Things to look forward to Part I

future

Having kept strict radio silence for the past week, we have been alternating between amazement that the Oilers are this close to the ceiling of the salary cap and dismay that the expectations for the team are so low going into next season. Other than oscillating between these two frames of mind and watching every single moment of Big Brother 11, like many we have just been sitting around waiting for news to emerge from the Oilers camp that someone has addressed one of the handful of holes going into next season and waiting for something to get excited about.

Doldrums of summer

Right now at this very moment, Nikolai Khabibulin is 43 days older than when the Oilers first signed him and Dustin Penner is probably looking at the readout from bathroom scale in his solid gold house and thinking “that can’t be right.” Sam Gagner is probably kicking it out at some cabin in Ontario and bidding a bittersweet farewell to his 2009 summer romance. Dozens of other Oilers are probably wishing that Heatley had come to Edmonton after all so that the focus would be off their upcoming seasons and they could quietly come to camp under the radar. But we all know that will not be the case now don’t we?

We are starting to believe Steve Tambellini when he says that this is the team the Oil are going to go with for next season and wish we could build some sort of time machine to either fast forward to the start of Camp, or alternatively go back in time a month and whisper “don’t do it Steve, we hear he has the swine flu” into Tambo’s ear as he tried to put the finishing touches on the Heatley deal.

But complete organizational standstill aside,  there are still some interesting things we are looking forward to seeing unfold next year.

And one of them is Gilbert Brule

Last year Willis and yours truly droned on and on and on and on about this here Gilbert Brule, embarking on a monumental 4 part series about the guy, which we both immediately regretted publicly committing to onsite. “Four parts on Gilbert Brule?” we lamented via email to one another, “why on earth did we commit to THAT?” We won’t try anything so ambitious this season, but we will start looking for things to be moderately excited about going into Camp.

For some reason we still hold a strange soft spot in our heart for #67.

We remember when we first heard of Gilbert Brule. We were on a road trip to Vancouver with a bunch of the boys and our Dutch Friend used Gilbert Brule as his person in a game of 20 questions. Of course no one in the car but the Dutch Nemesis had ever even heard of Brule at this point (the year being 2002) and he defended his pick of a super shady personality by regaling us with tales of Brule and his dominance as a Vancouver Giant. After our road trip ended. Brule was later drafted 6th overall in 2005 by Columbus, compared repeatedly to Sidney Crosby, then injured repeatedly in his 3 seasons in Columbus.

That was then, this is now

that_was_then_this_is_now

Now that the Oilers have signed Brule to an additional one year deal, we can’t help but think that if there was ever a time for Brule to emerge as a bonafide NHL player it would be this season. Expectations are low, others on the team will be taking the heat and a hole in the lineup exists that Brule could fill.

Quick question: Is anyone harboring large expectations of this Oilers squad going into the new season? Thought so. Having said all of that, aren’t these the same Oilers that seemingly turn on the jets every time we collectively underestimate them? Thought so too. For a player like Brule, who has often stuggled under the weight of his massive potential – a season like the 2009-10 campaign may be exactly what he needs to turn his career around.

Somewhere Brule has been training this offseason and getting himself ready to come to camp and produce knowing that he has no long term contract to fall back on or even any guarantee that this won’t be his last shot at playing in the NHL. And we for one are looking forward to this level of effort from a guy that used to be considered a sure thing as an NHL star. Yep, we are looking forward to that and perhaps asking Willis if he wants to go halfers on a four part series about the career outlook for Colin McDonald.

Is it October yet?

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Would the put Schremp on Gagnes line? They both play center. I think a line like
    Penner-Gagne-Schremp
    Looks good for second line.
    PattyO-Horc-Hemsky
    First line
    Moreau-Cogs-Pisani
    Third
    Stortini-Brule-Strudwick or Jf J
    Fourth line

    Nillson, Big Mac, Pouliot line the press box.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Dallas wrote:

    I am not near the Schremp lover I was 2years ago but I still believe he could surprise. And how would you feel if you come up had 2 outta 3 good games in the bigs and then got sent down and the coach of the bigs shyt all over you. I also might add he was standing out on a crappy falcon team until then. I just think what Mac T said really busted any confidence he had going until that point.

    He played OK for two games, and then showed nothing for the rest of the time. He's soft as butter, hesitant to go into the corners and is a (self-acknowledged) poor skater. Instead of sulking and pissing the rest of the season away, he could have played his tail off and made it so the big team would have had no choice but to bring him back up. He didn't. If he was so great, he would have blown the doors off his AHL stint.

    You Schremp guys love to point to those two games. But he's played so poorly the rest of the time that those two games mean jack sh!t. I would imagine if the team thought he was half as god as alot of his fans do, he would have been re-signed by now. As things sit he doesn't even have a contract extension. Instead, Brule and some dude named Stone have fresh new paper ahead of the hockey jesus. That's gotta tell you something right there.

    Like all athletes, I hope Schremp comes to camp and makes something happen. But from what we've seen so far, it doesn't look very likely.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Like I said I am far from a schremp guy. I have lived Gagner to death since he stepped on the ice for us and I used to be a Hemsky lover but as soon as I seen Gagner I knew that he WILL be the better player. Anyways my point is you can't give up on a kid just cause a coach that got booed outta town never liked him AND he was one of the better players on the ice those two games. I had my eyes all on him and the kid played his heart out and made sum great plays

  • I'm a Scientist!

