Another weekend without the NHL and many of you have continued to go on living. Crazy, I know, but it seems the NHL is more interested/concerned about the Winter Classic than actually negotiating you should get used to no-NHL weekends.

There is however lots of hockey related and other sports topics to discuss.

While none of us love -20 or colder, I’m thankful that despite the odd cold day we rarely have to worry about natural disasters in Alberta. Our thoughts go out to those dealing with an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane.

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  • Imagine if Justin Schultz was playing in Edmonton right now. He’d be the toast of the town. I know he wouldn’t be leading the NHL in scoring like he is the AHL, but 12 points in 7 games in any pro league is damn good. The only bright light of this lockout for Oiler fans is that Schultz is getting some pro experience that should make his transition to the NHL a bit easier.
  • Matt Nichols goes 9 of 15 for 230 yards and 3 TDs and 1INT in ten minutes yesterday, while Kerry Joseph was 10 of 19 for 116 yards and 1 INT in the first 50 minutes. After the game head coach Kavis Reed said Joseph was still his starter. If the Eskimos have any hope of winning a playoff game, if they make it, they should start Nichols. It is unclear how good Nichols is going to be great long-term, but I know that Joseph’s best days are behind him. At his best he was inconsistent, and now you toss in that he can’t scramble like he used to and it makes no sense why the Eskimos continue to start him.
  • I’ve never believed an athlete when they say playing their former team is "just another game." Of course they want to beat their former team and Ricky Ray hinted as much yesterday when he said, "Happy to be hosting Eastern semi final in two weeks. I wouldn’t mind facing the Edmonton Eskimos if they make the cross over." A lot has to happen for that to occur; involving the Riders, Esks and Tiger Cats, but it would be a juicy story line if the Esks travel to Toronto next weekend.
  • Many Oiler fans asked me over the weekend if the Oilers will have to trade off one of their four star forwards, Eberle, Hall, RNH and Yakupov, like the OKC Thunder did when they moved James Harden. It is hard to say until we see the new CBA and what restrictions, if any, they have on new contracts. I do think that one of the wingers will be moved at some point, but not right away. I do think it would be possible to have the four of them at around $22-23 million and still have enough depth to be competitive. I suspect we are three years away before the Oilers have to make a decision based solely on salary.
  •  Interesting to note there are five D-man in the top-16 scorers in the AHL. Schultz leads the league with 12 points; TJ Brennan (Sabres) has 10, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Coyotes), Justin Faulk (Hurricanes) and Marco Scandella (Wild) each have nine. In the NHL last year only five D-men cracked the top-100. Scouts have told me they feel there is more depth amongst offensive D-man than skilled forwards this year. I’ll be interested to see if the backend production continues all year.
  • Taylor Hall will be back in Edmonton this week to get his shoulder looked at again. He spent the last two weeks practicing and if he gets clearance he could suit up for the Barons this week. He will need to sign an AHL contract before he plays. Because he won’t be on an NHL two-way deal, he’ll need to cover his hefty insurance costs, and that’s why his agent will likely be looking for a six-figure AHL deal.
  • I’m not surprised Linus Omark is ripping up the Swiss league with 23 points in 16 games, but that doesn’t mean he’ll make the Oilers whenever the lockout ends. If Omark returns to the NHL it will be on a different team. He isn’t better than Hall, Eberle or Yakupov and the Oilers can’t possibly have him as their 4th top-six winger and expect to compete. They need some size up front.
  • Did you know the Ontario Junior Hockey League (Junior A) contracted from 36 teams down to 24 over the past three seasons? That is 240 fewer players playing Junior A, and it was done because the talent pool is dwindling. Fewer kids are playing hockey and I wonder if in the next few years we will see the AJHL follow suit and contract or amalgamate some teams. Read more on that here.
  • Last week I wrote about The Last Gladiators, a documentary on the life of Chris Nilan. It was a great flick and it is playing in Edmonton at Movies 12 on 5074 130th Avenue. It is worth your time.
  • I rarely mention Bantam hockey players, because I think it’s unfair to heap expectations on a 14-year-old, but Tyler Benson is off to an incredible start. The SSAC forward has 24 goals and 56 points in 11 games. Who knows where  he’ll go in hockey, but anytime you can average 5 points/game in Bantam AAA it’s worth mentioning.
  • My Dolphins are 4-3 after crushing the hapless Jets 30-9. The Fins aren’t a legit playoff contender yet, but after they beat the 4-3 Colts this Sunday they will be. Their defense is solid, and if Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury isn’t that serious they will push for a wildcard berth. 
  • Does anyone still believe Tony Romo is a top-ten QB?
  • The baseball playoffs were riveting until the World Series started. Nothing sucks the life out of the playoffs like a four-game sweep. The Giants deserved to win, but outside of Pablo Sandoval’s game one heroics this series didn’t excite me.
  •  We only have 40 tickets left for DJ Suitcase’s party this Friday at the Pint off Whyte. If you want to go I suggest getting your tickets today. It will be great time.



  • 24% body fat

    Question about the lockout – Why can’t the HRR be a 50-50 split and all the contracts get paid in full. I understand some team would be over the cap if it was a 50-50 split. The GMs would have to trade some players, waive some players or buyout some players to get under the cap.

