March 23 2010 11:52PM
The unpredictability of sports, and especially hockey, is what makes it impossible not to watch, even the most meaningless game. All of a sudden the Oilers have won three straight home games for the first time since October, and they’ve beaten three playoffs teams in the process.
A big “Who saw that coming” is fitting right now.
Roberto Luongo was dreadful tonight. The Tom Gilbert and Andrew Cogliano goals were brutal, while the Robert Nilsson goal was questionable at best.
And speaking of “WSTC,” you have to think Nathan Deobald felt that way when he got to live out every hockey kid’s dream of suiting up in the NHL. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t get in the game, but he took the warm up, faced shots from NHL players, sat in the dressing room, listened to Pat Quinn’s pregame speech, had the best seat in the house for a game and then soaked up the atmosphere in a winning room. It’s probably better he didn’t play, because now he only has positive memories to recant to all of his buddies for the next 50 years.
Don’t tell me you wouldn’t love the opportunity to dress for an NHL game. Anyone who says it doesn’t count because he didn’t play is lying and doesn’t understand what it means to fulfill the dream. Good for him and his family who got to watch the game live at Rexall.
New face in town
There has been lots of dialogue and discussion whether Jordan Eberle should get a few games with the Oilers this year. And it has been interesting talking and listening to people in the organization and around the league about the decision to put him in Springfield.
I’d like to see him play here, but I understand that four or five games in the NHL this year won’t alter his career.
I think he’d benefit from getting a true feel of how fast the game is, and what areas he needs to improve on in order to stay here next year, but the team is in no hurry to rush him along.
In fact, I get the sense from some that Eberle might not start here next year. What if the Oilers want him to develop his game a bit more in the AHL for 30 or more games next season? I’m guessing it would infuriate some fans, but it might — and I stress might — help him develop. He is a smaller guy, with average foot speed, so maybe some seasoning in the AHL could help.
I’m not sold on that idea, but I don’t think 30 or 40 games in the AHL would be the worst thing either.
Some are worried that if he gets called up this season, all the focus will be on him compared to next season when he could come to camp with MPS, Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin, a healthy Ales Hemsky and a sober Nikolai Khabibulin.
Is that a valid concern?
I don’t think so, but that seems to be one of the thought processes of the team right now. As of today, it sounds like Eberle won’t get recalled, but I won’t believe that fully until the season is over.
While you debate whether he should be here or not, don’t be stunned if another Oiler prospect makes an appearance in Edmonton before the season is over. The Oilers have nine games remaining and they could bring in a young guy to play the remainder of the year, and it wouldn’t count as a contract year if this was his first foray into pro hockey.
Jeff Petry might make an appearance in Edmonton sooner than you think. Guy Flaming, from The Pipeline Show, is pretty tapped into all the prospects on the Oilers and around the NHL. He mentioned to me that he thinks this is a legitimate possibility.
It makes sense, when you consider Petry just wrapped up his season with Michigan State and is in playing shape. He won’t benefit from another year in college and he has a NHL caliber shot right now.
You might not see Eberle this season, but you might see another player we’ve been hearing about since he was drafted in the 2nd round in 2006.
“Who saw that coming?!” — Colonel Eldrick V. Towel Boy