by Lisa McRitchie on 09/12/11 at 03:30 AM ET
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.
Olivier Roy got the start in the Oilers’ first game of the tournament. It seems as though the Oilers see Roy and Tyler Bunz as neck and neck in terms of who can be the up and coming Oilers’ goalie. Roy does have a few more games, experiences and years ahead of Bunz, but that may not matter. According to Bunz the two are good friends, but surely the competition between the two will only drive them to reach new levels in their games. Bunz did not see any game action this first game of the prospects tournament, but there are a few more games before the prospects return for their team’s NHL camps.
The best player on the ice, at least through the first two periods, was easily Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. RHN was all over the ice, making smart passes, taking shots and making jaws drop. Oilers fans who still aren’t sure what to think about this year’s first overall draft pick likely still aren’t convinced or sure, but with a game like this, Hopkins could put an extra “H” in the Oilers’ HOPE (Hall Omark Pääjärvi Eberle).
When talking about best players on the ice, one cannot leave out Anton Lander. There is little secret that I have a soft spot for the up and coming Swedes, but I see something in Lander that made this non-gambler, non-competitive gal make a $5 bet that Lander will play an NHL game by Christmas. You might find yourself wondering who would bet against me. I think this friend felt that he should be paying me back for my kindnesses and thought this easy bet would be a good start. Lander scored two goals in the second period, both on the power play. During the second intermission, Dan Tencer spoke with Lander “Lander all smiles after a great period. I told him about Paajarvi’s hat trick here last year. Lander says “I’m gonna beat him.”
Tambellini was proud of his prospects looking down from the pressbox. “To see some of the plays, RNH, Lander, Ryder, these type of players that are coming in. Very poised for young players.” Especially in the Oilers camp, a lot of attention in focused on Nugent-Hopkins, “I told Ryan to just go to camp, be yourself. We’re happy with you you are and as a hockey player… obviously he’s demonstrated some skill tonight.”
Of course there were several skilled young players on the ice, especially for the Oilers and their 7-2 finish. In terms of fights, they won some, they lost some. There is some concern over the health of Colten Tuebert after he lost his fight with Adam Polasek. Tuebert looked as though his nose could be broken. He will undoubtedly be assessed by medical staff, and the day off from play will surely do him good.
Although all prospects on both teams are playing to catch the attention of their NHL clubs, not all players are competing for a position on this year’s roster. For the Oilers, it is easy to know which players are most likely to crack the line-up, or are most hopeful to crack the line-up. Colten Tuebert is hoping that the thin blueline means that he may have a spot in the NHL this coming season and wearing the ‘C’ can’t hurt.
For a more detailed breakdown of goals and penalties, the Oilers’ webpage and Ryan Dittrick did an excellent job, while I multitasked. I have to say that it is such a joy to have game positives come so easily and also to say OILERS BEAT THE CANUCKS 7-2. As Terry Jones tweeted, ‘Remember when you turned on the TV and weren’t surprised to see the Oilers beating the Canucks 6-1?’ sorry Terry, I don’t but I sure look forward to those days.
Next up, the Oilers take on the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night at 8:30 MST. Hopefully by then I will have a better handle on who is wearing what number. I’m sure I will learn them in time for the tournament to end.
Revel in this win folks, the Oilers’ season is still questionable. My call that the Oilers will at least make a push for the playoffs isn’t guaranteed, but I would love to be right on this one.
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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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