  • Jason Gregor

    Gregor, or any of the other writers here, can someone please do an update of some of the other leagues if you have info? We get regular KHL updates but it would be nice to know what some of the other Oilers are doing, like Smid, Hemsky, and Gagner. Are there streams to watch their games online? Does anyone know?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Does anyone believe Romo is a top 10 anymore?

    Sure, there are lots who do. Just like there are lots who think Tebow can come in and take the Jets to the playoffs.

  • Reality Check to the head

    I am a sports fan not just a NHL fan. On Friday evening I took my children to the U of A for the volleyball matches. I sat there and thought to myself, if there was an Oiler game tonight I probably wouldn’t have been there. I hope
    that longer this goes, the more likely fans are to use their time and money on different entertainment options.

    While fans came back after the last lockout, I hope there is a severe backlash so owners and players will think twice about taking this kind action again. Unfortunately, I dont think this will be the case as people will probably rush back to the rink, bars and televisions to watch this very exciting young team.

    There are other options out there and I starting to not notice the lack of NHL games on TV.

    • Mumbai Max

      Nuge – 7 GP 2 G 6 A
      Ebs -7 GP 2 G 4 A

      They have been creating an insane amount of chances but took a few games to get on the scoresheet. They absolutely own the puck on the cycle.

      Also Hartikainen has been a beast. 7 GP 7 Pts.

  • I am done with Kavis Reed as Head Coach.

    The guy is an absolute mess. His team is disorganized, the decision making group is a gong show, and this bs about the QB is about as asinine as you can get.

    The special teams have been a train wreck all year. The same mistakes happen over and over. The offense is pitiful, and the Defense is overworked as a result.

    This insistence on Joseph as QB is the equivalent of putting Toby Peterson on the PP. What we are seeing here is an organization spiraling out of control.

    From Tillman down to the Special Teams Coach this organization needs a purge. Bring back Tom Higgins. This group needs a clear head and some class.

    • eastcoastoil

      Reed is in over his head. I totally agree with everything you point out.

      I can never figure out how people who have played, can be so bad at reading games. The play calling is atrocious, with the execution not much better….

      I hope we play the Argos and Ricky Ray shoves it up Tillman’s behind sideways…..

  • eastcoastoil

    I agree with archielogical. To many penalties from being not ready. It should rarely happen at the beginning of the season. Here we are almost into the playoffs.

    Nichols, for the most part, was getting rid of the ball in 2-3 seconds and throwing it to where his receivers could catch it. It may have been against the prevent-defense, but they were catchable passes. Too few of these the last few games.

    Kavis Reed, I like a lot about him. I think he needs to get better assistants that can teach these pro’s how to avoid off-sides and time-count violations. . . and stick to managing expectations.

  • eastcoastoil


    Kavis attributed Jones’ success on his winning streak to changing the launch points.

    Why go back to the Ricky Ray playbook of a straight drop back passer??
    Why not try to get Messam one on one with some DB’s? Why not dump over the middle with all the blitzing going on ??

    I’m certainly not a knowledgable football fan but these questions I kept asking myself watching the Esk’s get dominated the past few games.

  • eastcoastoil

    sorry, got cut off…

    If you want to watch OKC games for free.

    Just check there on game days. Its maybe, probably, pretty much for sure, absolutely not legal. But if you don’t mind a little piracy its free and works good enough to watch on your laptop until these clowns figure out the lockout.

  • Mumbai Max

    Her name is Aishwarya Rai. She has a few more miles on her since this photo was taken. Still beautiful though. Daughter in law of the biggest Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachchan. She has a terrible wrist shot though.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I hope the Eskimos don’t make the playoffs AND the Argos win the Grey Cup just to shove that in Tillmans face,yes I am an Eskimo fan but this season was a gong show and Tillman and Reed better be held accountable.

    The day Fehr was hired I knew there was going to be a lockout, and I expect a lockout everytime a CBA expires with Bettman in charge. They both are to blame for not sitting down and staying there til something is agreed to. The NHL needs to have people in charge who care about the game and the fans (and someone to tell the owners you made this bed lay in it)not just about the money.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    When the lockout is over do the Oilers still have the rights to Omark or is he a UFA? This could up his trade value if he continues to produce overseas..

  • Reg Dunlop

    Is this the state of ON without the Oilers? Talking about the CFL? A decent Texas high school team would come up here and win the Grey Cup but first they would have to get used to playing in front of smaller crowds. Ricky Ray? Watch him; throwing 10 yards downfield he has to throw the big Ron Lancaster rainbow. Girls in the lingere league have better arms.
    There must be 200 quarterbacks EVERY YEAR comming out of US college and high school that are better than Kerry Joseph. The CFL is a joke, so much so that while it is true Romo is not much of a NFL QB, if he was in the CFL he would break all Damon Allen’s records by the half time break in his 1st game. Proof of this: Doug Flutie couldn’t hack it in the NFL but he was simply too good for the CFL.

    • Clyde Frog

      Yeah so not true, but good on you for dreaming.

      Doug Flutie stepped in ’98 and put up a QB rating of 87.4 on a pretty mediocre Bills team. He then went on to have 7 more seasons in the NFL, much longer than the average career started in a players early 20’s… Yup total bust..

      The different sized field requires different sets of skills which is why you don’t see as much crossover, especially when you add the 12th man to the mix.

      But sure, an okay group of 15-18 years olds from Texas would totally compete against a team of professionals in their mid-20’s.