by Lisa Brown on 04/30/12 at 01:00 AM ET
The Edmonton Oilers have two first overall players and a third one this summer but it is Jordan Eberle making headlines in the post season. Eblere was surely an easy pick for Team Canada and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships in Sweden and Finland and now that pick is paying off.
This is not Eberle’s first time representing his country, but this is the first time that Eberle is representing his country as a senior player. And what a starting point this is, even if this first game was exhibition.
As Oilers’ fans have come to expect, Eberle scored in nothing but clutch fashion. With just 0.8 seconds remaining in the game, Eberle scored the game tying goal sending the game to overtime.
When the game went to a shootout, it was once again Eberle who was the difference maker, scoring the game winning goal. Not bad for an NHL sophomore and Lady Byng candidate.
Even better is that Eberle has a few fellow Oilers along for the ride. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk and rookie centreman Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are also playing for Team Canada and for head coach Brent Sutter. And then there is also the fact that Kevin Lowe is Team Canada’s GM.
Of course it’s interesting that so many Oilers are off in Europe, along with Lowe and even the recently unemployed Sutter and with a potential vacancy back home in Edmonton. Nothing has been said one way or the other what will happen with Tom Renney but there has to have been conversations one way or the other before Lowe and company set off for Finland.
There is more than enough reason to think that Sutter might be the next Oilers’ coach or at least a candidate for the position, especially considering his successful history with young players. Sutter is the owner of the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL and coached the team to a 2001 Memorial Cup victory. He also coached Team Canada to gold medals at the World’s Juniors in 2005 and 2006 as well as the 2007 Super Series. And so it would seem that Sutter may be exactly what the team needs right now and going forward.
Maybe. This was exactly what was said when Renney and Pat Quinn were brought in. Both were said to be excellent working with young players and would be essential in the Oilers’ rebuild. Since Renney and Quinn were brought in, the Oilers’ luck hasn’t turned around, well unless 3 first overall picks count as turning things around.
Sutter may have seen success at the junior level, but the highest success he took the New Jersey Devils to was a single division title. But measuring success at the NHL level has to boil down to more than a Stanley Cup. The main issue has to be that it doesn’t matter what the story is, or how great with youth a new coach is supposed to be; it’s a story we’ve heard before.
Canada will open up the actual competition Friday night against Zdeno Chara and team Slovakia Friday night in Helsinki, Finland, and we can’t wait to see what Eberle and the rest of Team Canada will do.
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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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