HOLIDAY ROAD

It has been a splendid summer, it has been a fascinating few months for Oiler fans. And as much as I love the hot sun, the coastal humidity and the mosquitoes that have grown to the size of Black Hawk helicopters, it is time. Time, boys. It is time.

I find myself spending early August thinking about the beautiful game of hockey. My dear friend Louise has agreed to meet me for at least one day of coffee and muffins (she brings both) while watching the boys of winter at the first days of Oilers training camp, and my wife and kids have promised they’ll join me at the Joey Moss. Plus there’s pre-season, the Oil Kings are just around the corner and Nail Yakupov will play in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge in Yaroslavl and Halifax, N.S. August 9th to 14th.

My hatred of Calgary is gaining momentum and my spider senses tell me we should be on the lookout for turning leaves and cooler temperatures.

HOW HIGH CAN THEY FLY?

The Oilers have done some things, focusing specifically  on the future (Nail, Justin Schultz). They might add during August but as things stand now the roster might look like this:

  • C: Nuge, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger
  • L: Hall, Nail, Smyth, Eager, Hordichuk
  • R: Hemsky, Eberle, Jones, Petrell, Hartikainen
  • D: Smid-Petry, Whitney-Schultz, Sutton-Schultz, Peckham
  • G: Dubnyk, Khabibulin

We can even throw the OKC roster on the table:

  • F: Josh Green, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Mark Arcobello, Phil Cornet, Chris VandeVelde, Dane Byers, Tyler Pitlick, Antti Tyrvainen, Tanner House, Curtis Hamilton, Cameron Abney, Ryan Martindale, Kristians Pelss
  • D: Corey Potter, Colten Teubert, Alex Plante, Taylor Fedun, Teigan Zahn, Dan Ringwald, Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson
  • G: Yann Danis, Olivier Roy, Tyler Bunz

I may have missed one or two along the way, and maybe Oscar Klefbom sneaks on a plane before TC. Having said that, the group lines up as Goalies (5); Defenders (15); Forwards (28).

WHAT’S NEXT?

There is so much unsettled business for the entire NHL that I can see Edmonton making one or two big moves before training camp. I can also see them stand pat–which is what they usually do this time of year. The three-for-one deal I’ve been promoting since Christ was a kid remains somewhere out in the ether.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

 

It  means we pretty much know the names to follow at training camp. New hires Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz will get plenty of attention, and we’ll be curious about the health of incumbents Taylor Hall and Ryan Whitney as well as a guy everyone is cheering for in Taylor Fedun.

It means we’ll have something new to talk about. Thank God and Greyhound.

NATION RADIO

Holiday weekend edition and we have a wide range of guests. Questions can be posted below, email is nationradio@theteam1260.com and I do pay attention to twitter: @lowetide_ and @ItsNationRadio.

Scheduled to appear:

  1. Jason Gregor from JG Show and Oilers Nation. We’ll talk Oilers summer, what they might have left to do and the importance of the Ryan’s and a Taylor or two.
  2. Eric T. and his giant brain will return to talk about the importance of performance in the neutral zone and the relationship between possession and winning.
  3. Thomas Drance from Canucks Army and other parts of the Nations. Drance has clarity, and in the world of hockey think that’s like Olympic Gold. We’ll talk Arnott, Luongo and the NW division.
  4. Jim Byers from the OKC Barons. The Barons roster is starting to take shape with Josh Green, Chris VandeVelde and Alex Plante getting contracts recently. We’ll talk to Jim about the 12-13 edition of OKC Barons.
  5. Corey Graham, Oil Kings play by play man. I love hockey, but Corey loves it more. He cannot wait for OK training camp and we’ll talk about the WHL champions and their chances this season.
  6. Scott Francis Winder is a young Edmonton businessman who gets things done. We’ll talk about FC Edmonton’s big game tonight and a major event that will hit Edmonton in the next 7 days.

