Oilers beat Penguins 2-1 in shootout
This game was more than just a home opener in Oil Country. This was the season opener, the first game as Oilers for the newly acquired Oilers, the first NHL game for Anton Lander and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and of course the return of Ryan Smyth.
The Edmonton Oilers took to Jasper this week for a little team building and training upon the completion of the pre-season. Thanks to various tweets we have an idea of what the bus ride and week was like. At the same time, the Oilers’ lines have been shuffled for opening night and will continue to change until Tom Renney sees something he likes.
Coach Tom Renney gets asked a million questions every day, but Monday’s questions seemed to be concerning many more topics than usual. Renney was asked about the condition of his players, his choices for cuts, his starting lineup, about the players who weren’t cut, the team trip to Jasper and everything else the people of Oil Country would like to know. The Edmonton Oilers have a portion of Renney’s interview available on their website and Jason Gregor of the Team 1260, has a much longer portion available in the 3rd hour of the October 3rd show.
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?
The Edmonton Oilers kicked off pre-season with split squad games in Edmonton against the Minnesota Wild and in Saskatoon against the Chicago Blackhawks. Both games were streamed online, but both games had technical difficulties, even after the games were over. As fantastic as technology is, it’s funny how it still disappoints. At this time an archived version of the games is not available.
The Edmonton Oilers are faced with new challenges this year, as well as returning old ones. The old challenges include goaltending and defence while the new challenges include who will play centre when it looks like the Oilers are well stocked.
Today is a big day for the Edmonton Oilers because today is the first day of training camp. There are a few Oilers and prospects that are not on the ice due to various injuries and it is also captain Shawn Horcoff’s birthday. If nothing else, truly this has to be the surest sign that the hockey season is days away. The Oilers’ today were divided into 3 teams, A, B and C to take part in various on-ice drills. With so many people at camp on day one, including the injured, the Oilers’ brass will have their work cut out for them to start making cuts.
This spring, Team Canada named Vancouver Giant’s head coach Don Hay to coach the 2012 Team Canada World Junior team. The last time the championships were in Alberta, Canada took the gold. Coincidently, Don Hay was the team’s head coach. 1995 was also a year that a young Ryan Smyth played for Team Canada. Through the seven games played, Smyth scored 2 goals and 5 assists.
The Sunday night crowd in Fort McMurray was large for Team Canada’s second consecutive night of split squad action. The newly renovated Casman Cenre was unsurprisingly sold out. Not many hockey fans can pass up a live game of this caliber on an August night. The city of Fort McMurray currently hosts an AJHL team, the Oil Barons and I often wonder if they might support a WHL team some day.
“Today is the best day of my life!” Proclaimed Noah, a young Edmonton Journal contest winner. His prize, a chance to watch the Team Canada U20 game from the pressbox, a behind the scenes tour and memories to last a lifetime. “We got to meet Ryan Smyth!” The contest winner, with his youthful smile and energy went on. There were two winners of this contest, and thankfully only one broke my heart when he told me that he was not an Oilers fan. The list of teams he does cheer for was long, and one team pains me too much to even type. Each winner was dressed in a team Canada hockey sweater signed by the players at this camp, one red and the other white.These of course were far from the only youths in attendance at this event and it is wonderful to see so many who still dream of playing hockey at it’s highest levels and not for the contracts, but for the sheer love of the game.
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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