The Real Winner of the Oilers' Rebuild

Jonathan Willis
March 29 2012 01:50PM

The rebuild isn't over - but there is already a clear winner.

There are those out there passionately committed to the idea of a bottom-to-top rebuild, a systematic restructuring of the Edmonton Oilers that sees the team wander for an unspecified but finite time in the hockey wilderness before finally emerging into the promised land. They include fans, columnists both paid directly by the Oilers and financially independent of the organization, and undoubtedly people in the team’s management structure.

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The Magical Time Before The Instigator Rule

Jonathan Willis
March 28 2012 10:25AM

Show any hard hit on a star player, or any cheap shot, and someone is bound to talk about the need to dump the instigator rule. They may reference the magical time before the instigator rule was implemented, generally in a ‘back when men were men and rats were hunted down and killed’ sort of way.

It’s self-delusion, of course.

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There’s No Such Thing As Protection, For Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Or Anyone Else

Jonathan Willis
March 27 2012 11:24PM

Jim Matheson’s Edmonton Journal piece on protecting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins today neatly encapsulated the feelings of many Oilers observers. Matheson, whose time as Oilers’ beat reporter goes back to the glory days of the club, referenced the old days when Wayne Gretzky had plenty of physical protection on the team.

My objection would be that no matter how hard a team tries, there’s simply no protecting star players from big hits any more.

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Taylor Hall To Undergo Surgery; Done For The Season

Jonathan Willis
March 27 2012 12:07PM

With Taylor Hall suffering a concussion as the season wound down, many suggested that he be shut down for the season to prevent any further injury. Today, those people got their wish, but in an unlikely manner.

The Edmonton Oilers have announced that Taylor Hall will not return this season; instead he’ll have surgery on his left shoulder.

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Why The Success Of The Oklahoma City Barons (Probably) Matters

Jonathan Willis
March 27 2012 09:19AM

The Oklahoma City Barons, as of this writing, are the second-best team in the AHL, with 91 points in 68 games and a plus-39 goal differential. If it weren’t for the 20-game winning streak the Norfolk Admirals are on (not hyperbole: the Admirals have literally won their last 20 contests) they’d be the best team in the league.

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