy for the next month, we will be able to see Klefbom represent his country at the World Juniors tournament in Calgary.
The Team Canada World Juniors camp invitations have been announced and only 3 players from last year’s silver medal winning team will be returning. This group of players features no real surprises, but definitely a large number of talented players.
Edmonton Oilers’ prospect goaltender Tyler Bunz is on the list as is Edmonton Oil Kings defencemen Mark Pysyk. Both are Edmonton natives who are hoping to represent their country in their home town.
Aaron Vickers of NHL.com has some comments from Team Canada head of scouting Kevin Prendergast:
I think the skill factor overall (is higher),” Prendergast said. “We have a lot of skilled defensemen. Not near as big as we were last year, but we have good players back there. We’re young up front compared to where we were last year, but you look at these kids, you look at their stats, where they were drafted in the (NHL) draft, they were in NHL camps for a while. They understand what they have to bring when they get here.
This could be the second year in a row that an Edmonton Oiler goaltender prospect may be in net for Team Canada at the World Juniors tournament. Last year, Roy played the opening game for Team Canada and two other important preliminary games but struggled with consistency. Mark Visentin was Team Canada’s second goaltender who would start 4 games, and was the goaltender the team relied on through the final game. This year, it is Medicine Hat Tiger’s netminder Tyler Bunz who is on the radar for Team Canada.
After serving his jail time this summer and two horrible seasons on a four year deal most Oiler fans, including me, thought that Nikolai Khabibulin would be on an extremely short leash and hoped that Devan Dubnyk would be ready to shoulder most of the weight this season. In fact, many of us looked at situations where Khabibulin could play in the AHL and newly signed goaltender Yann Dannis could play with Dubnyk. The resounding response from Oklahoma City Barons fans was “What makes you think we want him?”
Oilers’ prospect Drew Czerwonka had to wait longer than most to play his first game of the season this year thanks to a shoulder injury suffered at the Oilers’ training camp. Although the wait was excruciating for the left winger, being named captain of his WHL team, the Kootenay Ice surely helped make his return to the game that much better.
Apparently, 95% of parents have a favourite child and that the other 5% are lying. With that in mind I won’t bother suggesting that I don’t have favourite prospects, even though the two situations are completely different. I try to remain unbiased, and can be successful in that regard in many ways, but certainly not all. Quite simply, some prospects make my job easy; they’re confident, well spoken, friendly and put me at ease as much as I hope I do for them. Drew Czerwonka of the Kootenay Ice is one of those prospects. With his calm yet friendly demeanor, million dollar smile and thoughtful responses Czerwonka has quickly become a favourite of mine.
Oilers fall to Canucks 2-1
This wasn’t the game that Oilers fans were expecting. As the day progressed, excitement built. This was the first televised game of the 2011 pre-season, and on TSN no less. The Oilers’ roster was announced and there were very few surprises. Once the Canucks roster was announced, people clamored to look up NHL rules; don’t teams have to dress a certain number of veterans?
“Every game against Calgary is a big game” Philippe Cornet wearing an ‘A’ told Edmonton Oilers’ Tom Gazzola from the bench prior to the game. I find it interesting that the Oilers’ prospects buy into the Alberta rivalry so soon, in fact before they even reach the big club. However, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I don’t care if it’s Calgary firemen vs. Edmonton in a chili cook-off contest, in my world, Edmonton needs to win every time. So, imagine how that carries forward at least for me when it comes to the Oilers versus the Flames, even the baby Oilers. That is why I went to bed with a broken heart Wednesday night.
With a few Europeans who would have been especially touched by the loss of the KHL Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team on the ice for the Edmonton Oilers versus Vancouver Canucks prospects game, in Anton Lander and his former Timra teammate Sebastian Erixon, the Oilers’ first game of the rookie tournament in Penticton began with a moment of silence. Because this was also the 10th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy in New York, there was also a mention of those lost. This was such a solemn start to such excitement for so many hockey fans. The popularity of this tournament has grown so much so that fans didn’t have to watch grainy jumpy feeds online on their computers or streamed through their PS3s. Instead, this game was shown in all of its high definition glory on Sportsnet. Well for this game at least.
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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