Strong Debut Seasons

January 29 2011 08:32AM

I love old time photos. This one features the great Gordie Howe in the middle, a young Bryan "Bugsy" Watson (who would one day coach our beloved Oilers) on the right and young Ray Cullen on the left. This photo is from 1966-68. One of the best things about following a team is watching the young players develop; Cullen had the better pedigree and was a better offensive prospect but it was Watson who had the longer NHL career. On the current Oilers roster, who are the keepers? The throwaways? The career minor leaguers? It's always been tough to say.

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Shawn Horcoff, You Lucky/Unlucky Dog

Jonathan Willis
January 28 2011 05:04PM

Shawn Horcoff’s ugly minus-29 rating last season did not go over well with fans of the Edmonton Oilers. The veteran centre, inked to a long-term big-dollars pact, was in the richest year of that deal. The expectation was that he provide both offence and defence, but in a season where his point totals fell off and his plus/minus wandered into the sewer he became an easy target on a miserable team.

This season, things are different. Horcoff was named captain in the summer, and while the team is still struggling on the ice there is hope off of it. Despite injury, Horcoff’s offence has come around and he has a plus-3 rating on a team that has allowed 46 more goals than it has scored.

Some of that – specifically, Horcoff’s plus/minus – is illusory.

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Robin Brownlee
January 28 2011 12:08AM

I've got to admit I was a surprised by the venom spewed in the direction of Zack Stortini on blogs and call-in shows in the wake of his fight with Krys Barch in Dallas Wednesday.

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Paajarvi Should Have Been Held Back A Year

Jonathan Willis
January 27 2011 09:47AM

This fall, some argued that the Oilers were making a mistake inserting all three of their blue-chip forward prospects into the line-up at the same time. The player I suggested should have been given another year of seasoning at a lower professional level was Magnus Paajarvi, and given what we’ve seen so far this season I think that would have been the correct decision.

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Robin Brownlee
January 26 2011 02:18PM

I always envied pals Jim Matheson and Rod Phillips for all the years they had the opportunity to ply their trade covering Wayne Gretzky and those magnificent Edmonton Oilers teams of the 1980s.

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