Your questions are the best, so bring them on. Festival seating, byob. 

    • The Soup Fascist

      I just think another year in the minors would be good for Pitlick.

      (Pause)

      Oh, you mean Paajarvi. Not sure where he plays unless he changes his game. Looks great flying up and down wing, but unless he decides to use his size and speed and get his nose dirty he is AHL / SEL material.

      • Reg Dunlop

        Paajarvi is a test that separates good coaches from bad coaches.

        When a player has a different skill set than your average young prospect, a good coach knows that he has to develop him differently.

        Renney was given a gold square peg. He only had round holes. So the threw the gold peg away.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Hope you are right. We need a big skilled forward with grit. I never see MP as an edgy player – not in his DNA. However he does potentially have the first two, which would be an improvement.

          But a perimeter game of flying down the wing and floating a wrister at the goalie at the first sign of trouble is not going to cut it. Being 6’2″ and a great skater does not an NHLer make – see Pouliot, Marc. Paajarvi needs to show he deserves the coaches faith.

          It is too early to give up on this kid but unless there is progression this year on the big club or in OKC time to face facts. I think he is a smart, well-spoken kid. I truly hope he figures it out.

  • The Soup Fascist

    The Oilers, beyond adding what would appear to be two fine rookies and saying adios to Barker, have done nothing to change player personnel that finished 29th last year.

    So we are hoping to show significant improvement through 1) existing players improving 2) less injuries to key personnel and 3) a rookie head coach.

    I am a huge Oil fan and season ticket holder but colour me dubious. I think we needed to add a couple more pieces (top 4 veteran D and gritty bottom 6 fwd) to be a playoff team – and that assumes above average goaltending. Maybe Whitney can be the top 4 guy if healthy and maybe Eager figures it out.

    But that is a lot of hoping and wishing. If there is a season they will be fun to watch but I don’t see me needing to take money from the kid’s college fund for playoff tix. Hope I am wrong, 2006 was a lot of fun.

    • This^

      I have been saying this all summer while not trying to sound negative, just to add; that there are a lot of “if’s” to the team as well.

      I honestly don’t see the Oilers coming out of a lottery postion with this team as is.

      That’s also not a negative thing just the reality of the rebuild.

        • Not sure, but we know Eberle may come down a bit, Hall might not be ready till end of November/December. RNH should improve and I do have high hopes for Yakupov.
          Like I have said, there are a lot of “If’s” on this team

          If Paajarvi can bounce back
          If Dubnyk can take that consistent step-
          If Whitney can play-
          If Hemsky can bounce back-
          If Horcoff can bring his F/O % up and +/- down-
          If Belanger can stop being an offensive black hole-
          If the Oilers can get a top pairing defensmen-
          If Yakupov and Schultz can play good and responsibly.

          The Oilers need to still address skill and toughness in the top six, they still need better forth line players and of course a top pairing defensmen to be competitive IMO.

          Next years draft is a good one and if the Oilers somehow find themselves in the lottery postion it won’t necessarily be a bad thing, after all it’s a five year plan to rebuild.
          Then you have assets to trade, exspecially if both Hemsky and Gagner hav e good years.

  • Reg Dunlop

    It was just brought to my attention that all 14 teams that missed last years playoffs had a negative goal differential. 14 of 16 playoff teams had a positive goal differential. Since I am confident that we will score more than we let in, I hereby change my prediction: the oil finish 8th and make the playoffs. So it is written so let it be done.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Only, what, 40 more sleeps until camp if a new CBA can be agreed upon? Until then, here is what I think.

    Oil will score 20+ more goals with most comming from Yak.

    Oil will surrender 20 fewer goals with Khabbi playing no more than 20 games.

    Oil will win 5-10 more games and finish 10th but we will be OPTIMISTIC about 2013-14.

    Calgary will finish below us, right where they belong.

    Detroit will miss the playoffs. How’s that for a bold prediction.