September 22 2012 09:50AM
Nail Yakupov made his pro debut in what might be the best league on the planet today, as the Oilers prospects continue to kick off their 12-13 seasons and possibly settle in with the teams they'll play for this year.
Our man Nail is sure to excite and amaze at Rexall, the new Rexall, or another NHL city Daryl Katz chooses to move the team to, but for now we're all trying to pronounce Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, He even has his own name page, although that photo doesn't look like him to me.
But that's just the beginning. Oscar Klefbom plays today, the game information is here and updates nicely.
A QUICK GLANCE AROUND THE HOCKEY WORLD
David Musil (photo) made his season debut for the Vancouver Giants and went 0-1-1, -1 in a loss for his team. You likely know about the Oil Kings season debut and a really nice game from Mitchell Moroz. He grabbed a loose puck, drove to the net, made a good enough shot for the goalie to send out a kevlar rebound and picked up an assist on Michael St. Croix's goal. Playing with skill should mean magnificent boxcars for Moroz this season. A few others to mention:
- Daniil Zharkov had an assist in Belleville's (OHL) opening game. He's another player to watch closely, could be a MBS draft steal.
- Klefbom's +2 after 3 games and playing about 18 minutes a night. If he can average 20+ and post a good plus minus, I think we can talk about him making the Oilers opening night roster in 13-14.
- Tobias Rieder had an assist and was +2 in Kitchener's opening game, and had all kinds of scoring chances. A hot goalie robbed him at least three times.
- Linus Omark isn't exactly ripping it up in Switzerland. No points, -3 in 2 games for Zug.
- Alexander Bumagin is having a nice start in the KHL, 7, 1-4-5 so far. We'll never see him, but he was an Oiler pick right after the SC run spring 2006.
- Rob Schremp has a goal in his first 7 KHL games. When the Russians come home, suspect ST will be moving on.
- Marc Pouliot has an assist and 20 pims (!!!!) in his first three games in Switzerland.
MORE TO COME
This time next week, we'll be talking about OKC Barons and their season. Look, I miss the NHL too but this is a magnificent chance for the club to marry the elite skilled kids to some complementary types--and that could end up being a major item when the NHL returns (possibly in my lifetime!).
Remember 2000 fall, when an entire line came from Hamilton (the Bulldog line) and made the big league club? Although Brian Swanson and Michel Riesen didn't last, Daniel Cleary used that as a springboard to a very productive NHL career.
This generation's Cleary could catch lightning in a bottle during this lockout, and that's worth paying attention to this fall.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I'm old, so can say this: hanging on every word from a New York lawyer about this NHL lockout is a loser's bet. It's time to look at this season as an opportunity to expand horizons, embrace other levels of hockey and find joy in these wonderful players who play in leagues that care about their fans.
Rock on, NHL. Enjoy your desks. We're going mobile.