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.

  • What would a lawyer from Toronto know about the real estate market in downtown Edmonton?

    The Arena District is not really about a hockey arena or hockey at all. It is about how to turn underused, ugly, non-tax reveunue producing downtown wasteland into a booming commercial real estate and condo market to fill the cities coffers with property tax dollars.

    Edmonton is likely never going to get another chance to have a private partners willing to contribute up to $1 billion dollars to the effort to make the downtown wasteland revenue-producing for the city, a place where people live, and not an eyesore.

    It is a public private partnership where everyone should come out ahead int he end. It is basically just a complicated negotiation about allocating revenue streams and risk management.

    Somehow, I doubt that is what the lawyer from Toronto will be talking about. He will just be bashing Edmonton again.

  • justDOit

    Of all your crystal ball calls, the one that I most hope for is that Khabby gets dropped to the farm if his play continues to be subpar. Obviously it would be great for him to regain form which a maturing D might help. However, if you’re planning on teaching these kids to win, how do you expect them to learn anything about competing when the GM and coach are setting them up for failure from the start by dressing a subpar NK?

    Also, I’m away on holidays so I didn’t hear any Hemsky trade rumors this week. What were the rumors and who was the source? My first thought when I read that Huselius’ injury was announced was that Howson is going to have to pull something else off if he wants to stay employed and his prior relationship with Hemsky makes him a prime target. What would the return have to be?

  • Lowetide

    gongshow: It was more conjecture than rumor, just some media folks putting two and two together. I want to push the subject with Bob because he always knows more about this stuff than he lets on.

  • Lowetide

    My crystal ball for 2011-2012 season:

    1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Anton Lander and Chris Vande Velde will have a strong TC with two of the three on the roster at the start of the season.
    2. Sam Gagner will be replaced at C coming out of TC and get traded as part of a package for a D.
    3. Gilbert Brule will go on LTD.
    4. Theo Peckham will struggle on D.
    5. Cam Barker will be a welcome surprise while Andy Sutton will be a disappointment.
    6. One of the rookie goalies will perform well in TC and be a backup as part of a three goalie set with Nikolai Khabibulin moved to OKC.
    7. Oilers won’t experience the same high level of injuries.
    8. Signing Ryan Jones will prove to be a mistake.
    9. Taylor Chorney won’t make the big team.
    10.With an improved D over the season, the high performance of the young guns and being a tougher team to play against, the Oilers will pick 10th overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

  • sofarsogood

    PREDICTION: Ben Eager spends alot of time the chateau de’ bow-wow in Vancouver hoping to see his dream girl one more time and is replaced with Darcy Hordichuk who instantly chases down Kevin Bieksa and makes him cry. Book it…

  • Lowetide

    Wow, you really seem to have a hate on for Khabi these days. I don’t see any great motivation for the Oil to send him down. It’s not like he is in the way of any young prospect who need playing time here. In OKC he might be.