September 19 2014 09:00AM
Craig Ramsay has been involved with the NHL for the past 44 years as a player, coach, director of player personal and assistant general manager. This will be his 21st season as a coach, and he brings a wealth of experience to an Oilers team that doesn't have much of it on the ice.
The Oilers opened training camp for the 35th time this morning with the veterans taking medicals. They will be on the ice tomorrow and Saturday before playing two preseason games on Sunday vs. the Flames.
What will Ramsay add to the coaching staff? He and I discussed his philosophies on defence, powerplay and most importantly, for him, the need for his players to trust him.
September 18 2014 11:43AM
Training camp officially began today. The players went through a wide range of medical testing to gauge their endurance, strength, mobility, agility, eyes, teeth and overall health. They will be on the ice tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., the practices are open to the public, and they have been divided into three teams: Team Gretzky, Team Messier and Team Kurri.
September 17 2014 12:16PM
The first time I watched the Oilers rookies battle the U of A Golden Bears was in 1993. Jason Arnott was a rookie and my brother was a free agent invitee to training camp. He played with Arnott for the first few days of camp, and I vividly remember him calling me at home after the second day of training camp and talking about his experience.
He told me Arnott was going to be an excellent player. He was big, strong, had a great shot and played with an edge. Arnott went on to score 33 goals as a rookie, so his scouting report was pretty accurate.
My brother grew up a diehard Mark Messier fan, so wearing the Oilers jersey, even against the Bears was a fun experience for him.
September 16 2014 07:47AM
Taylor Hall enters his 5th NHL season as one of the most dangerous scorers in the NHL, but the 22-year-old spent the summer analyzing his game in hopes of becoming even more dominant this season.
How much better can he be? According to the first overall pick in 2010, he can improve significantly.
"I believe that I’m far from a finished product," responded Hall when I asked him where he feels his game is at. He spent the summer getting stronger, but also watching video from last season and picking out aspects of his game that he wants to improve.
September 15 2014 10:46AM
The Oilers rookies wrap up their rookie tournament in Penticton this afternoon before flying back to Edmonton to prepare for Wednesday's tilt vs. the U of A Golden Bears at Clare Drake Arena.The veterans partake in medicals on Thursday, step on the ice Friday and Saturday before the first preseason games on Sunday vs. the Flames.
The Oilers and Flames will play two games this coming Sunday, one in each city, but before the games begin here are some notes prior to the start of the Oilers 35th NHL season.