by Lisa McRitchie on 09/20/11 at 10:00 AM ET
The Edmonton Oilers open their pre-season, officially, with two split squad games tonight. Both games start at 7pm MST but one is in Edmonton against the Minnesota Wild and the other in Saskatoon against the Chicago Blackhawks. The people of Saskatoon are in for a real treat, two of the biggest draws for the Edmonton Oilers will be starting their seasons in the SK and not Rexall Place.
The news broke when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tweeted “Heading to Saskatoon tomorrow for my first pro game against chicago. #cantwait” What an age we live in when we no longer have to wait for the morning paper, a radio announcement or an official press release, well sometimes. In fact, 630 Ched broke the news by reading Nugent-Hopkins’ tweet. News continued to break of the expected lineups with Ryan Smyth joining Nugent-Hopkins in Saskatoon.
Several Oilers fans are of course disappointed, there were mini-packs sold that included the pre-season game against the Wild and the next game is not until December and many fans fear they may have lost their opportunity to see Nugent-Hopkins as an Oiler this season.
Linus Omark and Kurtis Foster in St. Paul Minnesota. Photo by Stephen Smart, all rights reserved.
Tom Gazzolla of the Edmonton Oilers’ media crew put together an excellent look at Linus Omark; last season, his off-season and a little something on all of the Swedish Oilers. Oilers’ fans have learned that Omark will speak his mind and least season he polarized fans and media with his unhappiness at being sent to the AHL. In Oklahoma City, Omark lit it up, exciting fans and turning heads around the league. Once called up to the NHL, the speedy Swede slowed down in terms of points, but continued to make a name for himself in North America.
Omark didn’t come to the players as an 18 year old kid, in his first year in North American hockey; Omark was 23 and had played in both the Swedish Elite League (SEL) and in the Russian KHL. With Omark’s skills and experience in mind, it might be a little easier to empathize with Omark and his frustration at being sent to the AHL.
There will be no shortage of Oilers news over the coming days. The Oilers cut/assigned 9 players on Monday. Of course no names on the list were a surprise and the Edmonton Oil Kings will be happy to have Martin Gernat and
Kristians Pelss back on their roster.
Here is the Oilers’ press release:
OILERS TRIM ROSTER BY NINE
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the club has reduced its training camp roster by nine players.
The following three players were assigned to their respective junior clubs today:
Martin Gernat (D) to Edmonton (WHL)
Kristians Pelss (RW) to Edmonton (WHL)
Tobias Rieder (RW) to Kitchener (OHL)
The following five players were released from their amateur tryouts:
Brett Ferguson (LW)
Chase Schaber (C)
Tyler Schmidt (D)
Colin Smith (C)
Wes Vannieuwenhuizen (D)
The Oilers have also announced Toni Rajala (RW) has been assigned to Ilves Tampere of the Finnish Elite League.
Edmonton’s roster now sits at 57 players.
This is just the beginning, there will many many more cuts and much more news.
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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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