Crystal Ball

The best part of my summer is the annual road trip with the family. Ten years ago the music of the trip was Fred Penner and "are we there yet?" but these days it’s a trip through the lush rock and roll of my childhood. Who knew? 

The funny thing about your kids is that things you know very well are new to them. When they develop a hobby or area of interest, it often causes a flood of memories. Case in point: Classic rock. I haven’t thought about Clapton, Cash or Perkins in forever but the kids are addicted to the old timey music these days (and their back stories) so over the next few weeks we’ll be driving parts of America and listening to its timeless music. Fun times.

Around this time of year, as we’re all motorvatin’ over the hill, I like to deliver 10 predictions for the following months (mostly about roster makeup for opening night). Last July I did okay (post is here):

  1. The Oilers will find a way to get all three phenom’s onto the opening night roster.
  2. Linus Omark will start the season in Oklahoma City, but rip it up in the minors and force a decision through his fine play by the end of December.
  3. The Oilers will start the season with 3 goalies.
  4. Jason Strudwick will retire at the end of training camp, taking on a coaching role.
  5. Chris Vande Velde will have a very strong training camp, and be one of the last players sent to the minor leagues.
  6. The Oilers will invite at least two former roster players to training camp.
  7. The Oilers will sign Mike Comrie, late summer.
  8. JF Jacques will start the season on IR.
  9. We will be shocked by Gilbert Brule’s contract.
  10. Tom Renney will drive many Oiler fans crazy with his systems and emphasis on disciplined play. MacT 2.0 is going to win some hockey games with an undermanned group because of it though, and he may turn some of these kids into actual NHL players (just like MacT did with Ales Hemsky).

Some of those came true, others did not. That’s not really the point; it’s a good time to kick back and enjoy the summer, blue sky a little, enjoy some of the food and drink we’re blessed with and cherish the time we get to spend with the ones we love by lying to them about the past. 🙂

Crystal ball, 2011 summer:

  1. Theo Peckham will surprise with his year over year progress and emerge as a legit EV and PK defender this season. By year’s end, he’ll be a clear top 4 option for coach Renney.
  2. Taylor Hall will score 35 goals in 2010-11.
  3. The Oilers will trade Linus Omark for defensive help in the next 12 months.
  4. The Oilers will sign Ales Hemsky to a long term contract.
  5. Nikolai Khabibulin will play in Oklahoma City this season.
  6. Gilbert Brule will play in Oklahoma City this season.
  7. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will make the Oilers out of training camp and play at the World Juniors.
  8. Anton Lander will play more than 50 games with the Oilers this season and impress with his wide range of skills.
  9. David Musil will impress in training camp and be the last junior eligible cut from the roster.
  10. The Oilers will pick 6th overall at the 2012 NHL entry draft.


Nation Radio hits the air at Noon today Edmonton time on Team 1260. Guests scheduled to appear include:

  • Tyler Dellow from MC79 Hockey.  We’ll discuss the Arena debate, Steve Tambellini’s summer and possible outcomes of the Ryan Smyth trade.
  • David Staples from Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. I’ll ask David about several articles he’s written recently, including Arena updates, Nikolai Khabibulin and Andrew Cogliano.
  • Bob Stauffer from across the universe. I’m interested in Bob’s take on the Ryan Smyth trade and possible outcomes, the Hemsky to the Jackets discussions that broke this week and we’ll argue over line combinations (only in Edmonton can you find people willing to spend part of their Saturday mulling the top 12F’s on the Oilers).
  • Jonathan Willis from The Score, the Nation Network, Hockey Prospectus, ESPN Insider and God knows what he’s added this week. I’m mostly interested in discussing his outstanding article in Hockey Prospectus a month ago about how to fix the Oilers bottom six. We’ll talk about how Steve Tambellini addressed these issues and then spend some time on the Cogliano deal.

I’m not sure the order for these guests (my producer Connor–who is excellent, they didn’t have producers when I was on air in my 20’s and 30’s; maybe they just want to help the old guy a little–usually waits until just before the show starts because there is often shuffling the morning of the broadcast) and would very much like your input into the show. So when you get a chance please drop an email to and I’ll ask as many as I can given our time limitations.

  • the solution to all edmonton tax problems is toll booths for all access to edmonton. charge double for st. albert, sherwood park, thefort, leduc, devon, beaumont, the grove and stony plain residents. tourists take in two events (sites) and be able to get refunded.

  • paul wodehouse

    For all those who think Omark should go. he plays with better players like Hartikainen and Pajarvi and gets .875ppg.

    He was a player 22 or younger in the top 10 in SEL scoring. the last 6: Omark, Zetterburg, H. sedin, D. Sedin, matts Naslund, Forsburg.

    He goes to the KHL(RSL) and scores 20 goals. the last 10 years there have been 8 players 22 and younger inthe 20 goal range.
    Omark; Radulov; Kulemin; malkin; frolov; Kovalchuk; Semin; Mozykin.

    Yes lets trade a guy who gets points in the SEL like zetterburg, The sedins, and Forsburg.

    Scored goals like Radulov, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Semin.

    Was close to a PPG player when he was given third line players and full pp time.

    Plus was one of our stronger puck cycle players.

    yes lets trade this guy with less than a year in the league.

    Cause all the guys he performed similiar to have zero track record in the NHL.

    zetterburg had 44 points (.70 ppg) his 23 year old season in the NHL. he played with some scrub named datsyuk.

    H. Sedin had 42 points (.55ppg) and Daniel had 54 (.66ppg) there 23 yr old season. No chemistry here.

    Omark .55ppg in his 52 games.

    I will take dumb trade ideas for 200 alex.


    My brass ball tells me Linus Omark should be designated as the powerplay go to guy. When Ales was injured last year, Omark made things happened on our otherwise anemic powerplay.

    Linus has very special skills and a beautiful setup man for alot of our players esp MPS. I think his hard to break competitive nature and creativity came out on the power play and he should be given an opportunity to QB the PP next year.

    He could be better than St Louis in Tampa.

  • paul wodehouse

    …in post 44 i read how good, no, great Omark is on all levels mentioned…he does this well in this other league and outscores russians galore in that league…and how he’s so much like this player and is maybe as good as that set of twins…that’s all good and fine…

    i like the argument…so what’s not to like about trading him and a high pick?
    …by himself we’re not going to get the first or second pairing Dman we really need now…js

  • paul wodehouse

    …rumor has it that The Bank, across the street from the Oil City Roadhouse is closing down soon…another rumor has it that 83’s gf is a bartender there***

    for ~S~K~…***these rumors have no sources

    i’m sorry

  • Lowetide

    Boy it sure didn’t take long for Nation Radio to turn into an oilers blogosphere back slapping forum.

    On what level is a Toronto lawyer (insurance right?) qualified to comment on a local development/issue? Is it because he is an oilers fan or because he he has an oilers blog?

    • Lowetide


      I had requested Tyler as a guest long before the arena story took off this past week (well there were a few updates and articles, took off might be stretching it).

      My initial questions for Tyler had to do with his reaction to Cogliano’s being dealt, to the off-season moves and what to do with RNH.

      I’d requested David Staples for reasons other than the arena debate as well, so it worked well because the subject dovetailed nicely for him too.

      This weekend’s show was about taking a wider view of the summer after we’d paid close attention to the draft and free agency.

      Hope that helps.