Happy Canada Day! There are reasons to celebrate! For such a small population, mighty Canada scores well in the important disciplines (wine, women and song) and most of us wake up today enjoying peaceful waters.

Canada does well in beer sales, "girl next door" females, fabulous lyric writers and hockey players. Hockey TEAMS in Canada have had a dry spell, with the last outstanding NHL team from Canada being the Oilers Boys On The Bus era. It’s a helpless feeling, watching your monied NHL team enter free agency without an real urge to improve the team today.

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

Blue, blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless
Baby can you hear me now?
The chains are locked
and tied across the door,
Baby, sing with me somehow.

The Oilers have had successful July 1 signings since the lockout. They’ve also had some boners. Borrowing the verbal from Steve’s Oilers website:

  1. July 1, 2006: Oilers re-sign goaltender Dwayne Roloson to a three-year, $11 million contract.  Roloson, who would have become an unrestricted free agent at noon, will earn $4 million in each of the first two years of the deal, and $3 million in the final year. He had a record of 8-7-4 with a 2.42 GAA and a .905 save percentage in 19 regular season games with the Oilers.  In 18 playoff games, Roloson had a record of 12-5 with a 2.33 GAA and 1 .927 save percentage.Notice that although it was a July 1 signing, Roloson didn’t make it to the free agent market.
  2. July 1, 2007: Oilers sign defencemen Dick Tarnstrom to a one-year contracts. Tarnstrom, an unrestricted free agent, makes his return to Edmonton after a year with HC Lugano of the Swiss League last season.  Last season he scored 3-26-29 with 90 PIM in 44 regular season games and added 1-6-7 with 8 PIM in five playoff games.  In 258 career NHL games, Tarnstrom has scored 32-94-126 with 202 PIM. 
  3. July 1, 2009: Oilers sign unrestricted free agent goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $15 million contract. In 42 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, Khabibulin had a record of 25-8-7 with a 2.33 GAA and a .919 save percentage. In 678 regular games, he has a record of 299-267-58 with a 2.67 GAA and a .908 save percentage. He also won a Stanley Cup as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.
  4. July 1, 2010: Oilers sign free agent defenceman Kurtis Foster on a two-year contract worth $1.8 million per  season  Foster, scored 8-34-42 with 48 PIM in 71 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

Steve Tambellini’s federal government media conference yesterday night (whenever the government has some horrible thing to tell Canada, they do it by calling a later afternoon/early evening media conference on a Friday of a long weekend so that no one will attend and it won’t last the cycle. The sports cycle–like the news cycle–needs audience consistency so it’s hard to reach everyone when they’re scattering for the long weekend) gave us today’s roadmap: don’t look for the big signing, expect something later in the week. A Zenon Konopka, a Jan Hejda.

Frankly, I’m relieved. I don’t think Steve Tambellini has shown the ability to pull the big levers on Canada Day. I understand the desire to overpay because Everyone Knows this is Nowhere, but the Oilers have money in pocket and some kids who are going to cost real money in a couple of years.

  • Lowetide

    Great piece. Personally I’ll take a Hejda, and a Fiddler or Konopka to go with our new Smytty, and leave it at that.

    btw who is that between Neil and the goaler?

  • Lowetide

    Well, they better toughen up somehow. You think we got pushed aroound last year lol, we will get steam rolled night in and night out with the current line up. I know be patient. I am tired of being patient. I hate losing, i hate losing and being beaten up more.

  • Lowetide

    Seems the media would sooner see a big signing than the Oilers and their fans. Shouldn’t they stay the course and develop the youngsters? justwondering…

  • Colin

    Resign vandemeer, and one of white, wisenewski(spelled horribly wrong), hejda on D would be nice….

    a C who can PK, win faceoffs and play a 3rd/4th line role effectively would be good too.

  • Lowetide

    Oilers a lot closer to playoff picture than some realize with only one addition on forwards if our youth from last year shows marked improvement in their second year . Example : We were to add at a reasonable cost a Jagr (1-3M) , that might have a domino effect in having Hopkins pop into roll on club this year . Jagr about the cost savings by buying out Souray . That would give us more elite talent on forward positions than both the Stanley Cup finalists this year . Boston had little elite talent outside Chara, occasionally Bergeron , and stellar goalie Thomas . Vanc. had the Sedins , Luongo occasionally and a questionable Kessler . Not saying Smyth or Jagr are long term solutions , but a short time one that might make us a threat over next two seasons if we care to go that route and at least try . Many options on backend if we care to try and be competitive this season at high and low cost and /or short term and/or long term .

    If we go the short term , as i feel we should seeing as Smyth already here , then that gives emerging younger talent a good 2 years more to develop before having to step in prematurely , especially on defence .

    As things are now , we seem to be getting only 2/3 rds of a season out of our players and it’s hard to remember what they might be like over an entire season . Short term , transitioning into long term seems a reasonable / preferable way to go and develop younger talents in the that timeframe as well .

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      What a guy.

      Months of ripping the team and now we are one player from being “alot closer to the PO”.

      And I’m pretty sure we have no elite forwards (yet)…Smyth and Jagr don’t and wouldn’t change that.

  • Lowetide

    Shane: Love that song too. Dirty guitar.

    madjam: Jagr’s options won’t include Edmonton. By the time the Oilers are good again he’ll be in downtown Minsk buying a KHL team.

  • Shane Leavitt

    Now that you find yourself
    Losing your mind
    Are you here again?

    Are you lying in a burned out basement
    With the full moon in your eyes?

    Are you hoping for replacement?

    Don’t worry …

    The sun will burst through the skies.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    With Canucks, Flames and Wild seemingly falling apart at this time , seems like Oilers gaining momentum upwards with Smyth and Eager as compareded to our division rivals is what i am alluding to . A little infusion of positive hope is not beyond my commentary occasionally . By the end of the week i may have to call for Stanley Cup – Tams on a roll , who’d have projected that for starters ?

  • Eulers

    Given that “the Oilers have money in pocket and some kids who are going to cost real money in a couple of years” does it make sense to try to frontload some contracts now for better value (keep or trade) in the future?