A BIG TOUGH KID, FROM A GREAT ORGANIZATION

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.

NATION RADIO


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 nationradio@theteam1260.com and you can post your questions in the comments section below.

Looking forward to the show, hope you can join me.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Great sum-up on Struds, LT.

    those articles are real eye-openers.

    for Nation Radio, can you ask him more about the differences between NHL and Europe. I’m especially interested in what a seasoned NHLer thinks of the kids he sees over there and the way they are developed.

    Are they streamed (some working toward leaving for the NHL, others looking for a career where they are)? How are the kids grooming to leave treated? is there resentment (you’re leaving us, your nation etc)? are they held to a higher standard? do they get more TOI? etc.

    I guess the assumption of a lot of NHL fans is that Europe is a training ground for the future Selanne, or Lidstrom, etc, i.e., NHL stars. But I imagine those assumptions don’t hold at all in Europe. I’d like to see those questions explored.

  • Aron S

    Hey lt, if there’s time do you think you could ask struds about another aspect of player acquisitions: trades. When guys like hemmer and gagner keep popping up in rumors, does he see it visibly affect them and their games/commitment to the team? Or is it just part of being a pro? Thanks!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Loyalty is rewarded in this city as witnessed by many former Oiler players and coaching staff.The home is where the heart is a truism that certainly applys to a guy like Jason Strudwick. His honest play earned him a degree of respect that is certainly deserved. He certainly earned mine with what he and his wife went through with their struggles to have children. Thier eventual/suprising pregnancy and the adoption of thier son. Takes alot to be parent. That thing where you wake up in the morning and the first person you see in the mirror is not you. Its your wife and then your kids.Putting others ahead of yourself.

    Jason Strudwick role has changed in the past 12 months but I look forward to his growth and development as a writer and as media personality(Rob Brown). I wish him well in all aspects of his life and thank him for his service to the Oilers and to the community.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Struds is quickly becoming one of my favourites in the “media”. If this is the direction he would like to head I see great success. Is it ironic that he may already be better at this than he was in the NHL?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    We all love Struds but what the hell? This article read like a eulogy. I kept waiting for the line “Jason died tragically etc” the whole time i was reading

  • Where's Your Towel

    Studs is a beaut LT, but you scared the ever-loving poop out of me as my bleary morning eyes scanned the sentence starting “Jason Strudwick is passing along…”

    We are really very fortunate to have Struds’ words to read here. Not only is he a very solid writer, he has a perspective we can’t really get from anyone else.

    • Lowetide

      Fixed it, don’t want to scare people lol. The thing I like–and Brian Sutherby has done this too–is the insight from the player about the process.

      In the article Jason wrote about free agency, he talked about the priorities being staying in the western conference and going to a team that didn’t have a player with duplicate skills.

      I find that kind of thing interesting, and it is rare to get a good glimpse into them.

  • Guy Lafleur

    I have known Struds since he was a fresh faced kid on the Blazers dynasty teams .Although he wasnt as flashy as his cousin Scotty , he endeared himself to the Blazer nation with his physical play even though he could never knock down Richard Zednik who was a Portland Winter Chicken back then .
    Struds was and is a class act and i for one enjoy him on the radio , wish he was on full time !!
    Big Struds #27 in Blazer programs #1 in our hearts!!

  • MessyEH!

    I love the free content! Thank you to all the writers and commentators on ON. and your site Lowetide. You all have made me a better fan. I was always a saw him good type. You have atleast made me appreciate the advanced stats stuff. I like em when they reinforce my saw good hunches.

  • Good grief stop chirping LT in the comments people. Strudwick may come to his defence and dust all of you with a single punch. Then I’ll say “that’s what you get” and then shake my head sadly.

  • Struds is one hilarious guy, his mentoring was very helpful on this team that has gone through some tough times. Can see him in some sort of coach or managerial position in the coming years with the team. He just has to refrain himself from “poking” Pajaarvi lol