Jason Strudwick made his NHL debut March 30, 1996. He hit the scoreboard in a big way–a hockey stick!–as the refs flagged him for his first 7 minutes of NHL pims. His final game came April 10, 2011–21 clean shifts in his 674th game in the world’s best league. It was, by any measure, a helluva run.
Oiler fans enjoyed Strudwick’s physical style and calm demeanor; he was well suited to the mentor role all Oiler veterans filled during the seasons after the 2006 SC run. For Strudwick, those young defenders working their way into the league probably reminded him of his own debut many years before on the Island.
Strudwick was drafted ahead of his projected number, something he recounts wonderfully in this article for Oilers Nation. Don Maloney, the Islanders GM at the time, gave the press a quote about Strudwick they could run with:
- Maloney: "A big, tough kid from a great organization, Kamloops."
Whatever else happens in the life of Jason Strudwick, he got to live the dream. There were more talented men selected in front of him (Jason Bonsignore among them) but sport is a lot about perseverance, luck, grinding your skills into useful tools and consistency. Jason Strudwick learned those things along the way and I’d bet those lessons are being applied to his life away from hockey to this day. In Canada, a lot of life’s lessons come on or at the rink. It’s a fact.
STRUDWICK THE WRITER/BROADCASTER
Jason Strudwick has been serving up outstanding articles for Oilers Nation. He played the game, and has an ability to give fans like me a glimpse into what it’s like to be a professional hockey player. His draft story (linked above) is hilarious and the one on free agency runs the gamut of emotions–the first free agency article gives you a very good look into the life of a pro hockey player. While you and I look forward to free agency because our team might land a big free agent, hockey players–even the very good ones–may find out they are no longer welcome in the NHL or might have to wait a week or two before finding out where they’re going to land.
I know, you’d give your left nut to trade places and I would have too as a young man. However, that must have been a grind every July 1st and I thank Jason Strudwick for guiding us through the process this summer here at Oilers Nation. A very interesting series of articles on draft and free agency.
Jason Strudwick’s NHL career as a player is over, he quietly retired this spring. I pegged him awhile back as a future coach but it appears the media have grabbed him–at least for now–and in turn Strudwick has emerged as an interesting writer and broadcaster. It’s our good fortune he arrived in Edmonton and at Oilers Nation.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Strudwick’s an interesting guy and his stories contain humor and insight. I have no idea where he’s headed–although I don’t think he’ll play pro golf–but it’ll be an interesting journey.
Today at noon on Team 1260, we’ll hit the airwaves with two hours of Oilers talk. Past, present and future, with the major NHL stories of the week added to the discussion. Scheduled to appear:
- Jeff Marek host of HockeyCentral on Sportsnet. We’ll talk free agency and the Canadian teams, Minnesota’s free agent surprise and hurting songs in Nashville.
- Kent Wilson, Nations Overlord. We tried to give Kent a break this week, but the Flames kept adding people. We’ll talk Hudler, JayBo trade (?) and what all this adding means to Baertschi and Reinhart.
- Andrey Osadchenko from All hockey ru and The Hockey News. Andrey is a brilliant source of news on Russian hockey players and we’ll spend a few minutes talking Yakupov, Marincin and others.
- Jason Strudwick from Oilers Nation. Jason is a great source of information and we’ll talk about the draft, free agency and his recent retirement from pro hockey.
- Jonathan Willis from the Edmonton Journal’s Cult of Hockey, the Nations Netowrk and Grantland. Jon will discuss the draft, free agency and tell us if the Oilers are done.
Team 1260, noon to 2. Your questions are always welcome, twitter @lowetide_ and @ItsNationRadio or email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can post your questions in the comments section below.
Looking forward to the show, hope you can join me.