Staying celibate for 40 days would be easy compared to asking the Nation not to debate the merits of Sam Gagner for the next 40 days. Seriously, I could write one sentence on what I think of Gagner and two paragraphs on a why Katrina Law, who played Mira in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, is a natural beauty, and the Nation would erupt in a heated debate over Gagner. That’s life in the Nation, and it is great, and thankfully there’s only 40 days left until the rookie tournament in Penticton.
I won’t be mentioning Gagner until camp starts, because once camp is here Gagner will give us lots to write about, so today I have a few comments on the Oilers and some issues around the league.
- I read an interesting tweet from @capgeek regarding Shea Weber. It turns out he won’t be an Unrestricted Free Agent next season, because he didn’t play 40 NHL games in 2005-2006, so next year will be considered his sixth season. That gives the Preds an extra year to try and work out a long-term deal with him.
- In a Russian interview Alexander Frolov said his former teammate and still good friend, Sean Avery, used racial slurs to taunt opponents. Of course Frolov said he was misquoted once the story became viral, but I bet George Laraque wasn’t laughing. Back in 2005, Big George accused Avery of calling him a "Monkey", which is eerily similar to what Frolov said in his interview. Laraque and I have butted heads a few times, but back then and even now he has never struck me as a liar. He was visibly upset in 2005 and the Frolov story proves he was right all along. I don’t mind trash talking in sports, but I have no tolerance if a guy uses racial taunts. The league won’t do anything about it, which is disappointing, but I hope Laraque feels a bit of vindication after reading Frolov’s comments.
- Great news for Oiler fans regarding the home opener. Reports are Sidney Crosby is feeling good and barring a setback during the preseason or his first two regular season games; he should be at Rexall on October 9th. With the return or Ryan Smyth, the likely debut of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a Crosby appearance, the home opener might be the toughest ticket to get all season. I hope you are one of the lucky ones who will be at Rexall that Sunday.
- Using the arena vote in Long Island as a comparable to the Oilers situation would be misleading. They had a paltry 10% of eligible voters turn out and vote. The situations are different, the passion of hockey fans in each city is not close, and I guarantee if Edmonton had a vote, we’d see more than 30% of voters show up. The bigger issue with the NYI arena is the attitude of North Americans. In many cases we are much more vocal about things that bother us, compared to issues that we support. If we have a negative thought we will voice it, but if we like something we are more reserved in sharing that. It is unfortunate, and something I’d like to see changed, but I don’t see it happening.
The rule of 3-33 comes into play. If you go to a restaurant and enjoy it, you are likely to tell three of your friends, but if you get crappy services you will tell 33 of them. (This is a ball park theory, so please don’t say it might be 2/22, the point is we are more likely to bitch than applaud.)
- For those who think Nikolai Khabibulin is getting preferential treatment by only having to be in "Tent City" from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays, keep in mind that the majority of DUI cases get the same treatment. Most receive a "work-release" schedule that allows them to work during the day and come back at night. Like Khabibulin, they spend the entire weekend in the tents, but weekdays they are only there for 12 hours. I hope his stint in "Tent City" helps him realizes the error of his ways, and like anyone who has had a DUI, it will be his last.
- I’m very interested to see how Dillon Simpson looks at the WJC camp starting Wednesday. Some scoffed when the Oilers drafted him in June, but clearly the kid can play, regardless of his connections to Edmonton. I watched him play in the AJHL in 2009/2010 and he was dominant at 16. He didn’t get much icetime in North Dakota last year, but he’ll get lots this season. He has the skills to quarterback a powerplay and I’m curious to see how he fares with the other top under-20 D-men in Canada.
- It sounds like the popular series "Oil Change" will return for a 2nd season, but no word whether it stays on TSN or if it moves to Sportsnet. Don Metz and his crew from Aquila Productions did an outstanding job producing it, and kudos to the Oilers for allowing their fans a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes. It will be interesting to see what transpired on July 1st wehn they made all the free agent signings and trades.
Just in case you haven’t watched Spartacus and don’t know who Katrina Law is. A natural beauty in my books.