    See what happens when I leave, and run away to Asia? Deals fall through, jeanshorts returns to his heroine like addiction to Big Brother, and Wanye is talking about Brule again.

    By the love of Quinn, I've been reading the hate on my beloved Oilers for the upcoming season. And I'm going to do my part. Tonight, while I sling drinks in a sleazy bar in Thailand, I will dawn my Oilers t-shirt proudly. Even beak someone, pretending they're from Calgary.

    So cheer up, my little jelly beans.

    Another thing? Why is this computer's default language Dutch?

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Schremp…

    There was a great Player, who played for the Oil,
    named Bernie Nichols. He also could not skate.

    NHL Totals Games-1,127
    Goals 475 Helpers 734 Total 1,209

    Why not Schremp ? I'm just saying, is all I'm saying.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    99thoilerfan wrote:

    Schremp…
    There was a great Player, who played for the Oil,
    named Bernie Nichols. He also could not skate.
    NHL Totals Games-1,127
    Goals 475 Helpers 734 Total 1,209
    Why not Schremp ? I’m just saying, is all I’m saying.

    Nicholls had better hair. 😉

  • I'm a Scientist!

    jeanshorts wrote:

    Oh man, How awesome was last nights Big Brother????
    Jeff is like some kind of international hero! I can’t wait until the Franklin Mint puts out a series of decorative plates featuring his likeness!

    Let me guess – you went to the Kings of Leon concert and loved it? "Rock" music for girls.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    99thoilerfan wrote:

    Schremp…
    There was a great Player, who played for the Oil,
    named Bernie Nichols. He also could not skate.
    NHL Totals Games-1,127
    Goals 475 Helpers 734 Total 1,209
    Why not Schremp ? I’m just saying, is all I’m saying.

    When Nicholls was Schremp's age he had already put up a 95 point season. In the NHL. I'm just sayin'.

    Like Garth said, "Live in the now".

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ 99thoilerfan:

    Also, Nicholls only played about 1 season here (and got out first chance he had) so I'm not sure it's appropriate to take credit on behalf of the Oilers for his success.

    I do hope Schremp gets a real shot this year, and that the coaches can salvage something from the AHL/MacT wreckage.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @ 99thoilerfan:
    Also, Nicholls played a season riding shotgun with Gretzky in LA 70 goals 80 assists and then never came close to dupicating that feat again. He was ok the rest of his career but nothing special

  • I'm a Scientist!

    as i said b4 schemp is a whiner..slow as hell so y does the fastest team in the nhl want him….. newsflash..WE DONT>>>trade bate if anyone wants him

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I think lowered expectations are a good thing.

    After getting ohsoclose in 2006, expectations were high (even after the Pronger fiasco), and they shat the bed.

    During the 2007 off-season, they signed Souray and Penner (both coming off strong seasons), expectations were high, and they shat the bed.

    The 2008 off-season was rife with talk of the young guns (after a strong 20 game finish), expectations were high, and well, you get the idea…

    Over the last four years, this team has played four months of decent hockey: two months in the spring of 2006 (after squeaking into the playoffs), and two months in the late winter of 2008 (after a horrible first 60 games). The common thread – no pressure, no high expectations. Maybe they'll rally around the "Nobody believed in us!" flag.

    And maybe Scarlett Johansson will pleasure me in the back of an '82 Chevette….hey, it could happen!

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I think how well we do this year depends on
    whether we got the Tampa Bay Khabibulin or the
    first few years in Chicago Khabibulin. If we got
    the Tampa one this team could do well.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Homie wrote:

    Let me guess – you went to the Kings of Leon concert and loved it? “Rock” music for girls.

    Pssshhh Eff that.

    I'm going tonight…..

  • I'm a Scientist!

    This is completely unrelated, but I'm going back to U of A in the fall, and I found out that there's a program called Master of Arts in Communication Technology. It's abbreviation: MACT.

    If only they could get him to teach a class…

  • I'm a Scientist!

    jt in Oilertown wrote:

    And maybe Scarlett Johansson will pleasure me in the back of an ‘82 Chevette….hey, it could happen!

    Poor Rob Schremp. Reduced to being an equivalent chance to this occuring.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Librarian Mike wrote:

    I do hope Schremp gets a real shot this year, and that the coaches can salvage something from the AHL/MacT wreckage.

    That is all I'm saying, too…

    As far as Bernie goes..
    Once an Oiler, Always an Oiler… Right?

    *I wonder what people would say,
    if I compare Penner to Arnott..

  • I'm a Scientist!

    jeanshorts wrote:

    @ Librarian Mike:
    IT’S AN OMEN!!!
    How wacky would it be if MacT ended up coaching the Golden Bears while Rob Daum became the Oilers head coach!

    Ma and Pa Reddox would be happy to know that Liam can finally go back and get his Arts degree.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    BigE57 wrote:

    @ 99thoilerfan:
    Also, Nicholls played a season riding shotgun with Gretzky in LA 70 goals 80 assists and then never came close to dupicating that feat again. He was ok the rest of his career but nothing special

    This comment is a bit ridiculous. You decide to take a shot at Nicholls in response to a comparison with Schremp? If Schremp turned into half the player Nicholls was we would all weep tears of joy, so I have no idea what your point even is with this comment.

    That being said, we can also be fairly certain that Shremp is not, and never will be, Bernie Nicholls.