September 17 2011 07:26AM
Unless you live in a pineapple under the sea, you know the Oilers are back in town and the turning of the leaves offers the promise of a brand new day.
SHUT UP AND DRIVE
The Oilers usually open the draw bridge and let everyone curl up in the big rocking chair for the first on-ice drills of training camp, but this season all sessions are closed until the Joey Moss tomorrow afternoon. That's cool, we can wait a day, and soonafter the Oilers will be playing so much the mind boggles. A double header on Tuesday and lots and lots of hockey to follow.
AN EAGER GROUP LINE UP FOR MEDICAL EXAM!
The medicals are done and some of the club's injuries are known (Whitney and Hemsky will be brought along slowly, Ewanyk has some real trouble and there are nagging injuries for Milan Kytnar and Ryan Martindale--this much we know) and the Al Gore is full of people who say they know the 23-man roster for opening night.
I'm telling you this right now: the Oilers 23-man roster will be a work in progress all season long. Why? Many of the injured guys from last year and the year before that and the year before that are back! Makes sense, no?
- Ales Hemsky: 95 games missed in the last 2 seasons (he's played 69)
- Ryan Whitney: 47 games missed last year
- Shawn Horcoff: 35 games missed last year
- Nikolai Khabibulin: injured and or ineffective for much of his 2 seasons in Edmonton
So when we talk about no battles for jobs in training camp, we're really saying "if everything breaks right" and we know that never happens. At every position there will be competition this fall, and at some point the names of players that we discount today will appear during the regular season: Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen, Lennert Petrell, Jeff Petry, Yann Danis.
Training camp and pre-season are very important for this team. A year ago, the Oilers employed 20 forwards, 11 defensemen and 3 goalers.
A year ago, Oiler fans entered camp with a plethora of new names to follow. Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Omark and others arrived to a rousing welcome and offered the chance of a new tomorrow. Those young men arrived at training camp determined, and in their minds the goal was winning a job. The disappointment at getting sent down was absolutely real. Don't believe me? Read this and then tell me Linus Omark was counting contracts and waiver eligibles. There is plenty to be decided at this year's camp, as there is every year.
It begins today.
Nation Radio is on the air at noon today. Among the scheduled guests:
- James Mirtle will give us a national view of this week, and we'll talk about Luke Schenn's new contract, the pressure on Ron Wilson and how the Oilers are perceived in Eastern Canada this season.
- Michael Speidel will tell us about all of these RFA contracts and the ones Oiler fans should be paying close attention to; we'll also talk about his theory on forwards versus defense and how good the Oilers blue will be this season.
- Jason Gregor will give us an update on the rookie tournament and an inside look at the early hours of this year's TC.
- Kent Wilson will join me to talk about several things, including Drew Doughty and some of the other rfa signings this week. We'll touch base on the NW division too and discuss the early training camp stories.
We'll also talk Joey Moss and the things we can look for in training camp and preseason this year. Your emails are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and we hit the air at noon sharp.