Rockin' New Years Eve

December 31 2010 08:33AM

This is Valeri Kharlamov. He had a major impact on every Canadian hockey fan 38 years ago. Game 1, Canada-Russia. My father and I agreed that Frank Mahovlich would be the best player against the Soviets because of his size and skill (he wasn't; that honor went to Phil Esposito). September 2, 1972.

Canada had a 2-0 lead by the 6:32 mark of the first period. They would be outscored 7-1 over the final 54 minutes. A few years later, the Russians would play Montreal at the Forum on New Year's eve. It's a classic, the game will be on television at least once today in Canada (has been for many years). There's another game this New Year's eve that you might want to watch. It could be a classic too.

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Jason Gregor
December 30 2010 12:23PM

Life without Ryan Whitney begins tonight for the Oilers, and it doesn't seem likely that they will have the horses to stay competitive. Whitney has been Mr. Everything for the Oilers this year. He leads them in points, assists, plus/minus and icetime. He is +13 on a team where the other D-men are all minus, except Jim Vandermeer (+3), and are a combined -32. Whitney was having a career year, and the Oilers backend looks overmatched without him.

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The Lottery!

Jonathan Willis
December 29 2010 06:45PM

With Ryan Whitney out of the picture for two months, the Edmonton Oilers’ already strong chance at a lottery finish just got a little stronger. The reality is that this team has had a stranglehold on a lottery position since the get-go, and this is just a little extra insurance to get them over the line.

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Jason Gregor
December 29 2010 01:26PM

Back on December 3rd I wrote that the the Oilers were ready to put ELPH in the rearview mirror, and would not finish in the bottom five. Shows how much I know, although I did state the only way they would stay in the hunt for a lottery pick would be if the injury bug hit. The injury bug bit Ales Hemsky for 13 games, Shawn Horcoff has been out since December 7th and now Ryan Whitney will be out at least a few weeks.

Most teams would struggle losing arguably their three best players, but when you are a young team the impact hits even harder.

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Robin Brownlee
December 28 2010 04:10PM

OTTAWA, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Andrew Cogliano  of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates his game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators in a game at Scotiabank Place on November 29, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

I don't know if Andrew Cogliano is ever going to play his way back into the long-term plans of the Edmonton Oilers, but I can't help but think his best chance to do it will come in the next month.

That window of opportunity swings open tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, when he'll line up between Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky on coach Tom Renney's second line. It'll stay open as long as Renney leaves him there, or until Shawn Horcoff returns from the sprained knee that has him on the shelf.

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