As much as we love Jordan Eberle and as patriotic as we are about Canada, Oiler fans would prefer the young man not follow in the footsteps of Captain Canada.
Ryan Smyth skated hundred of miles for his country and gained the reputation for being Captain Canada. Several things had to fall into place for this to happen:
- Smyth needed to be among the best players available for the World Championships
- The Oilers needed to be out of the playoffs or flushed in round one
- Smyth needed to be willing to go.
Well, one of the greatest things about Ryan Smyth is that he loves hockey exactly as well as he played it. If Hockey Canada called, Ryan Smyth answered. By my count, #94 played in 61 WHC games, 12 Olympic games plus 7 in the World Juniors. That’s 80 internationals for Team Canada. I dare say it’s one of the things we’ll remember best about Smyth, his willingness to play (and play well) for his country.
Eberle’s early resume is even more spectacular. His signature WJ goal against the Russians is one of the most famous goals of our lifetime, as spectacular as it was improbable. He scored 14 goals in his 12 WJ games, he’s already been in 11 WHC games (5-3-8) before playing (and scoring) in the first game this season.
IF THEY MISS THE PLAYOFFS ONE MORE TIME!
At some point the Oilers will make the playoffs and when they do it’ll be for a long time. That’s the plan, anyway. So Eberle’s WHC career should have a large hole in it where the young man is thrilling the home audience with his sublime skills.
In fact, it is possible that this spring is the last one we’ll see Eberle in Canadian threads (save for the Olys) until he’s an aged warrior.
Selfishly, I want Jordan Eberle’s defining moments to be as an Oiler. He’s already thrilled us on the internation stage.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I’m a big fan of international talent and the World Juniors. But the Oilers have been the club team long enough, and it’s time for these kids to thrill Edmontonians in April, May and (someday) June.
Enough. Fix the defense, find a veteran winger and make damn good and sure the goaltending is solid.
Relax and pull up a chair today at noon as we hit the air on Team 1260 with another addition of Nation Radio. Among the guests scheduled to appear:
- Scott Cullen tsn’s numbers guy. We’ll talk about the Oilers off-season and what it might look like.
- Kent Simpson has enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the Oil Kings playoff run and we’ll talk about playoff hockey in Edmonton.
- Benjamin Massey is always funny and articulate whether talking Oilers or soccer. We’ll talk Oilers, FC Edmonton, Whitecaps and more.
- Kent Wilson will talk Flames, Oilers and Canucks plus a fine article he wrote about content over style that is well worth the read.
- Jim Byers, pbp man for the OKC Barons. Some interesting things are happening in the American south.
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