Let it Bleed

Edmonton Oiler fans enjoyed an outstanding first game of the 10-11 season. Rookie Jordan Eberle scored the goal of the year and the Godless Flames fell in an epic moment of good vs. evil. This season, the team extended the feelgood through a dozen games before going back to the rebuild.

With the Oilers grabbing 13th slot in the western conference and looking like they aren’t going to do much to address injury along the blue, it’s important to keep certain dates in mind as the calendar turns over.

DATES TO REMEMBER 2012

  • January 5, 2012: Gold medal game at the World Juniors. Oiler fans should watch players like Ryan Murray closely, as they look to be a lottery team again this season. If the season ended today, the Oilers would select 7th overall. Oiler fans would do well to read up on this season’s top 10. Murray may be gone by that point, but Matt Dumba and others should still be on the board.
  • February 27 or 28, 2012: Trade deadline (still some confusion on the date on the interwebs). Oilers will be sellers again, with Ales Hemsky the big name (depending on how much and how well he plays in the next 8 weeks) but there could be interest in men like Sam Gagner, Ryan Jones, Andy Sutton and Corey Potter.
  • April 7, 2012: Oilers season ends.
  • June 2012: Coach Tom Renney’s contract expires. Unless I’ve missed a news story, Renney’s original three year deal (signed May 2009 when they brought Quinn in to coach) expires in the summer. There has been no suggestion either way and the Oilers have plenty of time to re-sign him, but it’s a date to keep in mind.
  • June 22-23, 2012: NHL entry draft. Oilers have picked in the top 10 three straight seasons, including two #1’s in a row. The chances of making it four top 10’s in a row are extremely high at this time.
  • July 1, 2012: First day of free agency. If the Oilers haven’t addressed defense (and this includes the worries over Ryan Whitney’s health) by that time then we should expect a major push to add a veteran 2-way defender. And not another Cam Barker type signing, the Oilers need someone who can play major minutes against good opponents.

 

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO 11-12

  • Jordan Eberle is on pace for 88 points.
  • RNH is a strong Calder contender.
  • Taylor Hall is on pace for 24 goals despite the injury.
  • Ryan Smyth is having a wonderful season and is moving up the Oiler career list.
  • Smid-Gilbert is a sublime pairing and they are having quality seasons. There’s something to build on.
  • Nikolai Khabibulin is a strong contender for comeback player of the year.
  • The elevator shaft road trip added to the poor performance in December should ensure a strong pick for Stu "Magnificent Bastard" MacGregor. MBS is top drawer.

 WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The office tickets will be easier to get, the Hemsky trade will happen and we’ll be able to talk about it and we can cheer for Winnipeg to beat Toronto for 8th in the east. It’s another day in a town called Hope. 

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    I think if we do take the C of Horc and don’t give it to Smyth then give it to Smid. I don’t like the idea of give the C to a 20 yr old. Earn the C through grit and determination like Smid,Smith, Smyth, Mess, etc.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    Two more dates to remember:

    Dec. 31, 2011 – This is the last World Junior game (Canada vs. USA) that Edmonton will host in the tournament. The rest are in Calgary.

    Jan. 11, 2012 – This is the next home date for the Oilers.

    I realize that I’m Captain Obvious (or Johnny-Come-Lately) for pointing this out, but whoever put together the Oilers sked this season should be hung by their thumbs.

    When Edmonton/Calgary put together their bid for the WJC, my first thought was, oh great, this tournament is going to sink the Oilers’ season because of all of the road games, but it really didn’t turn out that way at all, did it?

    Between that last WJC game in Edmonton on New Year’s Eve and the next Oilers’ home game Jan. 11, the Oilers have four road games. So, in reality, this seven-game road trip has little to do with the WJC’s, does it?

    I know, it’s pretty pathetic that I’ve only just caught onto this. But what’s even more pathetic is that the Oilers have to play it. Combine the Rodeo Road Trip of November and all of this and no darn wonder they’re on a 5-15 or 5-16 stretch or whatever it is.

    Please tell me there’s an eight-game homestand coming up after this sometime. Good heavens.

  • The poster formerly known as Koolaid drinker #33

    We will lose forever with Renny at the helm. A coach has to know who works best together.

    Taking Jones of the second line seems to be around the time this team started to decend.

    Remember on “Oil Change’ Tambo came into the room and said “you got your centre”? That was Belanger. Renny said he competes. He does. But on most teams, it’s at a fourth line level. And we have 2 more years after this one of his “talent”.

    Sam Ganger was a shootout flash. Can’t skate and don’t headman the puck. Which means the wingers have to wait for him at the opposing blueline. Waste of hockey flesh. AHL caliber at best. Selfish.

    I believe Hemsky does want out. I also don’t believe he is sulking about anything. He needs more time to heal. And I don’t think he has any confidence in Renny’s coaching ability. Or lack thereoff.

    If this group ever becomes a “team”, it will be under new guidance.