The Long Winding Road Trip to a close team

Seven games, thirteen days, seven time changes and over 13,500 km to travel….OUCH. That works out to just a little less than flying from Edmonton to Vancouver 13 days in a row. That is the Oilers current road trip.

Even though they came home for the Christmas break the game in Vancouver there remains another six more to go…lots of time to come together for the long term.

Long road trips can bring a team closer with all the time it allows to spend together. I always felt days off between games was a great time for the team to go for dinner, a movie or an afternoon at a bowling alley. These activities can be great team builders.

It can be hard to really understand and get to know a team mate when in a rink setting. Some players can’t relax there. The pressure prevents them from being themselves. But when bowling and they turn into Roy Munson, that all changes when they are trying to make a 7 – 10 split on aisle ten!

I don’t think it is important for every member of a team to get along all the time. A little friction is actually very healthy to help clear the air every once in a while. I do think respect of each other and each player’s role is very important.

It can be obvious which guys don’t respect their team mates or think they are above them all. Watch for players who shake their heads when a pass intended for them is missed or when a goalie stares at his own dman when he created a goal because of a screen. I could never stand for that. Spending time together can force these types of players to change in order to stay with the culture or be forced out.

I can think of only one guy I played with whom I hope I never play with again. No, it isn’t Avery, Robin Brownlee!!!

For the Oilers players, I hope this time on the road gives them a chance to identify who isn’t pulling in the same direction as the others, who can be straightened out and who needs to be thrown out.

Injury time

Coming back from an injury like Ryan Whitney had is very frustrating and difficult. Not only did he miss the bulk of his training time in the summer but just as he was coming around he got a knee injury! It most likely feels as if he has been playing catch up all year.

Patience is the order of the day not only for the fans but more importantly for Ryan himself.

Face Plante

The Weise hit has generated a lot of controversy. Most people’s opinion of the hit depends on where their loyalties lie. I didn’t like the hit and can’t wait to see Plante beat him to the ground next game, but I don’t think it is a suspension. Plante will have to take matters into his own hands, something I think more players should do.

  • Rob...

    Old school opinion time again:

    Plante doesn’t need anyone to retaliate on Weise’s questionable hit. He needs to send the message to Weise himself. That would identify himself to all others in the league as someone you don’t take cheap shots at. Probably help him establish himself as an NHL’er easier too I’d think….

    Remember, “Vengeance is a dish best served cold…..”

    Bigoil

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “For the Oilers players, I hope this time on the road gives them a chance to identify who isn’t pulling in the same direction as the others, who can be straightened out and who needs to be thrown out”

    So which player(s) do the identifying, which player(s) do the straightening out, which player(s) does the throwing out?? Are surveys sent around? You know how it works in the workplace….noone ever thinks they are the problem.

  • Greenlingj

    For anyone that didn’t hear why Plante was called up. After the barons game all the players were told to take their gear home with them for the holidays. Plante was in Manitoba so he got the call. Commentators said it was new team policy to take gear home.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Nice article Struds!

    It will be interesting to see if Plante actually gets enough TOI in the next run of games to challenge Weise… speaking of which does anyone know why Renney went with Plante over Teubert? did Teubert forget his Passport again? or is he sick or something?

    regarding who Struds wouldn’t want to play with again… I think it is interesting that everyone seems to assume it’s an Oiler… esp. considering Struds goes out of his way to say it isn’t Avery (ie. not an Oiler, so non-Oilers are clearly in the mix)… my take away from this:

    It can be obvious which guys don’t respect their team mates or think they are above them all. Watch for players who shake their heads when a pass intended for them is missed or when a goalie stares at his own dman when he created a goal because of a screen. I could never stand for that. Spending time together can force these types of players to change in order to stay with the culture or be forced out.

    I can think of only one guy I played with whom I hope I never play with again. No, it isn’t Avery, Robin Brownlee!!!

    is that given Struds plays D and spent the majority of his time in the NHL not in Oil colors… I would bet he’s talking about either an Islander, Nuck, Blackhawk or Ranger and probably a Goalie

  • Greenlingj

    I think the Plante hit was legal. But it was dirty. Plante is at fault for skating just far enough off the boards to take a nice face dive into them, which I am sure Weiss was aware of. Weiss could have let him off the hook with less of a charge and still hit him solidly.

    That is the definition of running a player to me. I agree that Plante should take the opportunity to adjust Weiss’ attitude if he ever gets the chance.

  • Greenlingj

    When I seen the Plante hit, I was looking for it,

    Retribution.

    There was none. If you can’t beat em, then beat em. Start hammering bodies.

    I don’t care old school, new school or post lockout.

    You need more physical play. and drop the gloves when BS like that happens.

  • Damn, Struddy. Why did you have to go and play on so many teams? It makes it nearly impossible for us to guess the player.

    Do you find that the ‘trouble teammates’ tend to be of a specific position? Or are the personalities spread all over the ice?

    In your pro career, who did you think were some of the BEST teammates, all things considered? I know you’ve gone on record about Khabbi, but are there some others that stick out in your mind?

      • Rob...

        In my opinion Hall shakes his head because he’s hungry for the puck and it’s over the lost opportunity to turn on the jets, instead of being out of disgust over a poor pass. Hall is always angry over a blown play, especially when he’s the cause of the breakdown.

        • Rob...

          Agree totally. Let’s not group Hall & Hemsky together in terms of body language. Hall DOES look disappointed at the end of some shifts, due to missed opportunities. He tries to contribute EVERY shift he’s on the ice.

          Hemsky, on the other hand, is another story. This guy drags his ass to the bench on line changes WHEN THE PLAY IS LIVE. He’s done it for his entire career. We could go on and on about Hemsky’s idiosycracies and about what appearances are in terms of his work habits.

          I wonder how good Hemsky could be if he was 100% committed to hockey, to being the best he can be, and to his team? His body language and habits have screamed that he’s NOT 100% committed for years.

  • CanuckleHead: I’ve delated your comments here and in another thread.

    I know it’s Christmas break at high school and you’re bored to tears, but find a way to amuse yourself other than posting comments with the sole intention of pissing people off. Not going to happen here. As for other readers here, be better than to entertain this fool. Really.

  • Still can’t get over how cool it is to have a player who was in the dressing room last year writing about the team this year. This guy knows these players.
    Talk about an insider!
    Sorry for gushing, just really like how the sports media in this town is changing from an old boys club to more of an insider edition like in the US.

  • Chris.

    This line almost sounds like Strudwick knows something about the current team having some internal issues….

    “For the Oilers players, I hope this time on the road gives them a chance to identify who isn’t pulling in the same direction as the others, who can be straightened out and who needs to be thrown out.”

    I know Struds would never out someone but clearly there are issues in the room. I was hoping they would be jettisoned with Moreau et al, but it seems some remain.

  • Spaghetti - Team Facalto

    I know Struds is too classy to name names, but Moreau in the later years on the Oil would have driven me bonkers as a teammate. Down by one goal with 2 minutes to go, you could always count on Moreau to take a totally bone-headed penalty to completely kill any chance at winning.

    Re the Plante hit … I personally didn’t think it was a dirty hit when I saw it happen. It seemed to me that Plante had his head down and unfortunately went face-first into the glass, but I will defer to Struds on where the line is.

  • Mr. Strudwick is too classy to name names… though I would love to know. I always wondered who was a problem in the room in ’08/’09 and how all of that stuff goes down on a team.

    Jason I hope all is going well over there and that those guys realize what they have in the dressing room.

    I gotta wonder why we’re always saying “next game” when we’re talking about retribution. Ahem…. **cough*** Peckham **cough**