The scoop from Jasper

I am all for the Oilers practicing in Jasper, if it means I get a Jacuzzi in my room, complete with a bar, lounge area and a loft. This place is almost as big as my condo, so if the Jasper Inn needs a spokesman I offering my services.

I arrived late last night, after dodging about 15 elk along the road. I made the mistake of having only 2 CDs in my Sorento, and the YR radio network just isn’t my thing. It is hard to go from Kid Rock, to Justin Timberlake, to The Dixie Chicks in one set. Although I searched the AM dial and found some SJHL action between the Humboldt Broncos and Battlefords North Stars. You have to love Saskatchewan – every Junior A team has a radio broadcast. Awesome!

This morning the Oilers had quick-paced practice. The stands were full of young kids and guys playing hooky from work. Based on today’s practice it looks like Strudwick and Staios will be the 3rd pairing. Strudwick has been excellent in camp, even though he will regret wasting a goal in the preseason. The guy has 11 career goals in 488 games, so why he wasted one in preseason is perplexing. Who knows, maybe those new sticks Jaromir Jagr sent him in August are that good?

Steve MacIntyre didn’t skate today due to a death in the family. He will join the team back in Edmonton it sounds like. So expect Pouliot to play with Brodziak and Stortini on Sunday vs. Colorado. But with the Oilers’ next three games against Anaheim and Calgary you can expect MacIntyre in the lineup soon.

The goalie masks and a Saw mask were the stories of the day

Dwayne Roloson is wearing a vintage Grant Fuhr mask, complete with puck marks and scuff marks. Roloson joked he wanted it to look worn in, so guys didn’t take head shots to break it in. It’s like when your buddy is wearing a new pair of white sneakers, and you step on them, or spill a drink on them to make them not look so shiny white.

SIDE NOTE…When I left Edmonton I was choked I wouldn’t be able to get in a game of golf between practice and my show today, but now I look outside and it’s snowing. So I type this from the warm confines of my room, while the Oilers and some media members freeze on the links…tsk tsk.

Anyways, back to the masks.

Roloson’s looks identical to Fuhr’s, meanwhile Mathieu Garon is honouring Bill Ranford. He has a picture of Ranford’s face on one side, with a pic of him in his mask on the other. Garon’s pads, blocker and glove are coloured to match the retro third jersey. I like his pads better than the mask.

But the Mask that got the most attention was the one Dustin Penner was wearing last night. Apparently Penner decided that a good way to team bond would be to scare the crap out of his teammates.

“I dressed up as the guy from Saw. I was grocery shopping at Save On Foods and saw the mask at the check out counter. It was $14.99, but when I swiped my card I got it for $13.99. I couldn’t afford not to buy it,” said Penner.

Penner went from room-to-room wearing the mask and got some good reactions.

“Chopper (Ethan Moreau) ended up Homer Simpson two-handed choking me he was so scared. Gilbert, Nilsson, Gagner and Cogliano they all acted their age that’s for sure. Brodziak was pretty funny too. He had the flying crane move from Karate Kid.” I’m not sure if that is the actual name of Daniel Larusso’s finishing move, but it sounds good.

Ladislav Smid admitted he was petrified when Penner entered his room and that he screamed out for his roommate, “Grebby, Grebby, help.”

Penner also stated he isn’t worried about retribution. “I hope for their sake they don’t try anything, because that is just the tip of the iceberg.”

I couldn’t find any statistical data that states team bonding makes you win more, but it sounds like the Oilers are getting what they wanted from this trip. Their practice was the fastest I’ve seen this year, and they were actually getting shots on goal, so that could help.

The Pisani, Moreau, Penner line looked the best at practice. They scored a fair amount of goals during the 3 on 2 drills, and even when they were working five-on-five down low.

WHY THE INTEREST IN WAIVER WIRE?

Wanye said he was in Calgary last week, but his Mark Bell love affair reeks like Vancouver hippie whiskey. This isn’t a garage sale where one person’s junk is another’s treasure. He can’t make the Leafs! The Leafs! You think a player who can’t make one of the worst teams in the league will help the Oilers?

And those of you who think Kyle Mclaren would be a good addition need some therapy. Why would the Oilers add a $2.5 million D-man, who can’t skate? You think he is five times better than Strudwick? While you are at it why don’t the Oilers go after Rhett Warriner, or the reliable Anders Eriksson, or he-just-needs-a-shot- Joakim Lindstrom, or Boyd Devereaux because he used to be an Oiler.

There is a reason teams put these players on waivers. They aren’t that good. Yes, there are the rarities like Sergei Samsanov who has found new life in Carolina , but those types of players don’t rebound or even contribute a lot most of the time.

And another reason it makes no sense is because the Oilers currently have 48 players under contract. They are allowed a maximum of 50, so adding a bit-part type of player doesn’t make much sense.

I need another Jacuzzi before my show.

– Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on the TEAM 1260 Edmonton Sports radio or online at www.justagame.ca

  • Jason Gregor

    Rick,

    There has been lots of speculation that during the summer Smid asked for a trade. I asked Smid directly and he said he never did. I do understand he might not be 100% truthful due to my job, but in the past he has always been very frank and direct so I tend to believe him. I do know that late last year he was disappointed with his ice time, and now that it looks like he will start a second straight season not in the top six, that topic might return. We will see.

  • Smid has been working really hard to crack the lineup though – unlike guys like Blake Wheeler, who upon seeing ougher competition in the ranks, will demand a trade pronto. Kudos to Smid for trying to earn his roster spot.

  • Fiveandagame

    Smid has always had slow starts to his seasons (last two anyway). His size is truly impressive (he's put on 35lbs since we got him from Anahiem) and his potential to be a top four guy is still very much there. BUT

    If I were Smid I would be looking for a trade too. He's in the final year of his entry deal and needs the ice time to prove he is worth a hefty raise. If he can't get that from Edmonton maybe we're better off trading him as opposed to signing him to a one year deal at the end of the year. His youth and potential are a commodity at this point, and he could be packaged with an extra goaltender or depth forward to bring in a Veteran center for faceoffs if the Oilers can't improve in that department.

    It would be tough to lose him but with Pekham and Chorney champing at the bit to get their crack in the NHL, Smid may be out of chances here to prove he deserves more icetime and another contract.