THE LAST TIME

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.

Right?

 

NATION RADIO

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.

You can reach us via the comments section below and you can email us at nationradio@theteam1260.com and of course we live twitter @ItsNationRadio or lowetide_

  • DieHard

    This off-season I’ll be keying in not so much on the players but the performance of the GM and scouts.

    Sadly, my spring has boiled down to the anticipation of trying to figure out what Stewie and his staff will do.

    Potentially the Oil have in Eberle one of the greatest clutch scorers of all time. Let’s hope he is doing it for Oiler fans first.

  • TwoSkidoos

    Well played LT, well played.

    As much as I love watching international hockey like the WHC, just as you put it, I’d rather see him in Oiler silks burying the game winning goal with 1.0 second left to win the cup.

  • I really hope I am wrong but in my opinion it would be premature enthusiasm to believe that the Oil will be in the playoffs next year. We won’t be lottery, but not playoffs just yet I would bet. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just not very probable.

    • Lowetide

      The Oilers would need to be very aggressive this summer but it isn’t impossible. Add 2 actual NHL defensemen, a strong backup for Dubnyk (and someone who can push him) and a veteran 2-way winger like Pisani about 2006.

      Is that a lot? Damn straight.

      • Add 2 actual NHL defensemen, a strong backup for Dubnyk (and someone who can push him) and a veteran 2-way winger like Pisani about 2006.

        Looks like Khabi is the backup *groan*. We might not like it but how can we get rid of our ‘MVP’?

        Looking inward first, by 2-way winger do you think Pääjärvi could fill this role or do you have in mind a more poised, experienced veteran? Does Smyth do this for the right price?

        As for defencemen, who on this UFA list would be worth adding?

        • Lowetide

          I think they might try to add a very strong AHL starter with an eye to his being called up. NK is in that window where veterans fall off the map and his season from Nov-end of season looked like just that.

          Paajarvi might eventually make it but it would be splendid if the club could find him a mentor. Remember when Pisani babysat Stoll and Torres? That’s what MP and Lander will need imo.

          As for UFA defenders, Garrison is a good candidate but he’ll be overpriced. I’ve said for awhile that the Oilers have enough depth to make a three for one deal.

          The Oilers need a precision summer.

          • Vaclav

            I believe you’re right about Garrison, LT. After Suter there’s a small group of solid defenders including Garrison, Wideman and Carle. Like last year with Wisniewski and Ehrhoff someone is going to severely overpay for them. Likely one of the bridesmaids from the impending Suter nuptuals.

            As much as I’d like for the Oilers to add one of these d-men to the fold I’d rather not see them pony up the elite defenceman $$$ and term they’re likely to get.

  • Questions ? Misdirection ? How long can Oilers continue to stock pile high draft choices without a decent core base around them ? At what point will we be losing our stars because of the cap , etc.? Should we be dealing this years draftee (likely Yakupov ) for a decent start on base ? When is Tams going to get serious about filling the voids he left us with , that make our base far less than adequate . Is developmental stages finally over , and time to get on with building this team around veterans to compliment Hall, Eberle and Hopkins ? More draftees will certainly complicate the issue .

    Maybe the Oilers and Tams are not ready yet and will play for MacKinnon as well ? Can this team get formed with a decent core with Tams in control ? Which way is Tams taking us ? We have so many draftees already that if they pan out we might have to get rid of some . At this stage i’m more concerned at getting a valuable base than adding another top draftee into picture . Having said so , it’s still a bad decision not to take a number one pick that has fallen into our lap . I’m okay with that as long as Tams is going to form a decent base around them as a compliment – a job i don’t believe he can handle .

    Cudos to Eberle for playing for Canada when the opportunity arises . Too many already do not .

    • Lowetide

      Yes madjam, we all have those questions about Tamby……and about his grand plan. You pose some very good questions but those can only be answered by a hockey person with experience and knowledge. IMHO , we do not have that person.

      There need to be calculated thinking about core positions, support positions, and prospect positions. I have never heard Tamby articulate a plan and what this plan will look like as the years unfold. What we are told is simply that we are rebuilding and left to speculate as to what this means.

      Well at least it provides the writers with fodder for their craft.

  • Lowetide

    Don’t want the “plan” to get derailed to absolutely make the playoffs, I want the Oilers to be a playoff team for years and years once they next make it in……but man they absolutely need to be playing meaningful games into the middle of March or later in 2013.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Tambellini is in a rush to do nothing. He’s comfortable adding one piece per yr in the draft. At this pace we’ll see Jordan Eberle in the World Championships plenty over the next 5 yrs. With not making the playoffs or one and dones, we have our new Captain Canada in Jordan Eberle.

  • Lowetide

    I know some have broached the subject of dealing the 1st overall pick for Staal. I know the majority have said it’s not enough but Pittsburgh has Paul Martin and Zybnek Michalek as well who are both legitimate top 3 defenceman that have just struggled. What are the chances of dealing the 1st overall along with the rights to Omark and Peckham for Staal and Martin/Michalek. Then the Oilers would be free to move Gagner and perhaps other assets for another defender.

  • stevezie

    No, I think Pitt would do that deal. They get the first for Staal, which might already be a win, and they get to dump an overpriced, underperforming d-man. I don’t think the Oil should do that deal though.

  • stevezie

    Green, Z. Michalek and Volchenkov are all experienced defenceman on bad contracts who aall had anti-career years. Worst case scenario we should be able to trade Peckham (or nothong) for one of these guys and try to reclaim them. I don’t like that plan, but I like it better than not getting two vet d-men.

    I did love Voltman in Ottawa. How far gone is he?

  • bazmagoo

    Gone are the days when you could bundle players to make them a collective asset, trades these days seem to always have a “hockey deal” component where it’s an equal number of players moving. I think that’s a result of the cap and how competitive it is.

    Speaking of how competitive it is in the NHL, is anyone else not particularly confident we have the front office staff to build this team correctly? I’m not, although part of me does think some of the bone head moves could be part of the plan.

    I think the plan is to turn it around next season, but how far we are able too is debatable. With a couple of key acquisitions (at least 1 NHL top 4 defenceman and at least one player with effective size on the left wing or at centre) the Oilers could be pushing for the playoffs. But I wouldn’t be confident of them making it or doing well once they are there.

    But it’s a step in the right direction. Personally I think the plan is to go big next off season when there are potentially some bigger names available.

  • stevezie

    As most of us loyal Oil followers can attest to, we believe there is a plan in place. Are we lemmings like the laff fans and just trudge along till we leap of the cliff with not even a wimper?

    Now back to this plan (rebuild) that truly has never been explained in layman’s terms. With notations already made that we have plenty of young guns, I too agree that we are missing a key ingredient…..a solid foundation! Oil fans have been patient thus far but I do believe that most are running out of that trait to which the Oil’s Management have relied on for the past (pick your own #) many years.

    I refuse to think that the Oil’s Management are not sensing the frustration of the fans. Can they actually make this team competative this year with good managerial decissions? Lets bloody hope so!

  • stevezie

    The Building is full and adding Yakupov next year will keep it so . Until that changes there is no rush/ need to do much toward having a legit playoff team . Business is booming even if club is not . Pressure to do more is miniscule at best , as we keep selling out the building . We never even had it this good from a business point back in Gretzky days , or even when we had a playoff team if i’m not mistaken ? Sad that we back a losing team better than a winning one is it not ?